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

2018-07-08

AIPTASIA - An Aquarium Pest

English: Sea anemones : 1. Bolocera tuediae 2....
Sea anemones : 1. Bolocera tuediae 2. Anthea cereus, 3. Aiptasia couchii, 4. Sagartia cocoinea, 5. Sagartia troglodytes
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Practically every reef-keeper can identify tales of the numerous hours put in checking out their new aquarium, observing to determine exactly what new life may appear from the liverock. It's virtually a magical period, particularly for someone new to reef-keeping, as the miracles of the sea gradually happen inside the modest glass world we've designed for it. 

 The majority of experiences which involve Aiptasia begin in exactly the same way. All of a sudden, a brand new little anemone is noticed on a freshly added item of liverock or live coral fragment, just a 'baby'... However, quickly that one 'baby' will become two, then several, then a lot more. By the time most reef-keepers realize who their new house guests happen to be, they quickly understand that this problem grows and multiplies at a very quick pace.

In keeping with their name, Aiptasia sp. Anemones (this means 'beautiful') tend to be exquisite critters, but they are additionally obtrusive and hostile competitors. Left uncontrolled, they will often completely over-run a fish tank. This doesn't take much time either, as we quickly discover.

Aiptasia has developed to be dominant neighbors and house-guests. They replicate both sexually and asexually, and they are effective at regenerating an entire creature from a single cell. Furthermore, they're armed and dangerous hunters! When Aiptasia are disrupted (possibly by way of a passing fish or invertebrate) they eject harmful white-colored stinging threads called Acontia which contain venomous tissues known as Nematocyst. These Nematocysts are designed for supplying a powerful sting that can cause tissue regression in sessile corals, immobilize prey, and even kill unlucky corals, crabs, snails or fish. Considered by many experienced reef enthusiasts as a pest (or worse), early identification and action are necessary to quickly remove Aiptasia from your tank before they reach epidemic proportions - making control/removal far more difficult.

Step one to managing an Aiptasia outbreak is proper identification. It accomplishes little to commit time and expense towards a means to fix the wrong issue.

Aiptasia sp.
Aiptasia sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia anemones could be revealed by their similarity to miniature palms, with a polyp body (the Coelenteron) up to two inches in length and an oral disc one inch across outlined with a combination of several prolonged and lots of small tentacles (up to one hundred tentacles may be found) situated in thin bands about the outside border of the oral disc. The tentacles tend to be lengthy slim protrusions that form well-defined tips at their ends.

In the middle of the oral disk is the mouth in the form of an elongated slit. At the bottom of the polyp, the body is the pedal disk which features as an anchor for the anemone in addition to a means of asexual duplication.

Pigmentation of Aiptasia is a result of the existence of Zooxanthellae (microscopic photosynthetic dinoflagellate alga - species Symbiodinium Microadriaticum). For this reason, specimens living in bright locations are often light greenish brown to dark brown, with those in areas which receive less light are typically medium to light brown or tan in color and those from low light areas tending toward a transparent appearance. Often an anemone's column or stalk is lightly marked with parallel longitudinal lines. Sometimes white or light green flecks can also be found close to the tentacles, and it's also not uncommon for juvenile specimens to be completely engrossed in them.

As with any members of the Cnidaria phylum, Aiptasia is able to sting for both offensive and defensive reasons. Just about all Cnidaria possess stinging cells called cnidocytes, each that includes a stinging mechanism, cnidae or nematocyst. Aiptasia has got both cnidocytes on their tentacles in addition to specialized cinclides around the lower area of the column (small blister-like protrusions) by which it expels acontia.

Acontia is threadlike protecting organs, made up mostly of stinging cnidocytes cells which can be expelled from the mouth and/or the customized cinclides once the Aiptasia is agitated. (A lot of anemones don't have acontia or cinclides yet Aiptasia does.)


