Kansan Reef

You're not in the ocean anymore.

Reef aquarium “hitchhikers” can cause serious injury

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Transcript of the video.
Reef aquarium “hitchhikers,” or things introduced to the aquarium accidentally, can cause serious injury to reef aquarium hobbyists.
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Live Blogging: Sunflower Elementary Frag Swap

GARDNER, KAN. – Sunflower Elementary held its first frag swap this past Saturday, Feb. 16, as a thank you celebration for the community. Sunflower recently added a 220-gallon saltwater aquarium to its cafeteria. The tank was made possible by donations of time and livestock from members of the online reef community Salt-City. The children love the tank, said Dustin Mortenson, the principal of Sunflower, I clean fingerprints off the glass at least 5 times a day. Mortenson said that he encourages students to get up-close with the fish and the corals in the tank because its part of the hands-on learning experience. Mortenson also said that the children see things that adults miss because they are lower to the ground and closer to the glass. The frag swap was an opportunity for members of Salt-City a chance to meet each other, many of whom have only communicated with members online. Sunflower provided drinks and pizza, along with tables for members to display coral frags for sale and trade. Members brought more than 100 different types of coral to the swap to sell and trade. Frags for sale ranged from $5 to several hundred dollars and most trades were accepted. Many of the remaining frags at the end of the meet were donated to Sunflower’s tank. The frag swap took place on Feb. 16, from 12 pm to 3 pm at Sunflower Elementary School, in Gardner, Kan.

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Aquarium trade and exotic fish are now invasive in U.S. waters

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What can we do to help control invasive species?
Below is an excerpt from an interview with Hannah Owens.

Transcript of the interview excerpt. 
Fish commonly kept in the home aquarium are turning up in waters in the United States, according to the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, SEFSC. Hobby fish, such as lionfish, humpback grouper and clown triggerfish, are now considered invasive in the Southeast United States, according to the SEFSC.

“There’s no way for a reef fish from the Pacific, that’s tropical, to get to the Atlantic, unless somebody’s helping it,” Hannah Owens, a graduate student of ichthyology at the University of Kansas, said.

Studies have shown that lionfish have been introduced into the Gulf of Mexico multiple times, Owens said. A prevailing hypothesis is that somebody had an aquarium that they no longer wanted and dumped it, “it was definitely more than one introduction,” Owens said.
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Decline in reef growth indicates chronic stress factors

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Coral reef growth has decreased as much as 70 percent in some places, according to a study conducted by The University of Queensland, Australia, QU.

It’s not so much in industries that people willl notice the lack of reef growth, but “reefs serve as barriers,” said Dr. Daphne Fautin, a program officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a professor of invertebrate zoology at the University of Kansas. “The places least damaged by the Southeast Asian tsunami were the places with the best developed coral reefs.”

According to QU, corals accumulate and produce calcium carbonate, set against the loss of carbonate through erosional processes. There are many causes of reef decay, Fautin said. One of the sources comes from increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Increased carbon dioxide in the air means more CO2 in the water, said Fautin. Carbon dioxide in water makes carbonic acid and lowers the pH, which can lead to chronic stress in the corals. “Coral reefs do well in chronic stress if well established.”
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10-foot worm snaps prey at night

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Bobbit WOrm

The Bobbit Worm, which are between 3 and 10 feet long, is a nocturnal worm that snaps its prey with its huge jaws and, faster than humans can react, pulls its catch below the sand.  Bobbit worms also possess appendages along their bodies which, if touched by a human, cause permanent numbness.
Source: Constantinos Petrinos Underwater Photographer; Photo Source: PerfectDives.com

Owner and partner of Idaho Aquarium arrested

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Ammon Covino and Chris Conk, president and secretary of Idaho Aquarium, were arrested February 21. Covino and Conk were arrested in connection with the purchase of illegally harvested spotted eagle rays and lemon sharks. The animals were also caught without a permit.

The aquarium has since “closed due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Source: Boise Weekly

Anemones benefit from Clownfish

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New research has shown that anemones benefit from the relationship as well.

When Clownfish sleep, they move around and “fidget” throughout the night on the anemone’s surface. This motion helps anemones receive more oxygen during the night.

Clownfish share a symbiotic relationship with anemones, Clownfish swim within the tentacles of anemones for protection.
Source: BBC Nature; Photo Source: National Geographic