Many reef aquarium enthusiasts take their passion for the hobby a bit farther than others. Some travel to far away and exotic places and dive in the seas from which their corals originate. On the flip side, many diving enthusiast also become aquarium keepers as they want to remember their adventures or learn more about the animals they encounter by having a piece of the ocean in their living rooms. Regardless of the background, there is a very useful tool that reef divers can carry with them to identify corals. The Coral Finder, a resource from Coral Hub, is a waterproof, plastic book that helps divers identify common coral species much like a biologist uses a dichotomous key. The diver chooses a “Key Group” and is then directed to turn to a specified page. On the following pages, the diver chooses various physical characteristics of the coral in question and keeps eliminating possibilities until a species is settled on. Obviously, there’s going to be some uncertainty with the coral’s ID because the language in the book is of a scientific nature and reading a book underwater isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Despite this, there is a free training course in the Coral Hub’s Learning Center that teaches divers and hobbyists not only how to use the Coral Finder, but it also describes various aspects of coral physiology.
The $72 Coral Finder covers 66 of the most common hard coral genera and over 500 species from the Indo-Pacific. Several coral genera were intentionally left out because of their rarity and to keep the book from becoming too cumbersome for underwater use. For more information about the genera included in the Coral Finder, as well as how to order it, please visit BYO Guides.
Keep reading below for a video showing how to use the Coral Finder.