Hard/Soft Corals - Possible?

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I have come across a few articles which imply that if you go down the soft coral route and you later decided you want to add hard corals you will  potentially run in to trouble and have to strip your tank down of corals and start again due to the varying growth rates and demands of soft and hard

Is this correct. and If you are new to marine/reef the this could be a costly mistake and I wonder if LFS make you aware of this (I appreciate the good ones will take the time to find out what you want before selling but even the best ones when busy do not have the time to ask)

So for someone like me who would like to try his hand at the beginner end of corals softies are always recommended but if you then decide that you want to add hard down the line you are in for a bit of a shock .. is there anyway to negate this?


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Reply #1

You can run a mixed reef, but there are issues...

The things the articles discuss are all real, but it doesn't mean it's going to be a problem, necessarily.

There's several things here; Soft coral tanks tend to be "dirtier" than the pristine environments that hard corals need, so there's one incompatibility, and soft corals don't tend to do so well in pristine environments, but if you maintain a middle of the road tank, with good parameters, then most softies will be fine, and most stony corals will be fine too.

Soft corals also can partake in chemical warfare, where stony corals tend to just dissolve each other in physical fights with neighbours, and so when soft corals release terpenoid compounds which inhibit the growth of neighbouring corals in the wild, in a tank obviously the toxins affect every coral in the tank, but running activated carbon and water changes will stop that being too big a deal.

Anyway, read this. Anything from reefkeeping.com is usually written by Dr Rrandy Holmes-Farley and co who are very well respected in the field.

Soft Corals: Corals That Paved the Way for Modern Day Reefkeeping by Mark van der Wal - Reefkeeping.com
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