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Archive for April, 2010

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

What do you get when you put a giant octopus and sharks in the same tank? Well, the Spiny Dogfin Sharks have been known to like the taste of octopus in their diets, but the Aquarium folks have figured that the octopus can use its ability to camouflage for protection, or at least fight the shark off and then hide. What actually happened though, was quite unexpected.

The shark is calmly swimming, minding its own business, when it is ambushed by the octopus. The Giant Pacific Octopus snags the shark easily overpowers it, making short work of its helpless captive. This explains the Spiny Dogfin Shark skeletons that kept appearing on the aquarium bottom.

[via national geographic]

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Earlier this month, we wrote about the Coral Restoration Foundation event at IceCap. Thanks to Tal Sweet, we just caught a glimpse of a video depicting Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Tom Moore and Ken Nedimyer touring the Wellwood Restoration site at Molasses Reef in the Florida Keys. The video shows the team as they examine Staghorn and Elkhorn corals that have been transplanted. Margaret Miller examines established Elkhorn coral colonies at the same site.

The next dive in the video, is a visit to Ken Nedimyer’s coral nursery, as well as cleaning stations, and new corals being fragged and mounted on the Earch Day 2010 mounting tables.

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Oceanic Corals is now sourcing a “new” Denitrification Pellet they call NpX Bio-Beads. Sporting the same size and shape as the NP Biopellets, Oceanic Corals claims that their NpX Bio Beads are sources from the same “trusted manufacturer”. Made of biologically degradable polymers, these pellets allow aerobic growth of bacteria which in turn is said consume nitrates and phosphates. Oceanic Corals states that denitrification will take about 2-3 weeks to “get up to full speed”, and that as an added benefit, colonizing bacteria will occur within the reactor only, and not on other surfaces and pumps. Beads are best used in a reactor where they are tumbled aggressively. A specific danger of oxygen level drops (during the initial introduction and subsequent algae bloom) is identified in the product guidelines, and as a pre-caution, users with high nutrient levels are instructed to discharge the reactor directly into the skimmer (for re-oxygenation).

[via Oceanic Corals]

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

The Conrad Rangali Island Maldives Hotel opened the world’s first undersea restaurant about 5 years ago. As part of it’s anniversary celebration, the restaurant will now allow guests to sleep under the sea as well. The 12 seat Underwater Restaurant seated 16 feet below the surface will be converted to a private bedroom suite for two. And if that’s not enough, a private champagne dinner and breakfast in bed will complete the package.

Located in the Indian Ocean, Ithaa serves Maldivian-Western fusion cuisine. Encased in plexiglass, Ithaa offers its guests 180° views of reef and marine life, which are sure to make this unique experience memorable.

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

We recently took a closer look at the Aqua Illumination Modular LED System, and are excited to report our results. This LED reef lighting system is comprised of individual units, measuring 11.875″ x 5.375″ x 2.35″, and weighing 4.125 lbs each. Each unit contains 8 triple lenses, 2 whites, and 1 blue, for a total of 24 LEDs (either 38 or 40 degrees optics are used depending on LED color). The modular LED units can be attached to the supplied kit and placed directly on the tank frame, or hung using an optional hanging kit. An excellent benefit of using this system, is that it can grow with you over time, since additional modules can be purchased and attached in-line at any time. One AI Controller can easily support up to 20 modules connected in series, and white and blue bulbs are controlled independently. Each color can range in intensity from 0 to 100. Each Aqua Illumination LED module draws between 70 and 74 watts at full power. The AI modules are rated for over 50,000 hours of operation, which is over 13 years at 10 hours a day :).

We used 2 modules over a 24″ x 24″ x 24″ cube. The unites were mounted on the tank using the supplied kit. We used an Apogee Instruments Quantum Meter to gather our data, and all measurements were taken twice and then averaged. This tank was using a VorTech MP10 was nicely maintaining a wave in this tank during the testing (since we wanted to simulate actual conditions). We measured the tank under 2 conditions:
a. 100% Blue and 50% white
b. 100% Blue and 100% white
Measurements where taken approx 2″ under the module, immediately under the water surface, mid-tank (approx 12″ from the top), and on the sandbed (approx 24″ from the top). Measurements were taken directly under one of the modules.

Our first impression was simply “whoa, that’s bright”. It is very cool to see the color shifting from white, to blue with the twist of a knob. Programming the unit seemed simple enough, and we found ourselves easily playing around the color and intensity without even looking at a manual. Ok, enough of that, let’s get to the PAR numbers:

Distance 100% Blue
50% White
100% Blue
100% White
2″ 1400 3000
under the surface(~3″) 1000 1800
~12″ 850 1200
~24″ 400 600

Well, needless to say, we were very impressed with both the look, and functionality, and intensity of these units. While two Aqua Illumination LED Modules are use roughly half the power consumption of a 250W MH, the intensity of two units far outperforms that of the Metal Halide. There was no noticeable increase in temperature on the tank we looked at, and it is unlikely anyone would need to cool down their tank as a result of using this LED lighting system. We would like to report more long-term results with this module, and are working to gather this information at this time.

For more info, please visit:

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The NJ Reefers Club and IceCap are holding a special day of conservation event on May 23rd, 2010. The guest speaker will be Ken Nedimyer, President of the Coral Restoration Foundation Inc, a non profit company which focuses on developing simple, effective, and inexpensive coral nursery and restoration techniques. CRF’s nursery has grown from just 5 corals in 1996, to over 4000 in march of 2009, and is projected to rise to over 7000 by the spring of 2010. CRF’s efforts and vision have led the way in growing the coastal conservation movement in the Florida Keys, as well as inspiring neighboring countries to critically assess their own marine and coastal conservation challenges.

