Category Archives: Eye Candy

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Long Island Collecting Log: An abundance of butterflies

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For me, one of the most interesting things about the appearance of the tropical strays on Long Island, is the sheer abundance of some of the species. The spotfin butterflyfish, Chaetodon ocellatus is a great example. I have lived in the Caribbean and I’ve spent a fair amount of time diving on Florida’s reefs. Although I probably encountered spotfin butterflies on the majority of dives within their native range, It was uncommon for me to see more than one or two at a time, and on any given dive, the total number rarely, if ever, got out of the single digits.… More:

Joe’s Milka Stylo Insta-Colony

A beautiful combination of colorful SPS in Joe Yaiullo's 20,000 gallon aquarium

A beautiful combination of colorful SPS in Joe Yaiullo’s 20,000 gallon aquarium

 It’s easy to get lost for hours just staring into Joe Yaiullo’s massive aquarium. One new addition to the tank is a very large Purple Milka Stylophora Colony. It would be easy to think that the green and purple colonies have been growing there for the same length of time. But in actuality,  the green Stylo had been growing there for years, while the Milka has only been in place for barely more than a year. … More:

Tattoo Tuesday

The beginning of an aquarium sleeve

The beginning of an aquarium sleeve

 For Today’s Tattoo Tuesday we feature Maddie Butterfield’s start on her aquarium-themed sleeve. It is inspired by her favorite tank, and the love she has for it clearly shows!  The tattoo was done by artist Nathan Evans.… More:

Friday Rewind-Goniopower!

Four years ago, I sang about tropical coral in one of the worlds driest climates. Somewhere near the Mexican border, a gang of us Southern California rabble rousers gathered to make music and have fun; it is one of my favorite memories from my time spent living on the West Coast. So sit back, relax, and enjoy Thor and I in this acoustically driven version of “Goniopora.” More:

More Coral Interactions in 20,000 Gallons

Joe Yaiullo’s 20,000 gallon dream aquarium can teach us a lot about aquascaping in our own home aquariums. This quartet of coral has worked out a delicate balance, and each is able to hold its own against its neighbors. 

4 corals hold their own against eachother

4 corals hold their own against each other

 The star of this quartet is the pink and red Echinophyllia, which itself looks like fused chunks of seperate coral colonies. These chalice coral are notorious for spitting out their digestive filaments onto their neighbors at night, devouring them whole. However, the Lithophylon to the right and the Mycedium to the left don’t seem to be experiencing any damage. There is some very minor damage to the green Stylophora from the Mycedium and Exhinophyllia, and I hypothesize that the Stylo is producing chemical defenses against the chalices. I’ve seen similar robustness in Montipora that are in close contact with Echinophyllia. Acropora, however, were easily digested.… More:

Rarely Imported Anthias Brought in by CMA

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Basslet enthusiasts and temperate marine aquarists everywhere may rejoice: This week a small handful of healthy, vibrant specimens of the splendid (or swallowtail) seaperch Anthias anthias arrived in Oregon and is being carefully conditioned by specialty retailers Coldwater Marine Aquatics (CMA). Judging from personal accounts and photographs, these little beauties are making a surprisingly fine recovery, considering the great distances thus far traveled. The individuals in this shipment apparently originated from “very deep” waters near the Azores Islands of Portugal. Anthias anthias is distributed across the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. A rocky cave-dweller, it is believed to be most active at night. It inhabits deeper waters in the southernmost parts of its range. While there is some debate about its favored water temperature, 55-60 degrees F appears to be acceptable. It is somewhat less of an open-water feeder than its planktivorous brethren, preying mainly on slightly larger crustaceans and fishes nearer the seafloor. Overall, its predominantly pinkish and orangish coloration is rather similar to other, brightly hued, tropical anthiinae, and often sports brilliant blue rings around the eyes. However, it can most readily be distinguished by the large, showy, paddle-shaped pectoral fins of the males. Some of these recently imported individuals, coming in at about 5 inches, are already developing fairly impressive pectorals (the species is said to reach over 10 inches in the wild). According to the diver, “these… More:

Gyotaku: An Awesome Form of Traditional Japanese Fish Art

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Seldom does a modern fisherman land a prize catch without capturing the moment forever, digitally, with a quick selfie. But without this key piece of technology—the camera—by what method did mid-19th century Japanese anglers preserve proof of their trophy catch for posterity? They practiced a traditional style of “fish printing” known as gyotaku (Japanese 魚拓). Accordingly, most fishing boats from this period were stocked with the essential art supplies: rice paper, brushes and sumi-e ink. Over the decades, gyotaku has evolved from a rather crude means of measuring up a catch into a bona fide form of artistic expression; while it is no longer practiced in Japan by fishermen, it is appreciated woldwide as a fine art. A form of specialized art termed nature printing or “rubbing,” subjects include anything from fishes to seashells to leaves. Fish require some preparation to ensure that they do not leak seawater or body fluids during the printing process. In its simplest form, the relief surface of the subject is coated with ink. Colorful pigments may additionally be used. A sheet of paper is rubbed over the inked surface of the fish carcass, capturing as many fine details of the scales, fin rays, etc. as possible. Sometimes this first dark copy would be used as a work copy, being used to print many lighter copies which were then often elaborated upon by hand. In the West, it is typical to start with the direct method, and then finish the piece off with the brush application of colored inks.… More:

Coral Interactions in 20,000 Gallons

A cluster of interacting coral.

A cluster of interacting coral.

 I am continually fascinated by the goings-on in Joe Yaiullo’s massive aquarium. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this tank, and its mature age, 14+ years, allows for some dynamic interactions between coral species. I’m impressed with the way Joe is willing to push the envelope, and will often recreate coral combinations that have worked for him the past.… More:

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