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- Hard corals are more
colourful than soft corals and named so because they build a hard
skeleton which then remains after death. These then become
building blocks of coral reefs.
- Elkhorn coral and pillar
coral are two examples of hard corals.
Hard corals are of two types: LPS and SPS. Which stand for large polyp
stony and small polyp stony, though LPS are sometimes referred to as
long polyp stony. Sometimes the last ‘s’ in LPS and SPS is also referred
to as scleractinian so small polyp scleractinian, as all hard corals,
belong to the order Scleractinia.
Hard corals, however, gain
most of their energy from the tiny algae which live inside their skin
called as zooxanthellae (pronounced zoo-zan-thel-lee).
The Eastern Peninsular
Malaysia area has a very diverse hard coral fauna. A total of 227
species in 66 genera were observed and identified during a study, which
is approximately 80% of the number of species (and 94% or more of the
genera) identified by the same author using the same method at an
equivalent number of sites in each of three countries: the Philippines,
Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Those three countries have the greatest
coral diversity known on earth, and are known as the “Coral Triangle”.
corals are more difficult to keep in a reef tank compared to soft corals
and, of the hard corals, LPS are easier to keep or less difficult than
Hard corals are made of rigid
calcium carbonate (limestone) and appear very much like rocks. Each
polyp secretes a hard exoskeleton made up of calcium carbonate. As each
generation of polyps dies, the coral grows a bit larger, and because
each polyp is so small, hard corals grow at a very slow rate. They do
not move, but they harbor various types of algae that give them their
Sometimes, huge colonies of
hard corals live together and grow into huge masses, like the Great
Coral Reef off the northeast coast of Australia, the world's largest
Hard corals reefs are commonly
seen on many of our Southern shores. Some are also found on our Northern
At low tide, they are often
mistaken for non-living rocks or dead corals. Many of them may actually
be alive. Please never step on them.
Most hard corals have tiny
polyps which is 1-3mm in diameter. But some hard corals such as mushroom
corals are enormous solitary polyps.
Coral reefs are also affected
by boaters who throw their anchors carelessly, and thoughtless divers
and shore visitors who damage fragile features.
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