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GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

SALLY JO'S PICTURES OF THE WEEK

These two pictures show some of Sally Jo's Clown Fish that are using alternative hosts. The first picture shows Sally Jo's breeding pair of Clown Fish. These Clown Fish use these four Sarcophytons as their host, and they are now spawning every nine days. Sally Jo has set up the first of her hatchery tanks, and she will be raising baby Clown Fish this semester.

We have found that Clown Fish will accept a variety of soft corals as alternative hosts. In this picture you see long polyps Sarcophytons that are mounted in a group of four. Having four Sarcophytons in a small area allows the clown fish to hide between them. We have found that often one or two of the Sarcophytons will retract their polyps. When this happens the clown fish are able to use the other Sarcophytons.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

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Sarcophytons are very easy to propagate, and they are often one of the first corals that people are able to clone. If you have a Sarcophytons growing in your aquarium the safest way to make the first cutting is by removing a triangle shaped piece of the cap. If we are making the first cutting of a rare Sarcophyton we often make one slice from the edge of the cap to the stalk in the center of the coral. We then allow this single cut to heal for a period of approximately two weeks. When this first cut has healed we are able to remove a triangle shaped cutting by making one more slice.

If the Sarcophytons that we are propagating has been in captivity for several months and we have more than one specimen we remove the entire cap from the top of the stalk. This cap is then cut into pie shaped slices. We use two different methods for attaching the Sarcophytons cuttings. The easiest way involves placing the triangle shaped cuttings in a shallow tank of course coralline covered gravel. This gravel is between one-quarter of an inch and one inch in diameter. Using Coralline covered gravel eliminates almost all algae growth. Our latest research is showing that cuttings attach to coralline covered gravel faster than they do to other gravel.

The other method of attaching cuttings to reef plugs uses nylon netting and reef glue. The triangle shaped pieces of Sarcophytons are placed on the Aragocrete reef plugs and a piece of one-quarter inch wide nylon netting is pulled across the cutting. The nylon netting is secured to the reef plug with reef glue. When the Sarcophytons cuttings are done properly they always heal into two identical small Sarcophytons.


The second picture shows a Tomato Clown that is living in a Xenia. Tomato clowns are one of the easiest clowns to acclimate to Xenia. The Xenia in this picture is one of the clones that received from the Smithsonian in 1998. This group of Xenia grows very fast and is very hardy in captivity. Sally Jo grows a dozen different types of Xenia in her office. This picture is taken in one of 55 gal. brood stock tanks. This tank has to be harvested every two weeks or it will become overgrown with Xenia. Xenia, more than any other coral can be produced in captivity successfully and profitably.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

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Importing large Xenia is extremely difficult, and many dealers would rather purchase captive raised Xenia locally. Collected Xenia are extremely hard to ship and they are never guaranteed to arrive alive. It is our experience that only one out of nine or ten Xenia that are collected on the reef survive shipment and handling. These Xenias still take several years to acclimate completely to captivity, and that is why it is so important that you purchase captive raised brood stock.

Sally Jo has developed a very good method that she uses for cloning hundreds of Xenia each month. She harvest the captive raised Xenia from her brood stock tanks and many of the other aquariums at GARF. These cuttings are then divided into small pieces that containe approximately fifteen polyps. The small cuttings are then held in place on a small Aragocrete plug with a circle made from nylon netting. This netting is attached to the plug with a rubber band and it is left in place from one to two weeks.


REMEMBER - SAVE A REEF - GROW YOUR OWN

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

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