Showing posts with label Saltwater Aquarium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saltwater Aquarium. Show all posts

2018-04-11

Lighting your CORAL

English: An open brain coral under actinic lig...
An open brain coral under actinic lighting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are some species of coral that can survive with the normal amount of lighting, so for the beginner, you may want to stick to these species. Specifically, Mushroom Coral and Coral Polyps can survive with normal lighting techniques.

Conversely, species such as SPS (Small Polyp Stony Coral) that include Acropora, Montipora, Porites, Brain Coral, Bubble Coral, Elegance Coral, Cup Coral, Torch Coral, and Trumpet Coral require far greater intensity with lighting, making them a substantially greater challenge for the aquarium hobbyist, especially considering more light usually means more harmful algae will grow in the tank.

The best lighting technique to keep your coral safe is the light emitting diode (LED) technology, which has begun to make the former standards: gas and filament based lighting systems obsolete.  Though initially more expensive than gas and filament systems, over time they save money because they use less power and have a longer lifespan, meaning fewer replacement costs and hassle. 

It is important to note that the zooxanthellae’s photosynthesis process requires light of two different colors: red and blue, which is why aquarium lights often will exude a purple hue, as most of them provide both colors as an industry standard. 

While it is essential to have the minimum amount of light in order to meet the zooxanthellae's minimum requires for photosynthesis to work, it is also important to note that it has an upper limit tolerance as well. Your lights must, therefore, be in the middle or bad things will happen to both the zooxanthellae, and as a byproduct, the coral. 

While not an exact science as for how much or how little light depends on how many zooxanthellae reside in the coral, and that can be anywhere from thousands to millions, but a good place to start would be to ensure that your intensity minimum is 3000-lux and that you don’t go above 120,000-lux. While this may seem to be a quite wide and open range, you will have to make determinations base on the behavior of your coral.



Good quality types of lamps to use would include fluorescent, and you should use six lamps, or if your aquarium is not wide enough for that, then it is recommended that you instead utilize high output lamps, which are more expensive, but necessary. You should replace these bulbs every six months. Power compact fluorescent lamps, which are U-shaped, are an even better option, and you will only need four. 

Coral is an excellent addition to any aquarium, and there is much fish that enjoy coral as a food source. Regardless if you have added coral to your aquarium to survive or as sustenance for your fish, you have to have the right lighting or it won’t survive.



2018-03-16

Tips on MANDARINFISH Care

mandarinfish
Photo  by leafbug 
Mandarinfish Synchiropus splendidus, belong to the Callionymidae or dragonet family. They are endemic to the Pacific Ocean. Their native habitat ranges from the Ryukyu Islands to Australia. This bottom-dwelling species is commonly found in sheltered lagoons and inshore reefs.

This is one of the most beautifully colored fish in all of nature. It color palette looks like it came straight from one of the polyester shirts popular in the 70s. A psychedelic montage of oranges, yellows and greens coalescing across a neon blue body make this fish a sure standout in any aquarium. Its vivid coloration evokes the rich color patterns and embroidered adornments on the robes of an Imperial Chinese Mandarin. This coloration makes for ideal camouflage against the brightly colored species typical of a tropical marine reef formation. They are sold under a variety of trade names including striped mandarin fish, mandarin dragnet, striped dragonet, green dragonet, mandarin goby, green mandarin, and even the psychedelic mandarin fish. One would think a species of such exotic magnificence would fetch a hefty price. In reality, these are very affordable fish.

Dragonets account for 10 genera and more than 182 species of the 267 genera and 2,100 species collectively referred to as gobies. Gobies are small fish. A fully grown adult mandarin will only reach between 2.5 and 4 inches in length. This is a mild-mannered creature and should not be housed with more aggressive species or fish large enough to view it as an appetizing snack. In nature, they often commune in small groups. However, in the confines of an aquarium two males may demonstrate territorial behavior toward one another. Keeping a male and a female together will not present a problem. This is a timid fish. Avoid having lots of other bottom dwellers in your community tank. 

The Mandarin is more likely to starve itself to death rather than compete for its food. It will also require plenty of hiding places. This is a suitable candidate for a reef aquarium. It does consume crustaceans but they are much smaller than the ones you would purchase to populate your reef tank. Do not keep them with sea anemones as you may well wake up with one less fish in your aquarium. Mandarins secrete a toxin in their mucous that covers their bodies as a form of protection against predation. However, this toxin will not affect the other members of your aquarium as long as they do not attempt to eat the mandarin.

Mandarinfish are recommended for expert aquarists only. This is specifically because of their specialized diet in nature. This omnivore's diet is largely comprised of amphipods (small shrimp-like crustaceans), copepods (planktonic sized crustaceans), Gastropoda (tiny univalve mollusks) and polychaete worms.


Mandarins will often succumb to a death of malnutrition within the first six months of captivity. Many simply cannot make the transition to life in an aquarium. It is highly recommended that you ask to watch the one you intend to purchase feed before taking it home. Providing plenty of well established live rock and living sand as a substrate will help in the acclimation process.

