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FAQs about Marine Livestock Catching/Collection

Related Articles: Collecting Marines the Hawaiian Way, Super Nets For Collecting, Marine Livestock Sources/Collection MethodsReproduction, Hormonal Manipulation of Fishes

Related FAQs:  Reproduction Aquatics Biz 1, Aquatics Biz 2,

"Catch me it you can"

Tip For Removing Aggressive Fish? (I have a few for ya) – 02/20/13
Hi all.
<<Hey Tim>>
I have a clownfish, who, after over a year of peaceful coexistence, is suddenly harassing everybody else in the tank,
<<Happens>>
even including a lovely LPS coral from who it steals food!  I have to net that fish, and I have a tank prepared for it.
<<Excellent>>
But because I have extensive rockwork, with numerous caves, tunnels, and dart-holes, I suspect this will be a difficult task.
<<And likely impossible…>>
Dismantling the rockwork is not an option.
<<OK>>
I wonder if any of you experienced pros have any tips.
<<Indeed I do>>
I've begun by trying to get it used to a net, waving the net around harmlessly, but it is very cautious.
<<And much faster and agile than you realize (with all the obstructions available for use during escape) when it comes trying to corral it.  One option is to try to trap it…you can even make your own “minnow trap” style fish trap from a 2-liter plastic soda bottle (see WWM re)…but this often results in quicker/greedier fishes getting caught which can require their removal/holding elsewhere in order to get to the “target” fish.  Another option is one I first tried about 25 years ago…go ‘fishing’ for the little bugger.  Get some very light (2-lb) monofilament fishing line and a very small (size 22) fishhook.  Squeeze the barb down on the hook with pliers…tie it on to the line…bait with a tiny piece of raw shrimp (Mysis- or table-)…and hook the little guy out of the tank.  You’ll want to minimize water movement while doing this to allow better “control” of the baited hook…and keep a wary eye out for other fishes trying to steal the bait.  This doesn’t work for all fishes (e.g. – shy, easily frightened)…but I have removed more than one overly aggressive Damsel Fish in this manner.  I also once removed some very small and quick fishes (Coral Gobies) from my reef tank by building a rudimentary “Slurp Gun”…you can Google this one if you like, but I find the ‘hook’ method to be pretty easy and does little harm, if any, to the fish (is likely less harmful than the stress of being chased about with a net)>>
Thanks in advance for any advice!
Tim
<<Happy to share…  Eric Russell>>
Re: Tip For Removing Aggressive Fish? (I have a few for ya) – 02/20/13   

Eric - Thanks!
<<Quite welcome Tim>>
Wow, I never thought about going fishing in my tank!
<<Does work!>>
I may try the trap method first, as this clownfish is by far the most active, greedy, and brave fish in the tank.
<<Ahh!>>
If that doesn't work, I'll try the hook, but I'll surely have to wait for a time when my wife isn't around!
Tim
<<Good luck!  EricR>>

Anthias with Swim Bladder Concerns, needling      8/9/12
Hi everyone,
<Marc>
I am eager for some information on how to treat a swim bladder issue.
<...>
 I have a female Square Block Anthias in QT and it has a significant issue with its swim bladder. The fish has been in QT for three weeks and eating well during this time but has been swimming at a nose down 45 degrees. It also has a bloated appearance around the region I would expect the swim bladder to be.
Otherwise it looks healthy and is showing great colour.
<How long have you had this fish? If new, it was likely damaged in collection/decompressing or needling its gas bladder (post surface) for bringing it up>
My question is how to best deflate the swim bladder. Is there an angle at which I enter the cloaca and how deep would I need to go.
<Mmm, not so sure it's a good idea to do so, nor for me to write how to do this on the Net... a very fine (diabetes) needle (no syringe) can be wetted (with saliva), inserted thus a cm. or so... slight pressure applied to the fish's sides... obvious bubbles produced>
 Are there any other tips on this one. I fear if I don't do anything this fish is doomed to swim at 45 degrees and most likely suffer from this issue. There are no signs of any other issues.
Thanks for your help
Marc
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

SAIA News April 2011    4/8/11
Hello,
we would like to draw your attention to an article of Frank Schmidt, representative of ESAIA e.V. in SAIA, lately published in several German and French magazines - now made available to our English speaking audience on our website. In his touching report "The fisherman & his wife - a true story from Serangan, Bali", he focuses on an area we rarely give any thought to, and probably never wonder about: the people who collect our tankmates to supply our hobby and the steady increasing demand of the marine aquarium trade.
Furthermore we welcome new members and update you with the latest information on the SAIA FishSelector and many more under: www.saia-online.eu
Happy Easter!
P.S. If you don't want to receive our newsletter anymore, please send an email with Subject: Unsubscribe.
SAIA EWIV
Christiane Schmidt
MANAGING DIRECTOR
Christiane, may I post this, including the link to the article on WWM? Cheers, BobF
Re: SAIA News April 2011
yes, of course!
Cheers, Christiane
I thank you, BobF.

Help to catch damselfish, 3/12/10
Hello
<Hi>
I really need help.
<Me too in so many ways.>
I have tried every available trick to catch a very aggressive domino damsel (even aggressive towards me - if I put my hand in the aquarium she immediately comes after it. she will smack it with her tail and bite!!!!)
<You should try diving with them.>
In all of the research I have done I found out that it will just get a whole lot worse.
<Can dominate a tank.>
I have tried catching her in the morning, I have tried opening the lights in the middle of the night to shock them to the surface. A floating food to make it come to the top to scoop it out. Double nets. Food in one net and a second to catch her. I even tried leaving the net in the water for a few days so it would get accustomed to it. I have tried emptying water but nothing has worked. I have a diamond shaped 95 gallon tank with 80 lbs of live rock, many soft and hard corals and lots of creatures that live in the sand.
I also have a pesky tomato clownfish that has to be removed as well. The two of them fight constantly and terrorize and gang up on my other fish.
They are really starting to annoy me.
<Both these fish can very aggressive.>
Is there some kind of trap that I could put in the aquarium that they could go into to hide but once they are they can't get out. Sort of like a mouse or rat trap???? The humane ones of course :0)
<There are some commercially available, and lots of DIY plans on the internet. Otherwise a small barbless hook may be your best bet. Word of warning with the traps, the fish will quickly learn the trap is, well, a trap, so make sure you are comfortable in it's operation before you expose the fish to it.>
I would really appreciate your help since I am at wits end and I don't want to remove 80lbs of rock........
<Not fun.>
<Chris>

Re: Help to catch damselfish 3/15/10
Thank you for the quick reply. I shall try to find a good plan and set it to work before taking the last step of removing the live rock.....hopefully I won't have to.
<Sounds good>
<Chris>

Kordon Breather Bags  1/20/10
Hello crew,
Thanks for the help in the past. I was wondering if you knew anything about the Kordon Breather Bags for shipping fish. I am going to Hawaii and am going diving and wanted to get some fish and critters there for my home aquarium ( I got a license from the DAR) and saw these. I was wondering if they would work if I put the fish and crabs in them as checked baggage in a cooler to fly to Los Angeles? Let me know what you think about this.
Thanks,
Jeromy
<I am familiar with these... and don't generally endorse their use. The material is just too flimsy, easily ruptured, to be practical. Better by far to have a LFS there bag up your catch and take it with you, or better still, ship it to you once you're back on the mainland. Which Island/s will you be on? Bob Fenner>
Re: Kordon Breather Bags

I will be on Kauai. I am mostly getting Halloween Crabs, Snails and maybe a few small reef fish. I would love to get an Achilles Tang, but I am not doing a night dive and don't want to net this fish.
<I agree... is too soft-bodied to be gathered in this way>
Any fish or inverts you recommend?
<Many>
Also, how open are the shops to bagging fish you catch yourself?
<Usually completely... but I don't know of any collectors on Kauai... just O'ahu, Maui and esp. the Big Island>
Would I be OK checking a insulated box with "this side up" on it?
<Sure... just remember the key phrase, "for personal consumption". Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collhiway.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Kordon Breather Bags 1/20/10
Thanks Bob,
Will you be a reef-a-pa-looza this year coming up? If so, I would love to meet you. Let me know.
Thanks,
Jeromy
<Mmm, yes, I believe so. Have presented at all to date. See you there!
BobF>
Re: Kordon Breather Bags, Coll.
One last question I promise...
What do you recommended as a holding tank/bag when these fish are collected.
<A floating bait receiver, as pictured where you were previously referred>
As I said, I will be diving. A Bait bag or some kind of trap?
Thanks,
Jeromy
<BobF>

Question on Angelfishes article, Fix  09/24/09
Dear WWM Crew:
<Howdy Kim!>
Thanks for a fantastic resource. Due to reading, reading, reading at your website, I'm getting my new 55g FOWLR tank into good shape.
<Ah, good>
I was researching Angelfishes (I'm thinking of getting a dwarf angel for my tank, assuming it would be compatible and would fit and would not contribute to overcrowding. Am still researching.) and found the following:
*Collecting Your Own*
> Involves knowing and applying as much knowledge of angel behavior and
> locomotion as you can. Almost all angels are wild-captured by a two hand-net
> technique. Driving a specimen out with one net (or a poker) into one
> covering the most likely exit point. You must be deft, *and* smart.
> Angelfishes require careful decompression, either through passing time
> gingerly "needling" them one at a time.
at this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/index.htm
My question is regarding the last sentence I've quoted. I'm not planning on capturing my own angelfish, but I'm curious what the two methods are for decompression. I suspect that the word "or" has been left out of the sentence somewhere, or that the entire 'or' clause fell off the back of the boat in a copy-and-paste run in choppy seas.
<You are correct... there should/will be an "or" after the word gingerly>
As a sometime SCUBA diver,
decompression interests me.
Inquisitively,
Kim
<The same Boyle's et al. laws apply to fishes... Most do have gas bladders as hydrostatic organs... (some don't, e.g. Hawks), and most of these bladders are "closed" (i.e. the fish can't just "burp" out expanding air as it surfaces)... They can either be slowly brought to the surface while resorbing gas in their bladders or "punctured" with a fine needle to release the gas. Bob Fenner>

Fish Trap con HLLE -- 05/26/09
Hello Crew...
<Nemo>>
Just a quick and easy request...
<<Uh-huh'¦[grin]>>
Can someone please show me a photo of a soda bottle fish trap?
<<A simple Google search will reveal several links re'¦ Here's one with step-by-step instructions (http://www.instructables.com/id/Soda-Bottle-Fish-Trap/), though I would replace the bright-orange zip-ties with something a bit less garish'¦say, monofilament fishing line. >>
And oh, one question (I know) my hippo tang is a victim of HLLE ...I heard Miracle Mud can reverse
this,
<<I too have heard/read this claim...and it is 'my' opinion that 'any' refugium will help with such matters as an adjunct to improving the overall environment>>
but the problem is that I don't have a refugium and it's impossible to provide with my current setup.
<<While certainly beneficial, the addition of this/any refugium is not a guarantee of recovery for this fish>>
Anyway, is there other method of applying this?
<<Mmm'¦not really/not without a vessel specified for such>>
Like maybe add the Mud on top of LS?
<<I wouldn't'¦will certainly cloud the water>>
or filter system,
<<Nope>>
but how? Please, please, advise.
<<Ensuring optimum water conditions and a proper and full diet are needed here. The refugium would help, but is not absolutely necessary nor is it a panacea. Keep an eye on water quality, and make sure you are feeding properly (a couple times a day) with nutritious foods like thawed frozen Mysis, Plankton, Glass worms, etc'¦.and I strongly urge you to add New Life Spectrum pelleted food to the menu. This, along with a good vitamin supplement (Selcon/Selco) can go far towards reversing the trend. But'¦ Nothing you do will make much difference if this fish is/has been growing up in a 'too-small' system (and/or is being harassed by tankmates). Paracanthurus hepatus are robust (to a foot long and very 'thick') and active fish'¦doing best in systems hundreds of gallons in size.
Thanks, Nemo
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Trap for large grouper-- 05/09/09
Hello, I have a 5-6 in grouper that I need to remove from my tank. I have read about the pop bottle trap but it seems that it would work best on small fish. Any other ideas on how I can catch this big guy without tearing
out all my LR and chasing him with the net like an idiot?
<Mmm, yes... two nets, perhaps a friend with two more.... but, really...>
I also have a Foxface in the tank with him and really need to be cautious.
I have tried catching him at night and when feeding but he is already hip to the net. please help
<Better likely to "bite the bullet" and get out a clean trash can or some other clean container (with a liner perhaps) and drain the water way down, move the rock... and catch the fish... This moving is not really a big deal
after all... and you can use the opportunity to rearrange the rock, vacuum the substrate... Bob Fenner>

Banning the Collection of Tropical Fish in Hawaii. Bob Fenner's urgent attention   2/21/09 Aloha Bob, <Hello Eric> I have been in the aquarium trade for ten years now, and have met you and some of your personal friends a few times over the years. I have a deep respect for your contributions to the hobby and the trade. I used to own a company called Reef Savers Inc. in Texas but recently sold it so that i could move to my operation in Maui. For the last three years we have been dealing with House bills attempting to shut down tropical fish collection in Maui county and Oahu. Snorkel Bob (Robert Wintner) is the man behind the movement and he has created a two groups. One is SaveHawaiianReefs.org and the other is the Maui Nui Marine Advisory Council modeled after the West Hawaii Marine Advisory Council. This guy is filth. He constantly twists facts, makes outrageous claims and basically lies through his teeth. With all of his money he has a few politicians like Mayor Charmaine Tavares (Maui County) and senator Roz Baker in his pocket and they are the ones introducing and pushing the agenda. These people keep misleading the ways and means committee and the senate by using information they claim to have obtained from you. <Have seen one such "report"... I never made the taken out of context statements, nor do I know the folks who paraphrased, nor as you can assume, did I grant permission for folks to quote me in any case> They make statements such as "all Hawaiian reef fish taken of our reefs die within a year in captivity". <Ludicrous. Likely the majority live longer than they would in the wild> Today my wife was at the Whale Day in Kihei, Maui and SaveHawaiianReefs had a booth set up and they were passing out literature and addressing the public. The ladies name is Rene Umberger. She constantly states that Bob Fenner is not in support of the aquarium trade. <Absolutely not the case. I am unabashedly pro-industry, and have been all my semi-adult life. Promoting human use of the living world is the very best way to insure its future preservation... Including ornamental aquatics... which represents a diminishingly small percentage of incidental and overall mortality.> I have a email from last year...i will forward this to you, where she seems to think you are on their environmental extremist side. <Ha! All one needs do is read my voluminous verbiage in print...> Now, like I've said i have met you and heard you speak and have even had dinner in Fiji with your buddy Walt, so i have a pretty good idea that you are not on their side. We are in a major battle with these people right now and the guys in Maui are feeling the pressure(there is only four of us, and three collect full time) and could use some relief. Would it be possible to tell these people to stop using you as a pawn in their game? <If it would help... I certainly would. Do you have contact info.?> Could we trouble you to possibly write to our local newspaper (who has been right in the middle of this issue, but showing blatant favoritism to the environmentalist) expressing your true viewpoint thereby neutralizing the damage they did today? <I live about half the time in S. Cal... only a few weeks to months on the Big Island... I can try to get West Hawaii Today to run something... But want to wait on my contacting the perpetrators to get their statements, response to using my name (for what it's worth). If you have the time maybe give me a call at 808214XXXX Sincerely Eric Koch Maui Mariculture <I do appreciate your efforts, and thank you for contacting me Eric... Please send along folks' names, means of contacting them for my use. Bob Fenner>

Collecting and transporting questions, HI     7/26/08 Aloha Mr. Fenner and Crew, <Howsit? Am over in Kailua presently> My name is Tim and I am the overall manager for a company here in Hawaii (the island of Oahu). We have been operating for just over 2 and a half years here. We currently service major public and private aquariums only (selling no wholesale or retail stores). We initially attempted a venture into the retail market when we opened, but had several issues. <A very tough "boat to row"> Probably the largest issue we had was the lack knowledge. We obtained some of our systems operating knowledge thru local wholesales here but quickly found that what acceptable to them was not to us. In particular the death loss during collecting and transportation to holding facilities. <Mmm, can be greatly reduced, with not too much cost...> We reached out to people who we thought could assist us in operating in a ethical manner, marine biologist, curators and veterinarians across the USA. We took their advice very seriously and invested heavily to both increase the quality of life for the fish we handle and to decrease the initial death loss that seemed to be the operating norm here in Hawaii and in the fish trade industry general. <I beg to differ Tim... I am totally familiar with several outfits as collectors, transhippers, wholesalers, jobbers... that do very well with low mortality (generally, not always)... even with Hawaiian livestock> The more people I speak with the greater knowledge I can obtain regarding the best manner in which to operate. I have found varying options between many curators and biologist. <The BEST folks to talk with are the "A" players in our TRADE. Most curators, biologists know exceedingly little re practical husbandry matters. They're not "in that business"> I also realize the value knowledge gained from long term experiences. It is in this light that I would like that I like to get your thoughts on some topics. 1) The collection, transportation and initial quarantining of saltwater fish. <A big topic... covered on WWM. Can you find these articles, FAQs files through the search tool?> 2) Diseases prevalent of fish coming from Hawaii's waters. <Mostly Crypt... a few times of each year Amyloodinium as well... some species have fluke issues from some islands, collection areas at times... some other "various protozoans"... Of course the turbellarian Paravortex on Yellows (Tangs)... All covered as well. Mostly a matter of adopting and strictly adhering to pH adjusted freshwater (and likely formalin) dips/baths, with aeration... the use of ozone in holding... perhaps copper> 3) The mixing of fish coming from the Pacific regions of the world <Mmm, not a good idea... better to have/keep these in separate/sub-divided holding system/s... and keep ALL GEAR entirely separate per system> 4) Other possible causes (other than cyanide) issues such as anorexic fish. <... how much time do you have?> I have a great deal of knowledge regarding the issues that affect the collection industry here in Hawaii and would gladly pass this information on to you as well. <Let's see... maybe a series of articles... to be run in pet-fish magazines (unfortunately there never has been a specialty ornamental aquatics industry publication)... detailing input on these topics. I will gladly either help you by editing, offering photos, aid your making submissions of this work if you'd like> I like to thank you for your consideration and would enjoy the opportunity to pick your brain. I have also attached a power point presentation to give you an idea as to our current level of operations. Please feel free to call me or email me when you have the time. Mahalo, Tim Imwold Dive Master <Let's keep chatting Tim. Bob Fenner, mauka of Kona currently> <<Further corr. taken off-line. RMF>>

