Freshwater Invertebrates for Aquariums

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Blog, Kristen S | Comments Off on Freshwater Invertebrates for Aquariums

Freshwater Invertebrates for Aquariums

When setting up a freshwater aquarium many of our customers ask what other kinds of animals they can put in the tank other than fish.  There are many species of invertebrates that are easily kept in a community aquarium and some even help keep the tank cleaner.  Some of these groups include snails, shrimp, lobsters, clams, and crabs. Snails are a great addition to most tanks because they eat algae off the glass and decorations and they scavenge on uneaten flake food which helps keep the gravel clean. A snail’s diet can also be supplemented with algae wafers for them to graze on.  They work very well in peaceful community tanks with nothing aggressive that might eat them.  Harder water is also beneficial, though not required, to keep freshwater snails; the minerals help them build their shell. One popular species is the Mystery snail because they come in several different colors including gold, white, and black.  These snails will help keep the tank clean by eating algae but be careful adding one to a planted tank as they will also eat plants.  Another popular snail is the Nerite snail; these snails have zebra striping on their shells.  Many aquarists also like them because their eggs will only hatch in brackish water so there’s no worrying about there being baby snails in the tank (only white eggs on the glass). Pest snails, such as trumpet snails, can be introduced accidentally to a tank on live plant leaves. There are a few ways to get rid of them.  One way is to place a sheet of algae on the bottom of the tank overnight and the next day many of the snails will be on the algae eating it so you can remove the whole sheet with the snails.  Another way is to introduce something that will eat the pest snails such as a species of loach or an assassin snail.  Assassin snails are opportunistic carnivores so they will eat pest snails if they are available, but they will also eat detritus off the gravel and they do have a cool yellow and brown striping pattern. Another great invertebrate addition for planted aquariums, are crustaceans like shrimp.  There are a lot of different kinds of shrimp that come in a variety of colors.  Similar to snails, shrimp are best added to peaceful tanks with nothing that will eat them, especially the smaller fancy shrimp.  They also like a lot of décor to climb on such as moss.  Shrimp pellets are needed to feed shrimp because it helps keep their exoskeleton strong and helps with molting. Japonica shrimp, or Amano shrimp, are a popular addition because they are great algae grazers, especially in planted tanks; they will eat the algae off of the plant leaves and moss.  Flower shrimp are a cool addition because they have fan-like appendages that they use to fan leftover food towards them out of the water column.  It’s a very unique and interesting behavior to observe.  Ghost shrimp, as the name implies, are basically transparent shrimp.  Be careful adding them to a tank with other shrimp, as they are known to be cannibalistic. The fancy shrimp come in a huge variety of colors.  These shrimp are much smaller than the Japonica or the Flower, so while they...

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Keeping Feather Dusters in the Home Aquarium

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Chris F | Comments Off on Keeping Feather Dusters in the Home Aquarium

Keeping Feather Dusters in the Home Aquarium

“I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough of the bad luck of the worm” said Franklin D Roosevelt. When someone mentions a worm most people picture your stereotypical earth worm living in the garden eating compost and getting eaten by birds in the cool early morning. However several species of worms known as “feather dusters” within the marine aquarium hobby display a splendid variety of colors and patterns along with unique lifestyle. Believe it or not feather dusters are annelids, which simply means they’re closely related to earthworms, such as the ones you find in the garden. However they differ significantly from their mobile relatives by being sessile (living in a fixed spot). Similar to earth worms, feather dusters have a segmented body, although it is usually hidden by a tube constructed of mucus/detritus with some species living within corals or constructing their own calcium carbonate tube. The most distinguishing part of a feather duster is the “crown” which is basically feather shaped rays known as radioles. These radioles are arranged in two half circles that form a funnel utilized in filter feeding of suspended material. The cilia on the radioles generate currents which draw water, food particles and waste in and out of the crown. The feather duster worms belong to several families of Polychaeta. Those with a soft tube consisting of a polysaccharide matrix of mucus/detritus are generally from the family Sabellidae, with a single genus being capable of creating a calcareous tube. The hard tube feather dusters belong to the family Serpulidae. Feather dusters feed on a variety of particulates suspended within the water column such as fine detritus, bacteria, phytoplankton, and tiny microorganisms, most of which are found within a well-established reef aquarium at least a year in age. For best success one should only add a feather duster once the aquarium has been established for this amount of time and there is a healthy population of other reef safe organisms such as corals, fish, shrimp, snails, etc. The addition of various filter feeder foods such as phytoplankton, rotifers, zooplankton, marine snow and various other liquid-based foods will meet their nutritional needs. Remember to feed sparingly as excessive overfeeding will contribute to poor water quality. Water flow is crucial to the health of feather dusters worms and the reef aquarium in general as water currents stimulate natural physical functions, bringing food/waste to and from the organism and helps in respiration. Thus water flow for feather duster should be considered medium and indirect, preferably alternating, flow via a wave maker. Lighting is not a major concern to feather dusters as they obtain the majority of their nutritional needs from filter feeding and don’t directly rely on symbiotic zooxanthellae for their energy requirements. So placement of feather duster worms usually occurs on the bottom/middle portions of the aquarium. Problems with feather dusters in a correct environment are relatively scarce. However, some fish and invertebrates have been known to eat/damage feather dusters deliberately or accidentally. Butterfly fish can easily eliminate feather dusters due to their specific lifestyle and diet. Some wrasse species also have a penchant for eating feather dusters, thus care should be taken to research any potential species being added to an aquarium containing feather dusters. Finally,...

