ISSUE # 12 page 3 DECEMBER 1997
all types of marine life. Here in rural central Indiana we
are surrounded by cornfields.
My Grandfather was a farmer
in this area and I am
continuing the legacy ..... but in a different way.
Well, a lot has changed since then and after a long period of time since keeping any type of aquarium we decided to set up a marine fish-only tank. After spending what seemed like a small fortune, we had a 44 gallon pentagon tank in our living room. We enjoyed our little "fish tank", but after poking around on the Internet I started to read about reef tanks. Words like "kalkwasser" and "redox" were foreign to me. It was time to graduate to a reef tank.
After installing a plenum, adding live rock and removing the bio-balls from the sump we added our first coral - an open brain. Over the next two years we have filled our reef with many invertebrates. After reading about coral propagation on the Internet I decided to give it a try. My first attempts to propagate my green finger were partially successful and I caught the propagation bug. My local stores were my first supplier of propagation material, but I soon wanted to look elsewhere for corals to propagate.
I decided to visit Tropicorium since it was only four hours away. After arriving there I was struck by the size of the operation - 12 HUGE tanks approximately 35' by 15' and 4' deep. Natural sunlight is used on these tanks filled with a wide variety of SPS and soft corals. I wanted to meet the owner, Dick Perrin, but he was not there that day. I did not get a "behind the scene" tour of filtration etc., but I did come home with a few different types of Xenia to start my little propagation venture.
Five months ago I set up a 75 gallon propagation tank in which I am currently nursing my babies which will be my future mother colonies. So far I have cuttings of Colt, a nice florescent green finger, yellow leather,green star polyps, Xenia, and a few Pocillapora from my 44 gallon tank. I have found that some of the most useful information on propagation has come from the Internet. Not only from GARF's web site, but other sites as well as the reef newsgroup and attending weekly meetings of reefchat.
I currently maintain my 44g "show" tank, a 10g reef in my office, my 75g propagation tank and a 5g "penalty tank" for any misbehavin' critters like the serpent star I found munching on a colt cutting. By the way, The 10g tank in my office with a Skilter 250 is the only tank I have that consistantly measures 0 nitrates! Go figure. Who knows? Maybe in the future I will have a greenhouse in my backyard for farming all types of marine life. Here in rural central Indiana we are surrounded by cornfields. My Grandfather was a farmer in this area and I am continuing the legacy.....but in a different way.
I hope to share the details of my propagation tank
with you in the future.
Until then - Happy Reefing!
Serving the CATV industry with over 18 years of design experience.
|This picture shows some of the most popular shapes that you can make your AragocreteTM rocks. We make these pieces in three sizes. We will explain how the pieces in this picture can be put together to make a great looking aquaculture reef aquarium. We used these 7 medium sized rocks along with several smaller coralline covered rocks called coralline eggs to start this aquarium.|
This reef aquarium has a compound plenum made with egg crate light grid and plastic geofabric. The black plastic geofabric forms a loose netting over the plenum that keeps the sand that falls into it loose and protected from being disturbed. You can set up the same type of aquarium using any plenum. We have also set this kind of reef aquarium up using no plenum and live sand.The live sand is made from CaribSea gravel and GARF GrungeTM and they have worked very well.
These shapes can be arranged in many ways to give this reef a good open shape. The arches allow us to build the reef so only a few places on the sand are covered with rock.
These shapes have been used in this reef to create many places to glue cuttings. A tank like this is a good place to grow your first brood stock corals. When the reef is first set up we use the compound plenum as an undergravel filter for several months. This reef is still using a slow flow UG filter. The newest reefs that we are doing have a new combination of 1/2 plenum and 1/2 no plenum. The half of the tank that has a plenum can be at one end or in back 1/2 of the tank. The aragonite gravel is thicker over the plenum and it slopes to the glass that is on the other side of the tank. We have learned that different types of bacteria populate the gravel that is over the plenum and the gravel that slopes from 4 inches to 1 inch deep.
|When the reef is first set up we use two 40 watt lights - a Triton and a Blue moon work very well. After the Aragocrete gravel and the Grunge is in the tank we add coralline algae that we scrape off of the glass in one of the other reefs.
The more coralline that you add at this time the better the growth will be. We turn off the power head for several hours to allow the chips of coralline algae to settle on the rocks. This 55 gallon has two power heads - a Maxi-jet 750 on the UG fiter and a Maxi-jet 1000 in the top corner.