The nematocysts of Aiptasia possess a contaminant which is stronger than the vast majority of corals held by the enthusiast (with the Elegance Coral - Catalaphyllia jardinei being one exception) and may cause cellular material regression in sessile corals, immobilize prey, as well as kill ill-fated crabs, snails or fish.

As an additional shielding mechanism, Aiptasia may also pull away into tiny holes inside your liverock if confronted. Taking advantage of this trait, it's possible to poke a diagnosed Aiptasia anemone with a probe and view its response. If it quickly pulls itself downwards (as opposed to folding in on itself), it's likely an Aiptasia.

Aiptasia is a formidable enemy, and pose a significant threat to any reef aquarium. Anyone harboring such species in their aquarium should look into natural predators, as chemical fixes don't work in the long run. Peppermint shrimp can often suppress Aiptasia, while Berghia Nudibranches can eradicate the problem pests.



2018-06-13

Berghia NUDIBRANCH

Berghia Nudibranch



2018-05-22

How To Keep INVERTEBRATES In Your Marine Aquarium

English: This photograph of a Sea Apple at Can...
This photograph of a Sea Apple at Cannibal Rock in Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Keeping Invertebrates And The Care They Need
Invertebrates are not as hardy as fish. It is necessary to make a study of Invertebrates and how they function, their diet and the temperature that they need before attempting to acquire them. You will need to make arrangements with your supplier because you may need delivery of food if so required. There are two types - coldwater and tropical. It should also be noted that they need to merge with the others in the tank.

The Different Types Of Invertebrates
As you make a study of the Invertebrates, you will find that there are two types - coldwater and tropical. A few examples are sea apple, red hermit crab, and shrimp. The water temperature should be 75 and 79 degrees F, and the PH between 8.2 and 8.4 and the salt water content between 1.020 and 1.024. This needs to be checked every day so that there is no discrepancy. Also, their food is not compatible, so your supplier needs to be informed.

Coldwater Invertebrates can only be fetched from tide pools as the stores do not keep them. One thing that is required is to see that these do not belong to an endangered species when removing them from their habitat. A comprehensive research needs to be done so that they can be taken care of appropriately and all their dietary needs are met. They usually feed on shrimp, mussels and raw fish.

Another useful tip while keeping coldwater Invertebrates is to always keep scallops and mussels in a tank so that you will always have a regular supply for them, and it may be a good idea to give them fresh rather than frozen food. They should also be fed a little at a time at regular intervals.



When a tank is set up, live rock is a good idea, because some Invertebrates like to take their food from the parasites that are found on the live rock. There are innumerable ways in which you could fill your aquarium so that your fish are comfortable in their surroundings and it is a pleasure to look at. If you have a substrate, shrimp and crabs can make deep pits and go underground. That would be as close to their natural surroundings as possible. If you would like to keep anemones, then a light could be installed, as they like the light. The main thing is to research your project, see what you get regular supplies, keep the tank clean and check for temperature, and you are all set to enjoy your aquarium. You will find that your time and effort has been well spent and you can enjoy your handiwork.

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


2018-05-08

Saltwater Aquarium - 5 "Easy" CORALS

English: Soft corals from Komodo National Park
Soft corals from Komodo National Park - (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Having your own coral reef is a dream shared by many aquarists. For a long time, it used to be very difficult to grow and maintain coral reefs in aquariums because of the lack of knowledge about them and their needs to survive in a saltwater aquarium.

A coral reef system is complex and requires the right components and proper maintenance. The good thing is that even though some corals are still very difficult to grow and maintain, a wide range of corals is now easy to grow even for beginners.

If you're a beginner or average aquarist, when picking corals for your saltwater aquarium, you might want to go with soft corals because they are easier to take care of.

Below are 5 different types of soft corals:

Cladiella Corals: Cauliflower, Finger Leather, and Colt Coral. They adapt very well and do best with moderate lightening and water movement.

Palythoa Corals: Button Polyps and Sea Mat. Can grow very fast under bright lightening (might overgrow your other corals). Prefer rapid water movement. Warning: Handle them with gloves to protect yourself from their toxin (the palytoxin).

