Fish Lab & Aquaria – Marine Life in the Maldives

Fish Lab Marine Savers Maldives clownfish anemone

Maldivian clownfish with its anemone, in our Fish Lab at Landaa Giraavaru

Large Aquarium

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

Plankton Production

Rotifers – at the start of February, there was a crash in rotifer numbers, but we have since recovered the populations.

Artemia – we are continuing to feed our Artemia with diatoms (Thalassiosira weissflogii), reducing the need for algae, so we have scaled down algae production from two 100L buckets to a single 20L bucket.

Jellyfish – Aurelia aurita

We are maintaining a population of 296 jellyfish in the Kreisel tank under our current protocols (water changes maintained at 35% every two days, with a larger water change when required).
On 15 February, we started a new strobilation; the ephyra development stage are expected by 8 March. The large display cylinder was drained and thoroughly cleaned in preparation for restocking.

Fish lab Ocellaris larvae with artificial anemone

Ocellaris with their artificial rubber band ‘anemone’

Fish Lab Marine Savers Maldives

Clark’s clownfish in our breeding tank

Ornamental Fish Breeding

  • Common clownfish [Australia] (Amphiprion ocellaris) – the juveniles continue to thrive and are beginning to show hosting behaviour on the artificial anemone we made from rubber bands. A real anemone has now been added to the tank (relocated from the display aquarium); it has acclimatised well but the juveniles are not yet interested.
    The breeding pair in Tank 11 continue to produce eggs at a slower rate since being taken off the breeding pair diet.
  • Clark’s clownfish (Amphiprion clarkii) – several clutches of eggs were laid during February, but were lost due to poor timing and Fish Lab logistics.
  • Maldivian clownfish (Amphiprion nigripes) – one mortality this month (Tank #23), so we introduced the single male from Tank #25. After careful monitoring for signs of aggression, we were pleased to see they have now formed a new breeding pair.
    The pair in our main display aquarium continues to produce eggs, and one clutch was successfully collected this month.
  • Peacock damsel (Pomacentrus pavo) – the diatoms proved to be a successful initial food source for the larvae, increasing survival times.
  • Seahorses (Hippocampus kuda) – our male seahorse now has a defined brood pouch, although we did lose one of the females (Tank #32).
  • Humbug damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus)– continue to show signs of mating behaviour, and so we have introduced a PVC breed pipe to their tank.
  • Sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis) – eggs were observed on the body of the shrimp, which should develop over the next 14 to 20 days.
  • Coral banded shrimp (Stenopus hispidus) [female] – now recovered from her moult, so will hopefully resume mating behaviours in the coming weeks.
Fish Lab Marine Savers Maldives
Fish Lab Marine Savers Maldives

Small Marine Aquaria

During February, our small marine aquaria experienced unusual issues with water flow, due to the turtle tanks being empty. Water levels regularly dropped, and deep cleaning was required more frequently due to increased algal growth.
Three fish species continue to lay clutches of eggs, that are rapidly eaten by other resident fish or crabs.

Aquarium One

  • Mini coral frame – some paling of the coral fragments, likely due to the irregular water flow issues.
  • Maldivian clownfish (Amphiprion nigripes) – laid on two different locations this month.
  • Sea star (Linckia multifora) – developed an infection in one leg (which has since shortened in length).

Aquarium Two

  • Mini coral frame – some paling of the coral fragments, likely due to the irregular water flow issues.
  • Clark’s clownfish (Amphiprion clarkii) – laid on their preferred spot, on a rock covered with CCA. They continue to lay mostly during the afternoon (around 14:30 resort time).
  • Blue damselfish (Chromis viridis) – laid on the wall of the aquarium again.
  • Mushroom corals – continually being moved around by the crabs.
Maldivian anemonefish egg clutches

Maldivian anemonefish with egg clutch, (A) day 5, rock substrate; (B) day 7, aquarium wall.

REEFSCAPERS Coral Propagation & Reef Restoration in the Maldives

Reefscapers heart-shaped frame Maldives

Heart-shaped frames for Valentine’s Day

Reefscapers coral health inspection

Coral frame monitoring and health inspection

Monthly Progress

At Kuda Huraa during February, we transplanted eight new coral frames plus one recycled frame, using a total of 448 coral fragments (from eight different coral species).

At Landaa during February, we transplanted a total of 2250 harvested coral fragments on 41 new coral frames (including a very generous guest donation for 16 frames).

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.
Reefscapers reef regeneration Maldives coral propagation

Our Reefscapers artificial reefs extend the natural habitat for myriads of marine species

Maldives Sea Turtle Rescue & Conservation

Flying Turtles Program

We have started recontacting potential partners for our Flying Turtles Program, to find permanent homes for our Olive Ridley turtles (Frisbee, Maw, Ari) that are classified as “unreleasable” due to permanent injury.

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

At the close of February, 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 by the end of the month, our turtle patients had all been successfully rehabilitated and released. Our turtle recovery pools were empty for the first time in some years!

(To make more space at Landaa, we transferred Ari to Kuda Huraa during March).

Sabi juvenile Green turtle rescue Maldives

Sabi, our juvenile Green turtle patient

Maldivian Sea Turtle Identification Program

During February, we received 7 submissions of photo sets from the public to our Sea Turtle ID project. Our current database now catalogues 5,200 separate sightings, across 16 different atolls of the Maldives.
To date, we have positively identified and named a total of: 1338 Hawksbills, 286 Greens and 95 Olive Ridleys.

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
Maldives turtle ID project - Green turtle ID CM280

Maldives sea turtle identification project – Green turtle individual ID #CM280

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