Latest Posts

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

Decisions, Decisions: New SAIA Tool Can Help Stock Your Nano Reef

Focusing on nano tanks, AquarioScenario is a new tool from the SAIA. Along the lines of their existing FishSelector, this interface offers the aquarium hobbyist guidance on selecting organisms for stocking a tank in an ethical and sustainable way, while avoiding impulse buying. AquarioScenario also incorporates the SAIAs ‘Lists of Unsuitable and UnsustainableSpecies’, and ensures the combinations of marine life suggested are suitable and compatible, considering not only size, but also behaviour and needs of the species. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed with the many decisions to make and options to choose from when planning your small reef, AquarioScenario can assist by suggesting possible combinations of marine life for each tank size range, while still ensuring an interesting display. MORE

Water Chemistry

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Optimal water chemistry is much more than a set of perfect numbers.  It is an over all balance of many minerals, as well as an ability to maintain stability over long periods of time.  When excellent water chemistry is achieved you can see it in the animals.  The polyps may be a bit larger and extended, new active growth tips will form more quickly, or the corals will just have that extra glow or sparkle that the observant reef keeper will appreciate.  Testing often and paying attention to details will train you to be able to see when parameters are beginning to skew.  After many years, I began to see various cues  when testing that helped me form opinions as to why the corals looked better or worse on a given day.  I started to realize where the sweet spot was for levels and began to shoot for stability of these various parameters rather then chasing that perfect number.  Through the years, opinions on where one should keep these numbers varied greatly as more knowledge was provided to the hobby.  At one time it was believed that keeping elevated alkalinity or calcium was the best practice.  More recently the trend to keeping these closer to natural sea water levels has been more popular.  Finding that perfect number or sweet spot takes time and patience.  Close observation will help you master this and then the ability to keep it very stable becomes most important.  Rather then give you a specific set of parameter to follow here I would suggest to strive for stability and shoot for levels as close to natural sea water as possible.

Life Discovered Under Antartica’s Ice

antarctica-fish-ross-ice_88132_990x742 Scientists have discovered an abundance of life living under Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. It had been believed that nothing could survive under Antarctica until recently. With the ice sheet over 30 feet deep, and temperatures below freezing and no sunlight, it is shocking to find out there is flourishing life. The Ocean never stops amazing me.The discovery comes from the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling Project (WISSARD). The project was the first to drill through the layers of ice to reveal the flourishing life underneath. MORE

A Sad Day For Shedd Aquarium

DolphinThe Shedd Aquarium said goodbye to it’s oldest, white sided dolphin on Friday Tique, who was 30 years old, had been with the aquarium since 1991. Tique was suffering from kidney disease and was euthanized by the aquarium after many years of unsuccessful treatment . White sided dolphins normally live between 20 to 40 years of age and are found in the North Pacific. Working at public aquariums for much of my career, the decision to euthanize animals has always been a difficult one. At what point do you decide whether an animal is better off being kept alive in a less than humane way and how do you decide whether euthanasia is appropriate? The American Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums has published guidelines for Zoo and Aquarium’s on medical practices of Euthanasia. As for the controversial topic of keeping cetaceans in captivity, I am a huge believer that when kept in appropriate sized pools and under AZA approved conditions, these animals are a great ambassador for their species which foster understanding and compassion for all marine animals. MORE

Marine livestock collection’s effect on global reef health

muro-ami-3_fe6gV_16638Human or anthropogenic threats to coral reefs have been well documented for the past several years. Suddenly, there appears to be a surge in both research and legislative action regarding how human activities affect coral reefs. Here in Maryland, the health of the Chesapeake Bay has been a controversial topic and an issue that many politicians didn’t address in the past. Sensitive bay watersheds have been effected by both urban sprawl and large factory farms, who produce phosphorous rich run-off responsible for creating dead-zones within the once sea life rich bay. In the past four years ample political clout has been thrown into cleaning up the bay, with the formation of a Chesapeake Bay preservation trust, made up of scientists and ecology experts and funded via the tax payer. The results have been promising, as areas of the bay are showing signs of recovery and species that have been avoiding the waterway for years are starting to return.  MORE

What to Consider when Converting a Fish-only Tank to a Reef System

Evaluating your fish only aquarium and equipment is important before turning it into a reef“Caribbean Chris” and I are very frequently asked what it takes to convert a fish-only marine aquarium to a reef system containing corals and other sessile invertebrates. Can you just go ahead and add the invertebrates? Can you modify the existing system to suit the corals, or do you have to start the whole thing from scratch with a new tank and equipment? What has to change with respect to water conditions? Hopefully, the following points/suggestions will help address these and various other questions marine aquarium hobbyists often have when contemplating the transition from fish-only (or fish-only-with-live-rock) to reef:Pick a direction and do your homework Before making any new purchases or modifications to your existing aquarium, it’s important to pin down the type of reef system you want to keep. Are you primarily interested in soft corals? MORE

CoralRX One Shots Are Back in Action After Re-release

 After an apparent hiatus from the aquarium hobby (I say hiatus because of the “re-release” verbiage used in the promotional material), the One Shot single dose coral treatment from CoralRX is back and better than ever. These tiny little packets serve as a single dose coral dip that treats a wide variety of common issues (see the list below). And now they are in a much easier to use packet. Previously, the One Shots came in small glass vials, which weren’t always the easiest to open or the safest to handle MORE: CoralRX One Shots Are Back in Action After Re-release

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