Video of the week from mid-February 2009 to mid-March:

A deep sea fish with a see-through head and tubular eyes.

Anyone in the saltwater or freshwater aquarium hobby has probably seen the results of a Do It Yourself (DIY) project, whether online or on someone else’s tank.

Depending on the tools and materials you have at your disposal, you can come up with your own unique projects to add to your enjoyment of the hobby. DIY creations can range from simple MacGyver-type projects made with odds and ends from around the house to intricate projects using quality materials that give the aquarium industry’s best products a run for their money.

Either way, DIY projects can be cost-saving, fun and rewarding for hobbyists of all levels.

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Euro-Reef’s RS Series protein skimmers: a special treat for retailers

Euro-Reef’s RS Series protein skimmers: aimed at retailers

The marine aquarium equipment maker Euro-Reef sent me a press release a few days ago outlining a few changes in its business model.

To be honest I wasn’t at all familiar with the situation (I’m based in Europe) but sales director Clayton Taylor was kind enough to expand on the news over email.

Clayton responded to my query as follows:

In Nov. 2008 Euro Reef, inc sent out a press release that outlined changes to their business / sales model.  The press release was misinterpreted by many of its customers. Since then, the model has evolved a little bit, and we saw that a new press release be given.

This business model that Euro-Reef has implemented is designed to focus on the bricks-and-mortar retail establishments.  Euro-Reef sells their products on their own web site at MAP price.  This is a Minimum Advertised Price, not a “minimum price”.

Euro-Reef products may not be sold on any other web site.  They may be advertised (at MAP) but not sold. This protects the gross margin for all bricks-and-mortar retailers from cut-rate Internet sellers.  In short: this product is just for them.

The official online options are:

As well as a Buy Online button, each site’s product pages also enables you to search for a nearby aquatic dealer that stocks Euro-Reef products via a nifty Buy Locally button (seemingly using the same system as the Local Fish Store Locator website).

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A healthy female guppy (Image by: judhi)

A healthy female guppy (Image by: judhi)

I was in a local fish store recently, when my girlfriend pointed to fancy goldfish that was turning in somersaults as it tried to move through the water.

“That’s a funny way of swimming,” she said.

I was shocked, of course; by the state of the fish, but also because my girlfriend wasn’t actually concerned about the fish’s motion. She simply didn’t realize there was anything wrong with it.

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There’s a thread running on the UK marine fishkeeping forum UltimateReef that I have to say is making me smile.

I do feel a little guilty, since it’s basically fellow fishkeepers revealing their pain!

But I defy anyone who has ever kept a reef tank to say they’ve never felt as desperate as some of these posters.

Here’s the thread originator, craigg:

I’m having a moment tonight.

Really hate it, every single thing about it.

My sun coral zone collapsed for no reason. Sun corals being the single reason I didn’t strip my tank down fully and now I hate how I have redesigned it.

Damn I wish I had closed it down and smashed it up.

Keeping a reef tank is a special kind of frustrating pain. Like many other people, I’ve described it as my crack cocaine – it’s as expensive and time-consuming, if not as dangerous (unless you keep lionfish).

I’ve pulled out a few more choice quotes below.

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Clown loach markings vary widely by fish and region (Image by Butsky)

Clown loach markings vary widely by fish and region(Image by Butsky)

With its attractive mottled body, amusing personality and potentially long-life, the Clown loach is a justifiably popular tropical freshwater fish.

It’s also a frequently abused one, however, with too few aquarists realizing this fish is a consummate socialiser; keeping a Clown loach alone is no better then it would be to keep a single Neon tetra.

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The Independent newspaper just spoiled my day with an article saying whale killing by Japan could soon be given the greenlight:

Governments are preparing to breach the worldwide whaling ban, legitimising commercial killing of the giant creatures for the first time in more than 20 years.

Key whaling and anti-whaling nations have thrashed out a plan at a series of unpublicised closed-door meetings to allow Japan to kill the leviathans for gain, after outlawing it for two decades. It is to be presented to a special meeting of the official International Whaling Commission (IWC) early next month.

Environmentalists say that the plan amounts to “waving the white flag” to Japan and they fear that it will usher in a new era of legal whaling around the world.

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A healthy reef tank grows out of good decisions (Image by: JSC )

A healthy reef tank grows out of good decisions (Image by: JSC )

Consciously or not, setting up a reef tank means making many different decisions to create the sort of aquarium you desire.

Things to think about when setting up a reef tank include:

  • Environment Such as temperature, salinity and other water parameters, currents in the aquarium and the tank furnishings
  • Equipment What artificial aids will you use to create such an environment in your aquarium?
  • Animals and plants The inhabitants of a reef tank are not simply exhibits – they are a dynamic part of an ecosystem
  • Aesthetics Many aquarium fish will happily live and breed in bare glass tanks with white PVC pipes for shelter, but would you want that in your living room?
  • Budget and space Only AquaDaily readers who work for zoos and public aquariums can ignore the pragmatic limits on their ambitions. (I dare say that much-wanted blue whale exhibit will also go on hold, even for zookeepers!)
  • Personal quirks Most of us have fish or other creatures we’ll instinctively add to a new aquarium. Beyond that, some fishkeepers have a fetish for rare fish, or a desire to avoid artificial filtration. These sorts of quirks will further influence your choices.

Each of us will have our unique perspective on certain criteria, such as aesthetics. Some aquarists prefer very natural (or even random) looking environments in their tanks, for instance, while in contrast there’s a growing trend in stony coral reef tanks for a more stripped-back, ‘bonsai’ approach.

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Scientists at the University of Florida (UF) have bred the seldom-spawned spotted green puffer fish using a new method that might work for other difficult species:

A UF team investigated the species at the request of producers, who hope to breed some of the estimated quarter million spotted green puffers sold annually to North American hobbyists and researchers, said Craig Watson, director of UF’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in Ruskin, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“The supply has been variable and sometimes quite limited because they’re wild-collected, mostly in Thailand,” Watson said. “So this was a good species for us to investigate.”

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Talk about a clean-up crew:

BEIJING — China will release millions of fish into its third-largest freshwater lake to eat algae that threatens its water quality, state media said Friday.

The 927-square mile (2,400-square kilometer) Taihu lake is a major drinking water source in China’s eastern Jiangsu province, and saw an outbreak of algae in 2007 that cut water supplies to 2 million residents.

About 10 million fish such as silver carp and grass carp will be released as part of the five day campaign by four cities surrounding the lake, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

“The biological treatment using the algae digestion ability of the fish is expected to fundamentally rehabilitate the lake,” Lin Jianhua, head of the Taihu Lake Fishing Administration, was quoted as saying.

He estimated it would take 100 million fish to clean the lake.

The full story at GMANews.tv explains that sewage and pollution from local factories originally caused the problem.