|Good day to all. This past month has provided GARF with many gifts and many items to write about. Sometimes when writing these articles I find a question mark in my head on what to write about next, now I am just trying to figure where to start. This reminds me of the many people who want to start a reef system I often reply you "start by starting." I am indeed sorry that everyone could not come to our Coral farming seminar. We had many interesting people in attendance and five Individuals who came from five different Countries. This year we had visitors from England, Israel, Italy, and Canada. |
Many issues have been brought to light this past month in regards to the wild reefs and freight issues. It is so important that we be the voice for these animals. There are some big issues on how the reef hobby will be effected with new air travel proposals. Meetings are taking place focusing on the wild reef and the future of it. If you want to become vocal now is the time.
through an internship from Oxford England.
I watched a little longer and when I was certain that my eyes were not fooling me
I ran and screamed to Stuart to come into my office. He to could not believe it.
Other than the coral farming conference which I will go into detail shortly I had the surprise of my life over a week ago. When walking into my office and starting to add the SeaChem supplements I noticed one of my blue damsels laying in a old clam shell and it was black. The damsel looked like it was grasping for every breath. I watched closely and it wasn't long before eggs were laid all over this once empty shell. Then came the other damsel going right behind the first one fertilizing the eggs. I could not believe my eyes. I wanted to run up stairs and wake up Stuart who was staying with us through an internship from Oxford England. I watched a little longer and when I was certain that my eyes were not fooling me I ran and screamed to Stuart to come into my office. He to could not believe it.
My first inclination was to remove the shell with the eggs on it an place it in a tank by themselves. I know, I know what's the big deal about raising baby captive damsels. I say it is a big deal and I will do everything I can to be successful in rearing these young. I have the biggest part of the challenge already and that is a mating pair. Not only did they pick front and center for me to watch and learn as much as I can about this they waited for me to come into work. I never would have found the tiny little eggs if I had not seen it with my own eyes. The damsel has torn legs off my starfish she spits hermits across the tank and she is defending her little guys against the other fish. It is a good thing I did not remove the shell for this is the third batch of eggs in two weeks.
|The first batch of eggs hatched out four or maybe closer to five days. The next morning came her second set of eggs they hatched Sunday. On Monday morning at the same time as the last two the third set of eggs were deposited. I am hoping to catch some of these this time and work to find a food source for them. The fry are absolutely little. You can see their eyes forming in about two days and they begin developing little bright blue specks right before they completely hatch out. Wouldn't be nice if I could figure this all out and give away a free blue damsel with every Reef JanitorTM order.|
I have been calling around trying to get as much information on this subject so I can hopefully raise the young outside of the tank to help this mom continue to perform and keep laying eggs. There are a great deal of hiding place in my tank so if left alone one would think some of the hundreds of fish that hatch out will make it even without my help. Everyone who came from the Seminar took turns visiting my office but we allowed mom to keep her privacy.
I have a great deal of information to share about this seminar. Each year it seems to get bigger and better. I am recovering from the long nights, and loads of work that goes into making this seminar happen. I would like to state how grateful I am to the speakers, raffle donations, staff members and volunteers who helped me pull this off. I don't care what one has to go through for a entire year, having a weekend like this past one makes each second of each day worth it.
|We held an entire day of hands-on work shops. People learned to make AragocreteTM from the famous rock maker Eddie Postma. Everyone was able to make an Aragocrete rock in the sand filled fish boxes. We watched as Eddie made caves, arches, and tables using nothing but a small stick and a garden trowel. |
LeRoy had a group of people help him make a new Xenia system using Plexiglass. I had visitors all day in my office and the speakers and I answered questions. I always leave these seminars wishing that my head had a zip drive so that I could down load information and start over.
| Dr. Lake is the Cancer Research Doctor we have been working with and donating animals to. The animals being tested during the first part of this research is the Sacrophyton. GARF now has about 33 separate strains in our genetic bank. Thanks to our trading program you have given us many more to test. Dr. Lake has written many publications in his field of cancer research and provided a four page bio on he has done in his field of study.|
I am very excited to report that Doctor Lake shared the results of his findings while testing the animals that came from GARF. He showed us how he extracted the toxins by grinding up the coral and injecting it into cultures of separate cancer and human cells. First he had to test it to see if this animal would be toxic to human cells and toxic to tumor cells.