Despite its troubles adapting to a life of captivity, mandarins are a hardy and highly diseases resistant species. They have scale-less bodies and a skin type that is naturally immune to ichthyophthirius (ich). Mandarins who successfully acclimate to aquarium life are healthy active fish that can easily live in excess of 10 years possibly even as long as 15.

It is relatively easy to sex mandarins. Males are generally larger than females. The male's dorsal fin is more elongated and pointed than that of the females. This fish has been known to breed in captivity.

    Technological advancements in the aquarium industry continually redefine the concept of "home aquarium ownership." Just twenty years ago not even the biggest public aquarium was capable of keeping jellyfish alive in captivity. Now they make desktop Jellyfish Fish Tank Aquariums. And why would you want a jellyfish tank? Perhaps you should check out what the translucent bodies of Pet Moon Jellyfish look like under LED lighting. Pet Jellyfish give a whole new meaning to the term exotic pets.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



2018-01-25

SALTWATER AQUARIUMS from A-Z: Purchasing an Aquarium

Saltwater Fishtank - Photo: Wikimedia
There are a million different types of aquariums on the market and with the number of choices available and the fact that there is no guaranteed formula for success for creating a saltwater aquarium it can be very difficult for individuals to choose which type of aquarium they should purchase. There are a number of factors which should be considered before the would-be biologist ever sets foot inside a pet store.

The first is size. As trite as it may sound an aquarium is a definite example of a time when size matters. The size of the aquarium must be sufficient to hold the types and number of fish which the owner intends to place inside. Just as you would never attempt to place a large goldfish inside a small bowl neither should you attempt to place a large saltwater fish in a small aquarium. This is particularly true if you are attempting to add a small carnivore, such as one of the smaller breeds of shark, to your home. These predators need space to swim or they will slowly make themselves mad and perhaps even perish from the confinement (a bit melodramatic and Victorian, but true nonetheless).

There are several options for size when it comes to aquariums, and a good pet shop should be able to help advise consumers as to which size would best suit their needs.

Another consideration is materials. Glass and acrylic are the two choices most widely available on the market at the moment. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Glass is by far the more popular of the two due to the fact that it is less likely to scratch, allowing the sides to maintain their clarity. It is also considerably less expensive, an important consideration as it can cost a great deal of money to establish a saltwater aquarium and every advantage should be taken. Finally, the nature of the silicone sealant used in glass aquariums allows the tank to expand more readily when water is added.

Acrylic tanks come with their own advantages. There is almost no limit to the shape and size that an acrylic tank can take, allowing for a greater amount of creativity in tank design. It is also considerably more durable than glass, an important consideration if the aquarium is going to be displayed in a public place or if the owner has small children. Where a small bump may crack or otherwise damage a glass tank acrylic tanks are made of hardier stuff. It is also easier to adjust the filtration options on an acrylic tank, as it is not necessary to have the number of special tools available that are necessary to cut glass.



Whether acrylic or glass the would-be saltwater aquarium owner will probably have the option to purchase a pre-drilled tank to prevent overflow, giving the tank a much smoother appearance than the antiquated but still popular "hang on the back" method. 

Buying an aquarium can be a tricky business; however, the truth of the matter is that as long as the ecosystem is properly designed and the tank cleaned thoroughly prior to use there is no right or wrong choice. It is all a matter of personal preference.



2018-01-11

CORAL Propagation in the Aquarium Industry

Mushroom coral (Fungia scutaria) Image ID: ree...
Mushroom coral (Fungia scutaria)
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Welcome to my Dream.

I have a dream that if every person that kept a reef aquarium propagated their corals, we could have an almost self-sufficient industry.

In my dream, you would buy a coral from an aquarium store, which someone else has propagated and propagate it yourself and sell multiples of that same piece back to that same store so they can sell it on to other people.

The stores that heavily participate in this program could then wholesale these corals to other stores. The amazing thing is that this dream is so simple and possible yet even now it is just a dream.

Some corals are very easy to propagate while others are harder. In my dream, every coral you bought would be bought with a view to propagate it.

If you can learn to keep coral, then you can learn to grow it, if you can grow it then you can learn to propagate it if you can propagate it then do it. Every person that propagates their coral is a credit to this wonderful industry.

The easiest corals to propagate are mushrooms, leathers, and fluffies. To propagate these corals it is as simple as cutting a piece off them and securing the pieces to a new piece of rock. The cutting is most commonly secured to a small piece of live rock using fishing line.

When propagating leather coral I have found it more effective to ensure that the cut surface is pointed to the direction of the water flow instead of trying to secure the cut surface to the rock. There seems to be less chance of developing an infection and the healthy uncut surface will be able to attach to the rock faster then the damaged side which will heal faster if allowed adequate water flow. This also applies to Acropora, even a stag will attach faster is the health side is the point of contact.

Whenever you are cutting a piece of coral ensure that there is ample room around the cut so it is not stung by surrounding specimens as the coral will be a week at this time. Also be wary of fish such as Angels that may pick on the damaged coral.

Don't be a wimp! Many people love the idea of propagating their coral but are too scared to cut them because they think they will hurt it. Corals don't feel pain as we do so be brave and remember that what you are doing it for the better of the species.

