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Archive for April, 2010

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Here is a video of a camera-shy octopus that decided to take things into it’s own tentacles. This video, posted on, shows what happens when an amateur camera man decides to video an octopus while diving near the Wahine Memorial, between Breaker By and Moa Point on Wellington’s south coast.

With humorous sub-titles, the story is narrated by the diver, which ultimately has to make an interesting trade with the octopus, in order to get his camera back!

Friday, April 16th, 2010

The XLamp XM LED module performance results were announced on April 12th. The single-chip LED module from by Cree blasted out 160 lumens per watt, and by so doing, set a new records for efficiency. These results were produced with cool white XM LED driven at 350 mA, and incorporated a larger footprint which offered very high efficacy at very high drive currents. Clearly, this opens the door to creating more efficient fixtures for the reefkeeping hobby, and will ultimately result in even greater savings (after the initial investment of course). It is reasonable to assume that several companies will begin testing these new options once they are released, and we are very excited to see the results of these tests. These new XLamp XM LEDs should be available in the Fall of 2010.

Cree Announces Revolutionary New LED Platform Delivering 160 Lumens per Watt

XLamp® XM LEDs Are Most Efficient Lighting-Class LEDs in the Industry

DURHAM, N.C., April 12, 2010 — Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a market leader in LED lighting, announces a breakthrough new lighting-class LED platform, the XLamp® XM LED. This new single chip LED delivers record-breaking efficacy of 160 lumens per watt at 350 mA. The LED also delivers 750 lumens at 2 A, which is equivalent to the light output of a 60 W incandescent light bulb at less than 7 watts.

“This new platform continues Cree’s well-established record of turning R&D innovations into products,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO. “We continue to set the pace for LED performance, establishing new benchmarks that make you wonder why anyone would consider last-century’s energy-wasting technology.”

A cool white XM LED driven at 350 mA can produce 160 lumens at 160 lumens per watt. The new platform has a larger footprint than Cree’s XP family and also offers the unique combination of very high efficacy at very high drive currents. At 2 A, an XM LED produces 750 lumens at 110 lumens per watt. The thermal resistance of the XM platform is 2 de

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Eshopps has just come out with a new Magnetic Probe Holder. For quite a while now, hobbyists have been using DIY versions of this product to hold their various probes in place, but Eshopps has just made everything much easier. Designed from heavy duty acrylic, this dual-purpose holder, will hold your pH and/or ORP probes as well as the outlet tubing coming out of your Calcium Reactor (CaRx). This saves you from having to use any zip-ties to hold the tubing in place, and ensures that it does not go spraying effluent everywhere. The strong magnets provided with this holder, make it very easy to move the holder around the sump, while testing different locations. This is also a great feature during sump cleaning. The Eshopps Magnetic Probe Holder should be available early this summer, and the cost should be under $30. We’ll let you know as soon as it is available for purchase.

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Remember the $2500 lightning clownfish we wrote about a few weeks ago? Well, Matt Pedersen released several videos depicting the lightning clownfish and it’s “soon-to-be” mate. Pedersen’s new website, The Lightning Project, is dedicated to documenting his efforts to:

  • Keep the Lightning Maroon alive in captivity.
  • Pair the PNG Lighting Maroon with the most appropriate mate available
  • Attempt to spawn and rear the F1 offspring from the Lightning Maroon.
  • Distribute the F1 offspring to any and every marine fish breeder interested in working with the offspring
  • Undertaking this project in the spirit of full disclosure and transparency to the point of accepting public failure if that became a reality.
  • Using the attention this project will garner to share meaningful discussions on topics directly and indirectly related to the project.

This video of the lightning clownfish shows it interacting with the large maroon female. It was not Matt’s intention for this to happen quite yet, but the new guy just couldn’t help himself, and had to get a closer look at the girl…typical. We will keep you updated on news from Matt’s site, so check back often.

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Seachem Reef Fusion 1 and Reef Fusion 2 provide the basic essentials for any reef system. Reef Fusion 1 maintains Calcium levels, as well as providing biologically appropriate levels of magnesium, strontium, boron, iron, manganese, and molybdenum. Reef Fusion 2, which contains a mixture of carbonates and bicarbonates at an alkalinity of 4400 meq/L, will help you maintain alkalinity, and provide carbonate necessary for coral growth.

