Showing posts with label Reef. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reef. Show all posts


ANEMONES - What You Should Know

Plate V in "British Sea-Anemone and Coral...
Plate V in "British Sea-Anemone and Corals" by Philip Henry Gosse, Van voorst, Paternoster Row, London, 1860. 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever been to a pet store and as you looked at the fish tanks you noticed something kind of weird? You began to observe it and after a while, it looked kind of neat. You read the label and you see that this weird, neat thing is called an anemone. Your mind immediately begins to race as you think of how cool it would look in your tank. Well, the truth is that it would look cool.

However, you should understand a couple of things about the anemone first. So let's take a brief look at a few common facts you should know. First, let's look at how to pick out the right anemone. Try to figure out something about your desired anemone ahead of time. This will make it much easier to tell if something is wrong. If you see an anemone with short tentacles that should have long ones then that might mean this particular one is not healthy.

Also look for spots on it that may be torn, especially near the bottom. If this is torn then it may not be able to attach to anything. Proper color should also be something to look for in judging its health. Now that you know a few tips for picking out your anemone let's look at some guidelines for keeping your anemone. For one, there should be no possible way for it to get sucked into the filtration on your tank. A good way to prevent this is to cut the end off of some tights and place it over the filtration. Also, good water quality is a must. Anemones can be sensitive to the water in which it is placed and therefore water quality must be good at all times.

Lighting should be of high quality as well. Anemones thrive with a high light source and metal halides are recommended. Feeding can be different for every particular anemone. Test it out to see how yours does with different techniques. Usually feeding a couple times a week using frozen brine shrimp is adequate and the use of various minerals will also help. If the anemone continues to look healthy this is a sign that it is being fed properly. If it is not then try feeding more often with various types of food. Last, let's look at keeping an anemone with coral. This can be a little tricky because some anemones like to travel around the tank at times.

This may not be good, because this means it has not found a good place in which it is comfortable. If this is the case then you might want to consider waiting until it has found its "comfort zone" before adding any coral. When placing coral with an anemone make sure there is plenty of room between it and the coral. If they touch one another it could cause death for both since many corals sting as well as anemones. Plan things out before you consider keeping both.

So now you know a couple of things relating to the anemone. Once you get the hang of keeping one, it is safe to say that there is nothing really quite like it. To see an anemone flowing to the current in your tank and the possible clownish or two making it their host is simply amazing. Good luck on this marvelous journey and I hope you have great success with your new anemone!


Macroalgae As Natural Filtration For REEF AQUARIUMS

Caulerpa is a genus of edible seaweed.

Caulerpa is a genus of edible seaweed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Removing excess waste is one of the main challenges to a successful reef aquarium. It's often easy for beginners to forget that corals are living animals that excrete waste. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and phosphates are problematic to corals, fishes, inverts and other animals. An increase in ammonia that is not quickly removed or converted can easily crash a reef aquarium. High amounts of nitrates and phosphates can hinder coral growth and cause discoloration.

Typical means of removing nitrates and phosphates involve water changes, skimmers and the use of macroalgae. All three are very effective but the use of macroalgae is the easiest and most economical. Skimmers are often expensive and require cleaning few times a week. Water changes are time-consuming and can get expensive for large reef aquariums. Macroalgae can effectively absorb phosphates and nitrates as long as a light source is present. The only maintenance required is pruning excess growth once a month. While skimmers and water changes incur costs, excess trimmings of macroalgae can often be sold.

A side effect of excess nutrients is an increase of nuisance microalgae. Microalgae can ruin the beauty of a reef aquarium and suffocate corals. The good news is that macroalgae are able to able to starve microalgae of nutrients and thus greatly reducing its presence.

There is an abundance of choices of macroalgae that include Chaetomorpha, Caulerpa, Gracilaria and Ulva. In terms of phosphate and nitrate absorption, Caulerpa is the most aggressive and effective. However, Caulerpa can be potentially dangerous. Caulerpa can suddenly dissolve and release toxic elements and the excess nutrients that were absorbed. This happens when Caulerpa is lacking light or nutrients. A second problem with Caulerpa is its holdfast roots. Caulerpa has the ability to attach itself to hard objects making removal extremely difficult. With these risks, it's better to choose other macroalgae.

