Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
While most hobbyists are conjuring up thoughts of their “dream” reef tank, I myself imagine an aquarium that is entirely … unique.
Like an aquarium made out of a bomb, for instance.
That’s right, a bomb.
Fabricated from the tail shells of a Vietnam-era MK-84 bomb, MotoArt’s Aquabomb is blowing away the notion that a nano aquarium be limited to a common cube shape.
“The Aquabomb was originally intended to be a big lava lamp,” admits MotoArt company co-founder Dave Hall. “But I was a little uneasy about making something that could tip over and burn a house down, so it evolved into an aquarium.”
From what limited information I could gather from net, these appear to be the specs:
- 10 gallon capacity
- Built-in pump, filter and lighting
- Stands 80” tall
- Aluminum top
- Plexi glass construction
- Available in seven colors
Once they bust out a camouflage version, I’m buying one.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
"I've never heard of anything like this before, it was amazing," Conservation Department officer Malcolm Smith said.
The actions of the dolphin, well known locally for playing with swimmers at Mahia beach on the east coast of the North Island, probably meant the difference between life and death for the whales, Smith told AFP.
Smith had been working for over an hour and a half to save the two pygmy sperm whales which had repeatedly become stranded despite his attempts to push them back out to sea.
A bottlenose dolphin, named Moko by locals, appeared and guided the whales to safety after apparently communicating with them, Smith said.
The whales, a three-metre (10-foot) female and her 1.5 metre male calf, were apparently confused by a sandbar just off the beach and could not find their way back to open water.
Smith had been alerted at daybreak on Monday by a neighbour about the two stranded whales on Mahia beach near his home.
"Over the next hour and a half I pushed them back out to sea two or three times and they were very reluctant to move offshore," Smith said.
"I was starting to get cold and wet and they were becoming tired. I was reaching the stage where I was thinking it's about time to give up here, I've done as much as I can."
In that situation, whales are often humanely killed to end their suffering.
Smith said Moko arrived on the scene and he could hear the whales and the dolphin making noises, apparently to one another.
"The whales made contact with the dolphin and she basically escorted them about 200 metres (yards) parallel with the beach to the edge of the sandbar.
"Then she did a right-angle turn through quite a narrow channel and escorted them out to sea.
"There's been no sign of the whales since Monday, they haven't restranded."
"What the communication was I do not know, and I was not aware dolphins could communicate with pygmy sperm whales, but something happened that allowed Moko to guide those two whales to safety."
Moko has become famous for her antics at Mahia, which include playing in the surf with swimmers, approaching boats to be patted and pushing kayaks through the water with her snout.
Such close interaction with humans is rare among dolphins but not unknown. "She's become isolated from her pod obviously for one reason or another, but obviously made Mahia home just at the moment."
Mahia gets up to 30 whale strandings a year, most of which end with the whales having to be put down.
"I don't know if next time we have a whale stranding we can get her to come in again. She certainly saved the day for us and the whales this time."
Source: Google News
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Please excuse the poor image quality of these photos (they were shot with a 1.3 megapixel Motorola Q).
Oh, and nevermind that aiptaisa there in the background, either.
These images of the marketing department's Candy Coral were shot this morning after we turned off our Hydor Koralia and Maxi-Jet pumps and fed the tank.
It was a beautiful display, although you probably can't tell from these couple of pictures. The candy's feeding tentacles were transparent with white tips—some reaching as far as two inches—further than we'd ever observed.
Nothing too exciting, I suppose, if it's not your own tank you're ogling at. It did, however, give me something to blog about during my lunch hour while sitting at my desk eating a salad.
And no, I did not extract any tentacles to consume said lunch. Instead, I used one of the world's most useful inventions: the spork.
With an even greater biodiversity than rainforests, coral reefs provide spawning, nursery, refuge, and feeding areas for more than one million marine species. But this breathtakingly beautiful ecosystem now faces a potentially lethal combination of threats. Chronic stresses such as over-fishing, pollution, and coastal development have decreased coral reefs’ ability to withstand the impacts of a changing climate and acidifying oceans. Join Dr. Rod Fujita for an engaging discussion of the critical issues surrounding coral reef conservation and learn how you can take action to save this vibrant and endangered ecosystem.
Dr. Fujita is a Board Member of The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), and a senior scientist with Environmental Defense. He played a pivotal role in creating the first marine reserves protecting U.S. coral reefs in the Florida Keys, and in the establishment of the world’s first marine reserve network in California’s Channel Islands. Dr. Fujita has also been a leading advocate for actions to slow down and stop global warming, to end overfishing and habitat damage, and to reduce ocean pollution. He is a recipient of the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation and is the author of dozens of scientific papers, popular articles, and the well-received book Heal the Ocean (New Society Publishers).
