Monthly Archives: March 2011

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Coral Form

blog coralbw1 Coral Form

Sarcophyton. A green polyp toadstool in my tank.

 Typically, when we think of corals, we think of brightly colored organisms.  Certainly corals are prized for the colors that they bring to our reef tanks.  In fact, it is the search for eye popping color that has led so many to change to LED lights, and it is the need to impress other hobbyists that has led to the widespread use of photoshop to enhance coral colors in online photos. Colors are wonderful, but I think shape variety is a lost art in reefkeeping.  I appreciate not only the wonderful colors in various corals but the texture that a variety of shapes brings to a reef tank.  To that end, I try to take at least some of my tank photographs in black and white – just to show people that color is not the only thing that makes a coral beautiful. 

    

cocoabstract a 1024x1024 Coral Form

Coco Worm. Okay, not a coral but the idea is the same.

 
blog dendro3 a Coral Form

Duncans in my aquarium.

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Fun with a Microscope

I think most people in the marine aquarium hobby enjoy the daily surprises our piece of the ocean supply on a daily basis. Whether its hitchhikers, spawnings or new growth of our corals we all look on with a big smile. A few years back I added a different dimension to my enjoyment by purchasing a microscope that also came with a camera. I started thinking about getting one when my White Spotted Pygmy Filefish (Rudarius ercodes) started spawning. Their eggs and fry were so small I was curious to see what they looked like. Shortly after a quick trip to an online website, I had my microscope. 

WSPFF Eggs 300x225 Fun with a Microscope

Whitespotted Pygmy Filefish (Rudarius ercodes) Eggs

 After I got everything set up and I took pictures of the filefish eggs. I started looking at all sorts of reef-related stuff under the microscope. Soon after the pygmy files spawned my Bristletail Filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus) started spawning and I was able to gather their eggs for observation. 
BTFF Eggs 300x225 Fun with a Microscope

Bristletail Filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus) Eggs

 Things got rolling from there. I didn’t miss an opportunity to view anything I could. Here are a bunch of things I thought were interesting. The captions describe what they are. 
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Hippocampus erectus Stillborn Fry

 
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Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio) Fry

 
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Berghia Verrucicornis Egg Cluster

 
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Northern Pipefish (Syngnathus fucus) Egg

 
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Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) Egg Cluster

 
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Spotted Anemone Shrimp (Periclimenes yucatanicus) Fry

 Besides entertainment, a microscope also could be used for necropsy purposes of dead fish and corals. This can be a useful tool in identifying the cause of death and help treat for disease and infection more efficiently. Microscopes can be found online on many sites and in all different price ranges. Mine has a max of 1000x magnification which is plenty for what most of us would use it for.  I recommend getting one. The entertainment value alone makes it worth it. More pictures can bee seen here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=159375587415630&aid=49773More:

Posted in Equipment, Science, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

A moment of silence for the man who helped make fragging possible

IMG00009 20110328 1341 300x225 A moment of silence for the man  who  helped make fragging possibleIt is with a heavy heart that we mark the passing of a man who unwittingly is partly responsible for our ability to frag so easily. Harry Coover the inventor of cyanoacrylate super glue passed away today at age 94.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110327/ap_on_re_us/us_obit_super_glue_inventor_2 Note that the need for its invention arose from of all things- broken refractometers. An entire industry you likely knew nothing about salutes you Harry.… More:

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Majano Wand is now on sale!

Mojano Wand ezr2 Majano Wand is now on sale! The long awaited and somewhat contested patent pending Majano Wand is now available for purchase exclusively through Saltwater Critters.  For all those people who have been plagued by endless hordes of majanos and aiptasia, you can finally have your revenge with this cool, futuristic looking tool that literally blasts these guys into submission.  We’d sure love to get our hands on one to put through the paces with a particularly nasty FOWLR tank.  If you have one, send us your reviews and comments!… More:

