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ISSUE # 7 page 2 JULY 1997
It is really difficult to spread the concern about the condition of our World's reefs from Boise Idaho. We at the Foundation are committed to education and research. We have accomplished so much yet there is so much more to be learned.
Yesterday a lady faxed a Newspaper article. The heading reads "Florida Keys experiencing a bleaching of fragile coral reefs". This is real, it is happening all around the World. Sometime LeRoy and I want to scream at the top of our lungs waking the World up to what is happening.
It has become clear to us that we together as a team of dedicated people can and will make a difference. This is why propagation is so very important. Hobbiest well as the Marine clubs need to go out and teach at schools. We need to show off our reefs and tell people what is happening around the World and encourage them to become part of the team. We all can do something to help make a difference.
Because of our fears for how rapidly the reefs are bleaching we leased a site in Mexico for 99 years. We are going to be doing ongoing research around the Sea of Cortez.
Live rock harvesting is not legal in the US. Many people who made their living harvesting live rock decided to place rock in the Ocean to grow out and then harvest when ready. My concern is with the bleaching that is going on what is going to happen to the rock the people put down to harvest later? We believe that there is a great need for land-based marine reef aquaculture!
It is our firm belief that together we can make a BIG difference. One thing I want to try and encourage people to do is put together a reef tour. It is so fun and educational and I invite all of you to witness the one that we have scheduled for Oct. 26, 1997. The day before the tour we have Steve Tyree and several other guest speakers. This Coral farming school is dedicated to the International year of the reef. We want to hear from all of you who are making a difference. Coming up with new ideas and focusing on how we can leave this World a better place.
LeRoy has studied and shared with you his research in regards to making and culturing your own rock. The picture below is my third reef aquarium. In this picture it is only one week old! You can see the beautiful forms LeRoy made. It also gives me the opportunity to grow several different animals because of the caves that protect from too much light or too much current.
All of this rock is tank raised. The coralline rocks that you see in this tank are our coralline rocks that we use to seed the tank. We do sell these "coralline eggs" and they are important to the first phase of setting up your tank. Especially if you are putting in rock you made that has no coralline growth.
The tank takes on a life of it's own. Even without the animals I've yet to put in it. We will keep you updated on the growth of this tank and it's developments.
This next picture is the same tank one week old. I have a funny story to share with you in regards to this picture. Last year LeRoy and I were in Mexico meeting with the Mexican Government in regards to doing research around the Sea of Cortez. We went driving around looking for aragonite rock. We stopped in the desert and walked around looking at the rock. The first rock I picked up is the face of a man that of course I brought home and decided to feature him in this tank.
I have decided to try and grow as many different kinds of sponges as I can in this tank. For one week old it's coming right along. Most of the success of this system is because of the amount of GARF grunge that I used and the janitors are fast at work. If you look real closely at the back of the tank you can see all the snails cleaning the glass.
This is a picture of my reef tank that is about a year and a half old. These Xenias seem to be everybody's favorite animal. I love them and they do so well in my tank. I have propagated these animals several times and passed them on to other hobbyist.
I first found the pulsing xenia in LeRoy's 135 gallon tank. It was only one polyp and had little hope for living. It has not only grown it has thrived and been cut several times. ( editors note, I had about $600.00 in that one polyp - I thought I had the Xenia curse until we stared using SeaChem Reef+)I have 18 new cuttings from this animal and I place them in the same tank so that I have better luck with the babies. The Bali Xenia next to it has grown incredibly as well. These animals are a must for any reef tank. You need good light as well as good current to keep these animals happy and pulsing.
The other day the power went out and scared me to death. I thought I was going to loose them but LeRoy came to the rescue. We poured water in and out of my tank to keep them moving and they are fine. We are a non-profit Foundation and if anybody out there reading this article has a generator we need one desperately! All of you who are farming need to consider this purchase as well. You might think it won't happen to you, but it can.
This next picture is again of my year and a half old tank. What I want you to notice is the growth of my corals. I have been researching lights and feeding as far as what makes the corals color up. I firmly believe it is both.
The growth and color are fantastic as well as the polyp extension is the best most people have ever seen. I have never had an algae problem, but I give credit to the janitors for doing all the work. As you can see from this picture all of my sps corals were attached with super reef glue. They grow right over the gel and onto the rock. When they grow too high and get out of the water I just pop them off and glue them somewhere else. Then I have that animal and the one that is still attached to the rock. Out of the three tanks that I have, I love this one the most. I learn something new everyday about my tanks. We all have so much to learn and have a responsibility to share with others so that we can protect this valuable resource.
I want to talk briefly about a fish that I recently tried in my tank. You all know about those horrible Aiptasia's that seem to show up from nowhere. They multiply rapidly and sting other animals in the tank. I tired this beautiful butterfly fish called a Chelmon. It ate all of my Aiptasia's and I caught her by hand and move her into another tank. She did not hurt one thing in my tank. I was feeding her rocks with Aiptasia's on them before I moved her to another system. These fish are not only beautiful, but very helpful with the removal of the pesky Aiptasia. You will never have to worry about them again if you simply purchase one of these fish.
