!!!THE VANISHING OF THE NUANCE!!!

Discussion in 'Battlecorals' started by Battlecorals, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. Battlecorals

    Battlecorals Aquaculturist R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    There has, without question, been something lost in the art and chase/desire for a fully satisfied SPS tank, filled with sprawling and mature small polyped colonies. A phenomenon I like to refer to as "nub tanks” - and whether a fad, or here to stay, has taken hold and has become somewhat of the new “norm” in reef keeping. There’s a couple obvious reasons I feel, one being impatience, and while I won’t put all the blame on greedy hobbyist that can’t seem to let their pricey sticks grow, there has to be some accounting for a selection that simply does not grow as fast as others. It’s a commitment for sure, and if your goal is to fill up a tank with mature colonies, then you’re in it for the long haul. It seems that this chase/desire and reward is no longer as coveted as perhaps it once was, but that chase is fully realized and exemplified beautifully here. It's an oldie, but I still drool in awe and envy over Menards' legendary 300, from back around 2004! This was the kind of tank I, along with many of you dreamed of one day having.

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    You see, we have in recent years, chosen form over function, opting to rather gaze endlessly at teeny, slow growing “nubs” with exhaustive amounts of color over those calcium slurping monochromatic clusters. Now I get it completely - and have subscribed to the same school of thought myself for many years. Why wouldn’t I put the most insane looking frags in my tank? I mean - this is that stuff dreams are made of - right? I mean, you mash your nose to the glass and drool out loud while you take in all those mind blowing color nuances! Right?

    But what do we see when we take a few steps back? That couch on the other side of the room that you lay in and ogle at your nubs, envisioning one day, long from now, that you will finally have something more to enjoy than these. What happens to those radiant little wonders?

    I’ll tell you - All that blinding, oozing, and irresistibly expensive color: those pink tips and orange polyps - they disappear completely. What you are left with, if you have been disciplined enough to let them grow large enough to see from across the room is…………..STRUCTURE - and base color at best! No polyps, no contrasts, and absolutely no nuance. From the other side of the room, what you can really see, are the negative spaces and the welcome crowding of these spaces by branches of your thriving Acros in an effort to fill them, as illustrated brilliantly in Michael Moyes' Epic 500.

    Mikes' reef is a perfect example of careful attention to structure. I'd say this one passes the across the room test quite well. Realize that stag in the middle is nearly 24" across!

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    This is a concept that did not come to me quickly. In fact, I believe that until you’ve had and seen Acros grow up enough to fill a tank, does the consideration ever find you. While this is something I have thought about a lot in the past, I had never actually considered basing my own coral selections solely on structure, until I was forced to start over with my quaint, personal display, after a recent leak. Somewhere in the planning process I just had the thought - it was fast and obvious. This time I was going to abandon any consideration for fancy color in favor of structure and negative space respectively. I mean I’m not throwing big brown blobs in there, but I have focused primarily on how and where the coral is going to grow, and not what the color of the tips are or any other subtle nuance that would have in the past been the driving force behind my selective process. Now I was really studying some of the patterns of coral I’ve been looking at for years and have otherwise taken for granted. I was seeing things in them I had never seen before and possibilities I had never considered because originally I was way more interested in color than structure - as most of us are.

    Hobby veteran Mike Palettas' amazing and albeit a little crowded,;) but well organized super-tank.

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    Being a vendor of lots of the same kinds of Acros, I am essentially now shunning myself, and throwing together a little write up about my escapades. This may seem counterproductive, and it is, without question. Or, perhaps I am really just using this as a debatably clever way to prop up some of the old forgotten bread and butter. You're thinking, “is he really telling us to buy “regular” looking coral?”, and to forget about all the hyped up super-color flavors of the day? Well yes and no. What I mean is, this is something that people need to think more about when considering what they intend to put in their tanks. Think less about the radiating colors of the frag you’re about to drop 1k on, and much more about what it’s going to look like as a mature colony among other mature colonies from across the room. See the coral as a small but essential part of a bigger grander picture. Of course personal taste will win in the end and I completely understand the desire to buy the prettiest coral you can find. But planning for and selecting coral that will complement and build on, and accentuate the space they will eventually take up, is truly an art, and one I feel that has either all but vanished, or perhaps never really even established itself as a whole, but I have a feeling Dogboy Dave Turner would disagree with me on that one, as his reef has been the envy of many for years now, and is another exquisite example of proper attention to future potential at its finest.

