Category Archives: Invertebrates

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Tank Profile: Roy Seine’s Alluring 312-Gallon Reef

When I came across a full-tank shot of this large aquarium, I knew I had to learn more about the system and its owner. Great profiles, large coral colonies, showcase-size specimens, and a clean bare-bottom layout all collaborate to catch the eye of many an aquarist, including myself. So let’s dive in…just try not to splash! The Aquarist An interesting aspect of profiling aquariums that have drawn my gaze is finding out about the hobbyists behind them. Roy Seine, the aquarist responsible for the previously mentioned acrylic box reef, has been keeping marine aquariums since 1990. It’s not surprising to hear he favors small polyp stony (SPS) corals and giant clams, and that appreciation comes through in this salty display. During his two-plus decades in the hobby, Roy has maintained a number of aquariums ranging from 1 gallon all the way up to 500 gallons.
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New Approach for MPA’s

With the lists of “threatened” and “endangered” coral species being increased every year, this paper sheds light onto a presumptuous problem guiding reef research. Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies want to take a proactive approach towards maintaining reef ecosystems, and steer away from the perceived threat of extinction, currently defined by a small geographic range and small numbers of a given species. But without truly knowing how many exist, and on what reef, the “extinction threat” approach has been antiquated by this paper.  “Extinction is the final endpoint, but coral reefs are in deep trouble long before we get to that point. We need to take action much earlier, the goal should be to maintain reefs that can support corals, fish and humans.” says Professor David Bellwood from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University. 141117111738 large New Approach for MPAs“Our findings call into question the growing practice of assessing extinction risk of coral reef species without knowing how many of them are out there,” says Professor Hughes. This is the first study to systematically count corals and reef fishes at a geographic scale.” says professor Terry Hughes of Coral CoE. With the ever-present fear of coral species being labeled as endangered or threatened, professor Bellwood concludes: “This paper calls for caution when identifying species at risk of extinction on coral reefs. It highlights the potential weaknesses in current approaches and offers an alternative approach where species are valued for the services they provide for both reefs and humans.” Read more hereMore:

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You Can Help Discourage the Sale of Hard-to-Keep Marine Species

The Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus) is notoriously hard to feed and has a high mortality rate in home aquariaRegular Saltwater Smarts readers might wonder why we often post profiles of fish or invertebrates that are very difficult if not impossible to keep in home aquariums. After all, if we want to discourage you from buying these animals, why on earth do we go to all the trouble of describing them? Well, the answer is simple: because you’re going to encounter them for sale on the marine aquarium market anyway. One of our biggest frustrations as long-time hobbyists is the fact that, for whatever reason, many dealers out there continue to trade in species that have no business in hobbyists’ tanks. It’s wise to be armed with information about these animals so you’re in a better position to make responsible purchases. If you want to help discourage the sale of off-limits livestock, here are some simple steps you can take: Educate yourself In order to recognize animals that don’t belong in the aquarium trade, it helps to do some research on the various species you’re apt to come across when shopping at your LFS or online. That way, you’ll know what to buy and what to avoid so you don’t unwittingly support unsustainable practices with your dollars. The various species profiles posted here at Saltwater Smarts (which are increasing all the time) are a good research starting point.
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3 Misconceptions About Small Marine Fish

A juvenile three-spot domino damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus)As human beings, it’s in our nature to assign certain traits to small animals—cute, dependent, harmless, defenseless, etc. Perhaps we think this way because when it comes to animals, people included, smallness is usually correlated with infancy. However, if applied to marine fish, this type of anthropomorphic thinking can lead to some rather significant compatibility issues in our aquariums. So let’s dispel a few of the misconceptions we may have with respect to smaller marine fish species: Small fish are peaceful While many smaller fish species seem to know they’re vulnerable to predation and bullying by larger fish and so have learned that their best defense is beating a hasty retreat whenever danger threatens, some species apparently never got the memo. For example, as mentioned in my previous post on humbug damsels, certain damselfish species, including many representatives of the genera Dascyllus and Stegastes, can be explosively belligerent despite their small size, making it very difficult to house them with other fishes (though “Caribbean Chris” claims he can calm dusky damsels into a tonic state and lead them away from the reef like an aquatic Pied Piper by playing soothing tones on a conch shell). Many of the dottyback species also pack a fairly powerful territorial punch for their size, e.g. the irresistibly colorful royal dottyback (Pictichromis paccagnellae) and the gorgeous magenta dottyback (Pictichromis porphyrea), both of which reach only 2 to 3 inches in length.
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“Spineless” – Susan Middleton Delivers Painstakingly Intimate Imagery of Marine Invertebrates

