'Punk rock snail' named after Joe Strummer

A new species of sea snail has been named after the lead singer of The Clash, Joe Strummer.

Alviniconcha strummeri is one of five new species of Alviniconcha described by a team from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). The snails live in the hottest and most acidic waters near hydrothermal vents. The conditions are so extreme that the shells of the snails are severely degraded, covered or spikes — or even non-existent.

The genus was originally described as monotypic with A. hessleri as its only member, but DNA sequencing has revealed there are actually six species.

Alviniconcha strummeri is named to highlight the 'hardcore' nature of these snails from the Indo-Pacific, while also recognising the spiky surface of the snail's shell, which researchers say resembles the fashion of punk rock bands.

The Clash formed in 1976 and were part of the original wave of British punk. Joe Strummer died suddenly in December 2002 from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. 

Family saved by fish tank!

An aquarium saved a family of five from a potentially deadly blaze at their home in Warrington, Cheshire.

Steve Whitehall had forgotten to blow out a Christmas candle in his lounge before he went to bed, but the fire that ensued caused a nearby 100 l/22 gal. aquarium to shatter, dousing the flames and putting out most of the blaze.

The family were woken early in the morning by the sound of the fish tank bursting. They rushed downstairs to discover the damage and then left the house to phone the fire brigade.

Steve and Elizabeth Whitehall and their three children were unharmed, but the residents of the aquarium were not so lucky. Most of the fish died when the tank exploded, although two were found still alive in a tiny pocket of water at the bottom.

Mr Whitehall said: "We often have candles burning around the house and are usually very careful about making sure they are all out before we go to bed or go out. Unfortunately, we missed one last night and I cannot believe the damage that has been caused from just that one candle.

"We now have to sort out a fire damaged lounge, replace Christmas presents and have lost more than 13 fish.

"I dread to think what would have happened if the sound of the breaking tank hadn’t woken us and alerted us to the fire."

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New world record for deepest fish

A new species of fish is discovered at a depth of over 8,000m

The Mariana Trench is the Western Pacific is the deepest place on earth with its deepest point known as Challenger Deep, which measures nearly 11km below the surface.

This month an international team have returned from the first detailed study of the Mariana Trench aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel, Falkor.

Rather than solely focusing on the deepest point of the trench an effort was made to study the relationships between life and geologic processes across the entire hadalpelagic zone, the deepest part of the ocean.

Dr Jeff Drazen, co-chief scientist explained, "Many studies have rushed to the bottom of the trench, but from an ecological view that is very limiting. It's like truing to understand a mountain ecosystem by only looking at its summit."

The research will help to answer questions about what species live there and how they adapt to such extreme environments. New species were discovered that will give insight into the physiological adaptations of animals to this high-pressure environment.

Several records were broken for deepest living fish with the final record at 8,143m being set by an unknown species of what's thought to be a snailfish. The white translucent fish with wing-like fins and an eel-like tail was filmed several times during seal floor experiments.

Dr Jamieson said, "We think it is a snailfish, but it's so weird-looking; it's up in the air in terms of what it is.
"It is unbelievably fragile, and when it swims, it looks like it has wet tissue paper floating behind it.

"And it has a weird snout - it looks like a cartoon dog snout."

Without catching the fish and bringing it back to the surface, the team is unable to confirm that it is a new species, but Dr Jamieson said it did not look like anything he'd seen before or knew of.

The new record-breaking creature is close the the depth-limit at which scientists believe fish can survive.

Dr Jamieson added, "We've got more than 20 hours of footage of them, and we're learning the way they swim, the way they feed and the way they fend off predators.

"They clamp down on the bait, and bore their head into it and put their spiky tail in the air like a thorn bush.

"Anything that goes for it gets stabbed in the nose."

Aquarium closed amid safety concerns

A public aquarium situated within a shopping complex in South Korea has been closed amid fears over its safety.

A huge 5,200-ton display tank at Lotte World Aquarium, which is located at the newly opened Lotte World Mall, was ordered to be closed by the Seoul Metropolitan Government following the discovery of a number of cracks.

The Korea Times reports that aquarium officials tried to cover up the problem by blocking off the area around the leaking tank, with signs displayed that said the area was out of bounds to the public due to cleaning and 'environmental improvement'.

