Blog posts about fish, coral, and invertebrate education.

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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An Aquatics Shop So Exclusive

»Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Blog, Education, Patrick D | Comments Off on An Aquatics Shop So Exclusive

An Aquatics Shop So Exclusive

9 out of 10 fish cannot get in… By D. Patrick Donston   The aquatic animals you purchase are important to us. This is why we diligently research and inspect all of our suppliers we source. We evaluate and grade every livestock shipment. We utilize monthly data to record a yearly assessment for each vendor. We confirm they adhere to appropriate facility standards, which includes qualified staffing, packing, transport and acclimation. Harvesting, farming and handling must be covered by collection, fishing and holding standards. Whereas skilled divers collect to order, using non-destructive collection methods, aqua-farms must be operated by trained professionals who utilize proper husbandry protocols with environmentally sound irrigation techniques. We believe the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the trade are important to hobbyists, conservation and government agencies alike. As well; “healthy organisms handled, quarantined, and transported properly ensure an aquarist’s success”. Subpar suppliers operate on low budgets and cut corners to make a profit. The animals pay the price with negative environmental impact. An end consumer may feel good about the “cheap price”, although most of us actually find value in an exotic animal. We treasure these animals and feel privileged to keep them in our care. We understand cost is reflective of the conservation value to the global socioeconomic state of the animal’s region. We’ve been asked many times why we do not get certain fish from particular regions or suppliers. The reason may be sustainability or valid operators whom we cannot justify. As trite as this may sound, it’s true… and we believe it’s important, when in fact we turn many soliciting-suppliers away each year because they do not meet our standards. We do our very best to bring in only quality fish from expert supply chains. Because it’s important to us as well as you; “You might say we only house exclusive fish”. In fact so exclusive, 9 out of 10 can’t get in…...

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Unique Freshwater Fish for Sale- The Four-eyed Fish

»Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Blog, Education, Freshwater Fish, Mercedes C, News | Comments Off on Unique Freshwater Fish for Sale- The Four-eyed Fish

Unique Freshwater Fish for Sale- The Four-eyed Fish

The Four-Eyed Fish by Mercedes Calabro The Anableps anableps is an incredibly adaptable freshwater fish. Part of the order Cyprinodontiformes, it is related to killifish and livebearers sharing a specialized organ called a gonopodium. Females max out around ten inches and the males reach around seven inches. Anableps are found in tidal waters along the South American coastline, the Gulf of Paria, and the Amazon. In these tidal conditions, their adapted eyes come in handy. Anableps have two eyes on each side of their head that sit on top of one another and allow an extended field of vision while they search for food. During low tide sneak up on small insects and crabs using the set of eyes above water and launch themselves out of the water to grab their prey. When the tide rises they use the lower set to find small fish, snails, and amphipods (microscopic scavengers) below the surface. Anableps are fairly hardy. They need large, preferably shallow, tanks with brackish water and enjoy both open spaces to swim and built up rocks and driftwood to rest on near the surface of the water. Based on the variability of their natural habitats they can handle a pH anywhere from 7.5 up to 9.0 and like the typical tropical water temperature of seventy eight degrees. Based on the size of the tank and how many fish are present, a strong filter is needed (canister filters work well) as they produce a lot of waste.                 Anableps do well mostly in species specific tanks, but are compatible with other, bigger yet peaceful livebearers, and should not be placed with other top-dwelling fish that create too much competition for food as they have no competitors in the wild. Lastly, Anableps have a wide diet including: terrestrial insects, red macroalgae, small crabs, and small fish. So in your own aquarium, there are many options to feed to recreate their natural food sources. A basic pellet should be used for most feedings, preferably one with added spirulina would be beneficial, as they eat it in the wild. Also, Bug Bites by Fluval can substitute for the insects they usually hunt in the wild. Frozen bloodworms, chopped up earth worms, and occasionally blackworms (especially if the fish aren’t interested in pellets or frozen yet) can be used a few times a week for some added nutrition. Overall, the Anableps adaptations make it a very interesting and unique fish that would be a great addition to the right aquarium....

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Mandarins and Scooter Dragonets

»Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Blog, Chris F, Education, Reef Aquariums, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Mandarins and Scooter Dragonets

Mandarins and Scooter Dragonets

The family Callionymidae is comprised of several species of small, colorful, reef-safe fish that have captivated the attention of aquarists for years, most notably the mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus and others), brightly colored members of the family that have been a staple for the aquarium hobby. However, these are considered the most difficult of the commonly-kept dragonets due to the difficulty in sustaining adequate amounts of food (more on this later). Hardier species are commonly available such as the brown scooter dragonet (Synchiropus ocellatus), red scooter dragonet (Synchiropus stellatus), and the recently described and popular ruby red dragonet (Synchiropus sycorax). What makes these species hardier than the mandarins is their ability to accept prepared foods, such as frozen foods, more willingly. Mandarins, on the other hand, are strictly dependent on copepod and amphipod populations within an aquarium to sustain their nutritional needs. To meet the requirements of dragonets and their relatives, an aquarist must be well-prepared in advance. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons (the larger the better) that has been cycled and established for around a year with adequate amounts of live sand and rocks should be considered mandatory. A refugium would be also be welcome in conjunction to adequate filtration, as it would provide a safe haven for copepod and amphipod populations to grow without predations. Most people will dedicate a compartment of their sump to a refugium filled with sand, live rock, and macro algae. Tank mates should be peaceful and small, as large aggressive fish may harass and eat the small dragonets (although some dragonets can emit a toxic, foul-tasting slime). Another consideration in regards to tankmates is the competition for copepods and amphipods; limiting the introduction of fish that feed on these should be considered to avoid competition and starvation. Prime choices are gobies, fire fish, clownfish, cardinal fish, blennies, chromis, etc. Dragonets are very aggressive towards others of the same species and careful planning in regards to stocking of conspecifics must be considered, especially for males. Large tanks, with adequate amounts of food and rock, help limit aggression. Here at Absolutely Fish we almost always have scooter dragonets in stock, so stop on by and have a look! If you have any other questions regarding this unique group of fish, feel free to approach a M-1 Certified employee....

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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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