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Depth Perception – Deep-reef Fish in the Aquarium Trade

Blotchy AnthiasWhen most people think about where some of their favorite aquarium fish come from, they usually think of brightly colored corals and fish darting about in the sunlight. If you ask them how fish are collected, they might picture collectors snorkelling or skin-diving to the reefs to hand-collect the fish that will soon appear in their local fish stores. But, for a large number of fish in the aquarium trade, this is just not a reality. Sure, plenty of fish come from shallow reefs close to the surface, but many also come from deep, dark reefs over 100 feet below the surface where light doesn’t penetrate and even some of the colors of the fish themselves don’t, for all practical purposes, exist. Read More »

Electronic Monitors – Serious Equipment for Serious Aquarists

Hey everyone, Justin here. Working on the sales floor, I answer questions from customers each day about testing equipment. which to use, how accurate and easy the kits are, and lots of other specifics. Today I’d like to shed a little light on testing and monitoring tools, especially the electronic monitoring tools available to aquarists. There are several methods of testing the water conditions in your aquarium, including titration tests and test strips. Less frequently used are the electronic monitors. Electronic Monitors are a different way of testing your aquarium parameters quickly, easily, and accurately. Instead of using a Titration kit (liquid) or paper strips (litmus), Electronic sensors can detect specific components of your aquarium water, such as: pH, Nitrate, Calcium, Salinity, and Dissolved oxygen, in a matter of seconds. If calibrated and cared for correctly, your monitor can provide constant testing with pinpoint accuracy, which can be a real benefit, especially in complicated systems. Large systems can be huge investments in livestock alone, and pristine water conditions protect your investment. Read More »

Seahorse and Pipefish Health – Treating Gaseous Buildup in the Pouch

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. The biggest stumbling block in keeping the fascinating seahorses, pipefishes and seadragons (Family Syngnathidae) is providing them with a balanced diet – all are confirmed live-food specialists, and need a variety of prey items if they are to thrive.  However, once past that hurdle we are sometimes faced with a dilemma unique to these fishes – a buildup of gas in the male’s pouch.

Pouch Malady

Seahorse and their relatives are well known for their unusual reproductive strategy.  Females deposit eggs in the male’s special brood-pouch, where they develop and hatch.  Male seahorses have even been shown to adjust the salinity of the water in the pouch to meet the special needs of the incubating eggs.

For reasons not fully understood, gas sometimes accumulates in the pouches of male seahorses and related fishes.  Animals so afflicted float head down at the surface and soon expire. Read More »

Don’t Just Feed Your Fish, Feed Your Fish Better

Hello, Patty here. Everyone has heard the old saying “you are what you eat” and, when considering your diet, we all know which foods we’re supposed to eat (not that we always do) to keep our bodies happy and live long and healthy lives. The same goes for our pets; even our fish!  Just as we supplement and vary the diets of dogs, cats, and other pets, it is important to vary the foods we give our fish, so that they can develop to their full potential with regards to color and size and so they can get nutrition necessary for breeding, fighting parasites and diseases, and for looking their best for years in your aquarium.

Flake food is a staple

Flake FoodThere is a plethora of foods in the market today for feeding aquarium fish.  Most of the foods aquarists are accustomed to are in flake, pellet or granule form.  These foods are the staple diet most people feed their fish as they are economical, well preserved, easy to store and convenient to feed. They are formulated with ingredients like fish meal, wheat flour, and a laundry list of other ingredients including added colors and vitamins to make up for the natural nutrients lost in the preparation of these foods.  These foods are often sold as complete diets, and will keep fish alive and well-colored, but may ultimately be lacking.  Kind of like one of us eating ramen noodles or some similar packaged food, every meal of every day. 

Fresh is best, Frozen is still better

Frozen FoodSo what do you do if you want to give your fish a diet upgrade?  There are very few fresh or live fish foods available to consumers, but earthworms, blackworms, ghost shrimp and some others can be a nice treat for some fish if you can find them.  A terrific alternative is choosing frozen foods and formulas to  supplement the flake food regimen several times through the week.  These foods are harvested and frozen at the peak of freshness, preserving the naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients.  Many of these foods are (or are very similar to) foods that the fish in your aquarium would seek out in their natural environment.   Today, there are varieties of frozen foods available to suit the needs of just about any type of fish you keep.  These high-quality, high-protein food items increase the vitality and color of your fish, and allow you to see the fish develop and thrive.

Frozen FoodMany of the frozen foods on the market are aimed at marine fish and corals, but not exclusively.  There are brine shrimp, mysis, plankton, baby brine shrimp, clam, mussel, and more which give you lots of options for variety and each with its own benefits.  Baby Brine, for example are very tiny but high in nutrition and ideal for fish fry and filter feeding inverts and corals, while clam, mussel, and squid come in larger pieces for larger fish.  Whole silversides and sand eels are great for groupers, eels and other larger fish with big appetites! 

Freshwater options include bloodworms, glass worms, and beef heart, though mysis shrimp, plankton and brine may also be fed. 

Frozen FoodThere are also several formula foods available, which are combinations of these proteins which may be suspended in a gel with other foods such as spirulina, sponge or other specialty food bits to enhance the diets of specialty feeders like marine angels and omnivores.  Consider the fish you’re keeping and what they might eat on the reef or in the river bed to select what’s best.

Some Things About Frozen Foods

Frozen foods are available for purchase online or in retail stores. Being frozen, these foods are shipped with dry ice to keep them in that state.  The foods must be thawed before feeding, but this is easy as the foods are usually in cube serving form or in thin flat packs that can easily portioned and the appropriate portion snapped off from the body of the pack.  The food portions can be placed in a small vessel of cool water (never warm or hot water as it will cook the food and break down the nutrients) and will be thawed in minutes and ready to feed. You may even choose to soak frozen foods in additional vitamin supplements like garlic extract or Selcon as they thaw to enhance them even more.

Frozen foods may be a bit more expensive and perishable, but the benefits to the food will outweigh the disadvantages.  Give it a try – your fish will love you for it!

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about feeding frozen foods or feeding fish in general let us know!

Until Next Time,

Patty