Monthly Archives: June 2011

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Monterey Bay Aquarium Unveils Open Sea Exhibit

Monterey Bay’s Aquarium new section opens to the public on July 2nd and from the details emerging it will really be a striking new addition to this well known aquarist destination.  Key to the new exhibits will be a focus on lighting techniques and up close viewing stations allowing you to get nice and personal with puffins and sea turtles.  LINK  … More:

The Hidden Costs of DIY LED Projects That You Aren’t Thinking Of

flickerLED - 07Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: oskay Without a doubt, whenever anyone asks a question or posts a comment about LED set-up, there are always droves of people who line up shouting, “WELL, YOU COULD HAVE BUILT A DIY FIXTURE FOR WAY LESS!!!” To that, I say, “No you can’t.”… More:

Building hollow rock

I know there have been numerous threads on building rock, but I think I make it differently. I make it hollow so besides allowing me to make it any shape, it also helps grow anerobic bacteria that will help with nitrates.
My entire reef structure is supported on this type of “rock” and I can build rocks very long and thin, something that is not easy to build with other methods. It is also very cheap, practically free and only takes about 15 minutes over 3 or 4 days.… More:

Name That Product!

Final reminder that Reef Nutrition’s contest to name their new product line ends at midnight tonight.  As an added bonus, if one of our members has the winning entry we’ll send you a special Reefer Care Package! ENTER HERE

Free Sample for Entering
Every entrant receives a sample of Top Dressed Otohime product – food for your fish. Larval to bloodstock, depending on species. See contest rules for details.
Free Sample for Market Survey
Participate in our Optional Market Survey and receive a second Top Dressed Otohime sample in a different pellet size!
Top 3 Runner Ups
$50 gift certificate – good toward the purchase of any Commercial Aquaculture or Reef Nutrition product(s) – or toward products from our new line!
Grand Prize Winner
$250 gift card to the store of your choice, including (but not limited to) the purchase of any product(s) sold or produced by Reed Mariculture.


Toxic Love: Boxfish

I absolutely love boxfish. It doesn’t matter what species, I love them all! I’ve had anything from the most commonly available Yellow Boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) to the more exotic Flame Boxfish (Anoplocapros lenticularis). 

Flame Boxfish (Anoplocapros lenticularis) Photo by Lissa Mann

 Most people have an understanding or have heard that boxfish can be poisonous to other fish when stressed. Knowing this myself, I still find it hard to avoid keeping them with other fish. Of the many species I’ve kept over the years I’ve had three incidents in which boxfish caused the death of other fish. The first incident was in 2008, when mysteriously fish were being found dead in the morning even though they showed no signs of issues. They behaved completely normal the day before. Having tested the water and took many actions to uncover the issue nothing appeared obvious. As a precaution, I added carbon filtration. The deaths stopped for 2-3 days. I thought it had passed when suddenly the deaths started again. At this point, my Large Male Whitley’s Boxfish (Ostracion whitleyi) stopped eating. This alerted me to the fact that it may have been releasing a toxin called ostracitoxin. I removed the fish and did a water change and replaced the carbon. The deaths no longer happened. 

Male Whitley's Boxfish (Ostracion whitleyi) Photo by Dominick Cirigliano

 Because of the number of boxfish I kept in the past, I believed this was an isolated incidence (okay, maybe the lack of intelligence on my part contributed). I kept others without the fear of poisoning other fish. I went incident free until I moved from Manhattan to NJ and put a Flame Boxfish in a bucket with my prized filefish and a powerhead failed. Within minutes of the powerhead in the bucket failing, all of the fish were dead. Certainly not enough time for oxygen depletion to be the cause. The Flame Boxfish must have gotten stressed and released toxins. As a result of the last circumstance I avoided boxfish for some time. It wasn’t until recently that I started keeping them with other fish again. I had a couple of male Blue Boxfish (Ostracion meleagris). One passed away without causing a problem. This built my confidence with keeping them in a community tank again. 

Blue Boxfish (Ostracion meleagris) Photo by Sanjay Joshi


  So now we get to the situation that prompted this post.… More:

Voice Your Opinion: National Ocean Council Sessions

 A reminder that several “listening sessions” of the National Ocean Council will be held over the next few weeks, this is your opportunity to voice your opinion direct to the council in regards to the national effort to protect our seas, lakes and rivers.  If you can take off work, do your part and make it to one of these meetings and represent the needs of the aquarium industry and the various conservation groups that make our hobby a sustainable activity. LINKMore:

New Reef Keeper Module

 Digital Aquatics has released yet another module in their long line of add-ons. It’s early on in the press of this one, but from what I can tell it is simply a multiple temperature probe hub. It will allow the user to have up to four temperature probes run from the same controller, and should monitor and control them all separately. This would mean that hobbyists with multiple systems could monitor them all from the same central system, and that some level of redundancy could also be built into a system with multiple probes on the same tank. This new module will connect to any Reef Keeper model. Pre-orders will be available in late August, so if this device interests you, look for that shortly.

Kingdom of the Sea’s Mitch Carl

Mitch Carl & Jason Diefenbaugh

 While in Omaha Nebraska, I had the opportunity to visit Mitch Carl, curator of Kingdom of the Sea at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. I also had the chance to meet Jason Diefenbaugh, Mitch’s trusty Aquarist.   

Mitch Carl & Tony Vargas


Two of many “grow out” troughs.


Colorful Acropora loripes found in one of the troughs. Photo by Tony Vargas


An awesome Acropora granulosa. Photo by Tony Vargas


What ever this is Wow, Acropora sp. Photo by Tony Vargas


One juvenile of the endangered Acropora palmata. Photo by Tony Vargas


My Reef Creations Skimmer, I want one for my 90-gallon, ha ha.


An awesome Genicanthus semifasciatus in one of the reef dispalys. Photo by Tony Vargas


New Convention Center display tank.

    Mitch and Kingdom of the Sea are well known for their involvement with Sexual Coral Reproduction (SECORE), an organization that addresses the issues of sexual reproduction in hermatypic or reef-building corals.  In 2006 Mitch and SECORE were on a special assignment collecting eggs and sperms from Elkhorn Acropora (Acropora palmata) off the beaches of Puerto Rico and fertilized thousands of juveniles.  Currently, Kingdom of the Sea houses many of these A. palmata juveniles in their facility.  Many of these A.palmata babies have been shipped to other public aquariums around the world. Jason the trusty aquarist, is responsible for many large reef exhibits; a beach tank of roughly 10,000 gallons, a symbiotic tank holding about 2,000 gallons, a live coral display around 3,000 gallons, and a new Indo Coral exhibit with approximately 9,000 gallons.  He is constantly on the run removing finger prints, feeding fish, making water changes, cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. The Amazon exhibit was one of my favorites.  This tank is about ten feet long, maybe longer with one large wall of glass—fully enclosed—above the water line is sealed as well.  In the water were the typical large Amazon fish; Red Tiger Oscars, Red Tail Cat, Arowanas, Pacus, and a few others.  But, what was most interesting were the monkeys jumping from branch to branch above the water.  The Penguin display was another exciting exhibit with four different species gathered together in harmony; Gentoo, King, Rockhopper, and Macaronis.… More: is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.