The Top 5 Best LPS Corals for Beginners

The Top 5 Best LPS Corals for Beginners

The Top 5 Best LPS Corals for Beginners

Have you succeeded in keeping softies and are ready for the next challenge?  

After successfully keeping soft corals, firstly congratulations, and secondly, you probably want to add something a bit different to mix things up inside your aquarium. 

We do not recommend leaping straight to small polyp stony (SPS) corals, instead, why not try something in between - large polyp stony (LPS) corals! LPS corals are considered hardier and less demanding compared to SPS corals. 

LPS Corals are a diverse group that come in a variety of beautiful colors and shapes to give your aquarium the real “wow factor”.  LPS corals consist of large fleshy polyps, that add lots of movement and brighten up any reef aquarium. 

They contain a calcium carbonate skeleton to protect their large soft polyps and can reproduce either by spawning or budding, where a part of the parent coral breaks off to establish a new colony. 

Some LPS corals can be aggressive towards others due to their sweeper tentacles that contain stinging cells, so placement when keeping LPS corals is key to a happy aquarium. 

Now let’s get onto the exciting part, and which is why you have stumbled across this article! Below we have selected what we would consider the 5 best LPS corals for beginner aquarium hobbyists (and experts!).

Our Top 5 LPS Corals

Deciding which LPS coral to buy is extremely exciting, but often overwhelming at times. As long as you keep on top of water quality and are careful when placing them into the aquarium, you will have a group of happy corals in no time!

There are so many LPS corals out there, but we have narrowed it down to our 5 favorite beginner-friendly ones:

  • Candy Cane Coral 
  • Torch Coral 
  • Hammer Coral 
  • Bubble Coral
  • Brain Corals

  • Candy Cane Coral (Caulastrea furcata)

    Candy cane corals (also known as trumpet corals) are great for beginners and intermediate reef keepers. Their circular polyps come in shades of vibrant green, yellow, or blue and brown with white tips, making them stand out from other corals under the correct lighting. 

    They are also hardy and not very demanding when it comes to lighting needs, allowing you to place them almost anywhere in the aquarium. However, they do best in moderate lighting and moderate water flow accompanied with calcium, alkalinity, and other trace elements added to the water.

    Candy canes contain symbiotic zooxanthellae, so they will get most of their food and energy from lighting, but like the majority of LPS corals, they should be fed a couple of times a week with frozen or coral food that contains micro-plankton.

    They have much shorter sweeper tentacles than other LPS corals making them pretty well-mannered towards their neighbors and possibly the best choice in terms of an LPS coral for beginners. 

    Torch Coral (Euphyllia glabrescens)

    Torch corals get their name from their long multi-colored tentacles, tipped with a yellow ball shape. Their tentacles move delicately in the water, making them one of the most elegant LPS corals out there. 

    Less commonly seen than their Euphyllia cousins (hammer & frogspawn corals) in the reefing world, torch corals give hobbyists like yourself something different to gravitate towards. They are fast-growing and come in a variety of colors, which is why they are one of our favorites! 

    They can be slightly more demanding than other LPS corals. You will need to place them near the top of the aquarium if they will not get a strong water flow at the bottom. As they are sensitive to fluctuations in water parameters, make sure to test your parameters regularly, especially alkalinity. 

    It is recommended that you supplement the water with calcium, alkalinity, and other trace elements to maintain good health, and feed them once a week with micro-plankton or foods designed for LPS corals. 

    When deciding where to place your torch coral, always avoid placing them too close to other corals that could be stung by their long tentacles. 

    Hammer Coral (Euphyllia ancora)

    Hammer coral, sometimes called anchor coral, has hammer- or anchor-shaped polyps that come in every color of the rainbow and add lots of movement to any reef tank. 

    They are similar to torch corals, in the sense that they can be slightly more demanding than other LPS corals. It is recommended that you dose the water with calcium, alkalinity, and other trace elements to maintain good health, and feed them once a week with micro-plankton or foods designed for LPS corals.

    During the night, their sweeper tentacles can reach a length of six inches, stinging anything in their reach. Allow plentiful room between neighboring corals. 

    NOTE: Some hammer corals may be branched, with long tentacles that often resemble torch coral. Always ask an expert if you are unsure which coral it is. 

    Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa)

    The bubble coral is a jelly-like species with orb-shaped polyps that can inflate and deflate, much like a balloon. When the polyps are deflated, you can see their green or white-ridged skeleton. When the polyps are inflated, their large fleshy polyps (green, white, or yellow) cover the skeleton and are often seen bobbing up and down from any water movement. 

    They require moderate lighting with low to moderate water flow. If the water flow is too powerful they may have trouble fully extending their tissue, and as they are so fragile, strong water movement can cause them to easily puncture. 

    NOTE: Bubble corals have extremely fragile polyps - always handle them carefully and by the skeleton ONLY to avoid them getting damaged. 

    Bubble corals will get most of their food and energy from lighting, but they should be directly fed a couple of times a week with frozen or coral food that contains micro-plankton. Supplementing calcium, alkalinity, and other trace elements into the water has good health benefits.

    Although they look adorable, they can be quite ferocious. Bubble corals like to take sweeps at their neighbors especially during night time, so give them lots of room on all sides to prevent complete carnage inside the tank! Most reef hobbyists will keep them at the bottom of the tank out the way of others.

    Brain Corals

    Getting their names from the appearance of a human brain, brain corals come in a large variety of colors and types that are great for beginners. 

  • Brain Corals (Lobophyllia spp.)

  • Also known as lobed/colored/carpet/flat/open brain coral, meat coral, modern coral, or large flower coral, these brain corals come in a diverse range of colors, some more rare and expensive than others. 

    Their large polyps cover their skeleton and can be smooth, or patchy (feels like a carpet). They contain zooxanthellae, which provide the coral with most of their nutrients. In addition, they enjoy munching on micro-plankton and frozen food in the nighttime, when their tentacles are exposed. 

    When it comes to lighting and water flow, they are not the fussy type! Lobophyllia brain corals do not require a strong water flow and can easily tolerate lower water movement, making them much easier to care for than other brain corals. 

  • Brain Corals (Favites spp.)

  • They commonly go by moon, pineapple, brain, closed brain, star, worm, or honeycomb coral. Favites are known for having one of the best selection of colors and polyp shapes, which is why you will see them standing out in every reef tank!

    They will benefit from calcium, alkalinity, and other trace elements added to the water and fed food supplements two times a week that contain micro-plankton or frozen foods (during the evening is best when their tentacles are out). 

    Like Lobophyllia brain corals, Favites are not demanding with lighting and water flow so are flexible with placement in the aquarium, but they can be quite the aggressive type! Place them too close to other corals and they are not afraid to swing their very long sweeper tentacles, attacking anything that gets in the way.  

  • Open Brain Corals (Trachyphyllia spp.)

  • Open brain corals get their name from the inside of the coral that resembles the shape of a human brain as it matures. You may see them be called folded brain or crater coral in the aquarium trade. 

    They do well in any established reef tank with low to moderate lighting, and a moderate water flow. 

    These LPS corals will feed on food designed for filter-feeding organisms. You can add calcium, alkalinity, and other trace elements to the water for optimum growth and health. 

    Open brain corals are sometimes aggressive. Always give them plenty of space on either side, so they do take a swipe at their fellow tank-mates with their sweeper tentacles. 

    CORAL FACT: They get their scientific name (Trachyphyllia) from the Greek “trachys”, meaning rough, and “phyllon”, meaning leaf. 

    Ideal Water Conditions

    As with any corals, you will need a stable reef environment before introducing LPS corals into your aquarium. 

    Despite them being relatively hardy corals, they will appreciate a healthy environment to live in. 


    22 – 26°C (72 - 78°F)


    35 ppt


    10-20 ppm


    0 ppm


    0 ppm


    < 0.2 ppm


    350 – 450 ppm


    8 – 12 DKH


    8.1 - 8.3

    To Finish

    Whichever coral you decide to buy, LPS corals will provide your aquarium with lots of color and movement as their tentacles sway in the water - LPS corals are quite the show-offs!

    At POTO, we grow a large variety of LPS corals, because we believe there is a coral out there for everyone, plus we really love watching them grow! 

    If you are unsure of the common names, we understand it can sometimes get confusing, you can always contact us about which type of LPS coral you are after, we are always happy to help. Happy reefing!

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