Let's reminisce-p-s! The very first one...

Battlecorals

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…..It’s a vivid memory to me still:


After almost a decade and a half, I can recall perfectly the instances and circumstances, that led me to purchase my very first piece of small polyped "stony" coral. SPS - It was an intimidating acronym. I would browse the SPS lover’s forum and read and wonder with bewilderment about topics that seemed as complicated as they were confusing, and beyond my level of understanding.


But in spite of that feeling I was drawn to these things. Just the sound of the words “es pee es” had a delectable beacon-like ring to me. I knew very early on as a hobbyist that I would inevitably get my hands on what was considered the truest challenge in reef keeping. – a species known as the - Acropora.


The only fish store near me was a tiny “mom-and-pop” called Ken’s Animal House in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, that had been in business since 1979. Ken was an “old timer” and he had been doing this a long while by the time I first walked in the store looking to start up a saltwater tank.


Ken was the king, Junior only by a decade or so, to the featherless, aging parrot, that lived in the back of the store. Now when I say “old timer”, I mean he had been keeping aquariums since the 1960’s and would tell us stories about how he used to be able to get sea turtles and other “oddities” that you would never dream of being traded today. He had a 25 plus year old “softy reef” in the store, with decades old leathers and toadstools that stretched nearly the entire length of the 8 foot tank. On the stand below the tank hung a sign boasting about how it had never seen a single water change. The sound of the luft pump that drove the tiny lime wood skimmer could always be heard while standing in admiration of it. This was Ken’s pride and joy and he never got tired of people praising him in amazement over what he had living inside there. I wish I had a picture of the tank for this thread. I really do. It was an inspiration to all of us and was our first real “introduction” to what a thriving marine reef tank could potentially look like if you “really knew what you were doing”.


But the truth of it was, that as spectacular as a testament to “old-school reefing” practices as the tank was, it was a disaster of a reef tank to any modern standards. Housing a welcome swath of Manjos and Aptasias, and countless other “nuisance” organisms that were cared for with grace like proper residents. They all thrived amid a multitude of other “quirks” and maladies in water that would probably vaporize any newly introduced invert instantly. Still, this was a thing of beauty for reasons far beyond that of the actual aesthetic. It was a living piece of reef aquarium history. In the early 2000’s, this tank was almost as old as I was, and that blew my mind.


At the time SPS was still a very foreign word to me. Ken had never brought anything like that into the store, ever. I did spend a lot of time at Ken's though, and when the new livestock sheet would come through the fax machine listing what was available to order that week, I often got the privilege of having first crack at something that sounded interesting or, a fish that may not come in as often. On one of those occasions he rattled off something along the lines of : “Acropora - blue and Acropora – green”. I didn’t really pay much attention at the time, but a small seed was planted.


When I went home, I started to research a little more about what I had heard. Yeah, this was the “good stuff”! Those reefs I had seen pictures of and drooled over, far beyond the stature of what “old Ken” had housed in his vintage wonder. This was the coral I wanted to keep and everything I had read about it assured me that this endeavor wasn’t going to be easy, which made the allure even stronger. The very next day, I went back to Ken’s, and said to him: “order me that blue one, I am going to go for this!”


A few days later it arrived. Not quite a colony, and not quite a frag, (not that I would've even known the difference), but there before me was the very first piece of living SPS coral I would ever see. Ultimately, pretty underwhelming, and not a hint of blue to it, but I did not care at all. My nervous excitement was in control, and the actual appearance of this thing meant nothing to me. This was an SPS coral, and it was now mine!


I managed to keep it alive, mostly by luck I'm sure, and it grew into a decent size colony over the course of a couple years. Never a standout, but it held an allure with a badge of sentiment that meant more to me than aesthetics. Or so I thought. As I ponder, my memory of that coral’s exact fate - is a bit foggier. I believe that the colony never made it into a new system after an upgrade. Abandoning all sentiment for “prettier coral”. Sadly, it was a rather un-ceremonious end to the acro that was my passage into the entire realm of SPS keeping. Below is the only pic I have of it. And below that is a pic of the 90 gallon it grew up in, loaded with other SPS from Phil, Chad, Dave, Carlos and Menard! Actually now that I think about it, the day I first met Phil deserves its own write up entirely. That was a good day...






