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SALLY JO'S AUGUST 1998 UPDATE
TEACHERS SUMMER VISIT TO GARF
MATT'S BASICS FOR BEGINNING REEF FARMERS


Reef Aquarium Farming News
Online Newsletter for Reef Aquarium Propagation Research

ISSUE # 20 JULY, 1998 PAGE 1

HELLO, WELCOME TO OUR 20TH ISSUE !

Just a reminder, for those of you who are either developing your REEF PROPAGATION ENTERPRISE or CONTEMPLATING A REEF BUSINESS, the travel expenses and all costs of the trip for the Oct. 24 & 25, 1998 GARF Reef Propagation Seminar and Tour are deductible business expenses, even if you are not now engaged in reef farming but interested, you may deduct the costs of your travel ,lodging, and all other costs associated with the trip on your 1998 tax return. Meals are only deductible at 50% of their total cost as the IRS assumes that you are going to eat anyhow but will allow a 50% of the total costs of meals as the additional when traveling. This is a deduction for the year of 1998 and can be itemized on your 1040 return this coming spring. Any side trips you make, for example to go skiing or hang glider flying are not deductible, all costs have to be provable with receipts, no estimates.  Jake


SALLY JO'S AUGUST 1998 UPDATE

It is always an enjoyment looking back at all the issues of our newsletters and seeing truly how much my tanks have developed over the years. It helps me when I set up a new aquarium to review all of my experiences. I have completely run out of room for more corals in my oldest 55 gallon. If you look very closely at some of the pictures below you will notice that I have glued many to the side glass as well as my over flow box. The ones that I glued to my over flow box have spread flat covering the plastic box. The green Pavona has started to grow inside. The ones that I glued to the glass are spreading flat on the glass and have secured themselves by spreading over the glue. I think we have some of my propagated corals in just about every State in the United States.

In this picture you will notice that I attached a propagated green star polyp that was given to us by Bob Lyons. Bob kindly sent us this about three weeks ago. I glued it to the glass when it came in.

The very next day my tank was graced by the beautiful green green polyps. They indeed are happy in their new home. We are hoping to trade Bob some of our corals to express our graditude for his efforts in propagating this animal. Many times you order green stars and you have to really use your imagination to see any green on them.:)

I have a interesting and almost shocking report to share with you on my middle tank. Although I am proud of it and love it, I have so much energy invested in my oldest systems that I have done little to the third one. I must admit the middle tank (the old man tank) never in my opinion took hold like my first one. The other day I asked LeRoy to purchase me a Red Sea sailfin tang, they are great algae eaters and one of the most beautiful fish I have seen in the industry.
 Center aquarium If you remember in one of my past articles I shared with you that I was having problems with this tank. Corals thrive, but my fish did not. I was certain that because I did not have a skimmer operating on it I was not keeping enough oxygen in the tank for the fish to live.

So that night when I went into my office to unpack this fish and place it in its new home I wanted to make sure the powerheads were breaking the surface and the new skimmer was working. I noticed the powerheads were not even running.

An employee had my powerheads set on my light timer so they where off all night. I was sick about this and will check everything myself from now on.

I will admit that although fustrated about this mistake, it shows a simple error can make a big difference. My tank looks so good at this time, all it needed was a little help from me.

I have now placed the new hood on this tank. I started placing some of my sps corals in this tank for grow out. This will give the corals in my oldest tank some room to continue to grow until my new 80 gallon bow front aquarium arrives:).

PUBLIC AQUARIUM SEMINARS ON CORAL PROPAGATION AND REEF ROCK BUILDING

We are proud to announce the great response to last months mention of the new project that will allow us to teach at ten 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 aquariums 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 hosting a seminar 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.

One of our goals at GARF is to teach as many people as we can how to farm corals so we can decrease the demand for wild collected reef animals. We decided to take that commitment one BIG step further and teach Public Aquariums around the World how to grow, propagate, and display these animals. We now donate many of our animals to public aquariums so they can learn new methods for propagation and display. We will donate over 500 corals during 1999. This project of teaching at Public Aquariums will begin in Sept. 1998.

