To all the questions I get asked the most...
Honestly I'd love to chat with any of you personally and I will address any questions you may have anytime so don't be afraid to pick up that phone if you need some answers. In order to simplify some of the more common questions, I went ahead and put together a short list of some 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 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 Fed Ex priority overnight exclusively and offer a flat rate of $35 on any order under $250. All orders over $250 ship free. Frags ship in bags, that are labeled with the corals name, double bagged and heat sealed shut. I use styro lined 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 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 in Memphis. The few weeks leading up to Christmas and almost the entire month of February can be an extremely risky time to ship for a multitude or 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 Fed Ex or the weather stations.
A note on DOA's:
I have been shipping long enough to know that things can always happen in transit that can affect the health of the coral. My policy is as simple as this: if any of your sps are DOA when they arrive, I will replace or refund immediately. If any die in a week or two or three, then just let me know, and I'll do whatever I can to work out something with you that's amicable. I may ask to see a pic at my own discretion. Probably more out of curiosity than for proof. If there's something I can learn from the issues you may have experienced I'll always take the opportunity to do so. If you have any questions about acclimation or dipping please see the Answers page.
At the end of the day you will never be out a penny in the event of a total loss or partial loss or a Fed Ex whiffle. I cringe when I see vendors making customers pay twice to re ship or to not refund shipping fees. I'm pretty easy to work with and if you are the unlucky one out of every 300 or so that doesn't make it, whatever the reason, I will be with you every step of the way till you are 100% satisfied. You have my word on that as many customers attest to as well.
The inevitable system specs:
This will be like "deja vu" to many of you who asked the question and got the blanket copy from the clipboard, but here's some info on my systems and setup.
Ultimately my systems are extremely simple and operate around the mid to early 00's methodology-wise. My water is dirty and my corals love it! I do not dose anything like vodka, or any other commercial carbon sources, nor do I employ any of the more modern methods for nutrient control, like pellets, gfo, magic bottles, etc. I just run a good skimmer and pay very strict attention to alk and to RO/DI purity. I test my alk daily without exception on all four systems and try not to use water over 0.00 tds ever. I have found a lot of other things tend to fall in line when those two things are kept in check and optimized.
I have four systems total including an 800+ gallon main, a 300+ gallon back up, a 150 gallon frag holding system, and a small 80 gallon QT system.
Until the fall of 2013, I was running all halides but have since swapped over three of my four main tanks to T5s. My backup system is lit entirely with LED's. Mostly to have a broader range of light source and, to see how the same corals react to different types of lighting. At this time, I have duplicates of almost every specimen thriving under multiple light sources from halide to T5 to LED. All three lighting sources have proven to be very effective in growing and coloring sps.
Here are 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
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 are 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 affect other than the hyper population of aptasia's at times. I am in the "feed your fish heavy" camp and don't for get 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.
I will hold your coral as long as you like /or no I don't ship fresh cuts:
Always good for a laugh is when the Facebook pros spot your packs and just have to comment on how "fresh cut" those frags are and that they will surely die. Truth is, I will always hold your coral for at least one week before they go out and I am more than willing to hold them longer. If you like the idea of a very well encrusted frag, thats no problem at all. The only catch is that you'll have to wait a few weeks because everything I have is still cut to order.
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.