HELLO, WELCOME TO OUR 19TH ISSUE !
Even if you never plan to sell or trade any of the corals you grow this months issue will interest you. As more and more captive grown corals enter the market we can expect the prices to get lower. There may be a time when rare corals such a bright solid purple Acropora are much more common. Many of the rare soft corals such a Xenia are becoming more easy to locate in many markets. It is our hope here at the Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation that as our hobby becomes ready and able to produce most of the live rock and corals we use that many more people will keep reef aquariums. As more people see these types of aquariums they will learn how delicate and beautiful reef life is. People often will protect what they understand. We are looking forward to a day when so much of the production of reef aquarium livestock is done in land based and ocean based farms that it will not seem necessary to regulate our hobby with new laws.
|At the location in Boise we are now dedicating 80% of our research on the proper methods of coral propagation, grow out and maintenance of the systems. 20% of our research remains with our on-going Wetland projects. We feel the need to continue to teach people about the important role the natural wetlands play in the overall conditions of the Reefs and oceans that sustain them. The problems that the coral reefs are facing and struggling to overcome are often not created by what comes out of the ocean as much as it is by what goes into the ocean.||
Rare Pavona cactus sps coral is growing very fast
The great friend to my reef the emerald crab eating Bryopsis algae
|We should consider the future generations and their hopes for their children. We all can be ambassadors for the hobby as well as the ocean and wetlands. We need to understand coral bleaching and coral diseases so we can make sure it does not enter into our closed systems. For projects that are set up directly next to the ocean like some Public Aquariums and farming projects we need buffers to protect the natural reefs. Buffers such as marine wetlands can also protect these projects from bleaching, from red tides and other problems that occur when Mother Nature is fighting back and trying to find a balance.|
The good looking Emerald crab male thinking about eating some bubble algae
|During the coming year we will continue to visit Public Aquariums, conducting Information Sharing Workshops for Aquarium employees from that area. We are able to donate several dozen captive raised corals to each Aquarium that hosts our workshops. If you work at an Aquarium you can call about these free workshops at 1-800-600 - 6163 or you can visit our web site at www.garf.org for more information.|
|We have had many people volunteer their knowledge and time during the past three years to assist us with new and better methods for making the best Aragocrete in the World, people have shared new methods of attaching corals, new ideas for wave makers and the list continues to grow. It is these people and the people who have purchased our products who have allowed us to grow.||
This is a picture of the top of my 55 gallon reef
I like to see the reflections in the pictures
|We are proud to say that we have taught many people from all walks of life how to set up a reef system and how to propagate corals. Some of them have branched out to start their own businesses and some of them have set out to sell the same glue everyone sells. One particular man in Boise never had a reef tank in his life nor ever touched a coral until GARF donated its services in trade for his lawn mowing experience.
|We have developed on-going Internship programs one young man,Tony, has left to South Carolina for training in the Army, others have gone onto College. Each year brings us new and excited interns who give us so much and by working and learning. At GARF they get credits through their school program.||
This is a Zoanthid that grows very fast
This series shows how the Copper band from Indonesia eats Aiptasia
|We have been blessed with donations of computers and the technical advice of our Board of Directors who this year are all computer experts with some of the leading companies in our area. It is hard for us to imagine where we would be without their assistance and direction. It will be exciting to see how far we will go with their guidance.
We have studied lighting, feeding, and coralline algae growth. Coralline algae is seen in every single tank at the Foundation and every single tank has tons of janitors as well as our man made rock. It is wrong when people make statements that are not true and that could cause harm to the success of your closed system (I can not even count how many times this happened to me) .
We feed the Butterfly fish by moving Aiptasia rocks
My baby Cardinal is checking this new rock out :)
|There is no way in the World I would have the reef tanks that I continue to show and people continue to learn from if I had listened to half of what was being said as truth in this hobby. I want something very simple from all of you who read this and that simple thing is that you have and continue to have at least half as much fun and success with these animals as I continue to have. There is plenty of room for many people to be growing corals and marketing corals. There is no need for petty fighting. There is no reason for holding anyone back except when it comes to reason and growing slowly. The other statement that goes hand and hand with that is no one person can do it by themselves!|
It is a little difficult to prepare a list of materials that we know are accessible for people in other countries. We also have requests for the propagated corals to travel to other countries, but until we find out better, safer ways we do not allow them to be shipped that far.
