This animal does great in most tank lighting. It does not like strong current that is hitting it constantly and it needs plenty of room to grow. You can move this animal up and down in your tank until you get it positioned right. You can tell that your animal is happy where you placed him by watching the polyp extension.
|This is an incredible animal to start off with in a salt water tank. It grows fast, ships well and adjust to different tank conditions. They are very tank friendly meaning they do not sting other animals. One needs to remember to give them plenty of room to grow since they grow fast and can shade other animals from the light. In the wild these animals can get as big as a Volkswagen. These are very easy animals to propagate. We are seeing more and more of these animals on the market. Many of them are being tank raised and not brought in from the wild.
There are so many beautiful varieties of these animals. Some of them have different colors, some of them are frilly, some of them with longer polyps and we are seeing more and more varieties every day.
This is a great first coral for almost any reef aquarium because it often grows in lagoons that have less than crystal clear, nutrient free water. The popularity of this coral makes it a great one to farm. |
There have been many times that people with reef problems have told us that the Sarcophytons were the most hardy corals and that they survived even when little Suzy decided to feed the fish all of the flake food before she went to bed.
|What you see in this picture is what I described above. A hermit or snail has fallen on its head and thus the polyps have retracted. Remove the snail and in a short while you will see this animal fully extended and happy again. This picture shows one of the most common varieties you see in many fish stores. It was the very first one I placed in my show tank. |
It grows faster than almost any other animal we have researched at the Foundation. It was the very first one that I learned to propagate. In 1995 LeRoy kept coming by my tank and saying "you should cut that animals head off you are getting to much bio mass in your system." We were just around the corner from presenting our reef tour and this was the biggest animal in my tank. I was doing everything I could to make LeRoy forget about cutting it's head off. Then one day he looked into my tank and once again said "you need to cut the head off that animal." If you let me do that then just think you can have ten different animals to place in your system.
He got me:) I allowed him to cut off its head and I pursued finding ten new tank mates for my show tank. The head grew back on the stock in a very short time. I have now cut this animal many many times over and believe it is one of the best corals to first try your skills at propagation.
SEE A LIFE SIZE PICTURE OF MY FAVORITE SARCOPHYTON
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This layer may stay on the animal until it covers with a light film of algae that is why the snails and hermits tend to work on this animal. They love to eat this film that consists of proteins and other compounds which are called Sarcophene. Directing a power head at this animal for a short time is a great way to remove this film and allow the polyps to extend to their normal grace. We find that by placing the animals where they are happy they tend to not secrete this fine layer as often. They also use this as a defense and if they are not bothered you will rarely notice this situation. This is also one reason we propagate them when they get too big otherwise they continue to fight other types of corals for room to grow.
What you see in this next picture are two different kinds of Sarcophytons. They do very well next to one another and they will not sting or kill each other. We are now successfully propagating these animals with almost a 100% success rate. We have found that you can cut the animal directly in your tank or remove the animal from your tank and make the cut. You must remember that not all animals are that safe to cut directly inside of your tank.
You will see the beginning formation of polyps on the stock in a two week period. In less than a one month period you will hardly be able to tell that you cut this animal. The babies generated from the mother colony can be glued directly to the rock and will grow its own stock in a very short period of time. A head like you see in the above picture can easily be made into twenty babies. LeRoy likes to cut the head into many pieces and let them fall to the sand bed of the cutting tank. He then waits for the cuts to heal. The waiting period is about two weeks then he glues them directly to a plug. Once glued these animals are ready to ship in about one month.
If you have strong lighting make sure you place this animal more towards the lower end of your system. Move it up gradually to secure its new place in your system. They do not like a strong current directed at them all the time if you have a wave maker they will love the indirect water movement. If you do not have a wave maker you can do what I do and change the water current by changing the direction of your power head these animals will be happy for a long time. I do this for about an hour and then position the power head in a different direction. I also have some of my power heads on timers they are on for fifteen minutes and off for fifteen minutes.
This diagram shows the steps we take to produce the best cuttings from a Sacophyton.
1. Cut the head off of the base as close to the top of stalk as possible. Use clean sharp scissors.
After you have rinsed the cuttings in reef water, you can put them in a gravel tray with light and water flow for three days. We use extra SeaChem Reef Plus while the cuttings heal. When the cuttings have hardened we use rubber bands to attach them to Reef Plugstm. The cuttings are placed on a cutting rack in a tank with good lighting and moderate water flow. DO NOT use any type of wave maker because the changing currents cause the cuttings to work loose.
If you are interested in one of these animals please give our office a call we always have many of these ready to go to a new home. Call Matt at 1-800-600-6163. If you are like Tom in Tulsa, keeping one that our Foundation does not have, please give us a call we will be more than willing to trade to add to our genetic bank. If for any reason you are scared to propagate this animal please e-mail us or call us on our free reef help line at 208-344-6163 and we will walk you through the steps.
I will never forget my first experience with propagating this animal. It was wonderful seeing the new babies attach and form and the mother became more beautiful in such a short period of time. As with all of our research we share this information freely with you so that you will add to our efforts to not take anything from the ocean. It is our hope you will share this information with others and more importantly provide us with your results so that all research can be shared. Save a reef grow your own, take pride in what you are doing remembering you are making this a better place for future generations!!!!