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Propagation of corals through fragmentation ("fragging") is a common and effective method used in marine aquariums to reproduce and grow new corals. This technique involves taking a piece of a mature coral colony and encouraging it to develop into a new independent coral.

Here is an overview of the process:

Coral Selection: Choose a suitable coral species that is known to be easily propagated through fragmentation. Some popular choices for beginners include Montipora, Acropora, and Pocillopora species.

Fragmentation: Carefully break off a small piece or branch from the mature coral colony. It is important to use sharp, sterile tools to minimize damage and prevent the spread of diseases.

Preparation: Before placing the fragment in the aquarium, it is essential to properly prepare it. Remove any excess tissue or algae from the base of the fragment to ensure a clean attachment. Allow the fragment to dry slightly in the air to encourage the formation of a protective layer of mucus.

Placement: Secure the coral fragment in a suitable location within the aquarium. It is common to use frag plugs, small pieces of rock, or specialized coral propagation racks for this purpose. Ensure that the fragment is stable and positioned in an area with appropriate light and water flow conditions for its species.

Water Quality and Lighting: Maintain optimal water quality parameters, including stable temperature, salinity, and nutrient levels. Provide adequate lighting based on the specific requirements of the coral species being propagated.

Feeding: Most corals derive a significant portion of their nutrition from photosynthesis, but they also benefit from supplemental feeding. Feed the propagated coral fragment with suitable coral foods, such as small particles of zooplankton or commercially available coral feeds.

Growth and Care: Over time, the coral fragment will begin to grow and develop into a new colony. Regularly monitor its progress and ensure that it is not being overshadowed or damaged by neighboring corals. Prune any unwanted or excessive growth to maintain the desired shape and appearance.

Fragments' Expansion: As the propagated coral fragment grows, it may produce new branches or develop additional fragments that can be further propagated. These new fragments can be detached and placed in separate locations to create more coral colonies or shared with other aquarium enthusiasts.

It is worth noting that coral propagation through fragmentation requires patience and careful attention to detail. It is essential to provide appropriate conditions, maintain stable water parameters, and practice good aquarium husbandry to ensure the success and health of the propagated corals. Additionally, always consider the ethical aspects of obtaining corals for propagation, such as avoiding the use of wild-caught specimens and supporting responsible coral aquaculture sources.

Specific gravity and salinity are both important parameters to monitor in a marine aquarium to maintain a healthy environment for marine organisms.

Specific gravity is a measurement of the density of the water compared to the density of pure water at a specific temperature. It is typically measured using a hydrometer or a refractometer and is expressed as a ratio or a unitless number. In a marine aquarium, the specific gravity of the water is affected by both the amount of dissolved salt in the water and the temperature of the water. The specific gravity of a salt solution will rise as the temperature declines.

Salinity, on the other hand, is a measurement of the concentration of dissolved salts in the water. It is usually expressed in parts per thousand (ppt) or as a percentage. In a marine aquarium, the salinity level can be maintained by adding salt mix to the water. The measurement of salinity is not affected by temperature.

Marine aquarists traditionally used specific gravity to measure the concentration of salt primarily because of the ease of use and cost-effectiveness of hydrometers.

Maintaining proper levels of specific gravity and salinity is essential for the health and well-being of marine organisms. A specific gravity range of 1.020 to 1.026 is considered suitable for most marine fish and invertebrates, while a salinity level of 35 ppt is typically recommended. However, it is important to check the specific requirements of the particular species of fish and invertebrates in the aquarium and adjust the specific gravity and salinity levels accordingly.

It is also important to note that changes in specific gravity and salinity can have a significant impact on the health of marine organisms, and sudden changes in these parameters should be avoided. Regular monitoring and gradual adjustments are key to maintaining a stable and healthy marine aquarium environment.

