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ZERO IMPACT REEF AQUARIUM
FUTURE HOME OF THE BOISE GEOTHERMAL PUBLIC RESEARCH AQUARIUM
SALLY JO'S JUNE UPDATE


Reef Aquarium Farming News
Online Newsletter for Reef Aquarium Propagation Research

ISSUE # 18 JUNE, 1998 PAGE 1

HELLO, WELCOME TO OUR 18TH ISSUE !

We are so happy that are taking the time to read about the research we are doing in the field of captive reef farming. We are learning about more people who are growing corals every month. We have now started to get more questions about marketing and we have devoted page 3 to this subject. Reef farming is a business, and all types of companies need to raise money to stay in business. Sales and production must go hand in hand if the new venture hopes to grow.

We are lucky in the United States because the reef keeping hobby is just starting to have a large increase in popularity. The natural systems that are being written about in the last several new books are much less expensive to start. We have found that these simple systems combined with captive grown animals give the beginner a very good chance of success. In the aquarium hobby success in an early attemp at keeping an aquarium can lead to a lifetime of collecting and enjoying more and more aquariums.

We would like to get reports from other countries about how the hobby is doing. Have you seen increased interest? Do you see aquariums on television shows?

Please enjoy the issue and keep those great e-mails coming.
LeRoy


Zero Impact Reef Aquarium

GROWING A REEF AQUARIUM ONE STEP AT A TIME

Good method for the pocket book and the reef

abstract: to further our goal of building a reef hobby that is self sustaining, we teach our students that each new reef aquarium keeper should strive to propagate and distribute the corals and other invertebrates that are in their systems. Each new reef aquarium then becomes part of the giant world wide Unconnected Coral Reef. We will explain how we construct large intricate reef colonies in our aquariums using nothing from the wild reef. We do research in our lab on new ways to propagate and market corals. We developed this simple system so researchers can duplicate our results by using equipment we use here in Boise, Idaho.

The research we are conducting here at the Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation required us to establish dozens of separate reef tanks. These aquariums are now being used for invertebrate culture research.

The foundation is conducting a long term research project with the goal of creating a "cook book method" for establishing a simple coral farming aquarium system that we can teach to people in other countries over the internet. The basic research reef has now grown up as we added a few new products to the basic reef aquarium. The system we now use is called the "Zero Impact Reef Aquarium" and these fabulous show tanks are grown in captivity with none of the live rock or corals coming from the ocean.

One of the things that we do different now is we start the reef aquarium with low lighting and minimum equipment. As the reef grows we increase the lighting and add a skimmer and more powerheads. We make our own live rock from CaribSea gravel and cement. We grow our own live sand and we stock it by adding tank grown Live Sand Activator.

Aquacultured Live Sand Activator and seeded aquacultured live rock are the most important ingredients in this type of reef system! SEEDED LIVE ROCK IS FULLY CURED ROCK FROM AN ESTABLISHED SYSTEM THAT CONTAINS CORALLINE ALGAE AND OTHER ORGANISMS. You do not need to start with 100% live rock so you can choose the best for the Coralline algae types you want to grow. Sea Critters in Florida grows some wonderful Aquaculture rock. We purposely add soft corals to the reef during the first few months. We choose species that we know are hardy and valuable. We teach people that they can sell or trade these corals offspring later. With this income you can purchase needed equipment as the reef aquarium matures.

After the reef is stable and the aquarium has grown a lush batch of coralline algae on all of the new live rocks the reef is ready for Small Polyp Stony Corals. We upgrade the lighting to VHO bulbs at this time. This system of growing a reef aquarium allows you to enjoy each stage of the project while keeping the initial cost very low.

These tanks have been tested both in our lab and in hundreds of our students homes. When an aquarist has the proper training, many types of aquarium systems can be used to support marine organisms. I have been keeping marine animals alive both commercially, and on a research basis for 26 years. I have often maintained large quantities of delicate organisms, such as Chambered Nautilus, using all types of filtration. I kept a lab full of breeding pairs of Nautilus in aquariums for several years in the late 1970s using plastic trash cans full of Aragonite gravel and Grunge for reverse flow gravel filters. For the research we are conducting now we needed to develop a "cookbook" type system that can be operated by people who have never kept marine aquariums.

We chose to use standard 55 gallon aquariums for this project because they are readily available. These tanks also allow the use of standard 4 foot- 40 watt lights to start the systems. The list of materials used in these reefs is quite basic. All of the products used are available at a well stocked aquarium store.

