Blog posts relating to the conservation of our environment.

Invasive Aquarium Plants and What You Can Do About Them

»Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Blog, Conservation, Education, Jenn, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Invasive Aquarium Plants and What You Can Do About Them

Invasive Aquarium Plants and What You Can Do About Them

Invasive Aquarium Plants and What You Can Do About Them Thanks to globalization, there’s a variety of aquatic plants and animals available in the aquarium trade that has never been seen before. While this means more gorgeous tanks and ponds than ever, it also brings a new threat: invasive species. You’ve probably heard about the snakehead, a predatory fish native to Asia that can travel short distances on land, leading it to populate New England, or maybe your rose bushes have been chewed up by Japanese beetles. Those are both invasive species, introduced to the US accidentally in the case of Japanese beetles, and purposefully as food stock in the case of snakeheads. Animals are not the only living things that can become problems when introduced to lands not originally their own. Aquatic plants can also cause destruction when introduced to rivers, lakes, or oceans. Following are the three most common invasive plants found in the aquarium trade. After learning about the damage they can cause, we’ll learn how to prevent it.   Anacharis: A common trait all of these plants have is their ease of care, which lends itself to their success in environments they should not be in. Anacharis is possibly the easiest plant on this list. It requires medium light (perfect for lakes) and doesn’t even need to be planted in the substrate to thrive and grow. Floating anacharis will grow roots along its stem, drawing nutrients directly from the water column. Anacharis can be propagated by breaking the stems into pieces, which is great news for a plant that humans try to physically remove from waterways. Any pieces left behind can immediately begin to repopulate. Problem: Anacharis grows faster than many native aquatic plants and can block out light and rob them of nutrients, out-competing them. Anacharis can also form thick floating mats that prevent recreation like swimming, rowing, fishing, and boating. An unsuspecting boater can get a nasty surprise when their propeller gets tangled in a mass of anacharis.   Water hyacinth: An admittedly gorgeous ornamental pond plant, water hyacinth has a dark side. Like anacharis, it can form massive, acres in width patches, blocking light from lower levels of the water and making recreation difficult if not impossible. Its light blocking effect doesn’t just slow down growth of other aquatic plants. Preventing light from reaching those plants prevents them from photosynthesizing, which prevents them from producing oxygen. Additionally, just the hyacinths’ presence on the water surface decreases the area for gas exchange. What we end up with is a body of water that is oxygen starved and full of dying fish. Waterfowl can’t land on hyacinths. Their habitat is effectively destroyed when lakes and rivers are clogged with floating plants. The density of hyacinth patches slows down any water movement at the surface, enabling algae growth and mosquito breeding (and remember, all the fish that might eat the larvae are already dying from a lack of oxygen). Hyacinths are also excellent at reproduction, employing two strategies: budding, and seeds. During their active growing season, hyacinths grow “daughter plants,” small hyacinths that grow off of the original plant until they are large and established enough to grow on their own, and then break off and begin growing and budding on their own. Hyacinths can also reproduce sexually, producing seeds. Seeds are the insidious sleeper cells. They can begin growing within a few days, or lie dormant for years in case of unfavorable conditions like droughts. Once the environment is more conducive to growth, the seeds will sprout and begin the invasion all over again. The main weaknesses of water hyacinth are herbicides and cold winters, which have prevented their spread into the northern half of the US.   Water lettuce: Can any plant sound less threatening? Water lettuce? C’mon. How dangerous can soggy Romaine be? Don’t be fooled: this plant is nearly as bad as water hyacinth. It is another floating plant that clogs up rivers and lakes, out-competing native plants, lowering oxygen concentrations, creating mosquito nurseries, and stealing habitats. Additionally, it’s invaded Hawaii, where some of their most important crops are grown at least partially underwater, like taro and rice, and is becoming a noxious weed. Another layer of difficulty in controlling water lettuce is its inedibility. Very few animals are willing to eat it, because it is full of needle-like crystals made of calcium oxalate. Eating water lettuce would lead to a severe itchy burning sensation in your mouth and throat, as well as damage to your GI tract. Only two animals can really make a dent: the hippo, and the manatee. Unfortunately, it would be a...

