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Big Blue Conservation - Corals

Hard coral has a hard calcium carbonate structure and in general is very slow growing because it takes time to secrete this hard skeleton.

Hard coral grows in a wide vari ety of shapes and sizes depending on amount of available light, wave movement and current. There are a huge amount of variations but the images and information below outlines the main ones.

Soft corals are so called because they do not produce calcium carbonate skeletons. Instead their skeletons are made up of elements called sclerites and they give the coral a degree of support.
Because of their relatively soft structure they are not reef building corals. Soft corals tend to thrive in nutrient-rich waters with less light intensity. Like hard corals, they do depend upon zooxanthellae for the majority of their energy as a major energy source. The polyps of soft coral will have eight or multiples of eight tentacles whereas hard coral polyps will have six or multiples of six.