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Image Credit: Jeff Levinton

Biologists have been plagued with the question, “Fish evolved in the oceans, but fresh waters have more species. Why?” It has been documented that our oceans today contain only 15-20% of the fish species despite the fact that it is believed that all fish evolved from the oceans making their way to the freshwater bodies. Well, John J. Wiens of Brook University is the Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution address this question. Dr. Wiens published his findings in the February edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society. For a briefer understanding of this question review the interview with Dr. Wiens conducted by Benjamin Dual on behalf of EarthSky.

Documented New Shark Species – Galapagos Island

Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 at 10:18 am

Photo credit: California Academy of Sciences

A new species of shark was recently documented by John McCosker an aquatic biologist with the California Academy of Sciences. The Bythaelurugs giddgsi is a member of the catshark tribe. These sharks are found all around the world typically they are bottom dwellers. The sharks were discovered and samples were collected back in 1998 in the area of the Galapagos Island. McCosker and his colleagues reported on the new species in the latest issue of Zootaxa.

Read more on the story at SFGate.

Government Invades Aquarist Home Looking for a Marijuana Grow House

Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post

This story is becoming more and more common. A private home gets red flagged based on high energy usage and the cops send in the swat team. Mike Baynes of Surrey, British Columbia has an average power bill of about $450, mostly due to his hobby of breeding tropical fish. Luckily for Mike, it wasn’t the SWAT team busting down the door, it was an electrical and fire inspector escorted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As with most of these stories no grow house was found. It appears the government was unhappy with their misguided search so they are making Mike pay for the unsolicited electrical inspection and perform upgrades to his aquariums to the tune of $800.

More on the story can be found at The Huffington Post.

Marlins Park Aquarium goes live adding fish to the tank

Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 10:01 am

The Miami Marlins new park has an interesting addition not seen in any baseball parks to date. A large aquarium sits between home plate and fans. I can see the gears turning, you read it right. A saltwater aquarium with coral decorations and live fish is in place behind home plate. Not much information has been made available about the aquarium as far as dimensions or how many gallons of water it holds. What we do know is it is constructed of fiberglass with additional clear acrylic panels that are one inch thick and is said to be unbreakable (or so they hope). First baseman Gaby Sanchez wanted to put the tank to a test. He slung a baseball as hard as he could and the tank still stands. Let’s see how the tank holds up from a stray pitch from Marlins’ star pitcher Josh Johnson.

The Majano Wand and Reality

Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 9:30 am

Marine Depot just released an instructional video showing the proper procedure for the use of the Majano Wand. In principle it’s divine, but is it really? In the video it seems very effective on majano anemones, but how is it on aiptasia? In the video the instructor rolls the end of the wand back and forth for a long 20 seconds until the little nuisance is vaporized. Anyone trying to touch an aiptasia knows the little bugger will suck into the rock before you actually make contact with it. In our experience using the Majano Wand we had a hard time getting to the aiptasia before they sucked in. We finally were able to make contact with one to film this video. It is important to note, the aiptasia we vaporized came back in the exact same spot. I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate the majority of these wands are purchased for aiptasias over majanos. The makers very clearly state that although it may work at times, the intended use of this product is not to kill aiptasia. My suggestion is to keep a few peppermint shrimp which will eradicate your aiptasia problem.

Does any of our readers have experience with the Majano Wand to share?

Alert: Utility Water Bills Expected to Triple Across the Country

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Photo Credit: Pat Sullivan / AP

Reef Tools hates to be the bearer of bad news. American Water Works Associations (AWWA) recently conducted a study on the aging water system infrastructure across the county. AWWA released their findings in a report entitled Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge. The cost of improving the existing infrastructure, including the expansion, will cost close to $1 trillion. As always this cost will be passed to consumers over the next 25 years in their water bill.

The average household pays an average of $400 per year on water. What kind of hit can be expected? It has been stated that each family can expect an increase of $300-$550 more per year in water associated taxes and fees just to maintain the current system and keep it operational. If your area intends to improve or expand the current system expect your water bill to jump by $900 annually for a family of three.

