18 Choice Shark Week Aquariums

August 11, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

Sharks, Denizens of the Deep

Sharks are a fascinating subject to provoke public interest and excitement, and Shark week is one of the most alluring events of the year!

Shark Week initially debuted 27 years ago on the Discovery Channel. Though not stamped with official recognition, this event is once again making its annual stir. First aired on July 17, 1988, this is the longest running cable television programming in history and is broadcast in more than 70 countries.

Featuring sharks as the most feared creatures of the sea, the Discovery Channel series was developed to raise awareness and educate viewers. This week’s annual presentations began yesterday featuring, what else, but the sensational and “deadly” Great White Shark. Additional episodes are scheduled daily through Saturday August 16th. At least one episode will also feature another thrilling behemoth, the Hammerhead Shark.

Sharks do not have an actual day, week, month, or year dedicated to them, at least not yet. In contrast it’s amazing how many dates are designated for all sorts of other creatures. There are International Polar Bear and Tiger Days; World Cat, Elephant, Turtle, and even Mosquito Days; National Dog and Honey Bee Days, and how about a Rabbit awareness week. But thanks to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, these incredible animals are annually brought to the forefront of our attention.

To step up the shark game, many public aquariums are participating this week to feature dozens of different types of shark species. Attractions include everything from live shark aquarium exhibits, expert shows and a variety of presentations, and live touch tanks to overnight adventures sleeping under massive shark aquariums. There are some that feature indoor shark exhibits with photography, art, films and 4-D movies. Some of the aquarium exhibits will feature keepers diving with sharks and some offer shark dives for visitors, some offer behind the scenes tours, and some allow guests to feed the sharks.

Take your shark experience to a more personal, interactive level with a visit to a public aquarium.

Here’s a list of 18 aquariums across the United States that are offering live “Shark Week” experiences, starting with the coastal to interior western hemisphere, then the coastal to interior eastern hemisphere:

  1. Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, OR
    Featuring the “Passages of the Deep” exhibit, a series of underwater walkways, the “Open Sea” is the longest tunnel, representing the world’s largest environment. This area is alive with five species of shark including their largest specimen, the Broadnose Sevengill Shark along with Leopard, Soupfin and other sharks.
  2. Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco, CA
    San Francisco Bay’s Aquarium features Sevengill Sharks viewed through the “offshore tunnel” and touch pools where you can gently touch Leopard Sharks.
  3. Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad, CA
    Featuring the “the Lost City of Atlantis” exhibit, a 200,000 gallon ocean display with a 35-foot-long ocean tunnel, that display features more than 50 sharks including Zebra Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, White Spotted Bamboo Sharks and Port Jackson Sharks.
  4. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, Draper, UT
    This aquarium features 7 different species of sharks including Brown Banded Bamboo Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Sandbar Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, and Zebra Sharks.
  5. Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium, Las Vegas, NV
    Features a 1.3 million gallon shipwreck exhibit where visitors experience an almost 360-degree view, teeming with sharks and fish, through an acrylic tunnel. It houses 15 species of sharks including Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Bonnethead Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Sand Tiger Sharks, Sandbar Sharks, Zebra Sharks, White Spotted Bamboo Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks and Lemon Sharks.
  6. Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, Riverhead, NY
    This aquarium features a 120,000-gallon “Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit” where you can experience a Shark Dive. They put you inside a cage right in the middle of circling sharks and an array of fish.
  7. Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh, PA
    Features the “Water’s Edge Tunnel” where keepers will dive each day during Shark Week with Sand Tiger Sharks while visitors watch from beneath.
  8. Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ
    This aquarium has the largest collection of shark species on the East Coast with 2 awesome exhibits. It features the “Ocean Realm” exhibit with 760,000 gallons of seawater with massive sea turtles, stingrays and a diverse collection of sharks including the Blacknose Shark, Blacktip Shark, Silky Shark, and Zebra Shark (nicknamed “Leopard” Shark due its juvenile stripes). It also has the rare and mysterious Great Hammerhead Shark, the largest of all the Hammerhead species. In fact, this facility is currently the only aquarium in the country to exhibit them!
    The “Shark Realm” exhibit has 550,000-gallons of water with a floor-to-ceiling “Shark Den” viewing window and a 40-foot underwater tunnel with over 25 sharks including Sand Tiger Sharks, Sandbar Sharks, Nurse Sharks and more.
  9. National Aquarium, Baltimore MD
    Features the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit, with Blacktip Reef Sharks of course!
  10. North Carolina Aquariums
    North Carolina Aquarium, Pine Knoll Shores, NC
    Features 4 species of sharks commonly found native waters including: Sand Tigers, Bonnetheads, Nurse Sharks and Sandbar Sharks.
    North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island, Manteo, NC
    Here you can dive in the 285,000-gallon “Graveyard of the Atlantic” exhibit with Sand Tiger, Sandbar and Nurse Sharks.
  11. South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston, SC
    This aquarium has an impressive two-story 385,000-gallon “Great Ocean Tank” exhibit with sharks and a 220-pound Loggerhead Sea Turtle. They feature a dive show about sharks and you can take pictures at the aquarium’s shark cage.
  12. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta GA
    You can walk through an acrylic tunnel or stand in front of a gigantic acrylic viewing window of the “Ocean Voyager” exhibit. This is a 6.3 million gallon exhibit with 4 Whale Sharks. These are the largest fish species in the world and this exhibit was specially designed to house these huge sharks.
  13. Ripley’s Aquarium, Myrtle Beach, FL
    Featuring the “Dangerous Reef” exhibit with a moving 340-foot long glide path that winds through an acrylic tunnel where you can see Sandtiger, Sandbar, and Nurse Sharks.
  14. Florida Aquarium, Tampa, FL
    Their largest tank is the “Coral Reef Exhibit” teeming with massive sharks, moray eels, barracuda, a green sea turtle and more. Sharks include the Nurse Shark, Tasselled Wobbegong Shark, Salmon Shark, Thresher Shark, Gulper Shark, Goblin Shark, Bonnethead Shark, Sandtiger Shark, Sandbar Shark, Blacktip Reef Shark, and White-spotted Bamboo Shark.
  15. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL
    This aquarium features 2 exhibits with sharks. The “Caribbean Reef” exhibit has a small shark or two but it’s the “Wild Reef” that is home to most of their sharks, stingrays and live coral.
  16. Newport Aquarium, Newport, KY
    This aquarium features over 15 species of sharks from oceans around the world, including Sand Tigers, Sand Bars, Black-tips and White-tips.
  17. Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN
    The “Secret Reef” exhibit features 10-foot Sand Tiger Sharks and sleek Sandbar Sharks.
  18. Oklahoma Aquarium, Jenks, OK
    Features the “Ray & Robin Siegfried Families Shark Adventure” where a walk-through tunnel and dome allow you to see the Mammoth Lemon, Sand Tiger and Nurse Sharks, and the biggest Bull Sharks in captivity.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Red-tailed Catfish, gorgeous and enormous on Animal-World