So there is my tale, and as I said, I can recall the details so vividly -it feels like yesterday. This was an extremely exciting time for me as a hobbyist. As I reminisce about it, I am reminded about how far this hobby has come in just the years of my own relatively short involvement. Around 15 years now, as of this writing.


So let's hear about yours! What was your first SPS and how did you come to acquire it? Long or short, sad or triumphant - all stories welcome - and pictures are even better. And this includes all the long time veterans as well. Dig up those old pictures, scan them, and jot down a line or two.

Let’s share some stories.
 
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Second Shot

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Great write up!
I'll give it a go...
My SPS journey began in January 2007. I was running a 24 gallon nano cube. I had been wanting to try Acros for some time and finally decided to give it a whirl. I purchased two ORA frags never expecting them to survive. A Yellow Fuzzy and a tri color of sorts.


I managed to keep them doing well until the birth of my first child. Tank was a bit neglected and I lost the tri color. I ended up turning the tank around and the yellow fuzzy chugged on with some new acro company through the years. Then came child #2 along with a new career. Now if you look back at that frag of yellow fuzzy you will see a nice little piece of bubble algae on the plug[emoji33]. Yes this would eventually make me pull the plug. This is it some time before I pulled the plug.
. You can't really see the green tips but I loved this dang coral with the bright green tips and crazy fuzzy polyps! So now here I am with the same tank restarted after a multiple year break. Tank has been running for over a year now but still can't replicate that success. Yes Adam I managed to watch each frag from my pack dwindle away over time, lol. Seems any one I put in looks good for month and then takes a dump. So I was much better off with my first go on a wing and a prayer lol.
 
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Battlecorals

Battlecorals

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Great write up!
I'll give it a go...
My SPS journey began in January 2007. I was running a 24 gallon nano cube. I had been wanting to try Acros for some time and finally decided to give it a whirl. I purchased two ORA frags never expecting them to survive. A Yellow Fuzzy and a tri color of sorts.


I managed to keep them doing well until the birth of my first child. Tank was a bit neglected and I lost the tri color. I ended up turning the tank around and the yellow fuzzy chugged on with some new acro company through the years. Then came child #2 along with a new career. Now if you look back at that frag of yellow fuzzy you will see a nice little piece of bubble algae on the plug[emoji33]. Yes this would eventually make me pull the plug. This is it some time before I pulled the plug.
. You can't really see the green tips but I loved this **** coral with the bright green tips and crazy fuzzy polyps! So now here I am with the same tank restarted after a multiple year break. Tank has been running for over a year now but still can't replicate that success. Yes Adam I managed to watch each frag from my pack dwindle away over time, lol. Seems any one I put in looks good for month and then takes a dump. So I was much better off with my first go on a wing and a prayer lol.

Hey thanks a lot for sharing I love it man great story. Some ups and some downs. Im right there with you man I still don't know how those early colonies thrived like they did when i had no idea what I was doing. I swear I got better growth back then too.

But I'm sorry to hear about the current state . Sounds like a chemistry quirk for sure. I'd be more than happy to help you trouble shoot a little. I have short list of some simple things to go over for people in your situation that may help; you zero in, or cross off possible causes. Shoot me a PM if you'd like to chat a little.

And thanks a lot for the post!
 

gooch

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For me it was fragging my first coral. I was so afraid to cut my colt coral..........yes a colt coral was my first prop job. Probably why I still have a love for soft corals. It started all this craziness. Brown was a cool color back then and years before frag plugs.
 
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Battlecorals

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For me it was fragging my first coral. I was so afraid to cut my colt coral..........yes a colt coral was my first prop job. Probably why I still have a love for soft corals. It started all this craziness. Brown was a cool color back then and years before frag plugs.

Ha awesome man thanks for chiming in! How'd the frag do? How about acros, do you remember your very first piece ever? Im sure you'll have to think back a ways;)
 

gooch

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Actually I do remember my first acro purchase but I do not remember the specifics. I got them from a guy on the east coast, I wish I could remember his name. He was one of only a couple guys selling sps frags back then. Green Monti digitata was hot back then.


