Experienced Reefer
How should I go about identifying sps corals? Should I take a cross section of tissue and look under a microscope or what? What is a descent book with pics on corallites for different corals? Does Veron's book have it? How should I go about getting tissue off of the coral?


Advanced Reefer
ID'ing SPS is difficult at best even for the experts. Veron's new book set is the best reference available that I am aware of to get you started. Corallite structure adds in the identification and is done using the skeletal structure, not the tissue. A frag can be taken from the coral in question and bleached to help in the identification.

An important characteristic for an ID is the overall growth form of the coral colony and that is difficult to determine from a frag if that is what you have to work with unless you have seen the parent colony or until the frag has grown out enough to start to take on a characteristic growth form.

Even with that info, you will be lucky to get a reasonable ID to about half your SPS corals and perhaps a tentative ID to a quarter of the rest. The others will probably remain a mystery.

--- Ken

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