Jeans, a tee-shirt, and comfy shoes are my go-to uniform for MACNA during the day – I know that I’ll be on my feet for hours, and I want to be as comfortable as possible. Lightweight slip-ons, like these from TOMS, are perfect for the weekend. They have a ton of different colors, prints, and styles on their website, and for every shoe purchased, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. To date, they have donated over 45 million pairs of shoes, which supports improved health, access to education, and higher self esteem. MORE
I love toys and games that foster teamwork, like wooden train tracks, Legos, puzzles, and even art supplies. I’ll take an experience over an object any day, and, when I am shopping for kids’ presents, I look for something that will encourage a conversation and build a memory. I came across these hyper-realistic 3D paper model kits by Happy Paper yesterday while putzing around online and daydreaming about the upcoming (might as well accept it) holidays; they would make great gifts for both children and adults. Designed and produced in Seoul, Korea, these beautiful, life-like models are easy to assemble; the pieces are pre-cut and the instructions are very easy to follow. You just need glue and a pair of tweezers and you’re ready to go. The kits can take up to four hours to assemble, which translates to just the right amount of time for spending a cozy afternoon or evening together. As Mi gyeong, a mother from Seoul Safe says, it’s “As cute as a plush toy but more interactive for my kids.” The kits are affordable – now through the beginning of September, they’re on sale for $14.99; after that, they’ll return to their (very reasonable) price of $20.00 each. And the company is committed to education and the environment – the paper is all recycled, and the toy is designed to improve a child’s spatial intelligence and awareness. Really, its one of the most perfect gifts out there!
Long tentacle anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis) at night under LED lightingAnyone who has done any night diving knows that nighttime activity on coral reefs is very, very different from what goes on there during the day. A dramatic “changing of the guard” occurs, with diurnal fish seeking refuge in the reef and nocturnal predators and planktivores taking dominion. Parrotfishes, wedged in caves or crevices, cloak their chemical signatures in mucous cocoons. Morays, only partially visible during the day, slither from their dens and swim in the open in search of prey. Octopuses, too, lose their daytime shyness and ply the reefs with busy tentacles. Night-feeding corals that appear bare and lifeless while the sun is up come into their glory with polyps fully extended. Bioluminescent organisms of all kinds put on otherworldly displays MORE
While watching an interview with Fishbit creator Nathan Levine, I noticed a surprising statistic. One out of every ten people who enter the marine aquarium hobby stay in it past 18 months. Is it really surprising? The hobby is expensive, time consuming and often equipment is difficult to implement when you’re new. It also can be disastrous to a home, in the event of a large water leak. I’ve known aquarists who enjoyed the hobby and maintained moderate success, but once their floors or ceilings were ruined by saltwater, they decided to throw on the towel, quite literally. Nathan Levine brings up an important point about controllers, in that they can take some of the guess-work out of hobby success, but are often so difficult to use they alienate many aquarists. MORE
A new product announcement from Larry DuPont and the team at LRS Reef Frenzy: after their third revision and plenty of trial and error, the company has perfected their new fish food, which they are dubbing the “LRS Fertility Frenzy: Who’s Your Daddy blend”. The latest incarnation of the popular frozen food has an even higher protein and fatty acid content than before, and aquarists are getting great results. The food’s success is due to its unique ingredient list and preparation; as well as active probiotics and a bunch of vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements, LRS foods are made up of human-grade seafood, including peeled shrimp, fresh clams, wild-caught ocean perch, bay scallops, PE Mysis®, and pacific plankton. MORE
This is a very interesting study. Researchers from UC San Diego published a study in Advanced Materials, that has printed 3D tiny microrobots in the shape of fish. The tiny fish microrobots, or microfish, are just 120 microns long and 30 microns thick. A micron is a unit of length which is equal to one millionth of a meter. To put it another way, there are 25,4000 microns in one inch. So we are talking a very, very small microfish. Hundreds of the fish can be printed in seconds. They contain platinum in the tail with reacts with hydrogen peroxide, moving the tails of the fish. MORE
MACNA 2015 will take place in Washington, D.C.In a little more than a week, thousands of marine aquarium hobbyists and industry professionals will shoal in Washington, D.C. for the 27th annual MACNA (Marine Aquarium Conference of North America). If you attended MACNA last year in the Mile-High City or in South Florida the year before, you’ll know they were both incredibly successful events. Hosted at the beautiful Marriott Wardman Park, this year’s conference is in the capable hands of the Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarist Society, marking ten years since the club last brought MACNA to our Nation’s Capital. What is it and what can you expect?MACNA is a long-running, large-scale event that successfully hybridizes several components into one cohesive weekend of saltwater and reef aquarium goodness. First is the learning symposium aspect, which gives industry leaders, conservationists, authors, and scientists a platform to address a wide variety of topics. I always look forward to hearing what the top minds in our hobby have to say – so don’t underestimate how educational and entertaining these can be MORE