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Creating an Aquascape Using Unzan-seki Stones

Photograph by Takashi Amano.

By Takashi Amano

Unzan-seki stones are a new layout material in the Nature Aquarium, as explained in the June 2012 issue of TFH.

The way that the willow moss was attached to the surface of unzan-seki stones is quite unique. Willow moss was chopped into tiny pieces with a kitchen knife and rubbed on the surface of the unzan-seki stones. Chopped willow moss pieces will remain in the numerous depressions on the surface of unzan-seki stones and gradually attach themselves to the stones naturally.

You can watch exactly how the tank was set up.


Posted May 3rd, 2012.

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Puff for Your Dinner

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.

Check out this video of the lionfish in action.



Photograph by Cindy Collinvitti.

Posted February 28th, 2012.

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Puffer vs. Laser

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.



Photograph by Damien Wagaman.

Posted February 27th, 2012.

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Spawning Drape Fin Barbs

By Nicholas P. Kalodimos, MESM, MS

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.

Photograph by Nicholas P. Kalodimos.

Posted February 10th, 2012.

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Electrifying Reef Growth

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.



Posted December 28th, 2011.

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