Seachem says that their two part system is designed to by used in a simple 1:1 ratio, and that it is the most concentrated two-part system on the market. We have had a chance to use Seachem’s Reef Fusion 1 and Reef Fusion 2 on our system for the past month, and have been happy with the results.

Guaranteed Analysis – Reef Fusion 1

Calcium (min)
95 mg
Calcium (max)
105 mg
5 mg
0.1 mg
0.020 mg
0.0005 mg
0.0001 mg
0.0005 mg
0.014 mg

Amounts per 1 g

Ingredients: Calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, strontium chloride, rubidium chloride, sodium tetraborate, iron chloride, sodium molybdate, manganese sulfate

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Over 354 attendants have registered, and hundreds more expected at today’s 17th Annual All Ohio Frag Swap. The swap, sponsored by C-Sea,  will be held at the North Olmsted Community Cabin, 28114 Lorain Rd, North Olmstead, OH 44070. The doors open to the public at 11 a.m.

The All Ohio Frag Swap has grown in popularity over the past few years, with both vendor and attendant number rising steadily. Last year’s even was a huge success, as hundreds of reef hobbyists swarmed over full crop of some of the nicest corals  around. This year’s event promises to raise the bar ones again, displaying the latest and greatest in reef gadgets and gizmos, and an even better raffle.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Shortly after revealing their captive bred mandarins, Oceans Reefs and Aquariums (ORA) has announced the release of their latest clownfish species, the ORA Midnight Clownfish, and the ORA Domino Clownfish.

Similar in shape to their famous orange “naked” clownfish, ORA has cooked up an all black Ocellaris, cleverly named the ORA Midnight Clownfish. This species lacks any markings, and has just a hint of orange on it’s face, which is reported to disappear with age. The ORA Domino Clownfish, is an occasional mutation of the Midnight Clown, and are distinguished by a white dot on their cheek.

Here is the official press release from ORA:

ORA Introduces the Midnight Clown

Last month at Global Pet Expo 2010 we unveiled our newest designer clownfish. The ORA Midnight Clown is an all black clown with no stripes. It is the result of a natural mutation found in ORA’s grow-out systems and was selectively bred over the past year.

While maybe not for purists, we are sure that clownfish aficionados will be thrilled with this newest entry, and a devoted collector could now have an all-orange, a near all-white and an all-black ocellaris clownfish.

Just as with the natural Black Ocellaris variation, the Midnight Clown starts out life with an orange color that turns black as it ages. The new Midnights available from ORA have almost completely transformed to black, but may have a touch of their juvenile orange left. They will finish becoming all black as they reach maturity. The offspring run the gamut from being completely naked to uniquely patterned extreme misbars.

Occasionally we find Midnight Clowns with cheek dots and taking Julian Sprung’s advice, we’re nicknaming those “Dominos.” This exceptional color morph is yet another example of the power of selective breeding in aquaculture.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The Shen Neng 1, a Chinese coal and oil ship, ran aground late last Saturday right off Queensland’s coast. The 230 meter freighter was carrying about 65,000 tons of coal and 950 tons of oil. The incident punctured at least one of the fuel tanks, and an effort to transfer the oil to other tanks within the ship began immediately. Australian officials report that very little oil has leaked, due to the fact that saltwater quickly surged into the ship, and the oil floated to the top. At this point, there are no accurate reports on the amount of oil may have leaked.

Tugboats are in the process of attempting to stabilize the ship, but this process may take a while. Patrick Quirk, Queensland’s maritime safety general manager declared “This is actually a delicate operation, and we won’t be rushing it.” Another vessel will be used to upload fuel from the Shen Neng 1 beginning today or tomorrow.

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was furious about the incident, in particular the fact that the vessel was more than 7 miles outside of the authorized shipping channel. A full investigation will be launched, and if found liable, the ship’s captain faces up to three years in prison, and the vessel’s owner face a fine of more than $5 million. Rudd went on to say, “From where I sit, it is outrageous that any vessel could find itself 12 kilometers off course, it seems, in the Great Barrier Reef.”

Accusations by environmentalists have surfaced, claiming that the ship’s crew intentionally attempted to take shortcuts through the reef in an attempt to save time.

