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Monday, April 5, 2010

Dangers in the Marine Underworld

Marine life is extremely different from that of terrestrial life. The underwater experience is like no other. Coral reefs have diversity that is only comparable to the diversity found in the rainforest.

Coral reefs house animals of every shape, size, and color. The Coral reef has been around for an enormous number of years. Some of the reefs have been forming for the past 25 million years. Diving to see this amazing environment is extraordinary because of all the diversity that you can see in one area.

Some of the animals you may encounter on a dive will be beautiful, but dangerous. It is a good idea to know what sea life to watch out for. Don't be scared just be educated about what kind of sea life there is and the potential danger that may arise from it.

Probably, the most widely known animal a diver may encounter is the shark. The majority of species of shark are harmless, even though many people have a great fear of them. A diver that comes face to face with a shark does not have a great chance of being bitten. The chance of being bitten by a shark is actually very slight.

Sharks are unpredictable creatures even though they don't typically attack humans. When a person is attacked, it is usually at dusk when the visibility is poor. The shark cannot see very well and thinks the diver is a fish or food.

Eels are another animal a diver may encounter underwater. The moray eel is the most common eel encountered in temperate waters by divers. Several species of this eel can be up to ten feet long. Eels are nocturnal animals roaming the waters at night and not coming out too much during the day. They typically stay in their holes during the day. Divers that get bitten are usually those that pry off an oyster or abalone, and then reach back into the hole to get it. The eel mistakes the diver's hand for food and then bites it.

Electric rays may be encountered on a dive also. They are animals that have the ability to shock you. This shock is something that a diver definitely wants to avoid. It's not going to kill the diver; it's just going to be very painful. It's best to avoid the electric eel all together.

Jellyfish are another animal to avoid. Jellyfish are free-floating in the open sea. They drift wherever the water takes them, and can often come in contact with divers. Depends on the species, the sting can be mild to severe. Two forms of jellyfish should be avoided at all costs. Those are the Portuguese-Man-of-War and the sea wasp. The Portuguese-Man-of-War's sting can put a diver in the hospital for a while, and the sea wasp can kill a diver in less than either minutes. No jellyfish sting is pleasant, but these two are by far the most dangerous.

Other animals in the sea that can be potentially dangerous are the sea urchins, mollusks, sea lions, and others. Diving in the sea can be an experience like no other, but precautions need to be taken in it like anywhere else. Divers should learn about their surroundings before entering the sea and be aware of potential dangers. The only way to know what to do when encountering a potentially dangerous animal is to educate yourself before the situation occurs.

About the Author

To read about dog stroke symptoms and bronchitis in dogs, visit the Dog Illness site.

Saltwater Reef Aquarium Setup - Beauty and Color

If you are getting to a more advanced level in aquarium hobbies, then you might venture into the vivid and wonderful world of saltwater reef aquariums. This type of aquarium is really a microcosm or small scale model of a coral reef, containing organisms both live and inanimate such as fish, invertebrates and beautiful corals.

In a reef aquarium, a marine ecosystem is simulated by the organisms as they interact with each other. Well-studied lighting, excellent water conditions, proper filtration and oxygen levels must all work together to contribute to a healthy, vibrant reef micro-system.

What's In A Reef Aquarium?
The saltwater reef aquarium community is made up of corals, anemones, sponges and fish that are normally found in reefs. This type of aquarium has a natural coral rock base on which a variety of organisms thrive. Moving along the corals and sponges are an assortment of colorful fish such as clown fish, Purple Tangs and angel fish, among others. Other invertebrates such as clams, snails, starfish and hermit crabs may also be included in this living scenery. All of these thrive in simulated seawater substitute that is specifically formulated for reef aquariums. This special mix of deionized water and sea salts mimics actual ocean water and contains the necessary natural chemicals of saltwater.

Saltwater Aquarium Lighting - The Importance of Proper Lighting
In a true reef, life thrives due to lighting by the sun, but in saltwater reef aquariums, the marine fauna must rely on the light that comes from aquarium lighting. Photosynthesis - which is at the heart of the food cycle in a reef - cannot occur naturally without sufficient light, and this will be detrimental to the life of the aquarium. Controlled lighting of very high levels is needed in order for saltwater reef aquariums to successfully host life. Controlled lighting simulates the cycle of the reef: at the beginning of the day, invertebrates absorb simulated sunlight. During this time, the fish become increasingly active. At the end of the day, simulated dusk and moonlight levels cause the invertebrates to reproduce thus sustaining the life cycle of the reef.

