Jellyfish enthusiasts are invited to a private after-hours evening on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at SEA LIFE London, where they can enjoy a jellyfish masterclass in the aquarium’s newest experience, Ocean Invaders: Enter the World of Jellyfish.
The event will take place from 7–9.30pm, when SEA LIFE’s in-house experts will welcome guests to the behind-the-scenes area or the so-called ‘jelly-nursery’ zone where baby jellies are being bred before moving into the Ocean Invaders experience. The new exhibition is interactive, sensory-led and divided in to three areas – ‘Discover’, ‘Understand’ and ‘Wow’- where visitors can observe over 5,000 jellyfish.
Visitors will have the unique opportunity to spend time with SEA LIFE’s Senior Curator James Robson and understand the lifecycle of these mesmerising species, as well as an insight into how they survive without having a brain, heart and eyes.
Aside from leading the SEA LIFE London team of jellyologists to breed more than 10,000 jellyfish on-site, James is also in the process of obtaining a PhD in Jellyfish Swarms and Shark Behaviour. On the night he will be on-hand to talk to guests about how the team take care of such magnificent creatures, what their future in the eco-system looks like, as well as sharing his prediction of the massive jellyfish swarm heading to UK shores this summer…
All profits raised from the event will be donated to the SEA LIFE Trust – a registered charity dedicated to protecting our oceans and the amazing wildlife that calls them home.
This is the third in a series of events which SEA LIFE London has hosted and will be running throughout the year. A.Q.U.A Nights (Artistic, Quirky, Unusual Activities) will give guests a chance to experience the attraction in a different way and raise money to help protect our incredible oceans.
To book your place and get an exclusive behind the scenes look at Ocean Invaders, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/behind-the-scenes-of-ocean-invaders-enter-the-world-of-jellyfish-tickets-33239547381
Staff at Dogs Trust in West London usually rehomes and provides care for four-legged friends, but the Uxbridge-based charity has offered a new home to a goldfish called Maverick, previously owned by local Paralympian Jordanne Whiley.
Jordanne was devastated when she returned home from a weekend away and discovered that her pond had been destroyed by Storm Doris, with her Koi not surviving the extreme weather.
“I couldn’t believe what had happened,” she explains. “The storm had pushed over a canopy into the pond in my garden, causing the majority of the water to drain out. The Koi were lying motionless in the bottom and sadly didn’t make it; however I could see that Maverick, the large goldfish, was still faintly breathing. He had ended up in the only pocket of water that was left in the pond.”
Not wanting to leave Maverick all on his lonesome in the pond, Jordanne approached her local Dogs Trust to host an unlikely resident — she knew the charity had a large pond in its grounds, as she volunteers at the rehoming centre every Sunday and Monday, helping out in the tea rooms. So now she gets to see Maverick with his fishy friends in his new home every week.
With an impressive list of sporting accolades under her belt, Jordanne received a bronze medal in Women’s Doubles at last year’s Rio Paralympic Games. The 24-year-old has also been crowned Wimbledon Ladies Wheelchair Doubles Champion for the last three consecutive years.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or offering any homeless hounds a loving home, please call Dogs Trust Harefield on 0300 303 0292 or visit www.dogstrust.org.uk for more information.
We know you're going to love this little plush catfish as much as we do, says Nathan Hill.
I spotted this thing on a recent shoptour to New Concept Aquatics, and from the moment I saw it stuck to a display tank, I knew I was going to steal it.
In the end, it didn’t come to that. Instead, I dropped hints, went on about it over and over, gave up my best puppy dog eyes, and eventually store owner Craig caved in and let me have it for review.
What is it? It’s a scaled up, morphometrically correct Otocinclus plushy, with a suckermouth, and with all the right markings. Flip it over, and it even has the ‘pink tint’ where the gills are usually seen through the thin neck skin.
Palaeoplushies mainly makes dinosaurs, so this is a bit of a sideline, and production is on an ‘as and when’ basis, but keep an eye on the website and when new designs come up you can race with me to buy them.