STAGE ONE - THE FIRST GOAL , GROW AS MUCH CORALLINE ALGAE AS POSSIBLE

HARDWARE

    Material list
  • 1) 55 gallon show aquarium 48" long
  • 2) 1-Visi-jet protein skimmer
  • 3) 2-Maxi-jet power head (1200)
  • 4) 1- heater
  • 5) 2-4 ft 40 watt "Triton" bulbs with end caps. If your pet shop does not carry these lights have them order them special.
  • 6) 1-4 ft 40 watt "Blue moon" bulb with end caps If your pet shop does not carry these lights have them order them special. These lights have grown the best coralline algae.
  • 7) ballasts for 3 40 watt bulbs
  • 8) 1-"Triton" enhancer light cover or aquarium hood.
  • 9) 70 lbs. ARAGOCRETE dry live rock either made at home and cured or purchased already cured. Many people are now making this and you may be able to find some locally.
  • 10) 40 LBS Carib Sea Seaflor Aragonite gravel not sugar fine or sand.
  • 11) We use an ECO-SAND plenum in our new research aquariums.

LIVESTOCK

  • 1) 10 pounds live sand activator
  • 2) 50 Mixed snails and 30 hermit crabs
  • 3) several small live Aquacultured live rocks with sponges and lots of coralline algae.

    In this paper we will tell you the exact brands of products we use. We have been keeping marine aquariums professionally since 1972 and we have discovered some great products that work every time. You can use any products and you can make them work.

    We only list the products we use so that you can have a good base point to start your own research. One of the most important things you need to do for good color and growth is to keep the Calcium, Strontium, and Magnesium in balance.

    We have so many reefs that we can not take a lot of time messing with this problem. Several years ago it occurred to us that none of us were Chemistry professors and that the owner of Sea Chem was. We decided to let him do the hard part and we use 5 of his products that work great here. There are many ways to do a reef aquarium right, but we needed one that works all of the time.

    We also use Ocean Pure Salt because it is always the same from semester to semester. I have been in many professional research laboratories around the world. In many of these labs if you said you used another brand of Hobby Salt to save a bit of money the aquaculturists thought you were either a fool or just a beginner. When you are doing research consistency in the salt you use is very important . When you develop a method that works in your aquariums it is critical that others be able to repeat your results. We publish the list of products we are using so you can duplicate these results.

    Please report any products that work for you in your country. We will test them along with the dozens of other products we are reviewing for our web site Reef Aquarium Farming News /news.html Email: leroy@garf.org 208-344-6163 FAX 208-344-6189

    STAGE ONE - step one - establish live sand and cycle reef aquarium. Expected duration = 1 to 4 weeks depending on the amount of live sand activator and the quantity and quality of the aquacultured live rock.

    LIGHTING SCHEDULE - lights on timer 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

    The Visi-Jet protein skimmer is installed and it is operated at full volume. Be certain that you can get the extra bubbles to exit the skimmer and rise up the outside of the tube. At this time, 50 mixed snails and 25 Blue spot hermit hermit crabs are added to control the various diatom and algae blooms.

    We set up the 55 gallon reef tank by placing the protein skimmer in the back corner. We use the dry base rock to construct a loosely spaced stack that allows water to circulate. We operate the skimmer with the flow adjustment open to the highest flow. This high flow rate allows the skimmer to produce a profusion of small air bubbles. During the first several weeks of operation we keep the air valves open all the way. Direct the extra bubbles along the back of the rock pile. After the tank is stocked with corals we remove the bottom deflector so that any excess bubbles rise up the outside of the skimmer tube. We believe this extra aeration is beneficial to the system. We have had no problems with the extra air in any of systems we are running. We are certain that it is just the opposite. Many times on the natural reef there are so many fine air bubbles that the water looks like milk.

    The "Maxi-jet" power heads are used to create a flow across the front and back of the tank. We do not fix one of the power heads in any one position because moving it around creates different currents in the tank. We have found that by turning the power head slightly each time we observe the tank We can create flow patterns that keep the detritris from clogging the live rocks. We have observed polyps feeding on the debris from these "mini-storms". It does not require much movement from the power head to create a large change in current in the reef tank. This change in current is very easy to observe in the long tentacle type corals.

    When first establishing these reef tanks, after adding the 70 lbs. of ARAGOCRETE dry live rock and seeded aquacultured live rock, we do not feed the system at all for the first two months. We leave the lights on for 12 hours a day. We have found that each tank goes through a definite series of blooms. During the first month you can expect the entire tank to turn brown. This brown bloom is made up of diatoms. This is the time when to 50 mixed snails first earn their keep. We have discovered that the more diatoms a system grows when it is first set up the better the entire reef will be later. This has happened again and again in our lab and we do not fully understand why this is so.

    During this phase you may have to empty the skimmer cup twice each day.If the waste material seems watery or clear simply move the skimmer up in the tank by sliding the suction cups up. The only maintenance that is need on these skimmers is a simple vinegar bath if the amount of foam starts to decrease. When we notice the skimmer is slowing down we simply remove the power head and run it in a pint of white vinegar for an hour. After a short rinse in fresh water the skimmer is ready for several more weeks of use.