This next picture is again a close up picture of my oldest tank. If you look back at the pictures from the previous articles you can see how much they grow from month to month and some of them have been cut a few times.
I only share this with you because it is my hope I can inspire all of you to grow these animals, love these animals and propagate these animals. So that we will no longer take from the ocean. We need to think about reseeding the ocean and putting back wetlands to filter out all the pollutants that are causing so much destruction. I wonder if we planted wetland plants around the ocean if it could provide shade and remove sediment. Clearing the water will cool down the ocean and slow the bleaching of our beautiful coral reefs. It is now time to become the participator, roll up your selves and spread the word.
I thank the people who have e-mailed me and share so much! I hope to hear from more of you. I look forward to hearing about your successes but more importantly what you are willing to do to help make a difference in regards to the coral reefs.
If you are interested in becoming a member of our Foundation please go to This page. All you need to do is Mail us in a check for the level of membership you want and we will mail you a membership card as well as information about the research that we are involved with. We are really seeking membership donations at this time so that LeRoy and I can make our trip to Hawaii to work on Jerry Heslinga's farm. He is growing clams and other corals right there. It is really important to our ongoing research and I hope some of you will be kind enough to help support us on the new venture.
All memberships help with all of our educational programs as well as our ongoing research. All you have to do is make a check out to GARF make sure you put a note that it is for membership. Mail it to GARF 1321 Warm Springs Boise, ID 83705.
It is our goal to raise $2,000.00 for this trip. We will post all of the information and research completed with Jerry. I hope that my articles help some of you, encourage others, and is my way of trying to make a difference. Thank you for all your kind comments and I hope to hear from you again. GARF is committed to making this a positive experience for all.
GROW YOUR OWN - SAVE A REEF
I introduced the phrases-DIRECT MATERIAL, WORK IN PROGRESS(WIP), & FINISHED GOOD INVENTORY last month, these are simply terms to help you to categorize what you have on hand and to help with your inventory instead of labeling it all just "stuff". There is no big mystery on how one category becomes another, you do it by your journal entries.
For the sake of this discussion, when I illustrate a journal entry, it would be on a ruled sheet, with columns for date, a description, account numbers and then the amounts either under a debit for expenditure column or a credit for an intake column. Refer back to the previous articles for the general format of the ledger book, also called a general journal or a general ledger.
For illustration, this past week I was able to once again get Portland #3 cement through our local dealer who ran out and took several months to be able to restock it. I also picked up several bags of aragonite gravel from our pet distributor, and I got a case of paper meat trays from a butcher shop where I trade. These purchases are entered in the ledger book as below:
Note: all we have is the date of the transaction, account number and the amount. Also, as the purchases are for resale, and made under my business license, there is no sales tax indicated. another reason to get your DBA or Doing Business As-business license.
This is all that is necessary in your journal to record the transactions. The format for a journal can vary, you may make an entry to material instead of Whitmans meat market, and under that to Cash, and then in the description refer to Whitmans, I use the above format, work out with your accountant what you two wish to have, its really very easy once you decide on the format that you wish to work with.
If, you have a computer accounting program such as Quick Books or Peach Tree then it is very quick and easy to make entries as the program automatically debits and credits the appropriate accounts. Even, if you do use such a program, which I strongly recommend, work with an accountant on setting up your system and your end of year tax reports etc. The maxim in the legal profession, that a" lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client" equally applies to those in accounting and bookkeeping. Set up your records system, then get input from a professional , that avoids you developing tunnel vision in your system.
Now, its time to use you materials for your base rocks: to transfer the material into WIP inventory, make a journal entry for the material used. We used the account number 10, for Direct Material. This account represents the raw materials purchased for use in making products, it would not be the same account for supplies such as gravel purchased for tank use or salt for makeup water, that goes under Supplies, and whatever number that you want to assign to that account.
The journal entry to transfer material from the Direct Material Account to the Work in Progress inventory is very simple:
The above entries, while simple, gives us an accurate assessment of where we are in our costing process so that we can price our products. We have cast 100 base rocks with purchased , and free material. We know that we have invested $42.00 cash into the materials.
As under our example we are a sole proprietorship, we are not tracking labor costs, UNLESS IT IS HIRED LABOR, as our labor return, is the result of our overall input into the business. If we were a corporation then we would track labor costs a little differently. if, we used hired labor to do the casting then, it would be recorded under an account of Direct Labor. As we are set up as a Sole Proprietorship we are not tracking our own labor costs. We own ALL of it, and can take money, or merchandise out at any point as a 'Draw'.
For this example therefore, no labor cost is input as we did it ourselves. So, the 100 base rocks cost us $42.00 to produce, to this point. next month we will cover the additional costs of the cuttings and other additions to the rocks, for now, we will 'cure' them in a fresh water bath, then a vinegar bath, with a couple of gallons of vinegar from 'Supplies', and let them cure til next month when we will begin work again with them.
