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Related FAQs: Sources of Reef Mortality,

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The Conscientious Aquarist Series:

Marine Conservation Input/FAQs



Exploring aquarium trade in the Pacific Islands, requesting contacts       9/21/16
Hey WWM crew!
I am proposing a Watson Fellowship project for next year after I graduate from college to look at the marine ornamental aquarium trade.
how the trade functions on islands in the South Pacific, its sustainability, and the influence this trade has an reef management and conservation through the local cultures.
<Oh! Great>
The Watson is a program that offers a paid year of exploration abroad to expand vision and abilities in the field of your choice. Aquariums have long been a passion of mine, and I am curious to investigate how the hobby ties in with reef health, the latter now my basis of my research as a developing marine biologist. I will focus in on the islands of the South
Pacific and attempt to develop a more detailed understanding of how cultures, customs, and fishing practices come together to influence the reef environments.
A part of the project planning is that I need local contacts to help direct me as I travel from country to country and allow me access into observing and working with these communities. I am wondering if you would be willing to put me in touch with anyone you know in the area. Particularly, I am interested in looking at Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Fiji, Samoa,
Tonga, and potentially Palau and the Cook Islands, though the itinerary is still flexible.
<Yikes; a bunch of folks to relate. HOW I wish you had made this request beyond a couple weeks back, come out to visit at the recent MACNA... several folks were in attendance that would have been important to your task here>
Thank you for your time and consideration! I look forward to hearing from you.
<Let's see... of "uber" contacts (folks that have done, are doing similar work); am going to suggest Andrew Rhyne, Kevin Erickson and Elizabeth Wood... DO look up their names on the Net, contact them w/ the same intro. as here. In Fiji I'd contact Walt Smith, in the Cooks (Roratonga), Chip Boyle.... Unfortunately I don't know you personally, hence my hesitancy to introduce you directly. Bob Fenner>

Fyi….Deb     9/19/12
Clownfish and Damselfish Petition 2012 <Linked here>
Fellow colleagues; I am Sandy Moore, Vice President of Segrest Inc.  I’m writing to you all as a member of the marine ornamental industry, asking for your assistance in a matter that threatens us all.  I currently am a board member of PIJAC (Pet Industry  Joint Advisory Council), representing the Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association (FTFFA).  I am asking you all to put aside your competitive positions and donate your most valuable resource – your time, and join the PIJAC Marine Ornamental subcommittee to  oppose the clear and present danger to our industry.   We want the industry to come together to unify our message. Today PIJAC informed us of the attached petition to list Amphiprion percula and seven damselfish species as either Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, as they have the potential to be endangered by global warming.  If adopted, all interstate trade of these fish, either wild or captive raised, would become illegal, with penalties up to $50,000 per violation, and up to one year in prison.  There is no provision under  the ESA that allows trade of captive raised listed animals. (Note, the ESA was adopted in 1973, and needs updating). The listing of any animal due to the threat of global warming would be a precedent.  They’re asking for these eight species, as they represent approximately 43% (by units) of the animals traded in the industry, according to their reference.
 The petition is lengthy and I haven’t read it all yet, but there are many stances that need scientific rebuttal. Please review the attached petition, and let us know if you are willing to join the fight to save the industry.      
<... some/most of the species of Damsels listed don't "make sense"... they're of minimal use in the trade... for good reasons... The Hawaiian Dascyllus rarely lives in transit... the Plectro's are ugly... What? At any length, please make it known what you have in mind in terms of a response. BTW, it does appear that the AMDA is being resurrected... they/we may be of assistance as well. Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia>

Re: Help! Emergency Mushroom Question 10/23/08 Bob, <Linda> Thanks for your reply! Hope you had fun diving! I'm headed back to Jamaica next week, for a much needed break! Hope to get in some snorkeling. <Sounds good... hay bastante viento last week in Cozumel... but we eventually got out to reefs down south... Do want to mention my ongoing alarm at the profusion of BGA on and about the world's reefs, including there> The mushrooms seem to be recovering. They really look much better. I sniff the top of the tank and there now is just a faint smell of them. <Interesting... do note that many folks can't detect these compounds much at all...> I'm scheduled to change my carbon today, so this should also help. My Maroon clown hosts in them, so she may have been the one that knocked them off. <A real possibility for sure> Would you pass on a message to Anthony Calfo for me? I picked up a frag from him at MACNA in Atlanta, and it's doing GREAT! Not sure what it is though. He performed a fragging demonstration. It's white with tan polyps. Some kind of a finger leather. My camera is broken, so no pics. <Ahh, I will send your msg. along to him> Again, Thanks for answering and I'm very happy to know I got "the MAN, Himself", to answer my question! You made my day! (really, you did!) Linda <Be chatting! BobF>

