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Reef Threads Podcast #258

Just some favia

It was a much longer break than we planned, but we’re back for more podcasting. This week it’s new tanks, growing sponge, coral harvesting for cosmetics, and cleaner-wrasse myths. Thanks for your patience and we hope you enjoy our first 2016 podcast. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Sponsor: Rod’s Food
Rod’s Food website

Corals and cosmetics
Coral to be Harvested for Cosmetics, Jennifer Novoseletsky, Cosmetics and Toiletries

Wrasse myths
5 Cleaner Wrasse Myths, Saltwater Smarts via Reefs.com

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Outdoor Mangrove Refugium

reefs.comPabloMangroveMost reefers have heard of Spectrum fish food, made by New Life International, Inc. Seasoned reefers may know that the founder and owner is Pablo Tepoot. Pablo has been keeping fishes since well before I was born, working with freshies and salties. Back in the ’90s I drooled over his Cichlid books. Fast forward a decade to me gawking over a video of a fish-only aquarium housing dozens of species ranging from tangs, large angels, moorish idols, parrotfish, butterflyfish… all thriving solely on Spectrum pellet fish food. Pablo’s feet are deeply entrenched in the industry these days; I relish the opportunity to speak with him at show’s we’re both attending. Recently the one and only Bob Fenner paid Pablo a visit and shared pictures of his reef. However it wasn’t the aquarium that caught my attention, it was the thriving outdoor mangrove refugium.… More:

Astraea Snails Make Short Work of Algae

Astraea snail chowing down on nuisance algaeThis past year, I rediscovered how great an army of snails can be. At Tidal Gardens, we go pretty light on cleanup crews in general. For example, there really aren’t any hermit crabs to speak of in our systems. In 5,000 gallons of reef tanks, there may be only one or two hermit crabs. Most likely they arrived as refugees from local customers taking their tanks down who needed to re-home some of their inhabitants. I am not a fan of crabs because there is always a risk they might kill something they should not be killing, like another member of the cleanup crew or a coral. Long story short, I don’t trust them. I don’t have the same level of distrust for snails

Great White Shark Dies in Japan Aquarium After Just Three Days

In this Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 photo released by Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, a great white shark swims in a water tank specially for ferocious sharks at the aquarium in Motobu, Okinawa, southwestern Japan. The 3.5-meter (11.5-foot) shark has died after barely three days in a rare case of captivity in the Japanese aquarium. The shark, which was accidentally caught in a net in southwestern Japan on Tuesday, died early Friday, Jan. 8, according to the aquarium. The cause of death was under investigation. (Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT, NO SALES

credit: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

 Great White Sharks inspire a mix of awe, fear, intrigue and excitement in most people. Movies like Jaws have helped create the media driven fear, while activities like cage diving, in my personal experience, lead to intrigue and respect for these amazing predators. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan just received an 11.5 feet Great White Shark this week, in what it believed to be the first adult Great White Shark to be exhibited (in 2004 the Monterey Bay Aquarium displayed a sub adult for 198 days before being released back into the wild)… More:

Reader Review: The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist

Paul B at his recent book release partySpecial thanks to Patrick Sugent for taking the time to write and submit the following review of Paul “Paul B” Baldassano’s The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist: A 60-Year History of Fishkeeping. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!“I first came across The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist in an online forum which Paul Baldassano frequents. I gave the book a read not really quite sure what to expect. You see, I knew Paul has a great deal of saltwater knowledge as well as a witty style in online forums, but I also know that he is on a very different level than me in terms of saltwater aquarium experience. He’s got a tank that is going on 45 years old, and I have a tank that is going on two years old, slightly less old than my twin children. He’s also a big DIY (Do-It-Yourself) person when it comes to saltwater aquariums, and I once hired a professional electrician to change a lightbulb (a sad but true story). So, I thought there was a lot of room for this to be a book that was really beyond my grasp and understanding and just generally over my head with lots of discussion about history I don’t know about, devices I don’t understand, and saltwater theory I can’t follow. Fortunately, that turned out not to be remotely true.

LEDs on a 500 Gallon Reef

500 gal tank sanjay 2 - reefs
It’s been 2 years now since I started the LED experiment on my 500G reef. I replaced my 3 400W Metal Halides with EcoTech Marine 8 Radion G2 pro LEDs and I have been quite satisfied with the change. No more chillers turning on in the summer, although I do have to increase the heaters in winter. Coral color has been great, and I am satisfied with the growth on most corals. I would say that the growth rate is about 80% of what I was seeing with the MH on most corals. And that is fine with me given the other benefits I gain from using LEDs, such as not having to replace MH bulbs every year, not turning on my chiller in summer, and creating dusk effects for fish spawning. I have had 100% reliability on the units, which is impressive. I was expecting to see some hardware failure, but that has not happened yet. Does that mean that LEDs have reached the pinnacle of reef lighting? There are a lot of things I like about LEDs, but I would still hesitate to make that statement. There are a few issues that they need to resolve. In my assessment, I would list them as follows:… More:

Salty Q&A: Are Fish in Nanos More Likely to Leap?

This question, recently posted on our website by Eric B, got me thinking about some of the assumptions we tend to make about nano aquariums. So, in addition to my original answer to Eric’s inquiry, I’ve included a few more random thoughts on the subject afterward. Question Do you think that nano reef tanks are more likely to have fish jump from them, or is that not really a factor in your eyes?” – submitted by Eric B Answer I think as long as the fish in question is 1) an appropriate nano candidate from the standpoint of maximum size and energy level, 2) not crowded or harassed by tankmates, 3) provided adequate niches for rest and refuge, and 4) kept in good water conditions, there’s no reason it should be especially prone to jumping. Of course, these same caveats apply to fish kept in any system, nano or otherwise. That being said, it is much more challenging to find fish species that are well suited to nano tanks than to larger systems. So I suppose one could argue that fish jumping is more likely to be an issue with nano tanks in general, merely because it’s all too easy to stock them inappropriately. A few more thoughts Building on this last point, it’s tempting to think that all bad things happen more rapidly or are more likely to occur in nano systems than in larger ones, but the reality of the situation is a bit more complex. It’s true that smaller aquariums are inherently less stable than larger systems with respect to temperature and other water parameters (which is why we don’t encourage beginners to start with nanos); however, I believe success or failure with a nano tank ultimately comes down to maintaining a sense of proportionality

Reef Tank Tip – Resist The Urge to Submerge

Reef Tank Tip – Resist The Urge to Submerge There are a number of best practices for reefkeeping and one of the bigger ones in my book is to try and minimize the amount of time I put my hands in the tank. I consider myself a perfectionist and when I started to keep reefs I was always looking at my tanks and tinkering with the rocks or corals to achieve a “better” look. I would buy a new coral and spend a lot of time trying to place it just right, moving it from spot to spot. This stressed out the coral and made it tough for it to establish itself in its new environment. What I learned over time is that Mother Nature needs to

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