Figure. 17 day post hatch Pacific blue tang larva. Credit: Kevin Barden. The newly revamped larval rearing room has been up and running since early May. In truth, there are still a few things we’d like to add to the filtration system, but that hasn’t stopped us from stocking eggs into the system as we get them. One of the first larval rearing attempts was performed with Pacific Blue tangs. We got roughly 4000 eggs; which we then stocked into a 210 liter tank (55 gallons).
Innovative Marine is back with another ground breaking product for the world of all-in-one marine aquaria. Announced just yesterday, and in a far too subtle fashion in our opinions, the SkimMate Ghost is a new protein skimmer that looks to bring serious performance to IM’s AUQA GADGET lineup. The SkimMate Ghost is a drop-in skimmer that will be available in three distinct sizes, each of which will fit nicely into the rear chambers of the NUVO aquariums whose name they bare. For example, the SkimMate Ghost DeskTop skimmer is designed to function seamlessly with the DeskTop model of the NUVO aquariums, and so on. In terms of features, the Ghost will sport a compact design that recirculates bubbles passively to increase dwell time. Additionally, the skimmer has an enlarged inline air silencer box, a bubble diffusing plate, an adjustable air valve, and a needle wheel impeller. The design keeps the air line tubing neat and kink free, and the collection cup design isn’t all too different from other popular drop-in skimmers that have been around for a while.
Thanks to the extremely focused efforts of one individual, the world of Tridacnid clams has been completely changed. We’ve been following the work of one Australian “super aquarist” who goes by the name Acro Al. He has been breeding clams at his home for quite some time now, sharing much of his journey with fellow hobbyists on social media. And because we’re total clam junkies, we’re totally excited about the fact that his babies are getting old enough to hit the market. What makes the news even more exciting is that this is the first time that fully cultured maxima clams have ever been offered in the aquarium trade! To let the market fully dictate the price, this first individual, which is a total looker by the way, was posted in an online auction with a minimum reserve set at $250. The price quickly rose to well over $400 for this 40mm individual, which interestingly is about to turn one year old. The clam is not availalbe to purchase by US hobbyists, as the permitting and paperwork hoopla is far too difficult to overcome at this point, but it’s still groundbreaking news for the hobby. First fully aquacultured Maxima clam IN THE WORLD! Species: Tridacna Maxima (Röding, 1798) Batch No.
The Coral Restoration Foundation has been rockin’ and rollin’ in 2014, receiving generous donations from all sorts of organizations. Another company that’s making good on their promise to contribute is Reef Suds, the first reef safe soap product to be introduced to the aquarium hobby. When Reef Suds first launched in November 2013, they promised to donate $1 from every bar sold to the CRF. Well, a few months into their campaign, the soap makers are making their initial donation of $400, with planned contributions every quarter from here on out. The goal is to gradually increase these donations as the company continues to grow, and we’re glad to see such a commitment from yet another company in the aquarium industry.
Day 60 yellow tang larvae. Photo credit: Dean Kline.Since we last wrote at Day 50, we’ve observed a lot of interesting things with our yellow tang larvae. Probably the most important thing we observed is their very inefficient feeding capability. At their size (~1cm), newly hatched Artemia nauplii should have been easy prey, but time and time again we’d watch them strike and miss, or partially catch one only to spit it out. Artemia nauplii definitely don’t seem to be adequate to sustain yellow tang at this stage in development. Likewise enriched Artemia were all but rejected. Also, at this stage, the fish seem to rely on their large pectoral fins for propulsion and were very awkward moving around the tank. We would frequently observe them floundering about and then suddenly right themselves and swim on quite normally. This seemed to require a lot of energy, which in their compromised nutritional state, likely lead to some additional stress. They also tended to gravitate to the tank walls, and appeared to sometimes be grazing or picking things from the walls. Although we included live rock, macroalgae and other substrate in the tanks at this point, we did not observe any sign of the fish wanting to be near the bottom. Settlement seemed to be a long way off. Day 83 yellow tang larvae (Lucky). Photo credit: Chad Callan. From Day 50-60 we continued to lose fish daily; which seemed to be stuck in metamorphosis and were not advancing through this particular stage. We quickly realized that yellow tangs probably have some rather specific nutritional and/or environmental requirements that we were not meeting. We had only ~25 fish at day 60 and were down to 3 fish by Day 65. It seemed we were at the end of this run. However, some hope remained as our sole surviving fish, “Lucky”, refused to succumb to the fate of his tank-mates. We were surprised daily to see him swimming each morning from Day 67 onward. He seemed to be growing and his dorsal spine was definitely shrinking (a sign that this stage might be ending). Unfortunately, this “lucky streak” ended on Day 83. From the pictures you can certainly see that “Lucky’s” body was beginning to complete this stage of metamorphosis, with his dorsal spine nearly gone and head shape transforming. If we had only had a few more days with him! We learned a lot during this trial and will continue to work towards resolving these late-stage challenges in future attempts. We already have more larvae in the hatchery and will work our way back to this point again! In the meantime, Emma will continue to update you on her thesis research as she works to resolve some of their early mortality issues. So much still to learn!