The first crack was discovered in early December and was reported to be 7cm in length. Lotte said the crack was caused by weakened acrylic coating and that it had been fixed.

However, more cracks have since been discovered in the main tank and on the side of a tank housing Beluga whales.

The situation is particularly hazardous because Lotte World Aquarium is situated right on top of a three-storey underground 154,000-volt transformer substation, so if the tank ruptured there could be disastrous results.

The Lotte World Aquarium offers visitors the chance to see more than 600 species of fish. It was only opened to the public in October 2014.

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Top of the shops 2014

We reveal the UK’s top aquatic shops, as voted for by the readers of Practical Fishkeeping magazine.

This year witnessed an even greater diversity of entrants, writes Nathan Hill, with some familiar faces exchanging top spots, while others remained where they already were, as proud defenders. But most exciting is the taking of the highest accolade — Retailer of the Year — by none other than Aquahome Aquatic Centre of Leyland (pictured above).

Aquahome has been flexing its muscles for a few years now, becoming the North-west Retailer of the Year in both 2012 and 2013.

Upping its game to take on the national stage, this year not only saw it make a hat-trick of regional success, but Aquahome has sprung to the top of its game, becoming the number one store that you all overwhelmingly voted for. Only last year, former PFK editor Jeremy Gay flagged it as the one to watch, and we all noted then that if voters had slipped down a few extra categories for the store, it would have romped home with multiple wins.

"All the team here at Aquahome Aquatic Centre are very proud to have won Retailer of the Year. After winning North-west Retailer of the Year in 2012 and 2013, to win the North-west 2014 again but to finally win the big one, Retailer of the Year, is a great achievement for all the team," says manager Chris Haigh.

"We work extremely hard to keep our customers happy and our store clean, tidy and most importantly our fish systems healthy and stocked with great quality livestock from all over the world, so to have this recognised with the PFK Readers’ Poll, fills us all with enormous pride! We would like to thank all our loyal and valued customers for taking the time to vote for us."

Kings of the categories
Catfish Retailer of the Year has been seized this year by Wigan store, Pier Aquatics (pictured above). Pier has long been something of a pilgrimage for the PFK team, always leaving us humbled at owner Neil Woodward’s unstoppable powers in acquiring the unseen and unusual. If we’re ever stuck for inspiration about what to keep, this is the place we’ll turn to.

The Cichlid Retailer of the Year slot has been wrestled out of Southern hands and carried back to Yorkshire by Ferrybridge Aquatics, and for anyone who has shopped there, this will come
as no surprise. Owner Kevin Lawton can happily hang this latest accolade alongside his continuous string of Readers’ Poll recognitions.

Oddball Retailer of the Year has moved down to the wild west, being taken by The Aquatic Store, Bristol. Year on year we’ve watched The Aquatic Store’s legion of followers grow and grow, doing owner Steve Chivers proud with this latest title. I’m confident we’ll be seeing this name pop up again and again, as he continues to excite and elate the 'Brizzle' audience.

There’s no surprise that Sharnbrook Shrimp once again strides confidently past the line to become Shrimp Retailer of the Year. We were initially dubious at the concept of a shrimp-only retailer on UK shores, but owner Lucas Witte-Vermeulen has left us all with egg on our faces. His glorious store continues to pump out the finest shrimp you’ll see, and customers are in agreement: there’s nowhere better for crustaceans!

Another very familiar face is Abyss Aquatic Warehouse, sat immovably as Marine Retailer of the Year. If you’ve been there, you’ll know that this is one store that’s not scared to stock heavily, with tanks filled to bursting point with incredibly healthy fish and corals. There’s seemingly no limit on expense either, and for the opulent aquarist, you’ll not find anywhere better to splash out on some of the rarest finds around. With bright tanks, bulging healthy fish and beaming staff, it’ll take something really exotic to trump this store in the future!

Maidenhead Aquatics continues to dominate the lands north of the border, with Scotland Retailer of the Year going to Fishkeeper Glasgow in first place and Fishkeeper Edinburgh in second, mirroring last year’s result. All we can wonder is what will happen if they open more sites up there!