Quick question about a local caught fish Ich, Local Caught Fish, Returning to Ocean (Please do NOT) 4/24/08 Hello again WWM Crew, hope your having a good day. <Yes thanks.> Thank you for all your previous help. Today I got a question for you that I would just like some verification with. Awhile ago I had a tank come down with Ich, you probably don't remember but I don't need to get into the details. Anyway, I left the tank fallow for 6 weeks and then placed a single Golden Headed Sleeper Goby in the tank. After a few weeks of timidity, he became more outgoing during the day and now no longer runs to his hideaway whenever you're looking at him up close. I feed him with New Life Spectrum pellets by sprinkling them onto the sand in front of his hideaway, he usually comes out and picks em up (I never see any in the tank not eaten). Occasionally I'll feed him some frozen brine as a treat. <Good> So he's been in the tank for at least 2 months by himself with some inverts (all added before his entry) and has never shown any sign of disease or unusual behavior. However, 3 weeks ago I placed in there a Red-Lipped Blenny who was getting too large for his previous home (about 6 inches). I figured he'd be a good companion and although they was some initial showing off by the Sleeper, there has never been any fighting. However, he's come down with a very very serious case of Ich. I have never seen the Sleeper with a spot, or any flashing behavior, and his breathing is always very calm. The blenny is going nuts, and I am going to return him to the ocean where he came from as soon as possible. <Please do NOT do this, returning fish to the wild after being exposed to exotic disease is very very bad, especially when it is know to be sick. Can be potentially extremely dangerous to the natural ecosystem. Once a fish comes in contact with anything not from its natural environment it cannot be safely returned to the wild. I can not stress enough how bad, and possibly illegal, this is.> My question is, is it possible the Sleeper is immune to Ich (or resistant) from previous exposure at a store, exc...or is he a carrier? <Probably has some degree of acquired immunity, should be considered a "carrier" here.> I wouldn't think he was a carrier because I've had him in three different tanks which are all still Ich free several months later. I would assume rather that the Cysts were still present on the Rock even after the 6 week fallow period. <Probably was never completely cured and then reinfected the tank, or the blenny was infected and then got really sick with the stress of the new tank.> Maybe I should have waited longer then 6 weeks....I guess my questions are: Will returning the Blenny to the Ocean ensure his survival? <No, almost certainly doom it and potentially other fish it comes in contact with, better to put it down than place it back into the ocean.> I am acting under the assumption that the large water volume will allow him to shed the parasites without their return. <More likely will be quickly eaten and potentially infect the environment with exotic pathogens, BAD!> I've had him for over 3 years and I hate losing any fish which I have collected (I've only lost a couple over the last decade). I'd rather return him then treat him because I feel it's time for him to go back (an advantage of collecting fish locally). <Not an advantage, once a fish hits you tank it cannot be returned unless all live rock, sand, and other livestock have come from the same area, and never been to a fish store, had equipment used in a non-native tank, or any situation when contamination can occur, otherwise the results are potentially disastrous.> Also, since the Sleeper goby does not appear to be affected will I have to remove him and treat him? <Not necessarily, its immunity will protect it for some time.> I really do not want to subject him to a chemical regimen if it is not necessary as he's adapted very well to his new home. I must admit, having a sleeper goby alone in a tank is quite cool, he's obviously much more comfortable then he was in other tanks (with other fish). <Yes> Thanks in advance again and have a great day. Cory, Miami. <You too.> <Chris>

Re: Quick question about a local caught fish Re: Ich, Local Caught Fish, Returning to Ocean (Please do NOT) 4/25/08 Wow, fast reply. <Up a little late last night.> Alright Ill treat the blenny. <Good> Whenever I've returned fish in the past they have always been in "Ocean" Tanks meaning only recently have I started mixing store bought fish with wild caught fish. <Ah, as long as the "ocean" tanks are kept separate from the other tanks, and separate equipment is used to avoid cross-contamination, then returning them to the wild does not represent a problem.> Usually when I have tanks like that I don't mix anything from a store with anything that I catch, including rocks or inverts. But that's too bad, he's really getting too big for a tank. I don't think the store will take him (after treatment). No reason to put him down though. He'll survive. Thanks for your help. Cory, Miami <Perhaps another local fish keeper has room for him?> <Chris>

The Call of The Wild...(The Ethics of Collecting Your Own Specimens)   7/2/07Hello everyone! <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> Let me first tell you that we have been reading and loving your web site for several years. We have learned SO much and managed to "re-identify" many items we've purchased from our LFS. Thank you so much for allowing the average hobbyist access to your vast knowledge of this very rewarding hobby. I have been able to locate practically EVERYTHING I have ever needed to know on your site. <I know what you mean! I found a really great recipe for meat loaf the other day, and a step-by-step guide to mastering the yoyo, right here on the WWM site! Wow! In all seriousness- thanks for the kind words. WWM is one of the best sites of its kind on the 'net! There are a lot of really talented people here who put their best into this site each and every day. Glad you enjoy it as much as we enjoy bringing it to you!> Having said that...Today, I am unable to locate the answer to my question. We are lucky enough to live in a coastal community just South of Sarasota FL. Our neighborhood sits next to the Gulf of Mexico. (Yes, it's heavenly...until hurricane season kicks in!) <Yup!> We find little crabs and such in abundance on our beach (small sand sifting crabs and coquina clams). We don't like to purchase items for our reef that come from the wild. We'd much rather purchase aquacultured frags and items. <I share your views!> Would bringing home a few coquina's have any impact on our neighborhood beach? <Well, you asked...In my opinion, I would really avoid taking anything from the neighborhood beach. I remember vividly one of my biology professors in college advising us to "take nothing but pictures" and to "leave nothing but footprints" on our local beaches in SoCal.) Sure, a few crabs may not seem to be a lot of impact, but if enough people take just a few, the next thing you know, there could be significant issues down the line, not only for the population of the animals that you are collecting, but to other animals that may depend on them for food or other services. Not to mention the fact that you should ALWAYS check with the local authorities concerning the legality of collecting wildlife in your area. Permits/licenses may be required.> We would like to know if you can tell us a little about the possible perils of bringing a little of our beach into our reef tank. Here are our specs: 55 gal show size tank Power Comp lights: 130 watts of actinic 03 130 watts of 50/50 actinic 03 10,000K 130 watts of 10,000k approx. 4" live sand bed We've lost track of how many pounds of rock - maybe 75 lbs? 2 - 3 Stripe Damsels 1 Percula Clown assorted Zoos and Mushrooms 2 small Acropora frags Pipe Organ 1 med size sand sifting star crabs, snails 1 big fat Mexican Turbo snail Thanks very much, Amy G <Well, Amy- besides the potential environmental impact and possible legal ramifications of collecting local wildlife, their introduction into your aquarium could present some problems, specifically, the introduction of possible parasites and diseases. If you do end up collecting specimens for your aquarium, careful and mandatory quarantine is absolutely essential, and acclimation to your aquarium must be done carefully. You certainly sounds like a conscientious aquarist, so I'm sure that you'll do all the necessary research regarding the viability of this venture, and that you'll take the right steps to assure that the transition to captive life is a smooth one for the animals that you intend to collect.> Re: Corals as Carry-On? - 04/05/07 Hi <<Hello Jorge>> I finally heard back from the TSA on Carrying Live coral as Carry-on.  The answer was pretty Vague.  See Below: Thank you for your e-mail.   The Transportation Security Administration's current security screening procedures require all carry-on luggage and accessible property be screened before passengers take them onboard an aircraft.  Regardless of whether an item is on the prohibited or permitted items list, the Transportation Security Officers (TSO's) have discretion to prohibit an individual from carrying an item through the screening checkpoint or onboard an aircraft if the item poses a security threat.  Therefore, TSA security screening personnel make the final decision on whether to permit items like a live piece of coral into the sterile area of the airport.  Should you need additional assistance, feel free to contact us at toll free 866-289-9673.  Please visit our website at www.tsa.gov for additional information about TSA.  We continue to add new information and encourage you to check the website frequently for updated information.  We hope this information is helpful. TSA Contact Center <<Mmm, so it would appear from this, the possibility of you carrying this coral aboard the aircraft is a matter of pure chance.  Perhaps if you post this question on the reef message forums (RC/reefs.org) you can find some folks who have tried this recently and get a better feel for how airport security is handling this situation.  Regards, EricR>>

Getting the Last Fish Out, Light Shock  2/28/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Tom!  Mich here.> I have the unpleasant task of removing all the fish from my reef tank to treat for a Crypt infestation. <I'm sorry for your trouble.> The latest addition, and only recent one, was a Mandarin that I did QT but obviously not well enough because a week later some of the others are showing Crypt. Here's a list of the fish we have in the 135G reef display: Purple Tang Hippo Tang Percula Pair Flame Angel Royal Gramma Yellow Watchman Goby Mandarin The Tangs were easy to trap, and I think I'll get the Clowns, Gramma, and eventually the Goby. I'm having doubts about ever trapping the Angel and Mandarin, and nets are useless. This reef tank is now well established with a lot of SPS coral that has fused rocks together, and just can't be broken down without doing damage...but maybe it will have to come to that. Since I'm going to have to get every fish out of the tank, do you have any advice or unusual tactics for catching them? I hate to even ask this dumb question, but as an extreme measure is there any way to stun these last fish just enough to help capture them (e.g. cold, heat, anything?) without causing long term problems for the fish or the coral? I suspect the answer is "no", but in the past I've received Liveaquaria fish shipments where the bag water was down to about 60 degrees, and the fish were moving pretty slowly. I sure don't want to harm the fish, but I don't want to see them die of Crypt anyway, and slow down the fallow process just because I can't get them out. <One method that I have heard that you might try is turning the lights off in the middle of the day when they are normally on.  Allow the lights to stay off for a period of time gather you nets, catch containers etc. and turn the lights back on.  This can induce a shock like state which may allow you to capture your... victims? ...I mean fish.  Don't know if this will work for certain, but I think it is worth trying.> Thanks, <Good luck!  I wish you success!  -Mich> Tom

Re: Getting the Last Fish Out, Light Shock, Tank Trap  - 03/02/07 Thanks for the lights off/on idea, I did try it. The ones that are left (Gramma, Flame, Mandarin) can still disappear, they seem to know their reef so well they aren't even findable when they hide, let alone catchable out in the open.  Tried both the halides and a bright flashlight. <Maybe you didn't leave the light off long enough, you want to induce a "sleep" period.  You could also try doing when the lights are normally off.> Any other ideas, even if not entirely humane for the short term? Might be better than letting the Crypt kill them slowly. <I have also heard of a method using a small tank as seen here: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl= http://www.pennplax.com/Images/AQUAscans/Tank%2520Kits/HermitCrabKitCl.jpg&imgrefurl= http://www.pennplax.com/Pages/Aqua.pages..../ Aqua27F.html&h=288&w=279&sz=12&hl=en&start=5&tbnid=aR6CJFfeKDSX0M:&tbnh= 115&tbnw=111&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhermit%2Bcrab%2Btank%26svnum%3D10%26hl% 3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26sa%3DN Place this tank in you display with the lid open.  Then feed only by placing the food inside the tiny tank.  Once the fish go in you will have to close the top.  Getting the fish to go is the challenge.  I have heard of some success with this method.  My last experience was quite some time ago, but I ended up ripping the entire tank apart.  Try some of the message boards too, the more minds the better.  I know how frustrating it can be.  If only you could reason with them.  It would make things so much easier.  A few more ideas here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movelvstkfaqs.htm   Good luck to you Tom!  Let us know what ends up working for you.>   Thanks, <Welcome!  -Mich> <<Mich... Tom... drain the tank, remove the LR... take the fishes out, replace the LR and water... RMF>> Tom

Collecting Marine Invertebrates - 12/02/06 Hi, <<Hello!>> I am new reef aquarist. <<Welcome to the hobby>> However, I have very quickly become passionate about it! <<All too easy to do...though my wife's term for it is "obsessed">> I am a veterinarian and I own a small animal practice.  I have begun to take classes and read books, and now, online posts in order to become knowledgeable enough about fish and invertebrates to add them to the long list of exotics I already treat. <<Excellent!>> I am very interested in ocean conservation and I would like to begin by having reef tanks at my hospital. <<Cool…I don't usually recommend reef systems for "office" environments, as they tend to suffer from the frequent and periodic neglect (unless HIGHLY automated) during weekends/holidays.  But as a veterinarian, I'm assuming someone comes in "daily" to tend to the animals boarded/recovering from surgery/etc and could thus see to the reef systems as well>> I have been quite successful in sustaining invertebrates in my reef tank.  I would like to use what I am learning to research the propagation of wild populations in captivity for the education of my clients and hopefully to add to what is known about captive sustainability. <<Hmm...have you seen/read Anthony Calfo's book 'Book of Coral Propagation, Volume 1: Reef Gardening for Aquarists'?>> I am aware that in order to collect and transport from country to country I must possess a C.I.T.E.S. permit.  But, what sort of permit is required for collection within my state, within the U.S., with no intention to export? <<Laws will vary from state to state; I recommend you contact your state's Department of Natural Resources and/or Department of Fish and Game.  These agencies should be able to provide guidance on licensing requirements and species limits/restrictions...if any>> Thank you so much for your wonderful web site! Kathye <<Happy you think so.  EricR>>

Catching a regal tang  - 11/15/06 Thanks for the help with this.   << You're most welcome. >> Ultimately, the easiest way to catch it, was to wait until nighttime, move a few rocks to gain access, and reach my gloved hand in to the tank and simply pick it up.  One needs to be very wary of the spines on the dorsal fin, but otherwise, if caught at night, the fish does not thrash or fight, it simply allows you to pick it up and take it out of the tank. << Hehe I wish this technique worked as well for me when I tried it with a Passer Angel. I used a red military filter on an old army flashlight to find the fish about 3 hours after lights out and ended up with a gill spine puncture in my hand! Alas, every fish and situation are different and I'm glad you had a successful catch! I hope your tank is doing well after removal of the problem child. - Emerson >> Lisa

Moving X-LARGE Queen Trigger   11/5/06 Hello! <Hi there> I am going to be moving our store's mascot tomorrow and would like your opinion on some of the methods we are thinking of using.  And, if you have any recommendations, please give me some!  :) <Hotay!> Our mascot is a 17 inch Queen Triggerfish.  She is going to be moved into a 180 gallon tank - she's in a 55 gallon right now.  The tank isn't even a full two feet away from her current tank.  We are going to move her tomorrow, and we will be filmed for our local news station, so we want this to look good!  :)  She will be fully acclimated by a drip method before the move happens. As for the methods we have thought about... 1.  "bucketing" her.  This would involve scooping her up into a bucket and then gently submersing the bucket into the 180. <This is best... do watch your hands/fingers... and back while lifting> 2.  "toweling" her.  This would involve placing a wet bath towel into the tank and scooping her up.  Then clutching the top so that she cannot escape.  Then submersing the towel and the trigger into the new tank. 3.  "bagging" her.  This would involve taking a large plastic bag (12 x 20), filling it with aquarium water from her current tank, and having that set aside.  Then take two other of the bags, make slits in the center of the bag, and then scoop her up with that, placing that into the bag of water, and then gently submersing her into the tank. <Will likely chew right through most any thickness, multiple bags> Unfortunately, this fish will not deal with a net, she is too strong, which is why I am not going to "bag" her as most would do.  Float the bag, etc.   If you have any recommendations for me, I would love to hear them!  :) Thanks so much! Wendy Legeret Wendy's Blue Lagoon <A suitably large, semi-flexible bucket is best here. Good moving! Bob Fenner> Fish anesthetization in the aquarium  9/9/06 Dear Crew, I have done a fair amount of research on the anesthetization of fish.   I give anesthesia (human) for a living so I understand the chemistry and pharmacology of the agents available. <Ah, good> I need to get a Magnificent Foxface Rabbitfish out of my 300 g. saltwater aquarium. I, and my wife, and my son (who works for the LFS) have tried many times to capture this fish, I have tried to use the bottle trap a number of times... suffice to say that because of the design of the tank and the layout of the live rock (many, many, many hiding places) I have decided to begin researching anesthetizing, or at least sedating the fish just enough so that I can net it, and get it back to the LFS. They pointed me to MS-222, and I have done further research into tertiary amyl alcohol and other agents also including Carbon Dioxide. <Mmm, I would use none of these in an established aquarium. And have used all of these...> All the info I have found so far describes the use of the agent with the fish already in an isolated container. Obviously if I had the fish in an isolated container, I wouldn't have a problem, so what I would like is your view of using some type of agent in the aquarium itself. I realize that this will affect the other fish (One 10" Naso Tang, one 5" Banggai Cardinal, one 3" Lawnmower Blenny, one 3" Blue Spotted Jawfish, one 2" Hector's Goby), the 5 serpent stars and about 30 corals to some degree or another. Any thoughts, or suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Dave Harvey <If it were me/mine, I'd first try a fashioned "squeeze net" to push the one fish down toward one end (two inert poles and some reasonable size mesh netting)... and two hand nets once isolated in a smaller, more manageable volume... or "bite the proverbial bullet" and drain the tank down... into containers it can be re-pumped back into the main tank... Bob Fenner>

