Reef Aquarium Farming News
Online Newsletter for Reef Aquarium Propagation Research


HELLO, WELCOME TO OUR 22TH ISSUE ! We are happy to be able to teach two coral farming seminars next month at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. We will teach a seminar Saturday December 12th for professional aquarists. On Sunday we will repeat the seminar for the hobby. Both of these classes will start at 1:00 P.M. and they will take about 3 hours. If you can attend either of these classes please call our office at 800-600-6163. There is no charge for these classes.

During the next month we will be publishing some of the things we are doing to help save the Sealife Hall at the Smithsonian. We will list some things you can do to help. We feel it VERY important that ocean exhibit and the wonderful old reef aquariums are saved so children can see marine life. It is hard to feel that it is important to save the worlds reefs if you have never seen live corals.


The 1998 Coral Farming Seminar was a great success and we are now planning next years seminar. This report is indeed my greatest challenge to put into words, so much occurred this month, and my only wish is that all of you could have come. A clear message was revealed to us. It is just like my thinking of what to write and trying to find the right words. Nothing can be achieved until you start. We had been planning the festivities for our fourth annual seminar and reef tour in Boise Idaho for almost a year. We were very excited that over 70 people had preregistered for this event. People came from all parts of the USA and Canada. Our speakers were all safely on the plane headed for Boise, many of them had never been to Boise or our Foundation before.
I had been working hard in the final month to finish up the seminar booklet and the final drafts for the reef tour map. I spent many hours calling companies to secure raffle items. My deepest appreciation goes out to all of them. No one walked away without winning at least one raffle item. The raffle raised about $1,200.00 to help us pay for the cost associated with such an event. I also dedicated time to sending out press releases and setting up interviews. Our local radio station did a live interview with LeRoy and I on Wednesday. The local TV station did a segment for us on Sunday which was aired that night.
All of our efforts were put forward in hopes of bringing to light that this is the International Year of the Ocean and we all play an important role in safeguarding this resource.

One week before, the event the Governor's office called me at home. They asked me if we would like to dedicate a proclamation for this week naming it save a reef grow your own week. This was accomplished as Idaho's way of showing our commitment to the International Year of the Ocean. Indeed this was a great honor for the Foundation. It is our way of patting the backs of our speakers for it is because of them this event was such a success.

We had the true pioneers of the hobby gathered together in one room to share their expertise with all who came. Our staff and many of our board members had been working harder than they had all year to make this event one that will be talked about for years to come. The seminar went so well it will be hard to top next year. Hard to do things are what we love, so count on a bigger, better seminar in October, 1999.

Many of the speakers I had talked with over the phone many times but had not met in person. I had met Tom Frakes several times and have always been impressed by his knowledge and love for the hobby. He is a true gentlemen, with a vast of knowledge of so many subjects, that I could listen to him for days. I had met Stanley Brown at the Western Marine Conference. LeRoy and I also had a speaking engagement with him at one of the southern California marine clubs this Spring.

Albert Thiel and I had talked many times. We often e-mail back and forth, but had never met in person. I had also spent many hours on the phone with Jerry Heslinga, but had never met him in person. I felt like I knew many of the guests from e-mails but again had never seen them in person. This was a huge weekend for me and the rest of the staff at GARF!

When Friday rolled around I was feeling excited and I had a tingling in my stomach. I was constantly thinking about what I may have forgotten or where I could place this nervous energy. Joe and Cindy Jones truly came to my rescue. Joe is the President of the Salt Lake Marine society. They arrived early on Friday with the desire to help me with final prep work and to assist with keeping me sane. We started the day by inserting all the material into our seminar booklets.

