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COVER AND INDEX
LAST MONTHS ISSUE | HOME | APRIL 2000 ISSUE PAGE 1 | APRIL 2000 ISSUE PAGE 3
Welcome to page 2 of Reef Aquarium Farming News. All of us here at GARF would like you to know that we are honored that you have chosen to visit our newsletter. If you have any suggestions about any subject you would like us to explore please feel free to e-mail us. On this page we will teach you to propagate your Mushrooms and we hope to inspire you to collect as many captive raised strains of colored Mushrooms as possible. We will explain some of the time saving methods we use to produce Mushroom rocks for the wholesale and retail markets. The second part of the page highlights some of the great help we get each month from our members and readers. Not only did we get the scientific name of the coral eating starfish from Jerry Heslinga, we were able to watch a great video at the tweezerman.com site :) thank you all for the wonderful friendship and support!
LEARN TO COMMERCIALLY PROPAGATE MUSHROOM ANEMONES
MUSHROOMS ADD COLOR TO THE REEF AQUARIUM SO THEY WILL ALWAYS SELL VERY WELL
Order: Corallimorpharia ( Mushroom false coral )
|Their beautiful colors and ease of maintenance make them one of the first corals that most people purchase. Producing a beautiful crop of colored Mushroom corals takes patience more than the ability to maintain the most expensive reef systems. Corallimorphs are able to withstand high nitrate levels, but they do expand and reproduce more when the pH is kept at 8.2 or higher .|
Corallimorphs come in many forms and colors and this makes them one of the most collectible reef animals. There are many body forms and surface textures in the family. Some of the most beautiful and valuable mushrooms are the metallic blue and brilliant red smooth mushrooms in the genus Discosoma. The corallimorphs in the genus Discosoma also come in bright green, brown, orange, and many shades of purple. The surface of these mushrooms can be smooth or bumpy. The colors can be solid, striped, or spotted. The mushrooms that we have found to be very popular in the market are the large body, smooth shiny blue mushrooms.
We are certain that during this period of time the Zooxanthellae inside of the Mushrooms are morphing into types that can better utilize the lighting in our closed systems. It seems funny but we often say that wild mushroom rocks will not start to grow until you have forgotten about them. After the rocks have been in captivity for several semesters they often start to grow and reproduce rapidly. Mushrooms that we receive in our trades or ones that we move from other reef tanks often do not go through this period of change for as long of time. Captive Mushrooms can start growing in a few weeks.
|Another group of Mushrooms that we are working with here at GARF are in the genus Rhodactis. This genus includes the Hairy Mushroom anemones.These Mushrooms have tentacles on the surface of the oral disk and they are often branched. We have been researching several strains larger Rhodactis because clown fish except them as a substitute host.
We have learned that the hairy Mushroom anemones are able to be grown in brighter light conditions than the smooth metallic Mushrooms. The hairy Mushrooms can also be grown in parts of the reef aquarium that have stronger water movement. We have discovered that you can often tell how much to feed a Mushroom by noticing how long the tentacles are. The smooth Mushrooms of the genus Discosoma do not rely on catching as much food as the Hairy Mushrooms in the genus Rhodactis.
|The third group of Mushrooms that we are working with here at GARF are in the genus Ricordia. Ricordia is one of the most popular corallimorphs in the hobby because of their beautiful colors and their tentacles that terminate in round balls, called clavate tips . Ricordia often have several different colors on one mushroom. |
The most beautiful Ricordia in GARF's collection have orange polyps, and a blue margin with a bright green upraised mouth. Collection of Ricordia Mushrooms in the United States was made illegal in the early 1990's but it is often possible to buy single polyps that are collected on shells. Fortunately there are some Ricordia yuma that have been imported from the Pacific Ocean.
Both Types of Ricordia can be kept in brighter light than the Mushrooms from the group Discosoma. We have found that they do best when we place them under VHO lighting in parts of the reef aquarium that receive a moderate amount of light. You do not want to place these types of corallimorphs too close to the surface if you have Halide lighting.
|Making a Mushroom colony is a good use for some of the older tall show style aquariums. At GARF one of the most beautiful brood stock aquariums is in the laboratory in a 40 gallon reef tank that we made in 1986. This tank was made during the time when the first articles by George Smitt were published about wet and dry filtration.
We now have two of these tanks that we have kept active all of these years and both of them have filters that are twice as big as the show part of the aquarium. The tank in the lab has 1 - 24 in. power compact light. The other tank has one 100 W Halide light that is over 1 ft. from the water surface. Both of these systems have many species of Discosoma and a few Rhodactis. The tanks were both set up in about 1989.
