Blog posts about fish, coral, and invertebrate education.

Freshwater Ich Treatment by: Robert Dixon

»Posted by on Feb 8, 2019 in Cedes Militante, Conservation, Education, Freshwater Fish, Robert D, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Freshwater Ich Treatment by: Robert Dixon

Freshwater Ich Treatment  by: Robert Dixon   Ichthyophthirius multifiliis or freshwater ich as it is more commonly known is a common protozoan parasite that has plagued the freshwater aquariums of fishkeepers for decades. In that time many different cures and remedies have been suggested, tested and established for the public to use. Some of the more powerful treatments however are not the most ideal to use in certain situations. Some aquarists are apprehensive to use such potent chemicals in their tanks when they have some of the more sensitive fish. Others completely avoid these products for ethical reasons. There are alternatives for people caught in these situations. There are now numerous freshwater ich treatment products that use natural and botanical compounds which are not as harsh to sensitive fish and living tropical plants. Ichthyophthirius multifiliis or freshwater ich as it is more commonly known is a common protozoan parasite that has plagued the freshwater aquariums of fishkeepers for decades. In that time many different cures and remedies have been suggested, tested and established for the public to use. Some of the more powerful treatments however are not the most ideal to use in certain situations. Some aquarists are apprehensive to use such potent chemicals in their tanks when they have some of the more sensitive fish. Others completely avoid these products for ethical reasons. There are alternatives for people caught in these situations. There are now numerous freshwater ich treatment products that use natural and botanical compounds which are not as harsh to sensitive fish and living tropical plants.             One example is Prevent Ich and Ich Attack produced by Kordon. These are a preventative and curative treatment respectively that use botanical compounds such as naphthoquinones to treat ich. Acurel Knockout IP is another natural product that’s use all-natural oils to medicate ich and prevent further spread. This product also has Absorpotol which allows for the Knockout IP to be more readily absorbed by the fish and allow the fish to be treated faster. Another plant that has had its extracts used for freshwater ich remedies is garlic. Scientific research has proven the natural curing properties of garlic on ich. There are many products made using garlic extracts such as ingestible foo soaks. Lastly Melafix is an antimicrobial product that uses compounds from the Melaleuca genus, or more widely known as tea tees, to combat various bacterial infections and parasites including ich. The compounds eliminates “masking” bacteria which is used by ectoparasites such as Ich to prevent immune detection.             There are many different ways to go about treating ich. Sometimes using more powerful chemical products is necessary for particularly virile cases. Other times softer and more natural products are needed for aquariums with fish that are easily susceptible to strong chemicals. What is important is being informed about all the options available for treatment and what is best for your aquarium. It is ideal for most aquarists to use natural products such as botanicals. There are a variety of these products available to choose from at Absolutely Fish. Also, please come into the shop and ask about our Aquanats Boxes. They are a great way to sample natural and medicinal care...

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Amyloodinium ocellatum – a.k.a Oodinium a.k.a. Marine Velvet Disease

»Posted by on Jan 11, 2019 in Blog, Cedes Militante, Conservation, Education, Heather, News, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Amyloodinium ocellatum – a.k.a Oodinium a.k.a. Marine Velvet Disease

Amyloodinium ocellatum – a.k.a Oodinium a.k.a. Marine Velvet Disease If someone were to ask me what the most deadly marine disease was, one of the first things that come to mind would be Marine Velvet. Unfortunately it is not uncommon, and the dinoflagellate infestation can frequently be found in newly imported fish. The A. ocellatum parasite responsible for premature fish loss is actually an algal protozoan and closely related to the dinoflagellates that cause red tides. ocellatum can completely wipe out an entire aquarium in the right conditions: poor nutrition, low water quality, improper life support equipment, and other stressors.     Life cycle of “Oodinium”: Life cycle is typically 6-12 (but as long as 28) days depending on temperature. Trophont stage- the only time you can see the parasite, nonmotile and hosting a fish absorbing nutrients for reproduction Encysted stage- a.k.a tomont or palmella, the parasite divides while still on the fish. Incubation period can be 3-6 days. Dinospore stage- newly hatched parasites emerge from cysts and are free swimming, looking for new hosts   Symptoms Marine Velvet is not easy to spot. TIP: make sure to look at thin, transparent areas of your fish and try to view these areas at an angle to best see affected areas. First signs of infection include rapid respiration (the gills are typically attacked first). A classic infestation has been described as a dusting of powdered sugar or a foggy or faded area on the fish’s body and can be accompanied by cloudy eyes and fins. Fins may appear clamped and fish may stop eating. You may see the fish flashing or scraping its body against décor or the substrate. Severe infestations look velvety in texture, thus the name. In these instances you will also see sloughing off of the protective slime coat. Death can occur in as little as 12 hours, without any outward appearance if the gills are severely damaged by the parasite. It has even been known to colonize the guts or esophagi of many fishes, making it difficult to spot and control.   Treatments Prevention! Especially in reef tanks, as most medications can kill coral and live rock! Have the right equipment to house your fish, proper UV sterilizer, feed a nutritious diet, quarantine new fish, be educated and ask questions when selecting fish for your tank, etc. This disease can happen so fast, that sometimes aquarists loose their whole tank in a day or two and never saw anything wrong. Repeated fresh water baths dosed with quick cure or formalin may dislodge some of the trophants on the fish (about 10-15 minutes). Fish must be caught quickly or stress of netting can cause disease to worsen. Treatment with copper sulfate (i.e. Cupramine) for 21-30 days. Chloroquine phosphate treatment could be used. Reef safe medications, though much weaker include Rally or Hypercure. Antiparasitic foods and garlic additives may also help if the fish is eating. Monitored hyposalinity may enhance effectiveness of treatments (1.010-1.013). Increasing temperature will increase reproduction rate of parasite and shorten life cycle for decreased treatment time, however, the fish’s metabolic rate and demand for oxygen also increases. If you think you might be noticing signs of Oodinium in your home aquarium, stop in to see one of our marine certified aquarists to diagnose and discuss your situation. We are experienced with this pathogen and would be happy to help you prevent and eradicate it!   Cool side note: A quick and immediate drop in salinity has dramatically increased effectiveness in controlling “Oodinium”. The parasite has semipermeable membranes and cannot control osmosis. They begin to absorb water as the cells try to equalize osmotic pressure with the change. Eventually, most strains of Amyloodinium pop like fish bags filled with too much air (in this case...