Remember that you can't win them all, but you will find that as you get better at it and with practice it will be rare for you to fail in your propagating attempts.

Big warning, never cut a mushroom, fluffy or anemone out of the water. It is better for you to cut them submerged in a shallow bowl of water from your tank. We learned this the hard way as one day my brother was cutting a mushroom coral out of the water when it sprayed him in the eye with poisonous neurotoxins. The pain was excruciating and we spend the whole night going from doctors to hospitals to eye specialists.

To propagate stony corals is it just a matter of cutting them with a hacksaw or better yet on a band saw. Once again allow room around the cut to it doesn't have to also deal with competing with its neighbors. After the stony coral has been cut you can towel dry the bottom of it and superglue it to a larger rock to safely secure it. Allow the glue to set before returning it to the water.

Don't be scared to handle the coral roughly because they are actually very tough, after all, they are built to ensure tonnes of water being dumped on top of them in the form of a wave. Most corals can safely be removed from the water for a period of time too, for example, low tide on a natural coral reef.

I do suggest having at least 14 times per hour water flow in any tank that you wish to propagate coral in and pay attention to iodine levels. Maintaining an iodine level of 0.06pp when propagating will decrease the instances of bacterial infection among the new corals.

Before you handle any coral it is important for you to know what it is in order to avoid handling a poisonous coral that may sting your hands such as fire coral Millepora. It is recommended to use gloves when handling live rock and coral. Corals are closely related to jellyfish and as with jellyfish, some are more poisonous than others.

If you ever been stung by a coral or fish the best thing to do is place it under hot running water, which will break down the neurotoxins.

Anemones can also be propagated like a mushroom, but I rarely recommend it. An anemone is a beautiful display when coupled with clownfish, but not always successful long term. I would suggest trying an anemone in the aim of seeing how long you can maintain it first if you find you are one of the few that can keep them long term, give propagating it a go of sure. If you do propagate it long term then I believe it is your responsibility to share your experience with as many people as you can. There must be something that you are doing that other people aren't. This is a subject I will really be experimenting on in the coming years. It is common for anemones to split by them self in peoples tank.

Currently, coral propagation is the most realistic approach to breeding corals. Corals can be bred in captivity as moonlight cycles and temperatures can be used as a trigger. The problem with breeding coral is that they mass spawn which will choke many systems. If you were to breed the coral it would be quite a long period of time until you have specimens ready to sell. When they are propagated they will often be ready in as little as 3 months.



It is not the intention of this article to teach you comprehensive techniques on how to propagate coral but rather to tell you that it is something that you should be considering doing, yes I do mean you! The internet is full of information and techniques which will set you on your way to being an enviro-hobbyist coral farmer. Read several articles and obtain a few ideas before you try your first. Remember that each person will tell you what works for them, this doesn't mean that there is a definitive right or wrong way to do it.

Please do not let possible failures stop you from succeeding in this. The only way you will fail is to not try. Even if the first few go wrong I encourage you to keep trying until you are doing it so confidently that you will wonder why everyone doesn't do it. I will tell you now that there are people that propagate coral and there are people that are scared to try. The service that you are doing for your hobby is too big to not do it.

Another simple way that you can help is to ask every time you are in an aquarium store if they stock any propagated coral. If they do I encourage you to consider buying it over any wild caught options. That fact that you are asking will reinforce to the retailer that propagated coral is something that people want. Imagine if every person asked at every shop they went into, retailers won't be doing anything to be able to supply such a requested product.

I have been educating people with a passion for many years on the benefits and realities of this dream. I would love to see more people just like you enroll in this dream. Not matter whether you have a tank or not it is never too late to start. You can make a difference! Please share this idea with as many people as you can until one day this dream is realized.

Good luck and enjoy Paul Talbot





2017-12-11

Picasso TRIGGERFISH

lagoon triggerfish Rhinecanthus aculeatus (Picasso triggerfish)
Picasso Triggerfish - Photo  by Paul and Jill 
Picasso triggerfish is one of the most commonly sold triggerfish in the marine aquarium trade. Because of this, it is also the most recognizable. Their scientific name is Rhinecanthus Aculeatus and they are also known as the Huma-Huma or Humu-Humu triggerfish. This species is collected around the waters of Fiji and Tahiti.

They are nowhere near as expensive as some uncommon species like the clown triggerfish or the expensive crosshatch triggerfish. They range anywhere from $30-$40 depending on the size of the specimen.

They are called the Picasso triggerfish because of the presence of a variety of colored lines across its body. Red, yellow, blue and white lines adorn its face, mouth and the main section of its body. They can attain a length of twelve inches and require larger aquariums with a minimum of 100 gallons because of this.

Like all triggerfish, the Picasso triggerfish has a huge head. Viewed from the side, it makes up to one-third of the total body size. This is a distinctive feature found in all members of the triggerfish family. They are also aggressive and highly territorial and will defend their nesting site against all uninvited guests as many a scuba diver has learned.

In the wild, they primarily hunt for crustaceans that include crabs, shrimp and even invertebrates like the sea urchin. They are able to crack the tough exoskeleton of their prey thanks to their immensely powerful jaws. Because of the strength of their jaws, they can deliver painful bites to their human keepers as well.


