Home | Retail Store Displays

Category Archives: Retail Store Displays

Feed Subscription

A New Display Tank: An Amano-inspired Planted “Canyon”

planted display tank

This new 60-gallon cube display tank is located at the entrance to our retail store Plant Room

Several week ago, we posted about a new cichlid display tank in our retail store Fish Room. Not far from that tank, we have another new display tank with a very different look and theme. This tank was designed and set up by myself and former Fish Room supervisor and biologist, Sara Stevens. We were inspired by the style of the world-famous Takashi Amano, an aquarist who popularized mind-blowing freshwater tanks designed to resemble terrestrial forest and landscapes. These tanks have a higher focus on the aquascaping and livestock is chosen as a compliment rather than the focus of the tank.

 

 

 

 

 

The "river" tapers off from the front corner to the back to create dimension and distance

The “river” tapers off from the front corner to the back to create dimension and distance

The Display Tank Concept and Design

While our tank doesn’t completely follow the true Amano style, we still wanted to focus on taking the aquarium out of the underwater setting and give it more of a land-based feel. We love the look of the petrified wood available at our retail store and decided to use this rock as our centerpiece. The petrified wood has a color and texture a lot like that found in canyons so we made use of perspective and the space available in the 60-gallon cube tank to create a large cliff face in the back and a smaller rockmount in the front, which meet in the back corner, giving us a “river” diagonally down the center of the tank. To create even more of a “river” appearance, we lined this canyon with pond liner to separate the fine white sand representing the river itself from the black Eco-Complete plant substrate in the rest of the tank. Sara did a great job of arranging the rockwork to add the illusion of depth as the river flows from the back to the front. Instead of a traditional underwater aquarium background, we used a desert background that turned out to be an excellent complement to our theme!

 

 

 

A few of the plants used to create a lush environment

A few of the plants used to create a lush environment

Live Plants

The live plants in the aquarium were all chosen to represent the forest surrounding our canyon and the plants growing down the riverbed. In any planted tank like this, the aquascaping will take time to grow in and become established. We wanted an almost overgrown look with the plants over time so we chose plants that would grow and spread. Plants were chosen that can grow and root into the cracks of the petrified wood and I plan to also establish low, carpeting plants in the foreground of the tank. The bunched plants in the background were chosen with a gradient in leaf size and color for a transitional, ombre look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

L-R: Marbled Hatchetfish, Forktail Rainbows, Glowlight Tetra)

L-R: Marbled Hatchetfish, Forktail Rainbows, Glowlight Tetra)

Live Fish and Inverts

The fish and invertebrates in the tank were some of the last additions we settled on. While Amano’s tanks use a lot of small, schooling fish like Neon Tetras (if any fish at all), we wanted to use some of the more overlooked fish in our Fish Room to show how gorgeous they can be when established in the right tank. The stars of this tank are several pairs of Forktail Rainbows. Their body shape and swimming style makes them the hawks circling high above our river canyon and the color they’ve developed is a great complement to the rockwork and plants. We added a school of Glowlight Tetras for some additional color and movement as well as a few pairs of a gorgeous freshwater goby known only by its scientific name, Stiphodon percnopterygionus (who we’ve taken to calling these little guys “Pterodactyl Gobies” because that scientific name is a mouthful, even for us!). Most recently, we’ve also added a few Marbled Hatchetfish for some extra surface movement and a True Siamese Algae Eater and freshwater Nerite Snails to help with cleanup.

 

 

 

Visit our Retail Store to see this tank morph and grow!

 

In a tank like this one, pre-planning is important. We had a concept drawn out before we started and made some adaptations to it as we went along (the original design had a sand volcano erupting in the back and spilling sand down a rockface) but all of the adaptations were made while keeping the overall look, theme and the future appearance of the tank in mind. Since the plants will take time to get to the look we had in mind while starting the tank, this kind of design and aquascaping isn’t one for an aquarist wanting a finished product right away. But, with a little planning, patience and imagination, you can end up with a gorgeously original display far from the average aquarium. Visit our Lancaster, PA retail store to see how this landscape grows or to create your own!

 

Tank Specifications:

 

 

 

Source:

Stiphodon percnopterygionus photo found on SeriouslyFishy.com species profile, © Leo Chan

GloFish – It’s All in the Genes

Electric Green Tiger BarbsGloFish are some of the most popular, colorful and controversial fish to enter the aquarium trade in a long time. Their easy care, small size, peaceful nature and neon bright colors make them appealing to aquarists of all ages, but the modifications that cause these bright colors cause some debate among aquarists, scientists and environmentalists alike.

