What are your "Must Have" "SPS" corals?

uniquecorals

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Oh, man, if I didn't open myself up to trouble with yesterday’s post, I’m gonna really get it today! Expressing my opinion, regardless of how controversial, has never been an issue. So, why not just keep it up?

As a coral vendor, I see a lot of corals…So many, in fact, that I kind of get jaded at times. We have a huge facility, with six 30-foot long raceways filled with coral…that’s a lot of coral! After a while working with a facility such as ours, you develop some opinions about what is cool, what’s mundane, and what is exceptional.

It got me thinking…What are some corals that, in my opinion, are ones that every reefer should have in his or her collection? What are ones that you’d just be stoked to have, and why? Of course, I open this up for your feedback and discussion…Today, we’ll start with “SPS” corals.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

Here are my top five “SPS” corals that I think every reefer should have in his or her collection!


Acropora microclados- “Strawberry Shortcake” Acropora- With it’s distinctive yellow and pink coloration, this has to be one of the most popular Acro color morphs of all time. We literally get requests for frags of this morph every day. Each release of frags sells out quickly. The "Strawberry Shortcake" is a color morph of Acropora microclados. My partner, Joseph Caparatta coined the name because it reminded him of the Good Humor ice cream flavor he used to like as a kid….Funny, because like me, the guy never seems to eat junk food any more…Something is not right here...LOL

The original colony of SS was long since distributed away during Unique Corals “version 1.0”, and is not available any more. However, we do bring in A. microclados wild colonies from our source in Australia regularly, and have colonies and frags going at just about any time. The difficulty is that these frags take literally a month or more before they are close to being salable...They just go through a long "ugly" period before they color up to look like anything you'd want to keep. It’s a coral that will test your patience, but will reward you with a beautiful display like no other Acro.


UC3inch-strawberry-shortcake-colony-248.jpg



Seriatopora hystrix- Pink Birdsnest- “Really, Fellman? The Pink Birdsnest?” Yup. I think it’s one of the coolest, most attractive corals around. It’s easy to keep, durable as heck, and is downright pretty. It used to be, back in the day, when you started an “SPS” reef, you were pretty much “issued” a frag of the stuff by the local reefing community. My, how things have changed…Like the Black Molly with the orange strip on its dorsal fin, or the original ORA Red Planet Acro, it’s not so easy to find anymore. Sure, it’s out there, but really nice specimens seem to be hard to come by.

This is a coral that looks good in almost every reef tank. With it’s bright pink color and distinctive growth form, it truly stands out. And the real beauty of this coral is that it’s practically “designed” for easy fragging! You can’t help but break the stuff whenever you work in your reef (at least I can’t!), and that’s no biggie- frags grow fast into great little colonies that everyone seems to want, no matter how advanced they are in the hobby. An all-time fave!


2andhalfinch-bali-mari-pink-birdsnest-seriatopora-hyacinthe-68.JPGUC.jpg



Acropora horrida- “Horrida"- This Aussie Acro is a true favor, because it does so darned well in a typical “SPS” reef tank with minimal effort! It comes in three different color variations that I’m aware of - Teal, Blue, and Purple, and each one is beautiful in its own right. The colors on this Acro go right through the skeleton, with a rich and lively “sheen” brought out by the numerous “hairy” polyps in happy specimens. Super easy to keep for a “large” Acro (they can get BIG!), this is truly a “centerpiece” type of coral.

Wether you obtain one as a frag, a small specimen, or a large colony, you’re almost certain to have success wit this one. They ship really well, respond to high intensity lighting amazingly, and really can make a tank sing “reef!” It’s one of those Acros that you don’t realize what you were missing by not keeping until you keep one! I could just sing the praises of this one all day, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, it’s an amazing coral!

Aust Horrida 13.jpg



Acropora wallindii - “Red Dragon” Acropora- Man, I guess my tastes are leaning towards Acros at the moment. How can you NOT like this one? It has truly amazing color, a graceful, attractive growth form, and a cool name. Unfortunately, it has a rather high price tag associated with it, because of its relative scarcity and some other nefarious practices, IMO. It’s a deeper water species, but is surprisingly durable and relatively easy to keep. When it grows into a larger colony, it retains its graceful look, but has a more dense collection of branches. The colors are consistently nice!

Not sure, but I think that this one is relatively uncommon in the hobby because many of the greedy people who originally owned it originally released (sold) only tiny nubs of it- like 1/2” pieces, for absurd prices. It’s actually a poster chid for coral pricing absurdity, which is really a shame, because it’s not all that rare in nature. How ironic that I include it, huh? Classic case of a coral receiving adoration that was too excessive. That being said, it’s just a great looking coral. A bit tough to ship (it “frags in the bag” a lot), but easy to grow once it’s established. I just like it.


UC1andhalfinch-red=dragon-double-frag-118.jpg



Acropora millepora - Any variety- “Millie” - A classic if there ever was one. With it’s distinctive shape, morphology, and “hairy” polyps, this Acropora species is a “standard” in reef tanks the world over. And why not? It comes in so many cool varieties, propagates easily, tolerates shipping well, and is undeniably attractive. Really easy to keep, too? I’ve seen reefers devote entire tanks to just Millie varieties- and I can’t blame them!

