The Salty Side: Saltwater Aquariums for Beginners

Can I Put Fake Coral in a Saltwater Tank?


Yes!  You certainly can have fake coral in a saltwater tank.  You may be particularly interested if you have, or are planning on having, a FOWLR aquarium.   

For those who may not know what a FOWLR tank is, FOWLR stands for ‘Fish Only With Live Rock’.  Some aquarists may not be interested in keeping real coral, for some of the reasons listed below and therefore look into adding fake coral to brighten up the rockwork. 

Quick Links:

Pros and Cons of Having Fake Coral in a Saltwater Tank



How To Clean Fake Coral

Artificial coral will need regular cleaning, approximately every 2 weeks.  You will also periodically need to completely remove the coral in order to do a deep clean. 

One tip is to buy a second set of coral and much like filter socks, you can rotate them.  So, while one set is waiting to be cleaned, you can have another ready to go into your tank.  This way, you won’t get bored of looking at the same display and can also change the position of the corals when putting them back in your tank. 

The process of cleaning coralline algae is exactly the same for cleaning fake coral.

The coral can be soaked for a few hours in a solution of 50/50 water and distilled white vinegar.

I use a bucket which is specifically set aside for using with items from my marine aquarium. This way I know that no household chemicals are present which could potentially be hazardous to marine life.

Once they have been left to soak for a few hours all you need to do then is brush it away with a toothbrush or any other stiff brush.

Or leave them to soak in a bucket overnight.

Remember to always rinse the fake coral off with clean RODI water before returning it to the tank. This is because, although white vinegar is non-toxic, it is used in carbon dosing and can therefore affect your nutrient levels.

So there you have it!

You definitely can have fake coral in your saltwater tank.  It takes effort to clean but it may be on a par with the maintenance involved with growing soft corals, depending on how big or small your tank is.  

If you’ve read all the above and aren’t necessary convinced about buying fake coral, why not take a look at how to get started with keeping soft corals.  

Scroll to Top