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ManhattanReefs.com Spring 2009 Frag Swap

I am a member of ManhattanReefs, a community of reefers from the tri-state area. I’ve been a member for quite a while and mainly use it to trade coral fragments (frags) with other people in the area. Corals can be propogated (much like plants) simply by cutting a piece of the coral. Corals and fish are expensive and delicate creatures so an inexpensive way to get corals you like is to buy/sell/trade with people you meet online. Many communities have coral groups with robust trading rings that not only trade corals but also exchange fish. This is how I like to get most of my fish. I do not like to directly take them from the ocean and since so few fish are aquacultured getting them from another hobbyist allows me to get non-aquaculture fish. Also, I know that the fish has lived in an aquarium for a while and that it is used to a eating prepared foods and dealing with a community of fish in a small space.

Most of my participation on ManhattanReefs is through the Marketplace where people post thier corals for sale. Then we contact each other, figure out a place to meet and then make the exchange. It totally sounds shady but I have never had a bad experience meeting a random person from Manhattan Reefs. Usually we meet at one of our houses make the trade and then proceed to geek out about our aquariums. It’s really alot of fun. Sometime we meet in random places throughout the city (Grand Central, Union Square, Penn Station) make a quick bag/cash exchange that looks like a drug deal and then move on. I am waiting for the day when we get stop and searched by the NYPD for such surreptitious dealings in public. One thing to keep in mind, these dealings are not always cheap. 1000s of dollars pass through the MR marketplace on a mothly basis. Certain rare corals or hot items will easily list for $100 for a tiny 1″ frag.

Twice

a year ManhattanReefs hosts a frag swap where all the members of MR converge to trade, exchange information and simply have a good time.  The events are also hosted by a multitude of vendors who see this as an opportunity to show off their best stuff, from coral frags to cutting edge equipment for keeping a reef tank. This is a ripe opportunity for them because it is a condensed market and we all come wanting to spend money. This last frag swap I limited myself to a $200 budget and ended up spending most of it on a rare orange hammer coral from Australia.

Besides purchasing things, the swap has a couple of guest speakers. This year Terry Seigel, editor of Advanced Aquarist, gave some insight into the history of the hobby while Chris Jury discussed ocean acidification and what we can learn from it. I saw Terry’s lecture and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I missed Chris Jury’s lecture.

One special treat was the tour of Randy Donowitz’s 3 aquariums. Randy runs the Writing and Tutorial Center at Pratt University and livens up the study environment with 3 wonderful windows into the ocean. I’m sure students learn a little bit more than writing skills when they visit this space. One cannot get enter the room without instantly being drawn to the aquariums. Seeing these aquariums was a real treat, and I included many pictures from Randy’s tanks. Hopefully in the near future I’ll be able to do a more in depth expose on Randy’s aquariums.

I’d like to thank all the reef enthusiasts in the NYC area. It is your passion that helps these events flourish. Enjoy the pics and I’d love to hear some other experiences from others who attended the swap.

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ManhattanReefs.com Spring  2009 Frag Swap

A couple times a year my local fish club, hundreds of members from manhattanreefs.com get together to trade corals, share stories, and basically geek out about reef aquaria.

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