We have been contacted by many Aquariums and we are extremely excited about this challenge. We now have five information transfer seminars planned. If you know of anyone who works at a Public Aquarium who would be interested in attending one of these Seminars please have them contact our office as soon as possible so we can keep them informed.

A GREAT MARINE SOCIETY

LeRoy has informed my that I have neglected to share one of our latest trips with you. We where asked to speak in Baltimore at the Chesapeake Marine Aquarium Society (CMAS), this indeed was an honor because Sally Boggs and Martin Moe were also asked to do presentations. The pictures below share some of our adventures on this trip. We honestly felt like we were treated with the red carpet at all times. After the speeches were done we went to a great restaurant and enjoyed each others company.
In the first picture you see many of the marine Society's Board. I must say this club gave us the red carpet treatment. Over 60 people attended this seminar. Sally talked about her travels and about her success with spawning and raising of fish. You could tell by her presentation that she loves what she is doing and IS HAPPY to share information and ideas.

LeRoy and I talked next. We enjoy meeting people and sharing the gifts we have been blessed with at the Foundation. We even brought along some corals for the audience to propagate and glue. We gave each person the coral they propagated. We had a long line of people making SPS corals and Pom Pom Xenia cuttings.

A GREAT MARINE SOCIETY
Martin was next and he told everyone that we were a tough act to follow. I must say every time I hear him talk I learn something new. He and his wife have volumes of experiences they share. Martin is the most entertaining speaker we have seen in this hobby. After we were all done speaking we sat as a panel and the people asked questions.

Everyone was excited about the raffle. They had so many wonderful gifts no one went home without something. LeRoy and I went home with more than we brought with us.

We had arrived in Baltimore at 8:00 in the morning, after an all night flight from Idaho. Mrs. Moe was in the lobby. She asked us if we wanted to go to the Smithsonian. I looked at LeRoy, both of us were tired from being on the plane all night. I told LeRoy that if we slept all day we would toss and turn that night so we told them we would meet them at 4 P.M.

He left the slides under his seat on the plane.
Needless to say I couldn't sleep.

So you can bet he did not sleep either.

We went up to our room. LeRoy took a shower and went right to bed. I decided that before I joined him for some much needed sleep I would make sure the slides were arranged and ready for the next morning. THEY WERE GONE!!! Panic hit me, I screamed "LeRoy what happened to the slides" he woke up as if something hit him and said "what are you screaming about?" He left the slides under his seat on the plane. Needless to say I couldn't sleep. So you can bet he did not sleep either. We had kept the slides that I was going to throw away and there were some duplicates.

The lost box with the animals arrived later that afternoon and we decided to try and meet up with the Moe's. We got on the Metro and headed for the Smithsonian. You must remember this is my first adventure to D.C.. It was easy getting to our destination. The Metro stopped and left us with a tremendous view of the Capitol and the most incredible buildings. We proceeded into the National History Museum. LeRoy had been talking to me about his excitement to see the reefs at the Smithsonian. He had not been there since 1979 when Dr. Adey was first putting them together.

We went around to an area that had reefs and salt water exhibits. The staff took us to the back area and said the Moe's where close by. So we went to the back area where LeRoy and the staff talked and shared information. Martin and Barbara showed up a short while later. We left the building together to venture back on the subway to find a place to eat.

As soon as we left the building

LeRoy asked me "well honey what did you think about the Smithsonian?"
I looked at him and said "where is the Smithsonian?  I thought we where in the National History Museum."
He laughed and laughed at me and pointed at many large buildings. "It is there, and there, and there, and there."

I must say if you have never been, you should go. It is our understanding that this Reef exhibit is being removed in another year. LeRoy is trying to stop the destruction of one of the most important and famous marine displays in the world. If anyone can think of a way to stop the government from destroying this reef display LeRoy and I will work with them in any way possible.

Tom Walsh is the president of the Chesapeake Marine Aquarium Society (CMAS) and we had the privilege of seeing his home systems. He has two 20 gallons sitting side by side. They are so full of life and so beautiful. One of his tanks is 6 years old and the other is 4. We could tell he puts tons of love and positive energy into his reefs. These two aquariums are the best ones we have ever seen on any of our trips.

