It’s easy to get caught up in aquarium dogma and the reefing world is no different with prescribed military food tray style separation of all corals. But in practice the interactions between corals that are similar, and between those that are different, is much more nuanced than that.
The LFS advises all corals to be kept apart, and we know that certain species like Galaxea, Pectinia, Acanthastrea and torch corals can be quite the killers, lighting up anything they can get their absurdly long sweeper tentacles on. Besides those known serial coral warhawks, a huge amount of other corals are actually quite peaceful with each other, or they can be, employing fast growth strategies to overcome the species with which they are competing for space.
No aquarium is a better indication of coral cohabitation than the jam-packed fruit stand of a coral collection that is World Wide Corals’ killer 500 gallon coral aquarium display. In this setting there is an incredible abundance and diversity of similar and different corals coming into contact with each other, and one another. In some cases the meeting of the coral colony is fairly benign, in other places a very small demilitarized zone is present, especially the few millimeters around Acropora.
By and large the WWC Show Tank is practically a utopian society of corals from all walks of the reef, more or less getting along with their neighbors, and using rapid growth techniques to deal with, overcome, or call a truce with their neighbors. The key to all this relative peace in World Wide’s coral display aquarium is that most of the corals were started as little frags, buggers as Victor likes to call them, and that all these corals have been growing into each other in a natural way.