How many species of corals in a 6 foot 183 gallon tank?


Hi all, as I am finalizing my stocking list for corals, I have decided to go with a mixed reef tank with an approximately 50/50 split between softies and LPS corals (the easy ones). SPS, I will see but I know they’re the hardest to maintain.

However, I do not know how many species of corals would be appropriate for a tank of my size (183 gallons). The dimensions are 1.8m long, 0.7m wide and 0.55m tall. That’s a water volume of 183.07 US gallons.

Can LPS corals go into a totally new tank, or do they need more mature tanks?

I’ve made a comprehensive list of the softies and LPS corals I am considering. Not sure how to go about narrowing it down, so I would appreciate advice:


1. Actinodiscus Mushroom

2. Ricordea Mushroom

3. Rhodactis Mushroom

4. Colt Coral

5. Green Star Polyps

6. Pulsing Xenia

7. Toadstool Leather

8. Finger Leather

9. Devil’s Hand Leather

10. Cabbage Leather

11. Button Polyps

12. Chili Coral

(Worries about Zoanthids and Palythoas.)

LPS Corals:

1. Hammer Coral

2. Torch Coral

3. Candy Cane Coral

4. Trumpet Coral

5. Disk Coral

6. Duncan Coral

7. Favites Brain Coral

8. Frog Spawn Coral

9. Blastomussa Brain Coral

10. Acan (Micromussa) Brain Coral

11. Lobophyllia Brain Coral

12. Bubble Coral

Please point out if there are any species not suitable for a beginner.

Also, this question is more fish than coral related, but I’ve about given up on trying to get a Yellow Eye Kole Tang because he supply chain from Hawaii to where I am (China) has been severely affected by the coronavirus and the trade war. I can still get my Yellow Tang but I’ve decided to get another Longfin Heniochus Bannerfish (for a pair) instead of the Kole Tang. Sad I’ll only have an algae eating duo instead of a trio (Yellow Tang + One Spot Foxface).

Since the Bannerfish are peaceful fish, can I add them very early on, maybe even as the first fish? Are they hardy enough to go in early?

I’ll also be pairing my YWG with a Candy Pistol Shrimp, don’t want to miss out on the combo. Hopefully the shrimp and goby will be okay with a Marine Betta, LNH and Flame Hawk.

*Edit: I’ve just swapped out Nephthea for Kenya Tree. Didn’t realize the Nephthea’s a difficult species
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For the fish that are not completely reef safe, I heard placing corals with more effective chemical defenses can alleviate their nipping, but I’m not sure which corals the article was referring to as it didn’t specify.


Staff member
RC Mod
Beware of colt and leathers in general. Chili is, i think, non-photosynthetic, meaning utterly depending on your feeding daily. And I believe it's the yellow toadstool is poisonous to thet tank if it starts to demise. Start with mushrooms and buttons. If they get to multiplying, you can trade them to your local lfs for more variety. Your other corals, the stonies, require calcium supplementation via kalk, which is fairly easy. Thing to remember with them is they require a 6 inch buffer zone in ALL directions including overhead. Many have tentacles that come out at night to attack neighbors.


New member
As far as number os coral species, there's not really a limit, other than how many you can physically fit in the tank without them getting so close that incompatible ones will fight eachother. I currently have over 40 different coral in my 150 gallon, mostly colonies and am just now starting to run out of space. Having to trim back the largest colonies to make space for some new stuff.


Staff member
RC Mod
Mmmm. Another thought. My second tank setup started out with stonies and did well with montiporas and pocillopora, bubble, fox, and euphyllias (hammer, frog, and torch). BUT---once the hammer took off, it formed a soccer-ball-sized globe of heads, and no other coral thrived. Can you say---chemical warfare? I fragged it, because I was not cash heavy at the time, and just spread it into the bare spots---so I pretty well had one species, one type of that species, but the tank looked like a rose parade float, and was very pretty, and all those separate heads began doubling in size. I began giving away clumps of hammer coral, because it was that prolific, and the fish stores couldn't take any more. So your how many species is a com-pli-cated question. ONE, if you get one really thriving and if it's prone to chemical aggression. Plus---position. I discovered my bubble coral could extrude a tentacle thin as thread 6" straight upward in a very strong current to try to murder a pocillopora it didn't like.
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Thanks for the replies. Buttons, are you referring to the Zoas, Palys? How dangerous are they?

And how many fragments would be suitable to add to my tank at the very beginning? I was thinking 6, or would that be too many?

Mushrooms I would like all 3 types: Actinodiscus, Rhodactis, and Ricordea Florida.

Kalkwasser isn't available where I am but I heard I only have to start paying attention to replenishing Calcium and Alk once I get into SPS corals? I was watching the BRS video today and Ryan, the guy said SPS do best in an SPS only tank or SPS dominated tank over a mixed reef due to often conflicting flow and lighting requirements with softies and LPS.

So I was thinking for my first 6 frags:

1 frag Actinodiscus (Discosoma) Mushroom

1 frag Rhodactis Mushroom

1 frag Button Polyps (Zoa / Paly / Protopaly)

1 frag Green Star Polyps

1 frag of some kind of LPS (easy species)

Another frag of some kind of LPS (easy species)

I will make sure to isolate the softies onto islands as I heard they can grow very quickly.