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Reef Kids: Heart Animals

heart fish - reefsValentine’s Day is great, but, as any parent of a preschooler will tell you, it can come with a frighteningly large number of hearts – paper hearts, painted hearts, sticker hearts… Get crafty this weekend (and get a second use out of what would otherwise be trash) with some imaginative ways to re-use that heart-shaped bounty. Let these images inspire you to snip, glue, and doodle your way to a set of fun holiday decorations! The fish craft pictured here is from Tammy Dube at Housing a Forest; I like the heart-shaped scales and the fringed fins. And a cheerful, slightly silly greeting written on the back would turn the craft into an adorable card. Might I suggest:  “Will you oFISHally be my Valentine?”, “You’re the perfect catch”, or “Of all the fish in the sea, I’m glad you’re friends with me”. MORE

An Ultra-Low-Nutrient System for Acropora and other SPS

Top down shot of Acropora microladosWelcome to the next level of coral care. By now I am assuming you have at least understood all the key general practices to maintain some of the hardier corals, from soft corals to large-polyp stony (LPS) corals to some of the more rugged small-polyp stony (SPS) corals. Each category of livestock can be classified into various requirements for the piece of ocean environment you are trying to simulate. Oftentimes we tend to generalize that all parts of the ocean are the same, but as you become educated about the livestock you are trying to maintain, you will understand that there is no single recipe to make everything thrive and flourish in the same tank.Review time So let us review some of the key attributes we, as responsible hobbyists and nature fans, must familiarize ourselves with in order to provide a sustainable environment. The most common aquarium parameters are the following: 1. Tank dimensions Volume (amount of salt water for stability) Depth (impacts light penetration and available environmental zones) Size (impacts aquascaping, flow, lighting choices, growth) 2. Lighting Type: metal halide, T5, LED, or hybrids Spectrum (10,000 to 20,000 Kelvin) Intensity (lux) Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) Photosynthetically Usable Radiation (PUR) Photoperiod (hours) 3. MORE

An Underwater Museum for Spain’s Canary Islands

credit: Jason Decares-Taylor

credit: Jason deCaires-Taylor

 Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has created some amazing underwater sculptures; his works in Grenada are well-known amongst the diving community.  His latest project, Museo Atlantico, on the island of Lanzarote, features some works with powerful messages. MORE

For Once – a Good ‘Turtle News’ Story

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Marine conservationists have quite a difficult time of it.  Things are not going well for our oceans. Ocean acidification, huge amounts of plastic pollution, and overfishing add up to one heck of a series of apparently unsurmountable problems. So when there is a ‘good news story’ it really is worth celebrating.  MORE

Briareum cylindrum, a new species of star polyp

Modified from Samini-Lamin & van Ofwegen, 2016

Modified from Samini-Lamin & van Ofwegen, 2016

 Green Star Polyps are about as common an aquarium coral as there is, but, if you stare at enough of them, you might notice something unexpected—there are quite a few different varieties of this coral available to aquarists. For instance, some specimens have long tentacles, and some have these much shorter. Some specimens are neon green and others brown. Some have white centers, but many don’t. Some have a knobby texture, while others are mostly flat. Some have feathered edges to their tentacles, and some are entirely smooth. It’s almost as if there are several distinct species of star polyp confused under a single common name. And, unsurprisingly, some newly published research suggests that this is exactly the case.MORE

Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus


Good morning all, what a week!! I have been so busy this week that I wasn’t able to go biking at all but tomorrow morning I will be making up for lost time in the saddle and picking up a friend at 7:30. I have a beautiful Blue Tang for you all today that I found swimming under a pier up against a beautiful sponge encrusted wall!  MORE

Artificial Reefs and a Pair of Heroes

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In late 2015 I had a great opportunity to visit the Mexican Caribbean as part of a commission for a scuba magazine, while there, I had the chance to dive with a couple of heroes of mine: Doctor Sylvia Earle and Jean-Michel Cousteau. I was covering something called ScubaFest in Cozumel, a small island with amazing diving, off the Yucatan Peninsula. MORE

ATI T5 Bulb Comparison

reefs.comATIcomparisonT5 lighting is still very popular among aquarists, with ATI bulbs generally being the number one choice. “What’s the best bulb combo?” is probably the most frequently discussed topic in the T5 world. For the most part it boils down to personal preference, but without purchasing all the bulbs to try over your own tank the decision can seem daunting. Than Thein, owner of Advanced Reef Aquarium and Tidal Gardens, created these phenomenal videos that cover each bulb individually, as well as several bulb combinations, to help you decide prior to purchase. MORE


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