When you think of coral spawning, the last place that comes to mind is Canada. So last week when we got an email from our hometown we thought this story was too good not to share. Reefkeeper Adam Sutherland shares some history of his Cali tort colony and the experience of catching this fantastic event on camera.
Guest Writer: Adam Sutherland
David Attenborough calls the annual coral spawn in Australia’s great barrier reef “one of natures great events”. I’m not sure if the 180 gallon reef aquarium in my basement qualifies on this kind of level, but it was pretty cool to see a spawning event occur in my own aquarium! On April 7th, 2017 I noticed my large Cali Tort (Acropora tortuosa) looking a bit funny.
The polyps had retracted and looked sort of plump around the openings. Within a few minutes I realized that the colony was releasing eggs; pink eggs to be exact (excellent choice Mr. Tort!). Knowing that this is rarely observed in a captive reef, I quickly grabbed my camera and started snapping photos (Olympus TG4). The event took about 1.5 hours in total and man did my fish love it.
Some history on the colony: I know that the original fragment of this coral was brought into Canada, probably with some difficulty, approximately ten years ago. I purchased a nice sized colony from a friend about 4 years ago.
At the time, the colony was experiencing slow tissue necrosis and base recession on most lower branches, so I decided to epoxy the branches into a colony shape on a new rock. Over the next year, the colony started to fill in and look very natural again. This was 3 years ago and the colony is approximately 15-16” across now.
A few branches of the colony did not spawn at all, while some branches produced only a few eggs and other branches had eggs in every polyp. I should also note that another medium sized Cali Tort colony in the connected frag tank, spawned at the same time, while the smaller, recently made fragments in the same tank did not.
This poses the question, did both colonies spawn solely because of optimal environmental conditions, or did the mother colony send chemical information to the other colony telling it to invest energy in reproduction?
Other things to note:
-I did not see any sperm, only eggs
-I rarely run carbon in my system.
-I do not use any night/moon lighting.
-The moon was 91% full on this night.
-I started feeding sps food about 4 weeks ago and hadn’t for many years (Vitalis).
-Lights used on the display are 400w Radium/T5 and frag tank 8x ATI T5.
-Conditions at time of spawning: Ca: 410, Alk: 9.5 dkh, PO4: 0.04, MG: 1350, temp: 78°, salinity 1.025ppm, PH 8.2 (runs 8-8.3)
For Canadians looking to for new corals check out Adams website fraggarage.ca