Blog posts relating to Cichlids

Species Suitable for a Nano African Cichlid Tank

»Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Becca N, Blog, Cichlids, Freshwater Fish | Comments Off on Species Suitable for a Nano African Cichlid Tank

Species Suitable for a Nano African Cichlid Tank

Species Suitable for a Nano African Cichlid Tank:   African cichlids don’t have to be kept in a large aquarium. While the majority of African cichlids grow to be at least five inches and longer, there are also interesting African cichlids suitable for smaller aquariums. These smaller species of African cichlids generally grow to be no more than five inches and can be kept in a tank of 20- to 30-gallons. Some species are even capable of being kept in 10-gallon tanks.   The majority of these micro African cichlid species hail from Lake Tanganyika in East Africa. There are four categories of suitable species for a 30-gallon Lake Tanganyika tank. As you look over this list keep in mind that as a general rule fish under three inches are suitable for a 10-gallon tank and fish over four inches would do best in a 30-gallon tank or larger.     FREE SWIMMING Cyprichromis leptosema and Paracyprichromis nigripinnis can be kept peacefully in small schools of three or more. The rest of the free-swimming cichlids should be kept one individual fish per species group.   Cyprichromis leptosoma Max size: ~3.5” Paracyprichromis nigripinnis Max size: ~4” Xenotilapia Sp. Max size: ~3” Opthalmoltilapia ventralis Max size: ~6” Reganochromis calliurus Max Size:~6”   GOBY CICHLIDS Should be kept alone or in male/female pairs as they can become very aggressive with other similar types—including their own species. Eretmodus cyanostictus Max size: ~3.5” Spathodus erythrodon Max size: ~3.0” Tanganicodus irsacae Max size: ~2.8”   SHELL DWELLERS For shell dwellers, it is best to choose one of each species and in each size class, as they can become aggressive towards their own kind, especially in smaller tank set-ups. Neolamprologus brevi Max size: ~2.5”  Neolamprologus leleupi Max size: ~3.5” Neolamprologus multifasciatus Max Size: ~2”– thought to be the smallest cichlid in the world! Neolamprologus gracilis Max size: ~3.5” Julidochromis transcriptus Max size: ~3” Julidochromis dickfeldi Max size: ~4.5” Larger Neolamprologus sp. Max size: ~5-5.5” sexfasciatus tretocephalus brichardi daffodil cylindricus     CAT FISH Cat fish are normally peaceful. They can be kept alone or in small groups. Synodontis petricola Max size: 5” Bushynose pleco Max size: 6”     THINGS TO REMEMBER   The total maximum inches of fish should be less than or equal to the gallons of water in aquarium (i.e. 18 total inches of fish is equal to 18 gallons of water). However, with many African cichlid tanks, you can slightly overstock. If your tank is overstocked you must maintain excellent water quality, filter more than usual, and perform frequent water changes. Doubling to tripling your filtration for any African cichlid set-up is recommended.   It is also important to note that Lake Tanganyika has the highest pH of the rift lakes at around 9.0. The addition of lake salts and buffers to the aquarium will help to stabilize the pH to natural levels while also providing the fish with the electrolytes they need–the better the water quality, the healthier and better looking the fish.   At Absolutely Fish we frequently stock all of these small African cichlids and carry all of the equipment you need to keep them happy and...

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Maintaining Your Aquarium

»Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Blog, Cichlids, Education, Freshwater Fish, Heather H, Reef Aquariums, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Maintaining Your Aquarium

