It's hard to believe another month has gone by since my last article. It seems to me when I was first setting up my reef tank that to have to wait a month for any reason was a lot to ask. I want to start off by thanking all of you who shared your knowledge as well as asked questions expressing your enthusiasm for this hobby. I have tried to answer all your questions and I am planning to get my own e-mail account so that no mail will get lost in our busy shuffle.

Reef Aquarium sps corals

For this article I want to share with you what is new in my 55 gallon reef tank. I know most of you think my tank is to full already. I have this saying that if you can count how many animals you have in your system then you don't have enough.

I have this saying that if you can count
how many animals you have in your
system then you don't have enough.

It was interesting to me that someone from this internet World thought it odd that my tank was being show cased because most hobbyists couldn't spend the kind of money my tank reflected. You have to realized that time played the most important role not money. I also shifted through all the live sand and took animals that were not being treated properly.

Many of my favorite brood stock corals were gifts from other hobbyist wanting to limit the risk of loosing the strain by having it in more than one system. The others came from small cuttings from other tanks at the lab. I choose to discuss my tank because, anyone can do this if they so desire! I have spent a lot more time with my tank by far than money!

The other point I want to stress is that
once your brood stock corals grow big enough,
you can trade your cuttings for corals you don't have.

The other point I want to stress is that once your brood stock corals grow big enough, you can trade your cuttings for corals you don't have. I have always been puzzled by the people who sell themselves short by saying they can't do it. I am proof they can.

Now onto my new additions who seem to be happy in their new home. Jerky Dirky who is my new cardinal fish who was sent to me from Dirk in Minn. Jerky Dirky is captive raised and probably about four months old. I now have learned how to hatch brine shrimp and feed my tank fresh baby brine shrimp every other day. You can see a picture of Jerky Dirky below next to a merulina sps coral. This Merulina sps coral was a gift from Mike Paletta.

Reef Aquarium cardinal fish

When he first brought it to me I super glued the piece to a live rock and popped the animal off so that some of it was still attached to the live rock. I did this one more time and then attached the animal to a different spot. Just this week I shared those two propagated pieces of Merulina with LeRoy and Glen to place in their aquariums. The funny part is that I still have the beginning attachments in my aquarium. It is a beautiful animal and grows quite fast.

Reef Aquarium sps coral merulina

On the equipment side I added a brand new UV sterilizer to my system. I won a Life Guard UV unit at the Northwest conference in Seattle. I have become extremely concerned about the sps coral diseases being passed around in the hobby so I decided to try and protect my coral family from this fate.

Reef Aquarium Farming News

I made several sps cuttings this month but, my favorite cuttings that I did this month are my pom-pom Xenias. I was surprised that they are healthy and thriving after the first week. This particular coral is harder to propagate but I have found that if you super glue the animal to a plug (or dry rock) and then put a large mesh bridal veil netting over the plug and place a rubber band around that it will firmly take hold in about a week.

My cutting tank is completely full - 200 + corals - once again so anyone who is interested in some brood stock give us a jingle. My tank was once again featured in an article in Marine Fish Monthly and will be in the Sept. issue so please read the articles.

Reef Aquarium mushroom

The BIGGEST news for this month is LeRoy blessed me with a new reef tank, hood and stand. That makes three in my office, I guess the desk will have to go. We will begin setting this one up this weekend. I will provide step by step guidelines on this process for my next articles.

I took a big step this month and played chemist, this has always scared me but it was really quite fun. I have placed a lot of importance on watching the animals and trying to make sure all their needs where being met. Water quality is stressed in all articles that I've ever read so I decided to test mine. I also was considering increasing my dosing of calcium do to the rapid growth of my sps corals. It is important to test your system before making any adjustments as well as after you make any adjustments.

Reef Aquarium Farming News

The first tank parameter that I tested for was my Calcium. In my show tank my Calcium tested out at 500 ppm and in my 5 month old cutting tank my calcium reading was even higher. I then tested the pH in both systems and they both presented a reading of 8.3.

