Corals are one of the most magnificent and diverse creatures in the world. They come in so many amazing colors, textures, and sizes. They are a huge part of so many ecosystems in the ocean and can live for such a long time. If you are interested in learning more about marine or aquarium corals, check out our article on amazing coral facts.
If you have a stable aquarium coral reef and you think yourself a bit of an expert now in regards to coral reef maintenance, you might be wondering about what rare corals are out there that could be your next project. We have chosen our three favorite rare corals that are super beautiful and amazing to have in saltwater aquariums. Plus, the corals we have picked are also suitable for beginners!
1 – Australian Fat Head Dendrophyllia
This species of coral is rare but also incredibly beautiful. Because of this, it is very sought after by many hardcore coral reef enthusiasts. Dendrophyllia is a family of stony corals that have long tube-like tentacles. The Australian Fat Head Dendrophyllia is a very striking looking coral, with bright orange and yellow tentacles that are often extended during the day. Their tentacles will give your saltwater aquarium a nice waving movement as they sway in the water.
This is a beautiful, bright coral, but it is also really hardy and can be looked after by beginners and experts alike! They grow quickly, too, so after a while, you will start to see baby polyps cropping up around the base of the corals.
This hard coral can be found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in a range of temperatures and lighting. They do not rely on sunlight to survive and have been found in really deep parts of the ocean!
The Australian Fat Head Dendrophyllia has large polyps, however, they are rarely aggressive to their tankmates. But, be aware of what corals might be around them that could harm them. They enjoy a moderate to high flow, and low lighting. As they need nutrients from the water, the water flow is important so they get all the grub they need! However, if the water flow is too much, the coral will get defensive and close up.
Because these corals don’t get nutrients from light, they need to be fed often! We recommend feeding them a few little scraps of shrimp or other meaty foods two to four times a week. This means that the corals will get all the nutrients that they need. If you are new to coral feeding, check out our in-depth article about coral food. If these corals get a regular amount of fresh food, they will for sure start to reproduce and you will soon see new babies! They reproduce by forming little versions of themself, and you can divide the colony but do this very carefully.
2- St. Thomas Rhodactis Mushroom
This is a beautiful species of coral and our red and green variety is truly stunning. St Thomas Mushroom coral do come in a range of colors, but ours with its green body and red tentacles would be the center point to any saltwater aquarium.
Rhodactis are found in the Indo-Pacific waters, including Fiji, Tonga, and the Great Barrier Reef. They have large individual polyps and are often referred to as mushroom corals because of the way that they look. They are hardy corals and therefore are suitable for beginners.
The St Thomas Mushroom coral needs a moderate flow and low to moderate lighting. They rely on photosynthesis for most of their nutrients as they have zooxanthellae in their tissue. However, these corals can be fed microplankton or meatier foods.
These corals are slightly aggressive, so be careful where you place them in your saltwater aquarium. It is best to place them away from other corals with room enough for them to grow.
3 – Rainbow Montipora
The last coral on our list is a beautiful variety of montipora. This a stunning coral with a wonderful collection of colors that would look amazing in any saltwater aquarium.
Montipora corals are a family of stony corals that are pretty popular. The diversity within the genus creates so many different colors and textures. The most beautiful species of montipora coral is definitely the rainbow one, containing a whole world of different colors and shades. The polyps will actually change color as they grow and develop!
They come from the Indo-Pacific oceans, populating the Great Barrier Reef and the Solomon Islands.
The rainbow montipora is pretty easy to look after and is peaceful to its tankmates. It requires a moderate flow and filtered bright light. These coral reply on the zooxanthellae in their tissues for nutrients, however, they do need to be fed phytoplankton or zooplankton daily to ensure they keep as healthy as possible.
These corals will need to be placed on exposed rock or ledge in order for them to get the lighting and water flow that they need in order to thrive. They will encrust rockwork and as they grow will cover rock up. This creates a wonderful addition of color and texture to your rockwork!
If these aquarium coral get stressed out or if their needs are not met, they might lose their color and turn a brownish shade. This, however, is reversible. If you have just placed the coral in your tank and the colors have dulled, you might need to wait until it gets used to its surroundings. If it is still dull, be sure to check and maintain the chemicals in your water and the lighting. Remember, lighting is important to these corals!
What Is Your Favorite Beautiful and Rare Coral?
We love these three aquarium coral because they are really striking and beautiful and will bring wonderful colors to a reef tank. They are also all really hardy so suitable for beginners! Even though hard corals are famous for being difficult to maintain, you might be pleasantly surprised if you add one of these to your tank!
I am so thankful you focused on St Thomas Mushrooms – so many people do not know about them – but they are so amazing!!
My favorite coral is the dendro – Thank you for featuring this beauty!!
Of course – we love Dendros also – they are sooo pretty!! https://aquariumdepot.com/australian-fat-head-dendrophyllia-1-polyp/
Is there a way to request certain corals?
I want a Dendro – they are AMAZING!! They are like Sun Corals on Roids!!
What is the best food for Dendros?
I love Montipora – they are one of my most favorite hard corals!! EASY to grow!! AquariumDepot has a good selection of Montipora – but Rainbows are hard to come by – IMHO
I love this site!! So helpful – I think my favorite article is this one: https://myreef.aquariumdepot.com/step-by-step-guide-for-the-perfect-zoanthid-garden/
I wish you would have included my personal favorite – the bubble coral – I guess they are not that rare – but I just love how big and flowy they are. Very cool to watch.
I vote dendro – this is my fave!!