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FAQs about Pet-fishing and the Fiji Islands

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Colochirus robustus Ostergren 1898, the Yellow Sea Cucumber.

Fiji Biotope, stkg. poss.s  - 5/22/10
Good Evening.
I am not even going to guess who will reply and everyone gets its wrong so.. Howzit from Sunny South Africa.
<And right back at cha from sunny southern California!>
Okay, I am setting up my marine tank!
120 x 50 x 50cm. Std 4ft. Filtration: DSB, ATS, Rock. Lights: 6 x t5 (3 x 20 000k & 3 x 12 000k)
I have around 13kgs of Fiji Live Rock.. nice branching type. and 15 kg.s of Bio rock (don't know if you familiar with it. if not it is synthetic rock that is VERY porous) Using around 18kg of Fiji Pink substrate.
Reason I am wanting a biotope is because I come from FW where I only kept Amazonian species or Malawian. Fruit salad tanks are not my style. I'm trying to go all natural, or as far I can.
<I salute your efforts>
I am wanting a lagoon depth tank. since the tank is shallow. a reef zone depth wont look appealing. I'm over the whole "wall" style. What would you suggest in terms of scaping? maybe 2-3 pinnacles?
<I've dived quite a bit in Fiji... the 330 or so islands have the usual S. Pacific mix of reef habitats... including very long, shallows adjoining most of the larger isles...>
I like this simplistic look. but it has issue because of the fish I want to keep. would crevice, overhangs, etc help to disperse aggression between 1 or 2 damsel species?
Fish: damsels.. wow do I love them. so many varieties out there that are over looked! on my list I want Pomacentrus alleni, neon damsel.
what butterfly would you suggest that is from the a Fiji Islands and wont kill all my corals?
<Mmm, my choice? Likely Forcipiger flavissimus>
Angels?? your thoughts?
<A dwarf or two from the area... The true lemon and/or Coral Beauty I've collected t/here>
Apogon cyanosoma is also a nice looking fish, what do you think?
<Is a beauty, and becoming a standard offering for good reasons (hardiness, acceptance of all sorts of foods...)>
Also, I feel high maintenance, sorry, I would like a school fish. your thoughts?
<Mmm... perhaps an Anthiine?>
Corals, ill work out which ones fit into the lagoon style.
Inverts, will check it over too. but I got a nice Green Bubble Tip waiting for me :)
Also, would care to share your perfect Fiji biotope setup?
<Mmm, don't have much time currently... am cooking like a fiend for the Pink Run tonight, the Red Dress for tomorrow>
I appreciate your time. if you have, please post links, pictures of where I can get more info. I'm starved from info!
<Oh sure: http://wetwebmedia.com/fijiaccts.htm
Bob Fenner>

Planning a Marine Biotope Aquarium  7/31/07 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Well, I've been thinking a lot about how I'm going to stock my tank and what changes I might have to make. Let's break it down. <Sounds decidedly "M.C. Hammer- like"...LOL> First, my current tank info. My tank is 86g (48"L x 16"W x 26"T). It has a 36g sump (30"L x 15.5"W x 18"T). I have about 2" of Arag-Alive! Fiji Pink sand in my tank, along with 125 lbs of Fiji LR. <Nice looking substrate!> Originally, I wanted a Fiji lagoon biotope setup. I planned to have a BTA, a pair of Maroon Clownfish, some Chlorodesmis fastigiata, and snails. I still want those things, but now I'm looking into more fish and coral. <I'm falling in love, here!> Now I'd like to have a pair of Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus), a pair of Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica), and 2-6 Citrinus Clown Gobies (Gobiodon citrinus), a BTA (Entacmaea quadricolor), Turtle Weed (Chlorodesmis fastigiata), some Acropora for the Clown Gobies, and maybe some bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa). <Interesting mix!> Is there a location/biotope where all of these species coexist? <Good question. These fishes, inverts, and algae are found in a variety of Indo-Pacific locales. Even though many share overlapping distribution, they may not be found together in one spot, however. Consider the niches that each fish inhabits. The Firefish, for example, are found in the areas that you are interested in, but possibly at varying depths from say, the Clown Gobies. A great research tool for biotope geeks like us is the ichthyological resource fishbase.org. By searching a bit deeper on fishbase about a specific species of fish, you can find out diet, ecology, etc. And, of particular interest to me- you can find out the depths and locations that various type specimens were captured. Really interesting stuff when you are working on assembling a biotope system. Keep in mind, however, that there is no "rule" when assembling such a system. Sure, the goal is to create an assemblage of plants and animals from more-or-less the same ecological niche, but it IS open to some interpretation on the part of you, the hobbyist. You can create a system that is absolutely exact, with only animals and plants found in a specific location, depth, and situation. Or, you could assemble a system of animals from more-or-less the same region, but perhaps from slightly different depths or parts of the reef. You can go as hardcore as you'd like to go when doing this- that's the fun of the hobby! As always, practical considerations come into play: Mixing stinging cnidarians, such as anemones, in a smaller system with corals, is potentially problematic, and allelopathic issues can arise. Predatory fishes are simply going to eat their prey items, even if they are found together in the same niche! Compromise is required even when attempting to replicate a specific biotope.> If so, how would I arrange my rocks to display that biotope? <Try something a little different, such as a few low aggregations of rock with space in between, instead of the usual "rock walls" that are so pervasive in the hobby! Tear down the wall!!! Perhaps even one larger mound of rock, with a craggy, open structure, and sand areas all around, with some seagrasses or Fungiids sprinkled here and there on the substrate for interest. Or, if you are truly daring- no major rock structures at all...just a few pieces here and there on the sand. There are endless possibilities. I highly recommend looking at web sites catering to divers and dive resorts. many have pictures and virtual tours of the areas they serve, and you can get great inspiration from these pictures!> Do any of those biotopes contain sand beds in which grow Oar Grass (Halophila ovalis) or Paddle Grass (Halophila decipiens)? I don't think sand beds get 2" deep in most biotopes, so I need a biotope that does. <Man- you know how to hit my hot buttons here...There are many parts of the Indo-Pacific where you might fine seagrass beds adjacent to smaller reef structures. The beauty of Halophila is that you can keep it in a slightly more shallow sandbed than other seagrasses, such as Halodule or Thalassia. A depth of 2"-3" can work fine if it is properly enriched. There is some good information on this topic now. Do check out an article by friend and seagrass expert Sarah Lardizabal on these species in a back issue of Conscientious Aquarist on line from last year. She's got great info. on these plants, and can also be found on various hobby forums promoting macroalgae and seagrasses. She'll be at MACNA in Pittsburgh talking about seagrasses, which is sure to be interesting. I will be "on the road" this year at a few club events and at IMAC, promoting the biotope concept, too- and I do talk about seagrasses extensively in my presentation. The idea of keeping seagrasses is a relatively new area for hobbyists to explore, one that can rally be fun. In fact, the whole idea of marine biotope aquariums is a refreshing change from the usual "garden" assemblies that we see so often in the hobby. Dare to be different, and you can inspire others! Man, you're getting me excited when I hear about your biotope plans!> Well, that's all I'm wondering at the moment. <That's it? Sheesh.. Just kidding.> If you have any pictures of the biotopes you suggest, I'd really like to see them for reference. <Well, I assembled a personal collection of biotope pics, that I've saved on my computer for reference only, because many many of them are copyrighted material from photographers and researchers and cannot be reproduced without their permission. Nonetheless, lots of information and photos are free to look at on line, and you can find all sorts of interesting stuff. The big "idea" here is to look into resources other than hobby ones. Research websites, dive travel websites, and even some conservation websites have great pictures and information on various biotopes to study and geek out on (like I do!). Do some searches on Google, etc. of the region that you are trying to replicate...you'll find more stuff than you can imagine! Eventually, there will be hobby resources for this information- trust me!> Thanks a whole lot for reading all of this. <This will change, my friend, if I have anything to say about it!> I hope you can answer most, if not all, of my questions. <Well, maybe not all the answers- But I hope that I pointed you in the right direction to find a lot of cool information. It's out there.> Have a nice day. Sincerely, Random Aquarist <And you do the same! Regards, Scott F.>

