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The Pros and Cons of Using a Marine Aquarium Cover Glass

To put a lid on it or not to put a lid on it, that is the question!Okay, with profuse apologies to the Melancholy Dane, the point I’d like to mull over in today’s post is whether it’s a good idea to use cover glasses on marine aquariums—you know, those oft-hinged glass or acrylic lids that are available in various dimensions to fit tightly atop aquariums of different sizes. As with so many aspects of the marine aquarium hobby, there’s no all-encompassing right or wrong answer to this question. Suffice it to say that cover glasses may be appropriate in some circumstances but totally inappropriate in others. To determine what’s best for your system, consider these cover glass pros and cons: Pros: Having a cover glass in place reduces evaporation, which in turn can reduce the size and frequency of freshwater top-offs and helps lower the humidity in the room housing the aquarium. Fish prone to jumping or slithering out of a tank are kept in the aquarium where they belong. Some fish, such as eels, and even certain invertebrates, such as octopuses, are such good escape artists that a tight-fitting lid is a must when keeping them. However, for many fish species, there are alternatives to glass/acrylic lids that may do the same job, e.g., covers made of some type of mesh or screening material or plastic egg crate. The light fixture is better protected from splashes and corrosive salt spray. MORE

Write-Up Wednesday: Top-Down Viewers

 I’ve got a strong hunch that you setup a saltwater tank to stock it with beautiful inhabitants for your viewing pleasure. I’m also got a strong hunch that 99% of the time, you view those inhabitants from the side -i.e. through your tank’s side panels. I’ll make one more hypothesis – as your corals start growing, you really, really would like to take some great photos of them. Here’s some insider information for you – corals always look much better when viewed from the top down. Therefore, if you want some great photos of your corals, try taking them from above. But how do you do that without getting your camera wet? The answer: the top-down viewer for cameras Avast Marine Work’s Smartphone Top-Down Porthole

Update on Yellow Tang Research at OI

Yellow Tang larvae reared at OI. A=14 dph, B=24 dph, C=36 dph, D=45 dph, E=50 dph, F=60 dph

 It’s been about a year since we reported our best success to date with rearing yellow tang, having gotten larvae through to day 83. Since then we’ve had some repeated successes getting the larvae past the first month or so, but never any quite as far along as that cohort from last January. Frustratingly, we seem to have taken a few steps backward again (as seems more common in this field than not), and are now struggling to keep the larvae going past the first week.  We have been revisiting the protocols used from that successful period to ask a lot of questions pertaining to why that worked then, and not now. MORE

Tattoo Tuesday – Guess Who?

FullSizeRenderMany of us in the reef industry and aquarium arts community have tattoos. Is it any wonder, considering how many hours we’ve dedicated to the art and science of cultivating the beauty of our aquatic world? For today’s Tattoo Tuesday, let’s play a game. Do you know which reef aquarium professional this tattoo close-up belongs to? Leave your guess in the comments below!  

You Rock! Now Prove It and Win Some Real Reef Rock!

real-reefNow, everyone who partakes (responsibly) in the hobby of reef keeping is a Rock Star in our book, but “everyone” doesn’t make for a very exciting contest, now does it? It’s always interesting to see how people fill their glass boxes, and the skeletal structure, the foundation, of every tank is the rockwork. And it’s all about how you place those rocks – “Aquascaping” is an art form in and of itself and can make the difference between a mediocre tank and a show-stopping one (along with mimicking a natural environment suitable for your inhabitants). So we want to put your aquascaping skills to the test! Show us a picture of your rockin’ tank in the comments below and we’ll select the top three entries along with the folks of Real Reef, the gorgeous, eco-friendly live rock alternative, to win a 25-pound box of Real Reef Rock. Only rule? It MUST be your tank! Please include yourself in the picture, or for the camera shy, a hand-written sign with your name and some variation of “I’m a Real Rock Star”. You’ve got two weeks, let’s see your reefs on the rocks! 

Orange ghost shrimp-Corallianassa longiventris

Good morning friends, I had a few people asking about my pet Ghost Shrimp so just for you I went out and shot some new photos. This little thing is dripping with personality and expression, I really enjoy spending time with him on the sand. I always bring him a fresh handful of algae and dangle it over his little hole. Upon seeing the algae he will race to the surface and take them out of my hand, he is really not very shy! I will sometimes lay a pile of food next the hole and he will grab it and somehow drag it all down inside his home?? If you saw how much food he is taking down you would think he lives in a giant cave or something, I would love to see the burrow this guy has built! MORE

The Rockmover Wrasse: What a Difference Adulthood Can Make!

Adult rockmover wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus)In a previous post titled “Marine Fish Bait and Switch—5 Adorable Juveniles that Blossom into Brutes,” I listed the rockmover wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus), aka the reindeer wrasse or the dragon wrasse, among four other species that are typically sold in the marine aquarium trade as cute little youngsters but mature into very different adults. However, despite its surprising (for those who didn’t do their advance research) transformation, I think N. taeniourus remains a worthy aquarium species provided certain accommodations are made. That notorious physical transformationDepending on where they’re collected, the juveniles (the stage at which they’re typically sold), are either green or burgundy with dark brown and white mottling. Their color and patterning allow them to camouflage among growths of algae. They also possess two greatly elongated dorsal spines that vaguely resemble a deer’s antlers, giving rise to the “reindeer wrasse” moniker. Perhaps not surprisingly, owing to their cuteness, juveniles often tempt unwary hobbyists into an ill-considered purchase. Juvenile N. MORE

Red Head Linear Blenny – Ecsenius cf lineatus

redheadblenny2
Recently, Madagascar has begun to export aquarium fishes. Some species are mostly the same as from other locales, such as Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa) and Midas Blenny (Ecsenius midas). One anomaly is the Red Head Linear Blenny (Ecsenius
cf lineatus), which appears to be a species new to science. The genus Ecsenius is a common combtooth blenny found on shallow coral reefs throughout most of the Indo-Pacific, with the exception of Hawaii. These small reef fish are usually omnivores, and usually make great aquarium specimens. Though a handful of the 53 recognized species occur throughout the genus’ range, most species are usually restricted to a small group of islands within a country or body of water, such as the mimic blenny (Ecsenius gravieri), which is restricted to the Red Sea. MORE

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