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FAQs and Input about Reef Invertebrate (and algae?) ID book

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Book suggestions   2/28/10
Mr. Fenner,
Six months ago I started my first saltwater aquarium a 50 gallon breeder tank and now I have nine fish, two shrimp, crabs, snails, anemone, and some soft corals. I have read a number of other books before I found your book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist revised and updated second edition. I just read it cover-to-cover. There is one thing I find lacking in all saltwater aquarium books, how to pronounce the technical terms and scientific names of the animals. The only name you show how to pronounce is cnidarians. I also find that at the few aquarium society meetings I've attended the members have various ways to pronounce names and terms as does the local fish store.
I believe there is a market for a dictionary/glossary of terms and names with pronunciation for the aquarium market. The author probably would even set the standard on pronunciation of terms and scientific names. Being a retired marketing consultant (computer industry) I would guess nearly every aquatic club and 5 to 10% of their members would buy a copy. Surely every local fish store would want a copy. Wouldn't that outsell this book?
<I wish I could/would agree w/ you, but folks are wont to buy such works I assure you>
There is one topic I find missing in the seven saltwater aquarium books I've read; what hitchhikers can you expect to come along with live rock and corals.
<Now THIS is a winner. A few of us/WWM had thought to produce a title about such (cc'ed above)... Lynn Zurik in particular, has become quite an adept at identifying and skillfully enumerating what this myriad of "free" life is>
Looking at my tank I see enough life in there to write a PhD thesis. Just from what I can see I have brittle stars (both tiny white ones and one larger black one), bristle worms (maybe two types), tiny tube worms, bivalves (I only find them after they have died), anemones (I eradicated them), and crabs (not sure but they almost look like Emerald crabs). I think all this came with live rock that I bought over six months from the local fish store. All of the rock had been in the fish store tanks for at least two weeks before I bought them. What I would like to see is a chapter on these hitchhikers and which of them should I be concerned with.
Thanks for a well written and informative book.
Ed S
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Do please see/peruse our website, WetWebMedia.com for much more.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Species List! and follow-up on Anemone ID 1/25/08 Thanks, Bob. Also, thanks for the "Outstanding" comment yesterday - it made my day! I really do enjoy the challenge that ID questions present . Unfortunately, when it comes to anemones, I'm somewhat lacking. I've been looking into the query you put in my folder, and I really don't know what kind of anemones those are. Brenda and I discussed them at length this afternoon and she believes that they might be "Jeweled Anemones", Corynactis spp. <Mmm... do look like this genus in some respects...> For my part, I've looked through every book I have, as well as all over the internet and can't come up with anything that "clicks". At first I thought that maybe they were a Calliactis sp. - based on this photo: http://www.meerwasser-lexikon.de/de/48/905/Calliactis/polypus.htm. Then I thought they might be Nemanthus sp. , Amphianthus, or even Dofleinia.. I just can't seem to pin it down. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help on this, but if you know of a good resource book for anemones (for the future), please let me know. I thought for sure those anemones would be in the Baensch Atlas, but no such luck (or at least I didn't recognize them). By the way, do you want me to put that query back into the main marine folder to give someone else a crack at it? <Methinks you two are about our only shots...> Regarding the species list, thanks, it's good to get this project off the ground! By the way, I'm close to finishing up the algae section, so once I do that and make a couple of corrections (I forgot to put crustaceans under Arthropoda - duh!) I'll send it on to you. Hopefully you'll have it on/by Tuesday. At that point, I'll go ahead and send a copy to Neale as well. I figured I'd hold off on that until it was complete. Take care and have a great week in sunny Hawaii! -Lynn <Thank you my friend. Cheers, BobF>

That Marine Invert. Di, tri-chotomous Key ID book idea...   12/25/07 Lynn, Neale... am given to suggest this title again... 1.a: Radially arranged, soft-bodied, bell-shaped, floating in water (Cnidarians, Ctenophores): Go to 20. 1.b. Radially arranged, hard-bodied, oval, globular or armed, benthic (on the bottom)(Echinoderms...) Go to 21 1.c. Not radially arranged... bilaterally symmetrical or tubular Go To 22. Somewhat in the format of the pocket guides produced by Microcosm/TFH (which were my idea while working with M years back)... With pix of the 500 or so more commonly encountered species, forms/groups... with as much in the way of pertinent notes re selection, husbandry... Am hoping to help ScottV and EricR with an aquarium engineering tome... and thinking this would be a fun, applicable and profitable venture for us to do concurrently... for savings on production, sales... What say you? BobF. <Absolutely - I'd love to be involved in this! Just let me know how I can help. Thanks, also, for your <note yesterday, and for the opportunity to lend a hand at WWM, it's a real pleasure. :-) <Take care, <-Lynn <Am very sure this will be a straight-forward project... in terms of the keys... Which I can/will write (shall we include algae in this work?)... >>Considering the number of questions we get regarding this, I think that would be a great idea.<< The pix... we may already have, or can/will ask friends to sell us one-time use rights to round out... Would you be willing to start compiling a list of what you consider (likely a summary review of WWM...) the more/most common species/groups? B> >>Absolutely. I'm a bit busy the next few days, but will get down to business right after that, if that's okay. Btw, do we have a time schedule for this project? Thankfully, the beginning of the year is always quiet for me, business-wise, so it's a perfect time to get started. This is going to be a terrific book, and an invaluable resource for aquarists. Thanks for including me in the project! -Lynn>> <<No fixed time frame... But a good idea with such projects to have something in the way of a schedule... B>>

