Saltwater Inverts

Coral Food: Easy recipe & guide on how the pros do it every day!

by on Sep.17, 2014, under Corals, Saltwater Inverts, Tips & Tricks, DIY

From Christina Duncan at Reefs2Go.com (Our Sponsor)

 

Coral Food: 

We know that corals eat in the wild and yet some forget that corals eating in captivity is the job of the caretakers.  We must take responsibility for directly providing coral food daily.  Target feeding or supplying a large amount of free swimming foods are your best options.

Target feeding coral food requires patience, dedication and preparation of the food source. You can buy premixed frozen foods or you can make your own by following the recipe at the bottom of the post. Typically it is best when targeting feeding to turn of the pumps so that the animals have the best possible chance of catching their dinner as it goes by, but it is critical to remember to turn the pumps back on within an hour. Unless proper, well functioning skimmers and clean up crews are in place, any leftover food will quickly breakdown into waste and cause excess algae growth.

Supplying a buffet of coral food will frustrate the perfectionist as this approach almost insures excess algae growth etc. It is an easier approach by simply adding phytoplankton, pods, rotifers etc to the system on a daily/weekly basis but the excess load can encourage excess algae growth. Once again – proper well performing skimmer and clean up crew do go a long way in nutrient export and will assist in keeping the algae growth to a minimum in most cases.

There are issues with both options as with anything. Remember – we are attempting to house a closed eco system within our living room, replicating nature will increase our success substantially.

Typically I examine the oral area of the coral. If it looks big, chances are strong it will eat BIG food particles. You can start with smaller food and work up!

LARGE MOUTHS:    ie  ANEMONES, OPEN BRAINS

APPROPRIATE CORAL FOOD SOURCE:  THAWED SILVER SIDE FISH, KRILL, MYSIS SHRIMP

MEDIUM MOUTHS:   ie: CHALICE, HAMMER, TORCH, FROG SPAWN, CANDY CANE, SUN CORALS, SHROOMS

APPROPRIATE CORAL FOOD SOURCE:  MYSIS SHRIMP,  BLENDED MIXTURE (RECIPE BELOW)

SMALL MOUTHS:   ie: ZOANTHIDS, PALYTHOA

APPROPRIATE CORAL FOOD SOURCE:  BLENDED MIXTURE (RECIPE BELOW), ZOPLANKTON

MICRO MOUTHS:   ie: ACROS, GORGONIAN

APPROPRIATE CORAL FOOD SOURCE:  PHYTOPLANKTON

BLENDED FOOD SOURCE:

In kitchen blender, add thawed mysis shrimp, krill, blood shrimp, cyclopeze, vitamins, HUFA. This mixture can be stored by freezing in slabs or kept in refrigerator in a airtight container turkey baste it on to them with the pumps OFF.  I usually leave the pumps off for about 1-1.5 hours.

PHYTOPLANKTON/ZOOPLANKTON:

I like the ZoPlan and PhytoPlan by Two Little Fishies.  Other people swear by DT’s Phytoplankton- Find a source for phytoplankton and your filter feeders will be forever grateful!

Comments Off on Coral Food: Easy recipe & guide on how the pros do it every day! more...

What’s In A Name? Much Confusion! by Joseph Graffagnino

by on Apr.23, 2012, under Aquatica Articles, Freshwater Fish, Freshwater Inverts, Saltwater Fish, Saltwater Inverts, Tips & Tricks, DIY

What’s In A Name? Much Confusion! by Joseph Graffagnino

 
As Chairperson of the Breeders Award Program, I must research fish species to determine that the hobbyist who has bred that particular species, registers all of the particulars of that species onto the breeder form, accurately and truthfully. On rare occasions I must question the breeder regarding the spawning behavior or the environment or the aquarium parameters of that species if what the person has written is beyond the normal parameters of that particular species’ requirements. In almost all cases the hobbyist has rendered the information truthfully and accurately because many species can and do spawn outside of the range the “experts” list for them.

I use a multitude of methods to determine the accuracy of what the person applies to the breeder form. During the fish fry witnessing, I need to verify that the species is indeed the one supported by photographs or drawings. I use several research books such as Baensch Atlases on tropical fish, Tropical Fish Hobbyist research books on various species and also aquarium related books on particular geographic areas and their endemic species. I also make generous use of the World Wide Web, searching aquatic fish sites, international club sites, such as Planet Catfish, American Cichlid Association, American Livebearer Association, American Killifish Association, International Betta Congress; the list goes on and on.