Sarcophyton Corals:
Leather, Mushroom Leather, Toadstool, Toadstool Mushroom and Trough Coral. Adapt to all lightening levels. Moderate water movement is preferred to prevent parasites on their surface.

Discosoma Corals: Disc Anemones, Mushroom and Mushroom Corals. Low light is preferable. Active feeders (small fishes but also detritus and uneaten food).

Zoanthus Corals: Button Polyps, Zoanthid and Sea Mat. Bright light is preferred as they feed on zooxanthellae along with algae, D.O.C.'s and bacteria. Warning: Use gloves to handle them (because of the palytoxin).

As you see, many different corals can grow in your saltwater aquarium. This is just a short selection so what you have to do is research the specific needs of the different corals you're interested in and make sure they can grow in the same aquarium. With the right light, water movement and nutrients, you'll have a beautiful coral reef system!

Every hobbyist, either advanced or beginners want the best components in their aquarium to grow and maintain their corals in the best environment possible. That is why having a very high-quality saltwater aquarium can make a difference. But the hard part about purchasing an aquarium to grow corals is that many different components are needed and selecting and installing them can be a daunting task.



This is why we recommend Red Sea aquariums, and more specifically the Red Sea Max 250 because of its high quality and the fact that this system has all the components needed (+ a starter kit) which makes the installation effortless.




2018-04-22

Creating the Perfect REEF AQUARIUM

our 440 l reef tank
440 l Reef tank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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 aesthetically, ecologically and financially friendly.



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.



2018-03-10

NANO REEF Tank Setup

10G Nano Reef
Photo by aquarist.me 
If you are into reef tanks and your curiosity drove you to know more about Nano Reef tanks, read on.

Let me start from the bare basics. What exactly is a nano reef tank? A nano reef is nothing but a reef tank of fewer than 20 gallons. Now, this is not a sacrosanct rule of law like Newton’s law on gravity but I strongly adhere to this definition as 20 gallons is the threshold where popularly accepted formulas for reef tanks or ‘small’ reef tanks begin to lose ground, calling for new conventions.

Next, a pretty obvious question which you may ask is why would you want a nano reef tank? Pretty obvious answer: It is generally a low-cost affair. You can easily manage a decent nano tank with less than $200. Apart from cost they are easy to maintain, you can fit them anywhere, are extremely portable (that means if you are bored of watching it lying on your home desk, take it to your office desk without any hassles!). 

And it is not something for just novices. They can offer new challenges to experienced reef keepers minus the cost and time constraints. I say challenging because there is very little room for error when it comes to the nano tank. Whether it is maintaining water quality or temperature stability or oxygen depletion, one has to be extremely careful in maintaining a nano reef tank.

Lighting a Nano reef is something of a complex issue. There are people who have kept Nano reefs with 3-7 watts per gallon of light. Some have used 30 watts. It boils down to the fact that you can have a successful coral tank using the rule of thumb, 3-7 watts per gallon, but your tank will be healthier if you provide larger quantities of light.

A nano reef will require your attention towards heating and cooling aspects too. This is because in a nano reef tank stable temperature control is very important. Unlike large tanks temperature change in nano reefs can be quite large and frequent. For the heating purpose, a normal heater would suffice. But cooling is a difficult problem. A common solution is to keep the tank in an air-conditioned room. Some people use evaporative cooling with fans, but this is probably not the best idea as there are chances that amount of evaporation it causes can produce wide specific gravity shifts in a nano tank which would not be appreciated by the tank's inhabitants.

Due to the small surface area, a nano reef tank will require adequate water circulation more than any other form of a reef tank. A simple and effective solution is to use an open-ended bubbler. Larger is the size of your tank more bubblers you may need.

There is no doubt that a sump would greatly aid in the temperature and nutrient buffering capabilities of a nano, but it seldom used. The main reason for this is that being small in size, using a sump adds to the complexity and takes up space, a big constraint in a nano.

