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Barely There: Trace Elements in the Reef Aquarium

trace elements Barely There: Trace Elements in the Reef AquariumWhat are trace elements exactly and what role do they play in our reef aquariums? To put it simply, trace elements are elements that appear in very small quantities in salt water. They are vital to all sorts of biological processes and due to the limited size of our aquariums can be depleted rapidly. Trace elements can be replenished through regular water changes or with chemical additives, but before you run out and start dosing trace elements, it is important to realize just how scarce they are in our reef systems. To kick off this discussion, let’s take a look at the composition of salt water. Saltwater with a specific gravity of 1.025 is 96.5% water. “Sea salts” make up the remaining 3.5%. That 3.5% salt is made up of major elements and trace elements. The major elements are sodium, chloride, sulfate, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Those major elements comprise the vast majority of “sea salts.” If you were to remove those major elements from the mix, what is left is a whopping 0.7%. More: Barely There: Trace Elements in the Reef Aquarium

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Keeping the Magic Alive, Cyphastrea Combos

photo 1 1 1024x768 Keeping the Magic Alive, Cyphastrea Combos

Long term stable combo of Seriatopora and Cyphastrea

 I love Cyphastrea; it is a beautiful coral, and one that I have had great success with, but one day I realized that I had been growing it for so long that the excitement was gone.  I didn’t want to stop my work with one of my favorite corals, but I knew I had to make a change. There was only one solution for me – give it a hat of SPS! I am fascinated with coral interactions, from complete fusion of soft tissue to understanding long term competition and overgrowth. Sometimes, the success or failure of the experiment is size dependent, other times, food availability or water flow are the most important factors. Over the past few years, I have enjoyed replicating certain MORE

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New incredible rotor for the Rossmont Mover italian pumps

Improved rotor Mover M Series 1 minute timer compatible1 New incredible rotor for the Rossmont Mover italian pumps
the italian company behind the Mover recirculating pumps, has just introduced in the last few days a new improved rotor for their pumps, specifically designed for on-off cycles for one minute only. We have tested the Rossmont Mover M 5800 pump some months ago, and we liked it very much, for its flow, construction and low noise.  MORE

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Hunting Done Right – Employ Slithery Minions.

140908135209 large medium 300x135 Hunting Done Right   Employ Slithery Minions. UK based Cambridge University has come out with some pretty cool new research as of late, pointing at the fact that certain fishes might but forming deadly little alliances against their prey. A trout native to the Pacific and Indian oceans, a piscivorous one at that, has long been known to prowl and ambush their victims. So what happens when their dinner scampers off into the nooks and crannies of a reef? They call in the big boys – the eels. These slippery little guys enable the groupers to access prey from what would otherwise be non-penetratable territory. They apparently use “vigorous headshakes” to signal a “come hunt with me” if you will. So it looks like the eel is not merely sacrificing its catch to the intimidating trout – but in cohorts with him. Read more about this along with great info from Cambridge zoologists. The whole thing is pretty wild.

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Let’s Get a Little Sexy – Hybrid Corals.

elkhorn staghorn coral sefsc 300x112 Lets Get a Little Sexy   Hybrid Corals.So much sexier than a Prius is the Hybrid Coral, in my opinion anyway. Like any good romance novel, the story takes place under the light of a full moon. Add the ocean salt spray and a bit of sand in unwanted places and this is a story for the lovers. The threatened Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals took advantage of the setting – awakening from what is gloriously described as “a year of sexual slumber” – sounds pretty miserable if you ask me. Someone brought their game, laid on the smooth moves and an epic spawning ensued. No word yet if cuddling followed or at the very least, if hands were held afterward. I don’t know if he called her the next day either, or if this was strictly a one night stand. But GASP! Let me throw a wrench into this beautiful love story, a third party. The studly Acropora prolifera appears to be overtaking precious reef real estate between the two lovebirds that are Staghorn and Elkhorn. Wait – prolifera is actually the mutant spawn of the two. Try to keep up, fellow reefers, I sure as hell can’t. In what’s probably the least exciting way possible, corals mate not unlike trees spewing pollen into the sea. Not even touching! They just release their fatty eggs and sperm all over the ocean floor (rude) and hope for the best. They’re not even picky – an “oceanic orgy” ensues. It’s this lack of standards that warrants the love children of above mentioned coral species. The bummer here? These mutant corals are essentially dead-ends, a mule, so to speak. They’re generally sterile, and those capable of reproduction more often than not produce inferior offspring that are unadapted and unable to reproduce themselves. In rare cases, hybrids can actually thrive. So what’s the outcome? Will this mutant offspring eventually lead to the demise of our beloved Staghorn and Elkhorn? Will the adult hybrids outcompete their frisky parents? Stay tuned for what I can only dub the nomenclature of “The Battle of the Antler Corals”. I’m so glad I’m a human. .Elkhorn Spawn 02 150x150 Lets Get a Little Sexy   Hybrid Corals.<—– Elkhorn Sperm.

