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Archive for February, 2010

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
deadly stonefish

Australia is often tauted as being home to the most venomous animals on the planet. And it seems as if Australia’s reefs are no different. Stonefish, of the family Synanceiidae, are a sedentary fish, which are widely sought after for it’s remarkable beauty. Kidding of course. The Stonefish looks and act exactly like a stone, making it almost undetectable when stationary against a background of sand, rocks or corals. So effective are the stonefish at camouflaging itself, that divers over step on them inadvertently.

The stonefish employs 13 dorsal fin spines, capable of delivering potent neurotoxins that are dangerous and even fatal to humans. Depending on the depth of the penetration, these toxins will cause severe pain, paralysis, and tissue death. Although the toxin can prove fatal if left untreated, reported deaths have been extremely rare since the invention of an anti venom. Immediate treatment with hot water (minimum of 113 degrees F) has been shown to relieve pain in almost every case.

Well, anti venom or not, I think I’ll be watching where I step.

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Aqueon has released a line of powerheads called simply Aqueon Circulation Pumps. These pumps attempt to “natural river and reef currents by continuously circulating water.” Well, isn’t this what all powerheads do? Well, this new line of pumps from Aqueon incorporates an easy-lock suction cup, which makes installation, adjustment and removal a breeze. Cord-holding clips are available on both sides, which allows for more flexibility with placement. An energy-efficient motor and impeller are said to increase water movement with less power.

Our first question regards the suction cup. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing magnets, and have grown to trust them as the best mounting options. Only time will tell whether these will hold up to the test of time. The Aqueon Circulation Pumps offer a great value and will certainly hopefully become another great choice for reef hobbyists.

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
tsunami spares hawaii

The recent 8.8 magnitude quake in Chile has triggered tsunami warning in coastline cities in the western coast of the US, Hawaii and Japan. This earthquake, was 500 times larger than the one in Haiti, but due to the fact that it was also much deeper, will most likely cause many less casualties. Visitors in some coastal areas in Waikiki, were moved to higher floors in their hotels, rather then being evacuated.

In addition to threatening human life, tsunamis pose a real threat to coral reefs and their associated ecosystems. Naturally, deeper reefs, and those farther from the coastline will be less affected by the force of the tsunami. The real threat however, occurs near the coastline “protected” by coral reefs. In these cases, the reef absorbs much of the force of the tsunami, but at a cost of being ripped to shreds. As if this is not enough, as the water from the large waves return to the ocean, they carry with them a large amount of debris, sediments, and mud. The sediment and mud will cover the corals, and block the sunlight from reaching them. The debris, will be constantly waved back and forth over the reef, effectively “sanding” it down.

Luckily for us humans, the tsunami seems to have spared the Pacific. Although elevated sea levels were recorded in several areas, no real damage was reported by Japan’s Meteorological Agency. Gerard Fryer, Pacific Tsunami Warning Center geophysicist said ”We expected the waves to be bigger in Hawaii, maybe about 50 per cent bigger than they actually were.”

It should not go unmentioned, that the earthquake and it’s subsequent impact have been absolutely devastating in Chile and several other countries around the world.

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

The Electric Blue Hermit Crab, a Marshall Islands native, has very unique electric blue legs, with black banding, to go with it’s brilliant orange antennas. The electric blue Hermit crab posses two similarly-sized brownish green claws. In it’s natural habitat, the Electric blue Crab lives mostly inside abandoned snail or triton shells. As with almost any similar crab, as it grows, it may resort to eating a snail in order to obtain it’s shell.

The Electric Blue Hermit can be a great addition to any clean-up crew, as it’s diet includes green hair algae and even cyanobacteria. As an added bonus, this reef-safe crab will also sift through the sand and provide aeration.

Photo by Felicia McCaulley

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Named after Godzilla’s nemesis, ‘Crabzilla’ is a Japanese Spider Crab, Macrocheira kaempferi. It is reported that this arthropod measures 10 feet from claw to claw. Crabzilla could grow to be 15 feet and live to be 100 years old. This little fella was caught by fishermen in the Pacific Ocean and taken to it’s new home at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.