It isn’t just the Scottish stores making the grade from the Maidenhead chain, either, with Maidenhead Truro and Maidenhead Shirley also nuzzling their way into the top 40 list, and the Shirley store taking West Midlands Retailer of the Year.

There’s no sign that The Green Machine in Wrexham is ready to relinquish its hold in the Wales Retailer of the Year spot, and with its fresh, alternative approach to retail, we’d be surprised to see it slip. Feeling more arthouse than fish house, this is one of the few stores where you can get your feet up and just admire outstanding aquascapes from designers right at the top of their game. This is a shop that leads by example.

Club of the year
Ilford and District Aquarist and Pondkeepers Society celebrates its 80th birthday this year, and what better way to see it in than to be voted Club of the Year by its followers! This category was only introduced last year, and Ilford has now taken the lead two years running. The heat is now on to see if it can pull off a third year, especially in the wake of so many up and coming online clubs and their fleets of followers. Only time will tell.

We love marine!

As interested as I am in the who’s who of retailers, I’m always taken by the feedback over products. And this year, it seems that voters have been overwhelmingly taken with all things salty. Fluval’s Sea range of supplements won the Marine Product of the Year category, and with its goods dominating shelves across the UK, this is something I half expected. Fluval has long been hesitant in embracing the marine market, but now that it has, it’s romping home with all of the glory — let’s just hope there’s more of it in the offing. Given that Rolf C. Hagen also steamed past the competition to be voted Manufacturer of the Year, it’s safe to say it’s on a roll.

Evolution Aqua’s Pure Aquarium filter supplement is at the top of the Tropical Product of the Year category, and having experience of these curious jelly balls, I can see why. For years, the key to locking up the ‘right’ bacteria for a successful filter has proven cumbersome and unpredictable, but EA nailed it, with the ultimate in user-friendly filter supplements. Given the landslide of votes in EA’s favour, it seems I’m not the only one getting incredible success with this product.

Onwards and upwards
Let’s be honest. Being an established retailer or manufacturer in the aquatics business is now harder than it has ever been. The next 12 months are going to be as challenging as ever, and it will be interesting to see if standards can be maintained across the board.

To the current winners, I say this: don’t let things slip. You haven’t seen the numbers of votes trickling in for small retailers in their infancy, but I have. Fledgling sites are popping up everywhere, and some of them are already gaining impressive followings. Drop the ball for just a short while and some surprising left-fielder could be scooping your title next year. Remember how Rare Aquatics came from nowhere to take major titles for several years running? That scenario will repeat itself, I promise you.

Watch this space, everyone. I suspect that next year will be bringing in a glut of new and unknown stores and possibly even brand names. It’s a new world we’re living in. Exciting, isn’t it!

Here’s the full list of top aquatic shops — and products.

Retailer of the Year
Aquahome Aquatic Centre, Leyland, Lancashire
Lincs Aquatics, Alford, Lincolnshire

Small Retailer of the Year
H20 Habitat, Woldingham, Surrey
Ferrybridge Aquatics, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Cichlid Retailer of the Year
Ferrybridge Aquatics, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Sweet Knowle Aquatics, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Catfish Retailer of the Year
Pier Aquatics, Wigan, Lancashire
Rare Aquatics, Crewe, Cheshire

Oddball Retailer of the Year
The Aquatic Store, Bristol
Wildwoods Water Gardens, Enfield, Middlesex

Discus Retailer of the Year
Devotedly Discus, Polegate, East Sussex
Woodford Aquatics, London

Marine Retailer of the Year
Abyss Aquatic Warehouse, Stockport, Manchester
H20 Aquatics, Brentwood, Essex

Aquatic Plant Retailer of the Year
Emperor Tropicals, Plymouth, Devon
The Green Machine, Wrexham, Wales

Freshwater Shrimp Retailer of the Year

Sharnbrook Shrimp, Rushden, Northamptonshire
Woodford Aquatics, London

Pond Retailer of the Year
Woodford Aquatics, London
Lincs Aquatics, Alford, Lincolnshire

Scotland Retailer of the Year
Fishkeeper, Glasgow
Fishkeeper, Edinburgh

Northern Ireland Retailer
of the Year — joint winners

Exotic Aquatics, Belfast, and AMC Aquatics, Limavady, County Londonderry

Republic of Ireland Retailer of the Year

Seahorse Aquariums, Dublin
The Aquatic Village, County Dublin

North-east Retailer of the Year
Fish Alive, County Durham
Durham Discus, County Durham