|It is important to note that the marine magazines that are available to individuals in this hobby are far reaching and play such an important role for everyone. Many places do not have access to tanks, equipment, and technical advice so I always recommend researching the ads in magazines to find the sources of products you intend to use. Most travel to your area through ground freight companies. When looking at the magazines it is important just like doing the research before setting up your system don't read just one issue go back years and see how remarkably this hobby has developed and in some regards how it has stayed the same.||
It is fun to watch LeRoy pick these fish up and move them from tank to tank
You can see how their mouth is made for the job
|One exciting noteworthy item happened recently that I think will encourage you to actively become involved in propagating these incredible animals. I have been donating many of the corals from my tanks that hosts over 175 different species of coral to the Pittsburgh Zoo. I am doing this to begin the process of establishing a genetic bank that allows everyone to know which coral they have that comes from us. We will be able to track where corals are housed around the world. If we ever lost one we would be able to track through this system where the baby is and ask that when they propagate it that they please sell one back to our genetic bank. You should be aware, as I was not, that it is a lot harder to identify these corals correctly than I could have imagined. The exciting part is that we have heard back from the caretaker of the Pittsburgh Zoo's Aquarium and GARF's propagated corals are often outgrowing the wild ones. They are even being propagated again and can start going onto other Public Aquariums.|
|It has come time for the Foundation to take all of this just as seriously as we advocate thus the purchase of a generator. The final cost will be close to $7,000 but that would not even come close to placing a price tag on any one of our systems. It has become so hot in so many places to think that we could not have Many states get hit with a power failure at the same time is taking one too many chances that we are not willing to take.|
The Xenia does NOT enjoy this as much as the clown does
|Thus far, I have never heard of a coral outliving their owners but when that happens we hope to hear about it and learn from it. If we pay attention we can learn from every ones success as well as their mistakes. If you look back at the magazines from the past ten years the major products that promote healthy aquariums are still here today. Most of what I know, I find that someone else said at some earlier year. Julian Sprung talked about super glue in 1992, and we developed a few new ways to stick our fingers together. Inspiring people to get involved versus feuding over whose doing what is our role.||
My reef in June showing the only two corals from the ocean
Many of the people who share insight share pictures of their systems. We do, and will continue to do so. We are proud of what we are accomplishing, but we also know in the same breath that we could never have come this far without YOU!!
This is my center tank with a good looking black sponge
|Our long term goal is to create that Idaho Geothermal Public Aquarium not just to show case corals but to have Geothermal water as part of the theme. Also constructed Wetlands will play an important role in the construction of this project.|
My favarite Xenia
|You see there used to be a ocean in Idaho. Millions of years ago. Wouldn't it be fascinating to teach what was here and allow young children to look at the fossils we find in the rock. There is a long history of Geothermal water being used in Idaho we feel that in order for it to be here for decades to come we need to teach the importance of the the source.,what has happened to it, and how we can protect it.|
Thank you all so much for reading our newletter!
|ZOANTHIDS GROWING ON ONE INCH P.V.C. RETURN PIPE|
This picture shows a return pipe with a large orange ball valve that is covered with several strains of very fast growing Zoanthids from the Pacific ocean.
You can see how much the zoanthids have grown in this 135 gallon tank by comparing the the first and third pictures with the one that we took in late 1996. During the past year we have harvested dozens of zoanthids and sps coral;s from this aquarium. The 135 gallon has 4 six foot VHO bulbs and 2 Gemini pumps. We use 2 Maxi-jet pumps to break up the water surface. This reef was set up in 1994 and it has no plenum. The next picture is the same reef before so many of the corals grew into colonies.
THIS ONE AND A HALF YEAR OLD PICTURE SHOWS THE SAME PIPE WITH THE ZOANTHIDS STARTING TO GROW
Three colonies of Zoanthids and Protopalythoa had started growing onto the pipe and valve in this picture. Over 1/2 of this pipe was covered with several types of Zoanthids.
I will take a picture that I can include next time I update the Zoanthid page. The colonies can now be cut into many starts. The tank has needed thinning often so we have many colored Zoanthid reef plugs for the students to sell.
|The rock in the first picture with the Green Slimer and the Hydnopora sps corals has just been scraped clean of the Zoanthids that covered it. These Zoanthids rapidly grow right up to the sps corals. We have cleaned the rock at least four times already this year. |
Last year we removed all but the smallest pieces of the sps corals for an experiment, and they grew back from just the tissue that was left on the rock. We remove the Zoanthids with a sharp wood chizel and we put each color into a seperate bowl of reef water. After we have several bowls of cuttings we attach one to six polyps from each bowl to the reef plugs. This way we have multi-colored Zoanthid plugs for sale.
You can often combine species on the same piece. These reef plugs have Zoanthids and Gorgonians on them. The gorgonians will grow up away from the plug and the Zoanthid will cover the plug.
Be sure you attach animals that can live together as they grow. Protopalythoa and Zoathids are two of the best species to group. We often find these two on the same rock in the ocean.
