Where to place coral in a marine aquarium

Where to place coral in a marine aquarium

Table of Contents

Placing corals in a marine aquarium is a combination of science and art, requiring consideration of various factors to allow the corals to thrive and present themselves beautifully.

Here is a detailed guide based on knowledge from various sources:

Understanding the needs of corals

Every coral species has unique requirements, including light intensity, water flow, and environmental compatibility:

Required amount of living space

Different corals require different amounts of living space in the aquarium. Some of them are quite aggressive and extend their tentacles. Corals should be arranged in the aquarium in a way that prevents them from waging war against each other. It is important to provide them with adequate space.

Take into consideration the growth rate of corals. Fast-growing corals require more space, while slower-growing species can be placed in smaller areas.


Corals have different preferences regarding light intensity (PAR). It is essential to explore the appropriate height from the aquarium lighting to ensure optimal living conditions.

Water flow

Coral polyps require proper water flow to intake nutrients and remove unwanted metabolic by-products. Some corals prefer gentle currents, while others thrive in stronger flows.

Pay attention to areas where water currents meet, as this can create stronger flows that may displace corals. Corals with plate-like shapes such as Heliofungia, Fungia, or Cycloseris can easily be moved. Avoid placing them in such locations.

SPS corals: They prefer increased water flow and intense light. The ideal placement is closer to the water’s surface.

LPS and Soft Corals: Typically thrive in areas with weaker water flow, lower light intensity, and can be placed lower in the aquarium or on the sand.


Watch out for corals that can be aggressive and extend cleaning tentacles, causing harm to nearby corals. It’s important to plan carefully to avoid conflicts. Place corals next to each other that won’t fight. Give the aggressive ones plenty of space.

Beautiful composition of corals in the tank

Color selection

Consider the colors of corals in the aquarium, aiming for a cohesive look. Group together complementing or similar shades. Also, remember to include color contrasts to liven up the tank’s appearance.

Aquascaping techniques

Start with a main coral or group as a focal point, placing it slightly off-center for a dynamic composition. Arrange the corals to create beautiful colonies and interesting displays.


Arranging corals in a marine aquarium is a complex yet satisfying task. It requires careful consideration of each coral’s needs, strategic placement, and regular attention. By combining scientific understanding with artistic expression, you can create a beautiful, captivating marine ecosystem that thrives healthily.

About the author

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Marek Protasewicz

Reefkeeping has been my passion for over 10 years now. I love learning. The hobby has taught me many valuable lessons, patience being the best example. Combining work and passion is my path. I run Crazy Coral, a marine aquarium shop, for a number of years. Building this business from the scratch I learnt from my own mistakes at a heavy cost.
Later I managed a project aimed at development of methods for quick growth of Corals in non-natural conditions. The project was carried out by Get Sales, Poland. Presently, I am responsible for distribution strategy at Reef Factory, of which I am a co-founder. The company produces smart devices for marine aquaristics. The last projects I have been involved in are Social Reef and ReefPedia.

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