Latest Posts

The Marine Aquarist’s Greatest Asset

Patience, much like in many other aspects of the hobby, is important to creating a thriving coral gardenIf someone were to ask you (perhaps with a gun held to your head, as is so often the case in these hypothetical scenarios) to identify the one thing that no aspiring marine aquarist should be without, what would your answer be? A top-of-the-line protein skimmer? The best synthetic sea salt mix on the market? An exceptional water-flow scheme? A high-tech controller to monitor and maintain proper water parameters? While state-of-the-art gear helps make a successful marine aquarium more attainable to the average person, the most important tool for any hobbyist is something you can’t buy at your LFS or on the internet. Rather, it’s a personality trait that you’re either born with or must learn to practice: patience MORE

Review: TMC EASI-Dose 3 Programmable Dosing System

Although they’ve been used on reef systems for many years, peristaltic dosing pumps (or ‘peri’ pumps) have become a much more common sight in the last few years being integral to a number of relatively new supplementation regimes. Whereas once, a single peri pump with no particular control, slaving away in some far corner of a cabinet was the norm, modern units offer multiple pumps, digital control, slave options and a range of other features. One such unit is the EASI-Dose from TMC which we look at in this review. Part of a much wider ‘system’ aimed at advanced reef-keepers, the EASI-Dose 3 is, as the name suggests, a triple pump dosing unit. Also in the REEF range by TMC, we have single and double pump units (EASI-Dose 1 and 2 respectively), a 4 pump slave unit, and there are also bespoke shelves for each pump plus a container system which comes in different sizes and can handle aggressive chemicals. In terms of modularity, taking the EASI-Dose 3 as an example, you could feasibly connect 2 slave units to this ‘master’ giving you 11 pump heads in total… easily enough to cover a vast range of systems MORE

“Ocean Gravity” – The Parallels of Sea and Space

 “Just like in the space, there isn’t anymore a top or a bottom. There isn’t anymore upside down and wrong side out. The ocean becomes cosmos, the man a satellite, and the bottom of the sea an unknown planet. Welcome in the fascinating universe of Ocean Gravity” – Guillaume Néry MORE

UltraReef Akula UKS-180 Conic Skimmer

2015_01_ultrareef_akula_UKS_nuovo_modello_08UltraReef has just restyled and updated its three-year-old skimmer, the Akula, and now offers us its new conic skimmer, the Akula UKS-180MORE

Scientists ask fish to be included in moral circle of compassion.

upside_down_tangDuring my last post, I addressed the question of whether or not fish feel pain and have a conscious mind capable of seeking pleasure or feeling emotional stress. I want to expand on this topic, based on another scientific paper which includes more information and research, asking the question whether or not fish should be included in our moral circle of sentient animals and provided protection under the law. Yesterday’s post was based on a scientific paper by Dr. Stephanie Cottee and the information shared today borrows from a paper by Culum Brown and Dr. Marc BekoffMORE

Do fish feel pain?

262627303It’s long been touted that fish don’t feel pain. Aquarists may argue this point on both sides of the line. Some may believe that fish feel an entire array of emotions, while others would assume that physical responses to stimulus are autonomic, taking place without any subjective “feeling” driving them. As we move through the 21st century animal behavior science is gaining new traction. As stewards of a variety of our animal kingdom cousins, scientists believe it’s vital that we understand the conscious capacity within them, in an effort to understand how to better create a comfortable life in captivity. Notions about animal consciousness and feeling are often very different when looking at various species. For example, people often view the conscious capacity of dogs or cats, different than that of snakes or spiders. As science progresses, allowing for physical representations of conscious functions to be measured (using MRI and brain scans) we are learning that animals likely experience a vast array of subjective emotions, and species that lack a neocortex (such as fish) use different physiological features and organs to serve the same role.  MORE

Reef Threads Plus #1

reefthreads We are very pleased to present our first podcast in a new monthly series we’re calling Reef Threads Plus. In these podcasts we’ll choose a single topic and discuss it in depth with experts/knowledgeable people. For our first Plus podcast, Ben Johnson, Ret Talbot, and Jim Walters discuss what the hobby will be like if we reach a point at which we are no longer able to collect/import reef animals. As always, you can download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter @reefthreads. We hope you enjoy our new series, find it thought provoking, and will share it with others.—Gary and ChristineBen Johnson, Captive Aquatic EcosystemsBen Johnson’s Captive Aquatic Ecosystems websiteRet Talbot’s Good Catch BlogRet Talbot’s Good Catch BlogJim Walters’ Old Town AquariumJim Walters’ Old Town Aquarium website

Sweet Coral Hind! A Colorful, Aquarium-Sized Grouper

Coral Hind or Miniatus grouper (Cephalopholis miniata)The name “grouper” conjures up images of underwater behemoths that no home aquarium can conceivably accommodate, such as the legendary goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara). Fortunately, marine aquarium hobbyists who have a yen for these hefty predators can find several attractive, aquarium-sized species in the genus Cephalopholis, including the justifiably popular miniata grouper (C. miniata), aka the coral hind. Physical traitsC. miniata has a robust, bass-like body shape. It’s a mottled orange-red to scarlet in base color with myriad small, closely spaced, light-blue polka dots all over its body and fins. MORE

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