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In the Marine Aquarium Hobby, “Close Enough” Just Won’t Cut It!

close not enough2 In the Marine Aquarium Hobby, “Close Enough” Just Won’t Cut It!When it comes to achieving success with a marine aquarium, there’s a certain “X Factor” that comes into play—the hobbyist’s attention to detail. Let’s face it, some of us are pretty focused on making sure every parameter, measurement, calculation, and setting is spot on, while others tend to be a bit more, well, lackadaisical in their approach. Admittedly, my natural tendency is toward the latter. I guess you could say I’m more “big picture” focused than detail-oriented. But I’ve found over the years that my usual “close enough” thinking is not a terrific asset in this hobby, so I have to work hard to be more diligent and precise. Here are just a few examples of when “close enough” thinking doesn’t pay in our hobby: Matching fish to tank size “Hmm, says here a clown triggerfish needs at least a 135-gallon tank. My 100-gallon should be close enough. After all, it’s only a difference of 35 gallons!” Sound familiar More: In the Marine Aquarium Hobby, “Close Enough” Just Won’t Cut It!More:

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Marine Aquarium Antacid: Understanding Alkalinity

alkalinity 300x169 Marine Aquarium Antacid: Understanding AlkalinityWhen I first made the switch from freshwater to marine fishkeeping, I was somewhat befuddled by the term “alkalinity” as it’s typically used on the saltwater side of the hobby. During all my years of keeping freshwater systems, I had always used the term “alkaline” interchangeably with “basic.” In other words, with respect to the pH scale, I would describe any value below zero (neutral on the scale) as being more acidic and any value above zero as being more alkaline. Related but different What I soon discovered is that alkalinity is indeed related to pH—just not in the sense that I originally thought. In fact, your aquarium water can actually have a relatively high pH yet still be low in alkalinity. In this scenario, the pH is unstable and can plummet rapidly if an acid is introduced. So, clearly, the terms “alkaline” and “basic” are not synonymous. Simply put, the alkalinity level (also called “buffering capacity”) of aquarium water refers to its ability to resist a downward shift in pH in the presence of an acid. I like to think of alkalinity as antacid for a marine aquarium (a visual that always resonates with me given my propensity for overindulgence at mealtimes) More: Marine Aquarium Antacid: Understanding AlkalinityMore:

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The Many Means of Nutrient Export in Marine Aquariums

aquarium nutrient export 300x169 The Many Means of Nutrient Export in Marine AquariumsDissolved nutrients. Sounds like a good thing, right? After all, every organism needs nutrients in one form or another in order to grow and stay in good health. So why are marine aquarium hobbyists—particularly reefkeepers—seemingly so fixated on keeping the level of dissolved nutrients in their systems as low as possible? To understand this fixation, you have to keep in mind that the waters surrounding coral reefs are naturally nutrient-poor environments. Unless a reef is subject to agricultural runoff, sewage discharge, etc., the levels of dissolved nutrients around it never approximate what can accumulate in the closed system of a marine aquarium. Elevated dissolved-nutrient levels lead to problems with nuisance algae and declining water quality, which is stressful or even deadly to marine livestock. That’s why hobbyists must implement different measures to export dissolved nutrients from their systems. Here’s a sampling of basic nutrient-export techniques: The routine water change I’ve listed the water change first because it’s the most straightforward technique and provides many additional benefits beyond exporting dissolved nutrients. You should be changing a minimum of 10 percent every week or 20 percent biweekly (more if testing shows that nitrate, and/or phosphate is exceeding the acceptable level), siphoning out as much accumulated particulate waste as possible in the process. More: The Many Means of Nutrient Export in Marine AquariumsMore:

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Reef Threads Podcast #181

reefthreads1 Reef Threads Podcast #181 We’re back once again. This week we talk about reef chemistry, sand-sifting animals, restoring a neglected tank, and external stressors. We hope you enjoy the show and will share it with others. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Christine and Gary More: Reef Threads Podcast #181More:

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Five External Stressors of Marine Aquarium Fish

water vibration ripple 300x169 Five External Stressors of Marine Aquarium FishMost marine aquarium hobbyists want to provide as naturalistic and stress-free an environment as possible for the fish and other livestock in their care, so they’re careful to maximize water quality, offer nutritious foods, promote compatibility among tankmates, aquascape appropriately, and so on. In other words, they put a lot of thought into what’s going on inside the aquarium. But what about what’s happening outside the tank? In some cases, very conscientiously maintained aquariums can still contain stressed-out fish because of various external influences that may not even occur to the hobbyist—especially if the tank houses species that are naturally skittish to begin with. Here are four of them off the top of my head: 1) Vibrations Try this little experiment: Stand on the opposite side of the room from your aquarium and shout, whistle, or clap your hands loudly while observing your fish. Next, stomp your foot on the floor, still keeping an eye on your piscine pets. Very likely, the shout, whistle, or clap had little to no effect on the behavior of your fish but the stomp sent them dashing for cover. The explanation for this is, higher-pitched sounds produced in the air don’t do a very good job of crossing the air/water interface and, therefore, will tend to go unnoticed by fish. On the other hand, low-frequency vibrations that travel along solid surfaces will definitely be transferred to the aquarium and felt by the fish. More: Five External Stressors of Marine Aquarium FishMore:

