Help Me Choose The Hardiest SPS Species!

Reef Frog

New member
I'm ready to try my hand at a few select branching SPS in my predominantly LPS tank. I'm adding them primarily for their branching & plating qualities to give my tank the classic reef look, as opposed to trying to keep arcane & difficult species for the sheer challenge. I only have about 4 choice spots up high under 6 39W T5s so I have to choose carefully. Would prefer the brighter colors as opposed to the more pastel shades, but the emphasis is on hardiness & form.

So for branching varieties I read the Bali Slimer is one of the most hardy & bullet proof choices. True? What else fills the bill for being hardy & colorful? Could anyone discus a range of branching species from EASIEST to DIFFICULT or EXPERT? Any for an SPA newbie to avoid?

For a plating variety, I'm thinking the Orange Capicoris at the top
2/3rds of the tank. Right choice? I understand a little mellower
light is OK for caps? Are the plating montis considered hardy?

I've recently dialed in my Calc/all/mag levels & am keeping them steady with my dosing schedule. But am hoping any species I choose won't melt away if the ALK fluctuates 1 dKH or the CALC 20 ppm for a short time while I correct it for example.

Last question on dips for SPS. what's the bottom line on dipping? I've used ReVive on LPS but don't think it has the oomph for all the SPS bugs out there. Lugols dip? I'm told it's effective but harsh. CoralRX? I'm hesitant to use Bayer but will if its the best way. Is a combination of dips recommended? I want to do anything I can to avoid pests from the get-go.

My tank: Mature 2.5 year old 65g w ample LR & flow. Six 39w T5s. 1.025 SG, 400 ppm calc, 8 dkH, 1300 mg, 8.2 pH. Maimtain levels with Kalk. RODI, GFO reactor & carbon. Low nutrients, no longer any algae issues & very low fish bio load for now.

Thanks for any advice you can share.
 
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Tennsquire

New member
I dip all my hard coral frags in Revive and put them in a QT tank for a minimum of 2 weeks. I've even dipped them subsequently before they come out of QT. I've had AEFW and the montipora nudis in the past, and would rather be as proactive as possible. I've used the Tropic Marin product (the one with the pump), and it's pretty harsh (iodine based) and turns the coral brown. They'll come back, and it's probably better than getting bad critters. Way better to be safe than sorry....
 

Reef Frog

New member
Thanks Tennsqire. So the iodine dips were never fatal? Good to know. I'm thinking of a QT for these SPSs but the prospect of maintaing a perfect parameter QT is daunting Will probably figure out a way to do it. I guess I need to watch for hatching eggs.

So anyone.....any picks for the hardiest branching & plating SPS species?
 

Guygettnby

New member
I think every tank is different. Some say birds nests are super easy, yet I can't seem to keep them alive so far. I have to say I like my bonsai and dark blue/purple milli. Super easy to grow and take care of in my tank. Have a couple others but don't know the name of them. Just like them.
 

A.VOID

Premium Member
Just my two cents...
I would not recommend a Monti cap in a 65 gallon. They get real big, real fast. You will lose a ton of real estate to it. On the flip side... The cap is easy to care for :)
Digitatas might be a good easy choice
 

bogg

New member
Scripps acro is a good one to start with
It's tan with green polyps thin branching stag

There's lots of hardy ones best thing to do is find some from local club members
Ones that have been in captivity for a while
 

Reef Frog

New member
Interesting point on Monti Caps growth & shading others. I forgot to specify I'm looking at the Orange caps...fast growers too...?

Aren't they considered one of the lower light SPSs? Wonder if they would tolerate the lower 1/2 or 1/3 of the tank or 12" to 18" from the T5s? In that case they'll just be shading some NPS Dendros.

Thanks Guy the purple millis are really nice & make the list!

Any Bali Slimer fans out there? An EZ species?
 

gar732

New member
Scripps acro is a good one to start with
It's tan with green polyps thin branching stag

There's lots of hardy ones best thing to do is find some from local club members
Ones that have been in captivity for a while

+1 that was my first acro. Green slimer is another hardy one that's a good looking acro and believe it or not I've found the tyree pink lemonade to be just about bullet proof, in my tank anyway.
 

ashish

New member
Montiporas are great starter SPS coral...If you do decide to keep acros I would suggest going with a bushy kind since they tend to do better than the one's with very little polyps. Plus you get a good sense of the flow they are getting which can be tricky for beginners. I personally hate the term "high flow" because any person can add some high flow pumps to a tank but none of this is replicating the flow patterns in the ocean. Something that is almost impossible to create but we have to give SPS close to perfect flow in captivity. All I am saying is try to get the SPS in the best location the first time around because I had the tendency to keep moving them before they where in the ideal spot. SPS corals also do not respond well to being moved like softies do (something that I have learned the hard way). Best of luck
 

Wangspeed

New member
This is going to sound nuts, but use Bayer Complete Insect Killer for coral dip. It nukes all bugs, and leaves the coral happy. Search this site for Bayer coral dip.
 

leveldrummer

New member
montipora digitatas are pretty hardy and come in a large variety of colors, you can also get your hands on a green slimer acropora if you want to try an acro, they grow quick and stay colorful easily.
 

WillM

New member
I started with a red monti cap, then got a green m confusa, green birdsnest, green digi, and purple stylo. All seem to be pretty bulletproof. I had problems with acros when I first started getting them, but the bali green slimer and my garf bonsai seem pretty hardy. I would get some monti cap or digi and keep it alive and growing before you try acros. Just my experience :)
 

franklypre

New member
If your tank is two and a half years old I would suggest buying a few different types and seeing what does well where you want it. I know it sounds rough but until you put the coral in there nobody can really say what will do well, it sounds like you've waited long enough I would try acros. I dont' know the specs on the 6X39 but from what I've seen in the past they put out plenty of light, if you wanted a monti I would suggest a stellata or spongodes rather than a cap. Check the classifieds there are several good sale threads right now, one in particular.
 

eskymick

New member
Let's not forget the original, the one and only, the first SPS acro to survive captivity .... the Stuber Stag.
 

Reef Frog

New member
Thanks for all the great replies. I really got some good info & valuable perspective. I'm going to try some frags of the species mentioned above as I can find them.

They'll be on an in-tank frag rack until I'm sure they take to my environment. I'm also thinking I will try the Bayer treatment & perhaps another dip (advisable or dangerous overkill ?). it seems that in my case trying to put together a stable SPS QT could be the very thing that would doom my attempt. So i am hoping a double dip & perhaps mounting on a new frag plug give me a good chance to keep out the pests.
 

sanababit

New member
Man birdsnest for me is the easiest sps, its bullet proof and grows like crazy, i wish you lived closer i could give you a BIG chunck

Sana
 

rovster

New member
Started with monticaps and poccis, then moved to birdsnest. All grew great. Have had acros for 6 months now, and no fatalities yet. They definitley grow a lot slower, but I have a few that are now "settled" and are picking up speed. I think any coral that comes from anothers tank you will have good success with it. I know I may go against the grain here a little, but my parameters are not what you would consider rock solid. They fluctuate slightly from week to week, but are consistently in the same range. This is in a 14 gallon nano. I've only had one acro RTN on me, but it came in with redbugs and was sick to begin with, LOL! Ever since then, its been pretty good. I dip all SPS in Bayer for about 10 minutes. I forgot the quantity, but when it starts to look milky :) Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine, considering your tank is well established!
 
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