Aquarium Maintenance - Temperature - PH - Filtration
Keeping the saltwater reef aquarium livable requires proper maintenance. Temperature levels should be kept between 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Acidity or pH levels should be maintained at about 8.4, while salinity should be kept constantly at 1.021 specific gravity. In order to control algae from becoming too plenteous, a twice-weekly scrub to clean the tank should be practiced. Installing a few algae-eaters such as snails and crabs will also help keep algae levels down. Since the aquarium is teeming with life, toxins from the waste products will abound unless properly cleaned by filtration methods. A protein-skimmer achieves this by passing air bubbles through a column of water so that the pollutants catch on, float to the top of the skimmer and are subsequently removed. The inclusion of a biological filter known as a live rock is also essential to the saltwater reef aquarium. This type of rock plays host to nitrogen-eating bacteria, which remove carbon dioxide, nitrogen, phosphorus and other harmful chemicals. The more live rocks that are in an aquarium, the better.

More modifications may be made to this type of aquarium as long as the tank does not become overcrowded and the aqueous environment is not rank with too many additives. The saltwater reef aquarium is a satisfying achievement for any aquarist so long as it is setup after doing proper research and it is maintained correctly.

About the Author

Denis Gardner is a saltwater reef aquarium enthusiast and enjoys helping others get started in the amazing hobby. His newest book, "The Ultimate Guide to Saltwater Aquariums", teaches aquarists everything they need to know about starting and maintaining a beautiful, thriving saltwater aquarium.

Learn About Live Coral Before Setting Up a Reef Tank

Live coral can create a beautiful and mystical underwater scene in your home or office, and once you have set up an aquarium and filled it with some of these wondrous creatures you might find that you don't need any fish at all. You may also find that some fish, like the Golden Butterfly, are not compatible with reef aquariums because they like to eat the corals. So before you go looking for live coral for sale, you will want to learn as much about caring for these saltwater animals as possible.

The first thing you will need to do before you shop for live coral is set up your aquarium. Most hobbyists suggest getting at least a 50-gallon tank, but if you really want to create a good visual impact, you will probably want something bigger. Then you will need the rocks, filters, temperature gauge, lights, skimmer, salt mix and other tools. Decorations and plants can also give the tank a really authentic underwater look. Once you have the water at the right conditions for your specific types of corals, then you can place them in the aquarium.

Some of the live coral for sale in the local fish store and online will be better for a beginner's reef tank than others. Most of the preferable choices will be in the soft coral family, although there are certain hard corals such as the Montipora and Pagoda that are also good for beginners. The most well known soft corals that beginners usually start their tanks with are the Mushroom Corals, Colt Corals, Star Polyps, Zoanthid Polyps, Button Polyps and Flower Leather Corals.

There are various books and guides that will help you set up your reef aquarium correctly, and there is additional information about fish like the Golden Butterfly that you will want to avoid. There are also many types of fish you can learn about that are very appropriate for cohabitating with corals.

About the Author

For more resources regarding Echinophyllia corals or even about Tropical fish coral reef and especially about live cultured corals please review these pages.

Scuba Diving around Artificial Reefs

Last year I managed to get a trip out to Florida to do some diving, Being quite an experienced PADI Diver I decided to go and have a look at the Oriskany reef.

The Oriskany Reef is an artificial reef made from and old air craft carrier its quite a huge "wreck" I use the term loosely as it was deliberately sunk to produce a new reef environment.

The Oriskany reef lies off the coast of Florida and is not recommended for novice divers as by US Marine Law it has to be a minimum of 55 feet navigational clearance from the surface to allow shipping to pass comfortably over it.

Having said that it is that far down you do not have to go down very far to get a good view of it. The massive air craft carrier is very awe inspiring site under water and although it had only been there for a short time in relative terms a lot of fish and reef organisms have made it there home.

Although I'm an experienced Wreck Diver I did not plan to go into this wreck merely to observe from the safest outside distance was enough for me. This was a really strange feeling to just above the top of the island of the flight deck.

These artificial reefs are going to transform the diving industry and also do a lot for the oceans ECO system, we need to see more developments in this field as more and more of the reefs that are current around the world do get damaged by inconsiderate divers.

