Beginner soft coral that is NOT A PEST

LifeOfAquatics

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What is a good beginner coral to start with THAT IS NOT A PEST CORAL! I really dont want to deal with gsp or Xenia overgrowing or something similar. Just a simple soft coral to get used to corals. This will be my first coral btw and this is my first saltwater tank as well. Would toadstool leathers be good? I just want something that I won’t regret or something that isn’t a pest. Thanks!
 
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MaxTremors

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GSP and Xenia get a bad rep, but they aren’t pests, I don’t understand your reluctance to keep them. So long as you plan out your placement of them, they won’t be an issue and won’t over-grow anything. It’s your tank, so do what you want, but I wouldn’t rule them out, placed appropriately they’re both gorgeous and they’re easy to keep.
 
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elysics

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Honestly depends on the timeframe and how much you get bored of something, whether or can become a pest. GSP can overgrow everything, zoas can, montipora can, even acropora can.

I'd go with a Sarcophyton, still one of my favorites, will grow nice and big, great colors, wavy tentacles, only touches the rock with its stalk. The only thing is that, if it ever gets to big to you and you rip it out, wherever that stalk was, a few new ones will grow. But that can be positive, and the won't take over the tank, if you really want to get rid of them you can.

If you do zoas, and do mind whether they cover everything, they need the same treatment as GSP, with their own rock, or even better several smaller rocks in the sand, separate from everything.
 

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What is a good beginner coral to start with THAT IS NOT A PEST CORAL! I really dont want to deal with gsp or Xenia overgrowing or something similar. Just a simple soft coral to get used to corals. This will be my first coral btw and this is my first saltwater tank as well. Would toadstool leathers be good? I just want something that I won’t regret or something that isn’t a pest. Thanks!

Green nepthea was my first coral 10 years ago and I still have it! Although fragged many times since. It is not a pest and will. It drop arms or spread.
 
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LifeOfAquatics

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GSP and Xenia get a bad rep, but they aren’t pests, I don’t understand your reluctance to keep them. So long as you plan out your placement of them, they won’t be an issue and won’t over-grow anything. It’s your tank, so do what you want, but I wouldn’t rule them out, placed appropriately they’re both gorgeous and they’re easy to keep.
i am reluctant to keep them because i don't want them spreading too much and becoming uncontrollable. I really like xenias and they don't seem too hard to control, just they keep coming back and apparently they are poisonous to other corals if they are cut? is this true?
 

ReefBeta

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Given long enough timeline, everything will be a pest. To me, red monti cap, purple milka stylophora, and most encrusting monti are pest right now. I think a couple years down the road red planet will be pest to me. So what about stop worrying about whether a coral will become a pest, and just pick corals that you like the most. Since it's just your first tank, you will have many chance to redo its scape or upgrade to new tank. Don't stress about the problem comes with successful keeping coral before actually start keeping one.
 
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LifeOfAquatics

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Given long enough timeline, everything will be a pest. To me, red monti cap, purple milka stylophora, and most encrusting monti are pest right now. I think a couple years down the road red planet will be pest to me. So what about stop worrying about whether a coral will become a pest, and just pick corals that you like the most. Since it's just your first tank, you will have many chance to redo its scape or upgrade to new tank. Don't stress about the problem comes with successful keeping coral before actually start keeping one.
wow that was actually pretty inspiration lol. honestly ig your right, a lot of people have said something similar in that regular maintenance and trimmings and stuff like that is the deciding factor. i really like the look of xenia and kenya trees. might as well just go with them. quick question though, i am upgrading from a 5 to a 10 gallon very soon (just need to save up a bit before hand, but i already have a ten gallon and light and live sand, just need some more rock and such), currently the 5 gallon has like a 1.5 watt light, could xenia and kenya be ok in there for a while? or will they need more? thanks!
 

ReefBeta

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wow that was actually pretty inspiration lol. honestly ig your right, a lot of people have said something similar in that regular maintenance and trimmings and stuff like that is the deciding factor. i really like the look of xenia and kenya trees. might as well just go with them. quick question though, i am upgrading from a 5 to a 10 gallon very soon (just need to save up a bit before hand, but i already have a ten gallon and light and live sand, just need some more rock and such), currently the 5 gallon has like a 1.5 watt light, could xenia and kenya be ok in there for a while? or will they need more? thanks!

I have no idea what a 1.5 watt light mean. But given the AI Prime is 60W, and it's a good starting point for 10~20 gallon tank, I would think 1.5 watt light will be too low for even those softies.
 
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Xenia will eventually spread. I kept Xenia isolated on the sand bed for almost 1.5 years before they decided to start popping up here and there on the rock work. I don’t recommend the
pulsing or pompom Xenia unless you really like them.

Leathers in general don’t tend to spread. Some leathers will drop parts and self propagate, but sinularia finger leathers and most of the toadstools I’ve kept don’t. Even if a toadstool self propagates it’s usually easy to remove.

Zoas generally do not spread around the tank if you keep them off your main rock scape. I have had random zoa polyps pop up here and there but it’s rare.

If you’re going to keep mushrooms, then my recommendation is that you really like them. Don’t buy ugly mushrooms because they’re free or cheap. Mushrooms will spread eventually.

Ricordea are pretty and even if they did spread everywhere I wouldn’t mind them.

For a 5 or 10 gallon tank you can disregard what I just wrote and get what you like. It’s relatively easy to remove the rocks and pull of any extra Xenia’s or colt coral. But in a smaller tank it’s imo more important to get pleasing corals like a neon green nepthea since space is at a premium. You might want to also avoid toadstools since they can quickly outgrow the display.
 
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LifeOfAquatics

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Xenia will eventually spread. I kept Xenia isolated on the sand bed for almost 1.5 years before they decided to start popping up here and there on the rock work. I don’t recommend the
pulsing or pompom Xenia unless you really like them.

Leathers in general don’t tend to spread. Some leathers will drop parts and self propagate, but sinularia finger leathers and most of the toadstools I’ve kept don’t. Even if a toadstool self propagates it’s usually easy to remove.

Zoas generally do not spread around the tank if you keep them off your main rock scape. I have had random zoa polyps pop up here and there but it’s rare.

If you’re going to keep mushrooms, then my recommendation is that you really like them. Don’t buy ugly mushrooms because they’re free or cheap. Mushrooms will spread eventually.

Ricordea are pretty and even if they did spread everywhere I wouldn’t mind them.

For a 5 or 10 gallon tank you can disregard what I just wrote and get what you like. It’s relatively easy to remove the rocks and pull of any extra Xenia’s or colt coral. But in a smaller tank it’s imo more important to get pleasing corals like a neon green nepthea since space is at a premium. You might want to also avoid toadstools since they can quickly outgrow the display.
if mine does start popping up in random places, how should i go about removing them? i have 12 inch metal tongs that could probably reach to the bottom of the tank. should i just use those and pull out the xenia when ever i see it growing somewhere? also, for the main xenias trimming, should i cut it with scissors or should i use my tongs and grab the stalk and twist it? will the xenia release anything foul into the water that could harm the other livestock?
 

coralfishreef

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Locking tongs twist and pull without dropping any bits of Xenia. It’s not fun. Even a tiny piece of Xenia may attach and spread. It’s not so bad if you can pull out the rock to remove the Xenia. It can sometimes regrow from the smallest leftover piece. I haven’t seen anything issues with Xenia and livestock. One of my tangs used to swim into the Xenia and use it like a toilet.
 
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Pistondog

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Ime, xenia is easy to remove with hemostats. Grab at the base and twist.
Gsp is the worst as it encrusts onto rock, scraping required.
 
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