I was constantly watching the clock for the first two speakers were arriving at 12:30. Albert and Stanley were coming in at the same time. Joe and Cindy Jones offered to take me to the airport to pick them up. I wanted to make sure that we did not miss them. When we finally met up with them we waited for them to collect their luggage. We hugged as if we had been long lost friends. These people are so kind and so willing to share the enthusiasm for the life maintained in our closed systems. Stanley even brought an empty suitcase in case he could not pass up the opportunity to bring things back to his home in California. Albert brought his newly released CD's. He was offering them to our attendees for half price. You should not miss the opportunity to purchase one of these and add it to your reef library.
I then asked Stanley and Albert if they wanted to go directly to the hotel or to the Foundation. The answer was, go to the Foundation! They could not believe all of what we are doing at the Foundation. Many people forget that we do a big part of our research on wetlands and Geothermal water use.

We have over one half acre of geothermal ponds in our backyard with over 400 different species of wetland plants. We also have the biggest collection of ornamental grasses and winter hardy bamboo in Idaho. I lost these two speakers in our backyard for many hours.  :)

We then picked up Doug Hollister from the airport. Doug brought us many beautiful corals. He gave us corals that we did not have as part of our genetic bank at the Foundation. Seeing so many colorful small polyp stony corals, I could not resist placing a few in my tanks for special keeping. We will later give Doug specimens that he wanted us to grow out for him. Yes, I still find room for more corals:) I am proud to report all the corals Doug brought us are happy in their new home and are a great addition to the species list we have at the Foundation.

The next person to arrive was our special guest and a surprise to many of the seminar attendees. We received a call from Seattle that he was delayed because of fog. This truly scared us. How many people were we going to loose because of this fog delay? This special guest was Dick Perrin the true coral farmer of Michigan and the owner of Tropicorium. We were not only honored that he was coming he was also contracted to do a story about this event for Tropical Fish Hobbyist.


Once again I had never met Dick so bringing Cindy with me to help me find him was a God send. Dick's picture had been on the back of FAMA this past issue so I did not think it would be that hard. I must tell you the picture did not do him justice. He is much more handsome in person. He also wanted to go to the Foundation first. He sat for many hours in front of my tanks. I had told LeRoy that my greatest honor would be if Dick asked for something to take back with him from my tank. He spent many hours sharing his wisdom with me and answering some questions I had never found answers for. The message that was clear to me is he is a huge gift to this hobby, and his incredible humbleness was present the entire time.

By this time I decided it was time for me to go home so that I would be alert and ready for the early start the next morning. LeRoy was left to pick up the next speaker. This was Tom Frakes. Tom had been to the Foundation only three years ago, and he was indeed impressed by how much we had grown. Jerry Heslinga was the next speaker to arrive. It was 11:00 that night before his plane came in.


One of the greatest things that happened during this weekend was having all of these individuals in the same place at the same time. What a true blessing. The wisdom of these pioneers was unmatched by any program I have ever attended. This weekend will live with me for many years to come. My hope for LeRoy and I is that we can stay as humble and giving as all the speakers were.

LeRoy came home late that night and I had already set the alarm clock to wake me up so I could get into the room at the University early to set up tables and the raffle items. The alarm never went off, this could have been the one mistake I never planned for. LeRoy saved the day by getting me up and running early enough that no one noticed I had over slept. Albert was at the University room to help even before I arrived. What a great human being this man is. Everybody rolled up their sleeves to assist me with getting the raffle items set up as well as the registration table organized. My sister in law Sharon as well as our twelve year old niece Sam greeted people. They took care of all the sales so I was freed up to greet everyone as they arrived. Trina Headllee helped with all of things that needed done. There seemed to be a slight problem with people getting to the room on time so we started about one half hour late. Not bad if this is the only thing that went wrong.

We waited until all the people arrived and signed in. We had over 70 people present and accounted for. All cameras where loaded with film and ready to document the days events. LeRoy had left again to save the day. For some reason the name tags never made it over with the boxes. I was left to welcome the guests as well as the speakers. I must say that in all my years of doing public speaking, not only for the reefs but also the Botanical Gardens, my biggest challenge was to find the words to introduce these incredible pioneers of the hobby. As I was about finished with the introduction for the event I found LeRoy by my side and ready to start this conference out in a big way.

