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Related FAQs: Coral Propagation 1, Livestock Business, Livestock Business 1, Livestock Business 2, Livestock Business 3, Marine Wholesale, & FAQs on: Wholesalers, Transshippers, Jobbers, & Sources For: FW Fish & Invert. Livestock, Marine Algae, SW Invertebrates, SW Fishes, & From/By Source Countries, & Facilities: Collecting Stations, Holding Systems, Breeding/Aquaculture, & Research, Tradeshows, Crooked Dealings, CITES, Tariffs, Permits, Other Confiscatory Conventions, Moving Livestock, Growing Reef Corals, Tridacnid Clam BizAcclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting, Stinging-celled Animals, Acclimation, Acclimation 2, Stony Coral IdentificationStony Coral Behavior,

Artificial reefs... The Use of Electrical Current to Enhance Calcium Carbonate Formation  - 08/02/07 Hello WWM! <Hello Marc! Mich here!> As always thank you for this wonderful website! <As always, thank you for the kind words.> Tonight, I have a question regarding artificial reefs. I saw a program on TV this week about the Palms Islands off the coast of Dubai (United Arab Emirates). I fear that this project might very well doom a huge part of the marine biodiversity in this area, but that is not why I am writing. In this program they spoke of their intentions on building a huge artificial reef around some of the islands. They were using an interesting technique involving a metallic structure in which an electric current is sent (I don't remember the intensity of this electric current). This technique was supposed to attract "corals" to the metallic structure, and thus, building a new reef. <Yes have heard of this. More here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3717168.stm http://www.globalcoral.org/Electric%20Reefs.htm http://www.globalcoral.org/index.html> What they showed resembled a lot calcium carbonate (they called it "live corals", but I doubt there was any living corals on these). <No, the corals are living.> I tried finding more info on the web regarding this unique technique, but haven't found any. <It's out there, you just have to look.> What do you think about this technique and do you have more info on it, <It works. See links above> specially regarding how it could "create" coral skeletons (my guess would be that the electrical current enhances calcium carbonate precipitation)? <Enhances Calcium Carbonate formation. Providing some of the skeletal material, allows the coral polyps to focus its energy on tissue generation.> Thank you for your time, <Welcome. Mich> Marc.

Re: Artificial reefs... The Use of Electrical Current to Enhance Calcium  - 08/02/07 Thank you very much for your answer Mich. <You are quite welcome Marc!> Haven't had time to read the three articles yet (just the first one), but it is very interesting. I understand now that, while this technique does not produce live corals, it promotes their calcification once they are grafted onto these arks. <Yes.> I think the reason I didn't find more info on the subject is because I wasn't searching with the right keywords <This may well be.> (the report I saw was in French and this is my first language), <Oui.> but now I know what to look for. <Ahh, tr? bon !> Have a nice day, <Vous aussi! Mich> Marc. Cyanoacrylate... to stick or not to stick... that is the question...   1/6/07 Hi folks. <Hi there, Mich here.> I wanted to buy some "reef glue" from GARF recently, but apparently they are out and won't have more for some time. <OK.> My guess is that their product is simply a cyanoacrylate super glue gel that they have custom labeled. I am wondering if there is a particular brand you would feel comfortable recommending. <Any cyanoacrylate is fine, though some people prefer the gels as opposed to the liquids.> Additionally, is it ever safe to use a cyanoacrylate gel to glue a soft coral, such as a mushroom, to a rock until the shroom attaches itself? <It's relatively safe, just not terribly effective.> Or will that harm the mushroom? <Should be OK.  Usually they will produce a thick slime coat that protects them and prevents sticking... a little counter productive> I read something about the bonding/curing process putting off heat that actually can damage or kill the critter. <Yes is does produce a little heat, but most corals tolerate well.> Don't want to do that. I am working way too hard to grow these, but sometimes have a hard time getting them to attach, even using the bridal veil method. <Yes often the attachment is the hardest part.  A lower flow area with some course shell/gravel substrate is often the best method to encourage attachment.> Thank you! <Welcome!  -Mich> JW

Re: Super Glue. Cyanoacrylate... to stick or not to stick... that is the question...part deux   1/8/07 http://www.e-zbond.com/Product.htm You said "Any cyanoacrylate is fine" Including "ETHYL" cyanoacrylate? <Yes either methyl or ethyl cyanoacrylate should be fine.> Bigger bottles is appealing to me. :) For all I know, this is the manufacturer of the GARF glue. <I'm not sure, but it is a possibility.> Thanks once again. <Welcome!  Mich> JW

Starting up a <Coral prop.> business   12/11/06 Hi Robert and/or Anthony, <Mmm, Antoine hangs over at MarineDepot.com for pay> Robert you have always answered my questions in the past, and I have books from both of you.  I and another partner are setting up a coral business.  Currently we are working with our LFS (at a very small scale), <Good way to start...> however, one of the mods of our reef club suggested we do more and involve the members in terms of frag marketing to members as a club and possibly actively having members as 'farmers' in a modified fashion. <Has been tried...>   The goal would be to help bring high quality corals that are aquacultured locally.  I have been avidly reading Anthony's book on propagation.  I have 20 acres of river bottom land here in the valley, but it gets hot in the summer for about 2 months.  I really like the idea of green house growing, but how do we address the heat problem and electricity? <There are cooling and shading mechanisms that can be brought into play...> Also, are we better off going non-profit (paying ourselves hourly - we're not in this to make big bucks) or commercial? <Try upgrading your size/volume just a tad here and see how you like it... I'd work out some sort of "business partnership" agreement twixt the parties... all work about the same hours, tasks if possible... Split whatever is left... quarterly or so... after electrical, something paid for rent...>   Who can we contact to purchase rare and unusual corals that are aquacultured at wholesale prices to expand our production.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Vicki Murray <There are a few folks... You should "go the legal route" and quick like a bunny get a fictitious name, business license registered... And contact Eric Cohen at Sea Dwelling Creatures, Dave Palmer at Pacific Aqua Farms, Chris Buerner at Quality Marine, Leonard Ong at Underwater World... All on 104th St. in L.A.... Their contact info. can be found on the Net, industry Buyer's Guides. <Do you have the facility (physically) planned, built out yet? It might pay to travel to LA... visit some of the above and other facilities, for ideas... Bob Fenner>

Re: starting up a business   12/11/06 Robert, Thank you.  We have a license and a DBA name.  I started it and have done business with 2 of the companies you listed below. <Ah, good... saves a good deal of time> I have not brought on a partner yet.  We are waiting until after the first.  Your, mmm... has been tried - means what? <That I'm aware of similar relationships twixt start-ups of this sort and club/members... always a concern that "the biz" and the hobby not be taken/mistaken for each other... the former not seen/perceived as mercenary... BobF> thank you for the advise. Vicki Propagation Business   11/29/06 Dear Anthony, <Mmm, no longer here. You might try him at Marine Depot (.com's) public site or Reading Trees (.com)> My name is Andrew Lewin.  I am writing to you for some advice on starting and successfully running a Coral and Fish Propagation Business. <... I'll respond here for all though> As a marine biologist and active hobbyist, I realize that there is a great demand for aquarium marine life (I'm probably preaching to the choir!).  My goal for this business is to decrease the pressure on the reefs by successfully propagating species in a laboratory environment. There is a lot of information on propagation (I just ordered your book) and fish breeding that I think that I can begin a successful business. The business will distribute the species to retail stores, more consistent than retail, in Canada (where I live) and then eventually the United States (speaking with CITES on how to go about doing this).   <Hard to make "economic sense" out of direct sales to/through retailers... "Economies of scale"... but can be done> I have read most of the posts on your website regarding propagation businesses where you mention that it would be good to offer some unique way of growing corals or offer rare species that are in demand. <Yes... as well as "standard" offerings> Well, following this advice I want to experiment with the use of the Biorock method.  I'm not sure if you are familiar with this method, but the Global Coral Reef Alliance uses it to restore reefs in the ocean.  The method uses an electric pulse (small enough not to harm animals) to attract minerals from the sea water to a cathode.  The electric pulse causes limestone to form on the cathode providing a good base for coral growth.  Corals tend to grow ten time faster than normal.  My question is: Do you think that this same process could occur with artificial sea water?   <Mmm... only way to see is through experiment... Not likely economical... due to the cost of electricity, time...> If so, I could grow corals a lot faster and increase the turnover time of the propagation. <The ultrastructural differences here may be trouble...> I have another question as well.  I figure that the larger the business, I.e. large number of corals being grown, the more money I would make because it would bring my overhead costs down. <Up to reasonable limits yes>   In your opinion, do you think that it would be wise to start a big operation, more start up capital needed? <I would start small-ish... boot-strap finance here... until you have a modicum of practical experience... There are a few critical "realities" that exist, you'll experience... For instance, the amount of time it takes to husband a given sized operation... the incipient costs (opportunity costs of your time)... and vagaries of dealing with folks in the trade, the airlines... You can/will only "know" this/these through practical experience> I was thinking of hiring staff, experienced in coral propagation and fish breeding, to oversee the technical matters. <... Unless you have a very large sum (a few six figures) to lose, I would NOT go this route... not likely to be successful w/o your knowing first-hand what needs to be done, doing "it"> Like I mentioned, it would require a large start-up cost but I would be able to sell more product for cheaper (sort of like a Wal-Mart business model). <... the markets for such an enterprise do not currently exist... or are well-occupied by a few players (e.g. ORA...), that have "best-methods" applications, honed-reduced costs of production... and still (IMO) relatively low ROI models/results...> I would like to become the largest marine species propagation business in the world.  It would be my part in saving the reefs. I'm curious as to what you think about my idea. Sincerely, Andrew Lewin, M.Sc <I encourage you instead to look into the history of Frank Baensch... & to set up a model of producing, supplying rare/r species in a small setting here... "Keeping your day job" at the same time for a year or two... I have many good friends in the ornamental aquaculture industry... Many of these are tremendously upbeat about this part of the industry's future (Carol Cozzi-Schmarr) of Ocean Rider especially (am out on HI's Big Island currently). They've received funding, are "trying" a few non-syngnathid species... Bob Fenner>

Re: Propagation Business   11/29/06 Dear Bob, <Andrew> Thank you for your reply and advice.  I will follow your advice and start off by slowly propagating corals and selling them to a local fish store as I improve on my techniques and increase my ROI.  Once I get a feel for the practice then I will increase my production and research the fish breeding aspect of the industry. Thank you for your time.  Your website is very informative and your books are very good. Sincerely, Andrew Lewin, M.Sc. <Thank you for this follow-up... And a further pledge/urging if you will. I will gladly help you in what ways I may/can in this endeavour. I strongly encourage you to get out, visit some such businesses... see the scale of their operations (usually quite low-tech and not very business savvy... but many good folks just the same). Do consider traveling about at times for trade shows, scientific and hobbyist get-togethers that may well coincide with my travels. I will gladly introduce you to the trade, people who may very well become instrumental, influential in your dealings in the industry. Bob Fenner>

Galician Association of Aquariums ... looking for free coral prop. content   11/25/06 We sent this mail to them from the Galician Association of Aquariums, in Spain, to ask for its collaboration. Our main activity is to give information of techniques, experiences for the maintenance of species in aquariums, thus we asked for some article  to them to publish in our page web, www.aga.lucus.org, on the  propagation of corals in aquarium and thus to be able as far as  possible to avoid the abusive operation that is becoming in reefs of  everything by the world on the part of the importers. Receive a greeting, <Mmm, I suggest you send your request to Anthony Calfo at either ReadingTrees.com or MarineDepot.com's public BB site. Bob Fenner>