Building a Biotope System. Fiji Biotope/ Taenionotus triacanthus Compatibility    7/16/07 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> With the help of Reef Central and WWM, I'm about to cycle my first tank, so I'm pretty excited. I've been researching and learning about this hobby for years, so I'm really happy to take my first jump (or dive) into it. I'm glad that all that money I spent on equipment won't be going to waste. <Nope- just helping build the aquarium industry!> I've helped my dad setup a few FW tanks, but they all eventually turned into disasters after he refused to maintain them properly, which at least helped me learn from his mistakes. <Learning from our mistakes is how most of us have grown as hobbyists, so this is all part of the fun! I've made tons of mistakes, so I have learned a lot!> Anyways, I've planned for this tank to be an 86g (+30g sump) Fiji lagoon biotope. <Nice...A biotope fan like myself!> I plan on covering all of my liverock with Chlorodesmis fastigiata. <Can be tough to maintain, as it requires a lot of flow, but a cool species nonetheless. The color reminds me of a haircut that one of my buddies had back in the day, but I digress!> I also plan on getting a BTA and a pair of Maroon Clowns. I recently found out that lagoons are supposed to have low water flow, but I have a powerhead that will put out a high flow rate. Is it not uncommon to have high flow in lagoons? <Well, the term "low flow" is really subjective, and is in my opinion-misinterpreted by hobbyists.. Even the lowest flow in a typical lagoon is way more dynamic than you would ever imagine. I vividly recall an incident where I had to swim after my surfboard in a certain South Pacific lagoon some years back, and found that the current was far beyond anything that I'd consider "low"! I would not be concerned about providing too much flow in this biotope. Just don't blast your powerhead directly into your organisms.> Does Chlorodesmis often cover entire rocks or does it only appear in small patches? <Both, actually. It can grow into pretty large stands if conditions are to its liking, and if no predators are present.> I've always liked the look of Taenionotus triacanthus, but before now I never knew exactly what their native range was. Now that I use FishBase.org, I can now consider them possible additions to my Fiji biotope. <A great source of information that more hobbyists should use- especially us biotope geeks!> However, I have a few questions about their compatibility before I put them on the shopping list. First, are they dangerous to snails? <I'd be more concerned about small fishes, shrimp and crabs falling prey to this species, myself. Sure, the potential exists, but I would not be too crazed about it.> Second, will they be eaten by a Bubbletip Anemone (BTA)? <There is always a potenital risk.> Also, if I add them before the clowns, will they be picked on? <Quite possibly. They are pretty timid fish, and should be kept with passive fishes that don't act too aggressively.> Finally, do they pose a threat to the maroon clowns with their poisonous spines? <These spines are generally defensive weapons. I'd be more concerned about injury to myself. Handle these fishes with extreme caution!> Thanks for spending your time reading and answering this. I hope you have a nice summer (or winter). Sincerely, Random Aquarist <Summer in this hemisphere now- but I'll take your wishes for a nice winter as well! Best of luck to you...Do keep me posted how this turns out! Regards, Scott F.> Fiji, other dive trips  - 05/03/07 Bob, <Mark> I'm looking forward to seeing you at IMAC again this year. The reason I'm bugging you is I am dying to get over to dive the other side of the world. I was tempted to organize a trip to Fiji at Beqa lagoon. <Mmm, I might haul over later this month and join Walt (Smith) there> However my dive buds and I are trying find a reasonably priced way of forming a trip to indo or even Australia this year. <Keep your "eyes peeled" for cheap airfares, package deals offered by dive resorts... even Airline ones...> Could you recommend a trip, group, or local since you have been there many times. <To which location/s?> Also, do you have any interest in a trip or know of any you will be joining. We like the idea of shore diving better than live aboards. Thanks in advance, Mark Vera Aqua-Tech Co. <Mmm... in all three of these countries, shore-diving is not really an option... In order to get out to most all spots you need at least a boat ride... Which I imagine you know, are planning on... That you mean "resort based" rather than shore diving per se. Due to our country's continuing self-driven path to impoverishment (too much gov't, spending period, invasions of sovereign nations...) the dollar is more and more devalued most everywhere... So, on the one hand it's going to be more expensive to do foreign travel, but on the other hand... there's no time like the present and the dollar is NOT going to improve any year soon... The cost of resorts/accommodations, air, food and drink, diving... are posted on the Net by and large... but I would make a deal (easy to do) depending on how many folks you rally... By contacting the service (the resort itself) re... and see if they can do something more for you re consolidators for the transits... For Indo. am very partial to NE Sulawesi... the Bunaken side coupled with a stay in Lembeh... including air... maybe two weeks total time... with a day, maybe two counting coming/going through Singapore... But there are many places in this largest of Islamic nations... Bali, Lombok/Gilis, Flores and vicinity, Irian Jaya... Fiji... I'd save up, do the Nai'a liveaboard (spectacular)... or head out to Taveuni (Garden Island...)... Do watch the weather if going to Beqa, use Beqa Divers if hauling there... Australia? Where? The GBR period? Maybe one of the "White Line" resort islands... My pick? Heron... and a stint points west... MANY... the Coral Sea out of Cairns... if your group is tough re seasickness... Mike Ball's outfit if you can afford it... Let's do chat re specifics... BobF> Fijian fish that school in small groups   4/1/07 Hello. <Hi there, Mich here.> I'm still planning my 86g tall (48"L x 26"T x 16"W) tank, after taking a break from the hobby for a few months. Anyway, I'm planning a Fiji biotope tank, with a pair of maroon clowns, a BTA, and a lot of Chlorodesmis macroalgae. I know that the maroon clowns won't really explore the tank because they like to stay next to their anemone. What are some fish that naturally school in very small shoals? I want to stress that they are naturally found in small schools because I'm trying to keep this tank as natural as possible. Here's the list of reef-associated fish found in the Fijian Islands in case it helps: http://fishbase.org/Country/CountryResultList.cfm?requesttimeout=9999&Country=242&group=Reef&CFID=25719508&CFTOKEN=54362503. <Cardinalfish would be a good choice here.> Thanks in advance, <Welcome.  Mich> CCS

Creating a Biotope of Fiji... Fiji Reef Fish  1/29/07 Hello <Hi Daniel, Mich with you today.> Great site, lots of good info, and lots to think about.  Keep up the good work. <Glad you like, glad you think so, thinking is good!  We do try!> I have a quick question for you. Where would I look to find a list of the collected reef safe fish from Fiji? <You might try here:   http://www2.bishopmuseum.org/PBS/fijifish/results.asp?rpp=50&ls=&st=&sl=fiji&submit=Search  > I'm interested in recreating 90 gal. of Fiji Reef, or at least as close as I can. <You might find John H. Tullock's book titled Natural Reef Aquariums, Simplified Approaches to Creating Living Saltwater Microcosms helpful, as is revolves around creating biotopes of specific geographical areas.>     Thanks <Welcome!  -Mich> Daniel

