Helping protect our coral reefs - one frag at a time
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Drs. Foster & Smith Aquaculture Coral Facility
First opened in July 2005, the Aquaculture Coral & Aquatic Life Facility is one of the nation's premier coral propagation facilities. This cutting-edge facility employs the most sophisticated technology in lighting, filtration, water movement, and quarantine systems to ensure your new purchase makes a safe and successful transition into home aquariums. Coral FragsQUICK STATS:
  • 1st Opened: July, 2005

  • Renovations:
    2016 Added (7) Dedicated freshwater holding racks for Diver's Den
    2016 Expanded marine fish quarantine system
    2007 Facility expansion more than doubled size of operations

  • Size: 26,000 gallons across eight discreet handling systems

  • Staff: 21 employees, working shifts year 'round

  • Power Backup: All system return pumps in the entire facility are hooked to an external Natural Gas power backup generator

  • Air Handling: Sealed building fed by two air handling systems maintaining humidity levels of below 50%, and a stable temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water Storage Tanks
    We use Reef Crystals
  • RO Unit: 2,300 gallons per day

  • Heater: 9,000 watts

  • Holding Tanks: (5) x 500-gallon water storage tanks:
    (1) holds 500 gallons of pure RO/DI water
    (4) hold 2000 gallons of freshly mixed Reef Crystals saltwater

Facility Overview

  • Handling: (9) discreet systems with independent filtration
    (3) dedicated fish systems (treatment, quarantine, and main)
    (3) main coral holding rows
    (1) SPS quarantine system
    (1) LPS/Soft Coral/Invertebrate quarantine system
    (7) freshwater fish holding racks 225 gallons

  • Controller: RK2/Aquadyne automated system monitors pH, ORP, and Temperature; doses Kalkwasser; sends alerts if needed via mobile/email. Corrections can be made remotely via software.

  • Parameters:

    Coral System:
    Alkalinity 9.0 - 10.5
    Calcium 425 - 440
    Magnesium 1300 - 1350
    Phosphate 0.02 - 0.04
    Nitrate 0.0 - 0.10
    Specific gravity 1.025
    Temperature: 77-78 degrees Fahrenheit

    Marine Fish System
    pH 8.1 - 8.3
    Ammonia 0.0
    Nitrite 0.0
    Nitrate 0.10
    Specific gravity 1.025 Temperature: 77-78 degrees Fahrenheit

    Freshwater Fish System:
    pH 6.5-8.7 (targeted to species requirements)
    Ammonia 0.0
    Nitrite 0.0
    Nitrate 0.10
    Temperature: 77-78 degrees Fahrenheit

Acclimation Room FACILITY TOUR:
Designed by Director Kevin Kohen, this unique facility is dedicated to education, conservation, and the advancement of the hobby through best practices and smart choices. As a result, reef and marine aquarium enthusiasts enjoy one of the largest selections of premium, captive grown, aquacultured, and maricultured aquatic life for the creation of a unique, beautiful, and thriving marine aquarium.

Acclimation Room
This room is used to unpack shipments of corals and fish that we receive from around the world. Our acclimation table allows us to slowly adjust the incoming stock to the specific system they will be transferred to with water lines plumbed into the table from each quarantine system. It is our first priority in this facility to protect our broodstock and coral frags we grow in-house from pathogens or pests, but more importantly, that we do not pass along any of these potentially devastating organisms or sick fish to any of our customers.

SPS Quarantine System SPS Quarantine System
The blue raceways are used to house and quarantine new SPS corals so that they can be medicated and monitored to ensure that they are parasite and disease free before we introduce them into our main systems. These raceways are run on their own independent filtration system and have their own protein skimmers, chiller, calcium reactor and sump filled with filter socks and live rock rubble.

Testing Bench
We manually test for Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates on the fish systems daily, as well as manually test the Alkalinity and Calcium levels daily on all of the coral systems. Nitrate, Phosphate, and Magnesium are tested weekly on the coral raceways as well. Specific Gravity is tested twice per day with the use of American Marine Salinity Monitors.

