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Archive for March, 2010

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Santa Monica restaurant accused of selling whale meat, has announced that it is closing it’s doors. The trendy sushi restaurant, was charged with illegally selling Sei whale mean on March 10th, 2010. This violation of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, has lead to the announcement below:

After twelve years doing business in Santa Monica, The Hump will be closing its doors effective March 20th, 2010.

The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species. Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The Owner of The Hump also will be taking additional action to save endangered species.

The Hump promised to make contributions to organizations which are dedicated to the preservations of whales, as well as other endangered species.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The EcoSmart Driver was first introduced by Reef Tools earlier this month, and we have been answering questions about it since. We figured that a video will answer most basic questions regarding the use of the EcoSmart Driver, and in particular, creating a wave. This video, provided by EcoTech Marine, will walk you step-by-step through how to use Auto Tune to create a wave with the EcoSmart Driver.

Once you watch this video, you’ll see just how easy this upgrade is to use.

[via Marine Depot, EcoTech Marine]

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Zac Wolf, Wikimedia Commons

The Atlantis Hotel in Dubai released a whale shark, following almost a year of criticism from various environmental groups. Atlantis obtained “Sammy” after a fisherman discovered it struggling in shallow waters. According to international standards, the hotel needs a permit in order to keep the wild-caught whale shark. Although the Hotel did not provide any documentation, it claims to have freed the Whale Shark into the Persian Gulf.

The filter-feeding Whale Shark, is currently listed with the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, as well as on the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Known as the largest fish on the planet, the Whale Shark can measure at over 41 feet in length, and weigh more than 21 tonnes. Sammy, a juvenile female, is already 13 feet long.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The Blue Striped Tamarin Wrasse is a beautiful and colorful wrasse. Bright yellow and orange fade into a brilliant blue tail, with fluorescent light blue stripes. This particular looks very healthy, is eating vitamin enriched Hikari Mysis and Spirulina brine, and is reportedly ready to go. This beautiful wrasse, requires a sandy bottom which it will use for sleep, or when it feel threatened.

This Blue Striped Tamarin Wrasse, Anampses femininus, which hails from Australia, has been kept at the LiveAquaria Rhinelander facility for almost a month to ensure it is healthy, and will be available on tonight’s Divers Den.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The VeggieMag by Two Little Fishies, is a Veggie Clip that uses a powerful neodymium magnet instead of a suction cup. No longer, will you walk by your tank and see your veggie clip on your sandbed, or being dragged around by one of your tangs. The powerful magnet, allows you to position your VeggieMag in any position, without having to put your hands in the tank. Also,since the VeggieMag floats, it won’t get lost between your rockwork.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The AquaVue LED Coral Boosters by CoralVue are available in two models, a 14 LED strip and a 28 LED strip. Both AquaVue models comes equipped with a hanging kit, and can also by mounted directly to a canopy. CoralVue is using super blue actinic 1 watt CREE LEDs, which enhance color and makes your corals look “like they are on fire!”

CoralVue already has these in stock, and both models should be available for sale in the next few days. Pricing information will follow shortly.

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Rainford’s Butterflyfish, Chaetodon rainfordi, is a beautiful sunshine yellow color with rust orange vertical stripes. Juveniles have more white between body stripes and a black occeli on the caudal peduncle. It is native to the Australian Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea, and Lord Howe Island where it lives in shallow waters up to 49 feet deep.

This species is difficult to keep in captivity and should only be attempted by the expert aquarist who has experience with obligate corallivores. In the wild this fish feeds on corals and filamentous algae and therefore is not suitable for a reef aquarium. Providing a newly acquired specimen with live coral frags and live algae may help it survive while being acclimated to prepared and frozen foods. Like other butterflies, small specimens adapt to aquarium life more readily than large adults.

A seasoned aquarium of at least 50 gallons with large amounts of filamentous algae and live rock is required to house a single Rainford’s Butterflyfish. These fish are very territorial, but may be kept in mated pairs or small groups if introduced simultaneously to a very large aquarium.

Photo by Greg Rothschild

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

NeoMarine Kalibrate is Brightwell Aquatics‘ answer to a simple problem. The main component in saltwater mixes is NaCl, which is relatively easily obtained in bulk quantities. So the folks at Brightwell Aquatics decided to simply leave it out of their mix, and provide you with the additional minerals necessary to achieve a close match to natural sea water. This new product is called NeoMarine Kalibrate, which is targeted at users who “prefer to utilize the most concentrated forms of supplements possible.”

According to Brightwell Aquatics, “you supply the sodium chloride, we supply the rest.” The advantage of this approach, is that each hobbyist can determine the ratio of NeoMarine Kalibrate to NaCl they wish to use, and therefore control the levels of Calcium, Magnesium and Alkalinity. This allows the hobbyist to adjust these levels to better match the draw on their system. Naturally, hobbyists running a full fledged SPS system, will choose to use more NeoMarine Kalibrate than those who run a fish-only system.
This salt premix will be available in 5 gallon pail and a drum, which are enough to product 450 and 6000 gallons at 1.025.

