Tuesday, August 7, 2007
This is an image I shot in a friend`s tank. He owns an aquarium store in the valley.
This is a great shot to explain a few things about corals. These all come from somewhere, & one might image eventually there would be none left in the wild. None of these corals come from wild natural reefs. Those who are horticulturally savvy, know very well how nice it is to have a friend ask you for a cutting of your prize flowers or some of your special bulbs. Likewise with corals, a cutting will start a complete new colony. In the left foreground is a soft coral. It has no calciferous skeleton. Every little nub on it will produce a new coral. With a razor blade, slicing a piece off, then securing it to a piece of rock with reef safe epoxy or even a loose rubber band, will make a nice addition to ones reef. Within a few months it will look like the parent coral.
All the corals in this tank are clippings from a mother coral or parent coral. Sure, but it had to come from the ocean somewhere.
Absolutely, but you only need a small piece of one to get a new colony started without destroying the parent one. More & more, marine husbandry is advancing to where most clams, & there are some gigantic ones of unimaginable colors, are raised for the trade. We`ll get to trade again in a few . Most of the fish you might normally see, [if you`re a reefer] are now captive bred. This not only lessens the removal of these specimens from the oceans, but during the study of these animals, valuable information about them is discovered which aids in the increasing knowledge of how to protect our oceans. I`ve not met any reefers who did not have a reverence for the oceans & their inhabitants. Another aspect that is not understood is the fact that these animals are captive. In the wild, the animals most aquarist keep, would never venture any further than the limits a tank defines. A shrimp is not found six miles away next week; it has it`s little area it has carved out & in which it finds enough food & enough protection. It will spend possibly 25 years in the same location along with the fish who have determined their own little spots to live their lives. When stocking a tank, one must consider which specimens they would like to keep. This then has to be parsed into who eats who, till one has a selection that includes predators & prey from the top to the bottom. It would not work out, not to mention quite costly, to have a fish that has soon devoured all the others. There is also the consideration of where the fish naturally live on a wild reef. Some fish are crest inhabitants, others are substrate inhabitants & form their little holes in which to carry on their lives . There are cruisers that may be herbivors & cruise the whole reef feeding on algea.
Still, predators are in the tank, but we feed them also, which lessens predation on your specimens. Now that a selection has been made they must be introduced into the tank in an order which allows all of them to live a nice life. The least aggressive fish must be introduced first to allow them to find a nice spot where they can duck into if danger approaches. If you introduce the most aggressives in first, they will chase down the next ones you introduce who have not yet picked a safe spot. They will be killed. So the order of introduction is very important.
Also, once you do introduce a fish, it is very difficult to undo your decision. Catching a fish in a pile of rockwork covered in corals is a really good plan if you`re planning a disaster. So that you better understand reefers dedication to not being a burden on the animals in the oceans & for that matter anywhere, & being advocates everywhere & anywhere for the care of our differing ecosystems, please feel free to ask me about anything that may help you understand the special feelings I have about the animals I have & to answer questions that you may have that are more of a negative nature, possibly because of a lack of understanding how these marvelous reefs work. Now , to get back to trade. Like all trees, plants, shrubs, or grasses, they all grow & must be trimmed. With corals the same is true. We can`t just let corals grow to the point where one is depriving another of light. These are mostly all photosynthetic, so light is a major factor to consider. What to do with all these trimmings? FRAG MEET. There are aquarium clubs everywhere, just as there are sewing circles, photography blogs, motorcycle swap meets & so on. Reefers get together & swap frags, the common name when you cut your corals back & produce fragments of the original. Some reefers are famous for their special kind of species or kind of coral. These are sought after by many, & promises of getting a cutting from the next fragging are pretty much always kept. Reefers are proud of their corals like Margerie, is proud of her roses. So water your gardens & share your Peonies. And please have a great tomorrow.
The eye in the sky, all seeing, in the header is the opposite end of a "Long Spined Urchin". You can click on it for a few more peeks at my mysteries. Also on Planet Earth, a "Christmas Tree worm' in a beautiful color morph can be clicked for a little blues.