9 Best Corals For Fluval EVO 13.5 Aquarium

best corals for fluval evo 13.5

In this article, I will show you 9 corals that you can keep in the Fluval EVO 13.5 aquarium.

This 13.5-gallon tank is an all in one setup that is a great choice for beginners. It’s a perfect starter kit that has everything you need to get started. Even if you are not a beginner but want a smaller nano tank, the Evo 13.5 makes for an awesome little tank that is very popular and affordable.

One of the most common questions that are asked about these tanks is can I keep corals in this tank?

The answer is yes, you sure can! Not all corals are suitable for the Fluval EVO but there are some that you can keep without issues.

Fluval EVO 13.5 lighting – features and specs

In order to keep corals healthy and thriving, you need proper equipment including lighting that is suitable to sustain coral health. Let’s take a look at the EVO 13.5 lighting to determine if it is suitable for corals.


The Fluval EVO 13.5 comes with a full lighted hood with LED’s that are considered to be reef capable. According to the Fluval website, the kit comes with powerful energy-efficient LED lighting is specifically designed to bring out strong coral growth and fish colors.


  • 16 watt LED’s
  • 1383 lumens
  • 14000 K color temp
  • Total LED’s – 31

The PAR ratings can be difficult to get but here is an example of what to expect:

  • Surface – 502-508 PAR
  • At 4″ below the water surface – 196-204 PAR
  • At 8″ below the water surface – 130 PAR
  • Sandbed – 90 PAR

As you can see, the stock lighting on this tank is not equivalent to some of the high-end LED’s on the market today, but it is still suitable for many corals. I recommend you stick to soft corals and perhaps a few low light LPS corals for best results.

Here are 9 best corals you can choose for the Fluval EVO 13.5.

1. Pom Pom (Pulsing Xenia)

Close up of Soft Coral Pumping Xenia
Close up of Soft Coral Pumping Xenia(Xenia sp.) also called Pom Pom Xenia

The Pulsing Xenia is a soft coral and probably the easiest to care for. They have a rapid growth rate and don’t require high lighting to thrive. They are known to spread easily throughout the tank and they don’t need perfect water conditions. If you are a beginner with corals and have a Fluval EVO 13.5 aquarium, the Pulsing Xenia makes for a perfect choice.

2. Mushroom corals

Underwater shot of mushroom coral (Fungiidae) colony on the reef in the aquarium tank. Colourful corals growing on the ocean bottom.
Underwater shot of mushroom coral (Fungiidae) colony on the reef in the aquarium tank. 

Mushrooms are another soft coral that doesn’t require high-intensity lighting. They will grow just fine under the 14000K lighting from the EVO tank. There are so many different mushroom corals available that you can keep in this tank. They also make the perfect coral for beginners as they are so versatile. It can be difficult to keep your water conditions perfect with a nano tank, so mushroom corals are a good candidate as they are more forgiving in less than ideal conditions. Mushrooms corals are known to be easy to care for.

3. Duncan coral

Duncan coral

The Duncan is an LPS coral that does well in low to moderate lighting conditions. They are colorful and grow quickly. It is known to be a peaceful coral but as they grow, they will need more space so it’s important in a smaller tank to give them the room they need. Although they make a good coral for beginners, experienced hobbyists will enjoy caring for them. They add some great movement to the tank as well, as their polyps will extend and flow with the water movement.

4. Hammer coral

Hammer coral

The Hammer Coral is is another LPS coral that will do well under low to medium lighting conditions. They will add some amazing colors to your tank and come in 2 varieties. Wall and branching. The Hammer gets its name from its hammer-shaped tentacles.  They are known to grow quickly and they will require low to medium water flow. It’s important to provide them with extra space from others as they have a tendency to sting corals that are too close.

5. Zoanthids


Zoanthids, or Zoas, come in many different types, colors, and sizes. They are one of the most popular kept corals in the hobby and are known to add many color patterns in your tank. Zoanthids can be placed together to form zoa gardens and they are known to grow quickly and form new heads quite often. They are an easy coral to frag and many hobbyists will use Zoas to trade or sell within the community. They don’t require high lighting and will thrive with the stock lighting from the Fluval EVO 13.5.

6. Kenya Tree Coral

The Kenya Tree is not one of the more popular corals but I am a huge fan of them. They usually have brown, pink, or green coloring and are a great coral for beginners. The kenya Tree is known to grow fast and they don’t require specific lighting or tank conditions. They are a tough coral and will do fine in less than ideal conditions. They are also easy to frag so if your colony becomes too large, you can frag it to keep it from outgrowing your tank. They will also provide plenty of movement in your tank, they will sway back and forth with the water flow.

7. Acans

Acanthastrea Lordhowensis Rainbow

The next coral on the list that makes a great choice for the Fluval EVO 13.5 is the Acan. This is an LPS coral and comes in a variety of types and colors. It is a great coral for beginners and is one of the most commonly kept. They are known to be a hardy coral and don’t require high lighting or pristine water conditions to stay healthy. Low to medium lighting and water movement is fine for Acans. These corals are peaceful but they can sting if they feel threatened. They grow quickly so it’s important to give them lots of space in the tank. They can be placed at the bottom in the sandbed or on the rocks at mid-level.

8. Green Star Polyps (GSP)

GSP corals are also known as Daisy polyps and a neon green color to your tank that will look amazing under blue actinic lighting. They are a fast-growing coral and can easily cover rocks, glass, and equipment. These are usually sold in 1-2″ sized frags which is great for the EVO 13.5. They will easily grow into larger colonies. The Green Star Polyp coral is perfect for beginners and will do well in less than perfect water conditions. It doesn’t require high lighting but will appreciate a decent amount of water movement so their polyps can flow.

9. Toadstool Leather coral

The last coral on this list is the Toadstool. This is a leather coral that comes in a variety of types and colors. Like the Kenya Tree coral, they are easy to frag and make smaller Toadstools. They are very hardy and forgiving to water conditions that are not perfect. The stock lighting that comes with the EVO 13.5 is suitable for the Toadstool coral. One thing to be careful of is these corals tend to grow quickly and can take up a lot of real estate in your tank. If you have one that is small, you won’t have an issue with space in the Fluval EVO but be prepared to find a larger home for it as it grows.

Fluval EVO 13.5 aquarium upgrades

The Fluval EVO 13.5 comes as an all in one kit and includes the following:

  • 13.5-gallon tank
  • 3 stage filtration system
  • Aluminum waterproof casing
  • Return pump and dual return nozzle

One of the great things about these tanks, is they are fully upgradable if you plan to have more demanding corals like SPS. Some people will argue that you can keep some SPS corals with the stock lighting but I think that is a bit of a stretch. I wouldn’t keep SPS corals in these setups with the stock lighting.

Luckily, improving the EVO 13.5 to a more high-quality light is easy. You can remove the hood and add a light like the AI Prime. Aqua Illumination makes this light suitable for all coral types.  This light is a huge upgrade to the stock lighting. It is available on Amazon here.

Here is a great video showing the tank upgraded with the AI Prime LED light. This gives you more options to the types of corals you can keep.

You will also need to add a wavemaker or powerhead for additional water movement. The Koralia Nano is a great option. Grab one on Amazon here.


As you can see, there are many corals that you can add to the Fluval EVO 13.5 aquarium. If you are on a budget or are looking for a great all in one tank to keep corals, consider this tank. Also keep in mind that it is upgradeable, so if you end up with more demanding corals there are many options for you.