Gorilla Glue Reef Safe? 11/22/06 I searched the FAQs, but did not find the answer. Forgive me if I overlooked it. <No problems, thank you for looking before writing.> And have a 72gal reef.  For it, I have a 20g polyethylene drum that I plan to store my makeup water in after it is processed by my RO/DI unit. Unfortunately I have a continuous leak.  I have attempted PVC glue and silicone.  With no success. The two will not bond with the polyethylene.  I tested super glue on the surface, but it pealed off also.  I tested Gorilla Glue, it pealed off of the smooth surface but bonded fine with the test portion that have been sanded.  My questions is, is the Gorilla Glue safe to use?  The Gorilla Glue Information Pack, as distributed by the manufacturer, states it is non-toxic.  I also looked at the MSDS sheet.  I would like to get a thumbs up or down from you guys!  I have linked (as opposed to attached to lighten you server load) the information pack and MSDS below. Thank you for your help! Information pack as distributed my the company: http://www.gorillaglue.com/assets/download/GG_brochure.pdf MSDS: http://www.newpig.com/en_US/content/current/MSD-V288.pdf;jsessionid=3T2GYWVAQPUT2CTGIQVSFEQKMZCCWJVC <Well, Duane, you're in luck. People have been using Gorilla Glue for ages for coral frag placement and propagation purposes. Don't worry here, if it seals your leak, you're good. However, if you run into a similar problem ultimately with the Gorilla Glue, perhaps a 2 part epoxy, left to dry would work? Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Selling to wholesalers   9/26/06 I would like to propagate a fast growing coral species to sell to wholesalers.  If I were to reliably produce a relatively high volume of a single species each month would there be a market for this product? <Possibly> If so, is there a comprehensive list of wholesalers to contact about their interest in buying from a single species supplier. <Mmm, not as far as I've ever seen... many can be found through searching about in "Buyer's Guides"... produced by industry mag.s... Phone directories, you can peruse at large/r libraries... searching the Net... e.g. organizations members lists like OFI...>   Also, is there an industry standard as far as contacting wholesalers regarding this situation (i.e., letter, phone call). <Good question... Best to call them, ask who makes such decisions, what they might be possibly interested in some/several months down the line... what they might be willing to pay (FOB/landed) for such... But, allow me to cut to the proverbial chase here and suggest you sell a mix of such possible cnidarians more locally... likely the fish stores you can drive to will take about all you can realistically produce... The nature of the trade is such that guessing "what will be hot" and the margins being so small to non-existent dealing through wholesalers, that you will first be most likely selling to LFSs, and second to this, only/either to end-users/consumers... Not to both. BobF> Thank you, Amy

Transshipper  - 09/07/06 Hi Guys,<Hey Lyndon, MacL here tonight> A rather non-hobbyist question this time...<Sounds lovely> 2 of my buddies (1 in Sri Lanka & 1 in Bali) who own tropical marine fish & coral (MAC certified )wholesale operations are pushing me to work as a transhipper for them and to earn a cut out of it. I live in the UAE in Dubai and am aiming at reaching the Middle East market to start and then if feasible...expand...<Okay I'm with you so far.> Id love to do something mutually beneficial for the 3 of us...Would just like to have some ideas of where and how to start...<I think you'd need to do some serious thinking and planning. For instance, how much of a transshipper do you want to be? Would you need a place to store the fish for short term or long term or would you just change the water and ship the fish on to the next place? How much would the facility to do this cost? Would you just have the fish go straight to the customer? What happens if the fish is sick? Would you have any type of warranty? What happens if the shipment gets lost somewhere in-between?  It sounds like a good idea but I think its going to involve a serious amount of work and a tremendous amount of time. Even if you just set up a website where you listed the fish available and had them shipped directly to the person wanting the fish there are many complications to be thought through. I would advise you to talk to some other transhippers. Perhaps attend a conference like MACNA where you could get information and some valuable advice from people doing or who have done this before. I will tell you I have a friend who started a new wholesale business and is doing well at it but he's working 80 hours a week and has had many many things go wrong. He says he would do it all over again but that he might think things through much more thoroughly first. Hope this helps!> Will building a web page for my operation help ? How do I advertise my presence...<Web pages are good, local advertisements as well. I think also face to face visits with your perspective clients is a good idea.  Good luck MacL> Please assist... Lyndon Baldrey Dubai

Candycane skeleton disintegrating   8/22/06 Greeting from Nova Scotia <Hello from San Diego, CA> I have a small coral reef tank since 9 months that causes no troubles. One of mine Candycanes got now about 11 branches (had 7 or 8   when we got it) and it's doing really good (dividing, long tentacles at night, bright colours, etc...). Two days ago however, I noticed   that 2 of the branches are actually disintegrating. I am talking about the skeleton at the back of the polyp, and surprisingly enough, the   polyps at the end of those branches are looking awesome and do not seems to be bothered at all. I am suspecting a lack of Calcium and/or   the fact that my pH might be a bit too low (7.8/8.0) <Could be more...> so it drives the carbonate equilibrium of sea water toward the HCO3- side but I am not sure. A friend of mine (has a big coral reef tank) said that it might   be the fact that my Candycane is submitted to water flow that are two high. <Another factor> I doubt it, but do you have any suggestions ? Thanks so much in advance Flavienne <Mmm, the ultrastructure of the alkaline earth skeletal matrix is likely "missing" something... happens frequently with (your as stated) imbalance of calcium, magnesium and alkalinity... Do you have the "Kalk habit"? This is a common situation (soft skeletons) with this use... other methods of supplying ready alkaline earth, carbonate produce "harder" bio-matrix (calcium reactors, two part supplements...). Bob Fenner> -------------------------------------- Dalhousie University Department of Oceanography

Bases for Coral Frags - 8/15/2006 Hi, What are your thoughts as to the suitability of oyster shells for coral frag bases? <<I have used them.  While I prefer something with a rocky appearance, I did not run into issues with the shells personally.  Give it a try!>> Seems to me they blend in much better in a tank than cement disks. Jim <<Good luck Jim. Lisa.>>

Advice needed on a small coral farm   7/6/06 Hi Bob, <Matt> I am currently planning to setup a small coral farm.  I have limited space so I intend to build a 3 high system, the bottom tank will be around 12 to 14 inches high, and the other two will be 8 inches high.  All of the tanks will be 4 by 2 feet.   I am planning to use a design that is on the GARF site as well as their system for maintenance and adding supplements (basically a mixture of SeaChem supplements).  Any advice for the maintenance would be greatly appreciated. <Okay> It is intended that the top tank will house 4 lights for soft corals, the middle tank 6 lights for SPS corals and the bottom tank 3 lights for brood stock.  The lights will be standard 40w fluorescents.  Is the lighting described sufficient? <Mmm, no. There are a few things you can do here... add/allow some natural light if this is possible... but if your intent is to "produce" frags in any reasonable time frame, you will not want to limit photosynthesis by inadequate lighting. If your local club has a "PAR meter" for loan, do measure the useful lumens you can expect from this fixturing, at the water depths you'll have... You'll want more light, both on the soft and stony corals>   Also would it be beneficial to have a substrate base for the grow-out tanks, or should I install a rack for holding the cuttings? <IMO/E it is best to have a calcareous-based material present... to proffer alkaline earth material, bolster/sustain pH, aid in biological filtration... and a few other ancillary purposes). This material need not be "in" the culture tank per se, but remoted in sumps (I would keep the water systems for your SPS, alcyonaceans separated>   Is it worth having high and low points within the shallow tanks so that the coral may be closer or further away from the lights? <Not really. Better to employ trays, egg-crate, whatever system of "stand offs", supports you'll be using and just stick with these. There may be utility in having different height "stand pipes" for regulating water level itself (to aid in light penetration, improve circulation in the remaining/allowed volume). These can/should be "sleeved" with a covering pipe that is notched at the bottom, to facilitate moving water from the bottom...> I intend to have a cleanup crew in the tanks to ensure that it is kept clean and tidy. <I would be careful re selection here> I will have power heads which should provide enough water movement as well as a skimmer, not sure which one yet! <Keep asking about... many folks have and have tried to run "at home" small culture facilities as you are seeking to do. Their experiences are valuable, worth seeking... on the various "Reef" BB's like Reef Frontiers, Reefs.org, ReefCentral...> If there is any other advice you could give or maybe something that I might not of thought about then that would be super. Hope to hear from you soon, Kind regards, Matt Risby <Mmm, to keep good notes, be on the look-out for the next "big thing". Bob "lordhowensis" Fenner>

Coral propagation book Anthony  - 7/2/6 Hi Anthony, I would like to buy your propagation book signed.  How and where:)  I am a true lover of the reef.  I have an art BA and a masters in Science Education - and reefs are both.  You can see both in action in my little 4 minute video "Reef Magic" by going to: http://www.murrayproductions.org/other.html <Neat!> and clicking on hobbies.  I should have called it "Mandarin Love" (last minute shows its true beauty).   I am very much a rooky, and I bow to you guys who have gone through it all.  You are the masters!!!   I want to start a propagation tank; I have an LFS who buys my xenias now and I would like to produce more for him.  Besides, my tank is getting a bit crowded. Vicki <Have sent Antoine your note (he's off having other adventures elsewhere. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: coral propagation book Anthony  - 7/2/6 Thank you Bob, I am amazed that with your experience and others, that you are all so available online.  Wow! Vicki <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Excelsior! BobF> Leathers, SPS, DASystems  6/25/06 - Friends at WWM, <Scott> I have two DAS units that I keep all my corals in.  Each unit consists of two 75 gallon tanks and a 50 gallon sump.  Both tanks are free of fish all the time aside from the occasional oddball like an angler. In unit #1 - Top tank has all our mushrooms and zoos - which thrive. The bottom tank has only assorted leathers - of which 75% of them are really thriving, and the other 25% have a few assorted issues which the primary cause for this email.  I believe that it's either aggression or some sort of disease. <Chemical...> General symptoms include: a general failure to thrive, sloughing excessive slime, dark rings of some sort constricting the "fingers", overall shrinkage in size even when extended, darker necrotic looking tissue on the tips of certain corals, a "splintering" at the base of some corals, and stasis - never opening, closing, growing, shrinking, or changing in any way shape or form.  Bear in mind this is only 5 out of 20 or so - Looking at few crown leathers and a couple of spaghetti-type leathers.  We don't run any chemical filtration, aside from occasionally throwing in a bag of Purigen when things are looking gnarly.  We aggressively filter floss my water to help compensate for the lack of an efficient skimmer.  We don't change the water as often as we should, but we probably cycle out 20% per month.  None of the described corals have ever thrived at any point in our care, and have been around anywhere from 1-4 months.  The other leathers do amazing, showing great polyp extension and rapid growth. In unit #2: I have a lot of LPS, mixed with a few SPS, and anything that isn't a leather, mushroom, or zoo.  The bottom tank has halides - and virtually every "genera" of coral thrives well in that tank. Occasionally random things don't do well here and there but overall I can pretty safely put just about anything in there and expect it to do well.  Overall the whole unit maintains pristine water conditions and food supply - even extremely picky/difficult to keep species have thrived for extended periods of time in this particular tank (a feather star for 8 months running, a couple of ugly Gorgs for over a year, a Flowerpot for 5 months running, et al.  (I don't sell them to any average customer, so they tend to sit around)).  To the point - long term my SPS don't thrive - and to date I've simply accepted that and avoided them as much as possible.  I chalk it up to inferior bulb quality (Coralife HQI's, 20k) and insufficient calcium/alkalinity levels (though I do excellent with clams?) <Maybe> - coupled with the fact that the tank is overcrowded with other aggressive corals.  So my question here is if I split things up between the top and the bottom and gave SPS their own tank (not their own system) and maintained chemical filtration what are my odds of being able to keep SPS profitably? <Can only try and see... but not great odds... see my note re DAS below> And though you may already answered this - in a tank where everything does amazing except SPS corals is there some other variable that would affect only SPS longevity that I'm not accounting for? <Likely just allelopathy mostly at play here> As an interesting side note - around 6 months ago I switched us from a drip acclimation to the old fashioned float/drop style acclimation. Since making that conversion the survival rate of our corals within the first three days of acclimation went from approximately 80% to over 95%.  Now it would seem counter-intuitive to me that a more rapid fire (/non-finesse) acclimation would yield better immediate results but stunt things long term - but it's my job to wonder. Thanks, Scott <Dutch Aquarium Systems went through a few revisions over the years they were in production. I really liked their "craftsmanship" of the tanks, stands themselves... but their mechanicals were largely less than sufficient. I encourage you to bolster all these aspects... skimming, pumping, lighting, chemical filtration. The SPS question... these corals by and large don't "play well" with other cnidarians and as a general rule require higher quality, more consistent water... Are best cultured on their own, or at least "first" placed and other smaller colonies of less-noxious cnidarians added months after they've become established. Bob Fenner>