Performing partial water changes is an essential maintenance task for keeping a healthy marine aquarium. There are several reasons for doing partial water changes:

Remove Accumulated Waste: Over time, organic waste such as uneaten food, fish excrement, and decaying plant material accumulates in the aquarium. These waste materials break down and produce harmful chemicals like ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Partial water changes help to remove these waste materials and prevent the buildup of harmful chemicals.

Restore Water Quality: Partial water changes can help to restore the water quality by replenishing essential elements and trace minerals that are depleted over time. This is particularly important in a marine aquarium, where delicate coral and other invertebrates require specific water conditions to thrive.

Control Algae Growth: Partial water changes can help to control algae growth by removing excess nutrients that fuel algae growth. This is especially important in reef tanks, where algae can compete with and harm delicate coral.

Remove Dissolved Organics: Partial water changes can also help to remove dissolved organic compounds that can accumulate in the aquarium and negatively impact water quality.

In summary, partial water changes are an important part of maintaining a healthy and thriving marine aquarium by removing accumulated waste, restoring water quality, controlling algae growth, and removing dissolved organics.

Reverse osmosis (RO) and deionization (DI) are two methods commonly used in the preparation of freshwater for use in a marine aquarium.

Reverse osmosis is a process that involves forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane, which allows water molecules to pass through while blocking impurities such as dissolved salts, minerals, and other contaminants. The result is purified water that is free of impurities, including harmful chemicals that could be detrimental to marine life.

Deionization is a process that uses ion exchange resins to remove dissolved minerals and other charged particles from water. This process involves passing water through a column filled with ion exchange resins, which attract and bind to positively or negatively charged ions in the water. The result is water that is highly purified and free of dissolved salts and other minerals.

When preparing water for a marine aquarium, both RO and DI are typically used together in a two-stage filtration process. The first stage involves the use of an RO unit to remove large impurities, while the second stage uses a DI unit to remove any remaining dissolved minerals and other contaminants. The resulting water is typically very pure and ideal for use in a marine aquarium.

It's worth noting that while using RO/DI water is great for a marine aquarium, it lacks essential minerals and elements necessary for marine life. Therefore, it's necessary to add a specialized salt mix containing essential trace elements to the purified water to provide the necessary minerals and nutrients for marine organisms to thrive.

Soft corals are a great addition to a marine aquarium as they add color, texture, and movement to the tank. Here are some guidelines to help you keep soft corals in a marine aquarium:

Lighting: Soft corals require moderate to high levels of lighting. They should be placed in an area of the aquarium where they can receive adequate light, but not direct light. You can use fluorescent or LED lighting for your soft corals.

Water flow: Soft corals require moderate water flow. The water should be circulating throughout the tank to ensure that the soft corals are receiving enough nutrients and oxygen.

Water parameters: Soft corals are relatively tolerant of water conditions, but you should ensure that the water parameters are within acceptable limits. The ideal temperature range for soft corals is 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C). The pH should be between 8.1 and 8.4, and the salinity should be between 1.023 and 1.025.

Feeding: Soft corals are photosynthetic and can produce their food through photosynthesis. However, they also require additional nutrients to thrive. You can feed them small amounts of plankton or specialized coral food a few times a week.

Placement: Soft corals are not aggressive and can be placed near other corals. However, you should ensure that they have enough space to expand and grow without being overcrowded.

Maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential to keep soft corals healthy. You should perform weekly water changes to ensure that the water parameters remain stable. You should also clean the aquarium glass and equipment regularly to prevent the buildup of debris and algae.

Keeping soft corals in a marine aquarium requires attention to lighting, water flow, water parameters, feeding, placement, and maintenance. With proper care, your soft corals can thrive and add beauty to your aquarium.

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A long time coming, but Just Fish/Pass Road Pet Center, after decades at 1939 Pass Road, is moving to a new location, just up the street at 2306 Pass Road. A larger, more modern building, and plenty of (paved) parking available!

Before the amazing transformation...

We'll always remember the old store and the many memories and friends we first made there.

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