June 12, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Red-tailed Catfish, Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

The Red-tailed Catfish is unmistakable with its red tail, long whiskers, and monster fish size!

A fascinating fish that’s enormous in size, the Red-tailed Catfish will surely catch your eye… and its awesome good looks will keep you coming back!

In perfect harmony, its bright white sides topped with a dark spotted gray back contrast nicely with its bright red tail. Adding to its charm is a huge mouth with long trailing whiskers. This is probably one of the most outstanding catfish ever seen.

The Redtail Catfish is a predator that silently dwells at the bottom of deep river pools. It is slow moving, but it uses this as a stealth tactic along with a well-developed chemosensory ability, to capture unsuspecting prey. Yet despite its size and huge shovel-like mouth, it is a very peaceful fish in the aquarium. Peaceful that is, if you don’t fit in its mouth! It gets along quite fine with tank-mates that are similar in size and demeanor, just the little guys are at risk.

Despite its good looks it is a huge fish. It will normally reach up to about 4 1/2 feet, but in the wild it is documented at almost 6 feet in length. Its size makes its a favorite game fish, and angler’s love it. But for the aquarist, well it is simply too big for the home aquarium. This monster fish is best enjoyed at a public aquarium unless you can provide a tank of 1000 gallons or more and lots of food for the next 20 years!

Learn more about this outstanding catfish on Animal-World.com. Pictures and information for the Red-tailed Catfish Phractocephalus hemioliopterus, along with it habitat, behaviors, and aquarium care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Celebrate World Oceans Day 2014!

Join in celebration of the World Oceans Day 2014 this Sunday, June 8th!

Did you know that 71% of our beautiful earth is covered by ocean? We human land dwelling creatures only live on 29% of the earth while the oceans cover almost 3/4 of the planet. Yet almost 95% of the world’s oceans are still unexplored.