Opinion  on..... outdoor coral beds  - 05/15/06 Bob we met at the Nextwave at our DFWMAS club in Irving Texas. I was very impressed with your incredible first hand knowledge of the Marine aquaria industry. Which is the reason for this email. I live in Fort Worth but not in the city limits and have no restriction on the 4 acres where I live. There is a 2000 sq foot house also available. Seeing how your from Cali I thought you might like the choice of name for my new adventure......Ripple AquaSource... <Heeee! Have had their wine on occasion...> it's also one of my favorite songs by the "Dead"...the other one being Cassidy which is my daughter name.  My wedding song was Sugar Magnolia <Seems reasonable> I would love to ask you a few questions if that is possible, I do like the good folks at Garth and there projects. <The singer or GARF?> The cool thing about this I plan to fund it with a gas lease I have. Funny story lived here 21 years and out of the blue a guy shows up with a gas lease. too funny. I do like the idea of funding this from some unexpected funds from something underground to something underwater.  thought about making a 400 foot wall around the front of my place out of DIY live rock know where I can get my hands on 20,000 or so pounds of crushed coral and oyster shells cheap?? <Mmm, yes... likely... Call around the "local" sand and gravel plants re... ask them how much to deliver...> I lost the link on the guy in Ohio that has done this if you know it please forward... Pizza and Beer Robert Barrett <Now you've got my attention. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Coral exporters  3/30/06 Hi Bob, sorry to bother you.  I'm sure you probably won't remember me from IMAC the last 3 years as you meet a lot of people there and are a popular person at the bar afterwards.  I've been at IMAC and MACNA the last few years with FRAGExchange.com doing all the fragging demonstrations with Eric and Anthony and now with Steven Pro this year as well. <Ah, yes>   Anyway, I've been looking into importing coral and starting a small business to start, my goal is a greenhouse, but that WILL come in time.  I know with your extensive travels in Hawaii, Fiji, Belize, Galapagos Islands, and on and on and on.  I was wondering if you could point me in some direction to some good exporters of coral and fish as in Canada it is hard to get nice/healthy coral on a regular basis. <Mmm... well... for others notice here, you know that HI, Belize and the Galapagos don't allow any Cnidarian biz... and... will state below> I hope you don't mind me asking but I thought I would ask someone who would know and may have possibly seen these operations in process first hand. Thanks, Mike Hughes Sea you at IMAC if you are there! <Ahh... looking forward to this. I do hope I can make known to you more fully with an in-person conversation there. The nature of the industry is such that I encourage you to buy your "brood, or frag-stock" from intermediaries/wholesalers at this junction... Unless and until you have a very large operation (perhaps a few years hence), there is just no "sense" to buying or piggy-backing a large-size (like a D-3) container... for the purposes you have in mind. Put another way, you won't make enough money to make it worthwhile to import many dozens of boxes, sufficient to get a discount on freight, customs, all the hassle of putting stock away, keeping it alive long enough to frag, re-sell... Instead, do consider buying a few boxes of specimens from good sources... like Sea Dwelling Creatures, Pacific Aqua Farms, Quality Marine, Underwater World... in Los Angeles. I know these folks/businesses to be honest and competent. Feel free to direct questions, responses to me. Bob Fenner> Please lend advice to a budding coral farmer    3/24/06 Hi Mr. Fenner, <Niki>      I know you are so busy, thank you for all you do. My name is Niki, I have actually spoken with you before on a couple of occasions. I have been working for a retail saltwater store for a while, and recently I got 15,000 to start my own business. not a whole lot, I know. My dream is to have a little place to grow coral and then sell on the Internet. <A worthy project> I have good relationships with a lot of agents at ERI, ORA, etc. due to working in the industry for a while. I am 23, but I am fairly confident in my knowledge.     I would love to have something like reefer madness or ultimatefrags. I love the idea of Internet and not retail. Do you think it could be done with 15,000, a 20ft x 30ft room and a lot of grit and determination? :) and passion for he hobby? <Yes. Of a certainty> I would love to hear any input at all. If you think it would be a pipe dream or if I would even make any money at all. <Could be made to be profitable... with careful planning, the use of as many "shortcuts" as you can find/make... Particularly issues of energy use/consumption, scheduling your time/discipline, knowing and developing your market niche... E.g., what species will you culture? How will you find, contact your potential buyers? How to ship, process payments?>    I am going to go to bar tending school and work that as a second job so any money that the farm pulls can go right back into it. I have Mr. Calfo's book, it's been a big help. thank you in advance for even reading this.       Sincerely, Niki Englerth <Much to consider here. One very worthwhile and telling experience is to "do a business plan" with layout, costs to build, operate your proposed farm... AND a spread sheet with time frame, showing what you expect to sell, the subsequent profit... Go into this with your eyes open Niki... can be done, but... important to realize the "opportunity costs"... that is, what you might otherwise do with the same resource/s... particularly your time. Think on this well, and feel free to write back. Bob Fenner>  

Re: Coral Farming for profit and adventure    3/27/06 Hi Mr. Fenner - I wrote you not too long ago on my mini-coral farm aspirations.   I thought very carefully on everything you said. It makes me very happy that you think it could be profitable. I'm sure there are a million other people trying to do the same thing I am doing right now, so I want to make sure I stand out in the crowd.    My thoughts are as follows: My main focus will be Acros, other stonies, and basically anything that is beautiful and rare. I also will have the staples, you know.. Sarco's, common corallimorphs things of that nature. After thinking on it, I am also going to try and breed clownfish, various shrimps and Banggai's. My "niche" I suppose you can call it, is that I want to sell only 100% aquacultured stock. I plan to sell at very affordable prices also. I don't believe that I will make very much money in the start, but over time, I want to build a nice base of repeat customers. <Do "keep your eyes on the prize"... You need to be profitable... I would not charge much less than "the going market"> I am going to be a quarantine-Nazi. I plan to do everything I can to research new methods  of propagation, and share them with my customers. What are your thoughts on the combined shipping method of pricing? When the price is all together? Do you think that is good for business, or could it shock people away? <Mmm, there is this danger... better IMO to let folks decide for themselves how they want to ship, pay for this> Are there any things you can think of that should be done in these businesses, that aren't? Can you think of anything that you wish was done more, or better? <Many, many aspects... but it is far more important that you discover this/these on your own. One item: I do encourage you to offer some drygoods... products, lines that you will be using yourself as well.>    Above all, I don't want to get ahead of myself. I am thinking to start just a couple of Rubbermaid tubs, and several small aquariums for the shrimps and clowns in the beginning.  I have all the time in the world to devote to my little business, how long will it take to get rolling in your opinion? <Define "rolling"... a few to several months to initially set-up entirely/functionally... a good two years before you have much "rolling stock"... hopefully not too much time beyond this to be profitable> I know it is a very general question, but I'm sure you have an idea.   I will not skimp on the website, for sure, I want it to be fantastic, and I also want to advertise on WetWebMedia. How much does that usually run? <Better at this juncture for you to sell us actual articles detailing your progress, philosophy... with photos. This will help keep you on track, focused and make a few dollars to boot> And also, I was wondering if you think it might be a good idea to fly out to L.A. and hop around and visit ERI <... I would not deal with Rob Miller... a bad rep. in the trade... for good reasons. As you might realize, this being the Net, I do not categorically mind you/others repeating my opinion> and all those places. <Look to honest, professional sources instead... Quality Marine, Sea Dwelling Creatures, All Seas Marine, Underwater World, Pacific Aqua Farms... there are many other worthy dealers> I was thinking it would be a good thing, because I would probably meet a lot of wise people and I could see how top notch facilities are run. <Yes. Worthwhile to see their set-ups for your design, construction... and nothing better than "to press the flesh" in terms of securing, building business relationships>   Once again, thank you so much. I have learned so much from you, and its so cool that you answer all of your emails. - Niki    <Me or someone else named Bob Fenner>

The big question polyp extension 01-08-06 Hi guys and thanks for a great site!!!! <Hello and thank you.> Here is my run down of my tank specs: Size 36x24x25 Lights 250 de Helios 12500 14 inches from water with two VHO 110watt actinics. With 140 pounds of live rock Two sea swirls connected to a sequence dart with not much head pressure Precision marine calcium reactor Salt 1.025 Calcium 380 Ph 8.4 - 8.25 Temp 79.5 - 78 Now everything seems to be doing great fish and coralline is doing well. Corals are showing growth but there is not much polyp extension.  There is tons of extension at night it is crazy of the difference between night and day.  I have a milli that has nice fuzziness but not like it is at night.  I have a plana Acro table that has good ext at night, but occasionally puts them out in the day.  One of my Acros has never extended a polyp in the day....  Is the problem that they are still acclimating because they are still pretty much 1.5 inch frags?  I have the dart dialed back a little should I raise the output a little.  I am guessing it probably has about 2000 gph with the head pressure and all. Is it bad for the coral to be occasionally passed over by the sea swirl with direct force for a second or so?  I do not want to rip the polyps of the coral when flow hits them directly for a second or so.  Because there seems to be a lot of flow coming out of the outlet.....  I hope I am not sounding paranoid just new to SPS.  Thanks so much and I hope I made sense with my question. <You are witnessing nature and evolution at their finest. Your corals will extend their polyps to feed at night because there is more food in the water column at night. There is also a polyp protection factor to consider.  At night there is far less of a chance that a coral nipping fish will swim by and graze on the coral's polyps. If you want to see their polyps during the day your will need to start feeding your corals, during the day, this will make it worthwhile for the coral to extend its polyps. Travis> What Is Going On In My Tank? - 12/20/05 Hello Crew, <<Howdy>> Hope you are all well, glad to see the wealth of information is still growing. <<By leaps and bounds.>> I would very much like some help with regard to my reef aquarium. <<I shall make an effort...>> A run down on the set-up first. - 300 gallon all glass 72x30x30 - 3 x 250 watt 14k, 2 x 140 watt actinics, 2 x 58 watt actinics - Halides less than 6 months old - Turnover 25,000 lph, plenty of laminar flow and turbulence - pH night/day 8.0/8.2 a bit low I know - Kalkwasser dripped nightly - Aquamedic calcium reactor effluent pH 6.7 at 2 drops per second - Reactor media currently ARM - Calcium 400ppm - dKH 11 - Salinity 1.025 - Phosphate '0' with Deltec/Merck test kit - Nitrite 0 - Nitrate 0, can't seem to get this to even a few ppm - Skimmer - Deltec AP850 - ORP 360+, ozonizer 100mg delivered through skimmer - Strontium approx 9ppm - Fish - 14 small to yellow tang size - Corals - around 25, sps 60%, LPSs 40% - Water changes - 15 gallons every 2 weeks <<Should double this...at the least.>> - Kent Marine 4 stage RO filter, TDS reads maximum of 3 - Kent Marine organics resin - Feeding 1 cube of Artemia daily <<If this is all you feed you are 'starving' your tank occupants>> - SPS in corals top 1/2 of tank - Rowaphos used continually in reactor - Live rock around 150 kilos roughly - 2-inch sand bed, fine sand Now the problem of which I have been scratching my head for about 1 year over or since set-up, so little hair left!   Almost all corals are always pale, lack of symbiotic algae I think, <<Mmm...>> sps always seem pale with little polyp extension, corals lack real growth, sps corals seem to never base down properly receding from the base upwards, coralline algae seems to grow to about 1 penny (1 cent) size and start to recede from the center.  There is just a real lack of vigor. <<I see>> I have a Stylophora which grows more like a birds nest coral, very thin the upper branches show very little polyp extension although the parts in the shade on the underside seem nice and rich in colour and extend much more. <<Curious...I have a Stylophora that's just the opposite...colors up on the side facing high intensity lighting.>> I have a few Lobophyllia corals which seem pale also.  Something is amiss and I am very baffled.  Do I need some big water changes? <<Or maybe a change in salt mix.>> Is the tank too clinical? <<I don't believe so.>> Do I need to up feeding? <<Most definitely.  Get away from the brine shrimp, or at least don't really on it for more than a treat. Feed some variety... fine meaty foods like mysis shrimp, chopped krill/clam/squid, Cyclop-Eeze, Sweetwater Plankton, a quality pelleted/flake food, etc....a couple times a day if possible.>> apart from the low pH, <<Not an issue here.>> the parameters and maintenance seem a great recipe for success, or is the '0' nitrate a major factor?.  Lost for ideas and after so long running out of patience.  I look forward to hearing from you soon. Best regards, Lee <<Extremely low nitrate could be a factor.  Increased feeding with better foods will help...is essential in this case.  EricR>>

