Setting a Good Example – Using “Dither Fish” to Encourage Activity

Giant DanioIt’s a problem that affects all genres of aquarists. You finally find that “perfect fish” – a discus, angelfish, cichlid, tang, whatever – that is healthy, bold and beautiful at the pet store, but when you get it home, it disappears from view, hiding behind the biggest ornament or plant it can find. Is it sick? Scared? Shy? How can you get it out into the open? For some shy or reclusive fish, it could be as easy as giving it an example to follow. Enter the “dither fish”. Read More »

Setting a Tank Up for Mbuna – Rock-Dwelling Cichlids of Lake Malawi

PolitHey out there! This time around I’d like to talk about setting up a tank for Mbuna, or “rock dwellers”. You can find these colorful fish in the any of the three rift lakes of Africa, but for this blog we will talk about the preferences of species from Lake Malawi.

First, the tank. Larger is better for a couple reasons. A 55 gallon is nice, but a 75 is better for these fish, with its 18 inch width. narrow tanks can be a pain since you’ll want a lot of rock for these fish. The second reason would be that the more room you give them the easier it will be to control aggression. I was once told that if you crowd these fish, they wouldn’t be as aggressive, not being able to single out others to target and bully.  I have seen Mbuna tanks with 12 to 20 fish dwindle down to 4 to 5 fish due to dominant fish. I think it depends on the species and particular fish that you’re trying to house together more, and I don’t think crowding is ever good advice. Last but not least, the larger the tank the more choices you have when it comes time to choose livestock. Read More »

Red Sea Max 250 Reef Aquarium Display – One Year Later

Red Sea Display 2010Last year, a nice Christmas gift was delivered to That Fish Place from Red Sea. In early December, their brand new Red Sea Max 250 made its grand entrance. After running the smaller version of their aquarium kit, the Red Sea Max 130D, for nearly a year and a half, I was running out of room. So the upgrade started. Now, a little over a year later, I thought I’d share the tank’s progress! Read More »

Winter Frag Swap 2011 Wrap-Up

Peachtree Chalice by Jason FoxThis past weekend we held our annual TFP/NCPARS Winter Frag Swap Extravaganza, and I would like to thank everyone who attended the show.  Thank you to our participating manufacturers who donated time and products, which made the swap an overwhelming success.

This was our biggest frag event yet, with upwards of 400 people who registered for the NCPARS swap, and hundreds more who showed up to the store for the great sales that went on all weekend long.  Mid day Saturday, you could barely move in the swap, we made a 2500 square foot space, feel like a broom closet.  There was something for everyone, from the rare and incredible corals from Jason Fox, to the guy with easy starter frags in Tupperware containers.

Thanks to our great manufacturers, we had some very lucky folks walk away with some very nice door prizes and raffle items.  From Reef Capable Marineland LED lights to Perfecto and Current USA tank set ups, and much, much more.  If you missed this one, you really missed out on one heck of an event.  We look forward to working with NCPARS again, and growing the show into a regional event.

Felicia McCaulley was here to take some phenomenal photos and a commentary on the event. Read more about this year’s swap here.

Seahorses in the Community Aquarium – Companions for Live Food Specialists

Seahorse
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Seahorse husbandry has advanced quite a bit in recent years, with several species having now been bred in captivity.  One stumbling block, however, is the near impossibility of keeping Seahorses with other marine creatures.  Seahorses are slow, methodical hunters, and the live foods they require are also favored by other fishes.  In typical community aquariums, food is gobbled up by other species before the Seahorses even know its feeding time.  But there are some options…following are a few creatures that I’ve experimented with over the years.

Pipefishes

Pipefishes are classified with Seahorses in the order Syngnathiformes, and are also confirmed live-food specialists that hunt in a similarly slow manner.  They are the best choice as Seahorse companions –all those I’ve kept have gotten along very well with Seahorses.

The Banded Pipefish, Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus, strikingly marked in red and yellow, makes a spectacular tank mate for tropical Seahorses. Read More »