Local copy here

I’m mentioned a few times, but the good chunk is at about 29:40, which is where the youtube video below should start. There is a bunch of ceph stuff earlier.

Local copy of the video here:

There is a lot of BS in the world, and reef keeping is no exception. This talk will go over the different flavors of reef BS and how not to get it all over you.

Richard Ross is known for his “Skeptical Reefkeeping” article series, his groundbreaking work with cephalopod husbandry, coral spawning & restoration, entertaining and informative talks, his ultra high nutrient home reef, for managing the ambitious 212,000 gallon reef tank and the Coral Spawning Lab at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences. Richard was presented with the MASNA Aquarist of the Year award in 2015, and his work has been covered by Scientific American, National Geographic, Penn’s Sunday School, NPR’sScience Friday, Animal Planet, Discovery News and Fox News

*Legal Stuff* The purpose and content of this video is to provide general information regarding the products and their applications as presented in the video. Aquatic sales solutions, inc. And its officers, directors, employees and agents disclaim all express or implied warranties, in any way, related to the products and their application as presented in this video, make no representation or warranty regarding the products and the application as presented in this video and shall not be liable for any direct or indirect losses or damages of any type, including but not limited to punitive damages, or from personal injury or death resulting from or in any manner related to the video, and the products in and contents of the video. The viewer expressly agrees that aquatic sales solutions, inc. And its officers, directors, employees and agents shall not be liable for any damages or losses related to the products in and content of the video and hereby agrees to hold the foregoing harmless from any such losses or damages.

Richard Ross: The Right Kind Of Lazy | MACNA 2017

Phosphate. Nitrate. Detritus. In an effort to create perfect boxes of coral, reef keepers worry an awful lot about these kinds of things – but do we really need to? According to prevailing wisdom, my 15 year old home tank should be a cess pool, but it isn’t, it is a thriving SPS dominated mixed reef.

Local copy here

From Wired by 

CORALS ARE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE. THIS LAB COULD HELP SAVE THEM

(Local copy of the video available here)

Nestled among giant fish tanks at the California Academy of Sciences, there’s a black box—just big enough to hold six aquariums and maybe five humans. What it lacks in size, though, it makes up for in preciousness: Running here is a experiment that could help save corals from annihilation.

The corals in these tanks are reproducing sexually. Which is weird, because even out in the wild, coral spawning is a fragile process, easily disrupted by changes in temperature and acidity. Reproduction has to be precisely timed with the phases of the moon, and it occurs just once a year, as corals release great clouds of sperm and eggs that mix together, fertilize, and descend once more to the seafloor.

Corals are animals, not plants; each organism is made up of lots and lots of polyps. Some species can reproduce asexually, essentially producing clones of themselves. But not the ones in this black box, which are somehow spawning away thanks to some fancy technology and a team of doting humans.

Researchers have brought gravid corals back to the lab before, where they immediately got down to business. But the Academy of Sciences is on the verge of establishing a more permanent population that could reproduce year after year, allowing researchers to perform crucial long-term studies. That’d make this only the second lab to do so, after London’s Horniman Museum. If it works, these scientists could turn corals in model organisms, like fruit flies and mice. They’d have a reliable population to study in detail over multiple generations.

“We built this whole dark room, but that’s only the first part of it,” says Rich Ross, aquarium biologist at the Academy. “What really comes into play is controlling the light—the moonlight, the temperature, and the intensity of all that light. The coral spawn is triggered by all of those factors.” More »

Rich and Scott worked for years as a comedy juggling team, working everywhere from opening for the Smothers Brothers to Pier 39 to a million corporate performances. Here is one of their promotional videos

For more information on Rich’s juggling click here. For more information on Comedy Industries, click here.

 

Richard Ross captured some great close-up video footage of tiny Banggai cardinalfish still in their eggs. Normally the male holds the eggs in his mouth; however the male spit most of his eggs a couple days prior so these were stripped shortly thereafter.