Wakatobi et al., Fiji diving, FishWise Program debut!    1/14/07 Hi Bob, <Hey Dennis!> Since Wakatobi we spent 3 weeks in N America and have just got back from 9 days in Cape Town. - None of this was diving. <Heeeeeee!> I am resending my email of 24th November. <Ah, thank you> Best Wishes Dennis Hi Bob, Friday 24th November. I have been meaning to contact you but seem to have mislaid your card. Today I thought that maybe I could find you on the internet - WOW - I typed in Bob Fenner Aquarium and got 83 800 results. It was really great meeting you and Diana. With all your persuasion I have decided to start a website. <Ahh! Outstanding!> Initially it will be mainly a picture gallery but will hopefully develop into a full blown FishWise site. <I do hope so> During our 10 days in Bali and 11 days in Wakatobi we took over 15 000 pictures between us and I am now in the process of sorting and throwing out. <A real task> It is an enormous task as I first identify each picture by Photographer (Sally or myself) and Place. I then move them into the different Family folders. Then the sorting, identifying and Photo Shop work starts. <Oh yes... am very familiar> I will probably end up with a bit less than 1000 pictures which will then be added to FishWise. Thanks for all the pictures you gave me. There are some great pictures that I would like to use but unfortunately you have already cropped them and I can use very few of them. The format I use is 720 pixels by 400 pixels or any larger size to the same proportions. Do you still have the originals? <Oh yes> And if you do would it be possible for me to get them. There won't be that many and I could send you a list. <My friend, you are welcome to all I have for your purposes... I will send you all my scans on an external hard drive if you'd like.> During our discussions in the Camera room regarding Fiji you mentioned that we should not go to the Taveuni Garden Island Resort for the type of diving we would like. <Yes... way too much current in the Somo Somo Strait for your use> You mentioned a few other places that would be more suitable for us. Could you please comment and give us some advice as to where we should plan to go. <I would go on the liveaboards... rather than resort diving... the Nai'a is by far superlative> We are having our annual meeting tomorrow morning (Saturday). This is when the weeks for Sodwana are allocated. We share a house with 9 other members and each get 5 weeks per year. My daughter and son in law are also members and so we actually often have access for more than 5 weeks. We will be trying to get two weeks in May from 18th May to 1st June as Phil Heemstra and his wife have indicated that this would be suitable for them. <Would/will greatly appreciate joining up with you some time. Bob Fenner in Kona/Kailua> Biotope snail stocking    1/5/07 Hello, <Hi there!  Mich with you today.>     I'm planning an 86g Fiji shallow reef slope biotope tank. <Very nice.> It will have a bubble tip anemone, a pair of maroon clowns, and a few scattered SPS and/or LPS corals. It will have 90lbs of liverock and 35lbs of sand. The sand bed in the tank will only be around 1-2" and the remaining sand will be placed in the sump as a DSB. <I think the remote DSB is a good idea.  The 1-2 inches in the display is less than ideal.  It would be better to either go with less, say an inch or less, or more say, 3-4 inches.>   What kind of commonly sold snails are native to this kind of biotope? <Nassarius and Cerith snails are found in all tropical seas.>   How many snails should I stock the tank with? <A handful would be appropriate.  Good luck!  -Mich>

Fiji Biotope - 01/02/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I'm trying to plan an 86g Fiji biotope reef setup. <<Excellent!  I too have a Fiji biotope reef display.  Limiting your selection of organisms (both fishes and corals/invertebrates) to those that would occur naturally in the ocean together will have a large impact on your future success.  Now you just need to narrow your choices down to a specific "niche" on the reef (reef slope, lagoon, rubble zone, back reef, etc), or maybe to a specific genera (Acroporids, Faviids, etc.) or species (e.g. Montipora digitata).  Not to say you can't have a "mix" of animals...but consider choosing one family or genera as the "main" coral/invertebrate display organism which will comprise at least 90% of the coral/invertebrate bio-mass with the remaining 10% being a smattering of compatible coral/invertebrate organisms for some added diversity.  For example, my tank consists primarily of acropora species with a "few" LPS and clams and the odd couple of softie hitchhikers (and these last purposely "limited" from spreading/multiplying).>> I would like to have Acropora, a Bubble Tip Anemone, and a pair of Amphiprion frenatus. <<Mmm...Tis generally not advised to mix anemones with sessile invertebrates.  But in this instance, if you make the anemone the "main" display organism you could likely get by with a "few" acropora specimens scattered about the tank.  Entacmaea quadricolor is a fine choice for your Fiji biotope, but, FishBase.org lists four species of Amphiprion as reef-associated in the Fiji Islands and P. frenatus is not one of them.  Although; and Bob may interject here, the species is so widely distributed in the South-Pacific that I think it is likely to be found around the Fiji Islands from time to time as well>> I might like to have some Seriatopora stellata, Pocillopora damicornis, and some LPS corals. <<Again, only a few specimens, maybe...giving wide berth/consideration to the anemone>> I don't quite know if these all live in the same biotope. <<Research of the individual species should give you enough information to determine their niche on the reef (making the anemone your prime consideration), this in turn will help determine their compatibility re environmental conditions (water flow, lighting, etc.)>> If there is such a biotope, what is it? <<Some research on Entacmaea quadricolor should reveal this...likely a shallow reef slope>> How would I setup my rockwork to mirror that biotope? <<Unfortunately there aren't any dedicated works on reef biotopes at the moment that I am aware of, though I believe another of the Crew (Scott Fellman) is working on just such a book.  Your best option is to peruse the dive mags and "coffee table" books for pictures to give you ideas/inspiration>> Also, at that depth and water clarity, what color of light would there be, I.e. 10K, 14K, 20K. <<Actually, a 6500K bulb would be about ideal for the anemone in respect to color temperature and PAR but most hobbyists find the bulbs to look too "yellow" for their own sense of aesthetics.  As a suitable compromise, I think 10,000K bulbs, especially in the 150-175 watt range, or even 14,000K for 250 watts and higher (due to the increased output) would be more visually pleasing>> What species of Acropora would live there? <<Very little information if any is ever available to the consumer re the collection location of corals in the trade.  If your LFS has access to a Fiji collector/supplier you may be able to "special order" specimens collected there.  Otherwise, except for certain endemics to other regions, keeping your selections to those species found in the Indo- or South-Pacific will keep you in the ballpark.  You will need to research each species re its geographic distribution.>> What species of LPS would live there? <<Follow the same guidelines as stated for Acroporids>> What species of soft corals would live there? Thanking you in advance, CCS <<Good luck with your biotope.  Do take the time to research, learn from, and enjoy your system.  Regards, Eric Russell>> Re: Fiji Biotope - 01/11/07 Hello again. <<Greetings>> Just a quick question. <<Sure>> Are the Haliptilon species of kelp found where BTAs are? <<Hmm yes, a Rhodophyte I believe...would likely be found on brightly lit reef slopes, just as bubble-tip anemones are found>> Would this algae be something good to keep in large numbers in the display?   http://liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=664 <<Could be, yes...depending on your sense of aesthetics.  EricR>>

Fiji Property Questions   03/9/06 Bob, <Bill> Thanks. Sorry about the location mix-up...Koro...Kadavu...at least I got the first letter correct. Sounds like there's some pretty good, world class diving over on Kadavu! Did you find the TDC folks negotiable on the lot prices? <Yes... especially after one has gone over to visit, see the properties, chatted with them> Anyway, no definite plans yet on a visit, but I'm getting pretty anxious to make the trip. Since I have a lot of AA miles, I was looking to fly AA to LAX or HNL, but best I can tell, the airfares from LAX to Nadi are about the same as flying from HNL to Nadi? Go figure! <Yes... Air Pacific is a real hoot here... what's that fancy word for "unnatural"? Oh yeah, arbitrary... sort of like U.S. foreign policy... doesn't make much sense> Sounds good! I'll let you know what I work out on the trip over. If the timing works out, having someone that knows there way around would be a great help. Cheers, Bill <Glad to... and if interested, we can spend some time visiting folks in the pet-fish trade there, get in a bit of diving adventure. BobF>