What can I add? It’s about 16cm long, feels wonderfully soft, and makes me smile every time I look at it. I posted a picture of me with it on social media, and my message notifications wouldn’t stop pinging all damn night afterwards. Everybody wanted one.
More info: palaeoplushies.com
The UK's leading aquatic shop chain, Maidenhead Aquatics, has a fantastic opportunity for an ambitious individual to create and develop a new online business, based at the company's Head Office in Egham, Surrey.
This is a broad role encompassing the development of e-commerce and analytical platforms, team management, liaison with suppliers and senior management, all whilst providing the highest level of customer service.
The ideal candidate will be a hands-on and social person with relevant managerial e-commerce experience. Click here to find out more about the role, what Maidenhead Aquatics are looking for and how to apply.
Find out what other career opportunities are available with Maidenhead Aquatics at: https://fishkeeper.co.uk/jobs.
Scientists with a love of rock music have named a new species of pistol shrimp after British rock legends Pink Floyd.
Synalpheus pinkfloydi has a large pink claw, which is so bright that it almost seems to glow. which it closes at rapid speed to generate sonic energy — this creates a noise loud enough to kill small fish.
Sammy De Grave, of Oxford University Museum of National History, says he has been a fan of Pink Floyd since the band released its acclaimed album The Wall back in 1979, when he was just 14.
Synalpheus pinkfloydi is found off the Pacific coast of Panama.
A lovely new species of Hyphessobrycon has been described from the Orinoco River basin in Colombia.
Hyphessobrycon klausanni was discovered in upper Guaviare River drainage.
Measuring 2.3cm (SL), the new species was found living in shallow, well-oxygenated streams with clear water flowing over various substrates including rock, sand, gravel and leaf litter, and among aquatic vegetation, tree roots and logs.
Temperature was 25.5–26°C, but pH varied from 6.47–8.7.
Research leading to the discovery of this new species was partially funded by Mr. Klaus-Peter Lang from Oberhausen, Germany, and the species name is dedicated to and named for his father, Klaus and his mother, Anni.
For more information see the paper: García-Alzate CA, Urbano-Bonilla A, Taphorn DC (2017) A new species of Hyphessobrycon (Characiformes, Characidae) from the upper Guaviare River, Orinoco River Basin, Colombia. ZooKeys 668: 123-138.
Have a passion for plecos? Suckermouth catfish fans in the south-west of England have a real treat in store on Saturday, May 20, as Wiltshire Plecos and the Catfish Study Group join forces to present a very special event, to be held at Maidenhead Aquatics @ Melksham.
There will be a talk by catfish expert Julian Dignall — the man behind the fabulous Planet Catfish website — entitled: Rio Xingu: ‘last chance to see’.
In addition, Mark Walters, who was featured with his amazing fish house in the Spring issue of Practical Fishkeeping, will be giving a talk on his experiences with breeding suckermouth catfish.
Doors open at 10am with the first talk at 12 noon and the second at 2pm, with lunch held in between. There will be experts from some of the leading aquatic companies on hand, plus a raffle with some great prizes to be won.
The event is open to everyone of all ages, so why not pop along and have a great day out?
Maidenhead Aquatics @ Melksham is located within Leekes department store on the A350, close to Melksham town centre.
You can find it at Leekes, Beanacre Road, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 8AG.
Check out the Wiltshire Plecos Facebook page.
World Feeds, UK manufacturer of the popular Vitalis fish foods, has added a new holiday food to its range.
With the launch of the HolidayGRAZER, fishkeepers can rest assured that their fish will be fed regularly for up to seven days while they are away from home.
The Vitalis HolidayGRAZER has been designed to provide locked-in high quality nutrition in the aquarium using World Feeds’ unique soft, stable, non-dissolving gel technology which does not allow feed to break up into the water. This feature maintains water quality and reduces waste.
The food remains soft, allowing fish of every size to graze throughout the week, ensuring the correct amount of high quality nutrition is provided for all tropical and freshwater species while owners are on holiday.