1. several types of Zoanthid and Protopalythoa cuttings
2. clean dry reef plugs or reef safe rocks
3. tube of Super Reef Glue
4. bowls of reef water
The easy way to attach the cuttings to the plug is to have 6 or more polyps in each cutting. you can then put a drop of Super Reef Glue on the base of each cutting and then you can attach the cutting to the plug. We use 3 colors on each plug. Try to use large fast growing cuttings on the same plug because they will overgrow the smaller strains.
It is very important that you dip the glued cuttings into the reef water as soon as you can. The next cuttings will still attach to the wet plug. The glue will heat up as soon as it touches the wet cutting. When you dip the cutting in reef water the heat does not cause damage to the cutting.
These anemones require bright light and strong current. Place these cuttings at the top of the reef aquarium. We have had the best growth in tanks with at least 5 watts per gallon of VHO lighting. Most of our production tanks have 3- 4 foot 40 watt bulbs - Two Tritons and one blue Moon. These forty watt lights continue to produce many tanks full of high quality corals each semester.
This Green Mexican Protopalythoa is growing on a piece of Idaho Aragonite. The polyps on this type of Protopalythoa can be cut off above the base and the heads can be glued or sewed onto a base. The stalks will grow another head in a few weeks.
The colony will spread onto rocks that are placed next to this group of Protopalythoa. This is an easy way to get more brood stock. We now have 6 colors of this Protopalythoa that keep their colors under many conditions.
These anemones do best when they are fed several times each week. The food that has produced the best growth is made up of blended fish and shrimp meat that has been mixed in SeaChem Reef Plus This red mixture has vitamins and iodide. We use four tablespoons of Reef Complete to one tabespoon food.
This colony was grown with VHO lighting. Intense light and strong current are two of most important things needed to produce fast grownig Zoanthid colonies. The best colors we have been able to produce in these cuttings are seen in the tanks with several Triton and Blue Moon 40 watt lights.
Many of the larger Zoanthids can eat baby brine shrimp and other foods. These feedings will increase the growth rate of these animals.
2. The best lighting is florescent bulbs. We have had good production using 2- 40 watt 4' Triton and one 40 watt 4' Blue moon on our 55 gallon test tanks.
1. plastic plug racks that have been used for Zoanthid production - allow the extra Zoanthids to creep down off of the plugs before you harvest the cuttings. We often use Super Reef Glue to attach small cuttings of a new color to the plastic rack.
2. clean dry reef plugs
You can replace each Zoanthid plug you harvest with fresh dry plug and the Zoanthids on the rack will soon spread up onto the fresh plug. We often glue a colored cutting in the center of the plug so that after it is harvested there will more than one color on it. We have used other corals that do not fight with Zoanthids on the plugs to make COMBO plugs.
|This plug rack is starting to get a good growth of Zoanthids on the plastic. The two BUMPS are finished reef plugs that have not been harvested. We will push them up from the bottom. As we remove the plugs we will give each of them a slight twist so they leave some of the Zoanthids behind.
The next batch of cuttings we put in this rack will be a new color. After we have harvested cuttings from these racks for a few semesters they end up with a collection of Zoanthids and Protopalythoa on them. After the rack is full we do not have to glue any cuttings to the plugs and this is a great time saver.
Algae control is one of the most important things to remember when you are using any of these methods that use racks and holders that stay in the system for several years. We use Cerith snails for hair algae control because it is the only snail we have found that eats problem hair algae such as Bryopsis. We put these racks - they hold 18 plugs - in with the Emerald crabs for a while if any algae develops.
|Many of the racks we use are 48 inches long. We are starting to glue pieces of different soft corals to the racks so they will grow into PLUG INCUBATORS. When we remove a finished plug we add an empty one so it will be colonized. |
We are using this method now to grow some of the fast growing Green Stars and encrusting Gorgonians. We are also growing many of our plugs in a 300 gallon tank with a plastic mesh that is 18 inches square. Each hole in the mesh holds a plug. This black plastic mesh holds about 100 plugs. We will have some pictures of this set up in future issues.
The next method that we will discuss this month is the one we use to grow pure strains of Zoanthids. We grow these plugs in 6 inch deep trays that have water pumped through them. This method is called the Plastic Ring Method.
This method was invented by one of our friends. John has been growing many types of corals in his geothermally heated coral farm. Many of the methods he uses have been great time savers. We have been using this ring method for more than a year. The culture tank is 6 feet long and 4 feet wide. The interesting thing about this tank is the fact that it is only 6 inches deep. The culture tank is above a 300 gallon round tank. The water is pumped up from the lower tank and it is returned through an overflow pipe. The upper tank has 8- 40 watt lights. A plastic mirror acts as a reflector for the lights. This set up is heated with a coil of geothermal pipe that is wrapped Around the lower tank.
This system has been kept in an unheated basement that does not have a door. Even when the outside temp. is below freezing the geothermal pipes keep the water at 80 degrees. The same pipes can be used to cool the water if needed by running cold water through the pipes. The pipes are insulated with a wrapping of insulation.
