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Marine blacklist : pineapple fish (Cleidopus gloriamaris)

monocentrus_japonicusWith blacklist I hope to turn aquarists attention toward various species that have a poor rate of survivability in marine/reef aquariums. It’s not uncommon to inadvertently end up with a specimen that refuses to feed, reacts poorly to new conditions, or simply fails to thrive within a captive environment. Some of these species are kept by advanced aquarists, or public aquariums and others simply don’t belong in captivity. Other species can survive, but require a tank of their own with very specific guidelines for aquascaping, filtration and feeding.  MORE

Deep Sea Stars, Linckia sp. Echinoderms

Good afternoon one and all, sorry about the late post but I have been in the deep-water labs all morning photographing a bunch of new specimens found by the Smithsonian Institution on their submersible dive yesterday. I spent the morning shooting a juvenile four inch toadfish found at around 800 feet, a beautiful hermit crab, two more slit-shells and this giant 12 inch tall sea star you see above. We think this is a Linckia sp. but until we know for sure I will just say “don’t quote me on that”. Unlike brittle stars that are so fragile and can move so fast, this sea star is hard and moves super slow MORE

Reef Threads Podcast #210


A fun photo from the Captive Aquatic Ecosystems website


This week our guest is Ben Johnson, owner of Captive Aquatic Ecosystems in Houston. Ben fills the show with stories about how he got into this hobby and started his aquarium setup/maintenance business. We hope you enjoy this look into another aspect of the hobby. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Ben’s WebsiteCaptive Aquatic Ecosystems

Cold Water Coral Fusion Documented for First Time

For the first time ever researchers from Scotland and Germany have documented fusion of coral skeletons in cold water coral known as Lophelia pertusa. “Normally it is very hard to see where one coral ends and another begins. But on our dives with JAGO, we were able to find reefs where orange and white types of the coral fused together,” says Dr. Sebastian Hennige of the Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh. “Coming from a tropical coral research background, seeing coral fusing like this instantly grabbed my attention, so we were able to successfully sample some corals for genetic and skeletal tests to prove that fusion happens between different individuals,” added Dr. Hennige. 141030102852-largeThrough analysis the team was able to determine that this particular type of coral can recognize itself on a species level, fusing together to form the reef, as opposed to batteling for territory like their tropical counterparts. The response of fusion is counterintuitive to what researchers know about tropical species of coral that behave much more aggressively towards invading colonies. “Cold-water corals build their reefs in the dark and are not supported like this. But they seem to have found another way to attain stability,” explains Dr. Armin Form, a marine biologist at GEOMAR and co-author of the paper. “Either the corals actually fuse and form a joint stock, or a branch grows over another one without interference.” Dr. Form: “Given this plasticity [of Lophelia pertusa], we hope that the coral will be able to cope with future climate changes. But we are not sure if they can keep track with the rapid environmental changes we are already experiencing.” Read more here!

Just In: Bangaii Cardinalfish Proposed Amongst Four Others To Be Listed Under Endangered Species Act

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 1.00.04 PMPopping up on our feed this afternoon came a word from Ret Talbot, “NMFS Proposes to List Banggai Cardinalfish under Endangered Species Act”. You may recall back in March of 2014, the Bangaii Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) was inching its way closer to Endangered Species Listing after a “90-day-finding” by the NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) determined there was “substantial information” in a petition from June of 2013 to do so.  MORE

Mr. Personality: The Lawnmower Blenny

LawnmowerBlennyWhen I first got into reefing I had no idea where to start when it came time to get my first fish. After a lot of study, research and forum browsing I started to understand more about the fish themselves and which ones would get along together. For my first post I would like to talk more about the different fish newbie to the saltwater hobby can look at getting as their first fish. The Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus), is a saltwater utility fish that is used as part of a clean up crew to help keep hair algae at a minimum. In my opinion, using the Lawnmower Blenny as a means of controlling algae should only be considered as a short-term fix to a bigger issue. The lawnmower blenny will hop from rock to rock chomping at the algae growth and they tend to do a great job on “hair algae”. Once the hair algae is gone you will want to ensure they are fed using dried algae (nori), flake food and mysis shrimp. The Lawnmower Blenny is quite engaging with a very MORE

Picture of the Week, Glowing Zoanthid Colony

We don’t know what they’re called, and frankly, we don’t care what they’re called. These are some amazing zoanthids, regardless of their given trade name, and their colors are popping right out of the screen. We spied this awesome colony at a local frag swap, hypnotizing us under the blue glow of one of the vendors at the show. The coral features some sharply contrasting colors, including a neon green mouth surrounded by a dark center, a neon pink ring, another dark section, and tentacles tipped in neon green. The alternating colors, coupled with the utter vibrancy of the neons make this a nice piece of eye candy. MORE: Picture of the Week, Glowing Zoanthid Colony

Reef Building Corals Responding to Acidification

An international team led by the James Cook University CoralCoE has provided some promising news for corals dealing with rising levels of acidification. “Our aim was to explore the effect of a more acidic ocean on every gene in the coral genome,” adds lead author Dr Aurelie Moya, a molecular ecologist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook. Staghorn corals are known to be the number one reef building species of reefs worldwide and researchers gathered fragments of wild colonies collected from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and subjected them to elevated levels of Co2 in the lab.141203111222-large “We found that, whereas 3 days of exposure to high CO2 disrupts formation of the coral skeleton, within nine days the baby corals had re-adjusted their gene expression to pre-exposure levels. Longer exposure seems to be less detrimental to coral health than we had assumed based on shorter-term studies,” states Dr Aurelie Moya, a molecular ecologist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook. “We saw that within a few days juvenile coral adapted to CO2 levels double those experienced today with no obvious disruption to its life processes,” adds study co-author, Professor David Miller, who heads up the molecular biology group at CoralCoE. Read more here! 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.