Because they are carnivores, we must try to mimic their diet in captivity. Offer them meaty foods like freshly chopped seafood that include fish, shrimp, scallops and such. Mysis shrimp, frozen krill and frozen meat mixes are some good choices as well.

Overall, Picasso triggerfish are very hardy and easy to keep provided it has ample swimming space and always be careful to select tank mates that can hold their own against this large and aggressive species.




2017-12-10

Do You Build Or Buy A SALTWATER AQUARIUM?

Saltwater Aquariums
Saltwater Aquarium - Photo  by Karsun Designs Photography 
Haven’t decided whether to build or buy a saltwater aquarium? For most people buying a ready-made aquarium is by far the easier option. But if you’re handy with tools and construction you might be thinking of building your own tank. This chapter will provide you with do-it-yourself instructions on how to build a 55-gallon glass aquarium to house your marine life. Ultimately it is for you to decide whether you want to build or buy a saltwater aquarium. If you are more comfortable with a bought tank, by all means, get one!

Building a tank from scratch is challenging and not for beginners unless you have plenty of patience and are willing to ask for help. However using the materials list, step-by-step instructions and advice provided here you can build your very own glass aquarium. Whether you build or buy a saltwater aquarium you will find the setup fun and rewarding. However, having built your own special tank is doubly satisfying.

Before you get started you need to know a thing or two about working with glass. The tank you are going to build is 14 inches high with ¼ inch glass panels. If you want to make a bigger saltwater aquarium you will need to learn how to calculate the correct thickness of glass for the size of the tank. If you haven’t decided whether to build or buy a saltwater aquarium you might want to consider how comfortable you are working with glass.

Whether you build or buy a saltwater aquarium, the first thing to do is to draw up a plan or schematic of the kind of saltwater aquarium you want. Make sure that all your measurements are correct so that the tank fits together properly. This aquarium is built with the two end panels fitted inside the back and front panes.

The front, back, and side panels are set on top of the aquarium floor. If you don’t know how to cut glass you can ask the professionals to do it for you. If you build or buy a saltwater aquarium you need to understand how the glass is fitted together as this has a lot to do with the stability of the tank.

Whether you decide to build or buy a saltwater aquarium you will probably be making use of a lighted hood. When you draw up your plans you must include the hood. You should never place a solid glass on the aquarium top as this reduces the gas exchange that occurs at the surface. If this happens your aquarium will not get enough aeration and the health of the tank will suffer.

So what materials will you need to build a saltwater aquarium? Whether you build or buy a saltwater aquarium you will need to purchase all the necessary materials that go into making a good marine setup. To build a 55-gallon aquarium you will need the following:

* 1 glass panel for the tank bottom
* 1 front, 1 back, and 2 end pieces of glass
* Single edged razor blades.
* Acetone.
* Non-toxic 100% silicone sealant. (All-Glass® Brand 100% Silicone Sealant)
* Roll of paper towels.
* Washable felt tip marker.
* Roll of duct tape.
* Emery cloth or silicone carbide sandpaper.

Whether you choose to build or buy a saltwater aquarium you should choose the biggest one that fits into your home. If your tank is bigger than 30 gallons in size you might want to install a support brace at the tank’s center. Do this by cutting a six-inch wide piece of glass that will fit the outside edges of the front and back panels. Use silicone to position it in place.

Next, you will prepare the glass panes. Use an emery cloth or silicon carbide sandpaper to smooth the edges of the glass. Clean the glass pane joints and edges at ½ inch inward using acetone. Prepare the duct tape by cutting 16 strips of tape, 5 inches long. Place these nearby. Always be careful when handling glass. This is true whether you build or buy a saltwater aquarium


Place your pieces on the floor or table in the correct order for assembly. If need be, mark them with words or arrows so you don’t lose track. Place the bottom panel on a flat non-scratch surface. Stick 8 pieces of tape to the glass on the bottom side (sticky side up). If you decide to build or buy a saltwater aquarium always take care not to scratch the glass.

Now install the front glass piece. Next fold the two bottom pieces of tape upward and stick them to the glass. Now you are ready to install the first side panel by folding the 2 bottom duct tapes upward and sticking them to the front of the glass. Secure the side piece to the front piece of glass with 2 strips of tape.

Next install the other side piece, and the back panel. Once the tank has been built use silicone to seal the eight joint areas on the inside of the tank. Use a small amount and smooth your thumb over the silicone to level it. Let the tank sit for 24 hours to cure the silicone. It does not matter if you choose to build or buy a saltwater aquarium, it is always vital that it does not leak!

After the resting period, you can fill the tank with fresh water. Let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. Why? You are testing your tank for leaks! A 24 hour testing period is better as it will leave you more confident that your tank is actually watertight. This is important whether you build or buy a saltwater aquarium.

Once you are sure that your tank is fit for your marine world you can set about planning the fish, invertebrates, and plants that will go into your tank. It is not that important whether you choose to build or buy a saltwater aquarium. Most people will probably opt for the ease of walking into a store and choosing a perfect, assembled tank but for those who like a challenge, constructing your own tank can be very satisfying. Once you have set everything up you will feel doubly proud! Enjoy your new aquarium!




