New Sponsor: Glass Ocean

It gives us great pleasure to welcome yet another high quality sponsor to the blog and this time we have an operation that we’ll also be reviewing very shortly. Here’s what they have to say!

Glass Ocean is specialist in jellyfish supply and low maintenance aquatic equipment designed to make the keeping of jellyfish enjoyable and hassle-free.  After all, you want to spend time enjoying your aquarium, not maintaining it.

Based in the United Kingdom, we source and supply only the best quality goods we ourselves would, and do, use in day to day jellyfish aquarium upkeep.

With years of marine aquatics experience, we know how important it is to use truly effective equipment and tools that make the task of maintaining exotic marine creatures less of a chore. That’s why we’re proud to be authorised retailers of the Cubic® Aquarium Systems range.

We highly recommend that you click the banner below to visit their website!

click here to visit this sponsors website!

Video: Webbed Arms Give Robo-pus A Boost

Reporting at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems on September 15 researchers have enhanced their prototype robotic octopus by adding a squishy membrane connecting the machine’s eight arms.

The earlier, webless version could propel itself at up to 100 millimeters per second by slowly opening stiff plastic arms and then snapping them together but with arms and a web made of soft silicone, the new and improved shoe box–sized bot swam at up to 180 millimeters per second. The web helps the octobot generate more force, so it can push through water faster than using arms alone.

Dimitris Tsakiris, of the Foundation for Research and Technology- Hellas in Heraklion, Greece thinks biologists could use the robot to observe marine ecosystems. “We want to put a camera on it and see what we can do.”

Given the pulsing thrust generated and the ‘plankton friendly’ design of the device we wonder if we could see water movement devices in our reefs one day, based on a similar design.

Theme Update: Autumn 2014

Well, after running the site with the ‘Twenty Ten’ theme for the last couple of years we thought it was finally time to rejig the site a little and go for a slightly different layout. Please note that over the next couple of weeks we may be making a few final touches to certain parts of the site as we iron out any imperfections…. please let us know if you spot something that you think needs to be changed and we’ll do our best to accommodate it. In terms of functionality, we still have all the features of the previous site. You should still be able to ‘log-in’ to gain access to the galleries and wallpapers as before, if you have subscribed/registered with us of course (for free!). Of course, we’ve plenty of new content on the way and we are hoping to ‘step this up’ now that our other commitments are easing slightly. Keep dropping-by, or better yet subscribe to the site RSS feed to be advised of new content automatically!

Review: iQuatics Ocean Reef Pro coral salt

In this ‘hands on’ review we’ll take a look at a salt that was originally launched back in early 2014. As a relatively new player in the market place this product comes from a company already well known in the UK as an online lighting and equipment manufacturer. Touted as a synthetic blend boasting Magnesium levels of 1360ppm, Calcium 445ppm and Potassium 405ppm (levels which the company say have been slightly raised to account for depletions in home aquaria), this salt also claims to be Nitrate and Phosphate free, and fast dissolving. But does this new kid on the block ‘do what it says on the tin’? Continue reading Review: iQuatics Ocean Reef Pro coral salt

Reef Predator Only Hunts With The Best

Reporting their results in Current Biology researchers have discovered that Coral Trout Plectropomus leopardus seem to be as good as chimpanzees at knowing when to engage in collaborative hunting. When hunting for food, the trout team-up with moray eels, which are experts at flushing tiny fishes out of coral crevices into open water where they are easy pickings for the trout. The trout are apparently even able to determine which eel is a better hunting partner and select that one for finding food in the future. Beyond the initial interest, the results also support the idea that a relatively small brain does not prevent some fish from being able to comprehend information as effectively as apes do in similar, albeit terrestrial, situations.

Video: Corals Stir It Up, For Themselves

Describing their results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists at MIT and the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in Israel have found that corals are capable of engineering their environment to sweep water into turbulent patterns that greatly enhance their ability to exchange nutrients and dissolved gases with their environment.

By zooming in on the coral surface with powerful microscopes and high-speed video cameras, the team observed that the millimeter closest to the coral surface is particularly turbulent, with cilia on the coral’s surface arranged in such a way as to produce strong swirls of water that draw nutrients toward the coral, while driving away potentially toxic waste products, such as excess oxygen.

Watch the video for a detailed explanation!