XENIA GROW OUT DATA FROM THE KONA REEF AQUARIUM
BUILDING PLYWOOD AND EPOXY GROW OUT SYSTEMS
A CORAL COFFEE TABLE - I MADE IT MYSELF CONTEST WINNER
ISSUE # 18 page 2
Welcome to page two of our June issue. Both of these articles will be valuable to use for your reef farm planning. The first one shows you some pictures we took during the Xenia grow out tests we have been doing. The second article explains a great way for you to build your own farming systems. We have included some data from our second most popular page because it explains in detail how the grow out system is constructed. We are very interested in any pictures you can send showing how you are growing your corals.
|The Xenia we have been following in this series of articles about Xenia mass production has turned out to be a very good looking coral. We started this Xenia 12 weeks ago, and we glued the tag in the 55 gallon aquarium we call the Kona reef. This tank was set up using 50 pounds of AragocreteTM rock that we sent to Jerry Heslinga in Kona. Jerry grew this rock in one of his raceways for 6 months. This rock was then returned to Idaho covered with coralline algae. |
The tag method of Xenia propagation allows us to mount the small cuttings anywhere in the reef aquarium by using a small drop of Super Reef Glue. This Xenia is believed to be a strain of the Species X. Umbelatus from Fiji. This coral is very valuable because it has a great color and it has morphed into a VERY hardy animal. Many times a strain of coral will adjust to captive reef life, and it seems as if each new set of clones is easier to keep.
|This pictures shows the tag after the small Xenia has expanded. Many of the tags that we grew using the hanging hoop method - a plastic hoop with two layers of netting - only had one polyp on them. These tags have now grown into corals almost as large as this one pictured below dated 6/19.
We are collecting as many strains of Xenia as we can find. We now have 9 types that are different enough from each other that we can tell them apart when they are grown in different systems. This picture shows how the tag is attached to the rock with the super glue. We were able to glue these tags underwater using a very small drop of glue.
The most important thing that you need to control in your Xenia grow-out tanks is the temperature. Many strains of Xenia will crash if the reef is allowed to get above about 80 degrees. This Pom Pom Xenia can now take periods of high temperature that would have caused earlier clones from this strain to crash. We are certain that the coral has become more tolerant of aquarium changes than the parent from the ocean was. This cutting is from the sixth generaration of captive grown clones.
|As the Xenia starts to add body mass the growth gets faster. We used a system that does not have skimming in these tests to see if the Xenia would grow faster in a more nutrient rich reef. We did use the skimmer body to create a gas exchange tube by removing the catch cup. We have many reefs in our lab that do not have skimmers and the growth of the corals is very good. |
We do notice many more micro invertebrtaes on the glass in the reefs that we do not skim. Because of the importance of gas exchange we are starting to use a small skimmer in many of the reefs. We are certain that as the reef becomes more populated with corals the skimmers do improve the water quality. Skimmers are like many of the items in a marine system you can over do it if you take it to the upper limit.
This reef is unique in our lab because the rock came back from Kona with a lush growth of well behaved macro algae. This algae is removing nutrients as we harvest it. Many of the other macro algae have been banned from the grow-out systems because they take over and block the light from reaching the corals. You can see this algae in the picture dated 6/19.
|These two pictures show how much the Xenia has grown in the last month. Several of the plugs that we made at the same time have already been cut for making new clones. NOTE HOW MUCH THE CORALLINE ALGAE HAS GROWN IN THE LAST 2 MONTHS.|
|These are some of the Xenia cuttings we have made by cutting some of the corals off one half way up the stock. We then split the head into 4 pieces by cutting them underwater with sharp scissors. Each one of these small pieces was put under a piece of bridal veil and secured to the reef plug with a rubber band. The plastic rack that holds these reef plugs is about 12 inches from the dicharge of a Gemini pump. This rapid water movement is important because the netting tends to trap a dead water space. If this happens the cutting will not survive.
