Bluehead Wrasse or Thalassoma bifasciatum are members of the family Ladredae. This species is endemic to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico with populations occurring as far south as the coastline of central Brazil.

Blue-headed wrasse, San Pedro, Belize Barrier Reef
Blue-headed wrasse
(Photo credit: 

Bluehead wrasses are medium sized, cigar shaped, fish. They grow to a maximum adult length of 7 inches. This species exhibits dramatic changes in coloration in relation to gender and age. Juveniles are typically yellow with white underbellies and black markings along their bodies and on their fins. Adult females are completely turquoise in color with two vertical black bars. It is in the adult male that the truly exotic color variations of this species can be witnessed. They have blue heads as their name would indicate. A set of three thick vertical bands separate the head from the main body. The first and the third bands are black. These two bands are clearly defined by a white bar in the middle. The male's main body is either turquoise with golden highlights or gold with turquoise highlights. 

Their pitch-forked tails are colorless and transparent in the center with the same coloration as their heads outlined with black pigmentation at the top and bottom of the caudal fin. Regardless of age or gender, this species has thick, paddle-shaped pectoral fins. They are exceptionally fast swimmers. This is a short lived species. Their live span rarely exceeds 2 years. This fish is also marketed under the names blunt-headed wrasse or simply bluehead. Blunt bears reference to wrasse species with more elongated snouts.

Juveniles and the females of this species have peaceful temperaments. Adult males lean more toward the semi-aggressive side. They may tend to harass smaller, more mild mannered, fish. A new arrival to the aquarium might elicit initial territorial behavior, especially toward those of similar shape. All things considered, these fish make suitable candidates for multi-species aquariums. They should not be kept with larger more, aggressive species. The bluehead's suitability for a marine reef tank depends on its inhabitants. They will not bother plant life, corals or other forms of stationary fauna. But they will eat crustaceans and other mobile invertebrates. This species is rated at a moderate care level.

Any saltwater aquarist with intermediate experience should be able to keep them alive and healthy. They are, however, sensitive to unhealthy water parameters. A good quality filtration system and frequent water changes will help keep them in optimum condition. These are very active swimmers and will require plenty of open swimming space. They will instinctively seek out holes or cracks in rock formations to sleep in at night so you will want to provide them with plenty of aquarium d├ęcor or rock work. A minimum tank size of 75 gallons is recommended.

This is a carnivorous species. In the wild their diet consists of fish, small crustaceans and other invertebrates including worms. They will help rid your aquarium of pest species such as mantis shrimp and bristle worms. These fish take readily to aquarium food. Their diet can be further supplemented with fresh chopped seafood, and feeder shrimp. This is an extremely active species. They should be fed 3 times daily.

Bluehead wrasses are protogynous sequential hermaphrodites. They may begin their life cycle as either male or female. Females have ability to change gender should future prorogation of the species call for the demand. This fish has not been known to breed in captivity.

    By Stephen J Broy
    Technological advancements in the aquarium industry continually redefine the concept of "home aquarium owner." 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


SALVINI CICHLID - How To Setup The Aquarium For This Cichlid?

What is a salvini?
Salvini cichlid or the yellow belly cichlid is also known as the Tri-color cichlid especially during breeding season. They do not appear to be extremely colorful however they show color variations with intensity at the time of spawning.

They are by nature moderately aggressive but gets really aggressive when breeding which is why smaller fishes should not be kept together with salvini's at this time. Ideally they can be tank mates with Jack Dempsey or a Red Devil cichlid.

English: My salvini male (Cichlasoma salvini)
Salvini male (Cichlasoma salvini)
(Photo credit: 

These species are quite known to hobbyist because of its hardiness and vividly beautiful coloration. It exudes spectacular colors of yellow, black, red, and sometimes even blue. They thrive well showing its stunning colors especially when kept with South American Cichlids of equal size and temperament.