This vast watery world is teeming with life and is vital to the health and well being of the earth. The oceans play a role in many of the earth’s systems including regulating our climate and weather, generating most of the oxygen we breathe, and cleaning the water we drink. They also help feed us and offer a plethora of potential medicines.

See interesting Ocean animalsAnimal-World Celebrates World Oceans Day 2014!

Join us in celebrating the oceans, they are beautiful to behold and provide us with unlimited inspiration. And they also offer us opportunities for a better world. According to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US Department of Commerce, one out of every six jobs in the United states is marine-related.

Here’s a few ways you can participate:

  1. The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network have created a site dedicated to World Oceans Day. They have a list of more than 600 events being held worldwide.
  2. The World Oceans Day website also encourages support through donations or with the purchase of a t-shirt or bracelet commemorating this day.
  3. Better yet, people are encouraged to spread the word by creating a “selfie for the sea!” It’s easy to participate, simply take a photo of your self doing something for the ocean, or making a promise to help the ocean. Then share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites and tag it #WorldOceansDay.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Nano Tank Stocking Guide for Reef, Saltwater and Freshwater Aquariums

Find live fish, plants and corals

Fish Selection Guide for Nano Tanks

10+ general rules for stocking the nano aquarium. For the best success, follow these suggestions when you are selecting fish for the nano aquarium, whether you plan on keeping a freshwater, saltwater, or a mini-reef tank.

Considering the nano tank’s small size, the first and most important rule when stocking your tank, is to avoid overpopulation. This rule refers not only to the number of fish you put in your tank but also the other life forms that are present. These include invertebrates like worms, clams, snails; echinoderms such as a starfish, sea urchin, or sea cucumber; crustaceans like crabs, lobsters and shrimp; other bottom feeders and even corals.

Here are some general rules on stocking your nano tank:

  1. Avoid putting in schooling fish since most species will not allow other fish species in the nano aquarium. There are also fish species that should be housed as the only fish in a nano tank. These include dottybacks, angelfishes, and hawkfishes.
  2. In nano reeftanks smaller than 20 gallons, it is not recommended to add even one Clownfish, not even a small one since it can grow big. Clownfish are territorial and will want to own the entire tank and will chase away and/or bully other fish species in the tank.
  3. Choose fish species that are not jumpers. Fish belong inside the tank and not on your floor. If you do select a “jumper”, make sure to put a tight-fitting cover over your tank to prevent your fish from jumping out.
  4. Know what your fish feeds on. You might end up placing a fish in your nano tank that feed on shrimp, snails, and other tank inhabitants. There are also herbivorous fish that thrive well on a bit of microalgae and broccoli, as well as frozen or flake fish food that contain spirulina. Knowing what their feeding habits are can ensure that you are able to meet their nutritional needs.
  5. Don’t mix fish of different behaviors—aggressive versus smaller and shy ones. The smaller fish species will be outcompeted for food resulting in starvation. Other factors that should also be considered include the adult size and temperament of the fish.
  6. Fish species with similar feeding habits may also cause a problem for each other, as they compete for food.
  7. When buying fish at the local fish store, ask the staff to show you that the fish you are interested in is eating. Find out what type of feed is being given so you can continue the same feeding regimen when you bring the fish home. If the fish is not eating, it is best not to buy it.
  8. When buying fish, observe its overall appearance. Don’t buy fish with a sunken belly since this is an indication that the fish is on a starvation diet. Buy only healthy-looking ones.
  9. For nano reef tanks, avoid buying fish that will nibble or pick at corals. Constant picking may cause injury that can easily get infected, or prevent coral from opening up.
  10. When picking out fish, select based on the display area volume of the tank, not the total tank volume. This is attributed to the fact that the display area of nano tanks holds less water than the total tank since some of the tank water is in the filtration area.
  11. Other equally important factors that you should consider when selecting fish for your nano tank include water quality and habitat selection.

About the author: Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for hobbyists to build their own betta fish tanks,
nano tanks, fish ponds, freshwater shrimp tanks and other DIY aquarium tanks.

Nano Tank Setup Tips for a Great Miniature Aquarium

May 30, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums

Nano aquariums and supplies

Tips to start and maintain nano tanks.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned aquarist, maintaining a nano aquarium is definitely a rewarding undertaking.

A nano aquarium usually refers to a tank that is 10 gallons or less. Most of the guidelines and equipment needed for setting up a larger aquarium also applies to a nano aquarium.