Now here comes the best part of the nano reefs. The water quality maintenance or change is ridiculously simple! Being small, the water quantity is low. So changing the water every two weeks is a painless task. A regular water change will also obviate the need for a skimmer.


Now decide on for what live rock to choose and what quantity. Again here is a nano advantage. Since the size is small you wont be required lot of rock so you can go for the best quality live rock without causing a dent in your bank account.

And finally the choice for corals : You could go for both stony corals or soft corals. Virtually every soft coral is eligible for a nano reef tank. But when it comes to stony ones few points need to be cosnsidered. You should go for small colonies of stony corals, preferablly 12". You can pick any among Acropora, Bubble coral, Favites, Torch Coral or Elegance coral.

For a 5 gallon nano, you should add another about 3 lbs of live rock, plus at least another 3 lbs of live sand.

So go all out and play! Its not about the size, remember all good things come in small packages.





2018-03-06

Pet JELLYFISH Facts: Upside Down Jellyfish (Cassiopeia Xamachana)

Cassiopeia xamachana - Wikipedia
Upside down jellyfish (Cassiopeia xamachana) is another member of the order Rhizostomae. The species name, xamachana, means Jamaican although their natural habitat is in no way exclusive to Jamaican waters. Populations exist throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean as well as along the coats of Florida. They are also present halfway across the globe in the Pacific Ocean. Although not native to these waters, upside down jellyfish were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands during World War II most probably from jellyfish polyps attaching themselves to the underbellies of warships coming back from the Philippines.

This species is prevalent in shallow, warm tropical waters such as mangrove swamps. They are often called mangrove jellyfish because they are frequently found in large aggregations in these swampy regions. Unlike many species of jellyfish, upside down jellies are completely marine. None have been found in brackish or fresh waters.

These jellies spend their lives completely differently than most jellyfish. Jellyfish typically spend much of their time drifting freely on the ocean's currents. Upside down jellyfish are free swimming until they reach about 2 cm. Then their bell inverts and they sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. From there they will spend the majority of their adult life upside down on the muddy substrate with their tentacles pointed up to capture the ever-present zooplankton from water columns.

Much like blue jellies, upside down jellyfish have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae. This is the same symbiosis that occurs with many jellyfish and coral species. In addition to providing essential nutrients, these golden algae also produce oxygen to help support respiratory metabolic functions the jellyfish needs to survive in oxygen-poor environments. This is of particular importance to upside down jellyfish because they spend the vast majority of their life nestled in muddy substrate and must rely on their food to come to them. Because of their specialized eating habits, upside down jellyfish are usually found in nutrient-rich waters with high concentrations of decaying matter to support the zooplankton teaming within these swampy, saltwater environments.

Upside down jellies have flat, saucer-shaped bells. Their umbrellas are typically greenish grey or blue in colour. They have a central depression or exumbrella in their bell. The exumbrella acts as a suction device to help them stay anchored to the ocean floor. Rather than a single mouth opening, they have 4 elaborately branched oral arms. These arms have a frilly, lace-like appearance similar to many green, leafy vegetables. They are often referred to as cabbage-head jellyfish because of these appendages. It is believed that this species a filter feeder and also relies on some form of absorption of dissolved nutrients directly from the water to supplement its nutritional needs.

Upside down jellyfish do not directly inject their prey like most jellyfish do. Their nematocysts (stinging cells) are controlled by the cnidocil. This is the equivalent to a mechanically or chemically triggered grenade launcher. The stinging cells launched from the cnidocil produce a cnidoblast that will stun or paralyze prey in the immediate vicinity. The jellyfish then begin ingesting their prey with their primary mouth openings. Once the prey is reduced to food fragments, these nutrient particles are passed on to secondary mouths for further digestion.




The jellyfish's cnidoblasts also function as a self-defence mechanism. If abruptly disturbed, large groups of these jellies will launch themselves upward from the ocean floor and release their nematocysts. This massive venom release into the water is usually sufficient to ward off potential predators. The toxic compound is generally inconsequential to human beings. It may result in an itchy or tingling sensation of the skin or a rash on individuals more sensitive to the venom.

