Who’s hungry? A Human Smorgasbord for Flesh-eating Piranha!

Swarm of carnivorous piranha attacked hundreds of bathers!

Photo © Animal-World.com, Courtesy Ken Childs

Christmas was a very warm day along the Parana River near Rosario, Argentina. Hundreds of city dwellers were trying to escape the 100-degree weather in the cooler waters of a popular beach about 300 kilometers north of Buenos Aires. But then, they began to notice bite marks on their hands and feet.

A swarm of carnivorous fish attacked hundreds of bathers, sending around 70 people to local clinics and emergency rooms for treatment.

The local Director of lifeguards, Federico Cornier, told reporters from BBC and other broadcasters in the area “it’s normal for there to be an isolated bite or injury, but the magnitude in this case was great… This is an exceptional event.”

A man is treated at a clinic in Rosario, Argentina, after a school of flesh-eating palometas, a type of piranha, attacked swimmers cooling off in the Parana River on Christmas Day. As per LA Times “Flesh-eating fish attack swimmers in Argentine river; 70 injured” (Silvina Salinas / Associated Press Photo/ December 25, 2013)

Cornier said that the fish responsible for the attacks were “palometas”, a type of piranha with large sharp teeth. Dozens of people had their extremities attacked. Paramedic Alberto Manino, speaking with the Associated Press, said that some children he had treated had lost entire digits!

The term ‘palometa’ is a common name used for several types of fish. This includes the Piranha, but it is also used for a Caribbean gamefish Trachinotus goodie and a Western Atlantic fish, the Maracaibo Leatherjacket Oligoplites palometa.

The Piranhas belong to a sub-family called the Serrasalminae, or the ‘serrated salmon family’ consisting of around 60 species. The unmistakable trademark features of the Piranha are their triangular, razor sharp teeth. As described in Piranha: Story of the Piranha Fish from Predator to Prey, these teeth enable them to ‘slice off pieces of meat, fins or scales, literally taking apart their prey piece by piece.’

The palometa that attacked these bathers is most likely the Red Piranha Pygocentrus nattereri, also called the Red-bellied Piranha. This is a very widespread species, occurring in several river basins of South American. Although it typically grows between about 3 to 9 1/2 inches (8-24 cm) in length, one specimen was reported at a whooping 19 1/2 inches (50 cm).

Keeping the Red Piranha in the aquarium is truly a fascination. In the wild the Red Piranha lives in large schools. This type of school is not usually possible in an aquarium, but with the proper environment these fish will show some traits of their wild behavior. In nature the largest fish is the ‘alpha’ animal and in the aquarium it is the most aggressive and bold. The alpha fish will dominate the best spaces in the tank and will basically own the feeding ritual. All other members are subordinate and will take on the traits of servants. Any unwilling ‘servants’ will be quickly and aggressively put in their place by the alpha fish!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and animal species write-ups.

True Percula Clownfish A Sunny Newcomer on Animal-World

October 7, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

True Percula Clownfish, Amphiprion percula

Popular and Perky! The True Percula Clownfish Has Just Popped In!

The True Percula clownfish is true to its name, being both a true clownfish and a Percula. But it does have contenders for its title and position in both the fish-identity and fish-keeping worlds! Yet it is still considered perhaps the best all around clownfish for any saltwater fish keeper, beginner to expert.

One of its two contenders is the Ocellaris Clownfish, which is almost identical in looks and tries to steal the show as the star of “Finding Nemo”. But though this fish is adorable it is still held at bay from abducting the Percula’s title and positions, and has even been dubbed the “False” Percula Clownfish!

Surprise, Surprise! The incredibly handsome Maroon Clownfish is the other True Percula contender. Yet the similarities are only found in the genes. This clownfish looks totally different and it is much more irascible!

Yes it’s the True Percula Clownfish Amphiprion percula that is still much sought after. The benefits start with its fantastic looks, and it is also available in 5 different varieties. The bright sunny appearance is topped of with an a great personality, being very hardy, and suitable for all types of tanks. Yup, it’s a great fish for every marine aquarists!

