LPS Corals

Hard corals are generally broken down into two categories; large polyp stony (LPS) corals and small polyp stony (SPS) corals. The LPS corals are generally larger calcareous corals. They have much larger fleshy polyps than those of the small polyp stony (SPS) corals.

Many LPS corals are quite hardy and can even be fast growing. These stony corals are generally easier to keep in the aquarium than the small polyp stony (SPS) corals. For the most part they require less intense lighting and a lower water movement than SPS corals.

Both of these types of corals lay down calcium on a hard skeleton via the polyps. Thus the name names stony coral or hard coral. This means they require adequate levels of calcium to thrive. Generally a level above 400 ppm is desirable. Many authors recommend 430-480 ppm calcium for these corals. Other elements needed for many of these corals to thrive are strontium, iodine, and trace elements. Many of these corals can be fed small bits of seafood (shellfish, crustaceans, squid, fish), but as they derive much of their nutrition from the zooxanthellae contained in their tissue, feeding is usually not necessary.

Corals like these will propagate either by spawning or by “budding”. This means the parent will grow small corals that will separate from the parent, or the parent will simply separate into multiple corals.

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