For more about breeding these fish check this out – http://packedhead.net/2008/breeding-the-banggai-cardinalfish/

Rich is the one in a straight jacket on a pogo stick, and juggling beach balls. More »

Directors Andrew Gordon and Scott Clarks’ 3D animated short comically examines the problems that surround sex and space travel. Created at the School of Animation and Visual Effects at Academy art University in association with Pixar, with the voice talents of Paul Killam, Diane Rachel, Rich Ross and Rebecca Stockley with a process called ‘Improvimation’ where improvisors perform scenes, directed or not, from which the audio is used to inspire animators. 2007. IMDb listing

More »

From Mr Saltwater Tank: “I’m kicking off my Reef Junkie Insider Interview Series by interviewing Richard Ross, Senior Biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium. Richard is known for his work with octopus, cuttlefish and approaching the saltwater tank hobby with a skeptical view point. In this interview, I ask Richard, “Does the data really matter?””

https://vimeo.com/81274832

From Aquatic Envy

Richard Ross recently spoke at the Nebraska Aquatic Supply Anniversary Celebration about using skepticism, among other tools, to save not only money, but also the lives of animals in the process. We decided to share the video of him speaking, which you can watch at the end of this article. The first thing he recommends is to be increasingly skeptical about things you read and advice from people who deem themselves as gurus. Richard makes a lot of very good points and even cites specific examples. A surprise cameo from Sanjay Yoshi midway through the presentation makes it all the more interesting.

Richard Ross is well known as being a biologist for the Steinhart Aquarium in California. He has also recently come into the spotlight in regarding comments he made in public forum regarding fish collection. One particular activist group that goes by the name of Sea Shepard openly criticized him in a news release for their “Operation Reef Defense”.(Read our article here)

I assure you Richard is not at all the monster he is portrayed to be by the activist groups. I see a man who is plugged in and simply demands proof for the statements being made. This presentation is lined with the message of demanding evidence and thinking critically about the information being presented to you.

A big thanks to both Richard Ross and Nebraska Aquatic Supply for providing this opportunity to the local reef community.

Uploaded on Aug 17, 2010

Coral anatomy lesson. A coral’s mouth and anus are the same thing. The amazing manus!

ReefStock All-Stars “Manus”
Produced by Justin Credabel
Lyrics by Justin Credabel, Gresham Hendee, Scott Fellman, Michelle Lemech, Rich Ross, and Dr. Paul Whitby

Published on May 9, 2013

Rich Ross discusses his work at the Academy with cephalopods– octopus, squid and cuttlefish.
Rich discusses his ‘home-lab” and his exploration with the little-known Larger Pacific Striped Octopus – now in our Animal Attraction exhibit. Check out this video for a close up lookhttp://youtu.be/_6cSBzHl3a4.

 

https://vimeo.com/66640700

Link to Part 1
From mrsaltwatertank.com

Making a 213,000 gallon reef tank look great requires a lot of t.l.c., but also a lot of equipment. In part 2 of my Steinhart Aquarium tour, Richard Ross shows me the equipment needed to make the Philippine reef tank at the California Academy of Sciences look great. And there’s of course lots more shots of the tank. – by Mark Callahan

https://vimeo.com/61349647

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.

Link to Part 2

From mrsaltwatertank.com

Tank dabbler, reef enthusiast or reef junkie…they all love the same thing: really big saltwater aquariums.  I’m a die-hard reef junkie and I’ve seen some big reef tanks in my live, but nothing compares to the Philippine reef tank at the California Academy of Sciences.  And who better to give me a tour, but Richard Ross, a.k.a “Mr. Cuttlefish” himself. – by Mark Callahan

http://vimeo.com/59303628

From Animal Movers

Animal movers moved coral from Birch to CAS. You get to see me in a wet suit.

From SF Nerd Nite

“Boneless Sex: How Cephalopods Make Sweet, Sweet Love” by Richard Ross

Octopus, cuttlefish, nautilus, and squid are not just smart, not just masters of camouflage, but also masters of reproduction! This talk, which amounts to ceph porn, is packed with dirty pictures and dirty video of your favorite 8-armed animals in various stages of dirty relations, from the deed itself to “birth.”