Check out the all time favorite True Percula Clownfish, with pictures and information, including its habitat and aquarium care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Making Babies! Once a Year Coral Spawn Event

October 5, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Corals Mini-Reef

Tenting a Staghorn Coral Acropora cervicornis
All Photos included here courtesy Richard Ross
California Academy of Sciences

The Octo Mom pales in comparison to the Florida Keys Coral Spawn

An event that happens just once a year yet results in hundreds of thousands of babies. Imagine have just one such happening to produce all the offspring you could ever want! That’s the annual spawning of Elkhorn, Staghorn and other corals off the Florida Keys.

For just a short period of time each year, by a phase of the moon, thirty thousand coral colonies or more are synced-up and driven to reproduce. This happens in August or September, usually just a few days after a full moon.

See exactly how corals spawn! The Coral Spawn video produced by NOAA Ocean Media Center

Now that type of baby making is enough to stir the envy of any mom, Octo or otherwise! Granted, there’s not the same type of physical interaction mammals have, making babies in the animal world. There’s no dating or marriage, nor ongoing obligations.

Coral parents never actually have sex, nor do the mothers (or fathers) then host and provide sustenance for the developing offspring. Rather corals are sessile invertebrates that spew their gametes (eggs and sperm) into the ocean’s water column in one mass spawning exchange.

Buoyant gamete bundles float about the water column until they meet up with gametes from neighboring colonies. Cross-fertilization, resulting is baby corals, is then a happen stance event.

Staghorn Coral Gamete Bundles
Acropora cervicornis

Coral Spawning, Gamete Bundles

Hundreds of thousands of fertilized gametes quickly evolve into coral planula, which soon becomes free-swimming larvae. A few days later they will begin making their way down to the reef. They will seek a suitable area to on the reef area to settle, attach and form polyps.

These polyps grow into beautiful new coral colonies, expanding the reef.

Coral spawning is a curious event similar to being in an upside down snowstorm. Tons of tiny little flakes begin swirling about. But corals only spawn at night, so to watch this wondrous “dance of the gametes”, it helps to be a scuba diver. It also helps to be experienced in diving at night so that you don’t miss any of this exciting event. This years spawning lasted for 4 consecutive days.

Elkhorn Coral Gamete Bundles
Acropora palmata

Restoration of Corals in the Florida Keys

The Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF), based in the Florida Keys, has been working to restore various threatened coral species. I had an opportunity to see some of their cultured specimens of staghorn corals just a few weeks ago at the SuperZoo trade show. Ken Nedimyer, president of the foundation, was very excited about their ongoing efforts in creating offshore coral nurseries, as well as an onshore lab for studying reproduction.

For this years spawning event, CRF joined with 8 other organizations from across the country. Representatives from Akron Zoo, California Academy of Science, Florida Aquarium, Mystic Seaquarium, NOAA, Seaworld and Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund joined with CRF to provide help and support. 25 people in all worked to collect spawn from the open waters as well as from selected staghorn specimens spawning in their lab.

Collecting Gamete Bundles
During a Coral Spawn

You and I, and everyone are invited to volunteer and participate in CRF dive programs to help plant specimens. Although the spawning season has passed until the fall of 2014, the restoration efforts are ongoing. The ultimate goal of CRF is to test the fertilization of selective gametes in an effort to propagate more resistant corals and help ensure their survival.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Ocellaris Clownfish – the Real “Nemo” is Animal-World’s Newest Arrival

September 29, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

The Ocellaris Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris

Nemo’s been found and his identity revealed, meet the Ocellaris clownfish!

The Ocellaris clownfish is the most recognized little orange saltwater fish in the world. This personable little fish began its long journey to stardom many years ago. Because it is very hardy, it first became an all time favorite of aquarium keepers. Then with its eye-catching appearance, it became the marine fish icon for coffee table books, advertisers, and publishers.

Finally, lo and behold, the movie industry picked up on this illustrious little fish. They dubbed it “Nemo”, and the Ocellaris clownfish became the star of the popular 2003 Pixar film “Finding Nemo”!