Coral Coloration and Polyp Extension 12-12-05 Hi crew, <Hello> My problem is trying to understand why do some corals change colour and why some do not open. <The mystery of the reef.> My test this week-end calcium 400, ph 8.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0.5, alkalinity 6, phosphate 0.1, magnesium waiting for new test kit, did not have time to test light reading (PAR) but lights are 3 months old 2 * 14K T5 white and 1 * 20K T5 blue for a 150cmL * 45cmW * 40cmH aquarium holding 230l water, water circulation 3300lph. <Sounds good.> Devils hand. (Lobophytum) The devils hand expand fully but the polyps do not expand at all. I can only see white dot on the fingers. What does it take to have the polyps extended fully more circulation, lights etc? <You might have too much current, not enough current, or need to add a supplemental food, such as live phytoplankton.> Colourful soft corals e.g. pink and yellow colt (Cladiella) and finger leather coral (Sinularia I think). I have a number of pink and yellow colt and finger leather coral but over time there colour begins to fade. What is the requirement for them to maintain their bright colours, e.g. stronger lights etc? <Run carbon and do frequent water changes.> Any information will be highly appreciated. Thanks    Mo. <Hope that helps, Travis>

Some Light Conversation (Light and Coral Growth) - 10/24/05 Hi Anthony, it's Genaro Again can you please help me again. <Hi Genaro- Scott F. in today. Anthony is pretty busy with some other projects at the moment; hope I may be of assistance...> My tank dimensions are 48 x 15 x 18. I have been using one Mh14K Hamilton about 10 inches away from water but corals do not grow. <Interesting that you are not experiencing any growth. I was just having a similar conversation with another WWM crew member on a similar topic. Most metal halide bulbs of this spectrum should produce SOME coral growth if positioned in this proximity in a tank of the depth you're describing. Perhaps you could move them in closer (Say, 8 inches to start). Also, I'm assuming that you're growing corals that enjoy higher light intensities. Yes, different spectra provide different results, so if you're completely unsatisfied, you may want to consider a different bulb as well. Other things to think about: Water clarity, competition from other corals, water flow, nutrition, and environmental parameters (alkalinity, pH, calcium, etc.). Lots to think of.> I do have a 660 icecap to add two 110 watts VHO. Can you tell me which of the VHO will be better Aquasun,50-50 or  Super Actinic. <They are all nice bulbs, IMO. However, if you're looking for optimum growth, I'd be inclined to go with the "daylight" or "full spectrum" bulbs, unless you're working with corals that thrive under bluer spectrum light. Actinics are great for aesthetics, of course.> And, how long on the hours. <I'd run them at least as long as you run the halide. Lots of people like a "dawn/dusk cycle, using the VHO actinics before and after the halides come on/off for this effect, although it is not necessary, IMO.> Thank you again Genaro. <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.> 

Building CORAL FARM/looking for some help  10/19/05 Hello Bob, <Todd>      My name is Todd Melman and my companies name is Reef Systems in New Albany Ohio.  I have done business with your wife with Knop I believe... <Diana? Yes> Hopefully I have things straight and not crossing names... Anyways I am building a coral farm here in central Ohio near Columbus and I am at the final ends to this year long project, actually over 3 years but whose counting.  My questions are concerning several things pertaining to my greenhouse.  I was wondering if you had any good suggestions or DIY plans on building concrete vats out of cinderblocks.? <Mmm, it's been a while... there are "standard works" on such things... likely can be borrowed from a larger library, or purchased on the Net... re concrete work, retaining walls... But I encourage you to consider other building media... plywood and two (perhaps some four) bys, carriage bolts and liners ala Dick Perrin, Tropicorium... Gel-coated fiberglass like our ready koi ponds in the last series of retail stores we knocked out... Totes, Rubbermaid Troughs, pre-made aquaculture tanks... even thick glass and silicone, ala Calfo, if you can get this cheap locally> I am looking for hydrostatic pressure formulas or anything pertaining to vat construction etc.   Also I am having concerns on heating situations and with not knowing where to really focus. <... after three years? I would look mainly into passive methods, then heat pumps... you don't want to pay (much) for heating...> Should I be more concerned with maintaining my grow out vats temperatures ? or try to maintain ambient room temperatures to maintain vats? <The water temp. is all that's really important... what-whichever way it's controlled>   I guess ultimately I was wondering if it would be possible to get in contact with you over the phone to run some questions by you and pick your brain. <Mmm, would rather not... am over in Hawai'i currently, busy>   I believe we spoke a little over 2 years ago via the phone and as I remember you were very helpful with some of my questions at that time.  Also I was planning on trying to get in touch with Anthony Calfo, do you have a contact email for him? <Will Bcc him here>   I know he is someone else in the hobby/industry who is willing to divulge information.  Just looking for a little help with my 13 years in the planning dream.. Thank you for your time... Todd Melman Reef Systems Inc. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: Building CORAL FARM/looking for some help  10/20/05 Thank you for quick reply Bob... <Welcome>     Why do you discourage the use of cinder block vats for grow out containers? The containers I am looking to build are going to be around 1500-2000 gallons each with around 10 to 12 total.   I am looking at sizes ranging from 12-14ft long by 5ft wide by 40" in depth. <... why this depth? For culture, you want a minimum of water distance twixt the animals... if you raise them up... is there a need/desire for this much space under? I would raise the containers to facilitate working in/on them myself... The concrete, blocks cannot be moved...> Even if I were to build these containers out of plywood and EPDM liner my cost into each container is going to be close to the same either way.   Fiberglass or polyproethelen sp? or some other plastic containers out there are just too costly.. I think the cost of building the concrete cinder block tanks are going to run me about 700.00 in cost compared to custom plastic tanks costing me around 3500.00 each... <Look into much shallower ones... making supports underneath... much cheaper> So what are your concerns with the concrete tanks?  I have been to Tropicorium many, many times, what true reefer has not?  The problem is that he often needs to repair or tear down containers to fix them do to leaks. <Dick uses polyethylene, Visqueen... junk... Look into at least 20 mil PVC, Butyl... much stronger, longer lasting> I really want to avoid that considering the time and energy wasted in the repair.  And the potential loss of life do to "Low Tide"  The look of plywood tanks as well with the bowing of the tanks are making me sway away from them.  Any other comments would be appreciated.. Todd <Understood. BobF> Cyano encroachment on coral growth (Correct the problem not the symptoms) 10/9/05 Good morning <Hello Lucas Adam J with you. It's Late at night now.> I received a colony of these polyps from a friend. When I received them they were all ready in decline. The colony only opens up about 5-10 polyps a day but there is Cyano and green hair algae building on them. <Algae encroachment on coral is usually a sign of a few things: Not enough water flow, to many dissolved organics (nutrients), or perhaps inappropriate lighting (not intense enough, wrong spectrum, or old bulbs even).> If I clean them gently with a soft tooth brush the purple coating comes off, I would really like to save these if I can. Will cleaning the algae off removing the purple colored coating kill them off? <This is a common practice and if done carefully is fairly easy. Employing the use of a turkey baster to gently blow off the algae is a good alternative if the toothbrush scares you. The algae should be fairly easy to remove without damage to the infrastructure of the colony (the purple "stuff" they are residing in). Having said that if you do not correct the problem that is feeding the algae growth it will return.> Thanks again...Lucas in Denver <Adam J in SoCal.> 

Help with coral growth  9/29/05 Love the website. <Thank you> I just started a reef tank, about 2 months ago, and have done so very slowly trying not to make any mistakes. <Patience is a virtue in this hobby.> I have basically setup my tank to what WWM suggest and things are great so far.  I have a 37 gallon with about 650gph of water filtration, 40 pounds of LR/LS with just two damsels and no corals for now.  In my sump/refugium I have a micron sock, bio-balls, Euro-Reef CS5-3 skimmer, and 10 pounds of miracle mud.  Now the next thing is deciding what to put in with the miracle mud.  I want to focus on coral growth perhaps SPS, once I get the beginner corals mastered.<Mushrooms are a good beginners coral.>  You have stated that Caulerpa will take away from coral growth. <First time I've heard this. In my opinion it actually helps growth as microorganisms are produced from the miracle mud and serve as a food source for the corals.  Keep in mind corals do produce most of their own food under proper lighting.> As far as the fish, the damsels will soon go back to the LFS and would like to buy a purple tang,<Tank is much too small for keeping tangs.> mandarin dragnet,<An easy fish to keep provided you have a continual live food source such as copepods.  Very few mandarins will take prepared foods.> false percula clown, and maybe one more goby or something of that nature.  So what do you recommend to put in with the mud that will benefit the corals the best with growth and food (zooplankton) and help the best with filtration and where to get the material (if it is sea grass)? <Caulerpa work well.  Check out Drsfostersmith.com, they sell various algaes for that purpose.  The algaes do help lower nitrates/phosphates.>  Also is the compatibility of the fish ok?  Or could you give me a good combination with the purple tang as one of fish. <The compatibility is fine, but as I said, the tank is much too small for keeping tangs.  Google search the WWM, keyword, "tangs".> Thanks so much for the time. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Sell soft corals  9/11/05                                              Cirebon city, we are from Indonesia, in west java. we want to sell many kind of soft corals. If you interesting to buy, you can call to my email : valerian@indosat.net.id thank you.                                              VALEN AQUARIUM                                                     GUNAWAN    <Will send your note along, post on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Coral farm in Manado <N.E. Sulawesi, Indo.> 8/18/05 Bob <Perry> Have a customer in Singapore who has a collecting station in Manado. They are thinking of propagating corals in the waters around their property. But they have no idea how to get the farm started. <Mmm, I know of a few fellows that could help them...> Have you got any plans to visit Manado anytime soon? <Di and I are hauling out through there (to Lembah... on the east side, Bitung) sometime in December... on an inaugural cruise with the Aggressor Fleet... new liveaboard there> Maybe they can pay you for the advice. Perry <Am going to cc Anthony Calfo, Eric Russell, and can't find Richard Ross (Antoine please fwd) here... in the hopes of their chiming in, offering their services, leads to other folks. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral farm in Manado 8/20/05 Hiya Bob...Perry, I'm willing to help where I can, but admittedly, my coral farming experience is pretty much limited to frag propagation at the hobbyist level.  I would definitely have to defer to Anthony on this.  But that said, I'm more than happy to serve as a sounding board, proffer opinions/ideas, etc.... I have contacted a friend on the retail side who has had contact with/ordered stock from an operation in Surabaya that is doing this same sort of farming/propagation in "wild" waters.  If he is willing to give up the name I will gladly forward...though I don't know how willing they will be to assist a competitor. Be chatting, Eric

