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The Pros and Cons of a Bare-Bottomed Marine Tank

bare bottom tank1 The Pros and Cons of a Bare Bottomed Marine TankIf you’re in the process of planning and setting up a new saltwater aquarium, you’ll need to give some thought to the type of substrate you’d like to use. It may seem counterintuitive, but one of your options in this area is to dispense with any sort of substrate altogether and go bare-bottomed (BB). To help you decide whether the BB approach might be right for you, here are some of the pros and cons to consider: Pros: Very easy to vacuum up uneaten food, fish waste, and other detritus that has settled to the bottom without siphoning up sand in the process. Allows you to aim the effluents of powerheads and other sources of water movement in any direction desired to maximize water flow throughout the system and behind rockwork without creating an underwater “sand storm.” Detritus more readily remains suspended in the water column so it can be filtered/skimmed out efficiently. Cost savings from going sans substrate can be significant depending on the size of your system. Cons: Arguably less natural looking, though this is a matter of taste. (Plus, coralline algae and, potentially, various encrusting invertebrates will eventually conceal the bottom, giving the system a more natural look.) Can’t keep burrowing fishes as easily. Some BB aficionados get around this by placing a substrate-filled container somewhere in the system. Having no sand-dwelling microfauna can mean lower biodiversity More: The Pros and Cons of a Bare-Bottomed Marine TankMore:

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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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Results or Convenience – Which Matters Most When Feeding?

7519p coral frenzy 041812 004 57845N2 300x300 Results or Convenience – Which Matters Most When Feeding? I would always like to think the aquarium owners are the ideal feeders and give every organism the proper nutrition. Chances are though that you, like everybody else, have forgotten to feed your fish for a few days. We are human and feeding a sun coral multiple times a day is not something every aquarium owner wants to do. It is a hassle for some people to feed there corals once a week!… SO… Well when I discovered I had a dying anemone I knew that I would have to feed it every day. For about a month I followed through with this but then eventually it becomes annoying to go through the process of pulling the food out, preparing it, feeding it, and cleaning up. So I started doing once every other day, and that turned into once every three days. My point is that I started feeding for the results but over time what mattered to me was the convenience MORE: Results or Convenience – Which Matters Most When Feeding?More:

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An Aquarist’s Notes: Turbulence in Hawaii

hawaii fish 586px An Aquarist’s Notes: Turbulence in Hawaii
I first went to Hawaii on assignment for CORAL Magazine in 2010, and for the better part of four years I have covered that state’s aquarium fishery. I expected to find a fishery full of complicated regulations and even more complicated conflict. I found the latter in spades, but the former, to my surprise, didn’t really exist. Regulations were relatively few and far between—no total allowable catches (TACs), no quotas, no bag limits, no limited entry. I was, quite frankly, shocked that a commercial fishery in U.S. waters would be so unregulated. The fishers I interviewed, especially on Big Island, didn’t view it that way. Many felt they were being unfairly targeted and that veils of regulation were being drawn around them like the barrier nets they use to catch aquarium fishes. Some felt they had consistently given ground, made concessions in the face of anti-trade activism. Some were ready to make a stand, saying they couldn’t—wouldn’t—give any more. Some of these fishers opposed the rules package just signed by the governor. A few of them still oppose it, although they are not willing to say so on the record. Those fishers who stand in opposition to the new rules have some strange MORE: An Aquarist’s Notes: Turbulence in HawaiiMore:

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Fish Are Pets: Take Care Of Them As Such!

701px Puffer Fish DSC01257 Fish Are Pets: Take Care Of Them As Such!
A lot of times you hear about aquariums as “display pieces” and are talked about like you would a painting or sculpture.  In some cases, the aquarium has replaced some peoples televisions all together.  One thing that may become lost in the process is the fact that no matter what your tank actually looks like you still have living animals that have individual personalities.  Ok, maybe your snail is a boring pet, but your clownfish, tangs, puffers, and even damsels are uniquely varied in attitudes and needs.  Sounds like a dog or a cat to me, right? en.wikipedia.org When you go to the LFS to buy your critters there is usually the same vibe you get from going to rescue dogs from the pound More: Fish Are Pets: Take Care Of Them As Such!More:

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Danger Muriatic Acid Sign S 7190 LIVE ROCK ACID BATH Sometimes you get to the point where your rock is not working out for you. Maybe you had a stagnant tank and everything died? Maybe you have an insane algae problem? Maybe you just got the rock for free from some fishy character on Craigslist and just don’t trust it? Even aiptasia, hydroids, or dinoflagellates can make every other option impossible. Either way you are at your wits end and need a fresh start. Time to bust out the heavy artillery More: LIVE ROCK ACID BATHMore:

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A Snail’s Babysitter

62800 Neptunea pribiloffensis 03 300x203 A Snail’s Babysitter Whelks, Anemones, and Sea Urchins I am back to continue with my posting after an unexpected absence due to bodily self-decomposition.  A word to the wise, don’t get old.  Or if you do, don’t let your body know.  It might just not like the process.   Anyway, on with my  tales from the slimy lagoon… In an earlier discussion, I mentioned that aeons ago I saw large female whelks depositing egg capsule masses on one of my research sorties to “my” intertidal study site near Homer, Alaska.  I found this to be very interesting, at the time I was casting around for some research to do, and here a potential easily-done project dropped into my lap. Normally I don’t trust to luck, but I wasn’t about to overtly examine the buccal anatomy of this presentation equine.  I was able to identify the animals, but, at that time, there was no record of them depositing egg capsules in a mass or otherwise.  In point of fact, virtually nothing was known about the natural history of these beautiful whelks, an artifact of being found in an out-of-the-way place where the accumulated knowledge of such critters was minimal.  In fact the only reason I knew the whelks were at this area was that I had taken some students down to the site the previous autumn on a class field trip. Neptunea pribiloffensis whelks on the study beach. The substrate is sandstone, and the “fuzzy” clumps are masses of a feather duster worm which is one of the common prey of the whelks. Figuring that the presence of essentially unknown animals that I was interested in learning about would lead to an easy publication, the following spring I decided to do a little bit of basic research on the snails, and went down to the site to make some field observations as well as to collect a few animals for gut analyses.  Having examined some other Neptunea, including some specimens for this species, I knew I had to look at the gut contents to determine what MORE: A Snail’s BabysitterMore:

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