[youtube width=”640″ height=”505″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6MUPVyFDUM[/youtube]
Simon Garratt, our reefing friend across the pond, recently posted a video of his latest experiment an intertidal reef-flat biotope and we were able to garner a few nuggets of wisdom from Simon on the genesis of the tank and a little detail on the success of the system so far. With an intertidal reef, the ebb and flow of the tides expose many different critters to the atmosphere, yet they seem to thrive. Garratt took this as inspiration and developed quite a unique system and methodology. He was kind enough to give us a quick rundown of the system and what’s happening so far. A Q&A and more after the break.
Why was the system set up?
Because I’m too easily influenced…? Honestly, I was not to blame. You see, Scott Fellman, Jake Adams, Joe Yaiullo, Richard Ross, and Charles Delbeek, “to name but a few,” bullied me into it way back in 2009 at the IMAC seminar I was speaking at. We were sat around talking about the systems and biotopes we would like to try and I stupidly said I’d like to try an intertidal reef-flat biotope to see how corals handle exposure. It sort of snowballed from there with the verbal gauntlet thrown down that if it didn’t work I’d never hear the end of it and I’d be ridiculed for the rest of my reef keeping career. So what else could I do in that situation?
OK, you have 30 seconds…tell us what it’s all about.
Oh God…erm, basically its a tidal system that replicates the varying twice daily and varying monthly exposure periods that some corals have to adapt to in some locations. Rather than a fixed repetitive tide, this system varies across a set period to replicate more natural conditions. It has huge amounts of flow and an experimental wave device that, as far as I know, hasn’t been used on a private system to date.
What are the aims of the system?
Well, firstly I was interested in what defines a corals adaptability to what we consider adverse conditions and how it makes those adaptations. Then it opened up from there to the degree I’m at now, where I’m looking at coral mucus production and its roll as both protection and as a nutrient transport mechanism, coral feeding and energy input with its combined effects on adaptability under adverse conditions, and a few other interesting areas as well to do with these environments. It’s still in the early days but its racing along quite nicely and the corals are doing superbly well.
Where can we find out more?
Ah well. If you manage to make it out to BAYMAC in 2011 you’ll find out all the results, observations, and juicy stuff there or “touch wood” — MACNA 2011 if they take up my offer to speak. Either way I’m hoping it will be an interesting experience for those in attendance, and hopefully open a few eyes to just how tough some corals can be if you give them what they need to thrive even without exposure.
Happy reefing to all.