Amazing Facts About SHEDD AQUARIUM

The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Deutsch...
The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you are going to visit Chicago, you got to experience visiting the icon and leader in aquarium and zoo profession - Shedd Aquarium.

Shedd aquarium was made possible by John G. Shedd wherein he envisioned it to be one of the grandest aquariums in Chicago and was officially opened on May 30, 1930, which became one of Chicago’s historic landmarks.

Shedd aquarium success lies in its founder’s leadership about shaping the future and followers incorporated by collaborative, supportive, strong, inquisitive, creative, energetic and persistent outlook.

Shedd Aquarium primary goal is to give information, inspiration and entertainment to people interested in animals, their habitat and relations to humans. They are promoting animal conservation, provides teaching and learning resources and support global environmental awareness.

Shedd Aquarium’s mission is to let animals connect people into the living world giving inspiration by starting to make a difference. They educate people in a more interesting way of having stewards with a dedication to caring for animals and people.

Shedd Aquarium is supporting global programs regarding conservations. They are also the first aquarium to have an educational department, a textbook itself exploring life and expanding horizons about the animals in their sanctuary taught by their cool teachers within classes.

Shedd Aquarium is a sanctuary with different animal species that people could explore and learn about. They provide itineraries for visitors regarding Shedd Aquarium explorations through their sitemaps.

You cannot tour the entire Shedd Aquarium in just a day so instead join their membership to visit it often. Some foundations offer discount days upon visiting Shedd Aquarium giving free general admissions.

There is no problem with visiting the Shedd Aquarium because:

-Lockers, which are coin-operated, are available for storing coats however they are not responsible for luggage or package that does not fit into the lockers.

-Picture takings of animals are allowed by only turning off the flash for comfort and safety purposes. Tripods are not allowed as well as taking pictures in restaurants and Oceanarium.

-A handicapped parking area is available but wheelchairs can be rented on a first come first basis only.

-A nursing area is also available. You can either eat at Dining at Shedd or simply carry a bag lunch where you can eat on the tables and chairs located in vending areas.

The best time to visit Shedd Aquarium is to arrive early or on Sunday mornings because it is least crowded. Shedd is a popular place and can easily get crowded during summer, weekends or holidays. Explore and have fun.


12 Tropical Aquarium Plants From the Cuttings and Floating Types Are Recommended

Rotala macranda
Rotala macranda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Recommendations are given for a selection of tropical aquarium plants from the cuttings and floating plant types available. 12 are recommended with four described in detail.

A cutting, the Red Rotala (Rotala macandra) has soft delicate leaves that could easily be damaged if they are situated in strong water currents. In order to maintain the red color, this plant needs a bright light on a regular basis.

A temperature range of 22 to 28 degrees centigrade and pH range of 5 to 6.5 is suitable. Fast growing, the Rotala likes to go up to the surface and then goes on to grow with leaves floating at the surface. The leaves appear to get bigger and redder the nearer they get to the light.

A cutting, the Giant Hygrophila (Nomaphila stricta) is also known as the Indian Water Star. It has broad lance-shaped leaves, is great for fish to shelter in and is also useful as sites for spawning. Prefers slightly hard water and a strong light.

It appears that snails like this plant so look out for them. A temperature range of 20 to 28 degrees centigrade and pH range of 5 to 7 is suitable. Another plant that grows fast and will need trimming regularly.

A floater, the Butterfly Fern (Salvinia auriculata) is also known as the Eared Watermoss and is really easy to keep and grow. Bubble nesters can use the plant for their nest and fry can shelter and hide underneath in the roots that dangle down in the water.

But remember that, as with all floating plants, do not let them cover too much surface area as this will restrict light getting to plants lower down the tank and they will die off.

It is related to the Salvinia molesta which out in the wild can grow like mad and cause lots of problems in waterways as it doubles its size over a few days. In fact, they are prohibited from entry into Tasmania and cannot be sold or distributed there as they have been declared weeds under a Weed Management Act (1999).