One of the unexpected things that happened when we removed the netting was that some of the polyps remained attached to the netting. We were able to cut around the polyps and attach them to new rocks as Xenia tags. Some of the plugs ended up having a nice colony of Xenia and we were able to divide the polyps that remained on the netting into 4 more corals.
You can see some of the other Xenia tags in the upper right side of the reef.
The one thing I want to stress about Xenia propagation is the importance of dividing each strain between several systems. We hate to say that it is, not IF a Xenia will crash but WHEN it will crash, but that is often the case. By using SeaChem Reef Plus and keeping the tanks cool we have been able to grow many of our strains for almost 3 years. The one strain that has been the most difficult is the two colored Bali giant Xenia. We are certain that this Xenia comes from deeper (50 feet) water and it needs cooler water in our systems. Xenia trap organic compounds from the water by using the mucus they produce. We now have this strain growing in several systems and it seems to thrive in less light than other Xenia strains. The tank it is doing the best in is a 55 gallon with only 2 four foot VHO bulbs and no skimmer. We will be moving the new cuttings into as many systems as we can so we can find out how this great new Xenia can be mass produced. One of the interesting things about this coral is the fact that cuttings of only one polyp do MUCH better than any type of cutting with part of the stem.
You can use these plans to design any size aquarium system you want. A good size reef farm can be started by building two of the 140 gallon brood stock aquariums and three of the four by two foot grow - out aquariums.
These aquariums can be used as a flow through system or each tank can be set up as one system.
You can use these plans to make any size aquariums system you need. Many people make these grow - out tanks eight feet long. You can make them three feet wide, but unless they are set up so you can reach both side it is not good to make them much wider. Corals that are hard to reach will not be cared for as well as the ones that are easy to reach, and this can lead to algae outbreaks.
ADDING A FRONT GLASS IS EASY AND IT MAKES KEEPING AN EYE ON THE CORALS SIMPLE
A front glass can be added and you could have glass on both sides if the tank is in the middle of the room. As long as you do not make the tank over 18 inches deep one quarter inch plate glass will work fine.
Use lots of silicone sealer. Be certian the sealer you purchase is safe for aquariums. Some sealer has poison in it so it will not grow mildew fungus in the shower. Never use white colored sealer. You can look on the tubes of clear and it will say if it is aquarium safe. We use G.E. brand silicone because it works very well.
The next section of this article will explain how you can build a 140 gallon reef aquarium. We are certain that the method we will teach you can be used to construct any size aquarium you need.
APPLY PAINT IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA, PREFERABLY OUT-OF-DOORS, AND MOST ESPECIALLY AWAY FROM THE AIR SUPPLY INTAKE. THE FUMES ARE HIGHLY TOXIC, AND MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS IN HUMANS IF THEY ARE CONCENTRATED AND EXPOSURE IS PROLONGED.
a. Apply epoxy paint to all exposed wood surfaces of tank.
b. Make coat of paint as thin as possible, while covering the wood surfaces completely, because the paint runs easily.
c. Allow coat to dry overnight.
d. Fill all cracks and holes with autobody putty, making as smooth a surface as possible.
e. Sand entire surface, using 120-grit paper or power sander, and apply second coat.
Again, insure that the coat is as thin as possible, to avoid running paint.
Use the 120-grit sandpaper for sanding the first two coats of epoxy paint.
220-grit for sanding the third coat, in preparation for the fourth or final finish coat.
(If power sander is used. then the sanding pressure applied would be less for the last coat.)
Repeat procedure in steps until four (4) coats of the epoxy paint are applied.
