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GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

This article will explain the process that we go through at Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation when we are domesticating a wild collected soft coral. Late last semester we were able to purchase a very beautiful gold Sarcophyton from Tonga. I will explain how we quarantined, treated, and started the process of symbiont recombination.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

In the foundation's genetic bank there are over twenty-five separate strains of Sarcophytons. During the last few years the only strain that we have been unable to propagate successfully has been the beautiful gold colored Sarcophyton elegans. The corals often arrive in very bad condition and they frequently suffer from bacterial infections.

The specimen in the first picture arrived in very good shape and seemed to be acclimating very well. After a period of about four weeks we noticed a necrotic area and a general decline in the appearance of this coral. Our research during the last year on symbiont recombination has produced some remarkable results. Many of the strains of soft coral that we have acclimated to our lab have been tested in a simple experiment.

We prepare cuttings from coral that we are acclimating and we divide them into two sets. We treat one group of cuttings with a mixture of the Zooxanthellae and bacteria from healthy corals that are closely related.

The other set of corals does not receive an intentional dose of symbionts. In virtually every experiment the corals that were treated with symbionts healed much faster and attach to the substrate in a shorter period time.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION


12/29 Sally Jo's large picture for wallpaper -
SARCOPHYTON ELEGANS

QUARANTINING AND TREATING SOFT CORALS

When we removed the gold Sarcophyton elegans from the aquarium Sally Jo noticed a white milky discharge from a damaged area. I prepared three bowls of water that were the same temperature as the aquarium. The first bowl was full of reef water from the aquarium that we had just removed the coral from. I added 500 mg of antibiotic to this water and agitated it until the antibiotic was dissolved. We are experimenting with different antibiotics and I will be reporting on this soon.

The second bowl contained fresh tap water. The third bowl contained a mixture of cuttings of three types of Sarcophytons that have been in captivity here for several years. These three corals were prepared by slicing small cuttings into water from the reef that was the destination for the cuttings of the Sarcophyton elegans.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

The cuttings were soaked in the first bowl of reef water and an antibiotic powder for one hour. The water from this bowl was then poured into another bowl. The water containing the antibiotic, the first bowl, and the tweezers were treated with a strong solution of chlorine bleach. It is important that all solutions of antibiotics be destroyed before they are disposed of.

The cuttings were carefully poured into the fresh water. The cuttings were soaked in fresh water for one minute before they were placed in the third bowl. One of the cuttings appeared to be very small and symmetrically shaped so I put it in a small bowl of reef water. What looked like a piece of Sarcophytons turned out to be a yellow nudibranch that was the exact same color as the Sarcophyton elegans.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

This nudibranch has projections on its back that look exactly like Sarcophytons tentacles. This nudibranch was placed in a container so it could be photographed and studied. The next day it laid a long spiral shaped string of eggs. This nudibranch is camouflaged perfectly to blend in with this species of Sarcophyton.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

SYMBIONT RECOMBINATION

As we have been building our genetic Bank of over four hundred fifty strains of commercially valuable corals we noticed that the vast majorities corals became easier to keep after each clone generation. Each generation of clones is genetically identical to the parent colony. The two factors that we can isolate that could explain how the corals are able to morph into captive strains are genetic packet switches, and a random recombination of the genetics of the internal symbionts. Corals may have normally unused groups of genes that could explain how few species could change. The change we see as we are domesticating commercially valuable corals happens in too many corals to be explained genetically.

It occurred to us that although the genetic blueprints of the coral colonies were virtually unchanged by cloning that the genetic makeup of the rapidly multiplying symbionts might be adapting to our systems. When we look at the Zooxanthellae on a microscope slide we notice that they are able to live outside of the coral.

The symbiont recombination experiment is one that you can do. We prepared the third bowl by slicing thin cuttings from several different Sarcophytons. We noticed that Sarcophyton glacum as the same body shape as Sarcophyton elegans. We have a beautiful, fast growing strain of Sarcophyton glacum that was cut for this experiment. After the domesticated coral cuttings were in the bowl of reef water we agitated them so they would release body fluids from the mesoglea layer.

The cuttings from the Sarcophyton elegans were soaked in this mixture. It is important that you monitor the temperature so that it does not change too drastically. We soak the target cuttings in this mixture for one hour. The entire contents of the third bowl are then poured into a shallow propagation chamber.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

During the last several years we have made the mistake of treating Sarcophyton elegans like all of the other Sarcophytons in our collection. Now we are keeping the cuttings in our predatory coral system. The predatory coral system has a large amount of water flow, and the corals are fed phytoplankton and gelatinous microorganisms from our Bag O Bugs project.

The Bag O Bugs project consists of approximately twenty-four plastic bags full of nutrient solution and microorganisms. These bags are hung on racks in a South facing window. The Bag O Bugs contain a huge number of different microorganisms and algae. The heavyweight clear plastic bags are very easy to maintain. We will be reporting the progress of this series of experiments in the near future.

In experiments with been during the last two semesters on propagation of Sarcophytons we have learned that the cuttings grow much faster after they have been treated. We also learned to cut the Sarcophytons brood stock to remove three-quarters of the head. We do this by trimming a wedge shape peace by starting our cut an inch below the head and then cuttings upwards through the crown of tentacles.

When we are through cutting the brood stock there is a large scar tissue area and small area that still has polyps. The large scar tissue areas seems to develop polyps very rapidly. By cutting our Sarcophytons in this matter we are able to increase the production of each brood stock tank. This method of harvesting also leaves a section of the stalk on each of the triangle shaped cuttings. We are certain that the cells that differentiated in the stalk tissue attach to rocks in the cutting chambers much more rapidly than tissue that had differentiated into the cap.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

Thank you for visiting our web site and I hope you've enjoyed these pictures. We now have over fifty nine thousand digital images and we hope to share many of those with you soon.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION


12/29 Sally Jo's large picture for wallpaper -
SARCOPHYTON ELEGANS

REMEMBER - SAVE A REEF - GROW YOUR OWN

FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS WE HAVE WORKED VERY HARD TO PURCHASE, TRADE, AND SAVE AS MANY TYPES OF CORALS AS WE CAN.


