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Cermedia MarinePure Biofilter Media

Cermedia Marinepure Every man-made aquatic ecosystem, be it a reef tank, a tropical freshwater aquarium, or a backyard pond, works on a similar principal – the natural processes occurring in a confined environment strive to achieve chemical balance, essential to sustain the life that they host. In order to maintain that equilibrium, aquarists use several types of filtration devices in their systems. No matter the environment, the most important and efficient type of filtration is biological – colonies of beneficial bacteria that break down harmful ammonia (NH3) originating from uneaten food, fish waste, and other decaying matter, into less toxic Nitrites (NO2), and later to Nitrates (NO3), in a process known as the nitrogen cycle. These bacteria occupy all surfaces in a fish tank – aquarium glass, décor, plants, and, in reef tanks, live rock. The aquarist’s goal is to provide an optimal surface on which the bacteria to grow and the best way to build healthy colonies is to use various types of biological media. The product I am showcasing today, a ceramic media, is my personal choice for both saltwater and freshwater tanks, prime “real estate” for nitrifying bacteria to grow.… More:

Deepwater Plesionika Shrimps in Japan

Plesionika cf narval, the "Narwhal Shrimp", named for its long rostral spine. Credit: Blue Harbor

Plesionika cf narval, the “Narwhal Shrimp”, named for its long rostral spine. Credit: Blue Harbor

 With nearly 100 described species, Plesionika is one of the most diverse groups of shrimps and one which is virtually unknown amongst reef aquarists. But these graceful carideans do find themselves collected on rare occasions, as can be seen by a handful which have recently appeared at the inimitable Blue Harbor in Japan. 
P. chancei, seen in situ at Osezaki, Japan and from Blue Harbor. Credit: nabi & Blue Harbor

P. chancei, seen in situ at Osezaki, Japan and from Blue Harbor. Credit: nabi & Blue Harbor

 Their rarity in aquariums belies their commonness in the wild. Plesionika can be found in marine waters around the world, save for the extreme polar regions. Most taxa are known only from moderate depths below 100 meters, though specimens as shallow as ~20 meters can be found in subtropical regions like Japan.

Rare Giant Squid Found Off Hawaii’s Coast

squid1 A fishing charter of the coast of Hawaii encountered a rare find this week: a 7 foot squid. The squid was already dead, floating on the top of the water when the crew found it. The captain of the boat said they were fishing in very deep waters when they encountered the squid. “It was a fishing charter and we had just released a blue marlin. We were just getting the line set back out and my guest actually said, ‘Hey, what is that floating over there?’ We got closer to investigate…as we got close I realized it was a giant squid. It was already on the surface. In Hawaii, we have extremely clear water. We could see his entire body,” explains boat captain Cyrus Widhalm.… More:

Paul “Paul B” Baldassano Pens Unique Book on Marine Aquarium Keeping

What do supermodels, the Vietnam War, and the right front fender of a 1955 Oldsmobile have to do with marine aquariums? Absolutely nothing—that is, of course, unless you’re hobby pioneer Paul “Paul B” Baldassano and you’ve just published a book on your six decades of aquarium keeping.Well, he is and he just did! Paul’s new tome, titled The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist: A 60-Year History of Fishkeeping and produced in collaboration with your friends here at Saltwater Smarts, is anything but your typical aquarium reference book. With his signature tongue-in-cheek style, familiar to anyone who follows his posts here or on other sites around the web, Paul offers his unique, eye-of-the-beholder, and possibly hallucinogen-inspired thoughts on: His earliest encounter with marine organisms (hint: it wasn’t in the ocean) The history of our hobby How to buy fish in good health and keep them that way Fish biology, including his revolutionary insights on fish immunity Methods for maintaining healthy aquarium water How to manage algae, pests, and common diseases How to succeed with certain hard-to-keep species How he would set up a tank from scratch today A whole host of easy-to-construct, cost-cutting DIY projects And much, much more! A section of Paul B’s 44 year old reef aquarium Paul, a resident of Long Island, New York, has been immersed in aquarium keeping since the 1950s. In fact, his current 6-foot-long, 100-gallon reef tank has been in operation longer than many of today’s hobbyists have been alive—44 years as of this writing. Much of Paul’s remarkable long-term success can be attributed to his ever-curious, self-reliant, innovative nature, which has led him to create a wide range of ingenious inventions and DIY projects to make the aquarium-keeping experience easier and cheaper

