Category Archives: Invertebrates

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Marine Mysteries: Seaweed vs. Sea Urchins of French Polynesia

rapa iti small Marine Mysteries: Seaweed vs. Sea Urchins of French PolynesiaBelow the surface of silvery waters of beautiful Southern French Polynesian Islands, Rapa and Marotiri, a wealth of sea life glides about. The reefs are healthy, thriving and rich with vitality. One of the most bountiful creatures scattered throughout these reefs is the long-spined sea urchin (Diadema antillarum). The team of Pristine Seas,  a project dedicated to protecting the last gems of the wild ocean, plunged 20 meters below the ocean’s surface to explore the sea floor over a span of five days.… More:

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Tread Lightly Off The Jersey Shore – Rarely-Seen Venomous Jellyfish Cruises Through Manasquan River

jellyfish 3 300x200 Tread Lightly Off The Jersey Shore   Rarely Seen Venomous Jellyfish Cruises Through Manasquan RiverSomewhere within the Manasquan River, which flows along Gull Island in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, lurks a potently venomous little jelly, the Tamoya haplonema jellyfish, aka, “Box Jellyfish” or “Sea Wasp”. Now, I hate all stinging insects so automatically all I can think is “NOPE”, especially so close to my home turf.… More:

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Stenopus hispidus: A Look at a Popular Boxer Shrimp

coral banded1 Stenopus hispidus: A Look at a Popular Boxer ShrimpAmong the various ornamental crustaceans available in the marine aquarium trade, one of the most popular and easiest to obtain is Stenopus hispidus, the banded coral shrimp, also known by the common names coral banded shrimp, banded boxer shrimp, barber pole shrimp, and others. This shrimp’s widespread availability and usually very affordable price tag can be attributed to its extensive natural distribution, which includes all tropical seas. Physical traits S. hispidus is white with distinct red bands on its body and third pair of legs, and it sports long, flowing, white antennae. The third pair of legs is also significantly oversized compared to the others (hence the “boxer” appellation) and equipped with somewhat formidable pincers. Maximum length for the species is around 4 inches (not counting the antennae), though most specimens won’t reach that appreciable size in the aquarium. More: Stenopus hispidus: A Look at a Popular Boxer ShrimpMore:

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Having Crabs is a Good Thing for Coral

Smithsonian scientist Seabird McKeon, along with the museum’s predoctoral fellow Jenna Moore of the Florida Museum of Natural History, have published new research highlighting the importance of reef diversity and how symbiotic crabs can help defend against coral predators. “We found that diversity in both species and size of coral guard-crabs is needed to adequately fend off coral predators,” said McKeon. “It is an example of how biodiversity is crucial to conserving reef environments and the essential resources they provide for thousands of species, including humans.” coral crab 300x275 Having Crabs is a Good Thing for CoralSymbiotic relationships like those between an acropora crab and its colony are something we as hobbyists are well aware of, yet our opinions on the benefits between host and guest in a captive enviroment remain divided. This research shows just how important the relationships are to a natural environment, with Moore adding: “Seemingly small differences among crabs guarding their coral homes can have big effects on coral survival. “Not only does the level of protection provided vary by species, but the smallest crabs were defending the coral from coral-eating snails, a threat that larger crabs ignored.” Read more here!… More:

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Picasso Triggerfish: A Marine Aquarium Masterpiece

picasso1 Picasso Triggerfish: A Marine Aquarium MasterpieceCertain fishes available in the marine aquarium trade are truly bizarre in their coloration and patterning. Ranked high among them when it comes to both exotic appearance and aquarium adaptability is Rhinecanthus aculeatus, better known as the Picasso triggerfish or the Humuhumu triggerfish. This latter appellation (which is also applied to the closely related and similar looking R. rectangulus) is derived from the Hawaiian name for the species: Humuhumu nukunuku apua’a, which, if memory serves, translates loosely into “Man, how many Mai Tais did I pack away last night!?” I could be wrong on that. Physical traits R. aculeatus exhibits “typical” triggerfish morphology, with a highly laterally compressed body; high-set, independently moving eyes positioned far back on the head; a deceptively small, forward-set mouth; and a stout first dorsal spine that can be “locked” in an upright position to secure the trigger in a reef crevice when the fish is threatened. The maximum recorded length for this species is around 10 inches. I could try to describe the color and patterning of R. aculeatus, but it wouldn’t do this fish justice More: Picasso Triggerfish: A Marine Aquarium MasterpieceMore:

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Specialist Species Targeted for Their Importance

Professor David Bellwood from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) in Australia has published an international study aimed at protecting the most important species within a reef ecosystem. “What we often assume is that if we lose one species on a reef, there are many others that can step in and take over their job,” explains Professor Bellwood. However, he and his colleagues believe a different theory that involves stressing the importance of “specialist” species that play very important and specific roles in maintaining the equilibrium of a reef. 140915153832 large Specialist Species Targeted for Their Importance“It’s not about numbers of species,” adds Professor David Mouillot from the University of Montpellier who led the team. “Biodiversity is important and desirable in an ecosystem, but it is not necessarily the key to being safe and secure.” Using a parrotfish for analogy Professor Bellwood adds: “The parrotfish is a particularly valuable species. To protect ecosystems, we need to ensure that specific jobs are maintained, and that means we must protect the fish that do them.” Read more here!  … More:

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Caribbean Reef Octopus, Octopus briareus

b0b4Octopus on Rock Caribbean Reef Octopus, Octopus briareusGood morning friends, how was your weekend??? I hope all is going well out there and you having a great summer! I have another Caribbean Reef Octopus, Octopus briareus for you all today that was photographed by Aimee, not me! Pretty nice wouldn’t you say?? We often set up two different Ikelite systems and take them out on night dives together, it’s way more fun when your both busy taking photos! MOREMore:

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Clearing the Air on Ozone: Part 3

ozone3 1 Clearing the Air on Ozone: Part 3In the first two parts of this series, we talked about how ozone can function as a powerful tool in keeping your reef aquarium water very clear, how it can boost your skimmer’s ability to remove waste from the water column by breaking down the larger molecules, and how using ozone can be as simple as blowing the gas into your skimmer or injecting it into a dedicated reactor and carbon media reactor. This final installment will focus on how to keep yourself and your aquarium inhabitants safe while using ozone. Regardless of how you choose to administer your ozone, safety has to be your number one concern. Too much ozone in the tank will harm—or even kill—your invertebrates and fish. Too much ozone released into the room air can irritate a healthy adult’s lungs and is even more dangerous to anyone with lung-health issues. Keeping your livestock safe To keep their aquarium inhabitants safe, most keepers use an Oxidation/Reduction Potential (ORP) meter coupled with a controller that will switch the generator off when the ORP reaches a certain level. 300 mV is commonly considered to be a safe yet effective ORP level for the home aquarium. A controller uses the meter reading to shut the generator off when the water reaches the 300mV level or whatever level you may opt to use. Experts warn against ORP levels beyond 450 mV, as that level has been shown to cause major damage to aquarium systems. More: Clearing the Air on Ozone: Part 3More:

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