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Includes articles on new aquarium product spotlights, guides, or detailed reports on product effectiveness in aquariums.

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,


New Tank Syndrome in Home Aquariums

Eileen here. One of the most common aquariums problem we are asked about is one that is known in the hobby as “New Tank Syndrome” (NTS). No, its not the compulsive tendancy to spend three-months pay on things to fill your new aquarium. “New Tank Syndrome” is caused by the bacteria blooms that occur when a tank is cycling. Both freshwater and saltwater tanks experience NTS when the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels spike as a result of the cycling process of the tank, but most of the questions come from the “algae bloom” that saltwater aquarists tend to see towards the end of the cycling of their tank.

A few weeks after the tank has started cycling (after live rock, fish or a bacteria culture has been added), you may see a thin brown film covering the surfaces and sides of the tank. This film scrapes or wipes off easily and cutting back lighting doesn’t seem to affect it. No snails, hermit crabs or fish feed on it, but critters moving across the substrate or glass tend to stir it up enough so it “goes away.” So, what is going on at this point?

The “algae” you see is not a type of plant with cells like traditional green algae that most people think of. It is actually made up of diatoms, a type of phytoplankton whose cell walls are primarily made up of the mineral silicate. It blooms towards the end of the cycling process in a tank because of the imbalance of nutrients in the system but will usually die off on its own once the water chemistry in the tank stabilizes.

Here’s an easy analogy for what is happening: Imagine you have a huge set of scales you are trying to balance. To try to get the scales even, you pile bird seed on each side until they are even, but in the process, lots of the seeds spills onto the ground. Flocks of birds come to the field to feed on all that extra seed on the ground but once you have the scales balances, no more seed is spilling on the grounds where the birds can get it so they leave.

The same thing eventually happens in your aquarium. Once the water chemistry balances and there are no spikes in the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or other mineral levels, the diatoms lose what they were feeding on and the bloom will go away on its own without adding tons of snails and hermit crabs and without doing unneccessary water changes that will just slow down this process.

It takes a little patience to get through the cycling process and the diatom algae blooms we know as “New Tank Syndrome” but less is sometimes more in helping your new tank get established and ready to handle all of the plans you have in store for it!

Clearing Cloudy Water – Common Aquarium Questions

One of our most frequently asked questions is answered below.  There tends to be a spike (pun intended) in cloudy aquarium questions after the holiday season has passed and all of the new gift aquariums get set up.  This might help if you’re a newbie!

Tom wrote:

I have a 90 gallon fresh water tank with a Fluval 405 canister filter. The tank is about 4-weeks old. I have been using Cycle to speed things along, but my water for the most part of 4-weeks has a white cloudiness to it. When I do water changes, the water clears up and then a day or 2 later it’s cloudy again. I have well water with a built in water softener and sediment filter.  My main question is, do you recommend the use of resins in conjunction with carbon to battle this problem?

From Marinebio@thatpetplace:

If the cloudiness is caused from particulates in the water, then yes a resin will help. If the cloud is from a bacterial bloom, which is highly likely, then resins will not solve your problem. Have you tested your water? Any ammonia or nitrite present? If either of those are showing levels above 0ppm, small weekly water changes of around 5% will help keep the toxic levels of ammonia and nitrite diluted, while still allowing you to cycle the tank. The trick is to keep the levels low enough to not lose fish, yet high enough to not to disrupt your nitrogen cycle and the beneficial bacteria that are trying to colonize. Large water changes can lengthen the amount of time it takes to finish your cycle, thus lengthening the time your tank stays cloudy. So if you can test the ammonia and nitrite levels, we can see where you are in your cycle.

For additional info on beginner aquarium basics and the nitrogen cycle view the following articles:



Our Favorite Aquarium Books

Desiree and I have both shared some of our favorite aquarium websites and virtual reference, but what about those times when you want a real, live, glossy-paged, paper-cut-compatible BOOK? Well, just in time for the holiday shopping and wish list season, here are a few of our favorites of those, too.


  • Dr. Axelrod’s Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes and Dr. Burgess’s Atlas of Marine Aquarium Fishes
  • These two books are some of the classic tomes of aquarium fishes. Both contain literally thousands of species of fish as well as some basic information about each one. These books won’t help with aquarium-related details, but they are must-haves for identification and sheer volume of the animals covered.
  • Pocket Expert Guides (Reef Aquarium Fishes and Marine Fishes, both by Scott W. Michael, and Marine Invertebrates by Dr. Ronald L. Shimek)
  • This series is one of my personal favorites. Compact in size, but certainly not in information, these books are written with the aquarist in mind. They each contain well over 400 species of animals with detail on care, compatibility, aquarium suitability, maximum size, minimum tank size and other pertinent information. It’s a great series to take to the fish store with you for a quick reference on your new purchases.
  • “The Simple Guide” and “Super Simple Guide”series
  • This is the perfect series for new aquarists and is one of the first we tend to recommend when someone mentions “I’m thinking about starting a _______ aquarium”. The information is presented in a way that isn’t overwhelming to new aquarists and provides a complete view without getting too bogged down in scientific equations and technical terms. No matter what type of aquarium you have or are thinking about getting, there is probably a Simple Guide for it.
  • Reef Invertebrates: An Essential Guide to Selection, Care and Compatibility, by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner
  • I think we are currently on our…fourth?…copy of this book in our Fish Room because our employees wear it out reading and re-reading it during their lunches and free time. Lots of information about a wide range of invertebrates. A good read for “Reef” and “Fish-only” aquarists alike.
  • Corals: A Quick Reference Guide, by Julian Sprung
  • Ever see a new coral that you absolutely must have, but you know nothing about it? Look it up in here. Ever see a coral but can’t figure out what it could possibly be? Look through here. Need ideas about what new corals you could add to your existing reef tank? Browse this book. Lots of common aquarium corals with compatibility, identification and propogation basics.
  • Aquarium Fish magazine
  • Ok, so its not technically a “book”, but it still counts. This monthly magazine is by aquarists and for aquarists. It includes information on both freshwater and marine aquariums and is geared towards new and experienced hobbyists alike. I have a binder filled with past articles that I just HAD to save from this magazine. The new species profiles alone will never let us run out of new animals and aquariums to try at home.

Have any favorites I didn’t mention? Looking for a good book on a particular subject? Let us know!