We had decided to honor Dick Perrin with the Life Time Service award for all he has done in sharing his success of coral farming. I have heard the story hundreds of times about him standing up at MACNA 6 and propagating corals. This was the first time for many to see this procedure hands on. Not only did he cut these corals but one popped off and rolled onto the floor. Dick just picked it up and mounted it on a sea shell. This talk is what got LeRoy back into the research involved with raising corals. If LeRoy had not got back into it, I never would have been introduced to it either. I was left wondering how many lives Dick Perrin's speech had changed. We will never forget what he has done for ours and we know that he continues to touch many peoples lives. We felt it was important to thank him in some fashion and had a large blue carved rock with a plaque made for him..
Dick received a standing ovation for this undying wisdom he has shared with so many. I think Dick was pretty surprised by this award but it was well deserved

Mr. Stanley Brown was our lead off speaker. As he approached the front of the room you could have heard a pin drop. This man is an incredible speaker and has gifted us all with his research that is documented and shared in the form of the Breeders Registry. His most important message to all of us was that we all need to document what happens in our closed systems so that we can share not only what has worked but what hasn't work as well. On a very sad note he shared his fears about what is happening with SeaQuest which just recently was hit by a hurricane and deeply effected by the wrath of Mother Nature. This company has provided many places including GARF with the most beautiful captive raised fish. They had just started to make payroll and now have been set back. We all hope they are able to pick up the pieces.
When planning a coral farm or raising fish it may be best to secure a place where you have more control of the project and its success. Making sure you are not going to get hit with coral bleaching, red tides, tidal waves and other disasters is good reason to have a land based project. Stanley showed us some slides of his new laboratory. He explained the importance of having back up pumps and other important things needed in the systems. Many people took notes on the proper way of plumbing new systems.

We all took a 15 minute break and then it was my turn to introduce the next speaker which was Jerry Heslinga. I struggled with how to give this man the proper introduction. He has spoke to me on the phone on many occasions, and has never left me with the feeling that any question I asked was too little or too unimportant. I started out by saying that farmers are indeed special people. They can not just plant a seed without nurturing it and caring for it everyday. To me these people are some of the most knowledgeable people in the World. LeRoy also shared in the Introduction by saying that he had worked with Jerry on projects and was indeed honored that Jerry not only came to Boise but opened up to our seminar since he had been off the speakers circuit for three years.
Jerry started out by showing us and telling us about his clam farm in Palau. You could hear the people gasp when he showed pictures of these incredible clams. The colors were the most beautiful I had ever seen. Jerry was very successful with this project and wrote many grants to sustain its operation. He then went on to tell us about his operation he is doing now. He showed pictures of his family and told us how they are all involved with the success of his business. He has been sending out snail larva to many businesses including GARF. These larva are hard to see at first but everyday we see more and more of them come to life. He stressed that many companies start out with too much staff and not enough marketing. He showed us his greenhouses on his site in Kona and how he is successfully working on this Sea Farming project.
He also was going to show us some secrets for propagation never shown before. We had to wait until we arrived back at the Foundation for this hands on demonstration due to the fact the room would not allow us to have food, drink and especially salt water in its facility. I was watching while everyone was taking notes. We used the rest of the time asking many questions.

It was now time for lunch. We had a speakers lunch that 38 people attended. We had soup and sandwiches. I hardly ate anything I was sitting beside Jerry Heslinga. I was in awe of all he brings to the hobby. This lunch also gave the guests an opportunity to get to know the speakers and ask questions that they did not get to ask during the presentations. I must also say that the weather in Boise was prefect for such an event. We walked over to the facility hosting the lunch and the sun was shining on all of the beautiful Fall colored leaves.

With our stomachs full we returned to the conference room ready to sharpen our pencils and greet our next speaker. Tom Frakes was the next speaker and the only way I could think to introduce him was by saying because of this mans knowledge I do not worry so much about water chemistry. Tom is the Vice President of Aquarium Systems and truly has an understanding of chemistry. The stability of their product Ocean Pure leaves me more time to play with my tanks. I trust his knowledge, and I respect the massive amount of research he has done for the hobby.

