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The Harlequin Bass: An Exceptionally Hardy, Beginner-Friendly Marine Fish

Harlequin Bass (Serranus tigrinus)Prized for its striking patterning, modest adult size, exceptional hardiness, and overall adaptability, the harlequin bass (Serranus tigrinus), denizen of the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean, makes an excellent choice for the novice marine aquarist and experienced hobbyist alike. (In fact, just try to stop Caribbean Chris from keeping one!) Physical traitsThis fascinating dwarf seabass is white to gray overall with meandering black bands forming tiger stripes on its flanks and smaller black spots speckling the rest of its body, dorsal fin, and caudal fin. A yellowish tinge may also be evident on the ventral half of the body. The eyes are positioned high on the head, and the snout is long and tapers to form a point. Maximum size for this species is around 4 inches. Feeding A carnivore that, in nature, feeds primarily on small crustaceans, S. tigrinus will accept a wide range of small, meaty foods in captivity, such as frozen mysids and plankton, finely chopped crustacean or mollusk meat, various frozen commercial formulations for small predators (e.g., Fish Frenzy®), and so forth. Most specimens take to feeding in captivity with little difficulty, and once- or twice-daily feedings are recommended

Sea World California Banned From Breeding Whales

seaworldThere has been a lot of controversy over Sea World in recent years. Especially since the debut of the 2013 film ‘BlackFish’. The California Coastal Commission unanimously approved Sea World’s $100 million project to double the size of the killer whale exhibit. However, the commission also ruled that Sea World is banned from breeding any of the 11 whales in captivity in California. This vote came after 650 protesters and animal activists appeared to protest the conditions at Sea World. Sea World was not surprisingly disappointed by the decision and issued a statement soon after the vote.… More:

What Gives with that Marine Fish that Never Eats?

Sometimes you have a fish in your aquarium you never see eating, but it that a problem? It depends.I’ve had this fish in my aquarium for months now and it’s as fat and happy as can be, yet I’ve never actually seen it consume any of the food’s I’ve offered. How on earth is it getting enough to eat?”Caribbean Chris and I often field queries like this here at Saltwater Smarts, and they pop up with some regularity on internet forums as well. So what’s the answer? How can a fish survive for a long period in a closed aquarium if it never accepts any of the foods it’s offered? Well, there are a few potential explanations as well as a worrisome possibility to consider. It’s feasting on resident microfauna and/or flora The fish could, for example, be feasting on amphipods, copepods, worms, and other tiny invertebrate “bugs” that inhabit live rock and live sand. Your system could be crawling with these critters without you even being aware of it unless you check out your system with a flashlight after dark

Bizarre Sofa Shark Found Off The Coast Of Scotland

sofa-sharkLets get this straight, the Pseudotriakis Microdon, commonly known as the ‘sofa shark’ or ‘false catshark’, does not conjure up the typical image people think of when ‘shark’ comes to mind. And it usually isn’t found in Scotland. This strange looking ground shark has a very soft and flabby appearance. It typically resides at depths of over 1400 feet off the continental and insular slopes. The largest Sofa shark found was noted at 10 feet in length and 275 pounds in weight.… More:

Curacao Sea Aquarium Deep Sea Display Update

plectranthias-curacao-300x225 I have great admiration for the work that the Curacao Sea Aquarium is doing with deep water fish. A fact highlighted on an early episode of Fish Tank Kings where the team uses the Curasub to collect a number of deep water fish for a project at the Florida Aquarium. In more recent news, Joe Oliver, a resident marine biologist at the Curacao Sea Aquarium, describes a magnificent temporary addition to the aquarium: the Plectranthias. This beautiful  fish was recently collected from depths of over 650 ft on the island of Klein, about ten miles from the main island of Curacao. The fish was collected by the Curasub, which was able to collect the fish with minimal stress.… More:

Rare Giant Squid Found Off Hawaii’s Coast

squid1 A fishing charter of the coast of Hawaii encountered a rare find this week: a 7 foot squid. The squid was already dead, floating on the top of the water when the crew found it. The captain of the boat said they were fishing in very deep waters when they encountered the squid. “It was a fishing charter and we had just released a blue marlin. We were just getting the line set back out and my guest actually said, ‘Hey, what is that floating over there?’ We got closer to investigate…as we got close I realized it was a giant squid. It was already on the surface. In Hawaii, we have extremely clear water. We could see his entire body,” explains boat captain Cyrus Widhalm.… More:

Paul “Paul B” Baldassano Pens Unique Book on Marine Aquarium Keeping

What do supermodels, the Vietnam War, and the right front fender of a 1955 Oldsmobile have to do with marine aquariums? Absolutely nothing—that is, of course, unless you’re hobby pioneer Paul “Paul B” Baldassano and you’ve just published a book on your six decades of aquarium keeping.Well, he is and he just did! Paul’s new tome, titled The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist: A 60-Year History of Fishkeeping and produced in collaboration with your friends here at Saltwater Smarts, is anything but your typical aquarium reference book. With his signature tongue-in-cheek style, familiar to anyone who follows his posts here or on other sites around the web, Paul offers his unique, eye-of-the-beholder, and possibly hallucinogen-inspired thoughts on: His earliest encounter with marine organisms (hint: it wasn’t in the ocean) The history of our hobby How to buy fish in good health and keep them that way Fish biology, including his revolutionary insights on fish immunity Methods for maintaining healthy aquarium water How to manage algae, pests, and common diseases How to succeed with certain hard-to-keep species How he would set up a tank from scratch today A whole host of easy-to-construct, cost-cutting DIY projects And much, much more! A section of Paul B’s 44 year old reef aquarium Paul, a resident of Long Island, New York, has been immersed in aquarium keeping since the 1950s. In fact, his current 6-foot-long, 100-gallon reef tank has been in operation longer than many of today’s hobbyists have been alive—44 years as of this writing. Much of Paul’s remarkable long-term success can be attributed to his ever-curious, self-reliant, innovative nature, which has led him to create a wide range of ingenious inventions and DIY projects to make the aquarium-keeping experience easier and cheaper

The biogeography and evolution of Paracentropyge

paracentropyge map

The geographical distribution of P. multifasciata, P. venusta and P. boylei. Map courtesy of Joe Rowlett.

 The genus Centropyge is one of seven in the family Pomacanthidae, and comprises of 34 known species distributed in all tropical oceans. This genus is the most species rich of the angelfishes, and attains its maximum diversity in the abundant coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific. Their appearance has earned them the “dwarf angelfish” moniker, which rather aptly describes their small and diminutive stature. Unlike other Pomacanthids, Centropyge are shy, and their taciturn nature often becomes apparent through fleeting glimpses in coral labyrinths or calcareous catacombs. However, despite their coy personalities, most dwarf angelfishes are exuberantly colored and very successful, persisting in habitats ranging from shallow reefs to soul sucking depths in the mesophotic twilight zone.… 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.