Going diving on a regular basis with the master collector Nic Dos Santos from Ultra Coral Australia, I’ve had the chance to see a nice cross section of the Great Barrier Reef. And if there is one thing I can say about all this time spent diving the GBR is that there are a lot of corals down there!
Why do we get always the same corals from Australia?
Now, I keep on hearing that corals from Australia are boring, that shipments from Australia are always the same, that Indonesian corals were more diverse and interesting than the one from Australia. But the truth is that Indo corals were cheaper, that’s about the only difference but it has a big impact on what gets collected and exported.
But don’t get me wrong, my heart is definitely in Indo, this is where I live, and where my family was born. But after going there back and forward, diving the Great Barrier Reef, I finally managed to pinpoint where this impression of coral diversity is coming from. The reason why we always get the same corals from Australia, is because dealers and retailers always request the same corals, the ones that sell quickly and reliably.
The reason why demand is always the same
Coral importers outside Australia predominantly want Strawberry Shortcake Acros, Scolies… and if there isn’t these items, they simply don’t buy, because these are the only corals peoples know and want from Australia. But guess what, this time of selective coral buying cannot be sustained, buying patterns must adapt and change.
Before all the changes importers could get all the corals at a cheaper price from Indonesia, so they would only buy at a more expensive price tag what they can’t get from nowhere else, leading to the fact that Aussie collector were only going for these particular corals.
Collection is far, risky, expensive and complicated. Collectors just can’t take the risk to bring corals they’re not guaranteed to sell. Otherwise they will have to drop them at lower price, and make the reef run not financially sustainable. So if you guys want some different corals, you just have to ask, and accept the higher price than we were traditionally used to.
So much more than Strawberry Shortcake!
I understand that nobody will pay crazy price for just regular soft corals, but what about Yellow Sarcophyton, Pink Nephthya…? what about crazy millies? trust me there are just so many corals that are worth importing from Australia but the question is: Are you ready for it?
This is basically what we’ve been trying to achieve with all these articles about Australian Corals; understand that they come from very different habitat, and thus need different maintenance. It’s hard to mix Acropora anthocercis with Scolys in the same tank. Importers are not willing to take too much risk on lesser known species, and import expensive pieces of corals, if they’re not sure, a demand exists for them.
Excuse the rant, knowledge is power and only the end buyer can change this. So if you want more coral diversity, you just need to dare to try something different… and we need to give you the power to take that calculated risk!