Archive for the Conservation Category

Coral Propagation – Why Don’t You Give It A Try

A lot of people especially those who are new to the aquarium hobby are a bit sceptical when it comes to coral propagation.

And I have to be truthful here – it really is not that hard.

The biggest aspect which you need to be sure of before committing to doing some coral propagation of you own is that the water parameters in your aquarium need to be excellent.

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The Coral Propagation Aquarium

A lot has been said about wild reef conservation because of the known concerns on the future of these areas. Marine aquarists will also be concerned as none would wish to see wild reefs reduce. Unfortunately, they appear to be doing just that. I’m not going to natter on about this, but am going to write about propagating corals – not how to cut corals on this occasion, but how to prepare a place to put the cuttings. It is not expensive, and no great skills are required.

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Reef Gardening – Coral Propagation

A reef aquarium is a delight. Hard or soft corals healthy and growing. Fish cruising about, in and out of the rocks, hoping to find something edible. Beautiful coralline algae growing on rocks and on the rear glass. Tiny life forms going about their business. Just as on the wild reef. Except this is a captive reef, assisted and maintained by an aquarist and supported by nature.

The aquarist is proud of the creation, and rightly so. He/she has expended a lot of time on research, and money on equipment and livestock. Time is also spent on maintenance, such as cleaning the glass of unwanted algae, ensuring the reef structure is safe, and checking and removing unwanted items from the sand and/or rocks. Seawater parameters are maintained, with additives where necessary.

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Soft Coral Fast Recovery

My soft coral reef (I love the way soft corals sway in the current and the subdued pastel colours mix together) is growing very well. As Peter has taken on a rather sad aquarium that he has in the process of recovery (see ‘An Aquarium System in Trouble – A Slow Recovery’), I decided to cut some corals and pass the cuttings on.

Now cutting a coral is a worrying thing for most aquarists including me. There they are on the reef healthy and expanded. Then along comes John with a very sharp pair of scissors! First of all what to cut? Decided. Where to cut – what impact on the reef appearance? OK. What about the health of the coral, is the cutting method correct? OK. Hesitation, do I really want to do this? Yes, go ahead. Corals cut, cuttings shrink to a hard small lump that looks as though it will never live again. The coral from where the cutting was taken closes and looks thoroughly miserable.

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Coral Propagation

Any aquarist worth there ‘salt’ has a desire to see the reefs in nature continue to thrive. Fortunately a lot of the illegal harvesting has ceased and the natural reefs are starting to become more understood and admired.

Unfortunately however, mankind is making it hard for these reefs to survive and many are in decline. This makes me very sad and I am sure a lot of others as well. As saltwater aquarists we all have a passion and love for these beautiful animals even if we stop keeping an aquarium for a while that passion does not dwindle.

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