Re: Help! Emergency Mushroom Question, BGA around the world's reefs, part. Jamaica  10/23/08 Bob, <Linda> Hopefully our winds(& seas) will be calmer! Not very nice to go out when it's too choppy/windy, except when we're on the catamaran! Then it's game on! <Heeee! Wheeee!> I assume you are talking about the Blue Green Algae. This is caused by the over use of fertilizers and then the run-off. Correct? <Pollution of a few sorts... and damage as well...> I've seen the satellite pics and they are disturbing. I haven't noticed too much in the waters surrounding Jamaica. <Oh my friend... it's all over Jamaica... the reefs there are BEAT... very few fish stocks in any passable condition> I will keep an eye out this time and take some notes. Some day people will realize it's more important to have beautiful oceans, than lawns! I've still got hope. <Ahh, good!> Have a great day! Linda <And you, B>
Re: Help! Emergency Mushroom Question... Sources of mortality... too much government, insufficient intelligence, control design, and negative feedback looping  10/23/08
Bob, On the subject of pollution. I'm watching NBC Nightly News and they are showing where NYC is putting old stripped subway cars into the ocean, as future reefs. Aren't the metals from the old cars, ships and other objects bad for the ocean? <The tossing of metals into aquatic environments is a sham and a scam... and pollution in general. Akin to most "can" recycling on land, there is way too much cost in cleaning, storing, moving all about... Cheaper/better by far to sell such recyclable metal to the Chinese, others... these programs are just simple servants getting paid, ra ra, and more of the public's money tossed away on such ventures> We avoid metals of any kind in our tanks, so why not the ocean too? <Bingo... ferrous metal can be nutrient limited/limiting, but this is actually rare...> I understand we use plastics, when we can, because of salt corrosion. What does all that rust do to the ocean? <Some is bio-accumulated... most oxidizes, insolubilizes... goes back into some idea/notion of a "cycle"... BobF> Linda

Make Your Voice Heard!  1/10/08 I just took action on an issue that I consider very important. I urge you to take action yourself and spread the word! To take action on this issue, click on the link below: https://secure2.convio.net/toc/site/Advocacy?s_oo=3TbD25rqaVhln_jfHPBsWw..&amp;id=413  If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple  lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser. <Hey Dan! I see you support the concept of marine parks... would like to chat at length with you, even get your input re the appropriateness (interest level mainly) of making petfish hobbyist pitches/presentations re this and related issues... My advanced degree is in fisheries... and have had several interesting conversations over the years with folks... re what is MSY, OSY... maximum and optimum sustainable yields... are exclusion zones really such a great idea? Maybe... sometimes... Cheers, Bob Fenner.>

Charitable Organization(s)?    12/9/06 Dear Crew- <Matt> First, thanks for maintaining such a wonderfully informative site, it's extremely helpful for all of us wannabe aquarists.   <A pleasure, destiny> Now for my question: Like many of your readers, between my aquarium hobby and scuba diving, I've definitely got a love of the ocean and its inhabitants, and particular for the coral reefs of the world.  For me, this is the time of the year where I make a few charitable contributions to organizations "doing good" in various areas.  Do you have any ideas or thoughts about specific charitable organizations that you believe are doing a good job protecting the reefs and their inhabitants? <Of the few hundred of these I have run across... none that are really "steady on" in their progress, use of funds... Really, in all honesty, many of the folks "in the trade" of ornamental aquatics have done, do more "good" for the environment and just as importantly, indigenous human populations than NGO's, and gov't organizations... Some notable outfits are outright scams... My most serious example here, the so-called MAC...>   I have given to the Ocean Conservancy in the past, but am not sure if there are others you'd recommend.  Any thoughts you have would be appreciated, I'm sure you're closer to these groups than I am currently. Thanks again for your terrific website. -Matt <In my experience there has been so much transiency (of personnel, activities/programs) of this class of groups that none to my awareness "deserve" note... However, I am just one person... And am hopeful that others will "chime in" here with their take on this issue. In the meanwhile, and nonetheless, I strongly encourage that all be/come "good consumers", investigate their purchases and "vote" with their money for good practices, products, livestock... This is the way to improve situations. Bob Fenner>

ReefStewards 7/7/05 Hey Anthony and Bob, <Yo!> I don't know if Jim already emailed you guys, but we thought you would be interested in our new website Www.ReefStewards.org <Neat> We are thinking of going NPO and this is our first step. Any thoughts would be eagerly eaten up! <How much time do you have? Patience?> Also - I can't find the log in info for WWM, and I would like to try answering some queries. Could you send me the info again, as well as any formatting guidelines that may have changed? <Mmm, URL: email addr: password: > Hope all is well with the both of you, <Mighty fine here. BobF> Rich Ross