The first rings that we made were cut from a piece of 4 inch clear Plexiglass pipe. Each ring was cut so it was one inch long. These rings hold 7 plugs. We place one Zoanthid plug in the center with 6 empty plugs around it. As the Zoathids grow they move onto the empty plugs. When all of the plugs are full we break them apart. We have been using these new plugs to start new rings.
|The first drawing shows how simple it is to make these plastic rings. We will soon be using this method to produce other species that grow by spreading. Xenia and some of the Briarian group of Gorgonians will be the first ones we try.
SIMPLE PLASTIC PLUG RING
1. Make or purchase your aragocrete plugs
2. Place the plugs so they form a ring with one in the middle.
3. Secure the plugs with a rubber band so they stay together.
4. Try different sizes of plastic pipe or containers to find the one that will support the plugs.
5. Cut the plastic into rings just long enough to allow the tops of the plugs to rest above the plastic.
6. Replace the center plug with a Zoanthid plug .
7. Place the plastic plug ring under bright lighting in good water flow.
|This is one of rings that we grew in Johns tank. This set of plugs is growing in the bottom half of a plastic cup. We fill the cup with live sand so the plugs will set in it. Less than 8 weeks ago plug number one had only about 12 Zoanthid polyps glued to it. |
Note how the polyps are now spreading out onto the other plugs. This method saves time because we only have to make one cutting.
We have learned that all of the Zoanthids grow much faster when we feed them. We have been using green water and rotifers in our Zoanthid tanks and they are growing very fast. Zoanthids seem to do better in systems that we do not skim. They also grow faster in systems that have fish. All of the types of Protopalythoa that we are growing do much better if they are fed several times a week. You can see that this group is a more active feeder because the polyps fold in very fast when any food touches them. The use of the right mixture of Reef JanitorsTM in the grow-out systems allows us to feed the corals and still keep the unwanted algae from growing.
|SETTING UP YOUR GROW-OUT SYSTEM
1. Top tank is made of plexi-glass so it can be drilled.
2. Water from lower tank is pumped up to back corner.
3. Power heads are used in the top tank to move the water past the Zoanthids.
4. Plug rings are placed so they are touching each other.
5. Lights are on for 14 hours and off for 10 hours.
|This set of plugs is almost ready for harvest. one of the next things we will do is try palcing several rings around this finished ring to see if the first ring will plant 6 more rings with Zoanthids. When these sets of rings are placed together in the grow-out tank they we may be able to grow 100s of plugs with many types of Zoanthids on them by turning the rings a few times as they grow. |
ANYTHING THAT SAVES TIME MAKES MONEY.
Please try some of these methods. If you find a new way to do the job please share it with us so we can share it.
|This picture shows how the Zoanthid spreads from plug to plug. This species of Zoanthid comes from the Pacific and most of the types have small polyps. It is best if all of the Zoanthids on one plug are types that grow to the same size. If you add small Zoanthids to plugs with large Zoanthids the larger ones may overgrow and crowd the smaller ones.
One of the Protopalythoa group can often be added to the same plug that has any type of Zoanthid because they tend to grow slower and the few tall Protopalythoa look good with the small Zoanthids. Many of the collected colonies we have recieved have had this combination. We often see the two types growing on the same rocks in the ocean.
|Many times we dicover things in our research that we did plan on. This plastic ring has many Zoanthids growing on it. These polyps were left on the plastic when we harvested the plugs. We have placed 7 new plugs in the ring and the Zoanthids are now growing up onto the plugs. We will replace the center plug with one that a different color Zoanthid growing on it. |
If this works the way we think it will we will be able to produce two colored plugs. People are very pleased when they purchase a colony of Zoanthids and there is more than one type.
The new Aquarium will be constructed in the same manner as a Chambered Nautilus grows. Each section will make the building larger, but the shape of the structure will be the same after each addition.
We are doing the research needed to build the first public aqaurium in the world that will be dedicated to the study of geothermal water and how it can be protected. Many of the nutrients and minerals needed for a healthy ocean come from geothermal sources. Geothermal springs both in the mountains of Idaho and in the deepest parts of the ocean may hold the cure for many diseases. Bacteria from geothermal springs are now being used in new medicines and in modern laboratory methods. The rapid cloning of DNA would not be possible if it were not for some bacteria from Yellow Stone Park.Every year thousands of geothermal springs are dried up because of poor irrigation practices.
This public aquarium will be the only aquarium in the world where you will be able to see cross sections of the many types of thermal springs. These displays will allow study of the habitats and the animals that live in these unique and secret places. Many of the endangered species will be able to be reproduced so they donot become extinct before we even have a chance to name them.
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
REEF PROPAGATION RESEARCH
GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
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
REEF PROPAGATION RESEARCH
GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
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