Plecos To Buy In New Jersey – Pelcos

Posted by on Oct 16, 2018 in Conservation, Education, Freshwater Fish, Leonel Justiniano | Comments Off on Plecos To Buy In New Jersey – Pelcos

Plecos To Buy In New Jersey When hobbyists hear the word pleco, images of catfish suckered onto glass and various aquatic surfaces come to mind. Unbeknownst to many newcomers in the hobby, the common pleco is not the only loricariid in the Amazon, or our store for that matter. Loricariids are an extremely important component to the ecosystems in the Amazon, making up the largest family of catfish with new species being described every year. These fish have adapted to their respective environments over many years, providing us with a plethora of catfish in different shapes and colors. Today we’ll be going over the top 5 plecos I recommend to hobbyists looking to get their toes wet keeping these armored catfish. Before I begin, I’d first like to mention I won’t be selecting specific species but rather small groupings of genera within the Loricariid family. With so many to choose from it’s a bit of a disservice to recommend specific fish. Each genera has its specific behavior and care requirements, and hobbyists can select any of the fish in each grouping that better suits their aquarium set-up and its inhabitants. Without further ado, lets gets started! Panaque/Panaqolus The fish in this group consist of mainly royal plecos, clown plecos, and one of my favorites, the L204 flash pleco. Royal plecos can get very large, requiring excessive filtration to keep up with their heavy bioload. The smaller fish in this genus also tend to be very shy when compared to others such as ancistrus and leporacanthicus. These fish have an affinity for mowing down wood in the aquarium in search of aufwuchs (the collection of small animals and plants that adhere to open surfaces in aquatic environments). These fish although beautiful will demolish your favorite piece of driftwood over time and leave the trails all over your substrate for you to vacuum later. Therefore, I won’t rank them higher on this list. Leporacanthicus/Scobinancistrus Loricariids in this genus avoid plants and have a more carnivorous diet. A few examples would be the sultan pleco, vampire pleco, sunshine pleco, and triactis pleco. These loricariids can get a medium to large size, with some topping over a foot. Because of this, most leporacanthicus are not suitable for smaller tanks. As a result of their preferred diet, it is also a bit more of a challenge to maintain good water conditions. Prawns, Mollusks, and other inverts should be fed regularly, with the addition of algae wafers and driftwood. Although they are very colorful, the species in this genus tend to be more aggressive than most. Rineloricaria These are known as the whiptail catfish. We have a few in our store, with my personal favorite being the royal farlowella. These fish are very distinct because of their narrow, twig-like bodies. This genus is well suited to planted tanks, as they won’t bother most plants. Diet consists mainly of algae and other greens, dropping in some spinach or zucchini would be a nice addition to a staple of algae wafers. As with all loricariids, a piece of driftwood in the tank for them to graze on between feedings is encouraged. These are very peaceful, so they would do well with other bottom dwellers and community fish in home aquaria. Hypancistrus If you want a bit of...

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The Essential Top 10 Reef Cleaners

Posted by on Jun 7, 2018 in Blog, Glenn L | Comments Off on The Essential Top 10 Reef Cleaners

