Coral sections that are grown in captivity are typically in very healthy conditions
when they are harvested and shipped to the end retail customer. On the other hand,
wild caught corals that were recently dislodged from a natural reef and transported
by boat to a temporary holding facility, can experience a decline in their condition.
Since captive corals experience less stress, they frequently arrive in very good
condition. Our customers however should assume that some shipping stress will have
occurred to the coral. Customers can determine how bad the stress was by examining
the bag water. Cloudy water and foul odor is usually an indication of heavy stress.
Sometimes it can be best to place heavily stressed animals into buckets with large
quantities of clean fresh saltwater prior to acclimating them. This heavily stressed
situation typically only occurs when shipping wild whole colonies. Captive corals will
usually only experience heavy stress if the shipment is delayed and arrives a day or
two late. Yes, they has been instances where captive grown fragments have survived a
2 to 3 day shipping delay. These corals were generally hardy species. Any newly
arriving animal should be observed for any signs of tissue loss or color fading.
An animal that is losing tissue should be quarantined and you should assume that heavy
stress has occurred. The best way to acclimate a moderately stressed animal is to float
its bag or place it in a separate container where it will slowly be acclimated to the
captive reefs water temperature and chemistry. Make sure that the temperature of the
water does not cool below the captive reefs temperature.
Once the organism is in water that is composed of at least 60 % of the captive reefs,
you can then dip the coral to kill any disease pathogens that may have proliferated in
the shipping container. Many species of bacteria and protozoan can usually be found in
small numbers living on the surface slime of reef corals. Note - The coral blight
problem in 1996 was due to a disease that was inside the coral. There really is no way
to safely cure that disease without adding potentially lethal stress to the coral,
considering typical transportation conditions. We guarantee that our corals are free
from parasites and predators. Customers should however exercise caution. Steve Tyree
(owner and operator of Reeffarmers) now recommends that aquarists who maintain exotic
stony corals should be setting up a small quarantine system. Reeffarmers runs all new
fragments through a 30 gallon quarantine tank. It is a simple and inexpensive system
that utilizes water changes and sand, rock and algae filtration. Corals actually recover
from transportation stress very quickly in the system. If no quarantine system is being
used, a coral dip procedure can kill surface disease organisms. Our recommended dip is 20
minutes in 1 liter of 100 % captive reef water that has 10 drops of 5 % lugols solution
(or 20 drops of the tincture of iodine found at local drug stores which is typically a
2.2 % solution). There are also quite a few commercially sold coral dips on the market.
Please use their recommended dip procedures. After the dip you can then place the coral
or fragment into your reef.
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