A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Live Corals Online

If you’ve newly acquired a saltwater aquarium, you’re probably itching to fill it with beautiful fish and other-worldly corals. However, the prospect of actually purchasing live corals for your tank can be a daunting one, especially if you plan to buy the little critters online. The last thing you want is to end up with pest-ridden or diseased corals, so it’s vital that you source them from a reputable company with best practices at the forefront. If you’re unsure of how to get started, and what to look for, let this be your guide!

What to Know Before You Start

Before you start searching “corals for sale” on the internet, there’s something important you should know. Newly established aquariums need time to biologically mature enough to host reef livestock safely. Maturation time is between one and three months, though three months is a much safer bet. This foundational time is known as “cycling”, and it includes a process of seeding good bacteria in the tank that will help keep all the inhabitants safe and healthy. Don’t skip or rush this step!

How to Choose the Right Supplier

Though many companies will advertise having corals for sale, not nearly all of them will have the level of quality and security that you can count on. When searching for a saltwater coral supplier, look for a quality guarantee. They should commit to selling pest-free and healthy corals that are fully adapted to aquarium life. Do a little digging to ensure that they offer affordable and temperature-controlled shipping with a very low mortality rate over time. Customer service can also be a make-or-break for you as well, since you will likely want to know that you can easily contact the company in case you run into any problems or have questions.

Easy-Care Varieties for Beginners

There is an overwhelming amount of live coral varieties available on the internet, and many of them are suitable for beginner hobbyists. Here are just a few of them:

  • Soft Corals: These are an excellent choice for newbies. They’re easy to care for and since they lack an internal skeleton, they wave gently in the water. Ah…so peaceful. This variety enjoys moderate light.
  • Large Polyp Stony Corals: Another great choice for the inexperienced enthusiast, these require moderate care and medium to low light.
  • Zoanthid Corals: Zoanthids are easy to keep and look like flowers to boot! They are very fast growing and like medium-high light.
  • Montiporas: Very easy to care for, these agreeable and lovely things desire medium light.

Buying Options

When searching for corals for sale on the internet, there are a couple different options available based on your personality. Are you the nurturing kind, who enjoys watching your little ones grow and blossom slowly? If so, consider buying frag packs. “Frags”, short for fragments, are cuts of coral that have latched onto a rock or another place holder. Once they overgrow it, they’re no longer considered frags. Conversely, if you seek the instant gratification of a fully grown and outrageously beautiful selection, you can buy colonies instead. Colonies require no waiting, unlike frags, so they’re ideal for the impatient among us (no judgement here).

Go Forth, Informed and Excited!

This is an exciting time for you as you build your new aquarium, so savor the choices in front of you. Now, when you look up corals for sale online, you should have a new level of confidence in your ability to choose just the right live corals for your aquarium. Remember, not all corals for sale are created equal, so buy from only the best and most-trusted companies. Be patient and curious, and enjoy your new coral friends!