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AZA’s Releases Winners Of 2014′s Most Innovative Exhibits

The Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums (AZA), founded in 1924, is a non-profit organization focused on conservation, education and advancement of aquariums and zoo’s. What is not to like about that mission? Working at public aquariums is how i got started in the aquatic industry and how my love for the hobby began and flourished, I have much respect for the AZA.  Last month, the AZA hosted their annual Honors and Awards Event in Orlando, Florida. chesnee AZAs Releases Winners Of 2014s Most Innovative Exhibits The event honors outstanding institutions and members of the aquarium and zoo community with a variety of different awards. Included in the event is the award for compelling exhibit. The AZA states that the award ‘recognizes excellence in the area of live animal display and exhibit display by an AZA institution.’ To have been considered for the 2014 award, the exhibit must have been opened during 2012 and 2013 calendar year. Applications were considered by the AZA before being chosen. This years award winners included  The Fresno Chaffee Zoo for their Sea Lion Cove, The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo‘s Encounter Africa and The Philadelphia Zoo’s KidZooU. These diverse and exciting exhibits were honored for engaging and inspiring guests. Certainly well done and a few more reasons to make a zoo travel plan this year to incorporate these awesome exhibits. MORE

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11 Hard Truths About Marine Aquariums

Reef keeping is an imperfect science. In many cases, it’s not science at all. When an un-informed person enters an aquarium store and decides they want a home reef, any number of things can happen. Even intermediate aquarists often have a finite understanding of the biological, chemical and physical processes that make a reef aquarium function, and many know very little about wild reef ecosystems. So often, aquarists are simply winging it, trying method after method, and tossing in livestock item after livestock item. People in general, are looking for quick results and immediate satisfaction. In reality, the reef aquarium hobby is the antithesis of this, rewarding patience and long-term thinking. While I like to encourage anyone with an interest, to attempt their own reef aquarium, I believe that it’s vital to understanding some serious realities about the hobby. Over the years, I’ve watched many aquarist’s prized tanks, go from being a centerpiece to basement clutter. In an effort to both educate those considering a new reef aquarium for the first time, and refresh those aquarists currently on the ropes, I offer the following 11 hard truths. AML 300x199 11 Hard Truths About Marine AquariumsHard Truth #1: It’s not cheap I often find those moving from the freshwater aquariums, to marine aquariums, quiet disillusioned about costs. Everything on the marine side is more expensive, from livestock to filtration. Tanks that are pre-drilled and designed for reef ecosystems cost more, and sumps and circulation pumps all add to the massive bill a properly designed aquarium system can create. Entering the hobby, with the mindset of doing things cheaply, can often lead to long term issues. Equipment designed for the bare minimum is often MORE

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The Many Possible Purposes of the Saltwater Refugium

refugium2 The Many Possible Purposes of the Saltwater Refugium“Refugium” is a hobby term that resists easy definition. This is probably so because, unlike most aquarium accoutrements—heaters, powerheads, protein skimmers, lights, etc.—there’s no single, readily identifiable purpose for a refugium. Ask 10 different hobbyists what a refugium is for, and you’re apt to get 10 different answers. Essentially, a refugium is some sort of tank, chamber, or reservoir that is isolated from the main display tank but shares the same system water. It could be another tank located under the display aquarium, a compartment within a sump system, a box that hangs on or inside the display tank, or one of many other possible configurations. In broad terms, and as the name implies, a refugium can be said to serve as a place of refuge for an organism that is sequestered from the livestock in the main aquarium for one reason or another—but even that definition doesn’t exactly apply in every circumstance. So let’s take a look at some of the more common uses for refugiums (refugia?) to get a better sense of what one is and why you might want to consider adding one to your aquarium system: Isolating an injured/bullied specimen A refugium is the perfect place to move a fish or coral specimen that has been injured/nibbled upon by a tankmate and needs a stress-free place to rest and recuperate in isolation More: The Many Possible Purposes of the Saltwater Refugium

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Cherry Corals to Giveaway Awesome Colorado Sunburst Anemone at RAP

2053Cherry Corals Colorado Sunburst Cherry Corals to Giveaway Awesome Colorado Sunburst Anemone at RAP MORE: Cherry Corals to Giveaway Awesome Colorado Sunburst Anemone at RAP

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Somewhere Along the Western Coast of Nassau, Bahamas, a Girl Carries The Weight of the Ocean on Her Shoulders

ocean atlas jason decaires taylor nassau bahamas 003 jason decaires taylor sculpture 225x300 Somewhere Along the Western Coast of Nassau, Bahamas, a Girl Carries The Weight of the Ocean on Her ShouldersJason deCaires Taylor, famous sculptor known for his underwater works that double as artificial reefs, introduces to us “Ocean Atlas”. Stemming from the Atlas narrative, the young Bahamian girl is depicted holding up the weight of the ocean on her shoulders just below the surface of the Atlantic. Commissioned by the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF), the massive sculpture is an ominous reflection of the burden we’re passing down to future generations, and is the largest resident in an underwater sculpture garden. The garden also features sculptures by local artists Willicey Tynes and Andret Jones, as well as an artificial reefball trail. In order to sustain marine life, and ensure they colonize and thrive within the garden, the pieces are constructed with sustainable pH-neutral materials. I really am quite taken by all of these artificial reefs. They combine stunning artwork with an incredible goal to preserve and encourage our reefs to flourish. I do hope to visit at least a few at some point in the future.
ocean atlas jason decaires taylor nassau bahamas 005 jason decaires taylor sculpture 150x150 Somewhere Along the Western Coast of Nassau, Bahamas, a Girl Carries The Weight of the Ocean on Her Shouldersocean atlas jason decaires taylor nassau bahamas 006 jason decaires taylor sculpture 0 150x150 Somewhere Along the Western Coast of Nassau, Bahamas, a Girl Carries The Weight of the Ocean on Her Shoulders

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Fish Eye Photo, Glasseye Snapper Eye

8b93Fish Eye web Fish Eye Photo, Glasseye Snapper EyeGood morning friends, we started our Caribbean morning out with a massive tropical downpour and we are loving it!! These next few months are typically our wet months and it’s looking like we are off to good start which is great for the island, bad for mountain biking! So how was your weekend out there??? Mine was fairly busy and a lot of fun. MORE

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Whoa There, Daddy! I’m So Happy Humans Don’t Give Birth Like This

 I’m pretty terrified to have just one baby, but HUNDREDS? Take a looksie and this incredible video of a seahorse bursting hundreds of tiny little seahorse babies out of his robust pouch. This video is old news, 2009, but it’s the first time I’ve caught a glimpse of it, so I felt compelled to share in case some of you reef lovers missed it as well. For those of you who have seen it, well, maybe you want to revisit it in all of it’s baby seahorse glory. Props to seahorse dads, those guys are troopers.

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Stunning Video On The Camouflage Of Pygmy Seahorses

 So, in the spirit of age old “chicken before the egg” inquiry, marine biologists over at the Steinhart Aquarium decided to explore the camouflage tactics of the adorable, wee pygmy seahorse. So here’s the deal – if a pygmy seahorse can’t blend perfectly into its environment, they’d surely die. They’d be too easy for predators to spot and snatch up. These little guys spend their days lounging around on sea fans. There’s yellow pygmies and there’s purple pygmies. The question? Do they change color to match each specific habitat or are they simply born this way? To find out, the biologists took itty-bitty baby yellow seahorses, which were a dull-brownish hue, and plopped them into tanks with purple sea fans. The result? They turned purple. So there you have it!

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