In 2013, our friends Ned and Anna DeLoach from blennywatcher.com shared with us some photos and a video of a potentially undescribed goby that lives exclusively inside lacy bryozoan colonies. It turns out the species is indeed new to science, and Gerald Allen, Mark Erdmann, and N.K. Dita Cahynai have just formally described Sueviota bryozophila n. sp.
Urchins are one of the ocean's best lawnmowers, so when two invasive algae started to smother Hawaiian reefs, a team bred 300,000 native urchins and relocated them to the troubled sites. The urchins are doing their jobs like bosses!
From the Hawaii DLNR:
300,000 Urchins Continue to Clean Invasive Alien Algae
Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay Largely Cleared of Algae
(HONOLULU) – David Cohen is a proud papa for good reason. He and his team, working at the Anuenue Fisheries Research Center on Oahu’s Sand Island, have now planted 300,000 Native Hawaiian collector urchins (Tripneustes gratilla) into Kaneohe Bay to control two species of invasive algae.
From the program’s modest beginnings six years ago, when the urchin hatchery at Anuenue first began producing urchins for planting in the Windward Oahu bay, until now; the project is considered a resounding success. “We did our first release or urchins at Kaneohe in 2011 and recent surveys of the patch reefs there show a significant number of them are free of seaweed,“ Cohen explained.
Urchins are ideally suited for the work they perform. They are native to Hawaii. They have relatively few predators, they breed in captivity, and they don’t swim away like fish. While Cohen certainly credits the collector urchins for their part in scouring the bay of invasive algae (Kappaaphycus and Eucheuma), he also points out that it has declined naturally over the past year. It’s believed this reduction is due to warm ocean conditions associated with El Nino.
Low levels of algae still remains in the bay and it could eventually grow back. The DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) is devoting additional resources towards urchin production to take advantage of this period of low algae levels and to try to gain more ground for the fight against invasive seaweed.
The life of a collector urchin destined for Kaneohe Bay begins when DAR teams collect brood animals about once a month. By the time they reach the hatchery they are usually ready to spawn. The eggs are fertilized, larvae are free swimming within 24 hours and they are fed a diet of cultured phytoplankton. After approximately 3-4 weeks they settle down and transform into a sea urchin and then are moved from the “hatchery” stage to the “nursery” stage. In their nursery tanks they feed on naturally growing biofilms. When they’re about a quarter inch in size, in addition to eating biofilms, they are also fed cultured seaweed. Over the course of about five months they grow into the size of a dime and then make the journey by truck and then boat to begin their work munching algae.
The invasive algae was first introduced into the bay in a failed experiment to create a carrageenan (an additive often found in coconut and almond milk) industry in Hawaii. The algae became a nuisance species that quickly spread over the patch reefs of Kaneohe Bay, smothering out the vibrant corals. Over the years, Cohen and his team have refined their nursery and hatchery protocols. In 2014, they were able to raise and release 112,000 urchins. “With luck and the constant updating of best practices for our work, in 2016 we hope to exceed that number and quickly reach a half million urchins released,” Cohen concluded.
Here is a beautifully layered captive reef , all within what amounts to not more than a puddle of water. This month, this Dutch aquarium celebrates its 2 year anniversary; it's matured gracefully.
We love the diverse of "localized" assemblages of diverse coral types that all combine together for one very convincing, natural reef exhibit. The aquarium also features an excellent and extensive selection of nano fish (mainly gobies and cardinals) who are most appropriate for a tank of this type. So much life is such a shallow container of seawater ... the whole seven minute video is a joy to watch.
Speaking of mesophotic reefs, scientists discovered a huge 700 mile long reef at the mouth of the Amazon river. The finding is extremely surprising since the Amazon dumps millions of gallons of muddy freshwater into the ocean here. The reef survives in a stratified seawater layer below this plume layer.
Purple anemone (Heteractis magnifica) and resident anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) (clownfish) in East Timor. Photo by Nick Hobgood
The rule of thumb for aquarists is to keep only one species of clownfish per tank because they are aggressive. Clownfish in the wild, however, are known to share anemones with different species.
The video is potato quality; the aquascape isn't. Most Malawi-style aquariums feature rocky substrate, but we dare say none quite like this. It's a great reminder that the aquascape doesn't always have to stop at the water line.
Gymnogeophagus terrapurpura is the newest described cichlid from Uruguay, featuring unique and some of the most beautiful pigmentation for the genus. It reminds us of an oversized blue ram cichlid.
Few, if any, fish are as adorned (and adored) as betta fish. As these two recent videos show, the coloration and extravagant fins of Betta splendes are unrivaled. These fish are truly living works of art.
Like yet-described plecos and their L-numbers, there are a lot of corydoras without formal descriptions identified with a C-number. There is now one less C-number without a name. CW 032 has been formally described as Corydoras knaacki.
AquaMaxx is launching its new line of low-iron, rimless aquariums ranging from 2.6 gallons to 64.8 gallons in what five different shape categories. Starting at $39.99 USD, the new AquaMaxx aquariums take aim at ADA aquariums at a fraction of their price.
Microbiologists and fish researchers from Radboud University have discovered an entirely new type of symbiosis: bacteria in the gills of fish that convert harmful ammonia into harmless nitrogen gas. Environmental Microbiology Reports published an early view of the results this week.
Marine biologists have found that sponges feed on coral mucus and convert part of it into detritus, making them efficient recyclers of biological waste on coral reefs. By transferring nutrients gained from coral mucus to other reef creatures in the form of shed tissue, sponges help feed the entire reef. This salvaging of animal waste by sponges—known as the sponge loop—helps explain why coral reefs can thrive in nutrient-poor tropical and cold waters. This insightful research was published recently in the open access journal Scientific Reports.
One of Advanced Aquarist's very first sponsors, Premium Aquatics, is celebrating their 20th birthday by running specials for some of their original manufacturers who launched with them in 1996. Boy, time really flies!
The family of tiny gobies is growing rapidly. David W. Greenfield and John E Randall have described five new dwarfgobies for the genus Eviota: E. eyreae, E. mimica, E. richardi, E. teresae, and E. thamani.
Reef-A-Palooza Orlando takes place this month on April 23 & 24 2016 at the Caribe Royal All Suites & Convention Hotel. This marks the third year the show takes place in Orlando, Florida and the first year at its new home at the Caribe.