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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.
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.
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