Nemo’s Reef Beginner’s Guide and Walkthrough

Nemo’s Reef intro tells pretty much all about the game’s objective, you have to build a reef, with as many fish and coral species as possible.

Before you start playing for the first time, you will be prompted to type a profile name or keep the default one. The default name can be changed later on, and is used for referral promo codes.

Currencies and Score System

  • XP points: you obtain experience points by harvesting Corals and Plants.
  • Sand Dollars: this is Nemo’s Reef soft currency, obtained from harvesting matured plants.
  • Algae: Algae units are obtained from harvesting matured corals [in turn, you use these algae to help plants grow]
  • Pearls: Pearks are the hard currency, only obtained by opening treasure chests or purchasing it with real life money and are used to speed up building processes and growing times [notice they are not the same though].


The pink heart on the top-left side of the screen indicates your Vitality. Vitality represents the population of ornamental plants, rare platns, rare fish and gustes in the reed. Vitality will also increase the chance of attracting a rare fish to the reef: the higher the Vitality the better the chances of growing a rare plant that will attract a rare fish. It’s a good idea to check regularly the Vitality of the reef, as it will change throughout the game.

The idea is to keep Vitality at 100% all the time. What you need the most to raise the bar to 100% are RARE PLANTS. Rare fishes are attracted by rare plants so that’s why rare plants are far more important. Don’t worry too much about guests since they are mainly obtained through quests. We’ve got a separate guide that teaches you to attract these rare fishes, some of them require several rare plants of the same type and another ones need a combination of different plants.


You can invite friends by adding them through their game username, using your facebook contacts or with email invites.

By visiting other Reefs and completing all 5 actions, you will be rewarded with sand dollars, algae and XP points. beware though, since you only get to do 5 actions a day.

You need to carefully pick your action for the best rewards. For instance, you sure want to harvest the following plants and corals: Bamboo Coral, Pipe coral, Cat’s Paw Coral or Yellow Small Grass

Moving Stuff

You can move plants, coral and stones from place to another by going to menu >> move, then tap on the object you want to mov (you can also sell it).

Reef Expansion

New expansions will beome automatically available when other friends join the reef. The first friend to appear is obviously Dory, which shows up after completing the visit a friend’s reef quest.

Even after placing the plant you bought at the nursery, you still need to make them growth, this is made by seeding algae a total of 3 times, allowing the plant to mature. The plant will indicate when it needs the algae by popping the algae plant surrounded by a pink frame.

But what’s the point of plants and corals?. Turns out that the right mix of Ornamental Plants next to a Living Plant attract different species of fishes. As you progress through the game you will be wondering how certain fishes can be attracted to your fishes by discovering plant combos.

So what’s the difference between a Coral and a Plant, well, considering they are both matured, you will collect algae from the first and collect sand dollars from the latter.

Leveling Up

After collecting a certain amount of starfishes, you will level up. by leveling up you will unlock new corals, algae and decors

As you reach higher levels, you will need more stars/XP points to level up. Now, what is the best strategy to level up quicker? There are basically two methods, one of them is by plant a huge farm of Yellow Table Plants and Loop Coral so you tap a thousand times every two minutes. During the early stages of the game, this is for sure the best method. The next strategy is to start planting species that do not require too much attention, and can be harvested every two or three hours, for instance Orange Tubes & Blue Mushrooms and Eggshell Coral. Don’t forget to actually blend the plant species.

Always check out the living plant and coral description at the nursery, so you are sure that it fits your harvest schedule. for example, Yellow Plateau plants take a very long time to yield the sand dollars, that is 12 hours to be exact.

Always make sure to have plenty of sand dollars and algae, this is because quests will get more and more demanding and will eventually stop your progress. This is why is very important to flood the Reef with plants and corals at first, to create a profitable farm.

Notice that the higher level the plant is, the longer time it takes to grow, that means is not enough to buy it from the nursery, you also need to feed it with algae through the 3 stages, in some plants it takes half a day for a single stage to take place.