The biogeography and evolution of Paracentropyge

paracentropyge map

The geographical distribution of P. multifasciata, P. venusta and P. boylei. Map courtesy of Joe Rowlett.

 The genus Centropyge is one of seven in the family Pomacanthidae, and comprises of 34 known species distributed in all tropical oceans. This genus is the most species rich of the angelfishes, and attains its maximum diversity in the abundant coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific. Their appearance has earned them the “dwarf angelfish” moniker, which rather aptly describes their small and diminutive stature. Unlike other Pomacanthids, Centropyge are shy, and their taciturn nature often becomes apparent through fleeting glimpses in coral labyrinths or calcareous catacombs. However, despite their coy personalities, most dwarf angelfishes are exuberantly colored and very successful, persisting in habitats ranging from shallow reefs to soul sucking depths in the mesophotic twilight zone.… More:

Apple Care Extending Coverage with ‘FlipperPhone’ Plan

FlipperPhoneGenerally speaking, dropping an electronic device into a large body of water is more or less giving it an impromptu burial at sea, but if you happen to be around a friendly cetacean, you might just have a better turnout. Dolphins rely heavily on chatting as a means of communication with one another, so is it really all that surprising how this particular one reacted when some poor girl dropped her iPhone into the depths of the Atlantic? He just wanted to make sure she could keep in touch with her pod! And since we’re in an age where everything can be documented, even whilst floating on a secluded platform in the middle of the ocean, there’s video of the selfless act below (it’s adorable, but could have done without the squealing). … More:

Reef Threads Podcast #247

It’s Quiz Week on Reef Threads.

This week we celebrate Podcast day and learn some things while quizzing ourselves with Martin Moe’s Marine Aquarists’ Quiz Book. Set aside some time to listen and learn with us. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Sponsor: Rod’s Food
Rod’s Food website

Buy the book
The Marine Aquarists’ Quiz Book, Martin and Barbara Moe


Marine Aquarium Terminology: Activated Carbon vs. Carbon Dosing

Activated carbon and carbon dosing – similar sounding, but different techniques for improving water qualityAs if our hobby weren’t perplexing enough to the average beginner given all the oddball jargon we toss around, things can get doubly befuddling for novices when they come across two or more similar-sounding terms that actually apply to very different concepts. Such confusion could easily arise, for example, when newcomers are first confronted with the concepts of carbon use for chemical filtration and carbon dosing for nitrate/phosphate reduction. So, to help clarify these sound-alike terms, let’s define what they are and how each is used to maximize water quality in a marine aquarium:Chemical filtration with activated carbon Likely, activated carbon is what comes to mind for many new hobbyists when they first hear or read about carbon use in marine aquaria, especially if they have a background in freshwater fishkeeping where activated carbon use is a long-established practice. Activated carbon (aka activated charcoal) is a highly porous medium, typically sold in granular or pelletized form, that is used to remove dissolved organic compounds (DOCs) from aquarium water. It’s considered a chemical filtration medium because the DOC molecules it removes actually form a bond with the surface of the carbon—a process known as adsorption. DOCs are what cause the yellowing of aquarium water, so their removal with activated carbon helps keep the water crystal clear. Activated carbon can also be used to eliminate various toxins and contaminants from the water, for example the noxious chemicals many corals and other sessile organisms release to prevent neighbors from encroaching on their real estate, medications used to treat fish, residual ozone exiting an ozone reactor, etc. There are various ways to place the carbon granules or pellets in a system. is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.