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Keeping Dory and Responsible Fish Care

»Posted by on Jun 3, 2016 in Blog, Conservation, Education, Saltwater Fish, William C | Comments Off on Keeping Dory and Responsible Fish Care

Keeping Dory and Responsible Fish Care

Are you anticipating the release of Finding Dory? We sure are! After the success of Finding Nemo, we expect Dory’s movie to be an even bigger blow out. And like with Nemo, we know you’re going to wonder… “Can I keep a Dory?” Let me begin with, “Yes, absolutely!” We love when people get to bring home a fish they can connect with as well as Dory, but there are some things you should know first… By William Ciaurro Dory Specifics Dory is a fish known as the Hepatus Tang, that’s Paracanthurus hepatus for you nerds! Hepatus tangs, much like other tangs, like A LOT… A LOT of space to swim and roam! I would almost never sell Dory to any tank smaller than 75 gallon. AND YES, that does include the tiny “nano” Dorys we get. These are just babies. The babies will grow, and need a large nurturing tank to grow up healthy. Dory is what I would consider a delicate fish so an ultraviolet sterilizer is an absolute must (see our sizing guide)! Dory should have a very mixed diet consisting of vitamin soaked pellets, frozen mysis shrimp, and LOTS of algae. Tangs prefer to graze throughout the day therefore we recommend the use of algae sheets attached to rocks or clips. My last major key to success with Dory is consistent cleanings. No fish wants to have 40 gallons of water flushed in and out of their tank once a month! It’s much better to do smaller water changes more frequently, like say 20 gallons, every 2 weeks in your 75 gallon aquarium. (wink, wink: Do it!) Please note: Dory does not play well with other Dorys. When they get large, almost one foot, they will be territorial with one another. Being Responsible What do I mean by being responsible? Well fish are animals too. It’s important that we treat them with the same respect that we treat cats, dogs, and other animals with. We at Absolutely Fish always stress that fish live a long time, and you should be prepared for that. Hepatus Tangs can live over ten years. It’s very disheartening when folks bring back their fish in buckets looking all chomped up saying, “I had no idea it would get this big/live this long.” Don’t buy a fish on the false premise that you will “upgrade later”. We would once again like to emphasize, they live a long time, and the last thing we want is for the animal to outgrow the tank. If you’re going to take these animals home to your “ocean in a box,” then please make sure it is in fact an ocean. Fish keeping is not a right, it’s a privilege that we should not abuse. We take a lot of care to ensure that fish end up in great forever homes, and we hope that this blog inspires you. Our aquatic friends mean so much to us, and we hope they mean as much to...

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Meet a Turkey Fish this Thanksgiving at Absolutely Fish!

»Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in Becca N, Blog, Conservation, Education, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Meet a Turkey Fish this Thanksgiving at Absolutely Fish!

