Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Invasion Beyond the Coast: An Ecosystem in Danger

In recent news, scientists have become increasingly concerned over the presence of 16 non-native marine fish species of the eastern coast of the United States. In this, the first of the three part series Invasion Beyond the Coast, we will look at the groups that are leading the charge to classify this threat to our oceans.

Researchers believe that the presence of the fish, which include species of Angelfish, Tangs, Lionfish, is most likely due to hobbyists releasing them into the wild. These fish have been tracked by REEF.org for many years now. One of the goals of reef.org is to catalog the population size and location of each of the non-native species. This data, along with research from many other institutions including the National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC), will be used to gauge the impact of these aquatic aliens on the natural habitats.

The NISIC aquatic division usually tracks freshwater species, but recently has become responsible for marine life as well. This government entity was created in 1999 under Executive Order 13112 by President Clinton. Their mission is to track and catalog all non-native and invasive species in the United States. With this data they gauge the economic and environmental impacts and devise solutions.

For more information on how you can help, visit REEF.org.

Be sure to catch the next installment of Invasive Beyond the Coast, where we will discuss the past and current threats to biodiversity.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Mating Game

We have a pair of 8-year-old Darwin (black and white) Ocellaris Clownfish in the company's main display tank that lay eggs every couple of weeks or so.

I've been with the company just over a year now, and they spawn like clockwork.

The male has very little orange coloring and the fe
male has none, so their offspring may be very unique.

A couple of our staffers reached out to Bluewater Aquaculture to see if they were interested in raising the hatchlings, since we're not equipped to do so here in the office.

The first batch off eggs they took to their facilities were laid on the side of a clam. Unfortunately, they did not have the best luck harvesting them.

Bluewater recommended putting a piece of tile in the display tank so the clowns would opt for it instead of the clam. At 5 PM last Saturday, they did just that.

If you're wondering why I'm only giving a roundabout explanation of all the goings-on, it's because this whole process is documented on Bluewater Aquaculture's own blog.

I've included some photos that Steve, head of our livestock division (MarineDepotLive.com), shot last week.


Deal of the Week


Friday, April 25, 2008

Nano-Reef.com Birthday Giveaway

We've teamed up with Nano-Reef.com to help them celebrate their 7th birthday and to give away some great prizes to 4 lucky winners.

Prize Details

  • Grand Prize: Current USA Solana 34 Gallon Aquarium w/ HQI 150w Pendant & Modern Black Stand - More Info
  • 2nd Prize: AquaC Nano Remora Protein Skimmer (Skimmer Only) - More Info
  • 3rd Prize: IceCap 250 Watt Electronic Metal Halide/HQI Ballast - More Info
  • 4th Prize: Prodibio Biokit Reef - 30 Vials - More Info
How To Enter

To enter the prize drawing simply post a comment
in this thread. It's in honor of Nano-Reef.com's birthday after all, so post a fun Nano-Reef.com memory, a little adulation, or whatever you like!

Giveaway Rules

You may only enter the drawing
once! If you enter more than once, you'll be automatically disqualified. If you want to chat, please use their Anniversary Thread.

The drawing is open to
United States residents only. Apologies to our international members, but shipping costs are prohibitive, especially with the grand prize.

4 winners will be chosen randomly from among the entries on June 1st, 2008. Prizes will be given out in the order that names are drawn.

Entries can be submitted until May 31st, 2008, 11:59 PM PST

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

I wanted to share a handful of eco-friendly links with you today in the spirit of celebrating the beauty and grandeur of Mother Earth.

  1. Earth Day Network
  2. International Year of the Reef 2008
  3. The Southern California Caulerpa Action Team
  4. Surfrider Foundation
  5. Ocean Conservancy
I encourage you to take some time today to sit back and appreciate how fortunate we are to live in such a wonderfully diverse, intricate and altogether awesome world.

Then, after you've had a chance to soak it all in, explore the aforementioned links and consider getting involved to learn how we can make it even better.

