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Tag Archives: reef aquariums

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That Fish Place – That Pet Place Featuring New Premium D-D H2Ocean Pro+ Salt

Galactic Purple DaniosThat Fish Place – That Pet Place is proud to introduce a new premium salt brand to our line of quality salt water products:  H2Ocean Pro+ Natural Reef Salt from D-D the Aquarium Solution.

Similar to brands like Red Sea Coral Pro, D-D H2Ocean Pro+  is harvested from sea water naturally evaporated with solar energy. What could be more natural than real salt water? After harvesting the salt, the natural product is tweaked a little to provide better results for use in our aquariums. For instance, the calcium and magnesium levels are slightly elevated above natural salt water levels. Why? Well, these two elements are quickly used up in reef aquariums, and because our reef tanks aren’t naturally replenished like the oceans, our inverts rely on us to keep these key elements in check. By slightly elevating the levels of calcium and magnesium, D-D H2Ocean Pro+ allows you to dose less, without getting too far out of sync chemically with their natural salt product. Furthermore, the chloride content is slightly reduced from what we see in natural saltwater. By slightly reducing the chloride content in the bucket, D-D H2Ocean has accounted for the extra chloride that usually comes along with dosing in reef tanks where most supplements utilize calcium and magnesium chloride. This helps make sure the chloride content doesn’t elevate too far beyond natural salt water levels in your reef tank. Just one other fine detail addressed by the chemists at D-D H2Ocean.

When this salt  is mixed to a S.G: of 1.025 @ 25°C = 35.5 ppt, your aquarium water parameters should look like this:

pH  level 8.3, range 8.2-8.4 
dKH level 9.3, range 8.7-9.8 
Calcium (Ca2+) level 440, range 430-460 mg/l
Magnesium (Mg2+) level 1340, range 1300-1380 mg/l
Chloride (Cl-) level 19550, range 19960-20130 mg/l
Potassium (K+) level 410, range 380-420 mg/l

So what makes this salt so good? Well, one thing we know about the ocean is that its parameters are pretty consistent. You’re not going to have one day on the reef where the calcium is 500ppm, and a week later be 400ppm. Its important that in our reef tanks we offer the same type of consistency. And, being that corals are from the ocean, doesn’t it make sense to stay as close to natural saltwater conditions as possible? D-D H2Ocean Pro+ mixes quickly, helping hobbyists get consistent results without having to wait 2-3 days for the salt to thoroughly dissolve. Those of us with sensitive stoney corals can attest to how finicky our corals can be over slight changes in parameters. Even hobbyists running Ultra Low Nutrient Systems have benefited from using D-D H2Ocean Pro+ because of its close-to-natural-saltwater levels. Regardless of what corals you keep, its vital to our reef systems to only deal with manufacturers with great quality control. 

Beyond the parameters, this salt is usually less clumpy, less dusty (not much worse than a salt cloud going right up your nose), and mixes up rather clear.  All and all, its this bloggers opinion that D-D H2Ocean Pro+ is one of the best salts offered at That Fish Place – That Pet Place. We currently offer the salt in the retail store, and it will soon be making it’s online debut.

Natural Nitrate and Phosphate Control in Marine Aquariums – Part 2 – Biopellets

KatalystIn Part 1 of this article, I talked about Carbon Dosing, and the principals and some of the products on the market that are being used in this method of natural nitrate and phosphate control.  You can read the first article for all the details, but for a quick review of what carbon dosing is all about, here are the basics.

By providing (dosing) a usable carbon source, the aquarist can increase the uptake of Nitrate and Phosphate by bacteria in the aquarium, and reduce the overall level of Nitrate and Phosphate in the aquarium to desired levels.  Maintaining this low nutrient system, improves the overall health of the system, eliminates nuisance algae, and promotes brilliant coloration in corals. Another benefit to this increased bacteria population, also referred to as bacterioplankton, is that it serves as a supplemental food source for corals and filter feeding invertebrates. Carbon sources that are used for dosing have traditionally been vodka, vinegar, sugar or commercially available products like Brightwell Aquatics Reef Bio Fuel, or Red Sea’s NO4-Px.  While effective, these sources of carbon must be added on regular basis (every day in most cases) and dosage levels are achieved largely on a trial and error basis. Read More »

Unusual Invertebrates for Marine Aquariums: Corals, Jellyfishes and Sea Anemones

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Although varying dramatically from one another in appearance and lifestyle, corals, jellyfishes and sea anemones are closely related. Classified within the phylum Cnidaria, both immobile forms (“polyps”) and mobile species (“medusas”) bear unique stinging organelles known as nematocysts, with which they capture prey and defend themselves (many are capable of delivering painful stings and should not be touched with bare hands). With over 10,000 species to choose from, the aquarist interested in Cnidarians will never be bored!