Meet a Turkey Fish this Thanksgiving at Absolutely Fish! By Rebecca Noah   What is a turkey fish? Turkey fish is one of several common names for the lionfish, a member of the scorpion fish family (Scorpaenidae) and the Pterois genus. Lionfish are a type of venomous, predatory marine fish native to the Indo-Pacific and are well known for their long pectoral and dorsal fins (which can look like a turkey’s plumage when seen from a certain angle) and conspicuous striping patterns.   Lionfish’s aposematic coloration, while appalling to other fish and aids in repelling predators, makes for a striking and stunning addition to public and private aquaria.  Additionally, several of their fins are tipped with venomous spines, which makes for a captivating and alluring aquatic predator.   Lionfish in the Aquarium Due to their striking coloration, impressive fins, and predatory nature, lionfish are very popular in the aquarium trade. Of the species of lionfish in the Pterois genus, the most popular in the aquarium trade is the Volitans Lionfish (P. volitanss). The Volitan Lionfish can grow up to 15” long and should be provided with plenty of open space, as it will spend time out in the open as well as hovering near décor items.   Although majority of the lionfish in the Pterois genus grow larger, there are also species of dwarf lionfish in the Dendrochirus genus that are well suited for smaller aquariums. The most popular dwarf lionfish is the Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish (D. brachypterus) staying under 7” in length, making it perfect for smaller tanks in the 30-55 gallon range.   All lionfish must be housed in a predatory-themed aquarium. Lionfish are not excessively aggressive, but must be housed with tank mates that are large enough to not be eaten, such as large tangs, angels, eels, groupers, and snappers. Lionfish are very hardy aquarium specimens and will except a variety of meaty frozen foods such as silversides, krill, Mysis shrimp, and clam as well as freeze dried or pelleted foods with training.   Caring for a Venomous Fish Due to the venomous spines that are located on the dorsal fins as well as the anal and pectoral fins, care must be taken to avoid contact with the species in the aquarium. The venom is a protein-based combination of neuromuscular toxin and a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which upon injection causes excruciating pain near the site.   If stung, remove any spines left in the skin, disinfect the wound and apply non-scalding hot water to the area for 30 to 90 minutes as this will help denature the venom and reduce the pain. Even though lionfish venom is not deadly, it can be fatal if the person stung has an allergic reaction to the venom.   An Environmentally Catastrophic Species Lionfish, originally native to in Indo-Pacific, have now established themselves as a dominant species on the East Coast of the Atlantic Ocean, specifically near Florida and in the Caribbean. Lionfish have easily invaded Atlantic waters because they have no natural predators to keep their population in check and a never ending appetite for any fish that can fit in their mouth (lionfish can eat prey over ½ their body size).  Lionfish are known to eat just about any living animal that is in their range including fish, invertebrates, and mollusks.   The never-ending appetite of the lionfish is having negative effects on species diversity, which is leading to ecological damage to reef communities.  Lionfish are also threatening the commercial fishing industry, as they will often eat the juveniles of commercially valuable species.  Of the 12 species of Pterois, the Volitan lionfish (P. Volitans) and the Miles lionfish (P. Miles) have established themselves as a significant ecological threat to the east coast of the United States and the Caribbean.   Lionfish At Absolutely Fish You can meet or even take home your very own turkey fish today at Absolutely Fish! We consistently carry Volitan lionfish harvested only from Caribbean waters in order to help reduce the invasive...

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Exotic Loricariids: Otherwise Knows As Fancy Plecos

»Posted by on Jun 26, 2015 in Blog, Conservation, Dibyarka, Education, Freshwater Fish | Comments Off on Exotic Loricariids: Otherwise Knows As Fancy Plecos

Tropical Fish for Sale NJ   Exotic Loricariids: Otherwise Knows As Fancy Plecos   By Dibyarka Chatterjee   If you are an aquarium hobbyist, chances are you started with a freshwater tank, and in that tank you had a pleco. There's a reason that the common varieties of this fish are found in every local aquarium store across the country. They are generally inexpensive, unique looking, and serve a valuable purpose: eating unwanted algae. But those of us who stay faithful to our freshwater tanks (resisting the lure of saltwater), even as our knowledge and experience grows, are bound to discover there are many varieties of plecos which are anything but common. In fact, new exotic species are constantly being discovered and their demand and popularity is clearly evident in the world of advanced freshwater aquaria. The main challenge in acquiring one of these exotic varieties is of course availability. The species listed below cannot be found at your average local fish store, but here at Absolutely Fish they are so regularly available that you may have walked past them without even realizing their unique identity and significance. I hope that will change after you've read more about them. The ‘fancy’ varieties of plecos are classified using ‘L’ number system. This came into existence at the beginning of the ‘pleco boom’ when the demand for the rarer varieties first skyrocketed. Exporters were constantly discovering, catching, and shipping new species, and scientific taxonomy simply could not keep up with the volume. Eventually the L–number system was devised (‘L’ standing for Loricariidae, the family of armored catfish that plecos belong to) to avoid confusion as best as possible. The numbers started from 001; more than 400 have been classified so far with new species being discovered constantly. The adult size for most species listed below is 4–6″ which would seem to make them ideal for small aquariums. But in reality they require good amount of experience and care; many require high waterflow, driftwood, rocky hiding places, and generally thrive in bigger aquariums with stable ecosystems. Many are territorial, and to house more than one requires enough space for them establish individual territories. Most of them are omnivores (some are actually purely carnivorous) unlike their common variety cousins, so a specialized diet is needed depending on species. L–015 Candy Striped; also known as Xingu or Peckoltia vittata As the number suggests, this is one of the first fancy plecos to be classified, and it has remained popular ever since because of its striking pattern. It originates from Rio (river) Xingu in Brazil near the town of Altamira. Vittata means ‘decorated with a ribbon’ referring to the bands of color on its body. It is not to be confused (as it has been in the past) with the Clown Pleco (Panaque maccus). L–018 / L–085 Yellow Seamed or Gold Nugget This is one of the most popular and frequently imported species. It also originates from Rio Xingu near Altamira. A second variety of the pleco L–081 was later discovered, and is found a little further south, while a third variety L–177 is found even further south. All three are fairly similar in appearance with some differences in the size of their ‘gold’ spots. Certain sections of the river Xingu have a rocky bed covered with an algae biofilm which these fish feed on. They are nocturnal feeders (like most fancy plecos) and are hard to spot during the day when they hid in the rock crevices. Surprisingly this fish thrives in whitewater rapids. L–066 King Tiger It originates from whitewater sections of the Rio Xingu near the town of Belo Monte. In captivity it requires a good amount of well–oxygenated waterflow. Unfortunately due to the ongoing construction of the Belo Monte Dam this fish is likely to experience habitat degradation in the near future. The King Tiger has paler base coloration than L–133 the Yellow King Tiger; both are carnivorous. L–091 Triactis or Three Beacon This is a stunningly beautiful species which gets its common name ‘Three Beacon’ from the bright orange coloration on the first rays of its dorsal, caudal and adipose fins. It originates from the Orinoco River Basin in Venezuela, specifically sections with whitewater or rapids. Well–oxygenated and high waterflow is required, and the pH should definitely be on the softer (acidic) side. It is not purely vegetarian and requires a mix diet. L–114 Flametail Gibbiceps or Leopard Cactus This fish originates from Rio Demini (Brazil) which drains into Rio Negro. The tomato red coloration on the dorsal and caudal fins is the reason behind its popularity. In fact it is sometimes called the Redtail...

