Last September Curtis left for his first semester in Hawaii. Before he left for paradise he propagated many SPS corals. Those fragments have now grown into large colonies. This summer he and Trevor will be documenting several new methods of growing SPS corals.
Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation has been able to collect, maintain, and propagate several hundred different strains of sps corals. During the last two years we have been researching production techniques that include symbiont recombination and axial corallite -growth tips- initiation. The growth tips of SPS corals in the genus Acropora are very important in the commercial propagation of fragments. By manipulating the brood stock corals we have been able to increase the number of salable frags. We have learned that each new axial corallite will grow as fast as the original tip. THE MORE TIPS THE MORE FRAGS:)
One of the most important things that we are researching now is a phenomenon that has been noticed in many different invertebrates that divide or are fragmented in nature. The process that we are studying is called escape size. When I looked up escape in the dictionary I found this definition - To avoid capture, danger, or harm.
Escape size was explained to me by my teacher to make clear something I had noticed during the last several years of SPS coral production. We noticed that there were times when we would remove a fragment from a small colony of coral, and the fragment would often outgrow the colony it came from. When I asked my teacher why this happened so often he told me that there was a well-known process in marine biology called escape size. During evolution any coral that was broken into small pieces and was able to initiate a rapid growth were able to survive to produce offspring. I best understood this when he explained that escape size for sps corals may well be the size that is large enough that something will be left if a Parrot Fish takes a bite.
ESCAPE SIZE AND FRAGMENT ORIENTATIONEach distinct body type of Acropora has its own different optimum Escape Size. Cuttings that are below this size do not have enough polyps to start rapid growth. When too large a branch is used as the cutting the coral often does not go into accelerated growth. At GARF we have over three hundred strains of ornamental corals, and we're researching the proper size of cuttings for each of these strains.
The Blue tip Acropora and in this article is of a medium branch size and it has tubular corallites. I will now explain the method that we use to produce multi tip colonies of this coral in the shortest possible time. The cutting is taken of this coral that is approximately 1 in. long. This cutting is mounted very close to the original colony with the growth tip pointed slightly down at what would be 08:00 on a clock face. GARF super glue is used to attach a group of these corals to a clean Aragocrete rock. During the last year we have been able to mount dozens of these cuttings in our brood stock tanks. The cuttings that are glued with a growth tip pointed down soon produces several axial corallites on the fragment. These fragments grow most rapidly if they are mounted closer to the light than the parent colony.
This blue tip Acropora has morphed into a rapidly growing commercial coral and the new branches grow to about three-quarters of an inch in twelve weeks. The original fragment is carefully removed from the GARF super glue that is holding it. Super glue allows you to attach fragments in a few seconds, but more importantly unlike epoxy putty is very easy to remove the fragment. This is when we break each of the branches 1/2 of the distance to the tip.
The small broken branches can be glued to another rock. The original fragment with the branches removed is then mounted in the same location. When this fragment is glued it is mounted upside down so the branches are pointing toward the bottom of the aquarium. On this fast-growing blue tip Acropora the bottom of the branches are much lighter colored, and there are very few corallites.
It is important to get into the habit of snapping Acropora branches instead of cutting them. By breaking the branches with a pair of needle nose pliers you produce a clean break. When Acropora branches are broken you often find that several of the corallites at the break have been split in two leaving the polyp exposed. On this strain of Blue Tip Acropora the surviving polyps first look like black dots set back slightly from the edge of the white skeleton. For several years we have been studying thousands of Acropora cuttings to learn what initiates axial corallite production. A major part of our research is the collection of over fifty-nine thousand digital pictures of our reef aquariums. We are now able to go back several years and watch cuttings as they grow into colonies. Sally Jo's and I have burned over one hundred and twenty five CDs, and soon we will be loading the pictures onto a 50 GB hard drive.
FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS WE HAVE WORKED VERY HARD TO PURCHASE, TRADE, AND SAVE AS MANY TYPES OF CORALS AS WE CAN.
We are having a special on all of the coral cuttings. WHEN YOU PURCHASE 5 AT THE REGULAR PRICE OF $100 WE WILL GIVE YOU TWO FREE CORALS!. We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.
REEF JANITORS ALGAE CONTROL CENTRAL
Use this site to solve your reef aquarium algae problems, and help support our research!!!
|Many of the rare corals are offered to our members for 2 years before they are put on sale. We will soon have an E-mail list that will list the rarest color forms of sps corals and soft corals such as Xenia and Mushrooms.|
Date: 22 Aug 2000 13:46:02 +0000
From: "Mark DeFrancisco"
Subject: THANKS FOR EVERYTHING
I started out by purchasing some garf grunge and reef janitors. The janitors have completely cleaned my tank and are busy working every day. I had an algae bloom that I could not control, and now, in only a few weeks, it is not only gone, but the tank is spotless!
The grunge is the most beautiful substrate I have ever seen! I have found numerous little corals and sponges growing in my tank, and I am experiencing a coraline algae bloom much faster than thought possible. Also, every experienced reef keeper that has seen my tank wants to know what the heck is that? Being used to seeing plain sand or crushed coral, they are delighted and mystified by the beauty! It has also added a level of stability and overall health to my tank that is amazing!
Next, as you know, I have ordered a few shipments of corals from you. I can't believe how fast they grow, and how beautiful they are! This is of course in addition to the rare species that you offer. Never in a million years could I have found the rare and different corals you have sent me. The pet shop, or reef "experts" would never have most of these beautiful rarities!
As a matter of fact, my local coral supplier has seen my tank and he cannot believe his eyes! He has told me that with over thirty years in the reef aquarium business, never has he seen such a beautiful tank! The "show" tank in his store is very pale by comparison!
I have told him that thanks to some real professionals in Idaho, this type of tank could be a reality for anyone! I am sure he will order from you soon, as he is most jealous of my aquarium, and has to have some for his own!
I will send you some pictures very soon. I am sure that you will agree, this is truly a beautiful, healthy, thriving, 90 gallon reef aquarium. I owe most of it to you and your staff!
From grunge, janitors, magic reef dust, and your help in recommending food and additives, everything I followed from what you have suggested has helped my tank achieve more goals than I ever expected! THANKS AGAIN FOR EVERYTHING! I CANNOT WAIT TO RECEIVE MY NEXT ORDER, VERY SOON!