Gerardo Ramos

Written by: Jacob Adelman and Ryan Grady

Many artists work with an inanimate medium – often incorporating paint, pencils or paper. Geraldo Ramos, however, chooses to create his masterpiece with coral, a live animal.

Since childhood, Ramos has had a passion for coral from his many scuba expeditions around his native land of Puerto Rico. It was there where Ramos developed a love of coral. “I used to go to the reef and catch octopus, lobster. It was plentiful.”

Despite his young exposure to coral, it was not until later in life that Ramos started his business Marine Reef Habitat, of which sells pieces of coral for upwards of $80 a polyp.

ramosreef“I came home and I set up an aquarium and I went to many pet stores and they gave me all the wrong advice. So I started reading, reading, reading, and learning. And that’s when I decided, I got good at it I could grow the coral, so then I decided to do it as a business and I took some of that money and put it to a trip to Puerto Rico to restore the reef,” Ramos said.

Through his business, Ramos buys and grows several different species of coral in his backyard. Ramos has set up an irrigation system, consisting of three large pools of water and lots of chemicals to industrialize the growth of several species. The pools are often separated by whether or not a certain species can interact with another.

The system created requires maintenance. Ramos often must measure water acidity levels, concentrations of certain algae and so forth to make sure his coral are growing in an environment as close to that of the ocean as possible.

Furthermore, although his system may work, it is by no means state-of-the-art. Ramos says he is hoping to buy a larger generator to further streamline his process and cut costs. Ramos stressed that if he were to have a generator, his business could take off because of coral’s regenerative abilities.

Once his coral has full grown, Ramos will cut his coral into individual polyps and sell them in person or at local coral shows.

Even though Ramos’ business has huge potential, he is not selling for the money. One day Ramos hopes to help replant the dying coral reef of the coast of Puerto Rico and to create an education center to further educate children about the reef.

“If I don’t do this, who will?” Ramos said.




Contact Gerardo:

275 Sargent Street
Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040

Pictures provided by Gerardo Ramos