A few weeks ago, a co-worker presented me with a photo, and asked me if I knew what the thing represented in the pic was. I’ve seen a lot of things in my 15 years with That Fish Place (many of which spent in the fish room), but I had never seen the object I was looking at in the pic. My first guess was a bizarre form of algae, as ponds can be home to some strange sludge. Then I contemplated that the mass might be an egg mass of some type, the gel of which possibly being coated or having incorporated algae and muck into it as it floated along. But something still wasn’t right about it. I turned to Google, and with a few quick clicks I found similar photos helping me to identify the blob with relative certainty. It was a freshwater species of Bryozoan! I was familiar with marine forms of bryozoans, but this was quite a different and interesting specimen from others I’d seen, and certainly worth a little more research. Read More »
Category Archives: GeneralFeed Subscription
Whether you consider yourself a fish person or not, it may be easy to be enticed into the aquarium hobby when you see the array of beautiful fish and aquariums available for today’s enthusiast. But setting up an aquarium isn’t something to make an impulsive decision about, especially if you’re not experienced. There are several aspects to consider if you want to do it and be successful.
So what do you think about first, the tank or the fish? These are obviously both important considerations.
Before you even think about the kind of fish you’d like, it may be best to consider what you have the space and time for. If you rent, first find out if you are permitted to keep a larger aquarium or an aquarium of any size for that matter in your space. If you’re living in a tiny apartment, you may not want to allocate a big chunk of your living area to a bulky aquarium and all of the equipment that comes along with the set-up. If you determine that you have the perfect space for a tank to occupy you can look into the shape and size you might want to keep.
Time is another consideration. Successful aquariums require time for regular maintenance and care, and they are meant to be looked at and enjoyed, so you may not get as much out of the investment if you travel a lot or are constantly on the go. While fish can be lower maintenance than other pets, they will still need to be fed and the water quality will need to be monitored with routine water changes performed when necessary.
Your budget should also play a big role in the decision. How much do you want to spend and how much can you afford to spend? An aquarium and all the equipment to go along with it can be a big financial investment. Once you’re set up is up and running you also have to consider the cost of the inhabitants, food and other supplies that will be needed over time such as new light bulbs for the hood, new filter media and cartridges, water treatments/supplements that you may need for the livestock you keep. It’s a good idea to calculate these costs ahead of time so you have an idea what you might spend, say for the first year, just on the basics.
Once you’ve considered all of these things and you’re ready to purchase your tank, it’s time to research what fish or inverts you want to put into it, their behaviors, and their requirements in a tank. Visit local fish stores or browse online suppliers to see what’s available and what they require as far as space and care. You may be drawn to saltwater fish or African Cichlids, but is your tank big enough to support the fish you like once they reach mature size? Will territorial fish have the space they need? You may want a colorful reef, but can you afford the lighting, salt, live rock and other supplies necessary to support the corals you adore? Before you make the final decision on your investment be sure you’re prepared to provide an ideal environment for the fish you love.
The type of fish you choose may be influenced by your personality. Casual keepers may choose goldfish or assorted tropicals like tetras, barbs and rainbows to form an active, colorful community. More dedicated individuals may choose to keep uncommon species or those known for unique behaviors to observe and breed or a complex reef teeming with fish and invertebrates. Once you dive into the aquarium hobby there are so many paths to take! Talk to other hobbyists so you know what you’ll need and what you can expect, you may find eventually find yourself with multiple aquariums, like may hobbyists do.
If you’re ready to start, but you’re not ready for a big leap, consider a betta in a bowl or another small set up to start with. A small tank can give you a little experience and help you to develop the habits you’ll need when you’re ready to go bigger.
Sargassum Triggerfish image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Cliff
Maintaining proper aquarium temperatures is essential for the health and well-being of your fish. While aquarium heaters do a pretty good job at this, the probability of fluctuations from fall through spring tends to be greater and possibly more detrimental. You may not even realize how much the temperature of the water changes through the day or day-to-day until you’re faced with ich or some other problem in your aquarium.
The Threat of Cool Temperatures
While our aquarium fish will rarely if ever be exposed to near or below freezing temperatures in the safety of your home (hopefully), fish farmers in Florida can attest to the immediate and lingering problems that can come with even short exposure to cold temps. Exposure to temps below 60 F can create chaos in a tropical tank, so you can imagine what freezing temps do to tropical fish housed in an outdoor setting. Sensitive fish may be killed outright from the shock of extreme temperatures or fluctuations in temperatures. Others face blows to their immune systems and the increased chance of being infected by opportunistic parasites, fungi or bacteria. These organisms take advantage at the slightest sign of stress on the part of tropical fish, and can decimate the population in a short amount of time. Cooler temperatures tend to make normally active fish lethargic and slower to react, making them more open to predation if outdoors. Similar problems can occur in the aquarium if smaller or more sensitive fish are not able to hide or escape the curiosity of larger, hardier tankmates. Read More »
If you’ve ever had to catch a fish out of your aquarium (or watched the employees at your fish stores catch the fish for you to take home), you can probably appreciate how difficult it can be. These are in relatively small glass or acrylic boxes however; catching a fish from its own home turf is exponentially more difficult! Back when the marine aquarium trade was first gaining popularity in the mid-20th century, collection was usually laid at the feet of local islanders and fishermen, especially in the small Indo-Pacific island communities that may have had little other source of income. They naturally tried to optimize their collection and profits, but unfortunately this often came at the cost of the animals they were retrieving. Techniques like blast fishing (discussed in a May 2010 blog) and the use of cyanide became common. While not as physically destructive as blast fishing and bombs, cyanide collection was just as deadly. It is now illegal and banned in many areas, but enforcement can be spotty in these isolated areas and some of these irresponsible practices still occur. Read More »
Over the past few weeks, there have been lots of great news stories about aquariums, fish and the ocean – too many to each get their own blog! Some are funny, some amazing, some sad. Here is a run-down of some of my favorites from the aquatic sphere.
This is one of the older stories, from the ancient history of August, but I am in love with the video that sparked it. A mariachi band was playing for a wedding at the Mystic Aquarium back in July and had a jam session with the aquarium’s resident Beluga, Juno. The aquarium reunited the band with its new fan at a cocktail party. The party is long gone, but that adorable video is still around! Read More »