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Soft Corals are one of the most popular, Reef Compatible organisms for Marine Aquariums. Belonging to the Class Anthozoa and Order Alcyonacea, Soft Corals exist in the colonies consisting of a large group of individual organisms, called Polyps. Their unique branched & fleshy body structure and vibrant colors add immense visual appeal to an aquarium. Fresh Marine, one of the best online markets for aquarium products, offers several interesting types of Soft Corals. However, prior to moving on to them, let us have a fundamental idea about the key features of Soft Corals.Compatibility.
Soft Corals are peaceful in disposition and do well with non-aggressive tank mates.
Habit & Habitat. Soft Corals exist in the shallow waters of Tropical Seas & Oceans in all parts of the world, and inhabit Coral Reefs. Morphology. Soft Corals are moderately hardy creatures, which look extremely pretty due to their beautiful fleshy body and striking colors. Soft Corals consist of tiny, Spiny skeleton called Sclerites. Sclerites provide support structure to the fleshy body of Soft Corals, while also providing a rough surface to their body, which deters the other aggressive tank inmates. Soft Corals are basically a group of several independent Polypoid organisms, which secrete a Calcareous Exoskeleton called “Coral” for dwelling in it. Each Polyp of these Soft Corals has some Tentacles, laced with stinging cells called Nematocysts. These Tentacles are used to catch Prey or as a weapon of defense. Each Polyp has a Central cavity, which acts both as a mouth to ingest food as well as an anus to expel it. The Tentacles surround this opening.
Ideal Marine Aquarium Environment. Soft Corals grow well in an already established Reef Aquarium with a temperature range of 72-78°F; Specific Gravity of 1.020-1.025; and pH level of water within 8.1-8.4. The aquarium water should be clean and should be treated well with Protein Skimmers and Aquarium Carbon. Right water movement in the aquarium is critical to Soft Corals as it brings food and Oxygen to them, while carrying away their wastes. Therefore, water movement has to be varied for keeping Soft Corals. Soft Corals require moderate light and water current. Keep ample space, approximately 8”, around the Soft Corals to proliferate unhindered.
Aquarium Feeding. Soft Corals are Omnivorous and filter feed upon Plankton. The primary source of nutrition however, is the food manufactured by Zooxanthellae, the Acellular Photosynthetic Alga living inside Coral Polyps. Chemical feeding is equally vital for the sound health of Soft Corals. Keep replenishing Calcium, Iodine, and the other Trace Elements in the aquarium water.
Aquarium Breeding. Soft Corals breed both sexually as well as asexually. Individual Polyps grow out to form Coral head through Asexual Reproduction. Soft Corals spawn sexually as well among the same species, releasing the gametes together.
Care. Soft Corals are difficult to maintain and should be handled by an expert aquarist only.Let us now look the Soft Corals options available at Fresh Marine.Red / Orange Carnation Coral (Dendronephthya species). Also known as Carnation Soft Coral, Christmas Tree Coral, Strawberry Coral, Tree Coral, Colored Tree Coral, and Colored Cauliflower Coral, these Soft Corals look similar to a Sea Anemone. Available in Red, Yellow, and Orange colors, these Soft Corals measure 2-3”.
Colt Coral (Cladiella species). Also known as Blushing Coral, Soft Finger Leather, and Colt Soft Coral, these Soft Corals come in Grayish, Brown, Tan, and Pinkish colors. Colt Coral has a tree like branched body structure, with thin and feathery White branches. The tips of the branches have Polyps.
Medusa Soft Coral (Sphaerella species). Also known as Christmas Tree Soft Coral, Medusa Tree Coral, Potato Coral, Xmas Coral, Xmas Tree, Christmas Tree Soft Coral, Snake Locks Coral, and French Tickler, these Soft Corals are available in Brown, Tan, and Cream colors. These Soft Corals close their Tentacles at night to gain the shape of a round or an oblong potato while, during the day when the Tentacles are open, the body structure looks like a branches down Christmas tree.
Young Soft Coral (Cladiella species). Also known as Young Finger Leather Coral, Blushing Coral, Cauliflower Coral, Cladiella Finger Leather Coral, Colt Coral, and Young Blushing Finger Leather Coral, these Soft Corals are a type of Leather Coral. Available in Brown, Cream, and Tan colors, these aggressive Soft Corals have a bushy appearance.
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