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Deep Water Marine Aquarium Fish

»Posted by on Jan 3, 2015 in Blog, Conservation, Education, Josh M, Reef Aquariums | Comments Off on Deep Water Marine Aquarium Fish

Marine Fish for Sale – Absolutely Fish, NJ   Deep Water Marine Aquarium Fish   By Josh Maxwell   For many marine aquarists, there is a fish in their aquarium that represents the crown jewel of their collection. This fish may be difficult to care for. It may only come from one place in the world, or from some of the deepest parts of the Earth’s oceans. Fish that come from deep waters are unusually shaped, very colorful, have unique behavior and often carry a hefty price tag. The reason for such cost is the effort it takes for divers to bring them to the surface so that we can appreciate these animals that few ever get a chance to see in the flesh. For a fish to be considered deep water, it must occur in 100ft of water or deeper. These fish are rarely seen in areas outside of their home depths. In the areas that these fish naturally occur, temperature is typically cooler and it is usually dark as sunlight doesn’t easily reach down to these depths. Soft, non-photosynthetic corals and gorgonians typically inhabit these depths and it is at these depths that divers must descend to acquire the fish that call this region of the ocean home. In order to reach these depths divers need to use specialized breathing apparatuses called rebreathers. What these devices do is remove the carbon dioxide that is exhaled with each breath and takes the unused oxygen from each breath and returns it back to the air supply. What this means is that the diver can stay underwater longer. When divers do get to the bottom they search out desirable species and catch these fish using wall and hand nets. Bringing their catches up to the surface however is no easy task. Like divers these fish are subjected to extreme pressures and have compressed gasses in their systems that need to be released slowly or they can get decompression sickness and die. To deal with this divers put their catches in containers, fill a bag with air, leave the bag under a ledge, and ascend in increments of 50 feet at a time to decompress the fish slowly and carefully to ensure survival. Many of the fish are very enigmatic as studying them in their natural environment is very difficult due to the depth at which they live. Because of this we know very little about them and their behavior, most of what we learn is in aquaria and from similar species. Most of these fish like caves and overhangs and appreciate aquariums that are not lit too brightly, but most will acclimate well to brightly lit reef aquariums. These are a few of the most well-known deep water fish that we see in the aquarium trade: Dr. Seuss Fish (Belanoperca pylei) Location: Marshal Islands Depth: 300-350 ft The Dr. Suess fish is a deepwater ambush predator. Preferring caves and overhangs where it can sit and wait for prey to pass buy. It feeds similarly to groupers and anglerfish where it uses its prostubule mouth to rapidly inhale prey items. While this fish will not prey on coral, shrimp and small fish may be eaten by this predator. Spanish Flag (Gonioplectrus hispanus) Location: Western Atlantic (Collected at Curacao) Depth: 220-350 ft Found in the Caribbean, this grouper only grows to about 8 inches and is suitable for aquaria unlike many species of groupers which can grow very large. It behaves similarly to the Dr. Suess fish in terms of feeding where it uses ambush tactics to feed. Just like the Dr. Suess fish it can possibly prey on small invertebrates and small fish in reef aquaria. It is generally docile, preferring to live in caves or overhangs. Candy Basslet (Liopropoma carmabi) Location: Western Atlantic (Collected at Curacao) Depth: 100-250 ft A very small basslet found in the Caribbean in similar environment to the Spanish flag. This fish is perfect for nano reef aquariums because of their diminutive size, achieving a maximum size of about 2 ½ inches. In the wild they prefer to live in and near caves and overhangs and grab any planktonic organisms that float by and will do the same in aquaria. This fish is completely reef safe and will not bother coral and only bother the smallest of shrimp or similar invertebrates. Neon Hogfish (Bodianus sanguines) Location: Hawaiian islands Depth: 300 ft + (recorded 600 ft) Occurring in the deep water reefs of Hawaii, the neon hogfish feeds on planktonic invertebrates in the water column as well as those on the substrate. It is a very active fish and can be found...

