News / Company News / Bob's Picks (05/07/10)

Bob's Picks

PART II (Click here for part I)

Lets pick up where I left off last week, discussing the complexities of collecting. At this point in our journey we resume the story where you have just finished your collecting and are returning to the surface with your collection bucket, which is hopefully full of treasures. You then have to transfer your corals to the boat with the least amount of disruption. This sounds much easier to do than it really is. Rough seas, strong currents, and inclement weather can severely hinder a seamless transfer. Once safely on board, it is time to start sorting the corals into properly sized containers and held in a fashion so as to limit movement during the boat ride back. Even the slightest bump can quickly damage your catch and render it worthless. Since you are in the tropics you also need to be aware of the temperature in the collection buckets and limit fluctuations as much as possible. Fresh, cool sea water will need to be exchanged often to help keep the temperature and water quality in check. Upon returning to the facility you must quickly and delicately move your harvest to the holding aquariums and allow them to rest.

As the ship out day draws near, corals need to be cleaned prior to packing. Anything that could possibly foul the water during shipping must be manually removed. During this process you may find pieces that may have to be returned to the sea because of damage. Also, closer inspection may reveal possible harmful hitchhikers that need to be disposed of. Lastly, since air freight is such a major component of the final landed cost, any excess rock base is removed very carefully so as not to damage the coral. Larger sized specimens require a larger bag and more water, so trimming to a properly sized base is of utmost importance. As the specimen is packed up for shipment every possible procedure is taken to ensure it will arrive in optimum condition, yet even with all of this preparation not all stress has been eliminated. Shipping stress alone is enough to make this once vibrant specimen that fluoresced so brightly expel its zooxanthelle and its radiance will need to be nurtured back. All this, even for the commonplace Favia or Mushroom rock, and to think at one time I viewed coral collection as a relatively easy task since they are the ones that cant swim away.

Wow, we received so many great items this week it is hard to pick a place to start!

We have a very limited and exceptional batch of red and multicolored Lobophyllia in stock from our exclusive SSC in Tonga.

Also out of Tonga we have a great selection of Bullseye mushrooms (Rhodactis inchoata). These shrooms come in a stunning combination of purples, greens, and yellows. This batch was selected with care and it shows!

Another stunner this week is the orange sherbet flower coral (Scleronephthya sp.). These guys require low light and feedings of zooplankton for long term success. Everyone has a hole or overhang in their live rock begging for a bright and interesting addition.

Ok so picture a corkscrew with neon colors and long shaggy tentacles and you would find yourself staring at one of our aquacultured colored corkscrew gorgonians (Junceella sp.). These interesting gorgonians are sure to stir up a buzz in your store.

We have an excellent group of bright sunshine yellow canary blennies (Meiacanthus oualanensis) from our exclusive SSC in Fiji. These fish are eating everything in sight and are looking for a good home.

Another outstanding reef safe choice is the blue assessor (Assessor macneilli). These relatively uncommon fish will orient themselves to their habitat and are often seen swimming upside down in overhangs and caves in live rock. Our current batch is doing well and eating everything.