[Coral-List] Alizarin staining

McCarty and Peters McCarty_and_Peters at compuserve.com
Sun Sep 26 11:10:04 EDT 2004

If you need to stain coral colonies with Alizarin Red S in situ, you can
enclose the colony in a large plastic bag (volume at least about 3-4 times
the volume of the coral), making sure it is full of seawater. Inject a
concentrated solution of the dye via syringe into the bag opening at the
base of the coral (concentration should be such that the final
concentration in the seawater is approximately that recommended.  Secure
(tightly) the bag around the base of the colony, removing it after 24
hours.  I did this for Dichocoenia, a very slow growing coral, and found
that I needed to replace the bag and dye for another 24 hours to obtain
sufficient deposition of the dye in the skeleton for the growth study. 
Faster-growing corals needed only 24 hours in the dye in situ (or probably
only 4-6 hours as Bob suggests when in direct sunlight in shallow water or

Esther Peters, Ph.D.

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