Fish 'N' Chips
A Monthly Marine Newsletter
February 2001 Issue


From Liz
Propagating Mushrooms
What's Up @ ReefsUK
Caught In The Net
Upcoming Events
Prove It!, a Bibliography
Newsletter Disclaimer

From Liz
By Elizabeth M. Lukan 2/25/01

Help Wanted - Hard Work - Long Hours - No Pay! Just kidding about the Hard Work and Long Hours part! I could really use some help putting these issues together. So, if there is anybody out there looking to do his or her part for the hobby they love and is willing to lend a hand to a publisher stretched to her limits, just send me an email (

Conference Write Ups Wanted! In the Upcoming Events section you will notice several large conferences coming up. If anyone is planning on attending any of these, I would love to publish a write up and pictures on it. If you are interested, please send me an email (

Tank Showcases Wanted - Send your pictures to with as much or as little tank information as you want published.

Visit This Month's Subscriber's Tank Showcase
Jaco vd Merwe's 220L Reef Aquarium is this month's Showcase and can be seen at

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Propagating Mushroom Corals - A Piece of Cake
By Derek Scales, 2000
Edited By Elizabeth M. Lukan 2/25/01


Mushroom Pic 1 With I imagine very few exceptions every reef tank in this country will have at least one species of Mushroom Coral. The Latin names for these corals are usually Actinidiscus, Discosoma, Rhodactis, Ricordia to name but a few. The common names don't really help much apart from aiding the hobbyist to know what color or shape mushroom coral they are buying, e.g. watermelon, furry, green furry, knobbly, spotted, again the list goes on. The fact is that what ever species of Mushroom Coral you have, they are a piece of cake to propagate, and without putting to fine a point on it, it is simply a matter of cut of the head, cut this into four and wait for it to heal and attach before cutting it again..

General Information

Mushroom Corals grow well, and quickly can bud off several new mushrooms a month all on their own. However the method of propagation I am going to describe will turn one mushroom into FIVE in usually no more than three weeks. In this article I am taking for granted that your reef system is running well and all water parameters and conditions are within "standard" parameters, (if there is such a thing). The only point I would make is that in my experience the addition of iodine to the tank makes Mushroom Corals, grow larger and quicker, stand up of the rock more (making propagation easier), and generally they look healthier.

Tools/Equipment Needed

The Propagation Method

Mushroom Pic 2 Select a healthy Mushroom Coral, with the scissors cut the mushroom's head off. Take as much of the stalk as possible with the cutting. Place the cutting into the jar with the tank water. Continue to cut as many mushrooms as required. I usually take four or five a time.

The foot or base of the Mushroom Coral that you have left on the rock will over a period of a week to ten days, begin to heal, it will also form a mouth and the basic mushroom shape. It will take up to a further fortnight for the color to be produced, and the foot to have changed into a brand new mushroom, ready to be propagated again!

Prior to taking the cuttings prepare the attachment dish. This is simply the container of your choice as described above. Cover the bottom of the container completely with the rock chippings. Cover the chippings in tank water, there is no need to fill the container completely. This is now ready to hold your cuttings and allow them to heal and attach.

Remove your Mushroom Coral from the holding jar and place it on a sheet on kitchen roll. The kitchen roll soaks up any additional water, making the next stage of the process a little bit easier. Mushroom Corals are very slimy and difficult to handle, these few seconds drying and exposure to air do not cause any damage to the coral. Once you are ready, pick up the Mushroom Coral, with one clean cut, cut the coral in half. Repeat the procedure with the two halves. The Mushroom Coral is now in four segments, like pieces of cake. One at a time pick them up and rinse them in the water from the holding jar. Then place into the attachment container.

Mushroom Pic 3 Once you have completed cutting, and the segments of coral are in the attachment container, return the container to your tank, place the container on the base of the tank in an area of relatively low water movement. The idea being that the container prevents the cuttings from being blown about the tank, and allows them the time required to heal, and also keeps them in constant contact with the rock chippings allowing them to attach.