Richard works as an aquatic biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences, maintaining many exhibits – including the 212,000-gallon Philippine Coral Reef – and caring for many cephalopods. An avid underwater videographer who has scuba dived all over the world, he enjoys spending time with his patient wife, his incredible daughter, and their menagerie of animals, both wet and dry.

In the three months since we put an Amphiocotpus marginatus we collected in the Philippines on display at the Steinhart Aquarium, the octopus, named Fontenelle, has been engaging visitors to the aquarium. Fontenelle is in plain sight 95% of the time, often in interesting ‘lookout’ poses, playing with toy squid and toy octopus, or moving its den from jars to bottles to clay pots while keeping an eye on the people watching its antics. This species is one of the boldest cephalopods I have worked with, hunting with startling speed and latching onto my arm with that same unnerving speed anytime I have to put  my hand in the tank. The growth rate on this animal is amazing, and since we decided not to be invasive with gathering data with this animal because we don’t want to stress it as we learn its husbandry needs (this may be the first time this species has been on public display) the two pictures below show the growth of the octopus in just a few months.

Even more exciting, Fontenelle has learned how to open jars by unscrewing the jars lid, one of the more captivating behaviors that octopus can learn (another being squirting me in the eye when I bring shrimp). The octopus has been opening jars for a couple of weeks already, and actually learned within a couple of days, but I have been unable to capture the opening on video. Either the jar is open before I get to the front of the tank, or the jar gets opened when I leave to attend to other animals. Today I set up the tripod before putting the jar in the tank and was able to catch the act on video. Its hard to see the actual unscrewing of the lid, and the final opening of the jar looks like the octopus simply pulls the lid up, but trust me, to get to that point the lid had to be unscrewed. Now, its time to start with other jars with more threads on the lid, tightening the lid much more, and finding other objects in which to hide food.

A. marginatus on bottle in display on June 1, 2011

The same octopus in the same bottle on August 10, 2011.

This lookout position is sometimes held for over 10 minutes

From TONMO and Reefbuilders

The Sepia latimanus, the broad club cuttlefish, at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences are  six months old and are really starting to show the behaviors of adults. Sometimes known as the Giant Cuttlefish, S. latimanus is reported to reach 50cm in length and weigh up to 10kg (though I have never seen one in the wild that size). With a lifespan of 1-2 years and such large size, it makes sense that a hatchling about 1 cm long in February could be almost 18cm long in July. Like all cephalopods, these guys are eating machines, able to completely eat a silverside in under 2 minutes – with no leftovers at all. They are being fed at least 3 times a day with different feeds including live crabs, live bait shrimp, thawed prawns and thawed silversides. With the fast growth, some issues have started to appear including minor ‘butt burn’, damage to the tip of the mantle caused by the animal jetting into the sides quickly (a big animal is a strong animal!) and inking events due to adolescent competition blackening the tank water. To help alleviate these issues, the population has been split into two groups, 2 animals on display and 4 animals in holding. The other adult behaviors are way more exciting.

In the video above (oh, blue lights and video – why do you hate each other) you can see a lot of color pulsing on the skin of the cuttles as they hunt for food. It is thought that this striking pattern and color show somehow helps in hunting, perhaps confusing prey into motionlessness. However, unlike wild adults, the color patterns have not yet reached down the two wide arms that are often stretched out horizontally during hunting – which incidentally help give this cuttle their ‘broadclub’ common name. The patterns also seem to originate at the back of the mantle, while wild adults seem to pulse more on the head and arms (as shown in the video from NOVA’s ‘Kings of Camouflage’ linked below). The other interesting behavior in the video above is the ‘banding-of-the-eyes-darkening-of-two-arm-tips-while-gesticulating-madly’ behavior (rolls off the tongue eh?), which only seems to occur when the animals are hunting silversides, perhaps this is another distraction technique.

As you can tell, I am over the moon with excitement over these behaviors, and even more excited that they are happening with the animals on display. If you are any kind of ceph-head and are in the SF area, I urge you to get down to the academy and take a look as these amazing animals while they are on display.