The next day the club took us to the Baltimore Public Aquarium. We where in awe. This place it BIG, this place is very well done. We where taken behind the scenes and the staff of this public aquarium spent their time with us showing us the exhibits and explaining them in detail.
What you see in the next picture is the staff member of the public aquaria next to him is Mrs Moe, and Sally Boggs is touching the octopus. Martin is looking around to see what we are all laughing about. If you look very closely you will see we are all playing with and fondling a red optopus. This little girl was so friendly. She actually loves people. Her name is Chris. She allowed us to pet her and you can see the staff member has a little yellow rubber duck for her to play with.

The funny thing you don't see in this picture is what happened before hand. LeRoy and I were on one side of the facility looking down into tanks and the staff member and a couple of others where on the other side. LeRoy was looking down at one of the tanks and all of a sudden these large red arms came up out of the water and grabbed LeRoy's arm.

giant octopus
The staff member heard our commotion and came over explain to us about Chris. The sad part which I did not realize until we went to the front of the exhibits is she will die when she reaches 4 years old. For when she releases her eggs she will die.
We actually walked above the great shark tanks. These exhibits are huge and so well done.

We got to look down into the tanks as well at look at the lighting. Some of you who have heard Dana Riddle speak might remember the story of him checking out lights with his meter. Well my friends we saw the shark tank he took his readings on and almost fell in:)

We could have spent the entire day there and still not have had enough time. As a matter of fact we spent almost the entire day there. We were impressed by the staff and completely amazed with their efforts to educate the public about the magic that takes form in the ocean.

Reef Aquarium Farming News
They had so many sting rays that they were trying to find homes for them at other Public Aquariums. After seeing these rays we came up with the plan to start the coral reef trading data bank so Public Aquariums can trade captive raised corals.

Reef Aquarium Farming News

Reef Aquarium Farming NewsThe reef tanks were also very big. We saw some of the most incredible displays of giant soft corals.

LeRoy and I looked at each other and said "do you know how many babies these guys would make?"

I think a staff member heard us and he watched us carefully after that.

The fish were healthy and very happy in this environment.

I was also shocked that they turned people away from the Aquarium when they sell a certain amount of tickets. They do this so that each person inside can enjoy the displays without being crowded.

I honestly think we spent more time in the back of the display tanks than in front. We indeed are grateful to the Chesapeake Marine Aquarium Society (CMAS) and the staff members who guided us on this tour.

Reef Aquarium Farming News
Reef Aquarium Farming NewsThe color and size of the mushrooms in one of the tanks would indeed take your breath away. They were so big compared to how big they get in our smaller aquariums.

LeRoy and I are now looking for excuses to go to this magical place again. We hope to be exchanging information with them. This semester we are donating many of our rarer SPS corals so they can have them on display for the thousands of visitors who pass through their facility.

The lighting on the large reef aqurium display
 
AS GOOD AS IT GETS FOR A REEFER!
Reef Aquarium Farming News

As if all of this was not enough. We just arrived home From another trip and there was a gift from this club. CRAB CAKES that this area is so famous for. LeRoy and are going to be full tonight, sleep well and dream of our next adventure.

Maybe we will be in your area next!

I am so excited about the seminar in Oct. We have many people already prepaid for the conference. I am working extremely hard on planning this event to make your visit one that you will remember for a life time. The day will begin on Oct. 24th at 8 A.M. we will begin at the library only a block from the University Inn. This motel is giving all of our guests discounted prices. LeRoy and I will begin by giving a brief presentation about the pioneers who have helped the hobby with their willingness to share their knowledge

THE SPEAKERS ARE
JERRY HESLINGA, TOM FRANKS, ALBERT THEIL, AND STANLEY BROWN.
THESE ARE INDEED THE PIONEERS OF THE HOBBY.

At 8:30 A.M. we will begin with our first speaker, each speaker will be given an one and a half hours to speak and do the hands on demonstrations. We will have a break in between each speaker. I decided that we will provide the lunch because I do not want people to get lost or get back late and miss part of the next speakers presentation. You should remember to bring a few extra dollars since we will be having a dynamite raffle after the speakers are done. After the raffle we will all meet at the Foundation where we will have about 4 hours to spend with everyone answering questions and doing some of our own hands on coral cutting demonstrations.

