fredag den 25. januar 2013

Monster fish attacks man

Hello all,
Just saw some wonderful images I wanted to share - the very talented mr. Isley combined toy figures with reef fish and the result is stunning:

Hilarious (with great skill as well).

The collection can be seen at DailyMail, were they write:
"Jules Verne might have written the classic 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, but now one British photographer has created his own hilarious version of what a life beneath the waves might entail.
Underwater photographer, Jason Isley, 42, originally from Essex, decided to have a bit of fun for a change with some of the smaller colourful reef fish in Borneo and Indonesia.
So he got a selection of toy human figures from soldiers to sunbathers and photographed them in a set of hilarious scenes as they interacted with the fish and other sea creatures."

All the best,


onsdag den 23. januar 2013

Easy way of catching shrimps - free shrimp trap

Hello all,
As known to everyone who has ever kept Red Cherry Shrimps (RCS) or any of their cousins, the Shrimp-experience goes something like this:

First month - why doesn't my Shrimps breed? Do they hate me? Are they dying? What Can I DO!
Second month - Wuhuu, success! They breed and they love me. I'm the best Shrimp-farmer ever!
Third month - Hmm, that is quite a lot of shrimps. I wonder what I should do...
Fourth month - AARGH! Shrimps everywhere, how do I get rid of them???

True story, more or less :-).

Beautiful red cherry shrimp

In my experience, once the RCS have established themselves they breed like rats and need serious culling (i.e. the process of removing breeding animals from a group). Now I've both sold and donated a lot of shrimps to other fish-keepers and have now begun using them as a natural source of food for my larger fish. This is all fine and great, but catching the little buggers can be quite a challenge, and after ruining an aqua scape several times I decided to get sneaky!

The following is the first shrimp trap I made and it functions very well. I'll be back in a couple of days with the other, larger trap I constructed later.
Again the concept was to use what ever I had in the house and you can use anything similar to the ingredients I used.
Shrimp trap
 This is the trap: A small plastic container (cleaned, of course), with a small hole cut from the top. I siliconed a small stone to the bottom to get it to sink to the bottom and a few strings to be able to easily extract the container again.
When a bit of food is put inside the container and it is left alone the shrimp will enter the opening, but will (because, lets face it, they are stupid) be unable to get out again.

Full shrimp trap
 This is the trap after an hours submersion - at least fifty shrimps have fallen for my trap :-). And all the hungry fish were soon mightily pleased!

All the best,

Fruit paste as fish food?

Hello all,
Well, apparently fish really like fruit paste :-).
As the stuff sinks, is full of good stuff, and is often not eaten by my kids, this is really nice - no more throwing it in the trash.

All the Best,

tirsdag den 22. januar 2013

Slime mold in the Aquarium

Hello all,
I recently told the story of my experiences with marine fungus growing on a Red Moore root. This reminded me of another crazy visitor to my fishtanks (I sound like an old sailor...).
When I initially set up the large aquarium, I saw something weird after a few weeks.

After searching the net hard and far, it turns out that this visitor was not an algae or similar (which I initially thought) but a type of marine slime mold.
Apparently these are something of a mystery to everyone, but shouldn't harm the aquarium in any way. 

 Now, unfortunately for the average non-marine biologist, information on these weird growths are very difficult to get hold of. But they are neither plants, mushrooms, or alage. Instead they are thir own little box, of unrelated but similar beings, halfway between fungi and snail-like creatures. The various types of slime molds can be seen here on this thourough German homepage: (that states it describes 'Die fabelhafte Welt der Schleimpilze' :-)). Schleimpilze, I guess that translates into Slime-sausages....
Oh, and they move. Each morning the thing would have shifted across the aquarium to a new location. Quite fascinating!
I had, through a friend who is a marine biologist, set up a meeting with a Dane who happens to know something about these molds, but it took so long that the thing had disappeared by then. I have not seen it in over a year, and I fear it died or was sucked into the pump or something similar.

Shame, I would have loved to find out which type it was.

Slime molds are best known from the study that proved that a single species might have casued ill-effects on Eel Grass (i.e. "Labyrinthula sp., a marine slime mold producing the symptoms of wasting disease in eelgrass, Zostera marina", by Muehlstein, Porter, & Short), a study that is available online (

According to their abstract they state that "Coastal ecosystems along the eastern United States are presently threatened by a recurrence of the wasting disease of eelgrass, Zostera marina L. Using Koch's postulates, a species of the marine slime mold, Labyrinthula, is identified as the causal microorganism of this disease. Our disease tests for pathogenicity performed on eelgrass, using four Labyrinthula spp., indicate only one species produces the disease symptoms identical to those found associated with the wasting disease. The pathogenic Labyrinthula sp. has morphological characteristics that distinguish it from the other three species. Identification of Labyrinthula spp. is difficult because species described in the literature are not clearly characterized or identifiable. Tests at various salinities demonstrate that disease symptoms appear infrequently at salinities of 10%. or less."

 Also these videos by Princeton's John Bonner show just how amazing slime molds are:

 Cool stuff!

All the best,

White Growth on Red Moore roots? Causes and a quick fix

Hello all,
was just reminded of one of my first "wtf"-moments of keeping fish. I had bought an expensive piece of 'driftwood', called Red Moore roots (AKA Spiderwood) and was thoroughly enjoying it.

The root, seconds before the fungus attack .-)

And then this weird, white growth appeared and crawled all over my pretty decoration.
Nasty, I thought and began panicking.
Today I know better and would love to share this with all of you :-).

Apparently whenever a root that has been boiled or similarly treated is inserted into an aquarium, a species of marine fungus will take this as their chance to prosper. And when they prosper, they grow large enoguh that we can see the resulting white fussy and fluffy growth.
And good luck searching for the scientific name of this species of fungus. Each type of wood has its own particular species of marine fungus. And as marine fungi are among the worst investigated lifeforms on Earth, theres quite a good chance we shall never know the name of the redmoore eating fungus.

Well, this is the easy part. If you are not in a hurry, then just let it be. Once your aquarium gets better established the inherent bacteria will triumph. Growing much quicker than the fungus, they will soon conqour the spot and eat the easily available nutrients that the root is leaking.
If you are in a hurry (or find the growth disgusting), all shrimps love the fungus, and quite a few catfish (and other types of fish) will also eat the growth. So either way nothing bad will happen - either it will disappear on its own, or it will provide free food for your aquarium :-).

This qoute (from an old defunct homepage) sates the above in better English :-):
About Fungus

Sometimes when an enthusiast brings driftwood home, the temptation to boil it before adding it to their aquarium becomes too great to ignore. When they do this, they sterilize the wood and leave it vulnerable to fungal colonization. If this happens, do not panic! Two things to note:

1. This fungus is harmless to both fish and plants. In fact, many fish will seek it out to eat it. Yes, it looks unplesant but boiling the driftwood again and again to get rid of it is futile. This just restarts the cycle of colonization.

2. This fungus is temporary. Once the natural bacteria in your aquarium have a chance to get a foothold, they will colonize the driftwood and out compete the fungus. The fungus will then seem to disappear; almost overnight.

All the best,
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