Rabbit Snails of the Genus Tylomelania

»Posted by on Nov 30, 2017 in Blog, Chris F | Comments Off on Rabbit Snails of the Genus Tylomelania

Rabbit Snails of the Genus Tylomelania by Christopher Fong photos by James Ong     Rabbit snails are a large group of freshwater snails endemic to Sulawesi which is located in Indonesia. Within Sulawesi many of these unique and interesting snails are restricted to a small number of lakes such as Lake Poso/ Lake Malili. What makes these snails attractive to many is the bright coloration of the flesh combined with the smooth cone shaped shell. However, by far the most attractive feature of these snails is their eyes and mouths which resemble that of a cuddly rabbit making them down right adorable.  Another unique feature with this group of snails is that their oviparous, meaning the production of young by means of eggs hatched within the mother’s body. Finally, this group of snails comprises of several different species each having their own unique coloration and shell pattern. Rabbit snails are hardy if certain requirements are meet such as good water quality, correct substrate, peaceful tankmates, and enough food. If these requirements are meet these snails will live for long periods of time and in certain scenarios even reproduce!     Water Quality: PH ranges from 7.2 to 7.7 and Carbonate/General hardness hovering around (3-7) should be satisfactory to allow these snails to construct their calcareous shell.  Soft Acidic water will gradually eat away at the shells of these snail resulting in their ultimate demise. Ammonia and Nitrite should be zero with Nitrate being as low as possible.  Finally, always use a good quality water condition to remove harmful heavy metals, chlorine and chloramine from the water which is harmful to aquatic life (especially inverts). Finally, never use medications intended for fish diseases when keeping rabbit snails and other inverts in the aquarium. Often times most Fish medications are toxic to invertebrates. Substrate:  A sandy bottom would be considered ideal as this allows the snails to naturally borrow and seek shelter mimicking natural behavior. If sand is not an option any small smooth gravel like substrate is satisfactory. Tankmates: Should be peaceful such as tetras, barbs, rasboras, small catfish, shrimp and other similar snail safe fish/inverts. Crabs These snails are considered plant safe although in situations with little food they can turn towards aquarium plants for sustenance. Feeding: Rabbit snails are herbivores by nature so having algae within the tank prior to introducing these snails is advisable. Even with algae present within the aquarium supplementation is recommended to keep these snails well feed and healthy. Foods such as algae wafers and dried seaweed are excellent choice for feeding rabbit snails. Rabbit snails of the genus Tylomelania make unique and interesting additions to most community/planted tanks, adding the diversity needed for proper ecological health of an aquarium. These snails can live long periods of time and even reproduce when a sufficient food source is present for both the parent and young. If you want to see these adorable snails in person or have any question regarding these awesome creatures stop by Absolutely Fish and ask us to show you these unique creatures! Sources: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/features/articles/snails-from-sulawesi...

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SPS and How to Keep Them

»Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in Blog, Josh M | Comments Off on SPS and How to Keep Them

