Blog posts relating to saltwater and marine fish.

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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»Posted by on Jan 11, 2019 in Blog, Cedes Militante, Conservation, Heather H, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on

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. A. 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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Todd’s Top 5 Predatory Fish for a Marine Aquarium

»Posted by on Dec 21, 2018 in Blog, Cedes Militante, Conservation, Saltwater Fish, Todd F | Comments Off on Todd’s Top 5 Predatory Fish for a Marine Aquarium

Todd’s Top 5 Predatory Fish for a Marine Aquarium What do you think of when you hear the word predatory? First thing in my mind, is a great white shark or an apex predator hunting its food source, but is there any animal which is not predatory, I think not. I have listed my five top predatory marine fish which are available to aquarists. These are no hard to find specimens on my list. Each fish has been chosen for a particular reason. Each are predatory in their own right, but are spread apart by huge differences. So here we go: 5. Miniatus Grouper (Cephalopholis miniata)- No list would be complete without a grouper and what would be better than a fire engine red, electric blue dotted miniatus. This is one of the most striking groupers you can look at. Ranging to a max length of 15”, it will eat anything it can fit in its mouth and has a bottomless pit for a stomach. A miniatus grouper is a great pick for an aggressive, large fish aquarium, but not a peaceful reef aquarium. 4. Blueline Neon Goby (Elactinus oceanops)- Who says a predator has to be a big fish with gnarly teeth. A blueline neon goby is an absolute beast on taking care of parasites on their fellow tank mates. They only grow to about an inch and eat all prepared foods you can give. A bonus to these gobies is they live, unlike a cleaner wrasse which is temporary. These gobies do come in a couple other colors such as yellow and a hybrid teal. 3. Kleinii Butterfly (Chaetodon kleinii)- Do you have aiptasia in your reef tank? Tired of injecting each one with aiptasia x? Well, try a kleinii butterfly. An alternative to a copperband butterfly, kleiniis are a great choice to rid your reef of aiptasia. They eat all prepared foods as well and are very hardy. The one thing to keep in mind is it is still a butterfly. They may still go after your prized zooanthid colony or torch coral once the aiptasia is gone. 2. Harlequin Tusk (Choerodon fasciatus)- I can’t think of any big fish tank not having a harlequin tusk. How can you deny the bright orange, red bars with gnarly blue teeth. They are a show piece for a tank with larger fish and no mobile invertebrates. Harlequin tusks are one of most popular marine fish many aquarists want to keep. They are a hardy species which eat larger prepared foods and grow to a max length of 12”     1. Volitan Lionfish (Pterois volitans)- One of the most exotic marine fish you can buy. The long pectoral fins and striped body makes the lionfish one of the most recognizable fish you will see. These fish grow to 15” and can pack a wallop with their venomous dorsal spines. Volitan lionfish will eat anything smaller than most of its body. They were primarily from the Pacific Ocean but have become a nuisance in the Atlantic. Their appetite is voracious which makes for a bad environmental impact where they are not kept in check by a larger predator. So if you are looking for a fish for your predator tank or just the right predator for the job, hopefully one of these fish will fit your needs. All of these species mentioned above can be found in stock at Absolutely Fish. Please feel free to contact us at Absolutleyfish@yahoo.com or at 973-365-0200if you have any questions or recommendations for your...

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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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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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Mandarins and Scooter Dragonets

»Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Blog, Chris F, Education, Reef Aquariums, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Mandarins and Scooter Dragonets

Mandarins and Scooter Dragonets

The family Callionymidae is comprised of several species of small, colorful, reef-safe fish that have captivated the attention of aquarists for years, most notably the mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus and others), brightly colored members of the family that have been a staple for the aquarium hobby. However, these are considered the most difficult of the commonly-kept dragonets due to the difficulty in sustaining adequate amounts of food (more on this later). Hardier species are commonly available such as the brown scooter dragonet (Synchiropus ocellatus), red scooter dragonet (Synchiropus stellatus), and the recently described and popular ruby red dragonet (Synchiropus sycorax). What makes these species hardier than the mandarins is their ability to accept prepared foods, such as frozen foods, more willingly. Mandarins, on the other hand, are strictly dependent on copepod and amphipod populations within an aquarium to sustain their nutritional needs. To meet the requirements of dragonets and their relatives, an aquarist must be well-prepared in advance. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons (the larger the better) that has been cycled and established for around a year with adequate amounts of live sand and rocks should be considered mandatory. A refugium would be also be welcome in conjunction to adequate filtration, as it would provide a safe haven for copepod and amphipod populations to grow without predations. Most people will dedicate a compartment of their sump to a refugium filled with sand, live rock, and macro algae. Tank mates should be peaceful and small, as large aggressive fish may harass and eat the small dragonets (although some dragonets can emit a toxic, foul-tasting slime). Another consideration in regards to tankmates is the competition for copepods and amphipods; limiting the introduction of fish that feed on these should be considered to avoid competition and starvation. Prime choices are gobies, fire fish, clownfish, cardinal fish, blennies, chromis, etc. Dragonets are very aggressive towards others of the same species and careful planning in regards to stocking of conspecifics must be considered, especially for males. Large tanks, with adequate amounts of food and rock, help limit aggression. Here at Absolutely Fish we almost always have scooter dragonets in stock, so stop on by and have a look! If you have any other questions regarding this unique group of fish, feel free to approach a M-1 Certified employee....

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