The Essential Top 10 Reef Cleaners by Glenn Laborda   The modern reef tank has evolved. In the past, a perspective reef keeper would have to go to a local fish store or stores to learn and purchase supplies for their reef. Today, there is literally huge shows and expos dedicated to this part of the hobby. At these events you can find some of the rarest items possible for your reef. You can purchase rare mushrooms in upwards of 10,000 dollars and a quarter inch of an S.P.S. frag in the thousands! The people who sell the items are generally not from a L.F.S.; they are coral traders. Great at buying and selling odd and unique corals, but not well versed in the ecosystem of an established reef. Most of us do not want a plastic tub with egg crate racks and small frags. We want a small, complete piece of the reef in our home. We want to make the most natural looking picture of this as we can. That takes a balance of macro- and micro-organisms to keep everything in check. I have been building these ecosystems for over 30 years. I have tried many approaches from the early Jaubert systems to today’s full automated and ap-driven reefs. Over that expanse of time I have learned there are some amazing reef animals that excel at cleaning and husbandry of your reef. Although there are probably over 100 reef animals that can make their way into the hobby, I will go over my top ten essential cleaners. These are all “generally” reef safe. Even safe cleaners can be opportunistic and eat a tank-make, but for the most part these are all good together. Red Stripe Trochus: (Trochus radiatus) is a great algae eater. Will clean from the glass to the rocks. Very hardy, can flip itself over pretty easily. Keep about 1 per 2 gallons of tank volume. Scarlet Hermit: (Paguriste cadenati) is a small Caribbean species which is great at eating filament type algae. They are omnivorous so supplement with pellets now and again. Same 1 per 2-3 gallons of tank volume. Tuxedo Urchin: (Mespilia globulus) is one of my favorite reef cleaners. Will mow down algae not to bulldozing as they stay small. Can eat your coralline though. 1 per 30 gallons is sufficient. Nassarius Snail: (Nassarius distortus) is the Tongan variety of sand snail. Omnivore/Detritivore, great at keeping sand stirred and oxygenated. Also great at finding uneaten food. 1 for every 2-3 gallons of tank volume. Sand Star: (Astropectan polycanthus) is the white sand star. Another great sand mover, also omnivore/detritivore. Make sure all 5 arms are solid upon purchase. 1 for every 10-20 gallons of tank volume. Conches: (Strombus sp.) are amazing at eating algae, stirring sand, and omnivorous cleanup. Some species get large, stick with fighting or tiger varieties. 1 per 10 gallons tank volume. Cleaner Shrimp: (Lysmatta amboinensis) is fantastic at finding uneaten food, keeping parasites off fish and general tank cleaning. Become very “friendly” and will jump on your hand during routine maintenance. 1 per 10-15 gallons of tank volume. Emerald Crab: (Mithraculus sculptus) is probably one of the best filament algae eaters in the invert world. This one though can be the most opportunistic “attacker” when large. Always buy...

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Species Spotlight – Marine Betta

Posted by on Apr 27, 2018 in Blog, Greg M, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Species Spotlight – Marine Betta

Species Spotlight – Marine Betta written by Greg Macher   photo by Greg Macher The Marine Betta or Calloplesiops altivelas is an amazing reef fish from the family Plesiopidae.  This family is known as the roundheads or spiny basslets. There was a thought for a while that there was a second species called C. argus which has smaller spots and some blue lines but further research found out it was the same species at different stages of life.  As the marine betta grows its spots move apart.  These beautiful fish are found in the Indo-Pacific commonly near reefs and drop offs.  They are nocturnal by nature and like to hide in caves during the day coming out to feed at night.  C. altivelas is a predator in the wild feeding on small fish and small crustaceans.  The pattern of the marine betta is a dark body with white spots including a false eye spot near the caudal peduncle region.  This false spot helps the marine betta to mimic the whitemouth moray eel.  This tactic is called mimicry as a way to avoid predators.  When the marine betta is hiding behind a rock it will stick its head downward and the tail spot appears as the moray.  The marine betta has been bred successfully in captivity although hard to come by.  C. altivelas can grow up to 20cm (8 inches) and can make an amazing addition to your home aquarium. In the home aquarium it is important to aquascape with many caves and hiding spots for your marine betta to hide during the day so they can feel comfortable.  A minimum tank size for the marine betta should be at least 55g.  It is possible to put two marine bettas together but usually will only work if one is male and the other female.  Telling the sexes apart, however, is very difficult. The best option is to get one larger and one smaller.  One awesome aspect of these fish is that they are very hardy fish which have a strong resistance to ich and other parasites.  The marine betta will not eat coral themselves but caution should be taken placing one of these beautiful fish in a reef aquarium as they can eat small fish and invertebrates.  Although C. altivelas is a predator, it will not mix well with other aggressive predators such as groupers and lionfish or even fast boisterous eaters.  The marine betta is a slow stalker and needs time to get food.  When first introduced to the new aquarium C. altivelas may be shy and hide longer than most people want but with time and care they can be a real show piece for your aquarium!  Many customers having trouble feeding at first will use ghost shrimp or live black worms; however, they should be weaned off live foods toward meaty foods such as mysis shrimp, squid, clam and even pellets!  I can tell you personally over time the marine betta will become your favorite fish and much more outgoing.  Mine personally comes to great me every morning and night looking for some pellets.  If you have any questions about C. altivelas please come in to Absolutely Fish and talk to me,...

