5 Nano Reef Fish

»Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Blog, Cedes Militante, Chris F, Chris F, Conservation, Education, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on 5 Nano Reef Fish

5 Nano Reef Fish By: Chris Fong                 As the hobby continues to evolve with advancements in technology ever growing nano reefs are becoming more and more popular. These setups are attractive towards most people due to their small size requirements, significantly smaller setup cost compared to larger systems, and the wide variety of options aquarist can choose from in terms of equipment and livestock. However, even as our understanding of aquariums has improved along with advancements in technology small tanks in general are still considered more difficult due to their smaller volume of water. As a result, the aquarist should pay extra attention towards these smaller setups to help reduce fluctuations in parameters which could be potentially devastating. To clarify a Nano reef is considered around 5-30 US gallons by most people and the fish described in this blog will comfortably live in this 30-gallon setup long-term considering their husbandry requirements are met. These requirements include a properly cycled aquarium with adequate filtration, heating, water quality combined with proper compatibility and diet. In this blog I will discuss 5 great fish species suited for a Nano reef. Side Note:  The best fish suited for small nano reefs or pico reefs long term are gobies as most of them stay incredibly small.  But to add variety to this list I decided to add other fish that can live comfortably in a larger nano tank. Panamic Barnacle Blenny (Acanthemblemria hancocki) This fish can be located from Panama to El Salvador and even as far down as Ecuador. It is an excellent choice for Nano tanks as it has a maximum size of 2 inches when fully grown. The barnacle blenny has a unique personality preferring to sit inside of a small hole and occasionally poke it’s round head out to look for food and predators. On top of this, the barnacle blenny also has large googly eyes making it an adorable addition to a small tank. Also, when food is added to the aquarium the barnacle blenny will dart out of its crevice at an incredibly fast speed and then quickly retreat into the same crevice making it a very entertaining fish to observe while feeding. The barnacle blenny should be kept with peaceful fish although it can sometimes exhibit aggression towards similar looking fish or fish that invade its territory. Additionally, many nooks and crannies should be made available for this fish to hide in naturally. Finally, a diet of small meaty foods such as frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, plankton, and Mysis shrimp should make up most of its diet combined with quality flakes/ pellets that have been soaked in vitamins. Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) While the Royal gramma is the largest fish on this list growing to 3 inches when fully grown making it ideal for tanks around 30 gallons for long term housing I decide to include it in this list because of it’s outstanding coloration and hardiness. Naturally these fish are found in deep water reefs in the Caribbean hiding in and around rock crevices. Due to this natural behavior the royal gramma will hide a lot especially when first introduced into the aquarium. Over time though this fish will become bolder and venture out into the open. Royal Grammas are very hardy fish making ideal for beginners who want to add a colorful fish to their larger sized Nano reef. While mostly peaceful towards other fish the royal gramma can sometimes be territorial towards other similar looking fish or fish that invade its territory. Due to its cryptic behavior a large amount of rock structure should be provided. Finally, a diet of small meaty foods such as frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, plankton, and Mysis shrimp should make up most of its diet combined with quality flakes/ pellets that have been soaked in vitamins Clown Goby (Gobiodon sp.) Clown gobies are another excellent Nano reef fish as there are several species each with a distinct color. Some are green with red markings on their face while others are solid yellow or black. This group of fish only max out around 1 inch making another fine addition to small tanks where you will find them perching on rocks and corals. These small gobies are naturally found living amongst soft and hard coral colonies in the Indo Pacific where they utilize these corals for shelter. However, in the reef aquarium they can sometimes kill portions of SPS colonies they host as a result.  Clown gobies are considered very hardy and peaceful towards most other fish but can sometimes become territorial with other similar fish or those that enter its territory. Additionally,...

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Tridacna Clams for the Aquarium

»Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in Blog, Chris F | Comments Off on Tridacna Clams for the Aquarium

Giant Clams of the Tridacna Genus By: Christopher Fong Several species of giant clams belonging to the family Tridacnidae enter the aquarium hobby regularly and are often sought after for their color and unique patterning. Each clam has their own distinct patterning making them different and unique even from another individual of the same species. The most common species include Tridacna maxima, Tridacna crocea, Tridacna squamosa, and Tridacna derasa. Other species exist but seldom enter the aquarium hobby such as the infamous Tridacna gigas which grow to weigh an impressive 550lbs and the exceptionally rare Tridacna mbalavuana commonly known as the devil clam. Most Tridacna clams are found within the tropical Indo-Pacific reef communities where local farm these beautiful creatures for food and for the aquarium trade. They can also be found in the Red Sea, The Great Barrier Reef and as far north as southern Japan. Tridacna clams possess a shell made of calcium carbonate to protect themselves from predation. Each species has slight variations in shell size, shape, and scutes (scales). However all Tridacna clams possess an inlet siphon utilized to transport food and oxygen into the clam and an exhalent siphon utilized to export waste, sperm and eggs from the clam. Tridacna clams also possess various internal organs such as a kidney, gills, heart, stomach, gonads and various muscles to control the opening and closing of its shell. These clams also possess a byssal gland (the foot) which produces fiber like threads to anchor the clam into place. The most noticeable part of the Tridacna clam is the fleshy colorful mantle which extends over the entire shell. A symbiotic algae known as zooxanthellae lives within the tissue of the clam producing various products of photosynthesis during the day such as organic carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, glucose, amino acids and other essential materials. In return the algae lives within the protection of its host and feeds off the nutrients and carbon dioxide produced by the host. Care for Tridacna clams is relatively consistent from species to species with slight variations in a preferable placement within the reef. As stated earlier Tridacna clams utilize their symbiotic algae to produce the majority of their energy requirements (estimated 75%) so proper lighting is considered a must especially since these clams possess various internal organs thus requiring a higher degree of energy to maintain these organs. The most preferable lighting for Tridacna clams would be high quality LEDs or Metal halides as these lighting systems provide proper lighting to high demand photosynthetic organisms. T-5s and compact fluorescents can be utilized but placement of the clam should be close to the surface to maximize exposure. Supplementing the missing 25% of their energy requirements is generally done by absorbing nutrients and filter feeding. These clams also do best in nutrient filled water as they constantly filter water through their bodies so an ultra-low nutrient SPS-style system may not be the best environment for Tridacna clams. The addition of various filter feeder foods such as phytoplankton, rotifers, and marine snow can prove beneficial to Tridacna clams if not necessary for very small clams under 3 inches in size. The reason for supplementing filter feeder foods for small clams is their small surface area contains little zooxanthellae and at this size/age they rely more on filtering particulates out of the water column. Another consideration for keeping these clams is their heavy demand for calcium and alkalinity within the aquarium. As the clam grows it will deplete a large proportion of the available calcium and alkalinity within the water thus requiring an efficient dosing regimen of either two part supplements (for smaller systems) and calcium reactors (for larger systems). Kalkwasser can also be considered as a complementary method to either two part/ calcium reactors as Kalkwasser is typically dependent upon evaporation rate and CO2 concentration in order to introduce calcium and alkalinity in small proportions. Kalkwasser must be added slowly into the aquarium (drip) because of its very high pH. Water changes will also help replenish these elements. Finally flow, although some Tridacna clams such a T. maxima and T. crocea live in shallow water commonly exposed to high flow and crashing currents the flow being exposed to any clam within the aquarium should be moderate as high flow will cause the mantle to retract and increases the risk of introducing air bubbles into the clam. When purchasing a clam look for a healthy individual which has its mantel fully extended with good coloration without any signs of bleaching. Consider performing a light test by slowly passing your hand over the clam, the clam should quickly retract its mantle indicating good health....

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