Aquarium Livestock Highlights This Week

Patty here. For any of you that do not know already, we receive several shipments each week of freshwater fish and saltwater fish and inverts.  For our local customers it is just a short ride away to see what is new, nice and interesting each week, but the process is understandably more complicated for many of you faithful readers.

We like to periodically highlight some items, whether rare, particularly nice, or just plain fun in our opinion so that you can inquire about them or even place an order for them online if you are interested.  Some of this week’s items are highlighted below.  If you have any questions about featured stock of anything that you may be interested in online or in the store, please feel free to e-mail us at marinebio@thatpetplace.com, livefish@thatpetplace.com, or contact us by phone at 1-877-367-4377 for our live shipping dept. or 1-888-842-8738 to be connected to a representative in our fishroom.

We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about available stock that is featured in the blog or other items available.  And please excuse us in these creature features if the photos aren’t online immediately, They take us a little while to post!

This week’s highlights include:

Beautiful Anthias!  The Purple Tukas, Square-spots and Lyretails all arrived in splendid condition and with lovely color.

We received some spectacular Black Clarkii Clowns, five in total all over 3 inches in length.

Check out the Coral Frag category for available varieties the present stock looks great so if you’re looking to start a new colony, check them out.

Also new and looking good our Masked Rabbitfish, Camel Shrimp, and our big bold Lutescens Wrasse.

On the Freshwater side:

The small Cobalt and Red Scribble discus are looking great!

We also have some fat Asian Bumblebee catfish and a nice batch of Arched Corys.

New to us are the Fireline Danios, Flash Plecos, and Volkswagon Plecos.

And for those plant lovers out there you can bring a little of the outdoors in with the lovely Tiger Lotus for aquariums or add a little curiosity with those crazy moss balls!

Who knows what’s in store for next week!

The Jawfishes: Colorful, Burrowing Clowns for the Marine Aquarium

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In the jawfishes (Family Opistognathidae) we find some of the most entertaining and interesting of all marine aquarium subjects.  Constantly popping in and out of their uniquely constructed burrows, all are very active and quite comical to behold.  Although perpetually occupied with minor territorial disputes, they get along well in groups, and are quite willing to display a wide range of interesting behaviors once they settle in.

Diversity and Lifestyle

Over 60 species of jawfishes, all inhabiting marine waters, may be found in the Indian Ocean, Western and Central Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean (from the Gulf of California to Panama).  

Jawfishes sport huge eyes and mouths on an enlarged, blunt head that, to many, evokes the image of a bulldog.  The body tapers quickly behind this, suiting them well to the burrowing lifestyle that all have adopted.  The strong jaws and head are used to hollow out subterranean retreats, while the slender body allows the fish to quickly slip inside, tail-first, at the slightest sign of danger. 

Jawfishes rarely stray far from home, making short feeding or defensive forays but generally staying within easy reach of the burrow’s entrance.  Most cover the entrance of their homes with a pebble at night, and the males of all species incubate the eggs within their mouths.

Yellow-Headed Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons)

A group of these beautiful fishes in established burrows makes a delightful exhibit, with bright yellow heads constantly appearing and disappearing as they survey their territories for food or foes.  They slip tail-first into their homes with amazing speed, and pop out just as quickly.  Growing to a length of 5 inches, the body of the yellow-headed jawfish is delicately colored in pale blue. 

 

In contrast to many other fishes that maintain a regular home base, yellow-headed (and most other) jawfishes are relatively inoffensive towards one another.

Providing the Right Substrate

Jawfishes require a substrate that allows for the creation of burrows that retain their structure and can serve as permanent homes.  Without such, they will fare poorly.  You may need to do a bit of experimenting, in terms of substrate composition, if you add jawfishes to an established aquarium. 

If you are starting from scratch, a 1:1 mix of our Natural Ocean Substrate  and Pearl Beach Aragonite will work well.

Diet

Jawfishes readily feed on all manner of animal based frozen and pelleted  foods, and particularly relish live brine shrimp, Mysids and blackworms.

They are quite alert and vigorous feeders, but please be aware that many individuals will not venture far from their burrow.  Therefore, be sure that a suitable amount of food is placed within easy reach, lest they be out-competed by less “homebound” species.

A Caution

Jawfishes scuttle about but rarely swim, and so we tend to think of them as “bottom fish”.  However, for reasons as yet unexplained, they frequently manage to jump out of aquariums at night. 

I’ve not had the opportunity to watch jawfishes with the assistance of a night-viewing bulb, so as to perhaps understand just what it is they do after dark…please write in if you beat me to it.  In the meantime, be sure that your aquarium hood fits securely, especially around filter tubes and other equipment.

Further Reading

The Monterey Bay Aquarium exhibits yellow headed jawfishes, and has posted interesting information here.

