Explore the Tropical Sea by Scuba Diving

Explore the Tropical Sea by Scuba Diving

If ever there was an image that sums up the magic of diving, it is that of a coral reef. Although coral reefs are the most famous feature of tropical seas, these warm clear waters have much more to offer, such as mangrove swamps, sea-grass beds, and vast tracts of open ocean.

Warm Belt

Tropical waters occupy the region within the “20°C isotherm”—the irregular hand of water north and south of the equator that seldom drops below 68°F (20°C). Although undeniably appealing to the diver, they actually present a less attractive environment for marine life. The warm equatorial sun heats the upper layers of the water column, creating a marked temperature difference between the surface water and deeper colder water. Such temperature stratification prevents mixing of the water column, so nutrients are not passed up from deeper water. Marine animals and plants have therefore had to adapt and evolve numerous strategies to cope with the lack of nutrients in the water around them. Perhaps the most remarkable of these is the coral reef. Primary production—the formation of organic compounds from inorganic material is up to 100 times greater in coral reefs than in open tropical waters, and although they cover only 0.2 percent of the ocean environment, they are home to 25 – 30 percent of all fish species.
The reefs of the Indo-Pacific are the richest marine environments on Earth. Their beautiful structure and bright colors, combined with the splendor and variety of animals that inhabit them, make reefs irresistible to divers, and it is no coincidence that many of the world’s best dive sites tire found on coral reefs.

Coastal Nurseries

Tropical waters are also home to mangrove swamps and sea grass beds, both arguably as important as coral reefs in the overall health of tropical seas.

There are 10 species of mangroves – tropical trees and shrubs that grow in shallow and intertidal coastal waters – and they form flooded forests that act as nurseries for various reef and open-water fish species. The 50 species of sea grass form “meadows’ in shallow waters that are feeding grounds and nurseries for many fish species. The eradication of sea grass beds and mangrove swamps around the world is a real concern, with undeniable impacts on coastal ecology as animal populations are denied crucial areas for tire growth and development of their young.

Reefs Under Threat

Coral reefs worldwide are under intense pressure. The continued development of coastal regions has caused silty water to run into the seas, smothering these delicate systems, and, coupled with the damage caused by destructive fishing methods, it is thought that up to 90 percent of reels have been impacted by humankind. There is also evidence that rising water temperatures are causing a phenomenon known as bleaching, which is fatal to reefs. This occurs when the coral polyps eject the minute algae that sustain them as a response to stress.

Diving a reef can be the highlight of a diver’s life, but we have a very real responsibility when exploring reefs not to harm or disrupt them in any way. A considerate approach is vital if we are to preserve these wonderfully vibrant ecosystems.

Looking for the best Bali diving options before your doing your next scuba courses in Bali? Check the links in this article.

Cycling the Tropical Aquarium – A Guide to Setting Up Tropical Aquariums

Cycling the Tropical Aquarium – A Guide to Setting Up Tropical Aquariums

When we talk about cycling the tropical aquarium it may sound quite daunting, but the procedure is actually very straightforward. All that is needed is a basic understanding of the nitrogen cycle, and ph, nitrite and nitrate testing kits. If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying these kits, don’t worry. Local fish stockists will often test samples of aquarium water for free. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Animal waste and decaying food create nitrogen, which turns into ammonia. Ammonia is deadly to fish. Good bacteria turns ammonia into nitrites, and then into nitrates. Nitrates can also be harmful to fish, but are absorbed by live plants, completing the cycle.

Good bacteria are present in the filter media of an established tropical fish tank. When you start out from scratch, the amounts of good bacteria in your tank will be negligible. Fish added at this point will produce ammonia and, as there is insufficient beneficial bacteria to process it, ammonia will build up and your fish’s health may suffer. Ultimately, they may die.

You can get the good bacteria off to a flying start by adding a cupful of gravel from an established tank. Take care to make sure that the fish in the source tank are healthy, otherwise you might also be introducing disease. Media from the filter of a healthy cycled tank will be the quickest way to build up good bacteria in your new aquarium, but if neither the gravel nor filter media are an option, it is perfectly ok to start from scratch – it will just take a little bit longer. Beneficial bacteria are everywhere; once you have a source of ammonia in your tank, good bacteria will establish a colony in your filter.

To begin, fill your tank up with water (be sure to add a dechlorinator first) and switch on the equipment, including the filter, and any air pump and setting the temperature to 80 degrees.

You now need to start off the ammonia cycle.

This can be achieved by dropping a few flakes of fish food into the aquarium every twelve hours.

When the tank is cycling, ammonia levels will rise, ultimately quite sharply. Once they have ‘spiked’, they will fall again. Then nitrites will begin to rise. Again these spike, and trail off. Finally, nitrates then begin to rise. Once these are being produced, you have established a bed of good bacteria. Your tank has cycled and you’re ready for everyone’s favourite part – choosing the fish!

Lindsay Coope
The great news is that if you shop online for Tropical Aquariums or for Tropical Aquarium Accessories you can find unbeatable deals at great prices!