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Comparing Aquarium Testing Options

Many other blogs have discussed (and will continue to discuss, I’m sure) the importance of testing various levels in your water and its effects on the overall health of your aquarium. But, how can you actually test it? For anyone who isn’t able to bring a water sample into That Fish Place or their local fish store for testing or who wants monitor their water quality at home, there are lots of options for what tests to use. While what to actually test for is for another blog, there are lots of options when it comes to how the tests are actually done. Here we’ll look at the pro’s and con’s of the three most common aquarium testing methods: Test Strips, Liquid Test Kits, and Electronic Testing Equipment. Read More »

"Shocking" Christmas story

This week at the Aqua Toto Gifu aquarium in Japan, one of the coolest holiday Ideas I have ever seen was introduced to the public. The aquarium has on display, an electric eel in an aquarium that is actually powering lights on a near by christmas tree. In nature the eels have the ability to produce an electric current for the purpose of stunning near bye prey. The aquarium had the ingenious idea to use the eels natural electrical power for holiday cheer, and people are flocking to the aquarium to see this amazing display. The picture to the right was posted in the Mainichi Daily News in Japan.

The aquarium has a copper wire installed into it, so that when the eel rubs up against the wire and produces an electrical current, the electricity travels from the aquarium to the light bulbs. Pretty neat trick

Maybe someday we will be driving around electric eel powered hybrid cars. HMMMM.

Just wanted to share that holiday story with you, until next blog


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.

Product Spotlight: AquaEl Unimax Canister Filter

One of the newer additions to our canister filter line, is the UniMax Plus canister filter from AquaEl. AquaEl is still a relatively new name to the US marker, with a long history of quality products sold in Europe.
The UniMax Plus is one of the best canister filters to hit the US market in recent years, with several features that make it both unique, and high performance.
The feature that really stands out with the UniMax plus, is its internal UV sterilizer, providing unrivaled water quality, with a single piece of equipment. Mechanical, Biological, Chemical, and Sterilization all in one.

Another cool feature of the UniMax, are the multiple intakes and outlets on the two larger models. This gives you much improved water flow in larger tanks, versus models with only a single inlet and outlet.

The impeller design is also unique in the unimax, the impeller housing sits below the water level inside the canister, unlike most other units that have the impeller housing above the water level of the canister. This allows for easy priming of the filter, and extra quiet opperation. The Unimax models with multiple intakes and outlets, also use a multiple impeller design, which gives you a built in back up should one impeller be damaged, or stop functioning.

If you are considering a canister filter, give the UniMax a good look, I think that you will be impressed with the features it has when you compare it to some of the other filters on the market.
Until next time,


Species Profile: Giant Clams

Just got back from MACNA XIX in Pittsburgh, and I would like to congratulate the Pittsburgh Marine Aquarium Society for hosting and outstanding conference.
The next few Blog topics will be about some of the Seminars and Events that I attended at this years MACNA conference.

One of the seminars that I found really interesting was the Giant Clam presentation by James Fatherree. James is the author of the book “Giant Clams in The Sea And The Aquarium”and gave a presentation based upon some of the most common questions that he is asked about Giant Clams, and the Answers to those questions.

How much light do I need to keep a Tridacna Clam? This is a question that I am commonly asked about clams from our customers here at TFP, and one of the questions that James Fatherree addressed during his presentation. How much light is needed is probably the most important question to be answered, in regard to keeping giant clams in the aquarium. Giant clams receive as much as 100 percent of their nutrition from light that provides energy for photosynthesis for their symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae). How much light depends much upon the species of clam that you are trying to keep. Clams are found in the oceans throughout a wide range of depths in the tropical Pacific Ocean, from near the oceans surface, down to more than 25 meters (83 feet). Some species are only found in fairly shallow water, like the Tridacna crocea, which require very intense lighting. Others Giant Clam species such as T. maximaand T. squamosa, are found at depths of up to 15 meters (50 feet) and required strong lighting. Another species of Giant Clam that is commonly kept in the aquarium trade, T. derasa, is found at depths of up to 25 meters (83 feet) and require moderate lighting. All these depths are extreme maximums, under ideal conditions. The vast majority of clams found in the wild are found at much shallower depths than these maximum. All species of Clams that are grown in commercial farms are typically grown in shallow pools or raceways under intense lighting.

The best answer to this question is that there is no such thing as too much light for Clams in the aquarium. Deeper water species, like Tridacna derasa and Hippopus hippopus, will tolerate fluorescent lighting in very shallow aquariums, or high output T-5, VHO, or Compact Fluorescent lighting in aquariums up to about 24” deep. All other clams should only be kept under the intensity of Metal Halide lighting. The deeper the aquarium the higher wattage metal halide light should be used, in general the more light you can provide, the higher your chances for long term health and growth.

For more great information on Giant Clams check out James Fatherree’s book “Giant Clams in The Sea And The Aquarium”

Hope this sheds some light on questions that you may have had about clams, until next time.