Why promote an aquarium with soft corals?

CanuckReefer

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My Hairy's and Rhodacs, both over twenty years old. The hairy are funny. Some days they are four inches across and some days six across. When they are big, they look just like an elegance.
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Same here....some days my hairy's are huge others not...mine not quite the colours yours have. My first 'specimens' over 20 like yours....
I do love em, as they grow, but don't overtake. I actually have a leather that has decided to bury its head into the colony last month or so, likely a goner....
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Jposch

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Softies definitely suck. They suck to test alk and it hasn't moved in 2 weeks, they suck because they grow so fast you have to trim them every month. They suck because a full soft coral tank isn't a just another cookie cutter SPS tank. They suck because they co.sume too many nitrates and you forget what hair algae is. They suck becuase you can never find phosphates. They suck because you don't need crazy blue leds to enjoy the different colors and grow patterns. God, I just hate those dang soft corals.
 

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Jposch

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Love this thread! Softie dominated tanks can be just as colorful as SPS tanks and have their challenges as well. I've slowly transitioned to a full softie tank and haven't looked back!!
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You did cheat a little with the anemones, but I'll let it slide. Ha. Definitely a nice sight after seeing all of the sps, euphillya or zoa tanks.
 

Grey Guy

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Why promote an aquarium with soft corals?


The beauty and movement that soft corals give to an aquarium, regardless of gallons, is unique to our hobby.

Beauty -color​

For many years soft corals had a limited variety of colors. This has now been completely overthrown in the category of polyps and mushrooms, and has been somewhat enriched in the rest of the soft ones. Polyp and mushrooms have surpassed all hard sps corals in a variety of colors, combinations and formations, and compete with even the highest priced lps.

Beauty movement​

Obviously the movement they offer in our aquarium is almost unique, with only some euphilia pricey large colonies being able to emulate.

Beauty size​

Those who have been lucky enough to have dived on tropical reefs have really seen the beauty that large coral colonies can have. Few aquariums have large corals, over a foot, and even fewer can maintain these sizes for many years.
Soft corals specialize in growth and large sizes. You can buy a cheap frag today for and in 12 months it will become a world class aquarium coral showpiece.

Easy - beginner​

One of the obstacles facing the development of the aquarium reef hobby is the complexity of the setup and the mortality of its organisms. This disenfranchises most people that start anew a feed tank. BRS says that the percentage of nedd reefers leaving the hobby is close to 80% (they claim that their customers are at 50% instead.)

Soft corals, almost all of them, can withstand alot, ALOT. They can bear to overfeed them, but also not to feed them enough. They can withstand temperature drops, and some increases, they can withstand changing water from the sea, or not changing water at all. They generally endure!
This can make new hobbyists not disappointed with the hobby, and become real reef tank lovers!

Easy- experienced​

Things are even better for the time tested aquarists. The cost of the aquarium is reduced by not using (or minimal use) zeovit, calc reactors, a-b + dosing, balling, water changes and of course by much lower lighting.

Hobby development​

This is where my adoration for soft corals takes off! The ease with which you can propagate, frag and fragswap is great! If you can multiply discosoma mushrooms, you can exchange them for literally hundreds of morphs! The same for every kind of mushroom and polyp. And if you can not multiply Xenia or green star polyp…. maybe you forget to put water in your aquarium? :)

Ecology​

Here things are even more responsible. Soft corals, even when removed from the reef, do not reduce reef size or biodiversity. But their easy reproduction in home aquariums for beginners greatly reduces the need to source them from a reef.


For me, personally, the soft coral aquarium is not a stepping stone, it is an ultimate goal. It is beauty in every way, it is sharing with my fellow teammates, it is an ecological approach, it is also convenience! I can imagine few reasons where I will need to spend more time with my soft aquarium than caring for a dog, or a small garden.

So, please see soft coral aquariums as a viable way to increase the numbers of reefers, and not as stepping stone to mixed reef difficulty, or colorful arrays of sticks.
Thanks. I am going for a soft coral reef. I agree with everything you’re saying.
 

Jposch

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Here's a top down of my 4ft² frag tank with all softies. I need a bigger display tank. Ha.
 

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MixedFruitBasket

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Soft corals are great but diversity is a little lacking for color from the leathers. Supplement with zoas, mushrooms. Though flow and movement, shapes provide a lot of interest. Running 8 mixed Reef, from 5 gallons to 65 gallons.

This is why I love stereonephthya, chromo, and litophyton. They come in a montage of colors. Basically the soft coral's version of Acropora.
 
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MixedFruitBasket

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True dat! Though there are several NPS that are octocorallia and softies also. If I am not wrong the entire nepthia family?

I am sure I would avoid them... But that is just me.

Amazing center piece!


Advancing the hobby does not exclude making things easier.
An ecological choice of corals also is advancing the hobby.
Less deaths in homes is also advancing the hobby, and better fengshui...

Pedantic... Not focused on politeness, are we? Try to befriend people without insulting them.
Octocorallia include all sea fans and soft corals, photosynthetic or not.
 

ClownWrangler

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I've seen some pretty colorful tanks with mostly zoas, palys and leathers, but you need to throw in some LPS as well. Hammers, frogspawn and torches go well with softies. I often forget that Euphyllia are LPS because there is no visible skeleton.
 