Thanks for the book and can you help Dear Mr. Fenner, <Mr. Forrest> Did I make it past your Spam filter? <Heee, not mine... Billy G's... Hotmail> I have spent the past few weeks engrossed in your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist." Firstly thank you for taking the time to write it. It must have been quite an undertaking. I consider myself a successful marine aquarist insofar as I have a low mortality rate and everyone in my tank seems happy. I spend way too much time fussing about water quality even after it has been a significant passage if time since I had problems. I still think this is high in importance right up there with livestock selection and the number of livestock in a tank. Without the latter being focused on I feel the former to be irrelevant in a small system. <I agree> Anyway I am writing to you with a great deal of concern. I am an Australian who is an American resident but currently living in Singapore. So I have seen a wide variety of aquarists circles. The seems to be a lot of conscientious people here but to a point only. Most if not all here accept that the only way of effective collection is with sodium cyanide so you can imagine the mortality rate at the stockists. The laws here are not environmentally sound. A stockist who imports must have a separate quarantine room before they can be eligible for a license to sell. Good but bad the law does not stipulate that the stockist needs to use this room. In fact in my tour of the stocks last night I found one who had received a very large shipment from Bali and the Philippines. There were literally thousands of fish and one hundred or so buyers, buying the fish straight out of the Styrofoam boxes. Obviously that makes the quarantine law redundant. <I have been to and through Sing. many times over the last thirty some years... and agree with you re the number of doomed animals... have had retailers tell me to my face that they "can't compete" with captive produced clowns for instance, or even ones from elsewhere as the P.I. and Indo. cyanided ones are "the market"> I am ready to lobby the government here for changes to this law so I was wondering if you are able to point me in the right direction for some meaty research that I can use in my petition. I am lucky enough to have found relative financial success in the banking industry and I am ready to hang it up and plunge deep into the captive breeding of marine fish. I have on many occasions had fish pair and spawn but never the time to devote to rearing until now. Asking the government to change the laws would have a much better impact if there were viable alternatives for the buyers. A law such as prohibiting the purchase of wild caught fish when there is a good supply of reasonably priced captive breed fish of the same species would be a good start. <Mmm, the very best I can do is introduce you to a gentleman, Peter Rubec who has many years experience with this issue... in the hope he will aid you... direct you to literature, others involved in similar processes> In Singapore the people wander in without a clue as I hear them ask what is that fish which happens to be one of 40 Moorish Idols dumped into a tank and then see them walk away with one in a bag. I am a member of a very helpful community web forum here and it never ceases to amaze me how many people buy a fish take a picture of it when they get home and post it on the forum asking people to id it and asking what it eats. <Ahh, I will also cc a dear friend there, Perry Chong, who is also active in the industries of pet-fish and diving> In my estimation approx 20,000 fish pass through Singapore each week There are only 3.2MM permanent residents here. If you think of the demographic averages of people with marine tanks that is a lot of fish that are dying each week. The is a breeder of seahorses here which is great but he tells me he does not need to export as he can't keep up with the Singapore market his plans are 2400 seahorses a month. This possibly implies people don't care. <Too likely> Nonetheless I am determined to captive breed the proven fish and I will become successful at some unbred species after further research. I also plan to culture LPS and SPS in a gradual process.  <Yes... not terribly difficult to do... and you WILL have your day. Am also cc'ing a friend, Anthony Calfo who is well-learned on culture and the industry. Bob Fenner> 

-Releasing a leopard shark off the coast of Florida: yay or NAY?- Bob, <Kevin here tonight> Thanks for all of your information. First I would like to say I can't believe that people are even allowed to sell/buy sharks to people without a certain type of license. <Troubling indeed, and I'm sure the vast majority receive inappropriate husbandry (namely too small and poorly shaped aquariums) only to die shortly or lead agonizing lives.> I live on the water in St Pete Beach Florida. I have sandy bottom 240 gallon tank with nothing in it but a lion fish. I want to put a Leopard Shark in it. My dimension are 96X24X24. How big can I keep him till? And when he gets to big can I let him go off my dock? <NOOOOOOO! First off, NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES release a fish from your aquarium into the ocean! Have you heard about the problems with lionfish showing up in the Caribbean lately? Firstly, its a very bad idea to introduce non-native species into the ocean because they may end up upsetting the ecological balance. It only takes 2 to tango, and if someone else got the idea to let their leopard shark go off Florida, they just might meet up. Additionally, who knows what diseases and parasites from the pacific are hanging out in and around this shark? Like people, fish can carry many different diseases w/out being effected by them, the last thing you want to do is introduce these pathogens into an ocean of fish that don't carry the same immunity.> What are his chances of survival? <I'd say about the same in the ocean as in your tank since this is not a fish from tropical waters. Leopard sharks are caught near Cali in cooler water, water too cool for your lion to handle. Forcing the shark to tough out tropical waters will severely shorten its lifespan.> I also want to put some live rock in a corner with some corals and some different tropical fish and a snowflake eel. would that be possible? <That would depend on your lighting and filtration setup, but live rock is always welcome. Enjoy and PLEASE don't let anything go into the ocean! :) -Kevin>  Thanks, Michael

