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Reef2Rainforest feature: CORAL Reef Visions BONUS: UC Masterpiece Valida

Reef2Rainforest feature: CORAL Reef Visions BONUS: UC Masterpiece Valida


The Unique Corals Masterpiece Valida, as featured in the May/June 2022 issue of CORAL Magazine. Photographer: Diego Sanchez/Unique Corals

See more about this Acropora in the May/June CORAL, pages 22-23

CORAL‘s Reef Visions column showcases new and noteworthy corals and other reef life that show up in the current marine aquarium livestock trade. The Reef Visions format gives priority to rich, enthralling photography paired with concise, simplified nuggets of background into the husbandry and story of the featured organisms.

CORAL Magazine, Volume 19-3, May/June 2022. Click cover to subscribe!

However, sometimes our collaborators offer up far more insight than the printed page allows, such as with the coral we showcase here. What follows is the full text, as written by Unique Corals aquaculturist Emilio De Anda.

UC MASTERPIECE VALIDA
Acropora valida
Unique Corals
Van Nuys, California
uniquecorals.com
Geographic Origin: Unique Corals Station (UCSI), Solomon Islands
Light Level: High (700+ PAR)
Flow Level: High and Turbulent. We run a Panta Rhei ECM 75 and a few MP60s on a 500gal system powered by an Abyzz return pump (running at 70% output).

Care Level: Intermediate. Hardy for SPS. This colony has been with us in-house for a little under a year and has been propagated only a few times. We are finally releasing frags to the public and are excited to see what the hobby is able to do with this one-of-a-kind piece.

Notes: A large majority of the Acropora received from our UCSI (Unique Corals Solomon Island) station consists of A. millepora, A. hyacinthus, and A. prostrata. Anything that comes from the Solomon Island station that is not one of the above was essentially one in a million.

As a result, we have held back and are currently farming many species of Solomon Island Acroporas including A. aculeus, A. spathulata, A. sarmentosa, A. chesterfieldensis, A. carduus, A. loripes, and everyone’s favorite…A. microclados!

The UC Masterpiece Valida (A. valida) will be one of the first truly aquacultured Solomon Island pieces to hit our online website, and we could not be any more proud of the result. This specimen contains a true rainbow of colors consisting of purples, blues, greens, whites, oranges, and everything in between.

You can easily find healthy, aquacultured, and pest-free Solomon Island pieces on our WYSIWYG webstore by searching for corals tagged with “UCSI”.

 

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Live Rock From Australia Lands In U.S. -by Coral Magazine

Live Rock From Australia Lands In U.S. -by Coral Magazine

The latest feature in the Coral Magazine Online Forum,  by Matt Pedersen

Live Rock From Australia Lands In U.S.

03 Nov, 2021

California-based Unique Corals is showing off a rare offering in the reef aquarium hobby: Live Rock from Australia!

“Real” life rock was once a cornerstone of the reef aquarium hobby, and has pretty much been replaced by man-made or quarried rock options to form the foundation of a modern reef aquarium. If you wanted actual “live rock” that had been in the ocean, your options were pretty limited in recent years, mainly relying on aquaculture rock from Florida or a few other locations abroad. “Real” live rock, it seems, is now quite rare in the hobby, and with that, it’s noteworthy to share a recent announcement from Los Angeles area Unique Corals.


Another look at this Australian live rock, highlighting heavy coraline algae growth along with sponges, Halimeda macro algae, and no doubt other exciting finds that you won’t encounter on dry, man-made or quarried rock.

via Unique Corals

We have beautiful Australian Live Rock here and in stock at Unique!

These rocks have been sustainably harvested and are covered in stunning coralline calcification. This rock spent less than 4 days going from ocean to tank in the U.S.

Pieces are non-WYSIWYG’; shapes and sizes will vary. $19.99 per pound.

Order yours before they are all gone!

 

Unique Corals’ Joseph Caparatta shared a bit more of the back-story behind this rare and “unique” offering!

“We brought in some rock from a small coral collector in the Cairns region to establish help establish some biological needs for a science lab. The lab is planned around an Acropora spawning project in the U.S. with help from Dr. Jamie Craggs.

“Because the systems were set up only a month or so prior to the naturally occurring spawning dates, we needed something to jump-start the tanks. Along with some seasoned MarcoRocks from our Unique Corals systems, we all decided that some freshly collected Australian rock would be beneficial.

