I don’t know if it’s just one of those things that happens when you get older- you start questioning everything in the hobby: Conventions, norms, and trends are but a few of the things you ponder. I’m not grumpy, believe me. I eat three meals a day, work out religiously, and can iron my own clothes, just like a normal person. It’s just that some stuff confuses me. One of the things I find myself constantly questioning is the seemingly comical “trendiness” of some of the corals that we keep. (Ok, some people are worried about world peace, conquering disease and want, etc. I’m obsessed with reefkeeping. Maybe
One of the things I find myself constantly questioning is the seemingly comical “trendiness” of some of the corals that we keep. (Ok, some people are worried about world peace, conquering disease and want, etc. I’m obsessed with reefkeeping. Maybe that’s my problem. DO I not get out enough? United Airlines thinks I do!). Maybe I don’t get it… Trendiness in the hobby often confuses me. A case in point is the so-called “Chalice corals” or
A case in point is the so-called “Chalice corals” or Echinophyllia, Oxypora and Mycedium species. Don’t get me wrong, they are interesting corals, morphologically speaking, and they have some interesting colors, but man- what’s with the adoration they receive?
Let’s face it- unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’re acutely aware of the popularity of these corals. They seem to be among the most sought after items at many “frag swaps” and conferences. They come in a wide range of colors, and seem to have “eyes”, which I suppose gives them some personality. On the other hand, they are basically the “vector”, the “poster child”, if you will-for the “limited edition” (“LE”) coral movement, delighting trend-mongers everywhere. They have ridiculous names, demand obscene high prices, and basically make me laugh!
After seeing dozens of ’em at a recent “Coral Farmer’s Market”, I decided to take a closer look at them. Ok, they DO have an interesting morphology, but I am curious about why you never seem to see fully-grown colonies of these corals. Seems like all we ever see are “chips” of them- little corals, never fully grown out. Does ANYONE actually have a colony that doesn’t look like a broken tortilla chip? Okay, now I’ve opened the floodgates for angry “Chalice” lovers everywhere to inundate me with pics of their sexy grown-from-a-microchip “Chalice” colony. My own girlfriend loves them. Look, I’m not a “hater”…I just need your help here in understanding the craziness.
Believe me, I want to see big, beautiful home-grown colonies of these babies, I really do. Some of them have insane colors, which is always a “thumbs up” in my book. But why are we not seeing them? Where are they? Are you “Chalice” lovers publicity- shy? Or could it be something more sinister?: Could it be that they are not so good looking as they grow? Could it be that they become a burden on the tank in which they are kept? Or could it be that they just grow at glacial pace and we get bored of them-or even pass away of old age- before they reach such sizes? Am I the only one crazy enough to question this? As he expression goes, “I’m just sayin’…” I mean, seriously- I can count the number of full-size “Chalice” colonies that I’ve seen on the fingers of one hand…it’s, well… weird.
I try to think why this is so, and I have not quite figured it out. Even the way hobbyists seem to display them is weird. In my opinion, they are typically displayed in an unflattering manner, making the aquarium look for all the world like a used car lot, with the “designer” corals scattered aimlessly on the bottom of the tank, heaped with other assorted frags of Blastomussa, Zoanthids, Micromussa, and whatever else happens to be trendy at the moment. Why is that? I mean, if you’re going to pay obscene prices for what amounts to a broken tortilla chip of coral, why not display them in a manner befitting such a prize? Why are they not typically placed in such a way that they have some dignity? Come on!! Do they get buried in the sand or carried off by “Reef Safe” hermit crabs in the night?
I really do have to hand it to all of the true “Chalice” lovers who do provide amazing care and carefully mount them in a manner that helps them grow to their ultimate potential (whatever that may be). Bless you for your devotion…now reveal yourselves!!!
I find it gratifying that reefers LOVE to show their microchips off, too- a lot!. A typical post on one of those “other” message boards on “Chalices” usually reads something like this: The headline screams “Check out my Chalices”, which then leads to a shot of the little chips laid out randomly on the sand, with a description that goes something like this “L-R: Super Radioactive Fuchsia Binary Eye LE, Vulcan Nosebleed Green Twin Arch Eye LE, Sub-Atomic Proton Purple LE”, etc. etc. I have to admit that the main reason I check those threads is to laugh at the names! Nonetheless, true collectors seem to have…um, good collections of them!
Now don’t get me wrong…all of this talk makes me seem like a “hater” of the beloved “Chalice”, which I am not. To be fair, they can be really pretty. As I stated before, I love brightly colored corals, so I should love them. I just… don’t. What I cannot get over is the worship that these seem to inspire in some circles. What is it about them that consumes reefers? Do they exude something into the water that intoxicates us? I just don’t get it…yet. Maybe I will at some point, but 30 years into the hobby, you’d think I’d have “seen the light”…I dunno…I think I prefer the obscenity of Ricordea over the “Chalices” on many levels. On the other hand, I just might end up with a microchip of the “Atomic Fireball Multi-Eyed Leopard-Skin LE” in my new reef tank and finally get it. On the other hand, maybe I won’t.
Till next time…