Aquarium Maintenance – Absolutely Fish, NJ   Maintaining Your Aquarium:   By Heather Hollema   This week we are going to dive into basic aquarium maintenance. A well maintained aquarium will provide years of beauty and entertainment for you and your family. There are a variety of methods and schedules on how best to care for you fish and their mini ecosystem. Although there is no specific ‘right’ way to keeping a fish tank, there are some practices you will want to avoid: Do your research and know what level of maintenance you will need. Do not clean your gravel and filter at the same time – this could cause re-cycling! Avoid over feeding. Do not use chemical household cleaners to clean your tank! Remember, your fish tank is basically a small ecosystem that needs to be taken care of so that everything stays balanced. You can use a monthly chart to keep track of everything that needs to be done. By following a routine, you will avoid catastrophic events that could lead to illness or even death in the tank. Lets look at a few types of tank set-ups. Printer friendly table Day: Daily Weekly Bi–Weekly Monthly Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: Printer friendly table     Tank 1: A Typical Freshwater Aquarium of any size Daily: ★ Feed your tank★ Observe and enjoy your fish★ Check the temperature★ Is everything operational? Weekly: ★ Do a 10–25% water change depending on your set–up. Ask an Absolutely Fish Aquarist to help you find what suits your tank best.★ Also remove any unwanted algae growth from the glass and décor. Bi–Weekly: ★ Twice a month you will do more than just a water change. We recommend, if you break the month up into weeks, to preform a gravel cleaning with a proper syphon on WEEK TWO. If you don’t know how, we will provide a demonstration. All you need to do is ask.★ On the fourth week of the month, it will be time to clean your filter (whether you have a canister, hang–on, or other type). For canisters and hang–on filters, rinse any sponges in tank water that was removed from the tank. For wet–dry filters and sumps, remove any silt build up and rinse out sponges. Monthly: ★ This is a good time to give all of your equipment a good once over. Make sure lighting, timers, pumps, etcetera, are clean and functional.★ Even if your fish seem fine, this is also a good time to bring in your water sample for an Absolutely Fish Aquarist to check for you. We will preform a basic water test and consultation for free. Seasonally: ★ Replace carbon or cartridge if necessary.★ Clean the impellers on any pumps or filters. Every Year: ★ Check lighting and replace bulbs if necessary.   Tank 2: A Saltwater Reef Tank Daily: ★ Feed your tank★ Observe and enjoy your fish and gorgeous corals!★ Top off any evaporated water with buffered R.O. water if necessary.★ Check the temperature,★ Depending on your set–up you may need to dose calcium, carbon, and/or magnesium.★ Empty the protein skimmer head if necessary. ★ Check calcium reactor for proper drip and bubble rates if you have one. Weekly: ★ Check the salinity and pH in your tank. Bi-Weekly: ★ Preform any water changes and vacuuming of the sand (usually 20-30% of the total system volume).★ Wipe of salt creep with a damp cloth. Monthly: ★ This is a good time to frag and thin out corals as needed.★ Test and record calcium, dKH, magnesium, phosphates, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Keeping detailed records will help you see potential problems before they start. If you do not have testing kits at home, ask an Absolutely Fish aquarist about all of the tests we can preform for you.★ Replace carbon and phosphate removal media if needed.★ Check skimmer, UV and pumps for proper performance. Seasonally: ★ Make yourself a list of all pumps that need to be broken down and cleaned and spread out this maintenance throughout the course of the year. This step will help your pumps last much longer and prevent any buildup of calcium or debris around the impellers.★ Refill carbon dioxide bottle for calcium reactor. Every Six Months: ★ Take a look at your invertebrate clean-up crew population. Many individuals need to restock at this time.★ Clean the UV sleeves and decrease the water flow through your UV by half. Every Year: ★ Replace UV bulbs, aquarium reef lighting (if an LED system is not on the tank), and R.O. membranes.   Tank 3: A Freshwater Planted Aquarium Daily: ★ Feed your tank★ Observe and enjoy your fish and beautiful plants!★ Check the temperature.★ Is everything operational? Are CO2 levels adequate? Weekly: ★ Prune your plants to your liking.★ Do a 10-25% water change...

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Freshwater Spotlight – Scarlet Badis: A Unique Nano Fish

»Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Becca N, Blog, Cichlids, Education, Freshwater Fish | Comments Off on Freshwater Spotlight – Scarlet Badis: A Unique Nano Fish

Tropical Fish for Sale – Absolutely Fish, NJ   Freshwater Spotlight — Scarlet Badis: A Unique Nano Fish  By Rebecca Noah   Often overlooked, the stunning Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) is an eye–catching micro–species of freshwater fish. Sporting seven vertical stripes, the Scarlet Badis is a beautiful red–orange fish with iridescent blue colors lining its stripes and fins. The Scarlet Badis are the smallest known perch–like fish and reminiscent of dwarf cichlids in behavior and body type. Males of the species reach a maximum size of just under an inch (2 cm) and females only half of an inch (1.3 cm). Males of the species also exhibit bolder and brighter colors along with larger sizes. The Scarlet Badis are native to India and inhabit shallow, clear water streams and tributaries. The natural habitat of the Scarlet Badis includes dense vegetation and aquatic growth with a fine substrate. A planted tank would be appreciated by the shy species but not demanded. The Scarlet Badis are an easy fish to care for and can thrive in a variety of conditions as long as the conditions remain stable. A peaceful fish by nature, the Scarlet Badis can be housed with its own species as well as many others. Male Scarlet Badis can be territorial if not enough tank space is provided. I would also recommend keeping Scarlet Badis in a community with fish of similar temperament and size, so that their beauty and personalities can be better seen. Scarlet Badis become shyer when placed with fast moving or boisterous tank mates and can also be quickly outcompeted for food. The Scarlet Badis are micro predators in the wild, feeding on small species of crustaceans, worms, insect larvae, and zooplankton. They should be fed a varied diet of frozen and freeze–dried foods in the home aquaria including daphnia, tubiflex worms, brine shrimp, cyclops, and high–quality pellets. Scarlet Badis are unlikely to take flake food and should be given bloodworms sparingly as they have been shown to develop issues with obesity and diseases when fed too often. Absolutely Fish consistently carries the rare and stunning Scarlet Badis, so stop in soon to check out this unique tiny...