The coralline algae has grown best on all of rocks that have the plastic in them. This is the third reef we have set up this semester that has done this. The plastic filled rocks are very porous and the coralline algae is attracted to the plastic. We have been adding some plastic to all of the new rock we are making.
|This close up view of this reef shows some of the coralline that has grown on the rocks. One of the most important things we added to this reef is the 80+ janitors we use to keep the micro algae from taking over. When you are growing tank raised aquaculture rocks it is very important to control unwanted algae. This reef has NO skimmer and we have only changed about 8 gallons of water. |
During the next few months we will add a skimmer and more pumps. This reef will become a brood stock tank for sps corals. We will post pictures of the reef we call the old man tank during the coming year.
The only products we added to this reef are SeaChem's Reef plus, Reef complete, and Reef Calcium. We use Pickeling lime, SeaChem's Reef Builder and Reef Advantage in all of make up water. I am certain that we would not have the success we do if we used any salt other than Ocean Pure.
|This cave rock shows how an aquaculture rock looks after it has been in a reef aquarium for 3 months. We put 3 cuttings on this rock when we put it in the reef and they have grown into nice colonies. This type of rock is very popular in the retail market.
We are doing a large number of these caves with blue and purple mushrooms. The mushrooms grow inside of the caves. We are certain that any caves with two bright colored mushroom colonies will be very good sellers. If you grow any aquacultured live rocks we would like to publish pictures of them.
The final picture in this article shows a retail display reef that was made in 5 gallon hex tank. It is very important to display these reefs that use nothing from the ocean so people will want to do reef aquariums like these at home.
This is a new market and it is up to each of us to build the interest in aquacultured reef products.
MORE NEXT TIME
Today I was asked by Leroy to update my "Mangrove Usage for Refugia Filtration" article which is in the November issue of The Reef Farming News. After looking over the new information that has been added this month by Leroy, I am at a loss for words. If you have not read the articles on page #1 and #2, you are missing out on a highly informational "pile-o-info". I do have some updated information on the progress of my reef and a few pointers to keep in mind when setting up a reef with a system that is similar to mine.
My point in this observation is that the mangroves
are apparently extremely efficient at taking up waste
from the water and are a great filter medium
What I found when I uncovered the roots was quite surprising. The roots had spread along the bottom of the rubbermaid container and throughout the substrate up to 8" away from the main stem. The roots varied from hair fine to almost 1/4" thick. I thought this was a good amount of growth. No Prop-roots have formed yet.
Tonight, I went ahead and did the same inspection of my larger 100 gallon system that contains two of the same type and size mangroves. I have never uncovered the roots in this system and the mangroves are protected by several aragonite rocks which are piled around the base. Upon removing the rocks, I was pleased to see that they have both formed Prop-roots all around and are beginning to take the traditional form of mature Red Mangrove trees. The roots had spread out from the main base quite a bit further than in the other system, but this is to be expected since it is older. The roots made a much thicker mat also.
Now what was very interesting in both systems is that all the roots tend to grow towards the source of water flow. Now since the water flow is the return from my aquarium, and it is also skimmed from the waters surface, it will be fairly nutrient rich water. The roots are growing toward their food source. My point in this observation is that the mangroves are apparently extremely efficient at taking up waste from the water and are a great filter medium. I imagine a test filter with a sump containing several baffels which direct the water flow though a long channel, like a maze, and throughout this long channel there are several to many mangroves planted one after another. It would be interesting to see the difference in growth rate from the first to the last plant. I am not sure what this would prove, but it could possibly make a more efficient filter and show how long it takes to clean up the water flowing through the filter.
that they have both formed Prop-roots all around
and are beginning to take the traditional form of
mature Red Mangrove trees
The next step for me is to modify one of the refugia's into a "Glow-in-the-dark" Mud Filter with several types of mangroves. Make sure you read these articles if you want to get a taste of the next generation of diversity in our reef systems.
"Save A Reef... Grow Your Own!" and teach a kid about the ocean by showing them your aquarium. Contact your local school and invite a class to go on a field trip. The kids love it.
Tim L. Weidauer President - Wasatch Marine Aquarium Society - Salt Lake, Utah
VP - Wasatch Aquaculture -http://www.rotifer.com - "Live Plankton!"
