Tag Archives: invertebrates

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5 Ways Hobbyists Misuse Grazing Marine Snails

astrea snail 300x169 5 Ways Hobbyists Misuse Grazing Marine SnailsOf all the fascinating invertebrates available to marine aquarists, grazing snails are perhaps the most misused. Too often we treat them like expendable little lawnmowers, plopping them in our tanks with the express purpose of preventing or eradicating algae and then replenishing them as their populations inevitably wane. But if treated properly, snails can be long-lived tank denizens that not only perform a useful purpose but also provide interest in their own right. So what do I mean by “misusing marine snails”? Here are some of the more common improper practices when stocking grazing gastropods: 1) Stocking in excessive numbers I implore you to ignore any advice along the lines of “To control algae X, add Y number of snails per every Z gallons of aquarium volume.” There is no correlation between the volume of water an aquarium can hold and the number of grazing snails the system can support long term. It all comes down to food supply. Simply put, the system must contain adequate, ongoing growths of the appropriate algae to sustain the type/number of snails you introduce. Otherwise, your grazing gastropods will quickly eat themselves out of house and home and begin starve to death. It’s always best to start with just a few specimens, observe how they perform when it comes to keeping algae in check, and then add more only if necessary. 2) Stocking cold-water species in tropical tanks Some marine snails sold to unwitting hobbyists for the purpose of algae control—often as part of a “cleanup crew”—are actually from temperate waters and won’t survive long in tropical aquariums More: 5 Ways Hobbyists Misuse Grazing Marine SnailsMore:

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Yellowline Arrow-Crab, Stenorhynchus seticornis

faf3Arrow Crab 457x305 Yellowline Arrow Crab, Stenorhynchus seticornisGood morning from windy, dry Curacao!! As some of you know the World Cup of Soccer is underway which translates to non-stop craziness around here!!! There are soccer parties everyday on the beach and at every snack in town, people driving around with different country flags on their cars and going crazy if their teams win and everyone is wearing soccer clothing. My colleagues are shocked that I know nothing about the sport and that I am not watching every second of every game, sorry! MOREMore:

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Neutral Theory of Biodiversity Challenged Through Reefs

Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook university have challenged a long standing theory of biodiversity through their latest Caribbean reef study. “The aim of neutral theory is to explain diversity and the relative abundances of species within ecosystems. So the theory implies that, if you lose a really abundant species, then another can simply increase in abundance to take its place. However, the theory has an important flaw: it fails to capture how important the highly abundant species that dominate marine communities are” explains professor Sean Connolly of JCU. The theory, which has been relied upon for conservation research, is challenged at its core through a mathematical approach looking at 14 marine ecosystems sampled at 1185 locations all across the globe. fish coral 1024x767 Neutral Theory of Biodiversity Challenged Through ReefsRanging from deep-sea to shallow waters, from polar to tropical ranges, the datasets were compiled of numbers from invertebrates, to fish, from plankton, to coral. To arrive at their conflicting conclusion scientists used a new mathematical approach that allowed them to identify predictions that would come from using the Neutral Theory, and then tested them against their datasets. With the assumptions of Neutral Theory this study showed that the chance occurrences that are a part of Neutral Theory do not account for the importance of those abundance species and their implications in the “common” vs “rare” debates. Read more here!… More:

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Amazing Sea Hares from Anilao Pier

Carissa1 Amazing Sea Hares from Anilao PierAnilao Pier, home to the notorious bobbit worm, is my favorite site in the Philippines for night diving. I first dove here in 2012, during my graduate studies at San Francisco State University and the California Academy of Sciences. The diversity of marine invertebrates here is astounding, especially with respect to sea slugs, snails, and anemones. I’m particularly interested in sea hares, a group of sea slugs in the order Anapsidea. They’re called sea hares thanks to the horn-like structures on their head, known as rhinophores, which allow them to sense their environment—and which happen to resemble rabbit ears. Like the nudibranchs they’re related to (same phylum, different order), sea slugs have evolved potent chemical defenses to deter predation, since they’re soft-bodied and possess either a reduced shell or no shell at all. On one of my night dives MORE: Amazing Sea Hares from Anilao PierMore:

