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E-mail leroy@garf.org
1726 Merrill St. St, Boise, ID, 83705
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PROPAGATING CAPNELLA

 GREEN CAPNELLA CORAL

CAPNELLA SOFT CORAL

Capnella are one of the easy corals. We just cut the branches into 1/2-inch long pieces and we drop them into a tank with course substrate. We do use the older Capnella in our systems to provide new symbionts for them.

We have found that we can increase the number of surviving cuttings of the new Capnella when we cut up several of our fastest growing Capnella in the water we use to hold the new cuttings. We leave the new cuttings in this water for one half-hour.

 CAPNELLA CORAL

CAPNELLA SOFT CORAL

This fast growing soft coral is very easy to propagate. We use plastic tanks that are only four inches deep that have a layer of small sea shells on the bittom. The Capnella is cut into small pieces and and spread out on the bottom of the tank. It takes only two days for the corals to attach to the shells. We then glue the shells with the corals attached to reef plugs.

Our cutting tanks are four feet long and they are divided into three sections. We use 40 watt lights above these tanks. We use Aquarium Systems Mini-Jet power heads and one air release in each chamber. We now use these chambers to propagate other fragile soft corals.

These are some of the brood stock Capnella corals growing in our 120 reef. When you use these corals in a show tank it is best if you group them. The main rule of aquascaping is the same as the rule for landscaping. GROUP YOUR CORALS AND GROUP YOUR GROUPS.

Four large corals are glued to this socket rock and it easy to remove the rock with all of the Capnella attached. We hold the rock upside down and the corals can be clipped into the cutting trays. We turn off the power head and remove the air release when we cut the corals so the cuttings have a chance to settle. DO NOT FORGET TO TURN THEM BACK ON!

  CAPNELLA CORAL

  CAPNELLA CORAL POLYPS

FINE BRANCH PINK CORAL STANDS OUT

The fine branches of this coral is not quite like any other in the nonconnected genetic bank. This coral is a very good seller because it does not look like other soft corals. This is one of the only soft corals that spawns in the aquarium. The young corals attach to the live rock and they grow very fast.

This is a very hardy coral and it has done well in many systems. We have had great success shipping this coral. We hang the reef plug upside down in a styrofoam ring and so far we have not lost one. We are certain this coral will be one of the best soft corals to propagate for profit. It has all of the best traits. It is easy to propagate, easy to ship, fast growing, and many people do not have it in their reefs yet.

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REMEMBER - SAVE A REEF - GROW YOUR OWN

CALLING ALL GREEN POLYP SARCOPHYTONS

GARF is looking for some more soft corals that look like these fine Sarcophytons! This strain has bright green polyps and a pink body. They seem to be very hardy and we are certain that they are different from all of the corals that have been tested for cancer cures. GARF will soon make this coral available to Dr. Lake so he can extract toxins from it. We need to find more strains of this coral so we can use them as key species that are easy to track. Many of the strains we now grow look very much alike. We need a wide variety of strains so we can find out if there are different chemicals available from different types of soft corals.


 GREEN SARCOPHYTON

This small cutting may be a different strain because it has a round shape and the larger ones tend to have a flat contorted shape. If you have any Sarcophytons that have colored polyps we can use as an identification marker please call us toll free at 800-600-6163.

 GREEN SARCOPHYTON

This picture shows a few of the many sps coral frags GARF has ready to trade for colored soft corals. We DO still need any green tree shaped soft corals for our research project that may allow us to work with a public aquarium so we can make these corals available to any island that needs to repopulate their reefs.

 GREEN SARCOPHYTON

We have found that the Sarcophyton is safe to cut inside the tank but if you can remove it from your tank it will be better for the fish and corals. I always dip my fresh cut corals in a bowl of salt water before placing them back in the tank. When braving the waters to begin your propagation of the Sarcophyton you need a sharp scissors, glue and a rock to attach the new baby to. We perform this procedure two different ways. I tend to cut the head right off of the stock and then cut the head into as many pieces as I desire. The stalk which is now your mother colony will grow a new head.

You will see the beginning formation of polyps on the stalk in a two week period. In less than a two month period you will hardly be able to tell that you cut this animal. The babies generated from the mother colony can be glued directly to the rock and will grow its own stock in a very short period of time. A head like you see in the next picture can easily be made into twenty babies. LeRoy likes to cut the head into many pieces and let them fall to the sand bed of the cutting tank. He then waits for the cuts to heal. The waiting period is about two weeks; then he glues them directly to a plug. Once glued, these animals are ready to ship in about one month.

These animals are easy to ship and will adjust well to almost any tank. If you are not brave enough to cut the whole head off the stalk you can make pie cuts on the existing animal but it is not necessary. Believe me when I say the head will grow back and I have found mine even grow little arms that develop off of the stalk that can also be propagated.

  CORAL Once the animal is glued like you see in this picture it does not take them long to grow over the glue and become a healthy tank mate with your other corals. You can hardly tell that this animal was a cutting made by our staff only a month ago. If you have a rare green polyped one like the one seen in these pictures it would be a great asset to the hobby to propagate this animal and share it with others in the hobby.

We will always trade for this type of live stock. There was a time not so long ago that these animals were very hard to find in the hobby. Due to their adaptability we find them in many hobbyist tanks. They are one of the corals we recommend for the beginners and even the experts keep these specimens in their tanks.

We are seeing more and more varieties of this animal and are keeping over 26 different kinds very successfully at the Foundation. This animal likes its temperature to be no greater than 82 degrees. When purchasing your new Sarcophyton make sure you give it a couple of days to extend it's polyps fully. This will happen for the most part every time you move this animal. It is a natural defense mechanism to retract it's polyps when bothered.