You can always remove and sell cheap plants to make some space for rare plants, in fact, this is what you have to do in advanced stages of the game to keep getting new rare fishes and completing quests. Some plants take a lot of grids in order to be planted.

Here’s one major tip, when you plant a Mystery Seed, the best indicator if it’s going to grow into a Rare plant is by having sparkles around it. Not all your Mystery Seeds will yield a Rare Plant, remember that. You will eventually realize that is better to plant them in batches of ten, and watch if any of those sparkles, if they don’t you will have to plant more Mystery Seeds.

Regarding Extraordinary Mystery Seeds, you are guaranteed to grow a Rare Plant, but NOT guaranteed to obtain a NEW RARE PLANT, it could be one that you already have in your Reef.

Treasure Chests

Treasure Chests are a recent addition to the game, they were not present when the Nemo’s Reef was initially released. But what are Mysterious Chest and how do you get more of these? The fact is that these chests appear randomly, you cannot control when they will appear. But as soon as they show up, you must open them or they could disappear, they usually cost a few coins to be opened. You will always get different rewards, sometimes are Pearls, other times are XP points and so on.

The Nursery

The nursery is where you purchase all the available Living Plants, Corals, Ornamental plants, Rare Plants and seeds and Special items. Remember, you will unlock new species of plants and corals as you level up or also by combining plants [more on that in our guide on plant formulas.]

The Collection

We’ve got the complete guide to obtain all 13 guest fishes and 29 rare fishes

By entering the menu, you can tap on the “collection” button, which opens a sorts of fishpedia, listing three categories of fishes; Friends, Guests and Rare Fish:

  • Friends: These fishes show up as you make progress through the game by completing quests.
  • Guests: From time to time, a unique sea species will come to visit your reef. Perform the mission/quest that will tempt it to stay or it might leave. If it leaves, it will come back later. You can buy hints with sand dollars to get a better idea of how to attrack a missing fish on the list of guests. Also, you can buy all the hints by spending one pearl.
  • Rare Fish: Rare fishes are attracted to the reef by growing a specific rare plant. You can try growing a Rare Plant from a Mystery seed. But you can also plant an extraordinary Mystery Seed to be sure to grow a Rare Plant, that costs 10 pearls through.

[box type=”shadow”]To find out the exact name of the rare species or guest that is swimming in the reef, tap repeateadly over its body and the the screen will zoom in and unveil its name.[/box]


Quests, or missions, are key to progress through the game and manage to unlock new plant and coral species and also to be able to attract unique fishes, including Nemo’s friends. We are working on a guide that lists all quests in order, including their descriptions to help you out with the most difficult ones. If you run out of quests, that means you must first level up in order to unveil the next set of missions.

The quest “what seadragon” introduces you to the first fish species and how it can be attracted to your reef. Each time you grow the right plant combo that attracts a new fish to the reef, you will get the option to publish the event to your facebook page.

Growing Your Reef

Following up quests is just not enough to quickly make your Reef bigger and attrack Rare and Guest fishes. Here are a few tips that will help you start from scratch and create a huge coral, making sure you don’t run out of algae and sand dollars in the meanwhile:

  • When you first start out, start by growing a huge set of Fan Coral Plants along a huge set of Yellow Table Plants. This is mainly because they will yield tons of algae and sand dollars every 2 minutes, giving you a constant currency supply to plant more expensive species. We suggest you plant up to 40 of each to keep up with the pace. Of course, eventually you will get rid of these plants since you will run out of space in the reef.
  • Save the pearls exclusively to buy extraordinary mystery plants, do not use them to speed up building or growing stages.

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77 thoughts on “Nemo’s Reef Beginner’s Guide and Walkthrough”

  1. Treasure chest are not adding into SD or Algee…
    When tapped on the chest opens, I accept, but the totals do not change.
    I have lost SD, eventually gave up accepting to purchase any of the “mystery” ones.
    Free only, however they still do not add on….

    1. Version 1.3
      Updated March 4/13

      Originally there was no problem, has seemed to be the past two weeks that totals were not adding on.