Upside down jellyfish can reach up to 14 inches in diameter in the wild. In captivity, a maximum growth potential of 8 inches is more realistic. Depending on their size in captivity, upside down jellyfish can be fed zooplankton, or small invertebrates and fish. In order to allow their symbiotic algae to properly photosynthesize, a lighting system conducive to a marine reef tank is highly recommended. These jellies have a higher temperature tolerance than most scyphozoan medusa. Medusae or adult jellyfish can be found year round. However, the optimum temperature for these adult jellies is between 75-78 F. This simulates the height of the adult season. Upside down jellyfish typically strobilate during summer or early fall. Whereas most scyphozoans strobilate during the winter months.

    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


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.




2018-01-10

Successfully Raising CORAL in Saltwater Aquariums

Elegance Coral — Catalaphyllia Jardinei
Photo  by KAZVorpal 
When people start a saltwater aquarium they do so because they have a compulsion to create a miniature version of the ocean in their living room. They want the whole kit and caboodle; the brightly colored fish, the flowing plants, the half-rotted pirate's ship, and the coral reef. Growing a coral reef in your saltwater aquarium is the ultimate goal for many saltwater aquarium enthusiasts.

Beginners that are just starting a saltwater aquarium are not advised to attempt a reef aquarium. Start with a fish only aquarium and become familiar first, once you have mastered that you will be ready to add one of the hardier breeds of coral to your tank.

Before running out and purchasing coral reef, bear in mind that you are not adding an elaborate rock to your tank. Polyps are a tiny invertebrate. These polyps work together to form the limestone structures we know as coral reefs. Before you add the reef to your saltwater aquarium you must remember that the life of these polyps depends on your ability to provide them with the proper food, lighting, and water.

Having good water is especially important if you want your coral reef to survive. An abrupt change in your water can cause the polyps to go into a state of shock, this will cause your reef to become discolored.Your aquarium must be filled with clear water which will allow the coral reef to get the full benefit of your lighting. Coral requires a strong water current, outfit your tank with a filter that circulates the water throughout your entire tank. Avoid a linear current.

When you have decided on a variety of coral for your coral saltwater aquarium do some research on the lighting. Some corals have special lighting requirements.

Remember that coral, like all living organisms, requires you to feed them. For a long time, it was believed that coral reefs needed only minimal feeding. This belief was triggered by the belief that coral reefs were nutrient poor.  People assumed that the reefs used photosynthesis to feed. The reality is that most coral needs to be fed, at a minimum, weekly (every two to three days is recommended). Most coral needs to be fed food that has to be frozen or refrigerated. 



Throw away any food that has been open for over five months, it becomes stale. You may want to consider purchasing a liquid or bottled food for your corral. The size of the polyps in your coral reef will tell you a great deal about their food requirements. If you have large fleshy looking polyps you will be able to feed them large pieces of food, minced meat, and large zooplankton. If you have a coral reef that is made up of tiny polyps you have to remember that they can't digest the large pieces of food, these polyps will starve to death in an aquarium that is full of food that is too large for it to digest.

If you have done your homework and are patient and diligent you will be able to enjoy a very successful and beautiful coral saltwater aquarium.



2017-12-02

ZOANTHIDS For Everyone

Zoanthids - Photo: Wikimedia
Zoanthids are rightfully beloved by nearly all marine aquarists. They are often bright, uniquely colored and fast-growing. Because they are generally hardy, they make an excellent choice for the beginning aquarist; however, the rarer color patterns tempt even experienced reef aquarists. Despite their popularity, many aquarists are unclear of zoanthids relationship to other marine animals, especially those that we commonly call coral. On the one hand, zoanthids look like miniature sea anemones, yet they also seem to resemble soft corals such as the Glove Polyps pictured below (Clavularia species-pronounced "klav-yoo-lahr-ee-ah"). In truth, zoanthids are neither anemones nor soft corals-so what are they?