The colt coral did just fine. I bet I made 30-40 cuttings off that thing before I moved on to something else. Frags back then were 6-8". I remember a guy in minnesota that had a 1700 gallon tank. He offered us a few sps frags and not one of them was under 8".
 

gooch

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And your right it seemed like coral grew faster back then. VHO actinic and puke yellow halide bulbs that made your tank look like crap but it was sooooo awesome.
 
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Battlecorals

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And your right it seemed like coral grew faster back then. VHO actinic and puke yellow halide bulbs that made your tank look like crap but it was sooooo awesome.
I still us the iwasakis! Greatest bulb for sps ever!
 

pickupman66

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OH man. Cool post and glad to reminisce. My first SPS was actualy a few of them at the same time.

1. Elkhorn. I never see this in today's trade. it grew like a freaking weed in my old 75 under 110watt VHO's. Man those were some coral growing bulbs. I miss my VHO. Purchased January 2006. Ill take some now if I can find it.
PICT0221.JPG

From there, I also got a Scripps Blue millipora and a hunk of montipora Cap. the elkhorn I had for a LONG while until tank was broken down and sold in 2010.

Here is my first Reef. 75 gal AGA with a sump, no working skimmer, DIY coil denitrator, Iwaki Closed loop, 440 watts of VHO baby. and I didnt change this water from 2008 to 2010.
IMG_1066.JPG
SANY0615.JPG


As you can see, once i got the bug, I got it hard. Elkhorn in 2006, FTS and the photo with my youngest boy in 2008.
 

BoneXriffic

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Awesome story! My first SPS (minus a monti) is still at your store waiting for me to buy! Not sure I am ready yet but this story gives me hope. Thanks for sharing
 
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Battlecorals

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OH man. Cool post and glad to reminisce. My first SPS was actualy a few of them at the same time.

1. Elkhorn. I never see this in today's trade. it grew like a freaking weed in my old 75 under 110watt VHO's. Man those were some coral growing bulbs. I miss my VHO. Purchased January 2006. Ill take some now if I can find it.
PICT0221.JPG

From there, I also got a Scripps Blue millipora and a hunk of montipora Cap. the elkhorn I had for a LONG while until tank was broken down and sold in 2010.

Here is my first Reef. 75 gal AGA with a sump, no working skimmer, DIY coil denitrator, Iwaki Closed loop, 440 watts of VHO baby. and I didnt change this water from 2008 to 2010.
IMG_1066.JPG
SANY0615.JPG


As you can see, once i got the bug, I got it hard. Elkhorn in 2006, FTS and the photo with my youngest boy in 2008.

Nice man. Great post! Love the pics. You are so right about that elk horn too., I had one back then as well. I cant remember the last time I've seen one since that guy.

 

pickupman66

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Nice man. Great post! Love the pics. You are so right about that elk horn too., I had one back then as well. I cant remember the last time I've seen one since that guy.

Adam, yours looks like t encrusted much more than mine did. I dont recall mine ever encrusting solidly. it was such a fragile piece and easy to break apart. Funny, now I dont have a single SPS in my current tank. I had a 180 that was 90% sps that was lost due to ... well, i still dont know. I had beat back AEFW and it rebounded great, then all SPS just STN'd and I never really knew why. sold it almost 2 years ago and now my 66 gallon tank is a very nice mixed LPS and Zoa tank. ive been very hesitant to get back to the sps. I know my water is good, but something prevents SPS from doing well in this tank (same rock as the 180). One day, ill put my finger on it and get back
 

Scottsquatch

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My very first acropora was back in 2000. It was a little frag that I actually got in a bag of GARF grunge. It was a pale orange color, but to me it was like an infusion of blaze orange and solid gold! Man did I ever worship that thing! I had an acro? Me? I was in the big time! It made all my little zoas, toadstools, and mushrooms pale in comparison even though in reality they were probably prettier than that scrawny little washed out stick. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see how that coral turned out due to a divorce and an evil woman who emptied the tank and dumped the contents in the backyard. That was what led to my 13 year "break" from the hobby. I've been back into reef keeping for a few years now with a 5 gallon nano but I haven't had much success with the sps in that little tank. I have been working on a proper build for a while now and I'm just about ready to go full steam ahead into sps. As George Castanza would say " I'm back baby!"
 