Chaetomorpha is an excellent and likely most popular choice among reef aquarists for nutrient uptake. Although the nutrient absorption rate for Chaetomorpha is not as aggressive as Caulerpa, it doesn't pose any risks that Caulerpa does. Chaetomorpha will not dissolve suddenly when starved of nutrients or light. There will be plenty of time and signs before Chaetomorpha dissolve. Chaetomorpha also lacks the ability to attach to objects making removal very easy.
Long-term control of excess nutrients is essential for a successful and beautiful reef aquarium. Although skimmers and frequent water changes are extremely effective in removing excess nutrients, macroalgae are the easiest way to remove excess nutrients.


How to Deal With AIPTASIA the Natural Way

Aiptasia sp.
Aiptasia sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia anemones plague many saltwater aquariums, particular those including reefs. These anemones can be quite hard to get rid of. This is both because they are extremely hardy and because of their reproductive strategies.

Aiptasia can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Their asexual reproductive method is known as a pedal laceration. This method involves the growth of daughter clones from the foot of the mother anemone. Pedal laceration allows aiptasia to reproduce very rapidly, and to create multiple new offspring at the same time. Furthermore, many attempts to destroy aiptasia fail. This happens because, even if the mother anemone is manually removed or destroyed, a circle of daughter clones will be left behind.

Chemical approaches to aiptasia removal are also problematic because they can easily destroy other species and ruin the delicate balance required to maintain a vibrant, living reef aquarium. Luckily, humans can borrow some ideas from nature as to how to deal with these prolific anemones; the best solution to an overabundance of aiptasia is to introduce some of their natural predators into the aquarium ecosystem.

There are several potential species to use in this manner. Peppermint shrimp are small cleaner shrimp that naturally consume aiptasia. However, their efficacy is limited by the fact that these shrimp generally prefer other food sources.

Some reef keepers also use a few varieties of butterfly fish, with the Raccoon Butterfly species being the most popular. These fish have also been known to eat other reef inhabitants, including tube worms, corals and other anemones.

The best choice for a predator to introduce is generally Berghia nudibranchs. These animals are mollusks which are commonly called "sea slugs". Berghia nudibranchs are more focused than other potential species on eating aiptasia anemones.

This species of mollusk is small. At the largest, they grow to be one inch in length. When newly hatched, these animals are so tiny they cannot be seen by the unaided human eye. They are often shipped when they are only partially grown, at a size of half an inch or smaller. Berghia nudibranchs at this size are still quite delicate.

Shipping in general causes significant physical stress for aquatic animals. As such, it is highly recommended that you allow your newly arrived Berghia nudibranchs several days at least of time in mason jars to recover their strength. If you do not do so, you risk the mollusks being damaged by high water flows or simply being eaten by the other denizens of your aquarium.

The best practice for nurturing your Berghia nudibranchs in jars before transferring them to the main aquarium is as follows. Place at least six Aiptasia in a large mason jar a week or two before you expect the nudibranchs to arrive. Fill the jar with water from your aquarium. Keep the jar in an enclosed, dark place with a consistent temperature. Allow the newly arrived nudibranchs to remain in the jar for at least two days. When you do transfer them to the aquarium, do so at night.



our 440 l reef tank
440 l reef tank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When shopping for fish, it might be tempting to pick the rare and fancy fish full of colors, and exotic looking shrimp or crustaceans. An aquarium full of marine life complete with a coral reef and aquatic plants is very appealing. After all, who wouldn't want to have an underwater paradise in their living room?  It may, not, however, be the best choice for a beginning hobbyist.  

Coral reef aquariums require much more care than freshwater tanks or saltwater fish only tanks.  Freshwater fish are usually hardier than marine species and therefore a little more forgiving when it comes to water acclimation. It is recommended that only experienced fish keepers with a real commitment to the hobby attempt a coral reef aquarium.   A tank containing coral reef life may require several months of cycling before getting the water just right. The water in a coral reef tank must be regulated for lighting, temperature, and ph.  Start with tap water and then add a sea salt mix to the water.  This type of solution is available at most pet stores.

The salinity of the tank should be between 1.023 and 1.004.  The ideal temperature for a marine aquarium is between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is also important to test the P.H. of the tank.  Ideal P.H. is somewhere between 8.3 and 8.4.  Test kits can be purchased online or at your local pet store.  The same store will also carry any solutions necessary to adjust the P. H. There is not much wiggle room when it comes to these specific starting points.  In order to avoid a costly mistake, it is important to be patient, watch the tank closely, and make sure that you don't introduce any marine life until the tank is absolutely ready.