    I am amazed at the amount of brown liquid that the skimmer can remove from each reef. I am more amazed at the number of animals that survive and reproduce in each of these systems After the first little bit of ammonia has been undetectable on a test kit for several days you are ready for the next step.

    STAGE ONE - step two -  pushing the coralline to spread all over the aquarium. Expected duration - 4 to 8 weeks depending on the types and amounts of coralline algae you start with.

    LIGHTING SCHEDULE - lights on 24 hours.

    During this time we run the skimmer, but we remove the catch cup and slide the top of the skimmer down so the oxygen rich water flows back into the reef. We have discovered that skimmers can remove the coralline algae spores we want to produce.

    We use this method in reefs that do not have hair algae on the live rocks. Many of our reefs have fresh Aragocrete and aquacultured live rock with NO problem algae.
    We use Sea Chem Reef PlusTM, Reef CompleteTM, and Reef CalciumTM at twice the regular dose in the reef water twice a week. All of the make up water is treated for one week with Sea Chem Reef AdvantageTM and the next week with Reef Builder. We use one heaping teaspoon of these powders in each gallon of water. Each reef takes about one gallon of make up water each morning. We have used these two products and Calcium Hydroxide for several years. We quit using the Calcium Hydroxide for a while. We have been changing back and forth between the two Sea Chem products for about 30 weeks in all of the reefs in our labs. The coralline growth has never been better. We follow up each month with a 10% water change in each system. During this time we use a Phosphate remover to keep the Phosphate in the water column as low as possible.

    During this step it is important to have the 30 hermits crabs and 50 mixed snails in the reef to eat green algae that starts to grow. The hermits will pick at the surface of the rock and appear to the beginner to be eating the coralline algae. After you do the next step you will understand how silly that is. The best thing you can do next is locate a healthy reef aquarium in your city that has coralline algae growing on the glass. This may be at your local store. The owner will owe you a favor if you turned him on to Triton and Blue Moon Bulbs. The reef aquarium may belong to a member of your local marine society.

    You will need several new single edge razor blades and a small siphon hose. Scrape the coralline algae off of the front glass and siphon up as much of the chipped coralline algae as possible. When you are finished, discard the dulled razor blades and pour the coralline chips all over your rocks. We turn off the power heads for one hour after we pour in the coralline algae. This rock hard true coralline algae is the type you want to grow. Many of the short red soft encrusting algae that come in on Fiji rock look like coralline to the beginner and they may think their hermits are eating coralline algae. This is not the case as the dulled razor blades prove.

    STEP TWO - PART ONE - soft coral propagation and The colored mushroom hunt. Expected duration - this step can go on for years depending on the types and amounts of captive raised soft corals you want to collect. The 40 watt lights are great for this project.

    LIGHTING SCHEDULE - lights on timer - 14 hours on and 10 off.

    One of the most important things you can do if you plan to raise corals is to start a brood stock aquarium. This project will show you how to do this in a small aquarium. You do not need large pieces of corals to start. When we purchase corals we always try to buy a large number of tank raised types in each order. It is much better to have six colors of mushrooms that were grown in a captive reef system than one large wild collected mushroom rock. LeRoy is collecting every color of Mushroom he can find, and they are now growing in the bottom of every reef.

    .

    SMALL CORALS CAN GROW INTO COLONIES

    You can see how we glue the cuttings onto the rock in the pictures. The arches are very good for this type of reef aquarium because they get the cuttings up to the top of the reef. The arches allow water to flow around the corals. Coralline algae grows very well on the plastic filled rocks and this keeps the problem algae from growing. We use extra Reef Janitors TM in all of the new reefs so the algae does not get started.

    We control bubble algae by adding some extra Bubble algae eating Emerald crabs. They love all types of green algae and they do not harm the corals. Jerry Heslinga is growing this type of rock for sale in systems that have macro algae and in systems without algae. We do not like macro algae in most of our SPS coral tanks, but the one Jerry is growing in Hawaii is very well behaved.

    We use Super glue to glue all of the frags in the reef underwater. Many of the frags are just 1/2 inch long when we attach them.

    STEP TWO - PART TWO - Small polyp stony coral propagation and The search for a true purple Acropora.

    Expected duration - This is a true challenge that can last a lifetime because we have not seen anything yet! During the past month some of the first of 20, 000 aquacultured sps corals arrived from the Soloman islands. Paul Hough from the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium in Australia announced at the Northwest Marine Conference in Seattle that their 5 year old F1 generation sps corals that they crossed for form and color have spawned. The first groups of these corals will be fragged for some Public aquariums in the United States. Bruce Carlson is farming rare sps corals for public aquariums. Six new people EACH MONTH report on our web site that they are starting corals farms in the United States. Julian Sprung showed slides of new corals from Brazil and reported that they were coming to a store near you soon. Jerry Heslinga is growing Aquaculture rock in Hawaii using GARF methods. He is producing some of the most exciting live rock in the industry. leroy@garf.org Please send us an e-mail if you are doing a propagation project anywhere in the world.


