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Marine Aquarium Decorations: Tacky, Tasteful, or Somewhere In-Between?

Large coral insert tank decoration at a big box pet storeI’ve always favored very naturalistic aquariums, so when an acquaintance recently asked me what I think about using decorations in saltwater systems, my immediate response (more or less) was that I find them tacky and cringe-worthy and that corals and fish should be decoration enough. But I have to admit, when pressed to explain why I think this way, I couldn’t really come up with a satisfactory answer. My contention that I prefer to keep things natural doesn’t really hold up, since, let’s face it, I’m using artificial means to provide everything from water currents to sunlight to waste removal in my tank. Not to mention, there aren’t a lot of fish and corals out there in the natural world living in rectangular glass houses (and if there are, they probably shouldn’t throw stones!). Nor could I honestly argue that aquarium decorations are just plain ugly because, as the old saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”So this challenge to my long-held viewpoint sort of got me thinking. Can I really support the assertion that ornaments have no place in marine tanks? Tasteful tank décor I’ve seen My mind goes back to a photo of an aquarium I saw in some book many, many years ago. A focal point of this tank was a spot-lit, half-buried amphora (similar to these ancient vase replicas) with bubbles created by a hidden airstone rising from its mouth. MORE

Dietary Supplements May Save Coral Reefs

diet
Everyone love’s the idea of a perfect diet. There are so many diet trends and vitamin supplements on the market right now. It is a huge and booming industry, one that I don’t think is going anywhere anytime soon. The low-carb diet, the low-fat diet, the zone diet, the paleo diet, the vegan diet, the juice diet, etc etc. They all tout certain benefits and rewards. If the desire and the ability is there, it is very easy to eat or live a certain way, to get precisely the right nutrient balance that may be needed to achieve the ideal health. Additionally, there are plenty of nutrient supplements available at our disposal. One can walk through any pharmacy or grocery store or vitamin shop and get whatever essential nutrients that your body may not be getting through actual caloric nutrients. On the other hand, our coral reefs, are literally starving to death. Between the stress of global warming, coral bleaching, dredging and over fishing, our corals are under attack from many different elements. MORE

Reef Threads Podcast #229

reefthreads Postmodern Jukebox support for Gary leads off a podcast packed with reef information including clown triggerfish mariculture, Quality Marine’s fish-information QR codes, lionfish eating, Marius Schudel’s (he’s a guy!) Irish rockpool aquarium, and anti-aging nematocysts. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Baby/Juvenile Caribbean Reef Squids, Curacao

Good morning one and all, how are you doing out there?? I trust all our mothers out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day?? I heard our friends in the Black Hills of South Dakota got hit with a major snow storm this weekend which is normal for April but in May??? Here in Curacao we have had record-breaking, non-stop hurricane force winds for the past three weeks making life very difficult! Because of these gale-force winds we had to more or less close Dolphin Academy to swimmers the whole week because of Hawaii sized waves rolling in and crashing over the walls and sinking one of our big floating platforms! On top of that, our island has had no rain for months now and everything is bone dry, boy do I miss our rainy season and would do anything to get it back MORE

CMAS Frag Swap 2015


I take a trip to the CMAS, Chicago Marine Aquarium Society Frag Swap. There were a lot of vendors and plenty of people to meet. Marc Levenson was the guest speaker and it was overall a very cool event. MORE

Reefing from Afar, Part 1: The Six “Ps”

There comes a time in every reef fanatic’s life where little things like work and vacation travel get in the way of enjoying the hobby. While being away for just a week, I have gone through everything from little disasters, such as algae blooms, to the horror of losing a whole system. Rather than accept problems as inevitable every time I travel, I’ve set out to automate as much of my system as possible.Allow me to introduce myself! I am by no means a professional aquarist, nor do I make my living in this industry, but as a professional systems engineer, I have applied many of my engineering practices to my reef aquarium, which in my mind feels like a multimillion-dollar system. I have been in the saltwater aquarium hobby for over 25 years. I worked at a local pet store chain growing up and ran its first saltwater system when the base technology encompassed only undergravel filters, wet-dry systems, and air-driven skimmers with wooden air diffusers. Today, technology has advanced quite a bit with respect to filtering methods, lighting, and water chemistry MORE

Friday Rewind

For today’s Friday Rewind, we take a look back at the demonstration video for the CRM-2000 Coral Fragging Robot. These handy dandy robots make propagating Goniopora stutchburyi a breeze!   

Insane Hyper Yellow Hammer

reefs.comCherryHammerIt’s no secret among my reefing peers that I’m a Euphyllia nut. I just love them. The variety of colors, the movement, fairly quick growth… what’s not to love! So yesterday when I stopped by Cherry Corals it was no surprise that they led me straight to check out this stunning yellow wall hammer (Euphyllia ancora). My jaw dropped, my hands started to shake and drool was dosed into the raceway. While it’s not likely to entice all collectors, this piece is certainly unique.    MORE

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