Did you know that coral is made up of hundreds of thousands of small individual animals called polyps? Polyps consist of a mouth and stomach and are known to have a special mutualistic relationship with zooxanthellae, a type of algae.
This means that the polyps provide the algae with protection and conditions suitable for photosynthesis, while the algae produce oxygen and components necessary for the coral to grow. The existence of algae within the polyps causes many of the bright and unique colors seen on stony corals, but is also the reason behind the extremely specific living conditions needed for growth.
Temperature, light (duration and intensity), pH, salinity and turbidity are all parameters which significantly affect the growth and viability of corals.
At AquaLux Aquarium Services, we have the understanding and knowledge of reef ecosystems to create and sustain the individual and specific living conditions needed for optimal growth and viability for every aquarium we work on. Understanding these intricacies enables us to create coral reef tanks that thrive.
Note: Picture shows polyp tissue (green) and zooxanthellae (red fluorescence from chlorophyll) within the polyp tissue.
– Alyssa Beurling BSc-ES