Re: Coral farm in Manado 8/21/05 Bob Thanks for the help. Let me introduce you to Lek of Sentosa Marine. Maybe you can visit his facility in Manado in December. Lek, Bob is a good friend of mine and is very involved in the trade. Hope you guys can meet up in Manado and bring him diving at the least dived spots at Nain that you mentioned. Perry <Pleased to meet you Lek. We have friends, and know generally where next to look for help here. Do make known the scope of your endeavours. Bob Fenner> Fragmentations 7/31/05 Dear Bob, <Keith> I just recently found your web site, and have been reading through many... many of the FAQ's. I have a few questions of my own I hope you will be able to answer. Before that, I will describe my current system (running for 5 years now but I have had a reef tank for 12 years now). I have the following system:   a.. 240 gallon (all Glass Tank) - predrilled in rear corners for water flow to/from wet dry <Ooof! Please don't call me if and when it's moving time!>   b.. 2 400W 20k metal halides   c.. 4 6' VHO's (IceCap 660)   d.. Venturi Skimmer (can't remember the mfg. but it is about 2 feet tall)   e.. 60 gallon wet-dry (I currently only have live rock in sump with some carbon bags - no other bio media)   f.. Aquatic Lifestyle Systems CR-250 calcium reactor   g.. IWAKI power head (22.4 gallons/min)   h.. 1 sea swirl (center of tank)   I.. 24gal/day RO unit (this fills a 100 gallon mixing tank in the basement and also tops off my wet-dry sump (I have it dialed in using needle valves)   j.. 200 LBS of live rock   k.. 38 types of corals (mainly LPS and SPS) Other nice features include plumbing from my sump directly to a drain tub in the basement and my 100 gallon mixing tank. this makes water changes a snap and ensures I never have a overflow problem in my living room. Over the past 5 years I have slowing added functionality to my tank to make it more maintenance free (or at least to a level that makes me happy). I am at a point now where I am taking large coral fragments every month to the local reef shop for credit. I have been thinking about creating 2 or 3 400gallons propagation tanks in the basement to harvest and sell corals. I did read your articles on this subject and was wondering what you though about a web based business of coral fragmentation. <I have a few friends that have/operate these... have built out such facilities> I have not put a business plan together yet but plan to very soon. <Ah, good> On another subject, I have read about the refugiums and was wondering what benefits it would provide over my current system. I have seen these systems at the local store on the display tanks and do not see a great difference between their corals and my own. Could you please provide me with some more detail on these systems and any recommendations you might have. <Mmm, this is all posted on WWM... a worthwhile addition to what you have, the propagation tanks you may add...> Finally, I would like to know what I could do to promote better base growth of my SPS. They grow quite well currently but only seem to produce minimal bases to support their structure. <Provide slightly excess calcium, magnesium (check on the relative proportion here) and alkaline earth minerals... "melt down" (in your reactor) proper matter...> All my Acroporas are thick and show signs of rapid growth on the branches but not at the base. I am worried that if I try to fragment these particular corals they may not produce adequate platforms from which to grow. <This does happen... a valid concern> I have learned that improper CO2 flow from my calcium reactor can stunt their growth and cause excessive algae growth as well as improper lighting & water flow. <Yes> Any information would be appreciated. P.S. I primarily fragment out the following rapidly growing corals: Frogspawns, Hammers, trumpets, torch corals, horn coral, pineapple corals, cactus corals, birds nest coral, Pocillopora damicornis, and Staghorn Acropora (only for my tank right now). <Look into some high selling, fast growing varieties of alcyonaceans for your new facilities... lordhowensis for your existing... Oculinids if you have room... make adjustable trays in/for the new tanks, so you can have the colonies near/er the surface... make a deal with your utility company to run your lights at night... Bob Fenner> Building a second coral farm 7/29/05 Hi all, My name is Russ; I own a company in the U.K. called Atlantis Aquatics along with my business partner Glyn. We are moving to a garden centre over the next few months and I will be building my second coral farm. My first attempt is in my garage and lit by M/H and filtered with L/R and a large skimmer. There is currently about 500 U.K. Galls in the system. I have a few questions aimed at Anthony, but any help would be gratefully received. My method of lighting will be natural; I've got various ways of cooling, filtering etc but am confused about the material used for a Polly tunnel. I've read Anthony's book and did have 2 copies but alas they are now on my missing list. (lent out and not returned). I remember that a certain type of plastic was used to filter U.V. in naturally lit systems but I'm not sure what thickness or material was used? Our intention is to open the facility to the general public once complete as there are none in the U.K. that I'm aware for people to gain knowledge. Also, I've visited various garden centres in the winter and found these tunnels to be very cold. Is there a way to insulate the tanks used other than the usual methods? To heat the room itself will be very expensive to setup and run in this country, along with the fact that our winters are very long. Thanks for your time in advance, Regards, Russ www.atlantisaquatics.co.uk

Problems Attaching Sinularia - 06/11/05 Hi There, I was hoping you wouldn't mind answering a quick question about Sinularia. <<Not at all.>> I have read the Coral Propagation Book (fantastic by the way) <<Agreed!>>, and have tried just about every method of grafting (green) Sinularia I can find.  The frags never die, they just pull off and float away.  some of these frags have been attached 4-5 times by different methods up to 2 months from when they were cut from the parent colony. <<Yes...one of the more difficult corals to reattach to a substrate.>> Here's a break down of the methods used.  Natural Settlement: after 4 weeks frags are still sitting in place but not attached. Toothpick: after a few days tissue rips off the toothpick. <<Too much water movement?>> Superglue: Doesn't stick to the tissue at all and if it does the coral peels itself off after a day or so. <<Pretty much useless for this particular application, yes.>> Wedge in drilled hole: black tissue forms at the hole and frag breaks away. <<Yikes>> Rubber band: compresses tissue too much - necrosis - no attachment. <<Have experienced same.>> It may sound like the current is too strong, but I have tried very low current as well. I am fairly sure current is not the cause. Hmm...too much water flow would have been my first guess too.>> What we are using for substrate is small blobs of concrete that are cured in water for 4 weeks.  Could the concrete be the problem? <<Is possible.  If not fully cured, the high pH of the substrate may be irritating the coral and keeping it from attaching.>> Would the coral prefer a smoother surface such as river pebble? <<Wouldn't use this...stick to a "marine" source.>> Or is there something else about this substrate that the coral is rejecting? <<As previously stated.>> Sarco's love the blobs and attach within a week. <<Different corals may/will react in different manners.>> I have about twenty good healthy parent colonies that are crying out to be farmed but until I crack the method I cannot see the point in going ahead. <<Try this...obtain some cured live rock rubble, and using a sewing needle and fine monofilament fishing line, "sew" the frags (securely but gently) to the live rock.  Place in a shallow container and put the container in your prop system where it will receive "light" current.  It may take some experimentation on your part to find the right amount of "sewing" needed to do the job.  Once the coral attaches, cut and remove the mono.>> Thanks for all your great work, Greg <<Hope this helps.  Regards, Eric R.>> Info on Growing Coral for Reef Restoration Hi, I am looking for information about growing coral in labs to have it eventually transplanted back on the ocean for reef recovery? Do you know where I can find information about this? <Mmm, there are plenty of such schemes, folks involved in such plans, only a few actually doing something re. Walt Smith is one of these latter> Do you have anyone on your website in the academic community that may know about reef restoration? <Mmm, likely Anthony Calfo is a good place to ask here> Thank you for your help. ~Melody White <Will Bcc both in hopes they will contact you. Bob Fenner>  << See Google search here.  Look for CORL (Coalition Of Reef Lovers), a non-prof. organization that supplies areas in need with concrete "cages" upon which to grow corals.  They use coral plugs from the area, not lab-grown specimens.  Also, ArtificialReefs.org, makes "reefballs".  The AMDA is another avenue of exploration.  Marina >>

Re: Info on Lab-grown Coral for Reef Restoration Cheers,  Melody yes, indeed. I do recall several folks doing such work - although to date it has fared somewhat poorly overall. To be specific, lab grown corals reintroduced  have done only mediocre, while simple in situ fragging and direct placement on the reef has fared much better (simply due to better acclimation/less stress to divisions taken from the reef to the reef... versus duress for light/flow changes imposed on aquacultured stocks). As Bob has mentioned... its been done in Fiji. Also by the Nancy or Monaco Aquarium(s) as I recall. A Caribbean effort has been done the same. And some minor efforts elsewhere in the South Pacific. More successfully (and speaking to the in situ fragging) are the efforts of Todd Barber, John Walsch, et al with the Reef Ball foundation. Do google them... fabulous success, albeit unusual structures.  Please feel welcome to call me at home if I can be of any assistance.  I'm off to Tonga next week, but am happy to chat before or after if you like. Kindly, Anthony

How to ship corals How do I ship live coral? Where do I get the supplies to do this? I got a butt load of pulsing xenia that I want to get rid of. I feel terrible for throwing it away (which I don't) and I rather see it in a good home.  < Good question. I'm not the most frequent shipper but hopefully I can help. Currently many people are using these small little thermos type containers. I think you can find them at Wal-Mart and they are typically Campbell's soup containers. Another option is a plastic bottle (like a Gatorade bottle). A bottle like this is best then placed in a Styrofoam box (Calfo uses wine bottle cooler boxes). That is basically it. Especially for xenia. Some SPS corals do much better when bagged floating upside down in the bag (attached to a piece of Styrofoam). Otherwise as long as you are quickly (overnight) shipping you should be fine. > Thanks, Patrick < Blundell >

Shipping Xenia, 4.30.05 How do I ship live coral? Where do I get the supplies to do this? I got a butt load of pulsing xenia that I want to get rid of. I feel terrible for throwing it away (which I don't) and I rather see it in a good home. <3 cups reef water in a double-bag, an icepack (during summer), and ship in 1 inch Styrofoam. 24-hour delivery. Smaller animals do much better than large ones. The receiver should keep some Lugol's solution on hand. You should be able to find these supplies at any saltwater store. Cheers! Ryan> 

DSB info for coral propagation 3/16/05 Hello, I have enjoyed reading many of your informative articles in the past and hope that perhaps you can help shine a light on a number of questions that I have. <glad to do so :)> I am attempting to start a greenhouse grown coral farm. I have a number of personal tanks in which I have used DSBs to assist in environmental filtration. Presently I am setting up a 800 gal system and am investigating other sources for sand to use in these systems. I can purchase aquatic sand from my sources but have been reading a lot of literature that says if you are not buying "live" sand, you are over paying for basically playground sand. <not true... there is no need for so-called "live sand". Its not needed, and frankly... many of the products sold as "live sand" are really a joke. Carbonate sand is carbonate sand... period> I am concerned about this as I am not able to set the system twice but I have no need to spend unnecessary $. Hard enough to get started as a small business. <no worries... clean, dry sand is fine or better: can be inoculated as you wish. More control> If these substrates are indeed avail for proper use in these systems what do you recommend? I have inquired as to available sands and have the opportunity to purchase many types. <calcite or aragonite would be ideal. If you go for silica based sands... you need to compensate for its lack of buffer> I have heard the "play sand " available at many home improvement stores works well. <true... do see the many message boards posts confirming this through the years> I also wondered about something like masonry sand. <eh... rather dirty. Some concern for contaminants (river dredged)> I know that they use this type of sand for playgrounds. It has a sugar sand particulate size. Any recommendations would be appreciated. One further question, I have a great number of snails in my systems that lay eggs , but never does the population increase. <some species have complicated larval cycles that do not succeed in aquaria> Any ideas? <do try for strombid snails from IPSF.com or Ceriths/cerithium species from Florida for easy to breed marine snails> Thanks for your time and I look forward to your reply. <best of luck in your endeavors :) Anthony> 

A Budding Coral Farmer Hello Mr. Scott. <Scott here, Captain! (I couldn't resist that one!> I would like to start my own little coral frag colony in my nano tank!!! How do I start doing that? Do I break some pieces off my corals I have now and glue them on a some live rock? Or is there some other way? Thanks for your time <You're entering one of the most enjoyable (and responsible) parts of the hobby- captive propagation of corals! Depending upon the species that you are working with, it may be as easy as slicing off a section of coral and letting it settle out on rock rubble (as in the case of soft coral), or using a dissecting shear to cut some branches off of an established colony and supergluing them to pieces of rock for grow out. To be honest with you, it's too difficult to generalize. Lots of ways to accomplish this! I'd start by arming myself with Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation", which is packed full of information and ideas for the intrepid coral farmer. Check it out! Good luck on your adventure! Regards, Scott F.> Not quite ready for the pet-fish biz Bob, <Ron> I have been keeping marine fish for almost 18 years. I was 12 years old when I set up my first saltwater tank after saving my paper route money and Christmas money. I received my B.S. in Zoology with intentions of moving on to graduate school for marine biology. Instead, I have been side-tracked the past few years working as a chemist. I bought a new house a few months ago and intend to finish the basement. Part of the basement is going to be sectioned off into a fish room. My question then, is there grant money available for such ventures and where would I look? <Grant money... for? Building a fish room in your basement?> Also, what is the best way to go about having at least a part time income, e.g. research, breeding and selling, etc.? <Mmm, a bunch of things to relate here... First off, please do take a read through our aquatic business subweb: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/Biz%20Index/Biz%20index.htm> I enjoy your web page and receive a lot of insight from your answers. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Ron Looker <There are a few avenues you might take... production of rarer cnidarians... Pacific Ricordeas (enhanced by cutting through siphonoglyphs)... Cespitularias... oculinids... You need to research your local market to gauge what might sell... and how much... to find if you're going to need to ship-out principally... There is a bunch more money to be made with far less time, hassle actually manufacturing a few well-placed aquatic chemical prep.s... or becoming a regional distributor of an import line... Bob Fenner> Coral Farming questions 1/4/05 I perused what I believe to be most of the FAQs on the WWM site, and didn't find too much not of the retail/service side of the business.  I was specifically looking for more information about Mr. Calfo's previous business. If I am just another schmuck who did not find the site for all the answers to my questions, I am sorry for stupid questions.  Else could you please point me in the right direction? <no worries... here in your service> Such things as why'd he quit? <many reasons, not the least of which was a desire to travel, write books and spend more time photographing.> How much was he making at his peak? <working only four days per week (wanting to always spend more time with family, versus 5 or 6 day work weeks), I netted over 100K annually with a profit margin that peaked around 52%> How many employees did he have if any? <a one man band only> How many square feet? <1000> How long did it take to make ANY profit (I read in the FAQs a couple years, but I'm just curious)? <exactly that> How many gallons were his systems? <8,000 on the high end> Greenhouse construction (I've been reading, but most books focus only on plants)? <do check out the references in the back of the "Coral Propagation"  book... it's what they are there for my friend: where I bought sand, salt, greenhouse supplies, etc. For starters, you can try XS Smith for GH structures.../ and places like atlasgreenhouse.com> I am soon to be finishing my undergrad and will probably shoot for earning an Ms in Mariculture.   <you'd be better off getting a business degree, mate (seriously). But at any rate, please do take some business courses and be sure to complete a thorough business plan before making any fiscal move. There is great software out there to help you like Business Plan Pro> As of now a coral farm/import business is my dream, and has been growing for around 4 years now. <forget about importing as a long term option... you cannot rely on a living from it in the 10 year plan if even the 5 year plan. Focus on farming corals wholly... better profits, better for the environment, and more control over your project/income> Thank you very much for your time. Adam Beem <best of luck and life to you, Adam. Please feel welcome to share your completed business plan with me for a shared opinion. Anthony>