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Oh No! Algae?!

Posted by on Apr 12, 2018 in Blog, Paul P | Comments Off on Oh No! Algae?!

Oh No! Algae?! written by Paul Pinto   Getting an outbreak of algae is definitely one of, if not the most annoying problem you can encounter when running a planted aquarium. Algae comes in many different shapes and forms from free floating green algae that will make your tank look like Ecto-Cooler, to hair algae that will form a carpet over your decor and plants. I’ll go over some of my favorite aquarium way to help control some of the most common nuisance algae. First, a disclaimer: No aquarium inhabitant should be your first choice when combating an algae outbreak. While some algae growth in any aquarium is normal excessive algae growth is indicative that there is a deeper underlying problem with the aquarium usually either too much light or too many nutrients in the water for the algae to feed on. Generally speaking, a planted aquarium should receive anywhere between 6-12 hours of light a day; running more than that can cause excess algae. If you are running your light for this amount of time and are still getting excess algae, your light may be too intense for your tank. This can be fixed by dimming your light if possible or reducing the amount the lights are on. Plants need about 4 hours of light to photosynthesize properly so you can reduce the light levels to this amount for a period of a few weeks to combat algae. Alternatively, you can completely blackout the tank for 48-72 hours; the plants will survive in darkness for a few days but many algae will not. Excess nutrients can come from two main sources in a planted aquarium: fertilizers and dissolved organics. Many people run into algae problems when they overdo it with adding fertilizers into the tank; this causes a build-up of components that if not utilized by the plants WILL be used by an algae in the water. Over feeding your plants will lead the same consequences as over feeding your fish. Try cutting back or cutting out feeding your plants for a few weeks while also doing large water changes to control the algae. Dissolved organics come from fish and plant waste. While a small amount of organics will help feed your plants, a build-up of waste if either your filter or substrate will cause excessive algae growth. To fix this simply make sure your filters and substrate are clean and free of waste. On top of this, increasing the amount of carbon in the water can help make growth more favorable for the plants. Generally speaking plants need higher amounts of carbon in the water to photosynthesize than algae does. This can be achieved through pressurized CO2 systems or dosing a liquid carbon (Flourish Excel). Flourish Excel can be dosed as much as a 4x dose to help kill off algae. This must be done carefully over the course of a few weeks; dosing daily, and increase the dosage by 50% every few days (1x, 1.5x, 2x, etc.). Even if you have everything in check you may still get some algae, every planted aquarium will benefit from having some inhabitants that will help algae growth on your plants and decor in check. A few of my favorites are: Otocinclus These little guys stay at 1.5-2″ an are...

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The importance of water changes in the home aquarium

Posted by on Mar 29, 2018 in Blog, Chris F | Comments Off on The importance of water changes in the home aquarium