Mr. Gerald Heslinga, the owner of Indopacific Sea Farms, honored us by speaking here at the GARF seminar again this year. Mr. Heslinga gave everyone many new ideas on the subjects of reef farm marketing and the science of mariculture. Jerry explained that sometimes we miss out on marketing opportunities by not paying attention to all the potential ways to generate funds. He also explained that coral farming was not for everyone and that he has seen many people fail at an attempt to be successful.
|This man has an incredible gift for coming up with new products and he shared his insight and his vast experience on this subject. Jerry did much of the early work on farming giant clams at MMDC in Koror, Palau.
Jerry's facility in Kona has grown a great deal from when I first met him. We are indeed very grateful to him for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his wisdom and we thank him again for his support of GARF's work. If you have not already visited his web site it is one that you should spend some time with. Jerry has come up with some fun products such as Tang Heaven and Coral Heaven.
Jerry grows some of the finest sand formed live rock in tanks using a flow through system. We are trying to twist his arm to come to our next seminar and allow all of us to see once again how much his company has grown. We will never find the right words to express our thanks for his commitment to this hobby.
|I was extremly delighted to meet Dr. Leo Morin, the head of the SeaChem company. I have wanted to meet this man for years. I have spent many a night trying to figure tables and gain some type of understanding of chemistry. For the most part this was the hardest topic for me to deal with. |
Dr. Moren gave one of the best lectures on water chemistry that we have ever attended. He has a way of teaching that makes this very complex subject crystal clear and fun. He is a very sincere human being and this hobby is lucky to have a man like him paving the road to new horizons for the hobby.
|I really enjoyed spending time with him and have asked him to come back to GARF again next year. He did not just give us a lesson in chemistry 101 it was 1001. I feel a great deal of respect for Dr Morin and his willingness to hold nothing back in providing first class products to make our reef experience the best.|
I am certain he had no clue how wonderful and beautiful GARF's systems are. He wanted to take my 55 gallon SPS brood stock tank home and label it SeaChem's tank:) What a great human being he is and his honesty went along way to make him as one of GARF's leading hero's.
|He showed us slides of many beautiful, breath taking aquariums, and some of the newest ways people are setting up new systems. He also expressed concern for the future of the wild reef as well as concern for the airlines restricting air travel for the animals.
Mike helped us indentify some of the rare corals we have traded for. We were able to send Mike home with several new corals for his reefs. Mike answered many questions during the breaks
We will also keep you posted on these subject, if you are interested in getting involved with writing letters to committee members and so on please let us know. Mike also has a great new book out it is really geared to the beginners but even I learned a great deal from this book.
GARF hopes to promote captive growing of all the needed animals for a healthy reef aquarium. We can have a marine aquarium hobby that we can all be proud of if we share all of the methods that we learn while we research small scale coral farming. The other concern is to practice taking as little from the wild as possible for soon laws may restrict collecting from the reef environment.
|This week all of here at GARF are a little bit sad because our intern from England Stuart Gould had to leave us and return to his studies of aquaculture at his college. They had better hide the glue and scissors or the university will have loads of baby corals. |
Stuart taught several coral propagation classes on Sunday. There was always a croud of people watching and asking questions.
In this picture Stuart is teaching the proper way to cut a Gorgonian using wire stripping pliers. You can see the bowl of Reef PlugsTM that were drilled with the drill press. The 56 gram bottles of Reef Glue are setting on the counter.
XENIA BED FILTER REPORT.
We have been testing a new filter that uses many species of Xenia to filter the water in our 150 gallon SPS coral brood stock tank. This filter is now four months old and it is doing a very good job. GARF now has over a dozen different types of Xenia in our genetic bank. We have recently imported several new types of Pom Pom Xenia from Tonga. We are reminded just how difficult it is to domesticate a new wild collected pulse coral. The Xenia that we have imported do not grow or pulse as well as the strains that we receive each week in our trade program.
We have had one problem with the Xenia Bed Filter that we did not anticipate. Several months ago we purchased one hundred propagated corals from the Solomon Islands. We used the racks that are in the Xenia Bed Filter for quarantining these corals. Many of the cement disks that the corals were mounted on had a small brown hydroid that is now growing on the top rack in the Xenia filter. During the Coral Farming Seminar we asked Mike Paletta if he thought the hydra would be a pest. Mike said that he was sure that we should eliminate them as soon as possible.