Biotope Display II - 03/02/06 gen. and Fiji... Eric - thanks for the response. <<Very welcome>> Do you have a list of the organisms in your rubble zone system? <<Corals are mostly acroporids, with a few "brain" and "trumpet" corals in the lower reaches of the tank.  Fish have been selected based on location information gleaned from fishbase.org (no Red Sea or Atlantic specimens here) and includes one endemic specie, Siganus uspi, the Bicolor or "Fiji" Foxface.>> Know of any photos of Fiji area biotopic aquariums (or really any biotopic aquariums)? <<Not really, no.  I think (hope) more on this topic will be forthcoming as it gains in popularity, but right now, information is sparse and hard to find.  'Nilsen & Fossa' devote about ten pages to biotopes in their book 'Reef Secrets', and while it makes good reading, I was still a bit disappointed with it.  As it stands today, you will have to do most of your research in non-hobby type books, magazines, etc..  Which still leaves you to determine/figure the "mechanics" for creating/building your system.  I think biotope tanks are very worthwhile and rewarding...but require much more of the aquarist in the planning and design stages.>> I have high lighting, but I want to keep mostly soft corals with a few hard corals...does this narrow a potential zone down any? <<Indeed... a rubble zone (Fiji or elsewhere) can be home to a very wide selection of organisms, most of which require very high light and good water flow.  I remember seeing a picture (in 'Reef Secrets') of a boulder, surrounded by rubble and a patch of sand, that was home to more than a dozen different species of both hard and soft corals.  The yellow Fiji leather coral you said you have is a prime candidate for this type environment, as would be many acroporids/montiporids/Pocilloporids and more.>> Thanks again <<Regards, EricR>>

Iridescent Algae in Fiji?  11/17/05 I have a rather simple if not stupid question which may have been asked numerous times. I have watched the movie Heat (starring Al Pacino and Robert Deniro)  << <gasp!>  De Niro! MH>> and there is a scene De Niro mentions going to Fiji to see the iridescent algae that lights up the sea once a year.. I was wondering if such a spectacle existed and if so, how would I go about being able to see when it happens? <Mmm, really, just be there during an accumulation... is not really seasonal per se, but seems to be more prevalent early Spring, later Fall> I know, silly question, but I have had little luck finding a direct answer on Google. Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Waymon <Are large/r populations of surface algae and plankton that consume them... and something moving through the water to stimulate them to "fire". Bob Fenner>  <<Go to Puerto Rico, see the phosphorescent bays there.  Marina>>

One Last Sanity Check - 09/02/05 Hola Crew... <<Hi John...yep, EricR again.>> My Fiji biotope is about to become reality.  The 150 gallon display tank (48x24x30) and the 45 gallon refugium mounted underneath in the stand (30x18x20) have been circulating plain old tap water for two days while I sort out the flow pattern in the display tank using neutrally buoyant strips of confetti. <<neat!>> Three tubs of 200 gallon Tropic Marin Pro-Reef salt and a brand-new 55 gallon plastic trash can are at the ready to begin the process of establishing what I hope will become a vibrant community of life. <<Exciting...ain't it>> I think <deep breath> I'm ready to take the plunge. <<Ahh...the anticipation is electric...>> Fortunately, my local HD (Brunswick, GA) had aragonite play sand in stock and I was able to get four bags for less than twenty bucks. <<Lucky...haven't seen it around here in SC for more than a year.>> Using 1" PVC pipe and 90 and 45 degree elbows I have made  some sturdy stands to firmly hold live rock pieces just above (hopefully at the top of) a six inch DSB. <<Not necessary IMO, but okay.  I prefer to put the rock on the bottom of the tank and then add sand, but your method is fine...and preferred/recommended by some.>> Here's the plan I want to float <heh> by you.  I want to drain all the tap water from the system and refill it with salt water mixed to 1.025 SPG. <<Again fine, but not necessary.  I would merely add salt mix to the existing water.>> Then, one week later I want to get 50 pounds of uncured live rock and 50 pounds of live sand from Fiji via an e-tailer, along with a handful of Chaeto for the refugium and put them in all at once to start the curing cycle.  There will be a six inch DSB in both the display tank and the refugium, with a reverse lighting cycle from the display tank for the 'fuge. <<excellent>> I have an AquaC Remora Pro protein skimmer and a pound of charcoal in the raw water receiving chamber of the refugium.  I know I will probably need another hundred pounds of live rock, but the budget, she won't stand in one month :-) <<Be careful with how much rock you add.  Keep the rockwork open and don't get hung up on "filling the tank" with rock.  Sometimes less is more.>> The additional live rock will be added in 20-50 pound bunches over a couple of months, after a curing period in a separate container. <<Ahh, good>> Once the system has cycled, nothing goes in without first spending a month in quarantine! <<Very good to hear my friend!>> My decision to use uncured rock and sand came from a desire to create a Fiji biotope with the maximum diversity of organisms as is possible given the unavoidable losses in shipment. <<Yes, understood...did the same thing myself.  Be aware the process can/will be nasty/smelly.>> Some 'nasties' are inevitable, but that's all part of the diversity of life. <<Most likely in the form of nuisance alga.>> Questions arise: <<ok>> 1) Should I wait on adding the Chaeto until the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate cycle has stabilized? <<Not at all.>> 2) Should I use the tank lights while curing or keep it dim in there?  The Chaeto in the 'fuge will definitely need light, but what about the display tank ? <<Keeping the display dark while curing the rock is fine...even desirable.>> 3) Once the water has cycled I want to add a 'pod collection from IPSF to the main tank and assume they will spread spontaneously to the refugium and begin happily making more 'pods in the Chaeto shelter...is this a realistic approach? <<It is, though I would do the reverse...add the culture to the refugium and let them spread to the display as the 'fuge is where your base population will need to establish.  Although, since you will be leaving all fishless for some months this point may be moot.>> I'm planning on nothing but inverts in the system for the first 3-4 months to get the ecology firmly established before adding hungry predators. <<All good.  But be aware, the "inverts" will be as predacious as any fish.>> Lastly: 4) IPSF seem to like Ulva algae to promote 'pod replication...is it compatible with Chaeto or will allelopathy wars break out in the system ? <<Best to use a single specie of macro algae, like everything else you put in this tank, the alga too will compete for space.>> The completed biotope will have Fungia (sp), Zoanthus (sp) and Briareum (sp) for corals, Lysmata wurdemanni and Lysmata amboinensis with Calcinus elegans inverts, maybe a Linckia laevigata or Astropecten polycanthus sea stars (not sure about these) and finally Pterosynchiropus splendidus, Sphaeramia nematoptera and Pseudocheilinus hexataenia for the 'fishies' SWMBO wants to see swimming around. <<My wife likes the fishies best too.  Okay, a few comments... The shrimp and especially the hermits will be hard on any emerging life on your live rock, and I'm not even sure those hermits fall in to the broad category of "reef safe".  As for the stars, I would replace the Linckia specie with a Fromia specie...much easier to keep/more appropriate for captivity...and "don't" get the sand sifting star...will decimate the biota in your sand bed in short order.  Now to the fish...the tank will not be ready/mature enough for the mandarin for a year or more...the Pajama Cardinals are an excellent choice and perfect for the selected biotope, as is the sixline wrasse, but be aware the latter will become the terror of the tank and will make it very difficult to add similarly sized/shaped fish down the line.>> I think she will be surprised that the display tank will only have 4-6 fish! <<Mmm...look in to Siganus uspi (Fiji Foxface)...is endemic to Fiji, will grow to about 9" thus making a very nice "centerpiece" fish, and if anything like mine, will be very peaceful/well behaved.  Some consider the Foxface to be inappropriate for reef tanks, but I consider it worth the risk and haven't regretted my decision for a moment.>> Still trying to track down the right herbivorous snails from Fiji, just need to do more research. <<Wouldn't bother...just get whatever is easily/commonly available (likely from the Atlantic I know, but of small matter.).  I'm partial to Cerith and Nassarius snails for help with detritus.  I consider herbivorous snails a waste of money, and you will find the Astrea specie to be little bulldozers knocking all your corals out of place.>> Thanks again to the crew at WWM for hosting such a great resource, along with all the 'virtual' hand-holding.  I appreciate your assistance, along with your sage advice. John <<I look forward to hearing of your progress.  EricR>>