    LIGHTING SCHEDULE - lights on timer 14 hours on and 10 off.

    This is the big step because now we can keep any species of sps (Small Polyp Stony) coral and grow them with their true wonderful clear colors.

      MATERIALS NEEDED
    • 1) Ice Cap 660 ballast
    • 2) two Aquasun VHO Bulbs
    • 3) two Actinic 03 VHO Bulbs
    • 4) SeaClone skimmer
    • 5) Maxi - Jet 1200 power head
    • 6) small fan to cool water surface in Summer
    • 7) Intermatic lamp timer
    You can now add four - 4 foot VHO bulbs and an Ice Cap ballast. We use 2 of the 40 watt lights along with the VHO bulbs. The 6 bulbs take up the entire top of the reef so we change to a SeaClone hang on the back type skimmer. We used two Aquasun and two Actinic 03 bulbs. The reef has two Maxi - Jet 1000 power heads and we add a third Maxi - Jet 1200 . We put this Maxi - Jet 1200 on an Intermatic lamp timer that can be set to go on and off each 1/2 hour

    Your system is now ready for Small polyp Stony Corals and we will have much more to say about that next month.

    Coral Farming At Home - a way to save a reef and grow a hobby

    As more and more captive grown corals are made available locally the hobby of reef keeping will start to grow into something we can all be more proud of.

    THREE THINGS SELL CORAL

    COLOR - COLOR- COLOR

    col0or n. Abbr. col.
    1. That aspect of things that is caused by differing qualities of the light reflected or emitted by them, definable in terms of the observer or of the light, as:
    a. The appearance of objects or light sources described in terms of the individual's perception of them, involving hue, lightness, and saturation for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources.
    b. The characteristics of light by which the individual is made aware of objects or light sources through the receptors of the eye, described in terms of dominant wavelength, luminance, and purity.

    We can not stress this point enough. It is better to purchase small bright colored captive raised corals for brood stock than to purchase large brownish wild collected stock. When you do have a coral that has good color it is important to grow it in a low nutrient system. Excess Phosphates and Nitrates in the water can cause the internal algae balance to shift and the coral may appear brown. We use live sand and low feeding rates in our systems to keep the nutrients low.

    The main point we are trying to get across in this series of articles on Zero Impact Reef Aquarium farming is that the way to start is to just start, and the time to start is now. You can use the reef aquarium you have for the first brood stock, and you can grow it into as many reefs as you need. You can grow corals at home and trade them for the supplies and corals you desire. By starting small you will learn to solve problems while they are small. By starting now you can plan the future of your project before you commit a large amount of time or money in a new venture.

    Coral farming is one of the most challenging things we have done in our 20 years of commercial aquaculture research. Raising thousands of giant fresh water prawns outside in Idaho using geothermal water when it was 11 below zero in 1979 was a piece of cake compared to this. Growing 250,000 black veil tail angelfish a month inside of the Utah prison from our computer in Boise was almost as fun, but at least more people had raised angelfish before we did that 900 aquarium hatchery.

    Reef farming is not easy and we have to thank people like Dick Perin, Steve Tyree, Merrill Cohen, and Tom Frakes every day. If you want a simple way to make some money then you should just go ahead and try to make gold out of straw. If you love corals and nothing in the world can stop you from having as many colors and types as possible, if you want a way to deduct trips to Fiji and Bali, then the future of coral farming needs you. Please study all you can about natural reefs and the way corals grow. Study systems that you plan to use later. The best systems always take ideas from the past and put them together in new ways. As you start to learn more about your corals please share the information with others. We share as much as we can because it is the only way we will be able to start to pay back people like Dick Perin for getting up at MACNA 94 and showing everyone how to cut corals.

    We are so happy when we first frag a new coral such as the small branch bright purple Acropora. We bought this super coral from Steve Tyree several months ago and now that 3/4 inch frag has grown into a small colony in the front office.

    We have moved frags into two other systems here and we have sent frags to 3 states. We are sure that this new coral will survive in the hobby for decades to come. I am certain that this is one of the corals Sally Jo and I will take to Switzerland when we give our seminar there in September.

    Corals like this little jewel are the types that will be harvested too much because it grows slower. When the colonies are removed from the collecting areas the unique niche may be lost.
    - Ecology.
    a. The function or position of an organism or a population within an ecological community.
    b. The particular area within a habitat occupied by an organism.

    The niche this coral grew to fill may be taken over by larger browner corals. It is our hope that by teaching people in the tropics to mass produce these rare types of corals in controlled farms that the hobby will always have new and exciting corals. We hope that in years to come, when we all get to the point that we can visit the natural reef, that the wonderful biodiversity we want to study and enjoy will be there keeping the reef stable and strong.