Tom shared with us many projects that he has personally been involved with as well as projects he has visited. He shared many problems that these companies faced. He told the audience that many of these projects in their first years are found to be in the red. He said that most new farmers need to be prepared to take a couple of years to make it into the black. He shared an incredible outline on how to plan a business. He understood about the desire to start a business and suggested steps to take to launch such a program. There are very few farm land based operations and fewer that are successful. You absolutely need to love what you are doing, plan for what you are doing, evaluate the market, and do research on other successful projects. This is not an easy business to get into. Starting slow and learning as you grow is the safest way to build a solid reef farming company. If in the first year you can pay for new sets of lights and the other needed equipment for your tanks you are one of the lucky ones.

Tom also shared information about his aquaculture rock site in Florida. He told us about some of the struggles he had in securing a permit to place his rock down. It was easy to imagine the investment involved in that process but more importantly the man hours it takes to do such a project. I think his overwhelming message to our guests was make sure you know what you are getting into and prepare yourself for set backs.

We then took a fifteen minute break so that people could try and down load all of the information shared. I know personally my head was ready to burst with all the information shared.

Albert was our next speaker. He had prepared to do a hands on demonstration but again that had to wait until we arrived back at the Foundation. We introduced Albert and I think many people forget what he has given us in the hobby. His internet site is loaded with valuable information. He spends countless hours developing his site and has over 10,000 visitors on his site daily!
Albert introduced his new CD and the information found within its vast pages of information. I think he devoted over 200 pages to live sand and live rock. He then did something I was grateful for, he thanked all of us at GARF. He said he was truly amazed by all of what we are doing and was shocked at how much we have going on that does not have to do with reefs. He then showed us by diagrams how to propagate large polyp stony corals. He gave us many secrets in the success of doing these and which ones he was most successful with. He also shared a recipe that works best for him in treating the cuts made when propagating large polyp stony corals. All of us could not wait until he showed us the true hands on demonstration on how to propagate open brain corals. It is our hope many people will go home and try this on their very own corals.
Tropicorium donated corals. Dwight Guss of Portland donated some of his bright colored sps corals. Steve Tyree donated two sponge books, and Dana Riddle donated two of his captive reef books. Microcosm donated many books and calendars. Jeff's Exotic Fish gave a gift certificate for live rock. Carib Sea donated sand. GARF donated several janitor packages and AragocreteČ rock. Aquarium Systems donated skimmers. Coral life (everyone was trying for this one) a solar Halide lighting system. Eclipse donated an entire aquarium. Shawn from Portland donated a calcium reactor. Ice Cap donated ballasts as well as lights. It is nice when everyone can be a winner!

Now has come the time to start the raffle. I once again want to thank all of the kind people who gave their products to make this raffle such a success. We had so many items it took over an hour to give them all away. We had items such as wave makers, donated by Champion. Wave makers donated by Ocean Motion. We had many products donated by Marc Weiss. A whole box of products from Sea Chem, Live sand and live rock gift certificates from Tropico Reef Life. Frozen fish food from Hikari, Bio Tore, and Beta Food. Cindy and Joe Jones donated a coral propagation kit. Jerry Heslinga donated four gift certificates.

After the speakers were done and the raffle items distributed LeRoy and I did a final conclusion to this event. I looked at LeRoy and spoke to the guests and said with everything presented here today why did we ever get into this business:) We feel that the information shared was invaluable. Most of what I heard was that business start out too big, with too much overhead and very little success. However there are some exceptions to this and GARF is one of them. We started out small with a huge focus on our customers. When planning going into this type of business you must sit down and write out a plan. You need to evaluate your market. How you are going to structure yourself. You must figure out, are you going to wholesale, retail or mail order. Then you must plan how are you going to meet the demands of the market.

We then car pooled back to the Foundation. I was extremely proud to hear the comments in regards to my aquariums that I have shared with you in each and every Reef Aquarium Farming Newsletter. I felt very humble when I heard many people say it is the most impressive tank they have ever seen.! My fish were showing off for all the people and polyp extension was great. Most people could not believe the colors and now know the pictures on our site do not do my tank justice.