The Ocellaris Clownfish Amphiprion ocellarisis not a stand alone in looks however. It’s very close in appearance to the Percula Clownfish Amphiprion percula. In fact they are so similar that the two are often confused, even by the experts. It takes a keen eye and a good memory to discern which is which, and the Ocellaris also became known as the “False” Percula Clownfish.

Learn more about the habitat and care of this personable little celebrity, really known as the Ocellaris Clownfish, and learn how to tell the False Percula Clownfish apart from its look-alike cousin the True Pecula Clownfish!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Maroon Clownfish makes its debut as Animal-World’s New Arrival

September 27, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

The Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus

The Maroon Clownfish could easily be Called “King of the Clowns”

The largest and most dominant of all the clownfish is the elegant Maroon Anemonefish. It is adorned in regal shades of maroon to red, accented with bright yellow or white stripes. Other fish, if they wish to subsist in its domain, live at its discretion and according to its mood!

Yes, the Maroon Clownfish Premnas biaculeatus could be called the king, except for one slight caveat. The female is up to 3 times as big as the male and tough. She’s in charge, and yes, she actually is the ruler. The female controls her environment and all who cross her path. She dominates the home and her empire. Even the male bows down to her wishes.

Perhaps its better to say the Maroon Clownfish could easily be called the “Queen of the Clownfish”! Learn more about the regal and dominant Maroon Clownfish, including its habitat and care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Choosing an Aquarium Filter

September 20, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Which Aquarium Filter is Right for Me?

Guest Post by Michael David

Installing a fish tank can be a great way to add some color and life to your home or workspace. It can even provide a sense of peace in the midst of a stressful day. However, keeping your fish happy and healthy goes beyond the daily sprinkle of fish food. Proper aquarium setup and adequate water filtration is crucial to the survival of all aquarium life.

Why Do I Need a Filter?

Let me answer this question with an example from the news. A few months ago, Carnival Cruise Line’s Triumph experienced a power failure during a four-day excursion to the Caribbean. This power failure also disabled the ship’s septic system, resulting in backed-up toilets and human excrement littering every floor. These unsanitary conditions caused many of the passengers to become sick. Had they been out there any longer, the consequences could have been much worse.

Much like a cruise ship, your fish tank is an enclosed environment with a high-density population. In nature, fish do not normally need to share such a small space. However, the higher concentration of fish leads to a larger amount of fish waste. If left unchecked, fish waste releases ammonia, which is harmful to fish. Without some kind of filtration system in place, your fish will get sick and eventually die.

How is the Water Filtered?

Biological Filtration

In nature, this ammonia is removed from the water through biological filtration. Naturally-occurring bacteria will oxidize and break down the ammonia into a less toxic form which can then be absorbed by plant life.

Installing a biological filter is one way to replicate this break-down process. In addition to installing a biological filter, it’s also wise to plant some underwater plants to absorb any additional toxins not initially broken down by the bacteria. Biological filters require very little maintenance, however, the bacterial colonies will take some time (six weeks minimum) to develop, so avoid adding too many fish too quickly to your new aquarium.

If you’re looking for something very low-maintenance, you might consider an under-gravel filter. As the name suggests, these filters are placed beneath the aquarium’s gravel, moving water through the gravel and creating ideal conditions for the bacteria to grow. Wet-dry filters are another good choice, particularly if you want to install a saltwater aquarium. These filters are exposed to both the water and the air, which allows for the maximum number of bacterial colonies to spawn.

Mechanical Filtration

Unlike biological filtration, which breaks down waste products, mechanical filtration simply removes undissolved waste materials (excrement, uneaten food, and other debris) from the water. Mechanical filters usually involve a water pump as well as a mesh material that catches debris. And while this is a great way to remove waste from the aquarium before any ammonia is released, mechanical filters do require more frequent maintenance and thorough cleaning before placing them back in the water.

Both power and internal power filters are the most popular and effective mechanical filter models on the market. Power filters hang off the back of your tank while internal power filters are placed inside the aquarium itself. Many have replaceable cartridges, which makes for fast and easy maintenance.

