These SPS coral species are a beginner’s best bet

Upon entering the world of small polyp stony corals (or SPS), many people ask the magic question, “Which types are best for beginners?” In my opinion, the most beginner-friendly choices are found in the genera Montipora, Pocillopora, Seriatopora, and Stylophora. Most of the corals I’ll discuss here are commonly available, so there should be a low cost of entry. They’ve also proven fairly hardy (in my experience) and can be kept in a wider range of parameters than most SPS corals. What’s more, they’re rarely susceptible to the dreaded rapid or slow tissue necrosis (RTN/STN) that you see in Acropora species.

General requirements for these SPS corals

Care level: moderate
Temperament: peaceful (will not try to attack neighboring corals but will most likely lose to aggressive species)
Lighting: moderate to high (of the correct full spectrum)
Flow: medium to high
Temperature: 72-78F
Alkalinity: 8-12 dKH
pH: 8.1-8.4
Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025

Preparing for SPS

The ultimate practice for these corals is mastering water parameter stability. Don’t chase specific numbers, but if you can keep parameters in the required ranges and stable with very little variance and spikes, you can keep practically any coral. The only other specifics to each coral are placement, which impacts lighting; flow requirements; and whether they need to be fed. These are primarily photosynthetic corals, but additions of amino acids and other elements may help with coloration and growth MORE

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