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Mark Martin on Light Acclimating New Coral
Mark Martin is Director of Marine Ornamental Research at Blue Zoo

Hydnophora

With all the talk about corals and light this week, I though I'd take a moment to revisit how to acclimate a new coral to the lights on your aquarium.

One of the major stress factors for newly imported corals is the variety of intensity and spectrum of light they receive as they move through the chain of custody from collection to your aquarium. Assuming you have adequate light for the species of coral you are acquiring, the light above your tank will probably be the brightest, most intense light that has hit that coral since it was collected. This sudden increase in intensity will put undue stress on the coral and may kill it. It is therefore essential to acclimate your coral slowly to your lights.

There are several techniques for acclimating coral to aquarium lighting conditions. One way is to simply place all newly acquired coral at the very bottom of the aquarium. You can keep your current photoperiod for your lights and gradually raise the new coral up in the rockwork (I recommend about four to six inches a week) until the new arrivals are where you want them. Observe the behavior of the coral closely during this period and adjust the schedule for moving the corals up accordingly.

Another method to light acclimate your coral is to use nylon screening material. Place a stack of cut window screen above your coral on the aquarium cover. This will filter the light and allow you to place newly acquired coral in its final position right away. Use somewhere between 15 and 20 individual sheets. Remove one sheet every other day for the first few weeks until sheets are gone.

Have a question for Mark? Please e-mail him at customerservice@bluezooaquatics.com.

Published 27 May 2008. © Blue Zoo Aquatics

   
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