Live corals can be difficult to maintain in captivity, even compared to sensitive fish species. Since corals are attached to some type of surface for most of their lives, they largely depend on water currents to bring them food and remove waste products and sediment. Intricate currents can be required in the aquarium to keep the coral healthy.
Corals are found in all oceans, even around the poles, and corals have been encountered as far down as 6,000 meters below the surface. Reef building corals are however only found in warm tropical waters and rarely live below 45 meters since they form symbiotic relationships with photosynthesizing organism that require plenty of sunlight to survive. In the aquarium, many popular coral types require very potent lighting and standard fluorescent lighting suitable for aquarium plants may not be enough. Another important factor to keep in mind is that reef building corals extract calcium from the water to form their skeleton. For this process to occur, the water must be warm and very salty, there must be sufficient amounts of calcium present in the water and the levels of carbon dioxide must be low.
Since the wild habitat of corals vary greatly between the various types it is always important to research the type of coral you wish to keep. Hopefully, the coral profiles here at Reef Aquarium will help you select and properly care for corals in captivity.
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