Employee blogs written by Ryan Sickles

Octopus Vulgaris (Common Octopus)

»Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in Blog, Education, Ryan S | Comments Off on Octopus Vulgaris (Common Octopus)

Octopus Vulgaris (Common Octopus)

Octopus Vulgaris (Common Octopus) by Ryan Sickles The Vulgaris Octopus is a very wide-spread all over the Atlantic Ocean. This kind of cephalopod can be found from the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic areas to the Indo-Pacific regions. They generally inhabit shallow water going only as far down as as 200 meters. Something special about the Vulgaris is that it can regulate its body temperature to whatever ambient temperature is. however, they thrive best in 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These magnificent creatures can move swiftly along the shaded, rocky outcrop areas of the reef where the food source is convenient and hiding places are plentiful. These hiding places are needed to help the animal rest and restore its energy for the next hunt. Like most other cephalopods, the octopus enjoys snacking on many different crustaceans like crab, lobster, snails, and clams.  Occasionally, even small fish that would pose as prey along the reef are an acceptable meal for this brilliant species. The Vulgaris Octopus is well-known for its bulging head, eight arms, and hundreds of tube-feet. These wonderful animals have a very complex respiratory system. When they gomobile and hover over the rocks, their oxygen intake increases by two and a half times as much of that of a resting octopus. But it cannot ho9ld its oxygen intake levels that high for too long. Eventually, the octopus would need rest and re-circulate as much oxygen and blood as it can without over-exhausting itself. Due to all that blood pumping just to get around, the octopus has a short lifespan. Females can lay 120k – 400k eggs,  but will die after hatching the last embryo. The eggs that she hides and buries are legacies of her heir. She will starve for months without eating while protecting he eggs. These eight armed fellows are masters of the art of escaping. In case a predator was to come along and try to strike, the octopus has the ability to wedge and/or squeeze into tight and intricate spaces. Whether it be a hollowed rock or a long, thin pipe from shipwreck, the octopus can maneuver through just about any complicated spot. Having no vertebrate or any inner shell is the unique part of being an octopus. They can also escape out of almost any aquarium that is not secured tightly enough. The octopus is a smart enough animal to participate in: lifting glass canopies, squeezing through overflows, intake pipes and climbing right out of the tank. Want to learn more about how to keep an octopus? Stop into the Absolutely Fish to hear the stories and witness the elegant animal in an enclosed ecosystem. Be sure to also ask about our other varieties of octopus species like the Mimic, the Atlantic Pygmy or the Bimac...

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Marine Invertebrates for Sale: The Mantis Shrimp

»Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Blog, Education, Reef Aquariums, Ryan S, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Marine Invertebrates for Sale: The Mantis Shrimp

Marine Invertebrates for Sale – Absolutely Fish, NJ   Marine Invertebrates for Sale: The Mantis Shrimp   By Ryan Sickles   Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Crustacea Subclass: Hoplocarida (which means “armed shrimp”) Order: Stomatopoda Mantis Shrimp are varied under many species names. They are also found in tropical waters all over the world. These shrimp are carnivores and will eat just about anything and everything. The majestic Mantis Shrimp can also be an expert at catching and killing prey which makes them very clever, stealthy hunters. They are masters at hiding in burrows, holes, and especially live rock. They are called a “Mantis” Shrimp due to the fact they resemble the appearance and have the same hunting characteristics of a praying mantis insect. There are two hunting categories of this deadly predator, the “spearers” and the “smashers”. The “spearers” use their sharp pointed claw to silently stab soft tissue prey. The “smashers” use their forceful, club-like claw to hit, crack, open or pulverize harder bodied prey. It is interesting that the power of the “smashers” appendage can produce a blow close to the power of a .22 caliber bullet and are notoriously known as “thumb splitters”. It is rumoured that because of the tremendous strength these animals have, they can crack ¼ inch thick aquarium glass. Stan and Debbie Hauter Mantis Shrimp-Pest or Pet: http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/msubpestmshrimp/a/aa110498.htm These animals are burrowers, and can create tunnels and caves in sand, rubble or mud. They will adapt to living in holes, cracks or crevices in rocks, and may take up residence in large snail or hermit crab shells too. They are solitary animals and should be kept alone. The Mantis Shrimp is aggressive and some species can reach up to a length of about 12 inches. So how does a Mantis Shrimp get into your tank, aside from intentionally putting one there? By hitchhiking in/on live rock! When fish, crustaceans and other invertebrates begin to mysteriously disappear from your aquarium without a trace, the first assumption a lot of aquarium hobbyists make is that a Mantis Shrimp is the culprit. Even though this is a prime sign that a Mantis Shrimp may be present in your tank, it sometimes can be a wrong conclusion as well. There could be other marine animals that contribute to this same problem. Don’t just consider a Mantis Shrimp as the enemy, especially if fish are disappearing, but try to investigate other possibilities. Some say when you hear clicking, popping or snapping noises coming from your tank, you have a Mantis Shrimp. Not always. The Meddling Mantis Shrimp is commonly mistaken for some types of Pistol Shrimp. Since these animals are natural burrowers, creating tubes or cavities in sand and debris, look for holes or tunnels in the substrate. These are usually accompanied by a mound of sand or substrate rubble piled up outside the hole. Pistol Shrimp have this characteristic trait as well, so if you find a hole like this, just dim the tank lights and sit back to see what comes out. Pistol Shrimps like to burrow “under” things, rather than directly in an open space of the substrate. In the aquarium hobby, Mantis Shrimp are made out to be the worst, monstrous creatures that have ever inhabited oceans or aquariums. For those marine aquarists that have lost many valuable specimens to a Mantis Shrimp, you can see the point of view as to why they have this reputation. However, if a Mantis Shrimp is accidentally introduced into your tank while adding some new live rock, what do you expect from a carnivorous creature like this? Mantis Shrimp may “seem” to be monsters, but they are just doing what they naturally do… hunt. When a Mantis Shrimp is introduced into your tank by accident, by all means, you should remove it. However, before going into methods of removal, I suggest considering other options of what to do with it prior to catching it, other than killing it? Before catching and removing one, please consider these other options first. Some could keep it and provide it with a tank of its own to live in. Maybe you could ask a friend if they might want it. It might sound silly, but there are aquarists who love and enjoy keeping Mantis Shrimps. You may be able to find a local fish store that likes them, and may take it off your hands. Now that you know the options, other than killing the shrimp, once you have decided what to do with the specimen, it’s time to remove it from the aquarium. If you have found it has taken up residence in a piece of live...