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Designer Clownfish

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Blog, Kristen S, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Designer Clownfish

Designer Clownfish Kristen Schmicker   Clownfish are definitely one of the most popular and easy to keep families of saltwater fish. They’re great for beginners; they have great personalities; and many people love observing their symbiotic relationship with anemones. Perhaps the most popular species of clownfish would be Amphiprion ocellaris, or “Nemo” as many people refer to them. Another type of clownfish commonly kept in aquariums would be Amphiprion percula, which can easily be mistaken for A. ocellaris. The easiest way to differentiate the two is to count the spines in their dorsal fin; A. ocellaris typically will have 11 spines and A. percula will have 10. A third popular clownfish species is the maroon clown, Premnas biaculeatus. This species is much more aggressive than A. ocellaris or A. percula, but is just as hardy and easy to keep. From these three species there have been countless “fancy” or “designer” types available for sale. These different color patterns may occur naturally in the wild or are created through generations of selective breeding. You may notice that these pairs of designer clownfish are much more expensive than their standard counterparts. This is a result of the work that goes in to creating the different, and in some cases, rare patterns on the fish. Another factor is the grading of the pattern. You may notice the word “Ultra”, “Premium”, or “Extreme” before the name of the fish, or it might say “Grade A” or Grade B”. These titles depend on the amount of white on the fish, odd or desirable markings, extra stripes, and in some cases the white stripes have a hint of baby blue in the outline. As you can guess the more of those factors on the clown, the more expensive the fish because in most cases only a handful of clownfish will have those odd patterns. Ocellaris has perhaps the widest range of patterns out of the three mentioned. One of my favorites is the Naked Ocellaris. These clowns have no white striping whatsoever; this was simply a unique mutation that occurred in the breeding process. A similar type is the Nearly Naked Ocellaris, these clowns have only a single dot behind their head. There are also Misbar Ocellaris where one or more of the stripes did not form completely, or in the case of Extreme Misbar Ocellaris, the stripe is missing altogether. One popular variation are the Snowflake Ocellaris; these were created in the UK through selective breeding of regular A. ocellaris.These also come in Premium, where the first two stripes are joined, and Ultra, which has the most white. Wyoming White Ocellaris were also developed from a regular pair of A. ocellaris; these clowns are almost all white. The DaVinci Ocellaris were created by crossing a Wyoming White with a regular A. ocellaris and the result was an interesting white pattern that resembles a painting. The DaVinci Ocellaris also come in Extreme, Grade A and Grade B depending on the amount of white. Another naturally occurring color morph of A. ocellaris is the Black Ocellaris, these clowns are completely black and white. Some may possess small amounts of orange but this is typically lost as they mature. The Black Ocellaris also come in Misbar varieties. The rare Midnight Ocellaris is another unique mutation where the...

