Category Archives: Fish

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New Approach for MPA’s

With the lists of “threatened” and “endangered” coral species being increased every year, this paper sheds light onto a presumptuous problem guiding reef research. Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies want to take a proactive approach towards maintaining reef ecosystems, and steer away from the perceived threat of extinction, currently defined by a small geographic range and small numbers of a given species. But without truly knowing how many exist, and on what reef, the “extinction threat” approach has been antiquated by this paper.  “Extinction is the final endpoint, but coral reefs are in deep trouble long before we get to that point. We need to take action much earlier, the goal should be to maintain reefs that can support corals, fish and humans.” says Professor David Bellwood from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University. 141117111738 large New Approach for MPAs“Our findings call into question the growing practice of assessing extinction risk of coral reef species without knowing how many of them are out there,” says Professor Hughes. This is the first study to systematically count corals and reef fishes at a geographic scale.” says professor Terry Hughes of Coral CoE. With the ever-present fear of coral species being labeled as endangered or threatened, professor Bellwood concludes: “This paper calls for caution when identifying species at risk of extinction on coral reefs. It highlights the potential weaknesses in current approaches and offers an alternative approach where species are valued for the services they provide for both reefs and humans.” Read more hereMore:

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Reef Threads Podcast #207


Gary (right) joins two BRS members to enjoy the delicious fish goo.

We’re excited to bring you yet another Reef Threads podcast. This week’s subjects are our “Where Do You Listen” contest, the St. Jude/Reef Savvy reef system raffle, Boston Reef Society, Gary eating fish goo, Petco buying Drs. Foster and Smith, and beginner tips. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

St. Jude raffle

Posted in Contest, Corals, Equipment, Fish, MACNA, Opinion, Photography, Podcast, Science, Tanks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You Can Help Discourage the Sale of Hard-to-Keep Marine Species

The Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus) is notoriously hard to feed and has a high mortality rate in home aquariaRegular Saltwater Smarts readers might wonder why we often post profiles of fish or invertebrates that are very difficult if not impossible to keep in home aquariums. After all, if we want to discourage you from buying these animals, why on earth do we go to all the trouble of describing them? Well, the answer is simple: because you’re going to encounter them for sale on the marine aquarium market anyway. One of our biggest frustrations as long-time hobbyists is the fact that, for whatever reason, many dealers out there continue to trade in species that have no business in hobbyists’ tanks. It’s wise to be armed with information about these animals so you’re in a better position to make responsible purchases. If you want to help discourage the sale of off-limits livestock, here are some simple steps you can take: Educate yourself In order to recognize animals that don’t belong in the aquarium trade, it helps to do some research on the various species you’re apt to come across when shopping at your LFS or online. That way, you’ll know what to buy and what to avoid so you don’t unwittingly support unsustainable practices with your dollars. The various species profiles posted here at Saltwater Smarts (which are increasing all the time) are a good research starting point.
Posted in Fish, Invertebrates, Science, Tanks | Leave a comment

Live Footage of Elusive Anglerfish

 The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has captured video of a deep-sea Anglerfish, which is believed to be the first live footage recorded to date. The video was captured 2000 ft below the sea, using the institute’s remote operated vehicle. Anglerfish, who live deep in the dark and cold sea, are rarely observed up close. Although totally scary looking, the fish is actually less than 4 inches long. You can clearly see the luminescent tip at the end of what is commonly referred to the Anglerfish’s ‘fishing pole’, which is used to lure prey. Pretty useful feature. A great video to learn more about this deep-sea wonder. MOREMore:

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‘It’s Hammer Time’

 For today’s ‘stupid news’, this is got to take the cake. I’ve already written about the man who jumped on a whale carcass surrounded by sharks here, That was pretty bad. This story takes us to Australia again, however, hard to believe it but this stunt is probably even worse. Australia boat captain Aaron Moir has made a name for himself jumping on the back of sharks. I suppose that will set you apart from the competition. Moir even gives us some insight what he was thinking and states: “I was thinking: right It’s hammer time. Bang I just jumped on.” This is allegedly his seventh shark riding attempt. In the video you can clearly see him wait for the shark to swim by, then jump right on top of it. The video is rightfully being scrutinized by environmentalists, who find it reckless and cruel behavior. Moir doesn’t seem too fazed by the criticism, remarking his next attempt will be on a Great White.MOREMore:

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The Sohal Tang: A Big, Belligerent Beauty

A Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal) grazing on algaeThe sohal tang (Acanthurus sohal) is one of many fish species available in the marine aquarium trade that should come with a warning label. It’s a gorgeous fish and generally very hardy, which is a plus, but anyone contemplating purchasing A. sohal should also be aware of its eventual size and often hyper-aggressive disposition. Physical traits A. sohal, which is found in the Western Indian Ocean, from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf, is laterally compressed and ovoid in general shape. On its flanks and head, it exhibits narrow, horizontal, alternating light and dark stripes, which are vermiculated (wavy) around the head. The dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins are black while the pectoral and caudal fins are yellowish.
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3 Misconceptions About Small Marine Fish

A juvenile three-spot domino damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus)As human beings, it’s in our nature to assign certain traits to small animals—cute, dependent, harmless, defenseless, etc. Perhaps we think this way because when it comes to animals, people included, smallness is usually correlated with infancy. However, if applied to marine fish, this type of anthropomorphic thinking can lead to some rather significant compatibility issues in our aquariums. So let’s dispel a few of the misconceptions we may have with respect to smaller marine fish species: Small fish are peaceful While many smaller fish species seem to know they’re vulnerable to predation and bullying by larger fish and so have learned that their best defense is beating a hasty retreat whenever danger threatens, some species apparently never got the memo. For example, as mentioned in my previous post on humbug damsels, certain damselfish species, including many representatives of the genera Dascyllus and Stegastes, can be explosively belligerent despite their small size, making it very difficult to house them with other fishes (though “Caribbean Chris” claims he can calm dusky damsels into a tonic state and lead them away from the reef like an aquatic Pied Piper by playing soothing tones on a conch shell). Many of the dottyback species also pack a fairly powerful territorial punch for their size, e.g. the irresistibly colorful royal dottyback (Pictichromis paccagnellae) and the gorgeous magenta dottyback (Pictichromis porphyrea), both of which reach only 2 to 3 inches in length.
Posted in Corals, Fish, Invertebrates, Science, Tanks | Leave a comment

Researchers Study Virus Which May Be The Cause Of Starfish Wasting Syndrome

seastar Researchers Study Virus Which May Be The Cause Of Starfish Wasting SyndromeI’ve been sadly following the Starfish Wasting Syndrome since it started shocking researchers and scientists with alarming rates of starfish mutilation and deaths since 2013. Scientists first starting noticing the disease along the North American West Coast. The degenerating disease is devastating starfish populations and scientists couldn’t figure out why. Although the disease has been present sine the 1970′s, never have soo many starfish been affected at one time. When the disease affected starfish in aquariums, scientists were able to better understand the root. By analyzing the DNA of infected and healthy starfish of different species, scientists found the virus SSaDV was most usually present in both the healthy and unhealthy starfish.… More:

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