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.


The Birth of an Industry: The Pet JELLYFISH Aquarium Tank

Flower Hat Jellyfish (Olindias formosa), Monte...
Flower Hat Jellyfish (Olindias formosa), Monterey Bay Aquarium, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Keeping jellyfish as pets is still in its infancy. You can't just stroll into a national pet store chain or the closest specialty fish shop and purchase a jellyfish aquarium. Nor can you find jellyfish for sale even at the biggest online fish retail websites. So what good is a jellyfish tank if you can't even buy jellyfish to go in it?

These are the problems often faced by entrepreneurs looking to market a product that was previously nonexistent. The answer is that you have to become the "end all & do all" of the niche market you are looking to cater to. To the best of is knowledge, there are only two companies in the US that have been able to successfully accomplish this.

Jim Stime had ten years in the aquarium business selling Clear-For-Life aquariums in L.A. before entering the jellyfish arena. Jelliquarium went live in 2002 and is the longest running website in the US offering jellyfish and jellyfish tanks. The term jelliquarium is a registered trademark.
Jelliquarium offers self-enclosed, freestanding Kreisel style tanks. Kreisel style tanks are not cheap to manufacture and this is reflected in the sales price. But Jelliquariums's traditional porthole aquarium cabinets are truly a wonder to behold.

The jelliquarium's patent-pending faceted tank design employs state-of-the-art laminar water flow to keep your jellyfish safely suspended just like the original Kreisel design. Jellyfish cabinets feature a 3-in-1 filtration system utilizing mechanical, chemical, and wet-dry biological filter technology. Dual 1" flexible water flow lines allow for quiet water circulation throughout the cabinet. An optional venturi protein skimmer is available for maximum water clarity. Jelliquarium also offers an Aqualogic aquarium chiller for cold water jellyfish applications. Aqualogic chillers use only ozone-friendly 134A refrigerant. Their cabinets arrive prevented for easy heat expulsion from the chilling unit.

Jelliquarium cabinets also feature digital thermostat controlled heating and both blue Actinic and white lighting standard on every model. The LCD controller on the digital thermostat provides a constant readout and can be programmed in either Fahrenheit or Celsius.

Cabinet sizes are currently available in the 24" mini-jelliquarium and the full size 32" models. The mini jelliqaurium is available in black. The 32" cabinet comes in a vast array of finishes from laminate cabinets to a variety of wood finishes to compliment any home or workspace decor. Jelliquarium cabinets are also available in gigantic 48" models. Jelliquaium will also design and install custom in-wall setups for both commercial applications and private residences.

If you are an avid DIY type with prior experience in saltwater aquarium set up you can also buy just the jelliquarium tank. Tank sizes range from 24-60". The 24 and 30-inch tanks can be set up for tabletop use. Serious do-it-your-selfers can build their own custom in-wall jellyfish tank ranging up to 60" in size. The Jelliquarium staff will gladly provide any technical advice necessary for an advanced DIY enthusiast. The 24 and 30" jelliquarium tanks make the perfect biosphere for pet moon jellyfish and blue jellies. Larger tanks can accommodate species such as Pacific sea nettles.

Jelliquariums offers the largest assortment of jellyfish available for US customers on the internet. This selection is based on availability. Jellyfish are cyclic in nature. Most jellies enter the adult phases of their life in the spring or summer months of whichever hemisphere they are native to. It is highly likely that seasonal availability will become year-round as more species start being tank raised.
Moon jellyfish have translucent bodies. They look absolutely amazing with an array of fading LEDs shining through them. You can now buy a Jellyfish Aquarium Fish Tank to raise your own pet jellyfish in. You can even light them up just like they are in the big public aquarium jellyfish exhibits.
Moon jellies are by far the most easily obtainable jellyfish on the market. Moon jellyfish are even being tank raised to supply the rising demand of home aquarium owners.


