HANGING XENIA PROPAGATION FOR PROFIT
Xenia corals have been one of the profitable reef animals for small scale production. This coral has been in demand in every market area that we have received reports from. The many types of Xenia do not tend to ship very well, and this allows a local grower to compete with the large wholesalers.
Xenia can be produced from small captive grown cuttings that do ship well. This is one of the corals that grows fast enough that it can be farmed in small aquariums profitably. Many people are growing and selling Xenia while they are waiting for their other corals to grow into large brood stock size colonies.
|These cuttings can be hung from the lights by slipping the PVC clip over the bulb. We make these clips by cutting 1/4 inch slices of PVC pipe with a table saw. We use wire cutting pliers to cut and bend the tab on one end of the clip. |
We use nylon thread or fishing line to attach the reef plug to the hanger. You push the line through the bridal veil before you attach the line to the clip. We use a small drop of super reef glue to attach the line to the plug.
The cutting is wrapped with the veil and pulled tight around the plug. A rubber band is then used to secure the veil to the plug. We are now cutting the extra veil off of the plugs before we hang them in the reef aquariums. The ones in these pictures do not have the extra veil removed , and they are growing very well. The only reason to remove the excess veil is to prevent diatom algae from growing on it. The diatoms do not hurt the cuttings.
You can hang the plugs as deep as you want, but we have had the very best results by hanging the cuttings as near the parent colony as possible. By starting these cuttings near the parent you can be certain that lighting and current changes do not shock the cutting. The cutting has had enough shock and anything we can do stabilize the culture parameters during the first few days will increase the survival rate. It is important that these Xenia attach and start growing as fast as possible. Using this method we can have the cutting ready to market in 4 weeks.
|This Fiji Xenia is the one that we used to make the cuttings for this article. If you look at base of this colony you will see that it is growing on a reef plug. This Xenia was started in Sally Jo's 55 gallon reef from 3 polyps. This colony is about 3 months old. We made 21 cuttings from 1/2 of this Xenia. After one week 100 percent of the cutting are growing. |
We planned on making these cutting two weeks ago, but our order of SeaChem Reef Plus had not arrived. Some people have asked us why we think this product is so important. We are certain that the vitamins and amino acids aid in preventing shock and promote healing. We have used this product as the only source of Iodine in all of our systems for two and one half years.
Our background is in the aquaculture and nursery business. We will be producing hundreds of rare contorted water willows in the next few weeks, and we will use a vitamin B12 solution on all of the cuttings. This practice is very common in the nursery trade. Many large trees would not survive moving if we did not treat them. We are certain that reef animals react the same way. We never say there is only one way to do anything. During the last 31 years we have tested many products, and we just tell you about the ones that work best in Boise.
BASTER TO CATCH THE CUTTINGS
|We have found that the fastest way to make these hanging reef plugs is to cut a large piece from the colony and then slice that piece into sections. We use the scissors to cut the large piece up underwater in the bowl. We then suck up each section and squirt it into the middle of the bridal veil. This drains away all of the water. You can then slide the reef plug over the cutting so it holds it tight while you attach the rubber band. |
When we are producing cuttings for sale we slice each piece so that it has about 10 polyps and a part of the base. When we are dividing a rare new Xenia we often use only one polyp per reef plug. The larger pieces are ready for sale MUCH faster than the single polyps.
It is hard to get only one polyp when the Xenia is cut. Many of the finished plugs have two or three colonies on them. You can see that each polyp made a distinct new coral. When we are making the single polyp cuttings we use a very fine bridal veil that has small holes. The veil that has been pressed so it looks like lace works best. The single polyps can work their way through the larger holes in the courser veil. The small polyps do not stick to the lace patterned veil as often as they do to the round thread ones.
If the polyp does stick to the veil and not the plug it will come off when you remove the veil. We just take the scissors and cut most of the veil away so we can glue the piece of veil to a reef plug. The Xenia will then attach and cover the remaining veil.
These pictures show some of the Xenias we are propagating. We are VERY interested in trading for any types that we do not have. We also need strains of the same Xenias that have been grown in other systems. We are setting up a greenhouse with an environmental control computor that may make it possible for us to spawn Xenia and several other corals here in Idaho. Much of our research during the last decade has allowed us to force many species to spawn and flower out of season so we could cross pollinate ornamental species that do not breed at the same time of year. Our natural Geothermal water allows us to heat and cool systems very economically. We hope to have an entire greenhouse that we can set to anytime of the year anywhere on earth. If you are producing Xenia and you are interested in trading brood stock please email us and we will be Very generous :)
THIS LARGE COLONY CRASHED LAST SUMMER WHEN
SALLY JO'S AIR CONDITIONER FAILED. SOME OF IT SURVIVED
AND IT WILL SOON BE AS LARGE AS IT WAS.
