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

2018-12-03

Tips on Hippocampus Kuda Or Common SEAHORSE Care

Male seahorsees are pouch brooders
Male seahorses are pouch brooders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seahorses are cataloged in the genus Hippocampus. The members of this genus belong to the family Syngnathidae. This family contains over 50 individual species including all seahorses and their close relatives the pipefish. Seahorses are found in shallow waters of tropical and temperate zones around the world.

The name Hippocampus is first recorded in Greek poetry. Hippos mean horse and campus translate to sea monster. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed seahorses were a gift from the sea god Poseidon/Neptune. Despite their fragility, seahorses were perceived to be a symbol of strength and power. There are three species of seahorse found in the Mediterranean Sea. These are the Hippocampus hippocampus or long snout, the Hippocampus brevirostris or short snout, and the Hippocampus fuscus which emigrated from its native habitat in the Red Sea. Many Europeans thought these equine-like creatures bore the souls of recently departed sailors, providing them safe passage to the underworld and protecting over them until their souls meant their destiny. Seahorse fossils have been discovered dating as far back as 13 million years. Here we will focus both the seahorse collectively and one specific species Hippocampus kuda also known as the common seahorse.

The common seahorse is indigenous to the Indo-Pacific. Twenty-three countries have confirmed the presence of H. Kuda ranging as far south as Australia to as far north as China.

Seahorses have been procured by Chinese herbologists for their purported healing qualities for centuries. Native populations throughout Indonesia and the Central Philippines also use seahorses as a component in herbalistic medicines. It is estimated that up to 20 millions seahorses a year are harvested to support this thriving industry. Overfishing has driven seahorse populations to the verge of becoming endangered species. The common seahorse is currently listed as a vulnerable species by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention). CITES has regulated the import and export of seahorses in this region of the world since 2004. Unfortunately, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea do not recognize the trade rules put in place by the Washington Convention.

Seahorses are a boney fish. They are devoid of scales. They have a thin layer of skin stretched over a series of bony plates arranged in rings. Each individual species has a specific number of these rings. Seahorses have a cornet on their heeds. These cornets are distinctive to each seahorse. No two are identical much like a human fingerprint.

These creatures swim vertically, a trait specific to seahorses. They are poor swimmers who move very slowly in the water. Propulsion is achieved by the rapid flutter of the dorsal fin on their backs. They maneuver with the use of their pectoral fins located behind their eyes. They do not possess a caudal (tail) fin. In its place, there is a prehensile tail which they warp around stationary objects to anchor themselves.

In an aquarium, seahorses must be provided with objects to anchor themselves to. Coral and small branches will suffice nicely. These are timid creatures that should never be housed with even moderately aggressive species. They are easily stressed. Prolonged periods of stress will lower the efficiency of their immune system making them more susceptible to disease. Gobies and other docile mannered fish will make suitable tank mates. Seahorses are primarily bottom dwellers. They will peacefully coexist with ornamental crustaceans and other bottom feeders. This makes them the perfect compliment to a marine reef aquarium.


The amateur aquarist should not attempt to raise seahorses. You will only accomplish the unnecessary death of a rapidly vanishing species. Seahorses are only recommended for the more experienced saltwater aficionado.

All seahorses are carnivorous. They use their snouts to suck in zooplankton as a source of nutrition. Upon initial introduction to a home aquarium, seahorses may only eat live food offerings. Rotifers, mysis and brine shrimp should help persuade them to start feeding. With patience, they can be weaned off of live food. These are slow feeders and must not be made to compete for their food.

In recent decades the captive breeding of seahorses has become increasingly widespread. The common seahorse is among these commercially raised specimens. Farm raised seahorses may already be acclimated to non-living food offerings. These are commonly more expensive than wild caught seahorses. However, you have a specimen that will not have to endure the shock and trauma of being yanked out of its natural habitat and placed in the confines of an aquarium. Farm raised marine species are more disease resistant and have a much higher survivability rate. And you will not be a participant in the further depletion of an already threatened species.



2018-11-20

Tips on FLAME HAWKFISH Care

Flame Hawkfish Neocirrhites armatus
Photo by brian.gratwicke 
Flame hawkfish or Neocirrhites armatus belong to the family Cirrhitidae. They are indigenous to the Micronesian sub-regions of the western Pacific Ocean. Significant populations exist in Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Ryukyu Islands where there is an abundance of pocillopora and stylophora coral. These shallow water bottom dwellers make their homes in hard coral formations.

