New Flaming Red Gorgonian Found

The new Pacific gorgonian, Psammagorgia hookeri, named for Peruvian biologist Dr. Yuri Hooker. A startling splotch of vivid crimson growing on the substrate was what first caught the eye of Peruvian marine zoologist Yuri Hooker in 2002 while he was diving in the relatively unexplored waters of the Peruvian Pacific. Not a sponge, which Hooker collects from time to time, the colorful organism turned out to be a gorgonian coral, but not one he could identify. Now a team from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and the University of Costa Rica have collected the species again and have described as Psammogorgia hookeri in a new report published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association in the UK. Dr. Yuri Hooker, Peruvian biologist who first collected samples of the coral. “This new species may be found nowhere else in the world,” said Hector Guzman, marine biologist and soft-coral expert at STRI

Don’t Get Stuck On It, As It Is A Crappy Way To Live

A Red Sea Urchin of the Northeast Pacific, Strongylocentrotus franciscanus. Of urchins and amphipods and of beauty and bugs Text & Images by Ronald L. Shimek, Ph.D. People who have read more than one of my musings generally are aware I like to discuss things that aren’t what they seem to be. And particularly, I like to discuss things that seem to be very obvious, but actually are more oblivious than obvious.  So putting this all together, I like to discuss interactions that are obviously what they aren’t. A good case in point revolves around the large Red Sea Urchin of the Northeastern Pacific, Strongylocentrotus franciscanus. These are sea urchins that are far larger than the common sea urchins of reef aquaria.

Marine Aquarium Trade: A Force for Good in Saving Coral Reefs

Fish catch for the table: reef-side native people depend on their local waters for food and income. Landmark new paper says that a sustainable marine aquarium trade may be a key to the future of healthy coral reef areas By Ret Talbot The fate of coral reefs worldwide is now a well-publicized, front-page, six o’clock news crisis. In fact, three marine scientists just published a landmark paper that leads with this daunting proclamation: “Coral reefs are at the brink of a global, system-wide collapse.” Lead author of the paper, Dr. Andrew L. Rhyne: “Ending cyanide fishing and effective trade monitoring are necessary and critical short-term gains for the marine aquarium trade.” Ending cyanide fishing and effective trade monitoring are necessary and critical short-term gains. For those involved in the keeping of marine aquaria, it is logical—perhaps even imperative—to wonder whether or not embattled reef ecosystems can sustain fisheries pressure in addition to all the other stressors they face. Often the heated arguments come down to these two points of contention: 1. Is it possible to harvest live fishes and invertebrates from coral reefs in a sustainable manner?

ORA Introduces Blue Hypnea Macroalgae

ORA’s newest introduction for 2013 – Blue Hypnea Macroalgae Other forms of this widespread Indo-Pacific seaweed are used in Asian kitchens as salad ingredients and in industry as a source of the thickener carageenan, but Blue Hypnea (Hypnea pannosa) is an iridescent blue ornamental algae and ORA believes it has a future in reef aquariums. According to ORA: “Though similar in appearance to Ochtodes sp. algae from the Caribbean, this species originates from Micronesia and has slightly different morphology. Blue Hypnea grows in very dense, matted clumps that loosely anchor to coarse substrates. It is not a particularly fast growing algae so containing its growth is not difficult. “We recommend moderate to high, full spectrum lighting for optimum coloration and growth. Photo taken under 10K Metal halide with supplemental flash.” Source:

Overnight Sensation: New Captive-bred Reef Fish from ORA

Eastern Hulafish, new captive-bred reef fish native to New South Wales, Australia. Image: ORA. Meet the Eastern Hulafish, Trachinops taeniatus, the newest aquacultured fish for the reef aquarium and exclusively available from its breeder, ORA in Ft. Pierce, Florida. This sub-tropical species is from New South Wales off southeastern Australia  and is related to the Assessors and Comets, all in the family Plesiopidae. The fish is not unknown to marine aquarists and divers who study the reef fishes of Australia, but it comes from cooler temperate waters where little commercial collecting takes place. “The Eastern Hulafish is native to the southeast coastline of Australia where the water temperatures average 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees C),” says Dustin Dorton of ORA.  ”While these fish have fared very well in our Florida greenhouses, they can exhibit distress in water over 78 degrees (25 degrees C).  Care should be taken to ensure their aquarium temperature always remains below 78 degrees.” They are very colorful fish with a black stripe running down the middle of their elongate body from the operculum towards the tail. They are red and yellow above the black stripe and their ventral portion is white.  Some have iridescent blue scales on the face.  As they age, their caudal fin grows into a spade shape, with the males having more exaggerated filaments. These are shoaling fish, and ORA recommends keeping them in groups of 4-5 or more. When kept in groups these fish exhibit a unique swimming behavior,  hovering at an angle which is said to suggest a cluster of hula dancers. Trachinops taeniatus grow to a maximum size of about 4 inches (10 cm) and are micropredators, eating small food items such as copepods, Artemia, Mysis, small pellets and flakes for carnivores. ORA says, “They are peaceful fishes that do not harass other species.  Eastern Hulafish are extremely fast swimmers and are prone to jumping out aquariums so is important that their tank be kept covered.” Available in limited quantities now from ORA. (Announced December 13, 2013.)  Sources Oceans, Reefs & Aquariums - ORA Fishbase: Trachinops taeniatus