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How Much Time Will You Invest in a Saltwater Aquarium?

time spent 300x169 How Much Time Will You Invest in a Saltwater Aquarium?When a non-hobbyist visitor is observing one of my marine aquariums for the first time, among the questions he or she almost invariably asks—along with inquiring about the expense and the level of difficulty relative to a freshwater tank—is something along the lines of, “How much time does it take to maintain that?” My usual answer to that question is, “Not as much as you might think.” For some reason, there’s a pervasive misconception out there that in order to maintain a marine aquarium successfully, the hobbyist must spend every waking moment feeding, cleaning, adjusting, testing, tweaking, jiggering, and kneeling before a statue of Neptune. All hobbies are time-consuming Don’t get me wrong; a successful marine aquarium does demand a certain time commitment—but then so does any other hobby or avocation worth pursuing. Whether you’re into golf, bowling, scuba diving, model ship building, or stamp collecting, you’re going to spend just as much time, if not more, developing and honing the necessary skills or simply participating. Modest daily time commitment So what sort of time commitment are we talking here? An hour a day? Two hours? Once a marine aquarium is established, the actual day-to-day commitment can be fairly modest More: How Much Time Will You Invest in a Saltwater Aquarium?More:

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How Long Can Marine Fish Go Without Food?

fish eating 300x169 How Long Can Marine Fish Go Without Food?Butterflyfish and other highly laterally compressed species have less body reserves than more robust fish.This question usually arises when a marine aquarium hobbyist is either preparing to depart for vacation or trying to coax a hunger-striking new fish to eat. While it would be extremely helpful if there were a simple formula to help us solve this puzzle—e.g., “If you have fish species X, you can expect it to live exactly Y days without food before perishing”—this question actually demands a much more nuanced answer. As far as vacation feeding is concerned, it’s generally safe to assume that most healthy (note the emphasis) fish will be fine for a few days to a week or so without eating depending on the species. Beyond that, you’ll definitely want to make some accommodation to have the fish fed—even if just every two or three days. With respect to persuading a finicky new specimen to start eating, which often takes several days, I usually don’t start to get nervous until the fish is approaching about two weeks without food. Now, that doesn’t mean a fish in either situation couldn’t potentially survive for a much longer period without eating, but the idea is to avoid getting close to the point where its health is compromised—and again, we don’t know exactly where that line is drawn. That point is so indistinct because of the following factors: The specimen’s normal diet What and how a fish naturally eats has significant bearing on how long it can go in between meals. More: How Long Can Marine Fish Go Without Food?More:

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Banggai Rescue – Sneak Preview Video

970bBanggai front cover 500px Banggai Rescue – Sneak Preview Video Set to launch at the Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA 2013) in South Florida, The Banggai Cardinalfish book represents almost two years’ of work and the involvement of hundreds of saltwater aquarists, marine biologists, aquarium industry leaders, and many conservation-minded supporters. The Banggai Cardinalfish, 304 pages, Hardcover $44.95, Quality Softcover $34.95. For a preview of the book, see this video by Matt Pedersen that runs through the entire 304 pages in about a minute and shows the scope of the international Banggai Rescue Project. The book will be distributed by Julian Sprung and Two Little Fishies in partnership with Reef to Rainforest Media, publishers of CORAL and AMAZONAS Magazines. “This book should make us all proud to be marine aquarists,” says Editor & Publisher James Lawrence. “The marine aquarium community has rallied to respond to a situation in which a uniquely beautiful and fascinating fish has been threatened by unregulated collection in a remote archipelago in Indonesia. We have unwittingly been part of the problem, but now we can feel that we are part of the solution.” “Perhaps the most important outcome of the Project so far has been the collaboration between our science team and their counterparts in Indonesia who are working to reform the Banggai Cardinal fishery while supporting the livelihoods of indigenous fishers in their own waters.” Book Credits:: Ret Talbot • Matt Pedersen • Matthew L. Wittenrich, Ph.D. Foreword by Dr. Gerald R. Allen with Martin A. Moe, Jr., Roy Yanong, V.M.D., and Thomas Waltzek, D.V.M., Ph.D. Publishing Team: Edited by James M. Lawrence Designed by Linda Provost Production: Anne Linton Elston Copyediting: Louise Watson, Alex Bunten Business Manager: Judith R. Billard Project Corporate Sponsors Books will be available at MACNA, August 30 to September 1 at the Two Little Fishies booth. Announcements coming soon about how to order the book. Source: Banggai-Rescue.com MORE: Banggai Rescue – Sneak Preview VideoMore:

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