Tag Archives: invertebrates

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What to Consider when Converting a Fish-only Tank to a Reef System

Evaluating your fish only aquarium and equipment is important before turning it into a reef“Caribbean Chris” and I are very frequently asked what it takes to convert a fish-only marine aquarium to a reef system containing corals and other sessile invertebrates. Can you just go ahead and add the invertebrates? Can you modify the existing system to suit the corals, or do you have to start the whole thing from scratch with a new tank and equipment? What has to change with respect to water conditions? Hopefully, the following points/suggestions will help address these and various other questions marine aquarium hobbyists often have when contemplating the transition from fish-only (or fish-only-with-live-rock) to reef:Pick a direction and do your homework Before making any new purchases or modifications to your existing aquarium, it’s important to pin down the type of reef system you want to keep. Are you primarily interested in soft corals?

CoralRX One Shots Are Back in Action After Re-release

After an apparent hiatus from the aquarium hobby (I say hiatus because of the “re-release” verbiage used in the promotional material), the One Shot single dose coral treatment from CoralRX is back and better than ever. These tiny little packets serve as a single dose coral dip that treats a wide variety of common issues (see the list below). And now they are in a much easier to use packet. Previously, the One Shots came in small glass vials, which weren’t always the easiest to open or the safest to handle

Marine Mesozoic Revolution

Stalked Crinoid Fossil. Source: www.urweltmuseum.de

Stalked Crinoid Fossil.
Source: www.urweltmuseum.de

 Throughout geological time, there have been many shifts in marine animal species. Amongst these shifts is a transition known as the Mesozoic Marine Revolution. This evolutionary phenomenon not only overturned a number of bottom-dwelling marine species, it transformed the appearance of the ocean floor. Roughly 252 million years ago – the start of the Mesozoic Era, the ocean floor was littered with immobile invertebrate species. These species included stalked crinoids, molluscs, brachiopods, and other large, stationary marine invertebrates that rested along the ocean floor. Soon after the Mesozoic Era began, many predators such as sharks and ichthyosaurs came onto the scene. These predators were considered “durophagous” – shell crushing, and used their strength to exploit these immobile, bottom-dwelling invertebrates. 
Ichthyosaur Fossil. Source: www.urweltmuseum.de

Ichthyosaur Fossil.
Source: www.urweltmuseum.de

 This caused a strong evolutionary shift: stalked crinoids lost their stalks and became mobile while molluscs and brachiopods began to bury themselves in the sediment rather than remain defenseless and exposed. These evolutionary adaptations paved way for a seemingly emptier, more modern ocean floor.… More:

Fish Are Superior to People!

When viewed at depth, a copperband butterflyfish looks much different than the colors we’re familiar with.Why do I make this claim? Well, primarily to capture your attention. But think about some of the things fish can do that we cannot. For example, we two-legged beings can go forward, backward, and from side to side. Fish can do that too, but they can also go up and down, and they can do that just by thinking about it and barely moving a fin. If we get up in the middle of the night because we hear a noise or are thinking about that Victoria’s Secret catalog on the table (strictly for research purposes, of course), we would run into walls, doors, windows, or, if we’re lucky, a beautiful cat burglar.

AquaNerd’s Top 10 Stories from 2014

Phew…2014 is almost over. And while it has been a fun year, it has also been an exhausting one. But, we made it, and we can look forward to the brand new adventures that await for us in 2015. Before we can move on, however, we must pay our respects to the passing year with a robust recap of the top 10 stories that were featured on the AquaNerd Blog during that time. So, without further adieu, here is our list of posts we got the most mileage out of.

Authoritative New Guide Offers Expert Insights on Marine Fish Diseases

If Chris and I were to categorize all the questions we receive here at Saltwater Smarts, it’s safe to say the vast majority would fit under the heading of “fish disease and health issues.” While we’re always happy to offer advice to our fellow salties and help them succeed in any way we can, responding to fish disease inquiries in this forum presents some very significant challenges. Among them is the fact that neither of us is a veterinarian (though Chris may play one on TV) and any diagnosis/treatment advice we might dispense is essentially a “best guess.” What’s more, it’s extremely difficult—oftentimes impossible—to determine what’s actually wrong with a fish and recommend an appropriate course of treatment based solely on a description of symptoms and, potentially, a photo of the ailing specimen. With this dilemma in mind, we asked ourselves, “How can we provide Saltwater Smarts visitors with reliable, authoritative advice on fish diseases rather than mere guesswork that might end up doing more harm than good?” In seeking an answer, we approached Jay Hemdal, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates for the Toledo Zoo and an avid aquarium hobbyist with over 45 years of experience under his belt. Jay is one of the first people Chris and I turn to when we have an aquarium-related question we can’t answer or problem we can’t resolve. He’s also an accomplished author, having written six books and over 150 articles on aquarium-related topics. So you can imagine that we were both beyond gratified when, upon hearing our dilemma, Jay agreed to pen an eBook on marine fish diseases to be published here at Saltwater Smarts.

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.

What Scuba Diving Has Taught Me About Keeping Marine Aquariums

Rules and best practices of scuba diving can teach us some lessons about keeping saltwater aquariumsWhile sitting here contemplating how long it’s been since I’ve gone scuba diving (answer: way too long), it occurred to me that one can draw many parallels between the avocations of scuba diving and marine aquarium keeping. I’m not referring to the observation of marine life here—though that’s unquestionably a major element of both activities—but to certain rules or best practices that apply to both. Okay, right now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Maybe it’s a good thing this guy hasn’t been diving in a while—he’s obviously skipped one safety stop too many or really bungled his dive tables!” But fear not, I’ll bring it back around. (In other words, humor me!) So, with no further ado: Plan your dive and dive your plan Diving is safest and presents the fewest unforeseen contingencies when you plan ahead of time who will be diving with whom, how deep you’re going to go, the path you’re going to follow, when you’re going to ascend, etc.—and then adhere strictly to that plan. To my (nitrogen-addled) mind, the marine aquarium analog to this is carefully planning and researching the animals you want to keep, as well as the order in which you’ll introduce them, and then sticking with that stock list. This doesn’t mean you can’t make sensible substitutions if necessary, but it will help you avoid making impulse purchases that can throw your whole plan into chaos. Plus, knowing which animals you’re going to keep will help you make the most appropriate equipment purchases.

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