Independence Day weekend 1999, Birch Aquarium had its own underwater "fire works" show. One of the large Acropora corals spawned on July 4 and 5. The coral released sperm-egg bundles from approximately 10:30pm to 11:15pm. This was a first for the Birch Aquarium (as far as we know) and a rare occurrence in captivity. The sperm-egg bundles were collected and transferred to small tubs where they are being observed for possible development into coral colonies.
This particular coral reef aquarium was put together in May of 1995. Initially, a number of the coral specimens were donated by the Waikiki Aquarium to help stock the tank with captive-raised fragments. The spawning coral was purchased and originates from the Indo-Pacific. Many of the corals have grown tremendously, enough to provide three public aquariums with specimens, as well as a number of local hobbyists. Birch Aquarium continues to promote captive propagation of corals. With luck, the spawning of corals can add to conservation efforts as we gain more knowledge of coral biology and reproduction.
-Fernando Nosratpour Senior Aquarist