Acropora Color Change Bob: <Scott F. in today!> I purchased some colorful Acroporas and placed them in my tank. In a couple of weeks, they started to turn all brown. I have since got my phosphates to 0% and my nitrates to under 5%. The acros are starting to grow with tips being colorful. My question is will the entire Acropora return to its original color now that I have my water quality under control? Joey <Great question, Joey. The prevailing wisdom is that the colors of coral are a sort of natural "sunscreen", which the coral will manufacture as it needs them. Under intense light and high water quality, it is certainly possible that the colors will return to something approaching their original splendor. Phosphates are well known to inhibit calcification and color in stony corals, so you were right on in trying to get water quality in order. Interestingly, you will often get different colors for the same species even under different lights. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Strange growths in reef Hello: I have an 80 gallon reef aquarium that is about 8-9 months old.  It had been doing fine until lately when, about two weeks ago, this white fluffy and stringy stuff started growing all over.  It is even growing on the snails. I have a plenum, five maxi jets, 400 watts of light, a protein skimmer and a charcoal filter.  I use SeaChem additives.  As all of this is happening, my coral have stopped opening and seem very unhappy.   WHAT IS HAPPENING?? Jill Bryant >>>Hey Jill, Are you using tap water by any chance? I've seen strange things happen with tap water. Do you have a pic? If so you can email it to me here XXXX@target.com Have you tested your water? What is the calcium at? Are you sure you're not seeing mucus strings from tube dwelling snails? What additives exactly are you using?   If what you're witnessing is in fact related to what you're seeing in the corals, then it's a water quality issue. Make sure you're NOT using tap water to top off or do water changes. Check calcium and alk.   I would start by doing a large water change using RO or natural sea water. Eliminate your variables one by one. Drop me a line back if you have further info/questions. Good luck Jim<<<

New Coral Growth Questions Hi WWM crew. :-) <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today>             I have 2 questions regarding 2 corals that an online friend mailed to me as a gift. <Wow!  Nice friend> I was totally ecstatic over the arrival of a fairly sizeable colony of brilliant green star polyps and a small but packed to the gills colony of yellow button polyps. I have had these things for not quite a month now. <Great!>              I noticed some purply white, knobby looking mass starting to grow out from some branches of the GSP's, and the consensus from my fish group on Yahoo! is that this is the skin growing before the polyps form. <Yes, an encrusting mat.> I have found some evidence of polyps in the making like small bumps on this new healthy tissue as well as other polyps. I noticed this evening when the lights were out that there are several other spots where the skin is expanding. My question is if when the polyps are fully open, I can't see this new growth, if this stuff is branching out over existing healthy polyps, does it just continue to branch out or encrust what is already there? <Both, it will be like a weed in time!  These are the easiest corals to prop, and you can easily cut these up and spread them throughout your group.> I have another spot that already has a skin and it looks like a flower patch coming out of nowhere lately on part of the same rock. It's already starting to form new branches. <Great! Signs of a healthy environment.>             Secondly, I have noticed that it seems like every time I turn around there are new polyps budding on the button polyps. I saw a new one today that looks about maybe 1-2 weeks old (from casual observation) that I just discovered today. When these things bud from the foot naturally, if there really is not enough room there do the others just move to compensate for the space? <Yes, they will arrange themselves to their liking.>  The colony is not even golf ball size but well packed (30-50 polyps I guess). I would say I have at least 5 new polyps in the past few weeks that have a mouth and crown. I have one I have been watching for the past 2 weeks maybe (if that) and it appears to have a new bud coming from its base!             I am not complaining about the growth, I am thrilled to see this sort of growth. I just don't understand how these things compensate for the lack of space and manage to survive. <Constant war.  I'd suggest you pick up the Blue Planet special on reefs- The constant battle for space is well documented!  Good luck, Ryan> Thanks in advance (again) :-) -Joe

Calcium for LPS - 4/30/04  As you have been told a million times before, WWM is the BOMB <Da BOMB> and there'd be a lot more fish in heaven were it not for your sagely advice. Thanks! <Our pleasure>  I have a 75 gallon with a 30 gallon DSB sump that is nearly a year old. The tank consists of several reef safe fish (clown, fire fish, coral beauty, gobies and a tang), as well as several polyp types (sea mat, glove polyp) and a soft coral (have never been able to identify it, but it looks like polyps, bright golden-white in color but with 12 petals instead of the usual 8 on each polyp - the petals look like little round white nubs), and a candy cane coral that was recently added. I also have about 85 lbs of really good live rock and a lot of macro algae growth in the sump (looks like hacksaw blades), <Caulerpa serrulata> the tang doesn't touch it <Won't touch most Caulerpas as they are usually quite toxic>  I do weekly water changes of 5 to 10 gallons using RO/DI water, my parameters are perfect, the fish are doing great and the polyps and soft coral seem to be growing and doing well. Somehow, when acquiring the candy cane, I didn't make the connection that this is a stony coral. <Large Polyp Stony coral or LPS>  I do not have a CA reactor. <Don't need one per se. If you had a many LPS or SPS then maybe>  The candy cane seems to be much happier in my living room than it was in the LFS (better lighting in my tank), <I am sure it is happier>  .. but I want to continue to ensure its happiness.<Good methodology>  I do not plan on stocking the tank further and will not be adding any other polyps or corals. Should I be looking into a CA reactor? <Nope>  Or should I just test the water and add CA as needed? <Test the water and do a water change if calcium is depleted>  Or should I just not worry about it and continue with regular water changes? <Yeah, I like this idea better>  Also, on a completely different note, I am leaving for vacation in a few months (Orlando - Discovery Cove!!!) <Eeewww. Discovery Cove, in my experience, was a rip off. I was extremely disappointed. You get little in return for the cost. I invested in diving instead and now have unbelievable marine animal encounters that are more fulfilling than anything that Discovery Cove could offer. Get certified and spend your vacation dollars on a worthwhile vacation endeavor someplace more exotic than Orlando with lasting memories of seeing a different world than one we are used or one that is simulated for us in Disney World. But........you will have a good time in Florida for sure. Look into diving!!! You won't regret it.>  .. and I plan to have my family come by and help with feeding (premeasured amounts) and top off (should only need to be done once or twice over the 10 days we are gone). Although the DSB is teaming with life, the grain size of the sand is in the 1mm range, and there are not a lot of larger meaty pods to get sucked into the pump and put into the display for continuous feeding (there does seem to be a lot of bristle worms, are they eating the pods?). <Possible but more than likely they are feeding on any left over foods>  I was considering adding a Mysis starter pack, you know, 25 or so live Mysis shrimp, to the DSB in the hopes of culturing live food that would hopefully get sucked into the display regularly. <I like this idea. I do the same. I buy mine from http://www.aquaculturestore.com/index.html >  Would this mess up the DSB in any way? <nope. Be sure to feed>  Would the Mysis absorb essential coral elements in the water for their shells and stuff? <Not enough to do any harm>  Is it a bad idea? <To the contrary, a great idea>  Am I crazy? <Not at all>  Any other advice you could give me regarding vacation settings? <Sounds like you got it covered>  Thanks again for all your help! <No worries.....~Paul>

Wants to get it Bigger Hi guys. <How goes it, Michael here this evening> I'm hoping you can help me out. <Try my best>  Here's a quick tank profile: 90g/20gsump/20gref 2x250w 10k MH 1.025sg 79F. <So far so good> I'm in college, so most of my stuff is diy. <I think we're all poor as students :|> Here is my problem: I have been keeping my tank for 2 years now, 1 year in a 55g before I had to move, which I will have to do again this summer (not far- not that that means it wasn't a pain in the ass the first time). I only lost one snail during that move! <Nice>  Anyway, I have been keeping a little of everything, but few SPS. I have had good success with almost every coral I have purchased, and I even had a frogspawn return from a skeleton that had been dead for six months. <Have to love corals' recuperative powers in a healthy system>  I only have a few (8, mostly small) fish. Salinity and temperature are kept almost perfectly constant. My fish seem happy and soft corals, mushrooms and polyps reproduce fairly rapidly. I even have a neat pink sponge that has covered almost all of the undersides of my LR. I also have 3 clams- I have had my squamosa for about a year. <Are they all Squamosas?>  Anyway, things seem to be right, but the growth of my coral (mainly SPS) seems to be dramatically slow. I have a brown Acropora frag that I have had for over a year, and it has grown maybe a few millimeters. sad, huh? It's stuck out its polyps every single day and appears healthy, but there is little growth or encrustation at all, with some bottom-up recession. <When a coral appears healthy and extends polyps as usual, but doesn't actually grow much, something is deficient. Probably not enough food or not enough light. Acroporas are very light hungry corals (for the most part, there are many species in the Acroporidae genus), much more so than your mushrooms, as these species are separated by at least 60' of water in the wild>  I have a purple tortuosa frag that I have had for maybe six months- it hasn't receded, but the growth is almost nonexistent- definitely unlike the time lapse sequences of acros that I have seen. I have been using tech cb for quite some time almost everyday as well as Lugol's and I infrequently (~once a week) add other stuff like magnesium, trace elements, strontium etc in small quantities. I add a little plankton or black powder twice a week or so. Recently I purchased a ph probe to see if that was where my problem was. It was around 8.0 during the day, but I have brought that up by drip dosing Kalk steadily to around 8.2/8.3 and I'm shooting for 8.4. Sorry about how lengthy this is. Should I be adding more calcium/buffer or feeding much more plankton? <Well, your calcium levels should be around ~400 ppm if not closer to 450. Acroporas are very calcium needy, being stony corals. As for plankton, it will do them absolutely no good. If you've only been feeding plankton, this is probably why you're not seeing any growth, as they're slowly starving. Acropora sp. are very hungry, and need zooplankton to survive and flourish>  I thought that most of the corals were predominantly autotrophic. <Not nearly, they most definitely need feeding>  I am keeping the SPS frags in the highest flow areas of the tank. <Probably a good idea, but really depends upon the subspecies>  I have an orange capricornis frag that is very healthy looking and has shown decent growth (~1.5" in 5 months):(. Also, I have had various xenia colonies, which in my tank seem to move very rapidly across the rockscape (with little growth) and then they either stay the same size and look good or wilt. I know I'm doing something right because I have had my mandarin for 1.5 years and a leopard wrasse for one, a colt coral that I grew from a small piece and now have to prune, and my tank is pretty cool looking (but I have nightmares about some aquarium hotshot coming in and catching all of the problems I know I have). If you need anymore info, just write me back. I want a COLONY, not a one year old frag. thanks so much, Hunter Leber <What all are you feeding? What is your current lighting? A bit more info might help us get to the bottom of this. M. Maddox>

Acropora millepora growth hello guys, <Hello - An "SPS freak" at your service :) > I have an A. millepora that's been in my tank about 3 months now.  happily, it has been growing like crazy, and the new growth is a very nice purple color with teal polyps.   <Sounds nice.> here's the thing... in my experience these colonies grow in a pretty random upward and outward branching fashion.  the branches on this one, however, started out pointing upwards but have now all bent outwards and are growing laterally and branching very little.  the result is a pretty odd looking colony.  I am trying to think of a reason the colony would want to expand laterally and not upwards, towards the light... could it be that it is in search of more intense light?  (I have 175 10k's with PC actinics)  I am curious to hear your opinion on this. <Well, Mario, most likely this growth has to do with the current it's receiving. Generally speaking, the more current you give a coral the compact the branches will grow. It's interesting point out that many A. millepora specimens in the wild have a table growth form, so this growth your observing is quite normal. As long as it seems to be growing, I wouldn't be worried about it at all.> thanks, <Take Care, Graham.> -Mario

