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

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Scooterman

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After aquascaping comes coral placement!

From time to time, this can be a question, problem, etc. I've had to experiment with several species in location, due to lighting, circulation other inhabitants too close. There seems to be a sweet spot for each coral you get but sometimes finding that location can be difficult. Lets talk about coral placement starting from the LFS or mail order, to the introduction into your system, how do you acclimate, and how do you locate a place to install it. What corals can be located together, & can you keep a variety from one extreme to the other? Mike has taken some time putting up an ID section & also a Coral Research section, listed is a great deal of information, so lets use this as a guideline & go from there. Lets not limit questions or information referring to corals, maybe even answer some of your questions, we have some great experts here, so lets see if we can learn a few things.



http://www.reeffrontiers.com/photos_corals/showgallery.php?cat=2&password=


http://www.reeffrontiers.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=19
 

NaH2O

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starting from the LFS or mail order, to the introduction into your system, how do you acclimate, and how do you locate a place to install it.
I'm curious for those that dip their corals in Lugols. What mixture do you use?

On location, I try to think about how the coral grows, and the space it will need (also taking into consideration corals that like to overgrow). Also, flow and lighting requirements.
 

wrightme43

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This is something I have a great deal of intrest in as well. I have found the same thing "there is a sweet spot for each coral in my tank" But how to get that information with out trial and error, would save me alot of time and energy. I am going to think more and keep wactching this post. Great Idea Scooterman.
 

Scooterman

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Well, looking at references is a good start, I try and determine the needs of a particular coral from reference guides, such as in the links above, or I have a Julian Sprung book with a large variety describing the characteristics of each, food, lighting current flow etc. This helps me get good start if anything, but then from there I need to observe the new coral and see with my best guess if it looks like it is doing well, kinda hard to tell I know but observation can go a long ways IMO.
 

mojoreef

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Great topic. In the ID gallery I tried to add the home eniroment for most of the corals listed in it. This is a great place to start with when it comes to where to place a coral in a reef tank. A coral that is from a deeper location in the wild will not be used to very high energy flows or from direct intence lighting. So place it out of direct flow and keeping it in moderate lighting in our tanks would be a good place to start with that coral peice.
Other things to concider would be the aggressiveness of the coral, what it uses for attacking, defending, self cleaning and so on. thses will all play roles in givng the coral the ultimate area to grow in.
Another side thought with this topic would be how can you alter the corals form and growth patterns from placing it in different areas.


Mike
 

reedman

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Another consideration is that if the coral is a wild coral it should be reasonably predicatable as to what it will like. If it is a captive bread coral it may have been acclimated to a totally different environment than what it cam e from in nature.

I practice the trial and error method myself. Most of the time is error, but every once in a while I get it right and the coral colors up nicely.
 

NaH2O

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Are preventative dips necessary? I found 2 mixtures for Lugol's dips. Calfo's uses undiluted Lugol's, so maybe they are the same.

Anthony Calfo: 1 drop of undiluted Lugols/5 gallons of bath water in separate bucket for up to 15 minutes...strong aeration/circ.

Eric Borneman: 5-10 drops of 5% Lugol's/liter of freshly made, circulating seawater for 10-20 minutes.

On the acclimation of corals ------> what methods do you use for acclimating to the water AND light?
 

Scooterman

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I'm a bad one when it comes to adding new corals, few times I just let the bag float a while them plopped it in, I think when I do move my unit, & start getting new corals again, I'll have to develop a better plan for dripping. Lets take a look at the proper methods of acclimating corals, some seem to need a slower acclimation period than others, so let me do some digging and see what we can find. Please feel free to post links.
 

tankgirl

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Great topic, Scott!
The trouble is that everyone has different light setups and water circulation so it's hard to do more than generalize (high/low light, high/low circulation).

I acclimate everything at the bottom (unless it's an acro that I know is used to high light - even then I'll put it at mid-level for several days and keep an eye on it).

After acclimatization, I keep acros at the top
montiporas at mid-level or above
shrooms, zos and brains in the lower half of the tank
scroll coral at the top

Circulation;
Acros & montis get high circ.
Some of the open brains and similar corals (like cynarina) don't like high circulation- ditto for the pearl bubble - they're at the lowish-end circulation.
Euphyllia sp. get low to medium circulation (their tentacles expand in proportion to circulation).
 

NaH2O

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Great post TG!

How long do most of you drip acclimate - I guess it depends on species? Or if you don't drip acclimate, what is your procedure? I have always added tank water every 15 minutes and discarded the same amount from the container (not saying it is right or wrong...that is just how I did it). Depending on how hardy the specimen is, will determine my length of water acclimation. On lighting acclimation I have read of lights mounted by chains put up high and gradually moving the lights down until desired level. Also, I read of people using window screen over the top of the tank, removing a layer every few days. Then there is the photoperiod method of gradually increasing the photoperiod to the desired length.

