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Ron’s Reef update

RON_3628-Regal-Tang

I have been out of town quite a bit since making a number of changes to my 90 gallon saltwater reef over the Christmas period.  While I have been out of town, various family members and friends have taken turns feeding the fish and looking after the tank.  Happily, I can report that the reef is doing well and even the anemone has split into two.

RON_3624-Hammer-Coral RON_3623-Toadstool-Coral

RON_3622-Anemone

RON_3617-Saltwater-reef

I am super happy to see that the Yellow Tang continues to regain its health. When I obtained this Tang, it was suffering from lateral line disease and had a broken bone in its dorsal fin. It was wonderful to be able to watch the cleaner shrimp and blood red shrimps work on the bone until they were able to take it our of the Tang’s fin. Certainly happy that I was able to retrieve it from a likely shortened life. It’s fins will likely never get back to looking normal but it still is quite capable of holding its own in getting to the dinner table each time that I add a bit of food.

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Aquariums Tennessee USA

Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, Tennessee (Part II)

Penguin swimming

The first part of this multi-part posting of my visit to the Tennessee Aquarium focused on the orchids and butterflies exhibits and a few of stingrays on exhibit. This Part II highlights the reefs and the jelly fish displays. The jelly fish are a bit tough to photograph because they are in constant motion but I was surprised by the number of different varieties that the Tennessee Aquarium had on display and the amount of aquarium space that they had allocated to displaying these interesting creatures. Part III covers the “River Journey” building.

Coral Reef - Tennessee Aquarium

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Aquariums Florida USA

Cycling in Florida – Ponce Inlet – Marine Science Center

The Marine Science Center at Ponce Inlet is closed on Mondays so, since we had decided to delay our northward travels due to a severe winter storm crossing the northern US, we were able to return to Ponce Inlet on Tuesday for a bit more cycling and a visit to the Marine Science Center.

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Aquariums Europe France

The Porte Dorée Aquarium – Paris, France

The Porte Dorée Aquarium – Paris, France

The Porte Dorée Aquarium - Paris, FranceThe Porte Dorée Aquarium is part of the Palais de la Porte Dorée complex and is quite large It is easily reached from Central Paris via the subway system. You get off the subway at the Porte Dorée station. My initial interest was in visiting the large park surrounding Lac Daumesnil which is across the street from the Porte Dorée Aquarium. Both are a reasonable short walk from the subway station. It is probably easy to get a cab or bus from the subway to the park or the aquarium but I just walked.

The Porte Dorée Aquarium - Paris, France

Although I found many things in the exhibits to interest me, the large Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) was the creature that got most of my attention. The aquarium has named their specimen “Napoleon”. “Napoleon” is a wrasse from the Indo-Pacific region. Males of the species reach 6 feet in length, females somewhat smaller. Colour in these images is real, not photoshopped!

The Porte Dorée Aquarium - Paris, France

Once I got past the thrill and enjoyment of seeing and photographing “Napoleon, I turned my attention to other exhibits.  The saltwater marine exhibits are generally more brightly lit than most of the freshwater exhibits so the SW exhibits tended to get more of my attention than the FW exhibits.

The Porte Dorée Aquarium - Paris, France

The Porte Dorée Aquarium - Paris, France

The Porte Dorée Aquarium - Paris, France

The Porte Dorée Aquarium - Paris, France

The size and colour of some of the other marine display inhabitants was quite spectacular.

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Montipora capricornis and digitata – Corals in Marine tank

The coral in this photo is Montipora capricornis which is a small polyped stony coral (SPS) of the Acroporidae family of Pacific Ocean corals. It is a common coral in the home marine aquarium because it is one of the more tolerant of the SPS corals to keep. Generally known by the shorter or more descriptive names of Monti cap or vase coral, leaf coral or leaf plate coral, and plate coral, this SPS coral requires moderate to high lighting (3 watts per gallon and up) and a high pH and high calcium levels to grow properly and prefers moderate to high flow rates of a fluctuating nature. Although the polyps of this coral might extract some nourishment from the water passing by the polyps, most of the coral’s energy needs will be met through a symbiotic relationship with the zooanthellate algae that exist in the coral’s cells. Generally, if this coral is getting too much light, it will expurge (kick out) some of the zooanthellate algae from its cells and, if it is not getting enough light, it will allow the concentration of zooanthellates to increase to the extent possible to increase the amount of energy being produced in its cells. The zooanthellates use a chlorophyll based process for converting the light into usable energy for the organisms.

