Without Fish, Sponges Smother Caribbean Corals

Credit: Joseph Pawlik, UNCW
Credit: Joseph Pawlik, UNCW

As if corals didn’t have enough to contend with in nuisance seaweeds, another aggressive neighbour is moving in. Like seaweeds, sponges use an arsenal of toxins, mucus, shading, and smothering to kill nearby coral colonies and then, to add insult to injury, go ahead and grow on their skeletons. Furthermore, a recent survey of coral reefs across the Caribbean has shown that overfishing removes the predators of sponges, greatly increasing the threat to an already weakened population of corals. Continue reading Without Fish, Sponges Smother Caribbean Corals

Review: Elos OsmoController Digital

Dealing with evaporation from a reef tank can be a real chore if you haven’t got a robust system in place and there’s also a pretty high element of risk involved if your chosen system isn’t up to scratch. For a start, it could fail to keep-up with demand (in which case a low water level could expose equipment and lead to a system failure), or at the other end of the scale, overfilling could make your tank literally ‘runneth-over’ (causing untold damage and recrimination). In either case your Salinity is also going to be ‘all over the place’ too, stressing livestock, possibly to death…. in short this is one area where cutting-costs can come back and ‘bite you on the bum’! Continue reading Review: Elos OsmoController Digital

Review: Reefstockonline.co.uk (Marine Aquatics UK Mail Order Service)

reefstockContinuing our adventures with mail-order marine livestock in the UK, we recently negotiated a sample shipment from the online-arm of well-known West Midlands-based Marine Aquatics. Running since early 2013, Reefstockonline.co.uk has piqued our interest on more than one occasion by offering some of the tastiest corals we’ve seen from a UK-based operation, at extremely competitive prices. Recently settling into new premises in January 2015, let’s find out if they delivered on their initial promise. Continue reading Review: Reefstockonline.co.uk (Marine Aquatics UK Mail Order Service)

Coral Spotlight: Fascinating Fungiids

In celebration of our 500th blog post, in what we hope will become a bi-monthly feature, we bring you the first instalment in our ‘coral spotlight’ series which examines the natural habitat and captive care of selected groups of Anthozoans.

Currently containing 13 distinct genera, the Fungiidae is a fascinating family of corals both in terms of appearance and behaviour.

Commonly known as plate, disc or mushroom corals (not to be confused with Corallimorph ‘mushroom anemones’), species from the Fungia, Cycloseris, Heliofungia and Herpolithia genera are the most commonly encountered Fungiids in the trade, and they generally all share the same habits and ecology. Continue reading Coral Spotlight: Fascinating Fungiids

New Twist For Seahorse Tail Research

(Image: Courtesy of Dominique Adriaens/Ghent University)
(Image: Courtesy of Dominique Adriaens/Ghent University)

In a discovery which could help could help in the development of tough, flexible armour or slender grasping robots, a team from Ghent University in Belgium have created a 3D computer model to reconstruct seahorse tail movement. The model allows them to analyse exactly how specific tissues and bones contribute to this grasping and varying degrees of bending. Continue reading New Twist For Seahorse Tail Research