The next day will begin at 10 A.M. and we will take you around to six different homes. The home owners are kind enough to allow us to share their reef systems. This event is open to the public as well. We are hoping to have a great turn out. It is our 4th annual reef tour. The tour will end at 6 pm and the Foundation will welcome you back at that time if you are interested in purchasing any items or just want to hang around and take in the beauty of all of our work.

The speakers are Jerry Heslinga, Tom Franks, Albert Theil, and Stanley Brown. These are indeed the pioneers of the hobby. Yesterday I was informed we are going to be visited by one more of the pioneers of the hobby for this event. I want to keep this guest a secret because I want to surprise all of you with one more person who has blessed all of us with the gifts of keeping and raising corals.

THE ENTIRE COST TO ATTEND THIS TWO DAY CONFERENCE IS ONLY $50.00.
WE HAVE MANY OF OUR STAFF PREPARED TO GIVE RIDES AND HELP
WITH THE CAR POOLING ONCE YOU GET TO BOISE.

The entire cost to attend this two day conference is only $50.00. We have many of our staff prepared to give rides and help with the car pooling once you get to Boise. I really hope that a lot of pet store owners will choose to come. We will have quests who are employees of public aquariums. Most quests will be interested in farming or is already taking on that challenge. Please help us spread the word. This is indeed one event I will not miss and one that will be talked about for years to come. One of the presenters is going to be propagating corals such as the Brain coral, the Elegance, and some of the other large polyp corals. We have not done a lot with them yet. Some of them are being asked to bring their books, their new products and most importantly their new ideas.

If you have not already signed up for this seminar it is important to call our office and secure a spot as well as information about the motel that is offering you a discount. Also remember to leave room in your luggage for that coral you simply can not go home without:) This seminar will be the place to meet people who want to sell, purchase, and trade rare corals.

SAND MOLDED ARAGOCRETE ROCK

We will all be making some sand molded Aragocrete rock during the hands on part of the seminar. We have heard many people are starting to make their own rock. Pet stores have started this project. Many stores are now selling both the finished tank raised live rock and the dry Aragocrete to their customers. Once again I want to stress that this never would have been possible if you had not spread the word, shared your input, and tremendous enthusiasm.

I have completely lost count of how many types of corals I am raising and hope to have the data computerized so we can share this data with the hobby very soon. I am sure you have heard me from time to time explain what a commitment coral raising is. At the same time I try to remind everyone that this is a hobby and is most important to remember to have fun!

When you raise captive corals you are also caring for the environment that needs you to nurture it and care for it. The future of our hobby and in some part the future of our oceans depends on each of us making the right decisions as we decide how to make our living.

OCEAN RAISED SPS CORALS

    e

We received some ocean propagated corals from the Solomon Islands.

I find it very interesting how they attached the frags. All the corals were tied with fishing line onto a flat concrete plug with two holes drilled in them. Each plug looked like a large shirt button. I could not remove them from the plug without removing the fishing line.

All of these corals are nice and healthy. They came from the ocean so they took about six weeks to start growing. They are now growing and starting to color up in my tanks. Aquarium raised frags grow much better during the first two months.

We are certain that by holding these corals in closed systems before they are sold dealers can make the colors brighter and decrease the time it takes for the corals to adjust to the home aquarium.

It may be possible to set up finishing tanks in your area so these ocean raised corals can be shipped when they are smaller. This will reduce the freight costs.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION

There are many new ways to make a NEW business profitable in the reef aquarium field. During the next few years we are certain that the hobby will continue to expand at the rapid rate it is now.

By using your imagination you may be able to produce a new product that will earn you a good living and it may help grow the very hobby that we all love.

CORAL FARMING CHORES

I do daily inventory of my animals. This means I look at their health, their polyp extension and I make sure none have fallen over or are touching one another. I have a pink urchin that loves to move things around in my tank when I am not watching. I also adjust my power heads. I think it is important to blow them different directions at times. I make sure my tanks that have skimmers running, are doing great and that the water is dumped so no messy cleanups are necessary.

