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Old 03-30-2013, 03:29 PM   #1
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Help with understanding types of corals

I am looking for help in understanding types of corals. I can recognize the common names of some corals but I know little about how to recognize a SPS, LPS and so on. From my basic unserstanding, SPS refers to Small Polup Stony, and LPS would mean large. But that doesnt clarify what corals like leathers, mushrooms, frogspawn and such would be. I have also some "plate" corals witch I believe would be considered Montipora (Spelling?). So, ultimately, andy information that would help me recognize what is what would be greatly appreciated. I am just starting off with corals and although I know what I have now and how to provide for them, it would be nice to know what as much as possible before proceding with others. You know, doing research before you buy!
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:47 PM   #2
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The polyps are the tentacles from the corals. Small are around 1/16 to 1/8 " across each polyp or so. Because they are so small they require high lighting. Large can be about 1/2 to 2-3" across each polyp and require somewhat less lighting. Both have some type of hard, or stony, bases that the polyps comes out of. soft corals don't have the hard bases to their polyps and normally require less lighting as well. Some don't use lights at all and require some type of feeding.

Go to the Liveaquaria website for classification of the various corals. Mushrooms and LPS corals are always a good starting coral. So are polyp corals such as zoas that can have awesome colours.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:11 PM   #3
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Well, you are forgetting the third type of coral, soft. Soft corals are your mushrooms, leathers...anything that isn't using calcium to build a skeleton.

LPS corals can be generally defined because of the large polyp. This polyp is large and fleshy. They are also sometimes accompanied by feeder and sweeper tentacles that come out at night. To answer your question on what a plate coral is, it is a LPS.

For SPS, it is basically a calcium skeleton that has small polyps that protrude out of them. You will also see them as branching or plating. They require more flow than lps corals do so the smaller polyps can eficiently feed along with keeping algae and such from growing on them.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:28 PM   #4
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This site may be of some help. https://sites.google.com/a/asira.org/www2/caresheets
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