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When and how to start with corals.

Posted 10/24/2014 at 08:26 AM by Sk8r

When and how to start with corals...
Corals are in a way a responsibility: their collection in the wild likely cannot continue unrestricted: there is already a call for certain ones not to be collected. Communities have taken to aquaculturing them---putting them in lagoons where they can be grown in native waters, rather like farming.

And we can grow them for domestic sale or trade. Certain ones are quite easy to grow and break apart for sale, and if you want to get into this, it's not rocket science.

First of all, I recommend not getting wild-taken corals for your first corals. You may make a mistake, and best not make them with specimens that might be more fragile or more rare.

Corals that grow very easily without kalk (but with careful attention to keep alkalinity at 8.3: ie, test your water weekly and take some very easy corrective measures.....) and pretty well thrive in moderate light with a moderate skimmer: soft corals, such as mushrooms, buttons, zoas, palys, toadstools, leathers, Kenya Tree, green polyps. If you have very intense light, put these near the bottom of your tank, or in some shade. Also run carbon pretty consistently: these corals spit a chemical when annoyed, and one leather turning purple in a snit can set off other corals. Many of these grow very fast, and you may be able to trade them to your lfs for store credit. 'Fragging' or breaking these off for sale often involves just a razor cut---or the fact they'll cover a rock you can sell. If you put spare rubble near mushrooms, they'll cover it, and you can remove them and the rubble piece together.

Corals that need kalk and still grow easily: [go to SETTING UP sticky above, and Dirt-Simple Chemistry, and it'll explain how to set up kalk, which is honestly, one of the easiest ways to keep your tank params steady] ---euphyllia corals, notably hammer, frogspawn, and torch. Torch is aggressive and hot: keep it off to itself. All should be handled with exam gloves for the safety of the coral. And don't let them touch each other. Another good beginner coral is caulestra, aka trumpet or candycane coral. These corals can grow very fast. They need to be pretty high up under strong light, T5, MH, or LED specialized for the strongest-light corals.

The good news is, if you keep corals properly, they grow like mad, and fish love the water that corals love. Corals are living filters, and eat fish poo, so they will help keep your water clean. They will also warn you of bad conditions: if your corals are tucked down, run for your test kits! Fish don't complain until they go belly up...corals complain fast, by pushing out the water they don't like and shriveling.
In stony, always choose 'branching' rather than 'wall' coral---these have treelike branches that you can easily break bare-handed, to trade off a little for fishfood. Or another type of coral. How fast do they grow? I had a 3-head hammer branch expand into the size of a basketball in four years.

Learn with these. If you want to go to stony, don't let softies onto your structural rock! You have to trade the rock with the softies---because if you scrape them off, the fragments grow, and stonies and softies can give each other problems. Stonies don't like softie spit. Softies don't like it when stony tentacles reach them and sting.

Corals are fun, fast-growing (especially the ones I've named) and offer a way to trade for new stuff---or fish food. A store will very often give a discount. Though with hammer and green star polyp, you may be supplying several stores at once, the way those things grow!

How soon can you start them? You could easily start them when you have your first fish---as soon as you have your tank stable and have an autotopoff system, test kits, and timers on your lights. They hate change: so your mission is to keep your tank as stable and steady as you can. Then listen to the corals: they'll TELL you when your water's 'off.' Test weekly anyway, because you'd like to get ahead of their discomfort.

Do it right, and they'll grow for you.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    I have been reading your blogs and really appreciate the time you have taken to be detailed and help out us newbies
    Posted 10/25/2014 at 08:43 AM by Eac7466 Eac7466 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Sk8r's Avatar
    Thanks!
    Posted 10/25/2014 at 11:37 AM by Sk8r Sk8r is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Agree with Eac7466. great knowledge!
    Posted 06/03/2015 at 02:34 PM by bpseal bpseal is offline
 

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