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The Beauty of the German Blue Ram

»Posted by on Nov 29, 2014 in Blog, Cichlids, Education, Freshwater Fish, Mike D | Comments Off on The Beauty of the German Blue Ram

Freshwater Fish for Sale – Absolutely Fish, NJ   The Beauty of the German Blue Ram   By Mike DeOliveira   As a young boy, animals always fascinated me. Whether it was the weekend fishing and crabbing trips with my grandfather or my yearly trip to the Poconos to search for frogs and salamanders, animals were always at the center of my attention. You name it and I probably kept it. I owned turtles, red-eyed tree frogs, snakes, rabbits, hermit crabs, and the list goes on and on. Keeping these animals as pets, I always wanted to give them the best home possible. It was on one of my trips to an unfamiliar pet store that I was introduced to the wonderful world of fish-keeping and an absolutely beautiful fish called the German Blue Ram. This pet store wasn’t like the one around the corner from my house. They seemed to specialize in freshwater and saltwater fish and according to their sign; they had the solution to all of your aquarium needs. As soon as I entered the front door I was met by a large planted aquarium, full of vibrant shimmering fish and bright green sword plants. It was amongst the fauna in this aquarium where I found the fish that opened my world to aquarium keeping. The fish I was looking at was the German Blue Ram. At this point I had never kept a fish before in my life. Not even a goldfish, but I couldn’t fight the urge to own such an exquisite creature. So naturally, I did my research. I came to find out that the German Blue Ram is a dwarf cichlid native to the Amazon River basin, located in Venezuela and Columbia. Cichlids are one of the largest families of fishes with thousands of species spread around the world. Its scientific name is Mikrogeophagus ramirezi. The underwater landscape in these areas are dominated by driftwood which gives the water a tea color as the driftwood releases tannins into the water. This causes the pH of the water to become acidic. The proper pH to keep your aquarium at for the German Blue Ram is anywhere from 6.0 to 7.0. This can be accomplished by adding a powdered buffer to the water you use for your aquarium. The ideal temperature to maintain is 80° Fahrenheit. Incorporating live plants and driftwood help recreate the fishes natural environment and also makes your aquarium look like a living piece of art. Aqua-scaping, as it is known, is a great way to express your artistic side and can be extremely satisfying when the end result is a beautiful underwater garden to relax in front of. The ram, also known as the butterfly cichlid, is one of the more popular fish in the aquarium hobby and it’s clear to see why. They are simply bursting with color and personality. The males are especially impressive. At about two and half inches fully grown with a yellow head and blue spots running down the side of the body, his beauty is unmatched. His dorsal fin is tall, bright red, and comes to a point at the end. His female counterpart is slightly smaller with more rounded fins and a bright pink belly. This fish is omnivorous and will gladly accept bloodworms or brine shrimp, as these tend to be more palatable. They will also generally accept a flake or pelleted food. These fish fit best in a peaceful, community aquarium but because they are cichlids, they still have their aggressive side. Unless your aquarium is larger than 40 gallons it is not recommended to mix this fish with other types of dwarf cichlids. Of course, having plants and places to hide can help with their aggression. They should only be introduced to an established aquarium and will not fair well if any ammonia or nitrite is present in the water. Maintaining pristine water conditions is vital for the rams’ survival. Other species of fish that I have found to be compatible with the ram includes various types of peaceful tetras and rasboras. Corydoras catfish and sucker mouth catfish also make suitable tank-mates. What really appealed to me about fish-keeping is that fish are found in so many different environments around the world. One of the most important aspects of the hobby is to provide the fish with what it needs to survive. Throughout my experiences I have learned there is no better way to do that then to try and recreate their natural environment. In many of my aquariums not only have I had fish survive, they thrived! The more you put in, the more...

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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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Tropical Fish Acrossed the Bridge (Youtube Video)

»Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Cichlids | Comments Off on Tropical Fish Acrossed the Bridge (Youtube Video)

Hey Everyone, be sure to check out our new Youtube Video, Patrick and I take a journey across our Cichlid System and Bridge!

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