Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vietnam Clams and Corals!

Hello everyone. So let’s continue on with corals and clams from Vietnam!

The most abundant giant clam species is the Tridacna crocea. “Giant” seems to be the wrong term as this particular clam species does not grow very big. The biggest ones I’ve seen are only about eight inches. The ones pictured here were about four inches.


The best “ultra grade” croceas used to come out of the Solomon Islands. I’m not sure about now with all the restrictions going on. This does not take anything away from the Vietnam counterparts. It’s just that ultra ones are not that common. Most are, what I would consider first grade, such as these pictured here.


As you can see, some of them are very nice. Keep in mind that I'm taking pictures under natural lighting. So just imagine how they would look under halides.

For size and overall color, Vietnam croceas are a staple in the reef hobby. Surprisingly I haven’t seen any at the sea food fish markets. This tells me that most of the clams are coming from far off the coast. I’m thinking that the fishermen are going east towards Philipines for these clams. As a matter of fact, there is a set of islands halfway to PI that my Filipino divers used to tell me about. They used to pool together and rent a big boat that went for days at a time to a set of islands halfway to Vietnam. Here they would stay for days catching purple firefish, then head back.

Here are some of the second grade croceas, as I would call them.


Me and my girl at the facility, Bryan took this picture.

So there is nothing fancy about the “farm” as we would call it in Indonesia. Simple and practical is all that is needed. Although a nice show tank with some halides would be very cool! Sorry guys, just the reefer in me coming out!

All throuhgout the facility, you can see these hand made skimmers.

Don’t laugh as this homemade skimmer is kicking butt!

Vietnam has some of the most striking zoanthids in the world! Unfortunately Van didn’t have any in stock. These are just some of the more common ones. This supplier has orders all the time, so corals come and go. He showed me some pictures of the zoos that I was looking for. Sure enough, he knew exactly what I was talking about. I will post some pictures as soon as I get hold of some.


I’ve seen some killer mushrooms coming out of Vietnam in the past. Metallic reds and blues, yuma rocks covered with nice heads. The mushroom pictured above is nice too. Good size rock with good coverage. The colors are blue-green.

Check out this nice red bullseye mushroom rock!

Giant hairy mushrooms anyone? I really haven’t seen these in Indonesia but in Tonga, they are known as lavendar mushrooms. Each head can get gigantic sizes!

A tank full of green-brown carpet anemones. I was told that not much colors were available on the carpets. Still some of the green ones looked really nice.

Here’s a close up of the carpet anemones. Based on the markings on the base, these look like gigantea species.

Some more giant hairy mushrooms. The one in the center is especially nice!

Sorry for the blurred picture, but you can still make out the nice purple-blue colors!

Another Rhodactis inchoata rock (bullseye). There appears to be many different color morphs of this particular mushroom species.

A Heteractis magnifica (Ritteri) anemone clinging to the side of one of the tanks. Based on this one specimen, I can guess that there are very nice ones in Vietnam waters.


Again sorry for the blurred picture. This one is metallic green. I’ve seen elegances that have purple tips in local public aquariums before. So I think it is safe to say that Vietnam does have nice elegance corals. I wonder how their survivability is, compared to the ones in Indonesia. I rarely see signs of diseased elegances in Indonesia. I think the stress from shipping is the main reason for the low survivability of these beautiful corals.


Sorry for the bad picture, but these are green bubble corals (Plerogyra sinuosa). It is nice to see that there are other colors besides brown. I’ve seen only brown ones at other places in Vietnam.

Just a quick note. There are no cites for hard corals at this time. However, this exporter supplies to local markets, including public aquariums within the country. So that is why he has these hard corals in stock. Just so you know, the coral trade within the hobby in Indonesia is huge, and is growing. Many of the suppliers in East Java supply boxes and boxes of corals to the local fish stores in Jakarta everyweek. The reef hobby has yet to develop here in Vietnam though.

So Vietnam has got some nice trachy’s! Caught me offguard as some of these were just plain gorgeous. This one has rainbow colors!


Another beautiful “rainbow” trachyphyllia!


Even green ones were nice too. This one is metallic in color!

A basket full of surprisingly beautiful trachyphyllias!

Same basket, but on the opposite side. Some of these can rival their counterparts from Indonesia! I was very impressed.

Check out this metallic green hammer!

Green with purple tips! One thing about the Vietnam hammers is that the colonies are circular in shape. Normally I see this growth pattern on the short polyp torch (cristata) corals in Indo. The hammers here are made up short thick branches. The base is almost flat and is just a perfect shape. I can tell you that these would handle the shipping lot better than the Indonesian counterparts, especially the wall ones. Too bad no cites:( !


A cute purple rimmed fungia!

This exporter also does fish. Much of the PI fish species are found here.

Some bannerfish anyone? These and the sailfin tang in the photo are just a few of the many bread and butter fish of the reef hobby.


An adult six bar angelfish with a trio of naso tangs.


Always my favorite, the clown trigger!

An assortment of clownfish. This tank had tomatos, cinnamons, sebaes, and saddlebacks. The common ocellaris (nemo) is also found in Vietnam waters, although the supplier didn’t have any in stock at the time.


One of the highly sought after angelfish. The blue striped angel (Chaetodontplus septertrionalis) is endemic to the South China Sea. Small specimens are very popular in Asia.


This exporter also deals with freshwater fish. These are wild caught plecos!

Conclusion

Ok guys, I hope you enjoyed my postings from Vietnam. The South China Sea has much to offer. As you go further east, you are going to encounter more and more diversity in fish and corals. Keep in mind that the Phillipines is part of the “Coral triangle”, which has the most diversity of corals in the world. And Vietnam is not too far away from PI.

I learned a lot from this trip. I will be working with Van in the future to bring you more and better products.

Before I sign off, let’s take a look at that picture of the skinned rats.

Rats in Vietnam are considered a delicacy. These are field rats, not the dirty city ones that live in the sewers. I hear they taste quite good and taste like chicken! Still, I’m not the brave one to try!

I will be posting one more time tomorrow, before I go back to Indonesia the following day. Basically it will be on “life in the rice fields of Vietnam”. Stay tuned, as I have some very nice picturesque photos and stories to share.

Cheers,
Eddie












4 comments:

WB said...

Hi
It is great to read about your travel and allow me to say that I really enjoy the pictures. Is there any chance you would allow me to use some of them in upcoming articles on http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/marineaquarium/ ?

Also is there any way I can "trick" you to add my new saltwater section AC marine fish(http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/marineaquarium/) to your fav sites blog roll. I am working hard trying to make ita good reef resource. So far I mostly have fact about fish but I am writing info on corals, shrimps and snail and will be adding some soon.

Eddie H. said...

Hi wb,

Yah, no problem you can use my pictures or info. It is always good to share knowledge.

Sure no problem, I'll add you to my favorites. Just help spread the word about my blog whenever you can.

Cheers,
Eddie

Anonymous said...

For anyone reading this please be aware that Vietnam is heavily overfished and the coral reefs in Vietnam are in very bad shape. Additionally giant clams of various species have become locally extinct at many places in the world and are seriously threatened. So please do not support the trade in these organisms so long as it is not sustainable. Which it isn't at all right now!

Lin Ayen said...

Hi,will you help me to find reliable exporter from Bali indonesia and vietnam?Im interested to buy corals.
Thank you.

Aquaculture Northern Bali

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