World Wide Corals NEW Coral Nursery

Check out our exclusive video tour below of the new farm!

To see pics of the finished project when it is complete be sure to follow ThomasVisionReef Video Magazine on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ThomasVisionReef). Special Thanks to World Wide Corals for giving us exclusive access to this project.

Written by Thomas Brown & Lou Schiavo, Jr.

This month we've already covered a new company currently on the rise, but what about a company that has already survived the hardships of being a start-up. For the past 9 years World Wide Corals (WWC) has built a very successful business or better yet an empire. But, is there such a thing as too much growth? If so, what does a company like WWC do when they've hit that wall? Keep reading and you will find out. ThomasVisionReef Video Magazine gets an inside look at WWC's new project along with some throw back photos that have never been released to the public, until now.

My first visit to World Wide Corals

I first met Victor and Lou of World Wide Corals, a little over a year ago. First, in Georgia at the Atlanta Reef Club's Coral Expo with a line of customers a mile long and again the next weekend in North Carolina at Fantastic's Anniversary event.  If you frequent marine aquarium events 9 time out of 10 you will see them there because they strive to be one of the hardest working coral vendors in the US if not the world.

A few months later I got the opportunity to visit their store for the 1st time. True to their name their store was packed with so many color colorful corals I wore a permanent smile ear to ear. That experience is documented in the video above.

My very first interview at World Wide Corals

My very first interview at World Wide Corals

Any true professional in any industry knows their trade and how to execute their trade to the best of their ability.  However to call your self a TRUE professional you have to be a historian of the game of your trade.

WWC co-owner Victor started their dream in this tank.

WWC co-owner Victor started their dream in this tank.

World Wide Corals history dates back almost 9 years and with a dream to grow corals and distribute them to the public. The only issue is that they had no idea how to get it off the ground. They started out of a bedroom then shortly after that moved the operations to a single car garage then to a double car garage.




First ever look at World Wide Corals garage operation when they were first getting started in 2005.

They finally landed a great deal on a lease for a retail location. After 2 years of garage struggles, they managed to get the door open to World Wide Corals on July 15, 2007.

World Wide Corals Entrance

World Wide Corals Entrance

Fast forward to February 2012 they decided to expand the retail store into the neighboring unit. With the intentions of having a show room for resale of aquariums of all shapes and sizes. Once they broke through the wall the initial expansion was completed. In the warehouse behind the aquarium show room they house their service vehicles and equipment.

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As you can see there has been a pattern of growth and calculated expansions that were needed to fill the demand of their offerings of their products (Coral Frags)

WWC has been a State Of Florida Certified Aquiculture Facility since their inception in 2007.  The guys knew it was an essential part of their vision to grow the company, and in order to grow tank raised corals, they knew from the beginning they had to stick to the best practices and procedures manual that The State of Florida mandates and inspects for annually.

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Now fast forward to December 2013 needing more room to grow their farm raised corals they decided to move forward with yet another expansion.

Along with the actual coral farming, the plan also included a fish receiving and quarantine area, an area dedicated just to farming and cutting the corals. Plans also include a shipping area and hospital tanks for sick fish and corals. 2 Large water vats along with a dry goods receiving area. Heck they even included a small break room with a kitchen for the WWC crew to relax when time permits. So following the plan set forth the owners decided to move forward with leasing the 3rd unit and moved the maintenance & installation department along with offices into the 3rd farm expansion.

This is no ordinary coral farm by any means. The entire unit is now under heat and air conditioning the floors are tiled and they installed a drop ceiling. Since production and farming will be taking place daily, WWC has decided to keep the farm closed to the public. The tank lineup is quite impressive! 4-700 gallon tanks 132” (L)x60”(W)x18”(H) where each custom made glass raceway frag systems will be housing 5,000 plus coral frags in each tank

A huge new 900 gallon glass display tank 144” (L)x48”(W)x30”(H) to house the brood stock Equipment wise the plan includes huge commercial grade protein skimmer, in line heaters, massive water chillers and plenty of large powerheads to move all types of random flow throughout the systems. The 2 sumps are huge with one of the sumps being close to 500 gallons. The lighting scheme has not been decided on yet. The guys hope by the end of MACNA 2014 in Denver they will have made their decision on lighting for the tanks. When all is said and done they will have more than double their capacity to house coralswith the number of coral frags that will be in the systems is hard to calculate but let’s say it will be ALOT !