SPS and How to Keep Them Written by Josh Maxwell               SPS (Small Polyp Stony) corals are some of the most beautiful corals to keep in a reef tank.  They have amazing coloration and growth patterns that liven up any aquarium.  However they are among the most difficult corals to care for and that air of difficulty surrounding them makes reefers who would aspire to keep them reluctant to try their first frag.  As a reefer who pulled the trigger on keeping SPS and absolutely loves them I’ll attempt to help would be SPS keepers learn the basic ins and outs of keeping these amazing corals.              Most SPS corals that are seen in the hobby are native to the Indo-pacific region of the world in shallow waters surrounding islands and coasts such as Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, etc.  Stony corals in general are important ecologically as they make up the very foundation on which the reef itself is built with their calcium carbonate skeletons.  The structures that these invertebrates build are essential safe havens for many species of fish and invertebrates.  In the  hobby, SPS represent the highest tier of care for most reef keepers.  They are in some cases very demanding to care for but are very rewarding when successfully grown in an aquarium. (See all photo credits at the end of article.)             The question now is how to keep them.  SPS, in general, are found in shallow water reefs in the wild, where there is abundant sun light and flow from the crashing waves at the surface.  As such when these corals are kept in a reef aquarium they require strong light and strong flow.  Lighting can be provided by LEDs such as Ecotech radions and AI Hydras, or through T5 lights.  Flow can be provided by any strong powerhead such as Ecotech vortech pumps, or sicce voyagers.  Flow is important because as SPS colonies grow they can collect detritus in their structures and if left unchecked can actually kill tissue in certain areas if not swept out by adequate flow.  Filtration is extremely important for keeping healthy SPS.  Nitrates and phosphates need to be kept to a minimum as they can irritate SPS tissues, phosphates especially hinder skeletal growth on SPS.  Filtration should include an adequate protein skimmer as well as the use of chemical media like GFO (granular Ferric Oxide) to remove phosphates specifically.              It’s not just about what you remove from your tank, its also about what you add to keep your corals healthy.  SPS require the addition of calcium, magnesium, and carbonate (alkalinity) continuously so that they may build their skeletons.  Levels are as follows for optimal health and growth; calcium at 400-450 ppm, magnesium at 1400-1450 ppm, and an alkalinity of 8-12 dKH.  This is typically done in two ways.  The first is the use of a calcium reactor which uses carbon dioxide to break down aragonite into calcium and alkalinity to be used by your corals.  The other method is to use a dosing pump which adds certain amounts of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium at certain times.  Organic elements need to be introduced as well.  I prefer using both planktonic foods and liquid foods.  SPS are quite capable of catching small planktonic organisms and benefit from target feeding.  My personal favorite food is Polyp Lab Reef Roids as SPS respond well to it.  As for liquid foods, my go-to is Red Sea Reef Energy A and B.  This is a supplement that introduces carbohydrates that function as an energy source for respiration and amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins essential in tissue growth.              There are a few genera of SPS corals that are commonly available in the hobby.  The first coral that many SPS keepers start with are montipora corals.  The ever famous Montipoa capricornis is still a mainstay in the hobby with its amazing “shelfing” growth pattern.  Monti caps also come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, many of which are available at the store.  Another species that isn’t commonly seen is M. setosa which has a very nice burnt orange color and what can only be described as a random growth pattern.  They table, plate, branch, and encrust.  Pretty much any growth pattern you can think of M. setosa can do it.                The next few genera which are all quite similar in terms of general care and appearance are Seriatopora, Pocillopora, and Stylophora.  They form tight-knit bush like colonies with their branches and display a great deal of polyp extension as well.  These corals are usually forgiving in terms of water quality...

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Species Spotlight- Polypteriformes

»Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in Blog, Cameron | Comments Off on Species Spotlight- Polypteriformes

