Top 10 Easy Low to Medium Light Corals

Here is a list of 10 popular (and very colorful) low-to-medium light corals that can thrive in reef aquarium that has low-to-mid level lighting, or in the darker corners of an otherwise well-lit tank. What is low-to-medium level lighting?

We usually recommend the following guidelines:
Low Level (30-50 PAR) – Soft Corals (zoanthids, mushrooms, and leathers)
Medium (50-150 PAR) – LPS Corals
High (200+) – SPS Corals

Brain maze coral under R24 LED light

#1 – BRAIN CORALS

A great beginner LPS coral full of colors and unique patterns. Keep them on the sand bed and away from other corals as they have sweeper tentacles that will sting other neighboring corals if they are too close. They are slow growers and can be very hardy if you keep your water parameters stable. 

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Mid-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Bottom
  • WATER FLOW: Mid-Level

Hammer LPS coral under R24 Reef LED light

#2 – HAMMER CORALS

Hammer corals are sure to add color to any reef and easy to keep low-to-medium conditions. There are two types of Hammer corals: branching and wall.  Branching hammers grow up vertically and out to sides, Wall hammers usually only grow outwards.  You can find them in many colors, just don’t place them too close to other corals as they may sting.

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Mid-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Middle
  • WATER FLOW: Mid-Level

Duncan LPS coral under R24 Reef LED light

#3 – DUNCANS

Available in a multitude of stunning colors (green, purple, blue, pink), Duncans are a hardy LPS coral variety that grows well in medium and lower light settings. They look similar to small anemones and have tentacles that move with water flow. Whey they are happy, they branch off, forming new heads and large colonies – making them a great choice for beginner fraggers.  

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Mid-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Middle
  • WATER FLOW: High

Torch coral under R24 Reef LED light

#4 – TORCH CORALS

Featuring larger, flowing tentacles with tips and available in vivid colors, Torch corals are very hard overall and grow well in lower lighting conditions. These corals flow really well with water movement and currents, placing several of them in different colors next to each other look great.

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Low to Mid-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Bottom – Middle
  • WATER FLOW: Low to Mid-Level

Frogspawn LPS coral under R24 Reef LED light

#5 – FROGSPAWN CORALS

Named for their amazing colors and shape which resembles a cluster of frog eggs, Frogspawn corals often extend their tentacles during the day – adding movement and life to any reef. They are easy to keep, but are known to be a bit aggressive to other neighboring corals, but can be kept with each other – as well as Torches and Hammer corals. 

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Mid-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Middle
  • WATER FLOW: Mid-Level

Pagoda coral under R24 Reef LED light

#6 – PAGODA CORALS

Pagoda corals are easy to keep, peaceful and their unique “cup” shape and brilliant colors make them popular for any reef. They require mid-level lighting and do well in middle parts of your aquascape.  They are not aggressive, but be sure not to place them close to other stinging corals.

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Mid-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Bottom
  • WATER FLOW: Mid-Level

Mushroom coral under R24 Reef LED light

#7 – MUSHROOM CORALS

Mushrooms one of the best beginner corals as they do not require much light to survive. They usually do best when placed at the bottom or in shaded areas, and often don’t do well under intense lighting. Easy to care for, they do well in low-mid level water flow and thrive in areas of your reef where most corals wouldn’t do as well. You can find them in some very unique colors, patterns and even textures.

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Low
  • PLACEMENT: Bottom, sides or shady areas
  • WATER FLOW: Low to Mid-Level

Green Star Polyp coral under R24 Reef LED light

#8 – GREEN STAR POLYPS GSP

Neon green star polyps are another great great coral for beginners that require low light (preferably blue) and grows very fast.  They will grow on any surface (including aquarium glass) and their waving green polyps add stunning color and movement.  Very hardy and requiring low maintenance, once they start growing – they multiply extremely fast and will take over other corals if not trimmed back. 

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Low to Mid-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Anywhere
  • WATER FLOW: Mid-Level

Xenia corals under R24 Reef LED light

#9 – XENIA POLYPS

Often referred to as ‘pulsing’ Xenia, it usually has soft fleshy polyps that rhythmically pulse open and closed. It’s a mesmerizing coral that captivates attention in any reef.  They do best in low-medium light and prefer to be placed towards the bottom or halfway up the tank. Once established, they grow rapidly and will bud and multiple rock to rock  – which may disrupt other corals and become difficult remove.

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Low-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Bottom-Mid
  • WATER FLOW: Mid-Level

Zoanthid polyp coral under R24 Reef LED light

#10 – ZOANTHID CORALS

Although zoanthids are regarded as one of the easiest corals to keep, they can often be one of the most difficult for many hobbyists. They generally require mid-level lighting, but do well in lower and higher light conditions. Zoanthids acclimate slower than most corals and often need plenty of time to adjust to new conditions.  Don’t be impatient and move them – just give them time and they will do well.

  • LIGHT LEVEL: Mid-Level
  • PLACEMENT: Bottom
  • WATER FLOW: Mid-Level
CAUTION!

Before introducing zoanthid corals into your reef tank, many species of these corals produce Palytoxin, a very dangerous toxin that can be life-threatening depending on exposure. It’s believed that a bacteria living within the zoanthid coral polyp are responsible for making the palytoxin, and it can be released underwater as well as out of the water – so be very, very cautious when handling this coral.

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