Within a week you will notice the cuttings swelling and becoming more of a complete circle again. Within a fortnight they are usually attached to the rock chippings, and looking extremely healthy and are usually at least 80% healed. Within another week, they will look like they had never been touched, and will be ready to move to a permanent place within your tank, swap with other hobbyists or be cut into four again.

Final Thought

The resilience, healing, and growing powers of these corals never ceases to amaze me, and I would have to say they are one of the easiest corals to propagate, and I have never experienced any problems what so ever.

Editor's Note:
This article was originally published on the ReefsUK Website. ReefsUK can be found at Special thanks to Mark Taber, owner of ReefsUK, and Derek Scales, also of ReefsUK, for the permission to reprint the article. The extent of my editing of this article was reformatting it into Fish 'N' Chips.

Photo Credits:
The photos in this article were used with permission of Patrick and Judy Schools. Please visit their site for many more beautiful photos of their tank.

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What's Up @ ReefsUK
- -
By Elizabeth M. Lukan 2/25/01


The Livestock Database is now searchable. You can search for specific species or search for livestock within your location.

Don't forget to add your listing to the database if you are propagating any marine life, regardless how little. And, if you know any stores who are selling propagated livestock, please encourage them to enter their details in the database so others can contact them.

Subscribing and unsubscribing from ReefsUK Chat has been improved. Just visit the ReefsUK website ( and enter your email address and click either the "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" button.

ReefsUK offers free corals to promote the fact that coral propagation is easy. The response has been so amazing that they are currently having problems keeping up with demand. If anyone is propagating corals, would you please consider helping Reefs UK by donating some of your frags to other members. Just email and let them know what livestock you wish to donate (scientific, common name, contact details, and your location). Anyone who requested free corals is encouraged to email them again to be added to their waiting list.

A new link has been added to the ReefsUK Links & Lists section that will help you find public aquariums within the UK. Visit ReefsUK's site or go directly to

To join the ReefsUK Mailing List, send an email to
To join ReefsUK Chat (Email Discussion Group), visit the ReefsUK Website for instructions.

Editor's Comments:
Information in this section covers the latest happenings at Mark T. Taber's ReefsUK Web Site. Mark has given me permission to publish any information from his mailing list that I feel would be of interest to Fish 'N' Chips subscribers. So, the above, although reworded by me, should be credited to Mark or to Derek Scales who works closely with Mark on the running of ReefsUK. The dates in bold coincide with Mark or Derek's mailings and are provided as a reference.

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Caught In The Net
By Elizabeth M. Lukan 2/25/01

New Stuff Found

On (

An article on the site entitled "Underwater Treasures - Doctors Searching for Potential Cancer Cures Beneath the Sea" by John McKenzie can be found at The article published on 2/20/01, mentions that a new cancer drug created from bryozoan is being tested. A video segment is linked to the main article which provides a little more information than the article, including a quick shot of the bryozoan.

The Watford Aquarium site has a free book for download called "The Perfect Reef Aquarium." You can find it at

Marine Aquarium Council Update

For those that don't know what the MAC is, it's motto is "Certification for Quality and Sustainability in the Collection, Culture and Commerce of Marine Ornamentals."

Highlights from their recent MAC NEWS:

I would encourage those interested in the future of our hobby to visit the MAC Site ( I highly recommend anyone in the marine livestock business to become involved. Visit the MAC Site or contact Paul Holthus, Executive Director, Marine Aquarium Council by phone at (+1 808) 923-3254 or by fax at (+1 808) 923-6023 or email to

Marine Related News

2/13/01, First-Time NASA Sponsorship Supports Caribbean Exploration of Reef Fishes by Frenchman Gilles Fonteneau. NASA and the Bacardi Family Foundation are co-sponsoring an ocean exploration trip by Frenchman Gilles Fonteneau. The entire news release can be found at

2/6/01, Evac And ZENON Announce Co-Operation On Marine Waste Water Treatment. Evac, world leader in vacuum sewage technology, and ZENON Environmental Inc., world leader in providing advanced technology products and services for water purification, waste water treatment and recycling, have decided to join forces in the field of marine waste water treatment. The entire news release can be found at