THIS IS THE THIN BAR XENIA THAT SPREADS
ALONG THE ROCKS. THIS IS A VERY FAST GROWING
XENIA. WE USE THIS SPECIES ON MANY OF OUR
TANK RAISED LIVE COMBO ROCKS.
THESE FIJI XENIA CUTTINGS ARE ONLY
ABOUT 5 WEEKS OLD. THEY ARE READY TO SELL.
THIS IS THE BEST SIZE TO SHIP BECAUSE THEY
SURVIVE THE TRIP VERY WELL.
THIS FIJI XENIA IS GROWING ON A PLUG.
THIS COLONY IS LESS THAN 16 WEEKS OLD.
IT WAS STARTED FROM 6 POLYPS IN SALLY JO'S
55 GALLON REEF. THIS XENIA WILL BE CUT SOON
FOR SOME HANGING ROUND PLUGS I AM GOING
TO TRY TO GROW INTO XENIA PLANETS :) LEROY
THIS IS THE TREE XENIA elongata sp.
THIS XENIA GROWS TO BE ABOUT 8 INCHES LONG.
WE HAVE SOME 11TH GENERATION CAPTIVE COLONIES.
THIS SHOWS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
YOU PUT TWO POLYPS ON THE SAME PLUG.
THESE FIJI XENIAS ARE ABOUT 8 WEEKS OLD.
THIS IS THE XENIA IN THE 135 REEF BEFORE
I CUT IT FOR THIS ARTICLE.
THIS TYPE OF CORAL WILL SELL ANYWHERE
IN THE HOBBY FOR BETWEEN $40.00 - $90.00
THE FINAL PICTURE SHOWS THE THREE TYPES OF XENIA
IN THE 150 GALLON REEF.
THE THIN BAR IS ON THE LEFT, THE FIJI POM POM IS IN THE MIDDLE,
AND THE BALI XENIA IS ON THE RIGHT.
Happy New Year! It is hard for me to believe that the systems that I have shared with you throughout this year are hitting their anniversary date. My show tank was set up two years ago on Valentines Day and my cutting tank was set up last Valentines day and of course most of you have followed my newest system that is now just about six months old.
| Maybe this is a good time to buy your wife a reef tank. I know it has been the greatest gift of love LeRoy could have ever given me. I even decided last year to buy him a 150 gallon reef setup for his Valentines present , and I will tell you he spends a great deal of time just watching it. Seeing him smile and share his research with others is not measurable by words. This gift gives so much back to everyone involved and for years to come.
I have made an incredible amount of coral cuttings this past week and I looked over at LeRoy and said "I now have over 1100 grams of super reef glue in my system, or on my hands or stuck on my clothes:)" I am very proud to say that our propagating methods have produced close to a 100% survival of the new babies. In the past year hundreds of propagated corals have left my show tank and been placed in systems around the US.
from all of our systems. In turn the Pittsburgh Zoo will give each
coral a number, identify the species, the origin and data bank the results.
This will give us the ability to let you know what generation your coral is.
We feel that we are pretty safe in Idaho at least from the coral bleaching, the red tides, hurricanes, yet storms and weather changes are something none of us can control. We must think of ways to safe guard our systems in case the power goes out. It could happen when the weather is very hot, it could happen when the weather is very cold, it could happen in your immediate area or your whole State. This is why I am stressing the importance of a back up generator. Until we have one in place at the Foundation I carry a huge fear that what is being felt in other places in the World could be in our court at anytime. We are actively researching the cost and type of system that will work best for the Foundation and will post that information with you as soon as we have the end results.
I must say, we are proud to report we had our biggest week for people visiting our site. We had over 7,000 people share in the information on our site in one week. Thanks to all of you who visit, share your ideas, questions, results and feedback. I will take time in this newsletter to answer some of the most frequently asked questions as well as the advancements in my systems. It is great to have these pictures to share with you so that you have a deeper understanding of the message I am trying to convey. LeRoy is always the man behind the camera. It seems that he buys me reef tanks for gifts and I tend to buy him cameras:). Most of the pictures you see in these posted newsletters comes from his newest toy which is a digital Sony still camera DSC-F1.
