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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Photo courtesy of the San Deigo 6 News

Since December 21st, 2010 a Tijuana sewage pipe has been spewing raw sewage onto the streets, beaches, and subsequently into the ocean. Approximately 31-40 million gallons of the gooey green sludge have found their way into the Pacific and due to north-bound currents are making their way into the Southern California’s waters.

Silver Strand, Coronado, and Imperial beaches are all at risk of becoming the ultimate dumping ground for the waste. Tijuana officials are trying to get the situation addressed by Monday, January 24th. The total environmental impact of the spill is unknown, but ultimately the native species of corals and fish in the region will be affected on some level.

Check out the full story on the San Diego News 6 website

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Oceans, Reefs, and Aquariums Inc. has a sexy new user-friendly image for 2011. ORA’s website has been re-designed to showcase the company’s full collection of aquacultured livestock. ORA is known for reinventing the hobby’s ethical standards and introducing the absolute highest quality captive-bred specimens into the trade. In addition to aquaculturing fish, invertebrates, soft and hard corals, and algae, ORA has done much to improve the life of marine animals on a global scale. Most recently the ORA team rescued local Florida sea turtles that were at risk of dying in the unusually mild coastal waters.

The new ORA website will be a great tool for all of us to read about their latest happenings and aquaculturing successes. ORA is a wholesale-only company, but they have recently added an online ordering system for their commercial accounts. Which means, we should their products becoming more accessible in our local LFSs. Great news for all of us who are hoping to get our hands on some of their reef gems.

Monday, January 17th, 2011

photo courtesy of Vivid Aquariums

The Northern Lights Granulosa (Acropora granulosa) is one of my all-time favorite SPS (small polyped stony) corals. Its radiant color spectrum includes teals, greens, purples, blues, and aquas making it a sure jaw dropper in any reef. Often hard to come by, the Northern Lights Granulosa is the talk of many reefers that have been on waiting lists for months. The addition of a Granulosa to a collector’s tank, is certain to create a buzz in the forums and add more names to our LFS’s wait lists.

The Northern Lights Granulosa is relatively easy to care for if given the right conditions. They need excellent lighting from metal halides,and should be placed somewhere bettween the middle and top of the reef. High water flow is a must, as is ideal parameters. As with most SPS species the Northern Lights Granulosa has a low tolerance for poor water conditions.

Vivid Aquariums currently has 3/4″ – 1″ frags of Northern Lights Granulosa in stock and going for at the modest rate of $58.99.

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Our oceans are chock full of mystery. With most of the ocean floor being undiscovered, we can only begin to imagine what life forms inhabit the depths. The NAT GEO Wild sent an ROV miles below the surface in hopes of discovering unique life forms, and in return they discovered a massive collection of trash. The trash was not necessarily dumped at this location, but due to the oceans currents a lot of it was pushed together and created an underwater garbage collection. In one way it is pretty impressive to see the ocean currents working to confine the trash to a limited area, but ultimately the lack of respect for the ocean outshines that small triumph.

On the plus side, the scientists did get to few a few deep water creatures. The jellyfish at that depth are pretty impressive looking. The excitement of discover might have been  ruined for this team of scientists, but the video definitely is worth checking out.

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Lord Howe Marine Park coral photographed at night. Photo courtesy of the University of Western Sydney

Who wouldn’t want one of these neon beauties in their reef? This photo was shot with nothing more than a blue light torch. Imagine it underneath some LEDs.

Researchers at Lord Howe Island Marine Park have discovered an extremely fluorescent coral community that will now be used in cancer research. Dr. Anya Salih, a Scientist with the University of Western Sydney said that the corals were found in underwater reefs near the northern end of th World Heritage Island.

The scientists were there studying a mass-bleaching that had occurred earlier in the year due to sudden changes in the seawater’s temperature when they stumbled upon a community of highly fluorescent corals that showed no signs of bleaching. The corals were at a shockingly shallow depth for their immense vibrancy. Most highly fluorescent corals are found in deep waters underneath overhangs or in caverns, these corals were out in the open. The corals are also oddly abundant which is so rare considering their location.

Dr Salih said coral specimens from the marine park would now be tested in her lab for new types of fluorescent labels that under special laser microscopes would be used to follow individual molecules to decipher what happens inside living healthy or cancerous cells.

“We are using these pigments to light up the workings of living cells and to study what goes wrong in cancer cells.”

Read the full article to get the full scope of this amazing discovery and to keep up with the Dr. Salih’s advancements.

