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Coral Atoll: A New App for Reef Enthusiasts

[embedded content] Atoll is a new app available for reef aquarium and diving enthusiasts to download on the iPhone. Atoll is an interactive mobile app which includes a comprehensive database of coral.  Atoll provides vibrant photos and detailed information allowing users to more easily identify coral which they encounter on a dive or purchase as an addition to their aquarium.  This can be critical information especially when dealing with corals which exhibit aggressive behavior and could potentially wreak havoc in your aquarium if placed in close proximity to other species.  Atoll also provides useful information to hobbyists relating to appropriate water temperatures and pH levels for your own aquarium. Atoll also allows users to submit photos of unknown coral for the community to identify. This is

Amazing Basket Stars

RCA_3477-2I have a massive fondness for basket stars, their fractally configured, furled structure is highly appealing: each arm branching into smaller and smaller versions of itself; they remind me of underwater ferns. Biologically, these animals are echinoderms, that amazing and vast group of animals that includes sea cucumbers, star fish, and crinoids (feather stars and sea lilies).  You’d assume that, given their lifestyle and superficial characteristics, basket stars would be closely related to the Crinoidea family, but they are actually more closely related to brittle stars, and belong to the family Ophiuroidea, sub order Euryalina.… More:

Coral Letters

coral lettersTwo years ago, Barry and Aimee Brown began photographing “hidden” letters in the brain coral colonies around Curacao, the Caribbean island where they live. Their hunt, which sometimes took them as deep as 100 feet, gave them an even better understanding of the devastation shallow-growing brain coral have experienced from bleaching and recent strong storms. You can download the full set of letters for free here as a zip file. The photographers only ask that you give them credit and that you don’t use the work commercially.… More:

This Glittery Goniopora is the Best Looking Yet

The LPS scene was dominated by green goniopora for decades. They were just so commonplace that everyone had them, or at least tried them out in their reef with mixed results. Then, along came the bright red ones and everyone was like, “ooohhh, ahhhh”. These red gonis have since dominated, as they sported vibrant reddish pink colors and occasionally a blue disc atop their tentacles. While both of those morphs are fine and all, but there’s a new color morph on the block that is set to put all others to shame. It’s a sparkling, glittery red goni, and it is amazing.This stunning piece features reddish, almost copper colored tentacles that are infused with glitter and punctuated with those hypnotic yellow eyes.

Picture of the Week, Dragonface Pipefish

For this installment of the AquaNerd Picture of the Week, we’re digging up a blast from the past. We’re showing off an image we took years ago of a dragonface pipefish, which is probably one of the first images we took with a macro lens as we started our foray into aquarium photography. While the image may not be technically perfect, meaning the lighting isn’t correct and the camera settings may not be right, we still love what we were able to capture. For those familiar with this particular pipefish, you know how hard they can be to photograph. They are quite small, move about quickly, and are often shy in the presence of people (especially those holding cameras).

New Top Down Box On the Way from Building an Obsession

As aquarists who frequently dabble in the realm of photography, we can appreciate this new product from Houston-based acrylic fabricator, Building an Obsession. Announced just a couple of days ago, BAO has a swanky new top down box for DSLR style cameras, which, as you could imagine, would make taking photos of corals so much easier. The top down box features a 6″ deep carbon fiber tube that mounts to the camera via the universal tripod mount. The lightweight tube sports a crystal clear acrylic window that helps keep water off the lens while also preventing distortion of the images. The top down box also has an optional “lip clip”, which is an add-on that lets you better stabilize the camera be letting users mount the entire assembly to a tank rim or eurobrace. The clip is adjustable to allow for various angles of shooting. The first batch of these top down boxes is complete, and each will retail for $50

Sand Tiger Shark Attempts to Swallow Tankmate Whole

It is always easy to underestimate the feeding abilities of predatory fish, in this case a sand tiger shark at a marine park in Japan. You see the animal and think, “surely, it can’t eat that” when referring to its tankmates. But the 9-foot sand tiger at Aqua World surprised its keepers when after an extended fasting period, perhaps in preparation of the swimming meal it was eyeballing, the shark tried to eat a 3-foot long whitetip reef shark. The aquarium’s staff had been worried for days because the sand tiger was showing no interest in feeding. That is until, however, the tasty little whitetip morsel came a little too close. The shark attacked the much smaller whitetip and even managed to get most of victim into its mouth. But the 3-foot long shark proved to be a bit too much, as it was seen sticking out of the sand tiger’s mouth and was eventually spit out. Obviously dead at this point, the aquarium keepers removed the whitetip in fear that the sand tiger would return and try to finish the job

Graduated Caps on Fluval SEA Supplements are the Perfect Touch for Precision Dosers

Have you ever heard of someone singing the praises of a product for such a small, seemingly insignificant detail? Well, we’re doing just that for the Fluval SEA additives, which have impressed us with their bottlecaps alone. Dosing with aquarium supplements has always been a bit of a guessing game. The instructions are always a little iffy, and measurements have always been eyeballed. To avoid all of the confusion, however, Fluval did something special with their line of supplements, and it’s one of those fine details that will likely go unnoticed by many. To help dose their products, Fluval included a graduated plastic cap into the overall design of their SEA additive line. In a broader view of our daily lives, this isn’t anything special

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