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SOCKET ROCKS | AragocreteTM Lace Rocks | ARAGOCRETETM ROCK UPDATE FROM NEW YORK


Reef Aquarium Farming News
Online Newsletter for Reef Aquarium Propagation Research

ISSUE # 10 page 2 OCTOBER 1997


CREATING NEW PRODUCTS
FOR THE ARAGOCRETETM AND GLUE REEFS

SOCKET ROCKS

LEROY HEADLEE

We want to share with you one of the first 'New' reef products that has been introduced to the hobby in several years. There have been new skimmers, pumps, and filters, but we have had skimmers, pumps, and filters. The AragocreteTM and Glue reef project is new way to make reefs from scratch using nothing from the wild ocean.

This is a new product that can be started with very little money. You can market dry rock in your area while your brood stock is growing. This product is a great one to trade for Ice Caps and Gemini pumps. You are only limited by the size of your local market.

I am receiving more and more data on ways that people are making these rocks. If you think of some new ideas please share them with us so we can get others growing their own reef.

socket
THIS 70 GALLON ARAGOCRETE AND GLUE REEF
IS ONLY 24 HOURS OLD IN THIS PICTURE

Most of the aragocrete rock is less than two weeks old.

The tank is set up using 3 arches, 4 caves and several ledges. The sand is still 80 percent open to the water flow. We call this the SMALL FOOTPRINT REEF

We are putting mushroom rocks in the caves. We will move them as soon as the mushrooms grow onto the cave.

SOCKET ROCKS CREATE A FINISHED LOOK


You can see how the finished socket rocks are used to finish an AragocreteTM and Glue reef.

The coralline algae moves off of the socket rocks onto the rest of the reef structure.

SOCKET ROCKS HOLD THE CORALS AND PREVENT THEM FROM FALLING OVER

The ledges give us lots of room to glue sps corals near the lights.

socket text


THIS SPS CORAL PLUG GROWS SO FAST THAT THE CORAL TIPS OVER THE SMALL ROCKS WE RECEIVED THEM ON.
We invevted the socket rock so we could plug the sps corals into a coralline covered rock that would hold it up as it grew.

Many sps coral die because they fall onto other corals. This method can prevent that from happening as often. SOCKET ROCKS SELL VERY WELL BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN MIX AND MATCH THE CORALS



plugs These are some of the Reef PlugsTM that we grow to place in the socket rocks. It is very exciting now that we have many finished reef sockets. I remove the reef plug from them and the colony of inverts has grown onto the rock. It is most fun when an sps coral does this. Then you have a cave with coral growing around it. You then move the plug into the next rock. sps plugs


STEP 1.
Take the plug you are making the socket hole for and cover it with three layers of plastic.

STEP 2.
Each socket rock is made by placing one hand full of AragocreteTM on the damp CaribSea gravel.

STEP 3.
Insert the covered plug into the wet AragocreteTM and then cover the rock with CaribSea Aruba Shell or fine aragonite sand.

plastic covers plug



socket from mold STEP.4
Wait one half day and then remove the covered plugs from the firm AragocreteTM.

STEP 5.
Push your finger all the way into the socket hole and finish making a tunnel.

raw socket


We grow the coralline algae in 300 water tanks with Tritons and Blue moons

After the rocks are covered we add the plugs to some. We sell of the rocks with no plug so the customer can pick their own.

We use Sea Chem products to spead up the coralline growth as much as possible.

socket from system


rock with plug THE FINISHED PRODUCT

This Zoanthid will grow out onto the rock in three months and we can move the plug into the next rock. We often place an empty reef plug in the socket hole and the Zoanthid soon grow onto it.

We often put 3 or 4 colors of Zoanthids on the same plug so the finished product will sell faster. You can invent any new type of rock using these plans.


These socket rocks are ready to sell. These pictures show the same rock under Halide (left) and Actinic (right) lighting.
socket

People like the fact that they can have a reef and they can be certain that it is tank grown.

I am very interested in any feedback about this project. I have helped several people set up small production sites. This product is very good for the local market because the finished rocks are heavy and they cost extra to ship in.

You can save the stores the hassle of waiting until 4:00 in the morning for a lost shipment.




AragocreteTM Lace Rocks

Karen Holt

Aragonite lace rocks are an interesting and esthetics variation of the AragocreteTM base. I have been using variety of substrates to create AragocreteTM rocks that LOOK like the coral skeletons we recognize. These forms are delicate, light, porous and work well in the aquarium.

