From Advanced Aquarist

By Richard RossPosted Mar 24, 2014 09:30 AM
This video of a juvenile dwarf cuttlefish eating a captive raised designer clownfish is not just fantastic to watch, but it may point us in a new direction for feeding marine predators.

This week, Chad Vossen of Vossen Aquatics and builder of the famed Vossen Larval Snagger, started feeding tiny clownfish, including Platinum clowns to his very young Dwarf Cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis. Cuttlefish hunting and feeding is always amazing to watch, but watching a cuttlefish hunt and eat a captive bred designer clownfish brings the experience to a whole ‘nother level that will thrill some while making others uncomfortable. After all that is a captive bred fish, and every captive bred fish is special, and expensive captive bred fish are even more special right
More »

From Reefs Magazine

By Richard Ross


 
In reefkeeping, there are a million products and techniques, each claiming to be a necessary ingredient for a successful reef tank. The problem is that many of these claims have little, if any, evidence to support them – so how are we supposed to know which ingredient, product or method is useful and which is bunk? Well, we can bellyache that someone else should figure it out and let us know, or we can get up off our collective butts and start producing evidence ourselves by doing some simple experiments. 

“Joe Yaiullo’s Magic Juice”, if it existed, would do whatever Joe said it would do because he would test it. He rolls like that. Photo by Rich Ross.

If “Joe Yaiullo’s Magic Juice” existed, it would do whatever Joe said it would because Joe would test it. Joe rolls like that. Photo by Rich Ross.

In previous installments, we discussed how real science takes time, resources and money. Real science is a pain in the butt to do. More »

penn

For the full show click here

Published on Oct 11, 2015

We talk all things octopus with Rich Ross, senior aquarium biologist at the California Academy of Sciences.

For a personal copy click here

A Conversation Between Nathan Hill and Rich Ross 

From Reefs Magazine

For American readers unfamiliar with Nathan Hill, he might considered my analogue in the UK – he is a regular contributor to Practical Fishkeeping where he often tackles hobby issues from the stance of ethical, critical, and consistent thinking, while trying to get the hobby to look at itself in the mirror – he also has a degree in philosophy, which makes him super cool in my book. Nathan and I have been aware of each other for several years, briefly communicating from time to time with notes like, “Great piece, but I think I have a few disagreements – let’s talk,” but we have never found the time to be able to really dig in… until now. I have wanted to revisit morals in the Skeptical Reefkeeping series for some time now, and convinced Nathan to participate in a written discussion with me on a topic of his choosing, which turned out to be, “Is the hobby morally justifiable?” We wrote back and forth to each other in email, and then assembled the discussion below, doing some editing to make things more clear. It is important to point out that this is a conversation, not a debate. The point of a debate is to win, the point of a conversation is to hear each side and shift ones views based on good information presented from a perspective one may not have entertained previously. The point is for all of us to learn and grow together, not to try to ”win.” We hope you enjoy this philosophical conversation, and look forward to any feedback you might have (please post any feedback in this shiny new discussion forum:https://www.reefs.com/forum/skeptical-reefkeeping/ ) 

Most people think this fish is happy because it looks like it is smiling. However, this fish always looks like it is smiling, so how can we possibly tell when it is not happy? Photo by Google Search.
More »

fatthinBetween April 15 2015 and July 15 2015 I lost 54 pounds
I wasn’t sick (that I know of), didn’t have high blood pressure or anything like that, but I was buying into the idea that I was older, that my body was going downhill and that was just the way things were. Looking at the before and after picture, I am amazed at how unhealthy I looked, how fat I was, and I can’t believe I had convinced myself that everything was fine. Now, my mood is level and good, my knees never hurt, moving is pleasure and I can get my chest to my knees. I went from a 38 jean size to a 32 (which I can now remove without unbuttoning), I wear medium shirts instead of XL, and I am going to have to go from a medium large wet suit to a medium. Turns out, I don’t have a big frame and I’m not big boned – those were among the untruths I had told myself so I could mentally cope with the extra weight. More amazing, I can tie my shoes without contortion, my rings slide off my fingers and I don’t like the feel of baggy clothes. I can now slow dance close up with my wife and my daughter can carry me around. I am looking forward to being in vacation photos instead of hiding behind the camera.
Penn and Michael helped me by supporting me and hooking me up with Ray Cronise. It feels like I have a second life to live. Instead of waiting to slide into worse and worse health, I am now going to martial arts because I enjoy it, not with the ulterior motive to lose weight (which never worked anyway). Thanks so much you guys, it is all different and wonderful.
If you are interested in what I did, read this article about me check out this podcast
and this read this book by Penn Jillette


Want to do it yourself without the nutty stuff? 
Eat food from this book by Joel Fuhrman.
and get the Withings Smart body analyzer is pretty important. Read about them here.

penn
Biologist Rich Ross visits with cephalopod news & porn, & ways the government can arrest anyone.