North-west Retailer of the Year

Aquahome Aquatic Centre, Leyland, Lancashire
Joint runners-up

Abyss Aquatic Warehouse, Stockport, Greater Manchester, and Oasis Aquarium, Salford, Manchester

Yorks and Humber Retailer of the Year

Ferrybridge Aquatics, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
South Yorkshire Aquatics, Doncaster

East Midlands Retailer of the Year
Lincs Aquatics, Alford
Wharf Aquatics, Pinxton, Notts.

West Midlands Retailer of the Year
Maidenhead Aquatics, Solihull
Forty Fathoms, Kidderminster, Worcestershire

East Retailer of the Year

The Coral Cave Aquatic Centre, Hardwick, Cambs.
Seapets, Colchester, Essex

Wales Retailer of the Year
The Green Machine, Wrexham, Wales
Jaydee Aquatics, Wrexham, Wales

London Retailer of the Year

Woodford Aquatics, London
The Aquatic Design Centre, London

South-east Retailer of the Year
H20 Habitat, Woldingham, Surrey
Abacus Aquatics, Sidcup, Kent

South-west Retailer of the Year
Emperor Tropicals, Plymouth, Devon
The Aquatic Store, Bristol

Online Retailer of the Year
Seapets: www.seapets.co.uk
New Atlantic: www.newatlanticonline.co.uk

Club of the Year
Ilford and District Aquarist and Pondkeepers Society
Bristol Tropical Fish Club

Tropical Product of the Year
Pure Aquarium, Evolution Aqua
Fluval FX6, Hagen

Marine Product of the Year
Fluval Sea supplements, Rolf C. Hagen
V2 900 iLuminAir, TMC

Pond Product of the Year
GreenGo, Kockney Koi
Blagdon Affinity products, Interpet

Manufacturer of the Year
Rolf C. Hagen
Aqua One

Tropical Marine Centre opens new showroom

TMC has created a new showroom and training facility at its Chorleywood head office.

Tropical Marine Centre has completely refurbished its old hatchery area, converting it into a modern and spacious facility designed to showcase its diverse range of products to aquatic retailers.

“We wanted a more permanent and interactive showcase for our products,” said TMC’s Managing Director, Paul West. 

“We also wanted to develop a venue where we can have a more direct involvement and engagement with our customers to give them ideas about how to effectively display our products”.

The new facility hosts its impressive range of products with each product group on its own self-contained display.

Every product group is represented from its well-established AquaRay LED lighting range, ponds, frozen foods, planted aquarium and commercial systems through to brand new products such as its REEF Skim protein skimmers and ReefScape model series.

The complete range of Signature aquariums and cabinets flanks the entrance way, and a large meeting/conference room provides a comfortable area where customers and TMC staff can interact in private, away from the busy livestock sales area.

Please note that TMC supplies to the trade only.

Fish changes its smell to avoid being eaten

A new study has found a coral-eating fish that disguises its scent to hide from predators.

Research published in the Royal Society's flagship biological research journal, Proceedings B, discovered that the harlequin filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, changed its smell to match the coral it fed upon.

"For many animals vision is less important than their sense of smell," says the study's lead author, Dr Rohan Brooker from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

"Because predators often rely on odours to find their prey, even visually camouflaged animals may stick out like a sore thumb of they smell strongly of 'food'", says Dr Brooker.

The studies co-author, Professor Philip Munday says the ability to camouflage itself chemically is a great advantage for the fish.

"The harlequin filefish shelters among the branches of coral colonies at night, where not only does it look like a coral branch, it also smells like one, enabling it to remain undetected by nocturnal predators."

Professor Munday says it's a remarkable example of how closely animals can be adapted to their habitats.

The ability to chemically camouflage occurs in some invertebrates but this is the first time this biological process has been discovered in higher order animals like fish.

"This is very exciting because it opens the possibility of a wide range of different animals also using similar mechanisms, right under our noses," Dr Brooker says.

Great weekend for catfish fans!