Text by Matt Wandell, Video by Rich Ross – Posted Jun 20, 2011 04:00 PM on Advanced Aquarist’s blog
Since our last update we’ve been able to observe mating several times, and Academy biologist Rich Ross has captured it on video.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish spawning and ‘birthing’ at the California Academy of Sciences, June 2011.

As reported earlier on Advanced Aquarist, the California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium has a pair of Ornate Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) on display which have released larvae in captivity. Since our last update we’ve been able to observe mating several times, and Academy biologist Rich Ross has captured it on video.

Check out the video below to see the entire process of ghost pipefish reproduction–from mating, to a close up look inside the female’s pelvic fins where she holds the developing eggs, to larval release. So far we have seen the female release between 20-50 larvae every morning for the last 8 days, followed by mating with the male as soon as we place them back together. Is this typical behavior for the species, or an artifact of captivity? Does she hold eggs and larvae of different age in her pelvic fins at the same time in the wild?

Before you go rushing out to obtain a ghost pipefish or two, you should be aware that the vast majority of these amazing animals collected for the aquarium trade die before ever reaching their intended destination. Those that do make it are often extremely weak from the journey. The individuals described here were carefully collected and shipped by Steinhart Aquarium staff from a shallow seagrass bed in a small Philippine bay to a display tank in San Francisco within less than 36 hours. Along the journey, they received several water changes and were always held in enormous containers. It is our firm belief that this extraordinary level of care during shipping is necessary for these fishes to arrive alive and in good health.

Things have been hopping at work with cephs! It is remarkable to work at a place with such diversity. Things are mating, hatching, eating and above all growing. I am amazed that the Sepia latimanus hatched in February this year are now almost 7 inches long. The Amphioctopus marginatus are growing almost visibly day by day. The Metasepia sp hatchlings are almost doing the same. Anyway, a video is worth a thousand words, so here is a bit of a long one featuring the A. marginatus on display moving faster than I thought possible, the Sepia bandensis on display (mating), the Metasepia eating and the S. latimanus eating and being burly!

From TONMO

http://vimeo.com/24524860As far as we can tell, on June 1st the Steinhart Aquarium became the first aquarium to display Amphioctopus marginatus, the Coconut Octopus or Veined Octopus. This small robust octopus has gotten a lot of attention over the past few yeas first as one of the documented octopuses capable of bipedal locomotionhttp://www.sciencemag.org/content/307/5717/1927.full and as an octopus possibly capable of tool usehttp://www.guardian.co.uk/science/pu…/2011/jan/20/1.

The animal on display was collected by Steinhart Biologists in Anilao, Philippines, as part of the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition http://www.calacademy.org/blogs/expedition/?p=800, just a week before going on display.

Needless to say, I am very excited to have the opportunity not only to have seen these animals in the wild, but also to be able to work with them in captivity. So much so that I am posting the above video shot on my iphone. In the video you can see the octopus flashing colors, a bit of a limb that is re growing, hunting and catching a ghost shrimp, and returning to its glass jar den.

From Advanced Aquarist blog

A team from California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium (including Advanced Aquarist writers/biologists Richard Ross and Matt Wandell) is currently at work in the Philippines. Thus far, they’ve managed to observe (and capture on video) many corals spawning. Today, Richard Ross posted their latest video of a Cespitularia soft coral spawning event taking place right now.

Biologists from Steinhart Aquarium collect coral gametes

On May 8, Richard Ross announced in Advanced Aquarist that Steinhart biologists were heading out into the field for “the most comprehensive scientific survey effort ever conducted in the Philippines.”

On their very first day of their expedition, Steinhart aquarists chance upon an Acropora spawning event and reported back two wonderful videos from their night dive (read Matt Wandell’s blog to watch the videos and to learn more about the SECORE (SExual COral REproduction) gamete-collecting initiative).

We now get word the team has produced yet another video, this time of soft coral spawning.  The video shows biologists collecting soft coral gametes.  These gametes will be carefully held until they are fertilized and ready to settle in captivity.  Watch the video below.

We eagerly await reports from the Steinhart team when they return.  Great work, guys!

Steinhart Aquarium staff are currently in the Philippines surveying the reefs that serve as inspiration for the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The most surprising part of the expedition so far–a coral spawning event on the first night dive.

