Kansan Reef

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LED Lighting: is it up to par for reef aquariums?

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Transcript of the video.

LED lighting is becoming a popular alternative way to light aquariums, however many LED fixtures may not be ready to grow corals in reef aquariums.

Lack of the correct variety in light spectrum and less water penetration can reduce coral and plant growth, both of which are things to consider when thinking of buying LED lighting.

“If you want to get the quality of a fluorescent, with the same type of spectrum, you’d have to buy a more expensive LED,” Ian Higby, an aquatics specialist at Pet World Inc., Lawrence, Kan.

Vinton Ebling, owner of Paradise Aquatics, Overland Park, Kan., said a full spectrum LED lighting fixture can cost as much as $600, where a comparable metal halide lighting setup will cost about $350.
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Aquarium fish can be affected by disease and sickness

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If you notice you aquarium fish acting or looking different, it may be ill, which can often lead to death. Early recognition of illness is important to restoring your fish back to health.

Like humans, fish are more susceptible to illness when they’re under stress, Hannah Owens, a graduate student of ichthyology at the University of Kansas, said. “They’re just like people. When it’s finals week and your not sleeping and eating right, you get sick.”

“You can’t just call fish sickness one thing,” Owen Hurst, sales manager at Pet World, Lawrence, Kan., said. “As fish’s immune systems become weaker they become more susceptible to more things.”

Fish Sickness Infographic

Sickness among fish can be difficult to diagnose, so close observation is important. “Watch its behavior, is it swimming, is it lying on the bottom, is it eating, is it gasping for air,” Owens said.

There are many different kinds of sicknesses that can affect aquarium fish. Ick, fin rot, popeye, fungus, neurological disorders and parasites are some of the common things that make fish sick, Hurst said.

“Ick is the most common. There hasn’t been a week where I haven’t seen it,” Luke Ballou, aquatics specialist at Petco, Lawrence, Kan., said. Ballou said he’s learned everything he knows about fish illnesses from helping people work out their problems with their fish during his nearly 4 years at Petco. Ick is a parasitic disease that is highly contagious among fish.

Parasites can be harmful because they take nutrients from the food the host fish eat, which leads to starvation, and can cause internal blockage, which leads to digestive problems, Owens said.

Owens researched the relationship of sharks and parasitic tapeworms while working on her master’s degree. “For sharks, it’s no big deal because they’re huge and the worms are tiny and they’ve evolved together.” Continue reading

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.

sunflower tweets

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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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