Since there has been recent concern about phosphate removers and RTN....what about acclimation to this?
 

tankgirl

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Hi Nikki,
I acclimate about the same way, that's after floating the bag, of course. Generally, I measure salinity and pH and keep adding a half cup of tank water every 15 mins until the bagged coral params match the tanks. But, in cases where the coral has been shipped (and has been in the bag a longish time), I read that it's actually better not to acclimate because the stress from something (Wish I could remember, was it CO2, or ammonia, pH issues...?) is worse than the stress from lack of acclimatization. So, in cases where a coral was shipped, I float, then just take it outta the bag and put it in the tank. I've never lost a coral that way.

As for light acclimatization; I read a wonderful post by Steve Weast (I think) - that if you turn off the MH lights after 4 hours (for an hour), then turn them back on - you can avoid stressing the corals due to new lights or different lights. I used that when I swapped the 6500Ks to 10000Ks and it worked perfectly!! I did that for a week before going back to normal light cycle. Everything I've read from Jerel supports that method. I guess corals only stress after the 4 hr mark.
 

Scooterman

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My LFS store does the same with his corals, most all of his shipments are temped in the bag, then placed in the tank, but there is always exceptions. Fish I acclimate with the water 15 minutes procedure. The LPS I just plopped them in, no harm noticed, is this the right method, I guess not, if your willing to take a chance at loosing a $60 coral, I usually ask my LFS (because I can actually trust him) what I should do, he will give me the rundown on each species, or get me documentation for a particular coral, on that note, the majority of the time he was right but there is always times that I regret a purchase because it isn't compatible with the other corals in my tank or I don't have the proper lighting or current or something of that matter, I'm trying to upgrade my lighting as soon as Champion send me the parts left off my last order lol I'm hoping that we can learn some proper acclimation procedures, locating corals & use this as a reference. SPS in particular is probably the most feared coral for a newbie, & me for that matter. I have had failures mainly because of lighting, so instead of going at it blindly, I'd like to place useful guidelines for everyone share & use to succeed in their reefing adventures, If one can support sps IMO, one has come a long way. If I had the available information I have access to right now, I could of spent about 5k less, & probably raising a lustful reef, guess not knowing & lack of dough leads my failures in sps.:(
 

Curtswearing

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Great thread!!!

Here are some good guidelines on ACCLIMATING CORALS, ANENOMES, AND CLAMS
Remove the outer bags and float the closed inner bag with the animal inside in your tank or sump for 15 minutes or until the bag and tank temp. are the same.

Open the bag and roll the sides of the bag down to create a float or add your animals to a separate container for further acclimation (insure that container water temp. remains the same as tank temp.). The bag edge may need to be hooked over the side of the sump or tank so it does not sink. For precautionary biosecurity reasons, bag water should not be added to your tank!

Seal off the shipping bag underwater by twisting the opening, and remove it from the aquarium. Discard both the shipping bag and the enclosed water. A tiny amount of the diluted shipping water will escape into the aquarium. Don't be alarmed; this will have no adverse affect on the tank inhabitants.
Have some pre-mixed saltwater on hand to refill your tank at the end of this step. Add small amounts of tank water to the bag or container with the new animals every few minutes until about 75% of the bag or container water is tank water. This can also be accomplished with a drip line, take a piece of small diameter hose like RO line and tie a couple of knots in the line. Place one end of the line in your tank or sump and with the other end begin a siphon with the hose and allow the drips of tank water to fill the contianer with the acclimating animals. The flow rate can be crudely adjusted to a few drops a second by loosening or tightening the knots in the hose. Caution, insure that the line remains in the tank and drips into the container and only use this method if you will be present throughout the acclimation process to prevent floods.

Place the newly acclimated animals at mid-tank or lower for the first few days, with mild alternating current. Then, place the animals in their final location. Shipping is a stressful process and careful acclimation and a little TLC for the first few days will insure long-term success. Generally, brightly colored corals require more intense light, especially any blue, purple, or pink Acropora corals.
This is pretty much what I do. If I just bought one coral, I leave it in the bag. If I bought a number of things, I will put everything in a bucket and drip. I typically put everything on the bottom for a few days before deciding where to place the coral. However, do not.....and I repeat DO NOT put a Galaxia next to a heliofungia. There was a MAJOR battle and the galaxia lost.

Acclimation

I was wondering if anyone had any experience with Warner Marine Coral Dip and Conditioner? Jon sells regular Lugol's Solution as well as this other product.
 

Curtswearing

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Oh, one more consideration. There are several species that are supposed to be put into the tank upside down and then righted while underwater to prevent air bubbles from getting into the skeleton under the tissues. I know this is recommended for plate corals, goniopora, and some open brains.
 

Curtswearing

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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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