Category Archives: Corals

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Reflection on an Old Combo

Burger Birdsnest combo justin - reefs

Burger’s Birdsnest & Meteor Shower Cyphastrea

 There are some long-term coral partnerships that unfailingly work out time and again, while other coral closely placed together don’t get along at all. Finding relationships that work can be tricky – place the wrong coral together and they will compete and fight, sometimes to the death. Throughout my career in this industry, I have spent hours grafting and fusing different coral in my care, and I am particularly intrigued by the art of long-term commensalism among various and often distantly-related coral species. One of my favorite pairings to date is between the classic Burger’s Birdsnest and the Meteor Shower Cyphastrea. For the most part,I have grown them on a small scale, and I keep separate mother colonies, which I then frag out to use in combos. Occasionally, I even get a chance to see some of those coral creations planted in Joe Yaiullo’s massive reef tank, placed by him during one of his dives.… More:

Tiny Dancer – Crustacean Named After Elton John

Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man and Crocodile Rock are among the many hits by rock legend Sir Elton John.  Now, the music superstar can add to his list of accomplishments with the naming of a crustecean in his honor! An amphipod was recently discovered in the coral reefs of Raja Ampat,Indonesia but may also be found other south pacific reefs. The shrimp-like crustacean creature has been named Leucothoe eltoni, after the famous rocker.829eltonjohnMore:

Smithsonian Explores Klein Curacao

Good morning friends, how was your weekend out there?? I apologize for the lack of postings lately but we have been super busy playing with the folks from the World famous Smithsonian Institution. Last wednesday was spent taking load after load of supplies to the Chapman (the white ship seen in the 2nd photo) and getting ready to set sail for the remote island of Klein Curacao early thursday morning. The top photo shows our 2.5 million dollar mini submersible named the “Curasub” on the back of the research vessel the Chapman heading out to sea on the way to Klein Curacao. The second photo shows the Chapman anchored at Klein Curacao and the bottom photo shows the view of the desolate island from way above the Chapman, both of these killer shots are compliments of our sub pilot Barbara who has a mini-drone and boy does she know how to use it!

The Reef Aquarium After Hours: Four Reasons to Keep That Flashlight Handy

Long tentacle anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis) at night under LED lightingAnyone who has done any night diving knows that nighttime activity on coral reefs is very, very different from what goes on there during the day. A dramatic “changing of the guard” occurs, with diurnal fish seeking refuge in the reef and nocturnal predators and planktivores taking dominion. Parrotfishes, wedged in caves or crevices, cloak their chemical signatures in mucous cocoons. Morays, only partially visible during the day, slither from their dens and swim in the open in search of prey. Octopuses, too, lose their daytime shyness and ply the reefs with busy tentacles. Night-feeding corals that appear bare and lifeless while the sun is up come into their glory with polyps fully extended. Bioluminescent organisms of all kinds put on otherworldly displays

MACNA 2015 – Nation’s Capital Soon To Be Salty

MACNA 2015 will take place in Washington, D.C.In a little more than a week, thousands of marine aquarium hobbyists and industry professionals will shoal in Washington, D.C. for the 27th annual MACNA (Marine Aquarium Conference of North America). If you attended MACNA last year in the Mile-High City or in South Florida the year before, you’ll know they were both incredibly successful events. Hosted at the beautiful Marriott Wardman Park, this year’s conference is in the capable hands of the Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarist Society, marking ten years since the club last brought MACNA to our Nation’s Capital. What is it and what can you expect?MACNA is a long-running, large-scale event that successfully hybridizes several components into one cohesive weekend of saltwater and reef aquarium goodness. First is the learning symposium aspect, which gives industry leaders, conservationists, authors, and scientists a platform to address a wide variety of topics. I always look forward to hearing what the top minds in our hobby have to say – so don’t underestimate how educational and entertaining these can be

New Coral Varieties from Asexual Reproduction

goni clones justin - reefsThis is an exciting hobby and profession to be a part of. The smartest people I know are continually surprised and dumbfounded by the new discoveries that are constantly made, and all the questions that are yet to be answered. I am fascinated by the variability in captive grown coral lines. There have been many studies on chimerism in coral, and this explanation describes certain characteristics in some of the imported coral colonies I have seen. However, as I have farmed more and more coral long-term, I have seen certain variations and mutations show up in some of my asexually-propagated coral clone lines that defied this explanation. 

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project X and project X2

 Due to the fact that this “color change in clones” phenomenon kept popping up, I decided I would take this opportunity to see if I could maintain any changes in future clones from that gene  line. One happy byproduct of that research is the Project X and Project X2 line of Fungia.… More:

Crossbreeding To Help Coral Survive Warming Ocean Temperatures

A new study finds that mixing corals of the same species from different latitudes could help coral reefs survive, despite ever-increasing warming ocean temperatures. Researchers from the University of Texas published their findings in the journal Science. Promiscuous coral - Acropora papillare on Ningaloo Reef.  THE AGE . news . OCTOBER 21, 2008 . pic by Natalie Rosser . story by Chee Chee Leung .More:

How Much Live Rock Do You Really Need?

The amount of live rock needed in your aquarium is based on several factorsOnce hobby newcomers learn what live rock is and all the benefits it can provide in marine aquariums, the next big question they invariably ask is, “How much of it do I need for my tank?” More experienced fellow hobbyists, eager to be of help, typically respond with a pat answer along the lines of “somewhere between one and one-and-a-half pounds per gallon.” While this type of formula is certainly convenient and eliminates guesswork, it unfortunately fails to address several key factors that must be considered when determining how much rock is actually appropriate for a given system. Here are just a few of them:Differing density Pound for pound, not all live rock stacks up the same. The density of live rock can vary considerably from one type/collection locale to another—and a highly porous rock is going to be significantly lighter than a very dense rock of the same size. (Visualize holding a chunk of lava rock in one hand and an identically sized chunk of granite in the other, and you’ll have the idea.) So, you can expect 100 pounds of highly porous rock to take up a lot more space in your tank than 100 pounds of dense rock will. Livestock objectives How much rock you’ll want to place in your tank will also vary based on your objectives for the system. For example, a full-blown reef tank might require more rock than a fish-only system to ensure there’s an adequate foundation for the various invertebrates you plan to keep.

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