As mentioned above I made several coral cuttings this past week. As a matter of fact all of the cutting tanks are full and the babies are ready to go to their new home. To be able to buy these cuttings it is best to call our office at 208-344-6163. This way you will be able to find out what we have available and we will be able to match you with the perfect coral for the age and stage of your system. This first picture is of my cutting tank which is one month away from being one year old.
Hundreds of corals have been placed in this system and found new homes. As a matter of fact I have a hard time keeping it full at all times. Most of the cuttings I made this past week are of colorful Small Polyp Stony (SPS) corals. Many of them green with long polyps, some of them raspberry color, some pink, and a few purple. This picture is a over all view of my cutting tank. You can see that in the bottom of this system I have placed a small amount of live rock and have many cuttings that have yet to be attached to the plugs. You can see the blue damsel in this picture. I have a red sea sailfin tang and a six line wrasse in this system as well.
This next picture is of my cutting tank as well. You can notice that even the plugs that the corals are growing on are covered with coralline algae as well as the racks that hold the plugs in place. This system holds over 200 cuttings at a time. It is a 55 gallon system with a plenum and about 4 inches of GARF grunge and aragonite on the top layer. All of the live sand has coralline growing on it.
This cutting tank has six lights directly over it. Two of them VHO's and 4 - 40 watts. In the next month all of my systems will have custom made hoods on them that have been made by one of the Foundations members. Once the hood is placed on this system I will step up to four VHOšs and 2 - 40 watt just like I have over my show tank. All of the propagated corals that are in this system come from my show tank.
I have many of the small polyp stony corals ready to go to a new home. This is what needed to be thinned out of my show tank. Once the Pittsburgh Zoo shares their results back with us I will be able to tell each of you the species name and origin of that coral in hopes that when you pass it on to your local pet store or friends they will keep this information as well.
The next pictures are of one of our prized reef janitors the Mexican Red legged Hermit crabs. I place many of them in each of my systems. That is why in my cutting tank I decided to place some live rock in the bottom so that they could find ways to climb up the racks and attack any algae that might take hold. As I have said so many times in the past issues you must replace the ones who pass on into the next World. I tend to throw some into my systems every few months and of course I also throw in some empty shells for the hermits to exchange when they get the whim. I have seen them fight over these empty shells. When changing into a different shell it can take them all day to figure out which one they really want:) Look closely at all of the pictures you will see absolutely no algae which proves these janitors are worth their weight in gold.
The reef janitors should be describe as the lawn mowers, the garden clippers and the glass cleaners of the reef system. They really do work and are so important to gaining a true balance in your reef system. The reason I use the lawn mower and clippers as an example is because you do not do this just one time a year you have to do this often and on-going. It is like having to go to the dentist and have your teeth cleaned the more you do it the less problems you have, the fewer visits you make the longer it takes to achieve the positive results you are hoping for. And the only way this works is if you stay on a schedule and continue with follow up. This is also the way it works with GARF's reef janitors. They live well in captivity but, need to be replenished from time to time. It is best to call the office and reorder before they all are gone and we will be more than happy to adjust the package with the needs you have.
This next picture is of the left side of my show tank. It is now only one month away from being two years old. You can see a close up picture of many of the small polyp stony corals that I propagated this past week and it might even make it easier to explain which one you want when you are calling. You could say I want that red one that is above the red brain coral in Sally Jo's tank:) I will also make sure that we take pictures of it a month from now and post it in my next article. That way I can show you how much they grow and heal in one months time. One of the first things I said to LeRoy is now my tank looks empty after making all these cuttings, everyone at the Foundation laughs at me and says unless you look really close you can not even tell you touched anything.
Also in this picture are two of the baby xenia. I tend to propagate them but leave them in the same system close to their Mother until they out grow the place I have them in. One thing I would like to mention at this time is that I give this tank a lot of attention. I have my hands in this tank for hours at a time almost every day. I have heard and people have asked me if they should wear gloves I don't. You may think I am crazy but, it is my honest feeling that the more attention you give these guys the more they will give back to you.
As you can see in this picture the staff is probably right you can not see how much I cut out of my system. Although I know how much I took out. It is very important to cut down on the bio-mass and to give these animals the room they need to grow.
In this picture you can see the small polyp stony coral that I propagated really heavy. It is an incredible animal has great color, the polyps extension is great and it grows really really fast. It likes a lot of light and a strong current.