Java moss
Java moss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A floater, the Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) is very common in freshwater aquariums. Like Riccia, it attaches itself to driftwood, rocks, and roots. Java Moss has no onerous requirements or any special attention as it will survive in varying water conditions, even weakly brackish, and under all sorts of light levels.

But it thrives better under low to moderate light conditions and a temperature range of 21 to 24 degrees centigrade but it can survive temperatures of up to 29 to 32 degrees centigrade.

As you do not plant the Java Moss, you will need to fix it temporarily, for example, to a rock with some fishing line. Then, when it has used its own tiny roots to adhere to the rock you can remove the fishing line. You can also produce a moss wall effect by adding the moss to a net which is fixed to the tank wall by suction devices and nylon string.

It is an excellent plant in which spawning can take place and in which the hatched fry can shelter and hide. Egg-laying fish that scatter their eggs would benefit most from this plant. From a maintenance point of view, you need to keep it clean of algae which will have a detrimental effect on it.

Other recommended cuttings plants are;
* Cabomba caroliniana 
* Bacopa caroliniana 
* Hygrophila salicifolia 
* Ludwiga repens
Other recommended floating plants are;
* Ceratophyllum spp.
* Ceratopteris thalictroides
* Pistia stratiatos
* Riccia fluitans


Different Types of FILTERS

A commercially available canister filter
A commercially available canister filter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aquarium filters are an absolute must in keeping a proper fish tank setup.  No one has operated an effective aquarium system without properly functioning fish tank filters or aquarium filters.  The importance of aquarium filters is not subject to debate; they are an essential part of any aquarium system.  You do not need to be intimated by this because as essential as it is, fish tank filters do not require too much effort and money from aquarium owners.

Whether you are a hobbyist or a serious aquarist, your main goal is to provide the best possible environment for your fish to not just live, but thrive in.  Thus, you must give a lot of thought to which fish tank filters and filter media should be used to produce the most excellent results within your budget.  You will be glad to find that there are a lot of options available to meet your demands, needs, and restrictions.

The importance of aquarium and fish tank filters
Aquarium filters are essential because they rid your aquarium of chemical waste products, both soluble and physical.  Fish tank filters simplify the maintenance of your aquarium or fish tank setup.  You should remember that fish tanks are definitely smaller counterparts of the natural habitat that your fish are used to.  Thus, aquarium filters are essential in supporting the fish's existence.

As with all living organisms, fish and other possible animals that you can put in your aquarium produce waste materials through breathing and their excrement.  Aside from this, food or plants that are not consumed and other organisms that have died inside the fish tank can also add to the waste.   These waste products contaminate the water, making it dirty as they continue to collect.  As more waste products are collected, thereby contaminating the water, there's a higher health risk for organisms living inside the aquarium.  This is where filtration comes in.  Installing fish tank filters is a tried and tested method to make sure that the aquarium will continue to be a conducive environment for your fish and other aquatic pets.  Simply put, no one wants to live in a dirty house, not even fish.

What are filter media?
Filter media are the materials present in aquarium filters, where the water passes through.  Once the water passed through the filter media, the main cleaning or filtration action begins.  There are three kinds of filter media in aquarium filters: biological, mechanical, and chemical.

Mechanical filter media are composed of synthetic fibers.  These fibers vary in roughness and come in two forms: sponge and floss.  Mechanical media are the front liners in the cleaning process happening in fish tank filters because they are the first to absorb large debris and dirt that can cause damage to the more delicate chemical and biological media.  Mechanical filter media have to be cleaned on a regular basis, but this shouldn't be a problem since the debris can be easily rinsed away from the filter.

The main role of biological filter media is to remove toxins such as nitrates, ammonia, and nitrites that are present in organic wastes produced by the living organisms in the aquarium.  Biological filter media come in the form of bio-balls, rings, substrates, and gravel, which should be increased when you add more pets to your fish tank.

An internal aquarium filter driven by air disp...
An internal aquarium filter is driven by air displacement
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lastly, chemical filter media are responsible for removing other pollutants that the two other types cannot get rid of.  These pollutants range from air pollutants and organic compounds from biological processes to bi-products of fish medications.  Chemical filter media usually take care of unwanted odors or colors in your aquarium water.  Carbon and resin are the usual components of this type of filter media.

