If you’re new to the hobby, chances are that you want the easiest corals for your tank. LPS (large polyp stony) corals are a great consideration.
In this guide, you’ll learn all you need to know about LPS corals, from their feeding and care to selecting the simplest species. Let’s go!
What is an LPS Coral?
Characterized by large fleshy polyps, LPS corals are a group of coral species that are as popular as SPS corals. They are also made from calcium carbonate skeleton. Many of the LPS corals have been aggressive. Their long sweeper tentacles are used for stinging and protecting their territory.
LPS corals reproduce either by budding or spawning – a process by which a parent species splits into a new colony.
Common LPS corals include:
- Euphyllia spp. (Frogspawn, Galaxy, and Hammer corals)
- Alveopora spp.
- Blastomussa spp.
- Catalaphyllia spp. (Elegance corals)
- Caulastrea spp. (Candy cane corals)
- Cynarina spp.
- Favia spp.
- Favites spp. (Brain corals)
- Fungia spp. (Disk corals)
- Galaxea spp. (Tooth corals)
- Goniopora spp.
- Goniastrea spp.
- Heliofungia spp. (Plate corals)
- Herpolita spp.
Providing Proper Care for LPS Corals
LPS corals thrive under the following conditions:
Generally, LPS corals demand lesser lighting conditions than SPS and soft corals. That’s one of the reasons many hobbyists choose them since there won’t be a need to buy an expensive lighting system.
While they thrive in low to moderate amounts of light, it varies by the type of species. Again, since they need light as a source for food, ensure they are exposed to the required levels of light.
Like SPS corals, LPS corals have a symbiotic relationship with their zooxanthellae. This algae helps them convert light energy into food, and provide the nutrition they need. However, with their long tentacles, they can capture and eat food such as zooplankton, brine, and large pellets.
Again, LPS corals need lots of calcium and magnesium. So, you can feed them with protein-rich foods in powdered or liquid foods to maintain these elements in your aquarium.
LPS corals appreciate low-to-moderate lighting conditions. You will want to be careful when moving LPS corals with large inflated polyps because they can break easily.
Certain corals like bubble corals and hammer corals should always remain in the tank while the polyps are inflated. Otherwise, their polyps may tear off.
You want to ensure water parameters like Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and salinity are tailored to the needs of your corals. Overall, keep levels of Ca and Mg stable and the water a bit warm, between 76 to 80 F.
Unlike SPS corals, LPS corals are less demanding. So, you don’t have to dedicate the whole day or worry so much. They can survive fluctuations in water parameters and temperature. However, this doesn’t mean you let your tank degenerate so bad.
How to Choose Your LPS Coral?
So, you might be asking how then do I choose an LPS coral breed?
Forgetting the sizes and colors, I think the first thing you should consider is their cost. You want to consider LPS corals within your budget. Keep in mind that there are other tank supplies you still need to purchase.
Another thing you want to consider is the individual care they require. Some corals demand extra care than others and may require more time. So, research on the species you choose and ensure that your corals can accommodate such coral.