Crabzilla normally spends his days as much as 2,500 ft below on the ocean floor. The Spider Crab is considered a Japanese delicacy. Luckily Crabzilla has been spared the hot water and will soon be flown to Belgium where he will live out his remaining 50+ years in a specially adapted tank to be on display at a Sea Life center in Blankenberge.

by bychance

Read the full story at

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

The Next Wave event is taking place in Dallas again this year. The speaker lineup included Jim Walters (Old Town Aquarium), Dr. Ron Shimek, Joe Yaiullo (Atlantis Marine World) and Kevin Kohen (LiveAquaria). If you’re in the area, make sure to check it out. In addition to the speaker lineup, there will also be some great raffle items, such as a Tunze Osmulator! Other raffle items by Reef Geek, Live Aquaria, Aqua C Remora, Boyd Enterprises, Champion Lighting, DT, Algae Free Cleaning Magnest, and Deep Sea Aquatics will be announced at the event. Raffle tickets will be priced at $1 each or 25 for $20.

February 27th, 2010, 8AM – 6 PM
Addison Convention Center
315650 Addison Rd
Addison, TX 75001
Google Map

Everyone is encouraged to attend Next Wave 2010! — Think of this conference as going to Reef Keeping College for a day. Four speakers are being flown in to instruct attendees on successful saltwater care. After each presentation, which will be in the form of slides, PowerPoint, or video, attendees can ask questions from the speakers about the subject being discussed. Don’t miss your chance to gain knowledge that will last you a lifetime!

Friday, February 26th, 2010

A study shows that sunscreen ingredients can awaken dormant viruses in zooxanthellae and cause massive bleaching, then death. As most of us know, Zooxanthellae is the symbiotic algae living inside corals, feeding it through photosynthesis. The chemicals in the sunscreen cause viruses within this algae to rapidly replicate, eventually leading the host algae to explode.

Study leader Roberto Danovaro states that “The algae that live in the coral tissue and feed these animals explode or are just released by the tissue, thus leaving naked the skeleton of the coral.” Researchers estimate that somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers each year, and that up to 10% of the corals reefs around the world are threatened.

Several sunscreen brands where tested by researchers, and all of them contained the four ingredients paraben, cinnamate, benzophenone, and a camphor derivative. Corals were actually shown to bleach within 4 days when exposed to low levels of sunscreen. However, some have claimed that this study does not replicate nature effectively. Robert van Woesik, of the Florida Institute of Technology, points out that plastic bags were used in this study, preventing the dilution of the chemical that would occur in nature. In response, Danovaro says that the negative effects of sunscreen on corals are not dose-dependent, and that the effect is more like “on-off”, so that “Once the viral epidemic is started, it is not a problem of toxicity.”

So, what do we do? We can’t stop wearing sunscreen. Donavaro should choose sunscreens which reflect, instead of absorv, UV radiation. Additionally, he recommends using eco-friendly chemical sunscreen. Interestingly, a group of Australian researchers are developing a sunscreen that employs a natural UV-blocking compound found in corals.

source National Geographic

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Vivid Aquariums in Canoga Park, CA boasts one of the nicest tanks you’ll ever see. Videographer Greg Rothschild captured this 800 gallon beat in all of it’s glory. Greg has a fantastic eye and a magical touch with a camera. We can’t even begin to describe the ridiculous list of corals captured in this video. So sit back, and take 5 minutes to enjoy this absolutely phenomenal visual presentation. Check out the giant clam in the first portion of the video. This reef video is set to the song “Papaloko” by Axial.

Friday, February 26th, 2010

The Astrea snail (Astraea tecta) is characterized by the sharp, conical shell with it’s pronounced ridges. This snail loves to graze on algae and is a very active member of any good clean up crew. Due to it’s pyramid-like shape, if an Astrea snail fall on it’s shell, it often is unable to right itself. It is often recommended to place Astrea snails as soon as ammonia levels allow it. The Astrea snail will be a great aid in ridding an aquarium of nuisance algae such as hair algae, cyanobacteria and diatoms. As with most other snails, the Astrea snail is extremely sensitive to ammonia and high nitrate levels, and will not tolerate any copper-based medications. This herbivore in indiginous to the Caribbean and is a member of the Astraeinae family.

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

A 2.6 million gallon aquarium at a mall in Dubai springs a leak. The aquarium, which features the world’s single largest acrylic pane (2.5 feet), was reported to have sprung a leak in a glass panel. Visitors began feeling as water poured out from the crack in this large aquarium which houses more than 33,000 fish, including numerous sharks. Security evacuated immediately following the incident. The chairman of Emaar, the mall’s developer, claimed that there was no leak, and in fact an “operating device” cause the overflow.

It took the work of six diver, with the assistance of other workers on the outside, to stop the water from flowing out. The crack was actually in an interior viewing tunnel, rather then the enormous viewing panel. Jokes around the Internet about inexpensive shark steaks began to appear quickly following the break of this story.

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