Steam the episode here:


http://pennsundayschool.com/episode/episode-170/

Or listen here:

From BBC

Mimic Octopus Thaumoctopus mimicus Lembeh Strait Celebes Sea Sulawesi Indonesia. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.
Presented by
Katherine Harmon Courage

Male octopuses have a big problem: female octopuses. Each male wants to mate and pass on his genes to a new generation. The trouble is, the female is often larger and hungrier than he is, so there is a constant risk that, instead of mating, the female will strangle him and eat him.

The males have a host of tricks to survive the mating process. Some of them can quite literally mate at arm’s length. Others sneak into a female’s den disguised as another gal, or sacrifice their entire mating arm to the female and then make a hasty retreat.

It’s all very macabre. It’s also a paradox. Octopuses are some of the most antisocial, unfriendly animals alive. Yet their bodies have evolved in such a way that they must mate in the most intimate way possible: the male has to insert his sperm directly into the female’s body using one of his arms. The resulting mating practices are not just a curiosity: they are a window onto how octopuses have evolved into the creatures they are today.

download

Wunderpus octopuses (Wunderpus photogenicus) mating (Credit: Roy Caldwell)

Octopuses and their close cousins the squid all belong to a group of animals called cephalopods. Both are actually molluscs, making them close relatives of oysters and limpets, but they have lost their shells.

Octopuses tend to be profoundly antagonistic towards each other. Unlike gregarious animals like dolphins, they appear to see their own kind primarily as competition, and sometimes food.

There’s always the threat of cannibalism

Squid, which are downright social by comparison, mate in a distinctly unromantic way. A male squid swims by and deposits sperm in one quick move outside of the female’s body. She can decide later whether to accept it.

But not so the octopus. “Octopus mating is definitely different than other cephalopods,” says marine biologist Jean Boal of Millersville University in Pennsylvania. The male must deposit his sperm inside the female’s body, at the risk of his life.

“There’s always the threat of cannibalism,” saysRichard Ross of the California Academy of Science’s Steinhart Aquarium. More »

By , KQED Science (some footage by Rich Ross)

Alternate copy of video: https://vimeo.com/124145465

Over the summer, biologists from the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco returned from an expedition to the Philippines with some very rare and diminutive guests, a mating pair of pygmy seahorses. The two tiny fish, each shorter than an inch and bright orange, were collected as part of a larger study of the stunning biodiversity found in the “Twilight Zone” of the ocean. It’s a relatively unexplored environment located at depths where the bright tropical sunlight barely penetrates.

Pygmy seahorses live their entire adult lives attached to a type of coral called a Gorgonian sea fan. The seahorses use their long tails to grab on to the delicately branched sea fans. But what’s really amazing is their ability to match the coral’s bright color and knobby texture. They blend in so perfectly that they are barely visible, even to a trained eye.

More people have walked on the moon than have seen a juvenile land on a sea fan.

Pygmy seahorses are nearly impossible to raise in captivity. More people have walked on the moon than have seen a juvenile land on a sea fan. Until recently, there was no record of the seahorses ever living long enough to breed in an aquarium. As a result, very little is known about them, making them extremely attractive to researchers eager to learn about the mysterious species.

One of the biggest hurdles is keeping the host sea fans alive, since the pygmy sea horses cannot live without them. Biologists Matt Wandell and Rich Ross knew this would be tough, but they had been preparing since 2011 when Bart Shepherd, Director of the Steinhart Aquarium, issued them a challenge. They were tasked with keeping the sea fans alive for three years before they could even attempt bring back the seahorses.  More »

rtheader

From ReefThreads

“This week we reach a major milestone with our 200th Reef Threads podcast. To help us celebrate, we’re joined by Rich Ross, Ben Johnson, and Jeremy. This week we talk about various aspects of the hobby and what lies ahead for us”

From Advanced Aquarist

The answer to the struggle of what to feed marine predators that require live foods is right under our noses. Fish might be friends, but in the real world the may also be food.
Richard Ross' pair of Dr. Seuss fish, Belonoperca pylei