The importance of water changes in the home aquarium by Christopher Fong   photo provided by Absolutely Fish   Water changes provide many benefits to most home aquariums by adding essential minerals/elements and removing organic/inorganic toxins that can build up over time in a closed environment like an aquarium. The concept of adding “good stuff” and removing “bad stuff” can be the difference between a successful long-term aquarium and a problematic aquarium where the aquarist constantly battles nuisance algae and disease. The benefits of water changes can be applied to all different types of aquariums ranging from a simple 10-gallon freshwater community tank to a 150-gallon reef tank. However, certain aquariums benefit more from regular water changes such as African cichlids, goldfish, Discus, saltwater fish only and large predatory tanks. Water changes become especially important in tanks where filtration is undersized, the fish population is overstocked and overfeed. However, for water changes to be effective they must be done correctly regarding frequency, size, and preparation of the new water. In this blog I will discuss how to correctly perform a water change to help benefit your aquarium during maintenance. Frequency: How often an aquarist must perform water changes on their aquarium varies depending on several factors regarding the way a tank is setup and stocked. For example, a 75 gallon with overstocked large predatory fish and an undersized hang on back filter rated at 30 gallons is going to need more frequent water changes compared to a 20 gallon with an oversized hang on back filter rated at 75 gallons stocked with an appropriate amount of small community fish. Water changes also vary depending on people’s schedule between family, work, and school. Personally, I recommend water changes be conducted every week for most types of aquariums. This helps to keep the amount of organic and inorganic impurities limited in the aquarium as these toxins can have a negative effect on the health and growth of fish/ corals and can also promote the growth of nuisance algae. Another benefit of doing frequent water changes is the addition of essential major, minor and trace elements that can help maintain proper water parameters and keep the organisms within the aquarium healthy. With doing regular water changes the PH of the aquarium also remains more stable with the addition of carbonates/ bicarbonates and the removal of organic wastes that can acidify the water overtime. In a scenario where an aquarium receives a water change once a month the aquarium will often experience a drop in PH due to the build up in organics until the next water change where the PH will then suddenly rise with the addition of new water containing a higher PH. This shift in parameters can cause stress upon the organisms within an aquarium compromising immune systems and enabling disease to take hold. Once again, every aquarium is different and different water change schedules can work equally well ranging significantly.    Size: Once again, the size of a water change depends on a variety of factors depending on how a tank is setup and stocked. Some aquarist will prefer smaller more frequent water changes while other prefer larger less frequent. But what exactly constitutes a small and large water change?  This varies from person to person, but I believe water...

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Fancy Goldfish Trending Now!

Posted by on Mar 14, 2018 in Blog, Mike D | Comments Off on Fancy Goldfish Trending Now!

Fancy Goldfish Trending Now written by Mike De Olivera   The fancy goldfish has always been the classic beginner fish.  Many fish-keepers have been introduced to the hobby by winning a pet goldfish at a carnival or inheriting one from a friend or family member as a gift.  It is unfortunate for the goldfish that people think they can be kept in a bowl.  We encounter many customers who visit our store under these false pretenses.  Here at Absolutely Fish we try our best to make our clients’ fish keeping endeavors a successful and fulfilling one. To start, these fish get quite large.  They can live for twenty years or more and can be quite messy.  Over-filtration is key to keeping your goldfish healthy and happy.  It is best to go with a filter that is rated for twice the size of your aquarium.  Whether it’s a power filter or canister, bigger is always better and will help you from having to do such frequent water changes.  Preferably you should dedicate 20 gallons of water per 1 goldfish.  Goldfish also prefer well-oxygenated water so adding an air pump and bubbler is always a good idea.  The bulk of their diet should be a sinking pellet food.  There are many available that are designed specifically for goldfish.  To vary their diet you should also feed them some veggie-based foods such as dried seaweed or spirulina enriched brine shrimp.  The desired pH range is anywhere from 7.0 to 7.6.  We love using aquarium salt with our goldfish because it helps with gill function and is a great way to naturally keep down disease.  We also dose Microbe-lift’s Thera-P to all of our goldfish tanks at Absolutely Fish.  Thera-P is an all natural probiotic bacteria that works as an immune-stimulant and will out compete bad bacteria found in your aquarium and in the gut of your fish. We believe this sets our fish apart from the rest.  With this knowledge we hope you can enjoy the pleasures of owning these lovely fish.  The amount of different varieties of fancy goldfish is truly astounding.  No longer do you just see tanks full of plain orange fish with a flowing tail.  Nowadays you can choose from multiple varieties and color variations.  It is truly amazing to think that all of these fancy goldfish originated from the standard carp.  Here are some photos of the different varieties of goldfish we bring in to the shop.   Black Moor / Telescope Eye – Moors are known to be one of the hardier varieties.  This is the classic black moor but we do get them in Red or a combo of Black and Red colors.  You can easily identify them by their bulging eyes. (Photo by Absolutely Fish)   Bubble Eye Goldfish – Known to be one of the harder to keep fancy goldfish.  Recommended to be kept in a tank with smooth gravel and decorations and concealed filter intakes to avoid damage to their fluid-filled sacs under their eyes. (Photo from   Lionhead Goldfish – These fish originate from China and look very similar to Ranchu goldfish, which come from Japan.  Both fish lack a dorsal fin.  The Ranch goldfish are known for being a better quality fish with more of an arched back. (Photo...