Chemical Filtration

Another popular method for filtering waste from your fish tank is through chemical or active carbon filtration. Activated carbon contains numerous microscopic pores, which allow it to absorb any dissolved chemicals in your aquarium. This is a fairly low-maintenance method to keeping your tank water clean, but you will need to replace your carbon every couple months or so.

While canister filters can be adjusted to provide both biological and mechanical filtration, they are most often used for chemical filtration. The advantage to using a canister filter for active carbon filtration is that they are significantly larger than most other aquarium filters, meaning you won’t have to replace your carbon as often as you would with smaller filters.

Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics, and suggests you look into aquarium filters.

The Allard’s Clownfish, Animal-World’s newest arrival

September 19, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Amada44
Creative Commons 3.0 Unported License

Trick or Treat starts early with The Allard’s Clownfish

This clown is all decked out for halloween! Its dazzling attire will leave black cats and white ghosts in the dark. The costume is black and orange with bright white bars to rival any glolight. Its bars have a bluish cast and it tail is all white too. It looks a lot like another popular Clown, the Clarkii Anemonefish, but that fellow is a bit more subdued with a yellow tail.

The showy Allard’s Clownfish Amphiprion allardi will make a splash in any aquarium and is highly sought after. But although it is much desired, obtaining it is the trick. This Twobar Anemonefish is rather rare, and when it is found it can cost a pretty penny. But if you can get your hands on one, or better yet on a pair, you’ll have a treat beyond compare. Trick or treat just doesn’t get any better than this!

Get ready to be bewitched! Learn more about the handsome but evasive Allard’s Anemonefish, its habitat and care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

A New Arrival on Animal-World: Oman Anemonefish

September 13, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

Oman Anemonefish, A clownfish you may have to dive to see!

The Oman Anemonefish Amphiprion omanensis may look like other clownfish at first glance. But it has some awesome “stand alone” characteristics that you just won’t find in another clown.

Picture via hhobler’s YouTube Video Oman Dive Trip 2

For starters it is one of only two clownfish whose tailfin sports a majorly forked lyretail. To make it even more unique its tailfin also has streamers.

There’s several more curious facts about it too, which really make it a stand out from its relatives. These range from more distinctions in its looks, to its behaviors and unique breeding circumstances.

It makes an awesome aquarium fish that’s very hardy and great for any level of aquarist.

But… the Oman Clownfish is so rare, that if you want to see it you may very well have to go diving off the Arabian Penisula. It was said sometime in the early 2000’s that the Sultan of Oman simply doesn’t want anyone “touching his fish”! Go figure! Better yet… go diving!

Learn more about the curious and rare Oman Anemonefish, including its habitat and care!

A New Arrival on Animal-World: Clarkii Clownfish

September 11, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

Clarkii Clownfish, Amphiprion clarkii, Clark's Anemonefish, Yellowtail Clownfish

Clarkii Clownfish, Dream Fish for the Beginning Saltwater Aquarist!

The Clarkii Clownfish Amphiprion clarkii has it all! If you’re new to the saltwater aquarium hobby but looking for a fabulous eye catcher, this guys right on the money. A handsome devil with an attitude, it struts its stuff in style.

This is a very hardy clownfish that will make any aquarist proud. Whether your a beginner or advanced, a fish only keeper or a mini reef keeper, the Clark’s Anemonefish can work in almost any tank. And when it comes to needing a host anemone, this fish can take it or leave it. But if you want to keep it with an anemeone it will happily accept any of the 10 regularly available clown-hosting types. Yeah, this guy has it all!

Learn more about the Clarkii Clownfish and how to keep it.

A New Arrival on Animal-World: Three Band Anemonefish

September 4, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

Three Band Anemonefish, One of the Greatest Clownfish for beginners!

The Three Band Anemonefish Amphiprion tricinctus is one of those incredibly pretty saltwater clownfish. It immediately draws an audience to its tank where it preforms all those clownish antics its family is re-knowned for. But better than that the Tricinctus Clownfish is very durable and is one of the least aggressive of its group. Truly a beginning saltwater aquarists dream!

Being a rather cheeky little fellow it makes a very personable pet. Which is just another great bonus in keeping this saltwaterfish! Learn more about the Three Band Anemonefish and how to keep it.

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