Re: fish anesthetization in the aquarium  - 09/14/06 Thanks Bob, <Welcome David> have contemplated your suggestions, but without basically dismantling the rockwork even a fashioned net doesn't seem like a workable solution in this tank. If I do drain the tank isn't this at least as much stress on the other fish and corals as any exogenous agent might be? <Mmm, might be> Not to mention this Foxface is really good at locking itself in under rocks- do you just suggest waiting until he is debilitated under these conditions and then removing him? <Mmm... well... best not to wait> Is that really any different than turning all pumps off, waiting for the Oxygen to drop, the fish to get sluggish and taking him out? <Not advised> I'm thinking that at least that way, no denizen will have also been above the water surface and O2 will be immediately be re-established when the pumps are turned back on. <Perhaps... but could also (easily) trigger a chain of reactions resulting in most alls death> I did speak at length with John Hosch, the curator of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and he says that they use oil of cloves in the field squirted directly at a particular fish when they need to rescue a fish that is hiding in rocks, of course in that situation the volume of diluent is much greater and the effect on the other organisms in the area is much less of a concern. <Yes... can be done> We discussed using a similar approach with a syringe and a soft catheter attached and shooting it directly at the Foxface, then immediately doing a water change and using carbon after the fish is out. Your further thoughts would, as always be greatly appreciated. thanks again, Dave Harvey <You've tried training this fish to dried/sheet algae? With a large plastic framed net under... till classical habituation allows the easy removal... Bob Fenner>

Catching fish   8/17/06 Hi Crew, Removing a fish is a subject always coming up. I would like to suggest something that works for me, but it is still not easy. Using two nets, which has been mentioned before, but do it with the tank lights out. The fish has a hard time seeing the nets in this case. Unfortunately you will also have a hard time seeing the fish. But I think this puts the odds in your favor. You may need someone with a flashlight to help if the room light is not enough. <Thank you for this Samuel. Bob Fenner> Catching Fish... Any Easy Way?  - 8/9/2006 Hey crew, <Yo> Do you have any good techniques for removing fish from a tank without the need to remove every piece of live rock? Surely, <My name is not Shirley:)> there must be an easier way, and if there is, I'm sure you guys would know about it! <No easy way my friend.  Using two nets can help some, and removing some of the water reduces hiding places, but a word of caution here...If your rock is delicately balanced, mmm.  I've tried bait boxes with little or no success, so don't waste your money on these.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Spot on Marine Angel fish... owee from decompression procedure?   7/31/06 Hello crew, <Laurie> I've been researching on your website, but can't seem find an exact match for a possible issue with my marine angel. I purchased a Swallowtail angel two week ago.  She is isolated in my QT.   I did not freshwater dip her prior to putting her in the QT.   <Not always advisable> A few days after bringing her home, I noticed a small white bump on her side.  It's about the size of a scale.  I thought that perhaps it might be a single parasite, so at that time I did capture her for a buffered (baking soda to ~8.2 pH) freshwater dip (with methylene blue).  However, I removed her after only 1 minute, as she started to thrash, which scared me. <Can be scary> Now, after about 10 days, it has turned a yellow-brown.  No other spots are on her.  I have decided to leave her in the QT until that spot is gone, but feel that I should know what it is, so that I can further treat her properly, if needed. <Good. This is what I would likely do as well> I tried to get a picture, but she freaks out at the camera and I can't catch her in a frame! Oh - I added a skunk cleaner, thinking that if it is a parasite, <Excellent> or actually, anything else that needs to be cleaned off, that he could assist.  I have seen her letting him hop on occasionally.  But, the spot is still there. Would you know what this spot might be? <Mmm, likely a "sore" from the process of capture... most likely a/the entrance of a needle to "decompress" this animal... Many marine fishes are caught at depths that make such "gas bladder bleeding" expedient, rather than the long-wait of bringing to the surface slowly...> Thank you for your help - both past and present. Regards, Laurie O. <Keep your eye on water quality, and don't be too wary of moving/placing this Genicanthus sp. in your main system. Very likely it is relatively disease free. Bob Fenner>

Re: Spot on Marine Angel fish   7/31/06 Hi Bob, <Laur> Thank you.  That's great news.  I will plan on moving her this coming weekend, then.  (That will be a full 3 weeks in QT.) <Good>   Water quality is pretty good in the QT - ammonia and nitrite at 0; nitrate at 20 ppm.  I just did a 5% water change, too. I have another, unrelated question for you, if you don't mind? <Sure> I was poking around yesterday, and found on this page:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm; under the section "Biological/Pathogenic Disease: Identification, Pathogens/Agents, a photo that shows zigzag lines/trails on what may be live rock (or is it a fish?). <Oh! Is a pic of nematodes, Roundworms encysted in the dermis of a Moray Eel...> It is the fourth photo down in this section.  I looked at all of the links to the left, but could not find that photo in any of those links.  Do you know what the zigzag lines are? <Yes... please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaq2.htm about mid-way down... the same pic> We've had three occasions of something looking exactly like these in our 110 display tank. <Mmm>   Twice on the glass wall, once on a rock.  We thought they were snail eggs.  But, now I'm worried, because your photo is under the disease section!   Thanks again, Laurie O. <There are many such-appearing living "things"... likely what you saw were actually eggs... most likely of a mollusk of some sort. Not to worry re. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mandarin quarantine question... Secrets of fish-catching   7/12/06 Hi Bob and WWM crewmaties, <Steve> I thought I'd share my success in how I was able to remove 9 small and speedy fish from my 125 gallon reef tank. This was done to move them into a quarantine tank for treating an ich outbreak. I managed to do this, but I did go through a certain degree of trouble. <Good> STEP #1- I first searched the WWM website for tips on how to catch fish. I also searched the web for other ideas. What I found ranged from night sneak attacks to buying or making a fish trap. One suggestion was to place a sizeable plastic bag in the tank and to lure fish in the bag with food. These and other techniques may work for some fish, but none were successful with my fish- shrimp goby, six line wrasse, flame angel, bi-color blenny, royal Gramma, etc. I was able to catch my clown pair by engaging in a bit of hunt and chase. The old "two net approach" did the trick. Many reefers resolved themselves to simply tearing down their tanks. I did not want to face this option, given the many hours I spend aquascaping my masterpiece. OK, here is my technique. When the plastic bag idea failed (the bag would not stay open properly due to water movement, etc.), I tried a similar technique using plastic mesh. This was material similar to the stuff capture nets are made from. I was able to get a hold of this material from my place of work. Well, this idea didn't work, either. Although I was able to keep the mesh purse I made to stay open sufficiently, the fish wanted nothing to do with this contraption. Baiting the purse with food did not entice them, either. I know, we're dealing with little brains that have had millions of years of evolution and genetic programming to learn how to stay clear of danger. My brainstorm was to use this mesh material to enclose one end (only ~1/3) of my tank. Window screen material (if safe) or something similar can be used in place. I used suction cups from my utility powerheads to attach the mesh to each front and rear glass side of my tank. The suction cups were attached to the mesh with simple supermarket twisties. I used some additional material to double-up on the ends to make sure no gaps were present. I dug the mesh into the substrate and piled sand around the edges to make it secure. I only affixed one end of the mesh gate, keeping it open to chase the fish to that end. I simply moved the corals and other inverts to the free end of the tank. I was able to chase a few fish (angel, blenny, royal Gramma) to the capture end without too much trouble. I closed the net, removed a few pieces of live rock, and whammo- net your fish. Yes, this part of the tank will pretty much have to be dismantled. I drew pictures and took some measurements of key rock placement to simplify reassembly. I figured the toughest fish to catch would be the goby. He pretty much stayed in one or two burrows excavated by the pistol shrimp. I was careful to place the mesh screen to ensure his burrow was in the capture zone. This took a little doing, but it did work. This little guy, Orange-striped Shrimp Goby, is FAST and able to zip into the substrate, burrow or no burrow. During one part, the goby managed to get in the clear-zone part of my tank. Another idea of mine used left-over tubing from my RO water filter to blow bubbles into the bottom of my tank to chase the fish. This worked great and did not hurt or disturb my corals. The toughest fish to catch was the six line wrasse and purple firefish. Chasing them was tricky. I managed to capture the wrasse (the last one) simply by keeping the mesh gate open, waiting for him to venture to that side, and enclosing him for a simple capture. While not perfect, this technique does work, especially for larger reef tanks. Now, if I'd only set-up a quarantine tank first... Steve <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Sweepers  3/30/06 I've have already searched through your website and have not been able to locate any information.  I have a question regarding sweepers, who I believe are in the family Pempheridae. <Ah, yes....!>   Why don't you see them offered for sale? <Good question... hot hard to find in reef, coastal/rocky settings... and easy to catch (have done so)... But don't take to handling well (die easily with scale, slime loss from netting)... and the one real reason: They're "not on the list"... of items/animals folks order/buy through the "chain of custody"... A phenomenon I call the Founder/Flounder Effect... "Folks don't ask for things they don't know about, so they don't see/gain exposure because they didn't get caught, because no one asked for them..."> I see them in reef pictures all the time (usually hovering around a coral head along with various Cardinalfish), so it appears as though they are fairly common.  Are they difficult to keep? <Have been kept by Public Aquariums off/on... but the vast majority of caught specimens die in a short while...> Are they similar to the Anthias species in that they need to be frequently fed in order to be successfully kept?  Or do they simply not ship well? <Good questions... I know naught. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help, Brian Lory Costa Rica marine life collection for personal use   3/25/06 Ladies and Gentlemen, <Ron> Need a specific answer regarding who in Costa Rica I would need to contact to secure a permit to collect my own marine specimens . Will be flying into Liberia, Costa Rica. Thanx Ron <Mmm... likely their "Dept. of Natural Resources"... and/or export office of the government (start this now... takes a good long while). Will you be staying with folks in the trade there? I would ask them to let you use their collecting and exporting permits, and as importantly, tools and materials for successfully boxing, shipping your catch. The OFI members list may help you to identify folks involved in the industry there. Bob Fenner>

Collecting in Kauai?   3/4/06 Hey crew, <Eric> I was going to go snorkeling / diving on the island of Kauai this spring.  I was wondering what I need to do to maybe collect a fish or coral for my aquarium (being that I am good enough to actually catch it). <Mmm, the fish... not advised, the coral, illegal> I was wondering if you can point me in the direction of portable filtration / oxygen / heat supply for the flight home.  I was planning on flying out in the evening if I can so I can do the collection the morning/afternoon of my flight. <Much better to buy animals there (if you want to...) that have been "pooped out" (non-technical term, but necessary), otherwise "hardened" by a few to several days time in captivity (post collection)...> Do you know where I can find paper work to get a temporary license to harvest wild life legally? <... You could get a fishing license from the DNR...>   Also is there any advice you could give me for collecting small fish or maybe a small piece of coral. <I have a piece on the subject posted here: http://wetwebmedia.com/collhiway.htm and the linked files above...> I will only have about 1 gallon of water, with a small air supply. I was thinking of getting some heating packs for keeping the temp good. I really don't want to hurt anything in this process.  I just want a little keep sake for my home aquarium.   Thanks Eric <Read. Bob Fenner> Removing troublesome fish  - 2/4/2006 Hello,          I have a 125 gal reef tank with many inverts and corals. I would like your advice on how to remove 2 blue damsels and 1 freckled hawkfish from this aquarium. <Condition to come to surface, corner through feeding... could try traps... baited... sold by folks like Dr.s Foster and Smith... or have to drain tank...> I don't want to disturb my 120+ pounds of live rock or my corals. The corals are all growing and are happy where they are. Is there any way I can catch these? <Small barbless, baited hooks?> I have heard of placing a hook in the aquarium with the barb removed and place some food on it, but this seems difficult because the damsels mouth is very small. I would like to place them in a 10 gallon tank quarantine tank for 2 months. I suspect some ich and would like to let the tank fallow. I have seen some traps available but have never used them. Netting these fish is impossible due to the amount of corals and hiding places in my reef. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you... <Good hunting. Bob Fenner> Australia Collecting License and fence/barrier nets   1/17/06 Hi Bob am looking to buy a fish collecting licenses in Australia what do you think and were can you bye fence nets etc Hank <Mmm, licenses in the "Land Down Under" are closely numbered and regulated. Likely you would have to become a citizen, and either buy into an existing one, or add your name to a list, lottery to win one if/when same became available. Fence nets can be made (I used to do this... don't!), or bought from outfits that make them by machine... Look to the aquaculture industry, magazines... I used to get mine from Memphis Net & Twine. Bob Fenner> Hunting for eels! 11/6/05 Hi, my name is William; I live on an island in the Caribbean. I live on the shore and lately have been chasing after what I believe to be chain-link morays. <Most common species in shallow water there...> It seems to be tougher than I expected. I was wondering if there are anyways of attracting these magnificent eels to a certain area. Just the other night I went to look for them since they are nocturnal, but I believe they went out to sea for feeding. The area I usually find them in is a small cove covered in spiny lobster, parrotfish, sea urchins, and green morays. Recently I have seen three of them in the span of two days. Two of them were large averaging about one and a half feet long. The third though was quite skinny and was about eight inches long. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you. <Can be caught in "minnow traps" incorporating a fyke on one/both end/s... with bait inside. Or with a barbless hook and line, with something meaty for bait... or via a small fence and hand net... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collmarsdvg.htm and the linked files above, and the accounts on moray eels archived on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Collecting sand, water, flora and fauna from Carolina Coast 10/13/05 WWM team and friends, Good day and hope you are all well. I want to first state for all of us out here in apprentice/journeyman land, appreciation for your patience and expertise.  <Thanks for the kind words! We are truly happy to help and contribute!> Item 1: Unrelated to topic but have to state to Bob the last status on the SeaClone 100 skimmer (my pc crashed, lost all mail so thread is not intact). It has been up and running over a month now and contrary to most popular opinion, working rather well. I recommend it.  The new revisions seem to be fine-it could still be improved but can't everything? I am getting dry foam and about 1 1/2 cups a week of green/black stout from a 38 gallon tank with 27 gallons of actual water (yes, I was anal about ensuring I knew how much water for dosing, changes, etc.. :) ). So if you like, feel free to post this part with the other thread on the skimmer section. Only issue is that for the money, I should have gotten the 150.  Local P*TSm*rt stores here honor their online web price that is generally $30 less than their actual stores and other LFS in the area wanted $130 and up for this skimmer - not a good buy then :). Only question on skimmers in general is do ya have to use a prefilter sponge? When you take it out to clean it, half of the stuff it filtered leaks into the tank anyway so what's the point?  <I am glad to hear that your SeaClone is working. Your experience is truly and exception. Prefilters are not necessary.> Item 2: The meat of the questions. I have the opportunity to get a gently used 75g glass/stand/canopy with darn near everything including canister, lighting and Magnum HOT for CHEAP. I would like to use my knowledge acquired from YOUR brains to do a better job this time, however, I am still a cheapskate soon to being out of work. <It is nice to find good deals! I am not a fan of canister or HO filters for marine tanks (see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/Filtration/Filtration.htm). I would suggest selling these filters an applying the proceeds to live rock and a skimmer.> Since I live a couple hours from Wilmington, NC and my brother has a beach house one block from the sound, intracoastal AND TopSail beach that I have access to (he is the comfortable one in the family), I would like to know if it would be an okay mix to use sound/surf sand and water and perhaps plant life, yet, stock with the typical tropical flora and fauna like damsels, crabs, corals, etc..?  <There are many issues with this. Any temperate life (brought with sand or intentionally introduced) will not survive for long at tropical temperatures. Some tropical species make their way up into the Carolinas during summer months, but you have to really know your stuff!> The water tests well for sg and basic tests. The sand is fine, brown Atlantic sand, not aragonite. Not sure if it has silicates but have to imagine it is as good or better than the Home Depot sand so many people seem to rave about that looks like someone swept up sand blasting sand after use and put it in a bag for sale.... Additionally, I do find small rubble rock and would like to know if this is appropriate as well.  <This sand is surely high in silica, although I am don't believe that this is a significant problem. I would be more worried about pollutants (sewerage, fertilizers, pesticides, boat fuel, etc.) from sand collected on or near shore. "Live sand" is generally collected from areas around reefs in at least a couple of tens of feet of water. The same applies to the rubble. Using natural sea water for water changes has many benefits if you have access to it, but it can also introduce pollution or disease if you aren't careful.> I am not a naturalist and don't know the micro flora/fauna indigenous to my region but imagine that in using the sand/water I will likely find out and want to ensure that it is ok. I have refrained from using local saltwater to this point not for fear of contaminants or pollution (NC is actually highly stringent in enforcement since we are a shellfish producer) but for fear of it not being correct in some way from the normal environs of the stock.  If that is not an issue, I much would rather trek down to Wilmington for a weekend or two a month at the beach for free and stock up on water than continue to spend $$$$$ on RO and salt mix. And spend those dollars on caring for my marine dependents in other ways like a refugium and such.  I would imagine the local water has good bacteria strains as well that the mix does not. I would also imagine that cycling should be much more effective. Your thoughts? Sincere appreciation and regards, Bill  <While the use of NSW is inexpensive, the risks are also high. It may work well for a while, but it is a game of Russian roulette. Facilities that use NSW usually filter it aggressively as well as ozonize it to prevent introduction of pathogens and pollutants. This process is only cost effective on a large scale. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Moral fish dilemma  9/11/05 Hi Bob,   I have been browsing through WetWebMedia.com but I didn't come across any articles that are related to my dilemma. I apologize in advance if I have overseen any previously answered questions. So, basically I recently started my first saltwater tank and went netting with my friend in Long Island, NY. We didn't really expect to catch anything but thought it would be fun to try, nevertheless. However, we ended up netting 3 juvenile lookdowns, 1 adult lookdown, 3 tiny puffers, 2 tiny flounders, and 2 tiny butterfly fish. The major problem is that the tank I have right now is only 29 gallons and as I've read on this website, its not good to keep a lookdown in anything less than about a 150 gallon tank. However, if I release the fish back into the Long Island water, I know they are going to die once winter sets in. At the same time, I have neither the resources nor the experience to maintain a 150 gallon tank. In your expert opinion, what should I do? Would I be able to sell the lookdowns or donate them? I would really appreciate any help you could give me. Thanks! -Rush <I would call the local fish stores, aquarium service companies, the NY Aquarium Society president, board members, and ask for their assistance here. Bob Fenner>

