While covering the marine aquarium trade at the intersection of science and sustainability, I’m frequently asked what the sustainably minded aquarist should do. Over the next ten weeks, I’ll try to answer that question as best I’m able beginning with a fundamental truth of which many beginning aquarists are unaware.
You wouldn't think a tiny, filterless reef aquarium could possibly work, but Mary Arroyo's "Maritza" has been thriving for almost two years now. We aren't talking about a monospecific display either. Maritza is fully stocked with SPS, LPS, and soft corals.
Giesemann is launching a new light that combines the benefits of both LED and dimmable T5 technology with impressive power output and control. For example, the 24" model features 4 x 24W T5s plus 85 watts of LEDs. We share their press release after the jump.
Polyp bail-out is a phenomenon where a coral's polyps detach from their skeletal base to seek life elsewhere. Only a few species are known to do this. Scientists documented the first known such occurrence for sun corals, Tubastraea coccinea.
The dramatic aquatic appears endlessly deep thanks to its layering and proportions directing your eye towards the "infinity" hollow in the middle.
Exotic Aquatics is an Australian fish store specializing in freshwater/nature aquascapes ... and they are REALLY good at what they do. Their latest aquarium is called Distant Hollow. We don't have enough superlatives to describe the quality of their work.
Fish are not regarded as interactive pets, but don't tell that to these guys. We have no scientific evidence that man-made hybrids are more friendly and engaging, but these videos make a convincing argument.
All fish have unique personalities, and some fish are simply more personable than others. These three fish are as playful and interactive as fish get.
Please don't force your fish to play with you if it doesn't want to. It's stressful, dangerous for many fish (and sometimes for you), and just plain rude! The fish in these videos clearly seek the interaction with their owners.
This is Roland Giroux's blood parrot, and it loves playing with his owner's hand and getting massaged.
Oranda are arguably the most personable variety of goldfish ever bred. There are a whole bunch of videos of orandas playing with people's hands. This video of "Sweet Pea" is the cutest we found.
Some of you may have seen this viral video earlier this year. A man is seen petting ... and tossing ... a playful male Flowerhorn. It may look like animal abuse, but you can clearly tell the Flowerhorn is enjoying the flying fish treatment because it keeps darting back to the hand for relaunch.
Aquarist and researchers alike have used the mirror trick to try to fool fish into thinking they are looking at a rival. But scientists are starting to question the effectiveness of the technique because a simple mirror image isn't fooling fish the way we thought.
While we were surfing crowd-source websites, we ran across this fascinating but failed campaign to develop an aquarium centrifugal filter. Could we be spinning our way to cleaner aquariums?
A cichlid fish strikes a bottom-weighted thermometer that would immediately right itself. It was often struck repeatedly in bouts. Photo by Ann Hawthorne
Chalk another one up for researchers discovering what aquarists already know: A fish's behavior is not always predicated on basic survival tactics; Fish play for the sheer pleasure of the activity. If your fish is doing something inexplicably silly, don't just assume it's a derivative of survival behavior (e.g. feeding, mating, territorial, et al.). It's possible your fish is goofing around.
Flowerhorns are a man-made hybrid cichlid. To some people, they are beauties. To others, abominations. One thing is indisputable: they are aggressive, big-personality animals. Here's a video of a newly introduced flowerhorn being "initiated" by the resident beastly male.
The owner of these flowerhorns claims both are alive and well despite the initial aggressive he captured on video. Flowerhorns are known as very aggressive fish, so it's generally not advisable to keep more than one per tank, and certainly not the best idea in a tank this small. There are a scary number of videos showing flowerhorns fighting with other flowerhorns, arrowanas, jack dempseys, oscars, red devils, etc.
A curious red blood parrot cichlid might be the best part of the whole video. When it's not photobombing with its cute puffy face, it watches the whole awkward Flowerhorn kiss with keen interest. Blood parrots are another man-made hybrid but with a much more docile personality.
A quick genealogical rundown for Flowerhorns (and for those who have a bone to pick with fancy goldfish and designer clownfish, you may want to skip the next two paragraphs): They are a relatively new hybridized cichlid that does not occur in the wild. Originating in the early 1990s, it is believed Asian breeders crossed trimac cichlids (Amphilophus trimaculatus) with red devil cichlids (e.g. Amphilophus labiatus) with who-knows-what-other-cichlids. The truth is no good documentation exists on the origins of Flowerhorns so their genealogy is murky at best. They are a mish-mash Frankenstein of whichever cichlid could yield desirable traits.
Breeders in Malaysia and Taiwan coveted fish with protruding heads. Through selective breeding, they were able to create Flowerhorns with highly exaggerated forehead humps. These protrusions are fat stores called "koks" and were first developed in males, although lesser koks are developing in females of certain strains as well. The bigger a male's kok, the more desirable the fish. <snicker> Spectacular specimens can command prices in the thousands of dollars. Successive generations have created bigger and bigger koks.
This summer, we reported on three newly described Trimma gobies: T. pajama, T. meranyx, and T. zurae. Unfortunately, we only found photos of the first two at the time, and boy were those gobies spectacular. We now have photos of T.zurae.
Lego is the new duct tape. There's nothing you can't build out of them. Osamu Mizuno assembled this auto fish feeder out of mechanized Lego parts. Admittedly, the system is not practical and probably not all that reliable, but it's just plain ol' cool.
Lego isn't what I remembered them to be when I was a kid. Nowadays, there are servo motors, gear, articulating parts, and power supplies for Lego that elevate them from simple building blocks to something that almost requires an engineering degree to assemble. With some 3rd party parts and mods, you can create amazingly complex, functional builds ... like this automated multi-tank fish feeder on (Lego) tracks.
There isn't any accompanying information with the video, so we don't know the details of the build or why Mizuno even built this contraption. Sure, a commercial fish feeder would be a lot more reliable, practical, and affordable. But if that's all Mizuno did, I wouldn't be blogging about it, would I?
Matt Barnes has a problem. A good problem. The corals in his 90 gallon have grown so large they make his 90 gallon reef look tiny. A new 180 gallon system is now in the works.
A Japanese man has started a crowd-sourcing project to help launch and promote his new look-down aquariums. The Bird's Eye Aquarium is designed for the water level to reach all the way up to the top glass thus eliminating visual distortion looking down into the tank.
We're suckers for reef footage combined with cinematic soundtrack. If you add the Red Sea into the mix, you don't have to twist our arm to share your video. This nine minute video features Red Sea fish and aquascape galore.