Richard Ross’ pair of Dr. Seuss fish, Belonoperca pylei

Back in March, I wrote about Chad Vossen feeding a platinum clownfish that was to be culled to juvenile Dwarf Cuttlefish, Sepia bandnesis, and talked about how clownfish destined to be culled might be a great source of marine feeders for predatory marine animals. As a follow up I present to you the below video: Dr. Seuss eats Nemo. In the video I feed my pair of Dr. Seuss Fish, Belonoperca pylei, some captive bred designer clownfish that were raised in quarantine conditions, and were destined for the culling block. These clownfish were provided to me by Bay Area Reefers President, Steinhart Aquarium Volunteer (Thanks David!) and clownfish breeder extraordinaire, David Sheh.

https://vimeo.com/104619466

Feeding marine predatory animals can be difficult because finding appropriate live foods can come with all kinds of problems. Availability can be challenging, as finding the right size prey items, in the quantity you need them, when you need them can be problematic. Disease and parasites from wild caught prey items can infect your predatory fish, and quarantine of such animals is and added expense, as well as taking up time and resources.  Worse, the ethical issues surrounding wild caught feeder animals are significant; using animals flown halfway around the world as feeders seems exceedingly wasteful.  Furthermore, with some aquarium fish potentially to be listed as threatened or endangered in the endangered species act, the practice of feeding out wild caught animals can become even more inflammatory. Cultured freshwater prey items don’t offer a great alternative as they can have a different nutritional profile from saltwater prey items, and can present sub optimal results – for example, in my experience Dwarf Cuttles fed solely freshwater ghost shrimp tend to lay much fewer eggs, and fewer viable eggs than cuttles fed saltwater shrimp.

If only there were a whole bunch of captive bred, saltwater animals that nobody wanted, weren’t sellable, and were often culled as a matter of course. Oh wait. There are.

More »

In our hobby, there tends to be mostly a super market approach to purchasing animals – you go to a store and select the animal you want from an array of holding tanks containing animals waiting for a new home. While such a selection seems great, it also creates an environment that may engender impulse buys rather than considered choices, makes us feel that instant gratification is the norm, as well as making us feel that somehow, for various reasons, any animal is worth a try in any tank. As people who say we love the reefs, and the animals that live on them, perhaps we should spend more time considering, and getting others to consider, which animals are appropriate for which tanks and which reefers. In Skeptical Reefkeeping 7 we took a general look at ethics and how they relate to our hobby. In this installment, we’ll look at some of the “how”s and “why”s we choose animals for our tanks, why we might think all aquarists are on the same page, and some ideas about how we might make more informed choices regarding the creatures that we put in our glass boxes.

New fish are always exciting, but are more exciting when forethought is put into the fish before purchase. Photo by Rich Ross.

A Brief Reminder to Set the Scene

Skepticism is a method, not a position. It can be defined as a method of intellectual caution and suspended judgment. As a Skeptical Reefkeeper, you decide what is best for you, your animals, and your wallet based upon critical thinking, not just because you heard someone else say it. The goal of this series of articles is not to provide you with reef recipes or to tell you which ideas are flat out wrong or which products really do what they say they do or which claims or which expert to believe. The goal is to help you make those kinds of determinations for yourself while developing your saltwater expertise in the face of sometimes overwhelming, conflicting advice.

Who Should Get What, When?

Everyone seems to agree that a brand new hobbyist shouldn’t purchase deep water fish, cephalopods, or non photosynthetic corals for their first tank, or that someone with a 50 gallon tank shouldn’t get a Blacktip reef shark, Giant Pacific Octopus or a Goliath Grouper. Besides obvious examples like those above (1), there is a huge grey area around what animals keepers should purchase and in which conditions it is appropriate to keep them in. Is it ok to keep a small tang in a small tank with the intention to transfer it to a larger tank when it gets bigger? How many fish is too many fish for a certain sized tank? No one has ever seen this fish before I better buy it before anyone else does! This situation is further complicated by the idea that there is a steep learning curve to keeping animals in glass boxes during that learning curve mistakes are made, and animals are lost. As a keeper’s experience goes up, they often start trying to keep more and more ”difficult” animals, and still there is a learning curve, and animals are lost – even to the best aquarist on the planet with the most resources. How do we cope with that idea? More »

bzr
Rich Ross talking to Frank Reece talk about field work, science and big tanks. Click here to listen.

From The Coral Triangle, The 2011 Hearst Philippine Biodiversity Expedition, A California Academy of Sciences Special Publication
Originally published in ReefsMagazine.com and on this site

Ret Talbot and Richard Ross

From Reef Hobbyist Magaizine
From Ret Talbots blog – 
My latest article, co-authored with friend and colleague biologist Richard Ross of the Steinhart Aquarium, published yesterday in Reef Hobbyist Magazine. In some ways, it represents a departure from my regular beat, and I thank editor Jim Adelberg for the concept and invitation to write the piece.