Dr. Rod Fujita, Scientist/AuthorSource: The Coral Reef Alliance
Free Presentation - CORAL REEFS: IN HOT WATER
5:30 to 7:00 PM
Boulder Public Library Auditorium
1000 Canyon Boulevard, Boulder
Monday, March 24, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Back in January, we posted an announcement about Marine Aquarist Courses Online (or MACO for short). Well, the time has come for an update (hold your ooo's and ahhh's until I'm finished, please - lol).
Marine Aquarist Courses Online (MACO) has a course on Fish Husbandry starting on April 6. The course includes 6 weeks of full instruction. MACO courses are internet based and feature a 2-hour chat session each week. Live interactive chats for the Fish Husbandry courses will be held at 6 PM PST (9 PM EST) on Sundays. Visit AquaristCourses.org and click on Fish Husbandry for more info.
This class will introduce you into the world of marine fish husbandry, from basic biology and taxonomy, to principles and procedures used to insure that these animals live out long and healthy lives under your care. You'll learn how to select the proper equipment, and be guided on how to set up your system in a way that suits the fish that you've chosen and the environment that you would like to emulate.
Most importantly, you'll learn to avoid all the mistakes that are so easily made when learning to keep these amazing animals. The class will cover the tendencies and idiosyncrasies of various families of marine fish, how they interact with each other, and how to keep them together without experiencing the problems that plague so many aquarists. You'll learn how to manage and avoid diseases that commonly infect and often kill so many captive marine fish. You'll learn what you must do, and as importantly, what you must not do in order to excel as a marine fish keeper.
The following is an outline of the course's topics:
- Responsibilities of the Marine Aquarist
The life in our hands Give something back
- Basic Taxonomy
What is a fish? What is a Genus? What is a species? Why does it matter?
- Basic Biology
Basic Anatomy Do fish sleep? Hermaphroditism
Where do our fish come from? Does it matter? What is a microhabitat? What is a biotope?
- Tank Selection & Setup
How big? Glass or Acrylic? Plywood? To skim or not to skim? What kind of filter? Do I need live rock? Lighting
- Quarantine Procedure
What is quarantine? Why do I have to quarantine? Does quarantine stress the fish more than just placing it in my tank? Is it worth the extra expense?
- Stocking order & Compatibility
What do I introduce into my tank first, and why? Can I keep fish of the same species together? Can I keep fish x with fish y? Aggression Management/Aggressive tanks
- Disease management
Prevention and treatment of common fish diseases Nutrition
- Family Specific Discussions
Angelfish Triggerfish Groupers Wrasses, etc
- Species Specific Discussions
Open discussion on suitable species and compatibility What are the most desirable species for a reef?
- Fishes to avoid
Fishes that shouldn't be purchased, and maybe shouldn't even be available!
- Invert Compatibility
Can I keep this fish in my reef/this invert with my fish? Angels in the reef
What is a nano? What makes it different? What fish can I keep in my nano? Are nanos harder to keep?
Thursday, March 20, 2008
While surfing through the blogs in our blogroll this morning, I stumbled upon a cool little video game I thought you reefers might get a kick out of.
Thanks to Mark over at blogfish for the find.
Oh, and Boss, if you're reading this, I only played it once just to make sure it was functional. ;-)
The game is called Battle for the Coral Reefs. Here's a little marketing blurb about the game:
Battle for the Coral Reefs is a classic shooter game set underwater. Choose from three unique ship designs and battle an ocean of waste. Jump in, master the high score, and restore the coral reefs!It's a great time waster reminiscent of an 80s arcade classic, Asteroid. If you've read some of my earlier posts, you know I'm a sucker for anything that conjures up 80s nostalgia.
Tune in for my next post on slap bracelets, ghetto blasters and parachute pants.
Ha, just kidding. Enjoy the game!
Monday, March 17, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Back in February, I posted a picture of a very unusual fish.
A fish so unusual, in fact, that I posed the question: is this monster of the deep, in fact, real … or some Photoshop’d monstrosity created by a graphic designer with too much time on his hands.
A month passed before an anonymous commenter concluded our “Fact or Fiction?” was indeed fact. Further, our unnamed hero even identified the silver beast as an Oarfish.
