Home | Search Results for: sea anemone

Search Results for: sea anemone

Unusual Invertebrates for Marine Aquariums: Corals, Jellyfishes and Sea Anemones

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Although varying dramatically from one another in appearance and lifestyle, corals, jellyfishes and sea anemones are closely related. Classified within the phylum Cnidaria, both immobile forms (“polyps”) and mobile species (“medusas”) bear unique stinging organelles known as nematocysts, with which they capture prey and defend themselves (many are capable of delivering painful stings and should not be touched with bare hands). With over 10,000 species to choose from, the aquarist interested in Cnidarians will never be bored!

Jellyfishes

I first ventured into marine aquarium keeping at age 7, with a jellyfish I had captured. I provided it with fresh sea water daily, which likely supplied some food items. However, all glass aquariums were not yet available, and the unfortunate beast was poisoned, no doubt, by rust leaching from its tank’s metal frame.

Jellyfishes are increasingly exhibited and bred in public aquariums, but most are difficult to maintain at home. One exception is the upside down jellyfish, Cassiopeia andromeda, which is now available in the pet trade. In most “un-jellyfish-like” fashion, this species rests on the substrate with its tentacles trailing in the water above.

Much of the upside-down jellyfish’s food is produced by symbiotic algae, so intense lighting is necessary. It will also consume newly-hatched brine shrimp, but it cannot compete with fast moving aquarium fishes.

Coral

Aquarium CoralsUntil recently, corals were considered nearly impossible to keep in home aquariums. Water quality is exceedingly important, as is the wavelength and intensity of the lighting provided. Many corals obtain much of their food via the action of the symbiotic algae which live within them. Without proper lighting, the algae perish…additional food provided thereafter cannot keep the coral alive. Fortunately, a variety of commercially available lights and foods have now simplified coral husbandry (please see below).

Most corals feed upon plankton-sized food items. One exception is the popularly-kept tooth coral, Euphyllia picteti. This species readily takes pieces of shrimp and other large foods, and its appetite is therefore easy to satisfy.

Until recently, over-collection was a leading clause of coral reef destruction. Although collecting is now outlawed in many areas, please be sure that any coral you purchase is commercially cultured, as is our stock at ThatFishPlace/ThatPetPlace.Maldive anemonefish

Sea Anemones

Sea anemones are well-suited for aquarium life, although most perish quickly if kept in sub-optimal water quality or without a steady current of water flowing over them at all times. Sea anemones and the clown fishes that often shelter within them make for a beautiful and interesting display.

The white, brown or pink Caribbean anemone (Condylactis gigantea) is quite hearty but is rarely adopted as a home by clown fishes. More attractive to these popular fishes is the purple-based anemone, Heteractis magnifica. This anemone is unusually active, and quite frequently travels about the aquarium.

Anemones will thrive on weekly or twice weekly meals of shrimp, clam, fish and similar foods.

Useful Products

Please check out our metal halide bulbs, T-5 fluorescent bulbs and filter-feeding invertebrate foods, all of which have greatly simplified the captive care of corals and their relatives.

Further Reading
For further information on keeping jellyfishes, please see our article The Upside-down Jellyfish in the Home Aquarium.

Please also check out our extensive line of coral propagation and reef books.

To read more about the natural history of Cnidarians, please see
http://www.earthlife.net/inverts/cnidaria.html.

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

SEASMART – The New Look of Sustainability

Anemone and clownfishNearly a month ago, I was able to represent That Fish Place for MACNA in Orlando, Florida. MACNA (Marine Aquarium Conference of North America), is one of the oldest and largest marine aquarium conferences in North America. Each year you will find new/advanced technology in the hobby, new companies, and of course, livestock. This year was all about LED technology, which seems to be the future of lighting in the hobby.

Amongst the chatter of LEDs was the talk of Papua New Guinea and the SEASMART program. Last year in Atlantic City, SEASMART attended MACNA in the attempt to raise awareness for the need to collect livestock sustainably with an all new approach. Dan Navin, a close friend of mine collected some information on the program while we were there. He made a side trip to Papua New Guinea while vacationing in Australia to check out the operation, a few weeks later. Needless to say he liked what he saw, and is now the SEASMART MAR (Mariculture, Aquaculture, Restoration) Division Manager. Read More »

Aquarist First Aid – Anemone and Jellyfish Stings

Almost every aquarist will feel the sting from a cnidarian (anemones, jellyfish, ect.) at some point or another. For some, it can just be a mild annoyance, but for others it can be downright painful or even dangerous. The correct treatment depends on what you were stung by and how sensitive you are to it.