Postlarvae collect & growth as alternative to marine wild catch for aquarium trade Dear Sir, <Bonjour> Ecocean is specialized in postlarvae collects in Polynesia. So as to expend our raised-tank stock list I have 2 questions : -Do you have producers address for bred marine fish (like ORA etc.) anywhere in the world. <Yes. A brief listing of these companies can be found by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqSciSubWebIndex/orncultart.htm  and through OFI's listing/member directory> Also  we would like to implement a new fish farm in south east Asia (e.g. Philippines) do you happen to know 'classic 'fishermen for marine aquarium trade or aquaculture fish farmer with whom we could have a partnership for this nice alternative practice? <I would contact Svein Fossa, Peter Rubec and Daniel Knop here. Am cc'ing them for their response to you. Both have extensive experience in the region and field> We are also willing to develop the Development Aid action for local young people willing to stay in their island and protect it (training, restocking etc.).  More on ECOCEAN ? www.ecocean.fr Waiting to hear from you,  Sven-Michel Louri?br><Glad to make your acquaintance. Have read and heard many good things about your company and its programmes. Bob Fenner> ===== ECOCEAN 80 Rue des Graves 34980 St Clement de Rivi?e FRANCE Tel/Fax : + 33 4 67 67 02 84 Cell : +33 6 18 39 82 80 www.ecocean.fr
Re: postlarvae collect & growth as alternative ...
Bob,  I was told that the collectors capturing blue tang post-larvae target flat-top Acroporids and that they damage the corals during the collection process (personal communication, Mike King Coalition of Reef Lovers-CORL).   <I had not heard/read of this... no need to damage the reef using this technique...>  Since, hobbyists don't seem to care about coral reefs or the future of the trade, I will not be attending any of these meetings. Peter Rubec <Yikes... Peter, I assure you most all the hobbyists I'm familiar with care passionately re the world's reefs... attend some of the hobby conferences and am sure you'll agree. Bob Fenner> 

Netting Fundraiser Hi WWM crew! It's des here. I just got this info from reef central last night, and I know everyone isn't on this forum. But they are trying to raise money for netting for collectors in the Philippines and Indonesia. These are places with heavy cyanide use, as you know. Unfortunately though netting is cheap, the people there are poor and can't afford it. OTOH, large companies often support the use of cyanide. <Yes... and have done so for decades... indirectly> The link for more info is: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=191770 The fund raising link is FundAFriend, which is not tax deductible. However, I think this is a case where quite a small donation will go a long ways. I hope you'll post this to let others know. Thanks. --des
<Thank you Des. Will post. Bob Fenner>

