The Solomon Islands is arguably one of the birthplaces of modern reef aquariums, especially when it comes to injecting the global reefing community with fun and exotic corals. There’s been some chatter about a new marine life pipeline being built in this corner of the Coral Triangle for a couple of years. Our little fishies tell us that the spigot is close to being turned on for small scale, sustainable coral collection and artisanal coral farming so let’s revisit some of our Highlights from the Solomon Islands.
The first ever farmed corals for aquariums came from the Solomon Islands in the late 90s, inspiring farmers in Fiji, Indonesia and eventually the rest of the world. In this vein we visited the historic reef-holy site at the villages of Marau Sound to help restart their coral farming efforts with a fun workshop, and the corals we planted last year should be getting close to harvest.
Being a part of the epicenter of global coral biodiversity the Solomon Islands have all the rare, unique, unusual, cryptic and otherwise lust-worthy corals that you could ever want to keep in an aquarium. On our first trip there we were really targeting some Australogyra or rediscovering the Purple Monster Acro but we got a whole lot more than we bargained for.
At various places in the Solomons we came across a still-one-of-a-kind Australomussa coral, bizarre Sinularia with solid calcium bases, and a little known coral called Palauastrea which we recently updated you about our aquarium grown colony. Other oddballs from the Solomons include the jet black puffers that are very rare anywhere else in the world, we’ve seen some giant patches of the delicate branching Leptoseris, discovered the first ‘Green Splash’ Astreopora showing natural GFP infection, but most ‘collectors’ will remember the sensational and diverse colored chalice corals that we hand collected on a very special turbid reef environment.
To be honest, the Solomon Islands are like a playground for coral reef and marine life enthusiast as there’s pretty much every kind of coral to be found, and many that are very rare outside this vast group of islands. If you want to see even more in depth views from this region, be sure and peruse our many Solomon Island Videos currently published, with more to come, and we are really hoping to share some exciting developments with you about new exports from this place in the coming months!This coral turned out to be a winner and grows at an EPIC pace in a wide range of reef tanks.