    We are happy to announce that Mr. Jerry Heslinga, Stanley Brown, and Mr. Albert Thiel will be our three of our many guest speakers at the Reef Aquarium Farming Seminar October 24 - 25 and we will have six different homes with great reef aquariums on display for this event. This is the BIG one!

    We will be cutting all kinds of corals and many of the talks will be about marketing. You will be able to meet people from whom you can purchase rare brood stock. Many people who want to purchase corals from you will be waiting to meet you in Boise, Idaho for an intense course on reef farming. Please call us at 1-800-600-6163 so we can mail you more details SAVE A REEF - GROW YOUR OWN

    More next time - LeRoy

    FUTURE HOME OF THE BOISE GEOTHERMAL PUBLIC RESEARCH AQUARIUM
    GARF
    GARF

    We are proud to announce that we are starting a new project that will allow us to teach at six public aquariums during the next 12 months. We will host weekend seminars on coral propagation and reef rock building. These seminars will be open to the aquarium keepers who work at other public aqauriums in each region. Garf will supply the host aquariums with several dozen free captive raised corals so they can build a display using aquacultured animals. If you work at a public aquarium and you think that this project might fit into your education program please feel free to call us toll free at 1-800-600-6163. There will be no cost for this series of seminars. We have started to data bank corals that many public aquariums have an excess of and we will help them trade these corals with other aquariums who need them and may have too many of some other species.

    GARF IS TEACHING PUBLIC AQUARIUMS AROUND THE WORLD TO PROPAGATE CORALS.  WE WILL SOON BE STARTING OUR NEW PROJECT TO BRING THE PUBLIC RESEARCH AQUARIUM TO THE CITIZENS OF IDAHO

    WETLAND RESEARCH

    REEF PROPAGATION RESEARCH

    GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

    SALLY JO'S JUNE UPDATE

    Hi I'm back!!!
    So much has happened in the two months since I shared, not only with my systems, but the Foundations and many others. To start I want to remind everyone of the seminar that is coming up this October 24 th. This is one not to miss. Jerry Heslinga, Albert Thiel, GARF, Tom Frakes, and Stanley Brown all in the same room at the same time to answer your reef questions and show you how to farm hands on. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. It is a two day event and only costs $50.00. We have room for at least 75 people and so far 12 have prepaid so it is very important to hold that date and get your reservations to us before there are no more seats left. You can mail your check to GARF 1726 Merrill St. Boise ID 83705. It is on Oct. 25 and 26 of the year 1998. Saturday will be from 9am to 6pm and Sunday will be 9am until 6pm. You can place an order when at the facility and ask as many questions, take as many pictures as you want. Believe me you will learn more then you can fathom. Once you have confirmed your interest, and secured your placement we will inform you where you can make your reservations to stay at a discount as well. We will be propagating corals, speaking about clam farming, snail propagation, reef set ups, touring the Foundation and much more.

    The problem is not so much because of what is coming out of the ocean
    as it is about what is going into the ocean

    Since I last wrote my tanks have grown and I have been able to share many propagated animals all around the United States. We feel that not only is it important to teach you how to grow the corals but even more important is researching ways to ship them. We must not forget that 90% of the corals in the hobby are lost to freight. Cut flowers, dead people and mail go before these animals and this is a cause that I feel is well worth fighting and changing. Last week the President of the United States attended a conference on the ocean and maybe for the first time listened with open ears on how bad the conditions of the Worlds Oceans truly are. As always I am a advocate for stressing to people that the problems may not be so much because of what is coming out of the ocean as it is what is going into the ocean. Drastic measures are not always the best way to solve or resolve problems. It is now clear to me and should be to you that we need to present our case and prove that we as a hobby are making a difference in the raising and propagating of corals. We can keep them, raise them, grow them and share them with others.

      LeRoy and I have been busy sharing information through visiting marine clubs, showing slides and presenting a hands on approach to reef keeping. We took the time to visit four different public aquariums, and a few wholesalers. I was not happy with what I saw at the wholesalers. I saw live rock sitting in a taped boxes that had been sitting in that condition for over a week (pitty the poor guy who is going to be getting that rock). It was an amazing experience for me and one that makes me more determined to teach people to make their own rock, propagate their own corals and learn as much as we can about raising as many kinds of fish as we can. On that note I have my first tank raised cardinals that are only about a month and a half old, cute as can be, and healthy. I was feeding them rotifers, brine shrimp now I also have added to their diet some mosquito larva which to my surprise the Chelman Butterfly fish are also eating. We have ordered extra Chelmens at the Foundation in case any of you want to buy one when placing an order with us. We are selling them for $20.00 and they truly are a great Aiptasia eater. Once they have eaten all your Aiptasia you can pass them onto a friend, give them mosquito larva, or give them rocks with Aiptasia on them.