People gathered around Albert who then showed guests how to propagate an open brain coral. The Foundation was full of people and you could feel the energy that was in this Victorian House. We ended the day when the lights went out on the tanks. Many people where making sure that they could get a cutting of one of our prized corals. LeRoy and I went home pinching ourselves knowing that we did our best and it was reflected in the response of all who attended.

The next day started with Jerry Heslinga showing secrets never shown before on propagating corals. Jerry cast living sps corals in cement with NO glue! LeRoy was busy outside showing people and making people make AragocreteČ rock. Some of these people made their very first rock that day. I am sure most people left GARF with more than they came with.

At noon most people car pooled to visit the homes that were gracious enough to be on the tour. This gave visitors a chance to see other systems and ask questions about their closed systems. The people who did not go on the tour were left with me and I showed them how to propagate the soft corals and made them make their first cuttings. All the babies they made are growing and attaching themselves over the glue. I was pleasantly surprised by the women who attended this conference it is great to see the percentages of women involved with the hobby grow!

My biggest honor was bestowed unto me when I arrived in my office on Monday. LeRoy started the sentence, I hope you don't get upset with me, but Dick Perrin wanted a coral directly from your tank. They cut the head off of one of the stalks of my Pom Pom Xenia. No way was I upset this was my dream come true. I only hope Dick has as much success and fun with this animal as I have had.

In ending this story you must realize that in no way can I put unto paper all of what happened during these two days. We are however copying video of this event and depending on your demand will have it available in the next couple of weeks.

We want to thank all of you who came, all of you who donated, and most importantly all of you who spoke and shared your vast knowledge of these marine organisms that we love so much. I tried to count how many years of dedication where in one room at one time just from the speakers alone and it was well over 100 years of experience.
Now I am faced with planning for next years event I can tell you that this one is going to be hard to beat. Nobody went home disappointed, everyone expressed how grateful they were for the time they got to interact with the speakers. Now onto the task of planning for next year. I of course did not even want to think about it until I had a week to recover. However we very proud to announce that we have secured Dick Perrin,Jerry Heslinga and Dr. Moren as three of our speakers for next year. Yes we are already planning for next year and we hope many more of you will come to Boise next Fall and share in this incredible hobby of reef keeping.
Before the event I finally placed my new custom made hoods on my tanks. They now have 6 VHO's in them with two fans built into the hoods. This keeps the temperature down at least five degrees and the corals could not be happier. Again I just want to express our deepest thanks to all who visit our site, share in our research, and continue to support our programs. We simply could not do this without you.
If you are ever in Boise please give us a call so we can make arrangements to give you a tour. I never forget to thank my husband, for if he had never given me the gift of an aquarium on Valentine's Day, I would never had understood the compassion that is shared in reef keeping. Nor would I have braved the challenge which has now changed my life forever. A final thank you needs to be expressed to Marine Fish Monthly for allowing us the voice to reach a wider audience and provide us the vehicle to inspire many more hobbyists.


I want to start this months article by telling about a new way to make aquacultured reef rocks that look like coral branches. You will need to purchase a mortar bag for this project. A mortar bag looks like a large canvas triangle. It is used to apply mortar in a thin line. If you have seen bakers using bags of frosting to decorate cakes then you can imagine what a much larger bag would look like. The mortar bag we use is made of plastic lined canvas. It is about 18 long and 12 inches wide. We cut the small end of the bag to the size of the branches we want to make.

1. Mortar bag from concrete supply store
2. One bag of CaribSeatm fine grade aragonite sand for Aragocretetm mix
3. One bag Riverside white cement
4. One bag of CaribSeatm finest grade aragonite sand for sand box.
5. Several long Styrofoam fish boxes

We begin this project by filling the first Styrofoam fish box with 2 inches of damp aragonite sand. The rest of the aragonite sand is divided between several one gallon buckets. We make the Aragocretetm mix by combining 4 parts sand and 1 part white cement by volume. Add just enough water to make a thick paste. DO NOT add too much water and try to then add more sand and cement. It is better to add the water slowly. You will need to make the Aragocretetm mix thin enough to flow from the mortar bag and thick enough to hold it's shape while you add the next layer of sand.

