Blog posts relating to freshwater and tropical fish.

Live foods to buy, New Jersey

»Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in Blog, Cedes Militante, Education, Freshwater Fish, Heather H, News, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Live foods to buy, New Jersey

Live foods to  buy, New Jersey

What should you feed your picky aquatic eaters?   by: Heather H. Live foods must be chosen with care. In good condition, live foods can add to aquariums fishes’ diet as they contain fresh, active ingredients that can aid in digestion. Additionally, they tend to stimulate the innate feeding responses of a fish and can sometimes trigger breeding behaviors. However, certain live foods can cause needless problems like poor water quality, unbalanced diets, and even certain serious health issues. Below I have listed some common live foods you can use in freshwater and saltwater aquariums: Adult Brine Shrimp: Artemia spp. – As brine shrimp grow to adulthood, their nutritional value diminishes greatly. They are great aid in getting stubborn, picky eaters to start eating, but they should be enriched before feeding. You can use anything from spiralina powder, Selcon (or ay product containing omega-3 fatty oils), Cyclop-eeze, or even crushed up flakes. For best results, fortify the brine shrimp for 8-10 hours before feeding to the aquarium. Always suggest that the customer rinse the brine shrimp before feeding to their animals. Black Worms: Lumbriculus variegatus – In the wild these worms will anchor themselves to the substrate, but in the container we keep them in, they anchor to each other creating a ball. They are high in protein and can help induce breeding behavior in a number of aquarium fish (aka conditioning). Another good treat, but be sure to tell the customer to wash them at least once daily. Ghost Shrimp: Palaemonetes spp. –These little guys can be quite irresistible for aquarium animals. They are herbivores that live in rocky stretches in both fresh and brackish waters (some prefer it). They are an excellent live food that ca also be gut loaded. I feel these to the little cat sharks to stimulate them to eat frozen. It usually works. Feeder Fish: Roseys, Guppies, Goldfish – For certain predatory fish in captivity, this is one of the only things they will eat. For the average aquarium, feeder fish should only ever be considered as an occasional treat and should not become a steady diet. They lack fatty acid that many fish need to stay healthy and can be very messy (causing ammonia spikes). This course does not include every live food available, but you should be able to find these items at your local store. Ask a trained Aquarist to help you select the right food for your aquarium. Good luck in your feeding endeavors!    ...

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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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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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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 has a body shape strikingly similar to that of dwarf cichlids, although there is no relation. The scarlet gem is a timid fish and very peaceful with other fish of similar size and temperament. Its best to house one male Scarlet Badis per every 5 gallons as they can be aggressive towards each other. Due to their shy and timid nature, care should be taken to ensure that they are properly fed. The scarlet badis makes for a unique addition to a small community tank. Find out more about the Scarlet Gem here! Salt and Pepper Cory(Corydoras habrosus) Tail Spot Cory (Corydoras hastatus) Pygmy Cory (Corydoras pygmaeus) Salt and Pepper Cory (Corydoras habrosus) 3: Pygmy Cory Cats (Corydoras sp.) Origin: South America pH: 6.5-7.6 Maximum Size: 1.3” Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons Diet: Omnivorous and will accept a variety of sinking foods as well as frozen food such as tubifex and bloodworms. Corydoras should never be expected to survive on the uneaten food from other tank mates and are not cleaners of an aquarium by any means. Each of these tiny cory cats is cuter than the last and all of them originate from South America. The tail spot (C. hastatus) and pygmy cory (C. pygmaeus) will likely max out at about one inch in length, while the salt and pepper cory (C. hasbrosus) will...

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The pH of Your Freshwater Aquarium

»Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Blog, Education, Freshwater Fish, Kristen S | Comments Off on The pH of Your Freshwater Aquarium

The pH of Your Freshwater Aquarium Kristen Schmicker   One of the water parameters that we like to test here at the store is the pH of the aquarium.  The higher the pH the more basic the water is.  This may also be referred to as having hard water which means there are a lot of dissolved minerals present.  The lower the pH the more acidic the water is.  This is usually soft water which is lacking dissolved minerals.  In general, the ideal pH of a community aquarium should be around 7.0 on the pH scale which many fish species prefer.  There are species of freshwater fish that thrive better in an aquarium that has a lower or higher pH.  Some fish tolerate a large range of pHs so you don’t have to monitor the pH as closely but for other species the required pH should be maintained and only fish with similar pH ranges should be added to the aquarium.  Below is a chart of common freshwater fish and their ideal pH ranges. Lower pH Wide Range (6.0-8.0) Higher pH Rasboras (5.8-7.0) Barbs Blind Cave Tetra (7.5-9.0) Loaches (6.5-7.5) Danios Mollys, Guppies, Platys & Swordtails (7.0-8.5) Hatchetfish (5.5-6.5) Sharks & Minnows Rainbowfish (7.0-8.0) Glowlight Tetras, Head-and-Tail-light Tetras, Rummynose Tetras, Serpae Tetras, Black Neon Tetras, Lemon Tetras & Red Phantom Tetras (5.5-7.5) Bloodfin Tetras, Black Skirt Tetras, Silvertip Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras, Neon Tetras & Emperor Tetras S.petricola & S.multipunctatus (7.5-9.0) Cardinal Tetra (4.6-6.2) Corydoras African  Rift Lake Cichlids (8.0-9.0) Synodontis sp. (6.5-7.5) South American Cichlids (7.0) Freshwater Puffers (7.5-8.5) Plecos (6.0-7.5) Kribensis Apistogramma sp. (6.0-7.0) Angelfish Rams (5.0-6.5) Bettas & Paradisefish Discus (6.5-7.0) Gouramis (6.5-7.0)   Changing the pH of your tank to suit the needs of your fish can be pretty simple assuming your water chemistry is good.  The first step is to test the pH of the water you are using to fill your tank.  If you are using hard tap water and you want to lower it, you can use a Neutral Regulator buffer or an Acid buffer depending on how high the pH is and how much you want to lower it.  You could also use Reverse Osmosis water, which usually has a pH in the 6.0 range.  Adding a piece of driftwood to the aquarium can also lower the pH. If the pH of your water is too low you can try a buffer like Neutral Regulator or Alkaline Buffer.  You can also use crushed coral, Texas Holey Rock, or salts for African Rift Lake Cichlids or Rainbowfish.  Low pH can also be a result of a dirty gravel bed or a dirty filter especially if you have high nitrates.  A good gravel vacuum and water change or filter cleaning can raise the pH back up. Changing the pH of a freshwater aquarium varies greatly from tank to tank.  If you’re interested in checking or changing the pH of your aquarium to suit your fishes’ needs or you’re not sure what your pH should be at, come on in to the store and we’ll help you get started!   Reference:  Sweeney, M.E. (2009) Tropical Fishes. Neptune City, NJ:  T.F.H....

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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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