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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animal Reproduction/Propagation

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James Craig's styling at home prop. system includes this tank.

Fragmentations 7/31/05 Dear Bob, <Keith> I just recently found your web site, and have been reading through many... many of the FAQ's. I have a few questions of my own I hope you will be able to answer. Before that, I will describe my current system (running for 5 years now but I have had a reef tank for 12 years now). I have the following system:   a.. 240 gallon (all Glass Tank) - predrilled in rear corners for water flow to/from wet dry <Ooof! Please don't call me if and when it's moving time!>   b.. 2 400W 20k metal halides   c.. 4 6' VHO's (IceCap 660)   d.. Venturi Skimmer (can't remember the mfg. but it is about 2 feet tall)   e.. 60 gallon wet-dry (I currently only have live rock in sump with some carbon bags - no other bio media)   f.. Aquatic Lifestyle Systems CR-250 calcium reactor   g.. IWAKI power head (22.4 gallons/min)   h.. 1 sea swirl (center of tank)   I.. 24gal/day RO unit (this fills a 100 gallon mixing tank in the basement and also tops off my wet-dry sump (I have it dialed in using needle valves)   j.. 200 LBS of live rock   k.. 38 types of corals (mainly LPS and SPS) Other nice features include plumbing from my sump directly to a drain tub in the basement and my 100 gallon mixing tank. this makes water changes a snap and ensures I never have a overflow problem in my living room. Over the past 5 years I have slowing added functionality to my tank to make it more maintenance free (or at least to a level that makes me happy). I am at a point now where I am taking large coral fragments every month to the local reef shop for credit. I have been thinking about creating 2 or 3 400gallons propagation tanks in the basement to harvest and sell corals. I did read your articles on this subject and was wondering what you though about a web based business of coral fragmentation. <I have a few friends that have/operate these... have built out such facilities> I have not put a business plan together yet but plan to very soon. <Ah, good> On another subject, I have read about the refugiums and was wondering what benefits it would provide over my current system. I have seen these systems at the local store on the display tanks and do not see a great difference between their corals and my own. Could you please provide me with some more detail on these systems and any recommendations you might have. <Mmm, this is all posted on WWM... a worthwhile addition to what you have, the propagation tanks you may add...> Finally, I would like to know what I could do to promote better base growth of my SPS. They grow quite well currently but only seem to produce minimal bases to support their structure. <Provide slightly excess calcium, magnesium (check on the relative proportion here) and alkaline earth minerals... "melt down" (in your reactor) proper matter...> All my Acroporas are thick and show signs of rapid growth on the branches but not at the base. I am worried that if I try to fragment these particular corals they may not produce adequate platforms from which to grow. <This does happen... a valid concern> I have learned that improper CO2 flow from my calcium reactor can stunt their growth and cause excessive algae growth as well as improper lighting & water flow. <Yes> Any information would be appreciated. P.S. I primarily fragment out the following rapidly growing corals: Frogspawns, Hammers, trumpets, torch corals, horn coral, pineapple corals, cactus corals, birds nest coral, Pocillopora damicornis, and Staghorn Acropora (only for my tank right now). <Look into some high selling, fast growing varieties of alcyonaceans for your new facilities... lordhowensis for your existing... Oculinids if you have room... make adjustable trays in/for the new tanks, so you can have the colonies near/er the surface... make a deal with your utility company to run your lights at night... Bob Fenner> Oz coral and fish farming 6/29/05 G'day Bob! <Cheers, mate... Anthony Calfo in his stead> I was hoping you could help me out.  I live in Queensland, Australia and have been propagating corals for a year or so now on the side as a hobby.  I live near the ocean so its quite easy.  I've tried mostly Acropora, Sarcophyton, bubble coral, and elegance coral.  Also "trying" to breed mandarin fish with mixed success!  I've decided that I may start a small business raising awareness on coral propagation and hints and tips to people in Australia on how do to it. <Fabulous to hear... please let me know if/how I can help with this. I have run a small coral farm of my own for more than a few years... have a look of it, "Book of Coral Propagation" and have traveled to see. consult coral farms and public aquariums on the matter. I do hope to see/help you succeed if I can> Basically my question is do you happen to know any good Indonesian, Fijian, Solomon islands or even Australian coral/fish wholesalers that you could recommend? <There are indeed some fab places... but what is the legality of you importing them into Oz? > I've been scouring the internet for ages and come up with nothing ( which seems silly seeing as we have the barrier reef just north of us!!).   <Indeed. But I do believe that Australia has a very conservative protection of its resources... nothing in or out. As aquarists do yo not only have access to Oz species?> Any contacts you could give me I would be very grateful.  It seems the whole aquaculture/reef aquarium industry in Australia is very new and not as large as the USA.   <Agreed> Every online coral and fish mail order company seems to operate out of the states but yet there's maybe one or two online retailers here in oz. <Yes... reasons for this> Any info you could give would be awesome - I'll shout ya a beer.  None of that weak American beer tho :P <Heehee... a German friend of mine says that we do not have beer in America, only yellow mountain spring water <G>. We actually do have some fabulous microbreweries> Cheers big ears, Steve  - Sunshine Coast, Australia <I'm wondering if you would not do best regardless to focus on unique Australian species. You have some of the most amazing and sought after reef creatures in the world in your seas. Do consider, mate. But regarding contacts... you may want/need to get out once or twice per year for a proper investment in your business education to see some conferences like AQUARAMA (Singapore) or InterZoo (spring 2006 Germany). At such world trade shows, you will see all of the biggest dealers of livestock, drygoods, etc all in one place. Very easy networking. kindly, Anthony>

