The corals in this family tend to be tree shaped with non retractable polyps. These corals are said to be arborescent because they are often shaped like small trees. This group of corals include some of most brightly colored soft corals. Many of these corals have been very difficult to maintain in captivity, but we're learning to domesticate and propagate many of these beautiful corals. GARF has been researching the possibilities of commercially propagating many of the species in this group.
This page will start by listing each of the genus that we are working with in this family. The corals will be listed with the corals that we consider the easiest to keep first.
|This aquarium was built in 1986, and it has a 40 gal. display tank above the nine chamber flow through filter. Our fellow researcher John McCleod made a pair of these aquariums after reading the original articles about mini reef filtration in a 1986 Fresh Water and Marine Aquarium magazine. These two aquariums have operated continuously since 1986. |
These aquariums were built by sandwiching the glass chambers between two 5 ft. by 2ft. pieces of one quarter inch tempered glass the water from the top chamber flows down one side of the aquarium in a 1 in. wide space that leads to the lower chambers. Each of these nine chambers can be individually agitated to release the detritus that is accumulated there into the water column. This detritus is then pumped into the show tank by two Maxi- Jet 1200 power heads.
Capnella||Capnella are often called Kenya tree corals in the aquarium hobby. The most beautiful Capnella were purchased by GARF from the Solomon Islands. We were able to purchase these corals from an ocean based coral farm before it was closed. Capnella are the easiest soft coral in this group to maintain in captivity. The Solomon Capnella corals are very beautiful because many of them are bright blue.
Capnella from other islands are often green, yellow, and shades of light brown. Many of the cinnamon brown Capnella that we have traded for grow very rapidly. Cuttings of Capnella attached to gravel can be glued to small rocks or Reef Plugtm. We have noticed that Capnella cuttings attach to gravel much faster than any other soft corals. It is interesting to note that each cutting attaches to only one rock before it starts to grow. Other tree shaped coral cuttings often attach to several pieces of gravel. Capnella cuttings seem to almost have a will to attach and start growing toward the light.
Capnella can grow very rapidly when they are placed in bright light. These coral seem to grow best when they are in moderate water flow. We are now conducting research in symbiont recombination by inoculating newly imported Capnella species with symbionts taken from the well-established fast-growing Capnella strains in our collection.
Many of the Nephthea that we have been able to collect are brilliant fluorescent green tree shape corals. We also have several species that are a range of colors from pure white to turquoise blue. Nephthea are slightly harder to maintain in captivity than the Capnella, but we have found that it is possible to grow large colonies by following a few simple rules. The fluorescent green strains of Nephthea Do not like as bright of lighting as the Sinularia and Capnella strains require.
The Nephthea strains that we have collected originally came from Palau. These brilliant fluorescent green Nephthea have smooth central trunks with clumps of polyps situated on smaller smooth the branches. As we started to collect more strains we noticed that these Nephthea have complex branched polyps. This type of Polyp is able to collect small organisms from the water column. These polyps lack the obvious sclerites that make some of the other more predatory corals have a rough texture.
The Nephthea are photosynthetic and they seem to thrive in lower light areas. Nephthea are one of the corals that often takes a long time to acclimate to new systems. These corals often do very well if they are located in part of the aquarium that receives alternating strong water flow. This can be accomplished very easily by using a lamp timer with pins that can be set to turn a power heads on and off every one half-hour.
This beautiful coral is often sold as Lemnalia, but if you are lucky enough to receive a Neospogodes you'll be able to see the wonderful difference. When we first received these corals they reminded me of an unlikely cross between cactus and a Sinularia. These beautiful corals are not as hardy as Capnella or Nephthea. Because Neospogodes are photosynthetic they should be placed in moderately strong light. The predatory coral tank that we are discussing in this issue has won 55 W power compact light.
Like many of the other predatory corals Neospogodes thrives in strong water movement. Because many of these coral seem to do best when the water flow changes we have positioned two maxi jet 1200 power heads in opposite corners. The to power heads in the sump deliver a strong to the back lefthand corner of the aquarium. The power head in the front left hand corner of the aquarium directs a strong current along the upper front glass. This power head is on an Intermattic lamp timer that is set to turn the power heads off and on every thirty minutes. The power heads in the back right hand corner is on the lamp timer. This power head is on for twelve hours while the light is on.