Trip to Fiji... Live Rock? 3/30/05 Hello! We are thinking about planning a vacation to Fiji or the Fijian Islands (don't know much about them yet!) and we wanted to know if it was realistic to plan to stop at Walt Smith's facilities and hand pick out some premium LR and have them ship it back for us?  <Probably not. Although you may be able to get a tour, the paperwork and permits required to import the rock would be prohibitive. You may be able to arrange to pick your rock and have it delivered to you through a wholesaler.> We have a 200 gal (not set up yet) and a 72 gal (this currently has about 80 lbs of LR) and we are planning to get a 125 gal and will need rock for all of these, plus for some of the refugiums (are planning to build multiple refugiums for each set-up so we can harvest many different types of natural foods, NNR, etc.- Anthony's book on Coral propagation is the culprit!) so we are thinking we need about 800 lbs or so and wondered if this would be a way to get that much (we would cure it at our facilities) and save some money on it as well as be able to pick out premium pieces....  <I can't imagine that you will need that much rock. If you get good quality rock, as little as 1-1.5lb per gallon of display volume will handle all of your filtration needs. Even if you want more to add habitat in a refugium, etc. you shouldn't need more than 400lb.> Any thoughts on going to Fiji, getting LR while we are there (through Walt Smith or ?), great places to dive there and snorkel hopefully (my fianc? takes Coumadin (warfrin) and has been told he cannot scuba dive due to the thinness of his blood on the medication). All thoughts and comments welcome, hopefully from several of you who have been there before..... A & R  <You will find many snorkeling outfits that in Fiji that will be able to give you good advice for where to snorkel. As for picking your own rock... it may be possible with a lot of planning, but may not save much money and probably isn't worth the hassle. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Tell me about Fiji Bob, <Keith> this is Keith ( from the SDMAS).  My friend is planning a trip to Fiji.  He wants to know where there is a nice beach; near the main international airport, where he can do some nice snorkeling and diving too.  his wife does not dive, so he wants a beach where everyone is happy.  Can you recommend such a beach/or area. thanks, Keith <Glad to share... there is really nothing near the Intl. Airport (in Nadi, Viti Levu)... the water is too "dirty" (not clear...), so I do encourage others in similar positions to read through the Net, tour books (esp. Lonely Planet), and DO make a firm itinerary... to either do 1)day trips from nearby... 2) haul out and stay at a more distal resort per their desired experiences (e.g. they might want to surf, sail... AND scuba dive/snorkel?), or 3) make the big commitment and just "dive their brains out" on a live-aboard... If as you say they want to stay on a nice beach and do some good snorkeling, there are some reasonable island/hotels just north of Viti Levu (check on the Net here again... and choose a larger rather than smaller island if this is going to be for more than a couple of days...). Oh, and have your friends write me directly if I may be of more assistance. Bob Fenner, just back from the Galapagos>

Fiji 7/29/04 Hello. This is Keith's friend that asked about Fiji. Thanks for the response. <Pleasure> We are only going to be there 2 -3 days, actually it's a stopover on the way to Australia. So, we're looking for someplace relatively close to the airport so as to minimize transit time. We'll have to go back again some other time for the live aboard, which I would love to do! <... think that Sheraton sold one of their two properties... just north of Nadi, the airport you're no doubt transmitting through. Do check them out, consider staying there, doing "day trips" out of Latouka or nearby to some of the islands... oh I see below you know of this...> Someone suggested "Castaway Island" (CastawayFiji.com) in the Mamanuca group. Any thoughts on that? <A very nice place... great food, a bit beat in terms of the surrounding shallow water for snorkeling, but still worthwhile> My wife also wanted to get a taste of the "real" Fiji. I guess she means visiting a "village" somewhere. I know this is kind of vague! <Mmm, not at all... the Fijians are almost to a one fantastically honest, friendly and outgoing. The population that is Polynesian derived (as opposed to the largely Hindu half) are most everywhere... you will meet them, and enjoy sharing> Keith has done a great job on the reef tank in my office! Thanks for your help. Ed, Sue and Nick Kosakoski, San Diego <Bula! And bon voyage. Bob Fenner who also resides in SD>

RE: Fiji and environs Hello, Bob. This is Keith's friend, Ed, again. Thanks for your help. Couple more questions for you. <Okay> Can you recommend a place in the Mamanuca Group that does not have "beat" snorkeling? I am going to want to spend as much time in the water as I can, and just don't want to be totally dependent on a boat. I have checked the web - Plantation Island, Beachcomber, Navini, etc. They all look very similar and we are having a hard time deciding. <I have been to Plantation, Mana and Musket Cove and can/will recommend gladly all of these. There are a few guides, sites re these and other places in the Mamanucas, my fave: http://www.fiji.islands-holiday.com/beaches.html> We are thinking of spending a few days on Heron Island on the southern Barrier Reef. Any experience there? <Yes... have been to this resort in the Capricorn Group a few times. Very worthwhile... Do recommend the helicopter ride to/from Gladstone if the weather is bad (more than a meter swell) if it's not too dear (expensive)... and the private charter option out to the edge of the Barrier Reef and westward for at least one day (can be arranged through the on-island dive service)... the food is great! I stay (when by myself) in the lowest service category accommodations (now all have private bath...) and DO bring earplugs (re the noisy seabirds at night...)... and DO snorkel just north of the pool, volleyball area... at different times of the day, night... DO visit the biological station on Heron... DO wear lots of sunscreen... If interested in identifying the marine and terrestrial life, procure books re these ahead of time. There are some real winners. Bob Fenner> Thanks, again. Ed, Sue and Nick (13) RE: Fiji and environs Thanks, again. One more question. Lady Elliott Island vs. Heron? I just keep running across more spots! <Have never been to this island... the other (I think P and O) properties Green and Lizard are very nice, comparable accommodations to Heron, though much more expensive. Bob Fenner>

