Best for Experienced Owners
Activity Level: Low
Coral is typically found in tropical waters in the Pacific, Red, and Indian oceans. Despite their strange appearance, coral is actually related to sea anemones and jellyfish. Coral is often perceived as aquarium plants or decorations, not as an actual animal; however, this is not true, coral are living beings that eats and require care just like any other marine life. Coral is very popular with saltwater fish hobbyists, and a large variety of coral is commonly sold in aquatic pet stores. There are over twenty different species of coral. Coral are considered hermaphrodites; they spawn by releasing their eggs and fertilizing them at the same time.
Generally, coral have no discernible personality; they act more like predatory plants or even unassuming rocks than marine animals. Most species of coral are peaceful and only eat algae and/or plankton. However, some coral can be quite aggressive and quick to attack, and will attack anything small that comes close to it. Most coral can share an aquarium with other coral; however, they should be of the same species, as some species of coral may fight with other species of coral. Generally, most coral can live peacefully with fish; however, the aggressive species of coral are not safe with small fish or crustaceans
Some coral have poisonous stingers; the potency of the poison varies by species. The poison from coral can cause moderate pain, irritation and muscle cramps in humans. Owners should always wear protective gloves when touching coral that has stingers. Coral moves very slowly, and may take them months to move a couple of inches.
Coral requires about two gallons of tank for every one-inch of body. Depending on the species, coral can grow to a width of 4-40 inches, so one adult coral will require 8-80 gallons of tank space. Coral naturally lives in tropical saltwater reef areas, so their aquarium should be set up to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible. The bottom of the aquarium should be covered in about 2-4 inches of sea sand and should include some other same species coral, and some hollow and solid rocks or other things for the coral to live in/on. The aquarium will also require a water filtration system, an internal water pump, water heater, thermometer and a hydrometer to check salt levels. The aquarium can also include some real or fake plants. The temperature of the water should be around 72-80 Fahrenheit and have a salinity of 1.021 to 1.026. The aquarium light should be on during the day and turned off at night.
Appearance and Care:
Coral is very beautiful but alien looking marine life that can grow to 4-40 inches wide. Coral comes in a variety of forms and colors such as shades of orange, green, white, red or yellow. Coral can look very plant like, or resemble rocks or even look much like a human brain.
Coral is considered a carnivore; even though most just eat algae and plankton. Some of the aggressive predatory types of coral eat small and medium sized fish and crustaceans.
Predatory coral will usually eat shrimp, krill, crabs, lobsters, small fish such as gobies, and even larger fish like the smaller species of blennies or wrasse.
The exact lifespan of coral is unknown; however, it is believed that they have a lifespan of 50-100 years, but their actually lifespan could even be longer.