Category Archives: Invertebrates

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Harlequin Shrimps: Seeing Stars (On the Menu)

harlequin shrimp1 Harlequin Shrimps: Seeing Stars (On the Menu)Somewhat comical and cartoonish in both name and appearance, harlequin shrimps (Hymenocera picta) are not invertebrates to be purchased on a whim. Keeping these critters, as I’ll soon explain, demands an investment of cash and effort that not every marine aquarium hobbyist is willing to undertake. Not to mention, their very narrow feeding habits are not necessarily for the softhearted. A quick note on taxonomy Though here I’ll be referring to H. picta as the harlequin shrimp, be aware that some sources split these shrimps into more than one species. For example, you may come across references to H. elegans, and possibly others, in your research. I chose to stick with H. More: Harlequin Shrimps: Seeing Stars (On the Menu)More:

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5 Types of Marine Fish that are Reef Safe with Caveats

reef safe caveat 6 300x165 5 Types of Marine Fish that are Reef Safe with CaveatsWhen we say a marine fish is “reef safe,” we usually mean that it won’t eat the corals or other sessile invertebrates that we keep in reef systems. Using that definition, we can easily determine that, for example, the peaceful, planktivorous purple dartfish (Nemateleotris decora) is completely reef safe but the exquisite butterflyfish (Chaetodon austriacus), an obligate corallivore, is most decidedly not reef safe. But sometimes fishes fall into more of a gray area with respect to reef-appropriateness. Depending on the particular setup and invertebrate livestock kept, some species (or individuals within a species) may cause problems in reef systems. Here are just a few examples: Coral/clam nippers Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula)Fish don’t always have to outright eat coral polyps in order to prove problematic in a reef tank. Some have the proclivity to just nip at fleshy invertebrates, such as LPS corals and the mantles of giant clams, which irritates them and can cause them to remain contracted. More: 5 Types of Marine Fish that are Reef Safe with CaveatsMore:

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5 Ways Hobbyists Misuse Grazing Marine Snails

astrea snail 300x169 5 Ways Hobbyists Misuse Grazing Marine SnailsOf all the fascinating invertebrates available to marine aquarists, grazing snails are perhaps the most misused. Too often we treat them like expendable little lawnmowers, plopping them in our tanks with the express purpose of preventing or eradicating algae and then replenishing them as their populations inevitably wane. But if treated properly, snails can be long-lived tank denizens that not only perform a useful purpose but also provide interest in their own right. So what do I mean by “misusing marine snails”? Here are some of the more common improper practices when stocking grazing gastropods: 1) Stocking in excessive numbers I implore you to ignore any advice along the lines of “To control algae X, add Y number of snails per every Z gallons of aquarium volume.” There is no correlation between the volume of water an aquarium can hold and the number of grazing snails the system can support long term. It all comes down to food supply. Simply put, the system must contain adequate, ongoing growths of the appropriate algae to sustain the type/number of snails you introduce. Otherwise, your grazing gastropods will quickly eat themselves out of house and home and begin starve to death. It’s always best to start with just a few specimens, observe how they perform when it comes to keeping algae in check, and then add more only if necessary. 2) Stocking cold-water species in tropical tanks Some marine snails sold to unwitting hobbyists for the purpose of algae control—often as part of a “cleanup crew”—are actually from temperate waters and won’t survive long in tropical aquariums More: 5 Ways Hobbyists Misuse Grazing Marine SnailsMore:

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Calcium: A Critical Element in Reef Aquariums

calcium 300x169 Calcium: A Critical Element in Reef AquariumsThe stony corals, crustaceans, mollusks, and echinoderms in our marine aquariums depend on it to build their skeletons/shells/tests. Soft corals use it to build supportive structures, called sclerites, in their tissues. Of course, without it, you’ll never get a nice patina of coralline algae on your rockwork. The “it” I’m referring to is calcium, and reefkeepers need to monitor the level of this element in their systems closely and possibly supplement it if they hope to maintain healthy invertebrates. What’s the correct calcium level? The appropriate range for calcium in a marine aquarium is somewhere between 380 and 450 ppm. But keep in mind that it’s more important to maintain a stable value somewhere within that range than to hit a specific target value. If you read my prior post on alkalinity, you understand that there’s an interdependent relationship between calcium and alkalinity More: Calcium: A Critical Element in Reef AquariumsMore:

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Interzoo 2014: WhiteCorals displays wonderful LPS corals!