Hi From Fiji (and link to ad) Dear Mr.. Fenner, We have a company in Fiji that has been exporting Live rock , Coral ,and Fish, sometimes all, or individually, for the last 10 years, we are quite small, and often go unnoticed, and our competitors are quite visible!. <Hee hee! Good way of putting this... some are indeed very large in size and ego!> I have seen your Wet Web Media and find it quite interesting, and I have seen and heard your name quite often, so I decided to write to you, I am not sure if you would like to know about us, just in case our website is, www.waterlifefiji.com, ( if you click on it I think it will take you there, I hope), if there is anything I can contribute to, please let me know, hope to hear from you Thanks Peter Savona Waterlife Exporters (Fiji) Limited PH(679)9930001 <Will gladly post your note and add your URL to the marine/reef links pages. In turn, do make it known if we may be of assistance... mainly in the realms of social introductions to individuals, business in the trade, content... And I hope to "run into" you, perhaps write up an article on you, your endeavors on a trip out to Fiji (I make it out there once, twice a year). Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Hi From Fiji Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your kind words and support, and for such a prompt reply, sometimes I get the feeling of an orphan!. I am originally from Malta, in the Mediterranean, I have been keeping freshies since I was 10, and when I migrated to Australia I got seriously into marines, it was actually a spearfishing accident, I shot a small bottom dwelling shark and when I started to clean it up, 10 pups with egg sacs popped out, so I quickly tired to setup a tank, of course not knowing anything about nitrifiers etc, LOL, from there, to trickle filters coral and so on. <Ahhh, a quintessential experience> Somehow some years later, by which time I was a telephone linesman by trade, I landed a job as an aquarist at the Underwaterworld at Manly's in Sydney, I was lucky to have a Boss that was a walking encyclopedia, Chris Warner, and I learnt so much stuff from him, about a year later I also worked under him again at the Mooloolaba Underwaterworld in Queensland for another 6 months, an even more interesting setup. <Another fortunate series of incidents> Since 1990 I got involved with Waterlife Exporters (Fiji) Ltd, becoming the second eldest company in our industry in Fiji, the first is Tony Nahacky of Aquarium Fish, another extremely knowledgeable man, with incredible diving and collecting ability, I then resided in Fiji permanently since 1992, and now am the principal owner of Waterlife. <Tony is indeed an amazing individual, and a tremendous asset to the trade> I'll be honest I came here to catch fish, but since Ocean 2000/SDC and WSI, it became necessary to export Live rock and Coral or simply not survive, there was also the Segrest's for some time with Tropical Fish (Fiji) Ltd which went out of business, their Phillipino divers did terrible damage to our fishing area, fortunately the reef has incredible ability to recover. <Am familiar with these folks, troubles... am surprised you and I have yet to meet> For some time I depended solely on live rock and dealt with a Mike Phalen, of Aqua Direct, he is what I think they call a "jobber", ( i don't know if that is  a good or bad term in the USA, so forgive my ignorance), i.e. he has no facility etc. Unfortunately he still owes us US$34,000.00, this nearly wiped me out, but somehow we survived. <I... will make inquiries re this... It is my desire that the trade be rigorous in its dealings... and I do not condone thievery> We have a 7000 sq foot building with three separate systems, fish coral and live rock, and we used to ship 4.5 tonnes of live rock into LA for 4 or 5 years, and not to boast were told it was the best rock around, now unfortunately the price war with my big competitors is so ferocious, and they have counterpart facility's in LA that support them, I don't, and still have to freelance for buyers, and after being bitten three times in the US, I now require pre payment, and I can't get a foot into LA!!. <I am a huge fan of Fiji rock (and Fijians)... as you will find from my writings. And I can see from your website that you employ similar excellent practices in your dealings with local people, techniques of cleaning, curing. The LR product from Fiji is largely responsible for the growth, size of the hobby worldwide...> I'm sure you must also know how complicated life has become for us with CITES, and the new quota system, between you and I, it is really arbitrary, and it is really hurting. <I agree... had a short conversation with Dieter Brockmann vis a vis Kirby's involvement in a writing project and the "evolution" of this bit of "law"... unserving to anyone> The only consolation I have is that I brought in a consultant from Australia 3 weeks ago, his name is Paul Hough, I think he has Dr in front, he was responsible for the Great barrier Reef Aquarium in Townsville, and he also agrees that CITES is being rather heavy handed . <We might start a club...> We are kind of struggling a bit, I have been trying to sent up an ocean based coral farm, we have already spent around US$15,000.00 on it, but somebody tried sabotage it, ( you guessed it, a competitor), it is a pity really because it is for better sustainability, and a good education tool, specially since we are located in Suva, the capital. we will try to get it going again once finances permit. Although I know that propagation is a buzz word, but I really am interested in it. I am actively looking around for funding, and yes if you happen to know anybody or organization to apply to please let me know, I do need the help, and would be thankful for any advice. <Kudos to you and your company for seeing into the future> If you do happen to come to Fiji, please do let me know, it would be wonderful to meet you, Thanks again Peter www.waterlifefiji.com <Will do indeed. Thank you for sharing your insights, experiences. I look forward to our meeting and chatting further. Bob Fenner>

Tropical Habitats, Inc. Miami Bob, Hope all is well with you. Your site has really taken off. Good info. Never did get a copy of my fat ___ on the beach in Taveuni. Turner said you showed it to him can I get a copy? <Have just looked on my HD's re... there is a subsubsub folder for GardenIsleResort... but no pix in it... was it/they digitals do you recall or analog scans?> BTW, My domain has changed to tropicalhabitats.net instead of .com. Back to Bonaire this summer, cant wait. Take care. Brett Seeberger <Should be a great time in Bonaire... we're just back from Interzoo and Sharm/Red Sea... and beat. Bob F> 

Why is Fiji coralline algae so PURPLE? Greetings again, esteemed fellow wet-heads. I'm about to set-up a larger reef tank, which will focus on "Indo-Pacific" livestock, especially those from Fiji. So that I can make life as comfortable as possible for all future inhabitants of the tank, I'm trying to find out what environmental factors make Fiji live-rock coralline algae so predominantly PURPLE? I'm not merely jazzed about the color -- my hope is that creating a tank which favors purple corallines from Fiji would benefit other creatures from the same neighborhood (duh). Is there some special combination of water quality, lighting, and water chemistry (trace elements? calcium characteristics? oxygen?) that makes Fiji live-rock so purple? <Wish I knew... have not seen discussed this particular issue> My instinct is that, in addition to the above criteria, WATER DEPTH (i.e., resultant lighting spectrum) plays a large part in favoring "the color purple." Hypotheses: Does Fiji live-rock get unusually high "actinic" radiation? UV? Or is the surrounding water rich in some specific mineral? <Don't think so on these counts. Have been to the areas where the companies collect most all the LR in Fiji... it's large, open, shallow (wading depth) seashore to the open Pacific (along the Coral Coast in Viti Levu) for the most part... Perhaps their greater care in cleaning, shipping LR has something to do with it... and there is notably a dearth of hermits, Parrotfishes in and about these collecting areas... maybe this has something to do with the propensity for corallines> My existing tank has provided consistent growth of a VARIETY of coralline colors, which is encouraging but means I need to fine-tune a bit before embarking for Fiji. THANKS in advance! - Bruce Mewhinney <Look to using a system of checking, providing adequate to excess biominerals AND alkalinity to boost your encrusting algal growth... Bob Fenner>

Fiji ban 11/10/03 Do you all have any insight into the current ban on Fiji Products....liverock etc? I Know that most of you are friendly with Walt Smith <Mmm, I have just returned from a few weeks out of the country and heard a rumor of some non-compliance problems with Fiji and CITES... have strong suspicions, confidence that this will be corrected very quickly. Bob Fenner>

Hello from Australia 5/03 DogFish, <Steven/DSS, good to hear from you> Hello there mate :-) How have you been? <Fine my friend> Did you go to Costa Rica? <Nope. Jack/Slowpoke went, but Pete/Impy and I are in Hawai'i, doing things for the new house we've bought here> I have been in Australia for nearly a year now and currently living on the Gold Coast (Surfer's Paradise) about one hour South of Brisbane <Yes, I know it well. Have you been in contact with Luke/Eats Bushes and Leaves there? He bought a house in the area... and his folks live in northern Brisbane. A nice part of the world> I booked a ticket to go to Fiji from July 3-8th and wonder if you can give me an idea of what to do there, and where to stay <Yes... what do you want to do, see? Are you landing in Nadi? Have any set plans to go to other islands?> I am still hashing, and am enjoying life to the fullest (and trust you are doing the same) <Yes, always> Please say hi to Impy and Slow Poke for me <Will do so> I plan on going back to the States for a visit in November, so I know I will see you then :-) <Ah, good. I have a spare vehicle you may borrow... maybe a couch to stay on...> On On, Steven Solin (Dick-So-Soft) <See you soon. Bob/DF> I am Flying into Nadi, July3 via Nauru and staying till the 7th (I fly out early on the 8th) How is the hash there? <There are two, both are very nice. They know Chris/Hemorrhoid from SD very well> I really do not have any idea of what to do there, but would like to keep it low budget, since this trip is just to renew my Australian Visa. Recommendations gladly appreciated :-) <I always go diving, traveling about with friends in the pet-fish or science biz... Do look into the Hostel there... and maybe consider hitching around to Suva... laying out on the beaches? Do go into Latouka (a town) and maybe befriend some of the craftsmen or their vendors, get on upland to visit the places where they make their wares. If not too expensive for you, get on out to some of the islands between Vita Levu and Vuna... Bob/DF> On On, Dick-So-Soft P.S.  I am hashing in Brisbane tonight and will try to find Luke (I remember him from San Diego)

Fiji RE <Will share with Pete. Thanks Dave. Bob Fenner> <A HREF=" http://www.koroisland.com/koroisland/images/Lot_59_view.jpg">Click here: http://www.koroisland.com/koroisland/images/Lot_59_view.jpg > Bob and Peter,,,,,,,,,,,,just one more to show you so don't delete me yet. :) lot 59, a little more than 1 acre overlooking Koro beach, price $37,500. best regards and let us know when your in Fiji again. happy travels. Dave Woolley San Diego. 

