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LAST MONTHS ISSUE | HOME | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER ISSUE PAGE 2 | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER ISSUE PAGE 3

SALLY JO'S SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 1998 UPDATE
LEROY AND SALLY JO TOUR THREE GREAT HOME REEFS IN TULSA
BEGINNING RACK FARMING CORAL PROPAGATION


Reef Aquarium Farming News
Online Newsletter for Reef Aquarium Propagation Research

ISSUE # 21 SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER, 1998 PAGE 1

HELLO, WELCOME TO OUR 21TH ISSUE ! We have been traveling so much this Summer that I had to combine the September - October issues. We are certain that we will have a new issue each month now that a new semester is starting.


SALLY JO'S SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 1998 UPDATE

Free Reef Aquarium Farming Seminars at Public Aquariums

Hello, and welcome to this issue of our newsletter. LeRoy and I have been traveling so much this Summer that we are a bit late in getting this issue posted. The public aquarium Coral Farming Seminars are becoming more popular than we could have hoped for. We believe one of the most important roles we play as todays messenger to the hobbyist, Public Aquariums, and Marine Societies is openly sharing information. This means information that has been researched more than one time, and all processes are shared. Honest, credible information with clear step by step instructions.

We have dedicated our lives to researching wetlands, corals, and aquaculture. Through this commitment we have shared that research in our monthly posted newsletters, speeches at marine society's, writing articles, and on site seminars that are connected with our annual reef tours. Although very proud of these accomplishments they would mean nothing if we kept them to ourselves and shared them with no one. We have well over 40 years experience between us in the fields of Botanical Gardens, Aquaculture, Geothermal water use, pet store management, and the use of wetland plants for natural algae control.


We find it silly that some beginners want to fight over who researched what first. We find it sad that they would try to force us to keep secrets that we taught them. GARF did some research on propagation methods, we are not the only ones who have gifted this hobby with methods for propagation. The list is long and encouraging when you look at the history of the hobby and the experts involved with formulating ways to sustain and propagate reef animals.

Mr. Jerry Heslinga is one of the true pioneers of this hobby. He has shared valuable information that leads to successful reef keeping. He has put together a wonderful educational internet site. http://ipsf.com/ . He has written articles for the hobbyist, the government and leading Aquariums for well over 15 years. I have spoke to him many times and have been amazed, not only by his wisdom, but also his willingness to share his vast knowledge. I have only been in this field for 3 and 1/2 years and he has never left me with the feeling that my questions were unimportant.

The International Year of the Ocean is almost over.
We can not tell or put into words how strongly we feel the fight for the ocean
needs to go on stronger than ever if we ever hope to win the fight to bring
healthier conditions to the ocean and protect the reefs for the long term.

Some people are trying to market the methods GARF researched for propagating corals. Some were volunteers at our Foundation. They decided to take our research and market the same glue everyone is selling. We saw no problem with this. We bought every single tube that was used for this research, tested the results time and time again and still use the same methods when traveling and teaching others. About four other Companies are now selling the same glue for the home hobbyist and Public Aquariums.


You may wonder why we are dedicated to this mission (to teach and share information). It is simply because at one time we to were in the beginning stages of setting up reef systems. We know how it feels to take on this commitment and also how it feels to loose some animal that means a great deal to the family.

We are convinced that there is room for everyone in this hobby. The more people who grow animals in captivity the less we will be taking from the ocean. The more we share the more we receive back.

I personally am tired of hearing people try and tear up other peoples dreams. Some people do evaluations that are one sided and not honest.Spending time spreading negative statements and not on positive results is a waste of energy, and for the most part it is self defeating. It takes the fun away from the reason we all decided to start a reef tank in the first place. There are many ways to raise healthy, beautiful corals that can be shared with others. We will not stop sharing information and are proud to see more and more reef farms becoming home and school projects.


We have spent the last three years developing this Internet site, we have over 13,000 hits a week, www.garf.org/news.html is a free on-line newsletter with articles submitted from many authors sharing their insight and valuable resources. We answer questions that people have in the hobby and guide them with solid direction so they will keep their systems thriving for years to come. We have met the most incredible people when doing presentations to Marine Societies, when visiting homes, and when sharing in peoples compassion for raising these incredible animals.

