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New Saltwater Fish and Inverts at That Fish Place – New Collection Areas

Blackbar HogfishShipments in the past couple have weeks have led to an increase in the diversity of marine organisms you can see and purchase at That Fish Place. Typically when we get something new and from a new collection point, it can come with a steep price. But with the recent additions, this is not so much the case. I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce a few of the new arrivals.

I think one of my personal favorites is the juvenile Blackbar Hogfish (Bodianus speciosus). The majority of its body has a pink/lavender color that is unlike anything that I have seen in the hobby. Though he’s only about 3 inches now, this fish does get large (around 20 inches), so it will need to have at least a 150 gallon. We also received an Anchor Tuskfish (Choerodon anchorago) which is another large fish, but will bode well in at least a 150 gallon aquarium with larger. This is a moderately aggressive fish, but it has understated beauty, prominent teeth and a curious personality. Read More »

My Favorite Madagascar Cichlids and Other Uncommon Oddballs – Part 1 – From the Mind of a Cichlid Mad Man

Paratilapia polleni/bleekeriHey cichlid fans! So, finally we come to the last installment in my series of top 10 cichlid lists. This time I will share my first 5 favorite Malagasy (Madagascar) species and uncommon or oddball cichlids, that can’t be missed. My main reason for keeping Malagasy cichlids is that they are all almost extinct with some species already gone, except from some public aquariums or breeders. It’s a matter of conservation at this point, and serious aquarists play a vital role in keeping these species around. As for the oddballs?  Well, I just love species you don’t see everyday. So lets begin with the first five, I’ll follow in a few weeks with the final five. Read More »

Setting up a Beginner Cichlid Tank in your Mid 20’s

Ngara FlametailThat’s an interesting title right? What is there about setting up a beginner African Cichlid tank in your mid-20s that differs from setting one up at age 47 for example? Well, based on some of the responses to my questions from the cichlid gurus I’m surrounded by (check out some of Jose’s articles here, here and here: this guy’s enthusiasm for these fish is totally contagious both on paper and in real life) I have a different take on my tank’s setup and what I want from it, than other folks, and I’m going to talk about that here.<!–more–>

First a little background. My name is Matt R, and I work in the marketing department at TFP/TPP. Prior to working here, my fish experience maxed out with a few freshwater angels, and the obligatory carnival goldfish once in awhile (may they RIP). I recently bought my first house, and, in addition to wanting to try something new to expand my knowledge, I wanted something cool for my place. So here are my top 5 reasons why this setup works best for me.

1. Quick Reward

I’m from the video game generation. I grew up on Mario and I play Call of Duty. From everything I’ve seen and observed of fish, Cichlids give the best chance to see something cool quickly. I’m not going to sit there and watch my tank for 20 minutes at a time, but I can check out my Ngara and Taiwan Reef and figure out who’s dominant, who’s ready to breed, and who’s so stressed they’re going to have to “leave the island”. It’s like a reality TV show in an aquarium, each episode 5 minutes.

2.  Upside – More Bang for the Buck

Ok, so I’m a big baseball fan, and I play in Rotisserie leagues. Anyone who knows anything about this knows that players with upside and little investment are the ticket to victory, and this carries over for me with my Cichlid tank.  With Cichlids, you get the insane color options of saltwater fish and reef tanks, but without having to add salt, run a skimmer, or invest in High Output lighting. It’s easier on my budget.

3. Many are Mouth Brooders

Taiwan ReefSeriously…they keep their kids in their mouths? Maybe I’m kind of nerdy, but that’s a pretty cool thing to watch. Have you seen this in action, or on the Planet Earth series? It deserves to be on anyone’s top 5 list for a Cichlid tank.

4. You can be lazy (Kind of)

I love my tank, but I’d be lying if I said I focused a lot of time and energy to it all the time.  I’m legally required to endorse water changes, water testing and gravel vacs, and I do them regularly..but…well…sometimes I may not be right on schedule. Based on my own experiences, and from what I’ve heard from the experts here, Cichilds are pretty darn resilient…which leads me to reason number 5

5. Cichlids are tough

They are. It’s a fact of life when you evolve in an isolated lake. Though they may live in a community, it’s a dynamic, angry, restless community..and…call me dark..but that’s somehow appealing to me. In a cichlid tank, you have to live with the reality that turf wars are an everyday threat. Nothing against them, but you’re not going to get that intensity with a cory cat and danios (sorry Craig).

Thanks for reading. 

If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear them below, or just say @MattR on our Facebook page .

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Anemone – Clownfish and Anemone Preference

Some of the most common questions we get from customers are about the relationship between clownfish and anemones (especially after the release of a certain animated movie several years ago). Aquarists see that relationship and want to replicate it in their own aquarium, only to find that the clownfish and anemone they brought home don’t seem to want anything to do with one another. “Why is that?!”, many ask. “I thought they couldn’t live without each other!” The truth is….they can. Anemones don’t need clownfish and clownfish don’t need the anemone, especially in aquariums where (hopefully) they don’t have any predators to hide from. In the wild, the anemone’s stinging tentacles give the clownfish somewhere to hide from and the clownfish’s messy diet gives the anemones some extra food (although there have been reports of clownfish actively feeding their anemones, but that’s another blog). Read More »

My Top 10 South American and West African Cichlids, From the Mind of a Cichlid Madman

Dicrossus filamentosus "Checkerboard Cichlid" - SmallSo, this time we are going to talk about my 10 from two areas, South America and West Africa. I’ve found through experience that both species can tolerate the same type of water conditions, with pH below 7.5 and softer water than African Lake Cichlids. Most of the species I’ve kept were for the challenge of breeding and/or their rarity. So lets begin. Read More »