What to feed the Salvini?
Feeding them is effortless because it will grab any type of foods given to them. They eat foods like flakes and pellets, or live foods, and frozen foods too. Always remember to add vegetables such as lettuce or zucchini in its meal every now and then to keep diet balance.

What are the preferable aquarium conditions for Salvini Fish?
A 50 gallon aquarium for a pair of salvini is adequate enough. Fill in water with a pH value between 6 and 8, a dH of 8 - 15, and a temperature of 70 - 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A constant water change of 25% - 30% is required at least once a week. The salvini aquarium water also needs a powerful filtration system. Moreover, salvini's tank should be decorated with lots of rocks, driftwood, and plants to provide them copious hiding places.

Live plants may be used in the tank since these species are not substrate digger or plant destroyers, actually it is said to be that salvini's color are enhanced deeply if kept in a well planted tank. Nevertheless, the salvini's should be kept in capacious aquarium. It is preferable to provide them a larger space for the cichlids to swim freely without the distraction of plants and other decorative items. Keep in mind that this variety is a bottom to mid swimmer fishes.

Salvini's are also an excellent parent to its babies thus the fry may be kept together with its parents as they grow. However, when kept in community tanks, the fry may be transferred to a new tank to avoid overcrowding.

Find out more on how to breed and care for the salvini cichlid's fry. Reading and understanding first the basic information about salvini's as well as the aquarium set-up and its water conditions gives hobbyist ideas on what are salvini cichlid fish and how to care for them. After which, they are ready to move on about how to go about breeding.

    By Lacey Bryant
    Lacey Bryant is a cichlid enthusiast and author, who has been caring for cichlids for over 15 years. She has been breeding Cichlids for years and it has become her passion to share her knowledge about their proper care.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Gigantic REPTILES!

Of all the reptiles, we are usually most interested in the largest ones - alligators, crocodiles, komodo dragons, and the big snakes.   These snakes have songs written about them, and the anaconda was even the star of a movie!  Not only are these reptiles amazing due to their size, they also have many other interesting points.

English: Royal Python or Ball python, Python r...
Royal Python or Ball python, Python regius
(Photo credit: 

Let's begin with the standard question, exactly how big are they?  The largest of the big snakes is the anaconda, which has been reported to grow to thirty-seven feet long.  You can't realize how long a reptile this is until you measure from your room down the hallway, probably well into the living room.  A truly enormous snake, and one of the longest reptiles ever!  This snake spends most of its time in the water hiding in the water plants of South America.

The other four giant snakes are pythons, and are found in Africa and Asia.  They grow to between 22 feet and 32 feet, depending on the species.  If you see a python in a zoo or other animal show, it is probably a reticulated python from Southeast Asia, due to its beautiful color pattern and the fact that it does well living in captivity.  How do regular snakes compare with these giants?  Most other snakes are much smaller, and even few rarely even grow to twelve feet.  

The giant snakes can live up to twenty years in captivity.  When they are young they can be eaten by hawks or other predators that eat smaller snakes, but no animal would try to threaten or eat a full grown giant snake.  The only real enemies of these great reptiles are intestinal parasites, diseases, and man. 

The giant snakes really can swallow a man whole!  Very few cases of that have been reported though.  Once a giant snake has had a large supper, it would be the same as if it ate four hundred average sized meals.  This means that sometimes these reptiles might go a long time between meals, maybe as infrequently as once a year. 

The giant snakes have extremely strong muscles, and use them both in movement and in hunting their prey.  Their jaws are also very strong, but that isn't as important as how wide their mouths open in order to eat their prey.  Generally the giant snakes kill their prey before the snake begins to swallow them.  The giant snakes rely on squeezing their prey (which is why they are often called constrictors), but they generally squeeze only hard enough to prevent the prey from breathing sufficiently, and eventually suffocate the prey.  They do not need or intend to squeeze hard enough to crush or break bones, as people sometimes think.

