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Write-Up Wednesday: Top-Down Viewers

I’ve got a strong hunch that you setup a saltwater tank to stock it with beautiful inhabitants for your viewing pleasure. I’m also got a strong hunch that 99% of the time, you view those inhabitants from the side -i.e. through your tank’s side panels. I’ll make one more hypothesis – as your corals start growing, you really, really would like to take some great photos of them.

Here’s some insider information for you – corals always look much better when viewed from the top down. Therefore, if you want some great photos of your corals, try taking them from above. But how do you do that without getting your camera wet?

The answer: the top-down viewer for cameras

Avast Marine Work’s Top-Down Porthole

Top-down viewers that are built for cameras give you an easy and safe way to keep your camera dry, while giving you access to stunning top-down shots. The way they work is simple. A water proof sleeve goes around your camera’s lens. The top-down viewer is secured to the camera’s lens through set screws and the viewer is rotated to zoom in or out to get closer to the subject matter. Note that the focus ring isn’t accessible when the viewer is attached to the camera so auto focus has to be enabled.

While most top-down viewers are meant for cameras with detachable lenses, there are versions available for smart phones like Avast Marine Work’s Smartphone Top-Down Porthole

If you’re using a DSLR/SLR camera or a smart phone, a top-down viewer gives you stunning photos of a completely new way to view your livestock. Corals display different colors and clams especially can look dramatically different when viewed from the top down.

Compare these photos of an acan colony.  The side photo shows mostly red and a hint of orange/yellow:

Here’s the same colony viewed from the top. Notice how the orange/yellow band jumps out in this photo. Plus the coral now looks more orange vs. deep red:

Checkout this photo of a clam taken from the side:

Here’s a top down photo of the same clam:

It looks like a completely different clam, yet it is the same specimen.

Top-down viewing of your tank opens up a whole new world that makes for some great eye candy. And for your FOWLR types, don’t worry, even your fish look different when viewed from the top-down.

(Special thanks to Josh at Murfreesboro Aquatics for the photos)

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Orange ghost shrimp-Corallianassa longiventris

Good morning friends, I had a few people asking about my pet Ghost Shrimp so just for you I went out and shot some new photos. This little thing is dripping with personality and expression, I really enjoy spending time with him on the sand. I always bring him a fresh handful of algae and dangle it over his little hole. Upon seeing the algae he will race to the surface and take them out of my hand, he is really not very shy! I will sometimes lay a pile of food next the hole and he will grab it and somehow drag it all down inside his home?? If you saw how much food he is taking down you would think he lives in a giant cave or something, I would love to see the burrow this guy has built!

The Rockmover Wrasse: What a Difference Adulthood Can Make!

Adult rockmover wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus)In a previous post titled “Marine Fish Bait and Switch—5 Adorable Juveniles that Blossom into Brutes,” I listed the rockmover wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus), aka the reindeer wrasse or the dragon wrasse, among four other species that are typically sold in the marine aquarium trade as cute little youngsters but mature into very different adults. However, despite its surprising (for those who didn’t do their advance research) transformation, I think N. taeniourus remains a worthy aquarium species provided certain accommodations are made. That notorious physical transformationDepending on where they’re collected, the juveniles (the stage at which they’re typically sold), are either green or burgundy with dark brown and white mottling. Their color and patterning allow them to camouflage among growths of algae. They also possess two greatly elongated dorsal spines that vaguely resemble a deer’s antlers, giving rise to the “reindeer wrasse” moniker. Perhaps not surprisingly, owing to their cuteness, juveniles often tempt unwary hobbyists into an ill-considered purchase. Juvenile N.

Red Head Linear Blenny – Ecsenius cf lineatus

redheadblenny2
Recently, Madagascar has begun to export aquarium fishes. Some species are mostly the same as from other locales, such as Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa) and Midas Blenny (Ecsenius midas). One anomaly is the Red Head Linear Blenny (Ecsenius
cf lineatus), which appears to be a species new to science. The genus Ecsenius is a common combtooth blenny found on shallow coral reefs throughout most of the Indo-Pacific, with the exception of Hawaii. These small reef fish are usually omnivores, and usually make great aquarium specimens. Though a handful of the 53 recognized species occur throughout the genus’ range, most species are usually restricted to a small group of islands within a country or body of water, such as the mimic blenny (Ecsenius gravieri), which is restricted to the Red Sea. More:

Reef Threads Podcast #230


What tells you that a fish is healthy?

We’ve returned again because we simply can’t help it. This week’s topics include MASNA scholarships, Bryopsis, mollusk tanks, healthy fish characteristics, floors for fish tanks, and Acropora resistance. 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

MASNA scholarships
The MASNA student scholarship page

Fed acros are tough acros
Feeding Acropora helps them handle elevated temperatures and CO2, Leonard Ho, Advanced Aquarist

The floor under your tank
Floor selection for reef room, WindeyD, Reef2Reef.

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Unboxed: Sicce X Stream E Compact Wave Pump

With a global reputation for quality, Sicce products represent the culmination of over 40 years’ experience in the industry. Based on innovative research and advanced technology, their pumps are highly regarded, being incorporated into many systems, either in stand-alone application, or as parts of other devices. In this unboxing review, we take a look at the latest offering from their aquarium division, the X Stream E compact wave pump. Actually, Sicce have made our job rather easy here with their own promotional video which gives a really good overview of the new pump. Although we will be bringing your our own operational review in due course, the video covers the key features and shows in-tank operation also. We suggest you watch the video. [embedded content] In terms of our initial thoughts, we were very happy with the packaging and presentation of this pump.

House Hunting Tips For Reef Junkies

Real Estate will likely be a big part of your investment portfolio. Therefore financial professionals recommend you carefully consider your real estate purchases. The other big part of your investment portfolio is your saltwater fish tank and here’s tips on how to make sure your real estate is good for your fish tank.

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Salt Speak – Episode 3: Coldwater Marine Aquariums

Alright, alright…I’m back with another episode of Salt Speak! In this third installment I sat down to talk coldwater marine systems with Stu Wobbe. Stu is the owner of Coldwater Marine Aquatics in Oregon, USA.In the first half of our chat we speak about temperate and coldwater marine aquariums. We dig into equipment and maintenance requirements and how they differ from tropical systems. In addition, Stu introduces us to some of the interesting fish and invertebrate species that are available to coldwater hobbyists. Then we change gears to focus on his business, Coldwater Marine Aquatics, including how they got started (hint: a hand-written note started it all!). CMA is permitted through Oregon for commercial collection and they also use self-imposed restrictions to lessen their impact on the natural environment. Since coldwater systems aren’t as mainstream, we spend time at the end of our chat to focus on a variety of resources available to hobbyists interested in learning more

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