Among the ecological functions of live rock chemically in the reef are to sustain coralline algae, micro-fauna, and micro-flora. Logically the greater the surface area available the greater availability for micro-colonization. Using the rougher, larger crushed coral, oyster shell and a higher ratio of cement and decreasing the amount of water enables a greater surface area. I have been using a ration of about 4 to 5 of crushed substrate to 1 part cement. The consistency should be as large curd cottage cheese and be heavy enough to hold a form in your hand as you mix it. Use a Styrofoam beach box inside a cardboard box as described in GARF's web site.

Begin with three to four inches of coarse crushed coral/oyster shell in the bottom of the beach box. Moisten the substrate with enough to allow the crushed coral/clam shell to stick together and make mounds easily. Then irregular mounds of three inches high are made of the moist crushed coral and a form is lightly sketched (optional) to make a Tonga Branch form. There should be a slight curve in the form stalk and it should have a couple of branches. The base of the stalk should be heavier and broader while the top tapers to a point. Think of a tree branch and how it flows away from the trunk of the tree.

Scoop a handful of the slurry in your hand and allow about a teaspoonful to plop about an inch to one half inch from your hand onto the moist coral. Working slowly allow the form to develop as you go. Go back over the form and make it thicker here and heavier there. The form should be about and inch or more high and about an inch to two inches wide. Do not touch the slurry after it has fallen from your hand the moist material. Allow the slurry to form irregular and rough forms as it joins the rest of the slurry and the moist coral. Look for and allow unexpected and unplanned forms in the branch. Allow the slurry to help direct the form and direction of the form. When you are finished sprinkle with dry crushed substrate, be very careful not to flatten or bruise the wet slurry form. Allow to cure for 48 hours before carefully digging up.

After two days of having my hands in AragocreteTM without gloves
I had a chemical burn on my hands and coral fragments under my finger nails.
Both are more than annoying. Please wear rubber gloves.

Plates and shelves can be made in the same way over irregular hills of moist crushed coral except allowing natural openings to remain in the slurry and building up the surrounding area to strengthen the entire structure about an inch to an inch and a half in depth. The irregular surface under the plate as it is made should enable the display of the plate or shelf from both sides. These should be large enough and heavy enough to support themselves horizontally in the aquarium.

Honey comb rock seem to be the best answer so far for micro-colonization. It is very porous and has a large comparative surface area. Use a deep beach box, and lots of moist crushed coral to support the form. Build a tall irregular AragocreteTM tower surrounded by supportive moist crushed coral. About 6 inches wide and 10 inches tall. Cover lightly with cry crushed coral/oyster shells. Use drinking straws with the end taped tightly to make the channels in the material, beginning in the center and push the straws into the tower all the way to the bottom of the beach box. Push the straws in every half inch all the way around the irregular tower. Remove the straws when the slurry is slightly set up, about 12 hours. The most interesting honey comb rock I have seen was broken to show the patterns and tunnels inside the rock. This will also give a larger surface area. I dig my honey comb up at about 18 hours and purposely break it.

These forms not take heavy physical abuse without breaking but they will go through the curing process with care and will do beautifully in an aquarium.

A word of warning, I am used to getting into clay with my bare hands, getting to know it's texture and personality. After two days of having my hands in AragocreteTM without gloves I had a chemical burn on my hands and coral fragments under my finger nails. Both are more than annoying. Please wear rubber gloves. Another thought, mix the dry cement with the dry crushed coral or crushed clam shell before adding the warm water. (the temperature is easier on you hands) This enables a more consistent mix of cement and crushed material and decreases the mix time. I mix a small amount of slurry at a time about a gallon to two gallons. I feel that this smaller batch gives greater control of the quality and consistency of the slurry.

Karen Holt
Reef Aquaria
3043 Arthur¼s Court
Salt Lake City, Utah 84120

Telephone 801- 967-2124
Fax 801 - 967-2124


ARAGOCRETETM ROCK UPDATE FROM
NEW YORK

Joe Woods and I have been following the GARF articles on the cast rocks with close interest, and talking to others while trying different methods and styles ourselves.

Tom has had some good input to date, and along with Leroy have had the base ideas for two of the four types of rock that we have now been making and thinking will work for us.

One additional embellishment I make, besides
adding bits of coral etc. is to impress individual
large 'shell' pasta into wet cement,
these leave a very nice shell imprint
and the pasta dissolves in the curing process

In the September newsletter of GARF LeRoy talked about making caves with rubber gloves, I downloaded the article, took it to my associate Joe Woods and within two days he had some made. In a word, they are ' GREAT!' We are going to be using these for our premium specimen rocks. Cast with a stiff mix of Aragocrete they are a good looking and very individualistic product with lots of room for species colonization.

One additional embellishment I make, besides adding bits of coral etc. is to impress individual large 'shell' pasta into wet cement, these leave a very nice shell imprint and the pasta dissolves in the curing process and is wiped right off easily leaving the shell impression behind. More on this later.