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Giant Isopods of the genus Bathynomus have been known to science since the late 1800’s, but the discovery of a particularly large specimen (2-1/2 feet long)  by the Sub-sea Survey Company has sparked the public’s fascination with these pallid pink deep sea “monsters.” Giant Isopods commonly grow up to about a foot long and weigh a little over 3-1/2 pounds. Giant Isopods are crustaceans related to familiar “pill-bugs,” terrestrial Isopods commonly found in our gardens. They live in cold, deep waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans where they scavenge whale carcasses and prey on squid, fish, and other crustaceans.

You can see Giant Isopods like the ones pictured above in person at the Shedd aquarium in Chicago, Illinois.

Blue Planet segment showing Giant Isopods scavenging dead tuna

See more photos of Giant Isopods on Flickr

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Tang Health Part 1:
Tank Specifications: Things to Consider

If you’re looking for a larger, attractive, and active fish, a tang might be just the thing for your saltwater tank. Being one of the most adaptive group of fish in the hobby, tangs are found in almost every fish store you come across. Some species that are commonly seen in a fish store would include the Pacific Blue Tang Paracanthurus hepatus, Yellow Tang Zebrasoma flavissimus, Naso Tang Naso lituratus, Kole Tang Ctenochaetus strigosus, and Powder Blue Tang Acathurus leucosterunon. Other species of tang are less common and more expensive,  such as the Chevron Tang Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis, Achilles Tang Acanthurus Achilles, Black Tang Zebrasoma rostratum which can sell for over $800.00, and the Gematum Tang Zebrasoma gemmatum which can sell for over $2000.00. So which type of tang is best suited for your tank? Some basic requirements may need to be met first.

1) The tank should be large; length and width of a tank is more important than depth and actual gallons. As a generality the minimum tank size is broken down by genus in this chart:

Zebrasoma spp. – 100 gallons or more
Acanthurus spp. – 125 gallons or more
Ctenochaetus spp. – 75 gallons or more
Naso spp. – 250 gallons or more
Paracathurus spp. – 125 gallons or more
Prionurus spp. – 200 gallons or more

2) The tank should not have any small fish that would be intimidated by the tang’s presence. Also, the aggression level in the tank should be evaluated. Some tangs are fairly peaceful, while others can destroy tankmates in minutes. The Yellow Tang, Kole Tang, Chevron Tang, and Naso Tang are on the peaceful side, while the Clown Tang, White Face Tang Acathurus leucocheilus and Sohal Tang Acanthurus sohal can be more aggressive.

3) The tank should have a bit of algae and liverock for the tang to graze on. Since these fish eat mainly filamentous algae in the wild, fresh nori and spirulina algae flakes should be fed daily. They will eat meaty items, too, such as mysis shrimp and flake food.

4) The tank should be well circulated and filtered. Tangs produce quite a bit of waste due to their herbivorous nature, high metabolism, and larger size. Powerheads should be stirring the surface of the water to get maximum oxygen absorption. A protein skimmer should be used to pull organic waste out of the water and add additional oxygen to the water for the maximum health of your tang.

5) A good quarantine system is imperative. Tangs unfortunately can get ich, oodinium, flukes, and bacterial infections, especially shortly after importation. The use of copper at a .10 concentration for three weeks, as well as formalin baths and freshwater dips in a proper quarantine system, should ensure that these diseases do not become a factor in your fish’s health. Always ensure that your specimen is eating and acting normally before starting treatment, as copper is known to suppress a fish’s appetite.

6) The tank should not have any similar looking fish in it that the tang would mistake for another of its own kind. Body shape and color can be a catalyst for aggression. Mixing tangs of the same genus is generally a poor decision, although in larger systems it becomes less of a factor.

7) Generally you want to add a tang last to avoid any aggression issues. Once established, even the most passive tangs can carry a grudge on a new fish for a couple days, making that particular fish’s acclimation into captivity difficult and stressful to the point of death in some cases. If adding multiple tangs, it is best to add them all at once, or the most passive species first and the most aggressive last.

If your tank fits these criteria, you maybe be ready to house a tang. While skimping on some of these criteria can still allow for success, it can also spell disaster. Be conscientious when making a decision about selecting a tang for your tank and you will likely enjoy these fish to their full potential.

These enjoyable fish will easily be the show stoppers of the aquarium with the correct care. Whether you are looking for “Dory” from Disney’s “Finding Nemo” that everyone will recognize or a prized Gem from the island of Mauritius the Acanthidae family can fit the bill.

by Paul Poeschl

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