 

penn
On April 6, 2014, I was on Penn’s Sunday School talking to Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau and Matt Donnelly about all kinds of stuff including the Bobbit worm. The iTunes blurb – “Rich Ross tells us horror stories about cephalopods and Jay Frank tells us about the newest ways to monetize music.” I am in and out all over the episode because I was actually in studio for the taping and the Rich proper part starts around 1:06

Listen and  subscribe to the podcast on itunes – http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/penns-sunday-school/id504257078 . If you don’t like itunes you can hear it here

 

Originally from Advanced Aquarist

This week, Chad Vossen of Vossen Aquatics and builder of the famed Vossen Larval Snagger, started feeding tiny clownfish, including Platinum clowns to his very young Dwarf Cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis. Cuttlefish hunting and feeding is always amazing to watch, but watching a cuttlefish hunt and eat a captive bred designer clownfish brings the experience to a whole ‘nother level that will thrill some while making others uncomfortable. After all that is a captive bred fish, and every captive bred fish is special, and expensive captive bred fish are even more special right?

One of the biggest hurdles in breeding cuttlefish and other cephalopods is the need for different sizes of live foods as the cuttles grow. Hatchling cuttles need tiny prey, juvenile cuttles need bigger prey, and adults need still bigger prey. More »

From LiveScience.com • From Discovery.com • From HuffPost • From Fox News • From The Weather Channel • From Wikipedia • From NBC news

Rare Kissing Octopus Unveiled For the First Time

Tia Ghose, LiveScience
Date: 06 March 2013 Time: 10:18 AM ET
octopus-mating
Unlike other octopus species, Larger Pacific Striped Octopuses mate in an intimate clinch with their beaks and suckers pressed against each other
CREDIT: Richard Ross
And unlike other octopuses, where females have a nasty habit of eating their partners during sex, Larger Pacific Striped Octopuses mate by pressing their beaks and suckers against each other in an intimate embrace.The beautiful creature can also morph from dark red to black-and-white stripes and spots and can shape-shift from flat to expanded.The sea dweller will be on display starting today (Mar. 6) at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.”I’m thrilled that Academy visitors will have the opportunity to view this fascinating animal up close in the aquarium, where they’ll see just why its beauty, unique mating technique and social habits are intriguing the cephalopod community,” said Richard Ross, a biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, in a statement. More »

The Myth of Giant Squids! – Fact or Fictional w Veronica Belmont from Richard Ross on Vimeo.

Mar 1, 2013

This week Veronica visits the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco to learn about gigantic cephalopods. How big is the squid?! Special thanks to Richard and the guys over at the Academy for letting us come play with the sea creatures!http://www.calacademy.org/

If the youtube version bonks, click here for Vimeo version.

From SF Chronicle • Reef Builders • Advanced Aquarist •  Sci- News • Giant Cuttlefish • Popular Science • Grist.com • Scientific American • Sci- News

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From Reefhobbyst Magazine

From Reefbuilders

I have been fortunate to attend several frag events around the country this year, but none gets me as excited as the Bay Area Reefers (BAR) regional fragswap. Last weekend there were no guest speakers, no vendor booths, and best of all, no money changing hands for corals. There is a small entry fee to help pay for the infrastructure, and each participant is required to bring at least 3 frags of different  strains. The format is an actual ‘swap’ where people bring corals in deli containers (they don’t leak, you can see through them, and they are reusable), check in, and the frags are then grouped by type on tables in picking area. There are 10 picking groups of about 10 people each, numbered, a-j, to which participants are randomly assigned. When the picking begins, groups are allowed into the picking area for 2 minutes and are allowed to pick one frag from the tables. After about 3 or 4 times through all the picking groups, the number of frags goes up to speed things along.
There is also a raffle to help pay for the event and to promote local LFS sponsors (and many of those sponsors actually participated in the  swap), and the numbers are called during the swap so everyone gets there corals home in a timely manner. The club has put together basic care sheets, and sells essential fragging equipment for just above cost, including glue, salinity standards and povidone frag dip. The focus of the event is not on getting, but on giving, and it is not uncommon for people to bring 10, 20, 30 0r 40 frags to the event and competition to bring the most of the ‘best’ frags is friendly but fierce. And we aren’t talking schwag corals. Lots of the LE de jour
and other cool stuff available through the first couple times through all the picking groups. There is even a list of corals that don’t go into the event proper, but onto a free table, because they are too common. Sponsors donate frags and the club even has a prop program to help fill out the tables. All in all, there were about 100 people at the event and over 600 frags. Super awesome, and I cant wait until the next swap in February.