CORAL Letters: ORA SPS Article

17 Sep, 2015

Opening Bulletprooof ORA
Wednesday, September 9, 2015 6:35 PM
To: The Editor, CORAL Magazine

Subject: “ORA Grown Farm-Hardy SPS by Vanessa Sommers, September/October 2015, pages 44-58.

Dear Editor,

I was reading this month’s issue on the airplane ride back from MACNA and DC. Awesome content. The stuff on SPS was really well done for people that are not the experts we sometimes forget are only a small percentage of the reefkeeping population.

That was the good part.

Then on page 44 I got a 12-page advertisement for ORA. I kept turning pages hoping to see info from other outfits with other corals. Nope, just one page after another of pics and descriptions of corals labelled “ORA XXXX YYY”. What’s worse is that not a one of them even had the actual scientific names associated with them—just the usual “Orange Digital” or worse yet “ORA Plum Crazy.” I thought this was the very thing all you high-fallutin’ MACNA-inner-circle-guys… always like to make fun of?  Very strange indeed.

BTW, I did not write the above paragraph entirely from my own perspective but rather tried to capture the perspective of what I might imagine some in your readership.  The ORA article was purely a puff piece for them with lots of eye candy and a catalog of their corals from which to place an order.

If you care about the aquaculture side of things, there are many in the industry doing it and I put forward that the article could have done just that, featured three to five of them. Instead this is piece written not by a non-biased member of the Coral writing team, but rather by the company themselves.  It was written with no effort to discuss aquaculture in the broader sense or include others doing the same. It was completely biased and we will have to leave it there and must agree to disagree.

I will continue to present this issue of CORAL to my colleagues in the industry and ask for their opinion just to see how far off base I really am.

If we are really concerned about aquaculture and its survivability, next month can we get 6-8 pages of “story” on the corals offered by ReefGen or Unique Corals, I am sure they could use the publicity far more than ORA.

Sorry if I sound pissy, but you guys are better than this.

(Name withheld by request of sender)

First, we should make it clear that ORA is blameless in this.  CORAL invited ORA and Vanessa Sommers to contribute this article, on the assumption that the majority of readers would find it useful and might discover aquacultured corals that they had not been previously aware of. It was my decision to issue the invitation to ORA and to publish the piece.

CORAL routinely asks other livestock suppliers to provide images and descriptions of interesting fishes, corals and other invertebrates, and these are typically found in the RARITIES Department. Among the others who have shared information on the marine livestock they offer are Quality Marine, Unique Corals, A&M Aquatics, Pacific Aqua Farms, Sun Pet, Segrest Farms, Sea & Reef Aquaculture and our door is always open to others.

Comments from other readers are invited and will help us in future decision-making by CORAL’s editors.

Download article:  ORA Bulletprooof SPS CORAL Mag

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About the author

James Lawrence
James Lawrence

James Lawrence is editor & publisher of AMAZONAS & CORAL Magazines and Microcosm, Ltd., publishers of many critically acclaimed and bestselling books in the aquarium field. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards for journalism, design, and publishing excellence. James Lawrence lives and works in Shelburne, Vermont.


  1. James Lawrence
    September 18, 2015

    If anyone would prefer to send a private message to me, here is my email address:

    We are all quite interested to hear the reactions of readers to this letter and to the ORA article.


  2. September 18, 2015

    I agree that the paper about ORA’s coral is no more that and advertisment for the products of that company and should have been labelled “publi-article”, but il is an interesting one and I don’t be upset to have quite enjoyed it. Il would have been far better of course to let speak many companies about their “easy corals” and not only ORA, or better even to ask the aquarists what kind of corals they find easy to raise in their reefs. Would I have been asked I would have suggered Stylophora pistillata, Seriatopora histrix, Montipora danae, Turbinaria reniformis,Herpolitha limax, Porites lutea, Porites branneri, Acanthastrea -every species- as very easy corals to raise i, good conditions, next batch would have been Montipora digitata green, then orange then purplel then blue, Montipora capricornis red, then purple, then green, Euphyllia parancora, Acropora blue tip, then Acropora yongei Bali green sticker, then Acropora purple tips, then Acropora blue steel, green steel. Lost during my 10 plus years of reeffing: Merulina, Hydnophora, Lobophyllia, Fungia, Polyphylia,

  3. Reef To Rainforest
    Reef To Rainforest
    September 19, 2015


  4. September 20, 2015

    While the article could be considered an “adverstisement” it was clearly a contributed article which was well-done, provided enlightenment, and was very well illustrated. I would be quite happy if other companies contributed similar articles – certainly I have enjoyed the similar articles about designer clown fish and others. Very enjoyable and keep it up!

  5. September 21, 2015

    Thank you for asking about reader input on the ORA letter to the editor. It’s nice that CORAL magazine keeps its readers in mind.

    I agree with the author’s point on what I call “used car names” for corals. Names like “Plumb Crazy” drive me crazy! It’s the same kind of hype a used car salesman uses to hock his wares and my personal opinion is that it degrades the hobby by talking down to aquarists. It also creates an emotional need for a specific coral that may or may not be one appropriate for the aquarist’s skill level or their current tank environment. By at least including proper names (or shortened derivatives like “acro” or “monti” it keeps the hobby grounded and promotes better decision making.

    That said, I have no trouble whatsoever with CORAL publishing an article entirely by and about ORA. Please do not hesitate to highlight innovative growers like ORA. They are leaders in the field and deserve to have attention brought to them. Because of ORA we have captive bread fish we might not otherwise have and a nice stock of corals that haven’t seen the ocean in generations. That’s a great way to keep our hobby out of the hands of legislators and environmentalists that seek to shut us down. It’s not that there aren’t other organizations doing the same and CORAL has highlighted them from time to time as well. This was just ORA’s turn and CORAL breached no ethical standard by publishing the article. The article had everything in it that I expect from CORAL: it was informative, visually pleasing, and promoted the hobby by letting people know about sustainable farming.

    Well done!

    With thanks,
    Chad Amos

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