2017-11-17

Five steps to success with Saltwater CORAL REEF Aquariums

English: Rumphella aggregrata soft coral in ho...
Rumphella aggregrata soft coral in home reef tank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do you dream of watching the natural beauty of the undersea reef life while sitting in your living room?

Whether your goal is a nano reef tank or a 150-gallon aquarium with an ecosystem of coral and saltwater fish, the following five steps will lead you on your way to success.

1) Commit!  Decide you are going to spend the $$ it takes to make a proper go of it.  At a minimum, most tanks, (from 10 gals to 55 gals) take between $250 and $500 to get going.  Can you do it cheaper?  Yes, but usually not your first one.  You have to know what you are doing and understand how things can and will go wrong before you can choose less expensive husbandry options and/or equipment.  Save up if you have to, but count on that first tank being expensive.


Realize that this is not a short-term commitment. And as much fun as it is to collect the coolest coral fragments out there and show them off to your friends, there WILL come a time when you are hauling all of those same 'frags' out of the tank and into temporary storage when your six-year-old cracks the side of the display tank with a pool ball or some other calamity occurs.

2) Study!  Spend time on the internet, in books and watching nature shows on reefs BEFORE you get your animals.  Understand the animals that you are going to keep and how they interact with each other.  If you count on the LFS (Local Fish Store) or your buddy down the road to keep you out of trouble and don't do your homework. You will fail.  That is the one guarantee in this hobby.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

The only way around this is to be able to afford to pay someone else to set-up and maintain your tank.

3) Mingle! (see 2 above)  There are plenty of reef-keeping societies out there with lots of experience to help you along your way and teach you what you need to know.  As long as you are doing your own homework, they are usually happy to help!

4) Keep an open mind!  There is not just one way to keep a reef tank - no matter how loudly people on the various bulletin boards and forums out there might shout that there is.



5) Share!  It is amazing how much help people are willing to give when they realize that you are offering a particularly nice specimen that they have always wanted.  Equipment that they didn't even remember they had may magically appear or they might be willing to share a very nice piece of their own reef frag with you.

Trading frags not only is a great way to increase your variety, but it helps maintain genetic strains of corals (frags are also known as 'clones') that might otherwise die out in a single tank struck by the calamity mentioned in 1 above.




2017-11-12

Saltwater REEF Aquariums

Reef Coral - Photo: Pixabay
Historically saltwater aquarium owners have shied away from reefs. No one could understand why when these coral reefs were put into an aquarium the reef had a depressingly short lifespan. Now, thanks to some very persistent aquarium owners, fans of the saltwater aquarium's can enjoy the beauty of their very own coral reef.  There are reefs for every aquarium owner, from the raw beginner to the experienced professional. The saltwater enthusiast can now find the saltwater coral that best suits their abilities, whether they are a rank beginner or an experienced professional.

Zoanthus Coral is a wonderful choice for the person who is just beginning to add coral reef to their saltwater aquarium. Reef enthusiast finds that Zoanthus is a hardy coral that flourishes in most saltwater tanks. Zoanthus coral does not like to be fed a meaty diet and prefers to have its food finely chopped. Zoanthus Coral can be found in a variety of colors, many experienced saltwater reef aquarium owners like to use Zoanthus as a filer coral for their more temperamental varieties of coral reef. Zianthus is also called Sea Mat and Bottom Polyps.

Another good variety of starter coral is Cladiella, Cladiella is also commonly referred to as Colt Coral and Finger Leather Coral. The Cladiella Coral is renowned for is adaptability. Anyone interested in using Cladiella Coral in their saltwater reef aquarium must make sure that it is securely anchored or it will not grow.




Something like Siderastrea Coral.  Siderastrea is a soft coral, that is tolerant of light, temperature, changes in the tanks quality of water, and currents. It is typically tan or gray or white. Although it can occasionally be found in round domes the typical shape of the Siderastrea Coral is flat plates that can measure anywhere from 4-12 inches around. Pink Starlet Coral, Starlet Coral, and Lesser Starlet Coral are three names that commonly refer to Siderastrea Coral.

Once the saltwater aquarium owner becomes comfortable caring for his hardier varieties of coral they may wish to move onto something a little more challenging.

Fish and coral seem to go together, some types better than others. When an aquarium owner is looking to purchase fish they must consider the compatibility of the fish to the coral. It is also important to make sure that the fish you are purchasing for your saltwater aquarium is healthy. Take the time to examine their eyes, scales, skin, abdomen, mouth, and fins before making your final decision.



The eyes of your fish should be clear and bright. A cloudy film obscuring the eye could be a sign of an internal bacterial infection. A saltwater fish that has blotchy scales is a fish that is potentially dealing with an internal disease. Fish that have bruised mouths can sometimes lack an appetite, look for a fish with a firm unbruised mouth. Your potential fish should have an abdomen that is firm, and gently rounded. The fins should be crisp and clean. A fish that has scales that are ragged or one that's fins are starting to droop and sag.