I first ventured into marine aquarium keeping at age 7, with a jellyfish I had captured. I provided it with fresh sea water daily, which likely supplied some food items. However, all glass aquariums were not yet available, and the unfortunate beast was poisoned, no doubt, by rust leaching from its tank’s metal frame.

Jellyfishes are increasingly exhibited and bred in public aquariums, but most are difficult to maintain at home. One exception is the upside down jellyfish, Cassiopeia andromeda, which is now available in the pet trade. In most “un-jellyfish-like” fashion, this species rests on the substrate with its tentacles trailing in the water above.

Much of the upside-down jellyfish’s food is produced by symbiotic algae, so intense lighting is necessary. It will also consume newly-hatched brine shrimp, but it cannot compete with fast moving aquarium fishes.


Aquarium CoralsUntil recently, corals were considered nearly impossible to keep in home aquariums. Water quality is exceedingly important, as is the wavelength and intensity of the lighting provided. Many corals obtain much of their food via the action of the symbiotic algae which live within them. Without proper lighting, the algae perish…additional food provided thereafter cannot keep the coral alive. Fortunately, a variety of commercially available lights and foods have now simplified coral husbandry (please see below).

Most corals feed upon plankton-sized food items. One exception is the popularly-kept tooth coral, Euphyllia picteti. This species readily takes pieces of shrimp and other large foods, and its appetite is therefore easy to satisfy.

Until recently, over-collection was a leading clause of coral reef destruction. Although collecting is now outlawed in many areas, please be sure that any coral you purchase is commercially cultured, as is our stock at ThatFishPlace/ThatPetPlace.Maldive anemonefish

Sea Anemones

Sea anemones are well-suited for aquarium life, although most perish quickly if kept in sub-optimal water quality or without a steady current of water flowing over them at all times. Sea anemones and the clown fishes that often shelter within them make for a beautiful and interesting display.

The white, brown or pink Caribbean anemone (Condylactis gigantea) is quite hearty but is rarely adopted as a home by clown fishes. More attractive to these popular fishes is the purple-based anemone, Heteractis magnifica. This anemone is unusually active, and quite frequently travels about the aquarium.

Anemones will thrive on weekly or twice weekly meals of shrimp, clam, fish and similar foods.

Useful Products

Please check out our metal halide bulbs, T-5 fluorescent bulbs and filter-feeding invertebrate foods, all of which have greatly simplified the captive care of corals and their relatives.

Further Reading
For further information on keeping jellyfishes, please see our article The Upside-down Jellyfish in the Home Aquarium.

Please also check out our extensive line of coral propagation and reef books.

To read more about the natural history of Cnidarians, please see

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

TFP 700 Gallon Reef Tank – Update

Hi Dave here,

I thought it was about time to post an update to the blog about the 700 gallon reef tank here at TFP. The tank is really starting to mature nicely, and we have seen some really nice growth from the corals in the tank.

For all the particulars of the tank, refer back to the original blog, the details of the tank, lighting, and filtration are discussed in detail. No need to rehash them here.

The tank has been running for about a year now, and things have gone very well. I wanted to post a few new pics of the tank so that you can see the changes since then. We have added a few new items into the tank since the original blog back in August of 2008. The majority of the corals that we put into the tank, originated from captive sources, or frags from our own propagation system, it has been really cool to watch them fill in and grow into larger colonies.

If anyone has any questions about the tank, please ask, I would be happy to explain what I can.

Until next blog

Species Profile: Pygmy Angels

Welcome back Mellisa Leiter, one of the Marine Biologist who works in our fish room here at TFP. Mellisa has written an article about one of the coolest little saltwater fish around, the Pygmy Angel. I hope you enjoy!

