Category Archives: Fish

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6 Comments Non-Hobbyists Make When Viewing Marine Aquariums

The other day, two installers were in my home laying a new vinyl floor in my kitchen when they took note of my aquariums. One of them was especially enthralled by my reef tank (which is ironic—more on this later) and asked about a dozen questions. He even took out his phone and snapped a picture of the tank to show his wife. It’s always interesting to hear non-hobbyists’ reactions to my aquariums because they’re surprisingly consistent and, I suspect, give a pretty good sense of how most non-salties perceive our avocation. Here are just a few of the more common questions and comments I hear. Perhaps some will sound familiar to you. 1) “Is that a freshwater or saltwater tank?” Now, I’ve been asked this question aplenty, but it still surprises me a little bit every time.
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Clams – Beautiful and Talented

Giant clams (Hippopus and Tridacna species) are already known to play a part in various important ecological roles in coral reef ecosystems, but so far, many of these roles are poorly understood. Now, a team of marine ecologists from the National University of Singapore have show how clams have been doing a lot more than perhaps they have so far been given credit for. For a start, clam shells both contribute to the structure of the reef (some species produce 80 tonnes of carbonate shell material per hectare each year) and they provide a substrate for colonisation by a host of other organisms. On the inside, the fleshy mantle cavity can host a myriad of commensal and ectoparasitic organisms while clam tissues are food for a wide array of predators and scavengers. Discharges of live zooxanthellae, waste products and spawnings are also eaten by opportunistic feeders and they can even potentially counteract eutrophication via water filtering
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ORA Hector’s Goby is the Latest Conquest of Captive Breeding

No sooner than we wrap up our coverage of all of ORA’s 2014 captive bred fish and aquacultured frags, the famed fish breeders announce one more entry for the year. Yesterday, they revealed tha they had bred the Hector’s Goby (Koumansetta hectori), a nifty little fish that is as strikingly beautiful as it is peaceful. This tiny fish measures just 2″ long at its maximum size, and it spends a majority of the day hovering hear the rocks while grazing on various types of algae. Thought to be the first time this fish has ever been captive-bred, ORA had some difficulty getting this fish to market, so to speak. This was due in part to the fish’s extremely tiny size, unreliable spawning amongst broodstock individuals, relatively long larval stages, and overall fragile larvae. Thankfully, ORA’s experience with the Priolepis genus translated flawlessly to the Hector’s Goby and they were eventually able to overcome those barriers.
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Go Ahead and Buy a (Captive-Bred) Banggai Cardinalfish!

Being fascinating to behold, very hardy and adaptable to aquarium fare, an exceptional choice for reef systems, suitable for modest-sized aquariums, and even easy to breed in captivity, the Banggai, or Kaudern’s, cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) is a lot like Mary Poppins—practically perfect in every way. Physical traits P. kauderni is silver overall with tiny white polka dots and three prominent, vertical black bands, with one passing through the rather prominent eye, another anterior to the pelvic fins, and a third anterior to the caudal peduncle. The first dorsal fin is black with a white trailing edge, and the other fins are black with white dots. The tail is deeply forked. Glimpse its coloration and patterning, and it’s easy to see how this cardinal can readily conceal itself against or among the long spines of the Diadema sp. sea urchins with which it’s known to associate in nature.
Posted in Fish, Invertebrates, Science | Leave a comment

Deep Sea Stars, Linckia sp. Echinoderms

Good afternoon one and all, sorry about the late post but I have been in the deep-water labs all morning photographing a bunch of new specimens found by the Smithsonian Institution on their submersible dive yesterday. I spent the morning shooting a juvenile four inch toadfish found at around 800 feet, a beautiful hermit crab, two more slit-shells and this giant 12 inch tall sea star you see above. We think this is a Linckia sp. but until we know for sure I will just say “don’t quote me on that”. Unlike brittle stars that are so fragile and can move so fast, this sea star is hard and moves super slow
Posted in Contest, Corals, Fish, Invertebrates, Photography, Science, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reef Threads Podcast #210

A fun photo from the Captive Aquatic Ecosystems website

This week our guest is Ben Johnson, owner of Captive Aquatic Ecosystems in Houston. Ben fills the show with stories about how he got into this hobby and started his aquarium setup/maintenance business. We hope you enjoy this look into another aspect of the hobby. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Ben’s Website
Captive Aquatic Ecosystems

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

Mr. Personality: The Lawnmower Blenny

LawnmowerBlenny e1418161235116 Mr. Personality: The Lawnmower BlennyWhen I first got into reefing I had no idea where to start when it came time to get my first fish. After a lot of study, research and forum browsing I started to understand more about the fish themselves and which ones would get along together. For my first post I would like to talk more about the different fish newbie to the saltwater hobby can look at getting as their first fish. The Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus), is a saltwater utility fish that is used as part of a clean up crew to help keep hair algae at a minimum. In my opinion, using the Lawnmower Blenny as a means of controlling algae should only be considered as a short-term fix to a bigger issue. The lawnmower blenny will hop from rock to rock chomping at the algae growth and they tend to do a great job on “hair algae”. Once the hair algae is gone you will want to ensure they are fed using dried algae (nori), flake food and mysis shrimp. The Lawnmower Blenny is quite engaging with a very… More:

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When Should Squabbling Marine Fish Be Separated?

Fish that share similarities are more likely to fight when confined to a smaller spaceI recently introduced a Kole tang to my tank, and it keeps getting in fights with the resident yellow tang. So far, neither one has been seriously hurt, but I’m worried about where this is heading. Do I need to separate these two, or will they eventually chill out and coexist peacefully?” Over the years, I’ve often been asked questions like this or read similar ones in print media and online forums. When a compatibility issue arises between fish—as is especially common when a new specimen is introduced to an established community—the combatants may eventually sort things out and establish a wary truce or there may be no alternative to removing one or the other. Here are some conditions that, in my opinion, necessitate separating the warring factions: There’s no room for escape Remember, confined spaces tend to magnify aggression. If the tank is too small to allow the subordinate specimen to flee the aggressor’s immediate vicinity or the aquascaping doesn’t provide an adequate number of retreats and hidey holes, the two won’t be able to stay out of each other’s way and will likely continue fighting. The aggression goes beyond bluster If the aggressive behavior greatly exceeds mere displaying and posturing or passive-aggressiveness (“What?
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