2017-10-27

LIONFISHES - Scorpaenidae Family

Regalia
Lionfish * Firefish - Photo   by      Bob Owen
Members of this family are known commonly as Firefish, Scorpionfish, Rockfish, Stonefish, or Lionfish (amongst others). They belong to the order Scorpaeniformes, which includes 35 families, 300 genera, and more than 1,000 species. They are important both in the marine aquarium trade and as food (those of us fish-eaters living on the west coast are familiar with "Pacific Snapper" which is not a snapper at all-it's from the family Scorpaenidae). Fishes from the family Scorpaenidae are widely distributed throughout the oceans of the world (temperate and tropical), but the so-called lionfishes which are of the most interest to the marine hobbyist are indigenous to the tropical Indo-Pacific (although they have now established themselves along the eastern seaboard of the United States).

The species most often seen in the home aquarium are from the subfamily Pteroinae and the genera Brachypterois, Pterois and Dendrochirus. Of these three genera, the genus Pterois are the true lionfishes while the species in the other genera are generally referred to in the hobby as the dwarf lionfishes. Specimens from the genus Brachypterois are rarely seen in the hobby. All species of the subfamily Pteroinae are hearty, dramatic-looking and very capable of causing the lackadaisical aquarist a whole world of hurt through their powerful sting. Nonetheless, the potential of being stung is far outweighed in most hobbyists' minds by the positive attributes of the extraordinary lionfish.

The lionfishes from the genus Pterois get their name from the Greek word "pteron" which translates to "wing." Indeed, a large Pterois in open water-pectoral fins outstretched-is very much like a winged creature. Add to this display the rearing dorsal fin, and you can clearly see why this fish with a mane is commonly called a lionfish. The most recognizable species in the industry is the Red Lionfish (P. volitans). This impressive fish (not to be confused with P. lunulata or the Luna Lion, which is often sold as a red volitans) has earned its way onto the stamps of at least eight countries and into thousands of marine aquaria. Growing up to a foot and a half in length, these are very impressive animals.

The Red Lionfish, it should be noted, is not always red, and as such, members of the same species should not be confused based on dramatic color differences alone. Red Lionfish living in estuaries can be almost entirely black while those that inhabit outer reefs down to 55 meters may be much brighter in color. Generally nocturnal, the Red Lionfish in the wild spends its days upside down in a cave or head down in a rock crevice. When hunting, it uses its large pectoral fins to corral its prey (small fish and invertebrates such as shrimp and crabs) before stinging and consuming it. In captivity, the Red Lionfish is, in many ways, an aquarist's dream. Provided with the right captive habitat and diet, this fish will be long-lived and the center of attention for anyone viewing your aquarium.




The other two genera of lionfish are generally thought of as the dwarf lionfish. They seldom exceed six inches in length. As already mentioned, specimens from the genus Brachypterois are rarely seen in the hobby, but dwarf lionfish from the genus Dendrochirus are quite common. In many ways, dwarf lionfish possess all the appeal of their larger kin, just in a smaller size. Although the dwarfs tend to be somewhat more sedentary and stick closer to the bottom of the tank, they can be kept in tanks half the size of those required for a Red Lionfish. Of the dwarfs one might consider, the Zebra Turkeyfish (Dendrochirus zebra) is always a favorite and relatively common. Many hobbyists swear that the less common Fuzzy Dwarf (Dendrochirus brachypterus) is the most "personable" of all lionfish.

Despite their differences in size, the true lionfish and the dwarf lionfish have similar captive habitat requirements (except, of course, for minimum tank size). Lionfish have a reputation as being remarkably hearty fish (second only to damsels some say), and while this is true, some care should be taken to provide lionfish with an environment that meets their species-specific needs. Because lionfish are nocturnal, they will not appreciate tanks that are brightly lit with metal halides unless there are places in the tank that remain heavily shaded. From the lionfish's perspective, even a relatively dark refuge in a tank illuminated by metal halides is inferior to a tank lit by low illumination fluorescents. More than one captive lionfish has been permanently damaged by being blinded by lights that are too bright.

Lionfish are not known to be particularly territorial and will share their cave or another place of refuge with members of their own species or other lionfish species. Having said this, keep in mind that recommended stocking densities for true lionfish are about 40 gallons per lionfish (and about half that for the dwarfs). In terms of water chemistry, while lionfish will appreciate stability in the system, they are remarkably resilient and can survive dismal water conditions (although this obviously should not be the goal). Lionfish do make a mess, and as a result, excellent mechanical/biological filtration and protein skimming are essential. Without appropriate filtration, a dive in alkaline reserve is likely to be accompanied by plunging pH necessitating a massive emergency water change. All this, of course, can be avoided by appropriate filtration, excellent protein skimming, and regular water changes.