The NJ Reefers club has donated $1500 to the Coral Restoration Foundation. Way to go!

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Red Sea C-Skim 1800 is said to represent “an integration of revolutionary features, performance characteristics of high demand commercial foam fractionators and the footprint and affordability of a modernly designed hobby protein skimmer.” Red Sea says it is designed for aquariums of up to 475 gallons. The skimmer can be used in both in-sump or external applications. A closed loop, 215+ GPH, PSK aspiration pump uses an all-in-one molded pin impeller to maximize efficiency and performance. Foam height can easily be adjusted via a dedicated lever. A neat feature of the Red Sea C-Skim 1800, is the ability to clean to remove the cup without having to turn off both the feed, and re-circulating pumps. Another dedicated lever is simply moved to the “cap removal position”, and the water-flow in the skimmer is reduced. The C-skim also has a drain hole that can be used to continuously drain the collection cup.

The C-skim 1800 comes with a patented neck-washing system. A turn of a lever to “wash” position will set jets of water through a spray ring, which washes the accumulated waste from the skimmer neck. This waste is skimmed out when the lever is returned to the “operating” position. This process, when performed regularly, will increase skimmer efficiency.

Monday, April 19th, 2010

MASNA has just accepted the Greater Iowa Reef Society (GIRS) bid to host the 2011 MACNA. The Marine Aquarium Conference of North America will be held in Des Moines on Sept 9th through the 11th. The event is expected to draw 100+ vendors, 1000+ attendees, and over a dozen of speakers. GIRS is “gearing up” to take on this task by forming a committee dedicated to organizing the event. MACNA

For more information about this years event, please visit the MACNA 2010 website.

The Marine Aquarium Conference of North America, (MACNA) is the largest and oldest marine aquarium conference held in the US and Canada.
Hobbyists at all skill levels have been enjoying MACNA for over twenty years. Aquarium enthusiasts and avid reef keepers will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with peers and professionals. Learn from leading researchers in the fields of aquaculture, marine biology, diving and oceanography. Discover new technologies and purchase cutting edge equipment. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to purchase some of finest handpicked corals from over 100 vendors. More Information on Registration.

But that’s not all! Get ready for a huge raffle. Marine reef keeping equipment, supplies and countless other highly sought after items will all be raffled off. You can purchase your raffle tickets when you register for your full conference pass. Enjoy the open bar and reception dinner Friday night, as well as the spectacular Saturday night banquet!

MACNA XXII will be held in sunny Orlando Florida at the world’s largest Marriott Resort and Convention Hotel on September 3-5, 2010 (Labor Day Weekend). Yes, MACNA will only be minutes from Walt Disney World®, Sea World, and Universal Studios. Check out the Travel Page for more information on this amazing resort and the Attraction Information page for Discounted Tickets to Walt Disney World® and many other theme parks.
Don’t miss this opportunity to Register NOW while conference ticket prices are low.

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Remember Shen Neng 1, the Chinese Oil Tanker? The vessel ran aground off Queensland’s coast several weeks ago. Well, needless to say, it decimated the nearby reefs, and many are curious as to the scope of the damage. A research vessel carrying a team of marine scientists led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, is set to begin searching for answers. The 24 meter, RV Cape Ferguson, is currently on it’s way south to the grounding site. As you may already know, the Tanker was removed last Monday night, leaving it’s Great Barrier Reef grounding site accessible for such an investigation.

The team intends to assess the severity of the damage caused by the actual grounding, as well as the potential level of contamination from antifouling paint (paint which prevents the growth of barnacles, weed, and other water life on the submersed hull of vessel). Dr Andrew Negri, the AIMS vessel leader, said the team will use a multi-beam sonar to map the sea floor, and quantify the physical damage. “This instrument can resolve the seabed to less than 10 centimetres, which means it will accurately record the damage caused by the ship’s hull,” said Negri.

Many large vessels use antifouling paint, which usually contains toxic chemicals such as heavy metals and herbicides. As the ship was scraping against the reef, this paint was literally scratched off of the ship, and onto the underlying reef. Sediment samples will be taken and analyzed by the team, in order to provide a contamination assessment.

We’ll provide up-to-date info as it is released.


Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Commensal Coral Hermit Crabs are tiny, sessile hermit crabs that live inside corallites or in holes left in the coral by Polychaete worms like Christmas Tree Worms Spirobranchus sp. Coral Hermit Crabs host in a number of different stony corals such as Porites spp., Astreopora spp., Leptastrea spp., Montipora spp., Cyphastrea spp., and Faviid brain corals. Mated pairs live within inches of each other. They are able to use their legs to move around inside or retract into the hole, but never leave it. Like their larger cousins, they have claws which can be used to tear apart and consume larger pieces of food, but also have feathery antennae they use to capture small bits of passing plankton. Coral Hermit Crabs are right-handed; the right cheliped is larger than the left. The color and patterns on the claws vary depending on species, but is usually yellow or tan.

In an aquarium Coral Hermit Crabs should be target fed small meaty pieces of food like frozen small mysis and Cyclop Eeze. Weekly feedings of micro foods like frozen rotifers and other foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates. Coral Hermit Crabs are peaceful and pose no risk to any other tank mates or their coral hosts. Do not house them with aggressive tank mates or those that eat small crustaceans. Like other invertebrates, Coral Hermit Crabs are sensitive to changes in water quality, nitrates, and copper.

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