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The forbidden love between Cephalopholis igarashiensis and Plesionika flavicauda


Plesionika flavicauda, Coral Sea. An aquarium specimen at Cairns Marine. Photo credit: Lemon TYK.

 The genus Plesionika strikes a stunning chord of paradoxical dichotomy in the world of invertebrates. For one, this genus comprises well over a hundred species, widely distributed throughout the Pacific Ocean – from the reefs of the Indo-Pacific, to far east in the French Polynesia. Yet, it remains as one of the most poorly studied and documented genus of shrimps, with undoubtedly many more species awaiting discovery, and many more existing species awaiting rediscovery. These delicate, elegant crustaceans with spindly legs and wispy antennae are often ornately patterned, frequenting ledges and caves in deep waters. There, they occur in groups ranging anywhere from a dozen individuals, to seemingly endless hordes. More often than not, these marauding plagues travel in an almost fluid like manner, indiscernible in the murky darkness, sans the filamentous conglomeration of antennae and moving legs.  MORE

Rare Rhinopias species: Part 2

From Midway Island. Credit: Keoki Stender

From Midway Island. Credit: Keoki Stender

 R. xenops is found from the Hawaiian Archipelago, north to Midway Island, though it may also occur at nearby atolls like Wake Island and Johnston Atoll. This is the only species in the genus which occurs in Hawaii; compare that to Japan, where no less than five distinct species abound. This Hawaiian species shares with argoliba and cea a higher pectoral fin ray count. It occurs more shallowly (~25m) in the cooler waters of the Northeastern Hawaiian Islands and deeper in the larger islands (<60m) of Hawaii. MORE

Deep Sea Giant Hermit Crab, Dardanus insignis

Hey gang, here’s one of the largest deep-sea hermit crabs (about the size of a grapefruit) I have seen to date, named Dardanus insignis, the “southern form”. The crab was living in a very light-weight, fragile shell that had a big hole in the top; you can see it just over his eyes. And that thing is on his shell that looks like a sideways volcano is a live anemone! How cool is that?? If disturbed, the anemone closes up and looks like a big fleshy lump, but it opens back up pretty quickly. In addition to the anemone, the crab also had live tunicates stuck to his shell and heaven only knows what else, truly one of the coolest crabs I have seen MORE

Treating a Sick Marine Fish? First Do No Harm!

This fish is mildly emaciated, which could be a symptom of internal parasites if it were feeding normallyWhen a fish in our care gets sick, it’s a perfectly understandable impulse to want to throw every cure we can lay our hands on at the problem. But sometimes rushing ahead with a medication or other treatment can do more harm than good. In the following excerpt from his book The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes, author Jay Hemdal explains why the Latin phrase “Primum non nocere” (“First, do no harm”) is so significant when it comes to administering treatments to sick fish.When the cure is worse than the disease With some fish diseases, a proposed cure may actually be more damaging than the illness itself. In human medicine, this is called the iatrogenic effect, where the proposed cure causes its own serious problems. To avoid this, aquarists must always be aware of the Latin phrase “Primum non nocere,” or “First, do no harm.” Problems in developing an appropriate disease treatment can range from treating an aquarium with a medication or dosage that ends up being lethal to the fish to procrastinating due to indecision, again with fish loss as a result. In between these two extremes are using products that simply do not work as advertised, treating for the wrong disease, or trying too many different treatments. Double check the dosage and stock up Always double check your dosage calculations before adding any medication to an aquarium. Some medications can be toxic to sensitive species, notably ionic copper and chloroquine MORE

The Georgia Aquarium Will Not Appeal Beluga Decision

belugaThe Georgia Aquarium wont be adding Russian Beluga Whales to its collection. In September, a Judge ruled that the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) properly applied the Marine Mammal Protection Act when it denied the Georgia Aquarium’s permit to import 18 Beluga whales from Russia. The Aquarium had taken the NOAA’s denial to be reviewed in Federal Court, where the denial was affirmed by Judge Totenberg in September. In the initial denial, the NOAA stated that the Georgia Aquarium’s application failed to meet some of the necessary criteria pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Since the Judge confirmed the decision in September, an appeal would be the Georgia Aquariums only recourse from the NOAA decision. However, the Georgia Aquarium has stated it will not be seeking appeal. MORE

Rare Rhinopias species: Part 1

R. cf xenops in Japan. Credit: atopapa

R. cf xenops in Japan. Credit: atopapa

 Some of the most colorful and charismatic fishes encountered in aquariums can be found in the scorpionfish genus Rhinopias. These well-camouflaged ambush predators seem to go through life with a carefree outlook and an awkward, lumbering gait. These are not your typical “reef fish”, as they generally occur in weedy or silty sites far removed from the fields of Acropora.

Tretocidaris bartletti (A. Agassiz), Deep Sea Urchins

Hi friends, I have a large,rare sea urchin called a Tretocidaris bartletti (A. Agassiz) for you all today that was found this year by the Smithsonian scientists on the little island of Klein Curacao. This urchin was crazy colorful and huge; it was so big that it didn’t fit into a big white utility bucket – I ended up carrying it by hand back down to the reef where I took these photos of it walking around in the sand. These urchins range from North Carolina through the Caribbean, and live in depths of 140-625 meters (that’s 459-2050 feet) – that’s quite a range!  MORE

P. cylindrica Found to Self-Regulate PH in Calcifying Fluids

Researchers from the University of Western Australia (Coral CoE) and the University of Queensland have found that coral colonies of Parapersis cylindrica can self-regulate the PH of their own internal calcifying fluids to combat the increase in thermal stress caused by global warming. “This is most likely only typical to corals from reefs such as Heron Island lagoon where temperature and pH fluctuations vary greatly on daily to seasonal basis. The next step in this research is to explore if P. cylindrica colonies from more stable environments also have the ability to adapt and if they too can ‘hold up’ to increased acidity,” says Georgiou. says lead author, Lucy Georgiou. 151006111632_1_900x600 These findings create a whole new approach to understanding the relation of calcifying coral to the far reaching effects of ocean acidification. Pictured here you’ll see how researchers implemented an innovative technology dubbed FOCE (Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment) that allowed them to study P. cylindrica colonies in their natural environment, and because the Heron Island lagoon undergoes dramatic daily and seasonal fluctuations in the acidity of its waters, it was  a perfect place to implement their study. “Our research shows that some corals living in dynamic reef systems (P. cylindrica) have the ability to maintain a nearly constant pH within their calcifying fluid, regardless of the pH of the surrounding environment. This enables them to continue to form their calcium carbonate skeleton even under relatively low pH conditions.” The team plans to expand on their findings and “explore what impact rising sea temperature has on the corals ability to maintain its internal pH,” concludes Georgiou. Read the entire paper here! 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.