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Salty1962

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My first experience with SPS corals was after I joined our local reefing club. I got a custom built 90G with 2x 250W halides with 4x T5s. I was very fortunate with it until life got in the way. I have a 65G now and am struggling with everything. I still love it!

FTSRS121010[1].jpg
 
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Battlecorals

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My very first acropora was back in 2000. It was a little frag that I actually got in a bag of GARF grunge. It was a pale orange color, but to me it was like an infusion of blaze orange and solid gold! Man did I ever worship that thing! I had an acro? Me? I was in the big time! It made all my little zoas, toadstools, and mushrooms pale in comparison even though in reality they were probably prettier than that scrawny little washed out stick. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see how that coral turned out due to a divorce and an evil woman who emptied the tank and dumped the contents in the backyard. That was what led to my 13 year "break" from the hobby. I've been back into reef keeping for a few years now with a 5 gallon nano but I haven't had much success with the sps in that little tank. I have been working on a proper build for a while now and I'm just about ready to go full steam ahead into sps. As George Castanza would say " I'm back baby!"


Awe man the story starts out so awesome:( Thats a tough way to loose a system, I have a friend who had a scorned flame bleach the whole system. it was bad. But hey, glad to see you back in the game:) thanks a lot for the post!
 
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Battlecorals

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Actually I do remember my first acro purchase but I do not remember the specifics. I got them from a guy on the east coast, I wish I could remember his name. He was one of only a couple guys selling sps frags back then. Green Monti digitata was hot back then.


The colt coral did just fine. I bet I made 30-40 cuttings off that thing before I moved on to something else. Frags back then were 6-8". I remember a guy in minnesota that had a 1700 gallon tank. He offered us a few sps frags and not one of them was under 8".

Just plain cool
 

Griff

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Adam,
What a great write up. I love how one generation of reefing led to another. Still trying to get my 525 liter reefer up and running and look to do a large order with you in about 6 months.
 

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It was only a year and a half ago for my first acro purchase. I can vividly remember buying it as a "test" piece. It was a stubby, browned out alledged "ORA", not healed yet trade-in but for $15 it was perfect for me. It never really grew much in my first tank and it was always brown, but it was still alive and that's all that mattered. After 6 months and little to no growth I got a new tank and a more sps focused system and to my amazement in one year that piece went from brown to quite the specimen. It's still my favorite piece.

1 year ago
20150503_105736.jpg


Most recent pics
20160311_192100.jpg

Top down
20160419_193247.jpg
 

Vaughn17

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Acropora palmata is on the endangered species list, listed as threatened, so it is (hopefully) not being imported any longer, at least not legally.

My first sps was a really ugly green digi. Over the years, I have tried many methods of killing it but still it lives. At one point it even developed cool orange polyp centers, as I believe it may have borrowed some zoox from a neighboring m. setosa colony, but then it fell behind the rockscape where it resided in the dark until I found it months later, minus its cool orange friends and back to its original army green color.

Wow, Adam, not sure which acro is my fav from my last order. Really loving the sky parade, the GC acroberry and efflo, the blue humilis, shades of jaundice, marmalade n jade, and nilbog residence, and all the others. So glad I found Battlecorals!!!
 
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Battlecorals

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It was only a year and a half ago for my first acro purchase. I can vividly remember buying it as a "test" piece. It was a stubby, browned out alledged "ORA", not healed yet trade-in but for $15 it was perfect for me. It never really grew much in my first tank and it was always brown, but it was still alive and that's all that mattered. After 6 months and little to no growth I got a new tank and a more sps focused system and to my amazement in one year that piece went from brown to quite the specimen. It's still my favorite piece.

1 year ago
20150503_105736.jpg


Most recent pics
20160311_192100.jpg

Top down
20160419_193247.jpg

Excellent job! Looks great. Hang on to that piece by all means if you move be sure to frag it and have a back up. Thanks a ton for posting
 

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