When do corals grow? 2/18/04 I have found contradicting resources.  Some say calcification happens mainly during the daylight hours and some say calcifications happens only at night.  So what's the truth? ~Chris <both and either <G>... there is no definitive "time to grow" for such a wide range of animals we call "corals" [ tube corals, hydrocorals, octocorals, scleractinians, etc]. I doubt that its even very specific for most species categorically. Anthony>

Grape Caulerpa stunting SPS growth? 12/14/3 Having ruled out all other causes for my stunted SPS growth (it's not calcium, for example, the levels are high and Halimeda and coralline algae grow fine;  I also have high current and high light), I'm beginning to think it's the Caulerpa.  do you think that it's likely or probable that my Caulerpa is killing my SPS and other corals? <FWIW... inadequate water flow (not enough or not enough of the right kind) is surely one of the most common reasons for poor coral growth. With that said, and in address of your concern regarding the macroalgae, "grape" Caulerpa racemosa, is arguably the most noxious among an already exceptionally noxious group (The genus Caulerpa). It has been documented to kill fishes and urchins that consume it to excess... and it has also been shown to inhibit coral growth (albeit like many other macroalgae). Above all... it is not natural to keep or find with Acroporids. I sincerely believe that your tank will benefit by reducing excess amounts of this algae/genus (no need to completely rid). Heavier use of carbon and increased water changes will also be helpful here. Best regards, Anthony>

Bristle Worms and Coral Fragments 12/9/03 Hi. I have a question on the coral fragments received from Louisville, KY MACNA convention.  Do you ever take the epoxy off the coral.   <generally not... you simply wait for coral tissue or coralline algae usually to cover it over> Mine is still on.  I may not have put on the right kind.  It looks like white putty.  The corals are just now starting to get color and grow a little. I didn't have proper lighting until 3-4 weeks ago.  They were turning white and I think they were dying, but with 130w they are making a come back in my 29 gallon tank.  Just leave them they way they are and don't move them?   <yes... please don't move them for fear of killing them if they are weak> I am having a lot of bristle worms in Fiji rock.  It now looks like bunches of them.  They are white with bristles and getting possibly four inches long.  Can they be attacking my corals? <they can be a risk to the coral... and in excess numbers are an indication of excess nutrients from overfeeding, lack of water changes and/or inadequate water flow (do you have less than 10-20X?)> Someone at the local fish store told me to try peppermint shrimp and that they would eat them.  No such luck!!   <be warned that peppermint shrimp also nip some corals and clams too... they are not fully reef safe. Do read though our archives here on wetwebmedia.com to hear such stories/problems> What can I do that is affordable? <better water flow and more aggressive water changes and/or protein skimming (do add a skimmer if you don't already have one... and make yours work better if not)> My 3 clown fish are still in 10 gallon tank until I can figure out the bristle worms. I've kept them in there until bristle worms under control.  Will the worms hurt them?   <not usually> The clown fish will be the first fish in the 29 gal tank.  What other fish would be a good mixture in this tank.   <there are hundreds of possibilities... do browse through our archives and through some books to make a short list of candidates and then let us help you from there if desired> Help!!!!  Any suggestions greatly appreciated.  Thank you, Cindy Stantz <do consider reading Bob's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" when you can... it will put so much of the fundamentals of marine keeping into perspective for you. With kind regards, Anthony>

Color of SPS Corals - 8/29/03 This message is for Anthony Calfo <howdy> Anthony, first off thank you for all your prior help in my 75 reef.  It is  doing better today than ever largely due to your help.   I also have just purchased your book on Coral Propagation and an getting a lot out of it. <thanks kindly my friend> Setup: My current lighting is 2 URI 50/50 VHOs and 2 full actinic (440 Watts) + I added 2 96Watt Power compacts one each about 6 weeks ago (added one and waited 3 weeks for the other).  My alk I keep around 10DKH and Calcium around 350 using limewater dripped nightly.   <excellent numbers... keep steady and you do not have to worry about going higher. Or if you want Ca higher... let the ALK fall to 8-10 dKH> I also have to add about 1 teaspoon a day of Baking soda and about 15milliters of Sea Chem Reef Complete (3 cap fulls) to keep these levels with my current coral growth.   I am going to try your method of Kalk dosing you mention in your book.  I am also feeding the fish and corals  more now (your prior recommendations). <sweet> My question concerns the colors of my SPS corals in my mixed reef.  I am starting to get really nice looking purple and orange colors out of my Acros and my Montipora digitata.  However, some of my green Acros and Monti's are still not dark and vibrant as they should be.  (My friend,  the Halide nut,  wants me to go to HQI halides.  He has much nicer green colors then I do but my purples are better than his).  Does the green colors require more intense lighting or is it something else? <your friend is clearly mistaken... or at least missing the big picture. Cnidarian pigments are as heavily influenced by feeding levels and water clartity as they are the nature of light. Many factors here... with nitrate levels (zero is not good... allow a few ppm to linger) and UV penetration (not MH vs. PC... but glass canopy or no, being the issue here). That said... double ended HQI halides are excellent lamps. My current fave> Thanks again for your help. P.S. one note out of your book.  You mention coralline bleaching right at a water line when doing water changes.  I used to have a big problem with this until I turned off my fans during the change.   The coralline does not seem to die off any more.  I always thought the bleaching was due to the intense evaporative cooling with the fans on. <it really is a coincidence in your case... do consider that every piece of live rock imported is out of water for a minimum of 4-7 days dry on import. The reality of the industry is that unless you live in Los Angeles/port of entry... your rock was out of water for 7-14 days on import. Air exposure is not an issue here bub. By chance do your lights turn off with the fans? 'Tis light exposure then> Anyway, I really like the book and hope for a "part-two". Andrew <thanks kindly <G>... am penning the "Reef Fishes" volume of our new NMA series as we speak <G> Anthony>

Color of SPS Corals II - 8/29/03 Anthony, thanks for the quick response.    <always welcome> I am not sure I fully understand your answer.  "and UV penetration (not MH vs. PC... but glass canopy or no, being the issue here). That said... double ended HQI halides are excellent lamps. My current fave>"     <my apologies... to be clearer, coral coloration in some cases is a matter of UV exposure and not a matter of a specific type of bulb. No one bulb (not even HQIs ;) ]  can keep all corals in optimal color because some natural pigments are stimulated by UV (producing attractive colored proteins produced to reflect/refract it) while other corals are influenced unfavorably by it. You could have the "perfect" lamp, if such a thing existed, but with a glass or acrylic lens, your corals may not get the light they really need (for other corals... the lens is necessary to prevent excess exposure). Point being.., lenses clean... lenses dirty... lenses off and lenses on can all effect coral coloration. So can proper use of carbon (weekly/daily) to maintain water clarity or not. Coral colors simply are not only about lamp choice. And so... experimentation will be necessary> I did forget to tell you my tank is acrylic.  I do keep the top very clean though.   <yes... critical> Would you say the green digita may not be getting enough UV?   <I could not possibly say for certain... even if we could confirm the ID correctly, some specimens/colonies come from vastly distant areas of a reef and have evolved to need different light qualities> I am trying to feed more and like I said, my purple corals are really starting to color up but the greens are not dark enough.   <indeed... the feeding is crucial for maintaining coral coloration. And like the water clarity issues above, it is a double edged sword. Excess nitrate/feeding can over fertilize corals, so to speak, and cause an unattractive darkening (often brown). Experimentation> You are correct about the nitrates.  My tank do not register any with my kit (Salifert). <If your nitrates are truly zero... then do allow them to creep a bit (keep under 5 ppm though). I must say, however, that I am not impressed with Salifert test kits based on consumer feedback I hear> Also, I am considering metal halides for an upgrade when all my bulbs reach the 6 month point.   For my 75 reef considering it is acrylic, I am thinking of going to 2 175 watt Ushio metal halides and run two full actinic VHOs with my old Ice Cap ballast (going forward 4 bulbs to replace instead of 6).  Would that help "punch more light" to the corals and help with color?   <most definitely... a nice combination> It is less total watts than I have now but I feel the halides might be better here.   <correct... better penetration at depth> Also, would you recommend a different setup with an HQI halide setup with 2 150s or 250s?   <i cannot say without a list of species. We must [pick our species and identify their needs before selecting lights> I was worried about to much light and heat as I really do not want to over do it (heat is a concern as I do not want a chiller). Thanks again. Andrew <no worries... 150  watt HQIs at 6" off the water or 175 watt Ushios at 9 inches of the water will be nice either way, to generalize. Be sure to keep those fluorescents no farther than 3" off the surface though. Best regards, Anthony>

Eclipse I Hood w/ SmartLite 32 Retro Kit Lighting II - 8/15/03 Thanks for the reply Anthony.  All my mates at fishprofiles.com are laughing their heads off too.... <you are a very good sport my friend <G>. Truly so. It allows us to answer queries while illuminating other/bigger issues to the masses at large that read our dailies> Hobbyist, but, yeah... I'm in an academic environment and mindset lately. <heehee... not a crime at all. Just do not forget to enjoy the organic aspects of the hobby in addition to your personal interests of hard science> Thanks for busting my balls a bit... I know I'm over analyzing... but it's hard to get a straight answer since everyone has different tank sizes, etc (and opinions on what will and will not grow).   <indeed... understood and agreed. And much of it is mitigated by the fact that most corals are so very adaptable to changes in light if conducted slowly. It's very important to know that deficiencies in light can be easily overcome with feeding... but the reverse is not true. Point being... err on the conservative side of lighting (no 1000W MH on a 55 gallon <G>) if you want more options for corals. And feeding is a very crucial but commonly overlooked aspect of husbandry> So I figured I would get objective.... Anyway... if so much will grow?  How about some colorful suggestions (ok....colorful language too) <depends on how frisky you are about cutting coral, or no. For the low maintenance gamut... Tridacna crocea and maxima clam babies are scary slow growers. Some handsome Porites spp. (yellow cylindricus, purple nigrescens or green lobata) tend to be relatively slow growing. Blastomussa for the lower light areas would be great. Most of the soft corals are to be avoided for their fast growth unless you want to play the other side of the coin (frequent propagation)> Will low light grow stuff grow on the substrate? <many many species, yes... in such a shallow tank> Would medium light stuff grow on the rocks that are piled higher? Or am I just getting too detailed again?   <a bit my friend. The tank is so very shallow that you can grow almost anything with proper feeding and adequate water changes> Just buy something and see what happens? <better still... find a group/niche and focus on it... shallow water SPS... low light LPS or polyps... medium light Octocorals (and frag away), etc> Thanks, Jeff <and sincere thank to you again, Jeff for being a great sport. Wishing you the very best of luck. Anthony>