We check the salinity once a day because we move so many corals out of our systems that we have the need to make sure each system has not gone up or down. On this subject I get asked a few questions. I keep our salinity at 1.023. Our temperature is 78 degrees controlled by air conditioners that cool all of my tanks. All tanks have heaters in them to make sure that each tanks temperature is staying level. I make adjustments if they are not.

Eddie Postma, one of our most trusted employees begins his day by adding the make up water to all systems. This takes forty - one gallon plastic bottles a day. Once he has done that he makes the next days makeup water so it has the opportunity to set an entire day before he needs to fill the systems again.

55 gallon in July 1998I clean my glass about once a month. Sometimes I use a credit card depending on how much coralline is growing. I make sure all my fish are healthy and I feed the ones that need fed.
I add the SeaChem supplements to the systems twice a week. I change air stones once a month and check the water quality every month to make sure I am staying on target. I add Reef Janitors to the systems each semester depending on the needs of the tanks.

My oldest systems seem to be aged enough that little maintenance is required but daily and weekly propagation is a must. We do a 10% water change each month. We feel it is important to do this to maintain healthy systems. LeRoy is now removing shipping water in rotation to make the needed water changes - waste not, want not ;)

We are now securing two 12,000 watt generators. We have hired experienced , professional people to put them in place. It is a very expensive investment but I will sleep better at night. The other factor that plays into this is I could never put a price tag on any of the Foundations systems. LeRoy will begin working on his 360 gallon Plexiglas sps spawning system that he is going to start over and have it set up properly for the seminar. We are extremely busy, but excited and happy to receive all of your letters, E-mails, and phone calls on our reef support line 208-344-6163. Thank you all for the input and support.

This past month we have noticed in all of our tanks at the Foundation that an explosion of dwarf brittle starfish have been born in our Grunge. My tank is over 2 years and 6 months I have added no new live sand nor rock. In this tank I have at least 300 baby starfish that spread their little legs out when feeding. They are about 1/2² long. On the subject of feeding I recommend rotifers, green water, brine shrimp. I am feeding some flake food to my systems. When you feed this heavy I feel it is important to have your skimmer up and running to pull out the organic matter.

Until the next issue - keep the letters coming, share your experiences, and please plan a vacation to Idaho in October.

You can call our free reef help line at 208-344-6163. If you want to support our research by purchasing REEF JANITORS or some great captive raised brood stock corals please call Matt at 800-600-6163.


TEACHERS SUMMER VISIT TO GARF

Dear LeRoy and Sally Jo,
Thank you so much for the grand tour of GARF you afforded Camille and I last week. Frankly I was so exhausted when I left I told her not to talk about it until we reached Meridian. We were nearly there and she blurted out, "When he put the glue in my hand I think it changed my life". She had only come along to "keep me out of trouble", but upon our return was trying to persuade me to cut and glue everything but the kids. She is very excited about coral propagation!!!

She cheered as I swallowed my heart as I took frags from my Goniopora. BTW: all 3 Goniopora frags are doing fantastic. The parent coral seems invigorated as well. I was somewhat disappointed at my photography that day. I should have isolated myself , slowed down, used my tripod, and concentrated on composition. Frankly I was overcome with the splendor of several of your animals and of course with the majesty of Sally Jo's 55. In spite of this we do have a number of nice photos we are preparing for you. I couldn't resist sending this one now as it's my favorite. The open brain appears to be a living valentine. Very appropriate.

R. Scott Page

Sally Jo's reef in July 1998
Red Brain coral growing in 55 gallon reef

I had the pleasure of spending a hot July Tuesday learning to propagate Xenia and SPS corals with LeRoy Headlee at the G.A.R.F. facility on Warm Springs Ave. in Boise. I had traveled to Boise to the single purpose of learning all I could from LeRoy so I could return to my classroom and teach these same coral propagation techniques to my aquatic biology students. I'm sure it is through these education and propagation efforts that protected and endangered species of marine life will one day be reestablished in areas where any of a number of environmental disasters have destroyed coral reefs.