Oz coral and fish farming II 6/29/05 G'day Anthony! <cheers, mate> Thanks for your advice and help.  I think you're right about me concentrating on Australian species instead of trying to propagate corals from the other side of the world.  Seeing as I have the Great Barrier Reef on my backyard I think that it could use a helping hand so it survives many years into the future. <Yes, indeed my friend. It is good business, good for the hobby and good karma IMO> I've actually ordered your Book of Coral Propagation as you can never have too much advice, and you seem to be the pro in that area :) <Ah... thanks kindly!> Is this the best email to contact you on or do you have your own so every now and then I can ask you propagation related questions? Thanks for all your help! <I spend most of my time here on such message boards. My personal e-mail is badly neglected often so... so that we can keep up with the flow of mail from folks in need> Cheers big ears, Steve Wilson <Rock on... Anth-> Removing propagated corals Hi crew, I hope you are all well. I have recently added 3 cultured corals, a Xenia (Red Sea?), a millepora,  and an Acropora.  All are thriving. Except for the Xenia, all are placed in   their permanent areas in my tank.  I cannot stand the appearance of a  "placed" coral.  The Acro and millepora are on rocks the size of half a  fist, and have spread onto the rock well.  The Xenia (acquired last night)  is skewered with a plastic toothpick, floated slightly above a branch rock with  elastics. I would like to have these corals grow onto my own rock, as it looks more   natural.  Is there any safe way to safely remove the entire colony from  their current small rock?  I am letting the Xenia( my LFS owner said he has  had trouble propagating them) attach itself to the branch rock, for its own  sake. I appreciate this site, it has helped me for years.  Since this is  viewed by the general public- Id like to plug two books.  "Conscientious  Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner- an excellent book for starting reefers.   "Book of Coral Propagation" by Anthony Calfo- I just started reading it-so far,  so good- great information( guess I'll be building a greenhouse!!). Thank You! James <James, I've been in contact with Anthony Calfo on this.  I will paste his comments for your information.  Thanks, James (Salty Dog)> <Rubber bands are really a less than ideal means of fixing corals. At best, some tolerate it. But for most there is a better solution like gluing or epoxying stony corals, impaling heavily mucous corals (Cladiella colt, mushroom corallimorphs, etc)... and in the case of most soft corals... stitching them (or impaling them - toothpicks are fine). In the case of Xeniids, the rubber band can be a risk/danger. Xeniids have such tiny spicules and integrity to their mass that the slightest infection wipes them out fast (hours). And rubber bands or other means of constriction (zip ties, crushing between rocks, etc) stimulate excessive mucus which in turn invites more bacteria, etc. Other than a single stitch (with plastic thread/fishing line)... simple natural settlement of cut or loose divisions in a cup of rubble is fine (cover with bridal veil temporarily if needed.>  

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