Free Shipping over $100 at ThatFishPlace.com

Hey everyone, just wanted to give you all a heads up. That Fish Place is offering free shipping on orders over $100 through Monday, December 3rd, so if you’re looking to stock up on supplies, or snag a gift for that hard-to-buy for hobbyist, this is the best time to do so. We’ll also be running other sales throughout the holiday season, on both the web and in the retail store, so be sure to check out our web site for more details, www.thatpetplace.com.

Until Next Time,

Desiree

Dissolved Oxygen

One of the most important elements of a healthy aquarium is also one of the most overlooked. Like all animals, fish and other aquarium inhabitants require oxygen to survive. Unlike air breathing animals, fish depend on dissolved oxygen in the water to “breath”. Making sure that your aquarium has proper dissolved oxygen levels is vital to the health and survival of your fish.

Many things can affect the dissolved oxygen in your aquarium. The most important things to remember are stocking levels and cleaning. Too many fish will require more oxygen than is available in the water. Fish waste, decaying food and rotting plants are all consumed by bacteria, which also require oxygen. Regular cleaning, water changes, filter maintenance and proper feeding will ensure that the bacterial demand on dissolved oxygen is under control.

There are also many things that you can do to improve dissolved oxygen in your aquarium. Most of the dissolved oxygen in your aquarium comes from the atmosphere; this is accomplished through interaction with the water surface. Increased water surface area gives your aquarium higher potential for atmospheric interaction. Turbulence and water movement along with good aquarium design will increase your aquariums water surface area, and dissolved oxygen. Use of an air pump and air stones or a power head with a venturi aeration feature will also greatly increase your dissolved oxygen. The tiny bubbles created have huge amounts of surface area and greatly increase the potential for oxygen to dissolve into the water. Temperature also plays a significant role in dissolved oxygen levels. Concentration of dissolved gas decreases with increase in temperature, so avoiding high temperatures (above 85 Fahrenheit) in very important. Taking all these factors into account when setting up an aquarium will go a long way to ensuring your long term success.

The use of ozone, especially in saltwater aquariums, can also greatly increase dissolved oxygen. Ozone is a strong oxidizer, which when properly used, will break down organic material in the water through oxidation. This greatly reduces the biological demand for oxygen, and at the same time releasing oxygen as a byproduct of the oxidation process. Ozone use is not for the beginner level aquarist and must be used safely and properly. Use of an ORP controller is highly recommended. Ozone is typically used in conjunction with a protein skimmer, or a special reaction chamber.
Until next blog,
Dave

Species Profile: Harlequin Shrimp

Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera picta) are one of the coolest looking shrimp out there. They are a psychedelic whitish pink color splashed with purplish brown spots. They have flattened antennae and paddle shaped claws that appear almost leaf like. Each harlequin shrimp has their own unique pattern almost like a human fingerprint. No two are alike.

As with any marine invertebrate, Harlequin Shrimp require pristine water quality to thrive. They prefer a specific gravity of 1.023-1.026 and temperature between 76-78 degrees. They also like a tank with sufficient rubble rock with crevices and caves for them to hang out in during the day. They do better in pairs in a smaller species only tank since they tend to be shy and reclusive.
Harlequin Shrimp are considered to be reef safe, however, in reefs that include sea stars they will become lunch…it is just a matter of time! Harlequin shrimp are very unique because they feed exclusively on starfish which makes them rather difficult keep unless you have on hand a constant supply of starfish. In the wild, they dine on tube feet of linkia species sea stars, particularly the comet and blood spotted stars . In captivity it may take a few tries to find the type of starfish your harlequin shrimp prefers. Some acceptable starfish species to try include linkia stars, chocolate chip stars, sand sifting stars, fromia stars, and crown of thorn stars. While they can go a period of time without food they should be fed at least a starfish a month. Brittle stars are the one type of starfish that appear to get off the hook and are not of interest to the harlequin shrimp. That is most likely due to their ability to move fairly quickly and stay out of reach.
So if you have a small tank and are willing to splurge for a few starfish every once and a while then a pair of harlequin shrimp just might be the cool little addition you have been looking for.
I hope you enjoyed my profile on the harlequin shrimp, until next time.

Mellisa.