While visiting with LeRoy our conversation turned to the potential of propagating Favia, Favites, and Goniopora. My wife, who had come with me to "keep me out of trouble", was fascinated with this conversation. Although I had twisted her arm into allowing me to set up a small reef in our bedroom which I called "hers" she really had very little interest in anything more about reef keeping than watching the pretty fish. On our way home she exclaimed to me, "when he (LeRoy) put the glue in my hand it changed my life!"

She had developed an instant passion not just for corals, but for coral propagation. She was willing and ready to cut and glue every critter I (we) had.

The following day she came with me to my classroom to monitor and make adjustments to the 180 gallon reef aquarium I use for instruction and motivation. She fussed incessantly about my Goniopora having bumps on the sides. The Goniopora looked fine to me, in fact it looked great. It had nearly doubled in size in the three month we had it. Then I realized what she was referring to, On two sides the Goniopora had grown more quickly forming lobes of tissue and skeleton. She wanted me to frag the lobes off my prize Goniopora. The words I heard LeRoy tell to a customer on the phone rung in my ears "it's better to have a small live coral than a large dead one." I know the track record for Goniopora, and it's not good. In fact, I didn't buy this beautiful coral. My Local pet store mistakenly ordered Goniopora rather than Gorgonians. The owner generously gave me one of these corals because he knew it was destined to a certain and quick death in his tanks. While I didn't expect the coral to live, I accepted it and gave it the good light and great intermittent circulation from all directions.

The Goniopora flourished and now the greatest threat to it was my wife, badgering me to break fragments from it. I gathered the necessary tools. A small piece of Styrofoam to work on, pliers, hammer and wood chisel. I grasped the smallest lope on the outside edges with a pair of needle nose pliers and quickly snapped the lobe from the mother coral. My heart sunk at the sight of the broken coral, but my wife cheered and squealed in delight. I placed the Goniopora frag just out of the direct flow of a power head, but with a strong current along side it. This way the little Goniopora was cleaned by the changing turbulence near the direct flow of the power head. I ended with three frags, and a brood stock coral that was about the same size as when we obtained it four month earlier. The next day the brood stock coral and all three frags, each about the size of my thumb, had almost entirely fully extended polyps. A week later the corals are growing over the broken edges with new polyps.

I hope I never loose the mother Goniopora, but if I do, as many people do, I can take comfort knowing that I have three clones which will hopefully survive. If I am able to create enough clones of this Goniopora I can begin controlled experiments to determine why most Goniopora seem to fade and die between 8 months and a year in captivity, yet others seem to thrive for years on end

I'm very thankful to LeRoy Headlee and G.A.R.F. researchers for pioneering captive coral propagation methods, providing assistance to others like myself. I desire to return to the ocean more than I take from it and to teach others to do likewise. I learned during my visit with LeRoy that he and Sally Jo are also committed to far more than just farming corals, they too have a passion for the preservation and reclamation of the reef environment.

R. Scott Page
Hanford High School - Richland, WA
Aquatic Biology Instructor

MATT'S BASICS FOR BEGINNING REEF FARMERS

Setting up and maintaining a small coral farming zero impact reef aquarium is not only fun and challenging, but it is also a way to help stop reef destruction. Hours of entertainment and a sense of achievement are obtained from this wonderful hobby/business. Before entering into this commitment it is necessary to ask yourself some important questions.

AQUARIUM SIZE
Many people start with a 55 gallon tank, but you can start with any size aquarium. We have found that it is better to use several smaller aquariums rather than one large aquarium for farming. If anything goes wrong in one tank there is a good chance that it will not spread to the others.

Although corals will survive in a new system, we here at GARF have found much higher survival rates in corals placed in established systems. In systems six months or older, there tends to be fewer algae blooms and more coralline algae growth, both of which are important to coral survival. When establishing a new reef system it is important to keep in mind that your aquarium will, without a doubt, undergo several algae blooms. This is not a major problem and is completely natural, but delicate corals should not be added during this cycling period. By adding the proper mixture of Reef Janitors you will help to keep this algae problem under control with minimum effort on your part.