After the Aragocretetm mix is ready you can pour it into the bag. If it will not pour slowly then it is too thick. If it pours fast then it is too thin. You will learn as you go along. It is best to make small batches and keep notes on the amount of water you use.

After the bag is one half full you roll closed the top. You are ready to make your first Tonga Branch. Start by squeezing the bag until a steady flow of Aragocretetm is coming out the small end of the bag. You may need to cut the tip off of the bag to make the branch thicker. Slowly move the bag down the sand so you leave a round shaped branch in the sand. You can turn the bag to make a natural shape. When you get to the end of box make a small pile of Aragocretetm. Now is the time to cover your first branch with sand. DO NOT put sand on the small pile at the end. The thicker you make this layer of sand the more space you will leave between the branches. When the first layer is covered you can start the next layer by squeezing a bit of Aragocretetm onto the pile of exposed Aragocretetm. Now you can make the second layer. It looks best if you turn this layer so the finished branch has a nice shape. You can make as many layers as you want by adding sand between each one.

Do not make these first branches too big. If you are like most of my students you will not wait 3 days for the Aragocretetm to harden and you will break these first ones when you dig them up. Most types of Aragocretetm sculptures can be removed from the sand in 1 day, but it takes longer for these thin branches to get strong enough to handle.

After you have removed the sand you can cure the branches by soaking them in fresh water for 30 days. If you can change this water often they will cure better. When the branches are fully cured they a quite strong. These branches can be used to build an open frame for your live rocks and they will soon grow coralline algae. Many people can not tell our Aragocretetm branches from ocean collected ones after several months. The mortar bags are not expensive and you can several different size openings in them. By using the smaller ones you can add side branches to your main ones.


This is an incredible animal to start off with in a salt water tank. It grows fast, ships well and adjust to different tank conditions. They are very tank friendly meaning they do not sting other animals. One needs to remember to give them plenty of room to grow since they grow fast and can shade other animals from the light. In the wild these animals can get as big as a Volkswagen. These are very easy animals to propagate. We are seeing more and more of these animals on the market. Many of them are being tank raised and not brought in from the wild.
There are so many beautiful varieties of these animals. Some of them have different colors, some of them are frilly, some of them with longer polyps and we are seeing more and more varieties every day. This animal does great in most tank lighting does not like strong current that is hitting it constantly and needs plenty of room to grow. You can move this animal up and down in your tank until you get it positioned right. You can tell that your animal is happy where you placed him by watching the polyp extension. Remember that if a snail or hermit fall unto its head the polyps will not extend until you remove any item that is bothering it. You will see this animal listed in books as well as a pet store as a toad stool, gold crown but its true name is Sarcophyton. It is a very hardy soft coral and is one of the first corals a hobbyist should try.   CORAL

What you see in this next picture is what I described above. A hermit or snail has fallen on its head and thus the polyps have retracted. Remove the snail and in a short while you will see this animal fully extended and happy again. This is one of the most common varieties you see in this picture. It was the very first one I placed in my show tank. It grows faster then any other animal we have researched at the Foundation. It also was the very first one that I learned to propagate. LeRoy kept coming by my tank and saying you should cut that animals head off you are getting to much bio mass in your system. We were just around the corner from presenting our reef tour and this was the biggest animal in my tank. I was doing everything I could to make LeRoy forget about cutting its head off. Then one day he looked into my tank and once again said you need to cut the head off that animal, if you let me do that then just think you can have ten different animals to place in your system. He got me.:)I allowed him to cut off its head and I pursued finding ten new tank mates for my show tank. The head grew back on the stock in A very short period of time. I have now cut this animal many many times over and believe it is one of the best corals to try your skills at propagation.  CORAL

