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Macna IV


  1. (M) MACNA IV Notes Part I
    by dbs/ (Dave Sheehy) (Fri, 5 Mar 1993)
  2. (M) MACNA IV Notes Part II
    by ()
  3. (M) MACNA IV Notes Part III
    by ()
  4. (M) MACNA IV Notes Part IV
    by ()
  5. (M) MACNA IV Notes Part V
    by ()
  6. (M) MACNA IV Notes Part VI
    by ()

(M) MACNA IV Notes Part I

by dbs/ (Dave Sheehy)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

I posted these notes a few months ago but apparently they didn't get out.
Anyway, in September of '92 I attended MACNA IV (Marine Aquarium Conference
of North America) where a number of the big names in the marine aquarium
world gave presentations. The following posts are the notes I took at those
lectures. In some cases the notes are a little sparse or even cryptic so be
aware that I was listening, writing as fast I could, and trying to comprehend
it all at the same time. If any of you that also attended MACNA want to
add/correct anything, please do so.

So without any further ado, here's part I:

Corals and Other Invertebrates of South East Asia - Peter Wilkens 

This talk was mostly a travelogue of his trip to the west coast of Thailand.
I didn't take very many notes as I was more interested in culturing 
information.  There was some material presented on animals which may be kept 
in reef aquaria along with corals.

One of the habitats shown was a very shallow reef flat where tidal movements 
were the primary source of water movement. Many of the reef animals (Xenia, 
Anthelia, and other soft corals) are often exposed out of water for several 
hours a day. The water also tended to be very turbid during tidal movements
and the water is often contaminated with sewage. Surprisingly, many corals
thrive in this environment.

Another habitat shown was an area where a stream empties into the ocean. Many
encrusting pipe corals (which we in the US often call star polyps) and 
encrusting anenomes (zooanthids) are collected from this area. This habitat
is often subject to extreme variations in salinity and temperature.

The boats used to collect corals are specialized and have 4 to 6 shallow
compartments (maximizing surface area) that are open systems where the water
is continuously changed. He was impressed by the number of specimens that can
be transported at one time without severely stressing them.

Peter contends that much damage is being done to the reefs by shipping and
oil production.

Some notes on animals and plants kept in reef aquaria:

	1. All species of Caulerpa contain varying amounts of a toxin which 
	   may kill fishes (and coral?).

	2. Many cowries are omnivores and may eat sessile inverts.

	3. Various urchins are used as scavengers in German reef aquariums
	   and also server to turn over the substrate (Germans tend to use
	   shallow substrates in their aquariums as opposed to those of us
	   in the US that tend to leave the aquarium bottoms bare).

	4. Some starfish are also used to scavenge and turn over the substrate.
	   The starfish pictured was of the type of starfish with finger shaped
	   arms. The pictured species was not identified but had dark colored
	   arms with round, smooth, tan colored knobs.

Dave Sheehy

From: (Dave Sheehy)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993 06:04:38 GMT

(M) MACNA IV Notes Part II

Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

	MACNA IV Notes Part II

The A B C's of Marine Fish Nutrition by Godfrey Waugh and Jill Hambrook-Broz

The presentors are from Aqualife Research the world's largest marine tropical
fish hatchery.

The intent of the lecture is to cover the basics of marine fish nutrition so 
you can select from the commercially available food products.

Dietary Components



	Important for:
		Cell Maintenance and Repair
	Proteins are comprised of amino acids. Amino acids are categorized into
	two groups: essential and non-essential.

	Essential - body can't build or store (10)
	Non-Essential - body has the ability to build or store

	Sources (in order of best to worse):

		1. Fish
		2. Blood
		3. Meat and Bone
		4. Seed and Soya

Lipids (Fatty Acids)

	1. Primary Energy Store
	2. Essentential components in cell membrane
	3. Vehicles for fat soluble vitamins
	4. Flavor
	5. Precursors to other compounds

	Lipids are categorized into two groups: saturated and un-saturated
	fats. Unsaturated fats are easier to break down and utilize than
	saturated fats. Omega 3 fatty acids are unsaturated. Omega 6 fatty
	acids are important for tropical fish.