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A Thank You to our Maintenance Clients and Team

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Blog, Patrick D | Comments Off on A Thank You to our Maintenance Clients and Team

I was talking with some of our maintenance clients recently and they brought up a few remarks I would like to share with you. They said to me “It is one thing to be looking at a dirty tank and paying someone to clean it, but Chris not just did so, he then listed a dosing regimen for our reef, two easy jobs for us to do weekly, which changed our tank.”   Another client who keeps African cichlids said to me that their fish have never been so colorful than before and asked me what Jason was doing while cleaning. I said it was the spirulina/astaxanthin food he was bringing, not so much the cleaning.   Recently I received a call from a client who wanted to compliment me on the maturity Nelson had at their home, as their 2 year old was having a meltdown. “He not only dealt with our children and the dog, he made the tank pristine, and cleaned up after himself to where you wouldn’t have known he was there.”   And one of our high-end discus clients asked me just last week, “Why isn’t Jimmy in the store, coaching your planted discus keepers? He is outstanding with tricks and husbandry care on these habitats.” Well I said he is maintaining a lot of other clients who value his services and there is no time to have him in the shop.   A thorough aquarium cleaning is what we all want. A professional, mature aquarist who cares and is meticulous with advice to offer, is priceless.   I thank all of our service clients for their patronage and support. As well, I thank the techs for their hard work, dedication, and compassion for aquatic life.     Thank you, from Pat, Eric, Jason, Jim, Patrick, Chris, Ryan, Kristen, Nelson, and Dibyarka.     -Patrick Donston Owner of Absolutely...

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Top 10 Low-Light Plants for Beginners

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in Blog, Jenn | Comments Off on Top 10 Low-Light Plants for Beginners

A huge java fern “mother plant” Top 10 Low-Light Plants for Beginners Jennifer Ruivo Java Fern If you have the opposite of a green thumb and kill every plant you touch, try Java ferns. These are incredibly hardy plants that can survive extreme neglect. In fact, you could remove all of the leaves and have no problem, as long as there’s a healthy rhizome (the thick horizontal “trunk” of the plant). The fern will simply grow back new leaves, and the leaves you removed will start growing baby java ferns complete with roots! Speaking of the rhizome, when “planting” the Java fern, only plant the roots, not the rhizome! The lack of water flow under substrate can cause rotting. Alternatively, don’t even plant the Java fern! You can just tie the rhizome and roots to driftwood or rocks until the plant grabs hold. Either use transparent fishing line or dissolvable thread for aesthetics. Under favorable conditions, the Java fern grows steadily and new growth can be easily spotted as translucent leaf tips.   A pile of happy marimo Marimo This is my favorite “plant” on this list! Marimo, or Japanese Moss Balls, are actually spherical clumps of a type of algae called cladophora. They are very hardy, due to the conditions of their native home, which are deep lakes in Japan. Marimo are unbothered by dim light and cold water, and will tolerate a small amount of salt in their water. The only downside to them is their slow growth. A marimo may grow only half a centimeter per year! But look on the bright side: no trimming! Marimo also appreciate being moved or rolled around once a while. It helps them stay spherical. If they get out of round, don’t worry! Just pat them back into shape in your hands like a meatball. Combine with white sand and large stones for a zen look.     Anubias with a healthy rhizome Anubias This is another plant that grows from a rhizome which should remain uncovered. Anubias are almost as hardy as Java ferns but have darker, smoother, and rounder leaves. If you think your anubias is growing slowly, you’re right. These plants are notorious for how slowly they grow. I like to think of them as the sloth of the aquatic plant world, as they also move so slowly that algae can grow on them. If that’s the case, gently wipe the leaves or trim ones that are too far gone. Propagate by cutting the rhizome, assuring at least one leaf per section.         Aquascape using tiger lotus lilies Nymphaea Lilies The smaller relative of water lilies found in ponds and lakes, dwarf lilies are an interesting low light plant. Usually they’re found as not-yet-sprouted bulbs. Plant them halfway into the substrate, root end down, at an angle. You’ll soon see their characteristic wide leaves on thin stems begin to erupt from the bulb. Let the leaves reach the surface of the water to increase its access to CO2, which will quicken its growth. Fish appreciate the shadows of the leaves, which in the wild provide shelter from piscivorous (fish-eating) birds. These plants are available in many different varieties, but red dwarf tiger lotus is my favorite.       Cryptocoryne wendtii “green” Cryptocoryne My...

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Tridacna Clams for the Aquarium

Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in Blog, Chris F | Comments Off on Tridacna Clams for the Aquarium