    2. First time at coop quest. Task was to feed 10 rare fish, which I completed. Check appeared beside the task bar on left side of dialogue box. But no finished bar appeared under my player 3 status. What happened? Fed more fish and still no finished bar appeared. Second time to play coop quest today, was to collect 2547 sand dollars, which I completed and again a check mark appeared beside the task but no finished bar appeared on the player side. What’s wrong?

  2. You are right about the treasure chest I don’t buy them any.more, how do you buy hints I had it once at leaves 30 I think , Iam up to leavel 33 .

  3. How do I buy rare plants, other than mystery seeds? They show up in the nursery but with no button to buy them.

    1. Those rare plants without buttons are not yet available to your reef, just because of your level.

  4. How do I get the plants that are suppose to be released to level the plants with a heart under them. I have a huge vitality heart number but do not know how to use it

    1. How many levels are there? I am at 35 and a friend is at 40. Her do bar is all green still from the last time she leveled up.

  5. Yes I was wondering the same thing about how to access the harts . Also are there any more expansions after leviel 40 .

    1. You don’t “access” the hearts – the hearts you see next to the different plants you can purchase show you how much vitality they will add to your reef and your vitality number and/or percentage is made up of a combination of the number of plants, rare plants, rare fish and guests you have in your reef at any given time and how well your reef is doing in general. Your vitality also changes from level to level so you need to watch your percentages as you level up and add more of whatever is lacking whenever necessary. From what I’ve read, the higher your vitality, the better the chance that you’ll grow new rare plants from the rare seeds you plant so, as far as I can tell, this is the real advantage to having a high vitality level.

  6. Unless you are very early in the game, I recommend not paying for the Treasure Chests. They are absolute gambles. I once paid over 3500 sand dollars and got about 300 algae – which I could easily harvest. I read that somebody spent a bunch of pearls and got just a few hundred sand dollars.

    Repeat: the Treasure Chests are a gamble. If you have thousands of sand dollars/algae/pearls to burn, go ahead. Otherwise, only open when it is free.

  7. When something is ready to “harvest” I tape it and the algae or coins pop out. My question is do I have to touch what pops out for it to count? I noticed if I don’t they eventually disappear. If I have a bunch it’s really hard to get to all of them. Thanks

    1. Nope. They will auto-collect. There is a delay before they are added to your totals, then you will see bubbles appear next to the totals as they update.

  8. I have to feed a rare fish for “Today’s Homework”, but I can’t figure out how to feed them. Any suggestions?

    1. Go to menu, collection, then choose the rare fish tab. You can choose each fish and feed them if they need to be fed.

  9. I cant get my game to work at all. Says i dont have enough room. I have deleted a lot off of phone but still wont load. Its making me update wether I want to or not. If i delete the game and reinstall it will i lose what i already have? Please help

    1. Call Amazon or whoever the game is linked to. For kindle, it was Amazon. Not sure who for a phone.

  10. How can I grow a specific rare plant? I have tried to grow [ a orange feather star]rare plant, I have grown about 10 rare plants, however I haven’t been able to grow what I really wanted.

    1. You can’t. Rare plants grow randomly. The more you have the larger the chance you will get a duplicate.

  11. could some body please let me know how I can grow a specific rare plant. I have to grow a orange feather star, yellow feather star, blue sea grapes, and yellow mermaid fan? I have tried more than 10 times but nothing that I need has grown.

    1. You need 4 corals in the “patch” maker you get in the specials tab in the nursery menu – you move 4 of the corals into the “patch” – ABOUT DROVE ME CRAZY I PLANTED A TON AND NOTHING!!! I just figured it out, Duh!It worked!Just 4 in the “patch”. I forgot about the thing.

  12. How do I get the four plants into the “patch”? I’ve tried to buy new ones and place them in there as well as take existing ones and moving them to it. They highlight red and wont let me. Any help?