MixedFruitBasket

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And in all fairness, the reason why there are so many “boring” soft corals out there it’s because people who buy them don’t know to demand better, people who sell them often don't want to bother cause “real” hobbyists have sps. And then hobbyists often think they have to suffer the ugly corals before they can graduate to the cool kid’s table. And what blows my mind is the massive amount of soft corals out there that are NOT boring and drab colored but aren’t collected because “no one wants them” (see above for that cycle). There are so many that a couple of biologists I know have stated they are close to pest levels and need to be thinned out. At that amount they would be super cheap if they were to be imported because of the shear number of them. I really wish there was a way to push the US to open soft coral import from Fiji. They appear to sell to everywhere but here because for some reason the us categorizes dead rock in the same class as live sps corals. If the softies were on man made rock we could probably get some but I’ve heard that it’s not worth the time of someone like Walt smith to attach to man made bases because more melt or break up to escape than stay. And countries that are doing that have to charge way more than importers want to pay and sell far fewer due to the overhead and get less profit. When I go to a LRS I see *hundreds* of different sps corals available and almost as many lps but rarely are there any softies at all aside from overpriced zoas or designer mushrooms. Once I saw frags of koji that were tiny and they wanted 100 bucks each. Which is fine because it’s worth it. And they sold out of it pretty quick. However when I’ve offered to sell them koji they only want to give 5.00 a frag. So that’s the kind of profit margin many of these places sell at. People don’t bat an eye (usually) for fancy name zoas or chalice or sps but they balk at paying that amount for a tiny “soft” coral. And if they can’t get that kind of profit margin they aren’t interested. And yes LFS have huge overhead especially the good ones with good employees. I have no problems with them charging whatever they want, but because they can’t get the same high price for soft corals (350.00 for scoly and such) it’s not worth their time to find interesting soft corals and that’s sad. Personally I would rather buy from my local person than import what I want. Because I dont import 300lbs of coral at once or because what I want isn’t the “standard” sps and requires a person to know what they are looking for beyond “this one is stiff” and “this one is wavy”, I wind up paying a MINT for a handful of colonies that are kind of accidentally found and would be otherwise thrown away. It’s painful honestly. Especially when you’re wagering a box of 10 will have 50% fatality due to shoddy shipping (again with the whole these aren’t worth caring about).
 
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Jposch

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And in all fairness, the reason why there are so many “boring” soft corals out there it’s because people who buy them don’t know to demand better, people who sell them often don't want to bother cause “real” hobbyists have sps. And then hobbyists often think they have to suffer the ugly corals before they can graduate to the cool kid’s table. And what blows my mind is the massive amount of soft corals out there that are NOT boring and drab colored but aren’t collected because “no one wants them” (see above for that cycle). There are so many that a couple of biologists I know have stated they are close to pest levels and need to be thinned out. At that amount they would be super cheap if they were to be imported because of the shear number of them. I really wish there was a way to push the US to open soft coral import from Fiji. They appear to sell to everywhere but here because for some reason the us categorizes dead rock in the same class as live sps corals. If the softies were on man made rock we could probably get some but I’ve heard that it’s not worth the time of someone like Walt smith to attach to man made bases because more melt or break up to escape than stay. And countries that are doing that have to charge way more than importers want to pay and sell far fewer due to the overhead and get less profit. When I go to a LRS I see *hundreds* of different sps corals available and almost as many lps but rarely are there any softies at all aside from overpriced zoas or designer mushrooms. Once I saw frags of koji that were tiny and they wanted 100 bucks each. Which is fine because it’s worth it. And they sold out of it pretty quick. However when I’ve offered to sell them koji they only want to give 5.00 a frag. So that’s the kind of profit margin many of these places sell at. People don’t bat an eye (usually) for fancy name zoas or chalice or sps but they balk at paying that amount for a tiny “soft” coral. And if they can’t get that kind of profit margin they aren’t interested. And yes LFS have huge overhead especially the good ones with good employees. I have no problems with them charging whatever they want, but because they can’t get the same high price for soft corals (350.00 for scoly and such) it’s not worth their time to find interesting soft corals and that’s sad. Personally I would rather buy from my local person than import what I want. Because I dont import 300lbs of coral at once or because what I want isn’t the “standard” sps and requires a person to know what they are looking for beyond “this one is stiff” and “this one is wavy”, I wind up paying a MINT for a handful of colonies that are kind of accidentally found and would be otherwise thrown away. It’s painful honestly. Especially when you’re wagering a box of 10 will have 50% fatality due to shoddy shipping (again with the whole these aren’t worth caring about).
It's because someone stateside thought it was unsustainable. Walt Smith is arguably the most sustainable collector/coral farmer in the world. Only 10% of his farmed coral was being sold. The other 90% was all being replanted. All man-made rock for frags and live rock. Just another political move like the Hawaii ban. Emotions are prioritized over facts and science. We all know Fiji has some of the best soft coral.
 

Jposch

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These are recent findings at local distributor. Labeled a cladialla, and other was incorrectly labeled a lobophytum. I have a 4ftx4ft frag tank full of soft coral colonies and frags I have a hard time selling. Lol but, when i do, it's like $15-$20 for each big chunky frag.
 

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