Their descriptive name attributes to two distinct characteristics. Flame is derived from their bright reddish-orange coloration. They have a dark often black horizontal stripe along the curvature of their upper bodies. This stripe very much resembles a Mohawk. However, the word hawk refers to the darkened regions surrounding their eyes. These dark areas are reminiscent of the black circles found around the eyes of many hawks.


This is a rather robust, disease resistant species. They make for good additions to a community tank. They generally ignore non-bottom dwellers. They will, however, demonstrate territorial behavior toward other bottom-dwelling fish. It is therefore recommended that this be the only bottom dwelling fish species in your aquarium. They can grow to a maximum adult length of 4 inches and may live in excess of 10 years.

Whether or not they make suitable marine reef fish depends on the inhabitants in your tank. Their natural diet consists primarily of crustaceans, snails and smaller mollusks. They also have an affinity for hermit crabs. Coral is generally off the menu, especially hard coral. They will view these as a place of natural habitation. This is a diurnal species. It will be most active during the day and will seek shelter at night.

These fish may show a reluctance to feed initially. If they are newly captured they may not eat at all. This could simply be a matter of not recognizing common marine food as a source of nutrition. If feeding becomes problematic try tempting them with a treat similar to what they would eat in nature. Live brine shrimp should do the trick. In time they will learn that dried shrimp, a frozen food developed for carnivores and possibly even flake food are acceptable menu choices.

Flame hawkfish are prone to experiencing a loss in their brilliant coloration in captivity. This is most likely due to an as yet unidentified nutritional deficiency. Regular supplements of vitamin enriched brine shrimp and chopped fresh seafood such as shrimp, squid and crab will help to keep them healthy and prevent a reduction in color intensity. Maintaining an abundant supply of living rock will also prove beneficial.


I nature this species lives in small communal harems. A single male will be accompanied by anywhere from two to ten females. No obvious coloration differences exist between males and females. Males, however, tend to be a bit larger than the females. In the wild mating occurs at dusk. Eggs are left to drift away in the current.

Hawkfish are protogynous hermaphrodites. They are all born as females. If a group of females is introduced into an aquarium, the largest most dominant of the bunch will undergo a morphological transition into a male despite the fact that they are not 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


2018-10-07

Creating the Perfect Reef Aquarium

Reef Aquarium - Photo: Pixabay
Just as nature above the sea level is as variable as the sun, from the deserts of Arizona to the snow-topped caps of the Swiss Alps, so can the world under the sea be a constant study in contrasts, with no two reefs the same. This is good news for the underwater enthusiast who is attempting to establish the perfect reef aquarium in their home; there is no established "formula" for the perfect tank. There's plenty of room for creativity!

One thing that cannot be shirked upon is the size of a tank. It must be more than adequate to allow the species of fish that are chosen to inhabit it plenty of room to exercise and grow. Just as a person cannot thrive in an enclosed environment, neither can a fish. A 75 gallon tank is a generous size for the home marine biologist to establish their own eco-system and allows for space for several species of fish to spread out (provided they are compatible species, of course. Putting two species together who are unsuited to tank life together is a recipe for disaster, regardless of the size of the tank). 

Courtesy of advances in the convenience of establishing a home aquarium it is now possible to purchase an aquarium that has been pre-drilled in order to prevent overflow. This provides a cleaner look than the traditional "hang on the back" overflow system for the home professional who is attempting to create the picture perfect reef aquarium.

There are many options for decorating a reef aquarium, although it is generally much more aesthetically pleasing and healthy to the fish to keep all of the decorations one hundred percent organic. Live rock is a vital element to any eco-system, yet makes a lovely addition to a home saltwater aquarium. The microorganisms which grow on the rock (the rock is not really alive, obviously; it gets its name from the fact that it is a natural habitat for many species of bacteria) will help to filter out the harmful waste products produced by the fish that will accumulate in the water of a saltwater aquarium in spite of the filtering system-after all, how often does Mother Nature need to clean her saltwater aquarium? She has created the perfect filtering system as long as man does not add any elements to throw off the balance.



