Hot Tips: LPS Selection and Care Tips
A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist's readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the Reefs.org General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication. Next month's Hot Tip theme will be "Hot Weather Tips".
LPS Selection and Care Tips:
Over the years I've learned a couple of things.
The best way to position them is with the stony base facing down, even burying them in the sand works.
If you are patient enough I would place them as a single coral centered on one side of your tank and allow them to grow. If done in the position above they will grow to spectacular, almost perfectly round specimens.
Know that the branching types will grow vertical almost as much as they will grow horizontal. Until you've seen larger specimens this growth pattern can be hard to visualize in your mind when planning placement.
(In 3 years I've had a single torch polyp grow to more than 45 and when fully open is close to a 13 inches in diameter. It is probably about 8 inches from base to top. Needless to say give them room and they will fill it.)
If a head or two starts suddenly dying take initiative and break them off ASAP. I have saved entire colonies this way. If you don't it will spread fast. You don't have to break off colonies that die off from being overgrown and shadowed, as they will be isolated.
If you see a specimen you really like, but it has one dying head it may be worth buying if other heads are healthy.
Do not allow halimeda to grow into your LPS. I've had perfectly healthy colonies killed off this way.
Remember LPS will almost always win the competition for space with sweeper arms, so give them room away from anything you don't want to be killed off.
A lot of hobbyists will target feed with larger morsels. I've never personally done that, but have had great success with these species over the last 6 years.
Hope this helps!
Submitted by ReefTiger
Sometimes its not all about the halides. I killed a hammer coral like this. Too much light can kill a lot of LPS. Some of the best LPS tanks are fully VHO or high powered flourescent style lighing. Try to move the LPS away from the halides. It will get enough light, thats why they got those huge polyps, to gather light!
Submitted by pwj1286
When purchasing LPS, inspect the integrity of the tissue. If there are major breaks in the tissue where there is exposed skeleton, it is probably best to avoid that particular specimen unless you're a seasoned hobbyist. Same advice for if there are any dark or slimely patches on the tissue. Bleached LPS can often rebound under the right conditions, but again, it's probably left to those with experience and established tanks. Make sure to inspect both the top and bottom side of the LPS colony. If your LFS doesn't allow you to handle specimens in their holding tanks, ask them to pick up and show you the coral from all viewing angles.
And of course, choose a species that has a good track record in captivity. I would advise against non-photosynthetic corals unless you have the time, commitment, and experience to meet their nutritional requirements (a few of us qualify for these three criteria).
The vast majority of LPS care is fortunately not too demanding. They can be kept under PowerCompacts, T5s, VHOs, Metal Halides, or even normal output fluorescents for certain specimens (supplemental feedings may be required). LPS are less picky about water quality, but you should still aim to provide as clean an environment as possible, accomplished via the usual suspects: water changes, protein skimming, use of RO/DI for topoff water and saltwater mixing, not over-feeding, et al.
Once again, know your coral before you buy it. Some LPS prefer to sit on the substrate while others are suspectible to infections if you put them on the sand. Some prefer stronger current; Some prefer high light; Some need feedings. As with any coral or fish you intend to keep, study its requirements first before purchasing. Impulse buying is one of the fundamental reasons for premature mortality.
Submitted by Len