Carbohydrates (Sugars, Starches, and Cellulose)

	Carbohydrates are a limited source of energy for fish.

	1. Catalysts for enzymes
	2. Essential for growth
	3. Essential for reproduction
	2. Essential for general health

	Approximately 11 water soluble and 4 fat soluble vitamins are known
	to be required by fish.


	Very small quantities of minerals are required. Marine fish get 
	them from the water but in aquariums they may need supplements.


	1. Crucial in reproduction
	2. Crucial in metabolic functions

	Fish obtain pigments from crustaceans. Astaxanthin and Canthaxanthin 
	are 2 pigments known to be required by fish. Pigments break down easily
	and as such they don't store well.


	Binding - Needed to hold food together but not so well that it is not

	Antioxidants - Needed to increase shelf life of vitamin A, vitamin E,
		and fatty acids.

	Medications - One of the best ways to deliver medications. This is 
		obviously an optional ingredient to be used as necessary.

	Attractants - Use to make the food more palatable. Studies show that
		the digestive rate increases with palatability.

Diet Breakdown

  Component	| % Diet	| Too Little	| Too Much	| Notes
  Protein       | 35-50%        | No Growth     | Excess is     | Best source  
                |               | No Appetite   | just excreted | is marine    
  Lipids        | 10-20%        | Little Growth | Fat Deposits  | Marine oils  
                |               |               | Liver Disease | best. More   
                |               |               |               | lipids less  
                |               |               |               | protein needed
  Carbohydrates | 8-17%         |               | Low growth    | problem w/   
                |               |               | Hi Mortality  | carnivores   
  Pigments      | .1-10%        | No Color      |               | Bloating and 
                |               | Repro Probs   |               | Mortalities  
  Binders       | .3-5%         | Loss of flake | Binds         | Quality and  
                |               | or pellet     | nutrients     | Quantity     

Vitamin and Mineral dietary requirements are in the handout.

Krill products supply pigments.

Selco or OSI Artemia food can be used to enhance food fed to fish/corals.

The presentors analyzed several of the available brands and types of fish food.
Several table were presented summarizing the results. They were presented too
quickly for me to even try to write them down. I asked for a copy of their 
slides. They took my name and address and promised to send copies (which is
awfully nice of them if they follow through).

Squid as well as shrimp/krill is an excellent base food for supplying proteins
and lipids.

One thing that did stand out is that krill in any form supplies most of the
required dietary needs of fish in the right ratios all by itself.

Brine shrimp are a little low in lipids (~8% fresh/frozen or freezed dried)
but protein content is high and they do provide needed pigments. So much for
the rumor that brine shrimp lack nutritive value.

Dave Sheehy

From: (Dave Sheehy)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993 06:08:45 GMT

(M) MACNA IV Notes Part III

Newsgroup: rec.aquaria


Healthy Fish, Everyone's Goal: The Medical Care of Marine Tropical Fishes -
Dr. Michael K. Stoskopf

Dr. Michael K. Stoskopf was the first Chief of Medicine for the National
Aquarium in Baltimore and served for a period of 8 years.

Michael focused his talk on the quarantine of marine tropicals.

The minimum effective quarantine period is 6 weeks.

Requirements of a Quarantine Tank:

	1. Biological Suitability
		a. Water Quality - The tank must be large enough to house its 
		   occupant(s) during the quarantive period.
		b. Dimensions - Low wide tanks are better than tall skinny ones
		   etc ...
		c. Behavioral Substrates - The fish need places to take refuge
		   to reduce stress
		d. Animal Density - Crowding is going to stress the fish.

	2. Easy Disinfection - the tank and its contents must be easily
	   disinfected between occupants. That means no coral or sand as it
	   cannot be disinfected. PVC and glass marbles are some recommended
	   materials that are disinfectable.