Many corals reproduce by releasing millions of eggs and sperm into the water in coordinated events. What better way to ensure you’ll find a mate than triggering a mass orgy? The coral gametes are positively buoyant and collect at the water surface, where fertilization takes place. Within a few days the fertilized eggs develop into what are called planula larvae, a small sausage shaped stage of the coral which has the sole task of finding and settling on a suitable location where the coral colony will spend the rest of its life.

For public aquariums interested in displaying corals in captivity, spawning events are a big deal. The collection of millions of potential coral fragments can be accomplished in a sustainable way with no damage to the existing coral colonies. An initiative of public aquariums and coral reef scientists called SECORE (SExual COral REproduction) collects gametes from spawning events and carefully holds them until they are fertilized and ready to settle in captivity. SECORE’s tireless work in the Caribbean has resulted in thousands of captively grown fragments of the critically endangered stony coral Acropora palmata.

On the second day of the Philippine expedition Steinhart staff collected several hundred egg and sperm bundles from two yet-to-be-identified spawning Acropora spp. Tending to the fertilized eggs is a delicate task, but we hope to have fantastic news of settlement in the next few days.

Update

During the Hearst Expedition, biologist from the California Academy of Sciences witnessed Acropora spspawning (video below). They collected the spawn and are attempting to get it to settle while in the field.

 

 

From TONMO and The California Academy of Sciences

The stargazer, Uranoscopus sulphureus, eyes a potential meal passing over the muck

In stark contrast to the beautiful many-colored coral reefs of the Philippines, muck diving is a lot like being on the moon. You float over seemingly endless plains of desolate grey substrate. The major difference is the life; here in the ‘center of the center of marine biodiversity’ the silty muck is packed with animals. Tube anemones with commensal shrimp using their tentacles for protection dot the landscape. As you swim over the silty substrate, flatfish that were perfectly camouflaged in plain sight become visible only when spurred into motion by your passing. Feather Stars move their arms in slow motion, revealing commensal shrimp and squat lobsters hiding amongst the ‘feathers’. Venomous predators like Lionfish, Stonefish and Seagoblins hide in the muck looking for an easy meal. Ambush predators like the Stargazer lie mostly buried in the silt, just their skeletal face showing as they wait for an unlucky fish to swim by.

One of the animals that we have been looking forward to collecting for display at the Steinhart Aquarium during the Expedition is Amphioctopus marginatus, the Coconut Octopus. This is a little octopus, with a maximum 3 inch mantle and 12 inch arm span. It is plentiful in the Philippines, personable, tenacious, and has a habit of using found objects as temporary homes. Clay pots, bottles, tin cans and clam shells are all used as mobile homes for these octopus, complete with doors to close themselves in tightly and safely. They also will defend their homes, batting away anything that comes too close; even pushing a probing finger away with surprising strength. Sometimes they extend their arms and crawl around in the muck with their temporary home on their back, as if they are transforming into snails. All of this behavior should add up to a fantastic exhibit in the Steinhart Aquarium. Two Coconut Octopus have already arrived safely back at the Academy, and we look forward to putting them, and other animals collected on the trip, on display in the near future.

The eyes of this flatfish look like two different animals as they protrude from the substrate while the rest of the fish remains perfectly hidden

Tiny shrimp and squat lobsters live mostly unseen amongst the arms of a Feather Star


From TONMO

The Sepia latimanus at the California Academy of Sciences are now three months old, and they are growing fast. I was on a two week vacation and the doubled in size. They are also starting to show interactivity that the species is known for in the wild, and they very much know when they are about to be fed. I still haven’t seen the colors pulsing along the arms when hunting that I mentioned in a previous blog post, but we are seeing much more adult coloration along with amazing ‘light shows’ along their skin. I had time to sit and watch them for about 30 minutes after a feed and noticed that when they are done eating they all tend to stretch out their feeding tentacles – I was able to catch it and its the last clip on the video.
I am fortunate enough to be heading to the Philippines this month as part of the Hearst Expedition (http://www.calacademy.org/science/hearst/ ) to collect coral and cephalopods for display at work and very much hope to get some footage of S. latimanus in the wild.

