Other Coral Groupings


Premium Member
I enjoyed this article on renaming corals. Taxonomists have always encountered the age-old problem of lumping and splitting groups of species to be most informative. It's very healthy to keep open this debate.

If LPS and SPS are such poor descriptors in terms of care and needs of animals, are there groups of stony corals that can be considered together, which share common requirements for care/feeding/flow/lighting? Perhaps by biotope? Remembering dozens of individual species of corals is asking a lot of hobbyists and their friends/loved ones.

My wife and son of course have their own taxonomy "Red", "brown", and "yellow", for example. Doesn't tell me much about how to adjust flow, lighting, and feeding.
Hmmm, good question. I think that there would be merit in addressing assemblages based on ecological zonation, but in order to do so one would first have to identify the coral and then figure out the appropriate biotope. So, I suppose this really along the lines of what I'm arguing for, except that asking folks to think in terms of biotope maybe adds an extra level of complexity that may not be useful for a lot of folks.

For example, in order to reasonably recreate a rubble zone at the base of a forereef one would have dimmer lighting and fairly moderate water flow. All the corals would do well in these conditions. One might toss in a Euphyllia, Cycloseris, Halomitra, Pachyseris, Pavona, Anacropora, etc. Of course, to do this one would have to know which species are found in this area. This is great, and a very worthwhile goal, but perhaps isn't absolutely required to provide decent care to these corals. Just knowing which corals need dimmer light, brighter light, real bright light, lower flow, really strong flow, etc. is probably enough to dramatically improve the survival of corals in captivity. For instance, it might not be very natural to see a Nemenzophyllia growing alongside a Blastomussa, but their needs are similar enough that they'll do just fine together.

So yes, I think that approaching reef tanks from the standpoint of ecological zonation and biotopes is the best way to go, and that's how I approach reef tanks and would encourage others to as well, but just finding basic overlapping needs is good enough for most hobbyists and would be good for the hobby.