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Author Archives: Dave Acland

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After graduating from Coastal Carolina University with a BS in Marine Science in 1996, I started my professional career in 1997 as an aquarist at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was an amazing experience, in which I gained invaluable hands on training in exhibit design and construction, as well as husbandry skills for a wide range of animals. In 2000 I started working at That Fish Place as one of the staff Marine Biologists, with the responsibility of maintaining one of the largest retail fish holding systems in the world. I presently hold the position of Director of Aquatic Science, where I oversee the operation of our 35,000 gallon retail aquarium systems, and provide technical support for our mail-order and retail store customer service staff. As an aquatic product specialist, I also provide support for our purchasing and marketing departments, as well as contribute web content and analysis. As a Hobbyist I acquired my love of aquariums from my father who was keeping a large aquarium in early 70’s, and set up my first aquarium when I was 12 years old. I have now been keeping aquariums for over 35 years, and through this time have kept more aquariums and types of fish than I can remember. I set up my first Saltwater aquarium in 1992, which led me down the path I still follow today.

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That Fish Place Coral system upgrades – Part 1

Dave here.

Back in January, I posted a blog about some of the changes and upgrades to the fish room here in our retail store.  Over the past few weeks we have gotten back to working on our upgrades, and I wanted to start a series of blogs to let folks know what is going on.

Behind the scenes we have been completely revamping our coral holding systems, at the center of which is a whole new coral propagation system.  We have had some coral holding systems in or warehouse for several years, primarily used for holding extra stock, and for some small scale coral propagation.  Some of  these holding systems are being converted into a dedicated coral propagation system. This is a project that we are very excited about.

Along with the new coral propagation system, we are also working on some upgrades to the coral holding systems in the retail store.  The first upgrade is the lighting on the main coral tray.  For those of you that have never visited our retail location, the main coral tray is a pretty cool, and quite unique, aquarium.  The tray is a 20 foot long, 4 foot wide, acrylic aquarium that can be viewed from both the top and sides.  It is one of the largest tanks of this style in the world; I have never seen another like it.

The Coral Tray has been refitted with new Sunlight Supply ballasts and fixtures.  The reflectors are the large Lumenmax models, and they are powered by Sunlight Supply’s Galaxy electronic metal halide ballasts.  There are 4 of these fixtures on the tank, running 400watt 20K XM metal halide bulbs.  The 4 fixtures are mounted to a moving rail system, which allows each fixture to travel over a 4 foot area.  Along with looking good, and satisfying the gadget geek inside of me, the system is also very energy efficient due to the electronic ballasts and moving rail system.  The huge tray is now being lit by only four 400watt halides (Plus a stationary Aquatic Life HID fixture mounted to one end).

In this first blog about the coral propagation system, I can only give you a sneak peak of the system; it is still a couple weeks away from completion.  The plan is to get this initial system online, then over time add additional systems as we acquire and establish our brood stock and grow out protocols.

The coral propagation system will consist of four 120 gallon raceways that are connected to a main sump that will contain the protein skimmer.  There will also be a brood stock tank that will recirculate on the main sump as well.  As you can see in the pictures, we are well into the plumbing and electrical systems of the prop room. Next will be the lighting systems, then we will fill and test the water flow in the system.  More blog entries will follow as the system gets closer to operation.  Hope  you enjoy the pictures of the progress so far.



HR 669 Update

Hi Dave here, just wanted to post an update to Frank Indivigio’s blog about HR 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act.  As many of you know, HR 669 was introduced into Congress this past January, and went to committee hearing on April 23rd.

As I listened to the hearings, it quickly became clear that the committee members had received a great deal of response from both the pet industry and pet owners regarding the bill.  I would like to thank all of those who have read our blog, and contacted the committee members, and those who put a great deal of effort into raising awareness for opposition to HR 669 as it is written.

Click here to actually see footage from within the government offices in deliberation.

Collectively our voices have been heard.  Marshall Meyers, Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of PIJAC ( Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council), who was present and testified on behalf of the pet industry and pet owners before the committee, stated “It is clear that Committee members from both sides of the aisle heard from the pet owning public about their concerns with this bill.” And that the committee members received thousands of phone calls, letters, and emails from groups and individuals about their concerns over the current form of HR 669.  Meyers added, “We’re extremely grateful to the thousands of groups who galvanized their members leading up to yesterday’s hearing”

Check back with us on our blogs, we will update with any new news regarding HR 669.  And again, thank you for your support in opposition to HR 669



Recommended Meds for Arowanas & Transferring Saltwater Tanks – Common Aquarium Questions

Back with some more FAQs sent to our Marine Bio staff.

Thurman wrote:

I’m raising a baby silver Arowana.  I would like to know, what meds do you recommend to keep in stock, How effective are vitamins, and are any water treatments needed besides prime or salt ? What is black water?

Marine Bio answered:

Some Meds I recommend keeping on hand are Kanaplex, Sulfathiazole, and Quick Cure.

These products treat a wide spectrum of diseases and are all very effective. Beyond all things, water quality and temperature stability will be the most important things for your arowana. Vitamins are completely subjective. Some people use them. I personally do not. A good food will have everything he needs to stay healthy. Try to get him off of live food as soon as possible. When they are small, floating pellets work pretty well. Just make sure to get small ones.

Black water is the term for the coloration and conditions found in parts of the Amazon River. There are natural organics, acids and tannins that leach into the water from wood and soil to create very soft water that is colored almost like a dark tea. There are several products that can simulate these conditions for you if you prefer.