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

This video is of a Leopard Flatworm (Pseudobiceros pardalis) swimming on a Bermuda Reef. Leopard Flatworms live at a depth range of 15-75 feet and grow to an average of 1.5″ in length. They can be found in the waters of the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida. The Leopard Flatworm tends to hide beneath rocks and within crevices when it is not using it’s unique edges of its body to swim. A diverse diet and lack of predators give this animal a great natural ability to survive. What an awesome specimen, too bad it would eat our corals if we added it to our tanks.

This video is just one of hundreds of unique ocean videos on oceancontent’s YouTube channel.

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Cairns Marine is Australia’s leading marine fish collection, education, and research team. They supply many of the world’s marine exhibits with livestock of all shapes and sizes. Over the years Cairns Marine has developed new systems that enable safe and responsible collection practices. Although support for non-aquacultured fish is diminishing amongst hobbyist, the Cairns method of hand-collecting without the use of cyanide makes their practice much more tolerable among activists.

This video shows Cadel Squire, director of Cairns Marine out on a dive collecting Emperors, Triggers, and Butterflies in the Coral Sea. Check out the shark cameo at about 2:51. You gotta love being so close to the ocean’s best predator.

This video might be controversial to those who do not support the capturing of fish for commercial purposes, but you can’t win em’ all.

To learn more about Cairns Marine and their many endeavors, check out their website.

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Our fascinations with reef keeping are constantly evolving and completely trend based. Coral collections have become our version of a fashionista’s wardrobe and frag swaps are our fashion week. We are totally trend obsessed, which is why we try to dress our tanks to impress. Corals, not unlike shoes have their own limited run as the season’s show stoppers.

For example, 2 years ago acros were all the rage. Now chalices have taken the spotlight. Not surprising, due to their vibrant colors and awesome encrusting abilities. Chalices have only become easily accessible to hobbyists within the past decade. Attractive and pricey, a stunning chalice can earn bragging rights in any forum. If you are now enticed to sit at the cool table, there are a few things that you should know about chalices before taking the plunge.

• Chalices can be really aggressive. They will use their stinging sweeper tentacles to keep hold their spot in the tank.

• Chalices become easily exhausted by too much light exposure. They are traditionally a deep water coral, and although photosynthesis is an important aspect of their nourishment, it is not the key element of their growth.

• Chalices prefer the following parameters:

  • Calcium 350-400 ppm
  • Alkalinity 10-12 dKH
  • Magnesium 1300-1400

• Chalices benefit from occasional feedings of mysis shrimp or other small meaty foods.

So next time you think of yourself as a reef dork, think of this article and remember that although we might not know what the hottest jeans on the market are (some of you might), we do know which corals will earn us some street-cred within our circles. Chalices are definitely the new black!

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Here is a phenomenal video showcasing the Pacific Sun’s Modular LED Lamps on a great mixed reef tank. The specific lights are three Pacific Sun 120W 14000K units. The lights illuminate the corals with a spectacular glow. The European built products are truly magnificent high output LED units. To learn more about the Pacific Sun LED systems available, check out the Pacific Sun site.

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

If you’re a regular on the forums, chances are you’ve heard the term “Tang Police” or at least seen the abbreviation TP. The Tang Police are a group of individuals, not sworn in by any government body, that browse through forums and attack anyone with a less-than ideal aquarium-to-tang ratio. Tang Police generally do not like to be identified, or even more so called “Tang Police”. Apparently its not a nice name to call someone. They are vigilantes working to better the lives of tangs, and they have no shame calling someone out who is abusing their finned-friends quality of life.

You can spot a TP’s citations very easily with these few key elements:

  • They will attack a newbie for even mentioning a potential stock list for their 20 Gallon Long that just happened to include a very small tang. The attack will be crass and most likely a tag-team styled event. The newbie’s spirits should be crushed by the end of this and their likelihood of using the forum is now slim. That is a sign that the TP have been at the scene of the crime.
  • Anytime a mention of having a tang in anything less than a 240 gallon tank occurs, several people write in response to your “cruel” practice and call you “irresponsible”. If the original poster is an experienced reef-keeper they might choose to fight back leading to a very long thread of hateful banter. This too is a sign that the TP are actively working the forums.
  • The final sign of TP brutality is the anthropomorphizing of tangs and trying to get the victim/original poster to “feel” what the tang feels. This approach is absolutely brilliant and totally tries to guilt the offender into submission. You can spot this violation of conduct, by this simple line “How would you feel if…?”

The Tang Police are an impressive group of unknowns that enjoy the hunt. They are the unpaid bounty hunters of the online reef community and their tactless approaches often leave newbies crushed, long-timers pissed, and the rest of us laughing.

If you are bored and looking for a kick, just create a new profile and mention that you are “New to the hobby, and you just put a Lieutenant Tang in your 29 gallon it seems to be doing well. I am certain that within moments a Lieutenant of the Tang Police will be busting into your post and reading you the riot act. Enjoy.

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