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Blast Of Color

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Some corals, like the Acropora desalwii above, really add a blast of color to a reef aquarium.  This image was taken from the top of the coral, and shows the parts of the specimen that are exposed to the brightest light.  The contrasting colors and striking pigments are most visible from this angle, and the lower branches and the shaded areas are typically less colorful.   Its common name is Pearlberry because of its pearlescent and berry colored pigments, and it was grown from a seed fragment over several years.  This is one of the most colorful staghorn corals found in the hobby and can grow rapidly in captivity.  When ORA aqua farms first released it (several years ago) it was common and readily available, but high demand for this specimen has made it harder to find, though many smaller propagator and micro growers have seed fragments available. This coral seems to prefer bright light and has the brightest pigments in a lower nutrient aquarium; high phosphate tends to rob the beautiful colors from it but the Pearlberry is hardy and will grow in a wide range of aquarium bio types.  Keep Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium in range to help keep the colors at their best.  Adding a Pearlberry to the aquarium will certainly add an exciting blast of color!

Marine Fish Compatibility Concerns You Might Not Have Considered

Fish swimming overhead can make jawfish quite nervousWhen we think of compatibility problems between marine fish, what usually comes to mind is one specimen behaving outright aggressively toward another with the underlying motive of establishing territorial dominance or acquiring a meal. But sometimes incompatibility among fish has less to do with overt aggression or hungriness than, shall we say, differing “piscinalities.” Here are a few examples to illustrate my point: Is that a predator overhead? In some cases, pelagic fish can keep bottom-dwelling tankmates in a perpetual state of anxiety despite having no interest whatsoever in their doings. I’ve observed this in jawfish that share a tank with larger, open-swimming species that present no real threat to them, such as tangs and plankton-feeding triggers (e.g., Xanthichthys spp.). In this circumstance, a jawfish will tend to remain perpetually concealed in its burrow—with maybe just its eyes and mouth visible—rather than emerge and hover over it. And who can blame the jawfish? For burrowing species, danger usually comes from above, and they have to decided in a fraction of a second—based on the suspect’s body shape and movement—whether something passing overhead poses a threat or not MORE

SunnyX is Coming Back

reefs.comSunnyRimlessDo you remember seeing the name SunnyX around forums? Do you remember drooling over all of his gorgeous pictures? Do you remember reading about organic carbon dosing, T5 lighting and keeping systems simple from one of the reef aquarium masters of our time? I do. And I’m lucky enough to be local to this fantastic aquarium guru and have known him for a decade now. Recently SunnyX (Sonny Harajly) has been teasing us on Facebook with notions of starting a new aquarium, and has even launched a new website called Reef Site. I highly recommend perusing the site and gaining a little knowledge, if not just to refresh what you already know. A little bird told me that we may even be graced with future articles from  Sonny linked right here on For now, follow the break for some more amazing pictures from Sonny’s past aquariums. Credit for all photos goes to Sonny. MORE

The Reef Table: Ret Talbot and Rich Ross on Sustainability and Conservation

 WAIT! Don’t tune out – this will be interesting. Is it a glamorous topic? Not at all. I sat down (giddily) with one Ret Talbot and one Richard Ross to talk about sustainability, conservation and what it means to the hobby. We talked about just how sexy it is (spoiler alert: it’s not even the tiniest bit sexy). MORE

Your right to reef : NMFS and upcoming legislation

4592224358_0e7e5fba9aIn past posts, I’ve written about the effort of conservationists to put a stop to the collection and sale of marine organisms. I’ve also spoken at length about NOAA’s decision to add 20 different coral species (5 Caribbean, 15 Indo Pacific) to the list of threatened species. Well, the metal has met the meat, and on January 13th, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published an advanced notice of proposed rule making for regulation involving the 20 new threatened species. This means that NMFS will be deciding what regulations will be in place for the 20 species (many of which are common reef aquarium corals) and the legality of our right to own, purchase, sell or trade these organisms hangs in the balance. NMFS is looking for public comment, and before you run out sending off an email fueled by anger and fear, take a few moments to read below. MORE

R/C Plane Crashes on Reef Lending Awesome Footage

reefs.comRCplaneWhile I like to keep my writing directed towards things that will help readers be successful at reef keeping, this one is too good not to share. A man was flying his R/C plane over Osprey Bay in Cape Range National Park (Exmouth, Western Australia) and became disoriented in the glare of the sun. The plane ended up tumbling down from the sky and splashing onto a reef. The glider was instantly greeted by some fishes, and as it bobbed at the surface we catch glimpses of some fantastic animals including sea turtles, corals and even a shark. Eventually they recovered the now destroyed glider, but the GoPro was in perfect condition with some great footage that we can now all drool over. Hope you enjoy the video as much as I did! MORE

Historic Toledo Zoo Aquarium Reopens In March 2015 After Major Renovation

toledo zooOn March 27, 2015, the Toledo Zoo Aquarium will re-open it’s doors after two years and a $25 million dollar renovation. While the historic 1939 exterior remains the same, the interior is new and improved. The tank size has tripled and the aquarium now features 32 new exhibits. Notable additions include a 90,000 gallon saltwater tropical pacific reef display that is 35 ft wide in diameter and includes 6 viewing windows. MORE

Bellevue H.S. Marine Science Lab Expands

The first (of three) coral study and propagation systems before it was filled with saltwater during setup.Last year I introduced you to David Bowers and the incredible marine science classroom laboratory he runs at Bellevue High School in Ohio, USA. Over the last 20 years, David and his students have transformed the humble classroom from a single modest aquarium to one of the best self-funded high school marine biology programs in the country. The classroom laboratory at this rural northern Ohio school features a 412-gallon mixed reef, 420-gallon bamboo shark research study tank, 250-gallon seahorse breeding study tank, several smaller student research project systems, and three new (not so small) additions. The new system(s) The three aforementioned additions are 8’ x 2’ custom-built (by Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems) tanks that will be used for coral growth studies and propagation. These tanks (and tons of support equipment: sump, skimmer, heater, T-5 lights, return pump, circulation pumps, frag plugs, super glue, shipping bags/cups, and more) were generously donated by Rob McCoy of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Rob had been following the marine science club on Facebook and reached out with the thought that David and his students might be able to make use of this equipment. Currently, one of the systems is up and running with a few corals calling it home. David is now searching for branching Acropora or related SPS coral colonies, encrusting and plating corals, and LPS corals (particularly Fungia, Trachyphyllia, and Favidae) 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.