Coral Ornaments – Living Artwork


Before I get into the details of this post I want to let everyone know how excited I am about this. I personally think its such a smart and creative idea that can make the average reef tank stand out and look remarkable. Its something I will be doing my self as soon as I have finished typing this post. So lets get started…


Setting up a reef aquarium is a great hobby. Its full of challenges and rewards that many find so satisfying. I mean who doesn’t love to see their hard work pay off in the form of growing a reef from scratch? But recently some individuals have gone above and beyond the simple reef. These people have mastered coral growth within the aquarium and have moved onto a whole new level. They have created truly beautiful and comical reefs that many consider works of art.


And here is an example of this…



Women Ornament

Encrusting SPS Coral



How amazing is this!

Coral ornaments like this look so creative and will definitely stand out in an aquarium set up.

A few people these days are not simply growing coral on live rock or in frag racks. These people are breaking the rules! They are experimenting with different aquarium decor to create their own underwater art work and based on the example above its clearly working.



# How Did They Do This?


#reefchicks (check them out on Instagram)  is responsible for this master piece and I must say they did a great job. The ornament they used was an ideal choice. It was basic enough for the coral to grow over and was still clear enough to the viewer what the ornament is.

Its actually a lot easier than it looks. Well providing your aquarium is set up properly and you can successfully keep coral. If you struggle to keep coral then you are going to find it harder to grow a coral colony from a coral frag.

This is not something you can do in a newly setup aquarium. It takes time to be able to provide coral with a suitable environment that promotes their growth. Once you have established a stable system and you can maintain coral within your aquarium then you can start to get adventurous.

All it takes is to find that perfect ornament you desire to cover in coral. Place a frag of the chosen coral on the ornament and simply wait. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your coral ornament. Like everything within this hobby, patience is needed. It apparently took #reefchicks around 2 years of growth to cover this women ornament in encrusting montipora coral. Was it worth it? HELL YES it was!



# Other Examples


#reefchicks are not alone. Many reefers out there are starting to ‘break the mold’ (Soon to be me) and begin to grow coral on unconventional items. I personally think these creative ideas are brilliant and make a wonderful edition to any aquarium setup.



# The Skull


Here is another example almost exactly the same as the women ornament above. The only difference is… Well its kind of obvious really?

This reefer chose to cover a skull ornament in a form or encrusting montipora coral. Just like the women ornament, it looks amazing. The coral has grown over the surface of the ornament and kept its shape producing a beautiful coral ornament.

Based on the above two examples its clear that a simple ornament design is key. To complicated or detailed and the coral might not grow over the ornament as intended.



Want this in your aquarium? – Click here to get your own skull ornament.



# Easter Island Head


This is by far the easiest to do for both beginners and experts. The simple use of a green star polyp frag has created a truly comical and interesting ornament that makes this tank stand out. Unlike the two examples above this one uses soft coral instead of SPS coral. This makes its so much easier to grow.



Want to create your own Easter Island coral ornament? – Click here to get your ornament.



# Garden Grass


I have seen green star polyp coral used on many ornaments as hair but I have only once seen it used as grass in a ‘house garden’ tank design with zoas in small pots. It truly looked creative but unfortunately I was not able to get a photo. However the photo below gives you a rough idea of how it would look.



# What Coral is This?


# The Green Star Polyp Coral


The Green Star Polyp (GSP) coral is a hardy and fast growing soft coral that does well within a range of environments making it an ideal starter coral. Much like the encrusting montipora coral they grow over the surface of objects like a carpet and adopting their shape making it the perfect coral to use on ornaments.



Water Conditions – 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025

Care Level – Easy

Temperament – Peaceful

Lighting – Moderate to High

Water Flow – Medium to Strong



# The Encrusting Montipora Coral


Encrusting Montipora are Small Polyped Stoney (SPS) corals. They are a beautiful group of Montipora coral which grows over a surface. This makes them unlike many other SPS coral as they don’t build their own skeleton or grow up towards the light. They are more similar to Green Star Polyps as far as their growth patterns are concerned.

It is for this reason why they make the ideal coral choice for coral ornaments. They are beautiful, fast growing and although they are SPS they are relatively easy to care for.

The key for growth of any coral is the correct parameters that are consistent and stable. It is for this reason that makes growing coral ornaments so difficult for the beginner. But not impossible! Once you have a stable aquarium and can successfully keep corals then you are good to go.



Water Conditions – 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025

Care Level – Moderate

Temperament – Peaceful

Lighting – Moderate

Water Flow – Medium



# Create Your Own


Its easy! and most reefers can do this.

I recommend if you are relativity new to the saltwater aquarium hobby then its best to stick with GSP coral as its much easier to care for than SPS coral. However if you have an aquarium full of coral and have no problem keeping them alive then its down to your preference.

Other than that the only limitation to creating your own coral ornament is your own creativity and imagination. Coral will grow on pretty much any surface if the conditions are right. Amazon have some great ornaments that would be ideal to grow coral on.



# Aqua Putty Creation


Are you struggling to find an ornament you desire to use? So why not create your own?

It can be anything you want, just get creative. Making something as basic as a sphere and growing coral on that would look amazing and abstract. As I have said before the only limit is your imagination. So give it a go with this reef safe aqua putty.

Its just like play doe. Its easy to shape and will harden just like live rock. Another added bonus is it will look like coraline algae once the putty has set.


What ever you decide to do please remember to just have fun with it. This is one of the few parts of the hobby we can experiment with safely. Who knows, you might be well on your way to creating your coral ornament that might inspire others to create their very own.

Just remember to share your results with us so we can show the world your living artwork!

Now this post is all done I believe it is time to get creative and figure out what coral ornament I will grow. Personally I’m thinking I might build my own out of putty. But we will see..

Happy reefing everyone!

(Links within this post do not cost you any more than amazons original price, its simply a way to fund this site. will get a small commission for each item purchased at no extra cost to you, the buyer!)