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Reefs in Home Decor – Connect With The Sea in Style

 Reefs in Home Decor   Connect With The Sea in StyleIt’s no secret that I love to fill my beach abode with oceanic inspired goodies. My shopping excursions are ridiculously dorky and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve chewed your ear off more times than is acceptable about cephalopods, my love for them, and the black hole that is the Kraken Rum Shop (that day was SO expensive), so let’s carry on to a new topic before I lose your interest: Coral. So many endless decorating possibilities, seriously a slew of them, due to the sea dwelling animal’s plethora of hue variations. I mean, honestly you could find a coral to go with any room you so please. Blue, red, yellow, green, purple, all or none of the above, you name it. The linked article uses the word “gamut” which I’m going to have to remind myself to use on my own. But yea, with essentially over or around 1,400 known coral species, you won’t be at a shortage of inspiration here. On top of that, coral is a structural being, lending itself to blend well into chic, modern design themes. The ridiculously talented Michael Aram (find his stuff at Bloomingdale’s!) utilized polyps and colonies fairly often to create breathtaking designs which are nothing short of fine organic art. Fair warning: If you’re drooling over that golden shell sculpture as much as I am, it’s selling for a mere $5,000. Maybe I’ll wait for a sale, ’til then I’ll stick with the placemats and wallpaper. On top of the intricateness of coral, you have an unlimited amount of mediums to chose from – glass, resin, wood, steel, clay, paper, ink, paint, and actual coral skeletons. So go ahead, Octo-fy, or in this case, Polyp-fy your home to your liking regardless of how close you live to the beach. No one should enjoy your home more than you do.
25 D1 coral wallpaper 150x150 Reefs in Home Decor   Connect With The Sea in Style25 D1 coral plate pix 150x150 Reefs in Home Decor   Connect With The Sea in Style25 D1 coral watercolor 150x150 Reefs in Home Decor   Connect With The Sea in Style

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Obama’s Expansion Action: What Does It All Mean For “Lazy” Fish

5218393828 413fc27d99 b 300x198 Obamas Expansion Action: What Does It All Mean For Lazy FishI’m not quite sure what constitutes a “lazy fish” but I guess we’re all about to find out. Yesterday, Thursday September 25, 2014, President Barack Obama took it upon himself (in lieu of Congress) to expand the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, originally instilled by President Bush during his term. The expansion covers an area six times the original ocean area around various Islands of the South Pacific, excluding four islands utilized by Hawaii-based Tuna fishing fleets in hopes of preventing economic hardship. MORE

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This Is Terrible News: Fire Kills Thousands of Tropical Fish in Dickson

1411652546000 Fish Fire 300x225 This Is Terrible News: Fire Kills Thousands of Tropical Fish in Dickson Ugh I feel like I’ve been posting nothing but terrible news today.  Maybe I’m just in a mood. This is really tragic, though. Early this Thursday morning, a fire broke out in a Dickson County tropical fish breeding business, killing nearly 6,000 animals at around 4:00am, according to office manager Donna Coone. All of the saltwater fish survived (phew). The store also supplied tanks, sumps, terrariums amongst other things. A wedding chapel on the property was also destroyed. I really wish the best to all those effected and a quick recovery from the travesty. It’s awful to hear about the needless loss of lives – how terrifying for a fish who’d normally never encounter fire in it’s natural environment. 

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