I believe that I have all of this finally under control when the powers that be decide to change the names of fish species. Some of the experts say that the reason for the name changes is to better align groups into families based on the species’ fins, teeth and jaw bones and/or skeletal body bones. Others say the reason was to sell books with the updated species names. Any way you look at it, when one researches the fish presented, it is a nightmare to verify it wasn’t presented before.

As an example; I found a very nice Central American cichlid that goes under the name Cryptoheros myrnae. The fish were in a plastic bag and obviously stressed, so the coloration and close inspection would have to wait until they were home and acclimated to an aquarium prepared for cichlids. Through trial and error, I had tried to breed these fish. My error was trying to breed them in a gravel-free tank. After I moved several members that weren’t breeding into another tank, I noticed the relocated fish were digging in the gravel and moving it to clear an area near the cave they wanted to spawn in. Aha! So that was a little secret they shared with me.

No problem. I added gravel and kept a pair, or what I believed was a pair, in a separate 10 gallon tank that contained caves. A couple of months went by and viola! a batch of little babies came out of the cave and were guarded and paraded around by mom and dad. Great! Now I wait the required two months before I can register them as being successfully spawned and reared. I look up the species and discover the common name is Topaz cichlid. That name stirs my memory a bit. I check through the voluminous records of the Breeders Program and discover that I had already bred Topaz cichlids five years previous. In those days, they were called Archocentrus myrnae. No credit is given for breeding the same species twice, even though it went through a name change. I was aggravated and wanted to give the fish away at my earliest opportunity so I can clear my aquarium to breed another species.

The next species I want to breed is called Melanochromis Joanjohnsonae Exasperatus, a beautiful African cichlid that goes by the common name of “Pearl of Likoma.” Oh wait, this species also had a name change. It was formally called Labidochromis exasperates. All right, how about Cichlosoma sajica, the “T Bar Cichlid”? Wait! it also changed its name to Cryptoheros sajica- darn it, foiled again!

Comments Off on What’s In A Name? Much Confusion! by Joseph Graffagnino more...

How long will my fish live?

by on May.11, 2011, under Aquatica Articles, Freshwater Fish, Freshwater Inverts, Saltwater Fish, Saltwater Inverts, Tips & Tricks, DIY

How long will my fish live?

This a question often asked in the postbag of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. Having seen lots of aged fish on my travels, I wanted to find out the length of time some our aquarium veterans are surviving, and my findings are amazing!

Unfortunately, although some fish die every year through disease, or mistakes, the ones that are being cared for properly are going on to reach a truly ripe old age, and that doesn’t always seem to be related to species size.

Species selection
I think that as well as researching fish size and water requirements, we should also consider the length of time for which they will live. Life is short when you are an avid fishkeeper, as there are so many species to keep and so little time to keep them.

To find out how long a broad selection of aquarium species are living I posted a blog asking readers, to share their experiences.

What I found
My investigations led me to discover that many community species of fish are capable of outliving a cat or a dog, so making themselves a long-term commitment for the fishkeeper.
 
Take the Clown loach for example. I found ages up to 24 years reported, and, considering that in that time they can and will reach 30cm/12” in length and are a social species requiring the company of their own kind, the number of enthusiasts who can truly offer them what they need, compared with the number of people who purchase them, is very low indeed.

Twenty five years is a large chunk of anyone’s life and who can predict what they will be doing and where they will be living for the next quarter of a century?

It seems it’s not always the small species that have the shortest life spans.

Most tetras, rasboras and small barbs can hit five years old, as you might expect, but my investigations showed that some were swimming through to seven, eight and even 10 ten years of age. An Emperor tetra was listed at nine years old and a Neon tetra at 10!

I’ve listed two fish in the table at the end of this feature with big questions marks around them — a nine-year-old guppy and a 12-year-old White Cloud Mountain minnow. If those two cases are true then these small ‘‘short lived’’ fish species are outliving species like rainbowfish and some cichlids, both of which are normally noted for their longevity. The average life span for a guppy, apart from that one, was a much more average 18 months.

Golden oldies
Whether this is good or a bad I have yet to decide, but some families, genus and species stood out as being long lived. I’ve already mentioned the 24-year-old Clown loach, but even smaller loach species seem particularly aged. A 15-year- old Dwarf chain loach has been recorded along with a 17-year-old Kuhli loach.

Then there are the catfish. I would go so far as to say that some catfish are known for being long lived, Synodontis in particular, and a Synodontis schall, a large syno, is listed at 38 years old. But even smaller synos are hitting the 20 years of age mark and beyond. I found a S.nigrita at 19, a S. flavitaeniatus at 20 and the small, true upside down catfish, S. nigriventris, at 21 years of age.

