Fish Lab & Aquaria – Marine Life in the Maldives

Marine aquarium Maldives

Our large (4000L) display aquarium at Landaa Giraavaru

Large Aquarium

There have been no changes in our main display aquarium during January, and all species and corals continue to do well.

Jellyfish – Aurelia aurita

The sump system continues to work well, with no losses and minimal shrinking of the specimens in our large Kreisel display cylinder. Water changes are maintained at 35% every two days, with a larger water change when required.

Plankton Production

Plankton production remains consistently good. The algae are continuing steadily on a four-day turnover. One of the 100L algae buckets was contaminated with rotifers, so a third rotifer culture has been started. Due to a delayed delivery of Nanno3600, the feeding of the rotifers was kept to a minimum, resulting in a gradual decrease in numbers. Since the order arrived, regular feeding has resumed, and Rotifer numbers have started to increase again.

Following the arrival of the new microalga (unicellular diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii), we are attempting to rear Artemia to adult stage in smaller 20L buckets to free up resources.

Fish Lab - algae indoor buckets with light source

We grow our own food in the Fish Lab – algae, rotifers and Artemia.

Ornamental Fish Breeding

  • Common clownfish (Australia) (Amphiprion ocellaris) The larvae continue to do well and have been relocated to a glass-fronted display tank. We have also created a ‘fake anemone’ using rubber bands to encourage natural hosting behaviours in the young before introducing them to a real anemone. The breeding pair have been removed from their enriched diet to slow egg production.
  • Clark’s clownfish (Amphiprion clarkii)At the start of January, we removed the egg clutch to prevent predation.
    Day 5 – the high waterflow rearing tank unexpectedly triggered early hatching, and the larvae were observed swimming while consuming the yolk sac.
    Day 7 – some eggs became anoxic; the remaining viable eggs were allowed to float freely around the tank (closed system, high aeration, lights off). Most eggs hatched prematurely overnight, but the larvae were lost due to stress.
    Using a lower flow rate resulted in anoxia; returning to the parental tank resulted in consumption. More experimentation is needed to perfect our removal and rearing process.
  • Maldivian clownfish (Amphiprion nigripes) – The December egg clutch was successfully collected upon hatching using the larval snagger. The larvae survived well for two weeks, before a system malfunction resulted in mortality.
  • Peacock damsel (Pomacentrus pavo) The newly arrived diatoms will be used as food for future larvae.
  • Humbug damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus) displaying mating behaviours, so we have introduced a PVC breed pipe to their tank.
  • Sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis) – new arrivals (two females, one male).
  • Coral-banded shrimp (Stenopus hispidus, female) – continues to feed well, but moulted incompletely, and is now regenerating limbs.
  • Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) started to develop a brood pouch and will hopefully begin breeding shortly.
Fish Lab clownfish breeding Maldives

Pair of Maldivian clownfish at home in their anemone

Small Marine Aquara

Three new juvenile fish specimens, found as part of our frame relocation work, were introduced to our aquaria:

  • Dusky farmerfish (Stegastes nigricans),
  • Bird wrasse (Gomphosus varius), protogynous species,
  • Humbug damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus), protogynous species.

Aquarium One

  • Mini coral frame – all fragments are healthy and growing.
  • Sea star (Linckia multifora) – continues to be healthy.
  • Maldivian clownfish (Amphiprion nigripes) – laid eggs on the aquarium wall, behind their anemone. It’s only a small clutch of small, pale eggs.

Aquarium Two

  • Mini coral frame – all fragments are healthy.
  • Clark’s clownfish (Amphiprion clarkii) – laid in their preferred spot (CCA-covered rock); the eggs look healthy, large and pigmented.
  • Blue damselfish (Chromis viridis) – laid eggs on a partially shaded area on the wall of the aquarium, behind a rock. The eggs are very small in size, in a 10cm patch, aerated by the largest parent.
  • Mushroom corals – regularly moved by the resident crabs
  • Coral-banded shrimp (Stenopus hispidus) – healthy and feeding well.
Aquarium fish egg batches [KH 2022.01] [1080]

(A) Amphiprion clarkii (aquarium #2) with eggs in early developmental stage.
(B) Amphiprion nigripes (aquarium #1) eggs in late developmental stage.
[C] Chromis viridis (aquarium #2) eggs in early developmental stage.

REEFSCAPERS Coral Propagation & Reef Restoration in the Maldives

Reefscapers artificial reef relocation

This month, it was all hands on deck! With the help of our Resort colleagues, we relocated a total of 249 mature coral frames.

Monthly Progress

At Landaa during January, we transplanted 20 new coral frames (using 1100 coral fragments) and monitored (repaired & photographed) a total of 266 frames (using a further 2100 fragments).

At Kuda Huraa during January, we transplanted two new coral frames and three recycled frames, using a total of 270 fragments (from seven different coral species).

Check out our Reefscapers Diaries for further details and photographs of our ongoing coral propagation efforts and reef regeneration experiments, both in the Lab and out in the lagoon, updated each month.
Coral juvenile polyp (Acropora secale) Reefscapers Maldives

Tiny juvenile coral polyp (Acropora secale) successfully settled on substrate in our laboratory.

juvenile coral polyps (Acropora humilis) uptake of symbiodinium Reefscapers Maldives

Successful uptake of photosynthetic algae (symbiodinium) in juvenile coral polyps (Acropora humilis)

Sea Turtle Rescue & Conservation

Green turtle rehabilitation Maldives (Speedy, Taz) release

This month, we successfully released our final two Green turtle juveniles into the ocean. So long, Speedy and Taz. 💚

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

At the close of January, in our Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa, we were caring for:
– three Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) – Ari, Maw, Frisbee; 
– one Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) – Artemis;
– one Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) – Sabi.
– see the corkboard (bottom of page) for more details of the turtles’ rescues and subsequent treatments.

At Kuda Huraa, we admitted a new patient on 14 January, a rescued juvenile Olive Ridley turtle called Bubble. She was hardly eating over  the course of 10 days, and was very buoyant, but sadly she did not make it.

Maldivian Sea Turtle Identification Program

During January, we received 14 submissions of photo sets from the public to our Sea Turtle ID project. Our current database catalogues 5,100 photographic sightings, and to date has positively identified and named a total of: 1315 Hawksbills, 279 Greens and 98 Olive Ridleys (from 5190 separate sightings, across 16 different atolls of 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.

Spotted a turtle?  Share your photos

Turtle ID Maldives photo submissions Hawksbill male
Junior Marine Savers activities

Further News & Updates

You might also be interested in:
– our ongoing Dolphin ID Project,
– our unique Sea Turtle Lagoon Enclosure, and
– our Zooplankton Monitoring Project (new in 2021). 

Looking for details of our Reefscapers coral propagation and reef restoration program ? Then head over to our Reefscapers Diaries for all the latest updates.

You can view your sponsored frame photographs (updated every 6 months) as part of our Maldives resorts Coral Frame Collection.

‘Junior Marine Savers’ photos: (1) Transplanting a Reefscapers coral frame; (2) feeding turtle hatchlings.

Junior Marine Savers activities