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Hawaii’s Angelfish Diversity: Part 2

Japanese AngelfishThe highly sought after Japanese Angelfish (C. interrupta), which is known primarily from the subtropical Ogasawara Islands just south of Japan (but also parts of Hawai), pushes the size limits for the dwarf angelfishes, maxing out at over 15cm. This is likely due in part to its preference for cooler waters, where many reef fishes tend to grow to larger sizes. C. interrupta is by no means a common find in Hawaii, with it only being documented from the northernmost extension of the archipelago at Midway Island and Kure Atoll. When taking into account the primarily Japanese distribution of this species, there is a fascinating biogeographic pattern to study here. Just how does a Japanese species create a population in the Hawaiian Archipelago?MORE

Why Isn’t Cryptocaryon irritans a Major Problem for Wild Marine Fish?

Whitecheek Tang (Acanthurus nigricans) afflicted with Cryptocaryon irritansDuring yesterday’s Thanksgiving get-together, which my wife and I host for my side of the family every year, a teenaged nephew asked me about marine ich (Cryptocaryon irritans)—the one fish disease he’s heard something about from a friend who keeps saltwater tanks. As I explained the parasite and its lifecycle and why I think it’s so important to quarantine new specimens, he asked, “If ich spreads so easily, why aren’t all the fish in the ocean infected?” Thrilled that, for once at least, I could offer my curious young nephew something akin to wisdom, I explained that the following factors help keep ich infections at a manageable level in wild fish populations:The vastness of the ocean Even though coral reefs appear to be bristling with fish, the density of the fish population relative to the volume of the ocean is, if you’ll excuse the pun, a mere drop in the bucket. Remember, during the tomite, or theront, stage of the Cryptocaryon lifecycle, the free-swimming parasites must find a host fish to attach to and feed upon within a relatively short period or they die. In the vast ocean, with its limitless water volume and powerful, dynamic currents, only a very small number of tomites ever succeed in locating a host. On the other hand, in a closed aquarium system, even if the actual number of fish specimens is fairly small, the population density is still extremely high relative to the volume of water. Of course, the density of host-seeking parasites relative to the water volume is also very high. MORE

Superheated water changes

1681409-poster-1280-water-vapor-bodyMost serious marine aquarists have a water mixing station. Even though we live in an age of nearly endless aquarium filtration options, water changes still rank as one of the best aquarium maintenance practices. They remove compounds like nitrate and phosphate, dilute waste and replenish trace elements absorbed by corals. Water changes are a key strategy for keeping a healthy marine aquarium. Water mixing stations make performing water changes easier and more convenient, while giving the aquarist the opportunity to have fresh saltwater on hand at all times. While water mixing stations are a necessity when keeping a marine aquarium, they can also become a hotbed for disease. Often the same utility pumps are used to move water from mixing stations into the tank, and the tools we use to help mix water (pitchers, powerheads, etc) have been exposed to both fresh saltwater and our aquarium’s water. Unless an aquarist is uber-vigilant in making sure pumps, water vats and other maintenance necessities never mix, than it’s quite possible that a water mixing station can also become a parasite and bacterial farm. Is there a simple additional step that can be taken when preparing saltwater that greatly reduces that chance that fresh saltwater may carry some very unwanted hitchhikers from a previous parasitic outbreak?  MORE

Hawaii’s Angelfish Diversity: Part 1

Credit: Greg McFall NOAA, 2104

Credit: Greg McFall NOAA, 2104

 Hawaii is a fascinating archipelago to study when it comes to the biogeography and evolution of shallow water marine fishes. These isolated volcanic islands, separated by more than 1000 miles from their nearest neighbor, are a hotbed of endemic speciation, with much left to discover concerning how this region’s coral reefs were first populated. A great deal can be learned by focusing on just one familiar group of aquarium fishes: the angelfishes of the family Pomacanthidae.MORE

21 Gifts For Shark Loving Kids (And Adults Too)

Black Friday is officially upon us. Another holiday season awaits. Although arguably, black Friday is not the shopping mecca it once was, there is no denying that we are now officially kicking off the gift buying season. With it of course comes the stress of trying to find that perfect and unique gift for everyone on your list. This list may help for those elasmobranchii lovers on your list, with shark blankets, hampers, wall decor and lots more to choose from. While I think shark loving kids would go crazy for some of these gift suggestions, actually lots of adults I know as well would too.  This shark blanket by Blankie Tailsenhanced-22020-1447783431-1 will keep warm any of your loved ones, who happen to be under 5 feet tall, for $34.95.  enhanced-26299-1447871540-1MORE

Christmas Tree Worm

While out on my second dive today and while waiting for the sub, I snapped a shot of a beautiful burgundy-colored Christmas Tree worm for you all. These gentle little two inch creatures are what we call “the icing on the cake”, meaning that they put the final touch on the reef and are found in a cornucopia of colors. They can be found attached to just about everything you see underwater. If disturbed, they will disappear, an action which happens so fast it’s mind boggling, and if left alone they will pop back up within minutes or sometimes just seconds, such cool little animals.  MORE

Review: Big World BQ-5000L

2014_12_pompa_risalita_corallinea_BQ5000L_DC50q_2 We recently finished our in-depth testing of the Big World BQ-5000L, imported to Italy by Corallinea. We measured the hydraulic head, flow rate, power consumption, and noise, and as the BQ-5000L is an electronic pump with a digital external controller, we were also able to test the flow rate and the power consumption at each setting.  MORE

Rare Azooxanthellate Stony Corals in Japan: Part 3

Flabellum sp.

Note the more lenticular shape of this compared to Truncatoflabellum spheniscus. Credit: Kapaguy

Note the more lenticular shape of this compared to Truncatoflabellum spheniscus. Credit: Kapaguy

 There are a few species this might be (pavoninum, magnificum, politum, angustum), and a skeleton would need to be examined to determine an identification. Whatever this is, very few images exist of it, but the green fluorescent oral disc makes this one easily recognizable.MORE is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.