PUBLIC AQUARIUM TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER PROGRAMS

LeRoy and I decided that all of what we have done was still not enough. We wanted to be even more far reaching and effective. That was when the idea of technology transfer programs started to become a reality. LeRoy spoke with Aquarium Systems to see if they would be interested in sponsoring 12 symposium at Public Aquariums in the USA. I am extremely proud, honored and very tired from the first presentation at the Tulsa Zoo on September 12, 1998.

I will say once again that we get more out of this by visiting sites and teaching than we give. We learn the most by listening to questions and finding answers.

The International Year of the Ocean is almost over. We can not tell or put into words how strongly we feel the fight for the ocean needs to go on stronger than ever if we ever hope to win the fight to bring healthier conditions to the ocean and protect the reefs for the long term.

We have to stop overfishing, pollution, and we need to bring back the wetlands that provide the natural filter to protect the reef environment. It is amazing to think that about three quarters of our planet is covered with oceans. More is known about the surfaces on other planets than about the life in the bottom of our oceans. Right now 10% of the Worlds reefs are lost. More and more research is needed about coral bleeching, nutrients in sewage, and ways to reduce agriculture runoff. Programs need to be developed and laws need to be in place to protect this life. This is not only important to us but to everyone who will be born in the future.

YOU CAN BE PART OF THE TEAM


That is why we are so committed to sharing our knowledge, harvesting knowledge from others, and working as a team with the same direction and goals. The only way you make a touchdown is by having a great quarterback who has a great receiver who has a great line to block. Even if your offense is great, if you do not have a great defense, you do not win. We need to win this fight. We need a full team, we need to look at the whole picture.

This is why teaching at Public Aquariums and Zoos is our focus for the next year. We will not stop what we are already doing we are reaching further and making our team bigger.


Our first program was at the Tulsa Zoo.We attended the AZA - America Zoo and Aquarium meeting. We were responsible for doing a presentation as well as an on site demonstration on how to propagate corals and make reef rock. We have just arrived back home from our first successful program and my head is so full of information I feel as if it is going to burst.

The day of the presentation we went to one of the members of the marine society's home. Jerry was warm and gracious. He touched our hearts by bringing out a huge folder with copies of our newsletters. He let us in his tank to propagate his xenia for taking to the presentation at the Zoo. We cut off huge heads and I tried to assure him that the stalk would grow a new head. We saw several corals that came from us in his tank. I never would have believed they were the same coral. The colors and the polyp extension were different. We also cut some of his green SINULARIA. These corals are now in the system at the Zoo. I know that Jerry as well as other members from the club will watch the growth of their donations to the zoos exhibits.



LeRoy and I arrived early to set up our presentation. We visited the reef we were to be working with. I have to say it was beautiful. The tank was set up in March of 1998. The rock was all native limestone topped with Florida aquacultured rock. The system is an eight hundred gallon setup with a one hundred and fifty gallon sump. Beautiful coralline algae, sponges, and feather dusters are growing on the lime stone. The aquarium has several generations of Cardinal fish. There were not very many inverts in the system which means fun for us:)


It really is impressive the amount of corals the marine society donated to the Zoo to enhance their exhibit. Many species of soft corals as well as sps corals were cut out of individuals tanks. We used these animals in our presentation. We made all of the members of the Zoo staff and marine club take their turn at propagating these animals. Some of the marine club members where afraid of making the first cut. All of them eventually took the scissors and pliers in their hands and attached the corals like they had been doing it all their lives.

LEROY AND SALLY JO TOUR THREE GREAT HOME REEFS IN TULSA

We then traveled around to other marine society members tanks. I will tell you they were some of the most beautiful, healthy, and impressive tanks I have ever seen! We went to visit Gary's tank first. He had sent us this picture of his tank over the internet. It was gorgeous in that picture but it was truly breathtaking in person. He put so much love and positive energy into that system. The animals all looked like they were smiling.

Gary had some new ideas that I had never heard nor thought of. He used Tonga branches to form his base, making sure that no rock was touching the back side of his glass. He grew huge, colorful sps corals - decorating the system with color schemes in mind.


This is a 80 gallon setup running all VHO bulbs and you could not find one thing negative about it. It was magic and we could have stayed there all night. I will not even get into all the gadgets he had in his garage to run this tank. I will say his tank is one he should be proud of and one we can learn from. I am not sure that any of his corals will be as happy in any other home, although I know they will get as chance because he has given many pieces of his corals to others. He will be passing some babies unto us. He asked us which ones we wanted, and we smiled at each other. We said one of these one of these and by the time we were done I think we asked for one of everything. Great job GARY!!