This next picture of a Sarcophyton was taken when we where visiting the marine club in Tulsa OK. This animal was found in Tom's tank and we do hope to get a cutting from it soon. Tom set up his tank to duplicate a ocean lagoon. He has one and one half watts of light per gallon in a 180 gallon built in the wall system. As you can see by the pictures there are many varieties and they truly are a great addition to any ones tank. This animal is one of the most common soft coral found in the Indo-Pacific. If you will look closely at the polyps you will notice eight feathery tentacles. You should be able to find these animals without a problem. We propagate many of them every week. As with all of our messages on any coral it is best to purchase a captive raised one versus a wild caught one.   CORAL

We feel that feeding in the tank with a Sarcophyton is important to sustain its growth and to supplement nutrition for the zooxanthellae to metabolize. Our choice for supplementing food is rotifers and green water. It will also work by having some fish in your tank that the polyps can steal some of the scraps from fish food. These animals are often found in the Wild in more nutrient areas of the reef. Because this animal is heavy due to biomass it is best to find a location in your tank that can hold the weight of this animal. Gluing this animal works well but make sure you glue it to a rock that will sustain its growth as well as weight.

In this picture you will notice a colony that is retracted. This is not a sign that this animal is dying. You may wonder why the snails or hermits are attracted to this animal. You must understand that this is a natural occurrence in nature. The Sarcophyton often sometimes weekly retract their polyps and become covered with what looks like a thin layer of plastic. This layer may stay on the animal until it covers with a light film of algae that is why the snails and hermits tend to work on this animal. They love to eat this film that consists of proteins and other compounds which are called Sarcophene. Directing a power head at this animal for a short time is a great way to remove this film and allow the polyps to extend to there normal grace. It you do not remove this thin layer of mucus the coral will have to compete for oxygen and in the long run loose. We find that by placing the animal where it is happy they tend not secret this fine layer of Sarcophene. They use this as a defense and if not bothered you will never notice this situation to occur. This is also one reason we propagate them when they get to big otherwise they continue to fight for room to grow and indeed their biomass becomes great.
What you see in this next picture is two different kinds of Sarcophyton they do very well next to one another and will not sting or kill each other. We are now successfully propagating these animals with a 100% success rate. We have found that you can cut the animal directly in your tank or remove the animal outside of your tank and make the cut. You must remember that not all animals are that safe to cut directly inside of your tank.

We have lost two of my most beautiful and healthy clams due to cutting Palythoa directly in my tank. They are so toxic that in less then 24 hours they killed two huge and healthy clams. This toxin released by the Palythoa is called Palytoxin. It is being used for treatments for people who are suffering from muscular dystrophy. In years past it was used for poison darts. I have heard yet not experienced that placing ones hand in a tank that has Palythoa in it can cause a reaction in the most sensitive people . Most certainly do not put your hand in the tank it you have a cut on it or you most certainly we feel the effect of its toxin. Also make sure that when cutting this animal you do not get sprayed in the eyes this has happened to both LeRoy and I and the result is a swollen eye that needs to be rinsed and eye drops used.
We have found that the Sarcophyton is safe to cut inside the tank but if you can remove it to the outside of your tank it will be better for the fish and corals. I always dip my fresh cut corals in a bowl of salt water before placing them back in the tank. When braving the waters to begin your propagation of the Sarcophyton you need a sharp scissors, glue and a rock to attach the new baby to. We perform this procedure two different ways. I tend to cut the head right off of the stock and then cut the head into as many pieces as I desire. The stock which is now your mother colony will grow a new head.

You will see the beginning formation of polyps on the stock in a two week period. In less than a one month period you will hardly be able to tell that you cut this animal. The babies generated from the mother colony can be glued directly to the rock and will grow its own stock in a very short period of time. A head like you see in the above picture can easily be made into twenty babies. LeRoy likes to cut the head into many pieces and let them fall to the sand bed of the cutting tank. He then waits for the cuts to heal. The waiting period is about two weeks then he glues them directly to a plug. Once glued these animals are ready to ship in about one month.

These animals are easy to ship and will adjust well to almost any tank. If you are not brave enough to cut the whole head off the stock you can make pie cuts on the existing animal but it is not necessary. Believe me when I say the head will always grow back and I have found mine to even grow little arms that develop off of the stock that can also be propagated.

