Phosphate – that word you keep using, I do not think it means what what you think it means.

The drive to lower phosphate levels in reef aquaria has consumed reefers for the last decade, but is this never ending quest really necessary to have a thriving reef tank? This talk will discuss successful reef aquariums that run ‘high’ and ‘absurdly high’ phosphate and nitrate levels without experiencing disaster, possible reasons why this is happening, and what this might mean for reef keeping in general.

Lives and Money

Reef keeping is as much an art as it is a science. There is so much that we don’t understand about what actually goes on inside our boxes of water that we must rely on cultivating a ‘saltwater thumb’ for success over time. Building that saltwater thumb, however, can be a daunting task. There are a million opinions on every aspect of reef keeping, and todays reefkeeper can access those opinions thru websites, magazines, online forums, or those big heavy things on the shelves at home (Books? I think that’s what they’re called). All that information seems great at first glance, but it turns out that you can find support for every aspect of the hobby regardless of how ‘fringe’ it may be. The question is, how do you sift through all those opinions to make decisions about what to do with your reef tank? In this presentation, we’ll talk about how to deal with conflicting information, methodologies, opinions and products that are available to the modern reefkeeper.

From Hobbyist to Professional Aquarist – 212,000 gallons of reef

In 2008 Richard landed his dream as an aquatic biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences, just in time for the migration from its temporary home to its completely rebuilt, state of the art facility in Golden Gate park which houses, among other cutting edge exhibits, a 212,000 gallon reef aquarium. This talk will discuss not only the huge reef tank project from conception to ‘completion’, but also Richard’s transition from being mostly a hobbyist (and stay at home dad) to full time aquarist at a major public aquarium.

Kwajalein Atoll – endemic fish, the ups and downs of trying to get stuff done on a small pacific island, terrible and fantastic culinary experiences, and fantastic underwater life.

Ebeye, Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands was really just a vague place on a map for me until I had the rare opportunity to visit earlier this year. This is what I knew about the trip as I got on the plane – we were going to the island in the atoll where the local lived not the military base, we were going to be meeting a local fish collector, we were going to sail to, and camp on, one of the outer islands. That is pretty much it. *I had no idea where we would be staying, how diving was to be accomplished, or anything much at all about the realities of the trip. Either it would be great, or it would be a great story. This talk will cover, via photos and video, some nuts and bolts about the reality of a first world countries Military base and a third world country separated the high tide, unique fish for the aquarium trade, and how this adventure turned out to be a great trip and a great story.

Coral Sex Therapy: Helping Coral Make Sweet, Sweet Love

Don’t get out much? Feeling like you may never meet that special someone to make babies with? Oh, and are you a tad endangered, too? Welcome to the sex life of a sessile animal. In August, biologists met in the Florida Keys to better understand how spawning is triggered, collect and fertilize gametes in the lab, and then use those juvenile corals to colonize public aquariums, as well as repopulate the area around the Keys with healthy, genetically diverse coral. In this talk we’ll discuss why the corals are endangered, advances in the practicality of their sexual reproduction, and how people are helping protect and repopulate the corals that have been disappearing.

Steinhart and Science in the Philippines

Researchers from the California Academy of Sciences have been visiting an area called the Verde Island Passage off the coast of Batangas Province on Luzon Island, Philippines for almost 20 years because it is the “center of the center” of marine biodiversity; there can be more species of soft corals at just one dive site in this area than in all of the Caribbean. Thus it was only natural that when the Steinhart’s 212,000 gallon reef tank was designed, the Academy decided to represent the reefs of Luzon. The 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition, however, was a trip of a completely different magnitude: the largest expedition in the Academy’s history covering both land and sea. Consisting of a Shallow Water team, Deep Water team and a Terrestrial/Fresh Water team, the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity expedition, funded by by a generous gift from Margaret and Will Hearst, was the most comprehensive scientific survey effort ever conducted in the Philippines. Via video and photos, this talk will cover the expedition in general and Steinhart Aquariums role  – including the collection and shipping of corals, other hard to keep animals, and the fantastic display results after we got home (including spawning and hatching of Ghost Pipefish).

Boneless Sex: How Cephalopods Make Sweet, Sweet Love

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.”

Keeping and breeding Cephalopods

Octopus, Squid and Cuttles have captivated people since before anyone really knew anything about them. Both tiny and huge, there is something so intriguing about a wriggling mass of arms, tentacles, suckers, beaks and huge eyes that many myths and legends have risen up about these beasties. Do they attack ships and eat fisherman? Not so much, but they may try to escape from your tank and some can inject you with venom if they bite you! With their color changing abilities, apparent intelligence, boneless appendages and interactive nature, cephalopods are some of the most interesting animals to observe in the wild, or keep in home aquaria. And never has the time been better to keep these animals – we know more about which species are appropriate for captivity and how to care for them than ever before. In this talk, well cover cephs in general, their impact on human culture, the different kinds of cephs available for home tanks, husbandry, and breeding strategies with plenty of photo and video eyecandy.

Coral Farming, Fish Collecting and the Chain of Custody.

Before a coral or fish makes it to our tanks, it goes through a complex chain of custody. What happens of that chain has a large impact on the overall short and long term health of the animals. Several years ago I had the opportunity to consult on a fish collecting station/coral farm in Tonga. The experience was amazing, and although the project didn’t work out, I am pleased to share some the realities most hobbyists never get to see. The talk will cover the nuts and bolts of fish and coral collecting, coral mariculture, the chain of custody, and some worries and hopes for the future.