From TONMO

Is been 10 days since the O. vulgaris eggs have hatched. The paralarvae were divided into three tanks, 2 pseudo kreisels (one with a light barrier, one without) and into the octopus display tank with just air bubbles for water motion. The female is still alive and tending several stalks of eggs that failed to hatch. Interestingly, the best paralarve surrival has been in the display tank – the complete opposite of what I expected. It could be that since this tank was long established that the paralarvae had better food choices, or it could be that the flow in the pseudo kreisel made the paralarvae work very hard, or it could be something else entirely. The hatchlings in the pseudo kriesel that were exposed to 24 hours of light are doing much better over all than the ones kept in the dark.

Hatchling S. latimanus - check out it unhatched sibling in the egg

On the cuttle front, Sepia latimanus are keeping most of my attention. These are a large cuttlefish (reported to get to 50cm and 10kg!) and working with them is a huge perk that comes with working at a public aquarium. I have seen these cuttles in Indo, Oz and PNG and they are amazing, generally interactive and interested in your hand if you point your fingers down making your hand resemble the head of a cuttlefish. Whey they are small, it appears they mimic mangrove leaves to avoid predation. They are often referred to as the ‘broadclub cuttlefish’ because of an interesting behavior. I have my own video of it buried somewhere, but here is a great clip from NOVA’s ‘Kings of Camouflage’

What I didn’t know was that they did the same behavior, minus the lightshow, right out of the egg. Here is the video from a previous blog showing what I mean.

The 20 eggs we have have almost all hatched and I have started to see the color changing abilities start to ramp up. I hope to have more video next week as the little cuttles get bigger and I am less scared of losing them.

From TONMO and Advanced Aquarist Online blog and a bunch of other outlets

About a month ago, we got a Caribbean Octopus ‘vulgaris’ in at work, and put it right on show on the public floor. It quickly took up residence inside a glass bottle, which is exactly what I wanted it to do so it would always be visible to the public. Just as quickly, it moved back under some rock and started denning, and my heart sank because I knew it was a she, and the she had laid eggs. While eggs being laid in captivity is generally an exciting event, this particular species, like many but not all octopus, stops eating after it lays eggs and dies soon after they hatch which tends to put a damper on joyous hooplah. Even worse, this species is ‘small egged’ meaning it produces large numbers of very small planktonic ‘paralarvae’ which are notoriously difficult to feed and raise. So, I tilted the rock where the eggs were laid to make them visible to the public (but in a high flow area so they would continue to develop), and the adult octopus moved back into the bottle making for an all round cool and educational display of something most people don’t get to see. The unexpected icing on the cake was catching the hatching of the eggs from start to finish, and also being able to get much of it on video. Sure these tiny hatchlings probably won’t survive long, but we are trying, and the image of a waterfall of tiny octopus paralarve flowing up from the egg mass to the surface of the water is something I don’t think I will ever forget.http://vimeo.com/20288962Nuts and bolts

  • Caribbean Octopus ‘vulgaris’ (there are several Octopus that use the species name vulgaris which is why its in quotes)
  • Roughly 3 weeks between eggs being laid and eggs hatching.
  • Hatching occurred at 9 am.
  • When I turned off the flow to better witness the hatching, the female octopus quickly left her bottle den, agitated the eggs presumably to help the hatch, and is now sadly protecting the space where the eggs were.
  • The female many hatchlings will be on display at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences until they can no longer be displayed.
  • The hatchlings are 1-2 mm in length.
  • There are 1000’s of them.
  • The hatchings are in a Kreisel tank and being offered 24 hour Artemia, which the literature suggests is the correct size to be eaten by the little octos, along with rotifers which are smaller to cover all the bases we can reasonably cover.
  • A previous batch of hatchlings from my home had individual paralarvae survive until day 9
  • The Caribbean Octopus ‘vulgaris’ seems to be a smaller species than its larger Mediterranean Octopus vulgaris cousins

Some pics –

A very posed photo in a drop of water

The lines in the upper corner are millimeters.