Cnidaria is a large phylum (one of the broadest scientific classifications) and includes jellyfish, corals, anemones, and hydroids that aquarist might encounter in their tanks. Cnidarians have specialized stinging cells known as “nematocysts” or “cnidocysts”. These cells can be used as defense mechanisms or to catch prey. Some are harmless to people, but effective on the cnidarian’s targeted prey.  Some can be lethal to anything they touch – the Sea Wasp, a type of box jellyfish, is touted as the most venomous marine animal ever and is usually fatal. Different types of nematocysts have different functions and one animal can have more than one type of nematocyst at a time, but all function essentially the same way. Read More »

Common Fish Diseases and Conditions

Eileen here. Please enjoy the 4th installment of my fish glossary of terms (Check out part 1, 2, and 3). We will be publishing it in its entirety at some point.

Common Diseases and Conditions:

Ammonia Burn: As the name suggests, this is a burn-like injury caused by highly acidic ammonia build-up. Ammonia can cause open wounds on a fish’s body or damage to sensitive structures like their gills. These excessive ammonia levels are commonly caused by poor filtration or overstocking with too many fish or fish too large for the tank. Treatment includes eliminating the cause of the high ammonia level, neutralizing or removing the ammonia, and treating the wounds if necessary to avoid infection.

Aeromonas: Aeromonas infections are caused by several species of bacteria that are opportunistic and will affect organisms with weakened immune systems. It can affect fish, amphibians and even humans in some cases. Koi and other pond fish are vulnerable to aeromonas infections during the early spring and summer when temperature fluctuations can leave them vulnerable and weakened. Aeromonas attack organs and will digest gelatin and hemoglobin cells. It often appears as deep open sores on the body of a fish as well as causing severe weight loss as it attacks the internal organs. Aeromonas bacteria is very resistent to most medications and can be very difficult to treat. Strong gram-negative bacterial medications both in the water and in food treatments can be used. Injections are also sometimes used by veterinarians and biologists to treat larger fish.

Bacterial Infection: Bacterial infections can have a number of causes and symptoms. They can result from poor water conditions or an injury, or as a secondary infection from a parasite or fungal infection. Some infections can be diagnosed as “gram-positive” or “gram-negative” in specific cases, but most are simply general infections. The most common symptom of a bacterial infection is a reddish patch or sore on the body of the fish or as reddish streaks in its fins. A medication is usually needed as treatment and can range from mild botanical-based solutions to stronger antibiotics including sulfa, penicillin and amoxycillin. A bacterial infection is almost always a symptom of a larger problem (bullying within tankmates, poor water conditions, parasites, etc.).

“Black Ich” or “Black Spot”: This disease is a parasite infection caused by flatworms. It mainly affects tangs and surgeonfish and appears as small dark spots on the body of the tang. The fish may also flick or scratch against surfaces or may be less active than normal. The flatworm lays eggs on the body of the fish and drops off within a few days, leaving the eggs to hatch on the fish a few days after that. Treatment for Black Ich can include freshwater baths or antiparasitic medications with active ingredients like formalin.

Brooklynella: This parasitic infection is also known as “Anemonefish Disease” or “Clownfish Disease” due to its most common victim. It is a protozoan that usually spreads very quickly and is almost always fatal and has no commercially-affective treatments. It can first be seen as a fine sheen on the affected fish – usually newly captured or transported fish – but soom evolves to signs of physical stress to the fish, difficulty breathing, and excessive slime coat production. As this slime coat sloughs off the fish, it can spread the protozoans throughout a system to prompt quarantine of an infected fish is absolutely important. All tank equipment should be cleaned and sterilized well as well to avoid spreading the disease. As I mentioned, there are no medications that are known to be very effective on these protozoans, but medications like those containing formalehyde, malachite green and and methylene blue used in a quarantine tank can help. Do not use freshwater dips with this infection.

Environmental Stress: Environmental stress can result from improper water conditions (temperature, pH, salinity, etc.), unsuitable décor (too much or too little vegetation or decorations, too intense or dim lighting, etc.), or exterior conditions like activity in the room around the tank or vibrations caused by an unstable surface or tapping on the tank. Some of these stresses can be easiliy fixed while others can be more difficult. Poor health or unusual behavior (including jumping from or trying to jump from the tank) can hint towards something wrong with the fish’s environment. Researching all choices for an aquarium and observing behavior regularly can help an aquarist to notice these problems.

