Fantastic Diving Spots Down Under

Whether you’re an amateur diver, or an experienced one looking for a new challenge, you’ll want to visit Australia so that you can dive along the Great Barrier Reef. The Barrier Reef is 1,250 miles long and stretches from New Guinea to Queensland. Diving in this area of the world is an experience that you won’t forget since it’s filled with the wonder of natural elements combined with some of the most amazing sea creatures of the world.

The Great Barrier Reef is made up of over 2,000 individual smaller reefs. Islands made of coral are dotted throughout the reef, creating a wonderful spectacle of color and light throughout the ocean.

There are many sea animals that make their home on the Great Barrier Reef. Diving in these warm waters will give you a front seat to watch fish swim among the coral. You’ll want to make sure that you take along an under water camera so that you don’t miss this amazing opportunity.

There are many diving areas in the region, so when you reach Australia, you will want to consider which sites are right for your vacation diving experience.

One of the most popular diving places in Australia is Pixie Pinnacle, which can be found near Lizard Island. Pixie Pinnacle is comprised of a large coral, over ninety feet in height. The types of sea creatures that you’ll see on this dive include clownfish, rabbitfish, lionfish, nudibranches, and honfish. If you look out past the Great Barrier Reef you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the Coral Sea.

Cod Hole is another diving location near Lizard Island. The creatures that inhabit that area are moray eels, the Napoleon wrasse, and large schools of cod.

Yongala Wreck is another very popular diving site. This site boasts of livelier sea creatures and is located south from Cod Hole by 200 miles. In this area of The Great Barrier Reef, the coral is thick and this makes it a great hiding place for eagle rays, jacks, flowery cod, and the barramundi cod. For those who are riding on good luck – you may feast your eyes on turtles in this area.

No matter where you’re diving in the Great Barrier Reef make sure that you dive safely and follow marine rules. One of the most important things that you need to remember is that coral is a living animal and therefore needs to be treated with respect. Also keep in mind that both coral and sea animals can be harmed from sand that is displaced from your fin wash, therefore keep an eye on where you’re diving at all times.

Don’t make it a habit to feed any of the sea animals that you encounter during your dives. As dumb as fish may seem they can become repeat pests when you feed them. This has the potential to make the fish react to all divers in an aggressive manner. You’ll be seeing a lot of beautiful coral, shells, and rocks while you’re diving. Removing these items will ruin the environment for the animals that live in that area so be sure not to take back any souvenirs of your dive that aren’t pictures that you took with your under water camera.

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Pleasure Diving On The Reefs Of Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the premier diving locations of the world. It makes no difference if you’re an amateur or a seasoned diver, you will definitely want to make this a planned event any time you visit Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is 1,250 miles in length and runs from Queensland to New Guinea. You won’t believe all the natural wonders and spectacular sea animals that you’ll see.

The Great Barrier Reef is made up of over 2,000 individual smaller reefs. Islands made of coral are dotted throughout the reef, creating a wonderful spectacle of color and light throughout the ocean.

There are many sea animals that make their home on the Great Barrier Reef. Diving in these warm waters will give you a front seat to watch fish swim among the coral. You’ll want to make sure that you take along an under water camera so that you don’t miss this amazing opportunity.

Australia offers many diving opportunities and a wide variety of places to choose from. When on a dive holiday, it is better to be forearmed with information so as to get the diving experience that you want.

Pixie Pinnacle is one of the most popular locations and it’s near Lizard Island. Large coral makes up Pixie Pinnacle and some of them are over ninety feet tall. Among the diverse sea creatures you’re sure to see are clownfish, rabbitfish, lionfish, nudibranches, and honfish. As you gaze past the Great Barrier Reef you may even view the Coral Sea.

Lizard Island has another famous diving spot – ‘Cod Hole’. Some of the sea animals that can be seen when on a dive off Cod Hole are the moray eel, the Napoleon wrasse, and large groups of cod – that is from where this spot gets its name.

If you want a slightly more active area, consider diving at Yongala Wreck. Head south 200 miles from Cod Hole and you’ll discover some of the thickest coral in the Great Barrier Reef. It provides hiding spots for eagle rays, jacks, flowery cod, and the barramundi cod. With luck you’ll run into some sea turtles as well.

No matter where you’re diving in the Great Barrier Reef make sure that you dive safely and follow marine rules. One of the most important things that you need to remember is that coral is a living animal and therefore needs to be treated with respect. Also keep in mind that both coral and sea animals can be harmed from sand that is displaced from your fin wash, therefore keep an eye on where you’re diving at all times.

