Tony Vargas
Bio Topic - Saturday September 4 @ 10 am

Tony Vargas started his aquatic adventures at the age of seven, with Guppies in a pickle jar. Shortly thereafter, he was breeding a large host of fresh water tropicals. In the early eighties he took a giant leap forward and assembled his very first salt water aquarium (fish only). The biological system of choice back than were under gravel filters. Moving on to more challenging waters, in the late 1980's he took another leap forward and experimented with marine invertebrates and corals. At that point in time a sump loaded with Bio-balls was the biological filter of choice. Moving forward in the late eighties a handful of aquarist and Tony were among the first in United States to successfully keep and maintain Acropora alive in captivity, long term. He started to share this experiences and knowledge with others through the many articles written on the subject. These articles were written in a column called "Feature Coral" for FAMA. One of the Acropora articles in FAMA was acknowledge in Carden Wallace text book on Acropora "Staghorn Corals of the World".

Today, Tony SCUBA dives around the world taking underwater photos and observing many of these creatures in their natural environment. With his writings he has effectively communicated his experiences and observations. Tony has traveled the States and Europe giving lectures and consultations on corals and reef fish husbandry.

Currently, he is working on a book call "The Coral Reef Aquarium". This book focuses on the basics of reef keeping, how to properly assemble a coral reef aquarium (five great examples), and the long term care of these critters in a captive environment.

Tubbataha & Apo Reef - Their amazing recovery

There's no other country in the world with more negative press about their coral reefs than the Philippines. With many years of abuse from over fishing, dynamite fishing, deforestation runoff, and irresponsible aquarium fish collecting, these actions took their toll on many of the coral reefs located in the Philippines.

With the destructive practice and detrimental actions from a few individuals many of the coral reefs in the Philippines were virtually destroyed. Added pressure from many concerned citizens, the Philippine Government stepped in and implemented many new laws and created protected fish sanctuaries and marine national parks. This allowed them to protect their most valuable natural resource, their coral reefs. The misconception that the Philippines no longer have viable reefs is not in accordance with the reality of today.

Another misconception is that the quantity of corals, and species diversity, in the Philippines is not noteworthy. This is not so, Veron (2000, Corals of The World) clearly demonstrated that the largest concentration of species diversity of stony corals are centrally located in the Philippine Indonesian region. Ground zero for species diversity!

Tubbataha and Apo Reef are the two largest Marine Parks in the Philippines.

In the early eighties over fishing, and the dynamite fishing destroyed most of these coral reefs. Despite the acres of rubble these reefs have made a tremendous recovery.

Two of the largest reefs I've ever visited, with scores of corals fiercely competing for real-estate. It is a struggle of life and death, and the coral that can overshadow its neighbor will in essences dominate the reef.