Each time that I propagate it she tends to branch out even more. We will show you pictures of this very same animal next month so you can see for yourself the growth and healing that takes place in that short of time.
This coral sells rapidly so it is best to call the Foundation soon to make sure we have some left. All of our cutting sell for only $20.00 dollars. They ship very well and soon will all have a number and tag going out with them.
After I make this many cuttings I make sure I end the day by adding a capful of the Sea Chem reef plus and a tablespoon of our magic reef dust. If any corals have slimed because of the cuttings it goes right away. Sometimes I even direct my powerhead at the animal I have cut for about a ten minute period.
Next week I will propagating many of my soft corals they tend to grow much faster than the small polyp stony corals and if your not careful they will sting the small polyp stony corals. I believe that I mentioned in one of my past articles that I am no longer adding anything new to this system. Not just because it is pretty full already but, more importantly it stems from my fear of the diseases that seem to be passed if not careful and having a quarantine period before placing the animal in your prized show tank. I know that all these animals are healthy and well cared for so I am not passing a problem unto to the next person. Believe it or not this is a hard promise for me to keep because every time I see an animal that needs better conditions I want to grab it and give it the care it needs. Yet I have too many now that my time is full just taking care of the ones I have.
I have animals glued all over in my system. Some to the glass, the overflow box and even on the plastic pipes that bring water into my system:) No place is safe from having an animal growing on it. I would like to mention here that all of these were ity, bity babies when I placed them in this system a year ago. If given the right care they grow faster than you can imagine, and I believe the more diversity you have the better your system will do.
This collection of corals does not even come close to all the corals we have yet to study and the ones that are being lost before they can be discovered due to the poor water conditions in the Ocean. I donšt know how many of you witnessed the newscast that was on National TV last week with Peter Jennings. He went in great detail about the concerns with the Ocean and in fact said there were thousands of scientists in Washington voicing their concern for the Worlds coral reefs.
This is the International Year of the Ocean lets make a commitment together in bringing fourth positive research with the ultimate goal being to take the stress off the Ocean and do what we can to bring it back into balance. The World is a big place but not to big to be impacted by some of the simple things that we do each and everyday.
One of the most frequent questions that I have received this past month has to do with how do I get the coralline algae growth that I reflect in these pictures. I want to state one more time for all who read this that I am only sharing these results because you ask for them and I am not trying to promote one product over another, there is more than one way to do it right. However because so many have asked I want to share these results so that they to can have the same positive experience that I have had time and time again. Also many people have reported back that it works for them as well. I am willing and very interested in learning as many methods as I can but I refuse to change what I am doing because it works. (if its not broken donšt fix it) This is a hard standard to live by when one always wants to try something new or be doing something with their tank.
Sea Chem supplements.
All of the directions are for a 55 gallon setup so you will need to increase or decrease depending on what size of system you have. I will also state at this time I maintain all the systems at the Foundation and use the same treatments for all of them from 29 gallons to 300 gallons and it simply works. Some of the systems have plenums some do not. Some of the systems have sumps some do not. Some have skimmers, some do not. I still use the same for all of them.
Reef plus one capful twice a week in the sump
Reef Calcium one capful twice a week in the sump
Reef Complete one capful twice a week in the sump
One tablespoon of our Magic Reef dust once a week
Makeup water (glug glug box) holds two and one half gallons.
One heaping tablespoon of pickling lime three times in a row.
On the fourth time one heaping tablespoon of Sea Chem reef advantage On the fifth time one heaping tablespoon of Sea Chem reef builder;
repeat the process.
Make sure you clean out the container after each use. Another note to follow is that we make up the water in advance and allow it to sit for an entire day before placing in my glug glug box. You can see the design for this box in I think its the six issue of our newsletter.
Well I better go for now or LeRoy is going to tell me that I wrote to much again this time. Please remember to write us and most importantly to reorder your janitors, call early if you want any of my propagated animals AND PLEASE PLEASE REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN!!!
