If you’re just getting into the reef aquarium hobby, you might be astounded at the prices that some corals are going for. However if you’ve been in the reef aquarium hobby, you will certainly have noticed that in general, coral prices have been inching ever higher for all different species and strains of corals, year over year.
Before we dive into the high end of the coral market it’s really important to stress that there are plenty of beautiful, attractive and colorful corals that don’t cost an arm and a leg. There’s more than enough affordable frags of hammer corals, green star polyps, zoanthids, clove polyps, leather corals, shrooms, Birdnest, Acros, Stylophora and many more to fill and grow out a beautiful reef tank without breaking the bank, this is a fact.
However most of the attention and headlines and hype surrounds new and unique corals strains and species and these can easily fetch ten times the price of their normal and widely available counterparts. If you want the latest and shiniest strains of corals and be part of the ‘first wave’ of reefers to keep and grow these corals in most cases you’ll be paying for the privilege, but that’s the trouble with hype and fads.
Just as with fashion and cars and technology, it’s expensive to follow the trends and be part of the hype but the interesting flip side is that yesterday’s most desirable corals are today’s killer deals. With the exception of solitary corals such as Scolies, Acanthophyllia, Cycloseris, Cynarina and Trachyphyllia, all other colonial corals can be propagated and the rising price of corals has incentivized more and more reef builders to grow and aquaculture corals.
Although it might sting to see corals that once cost $50 for a colony now regularly selling for $200 for a frag, but in the grand scheme of things it’s actually a good thing that corals have any ornamental value at all, and the rising prices are a reflection of the popularity and growth of the reef aquarium hobby all over the world. There’s certainly an important conversation to be had regarding the cost, price, and subjective value of corals and in the latest session of Reef Therapy we take a deep dive into the many factors that contribute to how corals are priced, and the various associated costs involved with both wild corals, and propagation.