The Catfish Study Group’s 2015 Convention is being held from March 20–22, 2015 at the Kilhey Court Hotel in Standish, Wigan, Lancs.

There will be trade stands, specialist societies and sales tanks over the weekend, plus talks by top experts in their field:

Leandro de Sousa - Brazil
Nathan Lujan - Canada
Steve Grant - Catfish Study Group
Alex Carslaw - Rainbow fish
Ingo Seidel - Germany
I. Fuller and B. Walsh - Catfish Study Group

Two-or three-day packages are available for those who wish to stay at this four-star hotel (priced at £165 and £235 per person) but day tickets can also be purchased.

If you book your day tickets before January 31, you can get them at a special discounted rate of £15 per day (or £25 for both days). After January 31, tickets cost £20 per day or £35 for both days.

For more info or to make a booking visit the Catfish Study Group website. 

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Listen: You can hear the reefs dying!

You can hear the sound of former bustling coral reefs dying due to the impact of human activity, according to new research.

Believe it or not, coral reefs are among the noisiest environments on our planet and healthy reefs can be heard using underwater microphones from kilometres away.

However, scientists have found that coral reefs affected by human activity, such as overfishing, are much quieter than protected reefs, which can have a big impact on the fish and invertebrates, which rely on them for survival.

Led by Dr Julius Piercy, from the University of Essex, the study involved taking acoustic recordings of coral reefs with different levels of protection around islands in the Philippines. The research found that the noise produced by the few remaining resident fish and crustaceans on unprotected reefs was only one third of the sound produced at bustling, healthy reef communities.
This is particularly important to the larval stages of reef fish and invertebrates, which spend the first few days of their life away from reefs and use sound as an orientation cue to find their way back. With less sound being produced, the distance over which larvae can detect habitat is ten times less, impacting on the replenishment of future generations needed to build up and maintain healthy population levels.

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Aquarium visitors give shark a 'nervous breakdown'

A shark at a Russian aquarium is on sedatives after it was scared by visitors who repeatedly banged on the glass of her tank.

According to a report in The Moscow Times, the reef shark at Kaliningrad Zoo suffered a "nervous breakdown" after guests repeatedly banged the glass with their fists, despite requests not to do so.

The shark became so stressed that she started to charge around the tank in fright, resulting in damage to her nose and eye.

"Our shark was not ready for such attention from the visitors and the persistent tapping of the aquarium glass," the zoo's press secretary Ekaterina Mikhailova told RIA Novosti. "By flopping in panic onto the glass walls of the aquarium, she first hit her nose and then one eye."

Despite treatment with antibiotics and sedatives, the wounds refused to heal while the shark's enclosure was still open to the public, so it has now been closed to visitors until she fully recovers.

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Is the fugu puffer being eaten to extinction?

Japan's love of fugu is driving at least one of the species used in the dish towards extinction.

The demand for the Chinese pufferfish (Takifugu chinensis), one of the four main species used in the popular and expensive fugu food dish, is so high that it has now been listed by the IUCN on its Red List as critically endangered.

Fugu is prepared by licensed chefs who have been specially trained in preparing and cooking the poisonous fish. The tetrodotoxin stored within the puffer's organs is 1,200 times stronger than cyanide, with one fish capable of killing around 30 adults.

The dish has been responsible for many deaths over the years when prepared at home by those lacking the experience and training to cook it properly.

Symptoms of tetradotoxin poisoning can occur anything from 15 minutes to several hours later and include numbness, nausea, vomiting, extreme stomach pains and sometimes paralysis and death. There is no known antidote to tetradotoxin poisoning.

The IUCN states that the global population of T. chinensis is estimated to have declined by over 99.99% in the last 40 years.

'Amnesty pond' to be created for unwanted fish

A so-called 'amnesty pond' for dumping unwanted fish is being planned at a park in San Francisco.

The announcement follows the poisoning by officials of the four-acre Mountain Lake (pictured above by Daniel J. McKeown, Creative Commons), to remove alien species in an attempt to restore populations of native Three-spined sticklebacks, chorus frogs and Western pond turtles.

The lake had become a dumping ground for goldfish and other species over the years. In the past, officials had tried using nets and electro-fishing to remove these fish, but it hadn't proved very successful. As a result, the lake was recently poisoned using CFT Legumine, which contains the active ingredient rotenone — a botanical material that degrades quickly.