Ryan wrote:

I currently have a 30 gallon bow-front salt water tank with one Condylactis Anenome, some Mexican turbo snails, live rock and blue legged hermit crabs. I wanted to transfer everything into a 75 gallon tank. But I just lost all of my fish to ich. Should I use new crushed coral, or use the old stuff from my little tank? What would be the safest way to know I won’t get ich again? I will set up a hospital tank, but I don’t want to have the same problem in my 75 gallon.

Marine Bio Responded:

Since you have recently had ich in your 30 gallon tank, there can always be the chance for another ich outbreak since the encapsulated cysts can hang around in your tank for several weeks. If you transfer the sand from your 30 gallon to your 75 gallon, you increase the chance of having another outbreak.  If you start with new sand, and add a new fish without quarantining them, you still have a risk of getting ich in that tank as well.  If it has been over a month since you have had fish in your tank, I would probably go ahead and add the sand from your 30 gallon tank just because of the good bacteria that is thriving in it. It is up to you if you want to buy brand new sand and start over, or use what you have and add new to it.  There are pros and cons both ways.  Ich is very tricky, the best thing you can do is quarantine and keep the conditions in the tank pristine.  Poor water conditions and stress may prompt an ich outbreak too.  You may want to keep meds on hand in case of any problem, just be sure you’re using a reef safe medication or remove your inverts to treat in the event of a recurrence.

Cyclop-eeze: Big power in a little body

One of the best products to be introduced to the aquarium food market in recent years is something that you can barely see.  Cyclop-eeze are a microscopic decapod (ten legged) crustacean that have unique nutritional value.  Most aquarium hobbyists are familiar with brine shrimp, a staple food for aquarium use for many years.  Fish breeders and advanced hobbyists have long used fresh hatched brine shrimp, or nauplii, for raising baby fish, feeding planktivorous fish, filter and particle feeding invertebrates.  While brine shrimp are readily available in many forms, and their nauplii are relatively easily raised, they have limited nutritional value, and must be supplemented, enhanced, or fed in large quantities to gain satisfactory nutritional value from feeding them.  This is where the emergence of Cyclop-eeze as a viable food source has made a real impact.

Cyclop-eeze can have more than 40 times the omega 3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA’s) than that of brine shrimp nauplii.   Cyclop-eeze also has the highest know levels of Astaxanthene, a critical biological pigment that not only gives the organism a striking red color itself, but when fed to other organisms is a most powerful color enhancer.  Research has also shown that the Cyclop-eeze organism has high levels of Betaine, and other natural attractants, which make it irresistible as a food source.  The Cyclop-eeze is a truly amazing little crustacean, packing nutrition, color enhancement, and attraction in one powerful little natural package.

The Cyclop-eeze is harvested in a remote arctic saltwater lake that is free of other organisms or pollutants, and in fact remains frozen in winter months.  When the ice thaws in spring, natural plankton blooms signal the Cyclop-eeze to hatch and reproduce, which lasts all summer.  The adults are harvested at their peak nutrition and instantly frozen to preserve all their goodness.

Cyclop-eeze are available in this frozen form, as well as freeze dried as whole organisms, which can then be used in either form to feed small or baby fish, feeding planktivorous fish,  as well as filter and particle feeding invertebrates.  Processed Cyclop-eeze is made into flake food and granules for feeding larger fish.  Cyclop-eeze extract oils (CEO) are also used as ingredients in a variety of other products as enhancements to other food and pharmaceutical products.

Give them a try; I think that you will be pleasantly surprised with the results that you will see with using this amazing food source.

Until next time,


NCPARS-That Fish Place Winter Frag Extravaganza Wrap-Up

The big event this weekend was a blast for everyone involved, the crowd was energized, the officials had their work cut out for them, security was on their toes, the half time show was on the big screen, the stars showed up and did their thing when the pressure was on, and I think there was some kind of football game on the next day as well.

Of course I am talking about the first TFP/NCPARS winter coral frag extravaganza (or whatever it was called) this past weekend here at TFP.  Turnout for the event was great, I think we ended up with about 350 guests, as well as quite a few vendors, and some great guest speakers.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved, for making this a successful event.  Even through the crowds, the lines, and the noise, everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves and take something out of the experience.  Through the generosity of our attending manufacturers, some guests got the chance to win and take home some great raffle prizes.  Frag traders had smiles on their faces, as hundreds of frags changed hands.  Many people took advantage of our guest speakers, and got some great information on a wide range of topics.  Special Thanks to Anthony Calfo, Steven Pro, Dave Troop, Ike Eigenbrode, and Randy Reed for speaking to the group.

This was the first event of this kind that we have hosted here at TFP, and we really were not sure what to expect heading into things on Saturday Morning.  For those of you who frequent our store, you know how busy things can get in the fishroom on a “normal” Saturday, throwing a few hundred more people into things was a bit of an intimidating proposition. The great turnout was a little much for our miniscule sound system, but we’ll definitely have that remedied next time. Everyone involved showed a great deal of patience, and our staff put in the extra effort that was required to really pull things off, Great Job to all, I think we can look forward to more events of this kind in the future.

In addition to the photos I’ve posted here, you can check out the whole lot of them at our Facebook page: That Fish Place/That Pet Place on Facebook. Please let us know how you felt about the event, or anything you think could be done better too.

Happy Reefing, Dave