Growing Green – Live Mosses for Aquariums

Java MossI love a green aquarium…not green in the algae-covered, pea soup kind of way, but green as in dense with varying colors and textures of aquatic plants. We all know that there are many types of aquarium plants, from slow growing Anubias to massive Echinodorus, but one of the often overlooked groups is the mosses. These colonies of simple, prehistoric plants have a special niche in the aquarium when it comes to aquascaping, and they’re also really useful to many types of fish. Here’s a little primer on common mosses for aquariums and what they can bring to your tank.

About Mosses

Mosses aren’t like other plants. They’re simpler in structure, lacking roots and the thick vascular leaves of true plants. These plants don’t blossom or produce seeds.  Most mosses reproduce with spores, relying on moisture to fertilize and create the next generation. Aquatic mosses simply spread, creating new plants with their existing vegetation, so a small portion can populate a vast area. Simply place or anchor small bits or strands where you want them to grow and, under the right conditions, you’ll have lush mounds in just a few short weeks.  Read More »

Recent Aquatic News – Three-eyed Fish Found and Other Stories

BelugaOver 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.

Beluga to Reunite with Mariachi Band

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 »

Selecting Fish Suitable for Small Saltwater Aquariums

Solor WrasseThe Marine Bio Staff at That Fish Place gets a lot of questions regarding fish husbandry (what can I put in my tank and will it get along with…), especially as technology is advancing and smaller aquariums are becoming easier and easier to maintain. Freshwater options tend to be much easier – small schooling fish like tetras, danios, guppies and others have been aquarium staples for ages – but smaller saltwater tanks can be much trickier to populate. Aside from the tempting beauty of many larger or more aggressive fish, even smaller fish from the coral reefs have more territorial personalities than their freshwater counterparts. Many popular fish either grow far too large, aggressive or territorial for the smaller aquariums that are becoming very popular.

So what fish should you look for? Here are some suggestions for smaller aquariums (30 gallons and under for the purpose of this blog). Keep in mind that these are general recommendations and guidelines; not all the fish in these groups are appropriate for smaller tanks, so if you find one you like, make sure it’s still compatible for your situation. Read More »

My Experience with the Red-breast Acara, Laetacara dorsigera

Hi, Jose here. When I was younger, I was looking for something that would light up the bottom of my 30 gallon South American tank. I did a little research and found a picture of a curviceps…I got really excited because from what I found they were pretty little fish. I purchased a trio of Dwarf Acara at a local pet shop labeled “sky blue curviceps”.  I didn’t know much about them, and I hadn’t really heard about them from other enthusiasts, but then again I wasn’t into cichlids at that time, so it was something new.

After they became adjusted to the tank, I ran peat through my Fluval 402 filter and hoped for some eggs. After a couple of nerve wrecking months, I noticed that a pair had formed and the third fish was killed by the pair. I placed some smooth, flat 5 to 6 inch rocks hoping the new couple would spawn on one. I figured that their tankmates (neon tetras) wouldn’t mess with the eggs, so I didn’t have to worry about anything eating them. But in watching the pair, I noticed something that worried me a little. I thought the male would be a light blue dwarf, but this fish was developed red color from the lower tip of the mouth to the rear of the body and red ventral fins. The “female” was also brightly colored, so I started wondering if I had two males. The person at the pet shop told me the female should be dull-looking because only males have color, a common trait amongst many cichlid species.  Read More »

“Kraken” Found? – Fossils Point to a Giant, Ichthyosaur-Eating Octopus

Giant OctopusHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  For centuries, sailors have repeated the legend of the Kraken, an enormous octopus-like creature said to attack ships (please see artist’s recreation).  Today we believe that such tales were based on actual sightings of real-life Giant Squids, which may exceed 60 feet in length (frightening, but never observed attacking ships…as far as we know!).  However, recently uncovered fossil evidence suggests that a giant octopus actually may have haunted the Triassic seas – and that it was able to capture bus-sized marine reptiles known as Ichthyosaurs!

A Fossil-Hunter’s Mystery

Armed with saber-like teeth and reaching more than 45 feet in length, Ichthyosaurs were long thought to have been the Triassic Period’s top marine predators (please see photo of skeleton).  However, recent findings have led some researchers to believe that something, perhaps a giant octopus, was able to make a meal of even these formidable beasts.  Read More »