Stop, it’s hammer time. Cheesy throwbacks to the 80s aside, the hammer coral is a staple in many reef tanks much like MC Hammer’s song was a permanent fixture in many a Sony Walkman. Getting past all of this nostalgia, hammer corals offer the best of both worlds for corals. On one hand, they have a hard skeleton, but on the other they are adorned with flowy, fleshy tissue that draws in those seeking a little more movement in the water.
We don’t know what they’re called, and frankly, we don’t care what they’re called. These are some amazing zoanthids, regardless of their given trade name, and their colors are popping right out of the screen. We spied this awesome colony at a local frag swap, hypnotizing us under the blue glow of one of the vendors at the show. The coral features some sharply contrasting colors, including a neon green mouth surrounded by a dark center, a neon pink ring, another dark section, and tentacles tipped in neon green. The alternating colors, coupled with the utter vibrancy of the neons make this a nice piece of eye candy.
The helfrichi firefish is often considered to be the most beautiful of the firefish gobies, and we tend to agree with that notion. Of course, being the most beautiful, this fish is highly sought after, with a high price tag to match. That’s why we were blown away by seeing the fish in such a large group in the tanks of a fish wholesaler. One of my personal favorite fish in such large quantities…it was awesome.
Gracing the AquaNerd Picture of the Week this time around is the beautiful, yet not so reef friendly, Pakistan butterflyfish (Chaetodon collare). While we don’t have any personal experience with this fish, we have crossed its path several times at public aquariums all over the globe. It is a beautiful fish, no doubt, but its diet of SPS polyps and notoriously finicky nature make it a surprising choice for most public exhibits. In all of the displays we’ve seen the fish, none were in Acropora-ridden tanks, which means the caretakers must be providing them with superb attention and the perfect diet. The butterfly is known for its dark body that is highlighted with lighter colored scales. It’s boldly colored red tail and stand out sharply against the darker background, as does the fish’s vertical white stripes on its face.