Re: Diatom Filter now Sponges Anthony: Thanks for the reply and I appreciate the extra comments on the gorgonians and sponges.  <my pleasure and thank you for putting up with my venting of an industry gripe> Although I kept a 120 gal FO tank many years ago (when I lived 45 min.s from the beach in El Salvador, and I caught all my own livestock) and also have had a FOWLR 10 gal nano-tank for the past three years,  <all excellent to hear!> I have no experience with corals and the like. More than fish or even corals, though, I like the other life on the rocks and around the reef the best. <yes... so very fascinating!!!> In fairness to Tampa Bay Saltwater, they were not the vendor I used. I bought my rock from Gulf-View.com and also in fairness to gulf-view, they only offered free Ricordea polyps for the purchase of live rock.  <yes...thank you for the clarification. And indeed, to be sure... I do not intend to single out any one vendor as representative of a whole industry. In fact, I asked only as a bit of a personal survey based on reports from aquarists that can be so heartbreaking. Indeed Bob has had to listen to such queries and stories for many decades and I know that in part it has been a motivation in his writings and teachings (books, lectures, this very web site!) to inspire responsible and Conscientious aquarium trade activity. After seeing the practice of collecting inappropriate animals shift or at least waffle between selling and giving away animals that have a staggering mortality and prospect in captivity... I just took a moment to vent my frustration and dismay at seeing yet another beautiful animal collected inappropriately when so many other hardy ones are available for our study and viewing pleasure.> I did ask if the sponges and purple gorgonians would do OK and if they wouldn't mind giving me a few of those instead of all the Ricordeas I had coming to me.  <wow... the Ricordea polyps were a MUCH better choice... yet I still would never offer them to someone getting new live rock (risk of ammonia spikes, etc)> Dale Barger was very accommodating. Perhaps he could have tried to discourage me and not said sponges might be OK, but I need to take responsibility for not doing more research before going for the pretty specimens at the last minute, while I was placing my order for the rock.  <I think we all need to take responsibility for the collection and distribution of such animals. If a vendor wants to have continued good business (short of exploiting an endless stream of uninformed aquarists, then they need to conduct themselves responsibly with a long view for their customers and the living resource (reefs) that support them. And as consumers, we cannot depend on the above. We must resist impulse purchases and be informed before we buy. If we cannot expect a collector to collect responsibly, then we can strong arm them fiscally with the power of our dollars.> So far I am very happy with the rock I got but now I need to see what I can do to keep the life forms alive and really be a conscientious marine aquarist (love Bob's book). <yes... agreed. All friendship aside, it is far and away one of the most important books on aquarium science ever written in my opinion. An amazing reference> I will take you up on your offer to help me try to keep these beautiful creatures alive. <excellent... if your gorgonian is indeed purple, it may very well be photosynthetic and rather easy to keep assuming it gets an amazing amount of linear water flow. (well over 10X tank turnover). And gorgonians are believed to be some of the most active phyto feeders that we know of. The sponge... wow... I just don't know where to begin short of setting up a small dedicated tank for it. It's requirements are nothing like your symbiotic reef inverts, corals, polyps, and much of what is on the live rock. Lets identify the species first. Quite frankly, if it is a red tree sponge... I will be surprised if it lives to see 8 months (not even 8 weeks for many). Was the sponge even shipped in an airless bag? Were you instructed to release it under water without exposing it to air? If not... we may not have to bother discussing husbandry for it (and perhaps you can empathize even more with my passion for seeing this for nearly a decade... such a waste, it is heartbreaking). Some sponges (like the demo species on your live rock) can easily take exposure to air... while others will not tolerate the slightest exposure (air becomes trapped inside of them and they cannot purge it... they die within months). Hmm... lets establish this first and then ID the species if we can move on. Steve Tyree of Dynamic Ecomorphology has written an incredible book on sponges. You may want to look up his thorough work on the topic> I will also do some research on the phyto plankton and zooplankton reactors. So far I've been feeding DT's concentrated phytoplankton, trying to baste it close to the various organisms and leaving the sump pump off for a while.  <and remember that it must always be refrigerated (from point of purchase through use) and less than six months old (else it clots to a larger particle size that cannot be used/eaten by your hungry captives. Also... the instructions on bottled phyto rarely emphasize the need to whisk it in a blender before using it...again to reduce particle size. Dr Rob Toonen recently did a comparative study on these products detailing this. Still, DT's has a wonderful reputation. Please do continue to experiment with it> I guess you are saying the sponges and gorgonians really need more zooplankton, rather than phytoplankton. Correct? <actually not at all. Most coral prefer zooplankton. Many gorgonians strongly favor phytoplankton... with sponges it varies or is not clearly known (although they are inclined to eat more minute plankton... perhaps phyto, bacteria, etc).> I have one orange tree sponge, one red tree, a red wall sponge, two purple gorgonians and the Christmas tree worms on a clam. Here are some pictures to make sure we are talking of the same creatures. I had some focus problems but hopefully you can make out enough from the pictures to see what I have. <yes... thank you , my friend. The pictures help so much... although the bad news just got a little worse. At least two of the three sponges will be dead within weeks rather than months, I am sorry to say. And what's worse is that sponges have a greater concentration of natural toxins than even most cnidarians (stinging animals like coral)... so not only will you have the pollution from their rotting tissue, but you will have to deal with some extra noxious compounds. I believe I can make out the telltale watery translucence of the beginnings of decay on the first picture of the orange tree sponge. And the decay has been clearly observed on your red tree sponge as you have inquired with thoughts of possible new growth. I'm sure you can see a little better why I feel so passionately about vendors providing such difficult, dangerous and doomed organisms to aquarists that haven't been duly advised. It is a great dis-service to customers, the industry and life. These free animals just cost you some money for the extra water changes and chemical filtration (extra carbon and poly-filters would be great) just to temper their death and byproducts in your tank. OK...some good news now... the picture you queried as "Porites" is actually/likely a Siderastrea radians "Star" or "Starlet" coral. It is perhaps one of the hardiest corals on the face of this earth!!! A wonderful coral that can adapt to a wide range of light and water movement. And the small coral polyps you pictured with the burgundy corallines is a solitary cup species. Cladocora is just one of several similar looking genera that this coral might be. As it develops, do compare it to pictures in Paul Humann's great dive book series including the book Reef Coral for a better ID.> I have higher resolution pictures but I didn't want to clog your internet connection should you have a dialup connection. <no need but thank you for the consideration> I would really like to keep the encrusting sponges alive.  <they require little maintenance. regular fish feeding (sources of carbon incidentally from feeding and excrement) and a mature inline refugium are often all that is needed> Please note the ones in the picture of the Red Tree Sponge (on the rock behind the red tree) and the Burgundy Sponge picture. Behind the red tree is a big area of orange sponge, and on the upper right hand and lower left hand corner of the orange is also a brown sponge that looks more like a brain surface, with ridges and the like. There's also some yellow growth. What can I provide for them? <as above> The free standing sponges seem to be doing OK but it has only been a few weeks and I would not like to see them starve. The red tree sponge seems to be growing.  <it is dying, my friend... a loss of pigmentation> One of its fingers is growing some translucent tissue on its tip, and that growth looks like it is starting to get some of the orange color (can't see the color in the picture). The consistency of the tissue is similar to the orange tissue of the sponge. It is just clear instead of orange. <the odds of this being growth are astronomically small... but lets be patient and hope for the best instead. Please give us an update if you like in a couple of months. It would be very exciting to hear that you have been an exception and great success story! We will be sure to quiz you on your husbandry with hope of gleaning some tidbits to share with other aquarists to improve all of our success with this animal in captivity. As a rule, you will never see a tree sponge in a typical reef tank make it to 2 years old. Most never see 6-8 months indeed> The orange tree has a lot of little tubes sticking out from it. They seem to open and close at different times.  <siphons... a filter feeder> They come out at each of the white "dots" in the attached picture. I assume the wall sponge is the same as a ball sponge. <yes> There are also a couple of corals that came with the rock. They were just part of the rock and neither the vendor nor I specifically requested them. The rock came from 40 ft of water so I am hoping these corals will survive with the 110 W of power compact lighting that I have.  <yes... S. radians will easily and the Cladocora like polyps are very weakly symbiotic or not at all> I think one is a Porites and I have no idea what the other one is (see the Burgundy Sponge picture. Can you help me identify both of these? I will likely be purchasing your book in the next couple of weeks.  <please... you can hear me ramble for free by reading the FAQ's here <smile>. Ha! Thank you my friend> I have heard a lot of good things about it. I had not planned to get much into corals but I guess I need all the help I can get! <as we all do... and the first half of the book is on reef style aquarium husbandry (tanks with live rock).. covering all of the basics. There is a table of contents on my website (www.readingtrees.com). Do browse it first if you like> The Burgundy Sponge picture also shows the Christmas tree worm to the right of the rock, right below the Featherduster crown. It is different than most other Christmas trees I've seen when diving in Belize.  <yes... so many species/colors of worms... many feeding by mucus in pursuit of trapped organisms> The ones I've seen are usually blue or red and fairly light colored. These are dark gray with yellow dots and some white filaments, larger than most I've seen. <yes... beautiful!> I intended to take it very slowly when setting up my tank but I ended up with a few fish when a friend gave up on his tank when his return pump broke. He said it was either my tank or certain death so I took a purple tang, blue tang, royal Gramma, cleaner shrimp, fire shrimp and 7 scarlet snails. They all seem to be feeding well. I also got a couple of dozen snails after the ammonia and nitrites subsided. <a very nice selection and all quite hardy> The stats for the tank show 0 ammonia, 0.1 ppm nitrites (holding at that level for a couple of weeks, I know I need them at 0 - waiting patiently for now.), 25 ppm nitrates, 450 Ca, 8.2 pH and 3.2 meq/l Alk. Ca pH and Alk have been steady since the tank was set up a month ago. I have been tracking all measurements every couple of days. <great chemistry especially for a new tank> Based on a table at MarineDepot.com, my Mag 7 pump should be delivering 420 gph on a 5' head and the two MaxiJet 900s are doing 230 gph each, or about 960 gph total turnover.  <yes not bad... but more for the gorgonians and sponges and especially if you may get more coral in the future> I will see about getting another MaxiJet and perhaps plumbing the sump return with more than one nozzle. The AquaC EV120 with Mag 5 pump just recently started producing a thick skimmate.  <excellent!> It took almost a month of very wet foaming before it settled into better production now. I don't know if this is due to the skimmer itself or other water chemistry that just took a while to settle down. <not likely any skimmers fault... either the screwy young chemistry, or you made a better tuning/adjustment. Good skimmers such as this could easily produce skimmate daily on a young tank with fresh live rock and fishes> I may make the 3 hour drive to Dallas for MACNA. I'll certainly look up the whole crew.  <that will be awesome! Yes, at least Bob, Steve and I so far> Maybe I can even write up something about my new aquarium setup experience for your site! <Yowsa! that would be awesome... you might even get a group hug from WWM for it... but don't let that stop you from writing the article anyway <smile>. Indeed, a piece on your new experiences and perhaps one later as a follow up (pushing my luck yet?) would be so helpful to the many WWM readers. Please send it along to this address when you have a f=draft or polished piece ready. It will be so greatly appreciated!> Regards, Henry
<kindly, Anthony>

