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One Week Until MACNA 2014 – The Top 5 Speakers I Can’t Wait to See!

media 4 One Week Until MACNA 2014   The Top 5 Speakers I Cant Wait to See!
Ok, now that we’re all jittering with excitement over the fact that MACNA is a mere week away from today, I see it fitting to discuss the 5 individuals I’m most looking forward to this year. It was honestly a distressful list to narrow down as all of the speakers this year are flipping fantastic. Check out the full list of them here! To get started, I’ll go with a Double Feature – two of my favorite Reef friends and brilliant minds behind so many groundbreaking projects in the industry, Laura Birenbaum and Justin Credible Grabel of ReefGen. Laura’s talk is going to cover the keeping and breeding of Dwarf Cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis), her most recent project that yielded some pretty adorable results. I was the lucky recipient of a pair of these guys – but that story sadly ended in tragedy. Nonetheless, she’s plays a huge part in my interest with the tiny Cephs, and I very much look forward to her future work. The other half of ReefGen, Justin Grabel, my go-to source for coral voodoo, easily makes it onto my list. He’s been known to make corals do things they just really shouldn’t do. Take today’s earlier post on their aquacultered Trachyphyllia Brain Coral, for example. Not only is he making great advancements with the animals, he’s also always more than willing to give the details of such projects to me, and doesn’t shy away from sharing his methods. I expect a lot from his presentation – the Reef Rockstar will be discussing no less than SIX excellent topics, “Together we will explore Thraustochytrids (the unsung Symbiont hero), Hydrogen Peroxide and algae control, Grafting and Fusion, Potassium Dosing, Unusual Coral Propagation and whatever hot topic I’m jazzed about at the moment.”. There’s also mention of trivia. So there you have it, your first taste of what’s to come at MACNA this year. Stay tuned for the next speaker on my list – someone who had a great deal of influence on me when I first crawled my way into the industry. I’m psyched.
Laura Birenbaum 150x150 One Week Until MACNA 2014   The Top 5 Speakers I Cant Wait to See!justin credabel1 150x150 One Week Until MACNA 2014   The Top 5 Speakers I Cant Wait to See!

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A Recap of the MBI Workshop 2014

workshop1 A Recap of the MBI Workshop 2014Hosted by the Marinelife Aquarium Society of Michigan (MASM) and the Marine Breeding Initiative (MBI), and held July 19, 2014 at Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, this was the fifth workshop they have offered dealing solely with the captive breeding of marine species. This approach supports the sustainability of the aquarium hobby and gives home aquarists the information needed to propagate marine aquarium animals in their homes. Aquarists who are successful at raising their own animals always learn skills along the way that translate to better aquarium keeping overall. Knowing that networking is at least as important as the lectures themselves, the MBI organized a pre-workshop reception and a post-workshop barbeque, allowing attendees to interface with the speakers and gain additional insight in an informal setting. I’ve attended this conference in the past, and presented on the Toledo Zoo’s efforts to propagate boarfish, as well as our pilot marine fish propagation program. Here are brief descriptions of the day’s presentations: 1. The first speaker was Matt Pedersen, an editor for Coral and Amazonas magazines, who spoke about clownfish species and varieties. He feels (as I do) that Amphiprion leucokranos and A. theilli are not valid species, but are, rather, naturally occurring hybrids More: A Recap of the MBI Workshop 2014

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Drooling. ReefGen Has Developed the First Ever Aquacultured Trachyphyllia Brain Coral!

Screen Shot 2014 08 21 at 1.46.53 PM 300x262 Drooling. ReefGen Has Developed the First Ever Aquacultured Trachyphyllia Brain Coral! I’ve been debating how to stock my new nano for quite some time and this gem popped onto my newsfeed today! The creative masterminds of ReefGen  have done it again and blew me away with their stunning aquacultured pieces. If you want a chance at being one of the first to own this beautiful red and green open brain, I suggest you hurry up before I beat you to it – I love being first! This guy is relatively easy to keep, enjoys moderate light, easy flow and is semi-aggressive. No word yet on how he feels about long walks on the beach. Ever the curious reefer, I reached out to Justin Grabel of ReefGen to get some behind the scenes info on just what kind of sorcery was involved to make this happen. 

It has taken me over 2 years of work on two strains of Trachyphyllia to get to the point where we can release them in limited numbers. My goal has been to create miniature version of a full colony in shape and form. It is not too much unlike the process for creating my Project Line of unusual morphology in usually single polyp, non-encrusting coral. However the process to create these miniature babies forgoes one of the steps used to make a fully encrusting Project coral. The end of the process yields a miniature of mother colony.”

  So there you have it from Mr. Grabel himself, many thanks to him for sharing this info with us. I’m fascinated by the process and hope they produce many more of these babies in the future so I can have a full tank! Happy Reefing!

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Deep Red

IMG 8216sm Deep Red

Bigeye, Priacanthus arenatus. This specimen was found drifting in Sargassum weed.