Not a replacement for complete fish food, the HolidayGRAZER nutrition comprises natural, sustainably sourced ingredients, formulated to keep fish in good health when hobbyists are absent.
The HolidayGRAZER is sold in pouches, two in small inner foil packs, from which each is easily removed, attached to the suction fitting provided, and then pressed firmly onto the glass halfway down inside the aquarium.
When it comes to keeping fish, maintaining a well-balanced and healthy diet is vital to good health and wellbeing.That’s why Tetra has now added the myFeeder, a new automatic feeder, to its range of products.
The new myFeeder uses unique technology to maintain food quality by protecting it against light, air and moisture, ensuring that food stays fresh and retains nutrients and consistency for several weeks. This means the myFeeder is also the ideal product for fishkeepers who sometimes work away, or are planning a holiday.
Complete with a 100ml food compartment and transparent window, you can easily check the food levels to make sure that it’s not running low. This also makes refilling quick and easy, making sure that fish have sufficient food levels if they’re being left for a few days.
Using the digital display, you can set the feeder to feed your fish up to three times a day. Manual feeding is also possible, and for those wanting to offer a varied diet, TetraMin Flakes, Crisps and Granules can be added alone or mixed together.
The new automatic feeder can be fitted onto any aquarium, either directly on the glass using the flexible mounting clamp or on the top of the aquarium lid using the four rubber, individually adjustable support feet that also keep the feeder secured on uneven surfaces.
Key features of Tetra’s new myFeeder
- Unique technology maintains food quality, protecting it against light, air and moisture, for long lasting freshness.
- 100ml food compartment and transparent window for quick and easy refilling.
- Digital display for simple scheduling.
- Rubber feet and flexible clamp for easy fitting.
The Tetra myFeeder, which comes with two high-quality Varta batteries, has an RRP of £39.99*.
*Any reference to pricing is purely indicative; retail pricing is entirely at the retailer’s discretion
Take out a subscription to PFK and take advantage of this amazing offer.
The Fluval U-series of internal aquarium filters have recently undergone a few design tweaks and improvements, based on feedback from the fishkeepers who used them (so top marks there to the manufacturer Rolf C. Hagen for listening). As a result, this best-selling range of filters are now even better — and here's your chance to get a Fluval U2 model (RRP £46.99) when you subscribe to PFK.
The U2 filter is easy to use, quiet running and suitable for fresh or saltwater aquariums up to 110 l.
Features of the new Fluval U2 filter include:
- New sleek design
- New easy grip water control paddle
- New redesigned media cartridge – traps more debris
- Use as a primary filter for smaller aquariums, or supplementary filter for larger aquariums
- Position horizontally for shallow tanks, larger tanks with low water levels, or to create a decorative waterfall feature
- Position vertically against aquarium wall to create currents or customized flow patterns
- Convenient flip-top lid allows for quick and easy access to filter cartridge for maintenance or replacement
- Adjustable three-way flow control: Top output for circulation and oxygenation, integrated spray bar for a gentle even flow, and bottom output for deepwater agitation
- BioMax biological media, two foam pads and two poly/carbon cartridges are all included
- Made in Italy.
So click right here to subscribe today and receive your complimentary Fluval U2 filter. This offer closes on May 9, 2017. What are you waiting for?
The May 2017 issue of PFK is packed from cover to cover with gorgeous fish — some you’ll be familiar with, others you might not be.
Our cover star is the tiny Dwarf puffer — a fish with considerable character for its small size and which will quickly become a favourite with the whole family. Find out how to keep — and even breed — these pea-sized fish inside.
Our fish of the month is the Bleeding heart tetra. Find out just why these fish are one of Peru’s greatest tropical exports.
Check out some new fish we came across in the shops lately — and the return of an old favourite with pleco fans.
We have inspiration with a reader’s Pantanal-themed aquarium, plus a striking Indian-inspired planted tank for smaller spaces, and you can find out how a group of piranha got a shiny new aquarium for a shop display.