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Pros and Probiotics

probiotics1 Pros and ProbioticsThe term “probiotics” is bandied about in reefkeeping a lot lately as the carbon-dosing fad (and technology) has been increased by the advent of Biopellets and other solid carbon sources.  These are meant to take the place of the old vodka dosing method; adding the benefit of easier administration, even more bacterial growth, and consequently more nutrient control.  And here’s where my microbiologist-hackles get raised: everyone calls the bacteria growing as a result of carbon dosing “probiotics,” and all aquarium bacterial additives “probiotics” as well.  In fact, these bacteria are NOT probiotic strains and don’t function in that way at all—so let’s get some definitions straight. A probiotic is live bacteria administered to a host organism to benefit that host.  The most common example everyone knows is yogurt.  Our intestines are full of bacteria which serve many purposes—taking up real estate that could otherwise be occupied by pathogens, making vitamins, digesting nutrients…there are more bacterial cells making up you than there are human cells!  We can replenish that microbiome (another handy term referring to your symbiotic microorganisms) by eating things which contain these organisms, like yogurt. Probiotic supplements containing Acidophilus species or Lactobacillus species work in the same way.  We eat the live bugs, they take up residence, and everyone is happy.  This is true in humans, fish, and even insects. So, why do we call all our carbon-fed bacterial additives probiotics?  Sure, they might make the tank healthier, but the tank isn’t an organism, and the bacteria don’t live in or on organisms.  The denitrifying bacteria generally don’t live in oxygenated areas—they live in biofilms, either on live rocks or on our nifty new biopellets.  Having a fancy “Pro” name isn’t what  makes them special (apologies to Steve Pro; he is special). They perform a critical function—just not a probiotic one. Are there actual aquarium probiotics?  Absolutely!  Some of the same strains we use for our own intestinal health have been used in raising larval fishes with good success and research is underway to identify intestinal bacteria from fish that can be then dosed to larval fish in the same way.  It is hypothesized that this will function in the same way they do for us—preventing pathogens from taking hold, aiding digestion and increasing immunity in other nonspecific ways.  They will likely be useful for fish breeders and may be a good adjunct therapy post-antibiotic administration.  So let’s carbon-dose our nitrogen cycle bacteria living in our tanks and administer probiotics to our fish (and maybe other organisms as well?), and all the marine microbiologists will be happy.… More:

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Coming soon! Reefs Magazine’s Spring 2011 Issue

Screen shot 2011 03 22 at 9.20.47 PM 213x300 Coming soon! Reefs Magazines Spring 2011 IssueAll you information seeking, eye-candy starved wordaholics should go into high alert as the Spring 2011 edition of Reefs Magazine is just about ready to roll. Features include:
Todd Gardner
– The Secret Lives of Aquarists–Behind the Scenes at Atlantis Marine WorldJake Adams – The Amazing Anampses LennardiRich Ross – Skeptical Reefkeping part 4Chris Jury – The Great Temperature Debate pt 3Michael Lukaczyn – The Dark Side of Reefkeeping Azoox CoralsMatt Wandell - Shoaling Fishes continued-The Randalli AnthiasJames Passantino – Fragging under the InfluenceMore:

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Leopard Skin Anyone?

One of my favorite fish is the Fantail Filefish (Pervagor spilosoma). It originates from the eastern side of the pacific (mostly around Hawaii). Many of the Hawaiian locals call this fish the “Leopard Filefish.”  You can see clearly why in the picture below. 

LFF 300x175 Leopard Skin Anyone?

Fantail Filefish (Pervagor spilosoma)

 These fish tend to be aggressive with similar and the same species. I’ve had great success getting them eating prepared foods. It seems they are willing to try anything including ornamental shrimp and may even “taste” corals. I’ve seen them test bite just about everything. They grow to a max of about 7″ but I think their activity level warrants a larger tank for them. My favorite thing about these filefish (other than their appearance) is how active they are. They constantly are swimming around the tank and through the rock work. Definitely one of the most entertaining fish I’ve kept. The real mystery of these filefish is the episodic spawning they engage in. Once in a while (timing is not really known) this fish is found in overwhelming numbers in the shallows of Hawaii. Many of the fish are preyed upon or wash up on the beaches dead. This spawning occurrence was particularly peculiar in 1944, 1975 and 1982-1987. This is when millions of the fish gathered. It’s not known what triggers the event or what the rationale for it is. 
LFF2 300x264 Leopard Skin Anyone?

Fantail Filefish (Pervagor spilosoma)

 I’ve wanted to breed these fish in captivity although it seems unlikely even though I did experience a spawning of a similar species, Pervagor melanocephalus. Hopefully, in time, I’ll be posting a blog about my Fantail Filefish spawning. 
OTFFDEC2222 300x199 Leopard Skin Anyone?

Orangetail Filefish (Pervagor melanocephalus)

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Photo of the Week

This unusual Tubastrea sp. sports some very cool polyps! Tubastrea Photo of the Week Photo details: Shot top down with Canon 7D, 100mm f2.8 Macro lens, on tripod with remote shutter at f14, ISO 100, exposure 1.6 s… More:

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