Coral Bonsai

What is a Coral Bonsai?

You are probably all familiar with a Bonsai: a miniature tree grown in a container. A Coral Bonsai is a new minimalist concept that I’ve developed and can be defined as a single coral or the same species of coral (e.g., Euphyllia ancora “Hammer Coral”) kept in a small aquarium.


Why should I Coral Bonsai?

  • The Power of One” – A single coral will stand out more so than two. Have you ever bought something for the first time, really liked it, and bought another only to find out that your second purchase was not as enjoyable as the first?  It’s called habituation and to avoid this stick to one coral (or species of).
  • Focal Point – Great photography always has a good focal point and the right amount of negative space.  Just like corals, our eyes need to breathe too. A single coral will create this perfect balance and will always capture your attention.
  • Easy & Affordable” –  Maintaining a Coral Bonsai is easier and more affordable than a full reef aquarium setup.


How do I Coral Bonsai? – the methodology

The Coral Bonsai system is maintained via efficient biological activity (e.g., bacteria, zooxanthella,  and plankton recycling) and detritus/exudate removal via weekly 100% water changes and gravel vacuums. Biological filtration is self-adjusting and will meet the demands of the system and the water changes take care of any elemental shortages, the need to test and dose, and will help reset the system back to natural levels.  It is acknowledged that in between these weekly water changes the concentration of elements in seawater will reduce and therefore it is not recommended to keep sensitive corals like acropora unless elemental dosing methods are employed (e.g., Balling methods). The Coral Bonsai methodology is ideal for non-demanding corals such as zoanthids, xenia, cespitularia, coralimorphs, pocillopora, stylophora, sertiosa hystrix, dallas, acanesthra, goniopora (except G.stokesi), euphyllia, etc. Such species have shown impressive growth and colour. Please follow my journals as I document the setup, maintenance, and success of these simple setups.