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Update: Dolphin Trainer Found Dead

A sad update on yesterdays post. Spanish dolphin trainer,Jose Luis Barbero, 59 years old, was found inside his vehicle at the parking lot of the Palma De Mallorca airport. The authorities are treating it as a suicide. Recently Barbero was linked to videos and social media that accused him of abusing dolphins. MORE

Florida DEP officials are gagged from using “Climate Change” or “Global Warming” in a sentence…

To my beloved and notably weird home state, Florida, climate change is a harsh mistress. Sea level rise, warming oceans, and acidification are all real threats to human life and economy, and the marine ecology of the state with the country’s only living barrier coral reef. See the video of my former undergraduate advisor, an educator I am deeply grateful too, professor David Hastings, attempt to illuminate Gov. Rick Scott.  At the time, Scott remained tight lipped with no response. Now, it is clear that the warnings are confirmed to have fallen on not just deaf, but antagonistic, ears. The Department of Environmental protection is not allowed to use the terms Global Warming or Climate Change, or reference them. The particularly suspicious part of this ludicrous policy is that it is unwritten. I was a direct, verbal order, distributed to the DEP. No official record of it exists. It is only through collected statements of former employees, consultants, and records obtained by investigative reporters that we know about this “unofficial” policy, which allegedly began immediately after Gov. Scott took over office in 2011. miami_beach_flood So in the state with the most to lose from climate change, we have not just a Governor that refuses to acknowledge its existent, we have a quiet existence of an “agains the rules” policy barring any discussion of one of the state’s largest long-term threats. For more reading and some mind bending, absurd testimonials on the spoken word-only policy, check out: and

Dolphin Trainer Goes Missing

 Jose Luis Barbero, a Spanish dolphin trainer with 35 years in the industry, who was due to go to work at the Georgia Aquarium,is now missing. Barbero worked on the resort island of Mallorca and was scheduled to become vice president of the Georgia Aquarium. However, there was recent public outcry against Barbero due to a video which were released in February that purportedly showed him as one of the trainers hitting and kicking dolphins at Marineland Mallorca. MORE

Why We Favor Fishless Cycling with Cured Live Rock

Cycling with live rock is an easy and reliable method to establish the biofilter in your saltwater aquariumIn years past, the most common method for establishing biofiltration in marine aquariums was to introduce some hardy, rugged fish to the system as an ammonia source and wait for the cycle to get established before adding more livestock. The usual go-to fishes for this purpose were damsels. While this cycling method does work, here at Saltwater Smarts, we favor so-called fishless techniques, such as cycling with cured live rock (my preferred approach—though there are others). When added to a new aquarium, cured live rock typically releases just enough ammonia to get the cycle started through the additional die-off of encrusting organisms. That modest die-off combined with proper tank conditions—excellent water movement and oxygenation—virtually ensures the porous rocks will soon support a good population of aerobic nitrifying bacteria, allowing gradual/incremental stocking to commence.But why is this method any better than adding a few hardy damsels? The cruelty factor There’s a good reason “hardy, rugged” fish were used to cycle tanks—more delicate, sensitive species were unlikely to endure the process. But just because damsels may (some don’t) be able to survive exposure to a succession of toxic chemicals doesn’t necessarily mean it’s humane to put them through it, especially when other means of cycling are available. The territorial dominance factor Though there are noteworthy exceptions (such as Chrysiptera parasema), damsels tend to be highly territorial and aggressive, so adding them to an aquarium first turns the appropriate order of introduction (from least aggressive to most aggressive) on its head MORE

Octopus At Seattle Aquarium Makes A Break For Freedom

 Our favorite Houdini of the ocean has just made another high profile daring escape at the Seattle Aquarium. And I think its fair to say that those visitors at the Seattle Aquarium that day were in for a shock. The aquariums Giant Pacific Octopus decided to take advantage of its open air tank, and see what the world outside had to offer outside those glass tank walls. In this video, you can see the octopus quickly making its way over the open air tank. MORE

Touch of Modern Offering PJ Reef Deluxe Kit Flash Sale

TOM Looking for just a sliver of reef in your life without the hassle of expensive equipment or maintenance? Touch of Modern, the uber-sleek hub of flash sales focusing on innovative and unique wares is offering the PJ Reef Deluxe Kit with a generous discount. The ultra-pico “tank”, which was successfully funded in July of 2013 with a Kickstarter campaign, boasts itself as a super low-maintenance, self contained marine environment.  MORE

Reef Savvy Swag is Finally Here

reefs.comRSshirtIt’s been quite some time now that I’ve been bugging Felix Bordon, owner of Reef Savvy, to offer some gear to the masses that rivals their aquariums. While most days I’m donning my own businesses apparel, it’s no secret that my closet consists of 90% aquarium nerd shirts with the other 10% being normal people clothing. While I don’t personally own a Reef Savvy aquarium, I recently installed my first one and have two more in the books already. With that said I also don’t own a Ferrari, but we can dream can’t we!? Without further ado, here’s the link to snag yourself your very own “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Tanksta” shirt, and more. MORE

How Not to Cut Costs When Starting a Reef System

In some aspects of reef aquariums, saving money on the cheaper options can be detrimental to your successRecognizing that the question of affordability is top of mind for many aspiring marine aquarium hobbyists, one of our earliest posts here at Saltwater Smarts dealt with ways to reduce the expenses associated with aquarium setup and ongoing operation. Notwithstanding those recommendations, it’s important to note that in some cases, taking the seemingly cheaper route in the reefkeeping hobby can be highly counterproductive. For example, purchasing the following essential equipment based on price alone—or avoiding the purchase altogether just to save money—could not only end up costing you much more in the long run but may also greatly limit your long-term reefkeeping success:Reef lighting I’m leading with this one because proper lighting is commonly the largest single expense hobbyists encounter when setting up a reef system. To those on a limited budget—and/or those who equate “aquarium lighting” with the inexpensive fluorescent hoods so popular on the freshwater side of the hobby—the price of a good reef lighting system can produce some serious “sticker shock.” But I strongly urge you to resist the allure of cheapo lighting systems that claim they will support photosynthetic invertebrates for a fraction of the cost. Not only do such systems typically fall far short of expectation with respect to the inverts they can sustain, but as you might expect, they also tend to be built with low-quality components and, thus, have a notoriously limited functional lifespan. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t look for the best possible deal on a quality lighting fixture or that you shouldn’t explore the more budget-friendly option of buying a gently used fixture from a reputable source. Just keep in mind that if reef lighting sounds too good—and costs too little—to be true, there’s a good chance it is. Protein skimmer While proper lighting serves as the essential energy source for a reef system, a good protein skimmer plays an indispensable role in maintaining the best possible water quality MORE is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.