A constrictor throws several coils around the body of its prey, very neatly, and at each breath simply applies a little more pressure until the prey can no longer breathe.  There are stories of skulls of goats being broken, but this is not necessary and not even the way that the constrictors work.  One interesting behavior is that sometimes the giant snakes will break bones in order to "fold" a victim in two in order to swallow it more easily. 

Many snake handlers consider the giant snakes to be quite intelligent, and find that the giant snakes are easily handled and come to recognize and accept their trainers.  They are among the most fascinating of reptiles, and make sure you visit them if they are in a nearby zoo or other naturalist area.


Pet JELLYFISH Facts: Jellyfish Anatomy

Jellyfish have survived for 650 million Years. They belong to the phylum Cnidaria. This phylum is divided into definitive classes which include all anemones, corals, fire corals and what is commonly referred to as true jellyfish. Anthozoa contains sea coral and anemones. Hydrozoa includes the Portuguese Man o`War which contrary to popular belief is not an actual jellyfish but a massive colony of hydrozoans. The class Cubozoa contains box jellies, the deadliest creatures on Earth. True jellyfish belong to the class Scyphozoa which includes over 200 species.

Jellyfish at Sydney Aquarium
Jellyfish at Sydney Aquarium
(Photo credit: 
Jellyfish exist in every ocean on the planet. They cover the entire spectrum of oceanic depths from shallow estuaries and lagoons to the deepest, largely unexplored regions of the aquatic domain. The most geographically diverse and easily recognizable of these creatures is the moon jellyfish (Aurelia) or common jellyfish which contains twenty separate species that are so identical morphologically that it takes DNA testing to distinguish one form another. From a non-scientific standpoint, moon jellyfish might as well be a single species.

Anatomically, jellyfish can best be described as a sac within a sac. They are composed of approximately 95% water, 3% salt and 2% protein. They have no eyes, no brains, and no supporting skeletal system but yet are one on the oldest multi-cellular creatures known to man. They existed long before the first dinosaurs roamed the Earth and will almost certainly still be here long after the human race has vanished. Without a brain, jellyfish have managed to survive three planetary wide extinctions: This alone bears testimony to their long term survivability as a life form. Jellyfish are one of the simplest multi-cellular organisms in existence. They are most accurately described as gelatinous zooplankton. The actual term jellyfish is a universal misnomer. Jellyfish are, of course, not fish. Jelly refers to the gelatinous substance that accounts for most of the mass in a jellyfish's umbrella or bell. This jelly (mesoglea) is surrounded by two layers of epithelial cells. The top layer forms the upper portion of the umbrella. The bottom layer forms the subumbrella or underbelly of the bell.

Jellyfish do not have specialized digestive, respiratory or circulatory systems. In fact, they don't even have blood cells. Oxygen is absorbed by simple diffusion through their thin outer membranes. A second membrane within the jellyfish contains a gastrodermal lining which forms a gastrovascular cavity. This primitive cavity functions in place of a digestive system. Nutrients are absorbed and distributed throughout the body. Jellyfish either have a single mouth or multiple mouth openings positioned on oral arms that function for both intake of nutrients and expulsion of waste products.

Jellyfish also lack any semblance of an advanced skeletal system. They have what is called a hydrostatic skeleton that provides structural integrity and allows for limited mobility. Hydroskeletons are common in many lower life forms, specifically cold blooded and soft bodied organisms. A hydroskeleton consists of fluid or gelatinous filled cavity called a coelom. The coelom is typically surrounded by muscular tissue or muscle-like membranes. As the muscle tissue contract or expand the pressure of the fluid in the coelom is changed. This change in fluid pressure is what allows jellyfish to change shape and achieve locomotion. Most jellyfish are poor swimmers. They spend the vast majority of their adult lives drifting haplessly on the ocean currents. Box jellies, however, are quite good swimmers. Sea nettles are such accomplished swimmers that they spend most of their time swimming, quite frequently against prevailing currents. This is why they appear to be swimming upside down.