	3. Isolation - keep away from main tank(s).
		a. Splashing - It is very easy to transport pathogens via the
		   aerosol produced by air stones.
		b. Tools - Don't share things like nets, algae scrapers etc...
		   between the quarantine and main tank.
		c. Hands - Don't put your hand in the quarantine tank and then
		   put it in the main tank without washing in between.

	4. All in / All out - all fish have to go through together. Example,
	   if you put a fish in quarantine and then add another fish to the
	   quarantine tank then the quarantine time period starts over for
	   both fish.

Prophylaxis - Any prophylactic treatment is a tradeoff between the stress
	induced by the treatment and the damaged caused by the potential
	pathogen the treatment is for.

	Freshwater Dips - every other day, 3 times.

	Antibiotics - probably stupid to do as a prophylactic measure.

	Copper - immunosuppressant. Don't start a copper treatment until you're
		confident that there is no bacterial outbreak.

Important Quarantine Intervals

	Post Shipment Stress - allow stress to subside.

	Post Copper Rest - allow inmmune system to recover.

	Post System Exposure Observation - acclimation of new animals to main
		display microfauna.

Durations (and Quarantine Regimen)

	1 Week - Rest and Pre-treatment (freshwater dips)
	3 Weeks - Copper Treatment (.15 ppm)
	1-2 Weeks - Post Copper Rest
	1-2 Weeks - System Pre-Exposure

	System Pre-exposure - main display water is added to the quarantine
	tank in small quantities. The objective is to expose the new specimen
	to the main tank microfauna in a controlled setting. The new specimen
	may have never been exposed to some of the microfauna in the main
	display tank. After adding a small amount of system water you should
	observe the new animal for signs of disease and treat as necessary.


	Not very easy for the amateur. There are few signs and lots of 
	diseases.  The chances of correctly diagnosing a disease without lab 
	facilities is small.

	Diagnostic Methods:

		1. Examine in good lighting
		2. Culture
		3. Impression Smears
		4. Needle Aspiration
		5. Punch Aspiration

	Of the above, only 1. can really be accomplished by most amateurs.

Emergency Drugs

	Here's a short list of over the counter drugs/treatments that can be 
	used for the listed situations:

	1. Methylene Blue - good for nitrate toxicity. Use at 3 mg/L.

	2. Sodium Thiosulfate - good for Cl and Iodine toxicity. No rate given.

	3. Freshwater Dips - very good for reducing the parasite load in 
	   cryptocaryon infestations. 

Dave Sheehy

From: (Dave Sheehy)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993 06:12:02 GMT

(M) MACNA IV Notes Part IV

Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

	MACNA IV Notes Part IV

How to Raise 100 Clownfish and Still Keep a Job and Your Spouse - Martin Moe

I missed the beginning of this lecture due to lunch so I didn't hear the part
about selecting and conditioning the breeders.

Marine fish larvae live in the pelagic layer unlike freshwater larvae which
live mostly in the substrate. This makes their culture requirements different.

Some Do's and Don'ts:

	1. Don't turn lights on/off quickly. The fry will have a tendency to
	   jump or bash into the walls if you do. Mount the light to a stand
	   and gradually shift the stand away from the aquarium to darken it 
           and shift it back over to lighten.

	2. The light should shine from the top, vertically down. The fry orient
	   themselves to the light and swim towards it. If for example the 
	   light is coming from the side the larvae will continually bash into
	   the side of the tank and eventually injure themselves.

	3. Don't have a light colored tank bottom. This will fool the larvae
	   (which are phototropic) and they will bash themselves into the 
	   bottom trying to swim towards the light.

