by Richard Back
For this episode, we traveled to Coconut Creek, Florida to visit Jellyfish Art facility to learn about Jellyfish!
We spoke with Jon Norris Marine, marine biologist that works at JFA to educate us everything about jellyfish and how to make it thrive in captive environment!
Thank you very much to World Wide Corals, Inc. for sponsoring this video!
by Richard Back
Jellyfish and Chuck Norris? Sounds like an awesome combination right? It is.
All the joke aside (no, Chuck Norris isn't making the cameo. It's just an inside joke from the guys that were present from the shoot), this is one of the most entertaining and educational video that I shot this year.
Be sure to keep an eye out for it this coming Monday!
by Jon Norris
We have all had the “dip before you trip” metaphor thrown around too often. We are told by many sources online to dip any corals we receive to eliminate pests. Most of the time, pests come in the form of hitchhiking nudibranchs that can mow down zoas and other soft colonies. Then you have the flatworm family that is so broad, it is so hard to signal out a specific species unless you have a microscope. However, there are the larger hitchhiking pests we can see without the use of a scientific lab. We have the beautiful aiptaisa and the gorgeous majano anemones that will sting your new found friends to no end. Now let’s talk about an interesting group of hitchhikers in the crab family, and one nasty one in particular; the Gall Crab.
Gall Crabs are pretty unknown to many an untrained eye and reefer, as they are not as abundant in reef systems like other hitchhiking crabs such as gorillas, emeralds, or decorator crabs. The problem with these crabs is they are parasitic to corals; hard corals especially like the Trachyphyllia family, (Brain Coral), and other members in the Faviidae family such as Platygyra daedalea.
Gall Crab peeking out its burrow. Photo Courtesy of William M. Bowen Jr.
So what makes this little bugger so harmful? After close observation in Mr. Bowen’s tank, he was only able to see at night and the other tank mates seemed to be unaware of this little pest’s presence. So, they can hide rather well and with no known predators, it is hard to know that they are even there. In William’s tank, he noticed a small hole in his brain coral and didn’t notice anything odd until one night he shined a light into the hole and caught a glimpse of a scurrying red banded demon child. I was called in to get an ID, and while it has been awhile since I had seen one I had a feeling it was an old nemesis of mine, aka the Gall Crab.
Crab with damage to coral along with flesh bits form the burrowing.
The Gall Crab does not look like a crab at all, more like a parasitic Isopod. Have some creepy eyes and an odd shaped claw. There is little research available on this little critter and it was first thought these were commensal crabs and benefited the coral by bringing in nutrients and feeding the algae storage for food. These crabs were also thought to be filter feeders and harmless but we now know that to be untrue. In an article written by Roy K Kropp, studies shown that these crabs are indeed parasitic and do cause damage to corals.
Notice to the right the hole made by this crab. Photo Courtesy of William M Bowen Jr.
So the million dollar question is….How do I remove this if I find one in my tank? Many treatments were used in attempts to remove this pest. Dips, peroxide, iodine and freshwater were all tried with no success. Manual removal seems to work the best. Mr. Bowen used a pair of tweezers to remove this little bugger. Here are his accounts, “Clear body with a black head and an orange strip on claw that glows under blue actinic lighting. After removed anal end was still stick to a piece of the coral’s skeleton and seemed to have red vein-like strings running through it. The anal end was soft while the body was semi hard but head was unable to break open. One leg seemed to have three little finger-like ends and other legs came to a point. When stabbed in the center it would activate a nerve where the claw would open a little. Removal tried a straight iodine squirt which apparently did nothing upon removal with tweezers, white mucus came out when I found the crab and probably injured it. I'm almost 100% sure wasn't the coral mucus. I rinsed hole after removal to find a lot of white material which probably was skeleton matter. On first inspection on microscope crab was surrounded in semi clear mucus as well” (Bowen M Jr.).
Crab out of the coral
If you happen to stumble upon one of these alien crabs, manual removal is best. On the positive side, the corals recover quickly and begin repairing the damaged area within a few hours of removal. As you can see in this picture below, this particular coral which was damaged is now recovering nicely.
We can never be assured our methods of removing hitchhikers from our tanks are successful but if there is a will, there is a way. Patience, a little research and some diligence can solve any issue; just have to be prepared to see the unexpected.
by Richard Back
Please welcome our newest sponsors, Jellyfish Art and Boyd Enterprises (makers of Chemipure line)!
I have had the pleasure of knowing Jeff, Joleen and Joe for few years now and I can't be happier to have them join us in team Afishionado. It's unbelievable honor and humbling experience for me personally.