Aquarium Fish Care - BARB Care Tips For Beginners

Sumatra barbs, red barbs, rosy barbs and tiger barbs are all different varieties of freshwater fishes. They are easy to maintain and breed. But the larger barbs can only be kept with big fishes. The large barbs can cause trouble in communal tanks and destroy your structured plans. They require more attention than the smaller ones and therefore the barbs have to be separated and grouped.

The purple head barb and the black ruby are from Ceylon. These fishes grow to the size of around two and half inches and live in communal tanks well. The female ones create a colourful and vibrant environment by flaunting their grey-yellow bodies that also show stripes or dark blotches. The male lot are mostly either black or brown and/or have their fronts that are vermilion red.

Cherry barb, Puntius titteya
Cherry Barb - Photo by brian.gratwicke 

They are not like the boisterous group of Puntius Conchonius groups and live comfortably in communal waters. They are not finicky when it comes to food and they hence eat anything. They also have no demands when it comes to the water conditions, they are best suited for natural water which is hard water. These types of fish are also easy to breed. They lay around three hundred eggs and like other barbs also spawn.

The Sumatra and tiger fish belong to the species of Capoeta Tetrazona. These come from Sumatra and Borneo and grow up to two inches. They are colourful and set off the tanks with their colours and stripes. The fish keeps changing its behaviour and because of this nature it happens to be among the most diverse in the market. This is proved as some people say the fish is mild and calming while others refer to it as the bully who terrorizes the other fish!

The Sumatra and tiger fishes need the similar water conditions as compared to other barbs. They tend to live in the practical as well as impractical alkaline water. The fish does well in salt water too. The temperature that is recommended is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. These fishes have good appetites and they are not fussy and eat everything. Breeders will benefit as barb fishes are all healthy spawns.

Female Sumatra and tiger fishes are fat and differ from the male ones who are slim and colourful fishes. The female ones are quite ordinary and plain and they breed. They however do have some bladder problems and the fins have a tendency to go rot. The water hence should be clean and spotless. The tank also should be watched over during breeding as the spawns laid by the fishes are likely to be bitten by the mutants.

Capoeta Titteya or Cherry barbs are fishes that come from Ceylon too and they grow to the size of two inches. They are normally brownish-yellow in colour or brownish red. These fishes differ from the others to look at as they consist of top to bottom dark black lines. They are good communal fishes and require the same water and feeding conditions like the other barbs. The male in these are of darker colours and during breeding they undergo change in colours which appears to be black or even cherry red but the stripes evaporate eventually.

These barbs breed like the others too and even lay up to a number of 200 eggs. The cherry barbs consist of a wide variety and the fascinating thing is that while some types feed on other barbs itself; the other types don?t do this.

Concluding if you are a beginner then to get better acquainted with tips on aquarium and fish care you can check the new Harlequins line out.

    Abhishek is an avid Fish Lover and he has got some great Aquarium Care Secrets up his sleeves! 
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Caring For A Pet SNAKE

When people think of pets, most of the time "furry" and "cuddly" are adjectives that come to mind. For the owners of pet snakes, however, these words don't really fit. Still, snakes make interesting pets, and can even be lovable - in their own way.

Photo Wikimedia

Choosing to own a pet snake should not be a snap decision. Snakes can grow large, eat a lot, and require very specific conditions for staying healthy. Some varieties can even be dangerous to humans. Providing for their needs can be quite expensive. To top it all off, snakes tend to have a long lifespan. For the sake of the snake, don't buy one without being sure you are ready to make the commitment.

All snakes are meat-eaters. Many snake owners keep live mice or rats, which multiply rapidly, as food for their snakes. It is recommended that snakes be fed pre-killed prey animals instead of live ones. Especially if the snake is not real hungry, a live prey animal can inflict injuries to the snake. Many snake enthusiasts order frozen mice for their snakes. Others raise mice and kill them as needed to feed their snakes.

The good part of feeding a snake is that most shouldn't be fed more often than once a week and some can go for several weeks between feedings. The reason is that they don't have to expend any energy creating their own body heat. In fact, if the cage is not warm enough, a snake can't even digest its food.

