a quick dip into coral appreciation and propagation 12/98

This website derives from my experiences working and relaxing with coral reefs, both in nature and in glass.
I reside in the Philippines, a country incredibly blessed with thousands of kilometres of coral-rich shoreline. I am also an avid aquarist,
and have been so for three decades. I believe that responsible coral propagation and reef-keeping is not only easy,
but essential to the continued survival of the coral reefs of the world: it educates our children against repeating our mistakes.

(L-R) Tubastrea sp., Acropora sp., Favia sp.

 The Reef In Nature  The Reef At Home

The coral reefs I focus on surround
Ligpo Island, a rock islet just two hundred metres off the shore of Balayan Bay, in the province of Batangas, in the northern third of the Philippine archipelago.

A Junior Picasso (Rhinecanthus verrucosus) Triggerfish (center), 
patrolling an assemblage of coral heads (Montastrea spp., Favia spp.
 and Porites spp.) in the shallows. Ligpo Island ...........Depth 1.5 metres

The islet sits off a point where minor currents of different temperatures meet, making for a richly varied marine biotope.

There is a sharp drop-off about a hundred metres from the mainland shore which ends in a submarine shelf roughly 60 metres deep. This shelf then extends out beyond Ligpo Island before dropping off again into the deep blue.

Storms annually batter the patch reefs that dot the first 100 metres from the mainland shore, relatively sparing the deeper reef growths.

This storm damage is a part of reef formation, as coral fragments are broadcast where a lucky few can start as colonies anew. The populations of certain species of coral thus wax and wane in the shallows from one year to the next.

Fortunately, the local Batangueños (residents of Batangas) are by and large very concerned with preserving the environment at a time when the province's coastal areas are experiencing rapid development

It has been well over three decades since corals were successfully husbanded in aquaria here in the Far East.
Beholding a healthy reef in nature tempts one to bring home some of that beauty. An ecologically-responsible approach to coral-keeping is simple and surprisingly easy and inexpensive. I have been propagating branching coral for some years now, drawing on the unselfish experience of others. In spite of the risk to myself (discussed later), I now return the favor with similar selflessness. When collecting for propagation, I follow three strict rules:


In the detailed discussions, the how and why of these rules will hopefully be made more clear.

Coral propagation at home: glueing storm-damage fragments
onto pre-cast cement bases. The anchored new colonies are
then raised in grow-out saltwater basins. Stylophora spp.

The basic discussion can be broken into four parts:
The Tank System
Collecting Coral
Anchoring Colonies
Coral Care
Clicking on the above links will take you to the appropriate topic.

Also, here is related information of hopefully some interest to the general marine aquarist:
Dirt-Cheap Foam Fractionation (DIY Skimmer)
Overview of Bubble Algae
Garlic in the Marine Aquarium