Oscar Fish Care

I would like to welcome another guest blogger, Lexi Jones. Lexi is one of our staff marine biologists, and a Supervisor in our retail store fish room.
Want to keep Oscars? This popular South American fish has been an aquarium favorite for decades, but keeping them often requires more than a beginner aquarist is prepared for despite their hardy nature. There are many things you must think about before buying these potentially large and high maintenance fish. 
Oscars can grow very large, very fast. It is not recommended to keep one Oscar in a tank smaller than 55 gallons, and some say not smaller than 75 gallons! The Oscar can reach an adult size of 14.” How fast they grow depends on water quality, how much you feed your Oscar, and tank size. Keeping them in a smaller tank may stunt their growth, cause deformities, and shorten their lifespan.

Oscars can also become very aggressive and territorial, thus they are best kept alone or with other Oscars in a VERY large tank. However, if you insist on keeping a different species with them, you can try keeping other cichlids of a similar size like Texas cichlids or Jack Dempsey cichlids.  Males, in particular, can fight each other for dominance in the aquarium, and it may lead to fatalities.
Oscars need very good filtration, they will put a heavy load on your biological filter. They are messy eaters and create a lot of fish waste. Please avoid undergravel filters; these can not handle the waste Oscars produce and create even more water quality issues. Large power filters or canisters are the best options. Partial water changes (at least 25% every 2-4 weeks) will also help keep the tank cleaner and keep the nitrates to a minimum. Testing the water quality once a week is recommended. The pH range for Oscars is be between 6.5 and 7.5; however, for success the pH must remain stable. Ammonia and nitrite readings should be zero, and nitrates should be as low as possible. The temperature that Oscars prefer is between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so a heater is a must.
So, what can you feed your Oscar? They will eat pretty much anything that will fit in their mouth, but this is not healthy for them. To keep them healthy it best to feed them a variety of flake, pellet, and frozen foods. They come in various sizes for your baby Oscar or a full grown adult. Good choices include: Spectrum pellet foods, mysis shrimp, krill, beef heart, bloodworms, and night crawlers. We recommend not feeding live foods as a primary food source for your Oscars. Feeder goldfish can carry parasites and diseases, and are not a complete source of nutrition. Your oscars may appreciate a live treat on occasion, but ghost shimp or mollies may be better options.
Keep in mind that Oscars may look cute when they are little, but they can double or triple their size in a matter of months. Therefore, they absolutely need a large tank to be healthy and happy. Providing a large home from the beginning is much better than continuously moving them from tank to tank.
Thanks for the great blog Lexi, until next time.
Dave

Invasive Species: Volitan Lionfish


Environmental responsibility is not something that most people think about when they are purchasing fish or plants for their aquarium, but it should be. Responsible ownership is vital to the long term availability of non-indigenous livestock. Unwanted fish and plants should never be released into the wild. In recent years there have been far too many stories about invasive plants and animals ravaging local ecosystems, with the blame being placed upon negligent or uneducated aquarium owners.
Most of us remember the snakehead stories from a couple of years ago, and all the bad movies that ensued. Florida residents probably hear stories on a daily basis about invasive fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians and other things causing problems.
An emerging story that I have found particularly interesting is the invasion of the Volitan Lionfish into the Atlantic coastal waters of the United States. When I first got into SCUBA diving in the early nineties, I was in school at Coastal Carolina (Go Chants!). I would hear the occasional tourist say that they saw a Lionfish on an offshore wreck while diving. Being both an aquarist, and a skeptic, I had dismissed all those stories as nonsense, after all how could a tropical fish from the Pacific and Indian Oceans be living in temperate Carolina. These people must have mistaken something else for a Lionfish, a Sea Robin, A Sculpin, something.

Believe it! 15 years later, the existence of Lionfish is not only documented, but they are growing in number, and becoming a major problem. NOAA has documented specimens ranging from Florida to New York. Some divers have reported hundreds on the offshore wrecks of the Carolinas. Lionfish are voracious predators, with little who prey on them. These invasive predators have the potential to destroy these sensitive ecosystems.
Speculation as to how they were introduced has developed several theories; the most realistic of these series revolve around intentional releases from aquarium owners, as well as unintentional release from hurricane damage to homes, businesses, and aquariums in Florida and the Caribbean. As unlikely as it seems, the reality is that lionfish are thriving and reproducing in temperate waters.
My point is that release should never be an option for a non indigenous species. Give them to another aquarist who will keep them, approach your local pet store about returning unwanted fish, or consult your veterinarian about humane euthanasia. Plants should be sealed in a plastic bag before throwing them away as well.
I hope that has given you something to think about, until next blog.

Dave