The next favorite style, which will represent my 'middle price rock' is an idea that Tom forwarded to me based on one LeRoy shared with him: Make a mound or scoop of damp clay on a flat service, I use a sheet of plywood, make the mound about 2-3" high, tightly compressed, and then dump stiff mix Aragocrete mix around it, starting from the base and going around it and then over the top, keep it stiff, and you can leave one or two holes in the side or top to the sand underneath. when cured for a couple days the sand comes readily out for reuse and the rocks go into water for a months curing, we cure all cast rocks now for a month in fresh water before going into salt water, this also includes a several days to a week vinegar bath. I try for a 6-7" diameter rock in this.

The other style, for a small rock is a stiff mix 'cookie' ala Tom, about 5" in diameter to mount one coral species on and is our small rock.

A variation for all of these is to add to the Aragocrete mix,
up to 1/5 of ziti pasta, and pour in about a 1" thickness,
this dissolves in the freshwater cure, and sloughs off,
leaving neat long and round tunnels in the rocks

A variation for all of these is to add to the Aragocrete mix, up to 1/5 of ziti pasta, and pour in about a 1" thickness, this dissolves in the freshwater cure, and sloughs off, leaving neat long and round tunnels in the rocks, they can be further cleaned with a piece of wire, also, to all of these you can imprint with the pasta 'shells' and they also come off easily leaving a clear shell imprint in the cement. you can get some very nice effects with these. The three styles here are what we are going to be using for our product mix and I will be costing out batches of these soon for some kind of production cost figures per batch and given sizes of rocks. To date I have been doing ' R & D' on different styles but am zeroing in on these as doable and reproducible. I would also like to compare the costs of these different styles to a couple of boxes of sized Florida live rock to compare to. That is in the works.

One last note, to make plugs to mount cuttings on, Joe came up with using ice cube trays and a stiff mix, this gives a small irregular plug that is great for mounting cuttings on and then transferring to one of the above three rocks for further grow-out. Using a stiff mix takes away the 'cube' shape and gives a little rock nicely made to super glue to a larger base rock.

These are ideas we are trying, share your ideas with us, we are all in this together, and will all succeed together. Has anyone out there tried oyster and clam shells from restaurants for added effects? I have been wondering about that. Also wondered about putting hard candy into the mix, and casting 1/2 to 1" thickness to let the candy dissolve out and leave holes in the mix. Any other ideas out there? Share them.

Coralline algae adds color

MORE LATER- LeRoy


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1997 WINTER - SPRING NEWSLETTER Our foundation is growing - Please visit our Newsletter
REEF AQUARIUM FARMING NEWS Newest information on reef aquarium farming


CORALLINE ALGAE PROPAGATION Learn to grow coralline algae on your reef aquarium live rocks
COMBINATION ROCK PROPAGATION Learn to grow combination reef aquarium live rocks
COMBINATION ROCK BASE ROCK SELECTION Learn about base rock for combination reef aquarium live rocks
COMBINATION ROCK SPECIES SELECTION Learn about selecting species for combination reef aquarium live rocks

LOW COST BULLET PROOF REEF AQUARIUM Learn to start an inexpensive reef aquarium
55 GALLON INSTA REEF Visit Rache's 12 week old Bullet Proof Reef Aquarium
MORE PICTURES OF THIS REEF AQUARIUM


Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation,Inc. online tour Learn why we call it Geothermal
GARF RESEARCH HOME PAGE Learn about the other research we are doing
Super glue research page We teach you the Super Glue method of invertebrate propagation
Super Glue evaluation page Our researchers rate many brands of super glue
Geothermal Aquculture Research Foundation Feed Back page E-mail input so we can make these pages better
Natural Algae Control Reef Janitor Order Page - red leg hermits, snails, grunge.

NEW

Research page for Xenia and related soft coral propagation Learn to propagate xenia. Please enter any data you have about these corals.
Soft Coral Propagation Page Pictures and details of soft coral propagation
Stony Coral Propagation Page Pictures and details of small polyp stony corals
Mushroom Anemone Propagation Page Pictures and details of mushroom propagation
Zoanthid and palythoa Anemone Propagation Page Pictures and details of Sea mat propagation
Learn to construct a 140 gallon plywood and epoxy reef tank

Image Page for Zoanthids and Palythoa

WETLANDS SAVE THE WORLDS REEFS FROM ALGAE DESTRUCTION
LEARN ABOUT OUR WETLAND RESEARCH

Boise Wetland pond tour 97 Pictures and details of wildlife pond tour




Email: leroy@garf.org
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SOCKET ROCKS | AragocreteTM Lace Rocks | ARAGOCRETETM ROCK UPDATE FROM NEW YORK



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