SeaSky.org had this to say about the Oarfish:
The oarfish, or Regalecus glesne, is the longest bony fish in the sea. Also known as the ribbon fish, it can grow up to 50 feet in length and weigh as much as 100 pounds. The oarfish is easily distinguished by its shiny, silvery body and its bright red crest that runs the entire length of its body. Oarfish live in the deep ocean at depths down to 3000 feet. They have only been known to come up to the surface when sick or dying and have rarely ever been seen alive. Oarfish have a small mouth and no teeth. They strain crustaceans from the gill rakers in their mouth. It is believed that an oarfish can survive with only half of its body intact. Many researchers also believe that the oarfish may have been responsible for the many sightings of sea serpents reported by ancient mariners. It is indeed one of the strangest looking fish in the sea. Oarfish are found throughout the deep seas of the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.Conclusion: Fact
I would like to leave you with a poem:
Crashing waves bring something in
Among the swell a bright red fin
What is this coming in to the shore?
A strange sea creature never glimpsed before.
With a piercing glare and silvery eyes
I stopped to stare at its unusual size
An enormous beast and true sea monster
Spawned from deep to creep and leap
From ocean waters to scare young daughters
Who beg & plead for no more fish
One more victim of the old Oarfish
We've been battling aiptasias in the marketing tank for some time, so I decided to hit up the Marine Depot forum again for some advice from the experts.
I jumped into a thread about aiptasias and gave a brief rundown of what livestock we had in the tank to see if they thought picking up a Peppermint Shrimp—who are known to eat aiptasias—would be a good idea.
After receiving mostly favorable feedback, I decided to go ahead and buy one (about $6.00 USD). We acclimated him using the drip technique for about an hour and then dropped him into our 24-gallon AquaPod.
Our Blue Assessor immediately began pecking at the Peppermint once he settled on the sandbed. The shrimp tried in vein to find shelter, attempting to hide beneath the mantle of our Crocea Clam.
I should note the Assessor displayed similar behavior when we introduced a Six Line Wrass awhile back (RIP - he jumped into the back, never to be heard from again). The Assessor's behavior is odd because he's normally pretty low-key, hanging out in a cave with our Pom Pom Crab whom he never, ever disturbs.
Evidently he doesn't appreciate strangers in his 'hood.
The Peppermint disappeared for the remainder of the day, scurrying into the back to avoid the wrath of the Blue Assessor. After no signs of him yesterday evening and this morning, I figured our big coral banded shrimp ripped him in two for disturbing his molt.
Fortunately, one of our purchasers spotted him around lunchtime doing what appeared to be push-ups beneath a big blue mushroom.
I'm relieved he's alive. I'm also stoked he's into staying physically fit. I'll report back on his appetite for aiptasias.
Oh, and I named him, too. :-)
Cory Matthews joins Corey Feldman, the coral banded, and Corey Haim, the Cleaner, to complete the trinity of aquarium shrimps.
Hopefully all three amigos make it through the weekend!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Recently we noticed the Pom Pom Crab in our 24-gallon reef tank was missing a pom pom.
I was, admittedly, a bit panicked about the whole affair.
"Claire," as the crab had come to be known (paying homage to the cheerleader in NBC's HEROES), was the first animal we added to the tank (aside from hermit crabs) almost a year ago. Not only that, Claire was a gift from one of our purchasers, who still comes by and asks how her crab is doing.
Needless to say, I had to find out if Claire would be OK.
I posted a blog about our situation along with a thread in the Marine Depot forum to see if I could solicit some feedback from more experienced aquarists.
Fortunately, I received some helpful replies.
A forum admin informed me, "it is possible that during a molt the anemone got away and he hasn't found it yet and may eventually get it back."
A forum member also assured me, "in our tanks they aren't really required and the crab will live a long healthy life w/o the anemones."
Anyway, it's now been a month since we noticed the missing anemone and, wouldn't ya know it? Claire found her missing anemone and scuttled out of the rockwork this morning to show us.
It's nice to have a community of people to turn to when you have a question, especially when they show as much concern for the livestock in your tank as their own.
I think I'll go back to my forum thread with an update to let 'em know Claire found her anemone and is living happily ever after (until further notice).
Monday, March 10, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
The Hydor Koralias have changed the way people think about water flow and powerheads. Now, Hydor has improved upon the previous design and is introducing a wavemaker with wavemaker-compatible powerheads. These new pumps run on only 12 volts and, with the controller, can produce waves with varying speeds and durations. Yup, you heard right. You’ll be able to control the speed setting and duration of each pump independently to alternate and synchronous flows to suit your tank’s needs. The controllers are feature-rich, with a feeding mode and an automatic or manual low-flow night mode.