There is absolutely no reason to take these animals from the ocean any more. They are so easy to propagate. The rare colors of these corals will be a good product for ocean based aquaculture. The only reason I could agree upon purchasing one that comes from the wild is if it is one that has never been in the hobby and can be shared with other hobbyist. These animal have a leather feel to them and are not slimy like the other soft corals that need to be netted when trying to get them to attach.

  CORAL

Class Anthozoa
Subclass Octocorallia
Order Alcyonacea
Family Alcyoniidae
Genus Sinularia

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Sinularia are one of my favorite soft corals. There are several different kinds of Sinularia commonly available, and each is colorful with an interesting shape. The most familiar kind of Sinularia is probably Sinularia dura, commonly known as the cabbage Sinularia.

This Sinularia grows in a shape much like a pinkish cabbage. The flesh is translucent and may have a greenish tint. Often there will be a row of polyps on the very edges of the "leaf."

Other types of Sinularia grow in finger shapes or even in a shape like a cauliflower head. The shapes and colors can be highly variable, but in this genus, they are always beautiful.

I have recently propagated a lot of a gorgeous and rare kind of Sinularia. This green Sinularia grows in a shape like a weeping willow tree. The color is an unearthly, glowing green.

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These Sinularia grow very quickly, and are pretty adaptable; I have them in several different systems here, and each one is doing fine. This particular species tends to prefer fairly strong current and light, and will look best in a combination of white and blue actinic VHO lights.

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These corals have specialized cells called Amebocytes, which produce calcium carbonate spicules. A spicule is like a little spine that grows in the inside of the coral lending it support. Calcium carbonate is the same material that SPS corals use to produce skeletons, although Sinularia are not directly related to SPS.

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Because of these spicules, Sinularia are easy to propagate. The spicules make the coral tougher than most other soft corals. They can be sewed onto plugs, or the bridal veil netting method can be used. However, the method that I have found easiest is simply to rubber band them onto GARF plugs.

First procure a handful of these thin, black rubber bands.

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Next, cut a Sinularia into small pieces. Each piece should be big enough to have at least 1 "fork" and 2 branches. Put these pieces in a dish of water, and the parent colony can go back into the tank.

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Attach each piece to a plug with a thin rubber band. You should choose plugs that are flat on top (but textured enough to make it easy for the coral to hold onto). Other material, like pieces of rubble, could conceivably be used for attachment sites.

These plugs should be placed into an area with limited current until they attach; otherwise they might get blown off the plug. In about a month, the green sinularia will be attached firmly to the plug.

You can either take the rubber band off then or wait until the rubber band dissolves in the seawater . These Sinularia grow so quickly, that in no time you should be able to cut your cuttings again, producing more coral!

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Colt coral Genus Cladiella Colt coral is one of my favorite corals. It is fast, easy to grow and pretty hardy. This coral is also a coral that has been in the hobby for a while. All of GARF's colt coral came from a schoolteacher in a nearby town. Every couple of months he would send us several huge pieces of his coral.

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We have many different stories for origins of coral here at GARF. There is a kind of unique Pavona, the only one of its kind that Leroy has ever seen, that was picked up on the beach growing on a dolphin's jawbone. However, this colt coral story is one of my favorites. It represents the ultimate goals of coral aquaculture: propagation of corals that are twice removed from the wild ocean, and hobbyists who are willing to work together and trade corals.

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Unfortunately, colt coral has proven to be a fairly difficult corals to propagate. With many soft corals, all you have to do is cut several pieces off, put them over a gravel bed and in no time you'll have many soft corals ready to glue to plugs. Colt coral pieces have a much harder time attaching themselves. They'll drift around in an aquarium and eventually get sucked up by a powerhead and shredded into tiny bits.

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Other conventional propagation techniques don't work either. Colt coral is too slimy to glue down, and it can't be sewed on to a plug. Even the tried-and-true bridal veil netting method doesn't always work for these corals.

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However, after several months of research, I have found a pretty foolproof way to grow colt coral.

Materials:
Plastic sword
Plugs with a hole
SallyJo's Reef Gel

After the coral has grown pretty big, take a sharp pair of scissors and cut it into many pieces. Each piece should be about the width of a nickel, and an inch high. If you have a colt coral that is thick, be sure that there is a section of the outer skin, which contains polyps, on the piece. Before you cut the colt coral, ready some plugs. At Garf, we make special plugs that have holes drilled in them.

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Take a plastic sword, and use reef glue to glue the blunt end inside the hole so the sharp end is sticking straight up. I use the swords that are used to spear sandwiches or as toothpicks in restaurants. Other sharp plastic objects could be used, such as toothpicks; however most toothpicks are made of wood and are not suitable.

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At this point, I must give a huge thanks to my mother. She has driven down to the restaurant supply store and bought these swords for my experiments many times, without asking why I needed hundreds of tiny plastic weapons.

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I would never have had the time to go down to the supply store myself, so without my mother this new colt coral propagation technique would not exist. Leave the swords and the plugs in a container of water for a couple of hours. This will ensure that the sword is stuck firm.

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Now, take the pieces of coral and stake them onto the swords. Push each piece all the way down, so it is in contact with the base of the plug. Then, place a dab of glue where the top of the colt coral touches the sword. This glue will harden on the plastic of the sword, and prevent the colt coral from floating up off the sword.

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Cut the top of the sword off for aesthetic reasons. That's the entire process! The finished colt coral plugs should be initially put in a place of the tank with pretty low current.

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After a couple of weeks they will be established enough to withstand higher current, although colt corals generally prefer medium light and low current.

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In a couple of months your colt coral plug will be ready to be cut again, producing more of these beautiful animals!

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