Reef Aquarium Farming News
Online Newsletter for Reef Aquarium Propagation Research

ISSUE # 4 page 1 APRIL 1997

This newsletter is part of the Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation, Inc. free online coral farming school. This newsletter will be used to present our most current research data.

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Several methods used to grow sps corals for profit

This month we will show you how to grow corals using plastic bud vases and plastic boxes.

Growing sps corals for profit depends on both the proper water quality and the proper lighting. By using the plastic racks you can keep the corals close to the surface.
If you keep the corals close to the lights you can increase the growth rate. The plastic racks also keep the cuttings securly in place so they will not fall over and sting each other.
This aquarium shows several methods that can be used to grow sps corals for profit. The plastic boxes are used to grow the mother colonies so they can not fall into each other.

Plastic bud vases are used to grow the cuttings. The bud vases are held in plastic racks.

These racks can be used to grow many other types of corals such as soft corals and mushrooms. Soft corals need less light than sps coral so they can be grown on the lower racks. Mushrooms do very well on the bottom rack.

These pictures show the cuttings growing in plastic bud vases. We have been using concrete plugs to grow the cuttings in our research.

The reef plugs grow coralline algae very well and they are heavy enough to hold the corals up after they start growing.

We often grow the sps corals by using VHO lighting. This lighting increases the growth rate as well as defines more color. We move the corals to the top racks in tanks that are equipped with two Triton bulbs and one Blue Moon for four weeks to enhance their color.

These pictures show more detail on the use of bud vases for grow out.

If you have any other ways to hold the cuttings for grow out we would like to share your pictures with our readers

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This months article will explain how to plan a small scale coral farm that you can build one tank at a time.

Planning a Coral Farm

Idaho is well known for many types of farming, but until recently coral farming was not one of them. During the past three years the Research Foundation at G.A.R.F. have started to change this. The Research we have been doing includes both laboratory work and personal communication with professional coral farmers from around the World.

The Foundationšs background includes two decades of applied research into commercial Aquaculture. We have been able to combine the data we have compiled from the reef hobby with the practical techniques used to produce aquatic animals for profit.

For the past 18 months we have been accelerating our research so that we can share a simple and inexpensive method of starting and growing a small scale coral farm.

G.A.R.F. is a nonprofit educational corporation that is dedicated to helping as many people as possible to start growing reef animals. This information is being collects and distributed to help celebrate the International Year of the Reef. The reef hobby has been able to propagate many beautiful, exotic, and expensive invertebrates and fish. Captive propagation is one of the best ways to protect and distribute these animals. Each generation of these animals is better adapted to the captive environment.

During the last two years we have seen the quality and size of wild collected reef animals decrease while the price has gone up. The hobbyist can benefit from this declining supply of quality imported stock by growing these animals in aquariums. This series of articles will give you cookbook methods of building a reef farm of your own.

Our research has been done with small scale, local invertebrate production as the main focus. This type of farming has several advantages over larger scale fish hatcheries. The methods used to clone reef invertebrates have been very easy to teach reef hobbyist. The same types of skills that are used to build and operate a successful reef show tank can be used to farm these animals for profit. The methods that we will write about are only one of the ways you can use to grow these reef animals.

The basic bullet proof reef is a very good way to start this project because it will work. This system can be added to by using many other products and techniques. The "Rack Reef Farming" tanks can be changed to fit your market. G.A.R.F. does not say that any of these methods are the best or the only way to grow reef animals.

Much of our research has been conducted by growing these products for sale in the retail and wholesale market. We have learned that in this market the three most important things in selling reef animals are color, color, and more color.

When you are planning a small scale coral farm you need to consider the following things.

1). What skills do I have that will help me be a successful reef farmer?

Experience in any phase of aquarium keeping will provide valuable skills that will allow you to create the stable marine environment needed to raise reef animals.
All types of construction skills will be very valuable during the construction phase. If you are able to build stands, filters, and other needed items you will save a considerable amount of money.

2). How do I collect and grow colorful broodstock for my reef farm?