	4. Do darken the sides of the tank. The larvae are used to sighting
	   food against a dark background so the darkened sides will help them

The eggs are ready to hatch when the yolk sac is the same size as the eye.
After hatching the fry should be fed rotifers as a first food. Oyster
trocophonts (larvae) are now becoming available and one can experiment with
using them as a first food also. They are sold in tubes with serveral hundred
thousand to a million trocophonts per tube. They must be diluted to the proper
concentration before using (Tip: small diameter rigid air tubing can be used to
fabricate a pipette, 5 1/2" ~= 1 ml.). Start a brine shrimp culture going by
day 3. Once the larvae are eating brine shrimp you want to get them eating 
other foods ASAP. Put some shrimp in a blender to make a paste. Freeze that 
paste into a ball. Use the finest part of a grater to grate small pieces off
the ball and feed this to the larvae.

Keep the breeders on a light period of 12-14 hours day to keep them breeding.

The eggs can be artificially hatched by removing the spawning substrate,
leaning it at an angle against the side of the hatching tank and placing an
air stone at the base of the substrate. The bubbles will flow across the eggs
sweep away any debris. An ASCII diagram follows:

                           /\ __________________\
                          /  /                  /
                         /  /                  /
                        /  /                  /
                       /  /                  /
                      /  /                  /
 Spawning Substrate->/  /   o   oo         /
                    /  /    o oo oo       /
                   /  /    o oooo o <-------- Eggs 
                  /  /    oo oo ooo     /  .
                 /  /       o  o       /  /|\
                 \ /__________________/    |   Bubbles flow up and across 
                                           |   the eggs.
                       +----------+        |
      Air Stone ------>|          |==================================

Dave Sheehy

From: (Dave Sheehy)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993 06:14:58 GMT

(M) MACNA IV Notes Part V

Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

	MACNA IV Notes Part V

Mini-reefs and Coral Reefs: A Case of Symbiosis, or Predator-Prey? 
Dr. Bruce Carlson

Dr. Bruce Carlson is the director of the Waikiki Aquarium.

The emphasis of Bruce's talk was about his experiences growing stony corals in 
the Waikiki Aquarium. He also talked a bit about Nautilus, Tridacna clams, 
and the aquarium.

He started keeping corals in aquaria around 1972 while he was in the Peace 
Corps. He quickly found that some types did better than others and wondered
why. His aquarium looked much like the old standy marine aquarium, an air
driven UGF covered with coral gravel. At the Waikiki aquarium, corals are 
kept in open systems. Filtered sea water is piped through the exhibits and 
other tanks not on display. Natural lighting is provided via overhead 
skylights. In this fashion, he has been able to grow various Acropora corals, 
Seriatopora (sp?) corals, and Goniopora (specifically Stokesi) corals for 
several years. The Acropora grew to the top of the tank and he had
to start "topping" them. These "prunings" have been given to other public
aquaria and some of the better known hobbiests (e.g. I think Julian Sprung
got some coral pieces from Dr. Carlson). His Goniopora has survived for 11
years!. These corals are not fed and since the water is filtered there are no
plankton in the water for the corals to feed upon. They survive via the
zooanthellae in their tissues.

Dr. Carlson is interested in artificially propagating hard corals. He believes
that due to the deterioration of the world's reefs it is entirely possible that
collecting corals from the wild will be completely prohibited or impossible.
In the future, obtaining new specimens may only be possible by obtaining new
pieces from other hobbiests in the same manner that he is distributing his
excess hard coral fragments. He is providing spawning information (moonlight
cycles etc... to some European aquariusts. He is unaware of any activity in the
U.S. to spawn corals. 

He is also interested in the mortality of Goniopora in the aquarium. He 
postulates that since he is able to keep Goniopora in open system aquariums 
there must be something missing element(s) in closed system aquarium (be 
it chemical, lighting, or whatever) that accounts for their short survival 
time. Once that problem is discovered he believes it should be possible for 
Goniopora to not only survive but thrive in aquaria. In nature, Goniopora 
live in not so clean water and cover vast areas. In a general session, Dr. 
Carlson took an informal poll of those present who had kept Goniopora. Of 
those who had Goniopora survive for 2 or more years he tried to identify some 
common practices that might account for their success. None were apparent.