The bodies of more than 850 non-native fish were retrieved after treatment — mainly goldfish, but there were also koi, catfish and bass.

It's hoped that re-stocking with native species can begin in May next year.

The amnesty pond will be built elsewhere in Mountain Lake Park to allow people to continue dumping their unwanted fish without having an impact on the native population.

The Presidio Trust, which oversees Mountain Lake, is spending $12m on a restoration project — reported by the San Francisco Chronicle to be the first of its kind — that will restore the lake to the way it was before Europeans arrived in America.

North America's lakes are turning to jelly

"Aquatic osteoporosis" is spreading throughout many North American soft water lakes due to declining calcium levels in the water and hindering the survival of some organisms, says new research.

Scientists from Queen’s University, working with colleagues from York University and the University of Cambridge, as well as other collaborators, have identified a biological shift in many temperate, soft-water lakes in response to declining calcium levels after prolonged periods of acid rain and timber harvesting. The reduced calcium availability is hindering the survival of aquatic organisms with high calcium requirements and promoting the growth of nutrient-poor, jelly-clad animals.

"Calcium is an essential nutrient for many lake-dwelling organisms, but concentrations have fallen so low in many lakes that keystone species can no longer survive," says Adam Jeziorski, one of the lead authors of the study.

The research team found that when calcium levels are low, the water flea Daphnia, which has high calcium requirements, becomes less abundant. 

Importantly, this keystone species is being replaced by its jelly-clad competitor, Holopedium (pictured above by Ian Gardiner/E-Fauna BC).

"Conditions now favour animals better adapted to lower calcium levels, and these changes can have significant ecological and environmental repercussions," says Dr. Jeziorski.

"The study found that jelly-clad invertebrates have been increasing in an alarming number of lakes, likely as a long-term effect of acid rain on forest soils, logging and forest regrowth."

The increase these invertebrates can have important implications for lake biology, altering food webs, but can also clog water intakes.

Unfortunately, many lakes investigated by the team have passed critical thresholds.

The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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Could you be the next editor of PFK?

Practical Fishkeeping, the UK’s biggest-selling fishkeeping magazine, and Pet Product Marketing, the leading magazine for the pet trade, are looking for a new joint editor.

To take on the role you will have a compelling vision for the direction of both consumer fishkeeping and B2B pet magazines and will be able to demonstrate excellent magazine craft as well as how you can get the best out of a small editorial team.

You will understand that the media landscape is changing and will have ideas on how we can build a multi-platform strategy but also understand that brilliant magazines with a unique proposition still have a role to play.

Ideally, you will have knowledge of the fishkeeping and pet markets but it is not essential.

If interested, please contact Jo Green by email at: jo.green@bauermedia.co.uk with a copy of your CV and why you should be the next editor of Practical Fishkeeping and Pet Product Marketing, along with two 200-word critiques of the latest issues.

This is a full-time role based at Media House, Peterborough.

Closing date: December 8, 2014.

Black devil anglerfish captured on video for the first time

Scientists from MBARI have filmed a deep sea anglerfish of the genus Melanocetus alive and swimming.

Despite its fearsome appearance, the Black devil anglerfish is only 9cm/3.6in long. It was filmed at a depth of 600m in the dark waters of the Monterey Canyon during a research expedition (scroll down for video). 

MBARI Senior Scientist Bruce Robison, who led the dive using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), said: "Anglerfish, like this Melanocetus, are among the most rarely seen of all deep-sea fishes. The shining spot at the tip of the 'fishing pole' projecting from the fish's head is a glowing lure. The anglerfish uses its light to attract prey in its deep, dark habitat."

MBARI believes that this is the first video footage ever made of this species alive and at depth.


Aquascaping event at Lincolnshire shop this weekend!

Lincs Aquatics is hosting a live aquascaping event on November 22, 2014 at its store in Alford.

The JBL Proscape Event starts at 10am and customers will be able to learn the basics of aquascaping, along with tips and advice from Gitesh Rathod.

To run alongside the event, Lincs Aquatics will be offering a 15% discount on Tropica plants and 20% off JBL aquascaping products.

