Whoever said that soft corals are passé has obviously not seen enough. Not only are soft corals incredibly forgiving, they add a certain flare for life and movement in any aquarium. Coming in a myriad of species that run the gamut of physical appearance and form, it would be foolish to think any less of these corals or banish them to the novice club. Mr. Wing’s leather coral is the embodiment of all that, and takes prestige as being the centre piece in his aquarium.
This Sarcophyton is everything a large well grown specimen has to offer. A sinuous meandering beautiful convoluted work of art. While it may not be toxic green or glow in the dark radioactive, it is magnificent in its own simplicity. The tentacles are long and weepy, and with the multidirectional water flow gently caressing them into a slow swirling vortex, one cannot discount the similarity it has to a slow hypnotic almost trance like dance.
The quasi-anemone pseudo-Euphyllia looking leather sits in the middle of Mr. Wing’s simplistic cube tank. The leather is a favourite amongst a variety of fish, and it appears as though they enjoy purposefully swimming through the tentacle maze like children in a corn field.
The aquarium is home to a few dotty backs, one of them being the diminutive and secretive Pseudochromis elongatus. P. elongatus is a cute little species that is anything but pugnacious, and is a fantastic addition to any reef tank. Their peek-a-boo style of swimming is nothing short of entertaining, and this particular specimen certainly enjoyed weaving in and out of those leather tentacles.
While Mr. Wong maintains a commendable collection of fishes ranging from ventralis anthias to feminine wrasse, the star of the tank has definitely got to be this beautiful male Novaculops halsteadi. We’ll feature a whole write up for this fish, but for now here’s a quick look at it as it cruises around the tank. N. halsteadi is a lesser known species that is not often collected, and its quirky nature and semi-reef safe qualities should not dissuade you from trying one if you can provide a suitable home with suitable tank mates for it.
Like most sand-dwelling razor wrasses, they need a fine sand bed, or in Mr. Wing’s bare bottom tank, a sand trough to bury in. Novaculops have large jaws with big teeth, and while they aren’t as destructive as their rock moving cousins in the genus Novaculichthys, they can and will eat small invertebrates or fish when the opportunity arises.
Here’s a look at some of Mr. Wing’s fish. Notice how most of them have their backs facing that awesome leather coral. They really do love it. We would like to extend out sincerest thanks to Jimmy Ma and his friend Mr. Wing for hosting us and inviting us to their homes while we were in Hong Kong. Until next time! Oh and did we mention the aquarium and livestock were maintained by this little dude? Rock on Aidan.