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Fish Nutrition

»Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Blog, Cichlids, Education, Freshwater Fish, Reef Aquariums, Ryan S | Comments Off on Fish Nutrition

Fish Nutrition   By Ryan Sickles   Many fish hobbyists are not aware of the important role that vitamins and a well-balanced diet can play in fish health. Lack of vitamins can cause deformities and stunted growth in fish. When fish are under stress the need for vitamins is increased, as they can provide important immune response, aiding weaker fish to help prevent disease. Vitamins are key nutritional supplements needed to keep your fish in their top conditions. Fish rely on a good diet enriched with vitamins for their immune response and the growth of white blood cells. All of the “B” vitamins are important for optimal growth. Good digestion requires a good amount of pro-biotics. Vitamin C is needed for the synthesis of collagens, which are required for healthy skin, bones, and teeth. Fish will produce disease fighting antibodies more efficiently when fed a varied diet consisting of protein sources, carbohydrates and fatty acids. These foods should be periodically mixed with a vitamin supplement. Feeding your fish vegetation based foods will give them lots of biotin and keratin. Biotin and keratin are used for building strong eyes and corneas. The carbohydrates that fish consume are necessary for building a strong skin under the fish’s scales. All of these nutrients play a unique and important role in a fish’s body. Health conditions of aquatic pets can be corrupted very easily with accumulated stress, poor water quality, or a poor choice in diet. It’s up to the fish keeper to give their fish the nutrients they require I’ve personally experienced my own fish having a boost in their immune functions, colors, and behaviors by using a multivitamin supplement a few times a week. It is a liquid extract which is absorbed into dry pellets and freeze dried treats. I feed the fish by taking a plastic cup, dropping in a few pellets of food and freeze dried shrimp or bloodworms, and then adding a few drops of the liquid vitamin supplement. The fish are fed after the multivitamin been absorbed into the food. If the vitamins were to dry out, they are no longer as strong as if they were to be fed to the fish fresh. Vitamin supplements do not absorb very well into frozen foods as these foods are already saturated with other liquids As good as multivitamins may be, is is not recommended to feed vitamin soaked foods on a daily basis. Overabundance of certain vitamins in a fish’s system can lead to stress, preventing the fish from properly fighting off pathogens. Fish only need supplemental multivitamins added to their food two or three times per week. This will keep them healthy, fit, and strong. A well balanced diet with multivitamin supplements will help fish produce less cortisol, or stress. Keeping a good variety of fish foods, supplemented with occasional vitamin soaks, can really make the difference in fish health. After all, it’s just what we want to see in our fish tanks; healthy, bright, colorful, happy fish! Please stop into the store and ask anyone of our Certified Aquarists here at Absolutely Fish about the many options of vitamin supplements and foods to soak...

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