Category Archives: Invertebrates

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What to Consider when Converting a Fish-only Tank to a Reef System

Evaluating your fish only aquarium and equipment is important before turning it into a reef“Caribbean Chris” and I are very frequently asked what it takes to convert a fish-only marine aquarium to a reef system containing corals and other sessile invertebrates. Can you just go ahead and add the invertebrates? Can you modify the existing system to suit the corals, or do you have to start the whole thing from scratch with a new tank and equipment? What has to change with respect to water conditions? Hopefully, the following points/suggestions will help address these and various other questions marine aquarium hobbyists often have when contemplating the transition from fish-only (or fish-only-with-live-rock) to reef:Pick a direction and do your homework Before making any new purchases or modifications to your existing aquarium, it’s important to pin down the type of reef system you want to keep. Are you primarily interested in soft corals?

CoralRX One Shots Are Back in Action After Re-release

After an apparent hiatus from the aquarium hobby (I say hiatus because of the “re-release” verbiage used in the promotional material), the One Shot single dose coral treatment from CoralRX is back and better than ever. These tiny little packets serve as a single dose coral dip that treats a wide variety of common issues (see the list below). And now they are in a much easier to use packet. Previously, the One Shots came in small glass vials, which weren’t always the easiest to open or the safest to handle

Marine Mesozoic Revolution

Stalked Crinoid Fossil. Source: www.urweltmuseum.de

Stalked Crinoid Fossil.
Source: www.urweltmuseum.de

 Throughout geological time, there have been many shifts in marine animal species. Amongst these shifts is a transition known as the Mesozoic Marine Revolution. This evolutionary phenomenon not only overturned a number of bottom-dwelling marine species, it transformed the appearance of the ocean floor. Roughly 252 million years ago – the start of the Mesozoic Era, the ocean floor was littered with immobile invertebrate species. These species included stalked crinoids, molluscs, brachiopods, and other large, stationary marine invertebrates that rested along the ocean floor. Soon after the Mesozoic Era began, many predators such as sharks and ichthyosaurs came onto the scene. These predators were considered “durophagous” – shell crushing, and used their strength to exploit these immobile, bottom-dwelling invertebrates. 
Ichthyosaur Fossil. Source: www.urweltmuseum.de

Ichthyosaur Fossil.
Source: www.urweltmuseum.de

 This caused a strong evolutionary shift: stalked crinoids lost their stalks and became mobile while molluscs and brachiopods began to bury themselves in the sediment rather than remain defenseless and exposed. These evolutionary adaptations paved way for a seemingly emptier, more modern ocean floor.… More:

The Flame Hawkfish: a Vision in Red

A flame hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus) perched on rocks while keeping an eye on the aquariumI’ve long been a fan of the hawkfishes, and many a specimen has graced my various tanks over the years—most often the readily available and affordable (for me) Falco’s hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys falco). But another hawk that I’ve always found particularly endearing is Neocirrhites armatus, the flame hawkfish. Hobbyists looking for an eye-catching splash of color in a fairly small, hardy fish can’t go wrong with this species—though be warned that it can cost as much as three times what you might fork over for C. falco. Physical traits Looking like a little football (American-style) with fins, this bottom-dwelling species is bright red overall with black shading along the base of its dorsal fin and around the eyes. Unfortunately, this intense red is prone to fading in captivity. Typical of hawkfish, N

Fish Are Superior to People!

When viewed at depth, a copperband butterflyfish looks much different than the colors we’re familiar with.Why do I make this claim? Well, primarily to capture your attention. But think about some of the things fish can do that we cannot. For example, we two-legged beings can go forward, backward, and from side to side. Fish can do that too, but they can also go up and down, and they can do that just by thinking about it and barely moving a fin. If we get up in the middle of the night because we hear a noise or are thinking about that Victoria’s Secret catalog on the table (strictly for research purposes, of course), we would run into walls, doors, windows, or, if we’re lucky, a beautiful cat burglar.

AquaNerd’s Top 10 Stories from 2014

Phew…2014 is almost over. And while it has been a fun year, it has also been an exhausting one. But, we made it, and we can look forward to the brand new adventures that await for us in 2015. Before we can move on, however, we must pay our respects to the passing year with a robust recap of the top 10 stories that were featured on the AquaNerd Blog during that time. So, without further adieu, here is our list of posts we got the most mileage out of.

Anemone Lookalike: The Long-Tentacled Plate Coral

Long-tentacled Plate Coral (Heliofungia actiniformis)Easily mistaken for an anemone at first glance, Heliofungia actiniformis is a large-polyp stony (LPS) coral that can be an excellent option for reefkeepers with modest-sized systems. Even relative newcomers to the reefkeeping hobby can succeed with this species, provided they make the effort to satisfy its few special care requirements. Physical traits Commonly known as the long-tentacled plate coral or disk coral, H. actiniformis (the only member of its genus) has a disk-shaped skeleton very similar to that of its Fungia spp. cousins. However, as its common name implies, it differs in having much longer tentacles that are usually brown or green with bulbous, contrastingly colored (typically white or pink) tips, giving this coral a decidedly anemone-like appearance. It also produces long sweeper tentacles, with which it can sting neighboring cnidarians, and can inflate its tissues to surprising dimensions

Authoritative New Guide Offers Expert Insights on Marine Fish Diseases

If Chris and I were to categorize all the questions we receive here at Saltwater Smarts, it’s safe to say the vast majority would fit under the heading of “fish disease and health issues.” While we’re always happy to offer advice to our fellow salties and help them succeed in any way we can, responding to fish disease inquiries in this forum presents some very significant challenges. Among them is the fact that neither of us is a veterinarian (though Chris may play one on TV) and any diagnosis/treatment advice we might dispense is essentially a “best guess.” What’s more, it’s extremely difficult—oftentimes impossible—to determine what’s actually wrong with a fish and recommend an appropriate course of treatment based solely on a description of symptoms and, potentially, a photo of the ailing specimen. With this dilemma in mind, we asked ourselves, “How can we provide Saltwater Smarts visitors with reliable, authoritative advice on fish diseases rather than mere guesswork that might end up doing more harm than good?” In seeking an answer, we approached Jay Hemdal, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates for the Toledo Zoo and an avid aquarium hobbyist with over 45 years of experience under his belt. Jay is one of the first people Chris and I turn to when we have an aquarium-related question we can’t answer or problem we can’t resolve. He’s also an accomplished author, having written six books and over 150 articles on aquarium-related topics. So you can imagine that we were both beyond gratified when, upon hearing our dilemma, Jay agreed to pen an eBook on marine fish diseases to be published here at Saltwater Smarts.

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