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Death of the LFS?

storeIs retail dying? Not just in the aquarium industry, but across the country and around the world? For so long consumers were limited to products that were accessible, things for sale in our towns and cities. Now, the world is an open shop and nothing is out of reach. It’s changing global economies and re-defining industries. In some cases, it’s pushing small specialty stores to close, and in other cases it’s opening rural areas up to new ventures. The question remains, will aquarists still turn to the local fish store (LFS) through 2016 and beyond? Will marine life sales be dominated by a handful of large, all-inclusive marine outlets? 2016 marks my 15th year writing for marine aquarium publications, with my history dating back to the now defunct Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine (FAMA). I’ve been a fish, coral and aquarium consumer for even longer, and living in a rural part of Maryland, have a unique relationship with both the LFS and online retailers. Will online kill the brick and mortar store down, once and for all?  MORE

Joe’s Vesuvius Volcano Chalice

Joe’s Vesuvius Volcano Chalice

 We hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday season.  This week we are featuring Joe’s Vesuvius Volcano Chalice. Basic Care: Medium light, Low flow, Multicolor eyes Difficulty: easy to moderate One of the nice characteristics of Joe’s Vesuvius Volcano Chalice is that it exhibits different colors depending on the lighting conditions. Under stronger light, this coral will display more red hues, while less intense lighting will promote purple hues.  As you can see, the eyes are multicolored and the rim is neon green making this a beautifully contrasting specimen.  Feeding a quality LPS food will also help with coloration and and growth rates. The picture MORE

5 Cleaner Wrasse Myths

Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) offering some “dental care” to a potato grouper (Epinephelus tukula)

 The introduction of Labroides spp. cleaner wrasses to marine aquarium systems is generally ill-advised. Though some hobbyists report success in keeping these obligate cleaners long term, the vast majority of specimens entering the market are doomed to perish prematurely from starvation. Nonetheless, despite their abysmal captive survival rate, people continue to buy these wrasses, likely owing to some persistent misconceptions surrounding them. Among these myths are: 1. If the wrasse can’t get enough to eat by cleaning, it will learn to accept other foods First off, there’s no if about it—a cleaner wrasse kept in a home aquarium cannot sustain itself long term by cleaning its tankmates. After all, in your average home system, there are going to be very few clients to service and they likely won’t have much of a parasite load or dead tissue to offer. So, if the wrasse doesn’t learn to recognize aquarium fare as edible, it’s destined to starve MORE

The Iramo: a highly dangerous aquarium coral

The highly venomous Iramo. Credit: Kushimoto Marine Park

The highly venomous iramo. Credit: Kushimoto Marine Park

 Given how many dangerous creatures are readily available in the aquarium industry, it’s easy to think that aquarists might have a tendency towards masochism. There are potentially lethal corals (Palythoa cf toxica)… there are potentially lethal urchins… there are potentially lethal fishes… and an anemone that can inflict nasty ulcerative scars. Not to mention all the other venomous fishes and corals which we barely bat a lash at. But there is one dangerous organism which hardly anyone has heard of and which does occasionally sneak into our reef tanks—the “iramo”. MORE

Giant French Angelfish, Pomacanthus paru


Good morning friends, I have a giant 18-inch French Angelfish for you all this morning that we found on our fun drift-dive from Sea Aquarium to Substation a few days ago. We found two of these beauties together but I was unable to get them both in one photo it’s always been such a hard thing to do. Once I started shooting them they started swimming straight down to much deeper water and I finally had to call it quits, they really are not shy or scared, just busy.  Not much else to report, weird weather continues here, we should be having big rains but so far they are nowhere on the horizon. MORE

Saltwater Smarts’ Top 10 Posts for 2015

“Top 10” lists are always popular features around the New Year, and with good reason. They offer an idea of what resonated with people or had an impact on our culture over the preceding year—and, by logical extension, what didn’t. They also, to a certain extent, give us a sense of where we’re headed in the future.Here at Saltwater Smarts, we rely on various site metrics as well as comment-section feedback to help us gauge which posts or other offerings are of interest to our visitors. Based on these analytics, we’ve compiled our Top 10 Posts for 2015. You’ll find they touch upon a wide variety of topics, so there’s something here for everyone to enjoy: Thanks to each and every one of you for another wonderful year! It’s our pledge to keep bringing you content that educates, inspires, and hopefully provides a little entertainment along the way. From Caribbean Chris, myself, and all the regular contributors and sponsors here at Saltwater Smarts, happy New Year and all the best in 2016! MORE

The Evolution and Biogeography of Pseudojuloides: Part 5

The cerasinus Group cerasinus map This group exemplifies the difficulties inherent to delimiting “species” of reef fishes. Currently, five are officially recognized, with several more distinctive populations in need of further study. There is very little overlap in their respective biogeographic ranges, save for the usual melting pot around Bali and the Lesser Sunda Islands. Unfortunately, there is relatively little research analyzing these populations on a fine scale. For most, the ranges are only imperfectly known, which leaves us wondering what amount of gene flow exists between neighboring populations. Do those restricted to Mauritius maintain any genetic connectivity to their East African or Maldivian relatives? Do the sympatric species of Bali interbreed, or are they reproductively isolated from each other? These are the difficult questions for which answers are still lacking.MORE

Whitespotted Filefish, Cantherhines macrocerus

whitespotted filefish - reefsI have a full size adult Whitespotted Filefish for you all today that I shot yesterday while out photographing the sub at 50 feet in front of the Substation entrance. These fish are super calm and very curious, one of the few easy fish for new underwater photographer to shoot. The American whitespotted filefish typically has a brown or olive colored body, although it may also be grey. These fish can rapidly change appearance to a high contrast color pattern with a much darker background and many light colored spots. With a maximum length of around 18 inches, they are smaller than the scrawled filefish which is also found in their range. The American whitespotted filefish is often seen in pairs. These fish are omnivorous; although they eat animals like sponges, stinging coral and gorgonians, and algae. Happy New Year one and all, another year of blogging has ended, thanks for all the support!!!!!!!   MORE


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