embedly image 710561b350a816d6ac01078b4a018e955d83f852.jpg.300x0 q85 upscale Spineless   Susan Middleton Delivers Painstakingly Intimate Imagery of Marine InvertebratesNo, this isn’t an Idiot’s Guide to the Coward. In her new book, ‘Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, The Backbone of Life’, San Francisco based photographer Susan Middleton captures more than 250 photographs of the fragile critters across the Pacific Ocean. I received this book early this morning much to my delight, and felt like my 5-year-old self on Christmas tearing through the packaging. The book itself is stunning. And huge (hey, size matters).  What struck me right away once I was able to tear myself away from the adorable Cephalopod-plastered cover art was the forward. The wonder that is Sylvia Earle shares her insight on invertebrates, their significance and, most importantly, the state of our oceans and their contained ecosystems. … More:

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4 Marine Aquarium Problems That Sneak up on You

There’s an old saying that only bad things happen quickly in a marine aquarium. That’s certainly true enough, but it’s also important to keep in mind that some problems that can affect the health and wellbeing of livestock tend to develop very gradually and almost imperceptibly over time. Here’s a quick (but by no means exhaustive) list of some of the sneaky marine aquarium problems that we must be vigilant against: 1) Downward drift in pH Maintaining a stable pH in the desired range of 8.2 to 8.4 demands careful monitoring, conscientious livestock husbandry, and diligent maintenance. Neglect in any of these areas can cause your pH to drift off course, and the trend is usually (though not always) downward as a result of the natural biological processes going on in the tank. In addition to regular water testing, your best hedges against drifting pH are: Performing regular partial water changes Maintaining an appropriate alkalinity level (between 8 and 12 dKH) Providing turbulent water movement at the surface to drive off carbon dioxide Avoiding overstocking and overfeeding 2) Loss of light intensity The gradual loss of intensity in aging aquarium lamps isn’t necessarily a big deal for fish-only and FOWLR tanks, but it can lead to significant problems in a reef system. Not only will the inadequate light level stress your photosynthetic invertebrates, but if you’re not careful, they can also be shocked a second time by the sudden increase in light intensity when you finally replace the lamps. Don’t assume you’ll notice the difference in the output of your aquarium lighting because you won’t until it has grossly decreased. It’s best to replace your bulbs/tubes regularly according to the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
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LED lights that make corals pop with color

I wanted to talk about LEDs for a few minutes. I've had the Radion Gen 2 over my anemone cube (60-gallon aquarium 24" x 24" x 24") for the past 12 months. As a light, it functions perfectly. Is it the best fixture ever? My feelings are a tad mixed, and I'll discuss why. The light itself provides sufficient lighting for anemones, SPS, LPS, gorgonians, zoanthids and even a T.
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Humbug Damsel: Prepping for the Hunt

Humbug Damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus)There’s a reason I chose to spotlight Dascyllus aruanus, the humbug or three-striped damselfish, in this profile. “Caribbean” Chris and I will soon be matching wits with four representatives of this species that have laid claim to a large marine aquarium situated in one of our local coffee shops. Steve, the shop’s owner, is at wits’ end with these four humbugs, which won’t abide most new tankmates, and would like to see them captured and relocated by any means necessary, short of (or possibly including) dynamiting the tank. Chris and I figure that between the two of us, we should have the mental prowess to outsmart these little devils, so we’re currently brainstorming the capture techniques we’d like to experiment with over the next week or so (suggestions from fellow salties are most welcome). We plan to document the process on video, so stay tuned for updates. For the time being, though, let’s take a closer look at our future quarry: Physical traits D.
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