Fin Rot: Fin rot is more of a symptom than a disease and is essentially just what the name describes. The fins on the fish, most often first noticed in the caudal (tail) fin, will appear to be rotting away and may be red and ragged. The fins may also appear white as a secondary fungal infection sets in in some cases. This is usually caused by a bacterial infection and can be the result of bullying or fin-nipping tankmates or poor water conditions. The cause of the condition should be address (water quality improved or aggressive tankmate removed) and the fish can be treated with an antibiotic or antibacterial medication.

Fungus: A fungal infection in aquarium fish is more often a secondary result of another condition rather than a separate condition in itself. Secondary fungal infections usually result when a fish is already weakened due to poor water conditions or another disease or condition. Leftover food or waste in an aquarium can also cause fungal growth. Fungus in aquarium usually looks like white cottony tufts on the fish or on the waste and can be treated with antifungal medications and by eliminating the cause of the fungus (poor water conditions, overfeeding, wounds due to parasites or aggression, etc.).

Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE): Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE) is seen mostly in saltwater tangs and angelfish but other fish are also susceptible. Another similar condition, known as Hole-in-the-head, is very similar in appearance but mainly affects large cichlids and freshwater fish. With HLLE, the area around the head and eyes and the length of the lateral line down each side of the fish’s body becomes pitted and can appear to be rotting away. While not usually fatal in itself, HLLE can cause permenant scarring and is a symptom of a more serious and ongoing condition like poor nutrition. Fish like tangs that are especially vulnerable to this condition should be fed a varied diet high in fresh macroalgae. Vitamin supplements can also be helpful. Some research suggests that HLLE can also be caused at least in part by other stresses like some flagellate parasites or stray electrical current.

Hole-in-the-head Disease: Hole-in-the-head is very similar to HLLE, described above. Some aquarists argue that these two names refer to the freshwater and saltwater versions of the same condition since they share some of the same causes and symptoms. Hole-in-the-head is found mostly with large cichlids like Oscars and Discus but can affect other fish as well. Like HLLE, the main cause is usually linked to improper diet or water conditions and adding vitamin supplements and a varied diet can often help stop and reverse some of the effects of the disease. Hole-in-the-head is also attributed more to parasite infections than HLLE, specifically protozoans.

“Ich”: Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, also known as Ich, Ick, or White Spot, is one of the most common and well-known conditions in the aquarium hobby. Many aquarists incorrectly diagnose problems with their aquarium as ich when it is actually another condition. Ich is a parasite that affects freshwater fish (as opposed to the similar Cryptocaryon that affects saltwater fish but has an almost identical appearance, symptoms and treatment). Ich appears as small white spots on the body of the fish. These spots look like grains of salt as opposed to the cottony tufts of fungal infections, the dust-like appearance of oodinium or some bacterial infections or the pits associated with Hole-in-the-head and HLLE. The fish may stop eating, may scratch and rub against surfaces, and may appear lethargic. Treatments include increasing temperature, adding vitamin and garlic supplements, freshwater or saltwater “dips”, and a score of medications. The parasite also has a life cycle that allows it to remain dormant in an aquarium or on a fish for weeks at a time before blooming when triggered by environmental conditions or the fish’s immune system being weakened by stress or anther condition. Some medications available to treat ich are not safe for all fish or for invertebrates; be sure to choose the medication suitable for your aquarium.

“Lymph”: Lymphocystis, commonly known as “lymph”, is a virus that affects both freshwater and saltwater fish. This virus forms white cauliflower-like growths on the fins and body of the fish and can cause white patches around the eyes. It usually develops when the immune system of the fish is weakened due to poor nutrition or water quality. Being a virus, there is no reliable medication to treat it but improving the conditions and diet will help to boost the fish’s natural immune system and can help the fish fight it on their own. Some sources recommend removing the nodules by scraping them from the body or fins; this can be a dangerous approach that may lead to excessive stress and secondary infections. Lymph is not usually fatal and often may clear up on its own as the fish fights off the virus.

Marine Velvet/ Oodinium: Marine Velvet, also known as Oodinium, is caused by the parasite Amyloodinium ocellatum. This is one of the most fatal parasitic infections as it is very contagious and resistant to most medications. Marine Velvet looks like a very fine velvety coating on the fish as opposed to the salt-like spotting of Ich. The fish may also breathe rapidly and have cloudy eyes. Quarantine and treat any affected fish as soon as possible with a strong antiparasitic treatment like copper sulfates. The salinity can also be lowered and a UV sterilizer can be used to help kill the parasites.

