Rock Beauty Angelfish: a Finicky Feeder Best Left in the Sea

On one of my earliest dives down in the Florida Keys back in the 1990s, a gorgeous yellow and black angelfish caught my attention as I drifted over a section of reef. In my mind’s eye, I envision the angel hovering boldly above a large barrel sponge, but I can’t be sure whether that’s actually … [Read More]

Salt Speak – Episode 5: Florida Keys Fish & Invert Collection

For this fifth episode of Salt Speak, I wanted to get the inside scoop from someone working the front lines in the fish and invertebrate collection portion of the saltwater aquarium industry. So I sat down with Kara Rauch of KP Aquatics to discuss the different aspects of operating a small collecting business in the … [Read More]

The French Angelfish: Pretty, Curious, and Well Worth the Tank Space!

One of my more enduring memories of diving in the Florida Keys was coming across a pair of French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) gliding in unison above the reef. Unlike so many other fishes that dashed into hiding as I approached, the angels actually swam right into touching distance and seemed to take an interest in … [Read More]

Lionfish Invasion: An Update on Successes

I still remember the first time I encountered an invasive lionfish. It was in the late spring of 2010 during a scuba dive on the North Wall of Grand Cayman. For those unfamiliar, the North Wall is where the coral reefs surrounding the island, at 50 to 70 ft. in depth, abruptly drop off to … [Read More]

The Anatomy of an Invasion: Lionfish

As iconic ornamental marine fish, Pterois spp. are coveted for their unique beauty which is bookended by elegant (but venomous), banner-like finnage. Native to the Indo-Pacific region, lionfish were reportedly discovered in South Florida as early as 1985 with sightings increasing dramatically along the southeast United States coast in the early 2000s. Now their invasive … [Read More]

Burrowing Beauty: Yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons)

Since I first set eyes on a wild specimen while scuba diving in the Florida Keys, I’ve been enamored with the yellowhead, a.k.a. pearly, jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons). Though not the most chromatically gifted fish in the sea, this burrowing beauty is, nonetheless, packed with piscine personality and makes an excellent choice for the saltwater aquarium. … [Read More]