Fragging and Fish Breeding - the foreseeable future?

Fragging and Fish Breeding - the foreseeable future?

Postby mpedersen » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:53 am

I've alluded to this notion in past posts here and elsewhere, and I often wonder if the future of our hobby, as we know it today, lies not in massive commercial operations, but within a widely dispersed group of hobbyists gone "cottage industry". Several widely respected authors have hinted at this in the recent past...folks like Dr. Frank Marini, Joe Lictenbert. I too find my own tiny "home hatchery" cramped into 4 reef tanks and a pair of 10 gallons resting on hardwood floors to be an amazingly diverse source not only of fish reproductive activity, but also of the ever-present accidental or intentional asexual coral propagation!

This brings me to the thing I've just been mulling over, hypothetically. Will we find ourselves and our hobby surviving and growing in basement operations around the country? What will these operations look like? Without a shop or wild caught marine organism around, will the saltwater aquarium hobby be fueled, if not driven to the proliferation of nano reefs as the "new" norm? Has it already happened? And will the new "professional hobbyist" supply not only the "frags", but also the "fish" and the "creepy crawlies"? Does the future "professional hobbyist" become the one-stop-shop for all livestock?

I see parallels in other facets of the greater aquarium hobby already. Afterall, the chances of finding a rare or uncommon African Cichlid rest not in calling up your average wholesaler or LFS, but almost always are nestled in the "Cichlid Underground", wading through contacts and notes and information to find one of those few individuals who's maintaining the species in captivity years or even decades after the last importation of wild stock. With supplies of the Imperial Zebra Pleco shut off years ago, if you want one now, you'll have to seek out one of only a handful of breeders and you'll pay through the nose. I guess what I'm saying is that the "common stuff" is never what truly sucks someone into our hobby, at least not for keeps. It's the unusual, the rare, that drive the current cottage aquarium industries. It's the "professional hobbyist" that maintains that which larger industry overlooks or deams too insignificant to the bottom line.

I see the next few years as a "bridging the gap" between separate camps. Currently represented in greater numbers are those professional hobbyists gone small business who've turned their asexual coral propagation endeavors into potentially lucrative businesses. On the flipside, there are fish and invert breeders whom are continuing to make discoveries and push into territory considered unatainable only a decade or two ago. In both camps, there is pioneering to be done!

Asexual Coral Propagation, of "fragging", is now standard practice. For many people, it is an established and at times profitable business model. Is it not fair to consider that "fragging" might provide a foundation for those individuals considering the sexual propagation of fish and inverts, especially those with limited demand and potentially limited return on investment? And on the flipside, for those fish breeders struggling to make inroads with fish alone, might the ability to expand offerings to include corals and the like provide for both an avenue to increase product awareness as well as providing security through diversity of investments and risk exposure?

In other words, what if the coral fragger and the fish breeder were one in the same? I see it happening already, especially given where much of MOFIB's new commercial members have their backgrounds. As a die hard fish-fan, I love that our coral propagating cohorts have become intrigued with this aspect of our hobby and our future. For the profssional hobbyist, the coral propagator, what does the "fish breeder" need to know about your world? How do you see the two camps coming together?

That's my rambling, a true free flow of thought...meant to provoke thought and discussion.

FWIW,

Matt
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Postby KathyL » Mon May 12, 2008 8:47 pm

As an example, right now Uberfrags.net is featuring a photo by Gary Parr of my beloved Papa clownfish. Why would Uberfrags do that, if not to highlight the photography skills of Gary and the way that fish breeding can go hand in hand with coral fragging.
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Postby Brad_D » Mon May 12, 2008 10:06 pm

I started out as a coral propagator and only recently add fish and invert breeding. The two practices actually seem to work very well together. The corals cost a bit more in electricity and hardware but don't require anywhere near as much of my time. I like that the corals can provide a fairly steady output and if you have to 'sit' on some for a while they just gain value with very little (if any) more work on my part.
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Postby "Umm, fish?" » Mon May 12, 2008 11:07 pm

Ahh, but sexual coral reproduction could potentially supply far more corals than coral fragging could ever hope to, but you can't really practice both (at least not with the same corals). For corals, size of the colony often determines whether or not the colony will divert resources to attempting sexual reproduction. If it's fragged constantly it will never go sexual.

Then again, fragging certainly seems much more achievable for the normal home hobbiest.
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Postby robinscp » Tue May 13, 2008 2:30 pm

Very interesting Matt.

I am currently setting up a fish room where I plan to breed clowns and bangaii as well as sell cultured corals.

I think the two can go hand in hand.

Incidentally I started by breeding cichlids and catfish.
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Postby Steven Pro » Tue May 20, 2008 8:52 am

How many of you know how to or want to create your own synthetic salt mix? If the supply of livestock drops off significantly and the hobby retracts to a cottage industry of regional breeders and frag traders, where are we going to get all the stuff we use to maintain aquariums? It could become prohibitively expensive to create and sell salt mix or anything else specific to marine aquariums. You will probably be able to find some things that have multiple uses, but the prices of all will likely go up.
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Re:

Postby Greshamh » Tue May 20, 2008 11:11 am

Steven Pro wrote:How many of you know how to or want to create your own synthetic salt mix? If the supply of livestock drops off significantly and the hobby retracts to a cottage industry of regional breeders and frag traders, where are we going to get all the stuff we use to maintain aquariums? It could become prohibitively expensive to create and sell salt mix or anything else specific to marine aquariums. You will probably be able to find some things that have multiple uses, but the prices of all will likely go up.


Me, I do :)
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Postby spk » Tue May 20, 2008 7:39 pm

Me too please.
would love to know how to make my own salt...
Hmm interesting thoughts.....
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Postby mpedersen » Tue May 20, 2008 8:43 pm

Hey Guys, somewhere on this site, there is a DIY Salt Recipe already posted...
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Postby Greshamh » Wed May 21, 2008 1:24 pm

Yup, seen it. I was saying I do as in "we mix all our own salt" :)
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Postby TheCoralShoppe » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:03 pm

Well guys, after a hiatus i'm trying to get some time to get involved again. I wanted to put my .02 in on this thread since i have been absent for several months.

Sexual reproduction still seems to be aluding the market. The time and energy required to consistantly reproduce these corals (and i'm talking only about the "brooders" that are currently being settled out) sexually seems to be quite a limiting factor. And even if you do get large settle outs of these corals, the time and size of space necessary to raise them all can be quite enormous. Then there is trying to sell all of these corals before they get to large.

I believe that many small propagators, raising sexually/asexually farmed corals and selling them to a co-op buyer will be the future. This allows the co-op buyer to concentrate on getting these corals to market, and the growers to concentrate on growing in an efficient manner. Now to just get some of these co-op buyers in business! Right now the economy seems to be the limiting factor. It has even made us change over to farming, from trying to get in the co-op business. Less time needed and easier to raise corals than worry about selling them to 100 diffrent people and then shipping to all of them.

Anyways, just our .02......

Hope all are doing well.....
Mike Meadows, President
The Coral Shoppe div.
The Coral Conservation Company, LLC.

216-459-0265-Office
CoralConservationcollc@gmail.com
http://www.coralshoppe.com
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