Dave Sheehy

From: (Dave Sheehy)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993 06:20:48 GMT

(M) MACNA IV Notes Part VI

Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

	MACNA IV Notes Part VI

Building the Modern Reef Aquarium - Julian Sprung

Julian outlines the "Berlin Method" of setting up a reef tank. His talk is
intended to be an extension to the material covered in his video.

Live Rock

	1. Choose lightweight open pieces. They should stack such that they
	   form an open structure.

	2. Don't use too much! The rock should visually fill a 1/3 of the 
	   volume. I take that to mean that the stacked structure (including
	   the open space) should fill 1/3 of the tank. Guidelines such as 
	   1 lb of rock per gallon doesn't take the density of the rock into
	   consideration. Too much rock provides more places for detritus to
	   build up and probably won't be as accessible.

	3. Use of dead material in the structure. Use dead material for 
	   structure only and cover it with face material. It is highly
	   desirable for the dead material to become seeded with coralline

Stacking Technique

	Stacked rocks can be made more stable by drilling holes in them and
	tying them together with cable ties. Use a masonry bit to drill the

	Cement can be used for dead material. Use Pure Portland and cure it
	for 2 weeks in freshwater.

	Eggcrate is ok to use in a reef tank but it isn't very aeshetic. It's
	better used in an aquarium shop for displaying invertebrates.

	Acrylic feet are very nice for a bare-bottom tank. The reef appears
	to "float".

The System

	Designs of overflow
	  Julian vastly prefers the internal overflow arrangement where the
	  tank is drilled and an overflow column is installed. These have 
	  fewer problems than the add on overflow units. These overflows often
	  use a "picket fence" type of strainer to keep animals from getting
	  sucked into the overflow. If you're designing your own the ideal
	  gap size is 1/8".

	  If you're using an overflow box (rather than drilling the tank) that
	  has prefilter material in one of the chambers make sure you install 
	  a perforated standpipe in the chamber and slide the prefilter 
	  material over it. This forces the water to flow through a greater
	  portion of the filter material.

	  There is a third type of overflow arrangement called a pipe overflow.
	  This is a horizontal pipe with holes along its length. Julian thinks 
	  that small animals can get sucked in. Those that use it claim it 
	  doesn't happen in practice.

	Mechanical Filter
	  Location - The prefilter is usually located in the sump but can be
	  located in the overflow as long as it is accessible.

	  Cleaning - the most important thing is that it should be easy to
	  clean. If it's easy, you'll do it.

	  Basket Design - A simple yet elegant design is a simple basket 
	  containing a quantity of filter floss. To change it, remove the old
	  floss and replace with new floss.

	Sump or "Resevoir"

	  A crude ASCII representation of Julian's figure of a sump follow's:

            ||<--- Water from tank/protein skimmer                       ||
	  +-------------------+                               To Tank -->||
	  | ||                |<--- Basket                               ||
	+--------------------------------------------------------+       ||
	| | ||__              |                                  |       ||
	| | |___              |                                  |       ||
	| |                   |                                  |       ||
	| |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX|<--- Floss                        |       ||
	| |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX|                                  |       ||
	| +-------------------+                                  |       ||
	|                            |        |                  |       ||
	|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|        |^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|    +--||---+
	|                            |CCCCCCCC|                  |    |       |
	|                            |CCCCCCCC|<--- Carbon  +----|----|       |
	|                            |CCCCCCCC|             +----|----| Pump  |
	|                            |________|                  |    |       |
	+--------------------------------------------------------+    +-------+

	  The sump is a location for activated carbon. Julian believes in 
	  using activated carbon and puts it in the sump where the water must 
	  flow through it. Use phosphate free carbon and even then test every 
	  new batch you buy with a phosphate test kit. Use DI or RO water and 
	  drop a couple of carbon granules in the water. Don't touch the carbon
	  as you will contaminate the carbon with phosphates from your skin. 