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Quarantine Tank – A Home Aquarium Life-Saver!

Posted by on Feb 27, 2018 in Blog, Steph | Comments Off on Quarantine Tank – A Home Aquarium Life-Saver!

Quarantine Tank – A Home Aquarium Life-Saver! by Stephanie Lamprea     What is a Quarantine Tank? A Quarantine Tank is a separate home aquarium that houses and acclimates new fishes or corals for a period of time before inserting them into your display tank. It is the perfect environment to observe new livestock for any diseases/infections and, if necessary, to properly heal your new livestock back to health! This process also prevents the possibilities of adding disease/infection to your display tank and infecting your currently healthy fish. EQUIPMENT: The items you need to setup a quarantine are a tank, glass top, filter, heater, standard fluorescent light, and some PVC pipes (or plastic plants and decorations) to provide atmosphere and hiding places for your new fishes. TANK SIZE is important and depends on what fish are being introduced. In a quarantine tank, the height is not as important as the surface area of the tank. For small fish we recommend a 20 long, for medium size fish a 30 long, and for large fish 40 breeder tank.     HOW LONG TO QUARANTINE? When introducing a new fish or coral, we recommend a quarantine process of minimum 2 to 4 weeks. This period provides you ample time to observe your livestock – is your fish eating? Any signs of sickness? Any abnormal behavior? If any of these signs come up, then you can properly medicate your tank. If you have any questions on medications or treatments, feel free to call the store and talk to any of our knowledgeable aquarists! WATER CHANGES: We recommend you test the water levels of your tank daily, and perform weekly water changes. Keep in mind that if there is medication in the tank at the time of a water change, you need to put in a partial re-dose of the medication to balance your tank out. Tip: Keep water parameters the same as your display so that acclimation goes smoothly. When concluding your quarantine session, properly acclimate the fish/coral from quarantine into display with either the Bag Method or Drip Method. If you plan on adding more livestock after this, it’s a good idea to put some small fish in the quarantine to keep the biological process going, such as damsels or clownfish. You can keep these in your quarantine, or eventually add them to your display, but it’s a safe way to keep the culture of the tank stable and prevent spikes in the nitrogen cycle when you decide to purchase a new fish. ALTERNATIVES: In the aquarium hobby, we highly, highly recommend having a quarantine tank setup to ensure a healthy environment for your aquatic pets. If a quarantine system is not an option for you, an alternative method within the acclimation of your fish can be a HydroPlex Dip. HydroPlex is a product we sell at our store that can be dosed at the end of drip acclimation for 10 minutes before putting your fish into the display tank. There is also the option of monitoring your desired fish in the store for a week before purchasing. We offer at our store a 7 day hold policy, in which a customer will pay for a fish in full and we will hold it to monitor its health and behavior before...