Everyone knows when you go to the zoo not to feed the lions. If everyone kept the same in mind with their lionfish, far fewer would die in captivity each year. The reason you don't feed the lions at the zoo is that they are already being fed a healthy, appropriate diet by their keepers, and while there are those who may love to show off their lionfish snacking on live goldfish, this is really not in the best interest of the animal. It is true that some lionfish will not readily accept a captive diet (in which case it may be necessary to offer the specimen a live shrimp, small fish or crab at first), but the goal should always be to try to get the fish eating a captive diet. One technique that works well is the feed your new lionfish live feeder shrimp mixed with frozen mysis shrimp. Over time (days to weeks depending on the individual fish), increase the frozen mysis shrimp and decrease the live feeder shrimp until you have cut out the live food entirely. Eventually, lionfish should accept a captive diet including fresh or frozen foods such as krill, shrimp, silversides, and various prepared foods. Once the lionfish is settled in, offer food on a feeding stick, but don't force the issue. Feeding one to three times a week should be sufficient. Keep in mind that lionfish will eat smaller fishes, ornamental shrimps and crabs in your system, and remember that their mouths can open to leviathan proportions.

It is not uncommon to see some fin rot due to handling during the shipping process, and this is easily taken care of with furan compounds. Copper treatments are highly effective with lionfish suffering from protozoal infections like Cryptocaryon. "Coughing" or "shaking" disease is something you will experience with lionfish, but it's actually not a disease at all. This is a common behavior and aids in the shedding of skin (necessary to purge algae and sessile invertebrates that have attached themselves to the fish). In short, it is a perfectly normal part of life for many of these fishes.

At the beginning of the article, it was cautioned that lionfishes are capable of a powerful sting. This is true and something of which any aquarist should be aware before purchasing one. Lionfish are not poisonous, as if often stated-remember, many species in the family Scorpaenidae are important food sources. Instead, they are venomous meaning that they deliver their venom or toxin through injection (not ingestion). Lionfish have venom sacs connected to their spines, and while there have been reports of some individuals aggressively "charging" the hobbyist's hand when in the tank, most stings are the result of careless contact while cleaning the tank or handling the fish. If you are stung (either by an alive or dead specimen), it will most likely be painful and, although rarely fatal, it is possible to have a very severe reaction necessitating the attention of a physician. In most cases, however, expect a reaction like a bee sting. If you experience more serious signs and symptoms including, but not limited to, shortness of breath, nausea, and fever seek medical attention immediately.

In conclusion, while there is some risk in choosing to keep lionfish from the family Scorpaenidae, most hobbyists agree that the good far outweighs the bad. These incredible "winged fish" are almost inconceivable in their delicate beauty. The fact that a fish so exotic-looking and interesting is also relatively easy to acquire, hearty and long-lived is the proverbial icing on the cake.

    By Ret Talbot
    2008 (C) Blue Zoo Aquatics
    Blue Zoo Aquatics was formed in 2001 as a custom aquarium design, manufacture, installation, and maintenance company which provided its services in and around Los Angeles, California. The company founders and key personnel had either a background in marine biology or had spent their entire career in the saltwater aquarium industry.
    Customers who bought a custom aquarium were also frequently asking us to provide livestock and aquarium supplies, so we created bluezooaquatics.com to showcase our entire product offering and make it available to everyone.
    Today, Blue Zoo Aquatics has evolved into the complete source for all of your aquarium needs. Although we can still design and build you a beautiful custom aquarium, we are also proud to offer one of the largest selections of livestock on the web as well as a wide variety of quality aquarium supplies.
    Our business has expanded, but Blue Zoo is still owned and operated by the same team of expert aquarists that have dedicated their lives to helping people have fun and succeed with saltwater aquariums. - http://www.bluezooaquatics.com
    Article Source: EzineArticles



2017-10-18

Ocellaris CLOWNFISH - A Guide to Keeping Amphiprion Ocellaris in a Marine Aquarium

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Amphiprion Ocellaris - Photo   by       Andreas März   (cc)
When it comes to popular marine fish, the Ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion Ocellaris) is the undisputed king. It shares its title with the Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion Percula) since they look entirely alike to most people. Both the ocellaris and percula clowns are the marine aquarium hobby's greatest ambassadors. Most people might think this is due to the hit animated film, Finding Nemo. They don't realize these clownfish were already popular before the film was released.

The ocellaris clownfish is a staple offering in the hobby. They are heavily collected from their natural habitats in South East Asia, they are the most plentiful ornamental marine fish at the moment. Walk into any saltwater pet store and you'll find at least one ocellaris there for sale. They are also heavily bred in captivity with tank-raised ocellaris priced a little higher than wild caught specimens.

Ocellaris clownfish are entirely orange with three white bands (outlined with black) around their heads, body and near their tail. To the untrained eye, both ocellaris and percula look exactly the same. Yet they are both slightly different physically. Percula clownfish have 10 dorsal spines while ocellaris has 11. Thankfully there's an easier method to tell them apart. Percula clownfish have thicker, more pronounced black outlines while those on the ocellaris are always thin.

One of the cheapest marine fish you can buy, with specimens costing as little as $10. A few dollars more can buy a tank-raised specimen. Given a choice, never go with wild caught specimens as tank-bred ones are generally hardier and better suited to the aquarium.

Ocellaris clowns are also known as the false clown anemonefish and the false percula clown. They are called anemonefish because they share a symbiosis with anemones. They have figured out how to escape the anemones powerful sting, it is thought they have a layer of mucus on their bodies that fool the anemone into thinking there's nothing there. Anemones are not required despite clownfish needing one in the wild.

