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The Yellow Clown Goby: A Practically Perfect Nano Candidate

Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae) perching in coralsNano marine aquarium enthusiasts must be very discerning in their livestock selections to ensure any specimens they choose won’t outgrow their systems. Reaching a maximum size that can best be described as miniscule, the yellow clown goby (Gobiodon okinawae) is a pretty safe bet in this regard. It’s also charming, attractively colored, relatively outgoing and active, and typically very inexpensive to boot. Physical traitsG. okinawae is a uniform canary yellow in coloration. Its general body shape is somewhat similar to that of clownfishes, hence the “clown goby” moniker applied to it and its congeners. Size-wise, this western Pacific species is among the smallest fish available in the hobby, growing no larger than around 1 to 1½ inches.

How Can We Encourage Saltwater Gender Equality?

There’s a lot of conversation these days about gender equality with respect to income, career opportunities, education, and many other arenas of life. However, we tend to give it very little thought when it comes to participation in our hobby. Let’s face it, the perception—if not the reality—of the gender ratio in the marine aquarium hobby is that it’s largely tipped in favor of males.But if this is true, why is it so? After all, there’s nothing inherently masculine about keeping fish and corals in glass or acrylic boxes. What is it that seemingly discourages many women from getting involved or, if they are hobbyists, from getting their voices and opinions heard just as much—or as loudly—as their male counterparts do? As regular Saltwater Smarts visitor Louise Maggs helpfully points out, there are some persistent myths and misconceptions floating around out there that might be inhibiting women from participating fully in our salty pastime. That really got me thinking, so I’d like to dedicate today’s post to a discussion of those myths as I perceive them and invite all of you—whatever your gender—to weigh in with your thoughts.

Chronic Stress in Captive Tangs

Juvenile chevron tang (Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis)Tangs and surgeonfish are a diverse, beautiful, and often highly personable group of fish. It is no wonder that so many of us want to keep these fish in our systems. Inexperienced keepers do the right thing by going to their favorite forums and sites to ask which tangs can be kept, what size tank is appropriate, and how many they can keep in a particular system. Unfortunately, there has long been disagreement among certain hobbyists on precisely how to answer these questions—with some being much more restrictive than others when it comes to the species, tank sizes, and number of specimens recommended. In some instances, heated arguments occur as a result. Folks on both sides of the issue are generally well-meaning. Certainly neither side wants to bring harm to captive tangs. So why all the fuss then?An overlooked ailment I believe a good deal of the original disagreement actually stemmed from problems created by an unrelated group of ailments that few people at the time correctly identified

Reef Threads Podcast #239


Is it smart to quarantine several fish together?

This week’s podcast chit-chat topics are the reef side of Gary’s bicycle trip, collecting wild food, quarantining multiple fish, DC pumps, pipe organ care, and what we’d pay for fish and corals. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Sponsor: Rod’s Food
Rod’s Food website

Multi-fish quarantine
Is It Okay to Quarantine Multiple Marine Fish at Once?, Saltwater Smarts

Splash-free surge tanks
Finally, a surge tank without the noise, bubbles, space, or plumbing!, LobsterofJustice, Reef Central

Pipe organ coral
Pipe Organ care, GOSKN5, Reef Central

Paying the most
What’s your max fish price?, 3FordFamily, Reef2Reef

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5 Traits of a “Beginner” Marine Fish

Captive-bred Banggai Cardinalfish are a great example of a beginner fishWhat exactly does it mean when we say that a marine fish is “good for beginners”? After all, it’s not like certain fish species come with training wheels or have a set of care instructions tattooed on their dorsal fins (though I may just have to patent that idea). So what sets a “beginner fish” apart from ones better suited to more experienced hobbyists or even experts? While there are no hard-and-fast rules here, I recommend that hobby newcomers look for the following five traits when shopping for fish: 1) Community compatibleThere are always exceptions, but most novice hobbyists likely want to have an interesting mix of fish species rather than get too specialized. That means that any fish acquired should coexist in relative peace and harmony with its tankmates provided proper order of introduction is observed. Notice the emphasis on “proper order of introduction.” If you ignore the rule of introducing fish in the order of least aggressive to most aggressive, you’ll end up with chaos no matter how beginner-friendly the fish may be otherwise. Of course, some fish—such as clown triggers—become so explosively violent that they have no place in a community tank regardless of when they’re introduced. 2) Hardy and adaptable From time to time, beginners (and quite a few more experienced hobbyists, I might add) are going to make mistakes that negatively impact water quality and chemistry

Neptune Systems Par Monitoring Kit

neptune systems PMK
Neptune Systems is pleased to announce that it will begin shipping its new Par Monitoring Kit, priced at $299.95, to North America next month. For more information, go to: https://www.neptunesystems.com/pmk/More:

Fisher Island Corals & The Saga of The Deep Dredge (Part 1 of 3)