Red-spotted gobies, breeding Corydoras, water hardness made easy — it’s all here! And if you’re new to fishkeeping, we have a brand new beginner’s section to help you out.
Marine fishkeepers can find out how to win the nuisance algae battle, there’s a spotlight on some of the more aquarium friendly damsels — and if you’d like to spend more time just sitting back and enjoying your marine tank, meet a reader who, despite a huge aquarium, is using a system that lets him do that.
We compare two of the most popular pondfish in a face to face, head to hood battle, there’s advice on keeping disease at bay in your pond this year — and did we mention the free 16-page beginner’s guide to Koi keeping pull-out?
We did say it was a packed issue!
Don’t forget you can now buy the latest issue of Practical Fishkeeping online (with free postage) as well as in the shops. Click here for more details.
Or why not take out a subscription to PFK and take advantage of our great welcome gift — a new Fluval U2 underwater filter, worth £46.99! Click here to find out more.
Rocky the red Oranda is a big girl. She weighs in at 2lbs 10oz and is nearly a foot in length. Her owner, Andy Green, of Star Fisheries in Surrey, reckons she could be the largest goldfish in the country and she's certainly the largest Oranda ever imported into the UK.
Three-year-old Rocky came from China after Andy spent months trying to talk the breeder into selling her to him. Star Fisheries specialises in top quality fancy goldfish and Rocky is a prime specimen of an Oranda. Andy says he wouldn’t accept less than £4,500 for her now.
And if that sounds a little on the expensive side for a goldfish — even one the size of Rocky — Andy adds that a panda Oranda was sold by Star Fisheries a couple of years ago for £6,500.
A new study has shown that there are many more glowing (bioluminescent) animals in the ocean than we first thought.
Ever since explorer William Beebe descended into the depths in a metal sphere in the 1930s, marine biologists have been astounded by the number and diversity of glowing animals in the ocean. Yet few studies have actually documented the numbers of glowing animals at different depths. In a new study in Scientific Reports, MBARI researchers Séverine Martini and Steve Haddock show that three quarters of the animals in Monterey Bay waters between the surface and 4,000m deep can produce their own light.
You would think it would be easy to count the number of glowing (bioluminescent) animals in the ocean, just by looking at videos or photographs taken at different depths. Unfortunately, very few cameras are sensitive enough to show the pale glow of many marine animals. Below 300m the ocean is essentially pitch black, so animals don’t need to glow very brightly. Also most animals don’t glow continuously because making light takes extra energy and can attract predators.
Because of the difficulty in counting glowing animals at depth, most previous estimates of the proportion of glowing animals were based on qualitative observations made by researchers peering out the windows of submersibles. Martini and Haddock’s study is the first ever quantitative analysis of the numbers and types of individual glowing animals at different depths.
The researchers compiled data on every animal larger than one centimeter that appeared in video from 240 dives by MBARI’s remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in and around Monterey Canyon. They counted over 350,000 individual animals, each of which had been identified by MBARI video technicians using a vast database known as the Video Annotation and Reference System (VARS). The VARS database contains over five million observations of deep-sea animals, and has been used as a source of data for more than 360 research papers.
Martini and Haddock were surprised to find that the proportion of glowing to non-glowing animals was pretty similar from the surface all the way down to 4,000m. Although the total number of glowing animals decreased with depth (something that had been previously observed), this was apparently due to the fact that there are simply fewer animals of any kind in deeper water.
Even though the proportion of glowing to non-glowing animals was similar at all depths, the researchers found that different groups of animals were responsible for the light produced at different depths. For example, from the sea surface down to 1,500m, most of the glowing animals were jellyfish (medusae) or comb jellies (ctenophores). From 1,500m to 2,250m down, worms were the most abundant glowing animals. Below that, small tadpole-like animals known as larvaceans accounted for about half of the glowing animals observed.
The analysis also showed that some groups of animals were much more likely to glow than others. For example, 97 to 99.7 percent of the cnidarians (jellyfish and siphonophores) in the videos are able to produce their own light. In contrast, only about half of the fishes and cephalopods (squids and octopuses) are bioluminescent.