Going Fishing For Dominoes - 06/03/05 Well I have a 500 hundred gallon acrylic aquarium and I have 2 domino damsel in there from day one.  They are huge 5" in dia..  And there laying eggs all over.  But my problem is they are nipping my other fish and are very aggressive and disturbing the gravel substrate and making the tank always look cloudy.  My question to you is how can I catch them I tried several times but they are to fast for me to catch and the top of my aquarium only has hatches, all I wind up doing is upsetting the rest of the fish.  Any help I would appreciate. And of coarse I would find them a good home.   <<Had this very same problem myself years ago before I learned better.  Domino damsels are the cutest little buggers when they're about the size of your thumbnail...but it doesn't take long for them to grow up mean and nasty!  I solved my domino problem by using a small barbless fish hook, some very fine monofilament fishing line, and a bit of raw table shrimp.  This tactic is surprisingly effective due the fishes natural aggressiveness.  Give it a try!  It's actually less stressful/harmful to the fish than chasing it around with a net.  And provides a great little ultra-light tackle workout as well <G>.>> That's jimmy... Ps I love you web sight thanks <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Catching wild marine fish Bob, if I go on vacation to a tropical area where I would dive, can I try to catch certain fish, if I see them, and ship them back home to put in my aquarium? Thanks Gabe <Can indeed be done... and is a great deal of fun (and learning experience). I have a few articles posted on WWM re this, and we have a good deal of pertinent input from others archived in FAQs files on the topic. Bob Fenner> 

Re: White Fecal Matter, actually trapping fish/es in large tanks I have a follow-up question. I have a 250 gallon full reef display tank in my living room. I have a Powder Blue tang which may or may not be suffering from a spot of lymphocytes. As I mentioned, it is a full reef, so the moment a net comes anywhere near my tank, the fish dart behind the rocks. I don't want to have to remove all the corals and live rock and millions (not really millions, but it seems like it) of inverts. Any suggestions on removing this fish with a trap? If so, any particular ones? Any good methodology for achieving this? Thanks for any advice. <The best such trap is a large net, conditioning the fish to not respond to its presence... takes time... days to weeks... but leaving the plastic or all-plastic coated net in the tank, feeding above it can/does work. Bob Fenner>

Slurp guns in Australia? Hello Bob, I have recently setup a 6' marine aquarium and it seems to have stabilized (4mths on). The tank is fairly bare at the moment, no live rock as yet, (at $20/Kg I'm saving up) <Yowzah! At this price almost worth making your own!> 8 or 9 small fish and a slipper lobster. My first question is, will the addition of the 100Kg of live rock that it is suggested a tank of this size needs require any time for water quality to stabilize again? <Absolutely! Do cure it elsewhere, place maybe ten kilos a week, with testing> On the central coast of N.S.W. Australia where I live (33 deg. Sth) our waters are classified as temperate; having said that, each summer a warm current brings a range of juvenile tropicals down from the north (G.B.R.). 20 years ago I had some reasonable success collecting several species of Chaetodons, Heniochus, Scorpionfish and the like while snorkeling (very strict collection rules down here).  Unfortunately for the little fellows, when the water cools in Autumn from 25deg. down to 16deg. Celsius... <Brrrr!> ...my earlier assumption that the fish receded back north with the current is wrong. The silly buggers stay here and die. <Yes> I'll get to my second query. I'm not sure if its my age or the fish are quicker than I remember but I desperately need to find a supplier in Australia that sells slurp guns (hand scoops are the only other option allowed here). I bought one back in the dark ages in Sydney (early 80's) but can't find one in Oz these days. I realize that it's a very long distance request, but can you advise me where to look? <Mmm, come to think of it... I don't recall seeing these sold anywhere, anytime I've been there... I take it you've tried the Net... dive shops... are there any large acrylic fabrication businesses in large towns in the country you could contact re? If anybody knew of folks making them, they would> If you can't help with an Australian source I have a friend in Ohio who may be able to purchase one for me if there are any in that area. I'm trying to avoid the hassles and risks of shipping one from the states if possible. <There are some medium quality units still made by Aquacraft, I think still in S. Cal., but I don't see a URL for them through Google> P.S; A word of advice for the earlier request by a fellow concerning the Ballina Angelfish, they are totally protected in our waters. <Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>

Rotenone - Fish Collecting http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0402/feature3/zoom1.html  <Thanks for this. See you soon. BobF>

Collecting live marine animals for personal use Hello to all , I have enjoyed collecting small animals most of my life, Now with a 7 year old son we explore many habitats for creatures of all kinds. We have recently a heightened interest in a reef tank and we are both excellent in the water, I scuba and skin dive. I would like to know practical ways to safely capture and transport marine life back to my home town of Cincinnati , Ohio any suggestions on equipment and techniques are appreciated Thanks Lawrence and Ashton <Please read the articles and FAQs archived here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm - scroll down to "Collection...". Bob Fenner>

Collecting in Panama Hello crew-but especially for Bob,          I am trying to contact anyone who has information regarding collection and export of marine fish from Panama.  In past articles about Mexico collection, Bob had mentioned that Panama appeared to be "wide open". I have tried to find anyone who could give me a contact without success. I even have had one person comment that they were closed to export.         You recently have had questions from someone living in Portobelo area of Panama, and although he doesn't appear to be a collector, I am wondering if  he could be of any help.        Do you have any suggestions or comments, Thank you, respectfully, Grant <Mmm, the OFI doesn't list any members for Panama unfortunately: http://www.ornamental-fish-int.org/members/members-directory.asp and I haven't been to Los Angeles in a few months, not that my memory is all that intact... but I do believe there are still collectors operating on both sides of the canal. You might try contacting the federal "fish and game" there, maybe even the local tropical fish stores to ask where they get their livestock... even the "yellow page" directory under Pescados Tropicales... Bob Fenner>

Hooked on fish, worried divers seeking limits This story was sent to you by: Pryor Bob & Crew Thought you would find this interesting.  Any feedback on it? thanks -Ray <Thank you. My notes below> -------------------- Hooked on fish, worried divers seeking limits -------------------- Florida may curb pet-trade catches By David Fleshler, Tribune Newspapers: South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Staff photographer Joe Amon contributed to this report November 25, 2004 About 3 miles off the coast of Islamorada, Ken Nedimyer glides along the ocean floor, trailing bubbles from his scuba gear and carrying two nets. Two yellow Jawfish emerge from their sandy holes. He squirts them with an anesthetic called Quinaldine and scoops them up. Within a few days the fish would be airborne, packed in oxygen-rich water, on their way to aquarium-supply stores in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Nedimyer is among a group of highly skilled Florida divers who earn a living providing live fish for the aquarium trade. He knows where to find angelfish, blue tangs and dozens of other species sought by collectors. Equally important, he knows how to get them alive to Chicago or Phoenix or New York. But with fish stocks around the world threatened by overfishing, Florida wildlife officials have decided to impose limits on the business of catching live fish for the pet trade. At the urging of Nedimyer and other professionals, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has proposed rules that would reduce the number of permits and offer only limited ones to non-professionals. <Fish stocks have never been shown to be challenged by the ornamental industry... our means of collection are inefficient, scattered> "This fishery is largely pursued in sensitive areas, particularly coral reef areas," said Lee Schlesinger, spokesman for the commission, a board appointed by the governor that sets the rules for hunting, fishing and wildlife protection. "A lot of people go out and dive and just look at these animals, and we want to make sure there's plenty there for folks to enjoy over the years." <Who pays these peoples' wages?> Florida and Hawaii are the only states with substantial aquarium-trade fisheries. In Florida, an estimated 75 to 100 people make a living catching live fish for the aquarium trade, along with about the same number of part-timers. Most work out of South Florida, along the coral reefs that stretch from the Keys through Palm Beach County. Tom Scaturro, owner of Tom's Caribbean Tropicals of Tavernier in the Keys, dives one day a week. He faxes a list of what he has caught to about 200 pet shops and aquariums, and he posts price lists on his Web page. This week's offerings include medium-size sea cucumbers for $4 each, large blue tangs for $40, a large strawberry grouper for $12, a porcupine puffer for $24 and dozens of other fish, plants and invertebrates. On Sunday he assembles his orders. He ships small orders via Federal Express and large orders on commercial airlines. He does about $1,000 a week in business. <Wow! All from a days diving? Great!> Catalog of catches The industry catches millions of fish and invertebrates in Florida every year. In 2002, the trade included 29,815 angelfish, 19,273 damselfish, 8,490 surgeonfish and 18,095 wrasses, among many other species, according the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. <What? Is this the new math? Where are the millions coming from? Not the above figures, plus other species collected in FLA...> While no one knows whether the aquarium trade has caused any species to decline, divers and government officials say there appear to be fewer of these fish in Florida waters. <Appear? Is this science?> "My gut feeling is that some of these species numbers are down," said Billy Causey, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, who used to catch fish for the aquarium trade. <What? A gut feeling?> Causey and other experts say the drop in numbers could have many causes besides fishing for the aquarium trade, such as pollution, overfishing generally and global warming. <Sure> "The blame lies with what we have done to the ocean," Causey said. <Not necessarily> Formal stock assessments have not been made for any species captured for aquariums, which means no one knows whether the current level of fishing is sustainable. That lack of information is precisely why many fishermen are pressing for restrictions. <Should be based on science... stock assessments, monitoring...> "There's no science on this fishery," said Nedimyer, chairman of the Florida Marine Life Association, which represents people who catch the fish. "Nobody really has a clue how many fish are out there. There's a handful of us trying to be managers, trying to help the state do the right thing." 90%-plus survival rate The vast majority of fish that are caught survive the trip to the pet shop, according to people in the industry. Nedimyer said his survival rate easily exceeds 90 percent. When he loses fish, it's generally because a flight delay leaves the fish in an area that's too hot or too cold, he said. <Yes... or we'd all go broke> Some environmentalists object to the use of the anesthetic Quinaldine to catch fish, saying it harms nearby fish and coral reefs. Animal-rights groups oppose the trade in principle, saying it's wrong to confine fish that haven't been raised in captivity. <Not collaterally harmful> "We don't think life in an aquarium for a wild-caught fish is what you want to see," said Richard Farinato, director of captive protection for the Humane Society of the United States. The effort to restrict the aquarium-fish trade began several years ago. Concerned when the number of permits rose past 700, the state wildlife commission in 1998 imposed a moratorium on new permits. Even though only a fourth of permit holders actually caught any fish, the commission was concerned that the dormant permits could suddenly come into use. The moratorium expires next year, and the commission now is trying to establish rules that would permanently hold down the number of permits. Causey said the restrictions will help drive out the amateurs, who hold fish in garbage cans, put incompatible fish together or put big fish in a position to kill small fish. <Uhh, what about fisherfolk? They take several orders of magnitude more biomass from the sea? Hello?> "It is critical that you have people that are professionals all the way," Causey said. "It will definitely weed out those that are not serious about it." Copyright (c) 2004, Chicago Tribune <You'll be next. Bob Fenner>

A damsel/fish problem In my marine biology class, we recently got 4 blue damsels, 1 yellow tailed damsel, and 2 4-striped damsels in. They were distributed blue blues to each tank, the yellow in one, and the striped in the other. Within a few days one blue damsel in each tank got the "lockjaw" that I have been investigating. They were each in separate environments for about 2 to 5 days, so I don't think it has to do with the environment, and it hadn't injured itself on anything. Both fish had died by the next day. We dissected one and nothing was stuck inside to prevent the mouth from closing. Today another blue fish has this same lockjaw, and we don't know what to do to cure it, if there is a cure. So unfortunately we assume it will be dead in the morning. Could you email me back with what you think the problem is and the solution, if there is one. Thank You -Paul Hooper <Mmmm, don't know of this ailment "lock jaw" in Pomacentrids. Some do die shortly after arrival (all are wild-collected) with their mouths "stuck open"... perhaps a manifestation of these specimens inability to generate sufficient oxygen, or loss of osmotic integrity... consequent to poor, rough collection, shipping trauma. Fishes have very high (relative to terrestrial tetrapods) hematocrits (packed cell volumes) and live in a world/environment much less oxygen concentrated (at most about 7,8 ppm of O2)... and can have real troubles if the availability of oxygen drops, other influences to its uptake occur (e.g. drops in pH, elevated ammonia in shipping containers, slime wiped from their bodies...). Much more could be mentioned as possible sources of mortality, but I strongly suspect these anomalous losses are due to environmental stressors. Bob Fenner>

Becoming a Conscientious Collector (in Hawai'i) Dear WWM Crew, <Hi there> First off I would like to say thank you for the wonderful site, the wonderful services your provide, and the great books by BF and AC. You guys have been a tremendous help and I truly appreciate the wonderful work you guys do! <A pleasure to serve> I currently have the opportunity to move to Kauai. We are in the initial stages of planning in buying land and having a house(s) built near Kapaa. <A beautiful area. I spend a good deal of time in Hawai'i, own a house near Kona on the Big Island...> The ability to have both land and home paid for would give us the flexibility in choosing our line of work. While I have years of experience in the computer industry, I am much more interested in continuing my education in aquariology and related sciences. I have spent years trying to find the "right" line of work and while snorkeling the thought came to me of "how can I do this for a living"? <Can, though it is not "easy"> My questions revolve around the legality of collecting marine specimens for the trade in the Hawaiian Islands, where I might find some further resources in getting started as it relates to shipping procedures, QT of livestock before shipping to dealers, dealer contacts, etc. <Contact the (DNR), Department of Natural Resources... and a few folks about... Randy Fernley of Coral Fish Hawai'i (on O'ahu)... I know collectors on the Big Island... there are such on O'ahu and Maui... none that I'm aware of on your island> I have read through most of the FAQs in the business area but didn't see much info as it relates to collectors. Could you please point me in the right direction? Thank you so kindly, Jaime Knapp <Jaime, do spend your time profitably, visiting with a few collectors... and learn "hands on" what all is involved. As stated above there are at least two, three "full-time" jobs here... running the boat, doing the actual diving (placing nets, driving fishes into them, catching them off the barrier/fence net...) knowing "the ropes" of where to get, make netting, catch baskets, how to best "decompress"/needle the catch, the actual techniques of using "chaser poles", other catch gear... AND building out, operating a holding system, paying appropriate attention to water quality (likely hauling large amounts of water)... AND doing sales and follow-up with the "A" players in the world who will buy (and pay) for your catch... AND making bags, buying boxes and cardboard liners, learning what size, species go in what size, shape bag, how to bag them... and having a crew (at least another person) to help. BEST and the only way I would/will proceed is for you to go and work with someone or two in the trade for a month or more... to live what is actually involved. I am very interested in realizing good people join the trade, and will gladly help you... Please make it known when you can visit the islands and I'll introduce you to people who know what to do, and are doing so. Bob Fenner> Local Collections Hi Guys, <Slug> I am very new to marine aquarium keeping, and after many months of research have recently begun my first 'setup'. My original goal is a DSB with plenum system, and mobs of live rock ala Tom Miller/Jaubert. I live in Darwin (tropical north of Australia), and as I scuba dive, my intention is to completely stock the tank with self collected rock and inverts (Aragonite Sand for the DSB will be my only 'purchase'!). While Darwin is blessed with magnificent offshore LPS, SPS, soft, Gorgonian and Sea whip forests and reefs, the conditions are quite unique, and far removed from for example the GBR. We have massive tidal movement (up to 8 meters!) <Wowzah!> and monsoonal downpours that make the water clarity 'very ordinary' (in diving terms 3 meters visibility is a good day here) and obviously restrict the amount of light reaching the reefs. Offshore underwater temperatures fluctuate between 18c and 33c in different seasons. <A challenging environment to put it mildly> Given that all my inhabitants are locally sourced and live naturally in these conditions, do you think it absolutely necessary that I have MH or VHO lighting (I'm thinking I might get away with standard 40watt daylight & actinic fluoros), <Should be fine> and will the consequences be dire come 'hot season' when the tank's water temperature reaches 32/33c (given that my inverts inhabitants handle this 'in the wild') if I don't invest in a chiller? <If not too drastic a change they should weather this as well> Is there any need to 'cure' the live rock given that I bring it to the surface, immediately place it in plastic water filled tubs, and within a 15 minute boat trip it is sitting in my tank? <Very likely no need for "curing" here> (My understanding is that the curing process only pertains to LR purchased at retail and spending large amounts of time 'in transit' and therefore killing many critters on board). <Yes> Last question (I'm sure there will be many to follow!) - my original water ( and subsequent water changes) are also sourced 'from the wild' (we luckily have little or no pollution in Darwin). Should this partly negate the need to 'feed' the likes of SPS and Gorgonians given the fresh ongoing supply of plankton in the water? <Right you are> Hope I haven't 'outworn my welcome' with such a large War & Peace effort in my first correspondence - look forward to your valued advice, Slug <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Postlarvae collect & growth as alternative to marine wild catch for aquarium trade Dear Sir, <Bonjour> Ecocean is specialized in postlarvae collects in Polynesia. So as to expend our raised-tank stock list I have 2 questions : -Do you have producers address for bred marine fish (like ORA etc.) anywhere in the world. <Yes. A brief listing of these companies can be found by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqSciSubWebIndex/orncultart.htm  and through OFI's listing/member directory> Also  we would like to implement a new fish farm in south east Asia (e.g. Philippines) do you happen to know 'classic 'fishermen for marine aquarium trade or aquaculture fish farmer with whom we could have a partnership for this nice alternative practice? <I would contact Svein Fossa, Peter Rubec and Daniel Knop here. Am cc'ing them for their response to you. Both have extensive experience in the region and field> We are also willing to develop the Development Aid action for local young people willing to stay in their island and protect it (training, restocking etc.).  More on ECOCEAN ? www.ecocean.fr Waiting to hear from you,  Sven-Michel Louri?br><Glad to make your acquaintance. Have read and heard many good things about your company and its programmes. Bob Fenner> ===== ECOCEAN 80 Rue des Graves 34980 St Clement de Rivi?e FRANCE Tel/Fax : + 33 4 67 67 02 84 Cell : +33 6 18 39 82 80 www.ecocean.fr