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Best Selection of Healthy Corals to Buy in NJ at Reduced Prices

»Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Blog, Conservation, Education, Reef Aquariums | Comments Off on Best Selection of Healthy Corals to Buy in NJ at Reduced Prices

  Best Selection of Healthy Corals (Cnidarians) to Buy in NJ at Reduced Prices     Zoanthids Hardiness: Easy Lighting: Moderate to high Tank size: 5 Gallons or more Foods and Supplements: Iodine What we like about them: Easy to keep, fast growing, a wide variety of colors.     N.P.S. (Non-Photosynthetic Corals) Hardiness: Difficult Lighting: Very low Tank size: 55 Gallons or more Foods and Supplements: Phytoplankton and zooplankton daily What we like about them: Although very difficult, these corals have amazing colors and they will fill unlit areas of the tank.   Scleractinia (Brain type) Hardiness: Moderate Lighting: Moderate Tank size: 30 Gallons or more Foods and Supplements: Calcium, magnesium, and amino acids What we like about them: Encrusting “Large Polyp Stony” corals with a kaleidoscope of colors that are fun to watch open at night.       Xenia, Cespitularia, & Anthelia Hardiness: Easy Lighting: Moderate Tank size: 30 Gallons or more Foods and Supplements: Iodine, phytoplankton, and rotifers What we like about them: Extremely fast culture rates. Lots of variety in color and polyp structure!        Corallimorphs Hardiness: Easy Lighting: Moderate Tank size: 5 Gallons or more Foods and Supplements: Phytoplankton and zooplankton What we like about them: You can actually watch babies budding off of the mother colony!   Photosynthetic Alcyonaria Hardiness: Easy Lighting: Moderate to high Tank size: 30 Gallons or more Foods and Supplements: Iodine and phytoplankton What we like about them: These corals grow very quickly with a “tree-like” forest look.   Scleractinia (L.P.S.) Hardiness: Moderate Lighting: Moderate to high Tank size: 10 Gallons or more Foods and Supplements: Calcium, magnesium, amino acids, and mysis What we like about them: It is fun to feed them larger foods, such as coral paste, and watch them close up and consume.     Scleractinia (S.P.S.) Hardiness: Difficult Lighting: High Tank size: 30 Gallons or more Foods and Supplements: Calcium, magnesium, amino acids, phytoplankton, and rotifers Comments: S.P.S. are generally more challenging than most corals. They do not tolerate change as well as other species (temperature, lighting, water quality). They need high light and high flow to do well. On the flip side, they offer some of the most amazing colors and shapes, thus are highly sought after by most reef keepers.   Look for our “Weekly Specials” on our website and on our Facebook. Current “Coral Deals” are on Mondays; Tuesdays; Wednesdays; and Thursdays!Purchase ONE piece of coral and get a SECOND piece of equal or lesser value for 50% OFF!   New Supply Chains — New Look — Cheaper Costs To...

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