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

New and Not So Common This Week at That Fish Place

Patty here.

Just a quick blurb on some of our newest additions to stock this week!  We received a few things that we don’t see very often, so if you’re in the mood for something new check it out. 

img_1335On the salty side you’ll find our biggest excitement for the week, a male Crosshatch Trigger.  He’s big, bold and beautiful.  We also got a lovely little Yellow Assessor, who’s not to shy and would look terrific in someone’s reef!  Other items of note are a small Watanabei Angel and two new damsels, Limbaugh’s and some big Scissortail Chromis.

img_1530Not too much fresh on the freshwater end this week, but there are the Swamp Eels that might be very interesting in the right tank.  Also some nice looking Albino Butterfly Bristlenose Plecos.  There are also some other  fish for communities that don’t come around too often including Inky Barbs, Burma Danios, and Empire Gudgeons.

Drop in over the holiday or check them out online!  Have a Great Memorial Day!

Vieja hartwegi – Cichlid Species Profile

Tailbar cichlidAlso known as the Tailbar Cichlid, this particular species hails from the rivers of Central America. It frequents areas of still or slow moving waters , hiding amongst root tangles.  An uncommon fish in the hobby, we have been carrying 2″ juveniles for a little while now, along with a beautiful 6″ male in a separate aquarium that also arrived.

An omnivore, Hartwegi feeds on anything from plants to small fish and shrimp. In the home aquarium, I would recommend feeding a varied diet with the staple being greens as it will help to brighten and maintain their coloration.  Males and females both grow to close to 12″, particularly in the wild.  The males are more robust in build, and develop a much denser spangling of red throughout the body than females have.

As for aquarium size, I would recommend a 55 gallon (minimum) for growing out a group, and at least a 65 gallon for a pair of adults.  In regards to temperament, they are mildly aggressive towards other fish, but when it comes to their own they are very aggressive, and it gets worse when they are defending a spawning site.   Have a divider ready if you suspect you have a pair ready to spawn, or there will be a strong possibility you’ll end up with battered or dead fish. Broods can number from 100 to 1000 eggs, and water conditions should be kept stable, with temperature being 76 to 78 degrees, ph 7.5 to 7.8 and moderate to hard water. Provide hiding places for others in the tank to help in minimizing the brunt of the abuse that a dominant male can and will exert on tankmates.

I have read that they are very intelligent fish, and can “play games” with their owner. With the male we have here I can see some truth to that statement, as he is very anxious for interaction. I would highly recommend this species for someone looking to keep a very personable first cichlid.

Until next time,

Jose

Anchor Worms: a Common Springtime Pest in Koi and Goldfish Ponds

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

Anchor worms are crustaceans (specifically copepods) and as such are more closely related to shrimp than to worms.  They often make their presence known in outdoor ponds as winter turns to spring.  Lernaea elegans, the most commonly encountered species, remains dormant during the winter and becomes active as the water reaches 55 F or so. 

Identification

Anchor worms bury below their host’s scales, but betray their presence by trailing ¼ to ½ inch-long portions of their black, thread-like bodies from infected fishes.  They usually attach about a fish’s gills, eyes or fins, but can occur most anywhere.  Other signs include inflamed or raised scales and efforts by fishes to dislodge the parasites (leaping, rubbing).

 

Infestations most commonly occur during the spring, when the parasites are searching for new hosts after their winter dormancy.  Conveniently for the anchor worms, the immune systems of pond fishes are at their weakest at this time, having been stressed by cool temperatures and the long winter fast. 

Secondary Bacterial Infections

Anchor worms rarely cause fatalities, but the wounds they inflict frequently become infected by opportunistic Pseudomonas and Aeromonas bacteria.  Ever present in the pond, these pathogens can easily kill fishes, especially those with depressed immune systems.

Avoiding Anchor Worms

Channel CatfishBe especially careful to check for anchor worms when purchasing koi or goldfishes in the late winter or spring…those that have been wintered outdoors may be infected.  They also parasitize weather fishes, channel catfishes, hi-fin loaches and other species commonly kept in outdoor ponds.

Anchor worms of various species can also be introduced to your collection via tropical fishes which have been raised outdoors.

Treating Parasitized Fishes

Fortunately, Jungle Lab’s Anchors Away is an effective treatment for infestations of anchor worms and certain other parasites.  Be aware that this medication will kill crayfishes, snails and other invertebrates, and that carbon should be removed from your filter while treatment is ongoing.

It is also useful to add an ultraviolet sterilizer to your pond’s filtration system.  UV sterilizers will kill anchor worms in the free swimming larval stage (they are not effective against adults), thereby preventing re-infestation.

Further Reading

A detailed article (Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations) on the life cycle of anchor worms and related parasitic copepods is posted at.

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

Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Brian Gratwicke