Add your favorite Earth Day-related links as comments or name drop organizations you're involved with that help make the earth a better place so other readers can check 'em out.

We will, too. :-)

Oh, and while I'm at it, I might as well plug what looks to be a good, earthy program on the tube tomorrow, National Geographic's Strange Days.

In the meantime, enjoy your day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

MarineDepot.com on the Radio

Tonight @ 7 PM (10 PM EST) my bossand MarineDepot.com's Director of Operations—Ben Ros will be appearing on Frank Reese's Blue Zoo, a new talk radio program dedicated to the marine aquarium hobby.

Here is a rundown of the guests appearing on tonight's program:

  • Columnist/Moderator – David Lass
  • Marine Aquarist/Author – Michael Paletta
  • MarineDepot.com Director of Operations – Ben Ros
  • Hikari USA President – Chris Clevers
Ben will be discussing the growth of the the saltwater aquarium hobby from both a hobbyist and business perspective. Did that sound too formal? It shouldn't be; look forward to a fun conversation and an intimate look inside the Marine Depot mindset that you'll find isn't all suits & ties.

Fortunately they archive the program, so in case you're checking this after the show has aired, visit Blue Zoo's website for more info.

Deal of the Week


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Aiptasia-X performs X-actly as Advertised

There is a buzz in the reef aquarium community surrounding the release of Red Sea’s new pest anemone treatment, Aiptasia-X.

What seems to be on everyone’s mind is, “Does this stuff really work? I mean really, really work?”

I’ve read the forums. I’ve spoken with fellow reefers. It isn’t skepticism.

We’ve simply tried other aiptasia treatments and, well … you know how it is: you treat your tank and just when things start looking better, all of a sudden, a new colony appears even larger than the last.

It’s not that we don’t believe this new treatment will be different. It’s just that we’re afraid of getting our hopes up.

That is why I am pleased—even excited—to report that Aiptasia-X works. Remarkably well, in fact.

So well that I have no reservations stating here, in writing, that Aiptasia-X is the most effective aiptasia treatment I have ever used.

What’s so different about Aiptasia-X? Superficially speaking, not much.

Pop open the box and you’ve got your standard issue aiptasia treatment: a bottle of goo and a syringe.

Look closer and you’ll see the applicators have metal tips. Seemingly inconsequential, however, if you’ve used other aiptasia treatments, you know that plastic-tipped applicators inevitably get clogged with dried gunk. Then you get to play the “stick the paper clip in the tip” game, which, although vexing, is better than the alternative “push the plunger as hard as you can until it squirts all over your tank” game.

The second thing I noticed upon closer inspection was that the size of the bottle is 3 times larger than the stuff I usually buy to treat aiptasias. Scoring 3x the treatment plus two—one curved, one straight—metal-tipped applicators for only a couple of dollars more than I normally fork over is a heckuva deal.

But let’s cut to the chase. How effective is Aiptasia-X at exterminating glass anemones? In a word: X-tremely.

Since Aiptasia-X is sensed as food, injecting it near the oral disk of an anemone will stimulate it to expand and ingest the treatment. Another difference between Aiptasia-X and other like-minded products on the market is Aiptasia-X globulates as it enters the water, forming a thick adhesive that seals the anemone’s oral disk and mouth, thus preventing the release of planulas (larvae).

Within 60 seconds, the aiptasia implodes, just like Red Sea demonstrates in their video, eradicating both the anemone and planula.

As you might imagine, this can be very entertaining if you’ve treated an entire colony of aiptasias. My marketing cohort and I imagined the aiptasias imploding to the volley of cannon fire in Tchaikovsky's famous 1812 Overture.

Red Sea states that “Aiptasia-X globules will not affect the sessile polyps of corals and allows for the safe treatment of Aiptasia that have grown inside coral colonies. Excess X-Aiptasia will decompose over time without causing any harm to the reef.”

