To all the questions I get asked the most...
Honestly, I'd love to chat with any of you personally, but I'm sure many of you have already figured out that I can be really tough to get on the phone. In order to simplify some of the more common questions I hear, I went ahead and put together a shortlist of some of the more frequent topics I find myself chatting with you guys about.
I want to address first, the new options available while I have your attention, in case you don't make it past the first couple of topics. New to the site you will notice that there are choices as to what type of lighting the mother colony of the frag you're interested in is grown under. Halide, T5, or LED.
This means that there are possibly three available frags at any time. However, if there is something that I may only have growing under T5's, for example, then the other two options will be listed as "check back soon". The site defaults to the halide option so if you see a coral listed as "check back soon" try the other lighting options before you move on because what you're looking for may be available under another option.
I ship UPS priority overnight exclusively and offer a flat rate of $45 on any order under $250. All orders over $250 ship free. Frags ship in bags, that are labeled with the coral's name, and some specifics, double bagged and heat sealed shut. I use molded styrofoam boxes and heat or cool packs as necessary.
It gets ridiculously cold here in Wisconsin in the dead of winter and I have put my methods to the ultimate test shipping even in the single digits with a 100% survival rate. That said, I'll still use every bit of discretion I have to determine if it's safe or smart to ship your sps. Worst case scenario, we may have to reschedule, but I'm always happy to hold them here and alive than be dead somewhere. The few weeks leading up to Christmas can be an extremely risky time to ship for a multitude of reasons. If you have placed an order around then, I'll be in close contact with you about when we can ship based on current info I get from UPS or the weather stations.
A note on DOA's:
I have been shipping long enough to know that things happen in transit that can affect the health of the coral.
My policy is as simple as this, if your stuff is doa when it arrives I will replace, usually in a future order as this is the most economical way to get you replacements. Please do not expect me to re-ship you one or two corals that were doa.
If you coral comes in alive, but doesn't make it after a few days, I will work with you on replacements. Realize there is a difference between Dead on arrival and subsequent acclimation issues that are out of my control.
Sometimes I may ask to see a pic at my own discretion.
The inevitable system specs:
Long overdue update coming soon, but here's a link!
Some quick Parameters. If you would like more specific information about any part of my system just let me know. I am an open book when it comes to these sorts of things and very happy to share.
- Alk. Tested daily! All four systems 8-9
- Calc 400-420
- Mag 1200
- Sg 1.028
- Temp 77-79
Placement Flow & Feeding:
Another question I get asked very often is about placement and I always have to give the snobby answer but it's true. So here it is:
My propagation tanks are only 12 inches deep and just about everything in them is getting blasted. I mean BLASTED! The only real variation I have in intensity is to move corals to the outer edge if it seems like they would be happier in less light. I have found with the exception of only a few light-sensitive sps, that everything I have, will adapt to almost anywhere they are, as long as they are getting plenty of light and flow. Another one of the advantages to captive sps, they tend to be more resilient and adaptive than any wild cut piece could ever be. I have excessive amounts of flow in all my systems. Nothing's aimed directly at any coral, but I have very high flow everywhere and my acros love it.
I don't feed my sps directly at all. I have tried a number of different-sized particulate food and various amino's over the years and I can't say that I have ever really witnessed any visible effect other than the hyper population of aptasia's at times. I am in the "feed your fish heavy" camp and don't forget to keep it simple. The more "stuff" you think you need to put in your water, the more variables you have to eliminate when there is a problem.
Are your frags healed? And how long do I have to wait before you can ship?
If you like the idea of a very well encrusted frag, then you are in luck because I have literally thousands of frags cut, fully encrusted, and ready to ship, so short of a few exceptions there is no wait time on just about any size order at any given time. Most orders can ship on the same day.
The Red bug in the room. Let's talk about pests:
The true bane of any acro keeper and perhaps the most deflating experience any hobbyist can endure are pests, primarily acro-eating flatworms (AEFW's). I know the feeling as I have had them all at one point or another throughout my time as an aquarist.
My first real thriving sps reef was annihilated by flatworms back in 07 and it was devastating. The end result of which was a drained and relocated tank. A clean slate and a fresh start at least. It was then that I learned how easy it is to underestimate the scope of the damage these pests can do and the importance of a strict dip, inspection, and quarantine procedure. My philosophy is very simple on this. I make absolutely no exceptions. From large fish to sps colonies, down to tiny hermits, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, goes in the main system without facing my exhaustive QT protocol.
I'm certain that this is the only way to protect myself from any unwanted critters getting into my main system. So when I get asked, "Do I need to dip your corals" it's a conflicted but honest answer and goes something like this: "While I exhaust every effort I can to keep all of my systems pest free, I will never suggest that someone not, at least dip and closely inspect new arrivals". Even if it's just going through the motions from a "reliable" source. The core of my philosophy is to never make an exception no matter where your coral comes from. Adhere strictly to this principle and you will keep your systems pest-free - just as I believe I have done for my own.
If you would like any specific information on my own dip/QT procedures, doses, or anything related to pests at all, please feel free to give me a call anytime. This is a subject I take very seriously and would be happy to get you started off on the right foot so that you may never have to go through the anguish of watching your prized reef become parasite fodder.
Here is thread and discussion on my actual dip regimen