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    In the end, keeping a mature SPS reef tank is not an easy thing to accomplish. It takes a lot of time and effort, and the kind of patience reserved only for “Saints” as they say. Maybe the majority of frags out there, never even hit the 2 year mark, let alone the 5, or 10 even. Whether they are fraged again and again, or enthusiasm fades and tanks come down, or maybe they just don’t thrive for reasons we never do figure out. Having a tank full of matures colonies, is without a doubt, one of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of this hobby. And when careful attention to details yet to be realized is imagined, the final reward will be the most gratifying and spellbinding of all, as you can clearly see in one of my favorite reef tanks ever. Observe
    Peter Eichlers' 156 gallon beauty! A true testament to the accomplishments of structural selectivity, that completely validates the entire idea of this write up! Just look at how each colony complements the next effortlessly as your eyes bounce from one to the next.

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    And, I had to amend the thread to include another one of my favorite reefs. Reefbum has also demonstrated with this landmark tank, how articulate attention to detail will pay off tremendously once your colonies mature. Think about how far apart the individual frags actually were when you look at this one. And I'll leave you with that.

    [​IMG]


    Quick thanks to the pros that let me showcase their reefs for this one, and DL for the polish. You guy's are the creme of the crop!

    And if you've got a tank that you're are proud of and want to show off here, please do so. I tapped my good friends for pics that I knew would suit the article, but I have no doubt we can fill this thread up with lots more so don't be shy. Let's see those tanks of yours from across the room. And no close ups allowed!;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
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  2. Shep

    Shep Acan Connoisseur Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa

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    Haha I was hoping that there was going to be a very chunky pack listed at end, darn :p
     
  3. Wolff92

    Wolff92 Active Member

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    Here is my tank. Some of these colonies I have grown out from small frags over the years. I have dealt with leaking tanks, transfers, moving, etc and the overall set back -being a broke law student. But over the years and working at a local fish store here in town I've been able to gain the knowledge of keeping SPS from some of the finest reef keepers I know personally

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  4. authentic

    authentic Well-Known Member

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    I used Youngil Moon as my inspiration for the Rockscape ,most of my expensive sps nubs are still not permanently secured while i search for the perfect placement.I believe i have a good start of negative space from across the room but realy have no clear idea of how these nubs will look as mature colonies.I do have a few frags from WWC purchased from there store and seeing the full grown colonies.It would be helpful to have a source to see what corals look like when mature to use as a guide.seems like the best way to find out is having grown a coral out in a previous tank and realizing that it was in the wrong spot after its too late.Tabling acros are pretty simple,they table,but what about the rest?i would love to find out before mine are secured and encrusted.

    IMG_2080.JPG
     
  5. Wolff92

    Wolff92 Active Member

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    All these pictures were taken with an IPhone one of these days I'll get myself a fancy camera. I'm sitting in the court house waiting to file some paperwork staring at pictures of my tank and all the tanks you posted Battlecorals drooling.
     
  6. reefwiser

    reefwiser LMAS R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Article Contributor

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    When I started keeping SPS in the early 90's we started with small colonies. There where no nub's we only would have nubs if we where trying to save a colony that had RTN'ed. No one started out with nubs. It is hard to know where to place a single stick end of a coral when you don't know how it will grow outwards. I find today's focus on nub's a problem in that it can take 3 years to see what lives and thrives in your tank. Not every fancy nub will grow out to be a knock out full SPS colony. But the vast majority of SPS vendors deal in frag and not colonies. I am starting to buy more small colonies than 1 inch frags as I have found them to be hardier than the small bits of coral and I like that I can see the form that the coral is taking so placement is easy.
     