Here are some useful tips to setting up and maintaining a nano tank:

Purchasing a Nano Aquarium

Before making a purchase, decide what you eventually want to achieve with your nano tank. Will it serve as a grow-out tank? Are you aiming for a display tank that will make a good conversation piece in your home or office? Will you be having a plant or shrimp farm? Once you already know what you want, you can now purchase your nano tank.

Aquarium Substrate

Substrate is an important component in a planted aquarium. It is recommended to purchase the best substrate that is available. A good substrate should be rich in minerals like carbon and iron. It must be capable of softening the water and lowering pH.

Choose a substrate that has a finer grain. Since this type of substrate is more expensive than the ordinary ones, you can just add a top layer of fine-grained substrate to the bottom layer before adding water. Using lava rock, pumice, or sintered clay balls in the bottom layer can promote oxygenation and prevent creating an anaerobic environment within the substrate.

Choosing a Theme

To make it easier to keep the ideal water parameters indicated for all the inhabitants of your tank, it is best to focus your aquascaping and stock plants around them, including their shelter and breeding structures.

Avoid Overpopulation

With the nano tank’s small size, maintaining an ideal population in your aquarium will help maintain good water quality. When establishing a new system, it is best to introduce only a few fish at a time over a period of several weeks. Select the smallest fish species that you can find, and a modest group of bottom cleaners.

Nano Tank Filtration

Consider using live plants and special forms of gravel for freshwater nano tanks, and live rock or sand for your nano reef. These can help promote tank health coupled with minimum use of external filtration systems.

Water Quality

Since nano tanks have accelerated cycles in water quality, daily testing and observation are highly recommended. The behavior of the fish inhabitants—hiding, drifting, gasping, or darting—is also a good indication of existing health dangers that lurk inside the tank.

Frequent partial water changes (at least 10-20%) once a week, also promote a healthy tank environment. This is especially necessary if you are pushing the population limit, or keeping fish species with larger bio-loads.

Tank Filter System

Filter media should be changed frequently to prevent algal bloom and ensure the well-being of your fish.

Troubleshooting

With the small enclosed ecosystem in a nano tank, small problems can easily worsen in a short span of time, and may threaten the health of your aquarium inhabitants. Whenever you notice something out of the ordinary, such as nitrite level that tested high or a bio-wheel that has stopped turning, act on it the soonest possible time.

About the author: Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for hobbyists to build their own betta fish tanks,
nano tanks, fish ponds, freshwater shrimp tanks and other DIY aquarium tanks.

Is Your Betta sick? Here’s What to Do

Siamese Fighting FishSiamese Fighting Fish

Betta Fish Care: Lists of Symptoms, Diseases and Cures.

Betta fish, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, originated from small ponds and rivers of Thailand and Cambodia. They are primarily carnivorous surface feeders and can live up to four years in captivity.

Poor water quality inside their tank increases their susceptibility to important diseases. Like any other species of fish, their health is closely linked with the existing conditions in their environment. To keep your Betta healthy, you should make it a point to check the tank’s conditions frequently, coupled with regular cleaning and intensive care.

The Betta can suffer from various health problems caused by bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses, and parasites. Distinct symptoms are often manifested and should give you a clue there is something wrong with your fish which needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Disease Condition Cause Symptoms Prevention and Treatment Remarks
Fuzz Fungus (Saprolegnia sp. and Achlya sp.) White fluffy appearance on the body, and may include small gray tufts on the fin areas
  • Spot treatment with gentian violet, methylene blue, iodine and povidone
  • Aquarium salt
  • Potassium permanganate can be made into a paste and applied over the infected area
  • Aquarium fungicide can be used in serious cases
Usually an opportunistic infection that attacks immune-compromised fish recovering from another disease, subjected to a lot of stress, or has been exposed to poor water conditions for quite a long time.
Fin Rot or Tail Rot Bacteria
  • The Betta’s tail seems to be getting shorter and shorter, or they may seem to be falling apart and dissolving
  • A dark reddish color may be present on the edge of the fins or tail
  • Fins may be clumped
  • Color may be pale
  • Spot treatment of infected areas with Gentian violet, tetracycline or ampicillin
  • To help with osmoregulation, mix 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt for each 5 gallons of water
  • Frequent water changes
  • Predisposing factors include poor water quality or fin injury
  • Frequently followed by a secondary fungal infection
  • Affected fins and tails will grow back however these may not have the same color or may not be as long
Swim Bladder Disease Bacteria
  • Abnormal swimming patterns
  • Loss of balance, may float vertically at the top of the water or lie on the tank bottom
  • Treat with antibiotic in a clean, shallow tank-Fasting for 24-48 hours, and offer a pea the following day
  • Frequent water change
  • Predisposing Factors include physical injury to the swim bladder due to fighting or during transportation from the fish store
  • poor water quality
  • overfeeding
  • rough handling
  • Double Tail Bettas are more prone to the condition due to their shorter bodies
Ick (also known as Ich or White Spot) Parasite (Ichthyopthirius sp.)
  • The affected fish may appear as if it has been sprinkled with salt.
  • Less active
  • Loss of appetite
  • Clamped fins
  • May scratch on any object including rocks, plants, etc.
  • Commercial ick medications that contain formalin or malachite green
  • Increase the temperature of the tank water to 30° C (85° F)
  • Full water change
  • Very contagious
  • The parasite is sensitive to heat, thus raising the tank’s temperature causes the parasites to detach from the fish and swim in the medicated water

