Quantcast

Coral of the week ~Agaricia~

Help Support Reef Frontiers:

Anthony Calfo

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
1,183
Location
Pennsylvania
hey, gang :)

Mike O. was on the throne, where he does some of his best thinking, and suggested I post a coral of the week image and open a discussion about the animal's husbandry and handling. Y'all can chime in with similar or contrasting experiences and all will be archived for the benefit of all.

For this first installment, a bit of an odd launch perhaps: a protected Atlantic and Caribbean scleractinian - the genus Agaricia

There are several reasons you may be asking yourself... why? Why this genus? They are not very remarkable in color at first glance. Is it just to tantalize with that which we cannot have? Have I stopped taking my medication? Whats that smell!?! Hmmm... I digress.

These corals in fact are stunningly beautiful... and some aquarists do have them. Read on. If you are lucky enough to come across one, rest assured it can be kept. More importantly... it can be fragged :D And shared... and in time become established in the hobby. Some Atlantic Millepora got established this way in the hobby about ten years ago. With the knowledge and networking aquarists have nowadays - Agaricia could have potential.

Let's get the legality out of the way - Agaricia is a protected coral and you/we cannot make legal collections of wild specimens. However, beyond the occasional frags and colonies that make it through with aquacultured live rock... there have been recent imports to the US of live rock comprised almost wholly of recently pulverized and encrusted foliaceous "shingles" of Agaricia corallums. Its almost wholly dead (the Agaricia) matter. Almost ;) If you are lucky enough to get a living frag of this beauty... its like finding gold.

I mentioned that its a beauty... yet anyone that been diving and seen this extremely common coral... and any aquarist that lays eyes on it sees a mostly unremarkable brown coral. It most closely resembles Pachyseris from the Pacific.

Yet with any of the popular blue-heavy fluorescent or halide lamps in the hobby, this coral reveals stunningly unique metallic copper colored tiny polyps!!! With just the actinics on... this beauty looks like twinkling stars! Its like nothing else you have ever seen.

Agaricia occurs over a very wide range on the reef from 3 feet to 240 foot. Quite a few morphologies accordingly. It is... ah... a very adaptable coral to say the least. A majority of colonies in this genus however occur below 60 feet. Regardless... most any frag that slips into the hobby will likely have endured some considerable duress on import. Play it safe and offer dim/conservative reef lighting at first. Use shade cloths/screen mesh (plastic flyscreen) over the specimen for the first several weeks in a quanratine tank. Do the same on acclimation to the display at a lower depth. They can be acclimated to much brighter lighting in time.

Polyps on Agaricia are smaller than perhaps any coral you have ever seen in your life. You can categorically rule out offering any prepared/bottled foods. You cannot see this coral feed organismally. Can we assume that such zooxanthellate species occurring at great depth and having such tiny polyps have evolved to feed more heavily on dissolved organics? Perhaps. Nonetheless... limited reports of captive care indicate that it is hardy under low to medium light, grows with moderate to strong water flow and seems to favor a bit of a higher nutrient load than other popular corals.

So, the short story: keep them only in mature tanks (preferably with mature refugia inline) for improved feeding opportunities, acclimate specimens slowly to low light at first, lamp colors favoring the blue end of the spectrum (10k K or colder) are perhaps best, and moderate to strong water flow is needed (20X+ turnover)

God bless you if you are lucky enough to find one of these living jewels.

kindly,

Anthony
 

reedman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
3,255
Location
Mukilteo, WA
Great idea for a weekly piece. Interesting coral, and I agree that a coral doesn't have to be screaming pink or deep blue to be a great specimen. I like different growth form to vary to texture in the aquascape and this one certainly fits the bill. I hope I am one of the lucky ones to keep one of these sometime down the road. Great info...I'm already looking forward to next weeks' coral of the week.

-Reed
 

Anthony Calfo

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
1,183
Location
Pennsylvania
very welcome... and as we proceed, do not be shy with commenting on personal experiences. We'll cover a gamut of species and genera from the common and popular to the rare, unseen or protected.

The image used here is from the RF archives of Verons image work (undersea).

best of luck/Life to all :)

Anthony
 

FishyinKy

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2003
Messages
73
Location
Kentucky
Anthony? Now that I've seen this, I'm very intrigued by it. Its not something I personally have seen in real time ever. Do you know where someone could see one of these? Or possibly get a frag?
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
I have actually seen this coral in a LFS. This particular store buys it's frags from local customers so someone in the St. Louis area has this coral. I know half of the frags come from one particular coral breeder and the rest come from many sources.

Great info....thanks. Since I happen to know the person who provides half of the local frags, I think I'll make a call to see if he is the one who sold them. Thermos trading season is still in full bloom. Who knows...we may all be lucky to get this specimen.
 

FishyinKy

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2003
Messages
73
Location
Kentucky
Curt if you can find one please please count me in. I really am enamored with the more unusual things and I would definitely count this one in. If nothing else can you get a picture from the local store?
Thanks
Mac
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Mike O. was on the throne, where he does some of his best thinking, and suggested I post a coral of the week image and open a discussion about the animal's husbandry and handling.
ROFL well at least I was sitting thier and not standing in the corner taking notes, hehehe :razz:


Mike
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
FishyinKy said:
Curt if you can find one please please count me in. I really am enamored with the more unusual things and I would definitely count this one in. If nothing else can you get a picture from the local store?
Thanks
Mac
It's a no-go so far. Jim was not the person who sold that frag. The frag is now gone so I can't take a pic. I guess I'll have to stop by the store more often to see if another frag comes in so I can track down who has it. I'll also ask at the next SEASL meeting if it was any of our members who has it.
 

Anthony Calfo

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
1,183
Location
Pennsylvania
I'm not aware of anyone actively fragging these for trade... hmmm, although there are some organizations reclaiming such stonies from developing or damaged areas... but these are principally academic folks and their livestock does not trickle down to the hobby trade.

Anth-
 

Maxx

Staff Housemonkey
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
2,935
Curt, How long ago was this? I know they had alot of smaller Porites (Boulder type) frags recently...anychance that you saw those and maybe got confused?
Nick
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

Latest posts

Top