Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Like Booger-Sized Corals—And So Should You


Over the past several years, local fish stores (LFS) have been getting a bad rap for selling tiny booger-sized coral frags.

Personally, I LOVE these diminutive-sized jewels.

Some hobbyists believe that all LFS are price-gougers who make a ton of money and rinse out their filter socks with bottles of Fiji Water. The truth is that while there are always some rotten apples, most store owners started out as hobbyists and are just trying to make an honest living.

Fanatical reef hobbyists and the laws of supply and demand have driven up the prices of certain corals, sometimes to astronomical levels.

However, this same explanation is the very reason why that colorful 100-poly colony of eagle-eye zoanthid or that brown colony of Acropora sits in the bargain bin for months at a sticker price of $20. The profits from a clownfish breeder selling "frostbites" for hundreds of dollars is also the reason why he is able to sell the regular captive-bred clowns for the same price as a wild-caught clown.

You would be amazed at how gorgeous and colorful an aquarium can be using these cheap "ugly ducklings." Plus, the more people that buy high-end corals, the cheaper the bargain-bin colonies become.

For those of us guilty of driving up prices, booger-sized corals can be great for us, too.

Rather than spend $300-$400 for a colony of Utter Chaos palythoa, pink boobies chalice or Red-Dragon Acropora, you can get a small frag of the same corals for a very affordable price. Plus, if the unfortunate were to occur, losing a small frag is a lot less devastating than losing an entire colony.

I love buying and trading for booger-size frags and watching them grow and blossom into gorgeous colonies. It is great to be able to own some of the more exotic corals, even if they are minuscule in size. It is also fun to purchase browned-out SPS corals and try to color them up, although I must admit I fail more often than I succeed.

The truth is you have the power to vote with your money. If you don't like outrageously priced corals, simply walk past the "ultra" display and head to the "bargain" bin to find your diamond in the rough or that gigantic "common" coral for a steal of a price.

For those of us with champagne tastes and beer budgets... wanna trade boogers?