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  7. Squibbles

    Squibbles Member

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    I won't have a FTS until later tonight, but I do have some pretty terrible colony shots! Tank was set up in Feb, so nearly a years worth of growth or less from frags. I'll add a FTS in an edit tonight. ;)
    DSC_0090.JPG DSC_0087.JPG DSC_0084.JPG DSC_0081.JPG
     
  8. UFreefer

    UFreefer Active Member

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    Thank you! Someone finally put it words very well and with good examples. All of these fad tenuis nub frags are going to just look normal, yet still very nice, like many of the ORA "chips" type corals that have been around for 10 years. I've been out of the hobby for the past few years and when I came back two months ago, I was like really?? Tenuis is hot? So many of the in demand corals right now, have such a similar growth structure that the reefs don't look very natural or at least unique. For me, the most impressive tanks are the ones that also have big stags, Solis/efflos, high flow acros like gemmifera etc. To each his own ;)
     
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  9. twon8

    twon8 Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    My 300g setup in September 2010

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  10. Cubed Reefer

    Cubed Reefer Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    What I am hoping to do with my new tank!
     
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  11. Battlecorals

    Battlecorals Aquaculturist R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Nice one, thanks for sharing. Another good example. Loving the table in the upper right. Is that Copps Tut by any chance?
     
  12. Battlecorals

    Battlecorals Aquaculturist R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    lol no no no my good friend. We want to see shots from far away! No close ups allowed in this on!:p
     
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  13. Vaughn17

    Vaughn17 Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful and amazing tanks, all!!! Dogboy's is my fav.

    "Big brown blobs," lol, Adam, you should write a funny little book about reef keeping.
     
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  14. authentic

    authentic Well-Known Member

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    check out this youngil moon video
     
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  15. rayn

    rayn Bluefin Believer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Showcase Editor

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    I have wondered the same over the past few years. When I started, albeit a bit scarred of sps, everything was a colony. Sps, Lps, whatever. You paid 30-40 and got a handful of coral. Now I look and see this little bitty half inch something and am paying the same price or more. Want a colony? Try 150+.

    I have no issue allowing corals to grow out, heck after setup that's the fun! But it can be daunting trying to keep all these fragged sticks alive and thriving.
     
  16. Squibbles

    Squibbles Member

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    2015-12-28.jpg
     
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  17. ermartin

    ermartin Active Member

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    I kind of disagree with this statement. For me the thrill/challenge is growing the frags from small NUBS to big colonies. But i don't keep them once they get big. Funny that this article just hit my eyes today as I'm about to butcher my tank as there are to many mommies in it. I don't chop them up I will actually trade them in for store credit or trade or give them away. I have been into reeftanks/coral for over 20 years and aquariums for over 40 years. I'm in it for the longer haul. I like to grow things both indoors and out. I never look at my front yard or back yard and say ah its finished when most would . the same way i never look at any of my tanks and say.. its done

    well maybe because we have learned so much in the last 20plus years its not as much of a challenge to those who have entered the hobby more recently. With LED's, skimmers, controllers, wavemakers, auto-dosers, and all the other magic stuff that has appeared in the last 5-7 years heck Reef ready tanks if your pocket book is big enough and your serious you will be successful.
     
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  18. rovster

    rovster Well-Known Member

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    Adam we've texted about this very think. I think I've fallen victim to a bit of overstocking but my vision is still possible with what I have. Below is my most recent FTS. Still mostly nubs but my vision is stags on the crests of the islands, all my milles are in the middle with room to table outward and all the bushy and deep water stuff is down low and in the background.

    [​IMG]

    All the Zoas and lps is around the perimeter for added texture and movement.

    At this rate I need another 2 years before it's considered mature!
     
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  19. Battlecorals

    Battlecorals Aquaculturist R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    BETTER!;) Looking great man Thanks for sharing!
     
  20. 007Bond

    007Bond Active Member

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    Really like the placement of colors, sizes, and textures :)
     
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