    We have written some articles in some of the leading marine magazines. We continue speaking at clubs, and doing ocean research. This has brought many more people to our site, and to our janitors and the tank raised corals that we sell. On the other hand it has also, like it will anyone who sticks their neck out and shares information freely, caused us some grief from people (not many) who think their products or their way is the only way. I must say that everyone has an opinion and that is OK. I only get upset when they voice information that is not correct, is misleading and is for the most part negative. We and I do mean all of you invest so much in this hobby. Speaking for myself I invest more of my heart and time than anything else.

    Some beginner started a rumor about the hermits eating coralline. We have so much coralline in all of our systems. We hold more janitors in some of these tanks than anyone else has in any system. I would think the poor little hermits would break their little chelepeds and mandibles - Any of various mouth organs of invertebrates used for seizing and biting food, - if this were the truth. I have a hard enough time using a razor blade to get the coralline off the glass to clear my view. It reminds me of when I was first starting the tanks that now have become famous. So much of what I did, I was told was wrong and could not be done. If I had not tried we would not be where we are today. Please do not believe everything you read because some people are just mean or jealous ;)

    THIS IS A PICTURE OF THE WONDERFUL 20 GALLON REEF
    TOM WALSH SHARED WITH US IN BALTIMORE

    I have had a great two months and a not too great two months. Many of you know that I have been through three spine surgeries in a three year period. I just had another set back. There is nothing worse than being in pain!!

    Many exciting and challenging things have also happened. My cat had her first litter.

    We have six little flame point Siamese kittens running around finding out about life with their beautiful opened blue eyes. We have a new dog. This Rottweiler makes it two dogs, and just today we entered him into dog college with the hopes of giving him the tools he needs to make it until he is fifteen. It was LeRoy's fathers day present, the dog is bigger than me and at this time he is a handful along with the six baby kittens.

    My tanks have been growing like crazy. I now sell what I call the Bag of Frags. It is six different sps corals cut directly from my tank and then glued into yours. I sell this new package for $100.00 and many many people have expressed their pleasure in getting healthy corals that live, grow and are colorful. We guarantee the animals and have had a great success rate in sending our corals this way. We still sell the soft corals on plugs and are giving the same great deal, six of them for $100.00. Otherwise we sell them for $20.00 each.

    There are a few items that I think are important to report before showing pictures and speaking about my tanks. Steve Tyree has just come out with a great book. REEF BUILDING STONY CORALS - The Natural Physical Environment.   If you haven't got your hands on this, I suggest you do, we do have some at the Foundation for sale if you can't find one in your area (great book and I hope Steve starts on his second one soon!:).

    Albert Thiel is a remarkable man who gives so much to this hobby and most of what he does is free. We really need to thank him. I hope many of you will come to the seminar and meet him, he really cares about your reef experience. I want to take a special moment to thank those who have become a member of our Foundation and joined the family that continues to care and share information.

    In the Marine Society meetings that LeRoy and I presented we learned some valuable facts that I feel need to be shared with you. I have been strongly pushing VHO lighting after your system has grown coralline algae and is ready for some serious coral grow out. I must stay I have had my share of debates over this topic, considering the investment made by many when doing what the books tell them and putting medal halides over their tanks. Stanley Brown reported that there was a sps coral raising challenge that allowed anyone to enter to see what conditions the sps corals would grow best in. The one person who wanted to partake in this venture who had VHO's was almost turned away because it was felt at that time that those lights could not sustain these animals. All other entries where MH lighting. Guess who won, this test was run for an entire year and yes!!!!! go VHO, it grew the corals bigger, healthier and more colorful.

    When looking at my systems I know that result to be true it was just great to know that a test was completed and the results tallied and the VHO's won. Another important fact that has come back to us in the past week. We have been donating one of every coral at the foundation to the Pittsburgh Zoo for them to grow and identify as to species and origin of the corals. Jim Prappus reported back that the propagated corals are growing faster than other corals in the system. The cuttings from these corals are now being passed onto other Public Aquariums. This is the most exciting news I think any of us who want to farm should be aware of and bank on.
    .There is much room it this hobby for successful coral propagation farms. We would like to see at least one in every State or even as many as we have pet stores in each city in every State. I remember when we could not even sell a propagated coral. People were set on buying from the wild. We are so proud to see this changing, being a part of that, and hearing back from so many of you who are successfully propagating corals. Some people are even sending them to us for trades for other animals.

    Many of you ask for a list of products we sell. We do sell only propagated corals so the corals we have for sale depend on what needs to be propagated when and we also take pride in finding the perfect match for your system. We also would like to inform you that our stock of Xenia corals have soared. Soon we will be cutting back on sales of this animal because of the weather. They do not transport well in hot weather so if you do not get your order in soon we will have to put you down on the list to ship this animal in the Fall.

