My name is Levi Peterson and a few months ago I made a decision to work closely with corals at ACI Aquaculture. I formerly worked at a local pet store and personally worked very closely with Non-Photosynthetic corals. However, when the opportunity presented itself at ACI, I was beyond excited for a new adventure and considered it the opportunity of a lifetime!
Now, I wake up everyday, and I am thrilled to spend my whole day observing and working with corals of multiple species. Working for Chris and Amanda Meckley of ACI has been a fun, exciting, and wonderful experience. Each day is an opportunity for me to grow and learn more and more about how certain corals grow and develop.
So, what does my average work day consist of at ACI? It generally starts with a morning walkthrough of the farm and wild systems taking careful attention to make sure that all of the corals are happy and healthy. On certain occasions, when an issue is noticed, I run the issue by Chris, and we assess what needs to be done to fix the issue with the coral. I also spend a good portion of my morning making sure the frag system is neatly organized. I really enjoy this part of the job because I get to look at so many different species of coral that we have for sale.
Keeping the system condensed and organized makes it easier for us to decide what needs to be cut to fill in the open areas and to occasionally add a new coral. I also enjoy and have the opportunity to frag up corals to put out for sale. Chris has been a tremendous mentor in my journey and in teaching me how to frag corals that I have never cut before.
On my first week one evening before a shipment arrived me and Chris cut hundreds of Acro frags. Fragging is one of my favorite things to do while working at the farm. Certain corals are more challenging to cut than others. For example, the most challenging coral I have cut so far was definitely a Turbinaria pagoda cup – precision was definitely key with them.
After I complete my morning tasks, I tend to help pull orders as needed or jump on a project that usually involves thoroughly examining the farm systems for any sort of issues with the corals, there is generally dipping involved to help target whatever is wrong with the corals. We have recently started using a new dip from Captive8 Aquaculture called Anticip8. We have noticed tremendous success using that dip against monti nudis! Another task I often do in the morning or early afternoon is feeding the NPS corals which are my specialty.
Now that wild shipments of Indo corals has opened back up, I tend to go crazy and get super excited during shipment unboxing days. Receiving shipments at ACI is extremely fun, but it can also be quite tiring, especially on the late night shipments. Oftentimes when unboxing shipments from Indo or Aussie, all of the employees generally work together to unbag the corals while Chris puts them away.
Unpacking coral shipments is definitely one of the most fun parts of the job. I really enjoy seeing all the nps that come in as well as all the Bernardpora and Acanthophyllias. Although some of the shipments may be late at night, I usually come home and cannot wait to go back the next morning before anyone shows up to take a close glance at all the new corals. I don’t think I will ever grow weary of spending my days observing and tending to coral!