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Thread: Let's Talk About "Coral placement, where, why?"

  1. #16
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  2. #17
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    Here's a great article on PHOTOACCLIMATION.

    Under normal wild conditions changes are quite gradual and the difference in lighting that a single colony experiences is not all that great. Under aquarium conditions, the change in lighting can be quite drastic. In most cases we do not know at what depth a coral is collected and even if we did, the coral is likely to be subjected to low lighting from time of collection to the time it reaches our aquarium.

    If the coral has been kept under low lights, it will have adapted to those conditions to increase its photosynthetic abilities. If the coral is then placed under intense or very intense lighting, the rate of photosynthesis will be much higher then before. This can cause the polyp to be supersaturated with free oxygen and oxygen radicals which is toxic to the coral. The coral produces enzymes to destroy the oxygen but this in turn produces hydrogen peroxide which itself is dangerous and must be removed. If the coral is quick enough it will bleach (expel the zooxanthellae) and even then the coral may later die through lack of nutrition. If the coral is not quick it will most probably die. Additionally, the coral may be exposed to more UV radiation than it was previously exposed and this radiation may damage coral tissue.

    To avoid the above situation, it is always best to slowly acclimatise all new corals to the new aquarium lighting conditions (and this is also true when changing the lighting on a tank with existing corals). Light intensity should be reduced for a period of a few days to a week and gradually increased until the coral receives the full intensity intended for it. The amount of time taken should be dependent on the previous lighting conditions, if known, and the intensity of the lighting of the tank. It is always safer to take longer rather than shorter.

    Light intensity can be reduced through a number of means:

    Raising the lamps
    Placing a filter between the light and the new coral
    Placing the new coral deep in the tank or in a more shaded area.
    Additionally, the photoperiod can be reduced.

    For new corals, I prefer placing the coral on the bottom of the tank and then placing a piece of shadecloth on the tank lids between the light and the new coral. This means that only the new coral is affected. After a week I remove the shadecloth. After further time, I move the coral to a place closer to the lights and eventually to its final position.

    There may be some corals which have come from comparable lighting conditions. If it is known for sure the lighting conditions are close, acclimatisation may not be necessary, but if there is any doubt it should be performed. Exposing corals to lower light for these short times will have no detrimental effect.
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