Once the aquarium is ready, start with anemones and clownfish. They are the hardiest of reef species, and who wouldn't love to have Nemo swimming around in their living room?  Monitor the marine life closely.  Check the activity levels of the fish, and watch for stress.  Stress is the most common cause of sickness in fish.  Remember that these creatures may have come directly from the ocean, and it may take a while for them to get acclimated to their new home.  Another cause of stress in fish is overcrowding.  Make sure there allow about ten gallons of water per one inch of fish.  Account for the full-grown size of the fish, not the size of fish when it is purchased.

The incubation period for most sickness in fish is about thirty days.  So after about a month, if all is well with the tank and the fish seem to be adjusting well, then it is okay to introduce some new marine life. A mandarin fish or a dwarf angelfish might round out the collection nicely, and they are fairly compatible clownfish.  Whenever adding new fish, choose the species carefully for compatibility.  The fish should be compatible with water specifics, but also make sure that their food source is compatible.  Always remember to be patient when adding new fish.  

Give the existing tank members plenty of time to get adjusted before making additions to an aquarium. The best piece of advice is to do research.  Make sure that all new purchases will be suitable tank mates for the existing creatures.  With a little luck, and a lot of skill you will be on your way to having a reef aquarium that will impress any fishkeeper.



Aiptasia sp.
Aiptasia sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia in residential aquariums will quickly be wiped out due to the wide adoption of Bergia Nudibranches now available in Canada. The key benefit of this amazing animal is that it only feeds on Aiptasia, accordingly making it a safe addition for the rest of the tank.

Aiptasia has been a sore-spot for home aquarists for decades. Thankfully, the Berghia is very small in size and can get into those tiny spaces, without harming coral or liverock. Nudibranchs are the only species able to consume the entire aiptasia, and therefore prevent aiptasia regrowth and spawning. Another benefit is that the Berghia are so small, they won't add bioload to the tank, or affect the quality of the water.

Berghia are quick reproducers too, due to their hermaphroditic nature. Mature adults can lay eggs every day. On a side note, you have to be aware that the Berghia feeds solely on Aiptasia, and for that reason must be monitored, as once the eradication of the Aiptasia happens, the creature will starve to death.

Berghia are very smart little creatures. They have sensory organs known as rhinophores thata are able to use chemicals to find the location of the Aiptasia. This means that Berghia can find even the tiniest Aiptasia, not visible to the naked eye, and wipe out the parasite completely before it reaches adulthood. Berghia are able to eat the Aiptasia successfully, because of strategies it employs to approach the Aiptasia without the parasite feeling endangered. This prevents the release of the tentacles and larva, meaning it prevents new reproduction from occurring. Berghia is also harmless to the other fauna and flora in the aquarium and primarily feed at night, which won't affect the beauty of your tank during the day.

Berghia coerulescens eats Aiptasia couchii - Photo: Wikipedia

What to Expect after the Introduction of Berghia
The recommendation is for every 100 gallons of water that 8 Berghia be introduced to the tank, for a moderate to severe infestation of Aiptasia. If there are only a few Aiptasia anemones present, it is not recommended to add Berghia to the tank, as it won't have enough food to sustain itself, and will starve to death. Berghia are a species of sea slug and need the appropriate environment to thrive and survive in. Keeping this in mind, there are some areas where this sea slug won't be able to help, such as if an infestation occurs in the tubing, powerheads, or the sump. These areas should be kept clean at all times by you, the reef owner to prevent the spread of Aiptasia.

How long will it take for Berghia to wipe out the Aiptasia infestation?
This primarily depends on how bad the infestation of Aiptasia is, and how many Berghia have been introduced into the tank. It should be assumed that for 8 Berghia, two to three months would be an appropriate amount of time. It's so important to not get discouraged if you don't see immediate results. Berghia need time to acclimate to their new surroundings before they are able to wipe out the infestation.

Caring for Berghia
There are many species of animals that are considered quite safe for reef aquariums, however, this is not always the case. Here are some species to avoid in an aquarium containing Berghia. Avoid any nocturnal species that hunt near the liverock, or coral, such as butterflyfish, filefish, wrasses, and some species of dotty backs. Other species which prey on Berghia include peppermint shrimp, coral-banded shrimp, and some invertebrates, such as the arrow crab, sally lightfoot crab, pom pom crabs, and emerald crabs. Aiptasia can consume Berghia if the sea slug is placed directly into its mouth. Therefore, take precaution when adding the Berghia into your reef tank.

In conclusion, nature has answered the Aiptasia infestation with a natural predator, the Berghia. As long as it acclimates to its new surroundings, it will eradicate the Aiptasia infestation, and keep the population under control. It is so important to keep the tank well cared for, to ensure the health of the creatures that inhabit the reef. With attention and care, the saltwater aquarium can be danger free of unwanted parasites, and be a beautiful addition to any home.


