Change is a Constant … in Life and on the Reef

Four decades of life has taught me many lessons. Among them: I don’t like change.

Not a good position for a debut author, but there it is.

Over the last eighteen months, I’ve learned to embrace change, and even to enjoy it a little. Ironically, my reef aquarium has helped the process along.

On the reef, as in life, change is the only constant. But on the reef, change occurs on a day to day – and sometimes minute-to-minute basis.

Some changes, like the conversion from bare rock

Tank Christmas Eve 2010

to living reef

13E21 Full tank

take years to accomplish.

Other changes occur more quickly. Sometimes on their own, and sometimes due to choices I have made. Case in point: last weekend’s loss … and gain … of a sun.

The yellow, fuzzy-looking coral front and center in the reef above is a sun coral spawned and raised right here on my reef.

13E sun coral (traded)

It’s a distinct genetic individual, spawned from a parent coral I brought home from the reef store over two years ago. The coral is ten months old, and trained to be diurnal (in the wild, most sun corals exhibit nocturnal tendencies).

It’s also no longer mine.

Last weekend, the reef store owner showed me a lovely orange sun coral he had just received from Hawaii. Sustainably farmed Hawaiian sun corals are rare, and this one presented an opportunity  I didn’t want to miss.

On the other hand, I had no room in the reef to highlight such an important new specimen.

If I wanted it, choices – and changes – would have to be made.

I didn’t have an easy time deciding to give up my little tank-raised sun. If I kept it, I could assure it received the proper treatment and expensive foods it might not get in another person’s reef.

On the other hand, the Hawaiian sun could use a good home, too, and if my corals continue spawning at current rates, the suns will overwhelm my little tank.

It was time to embrace a change.

I packed up the little yellow sun and took it down to the store, where the owner traded it for the orange Hawaiian beauty. I haven’t yet persuaded the new sun coral to emerge in the light, but it’s eating well and the rest will come in time.

13E Sun coral (Maui)

For now, I’m happy to have it — and happy that, in little ways at least, I am learning to live with change.

What do you use to help you embrace the changes in your life?