Category Archives: Science

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The Sohal Tang: A Big, Belligerent Beauty

A Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal) grazing on algaeThe sohal tang (Acanthurus sohal) is one of many fish species available in the marine aquarium trade that should come with a warning label. It’s a gorgeous fish and generally very hardy, which is a plus, but anyone contemplating purchasing A. sohal should also be aware of its eventual size and often hyper-aggressive disposition. Physical traits A. sohal, which is found in the Western Indian Ocean, from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf, is laterally compressed and ovoid in general shape. On its flanks and head, it exhibits narrow, horizontal, alternating light and dark stripes, which are vermiculated (wavy) around the head. The dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins are black while the pectoral and caudal fins are yellowish.
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The Magical Mystery Clown is Coming to Blow You Away

Screen Shot 2014 11 21 at 7.01.38 PM 300x238 The Magical Mystery Clown is Coming to Blow You AwayORA announced earlier today that they discovered a mysterious hybrid at their hatchery while sorting through a tank of several hundred Black Polymnus juvenile clowns. Three deep chocolatey-hued fish were pulled from the group, all wearing thinner, sleeker stripes than your average Black Polymnus,  gold accents around their body and a shimmery. light yellow trim on their ventral edges. ORA is guessing their mother to be a young F1 Black Polymnus and the father is one of their Goldflake Maroons. While the hybrids are certainly a unique, handsome little fish ORA has no intention of breeding or producing them on any sort of regular basis, and simply are enjoying, and thankfully sharing, the happy little surprise.… More:

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Designing a fish room…

Two years ago I was knee deep in the trenches of building my house. If you’ve ever built a home, you know that so many aspects require attention to detail, it’s easy to get lost and confused. If you’re a reef aquarist like me, then it is inevitable that at some level, reef aquariums factor into your construction plan. Building, or even large scale renovation, creates a perfect canvas for a reefer to create their dream working environment. There is so much that can be done when building that doesn’t greatly impact cost, which will make your aquarium maintenance life much easier down the road. Over the course of building my home, and eventually designing an entire fish level, I learned some dos and some don’ts – if you’re seeking the optimal place to pursue your hobby. Many of these ideas could easily be applied to an existing room, or used if you wish to turn a room of your home into a dedicated fish room. FishRoomB4 300x211 Designing a fish room...Go for the basement level: Basement levels are often the perfect place to keep utilities. Pressure tanks, hot water heaters and furnaces are all loud, and take up copious amounts of space. When designing my house, the basement level was initially added to serve the sole purpose of a utility area. Upon closer inspection, it became clear it was also perfect for a fish room. Being below grade, and on a cement floor, means that there is no tank too large, and weight stress on the home’s structure becomes a non-issue when working in the basement. Utilities and aquarium equipment share a lot of similarities. One, they both can be loud, and are often best left un-seen. Protein skimmers, sumps and other filtration devices are… More:

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3 Misconceptions About Small Marine Fish

A juvenile three-spot domino damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus)As human beings, it’s in our nature to assign certain traits to small animals—cute, dependent, harmless, defenseless, etc. Perhaps we think this way because when it comes to animals, people included, smallness is usually correlated with infancy. However, if applied to marine fish, this type of anthropomorphic thinking can lead to some rather significant compatibility issues in our aquariums. So let’s dispel a few of the misconceptions we may have with respect to smaller marine fish species: Small fish are peaceful While many smaller fish species seem to know they’re vulnerable to predation and bullying by larger fish and so have learned that their best defense is beating a hasty retreat whenever danger threatens, some species apparently never got the memo. For example, as mentioned in my previous post on humbug damsels, certain damselfish species, including many representatives of the genera Dascyllus and Stegastes, can be explosively belligerent despite their small size, making it very difficult to house them with other fishes (though “Caribbean Chris” claims he can calm dusky damsels into a tonic state and lead them away from the reef like an aquatic Pied Piper by playing soothing tones on a conch shell). Many of the dottyback species also pack a fairly powerful territorial punch for their size, e.g. the irresistibly colorful royal dottyback (Pictichromis paccagnellae) and the gorgeous magenta dottyback (Pictichromis porphyrea), both of which reach only 2 to 3 inches in length.
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Researchers Study Virus Which May Be The Cause Of Starfish Wasting Syndrome

seastar Researchers Study Virus Which May Be The Cause Of Starfish Wasting SyndromeI’ve been sadly following the Starfish Wasting Syndrome since it started shocking researchers and scientists with alarming rates of starfish mutilation and deaths since 2013. Scientists first starting noticing the disease along the North American West Coast. The degenerating disease is devastating starfish populations and scientists couldn’t figure out why. Although the disease has been present sine the 1970′s, never have soo many starfish been affected at one time. When the disease affected starfish in aquariums, scientists were able to better understand the root. By analyzing the DNA of infected and healthy starfish of different species, scientists found the virus SSaDV was most usually present in both the healthy and unhealthy starfish.… More:

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So What Now? What The Future Holds For LiveAquaria

HOME 111814 300x139 So What Now? What The Future Holds For LiveAquariaI’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now – an ominous cloud hovers over our beloved industry in light of Petco coming forward to purchase Doctors Foster and Smith. I woke up this morning and prayed it was merely a bad dream, but alas my hopes were crushed and reality set in as I reviewed the confirming evidence. It didn’t sit right with me – Petco has a less than stellar reputation when it comes to the aquarium industry, and I immediately feared the worst. Not wanting to be a Doomsday Dreading Debbie Downer Doll, I decided to take a deep breath and reach out to LiveAquaria’s director, Kevin Kohen. After his response, I’m happy to report we should really not be so afraid here. This could actually be a good thing for the hobby!… More:

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Petco Acquires Drs. Foster and Smith (LiveAquaria)

In shocking and breaking news Petco company has announced its acquisition of the online pet product retail mogul Dr. Foster and Smith. Owned by veterinarians the online retail outlet Dr. Foster and Smith has a saltwater division that supplies live coral to customers all over the united states called LiveAquaria (DiversDen). The terms have already been agreed upon and LiveAquaria’s director was quoted saying “Things will be business as usual here at Drs. Foster and Smith. That’s all the information we have at the moment as this is brand new, but thanks for asking. We are excited about what it means for our company!” Petco’s CEO Jim Meyers is quoted in a prepared statement saying the acquisition “underscores our commitment to nurturing the complete health and well-being of animals and further allows Petco to meet the diverse and expansive needs of pet parents.” The acquisition is slatted to be complete early 2015 without disclosure of terms. More:

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“Mouthbrooding” – So Much More Attractive Than “Mouth-Breathing”

66b0d314 be62 4393 b448 27de921b3777 300x168 Mouthbrooding   So Much More Attractive Than Mouth BreathingApologies to anyone with sinus issues, but facts are facts. Anywho, very much like that little tidbit of a fact, this is hardly news, but thanks to Ret Tablot, I’ve got Bangaiis on the brain and figured I’d merge that into an ongoing theme of fishy breeding habits, so here we go. … More:

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