	  Additional live rock can be placed in the sump where it will act as
	  a denitrator. Use thick pieces so there will be anerobic areas in
	  their centers. Place them on eggcrate so the water can flow around
	  all sides. As an aside, Julian mentioned that D. Stuber's tank with
	  Acropora runs with a N+ level of around 40 ppm.
	  If you use a level switch in the sump to automatically replace water
	  lost via evaporation don't set up the switch so that it directly
	  controls the water main. This is a recipe for disaster as the switch
	  will eventually stick and you will have one big flood on your hands.

	  A new concept in reef tanks is the idea of refugia. Refugia are 
	  various areas which are isolated from the tank proper where certain
	  organisms can live free from predators. Many desirable organisms are
	  limited or wiped out from the confines of the main tank where 
	  predators will eventually find them. For example, their are various
	  copepods that come in on the live rock we put in our tanks. They 
	  provide food for some of the fishes in the reef (e.g. Mandarins). If
	  there is no refuge where they are free from predation they can be 
	  wiped out and as a result a valuable food source will be gone. One 
	  type of refugia is a layer of coral sand on the bottom of the tank.
	  This is very common in Germany and it provides a place for various
	  small organisms to escape predation. It is also believed that 
	  denitrification takes place in the sand. The sand should be fine 
	  (~0.5 mm diameter) and preferably be of carbonaceous composition. 
	  Avoid silica sand as it may encourage diatom blooms. When a sand 
	  layer is present you must also provide animals to turn over the
	  substrate to prevent it from "souring". Examples of animals to use
	  for this are sleeper gobies, small sea cucumbers, pistol shrimp,
	  Ambliagobius(sp?) genus gobies. (Ed Note: In his second talk, Peter
	  Wilkens also mentioned using certain urchins and starfish to turn
	  over the substrate.) Another possible refugia is the sump. A group of
	  Peppermint shrimp can be placed in the sump where they will clean the
	  sump. They will also spawn there and the young will be pumped back 
	  into the main tank where they will be a food source.

	Protein Skimmer

	  Protein skimmers should be considered a standard filtration item 
	  and not an accesory. The rule of thumb for the flow rate of a skimmer
	  is about one turnover per hour or better.

	  A simple schematic for a counter current skimmer was included in the
	  handout. It is reproduced below (ASCII graphics!). Except for one 
	  point it's no different than the various schematics posted in 

	  Venturi designs while not as popular are the most efficient. They are
	  becoming more popular as more manufacturers start making them. Also,
	  the venturi's themselves are becoming more available so it's now
	  possible to build your own DIY venturi skimmer.

	  One point where Julian's counter current skimmer is different is in
	  the design of the neck where the foam rises. He maintains that it is
	  better for the neck to be open and not constrict as in many designs.
	  The foam is supposed to dry better when it's not constricted.

                        |               |<--- Foam Rising Chamber
                 +------|--/            |     (Removable for Cleaning)
               | | +----|-/             |
     Effluent  | | |    |               |       | |
     Out       V        |               |       | |
                       +|---------------|+      | |
                       ||               ||      | |
                       ||               ||      | |
                       |+---------------+|      | |
           Coupler --->|+---------------+|      | |
                       ||    o     o    ||      | |
                       ||    |     |    ||      | +-----
                       +|---------------|+      | +-----
                        |    |     |    |       | |   ---->
                        |    |     |  --|---    | | Water
                        |    |     |  --|---    | | Out
                        |    |     |    | <---  | |
      Skimmer Body  --->|    |     |    | Water | |
                        |    |     |    | In    | |
                        |  +---+ +---+  |       | |
          Air Stones ---|->|   | |   |  |       | |
                        |  +---+ +---+  |       | |
                        |               |       | |
                        |      +--------|-------+ |
                        |      |  +-----|---------+
                        |      |  |     |
                        |               |

Dave Sheehy

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