Category Archives: Science

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A cog in the engine of conservation…

1024px NOAA logo.svg  300x300 A cog in the engine of conservation...When NOAA released its plans to add 20 coral species to the list of threatened species, the reef aquarium hobby took a hit. Not only does it mean our right to keep those 20 species, (many of which are popular aquarium corals) will be under the microscope, it adds public stigma to reef aquariums, making reefers appear, “like those people that want to keep endangered species.” Suddenly, we may appear more like the weird lady who has tigers in her backyard, or a chimp in her living room. In reality, reef aquarists are miniature versions of the staff seen at public aquariums, dedicated, smart, innovative and caring. More than a few of my friends in oceanic conservation don’t fully understand what keeps me, and millions of others, in a hobby that takes from Mother Nature. What they don’t know, is that dedicated reef aquarists understand coral biology, like no one else, and have helped pave the path, to not only a sustainable hobby, but re-populating threatened reefs. In 2010, I had the distinct honor of working with Ken Nedimyer, of the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF). In the Florida Keys, Ken is working to save planet Earth’s third largest barrier reef, by re-populating it with maricultured corals. It’s a slow and tedious process, and CRF uses massive underwater nurseries in the Caribbean, to grow species that are in stark decline. The Caribbean species that were on NOAA’s threatened list prior to the new ruling, are all species Ken focuses on, in his restoration efforts. CRF logo  new 300x156 A cog in the engine of conservation...As I swam along the tract of artificially created reef, surveying the intricate work done by CRF, a thought occurred to me. Why not tap into a network of aquarists, worldwide, to help contribute to this program. The mariculture systems used by CRF have some problems, which we can easily control in aquaria. A coral nursery in the ocean, cannot be protected from in climatic weather, (such as 2013’s severe drop in temperature throughout the south) hurricanes, or predatory… More:

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Haunting Imagery of Just How Callous We Can Be With Our Fragile Reefs

beer can coral 2 Haunting Imagery of Just How Callous We Can Be With Our Fragile ReefsI was lurking around Keoki Stender’s interweb portfolio in search of artwork for my new apartment when I stumbled upon this off-putting series titled “Marine Debris”. Shameful, tragic images of floating plastic and various human waste made me nauseous but really made me think. Am I responsible on level for some of this? Do I always recycle or am I guilty of sheer laziness from time to time? Do I always cut the plastic from my six-packs to ensure marine life doesn’t end up snagged in it’s grip? Short answer – no. Do I try? Of course. These photos made me incredibly sad. I’ll be ordering a few as a stark reminder of how just being ever so slightly environmentally conscious can make a vast difference to the health of the reefs we adore. Please take the time to click through the photos – I can only post so many here. Also, be sure to peruse his other works as it’s all gorgeous. Keoki was responsible as the man behind the lens of that face-melting photograph of the Fuscipennis I posted about a few months ago. Seriously – don’t contribute to this mess. Keoki, please make this an ongoing series – it’s quite difficult to look at but all the more necessary.
Trash small 150x150 Haunting Imagery of Just How Callous We Can Be With Our Fragile Reefssamoa bag 150x150 Haunting Imagery of Just How Callous We Can Be With Our Fragile Reefssamoa cans 150x150 Haunting Imagery of Just How Callous We Can Be With Our Fragile ReefsMore:

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Who is PIJAC and How Are They Helping Us?

pijac2 Who is PIJAC and How Are They Helping Us?Last week I told you about the recent Endangered Species Act (ESA) coral listings and how they could mean the end of our hobby. This week I wanted to take a closer look at Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and what they’ve been doing to fight for our interests from this and future legislation. Let’s see how PIJAC fits into the picture by first taking a look at their mission: PROMOTE responsible pet ownership and animal welfare FOSTER environmental stewardship & ENSURE the availability of pets PIJAC has been an advocate of the pet industry for more than 35 years. Their accomplishments include helping raise the standards of animal care, developing information and resources for pet owners and stores, creating programs and campaigns to promote protection of the natural environment, and working to protect the right to own a pet. In light of recent ESA coral listings, the last part is of particular importance to us as hobbyists. This is because PIJAC functions as a national watchdog organization that addresses legislation which can cause hurt our ability to own and keep pets. They do this by monitoring legislation at all levels of government, providing testimony and comments on legislation, empowering members with the tools they need to respond to legislative issues, and by building relationships and networks with government agencies, industry groups, and other organizations More: Who is PIJAC and How Are They Helping Us?More:

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Stunning Underwater Art Museum Submerged in the Red Sea

10599533 598797240230764 1018825868129224817 n 300x199 Stunning Underwater Art Museum Submerged in the Red SeaI was originally planning on hitting the Museum of Natural History tomorrow since, GASP! I’m a born and bred New Yorker and have never been (shameful, I know), but then I saw this incredible underwater art museum located in the Red Sea. Ok, realistically I’m still going to stick to New York City and fulfill my duties as a Manhattanee since I don’t have the unlimited funds or freedom to hop on an 8+ hour flight at my whimsy.… More:

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Elephant Aquarium In Switzerland?!

