Filling the Gaps

by | Mar 10, 2015 | Corals, Science | 0 comments

Mixed Coral Shot

Mixed Coral Shot

We’ve all seen the tanks, they’re usually featured on a big forums or Facebook. The reefs that make you drool, that keep you inspired when your tank isn’t doing so hot. These tanks are gorgeous, immaculate, and obviously cared for by a master reefer. The tanks where every inch, every millimeter of space is filled by coral. Some are sps dominated, others zoa gardens, but many are true mixed reefs, with corals of all shapes, sizes and types, all in a glorious display of color. For those of us who are still aspiring to master reefer status, a tank like this is something we strive for. Among all the other issues we’re trying to figure out, one of the ones that can cause big headaches is the natural issue of coral warfare. Which corals can go next to each other? Which ones can even go in the same tank? What do you do when two start fighting? The master reefer tanks show corals sharing the same space, acros twined around each other, meat corals and chalices covering the sand bed. Yet when I try it in my tank, a lobo and a meat decide to open too far during feeding time and I now have bald spots on each. The acros do not play nice with each other and I usually have a few dead branches when they touch. And I’m not even going to start on the frustration of pulsing xenia that likes to suicide dive into other corals, dragging both corals down and knocking out a few down flow. The next few days after something like this is fighting the warfare with water changes and lots of chemical filters until things settle back down. Unfortunately, after all that, I can’t tell you I have the answer. I have no solution. I am still fighting to find the right balance in my reefs so I can fill in the gaps. The only theory I have right now is a trial and error approach, a let’s put these two next to each other and see what happens. I know there is some education to it, like zoas usually get along with each other while hydro hates everything. But is there a way to mix a few select corals to get the true mixed reef look without breaking the bank loosing corals along the way? So here’s the deal, I am calling on all the reef masters out there to divulge your secrets, let us know how you figure it out. Is there a way to tell if two corals will kill each other before it happens? Can we start a list of corals that can go next to each other without taking a whole tank down with them? A list like that would be very useful for all of us out there who aspire to have a tank that looks as cool as yours.

  • NightStar

    Hi Everyone! I am a almost-thirty (no, don't ask) saltwater addict. I graduated with my Masters of Anthropology in Ethnographic Research, so writing is old habit, but never has it been this fun before! I started in the saltwater hobby with one 55gal and now have a 180g, a 120g, an 80 shallow, a 90 frag, and am setting up a 70g seahorse tank. Originally I'm from Oregon, so the love of the ocean is ingrained in me.


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