The Top 5 Fastest-Growing SPS Corals
Are you looking for some fast-growing small polyp stony (SPS) corals to fill your tank quickly and create a striking display in your aquarium?
Many of us reef hobbyists aspire to grow beautiful, colorful SPS corals. Although they require patience and pristine water conditions, growing SPS corals is very rewarding.
By dominating your aquarium with fast-growing SPS corals, your mini coral reef system will soon come to life without breaking the bank.
Despite the fact that SPS corals are unquestionably more difficult to keep, they can be fast-growing.
Some SPS corals will grow like weeds, while others may take a little longer to fully establish. We have created a list of 5 fast-growing SPS corals to get you started.
5 Fast-Growing SPS Corals
- Seriatopora (Bird’s Nest)
- Staghorn Acropora
- Plating Montipora
- Branching Montipora
These corals are also some of the hardier SPS corals suitable for beginners. They all have similar care requirements and come in those beautiful colorations you are after!
Seriatopora (Bird’s Nest)
Bird’s Nest corals are one of the fastest-growing SPS corals. They mostly grow upwards and despite there being different species out there, they typically all grow similarly.
Their branches are thin, which aids speedy growth, but also means they are fragile. If their branches do fall off, Steriatopora are good at quickly regrowing any breakage, so do not worry if you accidentally knock a part off.
They require an indirect, medium to high water flow and strong lighting to maintain their bright colors.
Coral Fact: Bird’s Nest Corals are well-known to grow 3-5 inches, in only 6 months from a 1 inch fragment!
Acropora corals are quintessential reef-building corals commonly known to have thick branches that spread out. In the wild, you will see an entire reef covered in staghorn corals due to them being one of the fastest-growing SPS corals. They will need lots of space and regular haircuts!
Their thick branches also make great hiding places for reef fish. One of the most well-known, fast-growing staghorn acros is Green Bali Slimer (Acropora yongei). You can read more about it in our article on The Best SPS Corals for Beginners.
Placement is key: when placed higher up in the tank, their branches will be short and more compact. If lower down, expect them to branch out a lot more.
Acros do best with a moderate to strong water movement that is random, and with moderate to high lighting, metal halides are recommended for optimal growth.
Montipora (Montis) are very interesting SPS corals. They come in a variety of colors and shape formations. Plating Montipora, scientifically known as Montipora capricornis is well-known for being one of the fastest-growing SPS corals out there.
Common Monti colors include purple, green, and red. Some Plating Montiporas can grow in a spiraling pattern, stacking on top of each other creating unique structures inside your reef tank.
A medium to high water movement is recommended, accompanied by intense lighting.
Plating Montis are great if it is your first time owning an SPS coral because they are fast-growing, fragments are not too expensive, and there is a Monti out there for every coral lover.
We recommend buying an SPS frag pack, as it will give you a variety of colorful corals for your reef aquarium.
Branching Montis like Montipora stellata (often referred to as Velvet Branch), is an SPS coral that will spread quickly but are easy to trim back. They also do not take much space on the rock it is attached to.
They come in a variety of colors with a “fuzzy” appearance and smooth growth tips when the branches are extended.
You will want to give them medium to high lighting and strong water movement. Metal halide lights are recommended, however, under a blue LED, they fluoresce extremely well. Here at Pieces Of The Ocean (P.O.T.O), we use 100% LED lighting to grow all of our corals, and have been very successful.
Stylophora, commonly called Cat’s Paw Coral, have finger-like branches with bunt tips. They tend to grow uniformly, usually ending up looking almost like a brain.
You can get different colors, green and pink, and our favorite, the rainbow colors!
For best colorations, you will want to pay attention to the level of light and water flow you give them. For the best growth and coloration results, Stylophora likes both a medium water flow and medium light intensity.
They are quite a difficult coral to frag, so keeping their rapid growth under control can be challenging. You will want to put it in an accessible area so you can easily maintain it, placement is extremely key for Stylophora.
SPS corals require patience and are one of the more demanding corals to keep, creating a challenge for hobbyists. Before adding any SPS corals, ensure the water parameters are stable.
Providing stable parameters will often be the difference between success and failure.
Ideal Water Conditions
24 – 26°C (75 - 78°F)
< 0.15 ppm
350 – 450 ppm
7 – 10 DKH
More in-depth information on coral care can be found in the article “All You Need to Know About SPS, LPS, & Soft Corals”.
How To Enhance the Growth of SPS Corals?
There are several ways to enhance the growth and coloration of your SPS corals.
Here are our 6 top tips!
- Have stability and patience
- Have adequate lighting with the ability to scale intensity
- Run your tank towards the higher range of pH (8.2-8.4)
- Mount coral sideways in your reef
- Give them plenty of random water flow
- Be ready to move them if they are not growing well in one position
Patience and maintaining stability with the correct water flow and lighting are key when it comes to a successful reef aquarium containing SPS corals. Do not be afraid to contact us if you have any questions regarding our SPS corals for sale and what frags to buy.