The aquarium you are looking at at home would not have been possible without the effort many other hobbyists and scientists put in lots of experimenting. Just 50 years ago, keeping marine fish alive for more than a few months, was a huge challenge. The stony corals that outgrow many of our tanks nowadays, were a big challenge 20 years ago and, in some cases, still are.
Non-photosynthetic corals are one of the next ‘big things’. With huge effort, some species can be kept, but especially the beautiful soft corals of the family Nephtheidae (genera Dendronephthya and Scleronephthya) are at best kept alive for some limited time. Substantial growth, leave alone successful propagation in captivity, is practically non-existent.
Tim Wijgerde, having a PhD in Marine Biology and being an avid reef keeper, wants to set up a program to ‘crack the code’ on these corals. So far, we as a reefing community have not gotten very far with these corals. Thus, it is very welcome that science comes to help. Unfortunately, the costs of such research are substantial, mainly because specialised systems have to be custom built.
This will not be a ‘hobby project’ but will be conducted under scientific circumstances. The results will be made publicly available. As funding is hard to get nowadays, Tim Wijgerde set up an Indiegogo-campaign. We are happy to share the link where Dr. Tim Wijgerde explains his idea him selves. Imagine a reef full of these corals with a large shoal of Anthias tumbling between them . . . [Indie Gogo]