"Flower Animals"

Let's start with some basics. Zoanthids, like all of the animals we typically call "coral" in the marine aquarium hobby, are cnidarians (pronounced "nigh-dare-ee-yans"). More specifically, zoanthids are part of the class Anthozoa, which includes the soft and leather corals, sea anemones, mushroom corals and stony corals (and exclude other cnidarians such as fire corals, lace corals, jellyfishes, and sea wasps). Anthozoa, as a word, originates from Greek ("anthos" and "zoion") and translates roughly as "flower animal," which is an apt name for most zoanthids. Like sea anemones, mushroom corals and stony corals, zoanthids are called hexacorals because they have polyps with tentacles in multiples of six (octocorals, on the other hand, have eight tentacles). Zoanthids, unlike the "true" or stony corals (what hobbyists generally term SPS and LPS) lack skeletons, but they are also not soft corals (which are all octocorals). The polyps of zoanthids are either solitary or embedded in so-called mats. Solitary polyps are often connected to other polyps by runners (called stolons, pronounced "stoe-lahn"), while mat polyps embed themselves in a tissue matrix or mat (called a coenenchyme and pronounced "see-nehn-kyme").

045 - Stripe Disc Zoanthid
Stripe Disc Zoanthid - Photo  by   Neville Wootton Photography 

When the aquarist looks at a zoanthid polyp, they are generally focused on the oral disc. Each zoanthid polyp has a mouth (called a siphonoglyph and pronounced "sye-fah-no-glif"), which is part of the oral disc and generally surrounded by two rings of tentacles. Like all cnidarians, zoanthids possess nematocysts (pronounced "ne-mat-oh-sist") or stinging cells (the word cnidarian translates from the Greek as "stinging nettle"), which assist in food capture. When it comes to defense, however, it is a toxin called palytoxin, which keeps most predators (including the aquarist) at bay.

It is common to tout the fact that most zoanthids are easy to keep and require no supplemental feedings. While it is true that many of the commonly available zoanthids are zooxanthellate (zoo-zan-thuh-late) and host symbiotic zooxanthellae (zoh-zan-thel-ee) in their tissue, the reality is that nearly all zooanthids rely on particulate food and plankton capture to sustain their metabolism. As a result, nearly all should be target fed in captivity (in addition to providing appropriate lighting).

Identifying Zoanthids

It is very difficult to identify individual species when dealing with zoanthids. That is why you frequently see them sold by their genus name (e.g. Zoanthus spp.) and a creative description of their coloration (e.g. Halloween Zoanthids). Zoanthids are often (there is much debate that is well beyond the scope of this article) divided into several families. The most frequently seen zoanthids in the aquarium trade are from the families Parazoanthidae and Zoanthidae. Within the family Parazoanthidae, the genus Parazoanthus (pare-ah-zoe-an-thuss) is particularly popular (e.g. Yellow Polyps), while the Zoanthus (zoe-an-thuss) genus (e.g. Z. pacificus and Z. sociatus) and the Palythoa genus (which is now often seen as being congeneric and nearly conspecific with the genus Protopalythoa) are the most commonly represented genera from the family Zoanthidae. So-called Acrozoanthus (ak-roh-zoe-an-thuss) or Stick Polyps are also seen with some frequency in the hobby and are usually classified as belonging to the family Zoanthidae.

