Category Archives: Corals

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Spiral Grafting

photo 21 293x300 Spiral GraftingMy most recent spiral graft is part art project, part science experiment, and involves a genus that I have had great success with in the past, Acanthastrea. I used two corals that originally came from the same mother colony; over the span of two years, one line of clones took on a remarkably different coloration. One set of clones was kept in the aquaculture system connected to Joe Yaiullo’s 20,000 gallon reef tank. The other set was kept in the ReefGen aquaculture on the other side of the aquarium. Both systems receive the same original make up water but have different coral and fish populations, as well as different lighting (T5 vs LED). I have made numerous grafts of various sorts of the years. Not all grafts take, but those that do produce stunning results. I knew that these two lines would indeed fuse since they are clones, but I was curious to see how they would influence each other’s color after such a long period of separation in different conditions.… More:

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Origin of the Purple Monster; Tyree L.E. and Coral Names.

TyreePurpleMonster Origin of the Purple Monster; Tyree L.E. and Coral Names.

Photo by jpmagyar

 Today Steve Tyree shared with the Facebook world the origin of the Purple Monster, Tyree L.E. and coral names as we know it. I especially like hearing Steve’s take on coral names… direct from Steve! If you know me, naming corals has always been somewhat of a peeve of mine. But it is part of the hobby that’s here to stay, and it obviously helps identify a particular morph of a specific species. Without further ado, a little history lesson from Mr. Tyree: 

Hello Reefers,

And I mean the coral reefers, not the… well you know what. Thought I would do a little write up and explain how the Purple Monster coral came into the captive coral reef market. And also how the whole Limited Edition exotic naming of corals began. Saw someone was reading and commenting on my old Dynamic Ecomorphology Purple Monster page. That page has not even been updated in 10 years. Was taking care of 8 web sites for awhile and that number is down to just 5 now. So yeah, the old DE web site is still up there, but way out of date. Also the current Reeffarmers page is out of date. Will get to it when I get some time.

Back when the PM was imported, 1995 from the Solomon Islands, the keeping of Acropora within the US was just beginning. The very first Acropora colony sold in a store was in my reef tank at the time and had grown in captivity to about 2 feet x 1 3/4 feet x 1 1/2 feet in size. Acquired it around June 1992. So we were three years into keeping Acropora in the US. And yes most were not very colorful. We did experiment with the colorful Loripes from Fiji in 1993 and 1994 but were running into KH issues and the first KH crashes. So there was not a whole lot of color beyond brown and green.More:

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Picasso Triggerfish: A Marine Aquarium Masterpiece

picasso1 Picasso Triggerfish: A Marine Aquarium MasterpieceCertain fishes available in the marine aquarium trade are truly bizarre in their coloration and patterning. Ranked high among them when it comes to both exotic appearance and aquarium adaptability is Rhinecanthus aculeatus, better known as the Picasso triggerfish or the Humuhumu triggerfish. This latter appellation (which is also applied to the closely related and similar looking R. rectangulus) is derived from the Hawaiian name for the species: Humuhumu nukunuku apua’a, which, if memory serves, translates loosely into “Man, how many Mai Tais did I pack away last night!?” I could be wrong on that. Physical traits R. aculeatus exhibits “typical” triggerfish morphology, with a highly laterally compressed body; high-set, independently moving eyes positioned far back on the head; a deceptively small, forward-set mouth; and a stout first dorsal spine that can be “locked” in an upright position to secure the trigger in a reef crevice when the fish is threatened. The maximum recorded length for this species is around 10 inches. I could try to describe the color and patterning of R. aculeatus, but it wouldn’t do this fish justice More: Picasso Triggerfish: A Marine Aquarium MasterpieceMore:

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Baby/Juvenile Smooth Trunkfish, Rhinesomus triqueter

cbcdTrunkfish 3 457x305 Baby/Juvenile Smooth Trunkfish, Rhinesomus triqueterGood evening friends, what a day!! Sorry about the late blog  but yours truly has been very busy!! Yesterday after posting the blog Aimee called and begged me to come over to Dolphin Academy with my dive gear and help the trainers do underwater repairs to the dolphin lagoons. Because of this crazy wind we are getting monster waves which are causing damage to our underwater dolphin living areas. What we did in a nutshell was to lift giant rocks back into place and tie many of them down with ropes. The waves were rolling in so hard at times we couldn’t see the hand in front of your face with all the bubbling whitewater, it was actually kind of funny and I found myself laughing to myself more than once! MOREMore:

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Reef Threads Podcast #199

reefthreads1 Reef Threads Podcast #199

Ret Talbot is our guest this week to talk about issues that affect the future of our hobby.Ret Talbot joins us this week to discuss endangered and threatened marine species, recent National Marine Fisheries Service regulation activities, and what all of this means for marine-aquarium hobbyists. This is an important subject that could affect the future of this hobby. We also encourage you to support PIJAC’s efforts to collaborate with regulation authorities. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine More: Reef Threads Podcast #199


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Fused Montastrea in Belize

14 300x200 Fused Montastrea in Belize

Close up of shared polyp between two colonies.

 I was recently going through pictures from my exploratory trip to Belize earlier this year. I was especially interested in coral that were growing in close contact with one another, and I took many pictures and videos of coral interactions. A relationship that struck me as particularly interesting was one between two colonies of Montastrea growing side by side. There was a streak of color in one colony leading from one coral to the other across the area where the two colonies met. I zoomed up with my camera and discovered that one of the polyps was shared by both colonies. I have seen this happen with many of my Acanthastrea echinata grafts (another coral species with high Thrausto counts), where only one area or polyp will fuse while the rest of the graft remains separated. I speculate that there is a regulation between the two corals’ immune systems, only at that location, aided by the presence of similar populations of Thraustochytridsymbionts. The white paper “Identification of a protist-coral association and its possible ecological role” by a team of scientists in Israel, ( ) expounds on this idea. The article has several pictures that show the colored striations of Thrausto populations in several coral species. Enjoy this video of photos I took in Belize of the coral, starting close and zooming out from the shared polyp between the two colonies:
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AlgaGen’s Live Feeds Program – An In Depth Look

4dfd1410878073868 150x150 AlgaGens Live Feeds Program   An In Depth LookAlgaGen’s Life Feeds Program (LFP): The use of live feeds in reef keeping is not a new concept. Aquarists have been collecting, culturing live feed organisms for years as a means to keep their reef happy and healthy. The issue is that live feeds are NOT readily accessible to all. Live feeds take some level of work and space to culture or collect which can discourage many from using them. In an attempt to make live cultures readily available AlgaGen has developed a Live Feeds Program (LFP). The concept is to provide participating stores with clean, hi-quality cultures each week. This way the store does not have to spend its time culturing but maintaining and selling the cultures. The aquarist community on the other hand now has wide access to fresh, quality cultures to experiment with in their MOREMore:

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Keeping the Magic Alive, Cyphastrea Combos

photo 1 1 1024x768 Keeping the Magic Alive, Cyphastrea Combos

Long term stable combo of Seriatopora and Cyphastrea

 I love Cyphastrea; it is a beautiful coral, and one that I have had great success with, but one day I realized that I had been growing it for so long that the excitement was gone.  I didn’t want to stop my work with one of my favorite corals, but I knew I had to make a change. There was only one solution for me – give it a hat of SPS! I am fascinated with coral interactions, from complete fusion of soft tissue to understanding long term competition and overgrowth. Sometimes, the success or failure of the experiment is size dependent, other times, food availability or water flow are the most important factors. Over the past few years, I have enjoyed replicating certain… More:
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