Anthony Calfo
Bio Topic - Friday September 3 @ 12 pm

Anthony Calfo was born in Hawaii and lives in Pennsylvania. He is a lifelong aquarist and an aquarium industry professional that has worked the better part of the last decade as a commercial coral farmer and wholesaler, producing cultured reef invertebrates in a greenhouse environment for the ornamental and zoological trade. Anthony has authored the reef aquarium books, "Book of Coral Propagation, Volume 1" (ReadingTrees.com) & "Reef Invertebrates", and numerous articles for print and electronic journals at large. He travels frequently to visit organizations and clubs to present information on the aquatic sciences. Anthony co-founded the Pittsburgh Marine Aquarist Society with the inimitable Bob Dolan. Schooled at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, he has degree in English Literature.

Holistic Reef Keeping - It takes a busy garden to grow well.

Nearly twenty years ago, emerging from the nutrient starved and poorly diverse Berlin-style reef keeping days, the hobby made great progress embracing more natural husbandry methods. Refugia, biotope interests, living substrates and plankton reactors all gained popularity...improving the success of previously difficult to keep species and expanding the ways we enjoy or study reef organisms at large. From nanoreefs to new spawning reports in larger systems - and with a rather unified theme of natural reef keeping - hobbyists conceived, executed and maintained microcosms in a splendid new range. But somewhere along the way the message of merit to natural methodologies has been lost. Substrates now, if used, are often selected most only for the aesthetic, refugia serve merely as an extension of the display for coral frags, and an unhealthy coveting of specimens as specimens - ala menagerie - has in some ways rescinded the hobby back two decades to a time where corals were kept in "sterile" systems while suffering for it. Beyond the subjective aesthetic benefit of natural reef keeping strategies, there is a very critical need to maintain reef systems with a holistic perspective.

It should be little surprise that there are many lessons to be learned by comparison - and analogies to be drawn - from other complex ecosystems, such as the rainforests. Even simplified forestry or agricultural models clearly define fragile microcosms with amazing benefits and synergy that are quite deliberate and dependant on numerous species of organisms in balance. Above and below the sea, we have repeatedly seen the surprising short-term effects of a sudden boom or bust in population of a single species or narrow group of species, particularly from the interference of man. The midterm results of bad interventions can in turn be insidious while the long-term affects can be devastating. Nature really does have a finite and necessary balance of powers in complex ecosystems. Rarely can we manicure systems such as coral reefs without ill effects in time for the "protected" organisms; their long term health and wellness is critically dependant on so many seen and unseen species. That said, there will be evolutions in time, with or without man's influence. The dialogue that we, as reef hobbyists, should be having is one addressing the unhealthy trend in ornamental systems away from more balanced and natural reef systems. The common reef display, frag menagerie, and coral farm alike will all prosper greater from a wider inclusion of species beyond isolate cnidarians. Let us explore better ways of reef keeping with a holistic view.