Your reef aquarium is the best source of future cutting stock. The animals you are already successful with can be divided for sale and trade. Soft corals, mushroom anemones, green star polyps, and small polyp stony corals are all valuable popular reef animals.
Small colorful starts can be traded with other hobbyist. With the proper lighting and high quality water small cuttings can be divided in a very short time.
Many wholesale dealers will sell imported reef animals to the small scale farmers when they have the proper business licenses.
Retail stores often have damaged reef animals that can be purchased for less than retail. These purchases should be quarantined in the proper environment.
Corals and other invertebrates that are damaged may not be cosmetically ready for retail sales, but they often are very good for making cuttings.

3). How much time do I have to give to this project?

Any type of farming takes time if you are going to do a good job. We recommend that most people start this project as a part time venture.
The skills and experience needed to be successful can be learned from the hands on growing and selling of reef animals.
Patience and faith that the reef hobby will grow as we provide more tank raised stock are important. If you are ready to build the venture over a period of several years you will not rush into doing things that overwhelm you or your systems.

4). How do I acquire the skills needed to operate a profitable reef farm?

Read as many books and magazines as you can. Keep an open mind while you do this research.
Remember there are many ways to do this project right. There are only a few basic mistakes.
People who write for the hobby tend to try to convince the reader that the way they keep their aquariums is the newest and the only proper way to keep reef aquariums. Often a mixture of these techniques can be used to build a system that is both inexpensive and stable.
Attend your local marine aquarium club and talk to as many successful reef hobbyists as you can. National and Regional reef conferences are a great place to meet other people who have much of the information you can use to build a reef farm.

The internet is a new and powerful tool to research this subject. Many web sites have been set up by people who can answer questions that you may come up with as you start to grow reef animals.

5). How will I market the reef animals that I produce.

Your local market is the best place to start. Many stores will be able to purchase items such as mushroom rocks and other well grown cuttings. During the winter it is hard to ship reef animals successfully. Winter is often the busiest time for the reef hobby in many parts of the Country. If you can deliver quality reef products without the risk of importing them many dealers will buy or trade you for your stock.


Use this site to solve your reef aquarium algae problems, and help support our research!!!

JOIN THE RESEARCH FOUNDATION You can support our research and learn more about reef aquariums and wetlands
1997 WINTER - SPRING NEWSLETTER Our foundation is growing - Please visit our Newsletter
REEF AQUARIUM FARMING NEWS Newest information on reef aquarium farming

CORALLINE ALGAE PROPAGATION Learn to grow coralline algae on your reef aquarium live rocks
COMBINATION ROCK PROPAGATION Learn to grow combination reef aquarium live rocks
COMBINATION ROCK BASE ROCK SELECTION Learn about base rock for combination reef aquarium live rocks
COMBINATION ROCK SPECIES SELECTION Learn about selecting species for combination reef aquarium live rocks

LOW COST BULLET PROOF REEF AQUARIUM Learn to start an inexpensive reef aquarium
55 GALLON INSTA REEF Visit Rachel Read's 12 week old Bullet Proof Reef Aquarium

Geothermal Aquculture Research Foundation,Inc. online tour Learn why we call it Geothermal
GARF RESEARCH HOME PAGE Learn about the other research we are doing
Super glue research page We teach you the Super Glue method of invertebrate propagation
Super Glue evaluaton page Our researchers rate many brands of super glue
Geothermal Aquculture Research Foundation Feed Back page E-mail input so we can make these pages better
Natural Algae Control Reef Janitor Order Page - red leg hermits, snails, grunge.


Research page for Xenia and related soft coral propagation Learn to propagate xenia. Please enter any data you have about these corals.
Soft Coral Propagation Page Pictures and details of soft coral propagation
Stony Coral Propagation Page Pictures and details of small polyp stony corals
Mushroom Anemone Propagation Page Pictures and details of mushroom propagation
Zoanthid and palythoa Anemone Propagation Page Pictures and details of Sea mat propagation
Learn to construct a 140 gallon plywood amd epoxy reef tank

Image Page for Zoanthids and Palythoa


Boise Wetland pond tour 97 Pictures and details of wildlife pond tour