Sally Jo's 55 gallon reef aquarium
Sally Jo's 55 gallon reef aquarium

LIGHTING AND EQUIPMENT
Proper lighting and equipment are also very important when adding corals to your aquarium. For lighting a typical 55 gallon reef system we suggest using two Triton 4' 40 watt bulb ,and one Blue Moon 4' 40 watt bulb. You can add brighter lights later such as one actinic 03 VHO, and one 50/50 VHO. Metal halide bulbs will also work well, but we discourage their use due to the high amount of heat they emit. You can also use the Triton and Blue Moon bulbs by themselves without VHO if you want to produce soft corals only.

Water current is another important key to the success of your corals. Using two Maxi Jet 1000's or Maxi Jet 1200's will ensure enough current for your corals. An air powered skimmer and a plenum system are also recommended for proper filtration.

WATER QUALITY
Water quality is essential for coral survival and growth. Ammonia and nitrite levels must be at zero before adding corals. Nitrate levels can be at one or two, in fact some literature states that corals need low levels of nitrates in order to grow and develop. Water temperature should remain stable at 78-80 degrees with a consistent pH of 8.2. A salinity level of 1.023 is the best for coral survival and growth. Because corals do have stinging cells (nematocysts) it is important that members of different colonies do not touch. Some species of butterfly fish do feed on corals so talk to your local fish dealer before making a butterfly purchase.

Side view of 150 gallon reef
Side view of 150 gallon reef
TIME AND PATIENCE
Finally, the most important questions you can ask yourself is "do I have the time and patience to dedicate to my reef system?" Anyone can grow a first class reef farming aquarium, but its going to take some blood, sweat, and tears. After spending a few months with your reef you will have the ability to determine the tanks condition just by observing your corals. Most corals are very sensitive and are great water quality indicators.

There is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in this field, and by spending time with your system each day, it may allow you to answer some of the millions of unanswered questions. Any information gathered and shared will help this hobby reach its potential.

OUR FAVORITE CORALS
When you have decided that corals are in your future, we here at GARF suggest first going with fast growing and hardy soft corals. Our favorite mixture to send out to new reefers are mixed Zoanthid plugs, Gold Crown Leathers from Palau, Green Star polyps , Protopalythoa, and encrusting Gorgonians. These corals are all very different from one another and we have had great success shipping these colorful and hardy organisms.

When you have experienced sweet success with your soft corals it is time to move into the more sensitive soft corals and small polyp stony corals. The Xenias are a wonderful addition to any reef system, but their extreme sensitivity to changes in temperature makes them a challenge to raise. These 'pulse corals' come in a variety of colors and once they are established, will spread throughout your aquarium.
Bali Stag growing on glass in 150 gallon reef
Bali Stag growing on glass in 150 gallon reef
TIME TO GROW SOME SPS CORALS
After you have traded some of your soft corals for VHO lighting it may be time to grow some SPS corals. Some of the SPS corals that we raise here at GARF include many colors of Acropora including green, purple, pink, and blue along with several colors of Pocillipora and Montipora.

Rare Pavona Cactus sps coral
Rare Pavona Cactus sps coral
Because all of the corals here at GARF are captive raised, availability varies daily depending on what is ready to be harvested. Through our research here at GARF we have found that smaller pieces of coral ship much better that larger colonies. Not only does this ensure the arrival of a live coral, but it also allows you to watch the colony grow and spread throughout your reef system. Please call me at 1-800-600-67163
We have also found that captive raised corals survive shipping and live longer than wild caught corals. Corals raised in an aquarium for several years become acclimated to the artificial lighting, nutrients, and extensive handling experienced in a coral farm. Corals will actually accumulate in their skeleton the minerals and nutrients found in your tap water. Alf Nielson, a famous researcher out of Norway, found traces of Yidrium in the skeletons of his corals. Yidrium is very rare and only found in the tap water in Nielson's area. Corals do actively uptake minerals and trace elements so it is important to use reputable additives such as SeaChem products and Magic Reef Dust produced here at GARF.

Corals farming is a wonderful addition to the marine aquarium hobby. By using the proper equipment and having a positive attitude, there are no limits as to how far you can take this hobby farm.

Thank you for purchasing captive raised corals - and remember: Save a Reef and Grow Your Own!! More next time - Matt


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Email: leroy@garf.org



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