 

Aqua Medic Gets New CEO

Check out our Mini Documentary on Aqua Medic USA or read the article first and watch the documentary later.

Aqua Medic Gets a New CEO and a New Direction

     Written By Orlando Salazar

Hello, my name is Orlando Salazar and I am the new CEO of Aqua Medic USA Inc, Aqua Medic Live and Aquarium Water Testing. I was recently appointed to this position by Oliver Wehage; President and owner of Aqua Medic of Germany, GMBH. My main goal and directive is to bring Aqua Medic USA into the American market at a higher level than has ever been done before. In order to see how I will accomplish this, I feel that it is important to discuss a little about myself and my experience within this wonderful and exciting industry.

            I am 39 years young, married, and father of four incredible children. I started in this hobby when I was eight years old, with my first 10 gallon freshwater aquarium. As many other hobbyists do, I soon graduated to saltwater. I went to work at my first aquatic shop in 1994 and soon purchased that shop. I immediately started offering aquarium maintenance service and had grown to 83 accounts. I then opened up a second store in 2003. The number one reason why our stores and service company existed was to teach preventative aquarium maintenance, the key to maintaining longevity and health of livestock, which in turn will keep many hobbyists in the industry for as long as possible.

            Approximately 20 years of experience has brought me to where I am now, preparing Aqua Medic USA for MACNA 2014, Denver, Colorado!

            A lot of new hobbyists may not know very much about Aqua Medic, whereas old school hobbyists are familiar with the products that originally put Aqua Medic on the map. These included metal halides, fish traps and turbo flotor protein skimmers. So to introduce ourselves to newer hobbyists, we are an aquatic wholesale and distributor, ran by hobbyists for hobbyists. We are fueled by passion and love for reef-keeping. This is the core mission statement of the new Aqua Medic USA and I believe this is what sets us apart from other companies ran by suites with spreadsheets. I don’t even own a suit and my accountant puts together all of the spreadsheets.

            It is no secret that Aqua Medic previously lacked in new product refresh and a general disconnect from the industry. However that is the past, which I firmly believe no one person or company should live and dwell. So to move forward, my generals (Angelo Detomasi, and Chad Wohler) and I have collaborated with research and development in Germany and have come up with amazing products for the American market. This will be the most exciting and largest product refresh Aqua Medic has ever seen. Our new Eco and Evo lines will bring Aqua Medic USA into the future and give hobbyists what they are looking for. These new products will be available in October, 2014.

            This is not the only division of Aqua Medic USA that we are refreshing and taking in a new direction. We are also very proud to introduce Aqua Medic Live and Aquarium Water Testing.

Aqua Medic Live is a fairly new division of Aqua Medic USA started in August 2013. AML specializes in coral wholesaling, carrying a wide variety from Australia, Indonesia, Bali, Vietnam and Fiji. Our corals are high end, high quality, and cared for by our staff as if each coral table was a personal aquarium. Although we import incredible corals at very reasonable prices, what separates Aqua Medic Live from other coral wholesalers is the passion and excitement expressed by myself and my staff for reef-keeping. Each of us has a personal aquarium at home and every coral order day is like waking up on Christmas morning in our showroom.

In addition to Aqua Medic Live, I would also like to introduce Aquarium Water Testing. Aquarium Water Testing is unlike any other service provided in this industry and appeals to a wide range of customers. At our facility in Loveland, we have a state of the art laboratory dedicated to water quality and testing.  Retail stores, service companies and hobbyists all around the world submit water samples for us to test in our lab. Not only do we provide the test results, but we also provide insight as to how to fix any water quality issues. These water tests include the monitoring of very difficult water parameters, such as, boron, strontium, molybdenum and many others.