Giant Clams of the Tridacna Genus By: Christopher Fong Several species of giant clams belonging to the family Tridacnidae enter the aquarium hobby regularly and are often sought after for their color and unique patterning. Each clam has their own distinct patterning making them different and unique even from another individual of the same species. The most common species include Tridacna maxima, Tridacna crocea, Tridacna squamosa, and Tridacna derasa. Other species exist but seldom enter the aquarium hobby such as the infamous Tridacna gigas which grow to weigh an impressive 550lbs and the exceptionally rare Tridacna mbalavuana commonly known as the devil clam. Most Tridacna clams are found within the tropical Indo-Pacific reef communities where local farm these beautiful creatures for food and for the aquarium trade. They can also be found in the Red Sea, The Great Barrier Reef and as far north as southern Japan. Tridacna clams possess a shell made of calcium carbonate to protect themselves from predation. Each species has slight variations in shell size, shape, and scutes (scales). However all Tridacna clams possess an inlet siphon utilized to transport food and oxygen into the clam and an exhalent siphon utilized to export waste, sperm and eggs from the clam. Tridacna clams also possess various internal organs such as a kidney, gills, heart, stomach, gonads and various muscles to control the opening and closing of its shell. These clams also possess a byssal gland (the foot) which produces fiber like threads to anchor the clam into place. The most noticeable part of the Tridacna clam is the fleshy colorful mantle which extends over the entire shell. A symbiotic algae known as zooxanthellae lives within the tissue of the clam producing various products of photosynthesis during the day such as organic carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, glucose, amino acids and other essential materials. In return the algae lives within the protection of its host and feeds off the nutrients and carbon dioxide produced by the host. Care for Tridacna clams is relatively consistent from species to species with slight variations in a preferable placement within the reef. As stated earlier Tridacna clams utilize their symbiotic algae to produce the majority of their energy requirements (estimated 75%) so proper lighting is considered a must especially since these clams possess various internal organs thus requiring a higher degree of energy to maintain these organs. The most preferable lighting for Tridacna clams would be high quality LEDs or Metal halides as these lighting systems provide proper lighting to high demand photosynthetic organisms. T-5s and compact fluorescents can be utilized but placement of the clam should be close to the surface to maximize exposure. Supplementing the missing 25% of their energy requirements is generally done by absorbing nutrients and filter feeding. These clams also do best in nutrient filled water as they constantly filter water through their bodies so an ultra-low nutrient SPS-style system may not be the best environment for Tridacna clams. The addition of various filter feeder foods such as phytoplankton, rotifers, and marine snow can prove beneficial to Tridacna clams if not necessary for very small clams under 3 inches in size. The reason for supplementing filter feeder foods for small clams is their small surface area contains little zooxanthellae and at this size/age they rely more on filtering...

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11 Freshwater Nano Fish for Your Aquarium

Posted by on Feb 26, 2016 in Becca N, Blog, Freshwater Fish | Comments Off on 11 Freshwater Nano Fish for Your Aquarium

11 Freshwater Nano Fish for Your Aquarium

11 Freshwater Nano Fish for Your Aquarium Rebecca Noah   Let’s just face it: small things are cute and tiny things are even cuter. This list encompasses my favorite 11 nano species for freshwater tanks. None of the fish on the list require a tank larger than 10 gallons and majority of them can live happily in even 5 gallons.   It is important to house tiny fish with other tiny fish. The majority of the species on this list are shy, timid, and very peaceful. They can easily be out-competed for food and stressed out if placed in aquarium with larger, more boisterous tankmates. Nearly every fish on this list could live happily together in a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium except one, the pea puffer. Pea puffers can be nasty little buggers and would be best suited in a tank all on their own. Tiny tanks and tiny fish are adorable and very fun to set up and enjoy. It’s really cool to watch a functioning micro-ecosystem on your desk, but that does not mean that they are necessarily a good beginner tank or less work. In fact, the smaller the tank the more important regular maintenance and staying on top of water quality is. A lot of these tiny fish are also not suitable for beginners as they require special care and feedings. Just because the tank is small and the fish are smaller doesn’t mean the workload is smaller. Always seek the advice of your friendly and knowledgeable Absolutely Fish aquarist to ensure that you are setting up your tank for success and longevity. 1: Asian Stone Catfish (Hara jerdoni) Origin: South Asian; India pH: 5.6-7.6 Maximum Size: 1.2” Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons Diet: Likely to accept a variety of small foods including dried pellets, but should also be offered a diet of live and frozen food including bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and tubifex worms. The Asian stone catfish is one of the cutest and smallest catfish species in the hobby. Maxing out at just over inch, this adorable, whiskered catfish makes for a unique addition to a nano tank. However, do not expect much activity from this little guy as the the stone catfish is very inactive and will likely stay in one place most of the time. The stone catfish is very peaceful and will do well with nearly every micro species on this list. It can be housed alone, but will do better in small groups. The stone catfish would do best in an aquarium with plenty of hiding place, softer substrate, driftwood or almond leaves. Water quality is imperative to this tiny fish and must be kept stable, clean, and well oxygenated. The stone catfish is nocturnal so it’s best to feed after the tank lights go out. 2: Scarlet Gem (Dario dario) Origin: India pH:6.5-7.6 Maximum Size: .75” to 1” Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons for one fish, 10 gallons for a pair Diet: Difficult to feed dried foods and should therefore be fed a variety of live and frozen food including brine shrimp, banana worms, and daphnia. Badids tend to develop diseases and become obese when fed bloodworms and tubifex worms so these should be omitted from their diet. The scarlet badis is a stunning nano fish that...