Reptiles Have Special Needs

English: Reptilia (reptiles), based on: File:B...Reptilia (reptiles),  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People have all kinds of different pets.  Some people only feel safe with what is considered "normal" pets.  This usually consists of cats, dogs, hamsters, or birds.  Country folks may have farmyard animals for pets.  Horses, cows, goats, bunnies, and so on are typical.

Then you have the people who pride themselves on being "outside the norm".  These people may be the sort who likes to consider themselves and their pets unique.  Or maybe they just love animals of all kinds and welcome any and all types of pets.  Reptiles have been kept as pets for many years, but as the number of pet stores has grown so has the number of reptiles kept as pets.  Sometimes this is bad news for the reptiles.  If a dangerous reptile is chosen, it could be bad news for the owner as well.

Sometimes the type of pet a person has depends on the area in which they live.  Availability may make the choice for them.  The environment is also a consideration.  In south Louisiana, a child may be raised thinking an alligator is normal to keep for a pet!  It would be impractical for a child who lives in the midst of the city to own a pet cow.

What types of reptiles are popular as exotic pets?  Snakes, lizards, and turtles make the choices wide.  There are some, however, of each type that makes some better choices than others.  Unfortunately, these types of pets are also the most often abused and neglected simply because of failure to learn about their proper needs prior to ownership.  Once the new wears off, they become forgotten.  Because reptiles are often quiet and contained, it is easy to forget they are around.

Corn snakes are often chosen because they are known to be easier to care for.  They are excellent escape artists, though, so great care must be taken to keep the latches tightly closed on their enclosures.  It may seem funny in the movies to see a snake escape and scare the family or guests, but it can cause great harm to your pet in reality.

Boas are a well-known reptile pet, but people often underestimate their lifespan and their great size when grown.  A snake kept in an area it has outgrown will not be a happy, well-adjusted pet.  It may cause the snake harm and you as well, should he choose to fight back because of his discomfort.

Those cute little reptiles grow up and will need different requirements for food and housing as they grow.  A responsible pet owner will be prepared for the changes and willing to accommodate.  Can you recreate the natural environment and maintain it?  Think of it as being a person from the country who moves to the city, unwillingly, and never learns to adjust because they just don't seem to fit into the new surroundings.  Except this person has the ability to move back to the country, while the snake is unable to make this choice on his own.  The right housing makes a happier pet.


Choosing Plants For Your KOI WATER GARDEN

Common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
Common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So you finally finished your water garden construction. You have finally come to the fun part of creating your water garden: picking the flowers and plants that will make your water garden a beautiful oasis.

Not only should you consider beauty when you are picking your plants, but you must also remember that plants provide another, more important value to your garden, biological life. Biological life helps maintain your pool by doing what they would do in nature.

Be sure to pay attention to your climate and area. Some plants can simply not survive in certain conditions, so it is wise to do your research beforehand. Talking with your local dealer will give you some idea of what plants you can and cannot have in your pond.

Lotus Plants

Undoubtedly, since your pond contains Koi, a tropical fish, you may want to keep with the theme and place Lotus plants in your pond. Pretty much everyone with a tropical water garden will want a Lotus plant because the beauty is simply unmatched by other flowers.

Lotus plants provide beautiful blooms and a smell that is unmatched. However, unless you live in an area that sustains temperatures higher then 65 degree Fahrenheit, you will need to have to have a place to house your Lotus plants during the colder months. A greenhouse setup specifically for water plants will work the best.

Lotus plants require soil and a large amount of sunlight. They should be planted in water about 2 to 3 feet deep during the warmer months, and indoors during the colder months.

Water Hyacinths

If you simply do not have the time to plant and maintain your water garden’s foliage, or you are somewhat lazy when it comes to gardening, you may want to consider adding Water Hyacinths. Water hyacinths have become very popular recently because of their simplicity. They do not require any type of soil or planting, you must simply throw them into the water. Only minimal time is needed to anchor them down so that they do not float all over the pond freely.