Other small catfish species continued to surprise me, with Corydoras really opening my eyes. The list includes a Bronze corydoras at 11 years old, no surprise there perhaps, but what about a Corydoras zygatus at 21?

Lots of ‘common plecs’ and ‘gibbiceps’ plecs were registering at the 27, 28 year mark, so that is another good reason why you should think long and hard about introducing one as a solution to controlling a short-term algae problem.

Marines were featuring too, even common community species. Mr A B Hussey said: “I have been a fishkeeper for 35 years. Started keeping marines in 1992 and have a Regal tang, pair of Clowns and a Humbug, which were my among my first fish purchased.” Well done Mr Hussey, I say.

Extra care
The fact that some specimens are living so long must be a combination of genetics and extra care taken by the fishkeeper. No fish will last very long in poor water conditions, if fed a diet that is poor in nutrients, or if kept in a stressful situation. You, the fishkeeper, are responsible for all three of the above and should always put the welfare of the fish first.

I dropped fish health expert, Dr Peter Burgess, a line to ask if he knew of any age-related illnesses in fish and anything to look out for.

It seems that old fish are at greater risk of certain diseases and are also less able to withstand unsuitable water conditions or bullying. Spinal deformities can occur in old fish just as they do in humans. And fungus and eye infections increase in older specimens due to less efficient immune systems. Cell mutation is more likely in old fish, resulting in melanomas, as will organ failure, particularly kidney failure.

A tall story?
Koi are well known for being long-lived. However, there is one age reference about which I am more than a little sceptical. If it is true and can be scientifically proven then great, but even if it cannot be validated it still makes a great story.

It involves a Japanese Koi carp called Hanako that reportedly lived 226 years. Hanako was owned by Dr, Komei Koshihara and lived in a pond in Gifu, Japan, with five other geriatric Koi. In 1966, Dr. Koshihara made a radio broadcast about his favourite fish and the following is taken from the English transcript, which I found on www.vcnet.com

“This Hanako is still in perfect condition and swimming about majestically in a quiet ravine descending Mount Ontake in a short distance. She weighs 7.5 kilograms and is 70 centimetres in length. She and I are dearest friends. When I call her saying “Hanako! Hanako!” from the brink of the pond, she unhesitatingly comes swimming to my feet. If I lightly pat her on the head, she looks quite delighted.

“Sometimes I go so far as to take her out of the water and embrace her. At one time a person watching asked me whether I was performing a trick with the carp. Although a fish, she seems to feel that she is dearly loved and it appears that there is some communication of feeling between us. At present my greatest pleasure is to go to my native place two or three times a month and keep company with Hanako.

“I am often asked how it is that I can tell the age of a fish. As a tree trunk has its annual rings, so a fish has its annual rings on its scales, and we only have to count them to know the age of a fish. As a matter of course, we ourselves cannot do it. It requires the aid of a specialist and the use of a light microscope.

“Now, what was it that made me think of ascertaining the carp’s age? My grandmother on maternal side, who left this world at the advanced age of 93 some eight years ago, is said to have been told by her mother-in-law: “When I was married into this family, my mother in-law said to me, ‘that carp has been handed down to us from olden times; you must take good care of it’.

“When I was told this story, I became very curious to know how long the carp had lived. I found out Hanako’s age by the beforementioned method, but you may easily imagine how greatly I was grieved when I was forced to take a scale off her beautiful body. I caught her in a net very cautiously and repeatedly said: ‘Excuse me!’

“I took off two scales from different parts of her body by using a strong tweezers. The scales were examined by Professor Masayoshi Hiro, D.Sc., Laboratory of Domestic Science, Nagoya Women’s College.
 
“It took two months for him to acquire a satisfactory result. Using the light microscope, he photographed every part of the scales. It seems he took a great deal of trouble. When it was certain beyond doubt that the carp was 215 years old, the two of us exchanged a look of delightful surprise.

Then I had the professor examine the remaining five carp in the same pond, three white and two black ones. The examination took one year, and it was found out that three were respectively 168, 153 and 149 years old, and the remaining two were both 139 years old.

“Those results led us to be convinced that not only are the carp rare ones but they are a very precious existence from the scientific point of view as well. We must consider, then, in what surroundings and under what conditions these long-lived carp are placed. The pond is located far deep among the mountains of Mino Province. The locality is called Oppara, Higashi-Shirakawa Village, Kamo County, and is about the same distance from Gero Hot Springs on the Takayama Line as from Nakatsugawa City on the Central Line, both lines belonging to the National Railways.