Re: postlarvae collect & growth as alternative ... Bob,  I was told that the collectors capturing blue tang post-larvae target flat-top Acroporids and that they damage the corals during the collection process (personal communication, Mike King Coalition of Reef Lovers-CORL).   <I had not heard/read of this... no need to damage the reef using this technique...>  Since, hobbyists don't seem to care about coral reefs or the future of the trade, I will not be attending any of these meetings. Peter Rubec <Yikes... Peter, I assure you most all the hobbyists I'm familiar with care passionately re the world's reefs... attend some of the hobby conferences and am sure you'll agree. Bob Fenner> 

To Catch a Tang... Hi Guys, <Lyndon> I'm hoping to a purple tang for my tank....The LFS doesn't sell em here but good news is that they are endemic to the UAE waters...I've seen schools of them when snorkeling and would like to know how to catch one of em for my tank.... <Please read through the marine collecting articles and FAQs indexed here: http://wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm > We don't have restrictions on reef fishing here as its evident from the number of Asfurs and Sohals that turn up dead at the Fish market for $2 a KG. Thank You, Lyndon <You'll need to buy or fashion a barrier/fence net... much else is detailed on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Collecting fish in Bahamas  Bob, or whomever might be answering today.  <Hello there>  I'll be scuba diving /snorkeling in Bahamas (Man of War Caye, Abacos) in June, and would like to bring home a Royal Gramma for my tank. I've searched online for information regarding collecting ornamental fish in Bahamas, but have found conflicting information. Do you have experience/know where to point me to attempt to get permission to bring home 1 fish, which would not be for resale?  <Good words to repeat at the point of going through airport security. Do contact the "fish and game" equivalent in the Bahamas re this matter... If it were me, I might also try finding a LFS there (for bagging, oxygen help) and ask if they might supply a receipt for you... Good hunting. Though plentiful where you find them, Gramma loreto is quick to avoid nets! Bob Fenner>  Many thanks, Suzy

- Look What I Found... - Dear Friend I have caught the Conspicuous angel close to the Australian coastline and have observed the extremely rare and undescribed Ballina angel as well as other rare and endemic butterfly and angel fishes of Australia, do you know what the above are worth on the international market? <Both would be worth good money if you can get them to the end destination in good health. Would suggest you try to find a collector/shipper in your area and make arrangements with them to provide them with the livestock. Any moneys these fish can command will be limited by your economy of scale and shipping fish in one-zies and two-zies. Regards, Wayne <Cheers, J -- >

A word about collecting your own: don't (please) 4/6/04  I am going down to emerald isle, NC this weekend to do some fishing and relaxing....I was wondering if it would hurt my tank if I was to go down to the jetty and take 5 or 10 hermit crabs and put them in my tank?  <yes>  is there a difference?  <yes... animals from temperate waters (the coast) versus tropical (your tank). Beyond that, the likely lack of QT risks the introduction of parasites, pests or diseases that are more tolerant of the change to warmer water than any inverts or fishes collected from there for ill-fated tropical aquaria>  is it legal?  <probably, but you should consult the local/state game commission. Anyone with a fishing license... the state website, etc>  has anyone ever done this?  <yes... and they perish - abbreviated lives (the collected, not the collectors)>  will they eventually eat corals?  <likely, yes... crabs are opportunistic predators. Very few are truly reef safe>  I know that usually you want blue legs in a tank....  <actually no... while they are popular, they are not necessarily ideal for reef aquaria. For tanks with live sand/substrates, hermit crabs are a net burden on desirable life forms (they ravage the infauna in sand and rock). There are much better choices of detritivores for these tanks then crabs (best for FO displays instead). Anthony>

Wild Caught fish, Clown rashes Hi, <Hi there, Magnus here.  sorry for the delay in response.> I have a 1" saddleback together with a puffer fish on a tank filled with sea water for two weeks now.  I've been maintaining self sustaining freshwater ponds way back in 1999 and decided to stop due to hectic sched. <I know that exact feeling!> Anyway, these two were given to me as a present by a friend who just arrived from a diving vacation.  This raised my desire to do fishkeeping again. <You picked some great fish to get back into the hobby.  Puffers are extremely personable fish!> These marines were originally transported in a 5-gallon container (a prison) filled with sea sand, a few corals and sea water (their natural environment).  Quite a convincing present. <quite an interesting gift! I wouldn't mind getting something like that for a present.> Right now, I am preparing the main tank where I could house them.  It sounds odd that the fish came first before the aquarium is done.   <Not typically the way to have it done, but as long as you work, it should go okay.> I just added an under-gravel filter to their prison to make life a bit comfortable.  I changed water last week to fresh sea water taken from a nearby island where they came from.  I only measure the SG from time to time assuming that natural sea water needs no pH, ammo, trites and trates monitoring. <you are right, Sea Water is pretty much sea water.  just be careful where the water is collected.  Make sure not near any outlets, or docks were man made chemicals or wastes are in the water.  Can be dangerous for the fish in such a small area.> Lately, I noticed that the saddleback is occasionally scratching its body on the filter tubes especially when I switch off the filter. <Many fish in the ocean have skin parasites, it's probably something like that.  and the fish is rubbing on the objects to get the parasites off.> I also noticed, that there are some very fine pink rashes on its white stripe near its head. I cant figure out if its an itch. <The pink rashes are most likely bruising from the fishes rubbing. I would suggest adding some medicine to the water to help fight the parasites.  If you have any stores that carry Mardel medicines I suggest you pick up some Maracyn Tablets.  They should work well for curing the fish of external problems.> Both are doin good on their appetite.  I am planning do some freshwater-Methylene Blue bath.  Would it do any good? <I wouldn't use it, I'm nervous with Methylene blue  on puffers.  They are sensitive to that.  I would go with medicines designed for Salt Water fish.> Thank you. Joebel J. Sorioso <Good luck. -Magnus> - Catching a Devilish Damsel - WWM Team My blue devil has turned very nasty now that he is an adult (even more so than what I was willing to except before buying him).  it's so bad some of my other fish will not come out of the live rock.  I really want to return him but I can't get to him with a net with all the LR I have.  I even tried rearranging the rock but he just picked up his old habits.  what can I do? <I'd try baiting a barbless hook - this actually works better than you might think.> thanks, your site has really helped me with this great hobby for the past 2 years. BTW, when does the second volume of the invert series come out? <Well, I'm not as in tune with the process on this book as I was on the last one, but I get the impression it should be ready sometime in the Summer, perhaps early Fall.> Mark <Cheers, J -- >

Costa Rica Collecting  WWM Crew-  <I say a greeting>  I am going to be visiting Costa Rica for the first time in a couple of weeks. I have heard that I will love it! Anyway, have any of you been  there and brought anything back with you (fish, hermits, cucumbers, sea stars, etc. - NOT coral)?  <I have been there a few times but have never bought live animals back>  Does the Costa Rican government have any restrictions on small amounts of livestock for personal use?  <Mmm, I would have to "ask them">  I went to the Cook Islands last year, met Chip Boyle and brought quite a few fish back with me as well as the first blue Linckia that has ever lived.  <I have visited with Chip and Alice in Roratonga as well. Very nice folks>  I had no problems at all. BTW, used Kordon's breathable bags for most of the livestock - more than 24hrs in a bag with nothing but water and no losses (this included some ventralis Anthias)! I wish the industry would notice these bags - I have used them a lot in my travels and they  always seem to work well.  <Too much money, too small... too flimsy to be made larger>  Also, do you know of any collectors in San Jose I could visit? Thanks in advance,  <There are none as far as I'm aware... perhaps while you are there you can look into their existence... maybe try the Guanacaste area>  John Boe  <Bob Fenner>

- Stop Chasing that Fish Around... - Please help... I'm in desperate need of your assistance.  The tang has ick and I can't get it out of the tank ,around and around we go.  I have a reef system and do water changes per your advise. What do I do?  I feel that I'm causing more stress to fish chasing him around than the ick. <You're quite right about that.> Got any ideas? <Yeah, but you may not like it. I think you need to drain the tank - not completely, but enough to remove one of the degrees of freedom your fish is accustomed to. I've had to do this myself, and it's not exactly fun but sometimes there just aren't many other options. Get hold of a 1" flexible hose or drain line and a couple of garbage cans - I had to use three... drain down the tank to a couple of inches, net the fish into a bucket and refill the tank. Treat the fish after the tank has been refilled. Make sure you get the one inch hose so that you can empty the tank quickly; it will be over before you know it.> Valerie <Cheers, J -- >

Fish collecting business Hi, I have been in search on information about a new business I have in mind and since I found your website I have been able to find a lot of valuable information. I will planning on starting a fish collecting business in west Africa. I know I am faced with a lot of challenges. My plan is to setup my facility, begin collection and have the facility running for a few months before I start sourcing wholesalers. <Actually, I would start this last right now. A very good idea to "go to this step" now in determining who you will sell to, what they are willing to pay, how they want to and can be shipped to (airfreight carriers, CITES, Customs, forwarders...), concurrent with your giving them some idea of what you have available. It may well be that these same folks can/will help you in gathering tools, materials, maybe even personnel to build out your collecting station and gear for shipping livestock> I am also thinking of breeding some of the local species and hoping that down the road I will be able to rely more on aquaculture for fish I supply. <... this is an entirely different business... much time, facilities, many hours involved in making a go... Do you have partner/s in this endeavor already? You will need at least one if you intend to do both collecting and aquaculture, plus employees> Well my question is a business like this still viable in today pet industry and would it be difficult to find wholesalers willing to buy. <Depends on what you have, can get, the pricing AND airfreight cost and availability... and even if your country's government will allow it. Do you know of existing businesses of your type that are in operation currently? I strongly encourage your talking with, visiting them... even working with/for them for a while> Is there any article that will answer some of the questions I might have. Thanks Dayjee <Welcome to our industry. I can and will help you if you'd like. By answering your general queries, introducing you about to some of the players in international markets. At this point, do you have a good idea of what sorts of livestock you will have available, in what numbers (sustainably)... how you're going to hold and ship them... to which countries? Bob Fenner>

Re: fish collecting business Hi Bob Thanks for your response. I will appreciate any help I can get. I intend to sell a wide range of freshwater species (cichlids, catfish, killifish, barbs, Mormyrids Distichodus etc.). I still need to gather my information on the logistics but I guess the best way will be directly contact the wholesalers as you suggested. <Yes> I have a lot of experience in various aspects of fish keeping. It will be very nice to get some help building my collection station but knowing that I have established a ready market will be a big motivation. <Agreed> I am pretty comfortable with putting together a station having worked on and built several custom systems. My intention is to start with a 2000 gallon holding system excluding quarantine and hospital tanks and leaving room for growth and expansion. I am currently based in the US so I intend to concentrate on the American market for now to allow better supervision. I am not sure of what numbers  I will be able to hold at present. I intend to have about 500gallons in 2-5gallon holding tanks and the rest of the tanks ranging for 10- 200gallons. I Also hope to setup a few large concrete tanks I am not ready for aquaculture at present but I always wondered why with the ease of breeding certain fish species there is not more emphasis on aquaculture of aquarium fish. <That eventually comes vis a vis economic incentives with all species> I guess with more education I will understand why. I spoke to a friend who has several ponds setup for catfish which he sells for about $1 after six month for food. I believe that this space could be better used for aquarium fish culture. I look forward to getting some help from you with a few people I could talk to. Thanks Dayjee <Real good. I will be here. Bob Fenner>

Cutting Tang Spurs Good day. This is the first time I have written you with a question so please forgive if I am breaking any cardinal rules. By the way, great site. Lip service aside, I will keep my first question to you brief. <Okay. Fire away> Is the practice of cutting the "spurs" off of tangs at all inhumane in order to prevent them from injuring other fish and is there a right and wrong way to go about doing this? (How short does it need to be cut and will it grow back?) Thanks in advance, Kelly <Good question (at least it is inspiring thought in this responder... who has cut back many "tangs" in the process of Acanthurid collection in the wild). I don't consider it "reasonable" to snip these sharp caudal peduncle processes in captivity for the purpose you mention... Too much damage, too little gain... and they "do grow back" quite quickly (weeks to a few months). The only practical "clipping" rationale is to prevent damage to the collector, other fishes in holding through the "chain of custody" to e/retailers IMO... There are two principal technologies employed to snip back either the movable or permanently extended spurs of the family... My fave is the use of large, sharp/newer "fingernail clippers", and the other is the use of specialized scissors used ostensibly for the same purpose. Each fish is held firmly with thumb on one side, other fingers of the same hand facing along the top, toward the back (to keep the sharp dorsal fin spines down, prevent the specimen from "wiggling free", with the fish out of water (except some larger Naso species are clipped underwater... as they can be dangerous in the meanwhile in the decompression bucket), and the spines snipped near their base (an eighth or so of an inch back from the "quick/origin"). Bob Fenner>

Belize Dear Mr. Fenner,          I hope that this gets through to you withy this address. <Yes. Hello>          I am a Canadian who has been involved in importing and distributing marine fish and organisms for many years in a relatively small way. I have also done some collecting in the Caribbean, again in a small way, usually while visiting with a supplier. <A way I like to spend time, get to know folks as well>       As I near retirement age, I have an interest in doing more collecting on a small commercial basis and export to several regular customers. I have  been looking   at Belize as an option, and through gleanings from wetwebmedia, understand that you have been involved in the Belize scene in the past. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions that you may have with regards to the current and future situation, and your opinion on the feasibility of involving myself in a small way. <It's been a few years since my last visit there, but I do hope/trust Mr. Harry Reeves is still about and at the collection/export of marine livestock still. Do inquire of him if/when contacting fisheries folks there re the possibility of joining the trade. Five years back or so there were only three license holders involved in ornamental aquatics... and not that much at that... with a HUGE resource (second largest barrier reef on this planet)... and MUCH good work done by Canadians there... roads, land surveyed, a good deal of "snow bird" population...>         I understand that there is at least one organization operating there and am told that there are many restrictions regarding quotas, permits etc. and I am sure that there are logistical problems as well . <We visited with the fisheries/resource management agencies in Belize City re these issues... not insurmountable>        I would welcome any input that you may have, and look foreword to your response. Keep up the good work that you and the crew are doing.                                                      Respectfully, Grant Armstrong <Really, not just best, but only way of making progress on information, permits... and gaining insight as to whether you're going to like living there (a very nice, civilized place except for the old capital and San Pedro on Ambergris IMO) is to go there, stay a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Sohal tang and hook Thanks for your response. We tried to get him out with a small barbless hook with a piece of shrimp on it. Sure it worked, but the worst happened. He pulled the hook off the line.<you must of not tied a correct fisherman's knot lol> He immediately went to the back of the rock. It looked like from the front of the tank that the hook was sticking out his cheek about a half inch back from his mouth.<ewww...it will rust off eventually. or it should> A few minutes later he was back out swimming around with no hook showing. He had a little tear on the top inside of his lip.<should heal> What are the odds that he was able to spit it out or would he have swallowed it? What would be the repercussions if he swallowed it?<it will eventually rust> Would I have to worry about such a small hook being in the water with my size tank if he did spit it out?<I doubt it> I have a pretty open area behind the rock to look in the sand and I looked for a long time and haven't been able to find it in the sand. I appreciate your help again, Thanks Ian <I would just continue to try to capture the little bugger, I wouldn't be too concerned about the hook, IanB>

Collecting large fish I may have the opportunity to go on a collecting trip later this year.  I am interested in collecting some various small fish and hopefully about 3 or 4 medium/large fish (12-20") for a quite large aquarium I have.   The small fish shouldn't be a problem, but I'm concerned about the larger ones.   It may be difficult for me to fast the fish prior to transporting them.   The transport time shouldn't exceed a 30 hour drive.   I have a few ideas on transporting, but I need to get some idea of how much waste these fish will produce. <Depends on species mostly...> I can either box/bag them up individually or bring a 75gal portable tank. <I would move them in large "coolers", in the dark> My idea is to put the three large fish together and either run a power head or inject pure 02 if need be. <Look into car-battery (12 v) continuous duty air pumps... and incorporate ammonia-absorbing media in the system/s> I would also test the water every few hours and add Amquel to keep the ammonia under control. <Amquel by itself will not sequester enough of the ammonia. Count on at least one good (50% percent) water change, and haul the water with you> If I split them up I won't be able to use the powerhead/02 setup. <If you use pressurized oxygen, make sure to vent the car... dangerous> Maybe I should also plan on adjusting the pH and doing a partial water change along the way. <Yes. Simple sodium bicarbonate will do as a buffer> Any suggestions or comments would be helpful.  I have found a great deal of info on transporting fish, but with the larger fish it seems like it will be much harder. <It is, but is done every day (mainly for public aquariums and large private systems. Bob Fenner> john