MAC attack <Perhaps you will all be issued nose-rings? See you soon Scotter... fight the good fight. Bob F, out today to Australia.> Just to take a moment to point out an issue that I feel needs to be addressed. It was made very clear by Paul Holthus, prior to the meeting, that only those who "prior" to the invitation date and listed in an attachment, were invited to the workshop in LA. There had been interest by other industry members to attend the meeting, but were denied entrance do to this prerequisite by MAC. Prior to commencement of the meeting Friday, Steve Robinson was included. He was given the opportunity to sign the letter of commitment prior to the meeting, albeit just hours before. In addition, David Vossler announced that Steve was there as an observer only and would not be allowed to speak, but then, not 30 minutes later, asked Steve to speak. This is not intended to be a jab at Steve, or any other individual, but merely to point out a major discrepancy in the policy of MAC. I have written a letter to Paul and David in regards to this topic. David's response was that he felt it justified because Steve signed the letter of commitment "prior", although just hours prior, to the meeting. Paul was kind enough to "apologize" for the awkwardness placed upon him, due to the situation. But he didn't seem to be apologetic to any of us for their sudden change in policy. I personally made a difficult telephone call to one wholesaler who had already purchased airline tickets with the intent to come to LA and sign the letter of commitment if need be. I had to tell them that they were not invited because they did not meet the MAC criteria. I personally did not agree with MAC, but it seemed to be the consensus of the group, in an effort to limit any potential chaos. It is too bad that MAC wasn't able to make the same difficult decision imposed by themselves. Respectfully, Scott of SDC

