Back in 2005 I first read about Dendronephthya corals, notorious for being difficult to maintain in aquaria. Lacking zooxanthellae, these corals require plankton to stay healthy. In the following years, I read up on the scientific literature, and toyed with the idea of setting up an aquarium specifically designed for Dendronephthya. This led to the launch of a crowd funding project on Indiegogo, to acquire funds for the development of a culture protocol for Dendronephthya corals. Although insufficient funds were gathered to fully develop an aquaculture system and culture protocol, two preliminary experiments were conducted. In this article, I will present the results of these experiments, and provide future directions for research. This may help aquarists to keep pushing the frontier of coral husbandry and aquaculture.
Science and emotion: Ne'er the two should meet. But they do, and this article will relay my small experience with these two. After writing a book on captive corals and over 300 articles on the same, it takes a lot to get me excited.
Swedish aquarist Jonas Roman has established a marvelously successful 650 liter (170 gallon) SPS-dominated, heavily stocked reef primarily using natural filtration methods.
Decreased growth of Stylophora pistillata with nutrient-driven elevated zooxanthellae density is largely explained by DIC limitation
High nutrient concentrations are generally known to adversely affect coral calcification. This reduction in calcification rate is often associated with increased zooxanthellae densities, but little is known about the mechanism underlying calcification inhibition. In this study, we assessed the limiting effects of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) on growth rates of Stylophora pistillata before and after five weeks of nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment. Nutrient enrichment resulted in a significant increase in zooxanthellae density and inhibition of calcification, measured using the alkalinity anomaly technique. DIC limitation was the main causative factor for this inhibition; a doubling of the bicarbonate concentration not only restored but greatly enhanced calcification rates of colonies with elevated zooxanthellae densities. At high bicarbonate concentration, no significant negative effect of nutrient enrichment on coral growth was found. The causal mechanism behind calcification inhibition due to nutrient enrichment is most likely increased competition for dissolved inorganic carbon, either among the zooxanthellae or between the coral host and its symbiotic dinoflagellates. This highly limiting effect of DIC on coral growth at elevated nutrient concentrations has important implications for coral aquaculture and husbandry.
Dana Riddle continues his intensive exploration of coral nutrition. In part three of his series, he delves deep into the subject of amino acids, including a discussion about amino acid supplements marketed to reefkeepers.
Stony coral nubbins (tentatively identified as Porites lobata; see Figure 1) were exposed to light of the same intensity (128 µmolm²sec) but different spectra for 75 days. Growth rates were determined by weighing the fragments periodically with an analytical balance.
Reefkeepers all know the giant clams Tridacna crocea, T. maxima, T. squamosa, T. deresa, and T. gigas. James W. Fatherree introduces two recently described species of tridacnids, one of which is now making its way into the hobby.
Over the last decades, the husbandry of aquarium corals has risen to a high level. Although captive corals currently exhibit high survival and fast growth, sexual reproduction remains a major hurdle. Closing the life cycle of corals is an important next step in coral husbandry and aquaculture. Below, I will discuss the reproductive biology of scleractinian corals, the challenges associated with sexual reproduction, and future perspectives of coral aquaculture.
Brad's reef aquarium is maturing beautifully, but the road to success was long and difficult. Brad's story is one of perseverance and the good people who supported him through his journey.
While once reefkeepers believed lighting and chemical additives were all we needed to sustain corals, coral nutrition is now recognized as vital for a thriving captive reef. Dana Riddle delves into more detail about foods for coral.
Dana Riddle thoroughly reviews one of the most anticipated and innovative water circulation devices to enter our hobby in some time. How does the Maxspect Gyre XF150 measure up?
Jay Hemdal, Toledo Zoo’s Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates, grants us an inside look at their grand renovation project of the historic public aquarium. The new Toledo Zoo Aquarium will open on March 27, 2015.
Black corals, formally known as Antipatharia, are members of a unique order within the Anthozoa class. These hexacorals are regularly found in the aquarium trade, and are often misidentified as gorgonians. In this article, we discuss the biology of black corals, and offer some suggestions for aquarium husbandry.
All reefkeepers know about the live-sustaining relationship between coral and their symbiotic algae. However, few of us understand how to care and feed zooxanthallae. Dana Riddle examines this topic in depth.
Proposed listing of the Percula clownfish (Amphiprion percula) under the U.S. Endangered Species Act: What it means, and what aquarists need to know (Part 2)
Chris Jury concludes his two part article by exploring each of the threat factors (including additional data as well as NMFS' response) presented in the petition to list Percula clownfish under the ESA.