Species Spotlight – Polypteriformes by Cameron McMath   The longest river in the world, The Nile is home to an abundance of diverse and interesting species of wildlife. In an otherwise arid, dry climate many African organisms are dependent on The Nile for water and vital habitat, one such being the archaic Polypteriformes (polypterus and rope fish). Polypteriformes is an order of Actinopterygii found only in tropical African waters comprising of the bichirs and ropefish. At first glance the polypterus may seem ancient and rudimentary, and indeed they do come from a time period more than sixty million years ago, however it poses a surprising number of interesting qualities. Adapted to survive in murky, hypoxic (low oxygen) environments, this peaceful predator possesses a number of advantageous traits including a keen sense of smell, as well as a modified swim bladder that allows them to gulp oxygen from the surface of the water. With thick ganoid scales and elongated bodies their snake-like appearance makes them a favourite for oddball tanks.   Juvenile Polypterus palmas   Tank Setup Housing these reptilian-like creatures is rather simple, provided one has an adequate tank size and set up. While many polypterus are bought relatively small, it is important to keep in mind their potential for growth. Some of the smaller species such as the palmas and retropinnis grow to around a foot in length, whereas the behemoths like the endlicheri congicus can get as long as a whopping thirty-nine inches (three feet in length!) in the wild. Being that both the bichir and the ropefish are benthic (bottom dweller) organisms, they do require a tank with adequate width and length so as to maneuver and search for their food. Lighting for these creatures is not too big a concern, as the polypterus eyesight tends to be poor. They hunt using two elongated sensory nostrils to detect prey or scraps for an impromptu meal, and due to their poor eyesight must literally scrounge around the bottom of the tank until they are right on top of their food. Younger poly’s may be kept in smaller tank sizes, provided of course that their tankmates can’t fit in their mouth, however fully grown specimens will need to be housed in a minimum of 60 gallons with larger tank sizes are preferred for the polypterus to live comfortably. Predators tend to add a greater bioload to the tank, so it is important to make sure tank filtration is adequate or over filtered preferably. As far as water chemistry goes, the polypterus is a rather hardy fish. Thriving in tropical water parameters (neutral ph, 78-80 Farenheit), they are also very tolerant of cooler temperatures and poor water quality as aforementioned their wild lifestyle often dictates adapting to available water conditions.   Adult Polypterus ornatipinnis   Compatibility While polypteriformes are considered peaceful predators, their potential for growth and predatory status can make them tankbusters. When planning suitable tankmates it is important to make sure other fish cannot fit in the mouth of the bichirs. Other large fish make good companions provided they are not too aggressive and do not require any extreme water parameters. Some examples of good combinations with the bichir include certain arowanas, larger species of catfish, larger schooling fish such as lemonfin barbs, and certain peaceful cichlids like severums or geophagus. It is important however to be mindful of sizes and growth rates as they can vary between varieties of fish.   Feeding Many polypteriformes when first introduced into a tank are used to eating live or frozen meaty foods. While they can be kept on this diet, many fishkeepers will want to wean them off of live or frozen food onto a dry and more nutritious pelleted food, foods that can be soaked with such things as nourish or vitachem for added vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants for the fish. This can be accomplished, however it may take some patience. First you’re going to want to get your polypterus onto frozen bloodworm, fairly easy as they enjoy the juicy treat and can smell it the moment it is in the water. If you have difficulty with this do not worry, your polypterus may just be shy in a new tank. To make them more comfortable, add decorations or live plants to the tank, and try feeding at nighttime as they are nocturnal hunters in the wild and will need to get used to eating during the day. Once on frozen bloodworm, then switch to your desired food. Pelleted varieties come in all sizes depending on the size of your fish, ranging from omega one small pellets to the larger Hikari massivore...

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3 Interesting Synodontis Catfish That Won’t Get Bigger Than 8 Inches

»Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in Blog, Kristen R | Comments Off on 3 Interesting Synodontis Catfish That Won’t Get Bigger Than 8 Inches

  3 Interesting Synodontis Catfish That Won’t Get Bigger Than 8 Inches by Kristen Rigolizzo                     “Typical” catfish have an iconic and endearing appearance that’s hard not to visualize. Long whiskers, strange body shapes, and (often) cute faces make them hard to resist for some aquarists. However, many aquarists also know how big some catfish can get – and how quickly their tankmates can disappear.                 Fortunately, we carry catfish of many sizes and shapes. Synodontis, a genus of African catfish, includes many small to medium-sized species with beautiful appearances. Synodontis cats are found all over central Africa, form the Congo River and western streams to the rift lakes in the east. Most Synodontis sold at Absolutely Fish stay below 8 inches in length. Here are three examples of unique Synodontis cats that won’t outgrow popular freshwater aquarium sizes and won’t get big enough to eat most tankmates:                   The Upside-down Cat (Synodontis nigriventris):                 The upside-down cat is probably the most well-known catfish on this list. They are squat in shape and only reach about 3-4”. This catfish is adorable both in looks and personality. They are famous for their strange swimming behavior; they swim mostly upside-down. Originating from rivers of western Africa, they do best in peaceful aquariums at a minimum size of 20gal and a pH range of 6.0-7.5. Be sure to include hiding spots for these little guys and some friends too. They are least shy when other upside-down cats are present.                   The Cuckoo Cat (Synodontis multipunctatus):                 This attractive cat reaches 5-6” maximum length and, endemic to Lake Tanganyika, requires a high pH (7.8-9.0). The cuckoo catfish is named for its breeding tactic know as brood parasitism, made famous by cuckoo birds. The cats take advantage of mouth brooding cichlids’ good parenting by tricking their cichlid hosts into incubating their eggs for them. As a result, they are relatively easy to breed in captivity. The cuckoo cat is perfect for any African cichlid tank of minimum size 40gal, so long as you provide enough places to hide. This is another cat that does best in groups.                   Angel Catfish or Angelicus Cat (Synodontis angelicus)                 S. angelicus is probably the rarest catfish on this list and has an unforgettably beautiful appearance. This fish originates from the Congo River, and accordingly does best in soft water with lots of plants (but can do well in a wide range of pH: 6.0-8.0). This is a great unique fish for a peaceful aquarium, but reaches about 8”, so a tank of minimum size 55 gal should suffice for a full-size adult. Here’s a bonus: Angel cats will pick at algae as well as any sinking food you drop in the tank.                   The above cats easily accept sinking pellets, frozen/freeze dried treats, and flakes. These are just three of many amazing Synodontis species available at Absolutely Fish. Come in any time to ask about our Synodontis cats; our staff is always happy to show you what’s in stock and how to care for...