Live plants and coral are also essential elements to the perfect reef aquarium. There are many different types of plants which can be added to a reef aquarium, and it is best to choose based on the species of fish which will be inhabiting the tank. For successful transplantation of live aquarium plants, it is essential that the sand or silt on the bottom of the tank be deep enough to allow the roots of the plants to successfully take hold. These plants will also require additional light and carbon dioxide to allow for proper photosynthesis.

There are many options for creating the perfect saltwater aquarium, many of them very costly; however, with the proper mix of imagination and frugality, it is possible to create a reef aquarium that is aesthetical, ecologically and financially friendly. 



2018-09-07

A Practical Guide to PROTEIN SKIMMERS

English: Protein Skimmer, used to help maintai...
Protein Skimmer used to help maintain a healthy tank environment for fish and coral. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Protein skimmers are arguably the most useful component of the modern saltwater aquarium. Oxygenating water, removing dissolved organics, and clarifying water all help our
closed systems imitate the pristine waters of the reef. Most protein skimmers are improperly tuned and only provide a fraction of the benefits. So if you are looking to buy a skimmer, or judge if yours is working right, here is a summary.

The basic idea behind a protein skimmer is to have the finest bubbles possible suspended in the water the longest time. This allows time for the dissolved waste to coat the bubble, rise to the top, and be removed. I will use the old counter current air-driven models as an example. At the bottom of the skimmer, an airstone creates a current upwards. Near the top of the skimmer is an inlet for tank water, with the water exit at the bottom. The trick is to get the bubbles to remain suspended, but not be pushed out the bottom, by adjusting the amount of water flowing downwards. This allowed for the maximum coating of the bubbles, and maximum density of bubbles in the skimmer.

Venturi skimmers are a way of injecting air into water. The idea is like that old straw trick we annoyed our parents with. Blow across a straw that is in a cup of water, and presto, you have a projectile spray and a waiter cleaning up a mess. Venturi inlets just reverse this and use a stream of water to draw air in. These are very effective, although you need to see that the design allows for the air/water mixture to remaining in the skimmer tube until saturated. This includes swirling the mixture to maximize tube length, sending it through a byzantine maze to maximize space, or utilizing the countercurrent design mentioned above.

Venturi designs have improved by reducing the size of the bubbles injected, as in the needle wheel and downdraft technology. Needle wheel skimmers have air injected before the pump where the bubbles are chopped finely by the custom impeller. These are very effective and produce a very dry foam. Downdraft skimmers send the air/water mixture through a tube of bio-balls to break apart the bubbles and maximize contact time.

When you have your skimmer set up, you will want to adjust it for your tank. Overall, an adjustment will probably be a matter of raising or lowering the air/water mixture level in the skimmer. If you run your skimmer and you are getting a brown residue in the tube but not in the cup, you need to raise the level of the air/water. This is done by either opening the valve to let more water come in from the pump, or if your pump is maxed out then you need to restrict the amount of water coming out of the skimmer. If you are getting a lot of clearish, watery looking foam in the cup, then you can lower the level of the water/air mixture so that the foam takes longer to build up then overflow.

Please make small adjustments at a time, and let your skimmer run for a few hours before adjusting more. This is important because you skimmer will skim differently depending on the surface tension of the water. Depending on your feeding schedule or the time of day you skimmer may be making larger bubbles one minute then foaming over the next. Even the oils on your hand can make the water tension fall and the skimmer will not skim for a few minutes or hours.

Good luck and enjoy your tank,
Intrinsic Reef Design



2018-07-11

Tips on AFRICAN FLAMEBACK ANGELFISH Care - Orangeback angelfish

Centropyge acanthops RĂ©union.JPG
Centropyge acanthops - Photo: Wikipedia (CC)
African Flamebacks or Centropyge acanthops are members of the family Pomacanthidae. They are natives of the western Indo-Pacific. Significant populations can be found around the shores of the Archipelago Island chain as well as along the entire East Coast of Africa. These shallow to mid-water reef inhabitants occupy depths from 20 to 130 feet.

This is a small fish, even for dwarf angles. It only grows to a maximum adult length of 3 inches. What they lack in size they more than make up for an exotic beauty. This is one of the most striking of all the dwarf angles. The bottom half of their bodies are a royal purplish blue. This is contrasted by dazzling yellow-orange upper bodies. The upper body color starts just below their mouths sweeps upward behind their eyes and then follows the curvature of their backs all the way to the base of their tails, hence the name Flameback. Dorsal, anal and pectoral fins are accented in neon blues. Caudal fins are typically yellow and semi-transparent. 

