I think it’s so unfair that people don’t give soft coral enough credit. I’m not talking about zoanthids, those single limited edition collectable polyps that cost as much as an emerald ring doesn’t quite cut it for me. I’m talking about big luscious colonies of Nepthea, or Sinularia, Xenia and a whole smorgasbord of other softies. In a rat race to see whose crayons are more colourful or whose doughnuts are more sugary, have people forgotten the simple and humble beginnings of reef keeping?
I say this with absolute truth. This isn’t some kind of renegade vigilante post to avenge the misunderstood sop story of how soft corals have faded into the back seat of reef keeping. Nope. I’m saying this because soFt koralzz r c00lx!. And I mean it! Jokes aside, it really puzzles me how some people pay no attention to these hypnotic beauties.
I often question myself. In a world where people strive to create a reef most natural and true to nature, how does exclusion of any soft coral do any of that justice? Does it make a reef more pleasant if one vehemently compares on the internet over whose blue stag is bluer, whose jaw breaker is more jaw breaking and whose fruit loop is most, I don’t know. Fruity? Loopy?
Okay so maybe that’s not fair. Everyone likes nice coral, even me, and if it makes you happy there’s absolutely nothing wrong with owning one. What i’m saying is that soft corals in their own way, are beautiful too, and should warrant as much attention, if not more when trying to replicate a natural looking reef.
I’m not so much a coral person as I am into fish, so I really hope no one takes offence to what I say here. I really mean it in the most harmless manner. I am a huge soft coral lover, but not because I suck at keeping coral. I don’t put up photos of my tank often but those who’ve seen it know that it’s almost 100% soft coral dominated, mostly Sinularia. And I think they’re beautiful in their own way.
Most people I know feel that it’s almost embarrassing to say that they like soft coral. Why shy away, make excuses or blush when someone compliments your Xenia, or Sarcophyton collection? Maybe it’s the fear of being a “noob” or a “newbie” that’s associated with keeping soft coral. Gone are the times where keeping soft corals mean pink fluorescent bulbs, a tacky “reef inspired” oyama paper and giant leather corals.
You can still grow them and look totally bad ass, like a total pro. I like the movement and zen like qualities that soft corals give. I’m not saying you have to go 100%, i’m just saying that in these times, it’s not easy to see them being appreciated and seen as equals to their calcareous counterparts.
While in Orange County L.A recently, we visited Amazing Aquariums and were mesmerised by their soft coral display. Funnily enough, Scott Fellman did a post on this tank a few years ago, and also on the same premise that “soft corals are cool”. Well, he said sexy, and that’s also true.
In this updated 2015 look, it’s pretty much still as awesome. The field of pulsating Xenia, the large Nepthea, the incredibly rotund bouquet of Palythoa smothered in a sea of blue Sarcothelia. Yes, it’s no hard hitting SPS display, neither is it filled with $XXX corals. Yet there is no denying that it is beautiful, in a zen and peaceful way.
The video below shows a quick look at this tank. Maybe it’s just me, against the rest of the world. But I find this to be incredibly soothing and beautiful, and I think it’s a shame that soft corals just aren’t getting enough love as they should.