Commenting on the significance of her research, Martini said, “I’m not sure people realise how common bioluminescence is. It’s not just a few deep-sea fishes, like the angler fish. It’s jellies, worms, squids…all sort of things.” In fact, she and Haddock concluded their paper by writing, “Given that the deep ocean is the largest habitat on Earth by volume, bioluminescence can certainly be said to be a major ecological trait on Earth.”
They may look rather like garishly dyed or tattooed fish, but in fact the specimens swimming about in this aquarium are all robots.
These incredibly lifelike fish are on display in the the entrance hall of the newly-opened Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay in Japan — which is staffed by robots. Henn na Hotel means ’strange hotel' in Japanese.
It’s the second robot-staffed hotel operated by H.I.S. Co. to be opened in Japan.
Macduff Marine Aquarium in Scotland is to close for several weeks after the Easter holidays for a full refurbishment of its popular kelp reef display tank.
The Aberdeenshire attraction’s 400,000 l kelp tank is Scotland’s deepest open-topped tank at 5m depth and 10m diameter. Open to the sky, it allows seaweeds to grow under natural daylight and is home to over 100 fish and countless invertebrates.
Macduff Marine Aquarium has stood on the shore of the Moray Firth since 1997 and is a popular attraction and major driver for tourism in the Macduff area.
Tying in with the aquarium’s 20th anniversary, Aberdeenshire Council, which owns the attraction, has announced the makeover of the kelp exhibit. This will mean draining the tank, before stripping the existing lining off the walls and a new lining applied before the tank theming is rebuilt. The fish will be held in temporary storage while the work is carried out.
The whole job will take around 11 weeks to complete and the aquarium will remain closed during that period, but is scheduled to re-open in time for the summer holidays with a brand new look to the kelp tank.
The aquarium’s manager, Claire Matthews, said: “The kelp tank is one of our star attractions here at the aquarium and visitors especially enjoy watching our divers hand-feeding its inhabitants.
“We are very excited to get started and catching all the fish will be our first challenge.
“But first we’re looking forward to a busy Easter — after all, it’s the last opportunity for people to see the tank before the big makeover.”
The aquarium team will be posting updates regularly on social media throughout the refurbishment process, visit www.facebook.com/macduffmarinequarium for more information.
While in Europe there is a rich fauna in caves, there were no fish known that lived in them — but all that has changed with the discovery of a cave-dwelling loach. This little fish is not only the first cave fish found in Europe but is also the most northerly cave fish in the world.
The loach, from the genus Barbatula, was found in Germany, in a 250 square kilometre underground karst water system where percolating water from the Danube flows to the Aach spring north of Lake Constance.
To find cave fish at all in such a northern region of the earth is completely unexpected. It was assumed that cave fish are only found in areas where the ice-age glaciers hadn't buried every living thing under their path. The results presented by the research team suggest that the newly discovered cave fish, a loach, did in fact first broach the darkness after the end of the ice age and thereafter became a troglodyte (cave dweller). “It was only when the glaciers retreated that the system first became a suitable habitat for fishes. They must have moved there at some point following the end of the Würm glacial period, a max. of 20,000 years ago and seemingly from the Danube. Our genetic analyses are very clear on this,” mentions Professor Arne Nolte from the University of Oldenburg/Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology Plön.
“In this short period of time from an evolutionary perspective the fishes have developed into real cave fish. Their eyes are much smaller than in surface fish, almost as if they were curved inwards and their colouring has almost disappeared. The fish have elongated projections on their heads, so-called barbels, and their nostrils are larger than those of their cousins who live closer to the surface,” explains Dr Jörg Freyhof from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). There are no predators within the cave fish’s environment, so that life far below the surface is very safe for the loach. Small cave crustaceans and cave snails have also been detected in the underwater passages. They most likely provide the fishes with their staple diet.
