Within each category there are multiple different sub types. That is we see as the hard chalky structures that join together to form coral reefs. The most common type of reef is the fringing reef. The toadstool coral is a great soft coral for the beginner saltwater tank. Common names for subset of this order are sea fans and sea whips; they are similar to the sea pens of related order Pennatulacea. These corals are sensitive to the presence of some soft corals, i.e. Site Map A to Z Index Home. Individual polyps have eight feathery tentacles and, in the gastrovascular cavity, eight septa, or partitions. They are referred to as ahermatypes, or non–reef building corals, and they do not always have zooxanthellae. Soft corals, such as sea fingers and sea whips, are soft and bendable and often resemble plants or trees. One of the most colorful and diverse groups of invertebrates found on coral reefs are soft corals (known scientifically as Alcyonaceans). Here are six types of plating coral you can identify in the Indo-Pacfic. There are many types of soft coral. Star, Green Star, and Daisy Polyps (Pachyclavularia) These good starter corals, commonly known as … The shape of coral colonies also depends on the location of the coral. *photos by Skinned Mink, PacificKlaus, JennyHuang on flickr. These corals are highly successful in captivity, being very tolerant of different light and current conditions, but prefering bright, indirect light and moderate to low currents. There are two main types of corals — hard and soft. Soft corals, sea fans and gorgonians are common names for a group with the scientific name Octocorallia or Alcyonacea. These corals do not have stony skeletons, but instead grow wood-like cores for support and fleshy rinds for protection. Symbiotic taxa (also called zooxanthellate or phototrophic taxa) include many representatives within the “true” soft corals (the Alcyoniina group), especially many of the genera within the abundant families Nephtheidae, Alcyoniidae and Xeniidae, but also members of most of the other large octocoral groupings. Unlike other corals, they do not use light and they depend on copious amounts of zooplankton and phytoplankton to keep alive. The more fan-shaped and flexible gorgonians tend to populate shallower areas with strong currents, while the taller, thinner, and stiffer gorgonians can be found in deeper, calmer waters. Found in the Pacific Ocean and parts of the Red Sea, bubble coral can be seen in varying species, colors and forms. Learn more about stony corals - what they look like, how many species there are, and where they live. Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa): Bubble corals have large water filled bubbles (vesicles) covering the large sharp sepia. This can be confusing since many 'soft corals' are not actually soft. Live coral frags and topics on Nano Reef Aquariums and large reef aquariums, taking care of a reef and coral propagatio, Aquarium Cycling Guide: starting up a new aquarium the right way, Diagnose illness, chart symptoms, suggested medications, What to feed tropical fish fry, livebearers and egglayers, Glossary of aquatic science terms used in ichthyology and aquarium circles for freshwater and marine animals, corals and plants. Often called flowers of the sea, they are quite varied and beautiful, but are actually animals! Formerly known as gorgonians, they are sessile colonial cnidarians that are found throughout the oceans of the world, especially in the tropics and subtropics. Most can be categorized as soft or hard corals, the latter use calcium carbonate to strengthen their skeleton. However,  as part of our series of posts on marine life identification, we’ve put together a list of some common types of coral you are likely to spot when reef diving. These cnidarians are related to stony (scleractinian) corals, but they lack a massive, calcified skeleton and have eight hollow feather-like tentacles instead of 6 or multiples of six found in stony corals. Massive corals: these are the mainstay of most reef and are boulder shaped. In most cases these types of soft corals occur individually, or in small groups. The only living part of the coral is the soft bubbles at the tip of the branch.
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