Crazy coral growths: Challenging and Inspiring Aquascapes

_DSC1017 Whenever I dive, I look for subjects to shoot that might offer aquarists some inspiration for their captive reefs; I hope that you are inspired by this collection of crazy-looking reef structures! My first is a ‘coral on coral’ concoction, where a piece of tabulate acropora fell from the reef crest, landed right-side-up, and became overgrown by what appears to be seriatopora.  There’s some great shade and cover for the less light-dependent species and shelter for shy fish. MORE

First video of the Omani Anemonefish (Amphiprion omanensis)

Masirah Clownfish

Morning Swim

There are plenty of rare anemonefishes in the world, but few are quite so enigmatic as the species found along the southern shores of Oman—Amphiprion omanensis. This is one of the only remaining species to have not yet been kept in captivity or captive bred, and even finding decent photographs of this fish can be a challenge. But, thanks to the wonders of youtube, we now have some amazing video footage to drool over, highlighting the unique beauty of this uncommonly uncommon Amphiprion.MORE

Ocean Micro-Plastics

Good morning all, as you can see Curacao just got hit with another major wave of floating ocean plastics!! This was caused after a week of strong winds and big waves bringing large amounts of trash to the shores of countless Caribbean islands, not just here. From my observations of looking through pile after pile of trash I noticed that this plastic and wood has been out to sea a long time and I bet your wondering how I came up with that?? Well, almost everything I found was covered in live barnacles meaning it was out floating in the open sea a long time. The big question now is; how in the world can this be cleaned up! I must say it’s enough to keep you up at night if you could see this mess in person, I personally felt very helpless just looking at it last night and even made a failed attempt to clean some of it up. MORE

Montipora nodosa

montipora nodosa - reefsThe Montipora Family contains about 19 different species but our featured coral is the encrusting purple Montipora nodosa. This unique Montipora will easily encrust on rock work or frag mounts.  It is a relatively fast growing coral and it is considered to be easy – moderately-easy to care for in a reef aquarium.  Encrusting Montipora Coral is classified by aquarists as a small polyp stony (SPS) coral often referred to as Cabbage, Lettuce or Velvet Rock Coral. It’s a relatively fast growing coral, and under the right conditions will spread and encrust on just about any substrate in the aquarium including the aquarium glass, given the chance. The coral polyps are very small and the calices are less than 2mm in diameter MORE

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 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.