Aerial view of Biscayne Bay, Government Cut, and Fisher Island encircled in deep dredge silt Over the past eighteen months, the Army Corps of Engineers’ Deep Dredge of PortMiami has continuously released dirty water throughout Biscayne Bay and onto our surrounding reefs. The dredging will continue until at least August 2015. Over the course of the Dredge we have observed levels of suspended silt far beyond what is environmentally acceptable or healthy in a coral reef environment, and in areas well outside the area where the Army Corps predicted. One of Coral Morphologic’s biggest concerns during the Deep Dredge has been the well-being of the hybrid fused-staghorn coral (Acropora prolifera) colonizing the Fisher Island side of Government Cut. This coral is what kickstarted our interest in documenting the extent of coral colonization within Miami’s coastal waterways, and was the subject of Colin’s 2011 TEDxMIA talk. The concerns we expressed to the State of Florida about this coral is ultimately what led them to provide us with permits to rescue corals from the dredging far offshore… but not for the hybrid itself (or any other corals on Fisher Island). [embedded content] Colin’s 2011 TEDxMIA talk on Hybrid Acropora living within Miami city limits In addition to this highly unusual hybrid Acropora coral living within the shipping channel, we have found a variety of other Acroporid corals living on the seawalls of Fisher Island. There are at least three colonies of federally-protected Elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata) and 2 different morphotypes of hybrid Acropora prolifera. As far as we know, Coral Morphologic are the only researchers documenting these critically important corals growing along man-made shorelines in Florida. Typically, elkhorn corals are found miles offshore on the outer reef crest where they receive clean water and strong water movement. Elkhorn corals were once the most important reef-building corals in the Caribbean, and the most effective coral species at dissipating hurricane storm surges for coastal communities. But since the early 1980’s more than 95% of the populations across the region have succumbed to highly infectious diseases. One such disease, white pox, has even been proven to be a human gut pathogen transmitted to the elkhorn coral via human waste from leaky septic tanks and offshore piping of sewage. In fact, white pox is the first known pathogen to be transmitted from a human to a marine invertebrate species. Over the past 5 years we have watched as these colonies of elkhorn coral wax and wane. Some years they will show remarkable growth, while another year they lose multiple sub-colony branches to white pox. However, over the past year (during the Deep Dredge), we have observed a precipitously steep decline in their health. We now feel that their survival is endangered enough by the continuing dredge silt that their plight needs to made public, and that their long-term well-being is ensured. [embedded content] Fisher Island Elkhorn Coral pre-dredge/ mid-dredge health survey It should be noted that the Virginia Key Wastewater Treatment Plant sits just ½ mile (760 m) away across Norris Cut… putting these corals within potential reach of air or waterborne contamination. Furthermore, these elkhorn corals are living on the outside of the Fisher Island marina which houses a multitude of luxury yachts, along with the occasional sewage, petroleum, or chemical spill. Despite it being less than a square kilometer in size, luxurious Fisher Island features a 9-hole golf course and lush landscaping indicative of frequent fertilizer use and runoff. The likelihood of the Federally-protected elkhorn coral self-recruiting and growing to adult size in such a manmade environment defies conventional logic when taking all these factors into consideration. Therefore, these particular elkhorn corals on Fisher Island could be invaluable to the scientific understanding of the adaptability, resilience, and restoration potential of such a keystone coral species. Furthermore, the elkhorn corals of Fisher Island are surviving in an extremely shallow sub-tidal zone where they are subject to direct sunlight and intense UV radiation. At one point in time these colonies were up to 1.5 meters in diameter. What appears now to be multiple independent branches of living elkhorn coral are all that remain of a previously contiguous mother colony. Partial die-off of coral colonies presents a dilemma for coral researchers, as it can create the illusion of multiple smaller colonies, when actually they are all clones of each other. One upside to having discontiguous colony for research is that a single branch can be removed for transplantation without risking the rest of the colony to a subsequent infection. In the past year, both of the elkhorn colonies living on the Norris Cut side of Fisher Island have demonstrated significant mortality, and evidence of white pox. Both colonies have undergone approximately 60-70% mortality since the dredging began, but appear to have stabilized during the previous cooler months. Without direct intervention we are concerned that these elkhorn colonies may not survive through summer 2015. More distressing is the clear evidence of dredge silt that has lethally smothered neighboring brain and star corals that were simply rested horizontally onto boulders when transplanted there by Army Corps subcontractors. Upon trying to fan off the silt that was choking these corals, we noticed that many were not even cemented in place as required. Rather, they were simply placed on the flat upper surfaces of the seawall boulders and left to their own devices. Even a small storm (let along a hurricane) can easily flip these unattached corals off their perches and upside down in the sediment. Whoever was paid to transplant these corals did a completely negligent job, and without any regard for the future success and settlement of the corals. An unacceptable number of these corals have already died from dredge sediment stress or simply from being dislodged from their perches. Some accountability is required for the deaths of these corals. [embedded content] Fisher Island silt-smothered coral survey Read more about our proposed solution to ensure the future survival of Fisher Island’s unique Acropora corals in Part 2. Tags: Coral Morphologic, Fisher Island, Miami This entry was posted on Thursday, May 21st, 2015 at 4:55 pm and is filed under Research. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. 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Reef Threads Podcast #227


Look for Momma.

This week we play What’s on the Home Page, in which we visit a bunch of websites and see what they have to offer. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Sponsor: Rod’s Food
Rod’s Food website

What’s on the Home Page links
Live Aquaria’s Reef Care resource

WikiHow’s Reduce Aquarium Maintenance

Bulk Reef Supply

Marine Depot

Salty Supply

Foster & Smith Pet Education

Premium Aquatics

ORA

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