One of the difficulties associated with Aragocrete and Aragonite based reef rock is curing . The new rock can have a high pH. This can effect the reef aquaium.
Josh was the cave maker,
Elida made a shelf and
Andrei made some Tonga branch.
We often cure the new Aragocrete/crushed oyster shell rock in a container changing the fresh water daily for 30 days or longer until the surface pH falls to 8.2-8.3. These levels are safe for reef aquarium. A vinegar bath or Muratic acid both will aid in the curing process.
THIS ROCK IS MADE WITH CARIBSEA GRAVEL
SO IT IS MUCH EASIER TO CURE
Josh age 8 years, Andrei age seven, and Elida age six years have watched
the 90 gallon reef tank in our family room with much interest.
The big tank was set up in June of 1997 and they have had a hard time keeping their hands and toys out of it. They have trailed into fish stores learning from the many varieties of reef life and have asked "Can this me mine?"
There will be a watching, hinting, observing parent and a story for you.
The third batch was to make a glove rock as described on GARF. The kids literally sat under my arms as I sat on the step and made the glove cave cement rock. I had perhaps fifteen children examine the cave before it was set up.
That cave rock has been taken to Show and Tell day at school by each of my three children in backpacks. Since it is a very large rock, the boys have carried it for Elida. They have shown it with much enthusiasm and pride.
When I announced that the kids were to have their own reef tank, they chimed in in unison and loudly said that THEY wanted to make rocks too!
We started by getting fish boxes from our fish store and made a combination of about four parts Riverside white cement and crushed oyster shell. We added just enough water to hold it together. The cement mixture was placed into hollows in moist oystershell in the bottom of the fish box. There was a lot of laughter and giggling as the kids put their hands into the wet and cold mixture. Things could have gotten a little physical if it hadn't been for a watching parent : )
The kids wanted to check on the pieces frequently so I had them check instead on a piece that I had poured so they would not disturb the actual pieces and let them set up for 48 hours. They were back about once an hour to put their fingers in the cement and to show the neighborhood children what they had done.
They were very exicted when it it was finally time to take them out of the beach box. Yes, of course they wanted to take them to school. The rocks are a little worse for the wear for that experience, but we will make more rocks for the aquarium.
Josh, Andrei and Elida made rocks to go in the aquarium. Josh was the cave
maker, Elida made a shelf and Andrei made some Tonga branch.
Other rocks will be made as the weather and temperature will permit.
A second piece of fiber glass screen in then placed over the crushed coral to keep the sand stirring creatures from entering the plenum below. Another inch to inch and a half of crushed coral is placed on top of the screen.
daily to make up for evaporation. Draw a line on the tank and add water every day to that mark. The water should be added very slowly and be the same temperature as the tank. Marine life does not tolerate wide swings in specific gravity or temperature. A fifty five gallon tank is the smallest tank to have easy control of these and other nitrogen cycle parameters. The temperature in the tank should be maintained at between 76 to 80 degrees.
The water will need an air pump and air stone to keep the oxygen in the water high enough to sustain life. The air pump should be held above the level of the water for maximum function of the pump.
Use this site to solve your reef aquarium algae problems, and help support our research!!!
Learn how you can grow a wonderful reef aquarium like the one we visit in this May 1997 special feature
You can learn how a reef aquarium grows into a mature sps coral reef
Sally Jo's 55 gallon reef is starting to mature into a small polyp stony coral aquarium
We will add more about this aquarium each month
JOIN THE RESEARCH FOUNDATION
You can support our research and learn more about reef aquariums and wetlands
1997 WINTER - SPRING NEWSLETTER Our foundation is growing - Please visit our Newsletter
REEF AQUARIUM FARMING NEWS
CORALLINE ALGAE PROPAGATION
COMBINATION ROCK PROPAGATION
COMBINATION ROCK BASE ROCK SELECTION
COMBINATION ROCK SPECIES SELECTION
LOW COST BULLET PROOF REEF AQUARIUM
55 GALLON INSTA REEF
Visit Rachel's 12 week old Bullet Proof Reef Aquarium
MORE PICTURES OF THIS REEF AQUARIUM
Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation,Inc. online tour
Super glue research page
Super Glue evaluation page
Our researchers rate many brands of super glue
Geothermal Aquaculture 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.
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
Image Page for Zoanthids and Palythoa
This is one of our most popular pages. Many people have made their own reef aquarium.