This species is very similar in appearance to the Brazilian flameback angelfish even though they are entirely different species. Brazilian Flamebacks can be distinguished by their solid blue caudal fins. This species is sold by the aquarium industry under several pseudonyms including; African Flameback angel, African Pygmy Flameback Anglefish, African Cherubfish, Orangeback Angelfish, and Jumping bean. The latter reference should imply that this fish needs to be housed in a tightly lidded aquarium.

This fish has a moderately aggressive temperament. They are generally peaceful in a community setting provided they are in the company of equally sized or slightly larger fish that are not docile in nature. This species may be reef compatible if it is introduced to your tank as a small juvenile. An abundance of cured live rock will help deter the possibility that it will develop a taste for coral and mollusks as it matures. Flamebacks may express territorial behavior toward similar looking species. These are harem fish. A single male and several females can be successfully housed together. The introduction of two males into an aquarium could easily result in a battle to the death. This species is rated at a moderate care level. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons with plenty of hiding spaces is recommended. Flamebacks can live up to 8 years of age.

This is an omnivorous species. Juveniles are primarily planktonic feeders. Adults learn more toward being algaevores. They will, however, also eat small crustaceans, mollusks, and coral in their natural habitat. This is why only a very young flamebacks should be added to a marine reef aquarium. If the fish's diet consists of plankton, it can be conditioned to finding all the sustenance it requires in supplied aquarium foods and lives rock before it develops its adult dietary habits. A well-fed fish will be less likely to discover that clams and corals are its favorite taste treat.

These fish should be fed a high-quality marine angelfish food preparation. Foods formulated especially for angelfish contain the essential nutrients needed to maintain a healthy specimen. Its diet can be further supplemented with vitamin enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp and dried or frozen spirulina algae.


There is more than one benefit to buying this species when they are still quite young. There are no distinguishing characteristics between males and females. Thus you will not be able to determine their sexes. Two males cannot be housed in the same aquarium together.

Problem solved: These fish are protogynous synchronous hermaphrodites. They enter life genderless. They will all develop into females early in their lifecycles. If there are no males present in the population as they reach sexual maturity, the largest most dominant fish will change into a male. The introduction of several of these fish when still young into an aquarium will result in a single male with a harem just as it would in nature. Despite their ability to change gender, these fish have not been known to breed in captivity.



2018-05-14

Ahh! Saltwater Aquarium Pests And Parasites... Dealing With SALTWATER AQUARIUM Pests And Parasites – The Creepy Crawlies!

Cryptocaryan irritans.jpeg
Yellow tang with white spots characteristic of marine ich  Wikimedia Commons.

Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites might have an adverse effect on the health of your marine tank. Bacterial diseases can cause ill-health in your fish and invertebrates. Bacterial disease can also kill the fish in your tank. To get rid of the problem you might have to start all over again from scratch. This is not only very upsetting but also very expensive.

So it makes sense to be on the lookout for saltwater aquarium pests and parasites and to treat your fish at the first sign of illness. Marine fish usually fall prey to gram-negative bacteria. These include Pseudomonas, Vibrio and Myxobacteria. It is not always easy to spot saltwater aquarium pests and parasites in marine fish. Often you may not know that there is something wrong until your fish become seriously ill.

You can help prevent saltwater aquarium pests and parasites by making sure that conditions in your tank don’t encourage their growth. To do this you need to understand how and why saltwater aquarium pests and parasites occur in marine fish in the first place.

The bacterial disease is caused by a number of things, sometimes in combination. Such disease can be topical (external) – for example, fin and tail rot and ulcers or systemic (affecting the body internally) or it might be a combination of both. Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites are more likely to affect fish that are in poor condition. The healthier your fish are the more resistance they will have to saltwater aquarium pests and parasites.

However, fish that are weak, sick or stressed by environmental conditions in the tank are easily infected by saltwater aquarium pests and parasites. Bacterial diseases may gain entry into the body through the pores along the lateral line. The gills are another site of entry into the body of a fish.