By replenishing and conservation of existing reefs we may enjoy the spectacular array of life that manages to exist within the depths. I must admit I would quite like to do a wreck dive and penetrate the vessel just to see the varieties of fish that have made it there home. Not a deep penetration as this is highly not recommended but more of just inside to see a hanger deck.

This would require technical diving skills and a lot of good experts to get advice from before tackling this proposition I hope to be able to come back to this wreck within the next two years as a to have a more intense experience with this wreck.

The Oriskany when it was reefed landed in the upright position as this is an air craft carrier and the top of the ship is broader than the base it was not known if it was going to do this. It's good that it did because it's more familiar shape that seeing a wreck on its side.

I have dive many wrecks some of the best ones can be found at Scapa Flow in Shetland Islands. After the war a lot of German ships were scuttled there and remain as wrecks they are very popular with divers but it's a hell of a long way to go to get there.

You sometimes think about flying but that cuts down the amount of diving you can do, as most of the Scapa Flow ships are deep dives too.

I hope to find some more artificial reefs to explore and take more photos and keep a good record to see how these artificial grow in diving popularity.

About the Author

Learn about cardiac arrest and cardiac asthma at the Cardiac Problems site.

Saltwater Aquariums Known as Reef Tanks

A reef tank is a popular type of saltwater aquarium typically found among hobbyists within the aquarist community. Specifically, a reef tank consists of fish and live rock. This includes corals, so we of course want to make sure that our selections for fish include those that are compatible with our specific choices of corals.

A reef tank has certain particular lighting requirements, depending upon the types of inhabitants. The corals will be the members of the tank that require the highest extent of our attention to lighting. The generally accepted rule for reef tank lighting is that most soft corals should be given 3.5 watts per gallon of tank water. The majority of harder corals should be given 4.5 watts per gallon.

The quality of the water in our reef tanks is of great importance. This is because corals cannot typically tolerate the levels of phosphates, nitrates, and other such toxins that can be tolerated by most fish and invertebrates. We therefore want to thoroughly take advantage of all possible factors in maximizing the likelihood that we will be creating optimal water conditions. This can most effectively be accomplished through the use of any number of various filtration systems that are used to purify our tank water prior to subjecting our livestock to the water.

It is not entirely necessary to invest large sums of money in our water filtration systems for reef tanks. Some very effective and practical systems are available at reasonably modest prices.

When changing the water in our reef tanks, the filtration system will be invaluable. Changing the water is an important and ongoing process, as doing so provides solutions to many challenges that are commonly encountered, as well as prevents such challenges from occurring in the future.

Water changes should be done in small increments, with no more than about 10 percent or so of the total tank water being changed at any one time. This minimizes the likelihood that our livestock will suffer from shock resulting from detrimental environmental changes related to the water changes. The minimization of detrimental possibilities during water changes is most effectively accomplished by thoroughly testing the chemical balances of the current tank water, filtering the new tank water, and appropriately adjusting the new tank water to be as chemically similar to the current tank water as possible.

Possible exceptions to the steps of changing reef tank water as described above would include the water being incrementally changed for purposes related to correcting a chemical imbalance in the current water. Should this be the case, particular care and forethought should of course be given to the process.

In order to make the creation and maintenance of a reef tank less demanding and more enjoyable for the beginning aquarist, many types of tanks are available for purchase that have the lighting and water filtration systems already in place. Many of these tanks greatly simplify the overall process, significantly increase our margin for error, are affordable, and therefore make excellent options for getting us started.

About the Author

Pet Fish Aquarium Supplies, Discount Aquarium Pet Fish Supplies, Eheim

Wonder of the Great Blue Hole Belize

Great Blue Hole Belize is the largest blue hole in the world. It is a huge underwater sinkhole near the coast of Belize. It is situated near the center of Lighthouse Reef, which is a small atoll 60 miles east of the mainland of Belize. Great Blue Hole Belize is perfectly circular in shape. It is 480 feet deep and the diameter comprises 1000 feat.

Great Blue Hole Belize is caused by repeated collapses of a limestone cave system formed during the course of the last ice age.

The outer edge of the blue hole is barely a few feet underwater at high tide. The depth reaches 480 feet as the atoll lies on a geographic fault block, which has subsided into the basin through geologic time. It is quite difficult to get there.

This wonderful natural phenomenon is home to a premier diving site. It was made famous by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who declared it to be the among the top scuba diving sites on the planet. He brought his ship called Calypso and one-man submarines in 1971 to explore the hole. The depths were charted out and the stalactites hanging from walls were examined.