Adding an OYSTER to the Ecosystem Inside a Saltwater Aquarium

English: Spondylus regius - Royal or Regal Tho...
Spondylus regius - Royal or Regal Thorny Oyster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Saltwater aquariums can make a lovely addition to a home, and are a source of endless fascination to young and old alike. The different fish and plant life which are capable of living in a saltwater aquarium is both exotic and beautiful, and provide a rich introduction to life under the sea. Fish and plants are not the only things which can be found in the deep blue, however, and it is becoming more and more common for aquarium owners to attempt to incorporate these other elements into their home aquarium.

Artificial oysters which open up and blow bubbles into the water have been a part of home aquariums for many years. With the increase in the desire to perfectly emulate the ocean floor live oysters are becoming a common addition to saltwater aquariums. It is not common but not unheard of for a pearl producing oyster to be offered as an addition to a home aquarium; however, it is generally their less productive relations that become permanent residents. Since scallops and oysters have more specific needs than many of the inhabitants of the home aquarium it is necessary the aquarium owner be sure that they are prepared to make these adjustments prior to installing the oyster into the aquarium.

Oysters require very "pristine" water conditions; these are not the organism of choice for those who tend to be a bit lazy about cleaning their tank, as the oyster will not survive long if their water becomes cluttered with junk. Fortunately, the oyster also filters the water so this may balance itself out.  They also have specific dietary needs that will not be met with the generic food fed to many saltwater inhabitants. They will need a specialized organic food designed especially for filter feeders which can be inserted with a pipette upstream of the oyster. Each oyster is going to need to be fed individually, so unless an aquarium owner finds themselves with a great deal of time on their hands it may be wise to keep the oyster population of their aquarium to a minimum. These invertebrates also require nutritional supplementation with phytoplankton, a microscopic portion of plankton that drift through the water.

Certain types of oysters have been shown to have a better chance of survival in captivity than others. The beginner would be wise to look to these breeds, to begin with, moving on to the more delicate oysters as they become more comfortable with their needs. Common aquarium oysters are the spiny oyster and the thorny oyster; strange yet accurate names for these beautiful and unique creatures.

Oysters are a demanding but beautiful addition to any home aquarium; for more information on introducing an oyster to a home, aquarium consumers should speak with the retailers who sell them. Remember, no detail is too small when attempting to take an organism from its natural environment and watch it thrive.


AIPTASIA - An Aquarium Pest

English: Sea anemones : 1. Bolocera tuediae 2....
Sea anemones : 1. Bolocera tuediae 2. Anthea cereus, 3. Aiptasia couchii, 4. Sagartia cocoinea, 5. Sagartia troglodytes
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Practically every reef-keeper can identify tales of the numerous hours put in checking out their new aquarium, observing to determine exactly what new life may appear from the liverock. It's virtually a magical period, particularly for someone new to reef-keeping, as the miracles of the sea gradually happen inside the modest glass world we've designed for it. 

 The majority of experiences which involve Aiptasia begin in exactly the same way. All of a sudden, a brand new little anemone is noticed on a freshly added item of liverock or live coral fragment, just a 'baby'... However, quickly that one 'baby' will become two, then several, then a lot more. By the time most reef-keepers realize who their new house guests happen to be, they quickly understand that this problem grows and multiplies at a very quick pace.

In keeping with their name, Aiptasia sp. Anemones (this means 'beautiful') tend to be exquisite critters, but they are additionally obtrusive and hostile competitors. Left uncontrolled, they will often completely over-run a fish tank. This doesn't take much time either, as we quickly discover.

Aiptasia has developed to be dominant neighbors and house-guests. They replicate both sexually and asexually, and they are effective at regenerating an entire creature from a single cell. Furthermore, they're armed and dangerous hunters! When Aiptasia are disrupted (possibly by way of a passing fish or invertebrate) they eject harmful white-colored stinging threads called Acontia which contain venomous tissues known as Nematocyst. These Nematocysts are designed for supplying a powerful sting that can cause tissue regression in sessile corals, immobilize prey, and even kill unlucky corals, crabs, snails or fish. Considered by many experienced reef enthusiasts as a pest (or worse), early identification and action are necessary to quickly remove Aiptasia from your tank before they reach epidemic proportions - making control/removal far more difficult.

Step one to managing an Aiptasia outbreak is proper identification. It accomplishes little to commit time and expense towards a means to fix the wrong issue.