Water Hyacinths are not only pretty but are also very functional as well. These plants aid in the fight against both algae and blanket weeds.

One downside when having Water Hyacinths is the fact that they will take over your pond and yard if you allow them. Water hyacinths are very invasive and will spread if allowed. In extreme cases, it may even jump the fence and take over the neighbors yard as well. Once they have caused this kind of infestation, it is notoriously difficult to get rid of them.

Hidden But Functional Plants

Alternatively, you may want to consider investing in plants that are not necessarily seen. These plants live below the water line and provide many needed functions to your pond. Some help you battle algae, put oxygen back into the water, or feed your fish for you. 

You can find these plants in bundles at your local pet store or Koi dealer. The majority of underwater plants will not need additional support during the winter, so once you place them in the water, you may not think twice about them again. However, the benefits that you gain from having these types of plants make up for the fact that you are not able to actually see them.



English: A female North American three-toed bo...
 A female North American three-toed box turtle (Terrapene Carolina triunguis)
(Photo: Wikipedia)
There are 2 species, with 6 subspecies, of North American Box Turtle. They are the: Florida Box Turtle, Eastern Box Turtle, Gulf Coast Box Turtle, Three-toed Box Turtle, Desert Box Turtle, and Ornate Box Turtle.

Box turtles tend to fall somewhere between the truly aquatic turtles and the terrestrial tortoises with their need for access to bodies of water in which to soak and their need for wooded and grassland areas with moist humid soil. Box turtle forage for food on land and spend the time they sleep dug into the earth in burrows, under logs, or wedged under rocks.

Box turtles need a good size enclosure in order to provide for the proper range of heating and humidity. The smallest size indoor enclosure for one box turtle to be kept in is 3 x 3 x 2 feet. For two turtles, the minimum size should be at least 4 x 4 x 2 feet. Aquariums are not appropriate housing for an adult box turtle. Babies may be kept in aquariums, but as they grow larger enclosures are needed. Create a land area using 2 to 3 inches of good quality plain sterile potting soil slightly moistened. Do not use backyard dirt soil from a garden. Mix the soil with cypress mulch. Do not use coarse substrates such are gravel or sand, as these tend to scratch the shell and open the way for bacterial infections. Box turtles require a hide box in which to get away from it all and feel secure. A good size box in one corner of the enclosure, filled with alfalfa hay in which to burrow. is essential. The hide box can be anything from a cardboard box to a plastic container with a door cut into it. A water area must be provided that is deep enough that the water comes to just about the nose of the turtle. It doesn't need to be swimming, just soaking. If using a kitty litter pan, it is best to sink this into the substrate and provide a ramp to get in and get out for the turtle. The water area must be kept clean at all times. Box turtles not only use the water to soak in but also relieve themselves in.

Full spectrum lighting is required for indoor enclosures. Full spectrum light mimics the beneficial effects of natural sunlight, enabling the turtle to metabolize vitamin D3. The full spectrum lighting is an essential part of the calcium metabolization process. Without the specific wavelengths and proper diet, calcium deficiencies will result which may ultimately prove fatal. Box Turtles need 12 to 14 hours of light each day. NOTE: UV waves cannot pass through glass, and 40% of the available waves are lost when the light passes through an aluminum screen, try to have the light shining directly on them.

Day Time temps: 85 to 88 degrees
Night Time temps 70 to 75 degrees.
Most box turtles require a relative humidity of 60 to 80% in at least one area of their enclosure. A turtle that is not provided with the correct humidity often suffers from infected and swollen eyes and ear infections. Providing humidity is simple, in one corner of the enclosure provide some peat moss and wet it down with water until it is fairly moist. A hiding area, such as a cardboard box or large plastic container with ventilation holes should be placed over the wet peat moss. Be sure to check the moss constantly to ensure it is moist and has not dried out.