The original “GloFish” were not created for the aquarium trade. They came from a popular fish used in many different fields of research, the Zebra Danio (Danio rerio). Zebra Danios have been used in research for environmental studies, cancer research, genetics, reproductive biology, neuroscience and applications to other fields as well. They even made the trip to space in 1975 on the Russian “Salyut 5” space station. So what makes them such good research subject? Zebra Danios are easy to breed and it only takes hours for the internal organs to develop after the eggs have been fertilized (about 24-36 hours, depending on temperatures and conditions). During this time, it is easy for researchers to monitor the development of the embryo since the “shell” around the eggs is a clear membrane. The eggs can hatch about 12-36 hours after that (again, depending on the conditions). These variable time frames also mean that, while the development is being studied, conditions can be adjusted to slow down or speed up the development, depending on what exactly the researchers are trying to determine. The genetic sequence involving the structure of the Zebra Danio’s DNA and RNA is very well-known at this point and is comparable enough to our own that, by understanding how changes in this structure affect the fish, researchers are gaining more understanding into how changes in our genetic structure can affect our own health.

Originally, GloFish were being developed for two major fields: cancer research and pollution detection. In the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, researchers thought to develop a fish that would change colors when a certain pollutant was found in their water. The thought was to develop a fish that would appear normal in “ideal” conditions but when a specific chemical or type of chemical was present in the water, a “trigger” would be set off to cause the fish to “glow” with a fluorescent protein in their bodies. As a step in this direction, they began to develop a fish that would always have this flourescent “glow” in a reproducible and hereditary way that wouldn’t affect the ecosystem around them. To do this, scientists turned to a fluorescent protein naturally found in jellyfish, corals and anemones rather than potentially harmful chemical dyes. Around the same time, similar projects were using a fluorescent protein to “mark” specific genes that were thought to be a cause or sign of cancer. By pairing the fluorescent protein with the cancer-related gene, researchers could see the fluorescence increase or decrease along with the other gene and see if an increase or decrease in that gene was related to the cancer. Since the genes (and cancers) in these fish behave in much the same was as they do within ourselves, researchers are using this to develop a way to track, diagnose and treat cancer in people. Read More »

Introducing the Bubble Magus Protein Skimmers and Dosing Pump

Bubble Magus NAC3We are happy to announce the introduction of the Bubble Magus line to our extensive selection of reef-keeping supplies. Bubble Magus is a rapidly growing international business, and if you are not familiar with them, read on as I’ll be explaining more about the Bubble Magus products that are now available here at That Fish Place.

Before I get to the protein skimmer line, I’d like to touch on the Bubble Magus dosing pump. Not a week goes by when I’m not asked by customers if there’s an “easier” way to dose the supplements many corals need. Admittedly, doing capfuls of this and that, A and B, or 1 or 2 can become a tedious task that sometimes gets forgotten or overlooked in our busy everyday lives. That was even the case for our own Doug Fries, whose Red Sea Max 250 (65 gallon reef display tank) developed a very high alkalinity demand due to its abundance of stoney corals. If the tank was not dosed daily, the alkalinity would drop dramatically- a very stressful situation for these more-sensitive corals.

There were several solutions for Doug’s problem. First, he could have installed a install a calcium reactor, but, if you’ve ever seen Doug’s tank you know there is little room for such equipment.  Another option was to drip kalkwasser into the tank, but because the Red Sea Max tank does not use a sump filter under the tank, a drip would require us to have an unsightly medical IV-like rack next to the beautiful display. He decided to utilize the Bubble Magus multiple-channel titration pump which allows him to dose his normal additives multiple times through the day, everyday. The dosing pump is much smaller than a calcium reactor or drip apparatus, and less unsightly in our opinion. The Bubble Magus BMT01 titration pump allows you to dose three separate liquids, in our case Red Sea’s Reef Foundation A, B, and C, at any quantity between 1 and 1999ml, up to 24 times a day. This means you can achieve gradual daily dosing for more stable parameters and consumption of these elements. The digital interface is simple enough to figure out with some help from the instruction manual (again this is an international company, so one should expect some broken English in the directions), and the built-in computer allows for all sorts of customization.

Bubble Magus Dosing PumpSince the installation, the titration pump has been working accurately and consistently. The corals have responded wonderfully to the schedule we were able to program into the digital interface, and the tank’s parameters (specifically the “big three”: calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium) have all remained stable as they are slowly dosed throughout the day. Now Doug doesn’t have to worry about attending the tank several times each day. The corals are growing stronger and more colorful–exactly what we as hobbyists are looking for.

The name Bubble Magus is better associated with its line of protein skimmers, and this blogger for one is looking forward to becoming better acquainted with these products. Out of the many varieties of skimmers built by this company, we have chosen a select few of the Bubble Magus models for our shelves in hopes that they have the qualities that our reef enthusiasts are looking for:

  • Affordability without sacrificing quality
  • Small footprints to keep “sump-hogging” low, keeping more space free for other equipment
  • Up-to-date features expected from quality skimmer brands

The Bubble Magus skimmers have all of these attributes. Powered by Atman brand pumps (aside from the Hero model which uses a Sicce PSK pump), their skimmers feature a compact design, ease of use, bubble diffusion plates in most models, and solid acrylic bodies. The models customers can expect to find on our website or in our retail store include:

 

