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 consume excess food and waste making them a perfect “micro” clean-up crew. These pods are a great first start for anyone looking to build a culture within their tank. Two other live foods reefers may add to their tanks include: Rotifers: Rotifers are small (50-1000 µm) zooplankton that occur in freshwater, brackish, and marine environments. Rotifers feed on microalgae and are consumed by a wide variety of fish, shellfish, corals, and other organisms. Under optimal conditions rotifer culture will double in the population every day. The most commonly used marine rotifers are the species Brachionus plicatilis (L-type) and Brachionus rotundiformis (S-type and SS-type). We keep the S-type which is great for small fish fry like rams, clownfish, etc. and also good to use for SPS coral in reef tanks. I like to enrich them with fatty acids and microalgae before straining them through a coffee filter to feed. Baby Brine Shrimp: Artemia spp. – Newly hatched brine shrimp are very nutritious for the first 24-48 hours. This is a great food for small fish and are very important in rearing aquacultured fish and invertebrates. These little guys are packed with canthaxanthin, fatty acids, and protein. For a reef tank, turn off the flow before feeding and watch the coral open and nab individuals from the water column. Best if drained and rinsed using a coffee...

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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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Hazardous Fish: Venomous versus Poisonous

»Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Blog, Education, Heather H | Comments Off on Hazardous Fish: Venomous versus Poisonous

Hazardous Fish: Venomous versus Poisonous By Heather Hollema There are many hazardous creatures around the world including a number of aquatic animals. “Venomous” and “poisonous” are terms that are often incorrectly used interchangeably. While both definitions involve toxic chemicals produced by a species, the method of delivery is very different. By definition, for an animal to be venomous, it creates a toxin that is injected in some fashion into prey or aggressors. Bites and stings are the most common ways for venom to be transferred. When an animal is poisonous, the toxin is usually secreted and passively transmitted (through touch, ingestion, inhalation, etc.) causing illness or death. For example, a snake may be venomous by inflicting a deadly bite, whereas a dart frog secretes an extremely poisonous toxin that can be absorbed through touch. Within the aquarium trade, the majority of hazardous encounters are with venomous fish. If stung by a venomous fish seek immediate medical attention. Remove any foreign material from the wound and soak the site of injection in the hottest water the victim can withstand for 30-90 minutes. Heat has been shown to aid in denaturing the proteins within venom and is the best way to possibly avoid the full extent of the venom. Some individuals can have an extreme allergic reaction, so always seek out medical attention! Just to name a few, here are some of the most hazardous aquatic creatures: Stonefish are masters of disguise and are considered to be the world’s most venomous fish. One sting from its deadly dorsal spines causes what has been described as “the worst pain known to man.” This venom will lead to shock, paralysis, tissue death, and can be fatal if not treated promptly. Pufferfish have been labeled as the world’s most poisonous fish and only come second to the poison dart frog as the most poisonous vertebrate. The skin and organs of this fish are incredibly poisonous to humans. Although the meat is considered a delicacy, if prepared incorrectly, ingestion can cause a rapid, violent death within 24hrs. Not only are lionfish one of the most venomous fish, they may also prove to be one of the greatest threats to the temperate and tropical waters of the western Atlantic. Venomous, needle-like dorsal and ventral spines cause extreme pain when venom is injected into potential predators, but is rarely fatal to humans. Understanding the impacts of this invasive species is extremely important to maintaining the natural diversity of the marine reefs. This is a perfect example of why NOT to release pets into the wild. One of the most common groups of fish responsible for venomous stings are stingrays. Stingrays instinctively bury themselves in the aquatic substrate for camouflage. With heavy human traffic on beaches and in the shallow waters, accidental stings are extremely common. Blue dot stingrays and southern stingrays are two of the most venomous species causing painful injuries in victims. Boxfish are closely related to pufferfish. They can defend themselves by secreting a toxin from specialized skin cells when threatened or stressed. This toxin can also be released into the surrounding environment when a boxfish dies, which has been known to completely wipe out small marine aquariums. Rabbitfish are another fish that can cause a painful injury through its venomous dorsal and anal spines. Aquarists, be careful! Other EXTREME hazardous aquatic creatures include: box jellyfish (the world’s most venomous animal), the blue ring octopus (one bite is enough to kill 26 adult humans within one minute), and the Cone Snail (the marbled cone snail can kill 20 humans with one sting) etc. The next time you are observing a beautiful lionfish in your local aquarium, remember the difference between poisonous and venomous (hint: lionfish are venomous!), and you might be able to pass on this fun fact to your...

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Maintaining Your Aquarium

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

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

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