“We are now offering the surplus to everyone. Depending on how this goes we might decide to offer it on a regular basis if we are promised that collection sites are deemed non-impactful and spread out to different reefs.”


This Australian live rock showcases an amazing diversity of life. How much unique biodiversity can you spy in this photo?

 

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Our rare and exclusive abalones

Our rare and exclusive abalones

We have had a ton of interest in our special Abalones. They sold out in less than a day. We expect more to be available soon. If you would like to be notified, please send us a message with your name and email to be added to the interest ilst.

These interesting animals are voracious algae eating machines.

Here's a recent article by Reefbuilders on our Abalones:

 

Rare Tropical Abalones Now Available from Unique Corals

You would think that large abalones would bulldoze around like a giant Turbo snail but we actually keep five inch specimens of the ass’s ear abalone, Haliotis asinina, and we are incredibly surprised at how delicately they move around the tank and in between the corals. These hardy gastropods live much longer than nearly all the typical cleanup snails and a single specimen can mow down as much tough algaes as an army of typical snails and despite having very flat shells they never flip over since they are always firmly attached to rocks or the tank walls. 

 

We’ve been looking out for more abalones to spread throughout our tanks for nearly three years and for all the work they do and how long they live, the $20 retail price of the red shelled abalones is an incredible value. Besides all of the work they do abalones are very beautiful and interesting creatures and it’s always a fun surprise to see them cruising around the tank, carefully avoiding corals, constantly on the lookout for the next thick patch of algae to graze on. [Unique Corals]

 

 

 

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Latest ReefBuilders feature on UCSI

Latest ReefBuilders feature on UCSI

Solomon Island Acropora millepora Are Taking Over Unique Corals

 

 

Article by Jake Adams, at https://reefbuilders.com/2021/06/30/solomon-island-acropora-millepora-are-taking-over-unique-corals/

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Coral Magazine sits down with our Joe and discusses mushrooms

"Chatting Bounce Mushrooms with Unique Corals’ Joe Caparatta"

Maximum bounce? This Bounce Mushroom (Rhodactis sp.) from Unique Corals is an example of the highly-inflated vesicles that give these corals an outrageous appearance.

Maximum bounce? This Bounce Mushroom (Rhodactis sp.) from Unique Corals is an example of the highly-inflated vesicles that give these corals an outrageous appearance. (view current mushrooms inventory)

Bounce Mushrooms captivate the minds of reefkeepers and coral farmers alike, and the trend has had a bit of staying power. I can’t say that many corals have inspired a road trip halfway across the country in hopes of maybe finding one.

Such is the story of my last-minute attendance at MACNA 2017, when I wound up hitching a ride to New Orleans with a much younger Minnesotan reef aquarist who was making the road trip. The purchase of corals was one of the main motivations to make the nearly 24-hour drive each way.

During our time there, my traveling companion shared his excitement over the quarter-sized Bounce Mushroom he had purchased on the show floor, one of his few really “must-have” corals that had inspired the road trip in the first place. It was the coral he had been hoping to find. No doubt it cost him several hundred dollars and was babied in a temporary aquarium set up just for the event, before being carefully transported back to Minnesota. Even now in 2019, the Bounce Mushrooms offered by retailers are still demanding price tags of several hundred dollars.

Thinh Vu's Bounce Eclectus Mushroom combines the brilliant allure of Jawbreaker type Discosoma, with the amazing bounce morphology more typically seen in Rhodactis sp. You can learn more about this coral in the March/April 2019 issue of CORAL Magazine.

Thinh Vu’s Bounce Eclectus Mushroom combines the brilliant allure of Jawbreaker type Discosoma, with the amazing bounce morphology more typically seen in Rhodactis sp. You can learn more about this coral in the March/April 2019 issue of CORAL Magazine.

The recent revelation of an incredible Bounce Electus Mushroom, discovered and shared with CORAL readers by Thinh Vu of Mythical Corals in the Rarities column of the March/April 2019 issue of CORAL, demanded a fresh round of discussion regarding the “Bounce” phenomenon, and what it all means for coral keepers. Joseph Caparatta (Joe), the man behind Unique Corals, answered our call for more opinions.