It is best to offer food after the turtle has had a few hours to warm up in the morning. Young turtle requires feeding on a daily basis, while an adult can be fed every other day. Make sure you vary their diet with both plant and animal matter. Vitamin supplements should be added twice a week.

Plants: A variety of vegetables, greens, and fruits are a must. Such as a "salad" of carrots, squash green beans, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, cherries, and plums. Some cantaloupe (with the rind), mustard greens, dandelions, and collard greens can also be mixed in. For treats, you can add flowers like hibiscus, rose petals, and geraniums.

Meat: High quality low-fat canned dog food, finely chopped cooked chicken or raw beef heart. Live food can also be offered, like mealworms and crickets.

Young turtles require more animal matter in their diet due to their need for protein. As they grow into adults this should be reduced over time to no more than 10% of their total diet.

It is a good idea to allow your box turtle to hibernate, especially if you keep it in an outdoor enclosure during the summer months.This is to allow the box turtles internal clock to remain normal. If you choose not to hibernate the turtle, you must keep it warm and provide plenty of UV lighting along with their normal dietary needs.

To prepare a box turtle for hibernation, do not feed the animal for two weeks, but keep the heat on to allow the animal to fully digest any food remaining in its stomach and intestinal tract. Soak the box turtle in a shallow container of lukewarm water a few times during this period for about 10 minutes, this will help to hydrate the animal and to remove any food left in their system. Box turtle hibernated with food still present in their intestinal tract can die from massive infections as the food rots inside them.

Hibernating box turtles indoor requires a hibernation box. A cardboard box half filled with moist sterile potting soil or peat moss with holes punched in the sides for aeration is an appropriate hibernation box. After all the food has been cleared from the turtle's system, introduce the turtle to the hibernation box. If the box turtle buries down into the substrate and remains still, it is ready for hibernation. If the animal is moving restlessly around after 20 minutes in the box, return it to its enclosure, wait a few days and try again. If the box turtle is ready, move it to an unheated room, such as a garage, where the temperature will remain between 40 to 55 degrees. Check the box turtle weekly to make sure it has not surfaced prematurely. Box turtles usually come out of hibernation after experiencing temperature above 65 degrees for a few days. After the turtle comes out of hibernation, return it to its regular enclosure, provide water, warm it up for a couple of days, and then offer some food. Pay close attention to the turtle during the time after hibernation to observe for any health problems that may occur.


How To Rid Your Tank of AIPTASIA

Italiano: Anemone bruno (Aiptasia mutabilis)
Aiptasia mutabilis
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia anemones or commonly know as glass anemones are a common pest in saltwater and marine aquariums. They are usually introduced into people's tanks as hitchhikers from new livestock, in particular new corals and live rock. The problem with aiptasia is that they can multiply extremely quickly and can be very difficult to get rid of once they have begun to take over your tank.

They have a tendency to move themselves around to find the most suitable place and once they have their foot into the rock work or similar they are very hard to remove manually. The vast majority of the time you will be unable to remove the by cutting or plucking as they retract deep into there crevices as soon as you attempt to get near to them.

There are many products on the market that are suitable for removing aiptasia. One of my personal favourites is Joe's Juice. I have used this many times and it never fails to kill the aiptasia that you have targeted with it. Personally I didn't like the syringe that came with it, so I used a separate syringe that I had with a very long fine nozzle on it which allowed me to get much closer to the anemone and in turn apply Joe's Juice to it. This is a fantastic product and is completely safe to your aquarium unlike some of the more unorthodox methods.

You should start off by killing the larger anemones first as they are the ones that are producing the vast majority of spores which can lead to further infestation. Then once you have managed to remove the vast majority of the large ones you can focus on the smaller one. It is a rather time consuming job to actually get rid of them all and you can never be certain that they will all be gone as they embed themselves deep in the rockwork and other crevices that they deem suitable for their home. However you will be able to keep them under control and as soon as a new one appears or seems to popup out of nowhere you will be able to treat them accordingly.

