- Saltwater Aquarium Blog - Marine Aquarium Blog | Reefs

Top Stories
Latest Posts

Pohnpei Deep Dive

Pohnpei reef - reefs

Pohnpei reef, credit Sonia Rowley

 Check out this new video from Brian Greene – a glimpse into what an extremely deep diving trip looks like. You’ll notice that the divers’ voices sound funny; that’s because they are breathing a mixture of oxygen and helium. The main reason for adding helium to the breathing mix is to reduce the proportions of nitrogen and oxygen below those of air, to allow the gas mix to be breathed safely on deep dives. A lower proportion of nitrogen is required to reduce nitrogen narcosis and other physiological effects of the gas at depth. And the crunching sound isn’t the scientists stepping on the reef – it’s actually the  desiccant packs in the camera housing.  Brian Greene, Dr. Richard Pyle and Dr. Sonia Rowley are on this dive, part of the Association for Marine Exploration‘s expedition to Pohnpei, Ant Atoll, and Pakin Atoll. As Dr. Rowley posted on the site, “After our remarkably successful 2014 research expedition to Pohnpei and Ant Atoll, it was clear that we simply had to return…” MORE

5 Reasons New Aquarium Hobbyists “Crash and Burn”

A misguided and hasty approach often leads to a failed aquarium and exit from the hobby. It’s a tale as old as the hobby itself: A novice marine aquarist sets up his or her first system, runs headlong into every conceivable obstacle and pitfall, responds with a series of misguided decisions, loses a whole tank’s worth of fish and corals, and finally chucks the entire hobby in frustration and despair, all the while cursing Neptune and that silly enchanted trident of his. Just as this scenario is all too common (with the possible exception of the Neptune part), so too are the reasons many novice marine aquarists fail and drop out of the hobby. A post-mortem analysis of the average hobby failure would likely reveal one or more of the following five underlying elements: 1. Failure to do research I’m including this point first because it’s the most significant contributor to hobby dropout and encompasses many of the major oversights that newcomers make. MORE

David Hasselhoff’s New Baywatch Themed Aquarium

hasselhoff-800 Love them or hate them, the folks from animal planet’s Tanked (acrylic tank manufacturing) continue to make headlines and some very interesting aquariums. One of the latest projects, which was featured on Friday’s season premiere episode, focused on designing a tank for Baywatch’s own David Hasselhoff. MORE

LIVE SALE – Dr. Mac & Pacific East Aquaculture – THIS SATURDAY

Dr. Mac's Fall Festival
This Saturday, at 6PM EST, Dr. Mac will open up his famous farm and join us in an online chat and live sale event.  The Live Sale System allows people from all over the world to participate in a timed event where the fine folks at Pacific East Aquaculture will offer some incredible deals and lots of fun for 6 hours on our website.  Unlike all other live sales, this one is actually LIVE.  You don’t need to refresh the page at all.  The chatroom is live and the products drop every few minutes.  There is a counter at the top to indicate when the next item goes on sale, so you can hang out and talk with other buyers until the right moment.  When products show up, you have to be FAST in order to get things, but don’t worry there will be plenty of items for everyone.  This live sale is a fun and fast paced event, but you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home and even view it from a mobile device.  All sales are for mail order shipment the following week and you buy a shipping pack according to what day you want to receive your goodies.  So don’t forget to join us this Saturday the 26th and good luck! Find the latest live events at

Next Weekend, There’s More to Omaha than just Corn and Tornadoes

12020146_997645473591861_20586593_oNext Saturday, September 26th, marks the fourth anniversary of the much-loved aquarium store, Nebraska Aquatic Supply, which means that quite the party is in the works for patrons and devoted reefers alike! If you think that this is like any other anniversary sale, with a select few price cuts and coupons, you’re grossly mistaken. Owner and wrasse-hoarder Jim Gryczanowski has been organizing these anniversary fests since he opened his store in 2010, and each year is packed with raffles, VIP speakers, some really showstopping befinned guests, and a guaranteed good time.  MORE

Reef Threads Podcast #245


How much do you know about the salt in your reef tank?


It’s salty guest week! Wait, that didn’t come out right. Let’s try again… Craig Bingman is our returning guest this week and our subject is salt. If you have questions about the salt you’re using, the salt you’d like to use, or how you’re handling your salt, listen to this information-packed hour about our favorite powder. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

The Identification and Evolution of Closed Brain Corals: Part 3

Astrea curta - reefs

Astrea curta, note the circular, extracalicularly-budded polyps. Credit: Blue World Aquariums

 Merulinidae: Astrea Four extant species (and two extinct) species make up this newly recognized genus. The species are mostly former Montastraea (plus one Plesiastrea) that are identifiable by their symmetrically-round polyps and intracalicular growth. It should come as no surprise that they are similar to the Indo-Pacific “Montastraea” (now placed in Favites) but differ in having smaller polyps (~5mm vs ~10mm) that are mostly round (vs irregularly oval). A. rotulosa is known only from the holotype specimen (which lacks a collection locality), and it is nearly identical to the West Indian Ocean endemic A. devantieri. Dr. Danwei Huang (pers. comm.) has intimated that they are quite likely synonymous, but it may be a while before this is sorted out. Astrea curta and annuligera are far more common and well-documented species. In particular, curta is reported as being one of the more common merulinids on reefs, and it does occasionally find itself collected for aquariums, often in the traditional colors of the “X-mas favia”. These two species of Astrea are easy to tell apart, as annuligera has highly exsert septa. MORE


Palythoa grandis

 Many of us are inspired to keep marine life for its exotic beauty or interesting behavior. But if we’re being perfectly honest, we have to admit there’s also something intriguing about keeping—and displaying to our friends and family—marine organisms that have dangerous or potentially deadly defense mechanisms, such as venomous spines, potent toxins, or razor-sharp teeth.  For those hobbyists who like to flirt with danger, the marine aquarium trade certainly offers its share of prickly and poisonous characters—from venomous fishes to deadly cephalopods to noxious sessile invertebrates. There are even organisms we can buy that offer stunning beauty and potency in equal measure. Among these best-of-both-worlds critters are many of the zoanthids we’re so fond of keeping in our reef systems. These polyps (most of the ones we keep being from the Zoanthus and Palythoa genera) have much to recommend them, being very hardy and often stunningly beautiful. But some of them also contain a potent neurotoxin, called palytoxin, in their tissues and mucus that can make people very sick or even cause death if they’re not handled properly. 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.