Coral of the Month for December 2008: Briareum(Gorgonian)

Discussion in 'Coral of the Month' started by coral reefer, Nov 29, 2008.

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  1. coral reefer

    coral reefer Giant Squid

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    OCTOCORAL
    (Soft Coral)


    Place of origin: Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific Oceans

    LIGHTING: moderate to intense though will tolerate various lighting scenarios on both ends of the spectrum. Photosynthetic in nature, hence their reliance on light for their host zooxanthellae.

    WATER QUALITY: Not very demanding though a temperature around 77 degrees and salinity reading of 1.021-1.025 with pH around 8.2

    WATER FLOW: This is an issue that needs to be addressed since moderate flow is essential to rid detritus, bacteria and sediment from accumulating

    TEMPERAMENT: Semi-aggressive. Will encroach, encompass and overtake many coral species, such as other forms of Gorgonian. Do not contain nematocysts(cnidae) BUT contain the strongest toxic makeup of any Gorgonian. Briareum Asbestinum prominently responsible for the secretion of terpenes and acetogenins.

    CARE: Good for the novice aquarist if able to properly and consistently meet husbandry requirements

    FEEDING: Most of the nutrients(food) comes from the Gorgonians zooxanthellae. However, Briareum will consume zooplankton. invert food and other particulate foods that remain suspended in the pelagic regions of tanks. These foods are consumed as a result of being captured in a mucus net released by them. Considered filter feeders at times...

    Briareum can be encountered in either branching or encrusting form. Known more commonly as Sea Whip, Corky Sea Finger or Sea Rod, this octocoral consists of a mat or stolon/runner similar to Pachyclavularia though they do not possess short upright fingers or lobes extending from their base that are common with Briareum. Sometimes you can also differentiate the two through the color of their mat. A grayish, purple colored mat/rind is normally consistent with briareum whereas a red colored mat represents the stoloniferan pachyclavularia. the polyps are mainly brownish in color though an occassional greenish species can also be encountered.

    Briareum species that hail from deeper regions of our reefs form tall, thin and unbranched colonies. This is a result of subdued light and often times, reduced water movement. Shallow tidepool species are mainly encrusting or consist of short, fat vertical projections that do not grow more than a few inches in length. Intense light from the sun combined with strong water movement are the variables responsible for the structural makeup of this coral.

    One of the easier species of Gorgonidae to frag. This species of gorgonian grows rather quickly, often overpowering neighboring corals by engulfing the once prominant coral. Growth of 2-4 inches a year is not out of the question regarding this coral. The branching varieties of Briareum consist of anywhere from 2-6 stalking branches with numerous feathery polyps consisting of pinnules(side branches of tentacles).

    Not a very common gorgonian as far as the marine aquarium trade is concerned, though if found at your local pet shop or online venue, give it a try. I would just be wary of placement close to neighboring corals. Maybe try training the coral to encompass a single piece of live rock separate from your other coral species.
    ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
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  3. PharmrJohn

    PharmrJohn The Dude

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    Great article. Thanks. K+
     
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  4. 1st time

    1st time Purple Spiny Lobster

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    I agree---great info!!!! Thanks
     
  5. Camilsky

    Camilsky Montipora Capricornis

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    Yet another very good article! Thank you :) K+!
     
  6. missionsix

    missionsix Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice one Coral Reefer.... Wish I had one to post/share a pic.
     
  7. reefman1132

    reefman1132 Skunk Shrimp

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  9. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    K+!
    EXCELLENT job cr! Great details.
    I was not aware there were relatively easy Gorgonians out there.
     
  10. coral reefer

    coral reefer Giant Squid

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    Yes Matt,
    Their are actually a few very hardy species of goroginian ideally suited for a reef environment.
    Think of it this way...if they are a brownish color, they are symbiotic, thus containing zooxanthellae and are fairly easy to maintain.
    The ones you have to watch out for are unfortunately the vibrant colored gorgonians which are aposymbiotic and require feedings for their survival, like tubastrea.
     
  11. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Very good to know! Thanks Tom.
     
  12. coral reefer

    coral reefer Giant Squid

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    The best choices for those reefers looking for Gorgonians and having the best success are:
    Plexaurella
    Muricea
    Plexaura
    Pseudoplexaura
    Pseudopterogorgia
    Isis