For more details here are some links:
Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge
The Examiner: More bad news: U.S. water bills to triple

On the heals of the 2012 Lake Erie Frag Fest, comes another reef event which is sure to be blast. The Western Ohio Reef Club (WORC) is putting on their Annual Frag Swap on Saturday March 24th from 12:00 – 4:00PM. The event has a great lineup of vendors and sponsors, and anyone within driving distance should attend. Admission is only $5 for each adult, free for children and WORC Premium Members. An Early-bird fee of $25 entitles you to a 4×8 table, with power (if you’re interested, please PayPal $25 to along with the yellow table number you wish to have, from the map below).

(please make sure to visit the WORC Website as this map will continue to be updated)

Vendor booths are also available, and will include 2 4×8 tables. Cost is $75+ raffle item of your choosing. PayPal 50$ deposit to and include in notes the blue table number you wish to reserve from the floor plan.

NOTE: The first 400 paid attendees/premium members will receive a goodie bag courtesy of Drs. Fosters and Smith.

Here is a list of vendors:

Bulk Reef Supply
Marine Solutions Funny-Fish-Aquatics
Tidal Gardens Coral Ranch

Diamond Raffle Sponsors

Platinum Raffle Sponsors

Gold Raffle Sponsors Tidal Gardens


WORC was founded by a group of saltwater aquarium enthusiasts in western Ohio as a way to share ideas, information and knowledge of the marine aquarium hobby. Along with an annual Frag Swap, we also hold monthly meetings.

For more information about the upcoming event , please visit

Library wants to get Tanked

Posted on Friday, March 2nd, 2012 at 1:04 pm

The Marathon County Public Library wants to use funds from a $76,000 donation made to the library from a private estate donation for a new reef tank. The library is planning on a 750 gallon reef aquarium to be placed in the children’s section. The University of Wisconsin has proposed using the reef aquarium for an internship program for students of their marine biology education. The big kicker in the story is the library hopes to get national exposure by selecting the well known Vegas company Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM) which would land them on the reality tv show Tanked. Animal Planet has not approved the $36,000 aquarium for Tanked as of yet. The popular tv series Tanked will start airing the second season of the reality show in August.

Wetpixel Finalizes the Picture of the Year Contest for 2011

Posted on Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at 4:31 pm

First place image by Alexis Tabah

Congratulations to Alexis Tabah, his picture has been chosen for picture of the year! His first place photo has won him a trip on the Solmar V, a 112 foot luxury live-aboard dive vessel. The photo contest was a huge success for WetPixel, a popular underwater photography magazine. The winning images received more than 2,500 votes each. You can see the other top images here.

YouTube Video Makes Waves – Dolphin Stampede

Posted on Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at 4:23 pm

A video uploaded Feburary 23, 2012 by Dana Wharf using the name DANAPOINTWHALEWATCH is making waves around YouTube, blogs and other social networks. Dana Wharf is a sport fishing and whale watching Adventure Company. The video catches a very large pod of common dolphins racing along side of the Dana Pride as it moved off the coast of Orange County, California. Many people that watch the video mistake the dolphin’s reactions as troubled or in distress. It is common for dolphins to race along the side of large and small vessels in a playful manner, although, pods as large as this are unusual. Some of the comments left on YouTube and other sites blame the boat for ramming into the middle of the pod with no regard for the dolphins safety.

Alisa Schulman-Janiger, who has spend many years researching marine mammals off Southern California, stated she has never witnessed common dolphins showing any negative reaction to boats. I’ve had many experiences with common dolphins chasing and playing along side of my 18’ flats fishing boat. Most of the time they pay little or no attention to use while we are out fishing, but on occasion they will run along side of our small boat within feet of the gunnels while we are on a plain. I’ve even had dolphins spend half a day following us for miles waiting to ambush any released fish. Often we have to trick them, one of us will splash noisily to lure the dolphins to one side of the boat so that the other can quietly release an undersized fish safely.

What do you think? More details on the story can be found here.

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