Fiji RE Hi ~ by any chance are you Diana's husband? <Yes> I'm a friend of Robert and Maria's.  I was surfing the web looking for references to Koro Island and found your page.  It's my understanding through Maria that you and Diana have been looking at Koro as well. <Indeed, this is so> I just bought lot 302 and will be going in August to preview. <Oh, yes, they mentioned you and your lot there> If you are Diana's husband, tell her I said hello - she and I have never spoken, but we know of each other through Maria.  I am crazy about scuba diving as I know she is. Take care, Barbara <Will cc Di here. We hope to get over to look at Koro and Kadavu for property as well. Who knows, we may end up neighbors!> "If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good." ~ Dr. Seuss <Agreed. Be chatting, seeing you. Bob Fenner>

Fiji Fishes Greetings, I'm setting up a 70 gallon Fiji-themed Acropora tank.  My question relates to the fish I'll eventually place in the tank.  As I've never been to Fiji, I do not know which fish hang around Acropora (bush type - not staghorn, i.e., millepora)?  Any ideas?  I'd like it to be as authentic-looking as possible. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Scott Putnam <All of these types (morphs) of Acroporids occur in Fiji. You can generate a list of fishes whose range encompasses the area by going to fishbase.org, scrolling down to species by country, and likely re-sorting those recorded from there by family. Oh, and we do have some regional survey articles on fishes of Fiji posted on www.WetWebMedia.com that you can find via the search tool on the home page. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fiji Bound (Walt, Tim, you there?) Let us know when you will be in Fiji and we can/will show you around. Please contact Tim about your dates (tim@waltsmith.com) and he will do his best to accommodate you. Cheers, Walt <Thanks Walt. Bob.F>

Re: Fiji Bound Hey gang, this one's specifically for Bob Fenner- Thanks for your info a while back on the Fiji trip- I've just completed all my travel arrangements for my stay there- i was wondering if you might have the email address for Walt Smith? you said i should get in touch down there, but his site doesn't have an email address i can use- by the way, to show off my dedication/nerdiness about this, rather than making some extra money for the trip, i spent a month volunteering at the New England Aquarium where i got to work on just about every gallery- but primarily the freshwater- 4 weeks o' fish- and surprisingly, i never smelled like fish- thanks, Mike Barrett <Sounds good. Have cc'ed Walt here (at Pacific Aquafarms) and Tim McLeod of WSI in Fiji re your request. Bob Fenner>

Fiji Bound Hey, this is to Bob Fenner, I wrote to you about a Fiji trip- I should be there for about 5 days or so, but I don't have anything specific I'd like to see really. The place I was looking at staying is actually smack in the middle of the Coral coast, so not bad for not knowing huh? and it's cheap- considering I'm a junior in college paying for a semester in Australia and plane fare, trust me it's real cheap- <Wow! Amazing. When I was a full-time college student I could barely afford gasoline for my ancient VW> but any ideas or reference you could give- really, fish or otherwise- if you know any good places to go on Viti Levu- or NOT go...I'd appreciate it- thanks a lot- or maybe even a livestock place that would possibly need an extra hand in another year or two there...I'll take any advice on any Fiji subject I could get. <Please take a read through www.WetWebMedia.com using the Google Search Tool on the Homepage or indices with the term Fiji... and when in FJ give Tim McLeod a call: 679-665-045 at Walt Smith Intl. I'll cc him here, ask if he has time to show you about their facility... Bula! Bob Fenner>

Tim from Fiji and Refugiums Hey Bob, Merry Christmas, and all the best to Anthony and Jason. <cheers, Tim... great to hear from you my friend. Anthony at bat today> I hear you guys are threatening to swing by our fair isles early next year. <indeed... and I'll be sure to correctly pronounce "Fe-gee", rather than "feee-gee!"> I'll have the beers stowed and the night lights charged for instant action. <outstanding... and do let use know then what delights from the mainland that we can bring (besides fine Tequila)> I have been spending many interesting?? hours lately roaming over our varying fields of mud, sand and silt. <did you find Thalassia or Zostera seagrasses yet?! I promise I'll get you retired early selling them <G>!!!> I have amazed myself at just how far (and deep) I will swim to see absolutely nothing, and get seriously dirty. <Ha!> Oh well....their have been a few rewards...mostly fields of Trachyphyllia geoffroyi and associated gobies, along with some interesting soft corals and Gobi/pistol shrimp combos.      I have been sold on the idea of a refugium for some time now..... <indeed... they are the future of reef keeping and soon to be as integral in modern marine aquariology as live rock> and recently had a chance to put theory to practice at Kula Park, here in Fiji. Philip has been in touch with you recently....and he much appreciated your instant response. <we have been accused of being quite fast... hasn't served us well in the field of interpersonal relationships, but fine for the website <G>> The display is 540gal, reservoir of 1000 gal, and now a 4 tank setup for the refugium of 300 gal. <a great start> Three small cubes are set up as 1. 'surf zone' sand and macro fauna, 2.dark dense mud from outside the mangroves, 3. lighter mud/silt and associated critters from 120" kept slightly darker, and the large tank will be mangrove habitat with hopefully bonzaied Mangroves. The Photo period for all initially is 24/7, however this will probably evolve.    <hmmm... not sure that you will want or need the 24/7 lighting here. Only Caulerpas will commonly fare well in stasis with this kind of lighting... and they have their share of baggage (noxious exudations, labor intensive farming required, heavy chemical filtration and or ozone needed to temper their effects). My advice would be to use another plant or algae species (like Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha... and seagrasses when they mature). Light them on a reverse cycle than the display if you want/need pH stability... but no 24/7 here. Do evolve> Water chemistry is good, and stable, along with the temp. at 78 degrees. The goal is to evolve into a full blown reef tank. <then definitely forego the Caulerpas in my opinion... inhibiting to coral growth in time. When you've been diving the world over... how much coral growth have you seen in patches of Caulerpa? Proof is in the pudding as they say. At least free-living corals thrive in with the seagrasses (elegants, open brains, Fungiids, etc)> Water flow through the show tank is 5 times (we aim for ten) <wow... yes. Much more flow needed for corals as you know> and will tweak the refugium systems to around 4 times during the next plumbing installation. <perhaps stronger if tending Ogo (Gracilaria)... some seagrasses to get them to shed more epiphytic material> 2 things.......the system incorporates a large sand filter we both want to ditch to allow full circulation of the critters. Can I have your opinion please... <please, yes!... ASAP> and 2. I need to question the use of an impellor pump from the refugium to the show tank. I wouldn't like to zap through one of those macerators, and Colin Flood cites a quote from "Dynamic Aquaria" page 66-mid third column, of FAMA November 2002 "that most impellor pumps with their internal turbulence, pressure and shear forces kill many planktons and the swimming or floating reproductive states of plant and animal. They found mortality rates of large zooplanktons, such as Artemia salina as high as 90% after passing through such a pump".     <this reference (a fine work in so many ways otherwise) had caused quite a stir with this comment which was unfounded in practical applications. Impeller shear is essentially bunk and more recent studies have shown it. As cited, the above reference involved the study of brine shrimp... a non-marine species. And a large, stupid and clumsy one at that. It swims and behaves nothing like marine plankton/microcrustaceans. Please don't give impeller shear a second thought... little concern. If you have more money than you know what to do with, get a fine Tunze Turbelle pump that is engineered to reduce impeller shear. Else, just buy a good pump that is reliable and economical to run and damn the torpedoes! Crunch all the plankton you want... we'll make more :)  > If Phillip cuts off his roof and raises it 10 feet he can easily achieve gravity flow...........just kidding! <ironic you should mention that... I always preach upstream refugiums in preference to downstream ones <G>> What's the deal with sending questions into wetwebmedia like this? Is their an annual subscription? <nope... we are here 24/7 for the love of the hobby/industry. No moolah... niente... nada... free service> Thanks for your time, and I look forward to your visit next year. All the best, and stay well. Tim. <peace and long life, my friend... we shall see you soon. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: tangs and Fiji Hey crew, I'm back after leaving you alone for about a month...i have a 10 gal. tank that i want to put a Blacktip reef shark in....JUST KIDDING, I'm just amazed at the mistakes people've made... I got the final ok from the Biology Department I "work" for- ok, so I'm not paid, but i get to build tanks a lot with an almost open budget- to upgrade a 75 gal. salt tank to a 125 gal- so, I've been doing a LOT of research, and as always get conflicting, usually opposite advice. I have read all your questions and articles, and this i can't find----If i introduce a hippo/blue/Paracanthurus hepatus/ tang first-after cycling- and then add a yellow tang after a few days or 1 week into the 125, should they be ok for the most part? <Very likely yes... It's mainly similar-appearing (within the same genus more or less) acanthurids that fight... particularly when over-crowded> I've seen them in 125's-and smaller- together peaceably, and I'm planning for two "bases" of rock forts for them and lots of open swim space. My LFS owner and the local tank set up, maint, engineering guy both seem to think they'll be fine- they've never given me bad advice on anything, but the more opinions the better- this is hypothetical for now, so no need for water chem- i know it needs to be as good as possible, and the other inhabitants will be smallish fish,- 5-7 Chromis, a 3 inch maroon clown and his 14 inch (and growing) green carpet anemone, 2-3 colt corals, assorted crabs, shrimp- nothing that should compete with the tangs- no lions or triggers... one other thing- I'll be in Australia at school from Feb-July to research my new tank of course...-(my first 3 days are on the barrier reef)- with a little budget for travel, i will be going to Fiji, any recommendations for good fish sightings or places to stay in Fiji? Thanks, good holidays to all <How much time do you have for the FJ leg of your trip? If only a few days, look to the Coral Coast on Viti Levu... if longer, and you have particular things, organisms you'd like to see, let's chat further. Perhaps you'd enjoy, gain from visiting some of the people in the marine livestock collection, propagation business while there. Bob Fenner>

