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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. MORE

The Evolution and Biogeography of Pseudojuloides: Part 3

The severnsi Group: Royal (severnsi), African (edwardi), & Mauritian (erythrops) Pencil Wrasses severnsi map   The three described species in this group share a number of easily observable characters: 1) A black “hood” covering the anterodorsal portions of the body. 2) A pair of parallel blue lines running from the pectoral fin to the caudal fin. 3) A dorsal fin with a thick yellow stripe medially, different from the thin blue medial stripe of the cerasinus Group. 4) A caudal fin with blue margins and a clear center, giving a “scissortail” look.MORE

Slime: an aquarist’s best friend

Slimy_Fish_AlphaOur fish are slimy. If you’ve ever bumped one of your aquatic charges with your hand, or picked one up, you’ve noticed that layer of slime coating. Many additives that are intended to reduce stress in captive fish also claim to enhance the slime coat. Believe it or not, this coating of slime is an aquarist’s best friend. Not only does it help ward off potential parasites, it allows damaged tissue or fins to regrow. Yet many captive fish have insufficient slime coats. Why is that? What factors aid in generating an adequate mucus coating, and what can we as aquarists do to enhance this beneficial, and crucial part of our fishes’ biology?  MORE

The Evolution and Biogeography of Pseudojuloides: Part 2

The elongatus Group: African (argyroegaster), Japanese (cf elongatus), Western (cf elongatus) & Eastern Australian (elongatus) Seaweed Wrasses elongatus map
The four known variants in this group occupy widely separated parts of the globe and are unique amongst
Pseudojuloides for preferring shallow-water seaweed habitats in subtropical waters. In Australia, P. elongatus has been called the “long green wrasse”, a rather generic sounding name that would fit a great many species. In Japan, P. cf. elongatus is known as the “Otohime wrasse”, in reference to a mythic Japanese sea goddess. Evocative, yes; descriptive, no. I have chosen to ignore these names (as neither is particularly illustrative of the distinctive qualities of these fishes) and instead suggest the common name of Seaweed Wrasse for the group, with geographic names attached to the respective species.MORE

Divers and Giant Sea Fan

Good morning one and all! Since last Thursday afternoon, I have pretty much been diving with our two guests Karen and Alan non stop and it has been a blast!! I shot this photo of our two new divers holding hands drifting over a giant sea-fan in front of the Sea Aquarium at Shipwreck Point at around 35 feet. Today they took a break from diving and took off to the west end of the island to climb to the top of Mount Christoffel, hike Boka Tabla and visit as many beaches as possible before dark, I am sure they will be wiped out tonight but with smiles plastered to their faces! We had some great night dives this weekend and saw three beautiful octopus on one dive alone and filmed them all using my new GoPro-4 attached to my sexy looking Ikelite tray and Vega strobes
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Ricordea Florida: an Underappreciated Caribbean Beauty

A group of Ricordea florida

 As an American reefkeeper, it’s all too easy for me to forget that some truly gorgeous invertebrate livestock originates relatively close to home in the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean. I was reminded of this recently when CC entrusted several of his Caribbean specimens to my care in advance of his pending move to the great state of Florida. By the way, if you “felt a great disturbance in the force” some weeks back, it had nothing to do with the destruction of Alderaan. More likely, it was just Chris’s head exploding at the thought of his prized Caribbean species intermingling with my lowly Indo-Pacific corals and fish. Did I ever mention that CC is a terrible “species-ist”? Anyway, among this adopted assortment are several color varieties of Ricordea florida. Now, prior to receiving these specimens, it had been a long time since I’d given much thought to rics, and I’d forgotten how truly stunning these humble corallimorphs can be, so it was really nice to get reacquainted with them. They’re also fairly rugged, so whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced hobbyist, R MORE

The ocean moon Europa

europa_has_life_final_by_deimossaturnIn 2014 Russian cosmonauts discovered sea plankton living on the International Space Station (ISS). While there isn’t an official consensus on how they got there, most scientists believe that uplifting air currents on Earth pushed the plankton into space. To the surprise of the cosmonauts, and the international scientific community, the plankton survived and was able to colonize visually sensitive areas of the ISS. The discovery has led to all sorts of theories, with some reaching into the realm of science fiction. Could animals within Earth’s oceans have descended from outer space? Could a meteor or comet carry planktonic life that then adapts to Earth’s oceans and forms a species hierarchy? For the most part, these questions remain unanswered and the sea life we have documented and studied all has terrestrial origins, having evolved and developed right here on Earth. Yet the fact remains, where there is liquid water, there is life. Staring out into the vast solar system, there is one place where a massive liquid ocean could churn beneath an icy crust, Jupiter’s infamous moon Europa.  MORE

The long-nosed butterflies part 1: Chelmon and Chelmonops

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Biogeography of Chelmon and its sister genus Chelmonops. The two genera display a distirbution encompassing the four biogeographic regions of Australia, namely the Dampierian, Solanderian, Peronian and Flindersian regions, which, in a clockwise direction starting from the Torres Strait, make up the four coastal quadrants of this continent. Photo credit: Phillip Colla, digital-reefs, Michael Moye, Brian Mayes and John Randall.

 The extremely diverse Chaetodontidae is home to a plethora of butterflyfish species, of which, a large majority are charismatic, colorful, iconic piscines that are largely coral reef associated. The family houses ten or so genera, and, despite being one of the most well studied groups of fish (having even received an extensive molecular based phylogenetic review), remains plagued with several taxonomic conundrums and inconsistencies. For one, the genus Parachaetodon is shown to be nestled within Chaetodon, and so the former genus ought to be relegated as defunct. However, the species, Parachaetodon ocellatus, cannot retain its specific epithet in Chaetodon, as Chaetodon ocellatus is already taken by an Atlantic species prior to this change in name. It thus takes the next available name – oligacanthus. Despite having strong genetic and molecular support in the transfer and renaming, the move is still not widely accepted by the general populace, and so the species now masquerades under two different aliases – Parachaetodon ocellatus and Chaetodon oligacanthus. This, depending on your taxonomic stand, leaves Chaetodontidae with either ten or eleven genera. MORE


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