Corallimorphs can also be grown in mixed brood stock tanks if they are not allowed to overtake and smother the other corals. Almost all of the types of mushrooms are able to live together and the smooth Discosoma seemed to thrive in colonies of many different kinds. If you are able to purchase or trade for any captive raised Mushrooms they will make a very good additions to your brood stock.
|If you are able to meet people who have older reef tanks they may have so many Mushrooms that the Mushrooms have become a pest. If the Mushrooms are growing on large live rocks there is a very easy way to remove part of them. You will need a large pair of surgical forceps and the plastic bowl for reef water. The types of forceps that we use have notches so the blades can be locked closed.
When the mushrooms are not disturbed in the reef tank they fill with water and stand slightly away from the rock on the stalk. After you fill the bowl with reef water you can reach in with a forceps and pinch one of a larger Mushrooms very close to the rock. After closing and locking the forceps it is very simple to turn the forceps and pull the mushroom away from the rock. You just attemp to roll the Mushroom up like a sardine can lid and it will come loose:)
Do not be overly concerned that the Mushroom tears or breaks because any pieces left on the rocks will develop into full Mushrooms, and you're going to cut the tops up like a pizza as soon as you get back to your coral farm. :)
|There are many different ways to propagate Mushrooms and we have been working for the last four years to find a way that works almost every time and is both easy and quick. The method that we use now requires patience during the initial part of the process. We now trim the caps of the mushrooms into triangle shaped pieces and allow them to attach to gravel in one of our cutting trays. |
These cutting trays are 4 in. deep with water from one of our large reefs circulating through them before it returns to the sump. The largest of these cuttings trays has six-40 W lights and polished aluminum reflectors.
When our inturn from England, Stuart Gould, was in Boise we did an experiment on Mushroom cutting. Stuart and I cut up some blue Discosoma Mushrooms and placed them in the cutting trays. We tried to cut each mushroom cap into six individual triangle shaped pieces. After three days we climbed up on the buckets and looked into the cutting tray from the top. We saw that many of the Mushroom pieces had turned into small round Mushrooms.
| Once the Mushroom cuttings have attached to small pieces of gravel it is very easy to use the GARF reef gel to attach them to larger rocks. We have been very excited the last couple weeks because we were able to purchase some captive raised Mushrooms from the Solomon Islands. These Mushrooms were sent on thin six inch disks of cement that had been formed on a sandy beach.
Small holes were dug in the sand and pieces of rubble rock were put in the holes. A mixture of sand and cement was then added to form a small pancake of concrete. There is a small colony of about six 1/2 inch wide red mushrooms on each disk . The same product can be grown in the land based Aquaculture project saving the high freight charges that made up over one half of the landed price. The wild Mushrooms will take months to adapt to captivity - they do not know they were farmed:)
After we have collected several colors of mushroom caps we cut them into triangle shaped pieces. These pieces are then put into a small bowl of reef water so we can string them on the piece of cotton thread like small beads using a small sewing needle. When we have threaded 4 to 5 small pieces of Mushroom onto our thread we then wrap the thread around the live rocks so that the mushrooms are on the top.
It usually takes about 10 days for the Mushroom fragments to attach to the live rocks. Luckily this is just about the time that it takes for the cotton thread to disintegrate. It is important that the Mushrooms are not placed in a tank with a wave maker because the constant back and forth motion will cause them to to be cut by the thread. This is a very interesting way to make combination Mushroom rocks because you can control both the color and the placement of the small Mushroom pieces very easily .
Several methods are often used to attach the cuttings to base rock.
The easiest way to start new mushroom rocks is to cut the top off of a healthy anemone and attach it to a fresh base rock. This is done by holding the mushroom up with the heads hanging down. Hold the mushroom rock above a bowl of reef water and cut several pieces off. The cuttings will fall into the bowl.
This type of mesh netting is sold in fabric stores in wedding dress section
When you use bridal veil netting to hold the Mushrooms onto the live rocks it is very important that the new cuttings be placed in a strong water current. The netting tends to stop the water movement around the Mushroom cuttings and if this happens bacteria can form under the netting and destroy the cuttings. When we use bridal veil netting to attach Mushroom cuttings to reef plugs we place a maxi jet 1000 power head so that the water current moves down the plastic rack and washes over the top of the reef plugs. We have found out that you should always use the largest bridal veil netting that will hold the fragments on to the reef plugs because the netting with very fine holes will not allow water circulation.
The method that we use to attach mushrooms is with a 1/16 inch mesh net. Several cuttings are placed on the base rock and the group is held in place with a 2" x 4" square of mesh.
Rubber bands or super glue can be used to hold the cutting until the anemone attaches.
Mushrooms of several colors can be attached to different parts of the same rock. These rocks are then placed in a tank with bright lights and medium current.