How do aquarium canister filters work?
Aquarium canister filters are currently becoming the most common type of aquarium filters.  Canister filters are situated below the tank, inside the stand of the fish tank.  They have cylinders that are closed, measuring around 15 inches in length, with locking lids that have two valves.  The intake valve draws water into the aquarium canister filters, where the water passes through the media.  The outtake valve spews out filtered water back into the tank.  Canister filters are easy to maintain unlike the more popular HOB or hang on back filters.  Usually, aquarium canister filters can still be effective even if only undergoing maintenance once or twice a year.

What is a wet/dry filter?
Wet/dry filters used to be an extremely popular choice for biological filtration in the saltwater aquarium hobby. Advancements in filtration technology have made the wet/dry filter a less popular choice. In fact, some more hardcore hobbyists have labeled them as "nitrate factories."

Wet/dry filters are very good at breaking down ammonia into nitrate. They provide an aerobic environment for bacteria to break down waste so they do not deplete oxygen from your aquarium. Unfortunately, aquarium wet/dry filters [http://www.marinedepot.com/wet_dry_filters__index-ap.html] are almost too efficient for a reef tank and may cause nitrate levels to build up too fast. That's why many hobbyists prefer using live rock in the reef aquarium environment as their primary biological filtration.



Adult Neolamprologus cylindricus in an aquarium
Adult Neolamprologus cylindricus in an aquarium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you have decided to set up an African cichlid tank, odds are that this is not your first aquarium. I first decided to keep African cichlids after seeing some red zebras and yellow labs in a pet shop and wondering why these colorful fish were not in the saltwater section. I had never seen such colorful fish that were not saltwater fish. African cichlids are also very interesting to watch. They are a territorial fish with a bit of an attitude. This can be handled by proper stocking of your aquarium.

First, you must decide which of the three lakes you want to set your aquarium up to imitate. African cichlids come from Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, and Lake Malawi. All three of these lakes have hard water with a high pH. I would suggest starting with mbunas from Lake Malawi. Mbunas are a class of rock-dwelling, mouthbrooding, and omnivorous cichlids. The common varieties can be found in most local pet shops and are not very expensive.

Mbunas require a lot of space and hiding spots in their aquarium. You should use a 55-gallon aquarium or larger to keep these cichlids. You can use limestone or holy rock (limestone rock with lots of holes) and caves. These are usually placed towards the rear of the tank which allows for a free swimming area at the front of the tank. A common substrate used in mbuna aquariums is crushed coral. Using crushed coral as the substrate helps maintain the elevated pH and water hardness.

Cichlid tanks require a lot of filtration to keep the inhabitants healthy. I usually use two large sponge filters in each of the rear corners in combination with a large filter hanging on the back of the tank or two smaller ones submerged within the tank. The hanging filter (or the submersed ones) cleans particulate matter from the aquarium while the sponge filters house large quantities of the bacteria which convert ammonia to nitrites and the nitrites to nitrates.

African cichlids require a water temperature of around 80 degrees F. This will most likely require a 150-watt heater on each end of a 55-gallon tank. The submersible type with a temperature setting is preferred. They cost a little more but are worth it. They will last much longer than the less expensive ones that hang on the back of the tank.

After the aquarium is set up with the proper substrate, plenty of hiding spaces, heaters, filters and filled with dechlorinated water, you need to determine the pH and water hardness. You can buy water test kits at your local pet shop. With the limestone and crushed coral, you have already elevated your pH and water hardness from what it comes out of your tap. You will need a pH of 7.4 to 8.6 and a water hardness of 10.0 to 20.0 dH.

It has been my experience with relatively soft tap water with a neutral pH that if I use the cichlid tank setup described above, all I need to do is adjust the water hardness and the pH is right where I want it.

Test your water hardness. If your tap water is hard enough, you may get lucky and not need to make any adjustments. Most likely though, you will need to increase the water's hardness. You can elevate the hardness using African cichlid salt. You can find this at your local pet shop or online.

