Category Archives: Science

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Why Kids Shouldn’t Keep Nemo with a Host Anemone

A curious clownfish peers through the tentacles of an anemoneAsk any group of young children to name their favorite saltwater fish, and chances are nearly all of them will reply “the clownfish.” Of course, to most kids, “clownfish” is synonymous with “Nemo,” so the species they have in mind is Amphiprion ocellaris, not one of the other 28 Amphiprion species or the single species in the genus Premnas. In any case, owing to Nemo’s iconic nature, many kids are taken with the idea of keeping him in a home aquarium. And naturally, if they’re going to keep Nemo, then his host anemone needs to be part of the package, as well. Trouble is, as every experienced hobbyist knows, while A. ocellaris can be a good choice for kids’ tanks (with appropriate adult supervision and assistance, of course), anemones most decidedly are not kid-tank-friendly. Heck, most aren’t even adult-tank-friendly.So how can parents persuade eager kids that keeping Nemo and his anemone together is a bad idea? Here are some talking points that might help make the case: Nemo will be perfectly happy without an anemone Kids, more so than adults, tend to anthropomorphize animals—which, in this case, is perfectly understandable since Nemo actually talks and exhibits other human-like attributes in the cartoon. So, it’s only normal for them to assume a clownfish will be “lonely” or “afraid” without a host anemone in the tank

New Gall Crab Species Discovered

anewcoralinhThe fact the new ocean species are still being discovered shows how much we still have to learn about marine biodiversity. Just recently, a new species of gall crab has been discovered in Indonesia and Malaysia by researcher Sancia van der Meij from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands. The new gall crab has been named Lithoscaptus semperi. The crab was discovered in the corals of the species Trachyphyllia geoffroyi . Gall crabs are very small in live in coral dwellings, feeding on the mucus created by the corals. The crabs settle in the coral as larvae, and the coral grows around them, literally creating a coral dwelling for the crab. The findings of this study have been published in the 500th issue of the open access journal ZooKeys.… More:

The Thomas Brown mercury disclosure

FearfulIf you’re a reef keeper and you use the Internet, there is a good change you’ve been reading about mercury (chemical symbol Hg) lately. Mercury and marine life are terms that are used in the same sentence quite often, but usually we are talking about mercury within seafood. Years ago, concern about mercury in fish tissue led to a drop in fish/shellfish consumption within the U.S. Now we know that the benefits of eating seafood greatly outweigh the risks of mercury poisoning. This mercury discussion was a little bit different, as it involved the possibility of extraordinarily high levels of mercury within frozen fish food. … More:

Saltwater Smarts Turns Two: Another Gratifying Year in the Books!

Chris and Jeff discuss the website with Mark of Coral ReefIt’s hard to believe that we’re celebrating our second anniversary here at Saltwater Smarts. When Caribbean Chris and I launched this site back in April of 2013, we had no idea how it would be received—or whether we’d even last more than a few months in such a crowded online space. We just had the kernel of an idea that a certain subset of hobbyists out there might appreciate coming to a place where they can get reliable, authoritative information that promotes success yet still enjoy a few laughs along the way. Over the past two years, we’ve tried to take a more egalitarian approach to information sharing, in which different—even opposing—viewpoints are welcomed and respected. We know the methods that we share here will work for you, but we also want to know what you’re doing that might work even better. In other words, we stand to learn just as much from you as you do from us. And with more and more visitors from countries all around the world joining us every month and offering their input, we’re confident that this approach is resonating.New offerings Regular visitors have probably noticed that the last year has seen some exciting changes here at Saltwater Smarts. This January, we released our first ebook—The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes by Jay Hemdal—which continues to build momentum in sales

Warm Water Blobs Threatens Ecosytem

blobWe all know that Global warming in recent years is at its highest levels. Global warming is a huge problem, of which we don’t even know the implications of the full long term impacts of this rapid climate change. Three different ‘blobs’ of warm water throughout the World are having a huge impact on the marine ecosystem. One blob is in the Bering Sea, one blob is located off the Coast of California and one blob is in the Pacific. The blobs can range in size. However, the Pacific blog is 1000 miles long, 1000 miles wide and 100 yards deep! Although the name ‘blob’ may not sound so imposing, these warmer waters are wreaking havoc on salmon and California droughts, just to name a few.… More:

Revolution: an important movie for aquarists. An important movie for human beings.

zmd0m97uhzcoverrevWhen I was attending the Eastern Academy of Scuba Education (EASE) in 2007, a little known film named Sharkwater had just been released in south Florida. Behind the film was a man named Rob Stewart, unknown to everyone at the academy, including the head instructors who had spent their entire lives traveling the world and diving. Since we were all avid divers and training to become instructors, one night a few of us set out to watch the film. We were all left in awe and the film changed my entire view of sharks and oceanic ecosystems. A few days later during a training dive, we spotted an 11 foot great hammerhead shark and suddenly I knew shark diving would be an important part of my future. It was after completing training at EASE, I began training under the now defunct Beautiful Ocean’s Academy in Montreal, as a coral reef biology instructor for divers. … More:

Update: Cause of Fish Kill At Texas State Aquarium Discovered

texas goodOn April 16, 2015, we were informed of the very the sad news that hundreds of fish had died at the Texas State Aquarium. The cause of what led to the massive fish kill is now clear: a mislabeled chemical container. In an effort to combat a pesky parasite which was infecting the tanks, the staff had added the white powder trichlorfon, a common parasite treatment, to a small test tank. The tank contained several fish and the treatment had a positive effect on the parasite with no negative effects on the fish.… More:

5 Maddening Things Marine Fish Do

Who knew a royal gramma would draw the ire of an Atlantic blue tang in a tank full of other fish?!I love marine fish. I really do. They’ve been part of my life for decades, and observing their beauty and behavior both in the wild and in aquaria seems to fulfill some primal need in me that’s, frankly, impossible to characterize. But then again, sometimes those scaly little creatures do things that absolutely drive me to distraction. Here are five of them that might sound familiar to my fellow salties: 1. Irritating repetitive behaviorThis refers to some type of aggravating perseverative activity exhibited by a fish, such as swimming up and down one corner of the tank or around the same object in the tank over and over again—instead of exploring the entire system available to them. Sometimes you can make sense of this behavior, for example if the specimen is nervous after just being introduced, attempting to evade a bullying tankmate or other stressful stimulus, trying to spar with its own reflection, or, in the case of naturally active species, just burning off energy. But other times, I can discern no particular rhyme or reason to it.

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