Fish Quarantine System Dedicated Fish Systems
We have one dedicated quarantine system for new fish, one dedicated treatment system, and two main fish systems for freshwater and marine fish that are either on the Diver's Den® section of the site, or species that will be for sale in the coming days. Once again, all fish brought into this facility are quarantined, observed and medicated if need be for a minimum of two weeks. Everything we offer for sale is eating well, and is fully adjusted to a captive environment to make a smooth transition into your aquarium.

Soft Coral, Polyp, Mushroom, LPS, and Clam Quarantine System Soft Coral, Polyp, Mushroom,
LPS, and Clam Quarantine System

Most of these corals require a more nutrient rich environment to flourish, and are housed together in their own system away from the SPS corals that require less nutrients. This Soft Coral QT System is illuminated by Current USA's T-5 lighting systems as well as Double-ended IceCap 400 Watt metal halides. The filter skid for the Soft Coral QT System is identical to the main coral rows filtration system, but utilizes a fluidized sand bed for more biological filtration. Soft Corals, polyps, mushrooms, and other corals we QT in this system will often produce a great deal of waste when they first arrive, so it is important that we can export this waste quickly to maintain stable water parameters, and avoid any ammonia or nitrite spikes.

Pack-out Area Pack-out Area
All aquatic life leaving this facility are packed in brand new seawater that matches the water parameters in the entire facility. This is best as there are no bacteria in the new water to attack and deteriorate the fish or corals that are being shipped. We use pure oxygen to fill the poly bags, and then a clip machine to quickly secure the bags. Once the order has been bagged, it is boxed and then slid down the table to the manifesting machine and scale, so that the order quantities can be updated, and a FedEx label printed.

Main Fish Systems Fish Handling Systems
A 3,000-gallon fish system holds all of the fish that are on the Diver's Den® section of the LiveAquaria site, quarantined and ready to be photographed. Another separate 2,000-gallon fish only system is used to quarantine fish and condition them so they will be ready for sale. Both of these systems utilize a very large skimmer, fluidized sand bed, 1,000 mg ozone generator on Aquadyne system controllers, and 960 watts of UV. Return water is passed through Baker Hydro Filters that contain Micron cartridges to remove particulates from the water, so the UV will work properly.

Main Coral Systems Coral Broodstock
and Grow-out Area

Our three main coral rows house most of the corals we keep in the facility. Each one of these three rows is run on its own independent filtration system. The first four raceways have another three rows of white raceways, on a second story level. The raceways upstairs are our grow-out vats for our coral frags that we grow in house. Below each of the coral raceways in the facility there are sumps that hold 3,000 pounds of Drs. Foster & Smith Fiji Premium Live Rock.

Water movement is critical to coral health. Water that is returned back to each raceway is run through a switching device on a timer so that we can alternate the direction of the water flow. These return jets are set up to switch back and forth every 15 minutes so that the water is not going in one constant direction.

Lighting used on the main coral raceways are IceCap 400-Watt Double-ended metal halides. We use a variety of bulbs in the facility from 10K, 14K and 20k. They are on motorized light rails to slowly move across each vat. This prevents hot spots from forming in one place in the vat and helps to spread the light more evenly over each raceway. Some of the raceways that house lower light corals only have one halide over them.

Certified Captive Grown Coral Where to find
Doctors Foster and Smith's Aquacultured Corals & Marine Fish

Our entire selection is available online in's Certified Captive Grown Coral department, and each Drs. Foster & Smith Coral is backed by an extended 30-day guarantee! In addition, please visit the Diver's Den® for a huge selection of WYSIWYG corals, inverts, fish & more all housed in our facility.

Please note: While our Aquaculture Coral & Marine Life Facility is closed to the general public, we offer a limited walk-in selection of corals at our nearby Retail Store. A limited number of special tours for Reef Clubs & Societies may be available if scheduled in advance.

We use Reef Crystals Synthetic Sea Salt