Papua New Guinea – from Reef to Muck

Papua New Guinea is part of the coral triangle and has some of the greatest underwater diversity in the word – everything from ‘muck’ diving to pristine reefs. This talk will be full of video and photo eye candy illustrating this amazing area of the world.

Other Talks

Specific talks on Wunderpus, Sepia bandensis, Metasepia and Octopus chierchiae are also available as well as custom talks on various aspects of the Aquarium hobby and trade.

Talk/Presentation Highlights

2016 MACNA “Magic Bullets” with Sanjay Joshi
2016 MACNA APEX breakout “I have a reef tank, I travel, and I am Lazy”
2016 Las Vegas Marine Aquarium Society “The Secret of Reefkeeping”

2015 Bay Area Reefers “The Secret of Reefkeeping”
2015 TONMOcon6 “Collection, Transport and display of Cephalopods at the California Academy of Sciences”
2015 MACNA “The difference between home and public aquaria”
2015 Nerd Nite East Bay, “Collecting and breeding the Pygmy Seahorse”
2015 NERAC (North East Reef Aquarium Conference), with Sanjay Joshi, Data – why it is important and why it gets ignored
2015 Bob Moore Frag Swap (Seattle) – Coral Farming and the Chain of Custody

2014 – Mountain West Reef Festival, Lives and Money, how to save more of both
2014 – Bay Area Reefers, Phosphate in reef Aquaria – should we really care?
2014 – WAMAS – Phosphate –that word you keep using, I do not think it means what what you think it means.
2014 – Marine Aquarist Roundtable of Sacramento – Phosphate – that word you keep using, I do not think it means what what you think it means.
2014 – MACNA – Phosphate – that word you keep using, I do not think it means what what you think it means.

2013 Bay Area Reefers – Kwajalein Atoll; endemic fish, the ups and downs of trying to get stuff done on a small pacific island, terrible and fantastic culinary experiences, and fantastic underwater life.
2013 Bay Area Reefers – The Secret of Reefkeeping
2013 The Aquatic Experience – Lives and Money
2013 The Aquatic Experience – Kwajalein Atoll; endemic fish, the ups and downs of trying to get stuff done on a small pacific island, terrible and fantastic culinary experiences, and fantastic underwater life.
2013 TONMOconV – Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
2013 ReefAPalooza – Kwajalein Atoll; endemic fish, the ups and downs of trying to get stuff done on a small pacific island, terrible and fantastic culinary experiences, and fantastic underwater life.
2013 Nebraska Reef Supply – Lives and Money; how to save more of both
2013 MACNA 25 banquet Host/Florida Coral Spawning
2013 Manhattan Reefs Spring Swap – Kwajalein Atoll; endemic fish, the ups and downs of trying to get stuff done on a small pacific island, terrible and fantastic culinary experiences, and fantastic underwater life.

2012 MACNA 24 – Lives and Money
2012 MACNA 24 – MBI Discussion Panel
2012 Nerd Nite SF – Coral Sex Therapy, helping corals make sweet, sweet love
2012 MBI workshop – Cephalopod Breeding

2011 MACNA 23 – Reef Decision Making (Skeptical Reefkeeping)
2011 MACNA 23 – MBI Discussion Panel
2011 NERAC -Reef Decision Making (Skeptical Reefkeeping)
2011 BAS – Is There A Cephalopod In Your Future
2011 TONMOcon 4 – Cephalopod Husbandry And Breeding At CAS
2011 SCMAS – Philippine Biodiversity Expedition
2011 BAR – Philippine Biodiversity Expedition
2011 Nerd Nite SF Boneless sex – How Cephalopods Make Sweet, Sweet Love
2011 Central Campus – 10 Best Things About Being An Aquarium Biologist

2010 MACNA 22  -Keeping And Breeding Cephlopods
2010 BAYMAC – Skeptical Reefkeeping
2010 NJRC – From Hobbyist To Public Aquarist – Steinhart’s 212,000 Gallon Reef Tank
2010 Reefstock – From Hobbyist To Public Aquarist – Steinhart’s 212,000 Gallon Reef Tank
2010 Best Of RAW – Breeding And Displaying Sepia banensis At CAS
2010 RAW – Breeding And Displaying Sepia banensis At CAS
2010 RAW – Water Motion For Coral Systems

2009 MACNA 21 – Welcome Ceph Overlords
2009 IMAC West – Collecting In Tonga
2009 BAYMAC – Paupa New Guinea

2008 BAYMAC – Collecting In Tonga
2008 House of Fins SPLASH – Welcome Ceph Overlords
2008 Aquamart Special Event – Collecting In Tonga
2008 Manhattan Reefs Spring Event – Welcome Ceph Overlords
2008 TONMOcon 2 – New Advnaces With Octopus chicheriae

2005 TONMOcon 1 – Keeping Cuttlefish In Home Aquaria
2005 BAR – Keeping Cuttlefish In Home Aquaria
2005 MARS – Keeping Cuttlefish In Home Aquaria

2 Comments

  1. Hi, Rich,

    Can you send me contact info so I can talk to you about talking to us (a local dive club)? We’re not aquarists, but we are geeky about diving with fish and the spineless set.

    Thanks!

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