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The Hypnotic Dance of Idiomysis

Idiomysis japonicus, specimens vary from tan to this distinctive orange form with white spots. Credit: hyaku

Idiomysis japonicus, specimens vary from tan to this distinctive orange form with white spots. Credit: hyaku

 As aquarists, we tend to think of mysid shrimps as little more than food for our fishes, ignoring that these are some of the most diverse and ecologically important creatures in tropical marine ecosystems. Roughly 1,000 species are known, but within our fish tanks we typically only encounter small, innocuous species hovering about in the dark corners of filtration. On coral reefs, however, there is a far greater diversity of color and form, exemplified to its extreme by the evocatively beautiful shrimps of Idiomysis.MORE

Coral Atoll Introduces its new app for Reef Aquarium & Diving Enthusiasts

 Atoll is a new app . Atoll is an interactive mobile app which includes a comprehensive database of coral; it is available for reef aquarium and diving enthusiasts to download on the iPhone.  Atoll provides vibrant photos and detailed information, allowing users to more easily identify the coral they encounter on a dive or purchase as an addition to their aquarium.
This can be critical information, especially when dealing with corals which exhibit aggressive behavior and could potentially wreak havoc in your aquarium if placed in close proximity to other species.  Atoll also provides useful information to hobbyists relating to appropriate water temperatures and pH levels for your own aquarium. Atoll also allows users to submit photos of unknown coral for the community to identify. This is MORE

Delicate Rose Lace Coral

I have a little, very delicate Rose Lace coral for you all today that I shot in the mouth of a little cave on our Substation house reef. This hydrocoral forms small colonies, up to 7 cm high by 11 cm wide. The surface of the outer branches are covered with rows of small glasses, formed by surrounding food and stinging polyps, and cups are also visible in the thick base of the branches. The polyps look like hair as when extended, and are burgundy, purple, or lavender near the base, fading to pink and white towards the tips of the branches. These corals inhabit protected and shady areas, often in caves or crevices, at a depth of 6-30 meters. They are found in Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and in the Abrolhos Archipelago. Usually found hanging from a ledge of a cave or crevice, they can sting if rubbed against, but they are not considered toxic or even deadly. The Stylaster roseus is a filter feeder like most other corals, and has a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, which provides it with the essential nutrients it needs to live. MORE

Spare the Net for These 5 Fish Types

Large bruisers, such as Miniatus grouper (Cephalopholis miniatus), are best wrangled without the use of a netMoving a marine fish from one tank to another is a straightforward process. You grab a fish net of appropriate size, scoop out the specimen, and release it in its new home. At most, you might have to work with two nets, using the second net to gently herd the fish into the first. Easy peasy, right? Ah, but don’t reach for that ubiquitous green net just yet! For some fish, transfer by net isn’t an ideal alternative. Here are five fish types that are best moved using different means:Type 1: Spiny/spiky and venomous Fish sporting venomous spines, such as lionfishes, scorpionfishes, and rabbitfishes, should never be transferred by net for two very good reasons MORE

Noise Pollution Can Be Deadly For Many Species

A new study, published in Nature Communications, indicates that noise pollution can be deadly for many species of fish. Noise pollution can be created above or below the water. For example, it can noise made through motorboats, cruise ships, sonar probes and even motor vehicles and planes. The problem comes is  due to the fact that many animals use sound to help locate their food, alert each other to predators and for mating purposes. So with lots of unnatural outside noise present, some animals may not able to function accordingly. Scientists studied damselfish  (very common in saltwater tanks) and discovered that the fish become distressed when affected by the outside noise, noting that the fish consumed 20 to 30 percent more oxygen than when the noise wasn’t present. Increased oxygen consumption is a sign of stress in fish.  Neon_damselfishMORE

Epithet etymology: Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis, the diamond-tail fairy wrasse

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Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis, the diamond-tail fairy wrasse. Photo credit: Lemon TYK.

 Today on epithet etymology, we feature yet another labrid, this time from the genus Cirrhilabrus. Cirrhilabrus are small, colourful fish that are are highly deserving of their colloquial name – “fairy wrasses”. Having extensively discussed about their biogeography and phylogeny elsewhere, we’ll keep this one short and dive right into the etymology behind the name. What makes Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis, Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalisMORE

Macro Monday: Galaxea fascicularis, wolf in sheep’s clothing

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A close up photo of Galaxea, showing its retracted sweeper tentacles during the day. These are the semi-translucent hyaline ones bordering the main polyp. Photo credit: Lemon TYK.

 Galaxea is a ubiquitous cnidarian with quite the nasty reputation. Like most other “LPS” corals, Galaxea harbour sweeper tentacles capable of extending many times their normal lengths. These are often supercharged with nematocysts, where they are utilized in turf wars with neighbouring corals, stinging and dissolving tissue upon contact. It is, however, only on a macro scale, can Galaxea‘s malevolent nature be fully appreciated. MORE

Preparing for Finding Dory with Alyssa’s Seahorse Savvy

maxresdefaultIn 2003 the marine aquarium world was taken by storm, thanks to the release of the Disney film Finding Nemo. Suddenly the clownfish was forever cemented as a children’s film icon, and kids all over the world wanted a “Nemo” of their own. Sadly, in 2003, the rise of captive bred clownfish hadn’t replaced all wild-caught fish with specimens born and raised in an aquarium. Parent’s rush to satiate their child’s nagging for a pet clownfish led to many specimens kept in inappropriate conditions, and eventually dying. In fact, the theme of the film that suggested fish believed a flush down the toilet led to freedom, generated controversy among aquarists and conservationists. Eventually Disney hired none other than Jean Michelle Cousteau (son of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Yves-Cousteau) to offer a disclaimer video on the film’s DVD release, cautioning both parents and children about the responsibility required when keeping marine fish, and how aquariums effect wild fish populations. Now, 13 years later, Finding Nemo’s upcoming sequel, Finding Dory is expected to stir more youthful interest in marine aquariums. This time though, the hobby and trade are far more prepared than the first time, with 13 years of innovation and methodology that makes owning a marine fish easier than ever. Since the clownfish craze came and went via the first film, it’s likely another marine animal may be on children and parent’s wish list this time around, and that is none other than the seahorse. Since a seahorse is one of the film’s title characters, it’s quite possible this unique and alluring animal will excite movie goers into convincing their parents that a seahorse tank is a must.  MORE


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