Tag Archives: marine

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Digital-Reefs Update – The Difference is Black and White

As usual it’s pretty difficult to find time to produce general updates on our test system as more often than not, on top of our ‘proper job’ and family commitments, we are frequently busy collecting, unboxing and reviewing new kit, rooting out interesting stories for the blog, or producing material for ourselves or our clients. To be honest a lot of our blog work hinges on regularly chasing companies for the latest info and let’s say some are more responsive than others! Sometimes it can get a little frustrating but we certainly appreciate having the fantastic spread of sponsors that we do… you can tell these companies are the best in the business by their willingness to ‘show off’ their products at a hobbyist level rather than adopting a secretive, isolated approach. Anyway, before we digress, let’s get back to the task in hand and take a look at the Black Tank which is our 100 UK gallon test bed system, now just over 2 years old. Well, overall the system is progressing nicely and many of our colonies are continuing to grow steadily and fill out the tank. Aesthetically we are pretty happy with the system as it is, but it’s certainly not a finished product by any means.

Early Success with a Halichoeres Wrasse!

Figure 1. Halichoeres melanurus egg on a 1 mm SedgewickRafter cell. Here at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab we’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in a field we’re truly passionate about. That passion inspires me to not only work on captive breeding of marine species here at work, but to also explore other fish by working from home. I’m pleased to announce that the first project I’ve taken on as an at-home aquaculturist resulted in the successful captive rearing of the melanurus wrasse, Halichoeres melanurus, using only cultured prey items. Although only a few fish were brought through metamorphosis, survival should be higher when larvae are raised in the controlled environment of a dedicated facility as opposed to the chaos of a household living room. I strongly believe this fish, and others in this genus, will have significant commercial potential. We now have broodstock at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab because of this early success. The work done so far will stand as strong supportive evidence to move forward with other wrasses as well.

EcoTech VorTech ‘QuietDrive’ Pumps Announced

Rumour and speculation have been rife over the last couple of weeks but now the embargo has finally been lifted, we can stop ‘keeping it quiet’ as it were, and bring you official details on the latest product development from our sponsor Ecotech Marine! We’ve studied the offical 16 page release at length so here are the key points. Building on the already award-winning VorTech pump line, the new MP10wQD, MP40wQD and MP60wQD offer claimed improvements in noise reduction, efficiency, flow and durability. Specifically, this next evolution of the VorTech range offers up to 90% noise reduction and up to 40% more output* while the line retains connectivity and offers a new gyre flow mode.

Decisions, Decisions: New SAIA Tool Can Help Stock Your Nano Reef

Focusing on nano tanks, AquarioScenario is a new tool from the SAIA. Along the lines of their existing FishSelector, this interface offers the aquarium hobbyist guidance on selecting organisms for stocking a tank in an ethical and sustainable way, while avoiding impulse buying. AquarioScenario also incorporates the SAIAs ‘Lists of Unsuitable and UnsustainableSpecies’, and ensures the combinations of marine life suggested are suitable and compatible, considering not only size, but also behaviour and needs of the species. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed with the many decisions to make and options to choose from when planning your small reef, AquarioScenario can assist by suggesting possible combinations of marine life for each tank size range, while still ensuring an interesting display.

Bellevue H.S. Marine Science Lab Expands

The first (of three) coral study and propagation systems before it was filled with saltwater during setup.Last year I introduced you to David Bowers and the incredible marine science classroom laboratory he runs at Bellevue High School in Ohio, USA. Over the last 20 years, David and his students have transformed the humble classroom from a single modest aquarium to one of the best self-funded high school marine biology programs in the country. The classroom laboratory at this rural northern Ohio school features a 412-gallon mixed reef, 420-gallon bamboo shark research study tank, 250-gallon seahorse breeding study tank, several smaller student research project systems, and three new (not so small) additions. The new system(s) The three aforementioned additions are 8’ x 2’ custom-built (by Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems) tanks that will be used for coral growth studies and propagation. These tanks (and tons of support equipment: sump, skimmer, heater, T-5 lights, return pump, circulation pumps, frag plugs, super glue, shipping bags/cups, and more) were generously donated by Rob McCoy of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Rob had been following the marine science club on Facebook and reached out with the thought that David and his students might be able to make use of this equipment. Currently, one of the systems is up and running with a few corals calling it home. David is now searching for branching Acropora or related SPS coral colonies, encrusting and plating corals, and LPS corals (particularly Fungia, Trachyphyllia, and Favidae)

HLLE and the Activated Carbon Connection

HLLE in an ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus) caused by the use of activated carbon. Many different factors have been considered as possible causes of the disease known as Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE)—a condition that typically causes disfiguring tissue erosion on the head and along the sensory lateral line of certain marine fishes. Poor water quality, nutritional deficiencies, protozoa of the genus Hexamita, stray voltage, and activated carbon use are just some of the potential causes that have been floated over the years. However, as Jay Hemdal explains in the following excerpt from his new eBook, The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes, there is now some solid scientific backing to the notion that activated carbon can cause this condition. From Chapter 3: Husbandry, Environment, and Your Fishes’ Health “A relationship between the use of activated carbon in aquariums and the development of HLLE in surgeonfish has been positively shown in two scientific studies. Other than that, no formal studies have been undertaken that identify other causes. However, a multitude of unproven causes have been presented by various people. Commonly, stray electrical currents and vitamin deficiencies are cited as causes, but one of the studies mentioned above ruled these out as common causes

Tank Profile: Brian Babcock’s SPS-dominated Reef

With towering pillars of small-polyp stony corals framed against a spotless blue background, this aquarium makes me feel as though I’ve been plopped down smack dab in the middle of a coral reef, peering into the blue abyss beyond. Being a landlocked scuba diver, it’s easy to imagine the ocean dreams this reef elicits for anyone who gets the opportunity to enjoy it. The Aquarist Brian flexing his DIY muscles while building the stand for his reefThis reef is the work of Brian Babcock, also known as “Lazylivin” on a number of marine forums. A 15-year veteran of the aquarium hobby, Brian has spent 10 of those years on the dark…err, I mean, salt side. Starting with a 90-gallon fish-only system in the mid 90s, Brian kept this system up and running until a few years into the millennium when a move forced him to shut it down. It was revived a few years later as a soft coral system and then later upgraded to his current 125-gallon, SPS-dominated reef aquarium.

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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