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Top Live Pods for your Reef Tank

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Blog, Heather H | Comments Off on Top Live Pods for your Reef Tank

Top Live Pods for your Reef Tank by Heather H.   You can’t really go wrong when adding live copepods to your tank. Just be sure that the species you are adding will be right for your goals. Copepods are tiny crustaceans that can be found worldwide in all types of water and are a critical link in the food chain. Many aquarists like to add pods and other live foods to their tanks for their coral and certain finicky fishes. When doing so, it is recommended to introduce them to a refugium with live rock and macroalgae and even then, you may have to re-seed every once in a while. Introducing live foods in the evening can also give them time to adjust to the tank when predators are less active.   photo provided by Reef2Reef Tigger Pods: Tigriopus californicus – Tigger pods are among the hardiest and most adaptable of all known marine invertebrates and are of great use to aquarists. They are highly effective scavengers, feeding upon detritus and even nuisance algae. The adults are typically bright red in color and large for a harpacticoid copepod (up to three millimeters in length). T. californicus adults are benthic (crawling on substrate and rock surfaces) as adults. This puts them within easy reach of the small-mouthed mandarins and dragonets. Their naplii are pelagic (free swimming in the water column) and are beneficial to filter-feeding invertebrates such as corals, tube worms, tunicates, etc. Tigger pods are loaded with astaxanthin (color enhancement), fatty acids, and amino acids making them remarkably nutritious. The size of the population may fluctuate and more may have to be added over time.   photo provided by Amphipods: Amphipods a diverse group of crustaceans and are a tasty, nutritious treat for many marine organisms. These little invertebrates are extremely hardy and mostly found on seafloors. The anatomy of the amphipod is similar in structure to that of a shrimp, with antennae, segmentation down the body and several different appendages of different function. Personally, I think they resemble cute little “pill bugs”. Hyalella azteca range from 3 – 8 mm in size. Amphipods are detritivores, surviving on organic particles, seaweed, other macroalgae, decaying organisms and bacteria that live in the seabed (meaning that they will help keep your tank cleaner!). Aquarists often have great success when feeding amphipods to more sensitive or picky eaters perhaps due to their high nutrient content. Mandarins and seahorses love them, and I have been told that they are “the gateway live food” to a frozen food diet.   Other Copepods: Tisbe sp. and Apocyclops sp. are harpacticoid copepods that are resilient and easy to grow. They are much smaller than tigger pods (less than one millimeter), but are just as sought after by aquarists and their reef organisms. The adults will spend most of their time on the substrate making it ideal food for mandarins, dragonets, pipefishes, seahorses, leopard wrasses and any other fish that spend their time picking food off of rocks and sand. Juvenile nauplii are very small and spend their time moving through the water column and are ideal for refugiums and organisms that feed from the water, making them a good live feed for SPS corals/filter feeders as well. These pods are also detritivores and can...

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Spotlight – Marine Elasmobranches

Posted by on Feb 2, 2018 in Blog, Tyler, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Spotlight – Marine Elasmobranches

