The Deep Dive on Reef Aquarium Lighting, Part 2: Lighting Technologies

I get asked fairly often what light is the best light. Unfortunately, there is no right answer. First off, there is the difference in aesthetics. That is a purely subjective decision that only hobbyists can make for themselves. Most of the time hobbyists gravitate towards the blue end of the spectrum because it is very flattering to corals that fluoresce brightly. In terms of coral biology, the type of lighting that will work the best for your tank will depend a great deal on what animals you intend to keep. As I mentioned in Part 1, corals will adapt to lighting by regulating their zooxanthellae, so most coral will grow under any of these lighting technologies. Having said that, it is also entirely possible to have some corals take on a desirable appearance while other corals become less attractive under the same light. Such is the price to be paid for a mixed reef tank MORE

Caribbean Reef Octopus on Top of Star Coral

Hi gang, I have an extra beautiful Caribbean reef octopus clinging to a colony of mountainous star coral for you all today that I found late at night on our house reef.  The Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus) is a coral reef marine animal. It has eight long arms that vary in length and diameter. The mantle is large and chunky in comparison (up to 60 cm long). This species is difficult to describe because it changes color and texture to blend into its surroundings, using specialized skin cells known as chromatophores. Its color range is very large; it can change from crimson to green, and bumpy to smooth. It weighs around 3.3 lb or 1.5 kg. The Caribbean reef octopus lives in hidden, rocky lairs that are difficult to locate. Their lairs are usually created in shallow warm waters. O. briareus is not a social animal, and stays at a safe distance from other octopuses of the same species, except for mating. MORE

CRF Coral Spawning Update

Acropora cervicornis larvae starting to swim

Coral are animals, not plant, and when this species sexually reproduces the offspring develop to a point where they swim around till they find a suitable spot to spend the rest of their lives. These are about 3 days old.

 More exciting news from Richard Ross and the team of scientists working at the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery in Florida – the Acropora cervicornis larvae that they collected are now three days old, and have started to swim! This species of coral reproduces sexually just once a year; 4-5 days after the full moon in August, the corals release millions of sperm-egg bundles into the surrounding water. Some of the resulting coral larvae (planula) settle immediately on the same reef, while others swim and drift before settling on a suitable surface. In the video above, Rich captured these tiny animals just as they are starting to move on their own.

A Better Look at the Newly Discovered Fairy Wrasse

14055146_1159113150813903_3513753957033462451_n Here’s a fresh crop of photos of the gorgeous new fairy wrasse species that was just hauled up from the Northern Philippines. The colors are really impressive on this fish, with its bright red dorsal and ventral fins and the blended orange and red hues of the body. And the black pigmentation atop the head is an interesting trait that we don’t find too terribly often in Cirrhilabrus, occurring only faintly in C. claire and quite strongly in C. laboutei.  MORE

Anemones may help Humans Hear Again

RCA_2798aEvery so often I come across a headline, based on press releases from academic institutions, that isn’t quite accurate.  So when I heard this new story and stumbled upon an older one, I had to take a closer look. MORE

Blue-Light Photo Taken with a Tripod Underwater

BAR-Good morning friends, last week I did my first underwater blue-light photo with a tripod and I know most of you are wondering why?? These rare, endangered Staghorns don’t glow as brightly under blue-light like the star corals or brain corals, making it almost impossible to get a shot with my normal camera and flashes. So I took out a heavy tripod weighted down with dive weights and just my camera in the housing (no flashes) and set it up underwater and did a 30 second exposure. During the 30 seconds (while the shutter is open) I’m painting the corals so to speak with two hand-held blue lights to achieve the desired brightness and depth of field you see above. If any of you are wanting to do this, make sure you have a super heavy tripod, avoid nights with surge or current and use your timer, I hope to get better at this down the road. The hardest thing I found to do was to carry out all the stuff needed for this shot by myself, next time I will get some help, that was not a pretty sight.  MORE

A Masked Butter Hamlet Hybrid from Florida?


A mysterious Hypoplectrus form Florida.  Credit: Dynasty Marine

A mysterious Hypoplectrus form Florida. Credit: Dynasty Marine

 Hypoplectrus is diverse genus from the grouper family that has somewhere around 18 species. These fishes (known commonly as “hamlets”) are famous among evolutionary biologists for their complex evolutionary history, driven strongly by sexual selection. In a given region, there may be up to a dozen closely related species, all nearly indistinguishable in their genetics, that tend to breed only among their own kind. Hybrids are known, but they tend to be rather uncommon; however, the fish seen here, collected by Dynasty Marine back in February from near Marathon, Florida, may be one of these rare finds.MORE

The Deep Dive on Reef Aquarium Lighting, Part 1: Zooxanthellae, Color Temperature, and Light Intensity

LEDs continue to gain a loyal following as a capable reef lighting technology

 Lighting affects how we visually enjoy the hobby and, more importantly, the vast majority of the corals in our tanks are photosynthetic. In this two-part article, we will first cover some of the basics of the light itself and then discuss the various lighting technologies people use to light their reefs. Coral and zooxanthellae: Many coral have a symbiotic relationship between the coral animal and dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae live in the tissue of the coral and, like algae, contain chlorophyll for photosynthesis. The byproducts of photosynthesis are things like simple sugars that the coral hosts can use as an energy source. It is for this reason that coral are often described to the layperson as having traits of both plants and animals. The color of zooxanthellae is varying degrees of brown. However, there are over 80 known varieties of zooxanthellae MORE is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.