Latest Posts

Sea Sheep

sea sheepThis is, without a doubt, one of the most adorable sea creatures I have ever seen – and it’s a slug! The tiny creature looks like a cartoon or maybe a Wallace and Gromit character, but it is most certainly real. Costasiella kuroshimae (or ‘Leaf Sheep’ for short) is found in saltwater environments near Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines, and can grow up to 5mm in length. And, like the mammal it gets its name from, it likes its greens. The Leaf Sheep eats algae, and is one of the only animals in the world that is able to photosynthesize. And while it is not very efficient at it, some species can live for months on photosynthesis alone. As it eats, it partially digests the algae, but leaves the chloroplasts intact, incorporating them into its own body, and storing them in its multiple spiky appendages. The cute little slug then uses the chloroplasts to manufacture energy. The process is called kleptoplasty,a term derived from the Greek word Kleptes (κλέπτης), which means “thief”. and can only be found in certain sacoglossan sea slugs…like this little guy. MORE

Father Killed By Shark While Diving With Daughter

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I went back and forth on whether I was going to write about this post. I am sure many of you have heard about it by now. However, it is a very difficult post to write and shockingly tragic. On Saturday, a 20 year old woman was diving for scallops with her father, off the coast of Tasmania, an island state off the coast of Australia. The father and daughter were diving in the Maria and Lachlan Islands, areas which are reported to be very popular with amateur divers for scallop diving and very ‘unusual’ location to spot sharks, especially large sharks. MORE

You Asked Us…So We’ve Answered!

An interior spread of The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine FishesSince we released The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes eBook earlier this year, the support from readers has been unequivocally positive. But, what’s the one thing that’s been requested many times since then? A print version – so folks could add it into their aquarium library! It’s totally understandable, Jeff and I had both toyed with the idea of adding a tangible version onto our respective aquarium collection shelves, too. In this extremely digital age, there’s still something very fulfilling about flipping open a great aquarium book while doing research or passing the time on a rainy afternoon.Today we’re happy to announce the print version of The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes is now available! The beautifully printed, full color, 194 page book is jam-packed with the same great content as the eBook and is delivered right to your door from our printer. You can learn more about the book and purchase it here: http://www.saltwatersmarts.com/marine-fish-disease-guide/ As a thank you to our readers who are among the first to purchase the print version, use discount code U6GNSK2K to save $5 at checkout MORE

Fluffy Pillow Art

Growing corals and selling them for a living seems like an ideal job to other reef aquarists; actually my time is filled with a lot of online work, fragging, aquarium cleaning, box making, and other tedious chores. The one thing that has kept me engaged for over a decade is the corals. Being able to experience the beauty of corals, their never-ending combinations of colors, shapes, and behaviors fuels my addiction. While watching a beautiful fireworks display during 4th of July I found myself thinking of corals. 

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Stunning Pink Morph Wellsophyllia

 Wellsophyllia are one of those corals that most reef aquarists purchase during their first few months of owning a new aquarium; they are easy to keep and do well in medium light. As they grow in a reef aquarium they can inflate to epic proportions and fill in the area around them. Commonly found in mixes of red and green, those are just a small portion of the color spectrum that they occupy. Wellsophyllia are the abstract art of the reef world; fluffy pillows of MORE

The Evolution and Biogeography of Stonogobiops – Part 1

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S. nematodes & yasha, alongside Amblyeleotris yanoi. Best friends forever! Credit: Takashi Nagamatsu

 The shrimpgobies of the genus Stonogobiops are a common sight in any aquarium store, with species oftentimes selling for not much more than the cost of a cheap damselfish. Because of this, it might come as a surprise to learn that the half-dozen species that comprise the genus were completely unknown to science as recently as the late 1970’s! The Filamented Shrimpgoby (S. nematodes), a particularly ubiquitous and affordable species in our hobby, was originally known from just a single specimen. So how do we explain this apparent contradiction between the rarity and monetary value of these fish? Clearly, our knowledge of how to locate these fishes in the wild has improved drastically. Unlike some of their close relatives, Stonogobiops is primarily found at MORE

New study highlights uncertainty in Caribbean gorgonians

Pterogorgia cf citrina from the Saba Bank. Credit: Wirshing & Baker, 2015

Pterogorgia cf citrina from the Saba Bank. Credit: Wirshing & Baker, 2015

 Caribbean coral reefs are frequently dominated by tall, branching octocorals known colloquially as “gorgonians”. Identifying these to genus is often simple enough, as most taxa are unique in shape and structure, but correctly diagnosing to species is often wrought with uncertainty. Proper identification requires verification by microscopic examination of the miniscule calcium carbonate sclerites embedded within the coral’s tissue, but, in the case of the common aquarium coral Pterogorgia, the sclerites all look the same. So, in a recently published study, researchers relied on genetic sequencing to identify an unusual variant discovered at a large undersea atoll located at the Saba Bank (in the Lesser Antilles). To briefly summarizes the four known phenotypes in this genus. P. guadalupensis has wide flat branches, which have given it its common names of “Sea Blade” or “Ribbon Gorgonian”. An important feature to note is how the polyps arise from a pair of grooves running along the edges of each branch. Color varies from yellow to purple. P. anceps is nearly MORE

New Era Aquaculture reborn as World Feeds

Yorkshire-based fish foods company New Era Aquaculture Ltd has been sold out of administration and a new company, World Feeds Ltd has been set up backed by sizeable financial investment which will facilitate a major expansion plan for the re-born operation. All existing staff have been retained by World Feeds and the products have been re-branded as Vitalis Aquatic Nutrition in the UK and in the rest of the world, and will be known as Balance Aquatic Nutrition in the USA. New Era had been burdened with the cost of trademark litigation in the US, which led to the appointment of administrators.  It was sold to World Feeds, the new company supported by investment from Finance Yorkshire. MORE

MindStream update!

Mindstream AStep Ahead Innovations, Inc. has just announced the much-anticipated public unveiling of its MindStream monitor. They revealed that the product will be available commercially by the end of the year, and will cost $700-$900.  They also announced the beginning of their Kickstarter campaign, which will allow them to finalize testing, purchase materials, and set up manufacturing  – for a donation of $495, backers will receive their own monitor. MORE

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