Corals are animals that inhabit the oceans all around the world. Each coral is actually a colony of many small but identical polyps. These polyps have tentacles that catch food, such as plankton, and feed their central mouths. Most coral also have a photosynthetic single cell algae which lives in their tissue called zooxanthellae. This built in food source is responsible for a vast majority of the corals caloric intake. This is why when corals are kept in an aquarium, they need a sufficient lighting source which can produce enough photosynthetic available radiation (PAR) to keep the zooxanthellae alive.
Corals also need good clean water to grow their best. In the ocean this isn’t much of a problem since all of the waste is diluted by 346 quintillon gallons of water (346,049,000,000,000,000,000). In an aquarium however we have a much smaller environment. Fish excrete waste in the form of ammonia. Luckily, once a tank is cycled, there are plently of areobic bacteria present on the live rock and sand which break this ammonia down into the less toxic form nitrite and then finally into nitrate. Additionally any decomposing matter in the aquarium, usually uneaten food, produces another type of waste called phosphate. Removal of nitrates and phosphates is one of the keys to having good clean water for the corals to live in. Different pieces of equipment work together to accomplish this goal. Protein Skimmers, Refugiums, Filter Socks, and Phosban Reactors are the primary tools we use to acheive this task. You can read more about them in our Guide to Setting Up a Reef Tank.
Blue Earth Aquariums believes that our hobby should impact the natural world as little as possible. So when we import the rarest and most exotic corals from remote ecosystems all around the globe we then aquaculture those specimens in our coral nursery. All specimens are quarantined, treated if necessary, and then transferred to our growing tanks for culture. Its hard to believe, but a coral can reproduce from just a single polyp. So when we take a small fragment of coral from the parent colony and carefully attach it to a ceramic plug, we are giving it an excellent chance for survival. When the time is right, we then hand select these premium corals for sale. This exclusive selection process allows us to provide our clients with only the healthiest specimens for their marine ecosystem. And since many of our corals are aquacultured they have already proven that they survive well in captivity which means a higher success rate in your aquarium.