Next came the alkalinity test which was a little difficult to read. After my third attempt I finally realized the color changes. Some of these test kits are hard to read, the colors are so close together. My alkalinity were at 5.5 and 4.5. I tested phosphate and it registered 0 on all three test kits we are testing. All nitrate tests were 0.

Again as with so many other things in the hobby
there are a lot of debates going on as to what conditions
are best for your corals.

I still say that there are no two aquariums in the World
alike and there is not only just one way to accomplish
success in your closed system.

I was very happy with these readings although I will be adding more Sea Chem Reef Builder to my make up water to gradually increase my readings on alkalinity. I have gone back and reread several of the books that explain water testing and I found it was easier to digest it this time.

Reef Aquarium blue acro

When testing your aquarium you will find that so much depends on the time of day that you do it and what you have recently added to your system. So a follow up test is recommended. Again as with so many other things in the hobby there are a lot of debates going on as to what conditions are best for your corals. I still say that there are no two aquariums in the World alike and there is not only just one way to accomplish success in your closed system.

Remember to write down your test results and share them with other people. This is how we all grow and learn from each others experiences. It is truly scary to me when I visit a pet shop and all their tanks look like they were set up in the stone age. They are misleading their customers and not providing the animals a healthy environment. We, the hobbyists have accomplished so much we must not forget to pat ourselves on the back for the progress we have made!

Reef Aquarium

Next I would like to speak briefly about summer maintenance of your reef tank. I don't know about all of you but when summer hits I am found outside working in the garden or developing yet another wetlands. You must not ignore your reef however. With the warming temperatures algae can break out fast. I continue to add Reef Janitors to my system on a regular basis. These cute little Janitors do not live in these closed systems forever. You really need to replenish them about every six months. That is why we at GARF offer them to our customers at a wholesale price.

Lights are another important item to remember. You should change your light bulbs every six to twelve months. When I put in a new light I mark the date that I put it in my tank. I never change all my lights at one time. I make a daily inspection of my tank to make sure all looks healthy and nothing is touching or has fallen over. It is important to check to make sure your skimmer is working and that your power heads are still producing strong current. If you do these simple things then your animals will be happy all summer long. LeRoy put an air conditioner in my office so all of my reefs stay cool.

Reef Aquarium Farming News

Several of you readers have tried or are going to be trying our Magic Reef Dust. I have found another new use for this natural ancient coralline reef dust. After making several cuttings I find that they tend to slime up and could do damage to the system so I just add a tablespoon of the magic reef dust right in the tank and it clears up directly.

One other item I want to mention is that we are holding our third annual reef tour on the 27th of October. The American Horticulture Magazine had their 75th anniversary this year and choose 75 sites nationwide to highlight as special places to visit. We are one of the 75 sites they selected to encourage people to come and witness for themselves the ongoing research we provide. This is our way of making sure that people are aware that this is the International Year of the Reef. It is up to all of us to take responsibility, share our knowledge and make a positive impact. We will also be having a Reef Farming seminar the day before the reef tour. Dana Riddle will be one of our guest speakers as well as Steve Tyree. If you would like more information on this please e-mail me with your questions.

I hope to hear from more of you. I learn so much from the questions that you ask. Thank all of you for your responses and most of all your commitment to this hobby! My final message to all of you is this, with all of the arguments that surround this hobby you MUST REMEMBER THAT THIS IS A HOBBY AND HAVE FUN!!!!


Reef Aquarium sps corals

Learn how you can grow a wonderful reef aquarium like the one we visit in the May 1997 special feature
Learn to set up your own fantastic reef aquarium like Sally Jo's

You can learn how a reef aquarium grows into a mature sps coral reef
Sally Jo's 55 gallon reef is starting to mature into a small polyp stony coral aquarium

We will add more about this aquarium each month


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

Contact: LeRoy Headlee Sally Jo Headlee |