FW Highland Eels footage in FJ Dear Bob, I hope this message finds you well. <Yes my friend, thank you.> Recently, we finished shooting this years Eco-Challenge in Fiji. Unfortunately we never did shoot any footage of the fresh water eels up in the mountains, but now we are seeking that footage.  Do you or anyone you know have any footage of these eels that we could possibly purchase? <I will send your note to friends there and ask if they do. We do not. Have you tried Ed Lovell in FJ? He may know someone. I'll ask Tim McLeod of WSI to chime in as well.> Please let me know if you have any ideas as to where I can find this footage. Thank you in advance for all your help. Kind Regards, Maren <Bob Fenner>

Re: Tahiti trip.... (Now Fiji, photography) Bob, What a difference a week makes! After looking more closely at pricing of food, lodging, and diving we've shifted our plans from Moorea to Fiji.  <I understand> We've looked at all the options available and our choice is a small island resort called Treasure Island in the Ammoniac Islands to the West of Vita Levu, an hour north of Nadi by ferry.  <Have been there... a very small, but nice island> It looks like a great place for my non-divers to snorkel and for my freshly certified son to ease into the underwater world. Some of the strong current and deep water dives I read about in other parts of the islands seemed a bit too aggressive for a newbie diver. Have you spent any time in the Mamanuca Islands?  <Yes... some friends have businesses in Latouka (to the north of Nadi), and do stay often with them, dive and collect by day trips from there. Have visited most of the islands in the group, on out to the Yasawa chain> I'm sure the diving there is wonderful, and quite honestly with the new digital camera I'd need only 30' of water and an abundant thriving reef and I'll shoot macros all day. Where were the exporters you mention at the Christmas party located? I thought I recalled them being in "The North".  <Almost all are on the principal island in the south... to be near Air Pacific for air transport...> Anything in Nadi we should visit on our first or last day there? <Yes, "Jack's Souvenirs" in Nadi town, and "First Landing" (a hotel, restaurant in Latouka... Maybe Walt Smith's facility there as well...> Our flight leaves Fiji at 10 PM and the ferry drops us off in the morning I'm sure. Turning now to the digital photography, I'm zeroing in on either the Olympus 3040 or 4040, probably the former, but had a couple questions regarding these. Batteries, what type do you use and what are your techniques for keeping them fresh?  <Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/uwpixfaqs.htm in an area where this rig is described. Both cameras and the Ikelite strobe use four AA batteries. I only utilize NiMH, Nickel Metal Hydrides... at least 1,600AH... rechargeables... get a "smart" fast recharger...> Meaning, some rechargeable have a memory and unless they're fully discharged they don't fully re-charge. <Not modern technology> Obviously the picture taking is done when batteries run out at 60 feet. Also, the media cards, you mentioned shooting at 2.15 mega pixels, assuming you use a 128 meg card, how many shots can you store? <54 per 128 meg card> I assume the camera tells you in some way how many shots are left on the memory card right?  <Yes... is counted down... you can preview and erase at depth if you get that far... 54 is a lot of images per dive> I've also stumbled across the housing from Olympus that is imported to the USA from Japan by a few sources, it's half the price of the Ikelite which was half the price of the Tetra. Heard anything regarding this housing? <Yes, it is the one I use... the newer "Purple" one is better than the older "Red"> Finally, in 25 words or less, which non-automatic features do you find yourself using most on your 4040 to improve the shots underwater. That's a big question I know but at the heart of it is my experience with my Nikonos over the years. Seems that whenever I took the camera out of auto-mode and tried to adjust for something or another the shot was not what I expected more times than not. Clearly with the digital image immediately available the feedback loop is infinitely shorter to help understand what the parameter changes did to the shot. <Mmm, yes... the zoom (just the 3X optical, not the 7X digital), the preview to compose the image, the Programmed settings to check against the Shutter Priority (which is generally what I use)... am out of my 25 words...> In any case, that's what I'd like to know from you, do you keep the camera on auto 95% of the time, but switch it manually when and how for what typically?  <Generally only switch to automatic to check against other options/results... typically shoot at the equivalent of 125th of a second...> Any tips on macros?  <A book full... for now, just practice, reflect on what you see...> Know any good underwater photo sites w/ tips for the new digital photographer?  <There are quite a few. Read the two hundred pages of the CD-ROM Camedia manual... and use your search engines to read about these cameras, models... For now, initial experience, familiarity is what you really need... walk, swim, before you run, dive...> Thanks for your responses, hope I'm not picking on your brain too much.... <A pleasure to share my friend. Bob Fenner> Chris

Re: new setup Thanks for the help! wow I was just checking out Fiji. I had no idea it was that beautiful. I have been to Hawaii but this doesn't seem to compare. <Beauty and wonder in all places> No wonder they collect live rock here.... Great place to work! :) <Go there my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: new setup back from diving? where did you go? hope all is well! <Yes, Fiji last, and yes. Come out with us! Bob Fenner>


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