Coral Colour Explanation


New Member
Hi, I have literally never written on a forum.

Back story,

I have had a marine tank, twice in my life, I used to run a pet store for 2 years that sold marine so I know quite a lot about tanks and corals.

Although, I am setting up my tank for the third time (moved due to covid, sold everything to limit the risk of things dying, and had to start again) and a thought crossed my mind.

I have googled all day and I'm not sure if it has been posted on here as it turns out, Even google does not have the answers for me on this day, I am very let down as google has never not given me the answers I'm looking for.

My question is,

In a nut shell,
"How do corals get their colours."
A simple question you might think but I'm looking for a more indepth answer than, "zooxanthellae". (which I already knew due to dosing and tank parameters)

I want to know, specifically why I can have a purple torch, and the same species of torch can be gold and yellow.
(side note -- but they do not breed with eachother or mix if placed together.)

I want to know how they are bred, how they reproduce and what gave them the different designer colours in the first place,
Were they taken from a reef, fragged many times and then grown to become mass produced? (if so what created the colour variant)
Were they made in a home aquarium?
Were they made in a lab?
Is it a modification of the species due to conditions or did they cross breed with a different colour of the species and just grew that way?

I know Zoas have a tendency to create an array of genetic differences but I am also unsure of how this happens or why.

I am aware different light conditions, parameters, flow ect are contributing factors to colour, but that only explains the density or brightness. Not the actual colour itself.

I am aware of fragging and that you can frag a colourful coral and get the same colour result, that is not what im asking.
I am simply wondering of specific traits that cause the different colours of the same species.

I want to know if its crossbreeding due to spawning, or if it's genetic code. Or even if its a bi-product of 2 species of different colours being genetically incompatible, yet surviving and causing a specific mutation, which in turn is producing a different colour due to the zooxanthellae having to activate more genetic code to combat the mutant gene that compromised the species and fighting for which species will be stronger in the conditions it is in, therefore deciding the colour and species it will ultimately be.
^^^^ (if that made any sense)

Long story short, I'm trying to find the origin of colour in corals for literally no reason but to soothe my curious mind, and I figured a forum on marine corals in the hobby might be able to point me in the right direction.

Any response would be appreciated.