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Stingrays for sale in New Jersey

»Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Blog, Cedes Militante, Thomas Tarkazikis | Comments Off on Stingrays for sale in New Jersey

Stingrays for sale in New Jersey

Stingrays for sale in New Jersey by: Thomas Tarkazikis   Perhaps the jewel of our freshwater department, our freshwater stingray tank has been known to turn heads. Many customers are captivated by these misunderstood fish and have questions on how to properly care for them. Stingrays are extraordinary animals with personality of iconic identity however; people are usually deterred from purchasing them because of the size, difficulty in care and cost of the animal.             About Rays/Behavior: Freshwater Stingrays can be found in parts of Asia and the Americas. In our store and throughout the hobby, the Stingrays we see in home aquariums are almost entirely indigenous to Parts of South America throughout the Amazon and connected basins. They are true to their name in that they have the potential to sting! Their tail is equipped with a serrated barb covered in a sac of tissue filled with venom. As the serrated barb impales its victim it tears open the venom filled sac and releases venom into the wound it creates when it stings. The wound can range from very painful to a serious injury/infection and should receive immediate medical attention. Typically they do not sting! Stingrays are intelligent fish and learn their environment well over time and become very used to or even “friendly” with their owners. They are Predators and will try to engulf smaller fish but their barb is a last resort defense against something harming them. It is extremely unlikely that they will sting their owner; typically it only occurs when they are stepped on in the wild. In the home aquarium, owners should be cautious while cleaning the tank not to bump into them as they may be out of sight, buried in sand. I would recommend approaching them with caution, especially new arrivals that are getting used to the tank and their owners hands in it. After a number of weeks in captivity, they become more accustom to people and can even be taught to be hand fed in many cases.             Water Quality: Stingrays have high standards for Water Quality and their size and appetite can make that difficult to maintain. Stingrays are not great first fish, they are very much like discus in terms of water quality. They prefer a tank with softer, more acidic water. This can be difficult to maintain, most people have harder water coming out of their faucet with a ph of 7.4-7.8. There are several products on the market to help achieve a lower ph and softer water but are not always stable. Powder buffers can lower the ph of tap water temporarily but should be tested in the days following as the ph can climb back up sometimes overnight. With rays collected from the wild, a stable ph of 6.5-7.0 is ideal to get them eating and accustom to the tank. Using a ratio of a quarter to a half R.O. water to tap water, most people will end up with a stable ph and hardness in that ideal range. Many of the stingrays we are starting to receive now are bred in captivity and born in water with a ph of 7.2-7.4 and do not require a lower ph. Eventually, even a once wild ray can be acclimated to ph in that range. They eat a lot and can produce a lot of waste! We recommend two filters or an appropriate sized wet/dry system to accommodate their bio load. The filters should be well maintained and the substrate should be vacuumed at least monthly. They are also very sensitive medications commonly sold in the aquarium trade and should owners should never use anything with harsh chemicals like copper and quick cure. They can however tolerate many herbal and natural medications.               Diet: Stingrays can be picky eaters and ideally should eat at least once a day. When acclimated to a new tank,  rays may not immediately accept food. The captive bred stingrays we receive are raised on various worms and frozen food. Wild rays can be more stubborn, often refusing prepared and frozen foods at first. Stingrays love live worms and even the pickiest of rays should accept live black worms or earthworms. These are great foods to get any rays to eat but they can lack in nutrition and long term and should be transitioned to a varied frozen diet or ideally a pellet food. Good frozen foods include mysis shrimp, silversides, bloodworms, krill, and even fresh shrimp from the local market.             Tankmates: Anything that can remotely fit in the mouth of a stingray is fair game! They cane be housed with more peaceful cichlids that...

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