Animal Planet’s hit reality TV show Tanked has made quite a splash, delighting audiences with stunning aquariums and hilarious antics. The co-stars of the show, Wayde King and Brett Raymer, have signed on for a record-breaking second season, 20 episodes in total. The two promise that the new season “is going to be bigger and better than season one.”
Click here to see the full article about the show in the May 2012 issue.
For those of you who want a preview of this new and exciting season, check out the video below. And be sure to tune into Animal Planet on Saturday, April 14 at 9 pm ET/PT for the first episode!
If you thought the big, bad wolf was nasty, listen to this. Red lionfish (Pterois volitans) are popular fish for marine aquariums. They are fearsome predators that cannot be kept with small fish and invertebrates. It is well known that these magnificent animals use their pectoral fins to herd their prey, but new research shows that red lions also use squirting water as a strategy to confuse the prey. By overwhelming its lateral line, the lionfish forces its target to face the lion, thereby making the prey item easier to swallow.
We’ve long known that fish are highly intelligent, and many species can even be trained to do something—the goldfish making a slam dunk, for example. Pufferfish in particular are reknowned for their intelligence. Despite their belligerent tendencies in aquariums, many people keep puffers for their personalities and the way they interact with their keeper.
Prankcallzzz filmed his puffer chasing a laser beam on YouTube in a video that now has gone viral. While Prankcallzzz was very careful in filming, we don’t recommend shining a laser beam into a fish tank for any purpose, nor do we recommend aiming a gun at a tank, as it could harm the fish. Always take all the necessary precautions before interacting with your pets.
In the March 2012 issue of TFH, an unique barb was described in the article “The Unusual Drape Fin Barb.” These are strange barbs that break the typical barb mold. They are somewhat similar to the sailfin tetra (Crenuchus spilurus) with their calmer activity levels, their overall visual pattern, and the large, robust head and mouth of the male. At the same time, the drape fin barb’s display and combat behavior (and, oddly enough, the sailfin tetra’s reproductive behavior) have been described as cichlid-like—how odd a fish!
The author took a video of his barbs exhibiting their interesting spawning behavior in the aquarium.
The deadly cone snail is never added to an aquarium by choice, and it should never be handled. It has a powerful venom that, in larger specimens, can even kill a human. In fact, the harpoon that delivers the venom is so powerful that, in some cases, it can penetrate a wetsuit.
Although they very, very rarely make their way into the aquarium hobby, some cone snails have been found in tanks after hitchiking on live rock. If you find one, you should attempt to remove it as soon as possible without touching it, for example, by using a baited trap.
If you wind up with one of the largest species of cone snails in your tank, here’s what can happen. This is a video from the BBC taken on the Great Barrier Reef of a cone snail attacking a fish.
Octopuses are known for their remarkable intelligence, as well as their ability to change the color and shape of their body. None demonstrates the ability to change its look better than the mimic octopus. So researchers at the University of Gottingen, Germany and California Academy of Sciences were surprised to find a fish that masterfully mimicked the mimic.
The black marble jawfish, a relative of the popular aquarium fish the yellow-headed jawfish, displays the brown and white stripes the mimic octopus displays when not mimicking something else, and travels with the octopus while remaining among its tentacles. It is thought that the jawfish uses the opportunity to hunt for food while hiding from predators. Check out a video of the jawfish and its octopus companion, taken by one researcher, Godehard Kopp.
A reef in Bunaken, Indonesia. Photograph by James Fatherree.
The overwhelming number of threats facing coral reefs today require quick, effective action before the reefs are wiped out entirely. A main concern is how to regrow corals following a traumatic event, such as bleaching or storm damage.
One method to grow corals in situ that is being used in Bali is known as Biorock. Basically a domed structure made out of metal is placed on the area where the corals are supposed to grow, and a low-level electric current is run through it. As German marine architect Wolf Hibertz discovered, the electricity causes dissolved minerals to crystallize on the metal. Marine Biologist and President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, Thomas J. Goreau, found the result is encrusting white limestone for corals to settle on and that the corals grow much faster on Biorock than they would if the reef was left as is. Below is a video of the reef grown on Biorock.
The Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City, Utah did just that by connecting the electric eel display to a Christmas tree with four strands of colored lights that flash whenever the eel moves (thereby discharging electricity). Of course, electric eels are completely inappropriate for the home aquarium, and can deliver quite a shock to any unsuspecting individual in the water with them, but they do their job well in the aquarium.
A 50-gallon planted riparium. Photograph by Devin Biggs.
For people who are fascinated by the intersection of land and water, and still want the ability to make changes to their setup, a riparium might be the perfect option. Ripariums are open-top aquariums or aquariums with a section that is not underwater (but still has a cover to keep the humidity high). They allow for plants to grow above and below the water’s surface, although they do not have a specific land section for animals.
Jake Jung offers his advice for creating a beautiful riparium in “An Introduction to Planted Ripariums” in the December 2011 issue of TFH. Here is a look at Jake’s 40-gallon setup.