Token stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives released

Fish Lab & Marine Aquaria

Clownfish Breeding

The seasonally elevated seawater temperatures have affected the behaviour of our Clownfish, with no eggs produced this month by either the Maldivian or Clark’s breeding pairs. However, our Common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) continued to lay eggs, but each batch was consumed within a few days (maybe related to the high water temperatures). All our clownfish juveniles (49 Clark’s and 3 Common) are healthy and continue to grow, and have shown no adverse effects.

Plankton production

May has seen a large fluctuation in the number of Rotifers produced, alongside some contamination issues. Bucket-A was shut down due to a sulphur bacterial bloom. Despite daily cleaning, coupled with 2 deep-cleans with a 80µm filter, the majority of the Rotifers did not survive. The volume has therefore been reduced to 15 litres (Bucket-B). To facilitate survival of the remaining Rotifers, they have been fed with 2 litres of algae every 2 days, after washing. This has proved successful, yielding an overall population density of 278/ml at the month’s end. 1l of rotifers has also been added to a 100l algae bucket to replenish the depleted stock.

Artemia production continues to go well, providing food for our juvenile clownfish, jellyfish polyps and the main display tank. Day-2 Artemia were also added to a 100l algae bucket to provide larger food for the sea horse and our larger fish specimens.

Fish Lab clownfish breeding Maldives

Small Aquarium One

The branching Montipora coral specimen died due to the seasonally warm conditions, but the other corals are largely healthy and have started to recover. The mini coral frame has bleached, with only five fragments left alive; however, these are recovering well (regaining colour) and starting to encrust again.

Small Aquarium Two

The new colony of Acropora microphthalma has died, and the three furry coral crabs have now relocated to the adjacent Montipora foliose coral specimen.
The mini coral frame has bleached; we will clean and retransplant it with fresh coral fragments.
Our Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkia) breeding pair produced 2 batches of eggs during May, but these were slowly lost to predation over several days.

Aquarium clownfish eggs development
Aquarium clownfish eggs development
Aquarium clownfish eggs development

Linckia multifora sea stars

  • SS1 (large specimen) – all the arms continue to grow except one (which remained the same size).
  • SS3 (large specimen) – total increase of 2mm in length. The newly detached arm has disappeared within the tank.
  • SS4 (automised arm) – thought to be hiding somewhere in the tank.

Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

Our jelly fish polyps are developing well. We have increased the feed to 500ml of S-Presso enriched Artemia (day 2). This has improved the number and condition of the polyps, which now have a healthy orange hue and widespread attachment.

Large Aquarium

The seasonally elevated ocean temperatures have caused bleaching of our Scleractinian corals in the main aquarium, with a few mortalities. Temperatures peaked at 31°C during April and have now dropped to an average of 29°C during May.

Our large marine aquarium at Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives

REEFSCAPERS Coral Propagation Program

Coral Reef Transplanting

The NOAA bleaching projections for Maldives are categorised as “Alert level 1” in May, falling to “Warning/Watch” during June.

As the monsoon has now changed from NE (hot and dry) to SW (more rain and wind), at Kuda Huraa we have now relocated our Water Villas frames from under the shady boardwalks back into the open lagoon. At the House Reef, we have been monitoring wild colonies for coral bleaching, and recorded an average ocean temperature of 30.1°C for the month.

At Landaa, a total of 164 coral frames were monitored this month. The frames were cleaned and repaired if necessary, and then photographed as part of the regular cycle of photo updates that we send out to our sponsors.

We continue to monitor for coral bleaching in both wild colonies and our frames, and the mortality rate appears low at present

Check out our 2020 Diary for further details and photographs of the recent coral bleaching.

Reefscapers NOAA coral bleaching watch alerts Maldives

Sea Turtle Conservation

At the close of May, our turtle rehabilitation centre at Kuda Huraa was home to: 1 Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), 5  Hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) and 7 Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea).

At Landaa, we started the month with 8 Olive Ridleys; we successfully released 2 of these after a period of treatment and rehabilitation, leaving us with 6 turtle residents by the close of the month.

Meet the patients (below) currently housed in our turtle rehabilitation centres, after being found stranded and rescued from various locations around the Maldives. Most have been entangled in ghost nets (discarded fishing gear) that have drifted into Maldivian waters from overseas, and some are suffering from severe injuries and amputated flippers.

Asha sea turtle rehabilitation centre Maldives

Asha was admitted to our turtle rescue centre on 9 March. After 2 months of care and treatments, she was successfully released on 8 May.

Maldivian Sea Turtle Identification Program

Turtle photographs are kindly sent to us from members of the public, fellow marine biologists and dive centres stationed at other resorts around the Maldives. Submissions consist of close-up photographs of the turtle facial profile, enabling us to outline the unique pattern of scales (scutes) that act like a human fingerprint.

Things have been quiet during May, but we did receive 1 submission of photos to our national turtle ID project. 

Our current database now contains 4700+ recorded sightings, from which we have confirmed the unique identification profiles for the following numbers of individual sea turtles in the Maldives: 1258 Hawksbills, 217 Greens and 95 Olive Ridleys.

Spotted a turtle?  Share your photos

Turtle identification Maldives (CM214)

Green turtle #CM214, from our ID database of Maldivian turtles

Reefscapers coral frames – Kuda Huraa water villa flower site

Further News & Updates

You might also be interested in our Dolphin ID Project, and our Sea Turtle Enclosure out in the lagoon at Landaa.

Looking for details of our coral propagation programme ?

Head over to our Reefscapers 2020 Diary for all the latest updates.

You can sponsor your own dedicated Coral Frame, and then see how it grows in the future by viewing the photo updates every 6 months, as part of our Coral Frame Collection.

Photos: (1) Reefscapers coral frames at Kuda Huraa water villas.
(2) Junior Marine Savers learn the importance of corals.

junior Marine Savers at Kuda Huraa

Our Unreleasable Turtle Residents

Our Current Turtle Patients

Our Turtle Hatchling Patients

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