Tag Archives: Aquarium

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The Pros and Cons of Using a Marine Aquarium Cover Glass

To put a lid on it or not to put a lid on it, that is the question!Okay, with profuse apologies to the Melancholy Dane, the point I’d like to mull over in today’s post is whether it’s a good idea to use cover glasses on marine aquariums—you know, those oft-hinged glass or acrylic lids that are available in various dimensions to fit tightly atop aquariums of different sizes. As with so many aspects of the marine aquarium hobby, there’s no all-encompassing right or wrong answer to this question. Suffice it to say that cover glasses may be appropriate in some circumstances but totally inappropriate in others. To determine what’s best for your system, consider these cover glass pros and cons: Pros: Having a cover glass in place reduces evaporation, which in turn can reduce the size and frequency of freshwater top-offs and helps lower the humidity in the room housing the aquarium. Fish prone to jumping or slithering out of a tank are kept in the aquarium where they belong. Some fish, such as eels, and even certain invertebrates, such as octopuses, are such good escape artists that a tight-fitting lid is a must when keeping them. However, for many fish species, there are alternatives to glass/acrylic lids that may do the same job, e.g., covers made of some type of mesh or screening material or plastic egg crate. The light fixture is better protected from splashes and corrosive salt spray.

Friday Rewind

…and because it’s my birthday I’ll indulge myself and you all with a Friday afternoon look back at one of my favorite coral and music videos. More:

Xenia Refugium. What’s in/by your sump?

A twist on the refugium concept. The Xenia refugium.

A twist on the refugium concept. The Xenia refugium.

 Inspired by Jake Adams and Julian Sprung’s friendly debate on Refugiums last MACNA, I decided to remove algae from my Refugium and replace it with Xenia. I wanted to remove any nuisance algae as well as Chaetomorpha and Caulerpa, so I added urchins, snails, and tangs. I also decided to try 24-hour lighting for the benefit of a more stable pH. I wasn’t sure how the Xenia would respond, and I was ready to switch to a reverse day/night cycle if needed.… More:

Reef Threads Podcast #223


Some anemone tentacles up close.

It’s time once again to chat with the Reef Evangelist and her minion. This week’s topics include NERAC, the Toledo Aquarium, World Aquarium, Pitcairn reef preserve, and aquarium complacency. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Sponsor: Rod’s Food
Rod’s Food website

Two Aquariums
Renovated Toledo Aquarium Ready For Grand Opening, Francis Yupanco, Reefs.com

World Aquarium Cited For Dirty Facility and Unfed, Francis Yupanco, Reefs.com

Giant reef preserve
World’s Largest Single Marine Reserve Created in Pacific, Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic

Are you complacent?
Beware Marine Aquarium Complacency!, Jeff Kurtz, Saltwater Smarts

Toledo Zoo Aquarium Renovation—Update 14: Fish Start to Arrive, Grand Reopening Set for March 27

Salties who have been following our updates on the Toledo Zoo Aquarium renovation these last few years will be excited to hear that the ambitious, $25.5 million project will soon be coming to fruition. Read on for the very latest from our friends at the Toledo Zoo.An epaulette shark gets accustomed to its new digs in the touch tank The Zoo’s innovative new Aquarium experience is slated to open on March 27 with incredible aquatic experiences like nothing else in the region. The Aquarium closed in October, 2012, for major renovations. Now that renovation of this historic Works Progress Administration (WPA)-era structure is complete, animals are starting to arrive, with key arrivals in the touch tanks and the Pacific Coral Reef exhibit. Epaulette sharks and southern stingrays are adjusting to the new quarters of their spacious touch tank, a dynamic encounter that brings visitors close to these amazing animals. Nearby, the first tropical reef fish have been introduced to the Pacific Coral Reef exhibit, a huge 90,000-gallon exhibit that will feature sleek sharks and Zoo divers who interact directly with visitors. This is the largest exhibit in the new Aquarium. Other animals will continue to arrive at the Aquarium and “graduate” to new exhibits after completing their quarantine requirements.

Reef Threads Plus #1


We are very pleased to present our first podcast in a new monthly series we’re calling Reef Threads Plus. In these podcasts we’ll choose a single topic and discuss it in depth with experts/knowledgeable people. For our first Plus podcast, Ben Johnson, Ret Talbot, and Jim Walters discuss what the hobby will be like if we reach a point at which we are no longer able to collect/import reef animals. As always, you can download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter @reefthreads. We hope you enjoy our new series, find it thought provoking, and will share it with others.—Gary and Christine

Ben Johnson, Captive Aquatic Ecosystems
Ben Johnson’s Captive Aquatic Ecosystems website

Ret Talbot’s Good Catch Blog
Ret Talbot’s Good Catch Blog

Jim Walters’ Old Town Aquarium
Jim Walters’ Old Town Aquarium website

Aging Bony Fish

Pair of otoliths.

Pair of otoliths.

When conducting studies, many ecologists are posed with the question: How old is this fish? Because size is rarely a fair indication of age, the use of a more precise method is often required. The most prevalent method of aging bony fish is known as Otolith Analysis. This procedure entails the extraction and microscope analysis of the fish’s otoliths – small calcium carbonate structures that are located slightly posterior to the fish’s eyes. 
An otolith with visible annuli.

An otolith with visible annuli.

 These structures, which are used as gravity, balance, and movement indicators, grow continuously throughout a fish’s life and exhibit a unique growth pattern. This growth pattern is thought to be a result of seasonal temperature changes – during the winter, the otoliths grow slowly, accreting lightly-colored calcium carbonate; during the summer, the otoliths grow quickly, accreting darker calcium carbonate. The contrast between lighter calcium carbonate and darker calcium carbonate forms rings known as annuli. Since each annuli represents one year, scientists may determine the age of the fish by counting them.… More:

Saltwater Smarts in 2015: Looking Forward to an Exciting New Year

Since Chris and I launched Saltwater Smarts back in April of 2013, we’ve been immensely gratified to welcome a steadily increasing number of visitors to our site, to have the opportunity to share our personal insights on a wide variety of topics related to marine aquarium keeping, as well as to bring you authoritative perspectives from a variety of aquarium industry professionals and other seasoned hobbyists. Special thanks to all who helped make 2014 such a stellar year here at Saltwater Smarts: our regular contributors, Jay Hemdal, Than Thein, Paul Baldassano (PaulB), Paul Poeschl, and Dave Bowers; our site sponsors, Doctors Foster and Smith, Tidal Gardens, Advanced Reef Aquarium, GHL, Coral Reef LLC, Coralreefaquarist.com, and Majano Wand; and, of course, each and every salty out there who took the time to visit our site over the past year! Today, as we stand on the cusp of 2015, we’re bullish about our trajectory and looking forward to some exciting changes and new offerings ahead. Here’s a sampling of what you can expect from Saltwater Smarts over the coming year: New media You could say Chris and I both have perfect faces for radio, but I’m afraid you’ll be seeing more of our ugly mugs in 2015. We plan to step away from the keyboard from time to time and bring you more video offerings—for example a series of short how-to’s on basic marine aquarium techniques, one documenting our recent efforts to capture and remove several rogue damsels from the display tank in a local coffee shop, and much more. New resources We’re also thrilled to announce that day one of 2015 will see the release of Saltwater Smarts’ first eBook, The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes, penned by Jay Hemdal, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates at the Toledo Zoo. Be sure to tune in to Saltwater Smarts this coming Friday (January 2) for much more information on this exciting new resource. And Jay’s disease guide is just the beginning.

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