Allow tank to dry in well-ventilated, warm area for 24 hours before proceeding.
a. Turn tank face down on level, flat surface, insuring that entire face frame is supported.
b. Use 220-grit sandpaper to rough up a two-inch strip of the epoxy paint on the inside of the tank, around the glass opening. This rough area will serve as a bonding area for the silicon glue.
c. Sand or file all corners of the glass panel, to avoid later injury to either workers or fish.
d. Clean entire surface, and edges, of glass panel with Xylene cleaner, and then commercial glass cleaner.
e. Apply 1/2-inch bead of silicon caulking around entire opening in face frame, on inside of tank. The bead should be approximately one inch from edge of opening, except along the top, and there the bead should be approximately one-half inch from edge of opening.
f. Install glass on inside of tank, insuring that the lower edge of the glass is resting full-length against bottom panel of tank for support.
g. Press evenly on glass to remove all bubbles and gaps from silicon caulking seal.
h. Recaulk glass, along all edges. pressing caulking with finger firmly into the corner formed by glass and face frame. Final caulking seal should be smooth, rounded, and gap and bubble free. Wipe any excess caulking away after seal is finished.
During the next several months we will collecting pictures of how people are building their systems. PLEASE TAKE A SET OF PHOTOS AND SEND THEM TO US. I am certain that some fine frags of SPS corals or a rare Xenia or two could find it's way into a shipping box with your address !!
This newsletter is part of a non profit group and you are the most important part. We need you! and any information you share will be very well received by our readers.
Much more later - leroy
My neighbor and I have been making Aragonite reef rocks for about two months and have made some unique designs for our systems, but the best by far has been our Coral Coffee table.
The first edition of this piece of coral furniture came about because we mixed our Aragonite a little to wet and were looking for a way to contain the shapes. After a bit of searching we decided a plastic lid would give us a flat base and still hold a shape that could be used to display our best pieces of coral.
The first step was to build a semi round platform to hold the coral. Then we created a pedestal to hold the coral high up in the water column. We decorated the underside of our platform with small drops of our mix, building drop by drop to create a stalactite effect hanging off the bottom of the platform area.
By randomly dropping the mixture into piles this gives each stalactite a very natural appearance and allows long tapered forms to have a less man-made look. This has made for a very natural effect in the past and looks great in the water. We have used dried pasta and plastic straws to create channels and open places for water flow in and through all parts of the stand. An empty paper towel tube is used to form the pedestal for our platform, and since it is easily cut to length allows various heights to be made.
By placing shards of broken shell and coral randomly around the piece we end with a much more realistic effect. The real surprise came when after the platform dried and the plastic lid was removed, we noticed that the logo from the lid had made an impression in the platform surface. We could plainly read ?Maxwell House Coffee? and see the coffee cup image embossed into our platform surface. At first we worried how we could cover such an obvious man-made object until we realized that what we had created was exactly what we had started out to make in the first place, a ?Coral Coffee Table.?
Since then we have made several more ?Coffee Tables? and have extras for friends who need an extra place to show off their favorite piece of coral. By varying the length of the pedestal we have been able to create a grotto effect. By varying the size of the sand in the mix and how much coarse coral and sand we use we end with different and unique pieces every time and do not have to take pieces of live rock from the ocean.
Since we make each piece ourselves, we can have the exact look we want and can vary the distance from the lights according to how much light any specimen needs. In addition to the useful top platform the underside is a great hiding place for fish and others who feel safer with something over them for protection. Because each piece has a thin foot, we can hide it under the sand substrate and give the appearance that it grows right out of the sand. The possibilities are endless so try out your own ideas and create your own dream reef.
The entries should be between 500 and 1000 words and the subject is - I GREW IT MYSELF. In each issue we will give a $100.00 gift certificate to the winner. All entries become property of GARF and if any part of the entry is used you will be given credit for it.
Use this site to solve your reef aquarium algae problems, and help support our research!!!
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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 160 gallon plywood and epoxy reef tank
Image Page for Zoanthids and Palythoa
XENIA GROW OUT DATA FROM THE KONA REEF AQUARIUM
BUILDING PLYWOOD AND EPOXY GROW OUT SYSTEMS