The underwater system of the Danube drainage area between Immendingen and Möhringen up to the Aach spring resembles a flooded, labyrinth-type tunnel system. It’s only 12.5 kilometres linear distance, which the water runs off from across a sloping horizontal underground area. Researchers say that while they don't know exactly what the system looks like, there must be further underground rivers and lakes.
For more information, see the study published in Current Biology: Jasminca Behrmann-Godel, Arne W. Nolte, Joachim Kreiselmaier, Roland Berka & Jörg Freyhof: The first European cave fish, Current Biology, 3 April 2017
The amazing footage below shows a diver being caught underneath a huge ball of fish, and then swimming through it.
The curious puffer at the bottom of the picture comes over to take a look at diver Kawika Singson, who was filming off the coast of Hawaii last week.
Then Singson is swarmed by a huge school of fish that almost block out the light from the surface. Luckily, he had his underwater camera and was able to shared his experience...
A new species of Aspidoras catfish has been described from northeastern Brazil.
Aspidoras kiriri is known only from two headwater tributaries of rio da Dona, a small coastal drainage in eastern Bahia, Brazil.
The new species measures around 3cm in length and was found living alongside Astyanax bimaculatus, Characidium sp., and Trichomycterus sp. in one location, in small streams, with water temperature around 21°C, 4.55pH and dissolved oxygen 7.3 mg/l. The other location was severely affected by human activity and almost dry, with the few specimens found there in mud-bottomed pools less than 10cm in depth.
Aspidoras kiriri is named after the Kiriri Indians who originally inhabited a broad area in eastern Brazil. Nowadays, they are restricted mainly to the municipality of Banzaê, in northern Bahia.
For more information see the study, published in Neotropical Ichthyology: OLIVEIRA, Lívia M. A.; ZANATA, Angela M.; TENCATT, Luiz F. C. and BRITTO, Marcelo R.. A new species of Aspidoras (Siluriformes: Callichthyidae) from a small coastal drainage in northeastern Brazil. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1982-0224-20160118.
A group of fish popular with marine aquarists could offer hope for the development of new pain-killing drugs.
The Meiacanthus genus of poison-fanged blennies disable opponents with heroin-like venom.
“The fish injects other fish with opioid peptides that act like heroin or morphine, inhibiting pain rather than causing it,” University of Queensland researcher Associate Professor Bryan Fry says. “Its venom is chemically unique and causes the bitten fish to become slower in movement and dizzy by acting on their opioid receptors.
“To put that into human terms, opioid peptides would be the last thing an elite Olympic swimmer would use as performance-enhancing substances. They would be more likely to drown than win gold.”
The fearless little blennies are found in the Pacific region, including on the Great Barrier Reef.
“Fang blennies are the most interesting fish I’ve ever studied and have one of the most intriguing venoms of them all,” Fry continues.
“Their secret weapons are two large grooved teeth on the lower jaw that are linked to venom glands.”
The unique venom means that the fang blenny is more easily able to escape a predator or defeat a competitor.
“This study is an excellent example of why we need to protect nature,” Fry says.
“If we lose the Great Barrier Reef, we will lose animals like the fang blenny and its unique venom that could be the source of the next blockbuster pain-killing drug.”
The research appears published in Current Biology.
An alien lionfish has been recorded off the coast of Italy for the first time.
The specimen of Pterois miles was recorded by marine biologists in the Vendicari marine reserve in the south-east of Sicily.
Pterois volitans and P. miles, are among the most invasive marine species in the world. Native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the lionfish was introduced to Florida in the early 90s and has slowly spread across the Caribbean and most of the western Atlantic coastline, with huge ecological impacts.
The specimen observed at Vendicari represented the first known occurrence of a lionfish species in Italian waters. “Its observation confirms a trend of rapid expansion through the Mediterranean Sea,” scientists say in a paper published in BioInvasions Records.
“Given its large size, conspicuous appearance, and venomous spines, it is critical to involve informed citizen scientists in tracking the spread of this species and to develop means to manage or adapt to its presence in the Mediterranean Basin.”