Category Archives: Science

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14 Products I’m Thankful For

Screen Shot 2014 11 26 at 10.19.07 PM 14 Products Im Thankful ForToday there are so many aquarium additives and devices on the market, it’s easy for aquarists to become overwhelmed, when trying to decide how to maintain a healthy reef. Some additives claim to make aquarium water crystal clear, while others offer to reduce nitrates, phosphates and instantly cycle the aquarium. Over the years, I’ve stumbled on a few products that I couldn’t live without. These items make you wonder what you did before you discovered them. In an attempt to give aquarists some guidance, and share my experience with a variety of products, I offer the following compilation.… More:

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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.
Posted in Corals, DIY, Equipment, Fish, Invertebrates, Science, Tanks | 1 Comment

New Sponsor: mailordercorals

It’s that time again where we welcome a new sponsor to the site and this time we are particularly pleased to say ‘Halò’ to Scotland-based company mailordercorals! Running for around 10 years, mailordercorals is a classic example of a successful hobbyist operation that has gone on to become a healthy online business offering a secure website, live arrival guarantee, variety of shipping options, secure payment and the very best in customer care. Originally selling coral frags from their reef display, gradually more and more tanks were added for the sole purpose of propagating corals and soon these frags were being shipped all over the UK. Focussing on the provision of high quality stock at a realistic price point, they soon built-up an extensive and loyal customer-base and it wasn’t long before a purpose-built coral house was necessary. The opening of this facility also allowed customers to visit by appointment and hand-pick their stock. Jump forward to today, and with the coral house redeveloped to cope with ever increasing demand, mailordercorals remain one of the most successful operations of their kind in the UK. Offering everything you’d expect from a professional operation and more, one could easily become immersed in their ever-expanding website for several hours given the extensive range on display
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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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Unique Frag Transport System from BAO Makes Traveling with Corals Super Easy

Here is a nifty portable frag rack that should make trips to the local frag swaps a whole lot more convenient. Building An Obsession, an acrylic fabricator that has lots of sweet goodies, showed this off a little while back, and it is completely awesome in a number of ways. For one, this frag frack stacks numerous shelves on top of each other, but keeps them separated thanks to the holding post design. The trays can be set at varying distances, allowing for space for taller frags or for numerous trays to be stored closer together. The design of the post also locks the trays in place, preventing them from falling on top of the corals on the shelves below.
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Can You Say Blue

btort 1024x680 Can You Say Blue
Many years ago I saw a tiny fragment of a blue Acropora and knew I was hooked.  After looking at every image of our natural coral reefs I could find, I started to realize how rare this genetic strain was.  I began to search for a seed fragment to grow and bought many before finally landing on one that was truly blue in coloration.  The many others were not and ranged from green to brown.  The creative photo editing of the sellers made the corals appear blue.  After seeing the specimens with my own eyes I realized they were not.  The blue pigments of the coral in the image above were visible to the naked eye even under natural light and did not require actinic lighting to display this.  I knew this was the coral that I had been searching for and placed it in a good location where it would receive the proper amount of lighting and strong random flow.  The coral grew very slow for the first couple years with other faster growing corals doing there best to take its space.  I assume the reason why you do not see these blue Acroporas very often in the wild.  I trimmed the faster growing corals back and away from it and donated the space and time it required to mature.  As the years passed the coral became very blue and started to grow at a faster rate.  The goal of owning a mature colony of a true blue Acropora was finally realized.  Although initially I did not know it would take as long as it did to mature.  Probably a good thing given I would have been discouraged to undertake the long road and make this happen.… More:

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Reef Threads Podcast #207


Gary (right) joins two BRS members to enjoy the delicious fish goo.

We’re excited to bring you yet another Reef Threads podcast. This week’s subjects are our “Where Do You Listen” contest, the St. Jude/Reef Savvy reef system raffle, Boston Reef Society, Gary eating fish goo, Petco buying Drs. Foster and Smith, and beginner tips. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

St. Jude raffle

Posted in Contest, Corals, Equipment, Fish, MACNA, Opinion, Photography, Podcast, Science, Tanks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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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