These pests look like a red string with a brown head consisting of many feather shaped polyps. The entire colony was about one half inch tall. It had spread onto several of the Xenia that are growing on Reef PlugsTM on the top rack. We have seen this pest on about ten percent of the corals from the Solomon Islands. We had tested a method for treating SPS coral plugs that had hydra, but we were concerned that the treatment might harm the Xenia.
We collected all of the Xenia that were infected and placed them in a bowl of fresh water for thirty seconds. We then soaked the Reef PlugsTM in reef water from the tank they were growing in. After one minute in salt water we soaked them again in new fresh water. The fresh water was the same temperature as the system water. One of the most interesting things that we observed when we returned the Xenia to the filter was that the Purple Tang started eating the Hydra. The Tang had never shown any interest in the Hydra before we dipped them. After two days, none of the Hydra were alive and none of the Xenia looked any worse for the wear. We will continue to watch the filter to see if any corals show any stress. When we dipped SPS corals we did not see any negative results.
|Many of the Xenia in the filter have more than one type of Xenia growing on the same Reef PlugTM. These plugs have been very popular with the customers who have received them. We will start a group of these Combo PlugsTM so we can surprise the customer with an extra coral. The best combination seems to be a short creeping type Xenia and a tall tree shaped Xenia. The best looking Combo PlugsTM have a light pink Xenia under a dark brown one. We will have fun teaching Marizio to make these Combo PlugsTM. Marisio in the only person who has not left for home after the Coral Farming Seminar. He flew here from Rome Italy so he decided to stay for a week. Marizio has been very easy to teach because he has a vast knowledge of the reef aquarium trade. He speaks pretty good English and we speak no Italian, but we all speak reef Latin.||
Daniel produced the famous computer program Fish-Vet that is used worldwide to save countless fish from disease. You can call Daniel at (972) 7 6379756 in Eilat, Israel.
During November we will have the pleasure of giving a talk at the meeting in Kona, Hawaii. This meeting will be one of the first conferences attended by both scientists and business people who are pioneering the Marine hobby into the next century. We have just received an E-mail from Stanley Brown. We are very happy that things have worked out so he can speak in Kona. GARF is planning to report as much as possible about what we learn at the Marine Ornamental Conference.
|We hope to be able to talk to some people who are working on captive spawning of Xenia and Acropora. Here at GARF we are planning to spend much of our time and energy during the next four years developing a closed system so we can cross breed many ornamental corals. |
We have many strains of Xenia that are very fast growing and hardy. We will try to cross these corals with strains that pulse very well and that have great colors. We are working on a diet for corals that can be frozen and used anytime.
When Stuart Gould first arrived from England we cut the heads off of many of the Mushrooms. After we had sliced the heads into pie shaped pieces we dropped them into the shallow tanks we use to grow cuttings. We looked into the tank three days later and there were many small round Mushrooms attaching to the gravel. I was certain that we must have left some Mushrooms in the tank from the last experiment because it seemed that they were too developed. Stuart and I cleaned out every Mushroom. After we had glued them to Reef PlugsTM we cut some more. In three days the same thing happened. The stalks that we cut when he first arrived have now grown new heads that are almost as large as they were when we cut seven weeks ago.
|We have not tested the new food in the Xenia filter. The purpose of the filter experiment is to learn how much biomass the Xenia can produce with the nutrients they remove from the SPS reef. We made a new Plexiglass aquarium during the work shops we held at the Foundation during the Coral Farming Seminar. |
This tank is four feet long and it is six inches tall. The tank is eleven inches wide. We will make three more of these tanks so we can construct a Xenia grow out system. We taught many of the people who attended the seminar how to plan and build these aquariums and how to make the rack we use to hold the Reef PlugsTM that the Xenia will grow on.
Well I've got to run please take some time each day to enjoy your reef and most of all remember to have some FUN! and SAVE A REEF - GROW YOUR OWN
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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!. If you have any questions please use this form to ask them. WE WILL PHONE YOU AND HELP YOU PICK THE BEST CORALS FOR YOUR REEF AQUARIUM. We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.