Collecting Large Fish II - 8/11/03 Thanks for the fast response.   <Anthony Calfo with the follow-up... Bob's away in Indo for several weeks> Your thoughts are pretty much in line with what I was thinking.  You mentioned a ammonia absorbing media.  Can you suggest anything?  The only media I have found can only work in freshwater. <I do believe he was referring to zeolite> I have moved large fish before, but never this distance.  I usually run an inverter and air pump/stone for my several hour moves.  This would definitely be much easier than running an oxygen reactor and injecting pure 02, but in the confined space I am fearing that my DO will be too low for that length of travel time. John <if the species you are moving are not sensitive to organic dyes... do consider adding a small amount of Methylene blue to increase O2 solubility/uptake and act as a mild anti-microbial. Best regards, Anthony>

Catching fish in a reef tank (8-6-03) Ok... I'm clueless on this one... are there any tricks for taking fish out of a reef tank? It seems to be impossible to catch them with a net (90 gallon tank) as they always find a safe place... then again I don't want to damage the corals and other things... is there any trick to this, or do I have to pull all my corals and live rock out of the tank to catch a fish? :-( <Try feeding then quickly put the net in to corner them if you haven't already tried that.  Another trick that sometimes works is take a small BARBLESS hook with bait and go fishing in your aquarium.  Also try posting on one of the many marine message boards like the one on WWM or reefcentral.com and find out other peoples tricks.  Cody> Thank you, Luke

Extracting a Grouper Kevin, Any tips on getting the grouper out. <If the fish is friendly enough to you, try a clear container to capture it. Other methods include using 2 nets (one held by another person), netting while feeding, and using a barbless hook. For a grouper, the barbless hook idea may work great! -Kevin>

Methods of capturing tropical fish under scrutiny By Alexander Lane NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE June 25, 2003  "Finding Nemo," the hit Disney movie about a tropical fish desperate to escape from a dentist's aquarium, preaches against everything from overprotective fathers to boats with trawls that catch too many innocent by-swimmers. It also lectures the growing subculture of saltwater aquarium keepers. The movie portrays the capturing of fish and other creatures from coral reefs - the primary means of supplying saltwater aquariums - as cruel and destructive. In a terrifying scene, a diver nets young Nemo from his reef. The tiny clownfish winds up in a saltwater tank and meets Gill, a crusty old angelfish who was also born in the ocean. The two spend their time in the glass prison concocting elaborate escape schemes. "Since the reviews first started, that's all the reefers have been talking about," said Philip Levanda of Nutley, N.J., a 27-year-old engineer and coral reef keeper. Intentionally or not, Disney has dived into the hottest issue in the world of tropical fish-keeping. Pet stores are filled with fish, corals, anemones and other creatures ripped from depleted coral reefs, often after having been stunned by a squirt of cyanide. Reef-enthusiasts are trying to stem the practice. A Hawaii-based group is struggling to start a stamp-of-approval program for retailers who say their creatures have been tank-bred or "ethically captured." Nine-year-old Alexander Gould, the voice of Nemo, has signed on as the group's spokesman. As word spreads of the industry's destructive practices, some fish-keepers are swearing off mass-market pet stores, instead trading their own colorful coral fragments in clubs popping up across the country and seeking out eco-minded fish suppliers. "When I first started out, I didn't know about the cyanide and the depletion," Levanda said. "Lately, I've been watching who I buy from and where they're getting it from." Levanda said he trades with other expert hobbyists and buys from Internet providers who advertise ethical collection. Although the movie might help raise awareness about the environmental hazards of scavenging coral reefs for exotic fish, it also has generated interest in clownfish as lovable pets. "I kind of have the sense that kids want to set up an aquarium to have Nemo at home," said Fernando Nosratpour, an assistant curator of the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. At the Birch Aquarium, which has more than 35 fish exhibits, some fish are bred in captivity and others are captured in the wild. Nosratpour said Birch officials don't associate with anyone who captures fish in unethical ways, such as the cyanide squirt. A spokesman for Petco, the Sorrento Valley-based national pet-supply chain, said many people who want to buy clownfish don't understand the time, effort and money involved in caring for these saltwater fish. "It's not an impulse buy," spokesman Shawn Underwood said. He said most of the fish sold at Petco are bred in captivity. Petco buys some exotic saltwater fish from wholesalers who catch them in the wild. All of the company's clownfish are captive-bred in Florida. Aquarium-keeping has been around since the mid-1800s, but only in the past 12 years or so has the average home hobbyist been able to maintain a miniature coral reef. Advances in science's understanding of ocean chemistry have enabled anyone willing to spend several hundred dollars to create their own tropical ecosystem. Aquarium owners can buy rock chiseled off reefs from places such as Fiji, the Philippines and Indonesia that is crawling with bacteria to digest harmful nitrogen and turn it into oxygen. Hermit crabs and starfish scour the sand, filtering out fish waste, with mechanical protein skimmers taking up the slack. Powerful halogen lights feed photosynthetic corals. Aquarists treat their water with everything from synthetic salt to calcium supplements. Between equipment and creatures, experts say aquarium-keeping has exploded into a $500 million industry. Although statistics are not methodically compiled, about 10 million marine specimens were sold in U.S. pet stores at an average price of $10 in 1995, according to a survey by the American Marinelife Dealers Association. Coral reefs represent about 1 percent of the ocean, yet 25 percent of all marine species rely on them for some element of their life span, such as spawning or feeding. One area of Hawaii known as the Gold Coast - thanks to the schools of yellow tangs that once populated its reef, tinting the water the color of sunshine - lost nearly all of the graceful tropical fish, an aquarium favorite for their beauty and algae-eating skills. Corals themselves - tiny animals whose colonies can take the forms of everything from branching trees to pipe organs to neon-green brains - are relatively easy to propagate in captivity. Hobbyists can simply cut off a fragment of a friend's specimen, glue it to a rock and watch it grow. But many are broken off reefs and sold by stores. Tropical fish are more difficult to propagate. Despite major advances in the captive breeding of clownfish - the most popular aquarium fish - many fish larvae will not survive in captivity. Only about 2 percent of fish sold in pet stores are bred in captivity, according to the Hawaii-based Marine Aquarium Council. The council has created a certification program for nondestructive fish collectors, middlemen and retailers, but the effort is in its infancy. The group approves of collecting live fish, as long as it is done humanely drugs and does not exhaust the local population of a species. "The reality is this trade will be based on wild-caught fish for a long time to come. The need is to fix it," said Paul Holthus, the council's executive director. Some ardent reef watchers, such as environmental law professor Howard Latin of Rutgers University in New Jersey, believe the Marine Aquarium Council does not go far enough. "Like narcotics, it's never going to be solved by imposing measures in poor countries," Latin said. "The problem has to be solved by eliminating the demand or tolerance in larger countries, and the United States is by far the largest importer of aquarium fish."

Aquarium Trade practices To Whom It May Concern: <Hello Glen> I have been looking around your site and have found some very interesting information regarding the aquarium trade. I have found some great information about the set-up of retail outlets but none on collecting methods, handling, storage and export procedures etc.. <We have a few general pieces posted on techniques. Take a read starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcoll.htm and look over the linked articles, FAQs (in blue, above) there> I am in PNG and am about to begin collecting and trading marine aquaria and am looking to gain as much information as possible. I've emailed various people seeking information including the MAC ( who have been of no help) and still have not found much information. <There are a couple of very dated, though useful printed works that detail S.O.Practices... but am very strong on suggesting you travel about, observe others in the trade for input here> I am totally committed to sustainable practices and want to find out as much information as possible about practical implementations. Any information you can help me with would be greatly appreciated. Thank-you Glen Butler <Will you build a holding facility there? Who is it you intend to ship to and through? Perhaps others in the trade can assist you as well. Am cc'ing Chris Buerner of Quality Marine here for his help as well. Bob Fenner>

Denver visit, cyanide use Bob, I was at your talk yesterday at Marine Showcase in Colorado and wanted to thank you for coming out, it was great and good job. I wanted to ask you if you saw any improvements in the current situation with Cyanide or do you see it as something that is going to continue to hurt the trade and ultimately put a stop to it. <Much to say here... have thought, now for decades that such a self-defeating, destructive practice would be self-limiting... I do see the countries in Asia finally putting a stop to poison fish-collecting practices... much the same as folks in southern Africa nations are curtailing poaching in park/reserves... by extreme force. Who knows when such drastic means will take place, or how quickly/thoroughly they will abate such activity. Don't similarly know the damning effects of the various powers that be will have on the restriction of the trade... The hobby is such a minor influence, I don't think it bears notice compared with other more significant sources of mortality, issues> Also, since you said you are out of the industry, what are you doing now?? Just curious. <Oh, tax returns indicate I am a "content provider"... as far as involvement in our interest I write, sell pix, consult, give talks...> Have a great week and thanks again. John McCoy <Thank you for writing, your kind words, and probing questions. Bob Fenner>

Tank Raised Or Wild Caught?  3/17/03 Hi,<Hey there!  Phil here!> You might think this is a weird questions but anyhow it must not be the first time. I was wondering if a wild caught fish could be less happy or more prone to disease than a tank born and raised fish.< See here for more info... www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/aquaculture. tm & www.wetwebmedia.com/marcoll.htm > Thanks<Hope this helps! Phil>

Gulf Angels Bob: <Howdy, morning> I wanted to get your thoughts on this with regards to practicality, methodology and even ethical considerations: I reside in Pensacola, FL. Near the beach, and some of my SCUBA diving buddies have become interested in my tank.  During one of their visits and upon seeing my Rock Beauty proclaimed, "Hey, we have to shove those th9ings away from us there's so many of them down there where we dive!"  To which I replied, "Well that's about $100 worth of fish right there."  Well of course what ensued was brainstorming as to how they could collect a few specimens and sell them locally.  They also have seen Lionfish near Tampa Bay supposedly.  Anyway, it would seem a simple thing to do to collect one or two at a time and sell them for a decent price (setting up a dedicated quarantine tank for this of course - not putting them in mine) thoughts? <Well, a few things... the Rock Beauty doesn't sell as well as other Angels found there. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/bestmarangs.htm as it doesn't fare as well in captivity... and the "diver pay" for this species is only about ten dollars... and you'll need a place to "hold" them (individually) for a while. Please see here re capture  techniques: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collmarsdvg.htm and the linked files (in blue, above) re barrier and hand-net collection. You will likely need these tools... and licensing from the State. Bob Fenner>

Re: Gulf Angels Bob: "Licensing"? Aye, there's the rub. <Agreed> Well I guess a visit to the fisheries commission is in order then.  By the way - further investigations have found the Queen Angels are also really common here.  I wasn't aware there were guidelines for "diver's pay" my friends would get the for free and just expect some of the profits. <The Queens are "the kine, bro". They are your key to selling "all else"> I'll look into the licensing/permits issue first, then if it's not a nightmare, I'll read up on the capturing considerations you forwarded. <Not a nightmare, just the usual governmental bureaucratic wait, pay and make-smiley face game> It's kind of a fantasy of mine to be able to support myself in this hobby somehow - the idea that keeps coming up would be harvesting and selling livestock, but I'm sure the investment in equipment would be significant; not to mention a long time to establish markets.    <Easier ways to do this... the service side is number one: installing and maintaining systems. Consider this (in addition?)> I've also considered the maintenance end, even tried a simple website for advertising (no bites yet) I guess it's just a tough business! <Not really... takes some organized action is all... going out to existing and potential sites/individuals and pitching yourself... Really.> Thanks for the insight. David <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Seeking cephalopods Dear Mr. Fenner, I have a question and hopefully you have an answer! I understand that you had (or at one point, did) connections with Hawaiian fish and invert collectors. I have been trying to find a source of  Euprymna scolopes. It is a small cephalopod which resembles a cross between an octopus and squid. It's behaviours are most close to cuttlefish though. Here is a link to info and pics on them: http://saltaquarium.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fis.dal.ca%2F%7Eceph%2FTCP%2Fcuttle2.html If you knew of anyone collecting, or willing to collect this species i would greatly appreciate you letting me know! It seems to be quite common, so why it is not collected is beyond me. I wish ceph's were collected more, as there sure is a demand for them! <Unfortunately I have never met anyone who has collected this species. Did read James Woods excellent coverage. Am going out to HI next week and will ask friends/associates if they're familiar with, can catch this animal for you. Bob Fenner> Regards JGR P.S. I love your books! I use them so often for references that the conscientious marine Aquariust is in taters with pages missing! <Yikes!>

[AMDA BOD] Fwd: Net collecting slide show MIKE, I'VE GOT MY NETTING COMING IN AND HOPE YOUR IS AS WELL.             As I ordered, I remember putting on the sheet I faxed to you to be sure its CLEAR and not black netting. The barrier nets used to come in from Taiwan . In fact , I convinced the sales chief at TecNets to visit the Philippines back in 1990 . He made the rounds to Haribon and the exporters assn. and couldn't interest anyone in buying his netting! Trying to set up Haribon w/ netting material was a lost cause. At the time, they were clearly not interested in spending any more of their windfall from our project...The Tec Net guy said at least he could do some other things there so his trip was not a complete failure.                I lost years and many thousands of dollars to the Haribon scam. If they changed later, fine.                 Now, the netting is in town [Manila] Divers I trained that were sent to Tonga are using barrier net from the Manila supply. This supply has been available for some years now.                                                                     How are you sending it? DHL or is there a better way?                                                                   Sincerely, Steve

Realistic aquarium backgrounds and collecting in Mexico I'm not sure if this is the correct email address to send my questions to but they are: 1) Are you aware of anyone in North America who manufactures realistic three dimensional backgrounds for aquariums? I saw the Swedish "Back to Nature" backgrounds while in Europe but they are all sized in cm and not inches. <Walt Smith International is importing these backgrounds. You can contact them or have your supplier do so here: PAFarms@earthlink.com > 2) I just returned from a holiday in Mexico's Yucatan and while there saw thousands of wild bright orange and green Sailfin mollies and some sort of a pupfish (Yucatan flatfish I think) while snorkeling in a mangrove area. As an avid keeper of livebearers and killies I would love to collect some on my next visit. What paperwork and collecting methods would be involved in this undertaking? Thanks. Alex Jones <Mmm, to do this absolutely legally requires money, and lots of time... to apply for collecting, export licensing from Mexico City (count on months) and U.S. import documentation. If you're interested in but few organisms for "personal consumption" you might consider simply packing them back sans permits. More on this here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collmarsdvg.htm Though this is a marine oriented article, the same principles and government bureaucracy are involved. Bob Fenner>

The Teacher from the Black Lagoon? Hi guys! (BTW ASPCF is the society for the prevention of cruelty to fishes) First off, case 1: (freshwater) A friend had expressed an interest in keeping fish (he had kept a 10 gallon tank with neons, etc (that "mysteriously died") in the past), and I encouraged him.  Well, out came the old 10 g with the large blue gravel and huge power filter and in went Bala sharks and tiger barbs. <OMG!> A major algae problem ensued, along with more "mysterious fish deaths".  Well of course he ended up with one tiger barb, so he added angelfish. <Another fine choice for a 10 gal, LOL!> Then he added an "electric yellow", which I suspect (please no!) would be that African cichlid <Yep!> He also got a CF aquarium light for his tank "so he can grow plants". <That may be the first smart thing he did...> He also has his heart set on getting Lampeye killies (he doesn't know exactly what they are, only that they are pretty).  Did I mention he also bought some pufferfish? <Ahh-you're killing me!> Oh my . . . I wanted to encourage him in the hobby but I'm >sure instead he is heading for disaster.  I bought him a simple aquarium book, which he's reading . . . Oh fishy gurus, help me lead him on the right path . . . <Good move giving him the book! This may provoke some further research on his part...the path to "fishy enlightenment"! And, of course, there's always the WWM site!> Case 2 (marine) I was wandering by in the high school I attend when I stopped by the biology teacher's room.  She also teaches "marine biology", a class where the less-than-enthusiastic-about-school people go on trips to the reef, etc (I'm in Hawaii). <Just curious, what school is this?  Nadine wants to know.> Earlier, she had had locally collected anemones in an unlit tank (I think they shriveled away). <Uh-Oh> Now, her 5, 10, and 20H tanks are full of marine fish.  They all are unlit and have undergravel filters, and also hold various crabs, shrimp, and anemones that her students collect. <Does she have proper permits?  Regardless if it's for school or not, proper attention must be paid to the local laws governing the collection of animals.  Even taking sand, as you know, is illegal in Hawai'i.  Seems to me that this teacher is not teaching proper respect for the 'aina.  Do you know what she does with these animals once they are "collected?"> For example, the 10 or 15 gallon tank has a 3-4" Naso tang, 3-4" yellow tang, 2 or three of the Hawaiian "Toby" puffers, and god-knows-what-else. The tanks are full of not-so-happy looking fish that are fed soggy TetraMin.  She may or may not release them back into the ocean, but until she does, is there anything I can do for them? <Well, nothing that would not get you expelled, LOL!  I would inform the principal of your school first, then, contact the State Fish and Game authorities of Hawai'i if this does not bring the desired result. Maybe you can take up this cause as a special project and make a big difference! Perhaps you could give her a copy of Bob's book?>   Last, a question about my OWN tanks.  My tapwater has a pH of 7.4, a kH of 3, and a GH of 3.  I'd like to lower the pH to around 6 so I can breed Apistos, and the only non-phosphoric acid "buffer" I can find is Seachem's acid buffer.  Seachem insists that, when used with their "alkaline buffer" in fixed ratios, it will yield a stable pH.  People on the net say that they have had terrible, fluctuating-PH experiences with it.  Any suggestions? <I believe product to be safe and stable if used exactly according to the instructions.  If you are really leery about this chemical manipulation, but want to induce spawning in these fishes, perhaps you could use a "Blackwater" extract to introduce some humic acids into the water.  Granted this is not as precise or efficient as a buffer, but perhaps a bit less harsh if used sparingly.  This is just an idea, do chat with others on the net who breed these types of cichlids.> Sorry for the long post, but thanks for your help, Happy New Year, and Aloha!   <Don't ever apologize for long messages.  Glad to be of help.  After reading this, I feel confident that the future of Hawai'i's marine life is being considered by the next generation of local kids!  Have a great remaining school year, and contact us if you need other ways to get under your teacher's skin.  Nadine is a local school teacher, so I get the inside scoops on how to do this!  Just kidding! Haouli Makahiki Hou and Malama Pono!  Regards, Scott F.>