On 12/4/00, then President Bill Clinton took action to preserve and protect the pristine coral reef ecosystems of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The entire news release can be found at

This Month's Selection From The Fish 'N' Chips Fishy List

Online Vendors - Livestock - Hermit Crabs & Snails

The above list matches a portion of the site list maintained on the Fish 'N' Chips Website as of the date of this publication. What you see above is what was listed as on their site by the submitter. The date that follows in parenthesis is the date submitted to the list. For the complete up-to-date list, check out the Fish 'N' Chips Website at

Site Submission and Updating: To submit your site for inclusion in the Fish 'N' Chips newsletter and website based Fishy Links List, please go to the Fish 'N' Chips website at and complete the Site Submission Form. Please do not send any site submission or update requests via email - I will not process them. Of course, emails are welcome if you are having trouble submitting the form.

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Changing Light Bulbs
By Elizabeth M. Lukan 2/25/01

All bulbs should be changed after 2500 hours of burn time. 3000 hours at the most. After this period of time, your bulbs will lose their intensity and there will be a shift in their spectral output. This goes for all types of bulbs: Normal Fluorescent (NO), Very High Output Fluorescent (VHO), Metal Halide (M/H), and Power Compacts (PC).

To Submit Your Tip: Send your tip via email to and I'll publish it in an upcoming issue of Fish 'N' Chips. I'll write it up for you or you can do it yourself if you are so inclined. Make sure you let me know if I can include your name and email address or if you'd rather go anonymous.

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Upcoming Events
By Elizabeth M. Lukan 2/25/01

EventStart Date/TimeEnd Date/TimeLocation Event Details, Notes, and For More Info
Aquarist Profile SurveyAug. 2000Open Ended  Info: What is the profile of a marine aquarist? Visit the #Reefs website at
Mandarin SurveyJan 2001unknown  Thorough and detailed, hopefully it will assist in gaining further insight into the conditions and methodology required to keep these fish alive and healthy in captivity. If you have ever kept a mandarin, please fill out this survey, even if it has died. Visit the #Reefs website at
Message Board Poll Contestnowunknown  Info: Post on any board on the at and you'll be entered to win.
Prize: Titanium Heater
Message Board Poll Contestnow3/1/01  Contest Info, Etc.: Just go to's ( The Reef message board and reply to the new poll posted there.
Prize: 20 lbs. of Florida Keys aquacultured live rock.
MACO2 1st Quarter 2001 Course: Coral Biology for Reef Enthusiasts taught by Eric Borneman course starts 3/12/01
Enroll Now!
11 week course  For info on MACO:
For class info and registration:
Mid-West Marine Conference3/24/01 Ann Arbor, Michigan For info:
Seahorse Exhibit4/20/00April 2001New York Aquarium Info: Some of the animals to be featured are leafy sea dragons, weedy sea dragons, pygmy seahorses, pot belly seahorses, local seahorses, giant seahorses, and pipe fish.
Where & Contact Info: Brooklyn Aquarium, West 8th Street and Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (USA), 11224. Phone: (718) 265-FISH.
Western Marine Conference 2001 4/22/01
New Dates
New Dates
Monterey, California, USAInfo: For more information, visit
Message Board Poll Contestnow5/1/01  Contest Info, Etc.: Just go to's ( The Cove message board and reply to the polls posted there.
Prize: Barracuda RO/DI Unit
MACNA XIII: "The Living Seas" 8/17/01
New Dates
New Dates
Baltimore, Maryland, USAInfo: For more information, visit
2nd International Conference on Marine Ornamentals11/27/0112/1/01 Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA Info: For more information, visit
International Coral Reefs Conference of ParisMarch 2002  Paris, FranceInfo: Survivorunknownunknown  Info: Visit the at

To Submit Your Event: Send your event and all the specifics (date, time, location, pricing, contact info, etc.) via email to and I'll publish it in all issues of Fish 'N' Chips prior to the event.

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Prove It!, a Bibliography
By Elizabeth M. Lukan 2/25/01

Article: Caught In The Net, Marine Related News Section

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