Add the cichlid salt until you reach a hardness level around 15.0 dH. At this point, check your pH. Your pH should be around 8 at this point. If necessary, you may need to adjust it also. This is unlikely, once you have elevated the hardness to this level.

Now you can purchase your first African cichlid. Initially just purchase one cichlid for the tank and let it have the tank to itself for about two weeks. This will give the aquarium time to grow the bacteria necessary to break down waste in the tank in what is called the nitrogen cycle. You can get around this by setting up one of the sponge filters in an established aquarium for a couple of weeks prior to setting up your cichlid tank. This way the sponge filter will have all of the bacteria needed for the nitrogen cycle.  When you then move it to your new tank, you have effectively moved the bacterial colonies that the new tank requires.

At this point, you have your African cichlid tank up and running! If you chose mbuna for your tank, feed them spirulina flakes and cichlid pellets. Once it is fully stocked, perform 30% to 50% water changes on a weekly basis. Vacuum the gravel when you do this and you will have a healthy, thriving community of African cichlids.

One last note: The large sponge filters and large water changes may be relics of my years keeping discus, which require a very clean tank. I can tell you from experience that you will very rarely if ever have health issues with your fish if you keep an aquarium in this manner.

    Tim Montey has kept and bred fish as a hobby off and on for more than 30 years. 
    Article Directory: EzineArticles


GLOWLIGHT TETRA - A Superb Fish to Keep in Community Aquariums

English: Tetra Glowlight Hemigrammus erythrozonus
Tetra Glowlight Hemigrammus erythrozonus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Originating from river Essequibo in Guyana, Glowlight tetra fish comes from very turbulent water. The river runs through mountains and forests. In its journey into the Atlantic Ocean, the river has many waterfalls and rapids. Naturally, the fish is accustomed to staying in water currents.

The maximum size of Glowlight tetra fish is about 1.4 inches. It has a silvery color for its body and there is one bright stripe running throughout the body right from the snout to the tail. The color of the stripe is usually red but sometimes you can find Glowlight tetras with an orange stripe. The fins are normally transparent, but sometimes you can find silvery fins also. Innovative breeders are successful in bringing out color variations on their body. So these days you can have Glowlight tetra fish with the golden body also!

The fish is mainly described as schooling fish and it should be kept in a group of at least six. If you are able to keep a bigger group, the fish will be able to live happily. However, keeping only a single one or a pair is never desirable. The fish will develop stress and it will get sick. The life of the fish will also be shortened as they do not feel safe and they will not swim freely. But if they are kept in a bigger group, they will always be active and will show natural behavior.

Glowlight tetra fish usually tend to stay in the middle part of the aquarium, slightly above the bottom. However, when they are fed, they will immediately come to the surface of the water and try to grab the food. They are happy eaters and if you keep them well, they can live up to 4 to 5 years.

If you are planning to keep them in a community aquarium, you should always select nonaggressive species to stay with them. Cardinal tetras are good partners for Glowlight tetra fish. The color combination of both the fish will make your aquarium really beautiful. Cardinal tetras will form their own group and they will swim along with Glowlight tetras all the time. This will make your aquarium great.

Regarding keeping conditions of water in the aquarium, there are no complicated requirements. The temperature of the water should be within a range of 74-84 °F and the pH level of the water should be between 6.0 to 7.5.

If you are able to set up a medium-sized aquarium that is fine for Glowlight tetra fish. An aquarium of 10 gallons is good for them but if you are able to provide an aquarium of about 25 gallons that will make their stay comfortable. You should try to replicate the natural living conditions for them including a lot of plants with fine leaves, a good area for swimming and continuously flowing water.

The lighting of the aquarium should be moderate and the color of the substrate should preferably be dark.

Regarding their food, they love to eat worms and plants. However, they will be happy to eat food flakes as well as boiled vegetables.

Glowlight tetra fish are available easily from a lot of pet shops and they are not very expensive. So they are ideal for beginners as well as experienced fish-keepers.