I have been using mixture of Chemipure elite and blue on my award winning tank before and will be using the same winning formula on my new Afishionado 2.0 build.
(yes, that's picture of my old tank on the left)
Also if you guys have any questions about Jellyfish, you can visit their facebook support group here.
Thank you Jellyfish Art and Boyd Enterprises on becoming our sponsor and thank you for sharing my vision and supporting my cause.
by Richard Back
This is Richard from Afishionado Channel. We at Afishionado, and many of our sponsors, strongly believe that children are our future. Knowledge through proper education and hands-on experiences are paramount. We have been involved in local community programs before, and learning from past experience, we came to realize that we needed to do something different from the traditional tank setup and routine maintenance.
This year, we are given the rare opportunity to join hands with New River Middle School’s Guy Harvey Marine Biology Magnet program in Florida. Like in the past, our plan is to start by setting up the tanks for the students. Next, we would like to coach the teachers and students proper care and maintenance routines so that they can become self-sufficient without our help. The divergence from conventional methods will allow for interaction with the students, faculty and staff throughout the school year to cultivate their knowledge via qualified training by enlisting experts in the industry.
They are as follows:
●Two Little Fishies – Julian will come out and teach the children on the many aspects of keeping a successful aquarium.
●Marco Rocks – Marc will come out and teach the children about the importance of rocks in aquariums and lead a workshop on aquascaping.
●Coralvue – Ricardo will come out and teach the children about the importance of having proper flow in aquariums. Coralvue will donate one of their Gyre wavemakers.
●Fritz Aquatics – Shawn will come out and teach the children about the nitrogen cycle and the importance of the ionic balance of salt. Fritz Aquatics has donated salt, bacteria and some filter medias.
●Jellyfish Art – Jon will come out and teach the children everything about jellyfish, starting with their anatomy and suitable care. We will have workshops using his farm-bred Moon jellyfish.
●Boyd Enterprises – Sean will come out and teach the children about filter media and the importance of clean water in our aquariums. They will donate the Chemipure lineup for the school.
●Current USA – Steve will come out and teach the children about the importance of lights in the aquarium. Current USA will donate their latest flagship the LOOP system.
●24/7 Aquariums – Shane will come out and teach the children about proper maintenance and why it is so important to have good husbandry for their tanks. Shane will donate a sump, RODI machine and various materials needed get the tanks up and running.
●Billy’s Reef Connection – Billy will come out and teach the children about the importance of having the appropriate cleanup crew in reef aquariums.
●Larry’s Reef Services – Larry will skype with the children them about the importance of good nutrition for fish and corals. Larry has donated multiple packs of his popular fish food blends.
●C&C Aquariums - TBA
The following companies are also providing their generous contributions:
●Salty Bottom Supplies - Live rocks
●Hydra Aquatics - TBA
●Aqua Medic USA will donate their eco drift pump as well as tank cleaners.
●ACI Aquaculture will donate many live stocks and inverts.
●Reef Nutrition has donated their line of sustainable live and dry food source for their aquarium.
We still need a lot of support through equipment, materials and donations to get this project underway:
●various sizes of PVCs
●pvc cleaners, cement, taflon tapes.
●elbows 90s, 45s, couplings in various sizes
●various sizes of soft tubes for soft plumbing
●5ft tank wide x 30” tall or more and x 24”~28” width for main display tank replacement.
●prime or similar water conditioners
●wood for some stand constructions
●glass magnet cleaners
●tons of inverts for tanks and for touch tanks.
If you would like to get behind this project, please PM or email me at Richard@afishionado.org.
by Richard Back
Hydra Aquatics needs your help in naming this beautiful favia that I picked up.
Post your idea for names here.
Who knows? Maybe you can win something from me. ;)
Afishanado favia? bahahaha.
Enter your entries in comment below!
by Richard Back
by Richard Back
New video from Reef Nutrition is out!
(Click the contents section on the menu tab and scroll towards the bottom where it says Latest Videos.)
Check out their exciting new ways to breed pods! This is exciting news for all the people will fish that will only eat small live food like mandarins!
by Charles Steinfeld
MACNA 2016 has come and gone, and while thousands of attendees marched up and down the aisles breathing in the fresh air of the coming year, enjoying new products, new companies, new friendships and new partnerships something was different. The celebration of the end of the slow season and the beginning of the busy season is upon us. MACNA is a time for parties but these parties are not just because we haven’ seen each other in a year but they are celebrations of new methods and discoveries that will dictate the direction of the hobby for the coming year.