Family Parazoanthidae - Brief Description and Husbandry Tips

Species from the genus Parazoanthus are the most common in this family, and, as species identification is uncertain, most are sold as Parazoanthus spp. or simply Yellow Polyps. Although called Yellow Polyps, their coloration can vary from a cinnamon-brown to a bright yellow, with some species even taking on a red color (e.g. P. puertoricense). The polyps reproduce by budding at the base of the parent polyp, and they form colonies in this way that encrust rocks, shells or vacant worm tubes. Some Parazoanthus species live commensally with other organisms (e.g. sponges), but most of the specimens seen in the hobby contain symbiotic zooxanthellae within their tissue and, given sufficient light, will do quite well with only periodic target feedings. The fact that many Yellow Polyps are indiscriminate feeders means that they often survive in a mature aquarium without any target feedings. This fact, however, should not deter the aquarist from at least weekly target feedings of zooplankton-type foods. Moderate light, moderate to strong intermittent flow and supplemental feedings are the key to success with these attractive zoanthids.

Family Zoanthidae - Brief Description and Husbandry Tips

Recent research has found a remarkable similarity between the genus Palythoa and Protopalythoa, and so we will mostly deal with them together here. If there is a difference apparent in the aquarist, it is in the fact that Protopalythoa species' polyps (e.g. Button Polyps, Protopalythoa spp.) are often not embedded in the tissue matrix or mat, while Palythoa (pal'-ee'-thoe'-ah) species' polyps (e.g. Sea Mat or Encrusting Colony Polyp, Palythoa spp.) are. All have broad, flat oral discs surrounded by tentacles (perhaps more tentacles on Protopalythoa species). The discs may be brown, brownish yellow or even a cream color, and some have quite attractive fluorescent accents and striations. Sometimes the oral disc will be darker than the mat in which it is embedded, again, making for a nice display. All are fairly light tolerant and prefer moderate to high flow. As with all zoanthids, they will benefit from targeted feedings, and those with long tentacles and broader oral discs may require more direct feeding. One word of warning: be careful, as many of these zoanthids are competitive and will easily overgrow adjacent corals.


The Zoanthus genus is often the best-represented genus from the family Zoanthidae, and it is most frequently what people think of when they think of zoanthids. There are many species, and most are simply identified for the aquarist by their remarkable color schemes. The polyps are generally small with dramatic contrasting colors between their oral discs and tentacles. These animals rely heavily on zooxanthellae, so much so that some aquarists claim no food response occurs as a result of targeted feedings. In reality, this is probably because Zoanthus species are more selective in their feeding, but regardless, it is essential to place them in high light environments to sustain their zooxanthellae populations. Given the proper environment, these zoanthids are hardy, fast-growing animals that reproduce by budding and will rapidly spread across your live rock in a colorful display that will ad interest and beauty to your reef tank.

Something for Everyone

In conclusion, zoanthids are, generally speaking, highly interesting, attractive and hardy animals. They can add color to almost any reefscape, and they require little in the way of specific husbandry. Most grow quickly in captivity, and their collection from the wild generally has a little detrimental impact on natural ecosystems. Zoanthids are often the first cnidarians introduced to the beginning aquarist's tank, but the more uniquely colored and rarer species are equally coveted by advanced aquarists. In short, zoanthids offer something for everyone.

    Published 1 July 2008. © Blue Zoo Aquatics

    Blue Zoo Aquatics was formed in 2001 as a custom aquarium design, manufacture, installation, and maintenance company which provided its services in and around Los Angeles, California. The company founders and key personnel had either a background in marine biology or had spent their entire career in the saltwater aquarium industry.

    Customers who bought a custom aquarium were also frequently asking us to provide livestock and aquarium supplies, so we created bluezooaquatics.com to showcase our entire product offering and make it available to everyone.

    Today, Blue Zoo Aquatics has evolved into the complete source for all of your aquarium needs. Although we can still design and build you a beautiful custom aquarium, we are also proud to offer one of the largest selections of livestock on the web as well as a wide variety of quality aquarium supplies.

    Our business has expanded, but Blue Zoo is still owned and operated by the same team of expert aquarists that have dedicated their lives to helping people have fun and succeed with saltwater aquariums. - http://www.bluezooaquatics.com
     Article Directory: EzineArticles


2017-11-17

Five steps to success with Saltwater CORAL REEF Aquariums

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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




2017-11-12

Saltwater REEF Aquariums

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

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

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




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

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

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



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