As a must not do, do not ever feed any of the sea animals that you encounter during your dives. Fish are known to become repeat pests when you feed them and can therefore, make them react aggressively to all divers. Dive to savor these wonders with your eyes and make sure you do not seek souvenirs. The beautiful coral, shells, and rocks that you see maintain the environmental balance for the animals that live in that area. Just give yourself the luxury of trapping all these wonders in an under water camera.

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Underwater on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Whether you’re an amateur diver, or an experienced one looking for a new challenge, you’ll want to visit Australia so that you can dive along the Great Barrier Reef. The Barrier Reef is 1,250 miles long and stretches from New Guinea to Queensland. Diving in this area of the world is an experience that you won’t forget since it’s filled with the wonder of natural elements combined with some of the most amazing sea creatures of the world.

The Great Barrier Reef is made up of over 2,000 individual smaller reefs. Islands made of coral are dotted throughout the reef, creating a wonderful spectacle of color and light throughout the ocean.

The Great Barrier Reef is the home to many sea animals and the fascinating sea creatures. The spectacular experience can only be captured on an under water camera where you get the lifetime opportunity to diving in these warm waters and get a front seat view of fish swimming among the coral.

There are many diving areas in the region, so when you reach Australia, you will want to consider which sites are right for your vacation diving experience.

Pixie Pinnacle is amongst the most popular diving places in Australia. Pixie Pinnacle is located near Lizard Island and comprises of a large coral that is over ninety feet in height. Some of the sea creatures that you wil see on this dive include clownfish, rabbitfish, lionfish, nudibranches, and honfish. While on this dive you can also see the Coral Sea just beyond the Barrier Reef.

Another well known diving spot in Australia is Cod Hole, which can also be found near Lizard Island. Sea animals common to this area are the moray eel, the Napoleon wrasse, and large groups of cod.

Yongala Wreck is another very popular diving site. This site boasts of livelier sea creatures and is located south from Cod Hole by 200 miles. In this area of The Great Barrier Reef, the coral is thick and this makes it a great hiding place for eagle rays, jacks, flowery cod, and the barramundi cod. For those who are riding on good luck – you may feast your eyes on turtles in this area.

Remember to follow safety practices and the marine rules governing diving in the Great Barrier Reef. It is so important to remember that the reef is a living animal because it’s composed of coral. Treat it with respect at all times. Be especially aware of displacing sand when using your fins. Sand will harm the sea animals as well as the coral.

Another important point to remember is not to feed the animals you run into on your dives. We tend to think of fish as unintelligent, but they can form habits of expecting food any time they see a diver. Soon they will become aggressive toward all divers. As far as souvenirs from the water, take plenty of pictures. Don’t ruin the environment by removing any coral, rocks, or shells.

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The Care and Feeding of Sand Sifting Gobies

Being quite a vocal “netizen” on the reef newsgroups and mailing lists, I often get email asking me how to get sand-sifting gobies (eg, Valenciennea spp. (Sleeper Gobies)) to eat. I am well aware how difficult it is to get these amazing fish to thrive in a captive environment, so I thought I would share my successful experiences.

Keep in mind, you won’t have a hope of success with most of these species if they aren’t kept in pairs. If separated from their mate, they tend to stress, succumb to disease and eventually die. Occasionally juveniles that obviously haven’t paired up are available, but in my experience, they don’t tend to do well, either.

It should also be obvious (but apparently not from some of the email that I receive) that these fish must be kept in a tank with a sand substrate. Some of the larger species will do okay with fairly coarse sand, but they all do best with sand of a grain size of 2 to 4 mm. The sand layer should be a minimum thickness of 5 cm in my opinion (which incidentally coincides with about the minimum thickness for natural de-nitrification).

“My problem with gobies is they seem to just waste away after several weeks!”

It is usually very difficult to get sand sifting gobies to eat prepared or frozen foods. These fish need a lot of food to sustain their body weight and it amazes me that they even survive in the wild. It just goes to show how much there really is living in the sand on the sea floor. Unfortunately, starvation is a common problem with the sand sifting gobies. In the wild, they are not used to taking food from anywhere except the sand. You have to utilise this knowledge in training them to take other food. They are quick learners if you go about it the right way. Once they learn to take food from places other than the sand, they can be very lateral in their “thinking” and will actually gobble anything that will fit in their mouth (I constantly use the term “gobble” throughout this article as it cannot really be considered “biting”, “chewing” or “eating” until the fish actually determines that it wants to consume what it has taken into its mouth). Luckily, they will spit it out again if it is not suitable for them to eat. They don’t seem to have very effective teeth around the edge of the jaw, so I suspect that they grind up their food with specialised plates in their throats before swallowing it.