I have the privilege of working among some of the best and brightest in the industry and at these events I’m always left speechless and constantly re-thinking every bit of knowledge I’ve accumulated in 17 years of learning. Phenomenal speeches by Richard Pyle, Charles Delbeek, Richard Ross, Sanjay Joshi, Luiz Rocha, Matt Wandell, Joe Yaiullo (Aquarist of the Year!), and of course my good friend Austin LeFevre twisted my thinking and left me in awe but it made me sad that the rooms weren’t packed for each and every lecture. The stories and knowledge bombs that each of these people were dropping on their audience are worth any price of admittance. In each lecture my understanding of ocean life was questioned, and I thought about it: this is what our industry is about. Question everything you know and seek the answers to questions you haven’t even thought of yet. This provides the science behind our industry the power to understand life and keep it progressing into the future.
This year’s unofficial theme was the Twilight Zone and the Mesophotic Reef Environments. Many of the lectures were about these unique ecosystems, 250-500ft depths and dives that aren’t for the faint of heart, yet each one yielding so much information in just 15 minutes at depth. These dives crossed over into spectacular animal territory; if you like Anthias, Basslets, and Wrasse this is zone is dream territory. If you prefer Dendrophyllia, Gorgonians, or other Non-Photosynthetic Corals this is dream territory. If you just like learning about and seeing animals that no one has before, this is your dream territory. There’s something for everyone and it was all on display in San Diego.
Over the years, having worked at importers, I’ve seen a lot of amazing things, corals and fish that have sold for thousands to some of the most unique hybrids, the list goes on and on but nothing could compare me for what Brian Greene, Richard Pyle, Rufus Kimora, and Luiz Rocha have brought up from the depths. Animals that I’ve scoffed at; for example, Odontanthias borbonius when placed in the correct environment are truly exquisite, although mean, and the catalog of new species on display at the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences was breathtaking. The planning that went into these exhibits was a journey in itself and the animals they have on display (many never before seen) left my jaw on the floor.
On display are animals that you may have heard of, Cirrhilabrus jordani (Flame Wrasse), Pseudanthias ventralis (Ventralis Anthias), Pseudanthias hawaiiness (Hawaiian Longfin Anthias), or Cirrhilabrus rosefascia (Rose band Wrasse). Joining this cast of characters are some animals you may not have heard of like Pseudanthias rubrizonatus (Red belted Anthias), Pseudanthias rubrolineatis (Red Stripe Anthias), or Cirrhilabrus earleri (Earl’s Fairy Wrasse). But they’ve selectively chosen the animals in each tank to best display with each other and interact as they would in the wild.
All of these animals are amazing but the academy outdid itself with three very special exhibits. The Benthic Ctenophore tank houses species that even the researchers at the Academy had never seen before. These animals, which kind of look like heart shaped blobs are seemingly just membrane and a feeding web are capable of eating meaty foods but are “easy” to keep and should provide the Academy ample opportunity to learn and potentially induce successful reproductive behavior. Bright Red blobs that can potentially be bred so that we can learn more about them? Yes please!
But the benthic ctenophores are joined by a fishy friend that dropped my jaw to the floor, I sat mesmerized for a sizeable amount of time by one of my Holy Grail fish, the Sacura speciosa. Not only did they have 1, but they had a pair. I’ve never seen a combination of colors on a fish that created so much intrigue and question. The male is a living rainbow, complete with a curious attitude that brings it front and center to those that view him in person. The female, although much less colorful still made her impression. These animals have seen thousands of people but they seemed to treat each one with the same intrigue, trying to figure out what we are. They had never seen a human being before the day they were caught and we haven’t seen many of them, [hopefully] each of us is left with a profound respect for one another.
What’s amazing about his experience is that Dr. Rocha, among others, are planning expeditions years down the line. Encouraged by what they’ve found so far, they can’t wait to get back down to bring us new species to fawn over. I personally can’t wait to see the next batch of animals that these great biologists can bring to our attention.
What does it all mean?
I’m sure that with all of this conversation about the California Academy of Sciences, it sounds like an infomercial about the aquarium. I take this time to emphasize the fact that they are founded in the same principles that every fish owner, and every pet owner should have: Understand your animals and cater to their needs, help them live a long and healthy life, it’s your responsibility. These biologists have a bigger budget than most of us but the principles are the same. Just like them it’s our responsibility to keep our pets alive. It’s your new pet’s right to survive and I’ve always said it in to my customers in 2 ways:
“We’ve taken these animals from the ocean, the least we can do is do everything in our power to keep them alive and happy, it’s our responsibility to.”
“To me, successful reef keeping doesn’t just entail the survival of the animals, but providing an environment in which they are so comfortable that they behave like they would in the wild, that should be our goal.”