Another long-awiated product that will hit the market within the next 90-days is the Polario from TAAM. The controllable Polario pump is perfect for large tanks that require a ton of flow (alternating flow rates up to 10,000 gallons/40,000 liters!). With a single pump unit you can create multi-directional flow. Varied flow rates from alternating output creates ocean-like currents. Low-voltage, safe-self shut off (when removed from water) and a magnet mount round out why the Polario is high on our wish lists.
MAG-FLOAT MAG FLIP
Tired of scraping algae from the front of your aquarium? The Mag-Float may be your answer. On one side, a basic algae cleaner; the other, a scraper. But wait! I don’t want to stick my hands in the tank to change the cleaner over. No problemo: just flip the outer (dry side) of the magnet and the inner (wet side) follows along. Voila! Both the cleaner pad and scraper are replaceable as well, so this algae cleaner should last a very long time.
TWO LITTLE FISHIES NANOMAG
Fans of nano reefing rejoice! A small solution for a big problem, the NanoMag is a magnet cleaner for budget reefkeepers. It seems most cleaning magnets on the market these days are made for big to ridiculously gigantic tanks. Unfortunately, these larger magnets can take up precious real estate in a small aquarium and obscure your view. The Two Little Fishies NanoMag floats and will easily slip between coral polyps because of its small size. The circular outer half is soft with a comfortable grip and the inner half is square—1” x 1”—and only ¼” thick.
JBJ VIPER LIGHTS
While metal halide lamps are great for your corals, the bulbs can also adversely affect the temperature of your aquarium due to heat produced by the bulbs. JBJ has solved this problem by placing a small fan on the arm of their extremely powerful Viper light. The K-2 Viper Deluxe’s new design incorporates a larger reflector for more light output, two LEDs integrated inside one of the arms (with their own power supply), and a two-speed high velocity fan. The fan can be set to a low setting with 105 CFM rating or high setting with 163 CFM setting. The K-2 Viper Deluxe will be available in 150-watt and 250-watt versions.
California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park announced it is constructing what will be the deepest coral reef display in the world.
At 25 feet deep at its max, this aquarium dwarfs the competition.
In preparation for the opening of the new exhibit, the Academy is currently growing corals in its temporary facility at 875 Howard Street. In one tank, which measures 18 feet deep, Academy biologists are growing corals on adjustable racks to determine which species grow best at different depths.
As most of you know, coral need light to live and grow. But light intensity diminishes quickly in water as depth increases. To counteract this challenge, the Academy is installing 120 metal halide lights over the tank. This will help replicate the energy of the tropical sun corals need for survival.
The display is set to open September 27, 2008. For more information about the aquarium and the Academy, click here.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
These two kayakers got more than they bargained for on a trip to spot sea turtles off the Hawaiian island of Maui - winding up in the path of an anxious female humpback whale, surging out of the water to protect her young.
The female adult flapped her fin at the passers-by to warn them off, before coming up out of the water as the kayakers quickly escaped. Neither was hurt.
Humpback whales are not aggressive, but adults can reach up to 16 metres in length and 36,000 kilos in weight.
About 60 percent of the population of North Pacific humpback whales migrates to Hawaii every winter to mate and to give birth to calves conceived during last year's breeding season.
What makes the waters so welcoming is their relatively shallow depth. The maximum diving depth of a humpback is about 180 metres, and the plateau linking the Hawaiian islands doesn't get any deeper than that.
Researchers believe that the population has been rising at a rate of about 7 per cent per year for some time. Just two weeks ago, Maui’s annual Great Whale Count logged a record number of sightings. 150 participants counted 1,726 whales in a three-hour period, almost 400 more than the previous year.
Humpback whales have been internationally protected since the 1960s and shielded under United States federal law. Boat drivers are required to follow an "approach rule" forcing them to travel below 13 knots and to stay 100 yards away from the whales.
"Obviously this can't be helped if the whale comes up beneath or next to you," said Dr Quincy Gibson, Research Director at Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui's oldest and largest marine conservation organization.
"We are not at the peak of the season yet. There will be a lot more whales here before the winter is over," said Dr Gibson. "We want to remind ocean users to operate with utmost care and at slow speeds in areas where whales are present."
Just a few thousand miles away, the future of many humpbacks hangs in the balance as Japan temporarily halts its controversial "scientific whaling" at the request of the International Whaling Commission.
Source: Times Online