Category Archives: Invertebrates

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Techniques for Maintaining Calcium and Alkalinity in Reef Tanks

reef chemistry1 Techniques for Maintaining Calcium and Alkalinity in Reef TanksCalcium and alkalinity are vitally important chemical parameters in reef aquariums. They are used by stony corals to build their calcium carbonate skeletons. A lack of calcium and alkalinity in the water will inhibit the growth of reef-building corals and invertebrates, which will eventually lead to health problems. What is calcium? Calcium is one of the major ions in salt water. It is the fifth most common ion in salt water behind, chloride, sodium, sulfate, and magnesium. In most healthy reefs, the calcium level hovers around 425 parts per million (ppm). More: Techniques for Maintaining Calcium and Alkalinity in Reef TanksMore:

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The Pros and Cons of a Bare-Bottomed Marine Tank

bare bottom tank1 The Pros and Cons of a Bare Bottomed Marine TankIf you’re in the process of planning and setting up a new saltwater aquarium, you’ll need to give some thought to the type of substrate you’d like to use. It may seem counterintuitive, but one of your options in this area is to dispense with any sort of substrate altogether and go bare-bottomed (BB). To help you decide whether the BB approach might be right for you, here are some of the pros and cons to consider: Pros: Very easy to vacuum up uneaten food, fish waste, and other detritus that has settled to the bottom without siphoning up sand in the process. Allows you to aim the effluents of powerheads and other sources of water movement in any direction desired to maximize water flow throughout the system and behind rockwork without creating an underwater “sand storm.” Detritus more readily remains suspended in the water column so it can be filtered/skimmed out efficiently. Cost savings from going sans substrate can be significant depending on the size of your system. Cons: Arguably less natural looking, though this is a matter of taste. (Plus, coralline algae and, potentially, various encrusting invertebrates will eventually conceal the bottom, giving the system a more natural look.) Can’t keep burrowing fishes as easily. Some BB aficionados get around this by placing a substrate-filled container somewhere in the system. Having no sand-dwelling microfauna can mean lower biodiversity More: The Pros and Cons of a Bare-Bottomed Marine TankMore:

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Orchid Dottyback: Hardy, Peaceful, and Just Right for Reef Tanks

fridmani1 Orchid Dottyback: Hardy, Peaceful, and Just Right for Reef TanksCaptive breeding of marine fishes has been a boon to our hobby in any number of ways, one of which is democratizing access to formerly really pricy species such as the orchid dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani). While I wouldn’t characterize the current market price of this Red Sea species as “cheap,” it’s definitely in the realm of affordable for most hobbyists—and it’s hardiness, ease of feeding, manageable adult size, reef-friendliness, and relatively peaceful disposition (as dottybacks go, that is) more than justify the modest outlay of cash for a specimen. Physical traits P. fridmani is a small (reaching only around 2½ inches), streamlined fish with reddish-purple overall coloration and blue scale margins. A dark stripe extends diagonally from the snout upward through the eye. This species’ appearance in aquariums can vary markedly depending on the lighting scheme. Feeding You’ll find this P More: Orchid Dottyback: Hardy, Peaceful, and Just Right for Reef TanksMore:

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BP Oil Spill Continues to Destroy Marine Life

The deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill of 2010 has largely been written off by the media and its perpetrators as “dissipated” or “contained,” yet the affects of releasing millions of gallons of oil into the sea are still wide reaching, says a team of researchers from Penn State University. Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Penn State University framed the issue stating: “The footprint of the impact of the spill on coral communities is both deeper and wider than previous data indicated. “This study very clearly shows that multiple coral communities, up to 22 kilometers from the spill site and at depths over 1800 meters, were impacted by the spill.” Using a remote operated vehicle (ROV) Fisher and his team were able to capture high resolution photo’s of coral communities, finding that the oil had affected marine life further than one had expected from the spill site. tfisher mc297 2 7 2014 BP Oil Spill Continues to Destroy Marine Life “We were looking for coral communities at depths of over 1000 meters that are often smaller than the size of a tennis court,” added Fisher.“We needed high-resolution images of the coral colonies that are scattered across these communities and that range in size from a small houseplant to a small shrub. With the cameras on board the ROV we were able to collect beautiful, high-resolution images of the corals,” said Fisher. “When we compared these images with our example of known oil damage, all the signs were present providing clear evidence in two of the newly discovered coral communities of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.” Read more here.  … More:

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Drifters: A look at some Sargassum invertebrates

P8080036sm Drifters: A look at some Sargassum invertebrates With a huge mass of Gulf Stream water much closer to shore than usual, we’ve had a rare opportunity here in New York to examine Sargassum communities.… More:

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Too Cute! Baby Octopus Edition

IMG 8201sm Too Cute! Baby Octopus Edition I found this tiny octopus last week, clinging to a piece of sargassum weed 20 miles off the coast of Long Island, NY.… More:

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Boat Noise a Culprit for Decline of Sea Hare

Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter and the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) CRIOBE in France have long understood that artificial marine noise can affect the ecology of marine life, but they now understand that propeller noise from boats can also affect change in the life cycle of one of the most important reef inhabitants. Lead author Sophie Nedelec, a PhD researcher at the University of Bristol and EPHE had this to offer: “Traffic noise is now one of the most widespread global pollutants. If the reproductive output of vulnerable species is reduced, we could be changing communities and losing vital ecological functions. This species is particularly important because it eats a toxic alga that affects recruitment of fish to coral reefs.” 

seahare article Boat Noise a Culprit for Decline of Sea Hare

Researchers found that when exposed to anthropogenic noises throughout gestation, some of the Stylocheilus striates eggs studied for this experiment were found to be underdeveloped and in some cases actually perished as a result. Co-author, Dr Steve Simpson, a marine biologist and senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, said: “Boat noise may cause stress or physically disrupt cells during development, affecting chances of survival. Since one in five people in the world rely on marine animals as a major source of protein, regulating traffic noise in important fisheries areas could help marine communities and the people that depend on them.” Read more here.More:

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Genicanthus lamarck: An Elegant, Reef-Safe Angelfish

lamarcks1 Genicanthus lamarck: An Elegant, Reef Safe AngelfishOwing to the natural tendency of many species to nip at or outright consume sessile invertebrates, angelfishes are often of dubious suitability when it comes to their inclusion in reef aquariums. However, at least one angelfish—Lamarck’s angel (Genicanthus lamarck)—is generally very well behaved in reef systems and quite attractive to boot. Physical traits G. lamarck reaches about 9 inches in total length and possesses the lyre-shaped tail typical of its genus (the common name “swallow-tail angels” is often ascribed to Genicanthus species). While not the most chromatically gifted of the angels, it’s quite attractively patterned nonetheless. Also, adults of this species exhibit sexual dichromatism—distinct color differences between the sexes. Female Lamarck’s AngelfishBoth genders are grayish-white overall with black, horizontal stripes on their flanks; a black band running just below the top edge of the dorsal fin; and small black dots on the tail, anal fin, and rear of the dorsal fin. However, they differ in that the black dorsal band and the top horizontal stripe are much more pronounced on the female, the female has black on the top and bottom edges of the tail while the male does not, and the male’s pelvic fins are black while the female’s are grayish-white. Feeding Unlike most other angels, G More: Genicanthus lamarck: An Elegant, Reef-Safe AngelfishMore:

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