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Chengdu’s Cube Oceanarium Sets a Record

chengdu aquarium 1-reefs
Opened on New Year’s Eve, Chengdu’s Cube Oceanarium (a public aquarium) is an beautiful, educational wonderland located in Seaside City in the JiaoLong Port. The recently completed project has been awarded not one, but two Guinness World Records – one for the world’s largest window and one for the world’s largest aquarium window. chengdu aquarium 4-reefsMore:

Newsday at the Long Island Aquarium

Credit: Newsday/ Thomas A. Ferrara

 Joe Yaiullo and his world-renowned aquarium and staff got to play host to Newsday’s Jimin Kim this week, and provided the reporter and his photographer, Thomas A. Ferrara, with a myriad of fascinating, behind-the-scenes views of the daily workings.  The media team turned their tour into a photo essay, which you can see here.… More:

Rare Blue Montipora! Ah no, it’s actually Collospongia

I’m continuously fascinated by all of the different things that live in our oceans. Sponges are the simplest of multicellular organisms and also among the oldest, with a fossil record extending back to the last part of the Precambrian, about 550 million years ago. When I go snorkeling at the fossil reef at Key Biscayne (my local reef) I see all types of sponges; bright red fire sponge, large brown barrel sponges, delicate blue encrusting sponges, etc. They inhabit turtle grass beds and coral reefs alike. Sponges filter the water while providing food and shelter for a myriad of creatures. 


Blue Layer Cake Sponge – Collospongia


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:

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:

Fused Montastrea in Belize

Close up of shared polyp between two colonies.

Close up of shared polyp between two colonies.

 I was recently going through pictures from my exploratory trip to Belize earlier this year. I was especially interested in coral that were growing in close contact with one another, and I took many pictures and videos of coral interactions. A relationship that struck me as particularly interesting was one between two colonies of Montastrea growing side by side. There was a streak of color in one colony leading from one coral to the other across the area where the two colonies met. I zoomed up with my camera and discovered that one of the polyps was shared by both colonies. I have seen this happen with many of my Acanthastrea echinata grafts (another coral species with high Thrausto counts), where only one area or polyp will fuse while the rest of the graft remains separated. I speculate that there is a regulation between the two corals’ immune systems, only at that location, aided by the presence of similar populations of Thraustochytridsymbionts. The white paper “Identification of a protist-coral association and its possible ecological role” by a team of scientists in Israel, ( ) expounds on this idea. The article has several pictures that show the colored striations of Thrausto populations in several coral species. Enjoy this video of photos I took in Belize of the coral, starting close and zooming out from the shared polyp between the two colonies:

GHL Mitras Lightbar Announced in Smaller Sizes and More Colors

GHL is updating their Mitras Lightbar for 2014 by offering them up in one brand new color configuration and two new sizes. Where the first generation of the Lightbar saw its smallest fixture tipping the scales at roughly 60 cm in length, or just under two feet, the new nano models will be suited for 40 or 50 cm aquariums. This is a good move to hit those smaller desktop nano aquariums that are all the rage these days, and nano owners could certainly appreciate the access to this high end LED striplight.As for the new color, the Mitras LED striplight will now be available in a deep actinic. Prior to this release, the Lightbar was only available in a daylight (freshwater), actinic (saltwater), and an ocean blue (mix of fresh and salt) configuration. This new color offers up the deep blue that has become synonymous with reef aquaria and it gives users more options for color blending and bolstering coral coloration.The Mitras Lightbar fixtures for 40 and 50 cm nano tanks are currently available in the GHL webshop, and the deep actinic models will become available in mid-October.Features common to all models:Selected high-power-LEDs of Cree, Osram and SemiLEDs Lifetime of at least 60,000 hours High quality LEDs with at least 122 lumen/watt (white LEDs) 13 different lightbar lengths 120° reflectors Can be operated standalone or with a ProfiLux controller Controllability of 5 to 7 LED channels (depending on lamp model) Individually set up the light output and color according to personal desires Storm, rainy day, cloud, tropical, and twilight simulations via the ProfiLux controller This entry was posted in Aquarium Equipment and tagged Aquarium Equipment, aquarium lighting, GHL, GHL LED, LED lighting, Mitras, Mitras Light Bar by Brandon Klaus. Bookmark the permalink. 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.