    Chintamani Abhyankar is a goldfish enthusiast and has been raising and breeding goldfish for many years. He is an expert on their care and an advocate for raising healthy goldfish the natural way.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


The Plight of the MANDARIN GOBY

English: Synchiropus splendidus, Callionymidae...
Synchiropus splendidus, Callionymidae, Mandarin Dragonet; (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The mandarin dragonet, or its common names, the mandarin goby or the mandarin fish is a very commonly collected species of fish that almost always perish in the holding tanks or in the owners' aquariums. And that is a shame because they do just fine on their own in the wild.

They are given the scientific name Synchiropus Splendidus, probably after the splendid array of colors present on this peaceful and shy fish. They are collected in huge numbers around the Indo-Pacific and are a common sight at most marine aquarium shops around the world.

They are breathtakingly beautiful and have committed the crime of being beautiful and plentiful both at the same time, which is why so many of them are collected every month. As a hobbyist that has had vast experience in the field of marine aquariums, I can safely say that over 95% of these lovely fish die a premature death. And why? Because of their diet.

They require a steady diet of live copepods and similar creatures to live a healthy life in captivity. They are also hard to get on prepared foods like brine or mysis shrimp. Even if you manage to get them to eat frozen foods, there is no way they can compete with their tank mates as they are extremely slow eaters.

Too many times have I seen tanks upon tanks holding hundreds of them ready for export with the knowledge that almost none of them will make it. The price of a specimen? All too low due to their common nature in the wild.

Huge collection and mortality rates will eventually the depletion of wild stocks in our oceans. I wouldn't be surprised to hear the Mandarin Goby listed as an endangered species one day. It could be in 10 years time or it could happen in 50. Point is, it will happen.

Fortunately, there have been successful captive breeding of the mandarin goby by some hobbyists and I am certain their successes can be emulated on a large scale. But there simply isn't enough money in captive-reared mandarin gobies. They are a cheap fish and breeders will have a hard time trying to recoup their costs in this case.

    In the meantime, their collection will continue and they will keep on dying in captivity. The only solution is through educating people about the care and requirements of the Mandarin Goby and its similarly difficult cousin, the Scooter Blenny.
    Hopefully, hobbyists will start reading up on the needs of these lovely creatures and success rates with these fish should increase. More importantly, they need a sustainable captive rearing program for the industry in the long term.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



Parachromis managuensis 2012 G1.jpg
Native to South American freshwaters, the Jaguar Cichlid (Parachromis managuensis) is as aggressive as its name suggests. For this reason, one must be careful not to put them into a tank with smaller species; it will attack them. During the breeding period, their aggression is heightened and they may even attack larger species. Providing a separate tank during breeding, or at the very least a tank partition will be beneficial to your entire fish population.

The Jaguar Cichlid can live for 15 years and males can reach sizes over 12 inches. Females will rarely exceed 12 inches in size, but these fish will need a relatively large aquarium, not less than 180 gallons if breeding or kept with other fish. Water temperatures should be kept between 77F and 97F with a pH level between 7.0 and 8.7.

If you want a Jaguar cichlid and you want to reduce it's aggressive behavior (which you can only do to a certain extent) then replicating their natural environment and water chemistry is a must. When I say natural environment, I mean the substrate of their habitat, the plants that are found in their favorite swimming areas, the types of rocks or driftwood and even the pace of the current. You can add a current to your aquarium by installing special jets with an adjustable flow-rate. Water chemistry includes pH, water temperature, water hardness and water clarity.

As a predatory fish, the Jaguar Cichlid prefers live food but may be trained to consume pellets as well. These fish reach maturity when they are about 4 inches in size and at this point are ready to breed. Males will lose the stripes on their body when mature. In keeping with their aggressive nature, males may become violent even with the females when breeding so it may be necessary to divide the tank in a way that the female may reach the male, but not vice versa. You can do this by installing a plastic divider in the aquarium. The divider needs to have one or two holes that are big enough for the female to swim through, but too small for the male to fit. This will allow the female to interact with the male when she wants to and swim away to protect herself when she needs to.

Jaguar Cichlids double in population every 1 to 4 years and are sought after for food and trade alike. Be sure you can accommodate the special needs of a Jaguar Cichlid before you make the decision to add them to your aquarium.