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Opiate for the masses : Animal Planet’s Tanked

136698944717214043300401197_Tanked_Wind_Creek_Casino_and_Hotel_RevealSensationalism 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

Giant Acropora

big green
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.

5 Common Causes of Marine Aquarium Ammonia Spikes

Sometimes adding specimens to an already heavily-stocked aquarium will be too much for existing biological filtrationYou come home from a long, vexing day at work only to notice that the fish in your marine aquarium are all gasping at the surface of the water or cowering in a corner of the tank and behaving lethargically. Panicked, you promptly test your water parameters and discover that ammonia is present. The tank has long been cycled, so no ammonia should be detectable. What gives? When an ammonia spike occurs in an already-cycled system, one of the following circumstances is usually the underlying cause: #1: Overstocking Adding “just one more” specimen to an aquarium that’s already close to being maxed out with respect to stocking capacity can easily lead to a situation in which more dissolved waste is produced than the biological filter can accommodate. It’s always better to stock lightly—even if that means the tank looks more sparse than you might prefer (the usual state of my aquariums)—than to push your luck with the bioload. #2: Overfeeding Excessive feeding of fish or invertebrates, which often results in uneaten food left decomposing in the system, is another surefire way to overwhelm an established system’s biofilter and cause ammonia to spike. More: 5 Common Causes of Marine Aquarium Ammonia Spikes

Pod of Sperm Whales Found Beached

A mystery is unfolding on the shores of Ardrossan, Australia where a pod of seven Sperm Whales was found beached this Monday. Something of a rare occurrence, the beaching of whales rarely has any explanation and this case is no different. Dr. Deborah Kelly, an animal welfare managing the case stated “I haven’t seen a marine event like this in South Australia since the mass stranding of 58 dolphins at Nepean Bay in the 1990s.” The Department of Environment is considering options for removal of the carcasses adding “It’s a very big logistical task.” Read more and check out the video hereSeven-dead-whales

The vital step is maintaining healthy fish: feeding

26obfishspan-articleLargeI have a lot of faith in marine aquarists as a whole. If I didn’t, I would have stepped out of the hobby the first time I saw a wild coral reef. Many of us have experienced these beautiful undersea cities firsthand, and have made a commitment to care for our captive charges with appreciation and respect. The first step to achieving the goal of a sustainable aquarium is keeping your livestock healthy, so that you aren’t constantly replacing dead fish. In the previous two installments of this little series, I introduced some ideas about getting healthy livestock, acclimation and quarantine. Also, I discussed a reverse acclimation process that minimizes the time a fish is stuck within a shipping bag, as a drip line fills it with water.  MORE

‘You Are What You Eat’ So True For Filefish

For the first time scientists have discovered a fish that can chemically camouflage itself through its diet. The new research, published in the journal Proceeding of the Royal Society B, shows that the Orange-spotted Filefish Oxymonacanthus longirostris camouflages itself by not only looking, but also smelling like its food source. Feeding exclusively on SPS coral polyps, the Filefish ingest chemicals from the corals and, since the coral reefs where the Filefish live are also home to predatory species, the researchers speculated that the filefish might also be using a form of chemical camouflage. To test their theory, study leader Rohan Brooker and colleagues captured filefish near Lizard Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef. The team then placed the fish in large aquariums and divided them into two groups. For four weeks, the first group was provided an exclusive diet of Acropora spathulata polyps, and the second only Pocillopora damicornis (which is not part of the filefish’s normal diet). More: ‘You Are What You Eat’ So True For Filefish

Underwater Snowstorm: Incredible Coral Spawning Footage From James Fatherree

 Here in New York on December 8th it snowed a just a bit, little fluffy white flakes flickering about the sky under the street lamps, creating a beautiful scene with the holidays ever so quickly approaching. Meanwhile, in the 125 gallon reef aquarium of James Fatherree, something much more magical is happening as his corals spawn for the first time, creating their own snowy display as they release eggs and sperm into the water.  MORE

Coral Therapy @ Design Miami 2014

For Design Miami/ 2014, we were honored to be asked to create a conceptual room in which we debuted ‘Coral Therapy’, a 360-degree virtual reality film experienced via the Oculus Rift. When viewing ‘Coral Therapy’, the viewer is enveloped by fluorescent corals and sea anemones; much like being inside a virtual planetarium theater. ‘Coral Therapy’ is designed to convey a virtual out-of-body experience in which the viewer is transported to a tranquil tropical reef in outer-space. An original ambient score enhances the cosmic coral perspective while accentuating the peaceful and relaxing experience. ‘Coral Therapy’ in action via Oculus Rift VR The Oculus Rift is not yet commercially available to consumers, so for Design Miami/ we utilized a developer’s kit prototype. When the commercial version is released in 2015, ‘Coral Therapy’ will be available to be purchased and experienced in high-definition resolution. A side view of the Curio Our Curio was developed in collaboration with Flying Pyramids, a Miami-based photographer and graphic designer. The walls featured innovative magnetic wallpaper installed by Visual Magnetics. The back wallpaper displayed a single macro photograph of the tentacles of a  More: ‘Coral Therapy’ @ Design Miami/ 2014 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.