What I begin with in training my gobies is frozen brine shrimp. These tend to settle to the bottom when added to the tank and sit on top of the sand. If you can get them to fall somewhere near where your gobies are sand sifting, they will eventually pick one up in a mouthful of sand. It will be accidental, but they will sense the crustacean in their mouths and munch away. If you keep doing this for a 2 or 3 days, your gobies will eventually learn to identify that the orange spots (ie, the frozen brine shrimp) on the sand, are food. You will then see them intentionally scooping a mouthful of sand where a brine shrimp is sitting and then happily munching away. If you are having trouble getting them to feed this way, it may help to feed live black worms or blood worms at the same time as the frozen shrimp. When scooping the worms, they will also get some brine shrimp. I am pretty sure that sand sifting gobies know that wriggling worms on the sand are food, because they seem to go for these as soon as they see them whether they are on top of the sand or under it! Worms make up a large proportion of the animals in live sand, so it makes sense that the gobies would know to eat them. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to lateralise their thinking as much with worms, so you still have to use the brine shrimp.

Anyway, once you see that your gobies will consistently take the dead brine shrimp from the sand, you can start feeding live brine shrimp. They will immediately take any that settle on the sand and after a while, they will get the idea that the swimming orange dots up in the water column are food too (sometimes they are smart enough to realise right away that the swimming ones are food). Once you have got them to gobble the brine shrimp out of the water column, then you are on the home stretch towards the goal of getting them to take any prepared food. All you have to do now is feed some other type of food at the same time as some live brine shrimp. Sometimes this won’t work right away, so you may have to go back to feeding dead shrimp on the sand at the same time as the other prepared food. This way, they will scoop the prepared food on the sand as well as the dead brine shrimp and so, eventually learn that it is food too.

Eventually, they will gobble anything out of the water column without the aid of the brine shrimp signal. This can be amusing when they gobble the tail of a passing pipefish (gives the pipefish a bit of a fright until they get used to it but does no damage, not even a torn fin; the gobies spit the tail out right away) or the antennae of Coral-banded shrimp (the shrimp will very quickly let them know that that is not polite!) It can also be very worrying when they gobble a globule of sodium hydroxide floating by. They spit that out pretty damn fast, though! I was extremely concerned the first time this happened because I thought it may have burnt the inside of their mouth. I think their mouths are pretty tough, though, considering they sift sand all day long and indeed, it seemed to have no affect on them at all. They will also take pieces of algae floating past and of course they spit this out (these guys are definately not vegetarian).

All of the above takes patience and perseverence. Some stages may take longer than others to complete. Just make sure that you have succesfully completed a stage before you move on, otherwise it could take longer than necessary and these fish can’t afford to have a low nutrition diet such as brine shrimp (black and blood worms do offer more nutrition but as they are fresh water invertebrates, I suspect that they don’t provide a complete diet).

Also, once you have them feeding on chopped frozen clam, shrimp, etc, make sure that the pieces are small enough for them to swallow. Keep in mind that these things are soft and mushy in the wild and can be ground up pretty easily. Cooked shrimp for example is relatively solid food for these fish, so make sure it is small enough for them to be able to grind up. If they keep passing the food out through their gills, it means they can’t do anything with it (or they don’t like the taste, although in my experience, it is rare for them not to eat something edible). If you consistently give them large pieces of food that they can’t consume,
they will waste away!

“Should I quarantine them first or put them straight into my reef tank?”

First of all, let me tell you that I’m not a big fan of quarantining animals to begin with. I think moving them to a quarantine tank and then to the main tank is just one more stressful but unecessary move. In my experience, if your water quality is good, your new animals are not going to be harassed by tank mates and they are getting adequately fed, they will not be further stressed and therefore will not develop any disease.

You have to remember that most diseases are constantly present in the aquarium (definately whitespot) regardless of what you do to keep it clean, but your fish are able to fend off infection if they are happy (stress free). With gobies, most fish leave them alone when they are introduced to the aquarium (excepting of course, the “war mongers” of the fish world, the damsels). So, if you have good water quality, the only other thing you have to do is keep them well fed.

These fish, if kept in the dealers aquarium for any length of time, will usually be starving because there is generally no sand substrate and dealers don’t tend to attempt to train these fish to eat. So, when you get them home, I recommend putting them straight into your reef, so that they can get to feeding on the animals in your live sand. These animals are always burrowers, but will be too scared to start tunneling when first introduced. So, make sure you provide a flat piece of rock or an upturned clam shell for them to hide under while they get used to their new surroundings.

In conclusion, these are fascinating fish and make a great janitorial addition to a reef tank as long as you are prepared to spend some time teaching them how to survive in a captive envioronment. Make sure that they are kept well fed and they will provide an excellent talking point when you next have friends over; “Is that fish eating the sand?!”