Lincs Aquatics is at Hangar 1, Strubby Airfield, Alford, LN13 0DD. Tel: 01507 451000.


Boys catch Red-tailed catfish in Florida pond!

Two 12-year-old boys were stunned when they caught a Red tail catfish while fishing in a pond in Oakleaf, Clay County.

Ethan Lloyd and Christian Scheibe recognised the fish — a native of the Amazon, Orinoco, and Essequibo river basins of South America — from footage they had seen on the Animal Planet series 'River Monsters'.

"It was fairly big, and whenever we pulled it up, most catfish kinda grunt, well he growled and huffed," they told WJXT Jacksonville.

Lloyd recalled, "Me and Christian watch Jeremy Wade all the time...and we were like, 'Is that a Red-Tailed catfish?'"

"Aubrey was like, 'There's no way.' He came out here and picked it up, and it was a Red-tailed catfish. Red-tailed catfish have a red line down the middle and red on the bottom and top, it has a signature look. We never thought we'd catch anything like that," Lloyd said.

The boys put the tankbusting fish back into the pond, where it had probably been released in the first place by a fishkeeper when it had outgrown its tank.

You can watch the news report below.

 video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Part-time algae cleaners required at TMC!

Tropical Marine Centre is looking to put together a team of three people to work as algae cleaners at its fish-house based in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire.

The team will work up to two days per week Monday to Tuesday (approximately 18 hours). Their role will be to undertake full cleaning of all the aquariums and cubes in the fish-house.

TMC says: "Our Chorleywood fish-house has a busy working environment and critical to the running of this is the maintenance of the tanks. Successful candidates should be able to work quickly but competently and exhibit attention to detail as well as care towards the fish. We are looking for a diligent team to work well together during the start of the week so as to enable the fish-House assistants to deal with feeding, husbandry and customers. Experience and keenness to work with animals is advantageous."

Desirable competencies:

Attention to detail
Reliable and hard working
Hands on
Team player

Send your CV to: Nina Potter, Tropical Marine Centre, Solesbridge Lane, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, WD35SX or email: careers@tropicalmarinecentre.co.uk — please reference the job: CWD AC

Closing date: December 1, 2014.

Grab a bargain at Leicester charity fish auction event!

A charity fish auction, to include thousands of fish and plants, is being held in Leicester on November 30, 2014, to raise money for aquatic conservation and cancer research.

All money raised will be donated to charity, split equally between:

Macmillan Cancer Research
The Fish Ark
The Goodied Working Group

There's a £2 entry fee on the door, plus a raffle and 10% is deducted from all fish sales to reach the target, which this year is £1000 (last year's event raised just over £770).

The auction is being held at Braunstone and District Working Men's Club, Braunstone Close, Leicester, LE3 2GE. Doors open at 8.30am and the auction starts at 10.30am.

There will be a bar and hot and cold food will also be available.

There are some fabulous fish expected on the day — check out the list that's been started on the UK Charity Fish Auction Facebook page.

Endangered frogs put in blender to make 'healing juice'

A species of aquatic frog, listed by the IUCN as critically endangered, is used as an ingredient in a juice that some Andean cultures believe has special healing powers.

The Titicaca frog, Telmatobius culeus, is freshly killed and juiced on demand as a cure for bronchitis, anaemia, stress, fatigue and other health issues, including a low sex drive.

In a report by The Associated Press, Maria Elena Cruz, who is a vendor at one of the stands selling the juice in Peru's capital, Lima, explained how the drink is made. She first grabs a live frog from an aquarium containing a large number of the amphibians, then kills it by whacking it on the edge of the counter before skinning it and then dropping the whole frog into a blender along with some carrots, honey and Peruvian maca root.

After a couple of minutes the resulting green concoction is poured into glasses for customers.

The Titicaca water frog is the world's largest truly aquatic frog, with adults commonly weighing 1kg/2.2lb and measuring up to 50cm/20in length when outstretched. Its most distinctive feature is its very loose capillary-rich skin which hangs from its neck, stomach and legs and which is used in respiration underwater.

There is no scientific evidence to support the healing powers of the juice, but Cruz's customers — most of whom are from the Andean region that borders Bolivia, where the juice is also popular — are convinced of its benefits.