Re: That Marine Invert. Di, tri-chotomous Key ID book idea... 12/25/07 Hello Bob, Lynn, <Neale> Merry Christmas from snowy Omaha! <Brrrrrr!> Bob: I think the book idea sounds great. I'm not familiar with the "pocket guides" you mention, so will have to look those up. I confess my fishkeeping library is stacked towards to freshwater end! I suspect the way forward is to first define the phyla, classes, orders, families we want to cover. For an awful lot of stuff, identification to family level will be about as good as we can go with naked eye observations. Are any of you familiar with Ralph Buschbaum's little book on invertebrates? I like the idea of mixing some biology with taxonomy. In other words, as well as explaining "you have a Sipunculid" you say a little about how they're different to annelids, what they evolved from, what they do, and so on. A lot of these small invertebrates become more interesting within that sort of context. <With a/the focus on appeal to non-specialists... Perhaps as many line drawings, list/def. of arcana as color photos...> Anyway, count me in. I'm not teaching much this semester (just one geology class) so I'm open to spend more time developing projects as required. Cheers, Neale <Sounds good! BobF>

Question about species list... Invert. ID book  12/27/07 Hi Bob and Neale, <Lynn> I just wanted to give y'all a quick update on the groups/species list. I made some progress yesterday, but realized that for the number of organisms we'd like to cover, I'm going to have to toss everything I can think of into the list. Once that's done, we can pare it down/substitute/choose the most interesting/whatever. By the way, should I also include some of the more commonly offered/available specimens (in the trade), or should this strictly remain as a guide for marine hitchhikers? I realize some species are both, but I'm just wondering where we draw the line? <I say both. If we run into "too many" issues, we can lump by genus, family...> Another question I have involves taxonomy. When I started the list, I figured the most obvious way to organize it would be according to classification. I didn't have too much trouble until I hit Arthropoda - what a nightmare. It's hard to find two references that agree! The phylum is littered with headings of "No rank", "infra-orders", "sections", etc. I've seen Crustacea listed as a class, subphylum, and superclass. I think it's a subphylum, but ?? Do either of you know a reference site that has the most recent/correct information? I've been using this one, along with several others (hoping this was the most up to date): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?mode=Undef&id=6656&lvl=3&lin=f&keep=1&srchmode=1&unlock <Mmm... "less is more" here... re splitters vs. lumpers... I say we simplify as much as practical. I follow Robert (and Betty) Barnes by and large re the higher tax. of invert.s> I'm sure this taxonomic issue isn't the most important thing to be concerned about right now, but I would like to be up to date. Mainly, after getting so confounded yesterday with it, I just want to know what's right! Thanks, -Lynn <Really isn't a matter of right where sci. clas. goes/comes in... but a matter of "what's popular" useful, current... for now. Cheers! BobF>

Re: Question about species list, Neale's go re tax. and petfishing  12/27/07 Hello Lynn,> > One of the big hurdles non-biologists have to cross is the idea of "correct" taxonomy. All taxonomies are nothing more than one scientist's "best estimate" of relationships based on the existing evidence interpreted via some particular methodology (morphology, cladistics, molecular biology, fossils, etc.). But here's the thing: it doesn't matter. All groups above species level are artificial. Use them, don't use them... they're all totally man-made things and don't "mean" anything. So if for the sake of clarity we go with a traditional "Class Crustacea" grouping, that's fine. If we want a brief section discussing their relationships to, say, horseshoe crabs or arachnids, that's fine. But it doesn't matter for practical purposes. I'd tend to go with the traditional groups except where they are obviously polyphyletic (i.e., groups of not-at-all closely related organisms). But I can't actually think of very many major invertebrate taxa where this is a problem. In fact, there may be some advantages in concurring with one of the main invertebrate zoology text books used in colleges. While perhaps not at the cutting edge, this will at least allow people to follow up what they read in this book by referring to another widely accessible book. We can of course say that such-and-such a group is currently under revision, controversial, or whatever as we see fit. As far as scope, I think we need to balance both unusual hitchhikers with at least representative examples of all the major showpiece invertebrates. If nothing else, a basic explanation of what differentiates all the different things called "corals" or "tubeworms" or "clams" would be useful. On the other hand, there's no point duplicating existing manuals on corals or whatever that aquarists already have access to. We may decide that rather than focusing on taxonomy too much, going by place/size could be better. For example: chapters on what's in the coral sand, what grows on living rock, what attaches to the glass, what's in the canister filter, and so on. There would obviously be overlap here, but at least having some chapters on these "habitats" that key out organisms and then refer the reader to the chapters on taxonomic groups could be fun. Cheers, Neale <Wish I'd written this... or "what he said". Cheers, B>

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