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SPS small polyped stony coral like your birdsnest, usually are colored sticks.

LPS large Polyp Stony coral are like frogspawn and hammers and chalice. They build a skeleton and have large polyps.

softies, like xenia, leathers and zoanthids don't build a skeleton and affix themselves to other surfaces.


As a rule,Most coral fit into these parameters, thus you can better identify them now hopefully.

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From a biology point of view, SPS and LPS are not real classifications, there are only "hard or stony" corals and "soft" corals. LPS and SPS are only good "rule of thumb" separation.


Also, most people think that LPS is easier, and SPS is harder to keep. I have had some SPS in my tank since the start, and it has done fine. I have found that some LPS and soft corals are much more difficult to keep (GSP are almost non-existant and the one ricordia I have tried keeps shrinking, it is at about 1/4 inch and bleached right now).


Each type of coral should be looked at as an individual, not lumped together in a group. Then the best position in your tank for each should be found.


I agree that Borneman's book is a good starting place for learning about corals. It may take some time to do research on your own to determine what kind of coral you have.


Also, when I get some coral from someone or buy it in a store, I write down the name as soon as I can. That way when I get home I can remember what it was that I got.


Another trick that I use to remember what it is that I am getting is to research BEFORE I buy. A couple of times I have been in a store and saw a coral that I really liked. I asked what it was, wrote the name down, asked the store all about the requirements, and went home to find more information about the coral. Then I would call up the store to see if they still had it and asked them to hold it for me. That same day, or the next day, I would go back to the store to get the piece knowing more about it. Then I could ask the worker more in-depth questions. I try to not leave the store without knowing exactly what the thing is called. The only time that I did not do this was at the coral farmers market the first year. I left with a piece of hydnophoria that I had no clue that it has sweeper tentacles that can get 9 inches long! Once I found out about them, I was sorry that I got the thing.


For an article to confuse even the most taxonomicly interested person



An article that helps ease some of the confusion of part I.



And part III to do all the rest of the soft corals




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I'm gonna have to agree that I would love an ID forum. Not really for a "what's the name of this zoa" purpose, but more for hitchhikers. As a newbie it's the most fascinating and scary part of starting! ;) As a bonus, it's really fun seeing what kind of random things will pop up in other people's tanks.


It's one of my favorite parts of nano-reef.com, but I would love to have something in the local forum and without the sometimes rude people

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