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Top 7 Corals You Can Keep in a Desktop Reef Tank

A small tank doesn't mean that you can't have a diverse and colorful coral reef. There are many types of both hardy and beautiful corals that can peacefully coexist in your small aquarium. It is a perfect opportunity to enjoy interesting varieties of corals in an up-close setting.




Reasons Why These Corals Are Best Suited For A Desktop Tank

  • They are hardy and easy to care for.

  • They are easy to trim and frag when needed.

  • They do not outgrow their environment.


7. Toadstool

A toadstool leather coral is a great choice for a desktop reef. It has a beautiful appearance that creates movement and interest in your tank. Toadstool corals can grow to become large, but luckily they are easy to cut and frag down when they become too big.


One unique fact about this coral is that it goes through a period of "shedding" where polyps do not extend and some of their outer skin is shed. This might be alarming to see at first, but this is a totally normal and natural process that ultimately results in a more beautiful and healthy coral.



6. Duncan

Duncans thrive in a desktop tank and are common corals that are readily available. Many variations of duncans are aquacultured and well adapted to aquarium life. They have fleshy tentacles that can be found in a variety of colors such as green, purple, and blue. These are a great visual indicator when your tank is thriving.



5. Macroalgae

Macroalgae is not technically a coral at all, but it can coexist and benefit corals in multiple ways. For example, macroalgae lowers nutrient levels in an aquarium by competing with microalgae for nutrients. This leads to lower growth of unwanted algae types.


Macroalgae can be found in beautiful, saturated colors. It provides shelter for fish and invertebrates. It also helps maintain water quality by removing excess nitrates and phosphates.



4. Green Star Polyp (GSP)

GSP is an instant dose of neon to your aquarium. These hardy and fast-growing corals are a staple for beginners. They will very quickly create a lush, green carpet in your reef tank. Though they grow extremely quickly, they are equally easy to cut down so that they don't get out of control.



3. Candy Cane Coral

The candy cane coral is a vibrant and beautiful addition to a desktop reef. They are most commonly found in either Kryptonite or Mint color varieties. These branching corals are one of the best options for beginners because of their hardiness and striking pop of color. They reproduce by splitting their heads and are a joy to watch grow



2. Zoanthids

Zoanthids come in more color combinations than M&Ms, there are over 100 varieties!


Zoanthid corals are universally loved by reef hobbyists and you'll find that everyone has their own favorite variation. They are extremely collectible and it is exciting to stumble upon a new variety that you've never seen before. They are also one of the easiest types of corals to keep which makes them a go-to choice for a desktop tank. You can find Zoanthids in your favorite color combinations and easily add to your aesthetic.



1. Mushroom (Discosoma, Ricordia, Rhodactis, Yuma)

Mushroom corals are one of the best options for a desktop reef tank. They are easy to care for, extremely hardy, and there are almost unlimited color varieties. There are also multiple types of mushroom corals and each has a unique appearance. A ricordia mushroom coral for example has an almost "dotted" look, while a rhodactis mushroom coral has a bumpier surface.



Ready to build a stunning and inspiring micro reef? PNW Custom desktop tanks are a perfect environment for keeping these beginner corals. We offer multiple sizes and types of aquariums to best fit your space and needs.

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