Despite this exciting new line of products and the additions of Aqua Medic Live, Aquarium Water Testing, and Aqua Medic USA is about more than just products, sales and profits. I am a firm believer that personal relationships mean more to a company than any amount of profit ever could. These relationships begin with my family, my employees and my customers. The number of friends and personal connections this industry creates is intrinsically valuable and overlooked by many other companies ran by suits and ties. Although we have recently shattered sales records set by previous owners, the rock solid relationships Aqua Medic USA has developed is our single most important accomplishment.

Thomas Brown of ThomasVisionReef and Orlando Salazar CEO of Aqua Medic USA

Thomas Brown of ThomasVisionReef and Orlando Salazar CEO of Aqua Medic USA

The Aqua Medic Team with Julian Sprung and Chris Cline from Carolina Aquatics

The Aqua Medic Team with Julian Sprung and Chris Cline from Carolina Aquatics

Here at Aqua Medic USA, we specialize in legendary customer service, interpersonal business relationships, and a love for the aquatics industry.

Check out their FB page Aqua Medic North America

Check out their website Aqua Medic

AlgaGen's Live Feeds Program

Written by Erik Stenn

AlgaGen’s Life Feeds Program (LFP):

The use of live feeds in reef keeping is not a new concept.  Aquarists have been collecting, culturing live feed organisms for years as a means to keep their reef happy and healthy.  The issue is that live feeds are NOT readily accessible to all.  Live feeds take some level of work and space to culture or collect which can discourage many from using them.  In an attempt to make live cultures readily available AlgaGen has developed a Live Feeds Program (LFP).  The concept is to provide participating stores with clean, hi-quality cultures each week.  This way the store does not have to spend its time culturing but maintaining and selling the cultures.  The aquarist community on the other hand now has wide access to fresh, quality cultures to experiment with in their feeding and breeding efforts.  This can be a game changer for the way things are done. Having access to fresh cultures can provide the hobby with the tools to move feeding and breeding into new territory.

What do you mean by Live Feeds? What are Plankton?  Why are they important?

There are many types of Live Feeds; worms, shrimp, barnacle nauplii (babies), crab zoea, mysids, larval fish, amphipods, plankton, to name a few.  In aquaculture Live Feeds tend to refer to planktonic organisms such as phytoplankton, rotifers, copepods, brine; items that can be mass cultured to feed production organisms.  These planktonic, production organisms are what we referring to as Live Feeds.

By definition plankton are aquatic organisms that wander “aimlessly” in the waters.  They do not have the mechanisms to fight currents and so drift with them.  Plankton include both plants and animals, and are an essential part of the marine ecosystem.  Planktonic organisms are involved with the cycling of nutrients and are a cornerstone of the aquatic food chain.  In the oceans the phytoplankton (single celled plants) are responsible for the uptake of nitrates, phosphates, iron,  trace elements (heavy metals), carbon dioxide and together with sunlight create essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are very important for the aquatic food chain.  The zooplankton (animals) that inhabit the planktos are either there for a finite period of time such as a phase of larval development (e.g. crab larvae) or as a full-fledged member, such as copepods.

 

As mentioned previously phytoplankton utilize nitrates and phosphates, heavy metals, carbon dioxide and form essential fatty acids, again, critical to the marine food chain.  Without these fatty acids numerous marine organisms would not survive.  A number of organisms eat phytoplankton, copepods specifically, consume phytoplankton, store and convert the EFAs to other important fatty acids.  The copepods in turn are consumed by everything from corals to amphipods to fish and then some.  This is roughly how the EFAs produced by algae get into the food chain.  Then of course it is a free-for-all of one thing eating or being eaten by another.