Spotlight – Marine Elasmobranches written by Tyler Baskin photos by Tyler Baskin   When walking into an aquarium retailer one often thinks to themselves “What’s the craziest fish they have here?” In most cases, sharks and rays wouldn’t be something you’d find but here at Absolutely Fish we meet everyone’s expectations.  These fish belong to the subclass Elasmobranchii which consists of all the sharks, skates, rays, and sawfish.  In this article we’ll explore a few of the marine elasmobranchs we commonly stock and some of their requirements for living happily in the aquarium. One of the more common sharks kept in the aquarium hobby is the banded cat shark, Chiloscyllium punctatum.  This Indo-Pacific beauty is sold here in egg case form as well as small juveniles.  Banded cat sharks can get up to 40 inches in length and are aggressive carnivores needing a meaty diet of clam strips, squid, silversides, and krill.  Due to its large size, banded cat sharks should be kept in aquariums of 180 gallons and up as it grows to provide enough space to be comfortable.  Some people keep these sharks in small ponds as well, versus the traditional tank.  When adding tank mates, if any, you should make sure that you are adding very large fish that can hold their own against becoming the cat sharks next meal (large angels, eels, tangs, etc.).  In a large enough aquarium other skates or rays are excellent choices for compatibility! The Port Jackson shark, Heterodontus portusjacksoni, is a shark we presently have in stock and makes a great beginner shark for aquarists with large enough tanks.  The Port Jackson shark hails from Southern Australia to New Zealand and can reach sizes up to 5 feet!  Because of its large adult size these sharks can be housed in smaller aquariums (180 gallon) when they’re juvenile but should move up to a 1000 gallon or more final tank.  Port Jackson sharks have a similar diet to others in the aquarium trade and require meaty diets of krill, clams, silversides, squid, etc.  Other tank mates suitable for this species would be larger eels, lionfish, and other elasmobranchs.  As for rays in our marine lagoon we have an Atlantic Yellow Ray, Urobatis jamaicensis.  This ray comes from the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico regions and has a semi aggressive temperament. The ray can reach 14 inches in diameter and 20 in length.  Rays should be kept in large aquariums with a footprint of at least 3 X 8 feet and around 360 or more gallons for the ray to have enough area to move around and bury in the sand.  Large or medium semi aggressive tank mates can live with the ray as long as they don’t have sharp teeth (such as puffers and triggers) that may hurt the ray if nipped.  Their diets consist of benthic crustaceans and mollusks and will eat some small food particles that fall to the bottom of the tank. Sand is recommended as a substrate when keeping stingrays. These organisms all prefer to have very little to no electrical signals in the tank as they have sensitive organs that can sense them and become damaged.  Sumps should have a protein skimmer, UV, and should be grounded with probes to reduce any electricity from seeping...

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Fish Family Spotlight: Hawkfish

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Blog, Steph | Comments Off on Fish Family Spotlight: Hawkfish

Fish Family Spotlight: Hawkfish written by Stephanie Lamprea   So, you have your new saltwater tank, you’ve properly cycled it, and you’re now looking for fish. What are good options for a beginner saltwater aquarium? There are lots of great fish for this scenario, but in this article I’d like to talk about one particular (and my personal favorite) fish family – Hawkfish!      From left to right: Longnose hawk, Flame hawk, Falco hawk   There are 12 genuses and 33 species of hawkfish that make up the Cirrhitidae family, and they are distributed predominantly within the Indo-Pacific region. Hawkfish share many physical features with the venomous Scorpaenidae family! Fortunately hawkfish themselves are not venomous, but their fringe aesthetic and crazy colors make them impressive. Hawkfish are also great for beginners in the salt water game! Many hawkfish seen in aquariums and pet stores remain small (about 3 to 4 inches). Because hawkfish do not have swim bladders, they perch on rocks and coral, and the way they move around the tank (either through small hops or effortful linear swimming) is really fun to watch in comparison to other tank mates. Just watch them as their eyes dart vigorously as they scavenge for food, and when they do swim, it is in a swooping circular motion like that of a hawk.   My hawkfish at home – his name is Oddyseus.   Hawkfish are reef-safe (though they also do well in FOWLR tanks), and they are extremely hardy and easy to care for. Their diet encompasses a variety of meaty foods that are dry (like pellets or flakes), and frozen or live (like brine shrimp). For this reason, small shrimp may not make good tank mates with a hawkfish, along with some smaller bottom dwellers like species of gobies or blennies. However, hawkfish thrive in a peaceful/semi-aggressive environment. In my tank at home (75 gallon FOWLR), my hawkfish is housed with clowns, an extremely petty royal gramma, a firefish, and a school of blue chromis, and everyone gets along just fine. Normally there should be one hawkfish only per tank, but there are cases where hawkfish have paired off and hosted a hard coral, or harems of hawkfish have been formed with a dominant male. Hawkfish are hermaphroditic and adapt their gender to their surroundings.   Some hawkfish artwork we made at home   To sum this up, hawkfish are hardcore and pretty much great fish for any saltwater tank, reef or FOWLR. I can say that my hawkfish has enriched my love for the aquarium hobby, so for saltwater enthusiasts out there, stop by your favorite local fish store (Absolutely Fish!) and ask about any of our hawkfish species we...

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