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Write-Up Wednesday: Orchid Dottiback

When I give presentations on fish selection and I mention Dottibacks, someone in the audience always blurts out, “devil fish!” For some dottibacks, yes. For the orchid dottiback, no.

Orchid Dottiback

The orchid dottiback (Pseudochromis fridmani) is not only the most docile species in the genus, but is also one of the most striking. Its body is solid bright purple with a black streak though the eye and head. Under royal blue LEDs, the fish will glow as if radioactive.

Known for being very personable, these fish take time to warm up to their surroundings. My experience in keeping them is that they will spend the first week to two weeks in a tank hiding in the aquascaping and only darting out of rocks to eat. Over time, they hide less and interact with you more. Clients who have these fish always fall in love with their orchid dottibacks as the fish greets them when they approach the tank and will sometimes follow the client around the tank.

The orchid dottiback’s docile nature also lends themselves to be victims of bullying especially from more aggressive dottibacks. Therefore, if I am placing an orchid dottiback in a tank, I will make sure it is the only dottiback in the tank.

Rounding out my reasons I love the orchid dottiback is that fact that captive bred specimens are readily available. My Orchid Dottibacks always come from ProAquatix and I’m proud to place captive bred fish in client tanks.

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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.

New Species: Pelicier’s Perchlet

A new species image and profile has been added to the Digital-Reefs galleries! Available in the UK only sporadically, and usually costing up to around £500 for a good specimen, Pelicier’s Perchlet Plectranthias pelicieri could easily be mistaken for a Hawkfish if one judges it solely on its general demeanour. This species is actually an Anthias though, and grows to a maximum size of around 5cm. A deepwater species, it is relatively hardy but can also be quite shy. This species should only be kept in a completely covered tank with other peaceful fishes and take note that it may consume passive ornamental inverts such as small shrimps and molluscs, and even fishes significantly smaller than itself. We were lucky enough to be allowed to image this stunning and rare specimen at Burscough Aquatics.

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.

Review: Coral Box Cloud 9 DC Skimmer

It’s been a little while since we featured a skimmer review on the site but when we spied details of this new offering from Chinese supplier Fish-Street, advertised on their website for a Summer 2015 release, we were immediately curious to see if such a competitively-priced skimmer could deliver performance to match some of the more expensive options out there. We were also curious to experience the ‘direct sale’ acquisition of a skimmer via the ‘factory to end user’ pathway used by this supplier. Arriving in what seemed like and impossibly short time all the way from China, the unit came to us extremely well-packaged. Assembling the unit was very easy but take note that it’s a good idea to assemble it without the cup in place to stop the lid from falling off. Similarly, be aware that the rubber feet come-off when the 4 screws connecting the base plate to the unit are removed… just something to be wary of… not really a problem. Once the screws are in place, the rubber feet just push onto the protruding ends. The screws themselves require around 20 turns to fasten them tightly and they are quite easy to handle, even without a screwdriver, which should really help when it comes time to dismantle the unit for periodic cleaning

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.

Deep French Butterflyfish, Prognathodes guyanensis

Good morning from Curacao… Here’s two beautiful Deep Water French Butterflyfish, Prognathodes guyanensis that we recently discovered at around 450 feet! The top fish is a juvenile and is around the size of a quarter and the bottom photo is an older butterflyfish and measures around four and a half inches in length, not much difference in the two right?? The main differences are the black spot on the juveniles back and it’s first two dorsal fins are black, other than that you would almost think they are the same exact fish. The little juveniles are so fun to watch, they really keep busy and boy are they fast! For a photographer this fish can be a real challenge to shoot as it’s black and light yellow

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