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Fish for a Phillies Fan – Setting up a Sports-themed Saltwater tank

Phillies tankAs many of your know, That Fish Place/That Pet Place is located in the heart of Lancaster, PA…thus, we love our Phillies. Hopefully you enjoy this Phillies tank idea (unless you’re a Mets fan) from rabid Phillies fan Marine Biologist Melissa was Leiter but now Weibley (she just got married :). – Ed

Hey Phillies fans, how about paying homage to your favorite team by adding something red, reminding you of those fighting Phils every time you look at your tank? If you have a spare tank, you can create a theme aquarium, or dress up the aquarium you already have in the living room to show your spirit! Let’s begin with some critters that may fit the theme. One of my favorite inverts, the banded coral shrimp is one possibility for an addition if you have the right marine set-up. Their claws have red and white Phillies pin stripes all over them! They have a great personality and are easy to care for, though only one can be put in a small tank unless they are purchased as a mated pair. If you only get one they tend to be a little shy and reclusive until they get used to the tank.
Peppermint shrimp, fire shrimp, and Randalls pistol shrimp may also be great possibilities in a reef or community saltwater tank. There are also some other cool inverts besides shrimp that are red, too. We have some red reef starfish (for well established reef set-ups), scarlet hermit crabs that will help to maintain your “field”, and burrowing crabs that like a deeper sand bed. Flame Scallops like to spend time in the dugout (they’ll anchor to rock usually) but they too show their colors proudly! Be sure to provide adequate feedings for them to thrive.

For you real reefer Phillies fans, we have a couple of possibilities for you to add to your tank as well. Red mushrooms look awesome and will brighten any tank. If you have good lighting the red blastomussa or a red open brain coral would look very nice. For those of you that do not have too much light, you could try a red deep water gorgonian or tree sponge. These guys are not photosynthetic they just need lots of phytoplankton to keep them happy.

Now for you fish lovers we have lots of fun fish that go with the Phillies theme. For well-established tanks we have red firefish, flame pygmy angelfish, longnose hawkfish, and flame hawkfish. We even have some clownfish that sport the flashy red for the Phils, like the maroon clown, fire clown and cinnamon clown. For those of you that love the big boy fish we have that covered, too! White edge lyretail groupers, and other similar groupers may fit the bill. So for all you avid Phillies fans out there make sure you have at least one of these fish/inverts in your tank at all times. Who knows, maybe it will be the luck they need to win big again this year…GO PHILS!!!

Rocky is Spared: The Plight of One Family to Save their Beloved Pet

There aren’t often stories in the news about fish that give you warm fuzzies, but this one came pretty close.  Fish people are passionate about their pets, and though you typically can’t cuddle them or play fetch with them, to many of us they are just as loved as the family dog or cat.  Rocky’s story is an example of the love one owner feels.  Rocky may not be the fish that many of us picture as a fun pet, being that he is a snakehead, and we know the trouble they cause, but I have to say that this particular fish I feel for.  His responsible keeper deserves a pat on the back for fighting for his pet’s life and for being said responsible keeper.  I guess we can’t let all fish fall victim to invasive species profiling.

Here are just a couple of links to articles on Rocky’s plight, there are tons more if you search:




Fish Geek TV – River Monsters

So there are those of us out there that find ourselves channel surfing on a Sunday night in a desperate attempt to find something worthwhile to watch. I usually turn to the educational /animal/nature side of things, History, Discovery, you know, not just mindless drivel that pollutes the airwaves. A few weeks ago, I came across a fun series on Animal Planet, and as a “fish geek” I became captivated.

The show is called River Monsters, and if you haven’t seen it you may want to check it out. It may not be up the level of Blue Planet or Planet Earth, but it does capture some amazing footage of the host catching and releasing some of the more monsterous (if not in behavior, certainly in size) fish in the world’s rivers and lakes. These are the kind of fish that inspire Sci-fi writers!

Being in the business, I am familiar with most of the species the host, angler Jeremy Wade seeks out, but it is pretty amazing to me to see adult specimens alive and in their native habitat from the comfort of my sofa. Some of these fish are even common imports, and the show is great proof that most home aquariums are not and will never be large enough to accommodate such species comfortably, a whole new meaning to “this fish gets big.” If you’re looking for some entertainment on Sunday night, check it out, or take a look at the site:

And check out “Natures Most Amazing Events” on Discovery if you like the Blue Planet and Planet Earth series.

Pea-Sized Seahorse Makes List of “Top Ten New Species of 2008”

Three fishes, including the minute Satomi’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus satomiae), were among the newly-described species voted to the “Top Ten” list, which is published annually by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.  Another nominee, Materpiscis attenboroughi, an extinct fish fossilized in the act of giving birth 380 million years ago, provided the oldest record of live birth among vertebrates (please see photo).  The deep blue Chromis (Chromis abyssus), a gorgeous blue damselfish that thrives, in contrast to other family members, at depths of over 350 feet, is the third fish listed.

Tiny and Well-Camouflaged Seahorses (Seaponies?)

Measuring just 0.45 inches in height, Satomi’s pygmy seahorse (first collected, fittingly enough, by diver Satomi Onishi), lives off Derawan Island, Indonesia and northern Borneo, Malaysia.

Prior to its discovery, the title of smallest seahorse went to Bargibant’s seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) which, at 0.8 inches, now seems a giant!  Bargibant’s seahorse bears an uncanny resemblance to the polyps of the gorgonian, or soft coral, upon which it lives (please see photo).  In fact, the first specimens described (1970) had lived in a small aquarium, attached to a gorgonian, for several days before being discovered by a startled researcher.

Further Reading

“Standing” an impressive 0.9 inches in height, Florida’s dwarf seahorse is our smallest native species.  Both it and the much larger Atlantic seahorse make fairly good choices for folks interested in keeping members of this fascinating but delicate family of fishes.  Please see my article The Natural History and Care of Native Seahorses for more information.

If you are interested keeping many varieties of seahorses in the aquarium and discovering how they live in the wild, please check out my book Seahorses, A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual.

Please write in with your questions and comments.  Thanks, until next time, Frank Indiviglio.

Hippocampus bargibanti image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Jnpet

Materpiscis attenboroughi image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Sularko

An Incredible Journey: Seahorse in the News

I’m a sucker for animal stories in the news.  This morning I came across this short article in a news feed.  I found it pretty amazing and worthy of sharing here on the blog. Most of the stories we see in the news are about dogs, cats, and other furry creatures, and while I love them all the same, it is nice to read a story about one of our tiny ocean friends that is just as amazing and inspiring.

The story is about a tough little seahorse that (it is assumed) was picked up by a seagull on the British coast and dropped three miles inland.  The incredible thing is the amazing little lady survived the ordeal!  The species, Hippocampus guttulatus, is native to the southern and western coastlines of the isles in eel grass beds.  These rare Seahorses are currently being tagged and researched in hopes of preserving their dwindling populations.  The destruction of their natural habitat by anchors and boats is currently the biggest threat they face.  This one is super lucky to be alive!

You can read the full story here:   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1181596/The-incredible-journey-Seahorse-miles-inland-scooped-seagulls-beak.html

And for more on the current research and conservation of seahorse species:  http://www.theseahorsetrust.org/