Category Archives: Science

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Deadly Battle: Sea Snake v. Poison Fish

150901173418-sea-snake-and-stone-fish-1-exlarge-169These are two venomous creatures you generally want to avoid when you see in the ocean: the sea snake and the stone fish.  Sea snakes and stone fish contain venom, and although not likely to bite unless threatened, you generally want to steer clear of these guys. Rick Trippe, a champion spear fisherman in Australia, caught the epic battle between these two venomous creatures on camera. Trippe was on his boat in Darwin coming back from a fishing trip, when he noticed something floating in the water.… More:

Shark Skin Pattern Used As Model To Fight Bacteria

1370529935Although the hospital is intended to be a place people go to get better, many people get very sick from infections acquired while at the hospital. The overuse of antibiotics has been blamed for the rise of so called super viruses, which are viruses that are resistant to antibiotics. Scientists have turned to the sea to try and find a solution to this ever growing problem. Scientists have found a solution using shark skin. Shark skin is characterised by its grey colour and the contrast between the slippery appearance and its rough tactile texture. Sharks skin has dermal denticles, small structures that are placoid scales which give the skin its rough texture, similar to sandpaper.… More:

Zen in the reef aquarium

zen-symbol-tattoo-sampleLike karma, Zen has become a popular internet buzzword. Facebook is full of pictures of people enjoying a relaxing walk, their breakfast or a cup of coffee, tagging it as their moment of Zen. Most of the time the photos that subscribe themselves to Zen have bastardized the word, its meaning and simply point out the original poster’s ignorance on the topic. So what is Zen? In reality Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated during the Tang dynasty in China. It’s an entire body of religious study which has a host of different practices; meditation, daily liturgy services, funerals, etc. Like other religions, Zen has influenced art and literature, including books by noted western philosopher Alan Watts. … More:

Reflection on an Old Combo

Burger Birdsnest combo justin - reefs

Burger’s Birdsnest & Meteor Shower Cyphastrea

 There are some long-term coral partnerships that unfailingly work out time and again, while other coral closely placed together don’t get along at all. Finding relationships that work can be tricky – place the wrong coral together and they will compete and fight, sometimes to the death. Throughout my career in this industry, I have spent hours grafting and fusing different coral in my care, and I am particularly intrigued by the art of long-term commensalism among various and often distantly-related coral species. One of my favorite pairings to date is between the classic Burger’s Birdsnest and the Meteor Shower Cyphastrea. For the most part,I have grown them on a small scale, and I keep separate mother colonies, which I then frag out to use in combos. Occasionally, I even get a chance to see some of those coral creations planted in Joe Yaiullo’s massive reef tank, placed by him during one of his dives.… More:

Video: Scientists Unlock Sea Sapphires Secret Of Invisibility

[embedded content] Tiny ocean creatures known as sea sapphires perform a sort of magic trick as they swim: One second they appear in splendid iridescent shades of blue, purple or green, and the next they may turn invisible (at least the blue ones turn completely transparent). How do they get their bright colors and what enables them to “disappear?” New research at the Weizmann Institute has solved the mystery of these colorful, vanishing creatures, which are known scientifically as Sapphirinidae. The findings, which recently appeared in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could inspire the development of new optical technologies. Full article at ScienceDaily

Blackcap Basslet: A Comely Deepwater Cousin to the Royal Gramma

Blackcap basslet (Gramma melacara)Most marine aquarium hobbyists are well acquainted with the royal gramma (Gramma loreto), a worthy tank inhabitant by virtually any measure. But G. loreto isn’t the only member of the Gramma genus that is well worth its salt. Another is the blackcap basslet (Gramma melacara), a denizen of the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean Sea that is most abundant in deeper waters. Physical traitsG. melacara is very similar in body plan to the royal gramma, one noteworthy difference being its more deeply bifurcated caudal fin. It is purple in overall coloration with, as its common name implies, a diagonal black “cap” extending from the mouth, over the top of the head, and along the margin of the dorsal fin. Several thin white lines radiate backward from the eye

MASNA Aquarist of the Year 2015 is Awarded to Terry Siegel

TS1Hot off the press, MASNA announced the 2015 winner of their Aquarist of the Year award, and it goes to our friend Terry Siegel.  Terry has been a long time aquarist and teacher of reef science through his work with The Marine Aquarist, Aquarium Frontiers, Reefs.org, and Advanced Aquarist.  We’re delighted that Terry has been honored with this award and are looking forward to the presentation of the award at the MACNA banquet in Washington DC on Saturday Night.  Congrats Terry!… More:

Write-Up Wednesday: Orchid Dottiback

When I give presentations on fish selection and I mention Dottibacks, someone in the audience always blurts out, “devil fish!” For some dottibacks, yes. For the orchid dottiback, no.

Orchid Dottiback

The orchid dottiback (Pseudochromis fridmani) is not only the most docile species in the genus, but is also one of the most striking. Its body is solid bright purple with a black streak though the eye and head. Under royal blue LEDs, the fish will glow as if radioactive.

Known for being very personable, these fish take time to warm up to their surroundings. My experience in keeping them is that they will spend the first week to two weeks in a tank hiding in the aquascaping and only darting out of rocks to eat. Over time, they hide less and interact with you more. Clients who have these fish always fall in love with their orchid dottibacks as the fish greets them when they approach the tank and will sometimes follow the client around the tank.

The orchid dottiback’s docile nature also lends themselves to be victims of bullying especially from more aggressive dottibacks. Therefore, if I am placing an orchid dottiback in a tank, I will make sure it is the only dottiback in the tank.

Rounding out my reasons I love the orchid dottiback is that fact that captive bred specimens are readily available. My Orchid Dottibacks always come from ProAquatix and I’m proud to place captive bred fish in client tanks.

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