Call for papers International Marine Aquarium Conference This is a call for papers for the International Marine Aquarium Conference, to be held in Chicago, May 2, 3 and 4, 2003. Papers may be presented by undergraduates, graduates or faculty, or hobbyists and they MAY have been previously presented elsewhere, except if they have been published in an aquarium trade publication unless there have been significant new results. Attendees at the conference consist largely of people involved in the keeping of marine aquariums so the subject of the papers should be something of interest to them. (e.g., nothing on marine mammals or commercial fisheries). Topics involving corals and coral reefs ARE acceptable, as are topics relating to fish (and shrimp, crab, etc.) species normally kept in aquariums, also topics relating to maintaining proper water parameters, effects of artificial lighting on corals, raising of larval foods, etc. Presenters will have up to 45 minutes followed by a 15-minute Q&A. Presenters will receive a complimentary full registration to the conference, including the Saturday night Banquet, and a special room rate from the hotel of $99/night. For further information, please check our website: http://www.theimac.org/ People wishing to present a paper should send a title and abstract to: Dennis Gallagher, Conference Chairman International Marine Aquarium Conference 1455 Nottingham Hoffman Estates, IL 60195 Or reply by fax or email. Fax: 847-882-0522 Email: dennis2103@attbi.com  There is no deadline but we have only a finite number of slots available and spaces will be confirmed on a first come, first served basis.

Decay of World Coral Reef Threatens Ocean Wonders By Mark John <Did just read through a work am reviewing re the size of the world's reefs... 264,600 square kilometers is NOT much. Bob F> PARIS (Reuters) - Human abuse risks turning the world's coral reefs into a "seaweed-covered pile of rock and rubble" bereft of its technicolor marine life, the author of a new report said Thursday. The death of fragile exotica like the venomous cone snail or the Reunion angelfish would not only destroy the natural beauty of the reef but stunt its huge potential in science's quest for new medicines, the international study warned. "There's been a reluctance to consider sea animals as at threat from extinction," said British-based marine conservation biologist Callum Roberts, co-author of the report to be published in the February 15 issue of Science magazine. "What we have shown is that many species are limited to small islands and that localized impacts can wipe them out." The study highlights 10 coral reef "hotspots" from the Philippines to the Caribbean most at risk from overfishing, pollution and climate change and urges the creation of marine reserves to prevent greater destruction. The United Nations (news - web sites) Environment Program (UNEP), which last year warned the world's coral reefs were shrinking fast, said the study was a wake-up call to focus conservation efforts. "We must ensure that this unique ecosystem continues to feed, protect and dazzle us and our descendants for generations to come," UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said in a statement. DEADLY MOLLUSC Coral reefs, often called the "rainforests of the ocean" for the rich diversity of life they support, occupy 284,300 square km (110,000 square miles) of the planet's surface -- an area half the size of France. Dynamite fishing, polluting sediment caused by farming and deforestation of coastal land areas, global warming, and the growth of scuba-diver tourism are threatening over half the world's reef, the report found. "Degraded reef looks like a seaweed-covered pile of rock and rubble," Roberts, a senior lecturer at the University of York in northern England, said in an interview. "The water is murky and is less productive for food," he added, noting the risk to diet and livelihood for coastal communities heavily reliant on seafood. Turning coral reefs into marine reserves would not only boost fish catches in the long term but, Roberts argues, make them more attractive for carefully regulated tourism. The study, supported by U.S.-based biodiversity protection group Conservation International, focused on more than 3,000 species of fish, coral, snail and lobster that need healthy reef environments to survive. Some creatures are already feared extinct, including some variants of the brilliantly-colored angelfish and damselfish popular in home aquariums. But more is at stake than maintaining supplies to fish tanks. Coral compounds are used in drugs such as AZT, a treatment for the HIV virus (news - web sites), and some reef-dwellers could provide inspiration for further medical breakthroughs. Roberts cited the cone snail, a fish-eating mollusk with venom 1,000 times more powerful than morphine, as showing promise for development as a human painkiller. "We are only scratching the surface of what reefs could potentially supply," he said.