CORAL: Joe, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. What’s your take on the bounce shroom phenom?

Unique Corals: My take as a businessman and entrepreneur is that there’s obviously a lot of financial reward. Bounce mushrooms can be immediately sliced (propagated) with minimal risk, and this yields a great amount of money. It’s a no-brainer for me.

My personal viewpoint? I think they’re really cool. I love the “OG,” the “Biohazard,” the “Sunkist” with the orange…those are some of the best old-school varieties.

The ones that have been coming in as of late don’t seem to have the same response in captivity that the original ones did. It’s kind of a tightly kept secret—[spoiler alert!]—I think they [the original foundation corals] all came out of Vietnam, but I never saw anything like the original ones World Wide Corals (WWC) got. Vic [Victor Fornari, WWC co-founder] was savvy enough to jump on them, and under their lighting, they created those inflated vesicles. But they are coming in now, just regular Rhodactis with vesicles that are slightly inflated, and it seems in certain conditions they’ll respond and get inflated even more.

A Rhodactis sp. mushroom just starting to show hints of what will become much larger swollen vesicles. At this stage, a Bounce Mushroom is a much more accessible and affordable purchase, but the difference between this coral and the one above is obvious.

A Rhodactis sp. mushroom just starting to show hints of what will become much larger swollen vesicles. At this stage, a Bounce Mushroom is a much more accessible and affordable purchase, but the difference between this coral and the one above is obvious. Image credit: Unique Corals.

People are still chasing the original strains thinking that newly-imported Rhodactis will turn into original ones, but there doesn’t seem to be any that will match the original Bounce Shrooms that started this craze.

I think Bounce Mushrooms get a lot of heat as an “overpriced Rhodactis,” but I don’t see anything else with the morphology and color of a Bounce Mushroom. We’re living in a supply and demand world, and the asking price is determined by what people are willing to pay.

CORAL: You reportedly have sold some Bounce Mushrooms for up to $6000?

Joseph Caparatta is the owner/operator of Manhattan Aquariums in NYC along with Unique Corals and Triton Distribution West in California.

Joseph Caparatta is the owner/operator of Manhattan Aquariums in NYC along with Unique Corals and Triton Distribution West in California.

Unique Corals: Yes, it was a WWC Biohazard that was very yellowish-orange and quite large, 3 inches across on a 4-inch disk. It sold at a Reefapalooza NY in 2015 and it got quite a bit of publicity. A humorous side note: Joe Yauillo [of the Long Island Aquarium, Riverhead, NY] took a picture of that coral during RAP. His birthday is always a couple of days after RAP, and he joked that I had given it to him for his birthday—everyone fell for it.

CORAL: What does it take to keep a Bounce Mushroom happy?

Unique Corals: Bounce Mushrooms prefer gentle flow, low flow; they don’t like to be pounded. They benefit from strong blue lighting, with PAR levels around 100. LED seems to trigger a better “bounce” response [the formation of the swollen vesicles]. These Rhodactis, like all others, benefit from feeding. They have a pretty pronounced oral disk, and they will take fine foods and mysis shrimp. They are not too picky in terms of water parameters; stability is key. I’d suggest a temperature range of 75-78F.

CORAL: Do you think that bouncing [the formation of swollen vessicles] is a negative response on the part of the coral?

Unique Corals: No, it doesn’t appear to be. The animal grows, and it doesn’t display traditional signs of stress (slowly deteriorating, tissue recession, discoloration). These vesicles become more pronounced as the animal grows and gets more colorful. It’s a really weird response when you think about it, particularly if it’s not happening in the wild. Is it a surface area response [a change in morphology to accommodate some need for more surface area, whether for light or gas exchange or some other unknown factor]?

CORAL: Do you ever see these corals losing their “bounce” vesicles?

Unique Corals: No, I haven’t seen them lose their bounce, their bubbles. I’ve seen them deteriorate (they’ll just melt away), but they’re usually very hardy. If a Bounce Mushroom fails to thrive, the mortality would likely be caused by a pollutant or nipping (e.g., inverts that prey on soft corals that go undetected, hidden in the rockwork during the day). While a Bounce Mushroom can be an intimidating investment for some reef hobbyists, they are ordinarily pretty resilient corals.

Coral Magazine Article

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