2014 05 interzoo norimberga 2014 white corals 037 Interzoo 2014: WhiteCorals displays wonderful LPS corals!WhiteCorals had the booth together with Nyos in the hall n. 3 of Interzoo, today we’ll speak about WhiteCorals and their corals, and in the next days we’ll speak about Nyos.… More:

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Do You Need a Chiller for Your Marine Aquarium?

temperature 300x169 Do You Need a Chiller for Your Marine Aquarium?In a previous post titled “Turning Up the Heat on Tropical Saltwater Aquariums,” I explained that it’s important to maintain a stable water temperature somewhere in the range of 76° and 80°F in marine tanks, and that using a quality submersible heater will help prevent the temperature from dropping below that range. But what about the opposite extreme? What about preventing the water temperature from climbing too high and stressing the inhabitants in a tropical marine tank? Do you need to buy an aquarium chiller for that purpose? Well, the answer to that question is “possibly.” Here are some factors to consider in determining whether a chiller might be a sound investment for you and your saltwater critters: Summer highs in your area Summers here in Toledo, Ohio can be stiflingly hot, and it’s not unusual for the temperature to fluctuate by many degrees in a relatively short period—75°F one day, 95° the next, and 103° the following Sunday. If you live in an area that’s subject to similar scorching temps in summer or all year round, your marine livestock can really take a beating depending on how your home is cooled—which brings us to… Whether your home has AC Having central air conditioning in your home, or even a window air conditioner to cool the room that houses the aquarium, can eliminate the need to invest in a chiller. More: Do You Need a Chiller for Your Marine Aquarium?More:

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Yellowline Arrow-Crab, Stenorhynchus seticornis

faf3Arrow Crab 457x305 Yellowline Arrow Crab, Stenorhynchus seticornisGood morning from windy, dry Curacao!! As some of you know the World Cup of Soccer is underway which translates to non-stop craziness around here!!! There are soccer parties everyday on the beach and at every snack in town, people driving around with different country flags on their cars and going crazy if their teams win and everyone is wearing soccer clothing. My colleagues are shocked that I know nothing about the sport and that I am not watching every second of every game, sorry! MOREMore:

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The Kole Tang: A Commendable Surgeonfish for Medium-Sized Aquariums

kole tang 300x169 The Kole Tang: A Commendable Surgeonfish for Medium Sized AquariumsKole Tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus)Among the so-called bristletooths of the genus Ctenochaetus is one of my favorite tang species and one that I highly recommend to other hobbyists with well-established, medium-sized to moderately large systems—the Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus). Physical traits C. strigosus, which is also sold under the common names yellow-eye tang, gold-ring bristletooth, and several others, has an ovate, laterally compressed body. Adults are brownish overall (juveniles are more yellowish) with numerous thin, horizontal, light-blue stripes on their flanks; tiny light-blue spots on the head and throat; a neon-blue margin on the dorsal and anal fins; and a bright-gold ring around each eye. Depending on where they’re collected, some specimens may be mostly spotted instead of striped. The maximum recorded size for this species is about 7 inches. The term “bristletooth” refers to the comb-like teeth this species and its congeners use to graze and forage. In fact, loosely translated, the generic name Ctenochaetus means “comb bristle.” Feeding In nature, C. strigosus feeds largely on detritus and microalgae—hence the preference for keeping this species in well-established tanks More: The Kole Tang: A Commendable Surgeonfish for Medium-Sized AquariumsMore:

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