Parasites: Parasites in general are one of the most common aquarium maladies next to unsuitable water conditions. Parasites by definition are any organism that requires a host organism to live, often to the detriment of that host and may lead to the death of the host. The size of parasites varies greatly from tiny organisms like those responsible for Ich and Marine Velvet, to larger crustaceans and worms like flukes, anchor worms or fish lice. These parasites can also be external (living on the outside of the body of the fish) or internal (living inside the fish, often in organs like the digestive system). Common signs of parasites are rapid breathing, weight loss, white feces, sores or a flicking or scratching behavior against rocks and surfaces. Different parasites require different treatments and treatment methods and so should be carefully diagnosed before medicating or treatments.

Pop-eye: Like the name suggests, “pop-eye” is a condition in which one or both eyes of the fish appear to be swollen and popping out of the socket. This can result from a bacterial infection, poor water quality, injury or in rare cases a gas pocket in the eye socket. This is typically a symptom of an underlying condition like poor water quality and is difficult to treat specifically. Anti-bacterial medications may help but the water quality and any other possible causes should be addresses as well. Pop-eye may often clear on its own but may lead to decreased vision in the affected eye.

Swim Bladder Infection/Disorders: This condition is seen mostly in fancy goldfish, balloon mollies and other fish bred for a similar “chubby” body shape. The swim bladder in fish is used to help control buoyancy (the up and down motion) through gas exchange within the fish’s body. The fish is considered “neutrally buoyant” when it is able to hover in the water without floating up or sinking down. If the fish is unable to achieve buoyancy, it may float, sink or be unable to swim properly or remain upright in the water. This may be the result of an internal bacterial infection that can be treated with some medications. Some fish, especially fancy goldfish, may gulp air at the surface will feeding and have similar issues caused by air in their digestive systems. Feeding them fresh greens like peas or zucchini may help get rid of this bubble.

Anemone Movement and Freeze Dried Fish Food – Common Aquarium Questions

Back for another installment of FAQs submitted to Marinebio@thatpetplace.com!  Here are two questions we hear pretty often.  We’re here to help, so keep the questions coming.

Ryan wrote us with a common question about anemone behavior:

I have a pink-tip anemone in a seventy five gallon tank. I have had it for a couple months now and it seems to be doing good, but it never stays in one spot. It is always moving around on the glass, around the rock work, everywhere.  Is this normal? Is there anything I should do or just leave it alone?

Marine Bio responded:

That sounds like a fairly typical behaviour for that type anemone. They move constantly it search of favorable conditions as far as lighting, water flow, and feeding opportunity, as they depend a lot on food items passing by in the current that they can grab onto. It may eventually find an area that it favors and it may stay there for awhile, but probably not for extended periods.  Host anemones are often more prone to finding a position they like. In a spot with good conditions, they can anchor onto a solid surface for longer amounts of time, expanding to feed and take in the light, though they do move periodically as well.  Just make sure that any intakes to pumps or filters are covered with a sponge so that if he crawls on them he won’t get sucked into the equipment! Other than that you shouldn’t have to do anything except feed and maintain the aquarium as normal. They move to a happy place, maybe every day, maybe once a month.

 Beth wrote to MarineBio with a question about feeding:

I have a 75-gallon saltwater aquarium housing a lawnmower blenny, false-eye sharp-nosed puffer, long-nose hawkfish, spot-tailed wrasse, and 2 blue damsels. I feed my fish the frozen food and pellets recommended by the professionals at That Pet Place. I have been reading about the freeze-dried foods–shrimp, plankton, etc. I was wondering if freeze-dried food would be acceptable as an additional supplement to what I already feed them so that they are getting a healthy variety of foods to include all vitamins and minerals they need. If freeze-dried foods are appropriate, what would you suggest I get for my fish?

Marine Bio response:

Freeze-dried plankton and/or Mysis would work well for you. It is hard to give you fish too much variety. It is important to vary their diet as best as you can so that their dietary requirements are met and they don’t develop nutritional deficiencies, and that goes for any type of fish tank.  I typically recommend a good basic flake or pellet like Spectrum or Ocean Nutrition supplemented with a frozen mix and freeze dried treats appropriate for the fish you’re keeping. In your case, the fish you have will be most interested in a meatier diet, though some of them will happily take vegetable matter too, like sea veggies or bits of algae in the frozen formulas, especially if you lack natural algae growth. You can customize your feeding regimen according to their needs, but be sure not to overfeed the tank. Smaller amounts of a variety of foods can be fed at different times, or at your scheduled feeding time, but make sure the fish are consuming the foods and they are not falling to the floor of the tank or collecting elsewhere where they can cause water quality issues.  It sounds like you’re doing just fine!