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5 Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Fish Lovers – Freshwater

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Blog, Jenn | Comments Off on 5 Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Fish Lovers – Freshwater

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and we know how hard it is to shop for a hobbyist. To help you out, here are five great gift ideas for a freshwater fish keeper. For saltwater tanks, scroll down or click here.   #5: Kissing Gourami – These baby-pink fish are flexible with their water hardness and temperature, meaning they can adapt to many different tanks. They use their kissing mouths to scrape algae from surfaces and to establish dominance in fights with other males. This fighting behavior is why you should never house two kissing gouramis in the same tank.   #4: Candy Cane Tetra – This is a beautiful red and white schooling fish who loves dimly lit planted tanks. Floating plants and almond leaves (available whole or as an extract in store) will make them feel right at home. They are peaceful and will get along great with other peaceful fish like neon tetras or corydoras.   #3: Fancy Guppy – Guppies are beautiful and hardy fish that could do well in tanks as small as five gallons. They’ll accept nearly any food from flake to live and will even pick at algae wafers. They come in as many colors as you can imagine and will breed easily in any tank with clean water. The best part? We sell them in pairs. Name them after yourself and your significant other. #2: Betta – Bettas are a great choice for people with not a lot of room for more fish or more tanks. Betta fish come in a huge range of shapes and colors and are possibly the easiest fish to care for, doing well in bowls and fantastically in 5 gallon tanks, especially with almond leaves and extracts. They develop their own personalities, often wiggling near the surface begging for food or lounging on a favorite leaf. And what’s not to love about their grumpy little faces?   #1: Gift Card – Very often we’ll have a customer come in who wants to buy something nice for a hobbyist. We adore these customers. However, buying a fish to go into an already established tank is like doing a puzzle, and these customers often don’t know the other pieces. In these cases, the best thing you can do is buy a gift card. Your hobbyist might need something you’d never think to buy them, and you’ll be their hero if you can make that happen for them.   Marine Gifts   #5: Clownfish Pairs – Clownfish will pair for life and are excellent parents, both taking turns to watch over their eggs. There are several species of clownfish and many color types of those species, so if you don’t like the “Nemo” look, don’t fret. Check out skunk clowns, tomato clowns, or black ice clowns. At Absolutely Fish, we have pre-mated pairs for sale so you don’t have to go through the sometimes stressful process of finding fish who like each other.   #4: Frags – Does your special someone have a reef tank? Bring home a few frags. These are small pieces of coral that will grow into impressive specimens given enough time. Frags give you flexibility with placement and aren’t nearly as pricey as full-sized corals. #3: Firefish – Firefish are small fish suitable for just...

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Top Ten: Nano Reef Fish

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Blog, Education, Reef Aquariums, Saltwater Fish, William C | Comments Off on Top Ten: Nano Reef Fish

