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How Much Light

hawkins 1024x827 How Much Light
Determining the sweet spot for certain coral specimens can be challenging.  Often it is a trial and error situation.  Many factors tend to make this anything but a constant.  The type of lighting, parameters, water chemistry, and water clarity are just a few that come to mind.  This Acropora is apparently happy where it resides but this was not always true.  I tend to attach new corals to baseball size rocks so that I can reposition it if I see fit.  It is much less stressful on the coral if I can move it without touching it or gluing and removing the specimen.  This coral originally was positioned lower in the aquarium as I thought it would do best under lower lighting.  I closely observed it over the first few months and saw some recession at the base.  The pigments began to darken with little growth occurring also.  I moved it up closer to the surface where it received stronger illumination and again, observed closely for a few weeks.  I noticed some new growth at the base and the colors began to show improvement.  I believed at this point it could still use some stronger light and moved it up again.  Within a few weeks I noticed some strong growth and even a more vibrant color developing.  I call this process reading the coral.  The clues that tell me what a specific coral may desire vary but close observation on a daily basis is important.  Experience will begin to help formulate the answer if you are paying close attention to the animal.  When I am asked how much light a specific coral needs, I answer, ask the coral.

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Blue Light Photos, Great Star Coral Polyps

da07Glowing Polyps Blue Light Photos, Great Star Coral PolypsI have been so busy this week with Holiday parties, work and cycling that my poor daily blog is just not getting done! I have a crazy beautiful colony of Great Star Coral, Montastraea cavernosa that we photographed the other night with our alien looking blue-lights. Shooting “OPEN POLYPS” like you see above has turned out to be a real challenge! Why you ask, go ahead ask why!! MORE

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ORA Fish and Frags Roundup from 2014

37a9ORA Livestock 2014 ORA Fish and Frags Roundup from 2014
A continuing theme in the aquarium hobby over the years has been that of captive bred fish and aquacultured corals, and as each year passes, the list of conquered species just grows and grows. The efforts are obviously from the cumulative efforts of several individuals and organizations, though companies like ORA are at the forefront of the awesome and unexpected breakthroughs. Last year, we celebrated ORA’s long list of captive bred fish and corals, and just as they continue to crank out new livestock this year, we will continue to cover and applaud their efforts. MORE: ORA Fish and Frags Roundup from 2014

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Mr. Saltwater Tank Friday AM Quick Tip: Easy Frozen Food Thawing Without The Stink

I love frozen fish food yet I hate it at the same time. I recently stumbled upon a great way to thaw your food without the stink and spilled water.  MORE: Mr. Saltwater Tank Friday AM Quick Tip: Easy Frozen Food Thawing Without The Stink

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Review: EcoTech RMS (Radion Mounting System)

IMG 1891web 300x199 Review: EcoTech RMS (Radion Mounting System) Having already taken a look at EcoTechs gorgeous Radion XR15w Pro LED light in our recent unboxing review, we now turn our attention to their much-anticipated RMS (Radion Mounting System) which ties-in beautifully with the Radion Pro range and allows these lights to be elegantly suspended above even the most tricky of systems. As ever, the kit (XR15 version in our case) comes effectively packaged and all the parts are present and correct on initial inspection. After a quick skim of the simple instructions it obvious that we aren’t going to need a degree in rocket science to assemble this piece of kit, which is great. We are immediately and pleasantly surprised that some of the components here are metal, indeed the whole thing feels reassuringly heavy-duty compared to other brackets we’ve handled in the past. Somehow, the RMS still manages to look sleek and minimal though and it’s also nice to have thoughtful design features like integral cord management included. Overall the bracket also allows for a good deal of flexibility with the light able to slide back and to, or to be rotated on the X bracket (although this is primarily of use with the XR30) More: Review: EcoTech RMS (Radion Mounting System)

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Caribbean Gorgonians Lend Insight into Coral Bleaching

Along with an international team, researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science simulated the impacts of elevated CO2 levels (and associated decrease in PH aka ocean acidification) on the calcification rates of Eunica fusca, a species of soft coral known as gorgonians. 141208145751 large Caribbean Gorgonians Lend Insight into Coral Bleaching
Ranging through the Caribbean from the Gulf of Mexico, to the Bahamas, frags of Eunica fusca were collected and subjected to mid and high levels of CO2 concentration allowing researchers to “suggest that gorgonian coral may be more resilient than other reef-dwelling species to the ocean acidification changes that are expected to occur in the oceans as a result of climate change,” said Chris Langdon, UM Rosenstiel Professor and Director of the Coral Reefs and Climate Change Laboratory. “These findings will allow us to better predict the future composition of coral reef communities under the current “business-as-usual scenario” added Professor Langdon. Read more here!

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Opiate for the masses : Animal Planet’s Tanked

136698944717214043300401197 Tanked Wind Creek Casino and Hotel Reveal 300x168 Opiate for the masses : Animal Planets TankedSensationalism in nature television gets talked about quite a bit these days. Whether it’s an anaconda eating a person, or a bunch of backwoods hillbillies grabbing catfish with their hands and chasing around distressed animals, it’s becoming a problem. MTV, (which used to be about music) even jumped on the bandwagon for a while, with their show Wildboyz, which was dedicated to harassing animals all over the world. Animal Planet was called on the carpet recently, due to a variety of animal abuses on the set of their show, Call of the Wildman. You don’t have to look far to find disturbing content in nature programming these days, and it all goes without mentioning the misinformation filled, over-hyped cotton candy television that is Shark Week. I’ve spent quite a bit of time underwater with sharks, and the past several seasons of Shark Week have been so bad, I can’t even watch.  MORE

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Giant Acropora

big green 1024x680 Giant Acropora
Many dream of having a forest of large Acropora colonies thriving in there own captive reef aquarium.  This colony is almost two feet across.  It is a very hardy specimen that was grown from a small fragment.  The rapid growth rate of this specimen can send branches up and out of the water in time.  It typically has a staghorn formation with thick branching at the base.  The branches that grow to the surface will eventually develop a blunt dead zone if not trimmed as they approach the surface.  Although the color of this coral is a more common green it still has much appeal.  The formation and fast growth rate are its best qualities.  This coral has been called a green slimmer as a common name and is well known for the thick slime it produces.  Strong lighting and large amounts of random flow are essential as the colony matures to continue growing.  If flow is reduced or too much shading occurs the colony can begin to show necrosis.  Understanding these few things and providing a stable environment with good water quality can make this dream come true.  With some dedication and a little luck anyone can own a giant Acropora of their own.

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