Leave 'Dem Fish Alone, Bruddah! Is it reasonable to expect one or two fishes caught snorkeling in Hawaii and if so, what are the restrictions in taking them home to California with in export from Hawaii or import into California. What size and type of net would you recommend for such an attempt? Thanks, Stephen Pace <To be quite honest with you, it is unethical at least, and illegal, at worst, to collect any fish from anywhere in the islands without proper permitting from the state.  Do verify with State Fish and Game officials. As you are probably aware, Hawai'i has many endemic species and removing them improperly from the wild has a definite impact on the island's ecosystem.  Much better to bring a good underwater camera to take some really nice shots!  Some stores may actually collect fishes for you and ship them home (For example: Stockley's Aquarium in Kailua, Kona.  Another idea, perhaps you could contact some local licensed collectors and see if they will let you join them on a collecting trip where the fishes are taken properly and legally.  It would be better to collect shot glasses with hula girls on them, or ship a decorate coconut home. <G> Do enjoy your trip and remember to "Live Aloha" while visiting.  Hauoli Makahiki Hou! \m/ Regards, Scott F.>

Re: collecting fish hello, i am going to the grand Caymans on Jan. 1, and was wondering how would you get a permit to collect fish. I know you collect fish so I was wondering how you do it. I would like to collect some fish for my aquariums, and would like how would you be able to collect the fish and transport it home legally. Would I need a permit or a license or something to be able to collect fish at public reefs. Would I be able to take this test around my house or in the Caymans? When I get the permit what do you do for transporting the fish home? How would I tell the people at the airlines that i collect fish and would be able to bring them home? Sorry about all the questions, thanks a lot! <Please see here re all this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collmarsdvg.htm and the linked FAQs pages (in blue above), Bob Fenner>

Re: fish and airplanes Dear WetWebMedia Crew, <Jason> I am going to be vacationing in Florida soon and plan on visiting some fish stores there.  Since the pet stores here in Maine carry limited livestock for the most part, I am considering bringing some critters back with me via the passenger airline.   I was wondering if any of you have had recent experience with flying fish as carry-on luggage? <I do. Do have your source double bag them... with a larger bag size on the outside... and use oxygen. All this makes the trip easier on the livestock, and for you should the plane not be so pressurized...> I am thinking about bringing a small cooler (Igloo type, six-pack size) and transporting the critters in plastic bags that fish stores use, in the cooler.   Given the current airport security regulations, is this even possible? <Yes... if they're for personal consumption even easier... i.e., not for sale> Would the x-rays harm the animals? <No problem.>   Happy Thanksgiving! Sincerely, Jason <You and yours as well. Bob Fenner>

Removal of Butterfly I have a 55 gal reef tank. I recently purchased a Raccoon B/F to eat Aiptasia. He/she seems to be nipping at my mushrooms. I would like to get the Raccoon out of the tank. Any suggestions. Will it be ok to move some of the live rock. Thanks <no need to remove rock... One of my favorite ways to trap fishes in a rockscaped aquarium is as follows: take a small Ziploc bag filled with a concentrated slurry of live brine shrimp. Seal the bag closed. Then take a rather large plastic bag (10x22 or bigger), fold the top down a couple of inched to make a rigid collar (you'll see...) and sink the whole bag under water in the reef... making sure to get all air bubbles out. Fluff the large bag out a bit and throw the sealed small bag of brine shrimp (sans air too) into the back of the bag. Then squirt a tiny amount of live brine shrimp at the mouth of the bag. The premise is to lure fishes to the mouth of the bag to feed on the brine shrimp and entice them to swim to the back to take a shot at the "mother lode" in the sealed baggie once into the back they are often confused and run into the bag wall in an attempt to run towards the reef when you go to snatch the bag (you are sitting patiently by the tank). You might take it a step further and tie a slip noose of fishing line under the collar of the bag and run a lead of line to the bark-o-lounger that you are sitting on in wait for the silly twits to swim into the bag. Best regards, Anthony>

Catching Fish question I recently moved to South Florida; and have a fishing license. Early attempts at trying to catch fish in a net for my tank have proved disastrous. <Really, what sort of gear are you using... what are you trying to catch?> I was wondering how people go about catching fish for the industry. I have heard of the use of cyanide; but I find that horrendous. <Don't stoop to poisons or even true anesthetics...> How can I get some additions for my tank, sans-hook? What methods are currently used by commercial, and/or home hobbyists to catch fish for their tanks? Thanks very much, Marc Lippman <We have a few articles concerning the capture/collection of marines in the wild. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collmarsdvg.htm and the linked files at top. Be chatting, fishing. Bob Fenner>

Slurp Guns? Where can I purchase a slurp gun for the collection of aquarium specimens? <http://www.rayzplace.com/per_dv3.htm, http://www.deepsix.com/easycart/Tropical_Fish_Collecting_Tools.html, http://www.tridentdive.com/productlistw.htm A few of the listings putting in the term slurpguns on Google> I live on the coast of Texas and have recently set up a small saltwater aquarium. Most of my collecting has come from bulk collecting of Sargassum washed ashore and a small amount of jetty collecting. Can I build my own Slurp gun? <Yes... not that hard to do... but I encourage you to "throw your net further"... and look into building a simple floating fence net... and driving your catch into this, catching them in turn with hand nets... Please read the various related "collection" of livestock areas on our site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collmarsdvg.htm going through the FAQs, articles linked above. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Scott

Trapping fish in a reef tank Good morning to all...enjoy reading this website every day and it has been a tremendous help in getting my tank completed. My question is do you have any tricks or suggestions on getting 3 blue damsels out of an established reef tank without taking the tank apart? 72G bow with about 90 lbs. of live rock and hard and soft corals. I know, they should not have been put in the beginning to cycle my tank but I was not sure if I was going to get live rock until after reading everything on this site. It has been up and running for about 10 months and I want to try and get rid of them. Any suggestions?... <many... with a fast pump and some clean garbage cans you can drain the tank to mere inches, catch the fish and refill the tank within 15-30 minutes easily. A large power head and some tubing would do the trick too. Another method (seriously) is to fish for them with a tiny barbless trout hook. It is no more stressful than an unskilled aquarists chasing the poor buggers into exhaustion with a net around the aquarium. It is actually a minor disturbance. I have even caught my Tuskfish and chevron tang (quite a few dollars there) in this manner... I practice what I preach :) Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Collection and Reefs Bob: <Hello> Hugo again. Thanks for your patience and all your help. I have gone and come back from the site that I had talked about collecting sand from. I have several observations and questions. Here we go: 1. The sand is a brown color, sort of clay-ish looking. Upon closer examination the composition appears to be shell bits, coral fragments, and bits of something that appears to be dull and translucent, sort of like really dull glass. I also noted a lot of limestone in the entire area. Large boulders all over the place. <A very good description. the dull-glass bits may be silicate in nature> Underwater examination of this sand revealed something very curious. I have noticed in almost all the places in which I snorkeled (over 1/4 of a mile) that in several places there are mounds of sand which are gray in color. Just every so much space, there are these mounds of sand, completely gray about 3 ~5" in circumference. What could this be? <Areas where the local animals have dug up and mounded deeper, different sand types... that haven't gotten mixed in with the general more homogeneous substrate... Worms of many sorts, mollusks, crustaceans, others and together create these "mounds"> 2. Observing the fish fauna, I noticed things like spiders, a lot of fan worms, and even 2 stingrays. I also saw a great deal of sea urchins. The later had black thorns and very bright red bodies. Are these urchins something I should worry about? <Worry about? I would avoid touching them, and not use them in your system unless you're sure they will "go with" the rest of life you intend to keep> I did try to avoid them, as I am sure that meeting those spikes would not be pleasant. What about the stingray, would it be dangerous if I accidentally stepped on it? <Likely yes> 3. The location of which I am talking about is a rock barrier, about 1/2 mile long, with the waves breaking on one side, and a shallow and calm pool on the other side for about 70 feet, until it goes extremely deep. I did encounter a fish that looked exactly like a yellow tank ( round body, short snout) but it was light blue in color, with a yellow tail. I know it couldn't be a purple tang, because it was light blue, not purple. I have never seen one this color, but I know it wasn't a surgeon even an infant one) because it was round. What could this be? It was behaving like a tang (gracing on algae constantly). <Does sound like a juvenile Acanthurus coeruleus. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm> I also saw something that looked like a coral beauty, but it was black with tones in red. These guys were observed alone, one per cave, and seemed rather territorial. One nipped my finger to let me know I was too close for his comfort (hehehe). Are these in fact coral beauties? <Not Coral Beauties. That Dwarf Angel species is not found in the Atlantic. Please read through our root web: www.WetWebMedia.com re the Fishwatcher's Guide to the Tropical West Atlantic, Marine Angels... maybe Urchins as well> All in all I was happy to be there, and I can even say that I did not wish to take any of those guys home, as looking at them in their environment was satisfying enough. <Yes> I was a bit sad to see several beer cans at the bottom of some areas. What pigs we are!!! It is amazing to see how nature thrives in spite of us... Well, I am sure that I'll be back there again. This is all I ask for now. Thanks!!! <Perhaps you would enjoy photography, writing stories about your experiences, reflections... videography? Bob Fenner> Hugo S

Collection and Reefs Bob: First. What is the ISBN of your book... I can't seem to find it. <Please take a look on Amazon.com under title, or my name> Second. I live in Puerto Rico, and thus have access to unlimited amounts of some of the most beautiful reefs (my opinion) in the Caribbean... I would like to collect some "live" sand myself. My big idea was to go somewhere somewhat deep and with a weighted bucket and a rope (I know, kinda unsophisticated) drag that baby and pull up the results. <Yes> Several questions come to mind, and I cannot find anything this specific in the archives... 1. This will actually be the same or even better than packaged stuff right? I mean, I can go from the reefs to my house in under 30 minutes... <Maybe... a good idea to at least rinse lightly (in seawater), decant, and store in an aquarium setting for a good two weeks before using > 2. Parasites come to mind. Any way to kill the little suckers before using the sand? <All sorts. Please read through WetWebMedia.com re Live Sand: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/livesand.htm and the associated FAQs file> 3. If the commercial sand being sold is reef sand, why would the sand in the reef down here have silicates? Do they not come from the same place? <Yes, about a third or so silicon dioxide based. Don't come from same places specifically (collected, sorted on beaches for the most part)> 4. I also think that I would like to collect some fish... I did get a permit for this from the local Natural Resources dept, that you know of in my area, what are good specimens to catch? <In Puerto Rico? All sorts of areas... again, please read through the WWM site... "Collection", Quarantine...> 5. What foreseeable dangers do you see in collecting fish by snorkeling in a reef? (sharks, Scorpionfish, jellyfish) <Other divers, yourself... perhaps Fire Coral, Sea Urchins... really> Is scuba a must? What kind of fish can I expect to catch this way? Realistically? <Practice and study makes perfect my friend.... many and enough organisms can be easily gathered by snorkeling. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help! Hugo S. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Re: Collection and Reefs Bob: Tank you for your prompt response, I can't imagine how many e-mails you must read a day! <Am sure you can... a couple hundred...> I found the ISBN in Amazon.com... Thanks. <Very good> You said that about a third of sand comes from here, maybe I didn't understand quite what you meant. <Sorry for the lack of clarity. I meant to state that about a third of the sand you're likely to find is silicate-based... only about another third is calcium carbonate-based. Alternatively, the various companies (e.g. CaribSea) try to collect, clean and bag almost 100% carbonate-based materials> Did you mean that a third of the wrong type of sand comes from the Caribbean/Puerto Rico? <Actually, about this amount comes from "sandy bottoms" in most places off coastlines... some more than others. You'd be better off looking for a beach area, at accumulations of hard materials and screening/sieving out the small "silica" (shiny, flat, angular) materials in an attempt to collect just the "shell and coral skeleton based" ones. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm and the FAQs beyond> By Silicon Dioxide did that mean that it has silicates?  <Yes> Also, where does aragonite come from usually? Specifically? <Mined, crushed, sorted, cleaned calcium carbonate material from "ancient" reefs. The coarser material is extracted from a few places in the world, the finer (oolithic) from areas of the ocean where it forms spontaneously, accumulates. Please read: http://www.soils.wisc.edu/virtual_museum/aragonite/> If I let the sand dry and then sift it for the correct size (sugar sized), then this would kill the whole "live" concept right? <The "macro" parts, yes. The "micro" (e.g. bacteria, funguses, viruses...) would likely persist to some degree> Would this reef sand be small enough for a 4" DSB? How much sand would you say in pounds or gallons it would take for a 4" DSB? <Please read over WetWebMedia.com re Deep Sand Beds. Bob Fenner> Thanks! Hugo S

Re: Samariscus triocellatus You can visit the homepage of the breeding company : http://www.aqua-fish.com/ Thanks for answer ! Herv?br><Ah yes. Merci. Have seen these folks post-larval collected and raised fishes in many places. Will post this link for others perusal. Robare Fenner>

Another question??? (Collecting in FLA) Hey Bob: Me again A friend of mine is going to Florida in a couple of weeks and he volunteered to pick up some beach clams, mussels, and shells for my tank. Are these okay to be putting in a 105 gallon reef tank? <Hmm, maybe... these should be "treated" to render them "life free" probably. See our site (www.WetWebMedia.com) re this sterilizing protocol... OR:> Hoping to raise the clams and mussels for starfish etc. or maybe for just extra filtering. Or am I asking for trouble? <Likely more trouble than benefit... the chance of pests, parasites, pollution can be tremendous... but if this tank is otherwise "vacant" and you want to try "going native" a real possibility for learning here. BTW, do have your friends check into licensing for such collection, and be clear with them about how much, of what, and how to collect, transport this material/life. Some input on this on the WWM site as well. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Kevin Johnson

Your opinion (re a giant dream of collecting, processing, etailing rare angelfishes) Mr. Fenner, I plan on opening a internet based marine fish store which specializes in only the rarest and hardest to come bye marine angelfish, and I would like your assistance in a few areas. <Not easy to do this business... hope to help you work in the industry first... Have you read over the "Business Index" part of our website: www.WetWebMedia.com? I suggest you look over "The Marine Center" site... link on WWM... as they do the sort of enterprise very well already...> My first question is what are the rarest and hardest to come bye angelfish!?  <Look over the survey pieces on Pomacanthids on the WWM site... and the reference works listed on the Bibliography/Further Reading areas on each article... get and read these over...> I've already decided to get clarion's, clipperton's, Conspicuous, scribbled, the masked angelfish, West African, the resplendent, the golden pygmy, the red sea angel, Armitage angel, and the Nahacky. I plan to catch most of these my self to ensure the quality and care taken to capture these beauty's. <Wowzah! Lofty goals indeed! Have collected about half of these myself... not easy to get to the areas of most... no realistic way to make "collecting and re-selling" them an economic enterprise... Perhaps your efforts would best be directed into investigating captive breeding?> and when i finally have them in the store they will be quarantined for at least 3 weeks before I sell them and of coarse ill make sure that they eat and are taken care of. And then my second question is what numbers should I maintain of these fish to appease the collectors? <They will tell you in time, turn... just a few initially.> I know that these fish aren't offered in the industry often, so I want to know what type of demand to expect. thank you for any help you offer and it will be greatly appreciated. thank you once again. Michael Camacho <Much more for us to discuss... very enjoyably... do you do much dive travel currently? You are welcome to join us on our regular outings. Very often go to, dive with such collectors around the world. Bob Fenner>

Importing fish from China Dear Bob, Having a great time in China. Besides the food and landmarks, shopping for clothes, DVD's and cigarettes has never been cheaper. I have also come across a lot of unique marine and freshwater livestock. What are the rules about bringing livestock back in, and, if their are rules, how would I go about bypassing them while still ensuring the health of the livestock?  <Ask the authorities in your host country... these vary by such and temporally...> Obviously, if I could bring them as carry ons, it would not be a big deal. Will China let me tack stuff out? Will customs in the US care?  <Yes> Basically, what is the best way to go about this. Also, there are a lot of aquatic plants I would like to bring back, how do I transport those. I don't really care if I have to give up my stuff at customs, since it is so cheap, but I do not want them, having found one thing and wanting to search everything else, take away all my cigarettes.  <You will care I suspect when they detain and question you... maybe incarcerate you for a while... Don't smuggle livestock, especially plant material into/out of a country... Think about this!> Worst comes to worse, could I FedEx anything back. Thanks a lot Bob. Tell me if you want anything. -Josh <I want you to have a good time... enjoy yourself, learn... and forget about this possibility... not worth the real hassle or potential for spreading biological contaminants. Bob Fenner>

