Latest Posts

Review: Red Sea REEFER 170 rimless braceless aquarium system

If you’ve been following the blog you may know that in January we were lucky enough to obtain the very first of Red Sea’s REEFER range in the form of a white 170 model. Now we have had the tank running as our second test system for several weeks, we are pleased to bring you our detailed operational assessment of the system. Starting with the display tank, our initial high praise seems fully justified as the quality of this aquarium’s construction has proved to be a talking point more than once. The finish is superb and the high clarity glass used on this aquarium not only looks good from a design standpoint, but also gives a crystal clear view of what’s in the aquarium (initial photography efforts also confirm this). We’ve had no leaks, but given that each tank is tested before it leaves the factory, we wouldn’t seriously expect this MORE

Nanipora, A New Genus of “Stony Soft Coral”

In my recent review of coral evolution, I made very brief mention of an undescribed soft coral which possessed the unusual feature of a stony skeleton. And so it was a pleasant surprise to see a new paper out which has formally described this species, showing it is both morphologically and genetically allied with the well-known Blue Coral Heliopora coerulea. Named Nanipora kamurai, this species differs from the Blue Coral in growing as a thin sheet of interconnected (i.e. stoloniferous) and minute (~1mm) polyps, versus the more 3-dimensional and “coral-like” shape of Heliopora. 

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Nanipora, note there are 8 tentacles per polyp. Credit: Miyazaki & Reimer 2015

 Nanipora was found on the underside of calcareous “live rock” in very shallow (<1m) waters near Okinawa, Japan. Befitting its cryptic habitat, it is MORE

Reefs Magazine – Summer Issue Now Available!

summer-2015-reefs-magazineWith the 4th of July squarely behind us, summer, and the oft rumored “hobby downtime” has taken firm hold. As all dedicated aquarists know, there really is no possibility of downtime as regardless of what you might do or where you may go, your tank needs attention. So as you prepare emergency checklists and train tank sitters and foolproof your systems for travel, Reefs Magazine offers up some Summer reading to help keep your head in the game. Our new issue is both challenging and practical and speaks to our commitment to make you a better hobbyist by making you more thoughtful and informed. Our feature this issue is from Joe Rowlett who lays out an exhaustive examination of the variety, morphology and taxonomy of Tubastrea –the beautiful and at times, challenging Sun Corals. Sanjay Joshi adds to his authoritative data base of lighting options for hobbyists with the addition of a quantitative analysis of six new LED fixtures, and Rich Ross continues his epic Skeptical Reefkeeping series with a lengthy, difficult and provocative philosophical conversation with British hobby counterpart Nathan Hill that searches for a sound ethical basis for the existence of the hobby. For the fish focused among you Ken Wingerter continues his excellent discussion of the phenomenon of color in fishes, this time focusing on the physiological basis of coloration. Richard Aspinall takes a loving and longing view of vivid coloration as expressed by the magnificent Goldflake Angelfish. Dana Riddle reports from Hawai’i about witnessing the first recorded spawning of the coral Leptastrea belwickensis and Felicia McCaulley returns with another Fish Tales commentary about an irritating aspect of reefing on the Internet. If that isn’t enough for you, please remember that all of the back issues of Reefs Magazine are available for free simply by clicking on the either the issues or article index tabs on the left of your screen. There is several years’ worth of quality information at your fingertips. Have a safe summer everyone and we’ll see you again right before MACNA. Happy Reefing,
Randy

54 Stingrays Die at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo

Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo is trying to figure out what may have caused a drop in oxygen that killed four Southern stingrays and 50 Cownose stingrays last Friday. Emergency notifications from the system that monitors oxygen and ozone levels went out around 1:45pm on Friday and a manager was onsite within minutes. The rays were located in a shallow touch pond style pool so immediate efforts were made to increase the oxygen levels with the use of oxygen pumps and submersible air lines. The senior vice president of animal programs for the Chicago Zoological Society that operates the zoo comments: “We are devastated by the tragic loss of these animals. Our staff did everything possible to try and save the animals, but the situation could not be reversed.” chi-ct-cownose-ray-photo-20150712Each stingray loss on Friday was bred in captivity yet the exhibit has encountered equipment failures in the past resulting in the loss of rays. “We had a malfunction of a different type back in 2008. It was a water temperature increase, and the exhibit temperature increased by about 10 degrees, and we lost about 16 stingrays in that,” added spokeswoman Sondra Katzen. Read more here.

Astronaut Takes A Dive Into The New England Aquarium

ryan_astronaut1_met Sunita Williams, 49 years old, has been an astronaut with NASA since 1998. She has spent over 322 days in space. On Thursday, to the pleasure of guests, Williams dove in the New England Aquarium’s Giant Ocean Tank. Williams is very comfortable with diving. Astronauts train underwater because it can emulate the weightlessness of space and challenges with gravity. Williams has also spent nine days living at the only underwater research center,Aquarius, in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which is owned by Florida International University.  MORE

Great White Shark Photobomb

 This video is by far probably the best photobomb I have ever seen. This footage was taken on July 6, 2015 in Mossel Bay, South Africa and has been gaining more and more viewers. Essentially because this video is just plain awesome. This footage was captured during a dive tour hosted by White Africa Shark. There were six divers in the cage during this dive. The camera is focused on a White Shark who is chomping on some bait next to the boat, when all of sudden, another Great White jumps out of the water and right into the footage. Great White Shark diving is very popular for the adventurous, especially in South Africa. This brings me back to the fun memories from my own great white dive in South Africa in 2013. Good Times. Just watch this video (from the comfort of your couch) and see for yourself. MORE

Mindstream Aquarium Monitoring System

mindstream 3 Exciting news!  The scientists behind the Mindstream Aquarium Monitoring System have announced that they will be showcasing and demonstrating their product at MACNA this year! Aquarists have been eagerly anticipating this news since the product was first mentioned nearly two years ago. This monitoring system uses a patented fluorescing optical system to read concentration levels of 12 different aquarium parameters, including pH, alkalinity, NH3, NH4, NO2, NO3, Ca, Mg, K, O2, and CO2. It then uploads the information to its cloud every 15 minutes, where the data is accessible to the user free of charge (there will be no monthly fee).  While the Mindstream monitoring is automatic, the device requires aquarist to replace the test foil every 90 days. MORE

Nautical Kitchen

 Bright, sunny kitchens and nautical decor are a perfect match. I like this combination of neutral, natural colors and textures, reminiscent of weathered old sailing ships. I can almost hear the water lapping against a wooden hull. MORE


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