Top Ten: Nano Reef Fish

Check out our top ten nano fish! We carry all of these and more! Top Ten Nano Reef Fish at Absolutely Fish William C Skip to our top ten nano reef fish! Let’s talk about something I’d like to describe as Saltwater Syndrome. When afflicted with said syndrome, saltwater newbies(and old-timers alike) ask to purchase fish such as the magnificent Queen Angelfish. Which is fine. Only when I ask about their aquarium, it’s a 30 gallon reef tank… not at all adequate. And no, it’s not a good temporary home— as a matter of fact a “home” should be a fish’s permanent dwelling. The Queen grows far too large for a 30 gallon aquarium and should be housed in something closer to 90 gallons or more! Further, the entire grouping we call Angelfish ARE NOT REEF SAFE. Sure you may have a 50-50 shot with that Argi Angel when it is first introduced in the tank, but you’ll be really upset 6 months down the line when you can’t add any corals that are even minorly “fleshy” (Bye, bye Acans!) After explaining this though the saltwater syndrome kicks in further, “But I bought a saltwater tank to keep exotic fish!” Exotics such as the Queen Angel and say — the Hepatus tang (popularized by Finding Nemo) should be housed in large appropriate tanks. So I’d like to clear up some misconceptions about the saltwater nano reef, and suggest the APPROPRIATE fish one might keep in such a habitat. Firstly a lot of fish are not reef friendly, meaning they eat corals, shrimp, worms, sponge, or some other reef invertebrate you care deeply for. Angelfish, Butterflyfish, and Triggers are the major offenders in this category. Alternatively some fish just grow too large for a nano reef (40 gallon tanks or less). Tangs for the most part grow to sizes of 7 inches or larger and need plenty of space to grow. In addition some very active species just need lots of space to live in a natural way. Take anthias for example,while most species do not exceed 6 inches they do like ample space to swim during the day! Lastly, there are the aggressors — some fish may be perfectly happy in a 30 gallon tank, and that’s great — but when your Domino Damsel goes on a killing rampage because his tank mates occupy too much of his space— we have a problem. Aggression doesn’t just include towards other fish… If you have a full grown Maroon clown in your 30 gallon reef and you just purchased the most magnificent little torch coral — expect the Maroon to attempt to host this piece (your results may vary). So what fish does that leave us with? Well below is a top 10 list of what in my opinion are the best common nano reef fish. Top Ten Nano Reef Fish 10. Clown Goby Max Size: 2″ Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 10 gallons Clown Gobys are some of the cutest little fish for the nano tank. They stay incredibly small, and are either bright yellow or vivid green. Some specimens will live in and around the corals in your tank. They’re quite the little beauties!   9. Skunk Clown Max Size: 4″ although most rarely exceed 3″ Minimum Recommended Tank Size:...

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A Deep-Sea Shark for the Home Aquarium

Posted by on Jan 20, 2016 in Blog, Paul T, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on A Deep-Sea Shark for the Home Aquarium

 A Deep-Sea Shark for the Home Aquarium  Paul T The chain catshark (Scyliorhinus retifer) is a popular public aquaria display. It is a small and slender shark with a blunt-tipped snout. Their coloration is a yellowish-brown with a black chain link or reticulated pattern. They have small, narrow oval-shaped eyes and a small mouth with a lot of tiny teeth. Their two dorsal fins are placed well posteriorly with the second dorsal fin being half the size of the first. Their skin feels smooth due to the small denticles that are narrow and flat. Although the purpose is unclear, they have been documented to have a biofluorescent activity, at least in the wild. The chain catshark, sometimes referred to inappropriately as the chain dogfish, belongs to the family of sharks known as Scyliorhinidae. This family is termed catsharks because of their elongated cat-like eyes. The family comprises a large group of small, bottom-dwelling sharks that are slow-moving and non-migratory. In the western Atlantic, they are found on the outer continental shelf and upper slope in water ranging from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. They are a demersal species found congregating around structured habitats or man-made objects from Georges Bank, Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico to Nicaragua. They are very abundant in the middle of their range. In the northern part of their range, they occupy depths of about 120 feet to 750 feet, whereas in the southern range they are found at greater depths of down to 1800 feet. They are born at about 4.5 inches and grow to a length of 18 inches. Their growth rate decreases exponentially as they mature. They reach sexual maturity at about 15 inches which takes about seven years to attain. Females tend to be larger than males. The larger catsharks (12 to 18 inches) prefer rough bottoms whereas the small catsharks (4 to 12 inches) prefer smoother bottoms. As juveniles they eat polychaete worms and crustaceans, but as adults they prefer small fish and cephalopods. Their mode of reproduction is oviparity (egg-laying). Behavioral observations involve the male biting the female’s pectoral fin until he has a firm grasp. He then wraps his body around the female for copulation. It has been noted that females can store sperm for a couple of years. The female deposits eggs in pairs after an unknown gestation period over an object. The small amber-colored eggs have long stringy tendrils at each corner that allow the eggs to stay attached to the object. The eggs hatch in about 8-12 months depending on temperature. They are an attractive shark for the home aquarium due to their shark-like appearance and small size. They acclimate readily and spawn successfully in captivity. Most of the time, they will rest on the bottom of the tank. However, they are very active during feeding and at night, so a cover is necessary. A 120 gallon aquarium would be sufficient to house one chain catshark. A 300 gallon aquarium can comfortably house a pair. However, being that the water temperature should be kept between 50-65 degrees, a chiller is necessary and the tank should be a species only aquarium. The salinity should be kept between 1.024 and 1.026. A UV is optional being that sharks are resilient to many types of diseases....

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