THE FILTERS FOR THIS FINE REEF ARE IN THE GARAGE

 

We then went to Tom's house. I was sure we ended up in a castle. First we went outside to see Tom's newly made pond. He did this all by himself. The water features and sound were so good it was hard to believe it was man made.

We then walked into Tom's bedroom and were surprised by a magnificent 240 gallon reef system. Tom's focus is to duplicate a lagoon. He has many corals in this tank. Amazingly he is running one and one half watts of 40 watt bulbs per gallon of water. He had some sps corals, many soft corals, mushrooms and large polyp stonys. I think one of the most important things Tom shared with me was how his whole family is involved with this tank. The children, if I remember right, are the ages of 8 and 10. They tell their dad which corals he can have, which can live next to each other, and they remember all of the names. We spent over an hour there and I will tell you more and more things came out from under rocks and from behind the rocks the longer we stayed.



Gary had gone along with us to Tom's and felt it important that Tom share a great story of the tank before we left. So we all sat down and listened to the best aquarium story we have heard all year. You must understand that Tom's profession is an engineer. He decided on a 240 gallon custom built reef system. He measured his doors and they were not large enough to get the reef tank through so then he measured his windows. He found one that the tank would fit through because he thought it could be tipped on it's side. The tank arrived the man assisting with trying to get the tank in the house could not make it fit through the window. They tried and tried with no luck. Tom had to cut out the window and spend another $700.00 just to get the tank in the house. What a great story and great tank. That is dedication.

THIS IS THE XENIA JERRY BOUGHT FROM GARF. HE DONATED CUTTINGS TO THE ZOO

We will be working with the members of this marine society and zoo for years to come. We learned so much from all of them and we will be trading animals and inventory. We truly thank them for the time and energy they shared with us.

We are going to be working with them on a reef tour in their area and would not be surprised if one of the next Marine conferences could be in their home town.

Our next symposium is late November at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. We visited this system three months ago. The history and stories associated with this exhibit are remarkable. We felt honored to go behind the scenes and visit with the staff.

THE EXHIBITS AT THE SMITHSONIAN ARE IN SERIOUS JEOPARDY.
THEY HAVE UNTIL THE YEAR 2000 BEFORE THEY WILL BE REPLACED
BY STUFFED ANIMALS IF WE ALL DO NOT PULL TOGETHER
AS A SOLID VOICE AND SAVE THEM.

When arriving back to Boise we where informed that the exhibits at the Smithsonian are in serious jeopardy. They have until the Year 2000 before they will be replaced by stuffed animals if we all do not pull together as a solid voice and save them. We feel that teaching the history of the ocean and this early example of a closed system coral reef is worth saving. We all need to write letters, tell others to write letters and save this exhibit.

Our presentation at the Smithsonian is scheduled for November 1998. We will be working with the local Marine club as well as the areas Public Aquariums so we can teach as many aquarists to grow corals as possible. This will be our second technology transfer program. We now realize that we will be booked well into the next year and we are growing from every experience. We will share each and everyone with you.

If you work at a Public Aquarium or your Marine Society wants to host a Coral farming Seminar please call us at our toll free number 800-600-6163. If you have questions about reef problems please call our free reef help line at 208-344-6163. You can visit us on the web at www.garf.org

SAVE A REEF - GROW YOUR OWN - have fun it is a hobby :)

BEGINNING RACK FARMING CORAL PROPAGATION

We are certain that the safest way to start a coral farm is one tank at a time. Many people are doing just that using these plans.

This is a week end project that can be built with some basic power tools. We use a small table saw and a drill press. We drill the holes in the plastic with Forstner bit - get it at the hardware store. We make the rack supports that we use now by bending the plastic with a hot air gun. There are many ways do this project and we hope you share yours with us.

Rack farming in reef aquariums is the method we use to produce large numbers of corals in 55 gallon aquariums. This method uses stacked rows of plastic shelves with 1" holes drilled in them to hold tapered concrete plugs with corals attached to them.

These racks were cut out of plexiglass and they work very well. The finished coral plugs fit into holes we make when we form our Aragocretetm reef rocks.

We have grown over 1000 cuttings in this aquarium in the 18 months. It is exciting to watch the corals grow and thrive in the cutting tanks.