Propagation of this coral by hobbyists is relatively easy and that is another reason why this coral is so common in the SPS marine aquarium. To propagate this coral, the hobbyist needs only to break off a fragment from the original and, using a cyanoacrylate based bonding agent such as Crazy Glue (TM), bond the fragment to a special marine plug or piece of live rock (LR). For many aquarists, the ‘breaking off’ process is the result of accidentally bumping the fragile plates while doing something else in the aquarium.

The piece of Monti cap in this photo began its new life as such a fragment about the size of a quarter and grew to about 10 inches in diameter before outgrowing its spot in the aquarium. At that point, it was fragmented and formed many new specimens which were then sold to other hobbyists. With plenty of light and water flow, the Montipora capricornis will develop a swirling multi-layered growth habit which can be very attractive.

As a moderately fast growing coral with more tolerance than most SPS corals, this is an ideal coral to begin with for those who want to try keeping SPS corals. Be aware though that, like most SPS corals, the Monti caps still require more light and better water conditions than the soft corals.

The darker green coral in the banner and behind the Monti cap in the photo is Montipora digitata. This Montipora sp. is referred simply by its scientific name or sometimes as Velvet Monti. When the polyps are extended, the coral piece can appear as if it is covered in velvet or can appear like the ‘velvet’ covered horns of a deer.

The growth rate of Montipora spp. can sometimes be quite rapid if water and lighting conditions are optimal. This can result in one coral encroaching on the other. Corals compete for space using chemical and physical weaponry (stinger cells) and, among the Montipora sp., the green variety of the Montipora digitata is quite capable of holding its own, as can be seen by necrosis-like damage at the margin of the Montipora capricornis in the photo where the two species have grown into each others’ space.

Various sources suggest various “ideal’ water parameters for the Montipora species of SPS coral with most suggestions being in the range of Calcium 400 – 450 mg/l, pH 8.1 to 8.5 and a Specific gravity (SG) of 1.023 to 1.025.

The pictured specimens were growing near the top of my marine aquarium receiving illumination 10-12 hours per day from a 50/50 combination of t8 Daylight (6500K) and actinic tubes. Most aquarists would consider this to be too low for SPS corals, even the Montipora species, and would opt instead for t5 HO and metal halide lighting. Such lighting intensities would certainly allow for the corals to prosper at deeper levels in the aquarium.

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

My reef in 2006

In 2006, my main reefs consisted of two 40 gallon aquariums, each 4 feet long. Since these corals were photographed, both reefs suffered badly during a temporary power failure and most of the corals were lost.

Leather sp.

Xenia sp.

Pulsing Xenia sp. When the conditions are right these polyps open and close in a rhythmic fashion.

Yellow Wrasse

Ricordea sp.

Toadstool Leather

Montipora digitata

Xenia sp.

Zoanthis sp.

Zoanthid sp.

Zoanthid sp.

Montipora capricornus “Monti Cap”

Ricordea sp.

Leather sp.

Candy Cane sp. These multiply by eventually forming a wall between two halves and then becoming individual units of a cluster formation.

Unknown Cornal sp.

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Micronesia Island Adventure Saipan

Snorkelling Saipan Island

I was at this island for almost 3 weeks (spent 4 days island hopping out of the 15). This island is not as ‘nice’ as Guam in appearance but it does offer a lot of snorkeling & scuba opportunities. (Location: Saipan)

It’s part of the country the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, which is protected by the US, so US citizens can travel here (flying though Japan) without complications, Canadians too, requiring only their passport.

The Language is English, Currency is USA dollars.