When we talk about the history of the marine aquarium, we often praise people such as Lee Chin Eng, Peter Wilkens and Jean Jaubert, who did pioneering work in the 20th century. Their innovations and vision helped give rise to the popular marine aquarium hobby we know today. What few people know, however, is that Victorian England saw an aquarium craze 165 years ago, when much ground-breaking work was done. Some of the pioneers of the marine aquarium from that time are George Johnston, Robert Warington, Anna Thynne, William Lloyd and Philip Henry Gosse. In this article, I will detail their work, including the trials and tribulations, which represents some of the early attempts to maintain a balanced marine aquarium.
The diversity of Tridacnid available to hobbyists has expanded in recent years, and so has the taxonomic confusion among aquarists and researchers alike. James W. Fatherree sheds light on the "new" giant clams.
Feature Study: Effects of rock preconditioning and irradiance on growth of crustose coralline algae in aquaculture
Due to its high commercial value, live rock is a promising candidate for aquaculture. This poses interesting challenges, as our knowledge of live rock development in aquaculture is limited. The current preliminary study investigated the effects of rock preconditioning and irradiance on the growth of crustose coralline algae (CCA), a desired group of benthic calcifying algae.
EcoTech Marine's VorTech pumps recently underwent its first major product evolution. Dana Riddle thoroughly evaluates the new MP40 QuietDrive propeller pumps for their functionality and performance.
Dana Riddle's sixth Coral Nutrition article examines the effect of alkaline earth (e.g. calcium and strontium) and other metals on corals – including some rather surprising information.
Reefs are tricky balancing acts of livestock largely learned through trial and error. Fortunately, we have successful aquarists to guide the way. James shares his experiences with stocking a large mixed reef.
Dana Riddle continues his comprehensive exploration of coral nutrition. In this installment, he examines lipids and fatty acids, which help us understand how corals derive their nutrition as well as their feeding preferences.
Back in 2005 I first read about Dendronephthya corals, notorious for being difficult to maintain in aquaria. Lacking zooxanthellae, these corals require plankton to stay healthy. In the following years, I read up on the scientific literature, and toyed with the idea of setting up an aquarium specifically designed for Dendronephthya. This led to the launch of a crowd funding project on Indiegogo, to acquire funds for the development of a culture protocol for Dendronephthya corals. Although insufficient funds were gathered to fully develop an aquaculture system and culture protocol, two preliminary experiments were conducted. In this article, I will present the results of these experiments, and provide future directions for research. This may help aquarists to keep pushing the frontier of coral husbandry and aquaculture.
Science and emotion: Ne'er the two should meet. But they do, and this article will relay my small experience with these two. After writing a book on captive corals and over 300 articles on the same, it takes a lot to get me excited.
Swedish aquarist Jonas Roman has established a marvelously successful 650 liter (170 gallon) SPS-dominated, heavily stocked reef primarily using natural filtration methods.
Decreased growth of Stylophora pistillata with nutrient-driven elevated zooxanthellae density is largely explained by DIC limitation
High nutrient concentrations are generally known to adversely affect coral calcification. This reduction in calcification rate is often associated with increased zooxanthellae densities, but little is known about the mechanism underlying calcification inhibition. In this study, we assessed the limiting effects of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) on growth rates of Stylophora pistillata before and after five weeks of nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment. Nutrient enrichment resulted in a significant increase in zooxanthellae density and inhibition of calcification, measured using the alkalinity anomaly technique. DIC limitation was the main causative factor for this inhibition; a doubling of the bicarbonate concentration not only restored but greatly enhanced calcification rates of colonies with elevated zooxanthellae densities. At high bicarbonate concentration, no significant negative effect of nutrient enrichment on coral growth was found. The causal mechanism behind calcification inhibition due to nutrient enrichment is most likely increased competition for dissolved inorganic carbon, either among the zooxanthellae or between the coral host and its symbiotic dinoflagellates. This highly limiting effect of DIC on coral growth at elevated nutrient concentrations has important implications for coral aquaculture and husbandry.
Dana Riddle continues his intensive exploration of coral nutrition. In part three of his series, he delves deep into the subject of amino acids, including a discussion about amino acid supplements marketed to reefkeepers.
Stony coral nubbins (tentatively identified as Porites lobata; see Figure 1) were exposed to light of the same intensity (128 µmolm²sec) but different spectra for 75 days. Growth rates were determined by weighing the fragments periodically with an analytical balance.
Reefkeepers all know the giant clams Tridacna crocea, T. maxima, T. squamosa, T. deresa, and T. gigas. James W. Fatherree introduces two recently described species of tridacnids, one of which is now making its way into the hobby.
Over the last decades, the husbandry of aquarium corals has risen to a high level. Although captive corals currently exhibit high survival and fast growth, sexual reproduction remains a major hurdle. Closing the life cycle of corals is an important next step in coral husbandry and aquaculture. Below, I will discuss the reproductive biology of scleractinian corals, the challenges associated with sexual reproduction, and future perspectives of coral aquaculture.