I’ve used Aiptasia-X three times and made two noteworthy observations regarding its interaction with the corals in our tank. First, I believe Red Sea’s claim that Aiptasia-X is sensed as food because each time I used it, our Trumpet Coral protracted its feeder tentacles (not to mention the anemones reaction, which was to expand rather than retract into a hole).

Second, I accidently squirted a decent-sized globule on our Orange Montipora and it left a white blemish about ½” long and ¼” across, even after I blew off most of it with our squirt tube. Since this only happened yesterday, I’m not sure if individual polyps were killed but either way I’m confident Monty’ll make a comeback. A similar stain appeared after our frogspawn latched on to Monty but the spot eventually returned to its striking orange in no time.

And that's pretty much the gist of it. I'll keep an eye on Monty and let you know if the white spot doesn't clear up, but otherwise, I'm giving Aiptasia-X a "killer" rating.

Happy hunting!

How we Handle Livestock @ MDL

Due to the amount of questions we receive daily, we thought we would offer some insight on how our livestock is handled at our facility. Upon receipt, our animals are inspected, slowly acclimated to RO/DI water and Tropic Marin synthetic salt mix and then quarantined. After this procedure, if any fish are showing signs of illness or problems, they are relocated to “hospital” tanks for further treatment while the healthy fish are transferred to our main systems. Handling is kept to a minimum with the use of acrylic containers, as opposed to nets, for the majority of the livestock. The fish are kept in several separate systems that rely on UV sterilization, huge skimmers, and a large filtration system incorporating a bank of filter socks. Each system is closely monitored 24 hours a day.

Salinity is kept at around 1.024 and copper is used very lightly depending on the animals in the system. Of course systems with corals and invertebrates are kept at higher salinity and copper is not used. Due to this procedure, you should avoid adding the water your order arrives in to your reef tank and each bag should be acclimated separately using the drip method. This is especially true if you receive corals, invertebrates and fish in one shipment. When acclimating fish and corals ensure not to combine the water from one specimen to another, meaning that fish with fish are okay, but fish with corals or inverts is not. Please see our Acclimation Procedures for more details.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Algerian Marine Services Arrest Coral Smugglers

During the last 15 months, marine forces have arrested 46 coral smugglers and have seized 155 pounds of high quality coral, 37 Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) Systems, 338 coral removal machines and "a sizable number" of diving costumes. This was all done in the name of catching thieves that pillage the ocean's natural coral reefs.

El Khabar

Monday, April 14, 2008

Deal of the Week


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Japan uses coral to define international border

In what is the largest coral fragging project in the world, Japan is using living coral to lay claim to parts of the Pacific over 200 miles from their shore.

Started in 2006, the Japanese government has budgeted 7.55 million dollars to collect, reproduce and grow more than 100,000 fast growing acropora fragments about the size of a finger.

Japan is using these fragments to fortify small islets, that they claim are islands, from erosion.

According to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, if these are "real" islands, not just outcroppings as the Chinese government claims, Japan's control over the Pacific would extend another 200 nautical miles.

Even though Japan is using the coral to expand their share of the ocean, the research that they are doing is proving beneficial to help save coral reefs around the world.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Controllable Koralias now In Stock

You may remember that header graphic from our Best New Products from the Global Pet Expo post back in March.

Well, I've got good news: the controllable koralias are now in stock! Woo-hoo!

You can now pick up the Controllable Hydor Koralia 1, 2, 3, 4, Nano and the Wavemaker 2-Way Controller at our online store.

And, if you do, be sure to write a product review to let us—and your peers—know how you liked them and how they performed in your setup!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another Edition of Fact or Fiction

A while back, I posted a blog on the R2 fish school. Last week while surfing the World Wide Web, I came across a new video full of amazing, um, amazingness.

It seems someone has taken the expression "you can’t teach an old fish new tricks" to a whole new level (forget dog, people, we are a fish blog!).

Anyhoo… I leave this to you, reader, to watch and be amazed!

I will let you draw your own conclusions. Once again, this is beyond belief.

Fact or Fiction?

Marine Depot

Monday, April 07, 2008

Deal of the Week