    ANOTHER VIEW OF ONE OF TOM"S BEUTIFUL AQUARIUMS
    Now onto to talking and sharing on my systems. Many of you expressed withdrawals from my taking a break and not writing last month. THANK YOU ALL ! I am sorry that I just was not up to writing. LeRoy has taken great pictures of my systems to share some of the updated information on these incredible systems.

    I will be placing the custom made hoods with fans installed sometime this week. I have them set up to run six lights and if I choose all 6 bulbs on each of them can be VHO. At this time I am still using 4 VHO's and two 40 watts. I see no need for a change but as your systems grow one coral may over shadow another. I cut mine a lot so this is not really a problem. What you need to look at in particular this time of year is the temperature. You do not want your systems to go over 80 degrees especially if you are caring for the Xenias. You need to keep a close eye on salinity since evaporation is more when the temperatures increase. You also need to remember that you should make sure you have enough janitors in your systems. Just as the light and temparature go up and the algae starts to grow, many of us go outside to play in our gardens and tend to neglect the tanks somewhat. The janitors will keep your algae problems in check and allow you the freedom to enjoy your outside World.

    I have been playing in my tanks a lot lately, but that is not new. I feel the more attention you give them the more beauty they reflect back to you. This first picture is of my tank that is now, believe if or not, 2 years and four months old. It has produced so many babies, cuttings and animals that I have lost count. My guess is that if we figured it out it would be way over $5,000 and that is without even trying to market all of the animals from this system.

      I want to say this one more time in case some of you missed this fact. This is the first tank I have ever done. I never even had a fresh water system. I become more aware every day that there are many many ways to set up a reef system. When looking at the Foundations tanks alone no two tanks are a like and what does great in one system struggles in another. It is my belief the more diversity you have in your system the better it will continue to do. You have to look at this as similar to the rain forest. Many creatures thrive and enhance the others. I love this picture because it shows the reflection back into the water.

    I sometimes love to pick up my hood and look down on the corals, it is so beautiful. I now have way over 175 different kinds of corals thriving in this system and my challenge is to keep propagating so that one does not overtake another. I think I have more sps corals now than anything else in this system, and color placement is really important to me. In this picture if you look closely at the top you will see that I am caring for a sea fan that was propagated and placed in my tank over a year ago. It soon needs to be propagated as well. In the past two months over 100 cuttings have been made and sold all around the US.

    I always use the magic reef dust and Sea Chem Reef Plus if I do any drastic propagating. One important note that I forget to mention from time to time is that when placing my supplements in the systems I use the Sea Chem Reef Plus first and then wait about a hour before putting the others in because the Sea Chem Reef Plus makes my skimmer go like crazy. I don't want it to pull out the other supplements so I wait until it slows down. I also want to remind you that when getting some of our reef janitors it is important to increase your calcium, the shells of the snails pull it out of your water so adding a little more each time is important.

    The Xenia in this picture is now over two years old and has mothered more babies than I could ever count. I am now caring for seven different species of Xenia in this system. I believe it is one of the most beautiful corals that you can introduce in your system. We have been sending them all around the U.S. and the survival rate is truly amazing. You can see by this picture sps corals are not bothered and do well right up next to the xenia. I give credit for the tremendous polyp extension to the magic reef dust that I use at least once a week.

    It is exciting to hear back from so many of you who are now propagating this animal as well. Just be aware of temperature changes and the fact that this is a animal that does well if you continue to propagate it and also use the Sea Chem Reef Plus.
      Here is another picture of my 55 gallon reef that is two years and four months old. I spend a lot of time moving animals, propagating animals and color coordinating animals for show. I still have many people shaking their heads thinking that this could never be done. Each animal is happy and no place is safe from my gluing of a coral. I hope many of you will be able to come to the Foundation in October.

    It just takes your breath away when you see all of the reefs in person. You can see in the close up that I have no algae problems, and the only place it shows up is in the overflow box where the janitors can't get to. You can see great coralline algae growth and if you go back to other issues you can see the tremendous growth these corals can give you if given the proper care.

    I love the gorgonians and have six different types that I am raising in this system. I am a avid user of the green water and rotifers. I believe all corals lives are enhanced with these products. My clam has been in this system for at least two years. I am caring for a flower pot coral that came from a mother that had 13 babies in one year it is now over the two year mark.

    This next picture is of my old man tank. Which is now about 10 months old and nothing in it came from or touched the ocean. All but the old man was made by LeRoy's hands. It is so amazing to me what shows up on this rock because of what is found in the GARF grunge. I have all kinds of sponges, coralline, and other gifts that the grunge generated in this system. So far this system has mostly soft corals, mushrooms and just a few sps corals, once I have the new hood on I will begin adding more of the sps corals and spend more time playing in it.