 The Zurich Zoo in Switzerland has a new exhibit, of the likes I have never seen before. The Kaeng Krachen Elephant park features 6 ‘aquariums’ or water basins for the elephants to swim in. The exhibit is described as ‘the most magical thing you will ever see’ and the exhibits are intended to reflect the natural environment of Asian elephants and improve the health of Zoo Elephants. This is definitely not your traditional aquarium, and certainty not one I would like to clean. MOREMore:

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Pipefish For The Reef Aquarium: Part Two, Husbandry

0627hys instinalis Scribbled Pipefish 2 Aaron Down Pipefish For The Reef Aquarium: Part Two, Husbandry

Scribbled Dragonface Pipefish Corythoichthys instinalis Photo courtesy of Aaron Down

 Now that we’ve discussed which pipefish are appropriate for the reef aquarium in Pipefish For The Reef Aquarium: Part One, The Pipefish, we can look at acquiring and caring for your pipefish. Picking Your Pipefish When purchasing pipefish, there are a few things you can look out for to ensure you get healthy pipefish. Pipefish are susceptible to bacterial infections, so look for areas of cloudy skin, fins or eyes. Rapid breathing is frequently a sign of distress; although it can be situational i.e. fear from recent acclimation, or it can be a sign of a bigger problem such as parasites or bacterial infection. Flagtail Pipefish should be swimming above the substrate, not resting on the bottom. More: Pipefish For The Reef Aquarium: Part Two, HusbandryMore:
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‘Tis the Coral Frag Swap Season, Fa La La…

frag swap prep2 ‘Tis the Coral Frag Swap Season, Fa La La…September may be a long way from Christmas, but for reefkeepers, it’s the next best thing. September is the unofficial kickoff of the coral fragment swap season. Soon the eyes and hearts of reefkeepers everywhere will turn to swapper pages and message boards, searching for that special piece that the keeper just can’t live without. But before we blow our children’s college fund on new coral this fall, let’s make sure we are fully prepared to give those new pieces the best chance to thrive in our systems. First things first Discussion should start with the question: “Where are we going to put this piece?” That question should be followed by the equally important: “Does that spot give the coral the proper lighting and water flow?” Another consideration is whether the coral will get along with its new neighbors. Many corals use some sort of sweeping tentacles to keep space for themselves. Left unchecked, stings from these sweepers can result in coral death. Most corals will respond fine to being trimmed to keep their place in the system. This is especially true of stony corals, yet some soft corals will not respond as well, and that must be taken into consideration before purchase. The right coral for the right spot—let’s go get it! More: ‘Tis the Coral Frag Swap Season, Fa La La…More:

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Mutant White Yellow Tang Shows Up at Pacific Island Aquatics

442dWhite Yellow Tang Mutant White Yellow Tang Shows Up at Pacific Island AquaticsHere’s a totally awesome fish. Pacific Island Aquatics recently showed off this amazing aberrant yellow tang, which sports a large amount of white coloration instead of the normal solid yellow we’re so accustomed to. According to information posted on Reef2Reef, the fish was collected off the south side of Kona and tips the scales at just 4.5″ in length. This is about the average size for yellow tang sold in the aquarium hobby, if not a little bit larger, but it’s one of the smallest aberrant tangs collected. This makes it far more appealing than those huge aberrant tangs we normally see.The tang will be listed at $1500 (originally $2000), but PIA is entertaining reasonable offers. This is a pretty typical price for yellow tangs with this coloration.It should be noted that this is not an albino yellow tang. Rather, it is technically a leucistic yellow tang, meaning it’s simply lacking some of its natural pigmentation. This genetic condition results in the fish exhibiting significant white coloration, and in this case a small amount of yellow on its fins and random patches on its body. MORE: Mutant White Yellow Tang Shows Up at Pacific Island AquaticsMore:

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