Some questions from the mail box
>Dear Mrs. Headlee,
>First, let me tell you its been about one and a half years since I bought
>your reef janitors, and except for a few that have died off (to be
>expected), all are doing well, and is probably the wisest purchase I've
>ever made for the hobby. Yours are 100% better than any other hermits I've
>Anyway to get to the point - Out of necessity I moved some zooanthids and
>mushrooms by carefully picking them off a rock w/an exacto knife. All
>spewed the dark brown I normally see occasionally coming from my LPS
>Based on my experience with propagating my leather, I know it takes about
>two weeks for them to hold fast, but my leather cuttings appear OK within
>I glued the zoas (three polyps per group) use gell tye Krazy Glue to a
>shell high in my tank. Obviously they are VERY small, and I'm not sure if I
>glued the right end. How long should I wait for them to begin to recover,
>to determine if I was successful or not?
>The mushroom did not enjoy being removed, and acted dead. It shriveled to
>the size of a pea, and I have it held down with some netting. Agan the
>same question -- How long should I wait for it to begin to recover,
>to determine if I was successful or not?
>Thanks in advance & keep up the good work,
>New Jersey, USA
GREAT job it will take about one week to two weeks before you see these guys come out of the shock and start extending their
polyps. Sometimes I get surprised and they are out in a couple of days. Mushrooms are the most stubborn of all the
animals that we propagate, but once again everything you explained is the same they do to all of us. You will see that it will
expand quickly and you will be able to remove the netting in about two weeks.
Sally Jo Headlee
Pres. & Executive Dir.
Involved with acting
> I was reading the information on using super glue for propagation.
>I was wondering if super glue is harmful to any fish, corals, and
>inverts? Is this method 100% safe to all tank critters? It would
>seem to me that it contains stuff that may be harmful. Also I was
>interested in some cuttings from sally jo's tank. How much are they
>selling for and how much would shipping and stuff cost to ST. LOUIS, MO
>Please let me know!
I have used the super reef glue for over 2 years now I have fish in my systems and have have never seen them get sick. I have
seen worse problems when cutting a coral and allowing it to slime the gel seems to heal the animal right away and the
toxic slime is gone. Before I started using the gel people where using rubber bands. Most of the time the animal
never attached. The other method people are using is epoxy.
Believe it or not they used this glue on humans during the war and that is where we picked up the idea and have researched it for
a couple of years now.
I just made over a hundred cuttings from my system last week. There is quite a variety in the coral selection. Most of the
propagating I did this past week was on the sps corals. All of my cutting sell for $20.00 each and you can call the office at 1-800-600-6163
to see what is availabe. The computer will allow our staff member to figure out the shipping cost to your area.
Thanks for the letter.
Sally Jo Headlee
Pres. & Executive Dir.
Involved with acting
>Dear LeRoy and Sally Jo,
>Wow! This is the most comprehensive and fantastic web site I have seen
>dealing with reef keeping. It is truly amazing! I have a 110 gallon
>tank and I would like to turn it into a mini reef. I am really confused
>by all the conflicting information on how to set this tank up. Can you
>help? Or can you tell me where to go to get reliable design
>information? I've tried local shops and I feel like they are just
>trying to sell me the latest gadgets.
>I really hope you can help.
Thank you so much for the kind comments. It is because of what the pet stores do and what the books say that mislead so
many that we decided to share our research and our results with everyone we could reach. There are many ways to set up
a system, and you need to decide what types of corals you want to grow and how much time you can spend with
this remarkable new venture. I will walk you through all of your questions and believe there are many ways to do this.
I will offer suggestions and if I can't answer your question directly I will find an answer for you from one of our other
Sally Jo Headlee
>i have a problem with green bubble algae, or at least thats what I call it.
> It started as very small colonies , but has recently started to really
>take over the tank. I have a 100 gal. with a wet dry drip filter and
>protien skimmer. As well as many large beautiful live rocks. Do you have
>any suggestions on how I might get rid of this problem?...
We have these cute emerald crabs that love the bubble algae and they tend to eat other algae are a problem for most hobbiest.
You can call our office at 1-208-344-6163 and ask to speak with one of our staff members in this regard.
Sally Jo Headlee
Use this site to solve your reef aquarium algae problems, and help support our research!!!
LOW COST BULLET PROOF REEF AQUARIUM Learn to start an inexpensive reef aquarium
55 GALLON INSTA REEF Visit Rachel's 12 week old Bullet Proof Reef Aquarium
MORE PICTURES OF THIS REEF AQUARIUM
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
We want to share as much information as possible with you. If you have ordered any aquacultured live rock or tank raised corals please help with this research! We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.
ALL DATA AND NAMES ARE CONFIDENTIAL - YOU WILL NEVER RECEIVE E- MAIL FROM ANYONE OUTSIDE OUR OFFICE!