Generally peaceful, these clownfish get along well with a wide variety of tank mates. However, they do not get along well with other species of clownfish, especially those outside their species. There are three routes you can take when looking for a pair:

* Purchase a mated pair
* Get a large and a small one, introduce them together and pray they pair up
* Purchase two small ones and put them together, eventually one will dominate the other and become a female, pairing up in the process

I cannot give a guarantee that options 2 or 3 will work 100% of the time.

Reaching a maximum of 3 inches in length, they are considered a small fish. All clownfish are site attached, which means they are usually around their territory (a small area) most of the time. Their territory can be anything from a pile of rocks to an anemone. Mushroom and elegance corals have been hosted by the ocellaris when an anemone isn't available. They can be housed aquariums as small as 20 gallons due to this behavior.



These fishes are very easy to feed because they will eat just about anything. While they are omnivores in the wild, they consume both meaty and algae-based food in the aquarium. A wide variety of foods should be given. Prime reef, Formula One and Formula two are some good dry foods to offer. Formula two has an added amount of algae mixed in with seafood while Prime reef is mostly made up of seafood.

The best pellet food on the market is those made by New Life Spectrum. Mix in some frozen foods like mysis shrimp or krill and they will be very happy.

Overall, the ocellaris clownfish is a hardy fish that is a great choice for both beginners and experienced hobbyists alike.



2017-10-16

QUEEN ANGELFISH Care

A Splash of Color
Young Queen Angelfish - Photo  by      laszlo-photo  (cc)
The Queen angelfish (Holacanthus Ciliaris) is one of three very popular "large" angelfish in the marine aquarium hobby today. The other two being the Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus Imperator) and the French Angelfish (Pomacanthus Paru). It reigns as the most popular angelfish in the genus holacanthus. They are a member of the family Pomacanthidae and are one of the largest angelfish among its cousins.

The queen angelfish is commonly found throughout the Caribbean sea, Florida, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico. It is closely related to the Blue Angelfish (Holacanthus Bermudensis) and to the untrained eye they look completely alike. These two angelfish have been known to interbreed in the wild. Their offspring have also been known as Holacanthus Townsendi. It should be noted that Holacanthus Townsendi is not a valid species, it is merely a hybrid. Fortunately, telling them apart is easy, queen angelfish possess a blue-ringed crown on its head while the blue angelfish does not.

As with all larger angelfish species, juvenile coloration differs from that of an adult. Juveniles possess bright blue vertical bars from its face to its main body. These bars will slowly disappear as they grow. Adults sport a brilliant iridescent yellow and blue throughout their entire body.
Juvenile angelfish also take on a peculiar role in the wild. They assume the role of "cleaners". As cleaners they provide a valuable service for other marine fish, they feed on any parasites present on the bodies of other fish.




This is an expensive fish, small specimens usually retail for $80-$90 USD with large adults (Show quality) costing $200 and upwards.

Larger angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae have developed a well deserved reputation or being aggressive bullies in captivity. Queen angelfish is no exception.
It generally ignores other species of fish but is pretty hostile towards other large angelfish. It is especially hostile towards other queen angels or blue angelfish for that matter. One queen angelfish per tank is the general rule.

This angelfish reaches lengths of up to 18 inches. A foot and a half! They rarely achieve such lengths in captivity however, expect a maximum size of 12 to 13 inches or so.
Marine aquariums no smaller than 150 gallons should be used to house a queen angelfish. As with all larger marine fish, the bigger the tank, the better. Ensure your rock scape in the aquarium allows for ample swimming space.

Do not be fooled into buying smaller juveniles for a 50 gallon aquarium. They will quickly outgrow such small tanks in a matter of months. The queen angelfish is not reef safe, it can eat corals or at least nip on them until they eventually perish. Though some hobbyists have been successfully keeping them in reef aquariums, they are more often seen in large, fish-only aquariums.



They feed on tunicates, sponges, corals, algae and plankton in the wild. Avoid housing them in a reef aquarium with many corals as they can make short work of your expensive corals.
Offer them a good variety of foods from sheets of nori/seaweed to meaty foods like krill or mysis shrimp. New Life Spectrum produces some of the highest quality pellets on the market and would be my first choice as a good pellet food to offer my fish.

Formula two is a pretty balanced food for angelfish as well, containing seafood and extra algae for herbivorous fishes. It is available in pellet, flake or frozen cube form.
The most complete food available for Queen Angelfish is Angel Formula by Ocean Nutrition. This food was specifically designed to cater to the needs of large angelfish, they contain a good mix of fresh seafood, algae, vitamins and most importantly, marine sponges. Angel Formula is only available in frozen cube form.

With regards to nori sheets/seaweed sheets for your queen angelfish. You could choose either branded seaweed sheets from companies catering to herbivorous fish or you can always run down to your local supermarket and get some there. Depending on the brand they could either be very expensive or very cheap.

If you're buying from the supermarket, make sure you buy the plain, unflavoured/unspiced version. Raw nori is a good choice if available. Get a clip for your nori and stick it on the side of the aquarium glass.