Getting the proper nutrition to our animals is important.  It has been proven that when these essential fatty acids (EFAs) are presented in specific ratios, larval development and animal health are substantially increased.  In nature there is a diversity of prey and many of the prey items have these EFA ratios occurring naturally.  In captive environments we try to mimic the nutrition found in nature.  Aquaculture operations raise their own live feeds   They have rooms for microalgae production, rooms for rotifer production, rooms for brine production and in some cases rooms for copepod production.  In aquaculture however, the most common live feed is the rotifer.  In the past copepod starter cultures were not readily available and had been considered difficult to work with, so an “easier-to-culture” replacement organism was identified/utilized called a rotifer.  A rotifer is a convenient way to deliver nutrition to small organisms such as fish larvae and corals; larval and young animals with small mouths.  This organism swims through the water eating virtually anything that is in its path as long as it is the correct particle size.  It can also be raised in substantial numbers (up to 3000/mL).  Typically rotifers are fed an enrichment diet, harvested and fed directly to the target larvae.  This is standard aquaculture procedure.  It also holds great promise as a planktonic feed for the captive reef.

People talk about collecting wild plankton in years past, which led to having successes in maintaining captive reefs.  Since then the science of feed development has advanced substantially and over the years has provided many quality dry, frozen, and shelf stable feeds for reef organisms. If our goal as aquarists is to mimic the natural reef ecosystem then the presence, or lack of plankton, needs to be addressed.  If we use artificial seawater, where is our plankton coming from?  By introducing properly produced and assembled plankton, we create the basis for the natural ecosystem and inoculate our system with a sort of probiotic that can hopefully displace “bad” plankton. The use of plankton in maintaining a reef tank is a relatively new area that needs to be pioneered further. 

 

                                                                                     

 Daily feedings of live, fresh phytoplankton have created positive changes in reef tank health and appearance.  For many aquarists, fresh phytoplankton has been attributed to the reduction of persistent nitrate and phosphate levels even with macroalgae stocked refugiums. So, phytoplankton uptake nitrates, phosphates, heavy metals, CO2,  in order to grow.  They get eaten by rotifers, copepods, and other filterfeeders.  The rotifers and copepods will then get eaten by fish and corals, which take the problem of hi-nutrients and transfers that into positive tissue growth of corals and fish.  

Rotifers are a great daily or weekly feed to the reef.  If used in conjunction with fresh phytoplankton, they will grow and be enriched as a food source, perfect for corals and smaller mouthed organisms.  The availability of healthy rotifer cultures are also an asset to breeders whose rotifer cultures tend to crash the night before they                                                                                                                are needed.  

Copepods are one of the natural foods for a reef.  Copepods exist in nature as benthic dwellers where they eat detritus, phytoplankton, left over fish food, etc. They also exist as free-swimming organisms, feeding primarily on phytoplankton.  There are other families that have combined lifestyles and some other families of copepods that can be parasitic to fish.  The parasitic copepods are NOT sold in our hobby.  The AlgaGen LFP provides a mixed culture of copepods, benthic as well as pelagic, that serve a critical eco-function in a reef tank as well as a broad source of food for numerous reef inhabitants.  The copepods should be used in conjunction with the phytoplankton because this serves as a food source.

 How do we use Live Feeds?

The use of Live Feeds as with anything can be equated to exercising; “do not try running a marathon on day one, but build up to it.”  In this case start off slowly adding small quantities of live feeds so that the tank can adjust to this new input.  If using the live feeds consistently one should be able to add larger volumes on a daily or every-other day basis.  Of course the amount recommended depends on the size of the tank and how heavily it is stocked. The real advantage to using live feeds is that they are used shortly after purchase, hyper-fresh.  The real advantage of using Live Feeds is the freshness, it was not designed to be a “stored-in-the-refrigerator” product.  To get the full benefit it should be consumed as soon after harvest as possible.  The use of Live Feeds is not THE way to maintain a captive reef, there are many ways.  It is another tool, another approach that can lead to great successes.  When asked how much to use, we recommend starting off slowly.  Honestly, plankton quantity varies in the natural environment from sparse to abundant.  So it is up to the aquarist to experiment and determine what works best for the ecosystem they are creating.

www.algagen.com/

Thomas Brown and AlgaGen President Erik Stenn at the AlgaGen Orlando Campus/Facility

Thomas Brown and AlgaGen President Erik Stenn at the AlgaGen Orlando Campus/Facility

Check out the TVR Road Trip where I visit several locations including the AlgaGen facility.