So what environmental conditions make it more likely for saltwater aquarium pests and parasites to cause illness in your tank? The leading cause of the bacterial attack is poor environmental conditions in the tank. If conditions are allowed to deteriorate the health of your fish is impacted and this might make them more susceptible to diseases.

Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites will soon bloom and over-run the tank. If the water is white and cloudy and the fish have sores on their body, conditions in the tank are very poor and must be corrected.

Your fish may also be affected by saltwater aquarium pests and parasites if they have other infections. So treating them is crucial. If your fish are not fed properly they might not have built up a good resistance to infection. Any injuries that your fish have might allow bacteria to take hold. Fish that are stressed and harassed are also more likely to become ill.


Older, weaker fish are at increased risk of contracting a bacterial infection as are any fish that come from water that has been contaminated (for example tap water!). If a fish eats the flesh of a sick fish it may also become ill with the same disease. So how do you know if your fish are infected with saltwater aquarium pests and parasites? What should you look for?

If your fish are afflicted with saltwater aquarium pests and parasites they might show one or more of the following symptoms:

- Red frayed fins or fins that show red streaks.
- The fins might disintegrate (in fin and tail rot).
- Red areas around the lateral line (streaks or blotches).
- Open sores on the sides of the body and near the fins.
- Bloody scales at the fin base.
- Fast breathing.
- A grey film may cover the eyes.
- The fish may appear listless or lethargic.
- They may lose their appetite.
- The stomach may be swollen or bloated from saltwater aquarium pests and parasites that cause bladder infections, for example.

Bacteria are not the only saltwater aquarium pests and parasites that might affect your fish. Black Spot disease is a common marine illness caused by a parasitic turbellarian flatworm in the genus Paravortex. It makes its home at the bottom of the tank after which is attached to a host fish for about six days then falls off into the substrate again. It is common in Yellow tangs and Angelfishes.

If you notice tiny black dots on the body of your fish and they seem to be scratching against objects or have red skin and are lethargic they might have black spot disease. It is less common than some other saltwater aquarium pests and parasites (white ich for example) but should still be looked for.

If any of your fish contract the diseases mentioned above or other illnesses, they may not die immediately. But in general, if saltwater aquarium pests and parasites are not treated your fish will die in a one to two week period. There are viral strains that can kill fish within a day or two.  Even if you don’t know what the disease is you need to take steps immediately to isolate the ill fish.

Fish that are infected with saltwater aquarium pests and parasites should be placed into a quarantine tank. This is because bacterial infections will spread to healthy fish very quickly if sick fish are allowed to interact with them. Once the illness affects the internal organs the fish will stop eating, breathing rapidly, and lie on the bottom of the tank where it may be eaten by other fish or start to decay releasing bacteria into the water.

To protect your fish from saltwater aquarium pests and parasites diagnose and treat your fish with the appropriate antibiotics. Ask your aquarist for advice if necessary. Only place your fish back into the tank once they are completely healthy. This will ensure that your tank stays pest free. The most important way to guard against diseases is to make sure that your fish are as healthy as possible and you can do this by making sure that conditions in your tank are at optimum levels.



2018-04-20

Tips on LONGFIN BANNERFISH Care

Pennant coralfish
Pennant coralfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The longfin bannerfish or Heniochus acuminatus is a part of the family Chaetodonidae. This family contains over 120 different species in 10 genera. Longfins are endemic to the Indo-Pacific region and the Red Sea.

These fish bear a strikingly similarity to the Moorish idol. They are narrow and triangular in shape with two thick black, vertical stripes contrasting against their white bodies. The first tripe is just behind the head. The second is located just prior to the base of their caudal fin. Their caudal, anal and pectoral fins are bright yellow in color. They have a long sickle-shaped crest the top of their dorsal fins that extends well past their tail just like their look-alikes.

So why is their resemblance to a Moorish idol of any significance? The exotic elegance of the idol makes it a very desirable choice among aquarists. Unfortunately, idols are one of the hardest marine species to maintain in captivity. Many expert aquarists can't manage to keep Moorish idols alive and healthy. Whereas the longfin bannerfish is one of the easiest fish to raise in a saltwater aquarium. 

You get the exotic look you are after without investing in a recipe for disaster. Longfins are in fact commonly referred to as "the poor man's Moorish idol," within the aquarium trade. Longfins are not considered less expensive than Moorish Idols. But they are much more likely to still be alive a year from now. This makes them a much more economical species. Longfin Bannerfish is also marketed under the names black and white butterflyfish, black and white Heniochus, and pennant coralfish.