:( no fish from China Dear Bob, About importing livestock from China...fair enough. Thank you for advising me about that. However. I now have another question: How is it that fish (fresh and salt) are imported directly from China, and all you have to have is a permit.  <Not all my friend... CITES reports, inspections are done on both the import/export side... in the USA you will be paying for this directly...> While making your actions salient to the gov, this does not in any way reduce the possibility of transmitting some infectious pathogen into U.S. borders.  <No absolutes here... but the inspections, and the indirect causes they engender (restricting the number of players, causing them to comply to regulation)... the overall awareness and compliance this brings greatly reduces the transport of problems>  I don't think you can import aquatic plants (which makes a lot of sense, they can really create mayhem), but what about the fish. <All life> Man, you would not believe how cheap aquatic plants are here (actually, you probably do), <Yes> and I have seen several clams that I have never seen in the States before. Also some really amazing reef tanks, considering the technology employed on them.  <No "technology" necessary... as you will know> Huge, healthy Gonioporas under RO and no apparent additions to the tank. It is just saddening to see the contrast in prices between here and the U.S.  <Not just in the aquarium interest... the entire economy is "different"... One of the principal reasons I encourage/d you to venture forth... the world is not changed/changing, only your awareness> I try my best so shop around, and the cheapest place I get my st! uff from, the owner gets from (w here else) China. Thanks again. <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

How to catch a fish Dear Bob, You've probably had this question many times but I can't find it in FAQs or any book. How do you get a fish out of large reef aquarium? Any tricks? Howard <A few... B.F. Skinner out of the box thinking: a training of the livestock not to respond to a not so novel stimulus: a net... Involves conditioning the tank's living contents to not recognize the catching instrument as such by leaving it in the system most if not all the time, feeding near, over, inside it... till it's time to life out the unwary specimens. There are other traps than nets... jars, "all plastic rodent traps, PVC pips with netting on one end... that can be employed as catch instruments. For some larger, more predatory animals, baiting with a tethered food item and deft netting can do the trick... For larger, real predaceous types, small barbless hooks with a favorite food item on them... this is how some of the wrasses, triggers, puffers are caught for the hobby/trade in the wild... And, our not so most favored method... the systematic dismantling, careful storage of decor, other items... while draining the tank... using a couple of nets... catching all out while all else is removed technique.  Bob Fenner

Deep water collecting techniques Bob, I am interested in the techniques used to collect deep water angelfish. In particular, how deep do they go, is there light down there, what is a rebreather, how do they decide where to go, are the fish easy to catch, and so on. Thanx. -Josh <Deep for atmosphere breathers is anything approaching a hundred feet in depth... with some folks doing decompression depth dives to two hundred feet at times... A very few collectors (e.g. Chip Boyle in the Cooks) use rebreathers (complete circuit) and venture to three hundred or so feet regularly... sometimes slightly more (though there is not much to find sales, population wise at greater depths)... Some of the animal's are decidedly easier to catch further down... my best example is the "holo holo", Bandit Angel in Hawai'i... caught with mere hand nets on the Big Island... I've had them swim up to me, into the net at 150-185 feet... Do know of efforts to perfect traps as well, but don't know of anyone with commercial success here. Where to go? Hmm, practice, experience, scoping out the bottom profile with electronic surface gear. You might want to correspond with a collector or two, visit, dive with them to learn... Bob Fenner>

Re: deep water collecting techniques Thanx for the reply. One more thing. Go to exotictropicals.com, select "marine animals" and go to the buy livestock section. The site has a Clarion angel for $79. Don't know what is going on there. They don't give a scientific name, but I don't think any other angel is called clarion. -Josh <Don't see it there... under Marine (sic) Angelfish... but 79US is cheap... not hard to catch... and plentiful where found mainly... in the Islas Revillagigedos... Going wholesale is a few times this price. Bob Fenner>

Mediterranean species  Mr. Fenner I wonder if you could give me an idea about obtaining some Mediterranean fishes and inverts species (Lessepsian migrants also) as exhibits for a new Public Aquarium that it is going to start working in Syros. <Wish I could... am not familiar with the fishes and invertebrates of the area to render a sufficient opinion> Syros is an island in Cyclades (Aegean sea) Greece. <Yes, have sailed there (and unfortunately on the Saronics in 1996 (weather too rough out of Athens) while at the biannual international Hash House Harriers runs in Cyprus> I dare to send you this e-mail as your informational texts are uploaded regularly on Malawi Cichlid Homepage. George is a very good friend of mine and presents some of my articles as well. If you have any spare time to respond this e-mail I'll send you a list I have already prepare for this purpose. <A very good fellow, and will gladly review your list... but would send you to www.FishBase.com for their input (as this is where I will mainly go)> Of course some of the species are easy to be collected from local fishermen or scuba divers. Thank you very much Andreas Iliopoulos  <I understand, will help, and hope to visit you, your aquarium someday. Bob Fenner>

Identification to Family, Import Restrictions in NZ hi i was wondering if you can help me. i am from new Zealand and importing of marine fish is limited in new Zealand we are only allowed fish that are on the approved list of the new Zealand customs. http://www.maf.govt.nz/AnimalIHS/ihs/fisornic.all.htm#7 as you see on the list one of the species allowed is. Apogon spp Cardinal fishes can you confirm if Pterapogon kauderni , the Banggai Cardinalfish is part of the above group <Absolutely. The Banggai is indeed a Cardinalfish, family Apogonidae. You can offer credible evidence by referring to www.fishbase.com with the scientific name> i need some information so that i can confirm with customs. <And you are welcome to refer all to the family coverage on our site: www.wetwebmedia.com for husbandry notes> regards alois, www.aqua.net.nz <Let me know if/when I may be of further assistance. Bob Fenner>

Re: Banggai i.d. to family... hi rob thanks for you reply rob I need some help so that I can prove to maf that the banggai is a Apogon sp, they are were strict but are not very glued up on marine species <Thought I had... yes this is an apogonid... an apogonid, or Cardinalfish species> can you email me your qualifications and a brief note to say that they would come under Apogon sp any articles would also help. ,fishbase is not working <My qualifications? As a pet-fish ichthyologist? Likely not impressive, but my resume and academic background are also posted on the www.wetwebmedia.com site> regards, alois <Keep trying www.fishbase.com and the family or species name... their servers are up/down a bit. Bob Fenner>

Net Catching permit in Hawaii? Hi Bob, I got your email address from a fellow reefer from reefs.org. board. Anyways, just wondering if you know how to get this permit to catch fish with a net in Hawaii? If so, how much is the permit and where I could get it. Thanks, Gus. <Search the web with the terms "Hawaii" and "Department of Natural Resources"... It may well be that you can fish for "personal consumption" (not necessarily eating), with just an out-of-state short term fishing license... This is what I'd shoot for rather than trying to become a "trop. collector" in the 50th state if all you are attempting to do is gather a few ornamentals for your own use. Which island(s) will you be on? You might do well to contact Randy Fernley at Coral Fish Hawai'i on O'ahu for help in bagging, shipping, holding... when you're there. Bob Fenner, who also suggests you read the "collecting" pieces, especially "Kona Gold" and "Collecting the Hawaiian Way" posted on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com>

Shipping to Canada Hello Bob I have keep marine fish for 10years. I would to know how i would have a shipment shipped to Canada. Do you know what I would have to do for permits? thanks <Don't know but do have a notion of where you might ask: try a local livestock fish store, and your "fish and game" (you can find the last in the government listings in your phone directory... maybe even on the Internet!), and put this question to them. Bob Fenner>

Collecting Aquarium Fish As a marine aquarist and a SCUBA diver, I have enjoyed collecting fish for my aquariums for almost 20 years. Most of my collecting has been from oil platforms along the Texas coast where I live, but I have also had experience bringing fish back from Belize, Mexico, and Hawaii. I have found that regulatory prohibitions and restrictions are frequently the greatest obstacles to collecting aquarium fish. To increase species diversity in my aquariums, I would like to collect outside of Texas. Do you have information on locations where noncommercial collectors can legally collect aquarium fish and transport them back to the United States. I would also appreciate information on the permits, documentation, and licenses that are required to collect and transport the fish. Thank you for your assistance. Frank Castille <Coincidentally enough, I happen to be visiting in the Cook Islands with Chip Boyle and wife Claire (of the fish collecting biz) right now... and can only commiserate with you... All places I know of have their "restrictions", "taxes" (whatever you call them: tariffs, permits...) simple-servant idiocies to deal with... best is to contact, sign up with the powers that be ahead of visiting or piggy back your orders on/with someone already situated in the area (very often what I/we do...). For specifics on a given country, pls. feel free to recontact me... do help set-up such stations for companies every year. Bob Fenner>

Re: Philippines and the aquarium trade... Fully aware of them, yes. Please understand that my reasoning behind that email was to sucker people like yourself into contacting me! ;) You may recall emailing with me earlier this year regarding this same topic, but in regard to concerns with fish I was buying from FFE... <Hysterical, and great. Yes, I remember you, and your iconography>  Some personal background/history: I've been working as an aquarist since I got down here, and I worked in an aquarium shop in Long Island, New York through my high school years and even into college when I was home for the summers and breaks. I've been a hobbyist since I got my first tank (I had just turned five)... I've interned at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, worked and volunteered as an aquarist at the Riverbanks Zoo here in SC, and volunteered at the Amazonia hall of the National Zoo. The list goes on... <Sounds like you're ready to go... most anywhere in the aquaristics world> PRESENTLY... I'm a senior in the Marine Science Program at the U. of South Carolina, finishing my BS this semester (a semester early in fact) with a minor in Spanish. I'm not graduating yet since I still have a scholarship that will take me through next semester. I'm applying for a Fulbright grant to take me to the Philippines. I need to come up with a research proposal, and I have some ideas. Making contacts with NGOs and conservationists like yourself will put me in a better spot to get the grant MOSTLY because you are the folks that know more than myself what needs to be done over there. By offering my services, I hope to develop working plans for research in the field (with Fulbright or not). Peter Rubec of the IMA gave me some pretty good ideas this morning in our two-and-a-half hour phone conversation, and I want to try to expand on them and look at other ideas as well. <Ah, all sounds very good. Please let me know if I can help you.> Fishing techniques are a major concept that I want to look into, as well as the shipping practices and hindrances that bring about the mortalities of exports. Mr. Rubec has been working on this concept himself, however, and so it's not too accessible for me. He did suggest though that I look into coral farming techniques and educating fishermen how to sustainably manage coral farm programs. This could allow them to apply for CITES permits while simultaneously earning good money... The question is however, will the hobby (nay, the industry in the US) allow it to happen... At least this is _my_ question, aside from a research topic having to do with coral farming. Is this a worthwhile cause for me to go over there either on a grant or being paid by an NGO (ouch, I have bills to pay off you know)... Not that I'm interested in this because of $$$!!! Jeez, why would I have come to school to study marine science if I was interested in making money?? (that's a cynical comment FYI) BUT ANYWAY... <Do understand... and am very aware of "catching practices, gear".> I need to establish direct connections with programs such as IMA and OVI in order to foster and develop my ideas, and start getting myself involved. I need to know what's going on over there currently, and you, Mr. Fenner, are one of the key people who can tell me. I spoke to Peter Rubec regarding the establishment of coral farming programs and he shot back a lot of good ideas for me to follow-up on. Any information you can provide me with will be helpful as well, be it regarding corals OR fish. Man, I still need to read your book. I'll tell you what... I'll go buy it right now as incentive for you to work with me ;) <Will send your note to Walt Smith of WSI in the hope that he can offer you leads of where to go, who to possibly work with... His main business in Fiji is gearing up for some substantial aquaculture projects and possibly he can hire you in some capacity.> Thanks a lot! -James Frank >> <Anytime my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Philippines and the aquarium trade... YOU DA MAN! ><)));> ><)));> ><)));> ><)));> ><)));> ><)));> ><)));> ><)));> ><)));> >> WE ARE DA PET-FISH MEN! Bob Fenner

Re: Philippines and the aquarium trade... Dude... I have got to meet you some time. Are you going to MACNA? (or is it even worth my consideration to go???) I've been contemplating it, but A. $$$ B. it's a long drive from here C. I can't live in my car for a whole weekend D. I need to do my last dive for my advanced certification that weekend (I've been putting it off for a year now), but hey.... I can put that off for another year (if it's worth it). E. $$$ -James >> <Don't scream out loud, but am off to the Cooks (islands that is) for a few weeks during the FL timeframe... have been asked to give a pitch at the upcoming (XIII, Baltimore) one next... And will be chatting at the WMC at the Monterey... Do stay in touch, and make it known where/when you'd like to go/visit, in the trade (go to Fiji, Hawai'i, the P.I., Indo. in a few places... every year. And "sport dive" (pix, fun) in the Red Sea, Malaysia... most every year.) You don't dive (yet)? How bout photography/videography? Expensive past times I know... but good/great tools, skills to develop NOW, and money-making propositions if done right.  Re the financial security end... what plans have you? Have you read "The Richest Man in Babylon", by Geo. Clayson (publ date 1926)? I'm not joking... or joshin' ya. Will gladly goose you into being well off... self-serving as it is more/most fun to travel, exchange ideas with friends who have the time, money, inclination to dive, make images, philosophize... Always looking for such associates. Or on the road having good times with the same. Bob Fenner, who suggests we keep chatting and get you on out to the South Pacific... soon. Are you attending the ICRS in Bali?

Re: Philippines and the aquarium trade... Bali?? Oh boy... That's a full week of classes for me... and we're talking airfare, hotel, and registration.. food too? Ack. I'd love to go, unfortunately, finances are the main restriction (I could probably legitimately skip classes considering that I could do the whole week's worth of work on the plane ride... one way!) Do they give financial support to us spoiled, rich US kids? (and I'm probably putting a foot in my mouth with the "spoiled rich" part of that)... -James >> The Sea Grant folks and recipients get paid all the way around... I went the "self employed" route, and am very glad for it... but you must seek your own path. Bob Fenner

Marine Livestock Sources Dear Bob, Nice to meet you in INTERZOO to join with Walt Smith and Robert G. Krechter (RK2) in the outdoor restaurant and I trust you have good trip in this year. I'm sorry contacting you so late due to quite busy when I get back to Hong Kong. About our last conversation in Germany I remember that you said have sources from Mexico i.e. Passer, Cortez and Clarion Angel, so could you please offer me some supplier in there? Recently, I also looked for an outstanding Caribbean Sea exporter who could export the XXL size (13??up) French, Queen, Black angel and others. I am looking forward your soonest reply. Thank you very much. Best regards, >> Good to hear from you... Steve Robinson's the man/company in Baja that 's doing any/all collecting that I'm aware of... don't know as yet how to contact him (he just drives up whatever he has occasionally and unloads it to the Los Angeles companies he sells to. The Caribbean... I'd try Dave Vatter's "Atlantic Marine Life". Bob Fenner

Ethics... On the topic of cyanide stunning collection, how does one know that they are not buying fish caught in this manner? Does FFE sell them? Perhaps even unknowlingly? This message does not have to be posted, but any references you can offer on the subject would be very helpful. James >> Every place I've ever been that's been in business for any time, ends up with some cyanide poisoned (skip the stun and knocked out, anesthetized euphemisms...), but the folks that I know of that do the selection service work at ffexpress know their stuff and do about the best job that can be done to "miss" these doomed specimens... They are in the process of putting up their own acclimation/holding/shipping facility and therefore having more (but not complete) control over their sources. Bob Fenner, who has helped set-up many collecting stations, and will hopefully see the poisoning part of the trade come to an end in his lifetime.

Re: Ethics...II Thanks Bob. I appreciate the info. I had assumed that it was the case that it truly is hard to tell that the catcher is or isn't using the method. Knowing that it's been banned (at least I've heard it so) in most countries is a comfort. I myself have always been the second hand receiver, and have no experience getting things directly from the Pacific, except from west coast distributors like FFE (FFE is the only one I myself have dealt with, but through working at different aquariums I've seen many distributor's fish). I for one have come to know what I know about the subject by word of mouth, from a few documentaries, and from some very unspecific articles (like this one on ABCnews.com: http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DyeHard/dye991013.html ). The topic came up when one of our most recent additions to my dorm's tank, a gold head sleeper goby, dies randomly, one day after acclimation. It was hemorrhaging along it's sides, but I didn't notice this until I'd removed it from the tank. What, in your opinion, could the death have been caused by? I sent out a message to our residents ( to calm them down) explaining that fish can just die, and there isn't much you can do about it. In the email I mentioned cyanide poisoning as a slight possibility, though I also pointes out the statement on the FFE site regarding the issue. It sprung up some debate. Anyway, would you happen to know of any good online references on the topic? (or books, articles, etc...) I appreciate the first hand knowledge, and I thank you for your honesty on the topic. Any more help you can offer would be great! Thanks again. James >> oh, (very big sigh) yes, the cyanide (et al. poisoning) issue. I am sure the MAC (Marine Aquarium Council, a very up and coming pro advocacy org. that wants to among other things, certify collecting/holding/shipping agencies, and more realistically, consolidate and distribute info. re best organisms, best collection/holding/shipping practices... probably another taxing organization ultimately... Bob, let's not be negative... IMA, International Marine-Life Alliance... the folks who produce Ocean Voice... are worthwhile. AMDA American Marine Dealers Association... and oh so many more...) have sites, declarations of intent... The real "break" will come when consumers finally decide to vote with their hearts/minds/feet/dollars and REFUSE to pay for doomed livestock...     Can't tell how your bottom dweller was collected or if it was cyanided... most gobies and blennies aren't, as they're simple to "just" stir up the bottom... they come out looking for what's going on, and can be easily "pushed" into a large hand net that's been left just sitting in front of the stirred up area... But maybe... otherwise, "general aggregate stress" and "poor water quality" at least high total microbe counts... Gobies and blennies should only be placed in well established systems... months old, preferably with live rock. Does this help? I do hope so. Take a look at the thank-goodness allowed by my publisher cyanide essay/section in the book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist... Yes, this is an old, painful, ridiculous part of the trade in the Philippines and Indonesia.... Help me stop it. Bob Fenner



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