Pygmy Angelfish

Pygmy angelfish are fairly small, yet bright and colorful. They are generally not-specific feeders and usually accept most prepared food offered to them. They should be offered frozen foods like Mysis Shrimp, Formula 1, Formula 2, and Clams. They should also be offered flakes, pellets, and a regular supply of algae to round out their diet. Pygmy Angelfish typically do well in an established aquarium, 55 gallons or larger. Some acceptable tankmates include damsels, clownfish, tangs, gobies, blennies, and wrasses. As with their larger Angelfish cousins, careful consideration needs to be taken when attempting to keep more than one Pygmy Angel in the same tank. Two Pygmy Angels of the same species or very similar coloration should not be housed together, they will be very aggressive towards each other. If you want to attempt to keep two different species of Pygmy Angels together, your best bet is with species of different coloration. While there is no guarantee that these feisty little fish will coexist in your aquarium, you can increase your odds of them getting along in a few ways. First, the bigger the tank the better; 55 gal tank or larger. Second, make sure that there is plenty of live rock with lots of hiding places, this will allow the fish to establish their own territory. You can also reduce aggression by adding the fish at the same time, this way no territory has been established by older residents. Pygmy Angelfish are generally “reef safe” but may nip at the occasional polyp from time to time. I would not recommend Pygmy Angels for reef aquariums with Acropora, or other SPS corals for this reason. Their max size ranges from 3-6 inches for most species.
One of the most popular Pygmy angelfish would be the Coral Beauty (Cenropyge bispinosus). Their colors range from a deep purple to shades of orange. They stay fairly small (3-4”) and can be housed in tanks as small as 30 gallons. Coral Beauty’s are usually “reef safe” but may nip on polyps as well as the slime coat on other corals. The Coral Beauty is very hardy once acclimated into a well established tank with plenty of liverock.


Another hardy Pygmy angelfish that does well in an established tank is the Flame Angel (Centropyge loricula). Their colors are a vivid red with black lines. The amount of black varies. Flame Angelfish do not have different juvenile to adult coloration’s so be sure to pick the stripe pattern that you like since it won’t change. Flame Pygmy angelfish tend to be more peaceful than some of the other pygmy angelfish. Flame Pygmy Angelfish are usually “reef safe” but may eat polyps or clam mantles.


One of the smaller pygmy angelfish that is also hardy is the Cherub Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi) . Cherub Pygmy angelfish is a purplish blue with a splash of orange around its face. They reach a max size of 2-3 inches. Cherub Pygmy angelfish may be shy any first, but don’t let their small size full you. These little angels have attitudes and will defend their home at all cost. They are generally “reef safe” but may pick at the occasional polyp.
One of the larger Pygmy angelfish would be the Keyhole Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge tibicen). They can reach a max size between 7-8 inches. Keyhole Angelfish are not as colorful as many of the other angelfish. They are mostly dark blue to black with the lower portion of the anal fin bright yellow and an oval white area on both sides of their body. Keyhole Angelfish do not tend to ship as well as some of the other angelfish but once properly acclimated they are usually pretty hardy.
One of my favorite pygmy angel is the Lemonpeel Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus). They are bright yellow with blue trim around both eyes and gill covers. Lemonpeels are generally shy and need lots of places to hide to feel safe. Once acclimated they usually become more social. Lemonpeel angels are more likely than some of the other pygmy angelfish to pick at LPS corals and clam mantles.
One of the more aggressive pygmy angelfish is the Eibli Angelfish (Centropyge eibli). Eibli Angelfish have a silver gray body with orange stripes, black tail rimmed in blue, and a hint of orange around the eyes and belly. These angels adapt fairly well to aquarium life if given an established tank with lots of macroalgae to graze on. Eibli Angelfish are usually “reef safe” but may nip on the occasional polyp or clam mantle.
While there are many pygmy angelfish that do well in aquariums there are some species that are gorgeous but are a challenge for even the experienced aquarist. The Potter’s angelfish (Centropyge potteri) and Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia) fall under this category. Potters angelfish are bright orange with blue gray scribbled lines and blue trim. Golden Angelfish are a burnt orange color with vertical yellow stripes. These angelfish tend to be very shy and reclusive and do not readily accept prepared food.
I hope you enjoyed Mellissa’s article.
Until next blog,