IF YOU WANT TO PURCHASE SOME OF SALLY JO'S GREAT NEW CUTTINGS PLEASE CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-600-6163

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.


REEF JANITOR ORDER FORM

GREAT GARF SPECIAL - WITH EACH ORDER YOU CAN PICK ONE AVAILABLE CORAL FOR FREE

We will custom mix your Reef JanitorsTM from our great mix of algae eating snails and hermits.

PLEASE SEND ME
Red Leg Hermit Crabs for -- $2.98 each, plus shipping and handling
algae eating snails for -- $2.98 each, plus shipping and handling
Garf GrungeTM live sand activator for -- $5.00 per lb., plus shipping and handling

30 GALLON REEF Forty five reef janitors for only $1.00 each.
-- $45.00, plus shipping and handling
50 GALLON REEF Eighty two reef janitors for only $1.00 each
-- $82.00, plus shipping and handling
100 GALLON REEF One hundred fifty reef janitors for only $1.00 each.
-- $150.00, plus shipping and handling

For us to fill your order, please enter your name, E-mail and phone numbers and we will call you to take down the size of your aquarium so we can help you order the proper mixture of reef janitors and Garf Grunge. We will ask for your mailing address and payment information. Thank you!! Alternatively, you may also print out and either mail or fax your order to 208-344-6189





JOIN THE RESEARCH FOUNDATION
You can support our research and learn more about reef aquariums and wetlands
1726 Merrill St.
Boise Idaho 83705
U.S.A.
Email: leroy@garf.org


GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH REEF AQUARIUM LAB

1726 Merrill St.
BOISE IDAHO 83705

SAVE A REEF - GROW YOUR OWN

CALL TODAY AND YOU CAN MIX AND MATCH ANY AMOUNT OF SNAILS AND HERMITS FOR ONLY $1.00 EACH. LeRoy


REEF PICTURES SPONSORED BY REEF JANITORStm

corals for sale

corals for sale

WE DID IT - we set up our long needed merchants account
so we can take credit cards at 1-800-600-6163

CALL TODAY AND YOU CAN MIX AND MATCH ANY AMOUNT OF SNAILS AND HERMITS FOR ONLY $1.00 EACH. LeRoy

ALGAE CONTROL CENTRAL
REEF JANITORS ALGAE CONTROL CENTRAL

Use this site to solve your reef aquarium algae problems, and help support our research!!!


Many of the rare corals are offered to our members for 2 years before they are put on sale. We will soon have an E-mail list that will list the rarest color forms of sps corals and soft corals such as Xenia and Mushrooms.

THE RESEARCH FOUNDATION HOME PAGE
You can support our research and learn more about reef aquariums and wetlands
1726 Merrill St.
Boise Idaho 83705
U.S.A.
Email: leroy@garf.org

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION
TO ALL OF THE LARGE PICTURES OF OUR REEFS
PLEASE VISIT THESE PICTURES OF THE WEEK


We recieved these nice e-mails about the JanitorsTM and GrungeTM

Delivered-To: algae-garf-LEROY@GARF.ORG
Date: 22 Aug 2000 13:46:02 +0000
From: "Mark DeFrancisco"
To: leroy@garf.org
Subject: THANKS FOR EVERYTHING

Hello Leroy,
I just had to write you to thank you for everything that you and your staff have done to help me create such a beautiful reef tank. Let me start by saying that I would never have done business with any internet company in the past. I am very careful about how my money is spent. YOUR BEAUTIFUL PICTURES ON THE WEB SITE CONVINCED ME TO GIVE YOU A TRY. BOY AM I GLAD I DID!

I started out by purchasing some garf grunge and reef janitors. The janitors have completely cleaned my tank and are busy working every day. I had an algae bloom that I could not control, and now, in only a few weeks, it is not only gone, but the tank is spotless!

The grunge is the most beautiful substrate I have ever seen! I have found numerous little corals and sponges growing in my tank, and I am experiencing a coraline algae bloom much faster than thought possible. Also, every experienced reef keeper that has seen my tank wants to know what the heck is that? Being used to seeing plain sand or crushed coral, they are delighted and mystified by the beauty! It has also added a level of stability and overall health to my tank that is amazing!

Next, as you know, I have ordered a few shipments of corals from you. I can't believe how fast they grow, and how beautiful they are! This is of course in addition to the rare species that you offer. Never in a million years could I have found the rare and different corals you have sent me. The pet shop, or reef "experts" would never have most of these beautiful rarities!

As a matter of fact, my local coral supplier has seen my tank and he cannot believe his eyes! He has told me that with over thirty years in the reef aquarium business, never has he seen such a beautiful tank! The "show" tank in his store is very pale by comparison!

I have told him that thanks to some real professionals in Idaho, this type of tank could be a reality for anyone! I am sure he will order from you soon, as he is most jealous of my aquarium, and has to have some for his own!

I will send you some pictures very soon. I am sure that you will agree, this is truly a beautiful, healthy, thriving, 90 gallon reef aquarium. I owe most of it to you and your staff!

From grunge, janitors, magic reef dust, and your help in recommending food and additives, everything I followed from what you have suggested has helped my tank achieve more goals than I ever expected! THANKS AGAIN FOR EVERYTHING! I CANNOT WAIT TO RECEIVE MY NEXT ORDER, VERY SOON!

Mark Defrancisco
Trenton, New Jersey


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