Neospogodes is very easy to propagate from cuttings. Prominent sclerites make it very easy to super glue the cuttings. These cuttings seem to do best when they are placed with a tip pointing slightly down. We now have several colors of Neospogodes including yellow, purple, and pink.
This brightly colored soft corals can be bright orange, red, pink, or yellow. When these corals are expanded they have brightly colored stalks branches and polyps that are usually one color . When these corals are closed they tend to look like fleshy lumps. These corals do not have prominent sclerites that make some of the other corals in this group looked spiky. This corals often grow on the underside of rocks because they are not photosynthetic.
When you're placing these corals in an aquarium super glue will help to attach the rock that they come on so that these corals can hang down in unnatural position. The aquarium that we're discussing in this article has several arch shaped Aragocrete Sculptures. Aragocrete Arches allow you to build a structure to hang these corals on that will not obstruct the desired water flow.
These corals often spread across the rocks by themselves so that the adult colony is surrounded by small colonies. We have been experimenting with symbiont recombination by placing cuttings from these corals in the same chambers with a tree shaped coral cuttings that have been in captivity for longer periods of time. Even though these corals are non photosynthetic we are certain that there is a beneficial relationship between the bacteria and the corals. Bacteria may be utilized by the corals to digest food.
These corals are some of the most beautiful soft corals in the world. Dendronephthya are soft branches corals that are brightly colored and they have prominent spicules that are often of a contrasting color.there are many beautiful colors available in shades of pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, or combinations of these colors.
One of the most important things that these predatory corals need is a very strong water current. Today we received several new Dendronephthya and we have placed them in a plastic tank that is 24 in. square and 12 in. tall. This tank will be connected in a system the tank that we're talking about in this story.
We will use three maxi jet 1200 power heads in this new tank. Water is pumped from a 48 by 24 in. tank that is 8 in. tall. One of these power heads will be on constantly. One of these power heads will be on for thirty minutes and off for thirty minutes, and the third power head will be on when the lights are on. The power head that returns the water from the 48 in. will be on twenty-four hours a day. The power that is on for thirty minutes will be directed in a clockwise flow. The other power heads will all be directed in a counterclockwise flow.
|During the next two semesters we will be researching different ways of feed the non photosynthetic corals. In order to mass produce Dendronephthya in captivity it will be important to find acceptable substitute diets that can be manufactured in bulk.
There several new products available that contain concentrated phytoplankton that can be kept in the freezer. During the next year we will be reporting on our research and we will share with you any information that we are able to discover about what other people are doing to produce non photosynthetic predatory corals in captivity.
Many of these corals grow under ledges where they naturally hang down into strong water currents. Aragocrete Arches and long thin Tonga branches made from the Aragocrete allow us to build structures with many places to glue these corals.
This beautiful purple and white Dendronephthya was sent to us by one of our readers. The fact that she sent this to GARF to take care of because she thought that we could provide it proper environment for it is quite a compliment. We will be posting pictures of this long white soft coral along with pictures of than other Dendronephthya that she sent us.
|This close-up photograph shows the conspicuous white spicules that are embedded in the body and polyps of these corals. We are very interested in any information that you may have about non photosynthetic predatory corals that you have kept in the past. Please e-mail us if you have any information about successes or failures with corals that are available in the aquarium hobby. |
This morning was very exciting because I was able to unpack the box of corals that came from the farm in the Solomon Islands. Included in this mixture of soft corals work too brilliant yellow Scleronephthya. One of these corals is a bright lemon yellow with red polyps. The other coral is also Scleronephthya that has beautiful peach colored polyps on a bright yellow stalk.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about these corals. We will be posting many new pages in the next few months about the new research that we are doing here at GARF.
FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS WE HAVE WORKED VERY HARD TO PURCHASE, TRADE, AND SAVE AS MANY TYPES OF CORALS AS WE CAN.
We are having a special on all of the coral cuttings. WHEN YOU PURCHASE 5 AT THE REGULAR PRICE OF $100 WE WILL GIVE YOU TWO FREE CORALS!. We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.