“Nearby there are rustic hot springs called Oppara-onsen. Facing south toward the Pacific on the top of Mount Ontake, you will look down upon the locality at the foot of the mountain. Through the locality runs the Shirakawa, a tributary of the River Hida, which again is the upper reaches of the River Kiso.

“A stream of limpid water never ceases to flow all the year round. It is this water that flows into the pond which Hanako lives and which was carefully constructed with stones in former days. Besides that, pure water trickled from the foot of the mountain streams close by into the pond, making the favourable conditions still more favourable. The pond cannot be called large, only being about five metres square.”

Hanako died in 1977 at the age of 226.

The world’s oldest animal

The current record holder for longevity is a 400-year-old clam found in waters off Iceland’s north coast. The species, Arctica islandica, can be aged by measuring the growth rings around its shell.

Longevity rules OK!

Below is a list of fish and their age as claimed by their owners.                                  

Three years
Three lined pencilfish, Nannostomus trifasciatus             

Five years
Red eye tetra, Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae    
Buenos Aires tetra, Hyphessobrycon anisitsi              
Black phantom tetra, Hyphessobrycon megalopterus     
Cherry barb, Puntius titteya                            
Swordtail, Xiphophorus hellerii                    
Sailfin molly, Poecilia velifera/latipinna           
African red eye tetra, Arnoldichthys spilopterus            

Six years
X ray tetra, Pristella maxillaris                                             
Festive cichlid, Mesonauta festivus                     
Uaru, Uaru amphiacanthoides               
Gold sucking loach, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri              
Tiger barb, Puntius tetrazona                        
Cardinal tetra, Paracheirodon axelrodi                
Harlequin, Trigonostigma heteromorpha      
Angelfish, Pterophyllum scalare  

Seven years               
Golden barb, Puntius sachsi 

Eight years                        
Silver shark, Balantiocheilus melanopterus     
Pearl gourami, Trichopterus leeri                      
Scissortail, Rasbora trilineana                     
Snakeskin gourami, Trichogaster pectoralis               

Nine years
Angelicus catfish, Synodontis angelicus                 
Guppy, Poecilia reticulata ?                     
Giant danio, Devario aequipinnatus               
Emperor tetra, Nematobrycon palmeri               

10 years
Neon tetra, Paracheirodon innesi                 
Wild discus, Symphysodon spp.                    
Black widow, Gymnocorymbus ternetzi           
Silver dollar, Metynnis argenteus                  
Armatus eel, Mystus armatus                         
Hoplo cat, Megalechis thoracata                 
Congo tetra, Micralestes interruptus               
Blue dolphin cichlid, Cyrtocara moorii                        
Julie cichlid, Julidochromis marlieri               
Boesemani rainbow, Melanotaenia boesemani           

11 years
Clown plec, Panaque maccus                      
Bronze corydoras, Corydoras aeneus 

12 years                    
White Cloud, Tanichthys albonubes ?               
Firemouth, Thorichthys meeki                    
Kissing gourami, Helostoma temminckii        

13 years       
Red finned shark, Epalzeorhynchus frenatus          
Jack Dempsey, Rocio octofasciata                    

14 years
Tank bred Discus, Symphysodon spp.                   

15 years
Clown barb, Puntius everetti                        
Regal tang, Paracanthurus hepatus             
Humbug damsel, Dascyllus melanurus                 
L46, Hypancistrus zebra                  
Yellow tail blue damsel, Chrysiptera parasema              
Pygmy chain loach, Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki          

16 years
Striped dora, Platydoras costatus                   
Spotted dora, Agamyxis pectinifrons               
Black ghost knifefish, Apteronotus albifrons               

17 years
Kuhli loach, Pangio kuhlii                            

18 years
Corydoras, Corydoras metae                     

19 years
Red tailed black shark, Epalzeorhynchos bicolor           

20 years
Frontosa, Cyphotilapia frontosa               
Archerfish, Toxotes jaculatrix                    
Featherfin, Synodontis eupterus                
Brochis, Brochis splendens                   
Rosy barb, Puntius conchonius 

21 years                
Upside down catfish, Synodontis nigriventris           

24 years
Clown loach, Chromobotia macracanthus     

25 years
Bristlenose catfish, Ancistrus spp.                         

27 years
Red tailed catfish, Phractocephalus hemioliopterus 

28 years
Common plec, Liposarcus pardalis                  

30 years
Ornatipinnis, Polypterus ornatipinnis             

31 years
Pacu, Colossoma macropomum          

37 years
African lungfish, Protopterus annectens             

43 years
Goldfish, Carassius auratus                   

73 years
Australian lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri              

80 years (226 years)
Koi, Cyprinus carpio 

Reprinted with permission from
http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=3664

1 Comment more...