    I have not spent a great deal of time in this tank, however when people come to visit the Foundation it has become one of the favorites I think mostly because it was all man made and the little cardinals are in this system. I just put a skimmer on it to create more oxygen and pull out some of the waste. The old man is a rock I found when wanting to test regular aragonite compared to man made rock and the man made rock won. We are now selling a lot of our ARAGOCRETE that is fully cured, and we send it dry so the shipping is not going to cost an arm and a leg. We have been so excited to hear back from so many of you who are making your own rock and having so much fun doing so. Please keep the letters and pictures coming!!!!!

      I am pretty proud of this picture. I made a gully in the middle of my tank. Which meant taking out some of my mushrooms and some live rock but it created such beauty for the eye. I really like it. In this picture you get to meet freckles my clown fish. I named her this because of the white spot on her side. LeRoy has become increasingly upset with my fish for trying to get in all the pictures, but I think this is a great one. You can see that I am still raising many different kinds of soft coral with the sps corals. Many of my soft corals are closer to the bottom of my tank and the sps corals are closer to the top. This tank now has over 14 hundred grams of glue in it and everyone is happy. It really helps me when I have to pop off an animal because it needs to be moved. I move the corals when they are growing out of the water or growing too close to another animal.

    I have received so much pleasure from this tank. If I can create something like this so can you and that is why we continue to share pictures and information. It is so important to us that you have the same positive experiences that we continue to share. This is a very important hobby and business if you choose to go in that direction. There is much room for many farmers and the more successful one is the more truth there is for the next person to believe in their dream.

    These animals started out so small you could not see many of them, now they have been propagated and shared with many of the tanks at the Foundation as well as people who are farming. When asked which one of the corals is my favorite, I have to answer the one I don't have yet:)
    This picture again is of my show tank and the Xenia featured in this picture arrived on a blue tile from Larry Jackson. The most amazing thing about this is he sent us many corals and due to the company that transported them we did not get the box for three days.

    All the sps corals where toast but this Xenia made it. The more generations we get away from the mother the stronger the strain is. This animal has grown very fast since arriving at the Foundation.

    I love to decorate my tanks so color, texture and movement all play a role as to where the animal is place. I do house keeping almost on a daily basis.

      This next picture is a close up of a beautiful sps coral that Steve Tyree sent us and of course the stealer of the picture is the ricordia that we are learning to propagate so that this animal can be in as many tanks around the World as possible. It started out as one and now I have five all on the same rock and doing well. This animal does not really like intense light nor does it like strong water movement and I see it do better when I continue to feed the rotifers and green water.

    Many of the corals you see in this picture will be propagated in the next week. I have fallen in love with the sps corals. If given the proper care not only do they thrive they grow very fast. When placing them in your system make sure they have room to grow. Once they are growing pay close attention to the fact that they may be blocking off light from another animal. The larger coral may not allow water movement to reach all the tank mates. I have not added any new animals to this system and spend a great deal of time making sure everyone is happy. This system will have new lights on it within the next week and I have not yet decided if I will place the six VHO's over it or stick with what is working and use the 4 VHO's with two 40 watts.

    It is important to remember to do regular water changes. We recommend a 10% water change a month. I now have a bigger and better air pump on this system which causes my skimmer to remove more than it has in the past.

      THESE REEFS ARE TWO OF THE BEST WE HAVE SEEN IN OUR TRAVELS

    These next couple of pictures are of the reef tanks kept by Tom Walsh of the Marine Society in Baltimore. What a wonderful man! He is a friar and he opened his home to us the last day we were there. He shared his two tanks with us and it pulled at my heart so deeply.

    The tanks are full of corals, life, beauty and I know how much love he gives to these two systems. They are both 20 gallons side by side. One is six years old and the other is four years old. I saw many corals in these systems that we don't have. They are simply stunning.

    They reminded me so much of my tanks at home, I am sure he has lost count on how many animals he has in his systems as well. He has done a great job in finding the balance for this system.

    I also must state for the record that he is not using VHO'S nor MH lighting he is using regular fluorescent bulbs and no one could ever complain about the health of his animals.

    He has a variety of fish in this systems that all look healthy and happy. You could look at this tanks and forget where you are. He had a little problem with algae so LeRoy and I sent him some of our famous Emerald crabs and hopefully will hear back from him soon that the algae problems are gone and the Emeralds are fat and ready to go unto their next task. Tom also spent time using color, movement, and size for decorating his tanks. Take a moment to look at the variety of animals and life he is keeping and remember he is not using the expensive lighting. We ended the visit telling him some of his animals needed propagating so he could add more variety to his tanks:) We said this because LeRoy wanted some of those incredible soft corals we did not have in our genetic bank in Boise.

    I hope that you continue to enjoy our newsletters, support our efforts, share your research and please stay in touch. Your kind letter, comments and feedback means so much to us. We learn from the questions you ask, we realize what is important, which animals are in demand, and most importantly that all of our hard work is making a BIG difference.

    Don't forget about the Oct Seminar!!!! Happy reefing and never forget to remember this is a hobby have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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