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

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



2018-01-25

SALTWATER AQUARIUMS from A-Z: Purchasing an Aquarium

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



2018-01-11

CORAL Propagation in the Aquarium Industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Good luck and enjoy Paul Talbot





2017-12-11

Picasso TRIGGERFISH

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

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

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

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

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


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

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




2017-12-10

Do You Build Or Buy A SALTWATER AQUARIUM?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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




2017-11-17

Five steps to success with Saltwater CORAL REEF Aquariums

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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




2017-11-12

Saltwater REEF Aquariums

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

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

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




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

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

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



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