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WWF Reports 49% Decline in Marine Animal Populations

Anthias under sunbeams. Swarms of anthias fish shelter near coral outcroppings and feed in the passing current. Fiji

Anthias under sunbeams. Swarms of anthias fish shelter near coral outcroppings and feed in the passing current. Fiji

 It’s never fun to jump on the negative news bandwagon, but a recently updated report from the World Wildlife Fund finds our oceans to be in far worse condition than just 45 years ago. The Living Blue Planet report, published annually, states that the average populations of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish declined by 49% between 1970 and 2012. Coral reef coverage has also decreased by more than 50% in the last 30 years. The report more or less attributes all population decline to anthropomorphic (human-driven) influences, including climate change. MORE

AquaIllumination Prime LED Aquarium Light Review

Ai Prime

Aquarium lighting has undergone a revolution in recent years, overwhelmingly because of the introduction of high power light emitting diodes, or LEDs. Being involved with high-end residential construction business, I’ve  witnessed LEDs “rise to dominance” in a relatively short period of time. While the aquarium and horticulture industries were among the first to adapt this new source of artificial light, home improvement businesses quickly followed, and went over and beyond with the introduction of home automation systems, where electronic devices are connected to a central hub and can be remotely accessed and controlled through an interface installed on computers and mobile devices. These days, a cellphone-controlled light bulb or an advanced smoke detector that sends text messages to home owners whenever it detects carbon monoxide are a reality within reach of the average consumer. Moreover, the technology changes so quickly, it drives prices down to the point that nowadays, an LED is a common technology most people come into contact with it in everyday life . Fish tank lighting manufacturers, trying to keep up with the trend, implemented at least some level of automation into their fixtures, most often through auxiliary controllers and wireless hubs that consumer had to pay extra for. Until now …  MORE

Is the Internet a Viable Resource for Marine Aquarium Research?

Virtually since the advent of the internet, there’s been a tendency in our hobby to rate the reliability and trustworthiness of online content beneath that of print-format materials—books, magazines, and so forth. But is this assessment really fair?The general premises behind this viewpoint are: Anyone with a computer and internet connection can post anything they want online, whether or not he or she has the requisite expertise to expound on the subject. Online articles and posts are seldom given professional editorial treatment and/or subjected to peer review, so you can’t trust that they’ve been vetted properly for accuracy. There tends to be an “echo-chamber effect” online, so inaccurate or outright fallacious information appearing on one site can be picked up immediately by others and repeated ad nauseam, creating the false impression of consensus on the information/viewpoint. Now, there’s truth to each of these arguments, but as someone who’s made his living as a writer/editor for nearly 20 years (primarily in print format) and once served on an editorial committee that reviewed book submissions for a major retail pet chain, I can say with some confidence that print materials have their limitations as reference sources, too. Among them: Just as with online materials, print books and magazines are no more reliable or accurate than the writers and editors who produce them. You can’t assume that just because someone went to the effort to produce something in hardcopy, the information it contains was properly vetted. MORE

Shark Attacks On Camera This Week In California And Hawaii

2CA541F900000578-3244841-image-a-32_1442937533778 Just a day after the official end of summer, and two more shark attacks occurred in the United States, both of which were captured on video. Despite the spate of high profile shark attacks over recent months, I swim in the ocean at least once a week in hope of encountering one of those beautiful creatures. Yesterday, Mark McCracken, a kayaker off the coast of Goleta, California, armed with a go-pro and paddle, had a harrowing encounter with a hammerhead shark. McCracken said: “I was trolling for bonito yesterday when out of nowhere this tweaked out hammerhead started ramming and biting my kayak. I had to hit him over 20 times before he finally gave me some space but still stalked me for a half mile all the way back to shore.” Watch the incredible video here.  MORE

Review: Neptune Systems WAV Aquarium Pump

IMG_1212The market is getting crowded, when it comes to reef aquarium circulation pumps. Just about all the major reef equipment companies have one, and many of them perform much the same. The Vortech by Ecotech Marine still stands as one of the greatest innovations in the realm of propeller pumps, though over the past year both Panta Rhei and Maxspect have taken a shot at out-innovating Ecotech. Now there is another kid on the block, the WAV from Neptune Systems. Immediately the WAV stands out for a few reasons, one being that it is designed by a company with a solid reputation for high tech, ultra-controllable reef aquarium gear. Neptune Systems’ Apex still sets the bar for aquarium controllers, and over the past few years the company has stretched its legs, offering everything from automatic dosing systems to hidden PAR monitors. All of these products work within the ecosystem of Apex Fusion, and in this regard the WAV is no different. This is another unique factor regarding the WAV, it’s the first circulation pump system that requires a full blown aquarium controller. While it may seem like Neptune is alienating much of the reefing population by requiring an Apex in order to use the WAV, when you see how flawlessly the circulation system ties in with Apex Fusion, instantly you realize why they opted for that route. MORE

A Remarkable Community of Fishes Found in Xenia

Radial Filefish (Acreichthys radiatus) hanging out in some Xenia. Credit: Doug Anderson

Radial Filefish (Acreichthys radiatus) hanging out in some Xenia. Credit: Doug Anderson

 Coral reefs are rife with camouflaged fishes. Some hide by mimicking the surrounding rocks and sponges and algae, while others are well-known for passing themselves off as more-noxious species of fish. And, fewer still, are those fishes which actively mimic corals. MORE

Seal Hops Ride On Humpback Whale

A photo is worth a thousand words. And you have to check out this mind blowing photo of a seal catching a ride on the back of a humpback whale off the New South Wales coast in Australia. At first look, it looks like the seal is surfing or almost walking on water until you look closer._85591521_exclsealtakesarideonahumpbackwhale7MORE

Pohnpei Deep Dive

Pohnpei reef - reefs

Pohnpei reef, credit Sonia Rowley

 Check out this new video from Brian Greene – a glimpse into what an extremely deep diving trip looks like. You’ll notice that the divers’ voices sound funny; that’s because they are breathing a mixture of oxygen and helium. The main reason for adding helium to the breathing mix is to reduce the proportions of nitrogen and oxygen below those of air, to allow the gas mix to be breathed safely on deep dives. A lower proportion of nitrogen is required to reduce nitrogen narcosis and other physiological effects of the gas at depth. And the crunching sound isn’t the scientists stepping on the reef – it’s actually the  desiccant packs in the camera housing.  Brian Greene, Dr. Richard Pyle and Dr. Sonia Rowley are on this dive, part of the Association for Marine Exploration‘s expedition to Pohnpei, Ant Atoll, and Pakin Atoll. As Dr. Rowley posted on the site, “After our remarkably successful 2014 research expedition to Pohnpei and Ant Atoll, it was clear that we simply had to return…” MORE is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.