What is an NPS Species?

NPS is a non-scientific nomenclature for any Non-Photosynthetic (Azooxanthellate or "Azoo") species of coral or other reef dwelling invertebrates that share three significant characteristics, they are generally sessile invertebrates, thrive in low-lighting conditions, and require significant nutrients. In addition to the Dendrophyllia and Distichopora corals, the NPS category includes Tube Worms, Tube Anemones, Oysters, Mussels, Gorgonians, Sea Pens, Crinoids, Sponges, Scallops, and Tunicates. NPS species are generally slow growing and reproducing and are almost exclusively sessile, with a notable and highly mobile exception being Crinoids, also known as Feather Stars. While most NPS are deep dwelling species, some species such as those in the Dendrophyllia genus can tolerate very high light, however the equally beautiful Distichopora or Lace Corals will rapidly perish under anything but darkness due to their inability to prevent an overgrowth of algae. As filter feeders, NPS species are entirely reliant on the currents to bring food to them. In the aquarium, this can be accomplished by tedious target feeding or with broadcast feeding, an effective method that can prove demanding on both system and aquarist. 

Why aquaculture NPS?

While NPS species aren't kept by every reef aquarist, many strive to attempt to include them in their systems or make the jump and create stunning all NPS displays. NPS species and corals are becoming increasingly common in the Marine Aquarium Industry, with Tubastraea and Dendronephthya corals being popular because of their their unusually bright, warm colors. Unfortunately, Tubastraea and Dendronephthya corals are not appropriate corals for most reef keepers, as they require advanced care that often is not or cannot be provided. 



How do I start with NPS?

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