Some of the more natural methods to removing and controlling aiptasia are to use actual marine inhabitants that consume them as part of there normal diet. Peppermint shrimp or a good choice for helping to reduce the amount but at the same time there are mixed reviews on the effectiveness as they don't just consume aiptasia and may only destroy a few of them. Between 4-6 peppermint shrimp for every 30 gallons of water should be adequate to help keep aiptasia under control, but as I mentioned earlier they also eat other foods such as fish and coral food you maybe adding to your aquarium.

Copperband Butterflyfish will also eat aiptasia, but it is recommended that your tank be 75+ gallons to keep these fish. They love to eat aiptasia and are an absolutely stunning fish to look at and watch. One problem with these fish is that they may start to target your corals and some of your invertebrates as food as well. So once again these may not be the best solution for everyone.

A more recent addition to the market, or should I say an ever increasing popular choice is the Berghia Nudibranch. These are extremely effective at destroying aiptasia as it is the only thing they consume for food. The main issue is that once they have ridded your tank of infestation they will slowly begin to die as they will starve to death. An alternative to buying Berghia Nudibranch is to actually rent them from a Local Fish Shop, which is also becoming common practice. Other ways to obtain them would be too look at your look marine / reef clubs as they also quite often have members that rent/lend them out to member's tanks.

Removing these pests from your marine aquarium is far from an easy task and can be time consuming. As previously mentioned Joe's Juice is one of the quickest and most effective ways of ridding your aquaria of these pests. Keep a look out for more articles from me. In a future article we will be looking into the use of a Majano Wand to rid your aquaria of aiptasia.

    By Matthew Braker
    Matt @ Coralswap has over 5 years experience in setting up and maintaining Marine Aquariums. Why not visit our site and learn more about maintaining and setting up marine aquariums as well as trading corals & frags with our other members. We hope to see you soon! Coralswap - Swap Corals You can also visit our store at Coralswap Store Cleartides

    Article Source: EzineArticles


Understanding The Secrets Behind CATFISH

Catfish - Photo: Pixabay
There is actually a reason behind catfish being one of the best game fish for many experienced as well as beginner fishermen. One part of the story is that this fish is really smart and fast unlike many people think. Catching this type of fish requires you to know some catfish facts first. Understanding its biology as well as behavior is the key to becoming a better catfisher. If you know how this fish moves, feeds and breeds, then you got a good chance of catching it easily. Following some useful catfishing tips would also increase your chances of catching the big cats that you've always dreamed about.

Catfish got their name obviously from the barbells around their mouths, which look like cat whiskers. These barbells are there for a really good reason. Because of their high sensitivity, the catfish are able to taste the surrounding water for possible food as well as for potential danger. This morphology makes it a highly adaptive fish even in the worst water conditions.

Unlike many people think, a lot of catfish species have various venoms to defend themselves against other predators. While the existence of venomous species that can cause harm to men hasn't been reported in North America, many proofs show that there are highly poisonous catfishes in some parts of the world. When this fish feels threatened, it extends its spines or (barbs) and strikes with them when attacked (even by a human). The good thing is that most of the catfish venoms aren't strong enough and can only cause you some pain that could last an hour or so. The best practice that you could do is to always wear safety gloves when unhooking them.

Another catfish fact that you should be aware of, is that these fish don't actually have scales, yes they don't have any! It's true that armored catfishes have bonny plates covering some parts of their bodies, but they don't really have scales. Someone would wonder how this fish is able to survive harsh conditions even without having solid scales that back them up. Well, the secret as many experienced catfishers say is in their tough skins. So if you think that their lack of scale is making them weak, you need to think again.

Catfish doesn't actually ask for the luxury many other species do. They eat whatever food they find in their face. They can eat everything from meat, plants, bugs, fish eggs and even dead species. The best time for catching a catfish is probably when they are out for food. While these game fishes can eat anything, they definitely don't eat men as many myths and false stories try to tell you!