Keeping live stony corals in aquariums has been a dream for both scientist and aquarist, and that dream has been realized now to the point that we not only keep stony corals, but also grow and propagate them. For the scientist, this affords the unique opportunity to study stony coral biology in the lab. Using genetically identical specimens (fragments), coral reef biologists can manipulate environmental factors such as lighting, temperature, pH, nutrient levels, or water motion, and study their effects with numerous replicates. The scientist can also saicly the dynamics of the whole reef ecosystem by creating a living reef aquarium, microcosm, or mesocosm. For the aquarist, the creation of a living reef aquarium also provides insight into the biology and ecology of coral reefs, but the satisfaction from the beauty of these captive ecosystems is most rewarding.
We hope that our descriptions of the numerous species commonly kept in aquariums, and the means of selecting and caring for them will assist scientists, home aquarists, and public aquarium curators with their work. We hope to provide a common language, to allow more concise communication between these different groups, and promote sharing of discoveries. We believe that scientists and aquarists can work together to further the progress in understanding the mysteries of coral biology and the reef ecosystem.
Success with individual species of corals depends both on the quality of the aquarium environment and the quality of the specimens. Starting out with healthy corals affords better opportunity for success. Maintaining a good environment affords
View of the top of Alf Jacob Nilsen's greater potential for growth, reproduction, and healing in the reef aquarium. A.J. Nilsen. event of injury to the specimens. Some particulars about what to look for in individual species are covered in some of the descriptions of the corals, and especially in the diseases and trouble shooting sections, chapter 10. Coral placement with respect to light and water movement is described for each species under the subjects natural habitat and aquarium care, and in a quick reference table in Appendix A. General information about coral selection is covered here.
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