This method of growing cuttings has several advantages.
  1. corals can be moved from rack to rack
  2. corals can not fall over and damage each other
  3. you can grow several types of corals in one tank
  4. corals can adjust to light one layer at a time so they increase in color
  5. you can grow several hundred cuttings in one tank
  6. every hole is numbered so you can duplicate experiments
  7. Inventory is very easy - you can count the empty holes
This is the same tank it now has 3 racks full of corals.

THESE TWO PICTURES SHOW DETAIS OF OUR CUTTING TANKS

We use three rows of racks in each 55 gallon aquarium. These systems have Eco-Sand plenums in them. We use 4 inches of Carib-Sea gravel over the plenums.    
Materials

  • Three pieces of 3/8" plexiglass 3 1/2" wide
  • 1/4"plexiglass for frames to hold racks
  • one bag #1-2 Portland cement
  • mold for making plugs
Tools

  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Saw
  • Bucket

  
Research Racks

We have developed several types of racks to hold the plugs. Tha simplest one consists of 42" pieces of 3/8" plexiglass 3 1/2" wide. These racks are drilled so they have two rows of 1" holes in them. A simple plexiglass frame is made to support these racks starting 4 inches under water in a reef aqarium.

This simple system will hold about 70 plugs. three layers of these racks will fit in a standard four foot lomg 55 gallon tank. This system will grow out over 200 cuttings in each tank.

Sally JO grows great tank raised live rock in the bottom of her cutting tank. Small pieces of coral can be glued to the rock. These rocks are sold as Combo-rocks as soon as they are covered with coralline algae.

We stack the rocks up so the hermit crabs can climb onto the racks. These rocks allow them to eat the algae that tries to grow on the plugs. Algae control is one of most important things you need to do if you are going to grow quality corals.

Research Plugs

You can make reef safe plugs from #1-2 portland cement. We use plastic forms to mold our plugs in, but the paper cup method is very easy. The plugs are formed in small paper cups. -NOTE FROM LEROY- Find your paper cups before you drill all of your holes. Soak the plugs in fresh water for 30 days. Dry the plugs. After the plugs are dry they can be soaked in hot white vinager for 24 hours. Rinse the cured plugs in running hot tap water for 5 minutes.

We now sell cured plugs for coral farmers - call Matt at 800-600-6163 if you need some plugs or some corals.

Attaching Corals

Most corals can be attached with Super glue. Branching Soft Corals, Mushrooms, and Gorgonians require other methods of attachment. These types of problem corals are explained in many of our other issues. We will continue to publish our newest research.

We now sell corals for farming at a discount so we can help as many people as possible with their new farming venture. Many of our plugs have more than species growing on them.

CORALLINE COVERED RACKS PREVENT GREEN ALGAE PROBLEMS

We have noticed that as the racks in grow out aquariums become covered with coralline algae the green algae problems are easy to control. Coralline algae spreads onto the plugs and the customer is always happy when they get a new species of coralline algae.

You can increase the growth of coralline algae by using a Phosphate remover and a good quality carbon. We use SeaChems Reef Calcium and Reef Builder in higher than regular doses if we want to increase the growth of coralline algae.

This picture shows how we place the sps corals on the top rack and lower light soft corals on the bottom rack. Mushrooms do very well on the lower racks.

We have noticed that the light is much brighter in the center of tank. We are upgrading many of our grow out systems to VHO bulbs. We use 40 watt bulbs on the systems until the coralline algae is growing on most of the plastic. We use these new aquariums to produce soft corals for about one year. We will be starting many new systems this semester using the things we have learned from the first three years of our research. Algae control and water flow will be two of the things we work on in these new sysems.

We will be talking about growing your own brood stock in the next issue. The slow steady way we teach will allow you to grow your coral farm as you learn more about the Biology and Business that must go hand in hand if you are going to make money and have fun with this project.

More next time. SAVE A REEF - GROW YOUR OWN

LeRoy


MAKE A PROFIT - EXPERIMENT - HAVE FUN - REPORT IN -

Support our research



Email: leroy@garf.org


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COVER AND INDEX
LAST MONTHS ISSUE | HOME | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER ISSUE PAGE 2 | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER ISSUE PAGE 3

SALLY JO'S SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 1998 UPDATE
LEROY AND SALLY JO TOUR THREE GREAT HOME REEFS IN TULSA
BEGINNING RACK FARMING CORAL PROPAGATION


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