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Corals in Distress – Mass Bleaching Events

Healthy red and green CoralMany stories have come to light through recent years discussing the plight of coral reefs around the world; overfishing, destructive collecting methods, pollution, and ship traffic damage have taken a serious toll.  A number of new studies show that an even greater threat has emerged in 2010, extreme water temperatures.

Earlier this year, the region of Indo-pacific reefs known as the Coral Triangle (a roughly triangular area that encompasses Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) endured record surface water temperatures. These extreme water temperatures caused a mass coral bleaching event that may prove to be the worst on record. Read More »

SEASMART – The New Look of Sustainability

Anemone and clownfishNearly a month ago, I was able to represent That Fish Place for MACNA in Orlando, Florida. MACNA (Marine Aquarium Conference of North America), is one of the oldest and largest marine aquarium conferences in North America. Each year you will find new/advanced technology in the hobby, new companies, and of course, livestock. This year was all about LED technology, which seems to be the future of lighting in the hobby.

Amongst the chatter of LEDs was the talk of Papua New Guinea and the SEASMART program. Last year in Atlantic City, SEASMART attended MACNA in the attempt to raise awareness for the need to collect livestock sustainably with an all new approach. Dan Navin, a close friend of mine collected some information on the program while we were there. He made a side trip to Papua New Guinea while vacationing in Australia to check out the operation, a few weeks later. Needless to say he liked what he saw, and is now the SEASMART MAR (Mariculture, Aquaculture, Restoration) Division Manager. Read More »

Challenges of Reef Keeping – Zooanthid Eating Nudibranchs

This week I would like to take a look at another annoying pest in the reef tank, the zoanthid eating nudibranch.  The zoanthid eating nudibranch is much like the soft coral eating nudibranch in both body shape and difficulty to find and eliminate.  The zoanthid eaters usually belongs to the famliy Aeolidia.  They are built much the same as the soft coral eating nudibranch, with cerata or finger-like growths that grow on their dorsal side.  These growths allow them to blend with the zoanthids, making them difficult to see as they feed on your polyps.  These nudis are usually small, ranging in size from 1 millimeter to 1 centimeter in length, which also makes them very difficult to detect and remove from polyp colonies.  They tend to hang on to the underside of the polyp and remain hidden.  Read More »

Phosphates – Invisible Troublemakers in Ponds and Aquariums

Green water. Nuisance algaes. Cyanobacteria. Poor coral growth. Random invertebrate death. All of these are problems found in freshwater aquarium, ponds and saltwater aquariums and leave many aquarists stumped. Most of them can be diagnosed with one simple water test however – the often-overlooked Phosphate test.

What is a Phosphate and Why Should I Be Concerned?

Phosphate is a naturally occurring compound with several sources in aquariums and ponds. The most common may be the source water used. Some municipalities and well water sources naturally contain phosphates. It can come from the soil in the area or from run-off into the water sources, especially in agricultural areas or areas that use a lot of fertilizer (phosphate is one of the main ingredients in fertilizers used on farms and backyards alike). While the levels may not be considered dangerous or high to humans, it can accumulate in aquariums. Phosphates can also enter an aquarium through the salt mixes used in saltwater aquariums, in the rocks and decorations used, and in the thawed water from commercial frozen foods. Read More »

Challenges of Reef Keeping – Coral Eaters

Coral Eating NudiOwning a reef tank is a really rewarding hobby, but it can be challenging at times.  Besides keeping the water chemistry in good condition, there are other problems that can harm the coral and cause damage to your reef. There are many different corals and therefore many different pests that may prey on each species.  A lot of invertebrates in the ocean evolve to only eat a specific food item. This is the case for many of the nudibranchs, and many have adapted to be coral eating nudibranchs.  As a reef keeper there is a possibility that you will encounter Zooanthid eating nudibranchs, aptasia eating nudibranchs, soft coral eating nudibranchs, and hard coral eating nudibranchs to name a few. Today, I want to discuss is the soft coral eating type.  Read More »