Where does ReefCorner get our corals?
When we decided to start selling coral, what we specifically didn’t want to do was sell frags of the same 10-20 corals that we happened to have growing in our systems over and over while looking for new customers to sell them to. We wanted to have a wide selection of corals that constantly changed and included both frags as well as colonies.
Our business plan was to base our business primarily on repeat customers. We would do that by offering a wide evolving selection of always changing coral that was honestly portrayed and providing great customer service. We basically wanted to make the on-line coral buying experience as close to dealing with a reputable local walk-in coral store as possible. You see the exact coral that you are going to buy under real lighting and you are guaranteed to get it home in good shape. For many people, those items are the main stumbling block to ordering coral on-line and we wanted to overcome that.
For frags, we do some in-house propagation of corals that we feel are especially nice or unique or are popular sellers. These come from both long-term parent colonies that we maintain over time as well as frags from more recently introduced imported maricultured or wild colonies. We also source frags from several external coral propagation outfits in the US and the shipping companies sometimes provide us with unintentional frags.
For wild and maricultured colonies, we order from several different importer/wholesalers. These corals most often originate from Australia, Indonesia, Fiji and Bali.
When we know the origin of the coral, we list that in our store entry. We also list where the coral came to us from i.e. the importer or aquaculture facility. Here is a key to the initials that are used.
RC = ReefCorner in house propagated coral
UC = Unique Corals. They sell both retail and wholesale and we source many of our higher end frags from them.
TFI = Tropical Fish International. They are a large importer/wholesaler that we get many of our Acropora colonies from.
RT66 = Route66 Marine. Another large importer/wholesaler that we source most of our LPS and misc corals from as well as some Acropora and frags.
ECC = Eye Catching Coral. Another importer/wholesaler that specializes in higher end wild and maricultured coral, especially Acans.
TCF = Tampico Coral Farms. A small local greenhouse based aquaculture facility.
Other terms that we use to identify the source of corals are:
Aquacultured: This typically denotes that the frags are more than one generation removed from the wild and are well acclimated to life in a reef tank, but in some cases they may come from wild colonies that have been in captivity for a while and proven hearty. If this is the case, we make sure the corals are well encrusted onto the plug and growing in our system before selling them.
Below is a picture of some of our frags that are growing out in one of our tanks.
Maricultured: This denotes that the colony is farmed by locals in their native habitat. Artificial rocks are made, and then frags are taken from parent corals that are left growing in the ocean. These frags are mounted onto the rocks and allowed to grow out on racks in the ocean to small colony size before being sold.
Most maricultured colonies come from Indonesia and Bali with some others coming from other island groups like the Marshall Islands. Those areas typically don’t allow export of wild colonies. Many Acropora and Montipora are maricultured with more being added all the time. Clams are virtually all aquacultured or maricultured at this time. In some cases, small clams are collected in the wild and then grown out in lagoons before being sold.
Mariculture is a great way to sustain the local economies that are often relatively poor in undeveloped areas while also preserving the reefs. This will become more common over time and a practice that will help to sustain our hobby as wild reefs are closed to collecting.
Wild: Not surprisingly, this means that the coral is harvested straight from the reefs in the wild. For Acropora, most wild colonies come from either Australia or Fiji. Australian Acropora are much more expensive, but considered more hearty and adaptable to tank life than Acropora collected in Fiji. Most LPS and Soft coral colonies are collected in the wild as well though many frags are aquacultured.
Since we deal with a number of different sources, our selection is always changing. We also have good working relationships with these companies and can often find a coral for a customers who are looking for something in particular, especially when it comes to wild collected corals or large show colonies. If you don’t see it on our website, you can check with us to see if we can get it or if we perhaps have it sitting in one of our tanks but not up on the store.
We do sometimes carry some of the quality recognized corals frags with lineage such as from ORA. What we don’t do is sell the latest ‘XYZ’ named minuscule frag from oversaturated photos for stupid prices, but then there are lots of outfits already filling that niche ;~)