Once the animal is glued like you see in this picture it does not take them long to grow over the glue and become a healthy tank mate with your other corals. You can hardly tell that this animal was a cutting made by our staff only a month ago. If you have a rare green polyped one like the one seen in this picture it would be a great asset to the hobby to propagate this animal and share it with others in the hobby.

We will always trade for this type of live stock. There was a time not so long ago that these animals were very hard to find in the hobby. Due to their adaptability we find them in many hobbyist tanks. They are one of the corals we recommend for the beginners and even the experts are found keeping this specimen in their tanks.

If you have strong lighting make sure you place this animal more towards the lower end of your system. Move it up gradually to secure its new place in your system. They do not like a strong current directed at them all the time if you have a wave maker they will love the indirect water movement. If you do not have a wave maker you can do what I do and change the water current by changing the direction of your power head these animals will be happy for a long time. I do this for about an hour and then position the power head in a different direction. I also have some of my power heads on timers they are on for fifteen minutes and off for fifteen minutes.

We are seeing more and more varieties of this animal and are keeping over 6 different kinds very successfully at the Foundation. This animal likes its temperature to be no greater then 80 degrees. When purchasing your new Sarcophyton make sure you give it a couple of days to extend it polyps fully. This will happen for the most part every time you move this animal. It is a natural defense mechanism to retract is polyps when bothered.

There is absolutely no reason to take these animals from the ocean any more they are so easy to propagate. The rare colors of these corals will be a good product for ocean based aquaculture. The only reason I could agree upon purchasing one that comes from the wild is if it is one that has never been in the hobby and can be shard with other hobbyist. These animal have a leather feel to them and are not slimy like the other soft corals that need to be netted when trying to get them to attach.


If you are interested in one of these animals please give our office a call we always have many of these ready to go to a new home. Call Matt at 1-800-600-6163. If you are like Tom in Tulsa, keeping one that our Foundation does not have, please give us a call we will be more than willing to trade to add to our genetic bank. If for any reason you are scared to propagate this animal please e-mail us or call us on our free reef help line at 208-344-6163 and we will walk you through the steps.

I will never forget my first experience with propagating this animal. It was wonderful seeing the new babies attach and form and the mother became more beautiful in such a short period of time. As with all of our research we share this information freely with you so that you will add to our efforts to not take anything from the ocean. It is our hope you will share this information with others and more importantly provide us with your results so that all research can be shared. Save a reef grow your own take pride in what you are doing remembering you are making this a better place for future generations!!!!

Free Reef Aquarium Farming Seminars at Public Aquariums

Hello, and welcome to this issue of our newsletter. The public aquarium Coral Farming Seminars are becoming more popular than we could have hoped for. We believe one of the most important roles we play as todays messenger to the hobbyist, Public Aquariums, and Marine Societies is openly sharing information. This means information that has been researched more than one time, and all processes are shared. Honest, credible information with clear step by step instructions.

We have dedicated our lives to researching wetlands, corals, and aquaculture. Through this commitment we have shared that research in our monthly posted newsletters, speeches at marine society's, writing articles, and on site seminars that are connected with our annual reef tours. Although very proud of these accomplishments they would mean nothing if we kept them to ourselves and shared them with no one. We have well over 40 years experience between us in the fields of Botanical Gardens, Aquaculture, Geothermal water use, pet store management, and the use of wetland plants for natural algae control.

The International Year of the Ocean is almost over.
We can not tell or put into words how strongly we feel the fight for the ocean
needs to go on stronger than ever if we ever hope to win the fight to bring
healthier conditions to the ocean and protect the reefs for the long term.

Our next symposium are Dec.12th and 13th at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. We visited this system five months ago. The history and stories associated with this exhibit are remarkable. We felt honored to go behind the scenes and visit with the staff.

If you work at a public aquarium and can attend this seminar I am certain we can share and teach many new things that will make captive grown coral reef exhibits possible.



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