Tag Archives: corals

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How Much Live Rock Do You Really Need?

The amount of live rock needed in your aquarium is based on several factorsOnce hobby newcomers learn what live rock is and all the benefits it can provide in marine aquariums, the next big question they invariably ask is, “How much of it do I need for my tank?” More experienced fellow hobbyists, eager to be of help, typically respond with a pat answer along the lines of “somewhere between one and one-and-a-half pounds per gallon.” While this type of formula is certainly convenient and eliminates guesswork, it unfortunately fails to address several key factors that must be considered when determining how much rock is actually appropriate for a given system. Here are just a few of them:Differing density Pound for pound, not all live rock stacks up the same. The density of live rock can vary considerably from one type/collection locale to another—and a highly porous rock is going to be significantly lighter than a very dense rock of the same size. (Visualize holding a chunk of lava rock in one hand and an identically sized chunk of granite in the other, and you’ll have the idea.) So, you can expect 100 pounds of highly porous rock to take up a lot more space in your tank than 100 pounds of dense rock will. Livestock objectives How much rock you’ll want to place in your tank will also vary based on your objectives for the system. For example, a full-blown reef tank might require more rock than a fish-only system to ensure there’s an adequate foundation for the various invertebrates you plan to keep.

Curacao Dive Sites, Playa Forti West End Beach

Good morning friends, I had a request asking about diving at Playa Forti. For those of you not from here, Playa Forti is a beach located near the village of Westpunt on the north-west side of the Island. The quaint little beach has sheer cliffs on one side and a crystal clear ocean on the other and it’s always super calm water. There are steps leading down to the beach which is covered in small pebbles and a snack bar and restaurant at the top.

My Marine Fish Are Plotting Against Me!

Exhibit A: The judgmental glareA little-known fact about marine fish kept in aquariums is that they’re passive-aggressive and churlish and enjoy mocking their owners. Okay, I know we’re not supposed to anthropomorphize our livestock, but based on a recent disastrous attempt at an aquarium photo shoot, I’m convinced my fish have it in for me—or at least get a kick out of seeing me lose my cool. Come to think about it, I’ve made a similar observation on every occasion that I’ve tried to photograph fish over the years . . . so it’s like science or something. Anyhow, my friends at Tropical Fish Hobbyist recently requested that I snap a few photos of my tank to accompany an article I’d written for them on transitioning from freshwater to saltwater aquarium keeping. Right away, this filled me with trepidation for a couple reasons. One, the room housing the tank has windows on all four walls, leading to major issues with glare and oddball reflections.

The Yellow Clown Goby: A Practically Perfect Nano Candidate

Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae) perching in coralsNano marine aquarium enthusiasts must be very discerning in their livestock selections to ensure any specimens they choose won’t outgrow their systems. Reaching a maximum size that can best be described as miniscule, the yellow clown goby (Gobiodon okinawae) is a pretty safe bet in this regard. It’s also charming, attractively colored, relatively outgoing and active, and typically very inexpensive to boot. Physical traitsG. okinawae is a uniform canary yellow in coloration. Its general body shape is somewhat similar to that of clownfishes, hence the “clown goby” moniker applied to it and its congeners. Size-wise, this western Pacific species is among the smallest fish available in the hobby, growing no larger than around 1 to 1½ inches.

Eastpoint Curacao Reef Scene

Hey gang, things have been busy as of late, I spent all day yesterday in the deep water labs photographing new finds collected from a recent collecting trip to Klein Curacao. One of the coolest finds is another “possible” new fish species and as soon as I get the go ahead I will post the photo for you and the whole planet to see, it’s super beautiful! I spent hours photographing a juvenile deep-sea butterflyfish and could not have completed that task without the help of my colleague Barbarba. We also have a bunch more live slit-shells but those are all headed to Japan sometime next week for study and my favorite find of them all was a 1700′s bottle that I will for sure post for you all to see.

How Can We Encourage Saltwater Gender Equality?

There’s a lot of conversation these days about gender equality with respect to income, career opportunities, education, and many other arenas of life. However, we tend to give it very little thought when it comes to participation in our hobby. Let’s face it, the perception—if not the reality—of the gender ratio in the marine aquarium hobby is that it’s largely tipped in favor of males.But if this is true, why is it so? After all, there’s nothing inherently masculine about keeping fish and corals in glass or acrylic boxes. What is it that seemingly discourages many women from getting involved or, if they are hobbyists, from getting their voices and opinions heard just as much—or as loudly—as their male counterparts do? As regular Saltwater Smarts visitor Louise Maggs helpfully points out, there are some persistent myths and misconceptions floating around out there that might be inhibiting women from participating fully in our salty pastime. That really got me thinking, so I’d like to dedicate today’s post to a discussion of those myths as I perceive them and invite all of you—whatever your gender—to weigh in with your thoughts.

Tires as Sponge Habitats

Good morning friends, first off, does anyone know how I can waterproof my little hand cast?? I need a cool homemade design of sorts as there is nothing available for sale here on the island, please let me know. Next someone was asking about discarded tires which we call “tire coral” which are found at just about every dive site on the island. The question was.. “does stuff like sponges and corals grow on tires” and the answer is YES!!

What’s Wrong with This (Reef Tank) Picture?

A more reasonably stocked reef aquarium, unlike those portrayed in some advertisements (we’ve all seen them…)Right now, I’m gazing at a magazine ad featuring the image of a reef tank, and the one word that comes to mind is “magnificent.” I’m sure you’ve seen one like it before, but allow me to describe it to you. In this one tank, I can see all manner of soft and stony corals; sea apples; Tridacna clams; mushroom and zoanthid polyps; non-photosynthetic and photosynthetic gorgonians; giant feather duster worms; sponges; and various macroalgae—all packed together in a glorious riot of color.And the fish! Captured in this image alone are schools (that’s right, schools!) of anthias, blue-green chromis, regal tangs, yellow tangs, and ocellaris clownfish. If you scan the image carefully enough, you might just spot royal and magenta dottybacks, a few royal grammas, various dwarf angelfishes, and maybe even Waldo peeking out from little niches. So, what could be wrong with such a magnificent image? Sounds like the sort of tank we’d all be proud to possess, right? Well, not so much. In addition to “magnificent,” this (clearly doctored) ad image, while definitely eye-catching, brings another word to mind: “misleading.” What’s more, I worry that these types of images might just inspire hobby newcomers to take the wrong approach right off the starting block

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