Definitely one for the high light intensity, high water flow crowd, this is just an awesome all around Acro. Some of the nicest ones have reds, golds,and bright greens. And of course, there is the blue variety that we just don’t see enough (right, Mark Poletti?). It just screams “reef” when you see a tank full of these beauties, or even a nice stand of them. They grow rapidly, maintain color easily, and are super-easy to share with fellow reefers. Probably my all-time favorite Acropora!


UC3inch-super-pink-bali-mari-millie-88.jpg



So there are my top 5 “Must Have” “SPS” corals. Oh, the are probably dozens more, but these are the ones I feel deserve inclusion in this lofty perch. One honorable mention is the Acropora echinata (“Ice Fire Echinata”), which is deserving a spot here as well. Problem is, I just limited myself to five, which was not at all easy!

Okay, people- let the discussion begin…What are your “Must Have” “SPS” corals? Let’s hear your reasons, see you pics, and any thoughts you might have. Of course, we’re gonna do this periodically for LPS, softies, Chalices, etc…so watch for those threads in coming weeks!

As always, let’s keep it lively, clean, and fun! Extra points for any self-depricating stories about keeping or acquiring your fave corals..LOL

Until next time…


Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman
Unique Corals




 
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buddythelion

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My top 5 must haves are:

(not all are my images)

Oregon Tort. I love the deep blue and how fat it is. (r2r spotlight photo)
5818212405_4456426ca8_b.jpg


Pink Lemonade. Yellow, thin branches, and red polyps. Not to mention easy to care for and decent growth rate, it's no wonder it's a classic. (Dan rigle's photo)
pl_1.jpg


Some sort of milli, whether saphire blue or hot pink. Milli structures are amazing and being fuzzy is definitely a plus. I think it's harder to find an unattractive milli vs an attractive one. (watchguy's photo)
sapphire-millie.jpg


At least one table, I have a deep red one and superman. The tabling structure is very cool to see in a reef. Glue it down on an edge and watch it table! (Nuocmam's photo)
SupermanTable-1.jpg


And something from the dragon family, whether red, purple etc. The thin growth structure is just too cool not to have. (rossco's photo)
RedDragon8-21-12.jpg


I've been on the edge of strawberry shortcake because it just feels a bit oversaturated in the market right now. Horridas look so cool as frags, but then they space out a lot as a colony. I wonder if I can just clip the branches when they get too long and glue it back to the base to make it a more compact colony... LOL. I might have to get these two anyways after reading your post!
 
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uniquecorals

uniquecorals

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My top 5 must haves are:

(not all are my images)

Oregon Tort. I love the deep blue and how fat it is. (r2r spotlight photo)
5818212405_4456426ca8_b.jpg


Pink Lemonade. Yellow, thin branches, and red polyps. Not to mention easy to care for and decent growth rate, it's no wonder it's a classic. (Dan rigle's photo)
pl_1.jpg


Some sort of milli, whether saphire blue or hot pink. Milli structures are amazing and being fuzzy is definitely a plus. I think it's harder to find an unattractive milli vs an attractive one. (watchguy's photo)
sapphire-millie.jpg


At least one table, I have a deep red one and superman. The tabling structure is very cool to see in a reef. Glue it down on an edge and watch it table! (Nuocmam's photo)
SupermanTable-1.jpg


And something from the dragon family, whether red, purple etc. The thin growth structure is just too cool not to have. (rossco's photo)
RedDragon8-21-12.jpg


I've been on the edge of strawberry shortcake because it just feels a bit oversaturated in the market right now. Horridas look so cool as frags, but then they space out a lot as a colony. I wonder if I can just clip the branches when they get too long and glue it back to the base to make it a more compact colony... LOL. I might have to get these two anyways after reading your post!

Nice stuff! I am also thinking that the ORA "Red Planet" is another fave...

-Scott
 

Aquaph8

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Some sort of blue tort, there's a few different nice ones out there

I agree on the red dragon, such a cool coral but its also a really fast grower for an SPS

Good ole green slimmer (gotta have it)

Too many awesome Millies to list.

Echinata, Hawkins and ice fire

Some sort of Hyacinthus (red planet)

I truly love all the old ORA and ultimates pieces from back in the day
 

PaulKreider

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My favorites have to be raspberry lemonade, since its got such a great coloration, I have to agree I love my California Tort, the polyps are gorgeous against the blue backround. ORA Pearlberry is another stunner in my tank, just love the structure. And Pink birdsnest was my first sps, and still one of my favorites!
 

mpoletti

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My favorite all time coral is a Bali Green Slimer, especially when placed next to a nice blue tort. :nerd:
 
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mpoletti

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Paletta Pink tip is still a favorite of mine.
PostBaymac51511-24.jpg


Red Robin is a stunner when given good light and flow
PostBaymac51511-23.jpg


Rainbows are a decent addition
Rainbow_zps9e52e3f0.jpg


But really...aren't all SPS must haves :)
 

Velodog2

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I haven't really been in this game long enough to have experienced owning a lot of these. But ones that I have replaced when something happened would qualify as must haves I think, so that would include
True undata (seriously. I love the white polyps)
Pink birdsnest - prefer the short branched species

What would I replace if it died? So far
Hawkins
Pink lemonade

And my list of what I would like to have is too long ...
 

Reefer831

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My favorite all time coral is a Bali Green Slimer, especially when placed next to a nice blue tort. :nerd:
Funny you say that...I was just talking to someone about how under rated the slimmer was...I have always loved it placed right in a tank...that or lime in the sky....a nice stag can look amazing in a tank in the right spot
 

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