Justin Credabel has been one of our reefing homeys for many years now and as logn as we’ve known him he has had a long standing love affair with flowerpot corals. In addition to making really creative and adorable music videos that reflect reefing culture, Justin is the lead aquaculturist at Underwater World Enterprises. Justin will occasionally be dropping by to share some of his Mad Hatter reefing ideas, this spiral fusion is but of taste of what we can expect from Mr. Credabel.
Goniopora tenuidens is currently one of my favorite aquarium subjects, and if you so desire to keep one, it may become one of yours too. This is a relatively reliable species of Goniopora, of which many hobbyists will see for purchase. When I say reliable I mean that can be counted on to expect healthful regular feedings, strong light, flow, and optimal water conditions. Reliable, also, that if given the proper captive environment, this species will reward you with slow but steady growth, most of it prevalent around the fringes of the colony.
There a two forms commonly seen, one tends to be from a lagoon type environment. Others are collected from reefs. Most that are imported sport a shade of purple or blue, from just a hint, to in-your-face bright. Some of the reef collected types have multiple rings of color, even yellow eyes (a recurring theme in Goniopora coloration), and bright purple acrospheres, the little ball shapes at the end of each tentacles. I have been establishing dozens of strains of Goniopora at Underwater World LA, many of them are Goniopora tenuidens, due to their great color and ease of care (Goniopora wise). Recently I had the pleasure to use a couple colonies as a medium for an art piece.
In some ways of thinking the spiral is regarded as negative, symbolizing falling into an abyss. Others see it has a symbol of outward flowing energy and regeneration. I’d like to believe the latter. Just a bit more positive way of looking at things, bring a little sunshine into my life. I tend to contemplate opposites and their prevalence in the structure of universe on the macro and micro scale. I am also keen to use a band saw and Goniopora to explore these thoughts and feelings and express it in living flesh, that glows. It took patience, a steady hand, and crazy band saw skills (one level above nunchuck skills, Dremmel nunchucks count). I took special care not to waste any coral tissue. I ended up with mirror image spirals and several frags.
Goniopora tenuidens tolerate others of their own species quite well. I have yet to have them fuse their soft tissue, but they will grow right up against tissue of other colonies from the same species. They will however provoke fights with Goniopora planulata, usually G. tenuidens wins. Regarding other genera of coral, appropriate measures should be taken to avoid contact and competition (allelopathy).
Goniopora tenuidens themselves produce many allelopathic compounds that inhibit the growth of other species of Goniopora and other coral. This is known in particular because G. tenuidens has been the subject of various scientific papers, from the bio-reactive compounds they produce, to the blue and purple hued fluorescent proteins, harnessed and used for ground breaking research in cancer, genetics, and the function of proteins, organelles and other critical cellular systems. Thank you Goniopora tenuidens. I wonder what other secrets lurk under the lid of other species of Goniopora? So take one home, preferably captive grown, and develop the awestruck respect I continue to have to this day for this species and the whole genus.