One of the most interesting ways that we have seen to produce mushroom rocks uses small Aragonite rocks with 1/2 inch holes drilled into them 1/2 inch deep. We use a small Carbide drill bit. These rocks can be formed out of Aragocrete and the hole can be put into them while the AragocreteTM mix is still wet. The Mushroom heads are removed using either of the two methods that we talk about here. This method works very well with the smooth Discosoma type Mushrooms because the many different colors can be mixed together. The heads are cut up into small fragments with each mushroom cap being cut into 6 pieces.
The Aragocrete rocks with holes are place so that the holes are facing up and a power heads is positioned so a slight current moves across the top of the AragocreteTM rocks. All of the Mushroom fragments are mixed together in the plastic bowl of reef water and baster is used to remove four or five fragments at a time. These fragments are then gently squirted into holes so that they settle to the bottom of the hole and do not wash off of the rock. After a few weeks the Mushroom fragments have attached inside of the hole and they soon start to creep out a hole and across the Aragocrete rock.
1. The best tanks for production of mushroom rocks are deep tanks with good water quality and medium water flow. We use two Maxi - Jet 1200 power heads in each tank.
2. The best lighting has been 40 watt florescent bulbs. We have had good production using three 40 watt 4' foot bulbs - WE ARE USING THREE BULB 40 WATT LIGHT BALLASTS - these electronic ballasts only cost $39.00 call GARF 800-600-6163 for information
3. We use SeaChem Reef Plus at twice the regular dose for good growth and fast attachment.
----- Original Message -----
From: "C. Madsen" Sent: Wednesday,
Subject: Re: StarfishI have these little blue and white starfish in my tank. They don't look as
large as the ones in your tanks. They are white with tiny blue spots on them. I don't
have any SPS coral, but I do have some Zoanthids and sea star. I haven't noticed them on
the coral, and they have been in the tank since before I added any corals. The largest
one I have seen is about .25" maybe even .50". They are really small, but a couple of
them have different length legs, but most of them are symmetrical. If these are a danger
let me know, if not I think they are kinda cool and would like to keep them. Thanks.
PS. I've emailed before about Sarcophytons
We are very interested in getting some of these for our research.
I was thinking of a possible solution to the problem. Have you tried a harlequin
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2000 21:46:20 -0700
From:"Chubby and Imogene Tatum"
Subject: Re: Coral eating starfish
I have asked many different people about these starfish trying to get help and they
enjoy reading your article and seeing your pictures.
In the article I just read again about your findings of harmful starfish, you asked if
From: "Jose A. Venereo"
Subject: Stainless Steel Tweezers
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 09:17:27 -0400
I was reading your article on Marine Fish Monthly. You requested if anyone had
information on a source of high quality steel tweezers,
to let you know. Well, here it is:
This company is widely used by Veterinarians. The item you specifically want are the
Jose A. Venereo DVM
I still have some green slimers for you.
I still have some green slimers for you.
From: Gerald Heslinga
Many years ago I worked with my sensei Dr. Masashi Yamaguchi in Guam and Palau on
The starfish is Asterina anomala and is common on many reefs in the Indo-Pacific.
FROM THE WORD FISSION
*fis0sion (f¾sh2ún) n. 1. The act or process of splitting into parts. 2. A nuclear reaction in which an atomic nucleus, especially a heavy nucleus such as an isotope of uranium, splits into fragments, usually two fragments of comparable mass, with the evolution of from 100 million to several hundred million electron volts of energy. 3. Biology. An asexual reproductive process in which an organism divides into two or more independently maturing organisms.
Use this site to solve your reef aquarium algae problems, and help support our research!!!
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 22:23:04 -0600 From: "Peter Laskaris" Subject: Re: algae bloom >Hello >I recently started a 90 gal reef tank >I used about 2inches of aragonite sand, 10lbs garf grunge, 45lbs of cured live rock, 75 > mixed snails, 60 mixed hermit crabs, 2 powerheads, and a sump which acts as a 3rd > powerhead >the tank has been set up for about 2 weeks and I haven't seen a sign of an algae bloom >I find this amazing since I havent used a protein skimmer in my past experience I had > noticed that my corals do better in a system without a skimmer >do you think I will have or have a chance of an algae bloom? thanks >Peter Laskaris Hello,
I experienced a severe algae problem in my 45 gallon mixed reef in late 1998. I battled the
My boyfriend heard about GARF from a bulletin board and suggested I take a look.
After removing the blue-legged hermits, I had your crew shipped to my office and took an
I am working part time in my LFS and am the "go-to" person for our customers with hair
Once again, many thanks for the great service and for getting my tank turned around.
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