Model # Tank Size Item # Description
NAC 3.5 25-80 Gallons 259148 Cone skimmer body with tiny footprint of only 4.5″x 6.6″ and 17.1″ height
NAC3+ 25-80 Gallons 259147 Strong, affordable skimmer with pump housed under the skimmer, footprint: 6.8″x 4.3″ height: 17.5″
NAC 5.5 80-135 Gallons 259149 Cone skimmer with pump housed under skimmer, footprint: 8.66″x 5.7″ height: 20.2″
NAC5E 80-135 Gallons 259152 Hang-on-back skimmer with large 5” cylinder, footprint:11.8”x .3″ height: 20.5″
NAC 6 100-160 Gallons 259150 Big power in small footprint: 6.7″x 10.4″ height: 19.6″; pump inside skimmer
NAC7 130-185 Gallons 259151 Big cone with small footprint: 9.4″x7.8″ height 20″; pump inside skimmer
HERO 180-S 185-240 Gallons 259153 Strong, energy efficient Syncra Sicce Psk1000 pump housed in a cone skimmer. Footprint: 9.8″x7.2″ height: 20.6″

 

Bubble Magus NAC6We were given 2 Bubble Magus skimmers to try out in our tanks.  We installed the NAC 3 on a lightly stocked 25 gallon cube, and a larger NAC 6 went into one of our coral tray. They’ve been working for a few weeks now and they’re going strong. We’ve been very impressed by the dark skimmate they’ve been pulling out, especially the NAC 6 on the tray (which also has a Hydor Performance Skimmer 505 maintaining it).

We couldn’t be happier that Bubble Magus products are now being featured at That Fish Place, and we are more than sure that our customers will enjoy them as well. We can’t wait to hear your feedback!

 

Until next time, Happy Reefing

Jeff Berdel

That Fish Place – That Pet Place Display Tanks – Late 2011

Seahorse from AquaEuro TankHere at That Fish Place – That Pet Place, our retail store display tanks are ever-changing.  Whether we add some new livestock, hook up the latest equipment or simply get bored with what’s out there, our tanks are in a constant state of flux. This blog takes a look at a few of these displays, and points out a couple highlights about their designs and the staff whom maintain them here at the store. As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding specifics or anything else about the tanks, feel free to shoot us an email at marinebio@thatpetplace.com or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.

Matt’s 34 gal. AquaEuro Nano Reef Setup

Maintained by

Floor Supervisor Matt Maurer

Unique Equipment

Livestock Highlights

Maurer’s Reef is highlighted by a pair of mated Seahorses

Doug’s 65 gal. 250 Red Sea Max SPS Tank

Set up and Maintained By

Floor Supervisor Doug Fries

Unique Equipment

Livestock Highlights

  • Lots and lots of coral: Acropora sp., Montipora sp., Pocillopora sp., Frogspawn, Green Hairy Mushrooms, Various Zoanthid sp., Purple Star Polyps
  • Blue & Orange Crocea Clam
  • Male and Female Onyx Percula Clownfish, Male and Female Lyretail Anthias, Starry Blenny, Six Line Wrasse

Cory’s 55 Gallon Freshwater Planted Community Tank

Planted Community Freshwater Tank

Maintained by

Aquatics expert Kory Stahl

Unique Equipment

Livestock Highlights

Cory’s gorgeous planted tank is highlighted by a wealth of aquatic plants. Including Pearl Grass, Water Sprites and a Tiger Lotus. The community fish setup includes a koi freshwater angel and various tetras.

Check our our Facebook page for additional pictures of all of our store displays, past and present. We’ll highlight updates to our larger displays in a later blog.

Have a great holiday!

Ecoxotic Cannon LED Pendant Fixture Put to Work At That Fish Place – That Pet Place

Cannon fixtureWe recently upgraded the lighting on our large cylinder display tank in our Lancaster, PA retail store.  Out with the old technology and in with the new.  We said good-bye to the power hungry,  ceiling mounted, heat producing 400W Metal Halide fixture, and installed a sleek, energy efficient, high output 50W LED Cannon LED pendant light — WOW what a difference!  The compact size of the Ecoxotic Cannon does not distract from the display and it provides incredible brightness and shimmering light into the aquarium.

The Ecoxotic 50 Watt Cannon Pendant uses state of the art Multi-Chip LED technology, which allows incredible lumen output in a small package.  Even though the light is only 50 Watts, the Cannon pendant easily illuminates this four foot deep, four foot diameter acrylic cylinder . These fixtures are also incredibly energy efficient, which can lead to big savings over time.

Cannon fixtureWith the help of our friend Ike at Ecoxotic, we chose the 12,000K 50 Watt Cannon for this aquarium, but Ecoxotic has several other options to choose from.  Also available in the 50 Watt model is a 453nm actinic blue pendant. The 50 Watt versions have built in drivers, and are ready to be wired out of the box.  For those of you who need more light output for a serious display or coral farm, Ecoxotic also makes an even more powerful 100W version of the cannon, also available in 12000K and 453nm blue. The 100 Watt cannons use a remote driver (sold separately), swivel bracket mount and standard and dimmable versions are available.  Don’t let the 50 and 100 Watt ratings fool you, these are really powerful lights not intended for nano tanks and other smaller set-ups.

If you visit the store, check the new fixture out for yourself to see the amazing effect it has on the display.

Thanks,

Dave