The "Blue Coral," Heliopora coerulea has a dense stony skeleton composed of calcium carbonate and embedded iron salts which give it a blue colour. The live animal is brown, and has tiny eight-tentacled polyps which identify it as a type of octocorallia. It is therefore a "soft coral" with a hard skeleton. J. Sprung

Soft Corals

Soft corals of the genus Dendronephthya are what typically comes to mind for most people when they hear the description "soft coral." These soft-bodied colonies have sharp spiny sclerites that give them a tough texture. J. Sprung

Sclerites Soft Corals

Sea whips and other gorgonians are soft corals that have an axis made of a horn-like material called gorgonin. Some types also have calcium carbonate in the axis, and there are also sclerites of calcium carbonate in the rind. This is a gorgonian from the Caribbean, Plexaurella sp. J. Sprung

Types Sea Pens

Sea pens are special types of soft corals with a foot used for burrowing and anchoring the colony in soft bottoms or sand. The "foot" is formed by the original polyp and all other polyps are produced from it by budding. S. W. Michael

Soft corals such as Sarcophyton and Sinularia are types of Alcy-onaceans with symbiotic zooxan-thellae. Their tissue is tough and leathery, giving them the common name "Leather corals." Sarcophyton (left) J. C. Delbeek

Sinularia (right) B. Carlson

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The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The word aquarium originates from the ancient Latin language, aqua meaning water and the suffix rium meaning place or building. Aquariums are beautiful and look good anywhere! Home aquariums are becoming more and more popular, it is a hobby that many people are flocking too and fish shops are on the rise. Fish are generally easy to keep although do they need quite a bit of attention. Puppies and kittens were the typical pet but now fish are becoming more and more frequent in house holds. In recent years fish shops have noticed a great increase in the rise of people wanting to purchase aquariums and fish, the boom has been great for local shops as the fish industry hasnt been such a great industry before now.

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