In a sharp contrast to rumors, Cousteau's son, Philippe, did not die here. He was killed in a helicopter accident. It is also unlikely that Cousteau used explosive to destroy the patch reefs. However, he did remove a tiny area, which helped the Calypso reach the Blue Hole.

The journey to the great blue hole belize has been equated to a prehistoric one in terms of time and place. These formations are called blue holes due to the deep blue color caused by the amazing depth. Coral surrounds the hole, with the exception of two narrow channels. At low tide, it breaks the surface into many areas.

Pederson's cleaning shrimp abound in large numbers. They inhabit the ringed and knobby anemones. In addition, neon gobies display their cleaning prowess from the numerous coral heads. Also seen in large numbers are the angelfish, butterfly fish, and hamnlets. Elkhorn coral tend to grow on the surface, while purple sea fans sweep at the water surface.

The deeper areas within the blue hole do not have the same profusion of life. This can be attributed to poor circulating water and a scarcity of light.

Local inhabitants are of the opinion that Great Blue Hole Belize should be one of Seven Wonders of the World. For years, it has been protected by the Belize Audubon Society. It was assigned world heritage status in 1997.

The Blue hole served as a dry cave for millions of years. Stalactites and stalagmites formed slowly over the course of years. With the end of the Ice Age, sea levels rose and covered the cave.

The cave ceiling collapsed due to a massive earthquake. This gave rise to the sinkhole. The Lighthouse Reef subsequently tilted by 12 degrees. Ledges and overhangs adorn the walls of this former cave. There are plenty of Pleistocene stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.

About the Author

You might also like to read about Puerto Rico Vacations: Into the Island of Enchantment

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Great Public Beaches in Sharm el-Sheikh

As early as the 1760's the name of Sharm el-Sheik could be found on European maps, but it remained a very quiet fishing village until recently. Since the late sixties however, the town of Sharm el-Sheikh has gone on to become one of the most widely known and visited beach resorts in Egypt.The Egyptian government has both developed and encouraged the further development of quite a number of other beach resorts in order to try and spread the visitors around, but none the less Sharm still remains the number one tourist spot in the Sinai area.

Nearly all beaches in Sharm el-Sheikh are the property of the hotels and so remain for the exclusive use of their guests. Fortunately however there are also a few wonderful public beaches, and here are a some of the best ones.

Sharks Bay - Without the sharks
The beach at Sharks Bay is operated by local Bedouins, and for a modest charge you can stay at the beach all day. The entry fee includes the use of a sun bed. If possible you should try to get one of the spots under the parasols made from old palm trees. The sand on the beach is somewhat coarse and burning hot to the feet, until with a sigh of relief you reach the edge of the water. At Sharm el-Sheik the coral reef generally reaches all the way in to the coast, but there is a wide stretch at Sharks Bay where there is a break in the reef, and where the water remains shallow enough for kids to paddle around and snorkel. Be aware that it suddenly gets deeper however.

Ras Umm Sidd - The spectacular depths of Sharm el-Sheikh
In contrast the coral reef rises up from the blue ocean depths just a few meters from the coastline at the rocky beach at Ras Umm Sidd. Before getting to the edge of the reef, you will have to swim with some care over a wide reef platform, where the currents can be quite strong. At the edge the currents are also rather strong, and the place is a lot more demanding that the smaller reef at Sharks Bay. At the same time however, this place is both wilder and more beautiful: The sea is bluer, the fish are bigger, and the corals themselves are in better shape.

Naama Bay - at the centre of everything Sharm el-Sheiks central Naama Bay beach is buzzing with life throughout the day. Sun beds and parasols are located one besides another, and energetic animators are trying to encourage the sweating beach-goers to participate in water aerobic not to mention beach volley, while the waiters at the neighboring beach restaurants and bars are busy. The beach in the bay is one large sandy beach, with shallow water and thus very family friendly. On the beach diving shops and excursion vendors compete to take you away - with no end to the possibilities, be it going on a sailing trip in a boat with a transparent bottom, water skiing, riding the banana-boat, going on a desert safari, and or camel and horse back riding.

About the Author

Mike Burlaugh works as a Programmer and Systems Administrator. In his spare time he also enjoys traveling and writing. Take a look at his latest project at, which helps you with tips and ideas when buying and using an outdoor electric grill