    1. Marissa, you have to hover the plant over the patch until no more red shows (a bit of precision involved) and then press the tick (same as when moving plants). Do this one by one for all four of them and you’ll have a patch.
      You can use the plants that are already grown, but not the ones that are still in growing stages.

  13. I agree with Marissa, is there an easier way? I’ve been trying to make a patch since they demonstrated and no luck!? I hover around and get the two to be one but it’s still all red!? Very very frustrating!

    1. from the nursery, select & place the patch
      you can move any mature plant to a patch
      select move from the menu and “move” the plant to the patch and hover around until there seems to be a bright light or aura around the patch
      select the “check mark” and it should be absorbed into the patch

  14. I just got a new phone and have been trying to put my nemo reef on new phone. I cant get Disney/games/ work dose aney one have a phone number to call Disney.please help me…


  16. I am playing this game on my Kindle Fire. and don’t see a way to buy a patch in the Nursery Menu under Specials tab. Is the patch only available to computer players?

    1. I am playing on kindle too. Patch is in the specials section by all the rocks. It’s the first one there. You only get a limited number of them, so use them wisely.the first one you have to do is a fan coral patch.

  17. Thanks for asking the ? and thanks for the answer for “how many sunset corals to make a patch”! I have tried and tried to get the right amount…finally decided it must have been a time limited quest and i’d missed out. Still it was annoying to not be able to get the box to go away. THANKS!! Btw, I’m ShabbyChicQueen on here. Would love to do the guest quest! (I may have to figure it out though :)

  18. Does the homework task on the right of screen keep repeating until it is done? I keep getting the task to harvest a number of algae from opening treasure chests but I don’t want to waste the pearls. Will the task eventually change? Thanks

    1. Yes, the tasks do change, and you don’t have to use pearls or other to open the chests. Good luck

  19. I cannot access the ‘space-saving patch’. I was able to add 3 or 4 initially, but no longer am able to ‘buy’ any.
    I am at level 28, my vitality is 100% across the board, 63800/63800 100%
    When I go to Menu, Nursery, Specials, it shows that I have 26 available. Shows that I need to finish the Fan Coral upgrade (which I cannot, because I cannot ‘buy’ a Patch. And then shows Next at: 65000 <3

    I've been in touch with support, but they keep telling me my vitality is not high enough.

    I'm playing on a Kindle Fire HDX, I've read that there might be some issues because of that.

    Please help, this is so frustrating.

    Look me up at EmilyRoseSch1575


    1. You only get more patches as you level up and the vitality level also goes up you can sell your other patches if you wan to. Makke higher yielding plants I am on leave 33 if anyone is over level 30 I need people to do co-op quests

  20. I have to plant a Bright Green Thalassodendron for Dora. I have a check mark and it saids 250 hearts but I don’t know how to plant it can you help me! Thanks

    1. Hi Janice,

      That check mark means that you have grown that rare plant already. You will see that there are rare plants there without a check mark as well.
      Unfortunately, if you need the Bright Green Thalassodendron for a task, you will need to try to grow one again.

  21. My granddaughter and I each have Nemo’s Reef on our tablets. Is there a way that we can send gifts and messages to each other the way we do on the game, Fish Live?

  22. PLEASE Help???

    re: PATCHES – I have 5 patches AVAILABLE, but it won’t let me PLANT any new patches! – It says “Finish the Fan Coral Upgrade” – I thought I already did!… I’ve placed 4-mature Fan Coral on top of each of the 3-sparkly patches (12- Mature Fan Coral in total for all three patches) …What did I miss? – – I want MORE Patches!! LOL = }

  23. we are receiving ‘cannot connecting server’ message and we cant login to our account.It’s been two days. We want to see problem solved asap.Also we were working on a new fish duty,it was time limited and we lost two days,we want to have same duty from the beginnng.

    Thanks and regards

    1. I was having the same issue. I am using a kindle, so I called Amazon. You may need to call someone to help you. You may have updates to install. Check for those. Have a good day. :)

  24. What annoys me is the ugly 800 coin seed that grows nothing can’t be gotten rid of! Taking up space,ugh! I’m only on 19 &FULL, no space left.Cats Paw, the pearl one is m atv & I’m especially fond of my red octopus!