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About Saltwater Aquarium Fish

Saltwater aquarium fish are amongst the most beautiful of animals to be found anywhere in the world. A variety of saltwater aquarium fish can be housed in your marine tank provided you know what they need in terms of care, such as feeding, environment, competitors and space to grow.

Any marine enthusiast will tell you that setting up a marine tank is tricky and so is choosing the right saltwater aquarium fish! This is because it’s easy to make mistakes with the kinds of fish you choose. It’s usually best to start your marine tank with a few hardy and affordable fish. The majority of saltwater aquarium fish are collected from nature rather than captive raised so don’t waste that gift by making mistakes that result in the death of your fish.

Damsels are a great saltwater aquarium fish to start off with. Damsels are hardy little creatures and can survive in poorer water conditions than many other marine species. They are not fussy about their food and won’t cost you the earth. Unfortunately damsels are also quite aggressive. You can easily keep one or two of these tough saltwater aquarium fish in a tank but don’t try any more than that.

Its best to start with damsels and then add more aggressive fish later, If you want to house saltwater aquarium fish that are more shy, you need to take your damsels out before adding more timid varieties of saltwater aquarium fish. Blue and yellow damsels are two species that are less aggressive than others.

Mollies are an alternative starter saltwater aquarium fish. Mollies that are used to salt water allow you to start with cheaper fish while you learn how to make sure the salinity of your tank is correct for more sensitive creatures. On the other hand mollies are raised and bred in captivity so you won’t get much real experience in keeping them. Get them used to the tank by allowing saltwater to drip into the bag for about 6-8 hours. When the bag becomes full remove some water. After the tank cycles you can keep the fish in the tank.

Clownfish are cousins to damsel fish and are a fairly hardy saltwater aquarium fish. They are not that easy to acclimate to a marine tank, though. They are also quite territorial but aren’t likely to be aggressive to other species. They don’t have to have an anemone to survive. If you do get one bear in mind that they need water that is very clean and high quality lighting.

Blennies or gobies are fairly hardy and small and shouldn’t be a problem for the other saltwater aquarium fish in the tank. They are character fish but they are small and so might get lost in very big tanks with bigger saltwater aquarium fish. They are a good choice to help control algae but if you have a fish only tank they may not be easy to keep fed.

Tangs are a hardy saltwater aquarium fish which are a little sensitive and tend to contract marine ich (also know as “White Spot”). They eat algae so as soon as you grow some you might try to introduce some tangs.

Triggerfish or lionfish are an ideal saltwater aquarium fish for a tank which will eventually contain large aggressive fish. However they can be costly if you make mistakes. It might be a good idea to ‘practice’ on fish that are both cheaper and easier. You will need to feed them lots of shell fish and other sea creatures to keep them healthy.

Angels and butterflies are very sensitive and difficult saltwater aquarium fish to keep. They need special diets most of the time so they are not that easy to care for in a tank. The same goes for batfish.

Once you gain more experience in keeping conditions in your tank stable you can add a few other varieties of fish. Choose from hawkfishes, grammas, dottybacks, basslets and wrasses. But make sure to find out about how to take care of them properly because some are not as easy as others. However they are a much easier bet that angels and butterflies.

So which saltwater aquarium fish should beginners avoid? You should not attempt angelfish, butterfly fish, pipefish, seahorses, long-nosed filefish, blue ribbon eels, stonefish, and Moorish Idols as well as mandarin fish until you really know what you are doing.

What about invertebrates? Contrary to popular belief invertebrates are well suited for mini or micro-reef tanks. Many invertebrates do well in non-reef tanks. For the novice aquarist the hardy species are best. These include shrimps like the cleaner shrimp, blood shrimp or peppermint shrimp and coral banded shrimp. As is the case with saltwater aquarium fish, stick to the hardier shrimps to begin with.

Anemone crabs are another option you might try along with your saltwater aquarium fish. And why not add some sea urchins and starfish which are quite well suited to beginners with a couple of month’s experience? They differ in size, shape and color and some are poisonous so be careful! Sea urchins and starfish eat detritus and algae and other small bits of food so they will help to keep your tank clean and your saltwater aquarium fish healthy.

Anemones are not really suited for beginners. They need special lighting and top-notch water conditions so if you can’t foot the bill for the lights stay away or you’ll live to regret it. Invertebrates you should avoid include tridacna clams, flame scallops, Octopi, Nudibranchs, or any hard or soft coral and sea squirts. Like the saltwater aquarium fish listed previously these invertebrates have special feeding and living requirements.

When you choose saltwater aquarium fish, you need to bear in mind that they are a bit more expensive then the freshwater varieties. For this reason you should take care with them and try to keep them alive. When fish are captured and moved from the store to your home they are liable to get stressed, especially since most of them have been taken from the ocean mere days ago. So make sure you can properly care for your new friends before you bring them home

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