I want to digress a little to another discussion point. Last month I mentioned a paucity of test kits in my possession. I received an almost horrified email, which I responded to and it raised some good points to which I hope that i addressed appropriately.
Testing kits, and devices, are owned by most all of us involved with marine aquaria, we have them on our shelves, installed in our equipment(thermometers in heaters) and generally depend on them to help us to monitor our tanks and vats. They are a 'necessary evil', and for some of us, an interesting way to track the conditions within our tanks.
Most will agree on that. I mentioned last month that i was going to buy a kit, and begin to track my own tanks. To date, i just have the Aquarium Systems hydrometer, and an aquarium. To my correspondent that seemed unbelievable with my own professed desire to track all of the costs of the enterprise, and so why not track the conditions in the system?
An excellent point, to which I responded in a compound answer.
First, any, and every system, whether one mini tank or a vast conglomerate of interconnected and plumbed mega tanks, undergoes a definite cycle in becoming established, we call this the nitrate cycle, but it involves much more.
In a crowded system, the amount of water stressing, the peaks and valleys of changes are more extreme then in a lightly populated system although the process is identical in both. The extremes can be ameliorated by actions that we take, water changes, skimming, and other actions. I also use algae scrubbing in my system with large amounts of macro algae in the system compared to the bio-mass within it. Bottom line, my system is not stressed, and has much lower stress parameters within it. I have a much greater safety cushion within my system due to a smaller bio-mass to the gallonage of water and the scrubbing and denitrification processes going on.
Also, many of the kits available are crap, and, I don't trust them. Hard statement, but true.
In the mid 70s I owned and operated a pet shop in a suburb of Columbus Ohio. A local resident who was in an aquarium club wrote an article about the differences in validity of results of different kits. Subsequently we set up a test one Saturday, at the store, with 8 different kits that I stocked at the store. At the time we were doing tests for anyone who wanted to bring in samples of their water. The comparative test results were enlightening, to say the least. The highest priced kit gave no different results them a low priced kit by another manufacturer.
We measured nitrite, nitrate, calcium, and salinity. All from two different tanks, that were on a system. One test kit showed alarmingly high nitrites and nitrates,, another no readings at all. We used four different hydrometers, no two agreed. The Aquarium System one was the closest to being accurate. I had several electronic testers I borrowed from a prof at Ohio State to test the salinity with, and later checked every hydrometer in the store against it. I returned most of them to our wholesaler for credit. I also, as a result of this stopped handling 4 brands of test kits, and stayed with just two and never restocked the others. Only two brands of test kits gave consistent results, and their results were within consistent ranges, that could have kept the user within safe parameters. Four brands of kits varied all over the place.
I have not really looked into the test kit situation today, I have noted on my 'rounds' of marine shops that two of the 'bad' brands are still on the market, I have not checked them to see if they are improved or the same crap as 20 years ago. The two 'good' brands are still being marketed, I do not know if they are still 'good'. Two of what we felt were junk kits are no longer on the market as far as I know.
My bottom line is this, I do intend to start testing my water, I have too much invested in it not to take all of the safeguards that I can, but, I will do it with test materials that I know to be effective and within reasonable parameters of safety. But, also, I am going to continue with my regimen of water 'scrubbing', partial water changes, and low bio-mass load along with regular additive makeup of iodine, calcium etc.
I am not getting on any manufacturers bandwagon. I have no problem mentioning what I use, but, it is not an endorsement of those products, just that they work well for me as I have tried them. I use heavily Aquarium Systems Products, especially Ocean Pure, also Aquarium Products has some stuff I have had good results with, Seachem- iodine and calcium. I like the Marc Weis products, but, its a tad expensive, but gives undeniable results. If I run across other things that give good results I will mention it in passing, but, no endorsements, just that it worked for me. I do not work for GARF, but have had excellent results with what I have received from them, including Reef Janitors, GARF Grunge with great coralline coverage, and coral cuttings, which were the best packed and shipped of about any order I have ever had.
Worked for me!
As far as I am concerned, we are all in this together, and one of the ultimate hoped- for goals is the preservation of our reefs and partially through our efforts to propagate our animals through captive breeding. In that aim passing on info on products that works for me is worthwhile, I am not in the endorsement business though. I do see as valid in our cost control efforts mentioning good products that give good value for the cost.
So , test kits can be a good thing, I see them as valid input, I do see a need to check out their accuracy and to stay with good products of responsible manufacturers. Talk to your dealer, wholesaler, and see what they use. Check them out yourself. Don't expect them (kits) to rescue you from doing something dumb. They are measuring devices, not miracle workers.
I have enjoyed the email and input from those who have responded to these and appreciate your time and effort to respond. So far I have answered everyone (I think). If not please repost me your questions and comments.