The female in her bottle. Note she has plugged the opening with rubble. After I disturbed her den and eggs, she moved into the bottle and laid 4 or 5 additional strands of eggs in the bottle.


by Jake Adams, video by Richard Ross

From Reefbuilders

There’s truly no better way to start the week than by transporting yourself to an imaginary place by watching an awesome reef video. Last week we had the Cozumel Dive video on an actual Caribbean reef and this week we have another great clip, this time by Richard Ross of the Steinhart Aquarium. Having seen and visited this exhibit many times, this video taken from the other side of the glass is by far the clearest view of the awesome fish population of this large reef exhibit. It’s particularly fascinating to see how the whole population of reef fish schooling together, regardless of species. Rich’s choice of music helps to set the tone for this super chill look at Steinhart’s awesome collection of reef fish, we’re really loving that one male Lamarck’s angelfish which appears multiple times in plain view.

From Reefbuilders

Metasepia pfefferi is an amazing species of flamboyant cuttlefish and I have recently had the opportunity to obtain multiple specimens of this species for the first time in 8 years. These flamboyant cuttlefish wasted little time getting on with mating, and with a little luck we’ll get to observe egg laying – and with a lot of luck egg hatching. I am incredibly excited about this video – you can see the males hectocotylus near the end of the vid! Currently, the Steinhart Aquarium has one Flamboyant on display and several more ‘off show’ for a breeding attempt. Before people rush out and try to obtain these guys, please remember that like all adult cuttles, they ship poorly. What does that actually mean? 80-100% DOA or DAA for animals that retail in the 300 to 600 dollar range. Furthermore, since they have a short lifespan (12 months or so) getting adults means that your time with them is going to be to short.

Metasepia are astonishing little animals found primarily in muck habitats. These vast, rolling underwater plains of settled silt and mud appear desolate at first glance, but are in fact populated by an unexpectedly large number of strange animals including frogfish, ghost pipefish and a stunning array of nudibranchs. Fitting right in with these odd neighbors, the Flamboyant Cuttle  is normally a master of camouflage blending in completely while walking along the grey substrate. When startled, however, those previously subdued colors change to bright purples, reds, yellows and whites. The colors shine out in coruscating patterns along the animal’s body probably to indicate the animals toxicity. The idea of keeping the more exotic cephs has generated much discussion in cephalopod circles, mostly because the size and health of their wild populations is unknown (and, at least in areas collected the populations seem to suffer). Even the sharing of information, photos or video of these animals in captivity can be controversial as some fear that detailed information and attractive photos and video may encourage inexperienced saltwater aquarists to obtain specimens and encourage over-collection, perhaps impacting the ability of wild populations to recover.

Personally, I believe that the admiration of a species can be of benefit to its preservation in the wild rather than its detriment.  My hope is that the open sharing of information empowers aquarists to make sound, rational decisions regarding the advisability of keeping and not keeping these animals. In other words, keeping Metasepia is not something that should be entered into on a whim and even experienced cephalopod keepers with mature tanks should think long and hard before trying to obtain this species. Their needs are resource intensive, expensive, and not yet fully understood, so at this point in our understanding of these animals getting one just because ’its cool’ seems to be a disservice to these incredible creatures. Hopefully, captive bred Flamboyants will be available, but until then enjoy the video.

From Reebfuilders

 

Cuttles cuttles cuttles. You probobly know the drill, but there is some great footage in this KQED Quest piece.

 

 

 

 

 

From Reefbuilders

Last MACNA in New Jersey I picked up a pair of brand spanking’ new Wyoming White (Amphiprion ocellaris) clownfish just released to the market by C-Quest via Ocean Gallery II. I flew the expensive little freak beauties home and set them up in their own 25 gallon tall, plumbed into my home 250 gallon culture system. They have their very own Stichodactyla gigantea carpet anemone which they share with a pair of porcelain crabs (Neopetrolisthes ohshimai) for neighbors. Light is from one 150 watt DE 20,000K bulb and one 24 inch Reefbrite actinic LED light strip. The water motion is provided by a Vortech MP10ES set to 70% on the longest interval of Short Pulse mode. I dig the freaks.