Aiptasia sp.
Aiptasia sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia anemones could be revealed by their similarity to miniature palms, with a polyp body (the Coelenteron) up to two inches in length and an oral disc one inch across outlined with a combination of several prolonged and lots of small tentacles (up to one hundred tentacles may be found) situated in thin bands about the outside border of the oral disc. The tentacles tend to be lengthy slim protrusions that form well-defined tips at their ends.

In the middle of the oral disk is the mouth in the form of an elongated slit. At the bottom of the polyp, the body is the pedal disk which features as an anchor for the anemone in addition to a means of asexual duplication.

Pigmentation of Aiptasia is a result of the existence of Zooxanthellae (microscopic photosynthetic dinoflagellate alga - species Symbiodinium Microadriaticum). For this reason, specimens living in bright locations are often light greenish brown to dark brown, with those in areas which receive less light are typically medium to light brown or tan in color and those from low light areas tending toward a transparent appearance. Often an anemone's column or stalk is lightly marked with parallel longitudinal lines. Sometimes white or light green flecks can also be found close to the tentacles, and it's also not uncommon for juvenile specimens to be completely engrossed in them.

As with any members of the Cnidaria phylum, Aiptasia is able to sting for both offensive and defensive reasons. Just about all Cnidaria possess stinging cells called cnidocytes, each that includes a stinging mechanism, cnidae or nematocyst. Aiptasia has got both cnidocytes on their tentacles in addition to specialized cinclides around the lower area of the column (small blister-like protrusions) by which it expels acontia.

Acontia is threadlike protecting organs, made up mostly of stinging cnidocytes cells which can be expelled from the mouth and/or the customized cinclides once the Aiptasia is agitated. (A lot of anemones don't have acontia or cinclides yet Aiptasia does.)

The nematocysts of Aiptasia possess a contaminant which is stronger than the vast majority of corals held by the enthusiast (with the Elegance Coral - Catalaphyllia jardinei being one exception) and may cause cellular material regression in sessile corals, immobilize prey, as well as kill ill-fated crabs, snails or fish.

As an additional shielding mechanism, Aiptasia may also pull away into tiny holes inside your liverock if confronted. Taking advantage of this trait, it's possible to poke a diagnosed Aiptasia anemone with a probe and view its response. If it quickly pulls itself downwards (as opposed to folding in on itself), it's likely an Aiptasia.

Aiptasia is a formidable enemy, and pose a significant threat to any reef aquarium. Anyone harboring such species in their aquarium should look into natural predators, as chemical fixes don't work in the long run. Peppermint shrimp can often suppress Aiptasia, while Berghia Nudibranches can eradicate the problem pests.


REEF TANKS And What You Need To Know Before You Start One

A reef aquarium is vastly different from a fish only aquarium. Not only will you need different equipment, but you will need a whole different skill to create and maintain a successful reef tank. Although you can keep fish in your reef tank, the main focus of a reef tank is to display live coral. Introducing certain species of fish can help in maintaining the reef environment and special care should be taken when selecting the appropriate species to compliment the coral in your tank.

Reef Tank - Photo by shesarii

Reef tanks are primarily filtered by the live rock through a natural process. This biologic filtration is usually supplemented by protein skimmers. Protein skimmers use what is called the foam fracture process to eliminate waste matter and filter the water. A combination of biological filtration and protein skimmers is very effective at keeping a reef tank in ideal condition.

Unlike fish only tanks, reef tanks require constant water movement. Different types of coral require different flow rates, but as a rule of thumb, a flow rate of 10x will be sufficient. What this means is that the flow rate needs to be 10 times the capacity of the tank (in gallons) per hour. It’s important that you adjust and fine tune the flow rates to the specific coral in your tank.

One of the most popular methods of creating water flow is by using power heads. They are simply small water pumps under the water that creates an underwater stream when you alternately switch them on an off. By using a wave timer, the pumps are synced to create a water flow. A newer method for creating and managing water flow is the use of submersible propeller pumps. Although they are more expensive, they use less power and can produce greater water flow compared to power heads.

Another important aspect of reef tanks is lighting. While fish only tanks use lighting primarily for display, a reef tank needs light to “feed” the coral. Since the coral uses photosynthesis to stay alive, lighting is the most important aspect of keeping your coral alive.

The lighting levels required for each type of coral varies widely. While some types of rock require very high levels of light, some only need low light levels. Special care should be taken when picking coral for your tank to ensure that the lighting of your tank is sufficient. As a general rule, 5 to 8 watts per gallon should be sufficient for the most common coral.

By WriteSmith - Articles Source: Reef Tanks And What You Need To Know Before You Start One