For those tanks whose demand exceeds what is provided by waterchanges, Brightwell Aquatics also offers Reef Code A & B in powdered forms.

[via Coral Magazine]

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

The hits just keep on coming from Morphologic Studios. In their latest video, a transparent shrimp is reclining amid Ricordea sp. corallimorph polyps. This is what the studio guys had to say:

Featured in the the video is a unidentified shrimp that lives commensally on Ricordea sp. corallimorph polyps. Unlike the other commensal anemone/corallimorph shrimp (Periclimenes pedersoni, P. yucatanicus) that are active fish cleaners, this shrimp moves considerably less. In fact it is nearly invisible. The transparency of this shrimp is such that if you look carefully in the middle of its abdomen, you’ll notice its beating heart. Even the fluorescent pink ring around the edge of the unidentified ricordea polyp’s mouth is visible through the shrimp’s tail.

[via Morphologic Studios]

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

My husband and I went to Chicago this summer to visit the John G. Shedd Aquarium. We were given a private tour and got to see some really awesome behind the scenes stuff. Next time you plan to visit the Shedd Aquarium, call ahead to ask about the behind-the-scenes-tour or one of their other experiences.

The giant cylindrical Caribbean Reef exhibit is the first you see when you enter the building. It houses many large Caribbean fish such as tangs, sharks, porkfish, parrotfish, wrasses, turtles, and a school of Lookdowns.


I think I spent most of my time in the coral quarantine room. They had a fine collection of neon colored Fungiid corals and some of the biggest and brightest LPS I’ve ever seen. I was totally blown away by a group of gorgeous Tridacna crocea clams soon to be on display.

Among the coral frags were spawn collected Caribbean Acropora palmata corals from Ken Nedimeyer of The Coral Restoration Foundation. Like all Caribbean stony corals, A. plamata is illegal to collect for the aquarium hobby, which is why I’ve never seen one in person. The larger pieces pictured here are about two years old.


I mentioned to the coral caretaker that it’s too bad A. palmata isn’t more colorful, but at least some of the newer, smaller pieces had green or purple colored polyps. She said that A. palmata doesn’t have colored polyps in the wild, but after DNA analysis of the symbiotic Zooxanthellae algae, they found that the sexually reproduced A. palmata were adopting Zooxanthellae from the Pacific-collected species of coral that shared their waters in the Shedd’s displays. That is what is giving the polyps of the small A. palmata pictured above their purple color. It also makes the corals hardier and more resistant to stress.

Most public aquariums traditionally had only fake corals in their displays so they could treat the displays with copper and because live coral was too difficult to keep. The Shedd has an exhibit called the Wild Reef, a giant room downstairs with wall-to-wall reef tanks and live coral everywhere!


I was also really impressed with the Shedd’s collection of Anthias.


The Shedd has a few different species of seahorses–Hippocampus reidi, H. kuda, H. erectus, and H. comes. They also had a few other Syngnathids like flagtail pipefish and trumpetfish in the reef tanks.


The main purpose of my visit to the Shedd was to see the Sea Dragon exhibits. I was not disappointed. Two tall, cylindrical low light tanks housed many graceful, curious Weedy Sea Dragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) and Leafy Sea Dragons (Phycodurus eques.)


One of the other guests at the aquarium was using his camera’s flash to photograph these sensitive animals. There is a large sign next to the tank that says, “NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY.” I pointed at the sign and said, literally, “You’re not supposed to use your flash on these. It kills them.” He glared at me and continued to use his flash. It’s okay to use flash when photographing aquariums occasionally, but the Shedd has guests constantly photographing the displays.  Some sensitive species such as certain Anthias, deepwater fish, or Sea Dragons should never be photographed with flash. This is why I didn’t use my flash at all at the Shedd.

There are many kid-friendly exhibits and shows like Fantasea with Beluga Whales, penguins, and dolphins, etc. Your kids will get a kick out of reef predators like the Anglers, Stonefish, and Lionfish during feeding time when a caretaker wiggles food on a stick in front of the fishes’ faces. If your little one gets hungry, you’ll find the views from the cafeteria’s outdoor seating area to be almost as beautiful as the wonders inside the building.


The coldwater exhibits were interesting and well-done. Giant Isopods, jellyfish, and a Pacific Northwest exhibit proved that coldwater creatures can be just as colorful as their tropical cousins.


Seeing all the freshwater exhibits wasn’t my top priority, but I did take the time to glance at them. I really enjoyed the Goodeid exhibit and the planted neon tetra tank. We got to see some of the fish being bred at the Shedd like this tiny Gourami fry. This man-sized Red Tail Catfish came to the surface to greet me; it was so big I could’ve fit both my arms in its mouth with room to spare.


See more photos from my trip on my Flickr Shedd Aquarium set. Also check out the Shedd Aquarium Chicago Flickr Group where you can submit your own Shedd Aquarium photos. This group is frequented by the Shedd staff and other Shedd Aquarium enthusiasts.

By Felicia McCaulley

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