Coral Spawning at Home

Rich's Coral Spawning Wisdom

In a Northern California spare bedroom transformed into a wet lab, coral spawning, something that is rarely seen in the wild, has been happening with some regularity.

Richard Ross has been involved in coral spawning and reef restoration for over a decade, participating in wild coral spawning projects in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Ross was also responsible for designing and running the first successful ex situ coral spawning in aquaria in the US at the Albright Lab in the California Academy of Sciences. In 2020 Rich took all that experience and applied it to his home lab where he has successfully spawned, fertilized and raised Acropora corals by manipulating lunar and seasonal cycles.

“People often seem overwhelmed at the prospect of spawning and raising corals in tanks because there are so many details to keep track of and understand, but that is the same kind of thing than people said about marine fish breeding. Spawning clownfish, and raising the babies, was nearly impossible 20-30 years ago, but is now such a regular occurrence that people can remember when it was difficult. I would like the same to happen with coral spawning. Home hobbyists have some freedoms that academic institutions don’t, so they can help move along our understanding quickly – just like they have done for keeping coral in tanks generally.

I learn something new every spawn, something that makes the whole process easier, and I want more people to be playing in this realm, so captive bred corals become as commonplace as captive bred clownfish. Jamie Craggs opened the door for all of us, and the more people that walk through it, the faster our understanding will skyrocket” says Ross as he prepares for the 2023 spawning season in his home.

Ross shares his experiences in real time with the Reef Beef Podcast community. as well as in talks and presentations to aquarium and research groups. “In tank coral spawning is the future, and it is incredibly cool to be doing this in my home. In 2011,I witnessed my first wild coral spawning in the the wild, I thought that was a singular event, and am so delighted that we have come so far so quickly that it happens in my house’ says Ross.

’I do this because it is super cool and fun, and for the same reasons I bred clownfish and cephalopods – to show other people they can do it as well. It is one of the most fulfilling aspects of aquarium keeping I have ever done.”

Information about Rich and his Secret Home Lab can be found here.

Reef Beef Coral Spawning Videos

2019 Spawning at the Cal Academy

Rich's Coral Spawning Videos