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Strange And Cool Tanks

eerie 2eerie 3 Here is just another example of fish tanks serving as the base for some really cool art. Artist Mariele Neudecker has a collection of ‘tank works’ which are pretty awesome. These handcrafted sculptures are placed inside water filled tanks which include chemicals to create an atmospheric effect.  MORE

Norwalk Aquarium’s $2.7 Million Research Vessel Set To Sail This December

 Since this is in my neck of the woods, I’ll be sure to check this out as soon as it’s ready to depart its dock. The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT recently received a $2.7 million investment which will go towards a 63-foot aluminum catamaran, replacing their older vessel and doubling their capacity for tours. Captain Barry Natale said the boat also boasts improved visibility, maneuverability, and state-of-the-art navigation. Dubbed the “Spirit of the Sound“, this revolutionary, environmentally-friendly vessel will be set to take visitors to explore the wildlife of the Long Island Sound mid-December, starting with Seal Spotting Cruises. Spirit of the Sound, built in Mamaroneck, NY,  is the only research vessel in the world with hybrid-electric propulsion, allowing the catamaran to run silently on electric power 2.5 hour cruises. “It’s the first hybrid research vessel built in the world. It’s pretty special to have it here in Norwalk Harbor,” said president of Alternative Marine Technologies and project manager, Robert Kunkel. The vessel also features a net to bring wildlife aboard, a touch tank and a remotely-opererated vehicular camera that passengers can control to observe what lies beneath the water’s surface, allowing all aboard a variety of ways to interact with the wildlife. Onboard microscopes feeding onto a television enable you to get up close and personal with microorganisms like plankton. Spirit will be utilized for public cruises, elementary school educational visits and expanding their educational programs for middle school and high school students. The aquarium is also open to partnering with outside organizations interested in utilizing the boat for research on the sound. Again, this is so local to me I’d be completely mad not to go! Expect a followup and review come January. dsc03387sharktank

Looking For An Exciting Volunteer Opportunity? Head Out To The Caribbean

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACaribbean Reef Buddy, a non-profit organization based on the island of Carriacou in the West Indies, has a slew of ongoing projects you can offer a helping hand to. Opportunities include reef monitoring, invasive-species (cough, lion fish, cough) monitoring & culling, and community outreach programs to raise awareness for conservation. Open to anyone over the age of eighteen, the programs are ideal opportunities to those who have a few weeks to spare, a passion for the ocean and marine species, a desire to travel, a positive attitude and the intention of helping our coral reefs. Check, check, check, check, and check. Looks like I’ll be blogging from the Caribbean soon, where do I sign up? What can you expect? Well you can register via their volunteer registration page on their website. Simply express your interest, any diving experience you have, and your reasoning behind wanting to participate. As for what to expect? The following: 

  • PADI dive training, including research and data collection dives once qualified.
  • Learn about the marine biology and ecology of our coral reefs and marine ecosystems.
  • Marine species and coral identification. Receive training in recognising, monitoring and recording important ecological and commercially exploited species.
  • Gain invaluable experience of working as part of a small, professional and highly dedicated marine conservation team.
  • Dependent on time and the progress of your dive training, you may also have the opportunity to assist our staff in other ongoing research, monitoring and conservation projects.
  • Finally, experience the magical island of Carriacou and immerse yourself in the local culture, their passion and infectious relaxed and happy nature.

Includes half board accommodation, PADI training and certification fees (exc. PADI Divemaster fees), all equipment use, and free boat dives.

Hotel accommodations are provided, but you’re on your own for other travel expenses such as flights and visas. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I hope those of you in the position to do so will take part in the worthy cause. Hell, maybe I’ll even bump into you there!

Reefs In Architecture: Organic Design Proposal For Crisis Stricken Haiti

Arch2O-CORAL-REEF-06-VIEW-FROM-THE-FOREST2-750x400Vincent Callebaut has designed and proposed a 1,000-unit plug-in matrix for “The Pearl of the West Indies”, inspired but the organic form of coral. The project, appropriately, if not bluntly named “the Coral Reef, is built upon seismic piers off the coast of the mainland. Destined to be composed of modular units, stacked on one another not unlike Legos, each plot would allow for families to have their own land, grow their own food and enable the minimization of energy usage, resulting in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly community. In 2010, a hurricane registering a 7.0 on the Richter Scale left the country devastated and in desperate need of rehabilitation. The matrix would serve as a rehoming location for refugees. MORE

Sydney’s Octopi Are Packing Their Bags, “To Tasmanian Waters!”

5807512-3x2-340x227In light of Tasmanian warming heating up, Sydney’s eight-armed sea-folk are packing up, heading south, and reproducing with a greater population turnover and greater growth rate. Talk about things heating up down there. The common Sydney Octopus (Octopus tetricus usually keeps residence  between southern Queensland and southern New South Wales. Jorge Ramos, a PhD candidate from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), has been studying hundreds of the little guys near the east coast of Flinders Island in the Bass Cape of Tunisia.  MORE

Should We Ban The Sale Of Nautilus Shells?

nautilus-shellNautilus shells are beautiful, no doubt about it. These mollusks are also fairly rare. They are only found in the deep sea of the Indo-Pacific. Their gorgeous shells are also in demand. More than 100,000 shells (according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)) are imported into the U.S. each year, to be sold in stores or online. Additionally, the iridescent nacre on the inside of the shell is desired for its decorative use and for use as pearl buttons. A new study by Peter Ward, Professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia, suggests this level of trade is not sustainable. Ward states: “There is no sustainable fishery for nautilus possible anywhere. ” Ward’s study suggest that Nautilus are already almost gone due to over-fishing in places like the Philippines. There is very little restrictions or regulations on Nautilus collection. Ward, along with other conservationists have tried to make the Nautilus protected. The FWS has claimed there was not enough statistical data to support the proposition that the Nautilus needed protective status. Hopefully the more data and awareness there is, the better chance of getting protection for these amazing mollusks. MORE 

Mr. Saltwater Tank’s Coverage of MACNA 2014 Part 3

In this episode of my MACNA 2014 coverage, I talk to EcoTech Marine, Real Reef Rock and Dr. Tim’s Aquatics.  MORE: Mr. Saltwater Tank’s Coverage of MACNA 2014 Part 3

Salvaging the Wreckage: A future for our industry

image0011We all want healthy fish, and we don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage to get them. Often, I talk with aquarists who are wondering, what is the deal? Sometimes, it seems like pulling teeth, to get parasite free, healthy marine fish, at a fair cost. Most consumers don’t understand the complex details of the marine fish trade. Right now, we are hearing a lot about NOAA, legislation, and even banter that links the reef aquarium industry to reef degradation. What does it mean for our hobby? Will the price of marine livestock rise, making it unaffordable to many aquarists? Will it become illegal to buy or keep certain coral or fish species? Is the combined force of anti-aquarium conservation movements, pending NOAA restrictions, and the belief that reef aquariums are destroying the environment, the end of home reef aquariums? Many of these topics have been debated since before the early 1990s, as marine aquarium technology became better, and more and more people were keeping reef tanks. Suddenly, what was once a tiny industry, was becoming something much larger. Companies that made lighting for horticulture were suddenly producing reef aquarium lights, and by 2000 the reef aquarium world was buzzing, and it’s continued to grow ever since. Answers to some of the questions above begin in understanding where many of our aquarium fish come 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.