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Dolphin Trainer Goes Missing

 Jose Luis Barbero, a Spanish dolphin trainer with 35 years in the industry, who was due to go to work at the Georgia Aquarium,is now missing. Barbero worked on the resort island of Mallorca and was scheduled to become vice president of the Georgia Aquarium. However, there was recent public outcry against Barbero due to a video which were released in February that purportedly showed him as one of the trainers hitting and kicking dolphins at Marineland Mallorca. MORE

Why We Favor Fishless Cycling with Cured Live Rock

Cycling with live rock is an easy and reliable method to establish the biofilter in your saltwater aquariumIn years past, the most common method for establishing biofiltration in marine aquariums was to introduce some hardy, rugged fish to the system as an ammonia source and wait for the cycle to get established before adding more livestock. The usual go-to fishes for this purpose were damsels. While this cycling method does work, here at Saltwater Smarts, we favor so-called fishless techniques, such as cycling with cured live rock (my preferred approach—though there are others). When added to a new aquarium, cured live rock typically releases just enough ammonia to get the cycle started through the additional die-off of encrusting organisms. That modest die-off combined with proper tank conditions—excellent water movement and oxygenation—virtually ensures the porous rocks will soon support a good population of aerobic nitrifying bacteria, allowing gradual/incremental stocking to commence.But why is this method any better than adding a few hardy damsels? The cruelty factor There’s a good reason “hardy, rugged” fish were used to cycle tanks—more delicate, sensitive species were unlikely to endure the process. But just because damsels may (some don’t) be able to survive exposure to a succession of toxic chemicals doesn’t necessarily mean it’s humane to put them through it, especially when other means of cycling are available. The territorial dominance factor Though there are noteworthy exceptions (such as Chrysiptera parasema), damsels tend to be highly territorial and aggressive, so adding them to an aquarium first turns the appropriate order of introduction (from least aggressive to most aggressive) on its head MORE

Octopus At Seattle Aquarium Makes A Break For Freedom

 Our favorite Houdini of the ocean has just made another high profile daring escape at the Seattle Aquarium. And I think its fair to say that those visitors at the Seattle Aquarium that day were in for a shock. The aquariums Giant Pacific Octopus decided to take advantage of its open air tank, and see what the world outside had to offer outside those glass tank walls. In this video, you can see the octopus quickly making its way over the open air tank. MORE

Touch of Modern Offering PJ Reef Deluxe Kit Flash Sale

TOM Looking for just a sliver of reef in your life without the hassle of expensive equipment or maintenance? Touch of Modern, the uber-sleek hub of flash sales focusing on innovative and unique wares is offering the PJ Reef Deluxe Kit with a generous discount. The ultra-pico “tank”, which was successfully funded in July of 2013 with a Kickstarter campaign, boasts itself as a super low-maintenance, self contained marine environment.  MORE

Reef Savvy Swag is Finally Here

reefs.comRSshirtIt’s been quite some time now that I’ve been bugging Felix Bordon, owner of Reef Savvy, to offer some gear to the masses that rivals their aquariums. While most days I’m donning my own businesses apparel, it’s no secret that my closet consists of 90% aquarium nerd shirts with the other 10% being normal people clothing. While I don’t personally own a Reef Savvy aquarium, I recently installed my first one and have two more in the books already. With that said I also don’t own a Ferrari, but we can dream can’t we!? Without further ado, here’s the link to snag yourself your very own “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Tanksta” shirt, and more. MORE

How Not to Cut Costs When Starting a Reef System

In some aspects of reef aquariums, saving money on the cheaper options can be detrimental to your successRecognizing that the question of affordability is top of mind for many aspiring marine aquarium hobbyists, one of our earliest posts here at Saltwater Smarts dealt with ways to reduce the expenses associated with aquarium setup and ongoing operation. Notwithstanding those recommendations, it’s important to note that in some cases, taking the seemingly cheaper route in the reefkeeping hobby can be highly counterproductive. For example, purchasing the following essential equipment based on price alone—or avoiding the purchase altogether just to save money—could not only end up costing you much more in the long run but may also greatly limit your long-term reefkeeping success:Reef lighting I’m leading with this one because proper lighting is commonly the largest single expense hobbyists encounter when setting up a reef system. To those on a limited budget—and/or those who equate “aquarium lighting” with the inexpensive fluorescent hoods so popular on the freshwater side of the hobby—the price of a good reef lighting system can produce some serious “sticker shock.” But I strongly urge you to resist the allure of cheapo lighting systems that claim they will support photosynthetic invertebrates for a fraction of the cost. Not only do such systems typically fall far short of expectation with respect to the inverts they can sustain, but as you might expect, they also tend to be built with low-quality components and, thus, have a notoriously limited functional lifespan. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t look for the best possible deal on a quality lighting fixture or that you shouldn’t explore the more budget-friendly option of buying a gently used fixture from a reputable source. Just keep in mind that if reef lighting sounds too good—and costs too little—to be true, there’s a good chance it is. Protein skimmer While proper lighting serves as the essential energy source for a reef system, a good protein skimmer plays an indispensable role in maintaining the best possible water quality MORE

Get Your Official Left Shark Onesie Costume

katy-perry-left-shark-belovesie-fashion-lead Here’s to 2015’s most famous shark, the “left shark’. It is certainly seeing to it’s 15 minutes of fame appropriately. The Left Shark was all the news at this years super bowl. Katy Perry and her lawyers shut down any impostor’s earlier this year. They have now filled the need for an official, authorized Left Shark costume. If you saw the super bowl you know you want one. It’s now available for sale for a mere $129.99.. If that’s just a little too much shark for you, you can also get a Katy Perry left shark t-shirt for a mere $29.99. MORE

Study Shows Corals Consume Microplastics

Unfortunately, the solid plastic trash we often see in the ocean (bottles, bags, etc.) is only a portion of the plastic waste that has been deposited there. A considerable amount of waste may be present in the form of microplastic. Microplastics are basically miniscule bits of plastic that can be suspended in the water column. Though the environmental effects of microplastic pollution are not yet well understood, the consensus among marine biologists is that they pose a global threat to marine ecosystems. Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University set out to see if corals (which are non-selective filter feeders) ingested microplastics. Corals from a clean area were placed in a contaminated area. After two nights, they were analyzed for the concentrations of plastics. Results indicated that the corals consumed plastic at a rate only a little lower than that of their natural planktonic food. Plastic materials were found engulfed in digestive tissue, suggesting that it may hinder a coral’s ability to digest its food. The team is now investigating what 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.