Pennant coralfish are relatively large fish. They grow to a maximum adult length of 10 inches although 7 inches in length is more typical. This is a very active and robust fish. A minimum tank size of 55 gallons is recommended. If you intend on keeping them as community fish you will require at least a 100-gallon aquarium. These are peaceful animals and should not be housed with more aggressive species. 


They are a shoaling fish by nature and will mix well with other members of their species in the confines of an aquarium. There is a distinct possibility that they will establish a dominance hierarchy when first introduced into an aquarium. There may be a little bit head-butting until the pecking order is established. These fish may demonstrate territorial behavior toward other butterflyfish species. Pennants do not make particularly good marine reef fish. They have a tendency to nip at soft corals and smaller invertebrates. Pennants are mid-level to upper-level swimmers in an aquarium. They may live in excess of 5 years in captivity.

Longfins are omnivorous. They are primarily zooplankton feeders in their natural habitat. They generally acclimate quickly to aquarium foods. They will readily accept both flake food and pellets. As with all marines species, a varied diet will help avoid nutritional deficiencies and maintain overall fit and vigor. Frozen or freeze died preparations for marine omnivores is a good start. A good supply of well-established living rocks and dried algae sheets will help to round out their diets.

There are no distinguishing traits between the males and females of this species. These fish rarely 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



2018-04-11

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



2018-02-08

12 Weeks to Your Own CORAL AQUARIUM

Monterey_Aquarium_57.jpg
Photo  by xbeta 
Saltwater tanks are sought after by many aquarium enthusiasts, however, they are more tedious to maintain so are not often undertaken. Keeping a saltwater aquarium requires patience, and having live coral in your saltwater tank requires patience and knowledge. Patience, we say because the healthiest and hardiest path to owning a home coral aquarium is to grow your coral.

While it takes more time, growing your own coral makes it much easier to maintain the health of your coral. You must become educated about the requirements for growing coral, and follow very specific procedures, but if you can be patient for approximately 12 weeks, you can grow your own coral for your home saltwater aquarium.

The basic set-up of a saltwater aquarium is the same as a freshwater tank. You purchase a tank and filter and then select the best location for your aquarium. Once the tank is ready for water, there are several steps to follow:

1. Fill the bottom of the tank with sand.
2. Now it is time to add the water. Your aquarium water must be de-chlorinated.
3. Next add the salt, making sure to mix it so the gravity measures exactly 1.205.
4. Arrange any live rocks and plants you would like to include in the tank.
5. Finally install the water heater and place the hood on top of the aquarium.
6. And now you wait. About 4 weeks to be exact before moving on.

Patience. Remember? The fours weeks will go by quickly, and in no time your saltwater aquarium will come to life before your eyes. The reason you don't add anything to your tank for a month is to allow plenty of time for the salt levels to balance out. At this stage, you have to install a protein skimmer, and then you can go ahead and add some snails to the tank, or perhaps even a crab or two. During the next couple of weeks, you want to make sure that the filters perform correctly. Also, use this time to adjust the lighting. It is recommended that you don't keep the light on for more than 12 hours per day because too much light can lead to algae problems.

When you reach the six-week mark, you can finally begin to add some coral. There is a wide variety of coral available for saltwater aquariums, and the most popular include Bull's-eye Mushroom Coral, Button Polyp Coral, Hairy Mushroom Coral and Yellow Mushroom Coral. When you place the coral into your tank, attach it to the live rock that you placed at the bottom when you initially set up your aquarium. And now we wait again; just two more weeks.


After eight weeks, you can add more coral, this time aquacultured coral like Leather Coral, Pumping Xenia Coral, Spaghetti Finger Coral, and Starburst Polyps. This coral should be placed into the live rock just as before.

After another two to four weeks, you can begin adding some fish to your home saltwater aquarium. In the realm of things, 12 weeks really isn't that long, and the end result will be more than worth the wait. Because a saltwater environment is so fragile, it is vital that you give this watery realm all of the time it needs to gain balance and begin living harmoniously. The healthy saltwater aquarium that results is a wonderful accomplishment after just 12 short weeks of patience and care.




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