Ten key coral reefs shelter much of sea life American Association Scientists identify vulnerable marine 'hot spots' with the richest biodiversity on earth <Uh, yeah... Bob F> Tim Radford in Boston Friday February 15, 2002 The Guardian Conservationists could save a huge number of marine species by protecting just 10 coral reef "hot spots" around the world, scientists argue today. A team from Britain, Canada and the US, led by Callum Roberts of York University, reports in Science that the 10 reefs account for 0.017% of the oceans, but are home to 34% of all species with limited ranges. Coral reefs are under threat, from tourism, fishing, development, pollution and global warming. Scientists warn that most of the world's richest reef systems could be destroyed this century. A quarter have already been severely damaged or destroyed. Dr Roberts and his colleagues looked at 18 areas with the greatest concentrations of species found nowhere else, and selected the 10 most vulnerable. They are in the Philippines, the Gulf of Guinea, the Sunda islands in Indonesia, the southern Mascarene islands in the Indian ocean, eastern South Africa, the northern Indian ocean, southern Japan, Taiwan and southern China, the Cape Verde islands, the western Caribbean, and the Red sea and gulf of Aden. "One of the arguments is that there is nothing we can do, it is all going to go to hell, and that coral reefs are doomed. The other argument is that we should work very hard to try and do something about protecting them," Dr Roberts said. "The question then is how? Where are we going to focus our efforts, given that we don't have the resources to do all that we would like? We cannot save all coral reefs everywhere." The researchers mapped the geographic ranges of 3,235 species of reef fish, corals, snails and lobsters, which require healthy reef environments to survive. "One of the most effective ways to protect coral reefs is to establish networks of marine reserves that are protected from all fishing. By minimizing the stresses of overfishing, they should be able to cope with the stresses such as global warming," he said. But eight of the 10 reefs were near coasts that were being dramatically altered by humans. The felling of forests meant that soils were easily eroded, which deposited muds that could choke the reefs. Farming, too, released nutrients that encouraged seaweeds to grow where corals would once have flourished. "We want to avoid that, and countries like the Maldives strenuously want to avoid that, because it means their islands might disappear if reefs start eroding," he said. ?Humans - one species among perhaps 10m on the planet- consume, divert or waste around 45% of all plant growth on Earth and more than half of all renewable fresh water, Peter Raven, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said in Boston last night. "We have altered substantially the characteristics of the land, the fresh waters of the Earth and the seas, and are driving a major proportion of the species, fundamental for our continued existence, to extinction." Species extinction over the past 65m years had run at about one species per million per year. It had risen in the past 300 years to 1,000 per million species per year.

Coral reefs thrive in Suharto's old island by Robert Go JAKARTA - At least one island near Jakarta still boasts of dazzling corals and plenty of fish, and the people owe the Suharto family for its conservation. For years, Pulau Pemagaran in the Thousand Islands area north of Jakarta Bay was one of the former ruling family's quick getaway spots. Mr. Probosutedjo, Suharto's half brother, has the lease to Pemagaran, and elite troops used to patrol its perimeter zealously with orders to keep intruders out. Now, the island teems with recreational divers, who come for one of the best coral gardens around and perhaps also for a chance to spot Mr. Suharto's fugitive youngest son Hutomo 'Tommy' Mandala Putra. Pemagaran's fate, however, is looking uncertain after the government unveiled plans to reclaim ownership of privately held islands in the area and turn them into resorts. The Thousand Islands will soon become an official regency under Indonesia's decentralization programme. And local legislators say private owners - businessmen and politicians who bought long-term leases during the Suharto era - need to give up their hideaways for the benefit of the nearly 20,000 regular folks who live and work on the islands. Environmentalists and those who are familiar with the islands' ecology, however, express concerns that further development would destroy the coral reefs and fish still living there. Their worry is that the government and the local people would focus too much on development and not enough on conservation. Divemaster A. Wahab of Aquapro in Jakarta reported that although Pemagaran's coral garden is still thriving, many of the reef systems around less-protected islands have been destroyed long ago. 'Pemagaran has a good variety of table, brain, fire and fan corals, and also plenty of fish species, damsels, angels and wrasses. 'But it's a fragile system and easy to destroy. It won't last if more people come, if they build more resorts,' he said. The biggest reason for Pemagaran's current state, Mr. Wahab said, is that it was off limits to fishermen and tourists for so many years. Indeed, a recent report from the United Nations' Environmental Programme said that 80 per cent of Indonesia's coral reefs are threatened by illegal fishing and tourism. Unesco, the UN's educational, scientific and cultural organization, has also studied conditions around the Thousand Islands. That report revealed disappearing islands and reef systems due in part to human activities. 'It is ironic that the Suharto family may have inadvertently conserved Pemagaran,' Mr. Wahab said. <Ah, an incidence of a benefit of a blatant dictatorship's thievery. Perhaps this example can be enjoyed by all. Bob Fenner>

Take Paradise... "a" beach in Sg Hi Bob The carpet anemones that are featured in the Nature Society of Singapore Magazine-  <Top left, page 6? Looks like a Stichodactyla species... intertidal.> are they popular with Marine tank hobbyist? <Would suspect so... seeing the site, environment they likely are quite aquarium-hardy> since the URA is moving the bulldozers in November a friend suggested to me that we harvest as much as possible the live rocks and anemones that are found there and export it to the States. <What madness... "reclamation" to what other use? More money to be made in the short AND long haul by leaving all as is. Bob Fenner> Perry

Chek Jawa Bob One of the boys at Spin Network used to work for a Marine fish exporter before. The deal is to pack as much as possible into plastic bags, sell it to them and they will worry about the paper work and shipping. <Very good> Don't you think it is a good deal? <Yes> Anyway one of the Dolphin Trainers at underwater World suggested I try talking to the curator about saving the seahorses at Chek Jawa and bringing them back to a good home at Underwater World. <Excellent... many good things here. Exposure for conservation's causes, inspiration of the viewing public... saving a few lives. Bob Fenner> Perry

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