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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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Freshwater Nano Fish

»Posted by on Nov 16, 2018 in Blog, Conservation, Education, Freshwater Fish, Mike D, News | Comments Off on Freshwater Nano Fish

Freshwater Nano Fish               Nano aquariums have been popular for quite some time.  They can light up a desk or kitchen counter top and can easily be the center of attention in any room.  These small aquariums, generally 10 gallons or less, can be a great alternative for those that feel a large aquarium is too much work or too daunting.  Nano tanks do come with some challenges.  The main challenge is that with less water volume there will be a more rapid shift in water quality.  It is important to be consistent with regular weekly water changes for the long term success of the aquarium.  The best looking nano tanks in my opinion are ones that are fully planted.  With the use of driftwood, various stones, and lush green plants you can turn a glass box of water into an underwater oasis.  I’ve seen some professionally designed nano tanks that will make you think you’re looking at a miniaturized mountain range.  The limit is your imagination.              Now onto the main attraction, the fish!  Here at Absolutely Fish we carry a wide selection of nano fish to choose from.  One of our most popular species is the celestial pearl danio.  This fish is relatively new to the hobby, only being discovered in 2006 out of Myanmar.  This micro-danio will reach an adult size of about 3/4 of an inch.  They possess bright red fins and a brown body covered in gold spots.  They are quite active and can be kept with many other tetras, rasboras, and peaceful barbs.             Another extremely popular fish we regularly stock is the Amanda tetra, also known as the ember tetra.  These miniature tetras come from the Amazon and are great schooling fish.  They are a solid orangey-red color and are surprisingly hardy for their size.             One of my favorite fish selections for nano tanks are dwarf corys.  The two species we most commonly see are Corydoras habrosus and Corydoras pygmaes.  These cory catfish are a schooling fish so a group of five or more is recommended.  They prefer a sandy or smooth substrate and a diet consisting of small sinking pellets and bloodworms.             Another colorful option for a nano aquarium would be Endlers Livebearers.  Endlers are a form of guppy native to Venezuela.  Males reach a maximum size of 1 inch and females closer to 2 inch.  The males possess all the color and come in many different color varieties.  Some of the colors we regularly bring in are the flaming pink, electric blue, and yellow cobras.  Be careful mixing males and females because they are prolific breeders. Other than fish we do bring in some interesting invertebrates to add another dynamic to your nano aquarium.  Thai micro crabs are quickly becoming a crowd favorite.  Their care is similar to that of fancy shrimp.  They require very clean water and lots of plants to hide.  They should be kept with only other small peaceful fish.  These crabs are omnivorous and will spend most of their day foraging for microorganisms.             Recently we have seen the popularity in nerite snails surge.  We now regularly carry a few varieties of these excellent algae eating snails.  We regularly stock the zebra nerites and tiger nerites.  On occasion we will bring in fancy horned nerites and red racer nerite snails.             Here at Absolutely Fish we do our very best to bring in only quality fish from expert supply chains.  This is as important to us as well as you.  We encourage you to come to our shop and discover what you love and learn from...

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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 color and a striking pattern in your small tank, choosing a hypancistrus may be the right choice. Some examples are King tiger plecos, Queen Arabesque, L333, and the coveted L46 zebra pleco. These loricariids do especially well in smaller community tanks. However, if you are experiencing an algae problem these fish won’t help much. Much like leporacanthicus these plecos share many of the same dietary requirements, except they only reach a fraction of the size as adults. They are also less territorial and won’t tear your planted tank apart with their displays. Due to their diminutive size and shyer disposition, they don’t do to well in a tank with aggressive feeders. Hypancistrus are best kept in peaceful community and species-only aquariums.  Ancistrus This is my personal favorite genus, as it contains the bristlenose pleco and its various color morphs. Other examples include the l183 bristlenose, and medusa plecos. Ancistrus tend to be hardier than most other fancy plecos, tolerating a wider range of water parameters. This also makes them a more forgiving choice for the new aquarist who is just starting to keep rarer fish. They are true omnivores, eating both algae and meatier foods. As juveniles its important to feed a plant-based diet, supplementing them with fresh vegetables or fruit. As these fish mature, shrimp pellets should be fed regularly. Being so versatile, I’ve...

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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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