  25. I’d like to do some coop missions with people who are in the same time zone. I am eastern standard time. I play during the day and at night. Anyone looking for coop partners?

  26. I have two comments. RecentlyIhave had an issue collecting algae and sand dollars from treasure chest I have opened for free. Then yesterday my game was updated adding Crush and Squirt and adding chained treasure chest requiring locks to be picked with special spikes. However,I have been unable to pick any of these new treasure boxes. A pop-up comes up saying pick was unsuccessful and chest is forever locked! What’s the deal? I have found no instructions to the secret of opening these chests,.

    1. If you look in the bottom right corner, you should see Squirt. Start a game of hide and seek with him. If you are successful, you will be awarded spikes to pick the locks, sometimes common, sometimes not. Also, during the hide/seek game, you may find a few spikes in the plants/rocks. I hope this helps.

  27. Can anyone tell me if buying patches will hurt the vitality of my reef????
    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!!!!

  28. Question… what is the purple shading that happens when you plant sometimes??? It turns the plants purple and the ground as well. Sometimes it shows me a little fish, like it is attracted to what I am growing, but then it disappears. I have tried growing more of the same thinking it’s a good thing as well as separating them out thinking it’s hurting my plants… still would like to know if anyone has figured it out. Thanks!

    1. Planting compatible items from the nursery gives you the purple shading. This in turn encourages small fish to your reef, if you zoom in, you can see them. I don’t think it makes any changes to your vitality though, at least, not that I’ve noticed.

  29. I’m having problems as I can’t get squirt. I have completed the task and added his fountain. He came briefly and then disappeared. The task has appeared again to add his fountain but when I click to go to it in the nursery it isn’t there. I can’t delete the one I already have and I have tried deleting the game and restarting it but it starts in exactly the same place. I can’t contact support as I’m in the uk and Disney can’t accept emails from anywhere except the US.

    Does anyone else have any ideas?

    1. Hi everyone! I have no room in my reef. I make as many patches as I can but still run outta room. I just love decorating it so much I suppose! Lol question is ….do you get a certain number of patches per level? If so.. I wish I would have known levels ago. I’d have so much more room and racking up dollars and algae. There were no rules when I started playing. I just went for it. I want to start all over one day. Anyway. If anyone can help me please tell me!! I was also curios about the purple shading. I’m going to investigate. Thanks everyone~ peace

  30. If you want help lists of all things nemo and the opportunity to participate in planned coop quests go to Google+ and sign up. Search for NemosReefPlayers under community and join. We are there to help you enjoy your experience building your reef.

  31. I am collecting common Spikes but don’t know how to use them to open chest. When I click on them the chest only opens part way then click on then again the chest opens a little more if I keep clicking on them the chest will open but use a lot of Spikes. What am I doing wrong.

    1. You’re not doing anything wrong, that’s how you open them. If you’re using the common spikes it takes several attempts to open the chest.

  32. Hi all! I have used up all my patches and then I get a Quest for planting 2 more patches :-(
    My question is: Can you sell “old” patches and get new ones in the special tabs? Or do I have to wait for my vitality to get high enough?
    I’m lvl 44…

  33. You do not have to tap what pops out after you tap it initially. Once you tap it to harvest they will go to your banks or counters. To see this just look at your counts at the top then tap a plant once and see the number come up.

  34. Does any one know at which levels each of the friend fish appear I.e. Nemo, Dory? At first they seem to appear quite often. I’m at level 24 and need just 3 more friend fish. How many levels are there? I heard 50. Game is slowing down as it takes longer to get to more levels. Not sure I will stick with it. But, do enjoy rearranging plants and just watching the reef.

  35. How And when can you get your reef to expand? I can see it on the sides but cant get it to unlock what do you have to do?
    If you don’t have friends how do you go on co operative quests? are they nessary? what do they do?

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