Bring Up The Lights...Bring on The Corals! Hi guys, <Hey! Scott F. your guy tonight> Just want to let you know how much I've learned from all the info. you've provided in your website. I've already asked a couple questions before, but I have some questions on the above topic. 1) Would a 130W CSL or Coralife PC lighting be sufficient for a few corals and inverts, but mostly fish aquarium? <Well, yes- or no...(How's that for an answer?)...Really depends on the depth and length of the tank, and the types of animals that you intend to keep.> and What type of corals and inverts are hardy with this setup? <I've kept all sorts of LPS and soft corals successfully with PC's.. Yes, you can keep SPS with PC's, but I don't think that you'll see optimum growth and color with them, like you would under halides> 2)Is my filtration system be enough to sustain a few corals and inverts? I have a 65 g pentagon/corner, 30" high, 55 lbs. live rocks, Ocean Clear 325 canister filter (w/ pleated microns and carbon filter), March pump at 600 gph, Red Sea Prizm skimmer up to 100 g. <Sure...If you pay good attention to water quality, clean and/or replace filter media regularly, and get a couple of cups of good, dark, yucky skimmate out of that skimmer twice a week, you'll be doing fine. Ahh- and now that I know your dimensions, I'd venture to say that the PC lights would be okay for some of the less demanding soft corals, like Capnella, or perhaps some Mushrooms, and maybe some Sinularia or Sarcophyton, if placed high enough up on the reefscape. Alternatively, you could do well with some LPS corals, such as Caulastrea, and maybe an Open Brain coral...Do get a copy of Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" to fill your brain with tons of good information on coral keeping...It's a "must read", and needs to be in any aspiring reefer's library!> Thanks again for everything, Felix <My pleasure, Felix! Good luck and have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Coral/Corallimorph Growth Once again, thanks in advance for your great advice. <Anytime my friend> It's my 50g soft coral tank I have a question about this time.  In the tank, I have 2 shrimp, hermits, snails, 1 bi-color blenny (only fish), xenia, mushrooms, zoanthids, yellow polyps.  Have about 50-60lbs live rock, 6"dsb, 20g sump w/ more rock, and an aqua c skimmer running full tilt, but only getting a 1/2 cup every 3-4 days. <Half a skimmer cup? Not that bad.> I have it on the lowest level so the skimmate is sort of watery too. <You might try raising the cup a bit to get better skimmate.  Try cleaning your skimmer, in and out.> Lighting is about 320W of VHO 50/50 and 03 mix for 12h(03) and 10h(50/50).   5-10g water change once a week. Alk, cal, and ph are right on. I feed the corals once a week with a cocktail of you-name-it from the sea food department and various fish foods, as well as every other day doses of reef plus and reef iodine. Tanks been up and running for over a year.  Xenia is growing like mad.  Question...  mushrooms are dividing at the normal rate, but they are staying very small (3-7mm)? They are near the bottom of the tank and don't seem to be reaching for the light. The original ones I placed in there from my other tank were 2"+ in diameter.  The yellow polyps look very healthy, but are not spreading?  My first thought was that I'm skimming out too many nutrients, but I still have very minor diatoms and algae every few days or so leading me to think that nutrients are not limited.  ...unless its one type of nutrient I'm leaving out? <More than likely light is the limiting factor in the growth or lack of expected growth. Have you replaced the lamps lately?>   Also, I am noticing 100's of tiny snails on the glass at night.  I can foresee this becoming a plague.  Is there a way to control this or will their overpopulation limit their own existence? <Not to worry. Perhaps capture them to trade with friends? Most everyone needs algae control.>   Lastly...  I do have a ton of bugs since my blenny only eats what I feed him. I would really like to try a mandarin, but I'm very paranoid about the mortality rate.  If it was the only other fish in the tank, would there be a fighting chance of survival or are these fish just death waiting to happen?  Thanks so much for all your help. Neil Jacobs <Tough call. You might have a good pod population now, only to have it crash later. Best to have more than enough LR, LS and space to provide an appropriate food source. When are you planning that new 150? LOL!  Craig>

Growing Corals The Right Way My wife and recently purchased a piece of frog spawn from our local fish store.  At the store all of their pieces open up great.  The one we bought was open fully also.  But ever since being in our tank it barely opens  and today seems to be pulled in even further.  The tanks at the local fish store have power compacts on their tank, and we have four 110 watt VHO bulbs. I was wondering if the frogspawns do not like the actinic lights or  do you think it is a water issue.  My water seems to check out fine.  Ammonia = 0, nitrites= 0 , Nitrates may be around 10 on our American Pharmaceuticals test kit.  I have checked the PH and it is 8.3, I use Seachem's Marine Buffer in my RO water to maintain 8.3.   <Well, there are a number of possibilities here. Euphyllia species are usually found in deeper water. where they are sheltered from powerful current, and receive indirect light. Actinic light is well-suited to these corals. You may want to relocate the colony so that it is partially shaded for a while. Remember, all corals go through some degree of "shock" from the transport and acclimation processes, and need to be acclimated to a new lighting scheme. Given a little time under diffused lighting, and some careful observation, this coral should begin to open up for you. Anthony wrote a great article that discusses this in more detail. Check this link:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm   > I also use Prime to dechlorinate water ( just to be safe) but I had heard that you should not use a dechlorinator with RO water is this true? <Well, it seems kind of unnecessary to me> It is just a old habit I guess. I had a maze coral and a plate coral that also died.  I measured the alk. on my Red Sea test kit and the ranges on it are low/ normal / high.  My reading has always seemed to read high.  Looking down the sample in the tube compared to the color reference chart it is blue.  Just today I did what one of your archives said to do  1 gallon fresh water 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 drops of Malachite green (Greenex Brand)  After I put it back into the tank it appeared to have some long stringy Mucusy looking strands coming out of it.  Is this normal?   <Well, it seems like a typical reaction for a coral that has been through a potentially shock-inducing experience> I have not seemed to have any luck keeping the hard corals.  I have a colt coral that is doing fine.  All of the hard corals have been toward the bottom of the tank (75 gallon) The only thing I have not monitored lately is the calcium.  I add about a capful of Kent calcium every other day. <Well, you should get in the habit of monitoring for any parameters that you are adding stuff for, particularly calcium. You need to know what is going on in the tank so that you can take proper actions as they become necessary. Also, you should consider a more "natural" aggregation of corals. In other words, specialize a bit...Go for soft corals, LPS, or SPS corals. Mixing different types of corals is not a great idea. Sure it's done all of the time, but that doesn't make it right! Many soft corals give off various chemical compounds that are noxious to their neighbors. When you start mixing soft corals and SPS (which does not happen in natural settings, you are essentially exposing animals to chemical "warfare" that they are not evolved to face or resist. You can put together some amazing displays of just softies, or just LPS (a neglected segment of the reef hobby, IMO), etc. Much easier to manage in the long run, IMO!> Fish in the tank are doing fine.  One more parameter is the salinity.  1.023-1.024.  That is with the plastic hydrometer ( I know they are not that good but cannot not afford a refractometer yet). <The plastic hydrometers are just fine for our purposes!> Water temp is 78 degrees.  Are the VHO not enough light for these corals?  (4 -110 watt 2 actinic-2 actinic white, Ice-cap 66o ballasts) <Should be just fine if your tank is less than 30" deep. VHO is a very versatile and useful light source!> I have also just upgraded to a Aqua -C EV 120 skimmer. <A GREAT skimmer, IMO!> This thing is awesome, I had been using the Classic Berlin with turbo upgrade.  I recommend to anyone the Aqua-C products.  In one week it has skimmed out more than the Berlin did in 2 months. <You heard it here, folks! That's why we recommend Aqua C skimmers- they consistently do the job!> I just got an Red Sea ozonizer and my wife does not want me to put it on. She feels it will be bad for the tank, I have read very good things about them on your site.  Can you outline some of the pluses  about ozone for her. <Well, if used correctly, ozone has a number of benefits that make it useful in marine tanks. First, ozone can reduce the possibility of some diseases spreading throughout your tank, and ozone helps keep water very clear, which really lets your lighting do its job more effectively. Ozone has also been demonstrated to enhance the efficiency of protein skimmers, and helps maintain higher oxygen levels in the water> The unit I bought has the built in controller and probe.  Where should I put the probe in the sump or in the tank or does it matter? <I'd try to locate it in the tank> My wife picked up a book on clearance yesterday "The complete Book Of the Marine Aquarium"  By Vincent B. Hargreaves.  And it says some pretty bad things about ozone and how it nullifies Iodide/iodine.  I am just trying to make the water quality as good as I can.  Will it kill all the good things that the corals need to eat?   <Well, if misapplied, ozone can be very destructive. However, if used properly (administered according to the aquarium's size and manufacturer's recommendations), and if excess ozone is passed through activated carbon, it is a safe, effective means of increasing water quality.> Sorry so long intended to just ask one question and here we are.  I keep telling her to order your book. <Bob's book is a real treasure! And, while you're at it, put Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" on your shopping list, too. If you're a serious fish geek like me, you'll refer to these books all the time! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Coral overcrowding/aggression Hello there. I hope you can help me with a problem, if it is that. I have a 50 gallon tank, that is 2 years old. {the inhabitants corals, fish, are mostly 5 years old. I changed the system 2 years ago.} The thing is as you can see in the photo, the middle 3 corals are bunched up, they are always open and feeding. they have grown on to each others base rock. Is this a problem long term, <it is a problem now... forget long term. There is undoubtedly aggression being waged heavily... they are touching and they are entirely different genera here (Sarcophyton, Sinularia and Lobophytum)> and is it going to affect growth? <certainly> I don't really want to cut any of them. <you do not have a choice, my friend short of removing coral from the tank... these and all such Alcyoniums naturally grow 2-3 feet tall/wide in 5-10 years (sometimes sooner). Some of these corals left alone will undoubtedly give up the silent chemical war and die in time. It may take as much as a year more... but it will happen. Furthermore, you are struggling with a nasty microalgae problem that is smothering the cabbage leather coral at least. That mucus tunic should be shed in 2-3 days max. The microalgae on it is clearly much older than that. You may have a lack of water flow (made worse by the crowding) and you definitely have a nutrient export problem here (lack of daily skimmate production, weak use of carbon, modest water change schedule (monthly or longer and small). Further still... it is a problem for the small finger leathers in the shadow of the tall mushroom leathers.... they are deprived of light and water flow here> tank conditions are . sg1022, ph 82 nitrate 0 phosphates 0 temp 82-84 <all fine except the temperature which is too high especially in light of the nuisance algae. 76-80F much better> I do a water change every month, I don't add iodine etc, should I be dosing with anything. the corals are about 15 - 19 inches in size. The other corals and fish are all thriving. <weekly water changes and monitor the calcium, pH and Alkalinity for the basics. Be sure to skim very aggressively. Any good skimmer should produce daily full cups of dark skimmate... especially in a full tank such as this to reduce noxious elements. Change a small amount of carbon weekly too. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Coral Care Wow . . . talk about totally screwed up. I thought since my alk is high and my PH is always near 8.6 that I didn't need to add other additives like Bionic or Kalkwasser.  <a common misconception, my friend. Corals need Calcium plus carbonates (ALK) to form skeletal material> As for the Bionic and Iodine verses Kalkwasser and buffer. Do I need to do both, or is one or the other enough? Which is best?  <you need Iodine, Calcium and Carbonates separately. Iodine will always be a separate addition. Some tanks get enough through heavy feedings but most tanks need an additive. Small daily doses of colored Iodine are better than once weekly (Iodine does not stay in solution very long). As for Calcium... I favor hydroxide more than chloride forms... so I vote for Kalkwasser. A separate SeaBuffer is to be added (by day) to deliver carbonates. Bionic is a fine product though and quite convenient. If you have a deep sand bed you may want to use that instead. The subtle nuances and benefits of these various applications are too complex for the body of an e-mail. Do chat the subject up at a local society meeting or attend a regional/national aquarist conference for an extended discussion of the subject. I travel quite a bit (see schedule here: http://www.readingtrees.com/meet_the_authors.htm ). I would love to chat at length with you on this subject in person. In the meantime... you might also pursue the writings of Dr. Craig Bingman on the subject> If I use Bionic regularly do I need to buffer my water with a commercial buffer or would baking soda suffice? <neither will be necessary... Bionic is complete> Actually, how do I buffer the water before I add it for top off? <aerate first to drive of CO2, then add a small amount of SeaBuffer or baking soda to slightly harden the water> How much Caulerpa is to much?  <none is too much if you are extremely diligent about harvesting the mass like clockwork. You must be strict though! Else you run the risk of a vegetative event that can seriously pollute the system. The bigger the mass the greater the danger> In my sump/refugium I have sectioned off an area 16"L x 12"W and half of it is completely full of Caulerpa and the other half is well on its way. In addition I have Sargassum growing in the main tank that is nearly ready for pruning. Is this too much? <regular and systematic pruning will let you enjoy all... just be timely about it and all will be fine. Regular water changes too to support the large masses of plant matter with trace elements> By the way, I am about to purchase both yours and Bob's books. Again, thanks in advance. <we thank you kindly... do continue to learn, share and grow. Best regards, Anthony>

New article from Antoine Bobster... <Antoine> Attached you'll find a new article I penned for that UK mag TF. A general reef care piece in a series (we have the first 2 on WWM already: reef lighting and Feeding Reef Invertebrates). <Great> Do edit and place on WWM in due time. <Will do so today. Just looked at, very nice... and a great boon to refer folks to and let them "find" in the series... will link together.> Have you confirmed for MACNA by the way? Up in the air or a go for you?  <A go. Am driving (Ms. Daisy) there with Di... next Weds., she's got a room, Daniel Knop is showing... Jas.C is helping with her booth, Dave.S may show... no Zo unfortunately... Looking forward to seeing you boyz> Hoping to see you there. With Zo we may have the whole gang sans Barb (and Patti... and Mike... Dave too?) Ciao, bub

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