 Red coloration and large eyes are typical of deep-water fishes. MORE

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Rising Tide Intern Joe Frith

Joes%2Bblog%2Bpic Rising Tide Intern Joe FrithHello Everybody!  My name is Joe Frith and I have been interning here at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in Ruskin, FL for the past 2 months. I would first like to say “thank you” to Dr. Judy St. Leger, Eric, Kevin, Roy, Craig, Jon and the rest of the staff here at the Lab for giving me this opportunity and making this a meaningful experience. I’m currently an undergraduate at the University of Missouri-Columbia completing my degree in Fisheries and Wildlife with a minor in Biology. As a child growing up in the woods of Missouri I was always very intrigued by the natural world and usually had several different aquariums spread throughout my house at any one time. My interest in the aquatic world slowly evolved from freshwater aquariums to saltwater aquariums to eventually trying my hand at breeding the Bluestripe pipefish (Doryrhamphus excisus), which I had help with from Matt Pederson and the other members at  It was back in February of this year, after reading posts on the Rising Tide blog that I decided to contact Dr. St. Leger about possible internships they may be awarding for the summer. I received an email shortly after and we soon started laying the groundwork for me to become an intern at TAL. What was once a dream was now a reality. Over the course of this summer I have helped the Rising
Tide team with a number of different projects ranging from Pacific blue tang and
emperor angelfish spawning to water quality refinement in an attempt to
increase spawning and overall health of all brood fish. Specifically I constructed an algae scrubbing device, complete with mangroves, which has made a significant impact on lower the nitrate levels in the fish growout system (the details of which will be discussed in a future blog). In addition I have learned a lot about the whole marine fish larval rearing process including egg collection, egg counting, stocking and density, and important first food items such as copepod nauplii and rotifers. And if I wasn’t working on any one of these projects I was traveling alongside Dr. Roy Yanong to one of the many aquaculture farms here in the Ruskin area. This experience has opened my eyes even further to the wonderful world of
aquaculture and I can’t think of any other way I would’ve rather spent my
summer. With all of the knowledge and insight I have gained in the past couple
of months I hope to continue on in this field and hopefully make some great discoveries. Another big thanks to the Rising Tide team for such an awesome experience! MORE: Rising Tide Intern Joe Frith

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4-eyed success

4 eyed turtle by kienthucdotnetdotvn 300x199 4 eyed success


 The Tennessee Aquarium has had a breakthrough…two sets of baby four-eyed turtles have successfully hatched. The name is a bit misleading, they don’t actually have 4 eyes, they have spots on the back of their heads that look like extra eyes.  Listed on CITES Appendix III, these endangered turtles have been declining due to trade and demand for their shells which are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Aquarium is stepping in to help these little critters out by breeding them to help conserve the species and to place them at other facilities.  MORE

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Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish Clouds

5637838967 c65986fc5d copy 300x225 Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish CloudsThe past few weeks have been quite interesting for me, to say the least. As a result, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with my head in the clouds, where it often tends to go when I need a mental break. Interestingly enough, even with the fluffy white filling my head, I manage to have reefs on the brain. Staring at the sky the other day I noticed one of my favorite cloud patterns, Altocumulus Mackerel Sky, a stunning formation that heavily resembles the scales of the King Mackerel, from which the clouds get their name. Unsatisfied with the thought that there could only be one, lonely cloud formation that mirrored our oceans, I immediately thought of Jellyfish. They’re ghostly, bulbous mantles and streaming tentacles are definitely “cloudlike”. Well, a quick Google search informed me that, indeed, “Jellyfish Clouds” are a thing. Altocumulus Castelanus, “also known as jellyfish clouds due to their jellyfish-like appearance. These formed around 17,000 ft due to when the rush of moist air comes from the Gulf Stream and gets trapped between layers of dry air. The top of the cloud rises into a jellyfish shape and long tentacles known as “trailing virga” form from rain drops that have evaporated”. Incredible. Next time I find my mind wandering I’ll have to keep an eye out for the scarcely seen fluffy jellyfish of the sky. Also, just for fun, I’m also going to be on the lookout for the super-fun “Mammatus Clouds”. I don’t think meteorologists see enough boobs…
Mackerelskylincolnshire 1 150x150 Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish Clouds Narrow barred Spanish mackerel 150x150 Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish Clouds 1024px Mammatus clouds regina sk june 2012 150x150 Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish Clouds

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Transparent Creatures Under The Sea

article Transparent Creatures Under The Sea
This article highlights a characteristic widely used, and not often studied, by animals in the ocean: transparency. When animals on land can try and camouflage with their surroundings, this usually means shades of brown or green to fit in with surrounding flora and fauna. Its quite different under the sea. Dr. Johnson, a Professor of Biology at Duke is studying transparent creatures. As one can imagine, this is not an easy task to do. The scientists often spend long periods of time underwater doing what appears to be looking at nothing to study deep sea transparency. When there is no where to hide, no reefs or underwater plants, transparency is the way to go for animals looking to avoid being the next meal. MORE

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