The enclosure, or cage, for the snake needs to be first of all escape proof. Snakes are escape artists, and don't need a very big opening in order to find a way out. The cage also has to have a source of heat. Because they are cold blooded, snakes must have a variety of temperatures to choose from. This is how they regulate their body heat. For best results, the enclosure should be heated on one side only and thermometers used on both ends. Each snake species has specific needs in terms of heat, and you should find out these needs before getting a snake.

Other needs include a bowl of water, several places to hide, and a floor lining. If you’re on a tight budget, newspaper works well for most snake varieties. It can easily be replaced when soiled. The water should be kept clean, too. Any wastes or uneaten food should be removed quickly. The cage should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected about once a month.

Keeping a pet snake is a responsibility that can also be an adventure. If you are a beginner, you should start with one of the easier snakes to keep. Do a little research, and you will find out that pet snake breeds are generally rated according to how hard they are to keep. In time, you will learn the ins and outs of snake keeping, and can expand your collection to include some of the more exotic types.


Different Types of Pet Hermit Crabs

A hermit crab is a truly exotic pet. They might not be the first exotic pets you think of when you first think of exotic pets. You might first think of a tarantula, an iguana, or maybe you even know someone with a scorpion. While these pets are all most definitely exotic, hermit crabs are the definition of exotic. They generally come from a tropical climate where humidity and temperature are high in the daytime and where the evenings are just as muggy. Hermit crabs unquestionably fall into the category of the more unusual pets, such as those mentioned before. They make interesting, easy-to-care-for companions and, like any other pet, have their own personalities. By nature, they are active and curious. The unique characteristics displayed in each hermit crab, plus the fact that they are low maintenance, make them the perfect pet choice for many people.

Hermit Crab
Hermit crabs are not what we think of when we think of traditional crabs.  They have a much smaller, softer abdomen than the typical crab. Because the abdomens of these crabs are soft and small, they are vulnerable, so they must be protected. The way a hermit crab protects its body from the elements and predators is by taking up residence in a snail shell that has been previously discarded. As hermit crabs age and grow, they must continuously find new shells in order to have a shell that fits each time the crab grows a little. Therefore, hermit crab pet owners must provide a selection of hermit crab shells for your pet to choose from. The hermit crab will be able to choose the perfect size shell to fit comfortably on its body.

Hermit crabs, in the wild, are omnivores, meaning they eat a little bit of everything. They eat meats, vegetables, and fruit. They scavenge eating whatever they can find in order to survive. When you own a hermit crab, they can eat crab food with healthy veggie and meat snacks, or to take more time, you can feed them a balanced diet of what you might eat, such as grapes, carrots, and chicken.

As far as the type of hermit crabs that are usually found as pets in the United States, there are both land hermit crabs and marine hermit crabs. This article specifically talks about land hermit crabs, as the care for marine hermit crabs is much different. The two main species of hermit crabs that are the most popular in the U.S. are Coenobita clypeatus, also known as Caribbean crabs, land hermit crabs, or tree crabs. The other species is Coenobita compressus, also known as the Ecuadorian species, or known as E-Crabs. There are other species kept as pets in other parts of the world and can be found in the U.S. such as the Australian Hermit Crab and the Strawberry Hermit Crab. Though these species are generally found as pets in other places besides the United States, in larger pet stores in the U.S., different species are often available.

For the most part, land hermit crabs are easy to find in pet stores these days. They are becoming increasingly popular pets. One of the most important things to consider when selecting a pet is the care involved. If you are a busy person and don’t have time to put into a more needy pet, a hermit crab is relatively self-sufficient, and therefore an ideal pet for a busy person. At the time of purchase, check to make sure 3 sets of crab legs are present, he/ she is not damaged, and that there are no visible parasites. Try to pick a lively crab, and remember that the larger crabs are sturdier and less susceptible to disease and death. Whatever hermit crab you decide to choose, pick one you will love.