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Saltwater Confessions: Bizarre Marine Aquarium Blunders

aquarium blunders1 Saltwater Confessions: Bizarre Marine Aquarium BlundersAfter many years in the marine aquarium hobby—I’m not talking Paul B years here, but let’s just say a reasonable length of time—I like to think I’ve acquired a certain degree of wisdom with respect to keeping saltwater organisms. What I don’t care to admit is how much of that wisdom was actually gained as a result of making really strange and downright inexplicable blunders from time to time. Some of these are too dark and horrifying to recount here, but I’d like to share a few of the less-mortifying ones so other salties out there can benefit from my experiences—or at least avoid making the same sorts of mistakes I’ve made. (Note: some details may have been changed to protect the innocent—or to make me look like less of a moron.) More: Saltwater Confessions: Bizarre Marine Aquarium BlundersMore:

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Back Pain and the Big Marine Aquarium

water pour 300x169 Back Pain and the Big Marine AquariumSomewhere around age 40, I passed a point of no return with respect to bodily aches and pains. In my younger, carefree days, when the various jobs I worked demanded a lot of heavy lifting, I could pretty much tell my body what I wanted it to do and it would comply of necessity. Nowadays, the roles have reversed. If I try to override my body’s limitations and make it do what it doesn’t want to do, I’m sure to pay a heavy price. You see, I have a disc issue in my cervical spine that flares up from time to time, causing severe pain that radiates down my right arm. Chiropractic care and physical therapy have helped me keep the pain and nerve damage under control and stave off surgery, but the problem still puts limits on how well I can function—including my ability to perform routine maintenance, such as water changes, on my marine aquariums. More: Back Pain and the Big Marine AquariumMore:

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CORAL Video: Sulawesi Reef at Henry Doorly Zoo

 Tim Morrissey, Coral Aquarist at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, recently shared this wonderful extra-high definition video of the Sulawesi Reef at Henry Doorly. The system is around 20,000 gallons, with the actual display being about 10,000 of that total water volume. Morrissey filled us in that the system has been through a few renovations over the years; currently he is the lead aquarist in charge of this display, having taken over in the summer of 2013 when another aquarist departed the zoo. The 10,000 gallon display area houses hard coral, soft coral, clams, anemones and lots of fish. You’ll see a periodic surge that occurs during this feeding time video; Morrissey told us this is accomplished with a pneumatic valve operated by compressed air that opens and closes to dump water in the tank.  The display is lit with 1000w and 400w metal halides; calcium supplementation is done with kalkwasser. A special thanks to Tim Morrissey for filling in some of the details on this unique aquarium.  For those who are curious, Morrissey filmed this with a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. MORE: CORAL Video: Sulawesi Reef at Henry Doorly ZooMore:

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Captive Bred Heniochus Butterflyfish – We’re “THIS CLOSE”!

893cthis close Captive Bred Heniochus Butterflyfish – We’re “THIS CLOSE”!How close are we? “This Close”! It occurred to me that sometimes we use the phrase “this close” in idle conversation, often holding up our fingers perhaps a centimeter apart, as if to give an actual indication of dimension when what we’re really trying to convey is is not something so physically concrete. Instead, we’re talking about missing the mark by “that much”, 9/10ths of the way, the slimmest of margins. We’re talking about a cry from the back seat, demanding to know “are we there yet?” with 10 minutes left on the car ride. In other words, “This Close” might be something best summed up as simply a goal not met, an accomplishment narrowly avoided, also known as hearbreaking disappointment, but on the edge of greatness all the same. Or my personal favorite twist on a classic phrase, “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” (yes you read that correctly)! The recent butterflyfish larviculture accomplishments by Frank Baensch & the Hawaii Larval Fish Project are nothing short of groundbreaking, but a captive-bred Butterflyfish is not here just yet. MORE: Captive Bred Heniochus Butterflyfish – We’re “THIS CLOSE”!More:

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CORAL Feature Video: LED-Lit 120-Gallon Reef

 This is a 120 gallon reef aquarium. I am using two Taotronics 120 watt fully programmable led fixture. My system started out as a 55 gallon tank a year and a half ago, then upgraded to this 120 gallon tank using my 55 gallon tank as my sump filtration in my basement. I use a large protein skimmer, biopellets and an algae scrubber to control nutrients. With my setup I never do any water changes and supplement all elements. Music Gavin Mikhail Piano playing Mumford and Sons “I Will Wait” MORE: CORAL Feature Video: LED-Lit 120-Gallon ReefMore:

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CORAL Video & Highlights: Coral Reef Resilience

 Few places on earth captivate our sense of wonder as much as coral reefs. But how stable and enduring are coral reefs? Violent tropical storms frequently destroy fragile coral skeletons, but broken branches quickly sprout new growth. Coral reefs are resilient and adapted to recover from these natural events, but what happens when humans tip the balance? Let me show you two examples in Fiji. For centuries Fijians have harvested marinelife without serious harm to their reefs, but near the capital city of Suva there are may more people fishing. Let’s look more closely at this reef MORE: CORAL Video & Highlights: Coral Reef ResilienceMore:

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CORAL Video: Frag Swap Set Up with HighDefCorals

 It’s safe to say that HighDefCorals has taken the act of being a “Frag Swap Vendor” to a true art-form; they often have the swankest setup in the room. Gone are the days when vendors at frag swaps were simply hobbyists with a 20 gallon long and a metal halide light; these days frag swapping is serious business. Based in Oklahoma City, OK, Ed and Denise Brookshire, and partner Paul Whitby, dedicate their time to traveling the country to offer “[imported] livestock not found in your LFS.” For companies like HighDefCorals, perhaps we are better off thinking of their mobile setups as the gourmet food trucks of the aquarium industry. Last weekend at the inaugural Reef Currents conference and coral farmers market put on by MARSH, HighDefCorals took the time to film frag swap setup Friday night before the event on Saturday. What resulted is a 2-minute condensed look at the setup of the HighDefCorals display you see may see around your local frag swap or convention. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbvNGfR_s4c They make it look easy, but having been there myself to see the tear down (and to get drenched when a hose came off a high volume water pump that was draining a bucket) there’s a lot to be done even with such a well-thought out and engineered setup. MORE: CORAL Video: Frag Swap Set Up with HighDefCoralsMore:

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Marine Aquarium Trade: A Force for Good in Saving Coral Reefs

58a7Fish Catch Marine Aquarium Trade: A Force for Good in Saving Coral Reefs
The fate of coral reefs worldwide is now a well-publicized, front-page, six o’clock news crisis. In fact, three marine scientists just published a landmark paper that leads with this daunting proclamation: “Coral reefs are at the brink of a global, system-wide collapse.” Lead author of the paper, Dr. Andrew L. Rhyne: “Ending cyanide fishing and effective trade monitoring are necessary and critical short-term gains for the marine aquarium trade.” Ending cyanide fishing and effective trade monitoring are necessary and critical short-term gains. For those involved in the keeping of marine aquaria, it is logical—perhaps even imperative—to wonder whether or not embattled reef ecosystems can sustain fisheries pressure in addition to all the other stressors they face. Often the heated arguments come down to these two points of contention: 1. Is it possible to harvest live fishes and invertebrates from coral reefs in a sustainable manner? MORE: Marine Aquarium Trade: A Force for Good in Saving Coral ReefsMore:

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