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Thoughts on Hand-Feeding Marine Aquarium Fish

hand feeding 300x169 Thoughts on Hand Feeding Marine Aquarium FishPart of the fun of keeping marine aquariums is reaching that stage where the fish come to recognize you as the supplier of victuals—the face that always peers into the tank right before food hits the water. Some hobbyists might wonder whether it’s okay to build on that familiarity by actually hand-feeding their aquatic pets. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I routinely hand-feed New Life Spectrum pellets to my percula clownfish, and I have to admit I get a kick out of it (even if the darn thing now attacks my hands relentlessly any time I put them in the tank). I simply pinch some pellets between my thumb and index finger, hold them under water near the surface, and let the clown swim up and pluck them out. So I say, if you want to experiment with hand-feeding your fish, go for it. Just be sure to take the following into account before you do: Wash your hands first! Your hands can be a source of all kinds of contaminants that could potentially be harmful to marine life. More: Thoughts on Hand-Feeding Marine Aquarium FishMore:

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Good at Gardening? Try Reefkeeping!

gardening to reefkeeping 300x169 Good at Gardening? Try Reefkeeping!If you’re a gardener with a green thumb, making the leap to reefkeeping isn’t as far as you might think!Having once worked in the nursery and landscaping business, it often occurs to me that there are a surprising number of similarities between terrestrial gardening/landscaping and reefkeeping. I would even suggest that, in some ways, reefkeeping has more in common with gardening than with maintaining a freshwater or marine fish-only aquarium. Many of the elements terrestrial “green thumbs” must deal with in order to succeed with gardening have analogs in the reefkeeping hobby, and I’m convinced that if gardeners could be persuaded to give reefkeeping a try, they might just discover they have a certain knack for nurturing More: Good at Gardening? Try Reefkeeping!More:

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Yellow Boxfish: Endearing but Perhaps Best Avoided

yellow boxfish1 300x169 Yellow Boxfish: Endearing but Perhaps Best AvoidedFor hobbyists inclined to purchase livestock on impulse, a yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) paddling about in a dealer’s tank can prove almost irresistible. Typically sold as juveniles at just a few inches in length, these boxfish are as cute as can be, and their interesting shape and garish coloration really make them stand out among other species offered for sale. Unfortunately, that cuteness and bright coloration are fleeting, and too many impulsive hobbyists who succumb to the siren song of O. cubicus soon discover that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew with this species. Physical traits As its common name implies, O. cubicus has a vaguely box-shaped body, a pointed snout, and high-set eyes—picture a somewhat squared-off pufferfish, and you’ll get the gist. Juveniles are bright yellow with dark-brown polka dots. More: Yellow Boxfish: Endearing but Perhaps Best AvoidedMore:

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Chalk Bass: A Caribbean Jewel Custom Made for Marine Aquariums

chalk bass 300x169 Chalk Bass: A Caribbean Jewel Custom Made for Marine AquariumsChalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum) are a hardy species that can be kept in groupsAnyone who has visited Saltwater Smarts on a regular basis knows that Chris has a bizarre fixation on Caribbean species. No livestock—fish or invertebrate—originating outside the Caribbean/tropical Western Atlantic is allowed in his tank. If he could, he’d probably go so far as to encase his entire fish room in a plastic bubble and pump Caribbean air into it to prevent non-Caribbean airborne microbes from settling in his tank. It’s a disease, really, and he should probably seek treatment for it. Nonetheless, in some cases, Chris’s compulsion is well justified. Take, for example, the chalk bass (Serranus tortugarum) that grace his tank. These little Caribbean jewels are gorgeous, peaceful, hardy, easy to feed, beginner friendly, and well-suited to modest-sized marine systems. Oh, and did I mention they can be kept in groups? What more could you ask for in a marine fish? Physical traits S More: Chalk Bass: A Caribbean Jewel Custom Made for Marine AquariumsMore:

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