Atlanta Reef club helps WAGE war on the Acropora eating Flatworm!

Check out our interview with Seth Peters and Kate Rawlinson.

written by Seth Peters

Providing majority funding (Over $10k) for the Army charged with fighting it.

In late 2013, while an Atlanta Reef Club Board of Directors member was skimming through the Facebook posts of the day, a crusade began. The power of social media has shown its might around the world, credited for outright revolutions and social movements, and now it’s responsible for an all out frontal assault on one of our hobby’s most dreaded and feared adversaries: the Acro-eating flatworm (AEFW). Marc Levenson, a perennial socialite in the reefing community, shared a video from Mark Callahan (Mr Saltwater Tank), highlighting fundraising efforts by Kate Rawlinson and Cat Dybala to conduct research on this little-understood menace. As those keeping Acro-dominated tanks already know, it’s hard enough having success with these fickle corals—balancing parameters, flow, lighting, etc—but the addition of this kind of pest can prove more than even the most experienced reefer can overcome. 

The Atlanta Reef Club is a nonprofit organization of approximately 800 members, dedicated to promoting responsible reef-keeping and ecological preservation through education within the club and through outreach programs. It has made generous donations to projects such as Ken Nedimeyer’s Coral Restoration Foundation, putting reef tanks in surrounding community hospitals, and youth education endeavors. 

Mr. Saltwater Tank's live discusiion with Kate Rawlinson regarding the Acropora eating flatworms (AEFW).

Once Atlanta Reef Club board members watched the interview Mark Callahan conducted with Kate Rawlinson, their next philanthropic mission was clear. And a $10,400 check was soon on its way to fund Kate’s and Cat’s research efforts.   

Much has been written in the past weeks regarding a NOAA report and the ensuing anxiety over corals that might be given new threatened status, which could negatively impact the hobby. While much of that is shrouded in speculative panic, the fact remains that we CAN take measures to protect and safeguard what we already have in our tanks. If not so much as another coral is allowed to be imported to the United States, isn’t it that much more important to preserve what we already have Stateside? It’s the hopes of the Atlanta Reef Club that its $10,000+ donation to the AEFW project will help do just that. 

Photo of the Atlanta Reef Club presenting a check to Kate Rawlinson on 9/13/14 so she can continue her research on the AEFW.

Photo of the Atlanta Reef Club presenting a check to Kate Rawlinson on 9/13/14 so she can continue her research on the AEFW.

Note from Kate Rawlinson

As many of you know first-hand, the Acropora-eating flatworm (AEFW) has been a significant pest to the tropical marine aquarium community for over a decade.

I am a marine biologist, and I specialize in flatworm biology, but I hadn’t encountered this animal until five years ago, when a coral aquarist asked for my help to identify it. We discovered that it was a new species of polyclad flatworm and named it Amakusaplana acroporae. Since then, we have discovered it in the wild on Acropora valida on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, but we suspect that it is as widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific region as itsAcropora prey.

Last year the President of the Marine Aquarium and Reef Society of Houston, Cat Dybala, contacted me to say that she was going to establish someAcropora tanks specifically with the aim of studying the AEFW and finding ways to control it.

We’re currently working together to answer some fundamental questions about its life cycle, such as how long does it take for the eggs to hatch? Do they hatch as larvae or juveniles, or both? How long does it take for the worms to reach sexual maturity? How long can the newly hatched worms survive without food? How long can the adult survive without food? Using these data, we will develop a protocol that will advise coral aquarists and hobbyists on how long to keep their tanks free of Acropora (in order to starve any remaining worms). We will also be able to say whether or not the AEFW can travel (as microscopic larvae) to other tanks that share the same water and a common sump.

This is the first step in controlling this pest. The next step is then to find a way to control them in-tank without having to remove the corals and put them through a series of chemical dips. We are optimistic that our initials experiments will give us some insights into how to proceed to this next step, and we eventually hope to investigate both biological and chemical controls. Thank you for supporting this research.
— Kate Rawlinson - Marine Biologist
Kate Rawlinson - Marine Biologist

Kate Rawlinson - Marine Biologist