Coral Selection, Husbandry and Natural History
Author: Eric H. Borneman, T.F.H. Publications (2001, 2004)
If you've been keeping saltwater tanks for some time and have been thinking about transforming your fish only tank into a full blown reef tank, Aquarium Corals should be on your list of must reads.
A saltwater fish tank can be quite expensive and a reef tank even more expensive. Soft corals and hard corals can be hardy under the right conditions and they can quickly die under the wrong conditions causing heartbreak for the inexperienced aquarist. The requirements for successfully keeping aquarium corals in the home aquarium remains largely unknown. There are many second hand accounts from hobbyists about what they are doing and how they are achieving success. But for the most part, we are still in the early stages of discovery for the exact requirements for most commonly available corals.
The author reminds us of this fact and gives us an educational lesson on corals such as coral anatomy and the habitats or reef zones these corals are found in. The astute aquarist can use this knowledge along with the information found in the book's coral profiles to increase their understanding of the requirements of the various corals.
Aquarium Corals covers alot of ground and the amount of useable information is extensive. Here is what this book covers:
Chapter 1: Reef Worlds - Beauty, Biodiversity and Scientific Wonders of the Coral Realm
In this chapter you'll learn some history about the coral reefs and the coral geographic regions around the world. The various reef types are introduced and the distribution of the corals on the reefs with possible explanations on why these corals are located where they are.
Chapter 2: Anatomy Lessons - Polyps That Rule and Build the Reef
A very informative chapter that will tell you everything you've ever wanted to know about octocoral anatomy. Coloration, the skeletal components, colony formations and growth forms are also discussed.
Chapter 3: Zooxanthellae - The Symbiotic Algae of Corals
An entire chapter on zooxanthellae and their mutualistic relationship with corals. You'll soon discover why certain aquarium corals need the higher light intensity provided by metal halide lighting.
Chapter 4: Foods and Feeding - Nutrition on the Reef and in the Aquarium
This chapter dispels a commonly held belief that corals only need light to survive. Coral foods such as phytoplankton, bacterioplankton, microplankton, microplankton and small fishes are talked about. As well as talking about what they eat, you'll also be interested in learning when they eat and how they eat in this chapter.
Chapter 5: Secret Lives - Competition and Reproduction
Just how do these corals compete with other corals? Most people looking at a seemingly benign reef seldom realize the combat that sometimes goes on between neighboring corals. Competition is broken down into 4 levels:
Behavioral (sweeper tentacles, nematocysts),
Morphological (overgrowth and movement),
Chemical (releasing chemical compounds affecting other aquarium corals)
Energetic-physiological (energy is either gained or lost)
You'll learn all the nitty-gritty about these different forms of competition among corals. This chapter also explains the asexual and sexual reproductive techniques with thoughts on asexual and sexual captive reproduction.
Chapter 6: Taxonomy - Coral Classification and Its Limitations
It's probably safe to assume that most hobbyists are put off by scientific classifications of fish species. But just wait until you learn about coral classifications and how hard it can be to identify corals. There is a great photo in this chapter on how the growth form of Pocillopora damicornis can differ tremendously depending on where it is found on the reef. This picture really drives home how hard it can be to identify a species of coral accurately by visual clues alone.
Chapter 7: The Corals - Families, Genera and Species of Special Interest
Over 220 pages devoted to Coral Species Profiles:
The Hydrocorals (Fire Corals and Lace Corals)
The Octocorals (Soft corals, Stoloniferans, Gorgonians and Sea Pens)
The Zoanthids (Colonial Anemones and Button Polyps)
The Corallimorpharians (Mushroom Corals)
The Scleractinians (Stony Corals)
Chapter 8: Husbandry - Captive Reef-Keeping Approaches and Essentials
Reef keepers want and need to know the basic requirements of keeping these animals and the author explains the six conditions that are absolutely required with detailed discussions on each. These six things are unpolluted seawater, active water flow, light, food, bicarbonate and calcium. You get ideas in this chapter on how to meet these essential needs.
Chapter 9: Water Chemistry - Parameters to Know and Maintain for Success with Corals
There are many water parameters that you'll have to keep track of when keeping corals and you'll read about them here. Certain parameters can really affect coral growth and development and you need to know about them.
Chapter 10: Care and Handling - Selecting, Acclimating and Siting Corals in the Reef Aquarium
Tips on selecting the right specimen, how to acclimate and introduce them and finally where to place them in your tank.
Chapter 11: Coral Health - Recognizing, Preventing and Treating Diseases and Conditions
Obviously, this chapter is all about coral health and disease and how to properly diagnose problems when they develop and what to do afterwards. Perhaps the best information in this chapter is how to prevent these problems from happening in the first place.
Chapter 12: Reef Conservation - Endangered Reefs and the Ethical Coral Keeper
EVERYONE needs to know how the coral reefs are being threatened all over the world. We, as reef tank keepers, need to know about this even more so. We need to ask the right questions and buy captive raised specimens if available (even if it's more expensive) and educating others about the current state of the coral reefs.
The amount of coral species information and general coral information in Aquarium Corals will knock your socks off. It can be dry and overly scientific at times, but let's face it, it has to be in order to deliver the information efficiently and correctly. Thank you Mr. Borneman for this fantastic contribution to the reef aquarium keeping hobby. This is a resource you'll turn to time and time again when researching potential corals for your reef tank setup. We give Aquarium Corals five stars.
Review Title: Aquarium Corals
Reviewed by: Mike FishLore
Summary: Book review of Aquarium Corals.
Description: If you've been keeping saltwater tanks for some time and have been thinking about transforming your fish only tank into a full blown reef tank, Aquarium Corals should be on your list of must reads.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
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Fish Lore Visitor Reviews and Comments
From: Tim S.
Aquarium Corals is another fantastic coral book for the reefers out there. Everything from the various areas on the reef to the corals that reside in those areas, this book has it all. I always consult this book before any coral purchase to get a general idea of it's requirements and whether or not I can meet those requirements. I agree with the 5 stars on this book.