As an experienced Reef Keeper I won’t stand on a high horse and look down on anyone. I’ve made my share of mistakes but so have you, so have all of the greats of our industry, of science. The difference between people is what they do about it. “Smart people learn from their mistakes, but brilliant people learn from the mistakes of others.” You have to decide what kind of ReefKeeper you want to be.
That brings up the most important question and the introspection that you need. Are you prepared to be a responsible “fish parent”?
We as a community have the technology to keep incredible animals and we, as a community understand many of these animals, and I don’t think that there’s a person out there that doesn’t mean well for them but we’ve all got to start thinking about the animals and not the price point. Sustainability and responsibility is not cheap now but it can become that way if we all buy in. “Deeper Level Reefers” i.e. those that have been around operate daily with this mentality and are helping to fix the holes in our wonderful hobby. Yet all of us do silly things like put a deepwater fish in a shallow water style environment or put coral eaters in with corals with no way to mitigate predation. Calculated and well-informed introductions are not what I take issue with, purchasing animals on impulse without fully understanding the ramifications is what has lasting effects.
My experience at MACNA, thanks to all of my colleagues and friends, left me wanting to reach out to everyone in the hobby, present and future to reiterate a few basic principles. I wanted to remind you why you got into the hobby. No-one gets into it to kill any animals, it was to bring these amazing ecosystems into your homes and keep them healthy and alive for years. On a retail level I’d prefer to say “No I won’t sell you that fish because it’s unfair to the animal and you don’t have the capability of providing it the correct environment for long term success” but have had to change the narrative at times to “No I won’t sell you that fish because I don’t want you to waste your money.” This is what drives the Deep Level Reefers crazy.
We must think of a couple of major principles: 1) Understand what you’re getting BEFORE you receive it and 2) Do everything you can to house these animals in an environment as close to their natural environment as you can, or don’t have them**.
**this is important for novice reefers, there are always people who can house animals like Non-Photosynthetic corals in reef tanks but the important thing is that they’ve taken the animal’s limitations and specializations into consideration before purchase and done everything they can to mitigate potential negative outcomes associated with their introduction.
I’m not saying that Biotopes, Species or Area Specific Environments are the only answer but I am making the argument for the following 5 General Concentrations to be thought about before each inhabitant is purchased or put in any aquarium. Some of them are no-brainers but some of them don’t have the emphasis placed on them that they should.
Dietary Considerations – Probably one of the most underrated parts of aquariums
3. Socially Acclimate your animals--- Thanks for making a point of this Austin
Now this list can probably go on for 20 pages but I wanted to hit some major concepts and bullet points for the sake of argument. A lot of it goes back to the same principles: know what you’re getting into before you get there, don’t get lazy, and treat the animals with the same respect you would a person. Don’t let yourself get into a compromised position because of an impulse buy. When I worked retail (and wholesale for that matter) I told people “no” all the time when the customer was trying to purchase something I didn’t think they were able to properly care for. If you’ve never heard this at your Local Fish Store, it may be time to consider finding another trusted source for your animals.
MACNA reinforces this mentality in the Deeper Level Reefers and brings thousands of novices into this group. Seeing so many people dedicated to the expansion of our hobby and responsible reef keeping is what is going to keep us going strong forever. If we as a hobby can support the science, the science will support us, and we’ll be able to act together when threats arise against our hobby. The biggest thing we, as hobbyists, need to do is act responsibly and support a sustainable mentality. Bring the same mentality that we have towards our other pets into our fish tanks and truly show these animals that a life in captivity isn’t just some water in-between 5 panes of glass, it’s a new lease on life with no predators that will fool them into thinking they’re in the wild, it’s our responsibility.
A big thank you goes out to all of the hobbyists and reefers that I’ve interacted with over the years. To my friends in the industry and the people who’s books I read growing up and that I interact with daily. Julian Sprung, Austin LeFevre, Luiz Rocha, Lemon TYK, Joe Yaiullo, Jake Adams, Ret Talbot, and of course Mr. Afishianado himself, Richard Back and everyone else I’ve worked with, Thank you for inspiring me to write my first article.
by Richard Back
2 more videos were released last night!
1st one was from Shawn Hale from Fritz Aquatics. He talked to us about different types of bacterias that he had under his arsenal. Be sure to check them out and have them at hand to use it as part of your maintenance regimen.
2nd video that was released was for Reef2reef. It was walkthrough video we made to show people what, who was at the show to make our viewers re-live or feel like they were there.
Enjoy the videos!
We have a lot more in store for you so stay tuned!
Special thank you to my friend Hernando for this footage!
We will get a group of dedicated writers that will share ideas, product reviews and thoughts.