There are all sorts of things that can affect the health of your fish. The most common illnesses are usually bacterial or parasitic, sometimes fungal diseases, and on occasion physical ailments. Learn about all types of maladies on our extensive Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments page.

Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides a wide selection of live aquatic plants, aquarium decorations and http://www.justaquatic.com.au/shop/build-your-aquarium/betta-fish-tanks/
betta fish tanks and supplies.

Keeping Wrasses Together Successfully

All sorts of wrassesSolar Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus solorensis and Filamented Flasher Wrasse Paracheinus filamentosus

Can wrasses get along?

Here’s some ways to keep several Fairy Wrasses, several Flasher Wrasses, or a mixture of both!

Perusing the Internet, I have noticed more and more aquarists questioning, not only the compatibility of fairy wrasses Cirrhilabrus species, but also the compatibility of flasher wrasses Paracheilinus species.

Questions can vary from, “Can you put several fairy wrasses in the same tank?” or “Can you put several flasher wrasses in the same tank?” to “Would adding females make for more aggression?” and “Can you put flasher and fairy wrasses together?”

Some aquarists, such as myself, have had 4 or 5 fairy wrasses together, usually without a problem in a 150-gallon tank, yet others have had disastrous results. Why the variation? Is it tank size or length that matters? There are so many variables, thus aquarists need to include all other fish tank mates (not the inverts or corals), tank volume, and tank length when stating success or failure. This will help to narrow down what is, or what is not successful.

So many variables demand specifics. My hopes are to present some techniques that I have used successfully, along with future experiments involving compatibility. One thing I did notice is when you have a more peaceful community; certain fish behave better, yet when adding rambunctious fish, the bad attitude or skittishness seems to spread to the other fish. That is a topic for another blog! Now on to my first wrasse experiment and my past experiences. Note that all these fish are male.

Compatible WrassesFilamented Flasher Wrasse and Solar Fairy Wrasse getting along after 10 days

Filamented Flasher Wrasse and Solar Fairy Wrasse

I first want to discuss my current tank set up and how the Filamented Flasher Wrasse Paracheilinus filamentosus and the Solar Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus solorensis are getting along. My tank is 75 gallons, 4′ long and contains a Flame Angelfish, male and female Picasso and Platinum Percula Clownfish, Royal Gramma, Lawnmower Blenny, established 5″ Yellowhead (neon) Wrasse Halichoeres garnoti, and a cleaner wrasse. It is embarrassing to admit I have a cleaner wrasse, yet after 6 weeks he is still alive and eating mysis, however, longevity is never promising with these wrasses.

When I got home late on a Wednesday, the lights in the tank were out, and knowing that the 3″ young Flame Angelfish would NOT be happy with any new tank mates I would be adding, I took precautions. While the little darling was sleeping, I rearranged the rockwork while I acclimated the two wrasses.

Once I finished the tank remodel, the wrasses were ready to enter their new home and I’m still waiting on the security deposit they BOTH promised me! Typical of these two genuses of wrasses, they need crevices or caves to spin their cocoon in, as they sleep. I had two separate caves for them, and holding each wrasse securely in my hand, one by one, I gently introduced them into their own cave. It was awesome how quickly each accepted their hide out and both quickly spun a cocoon and stayed in for the night!

The next morning, the Flame Angelfish was quite curious and took a few runs at the wrasses, but nothing serious. I must point out that BOTH the Filamented Flasher Wrasse and the Solar Fairy Wrasse were the same size, around 2.5″ from nose to the base of the tailfin. This means the flasher wrasse is probably in its “late teens” since the Filamented Flashers only reach 3.9.” The Solar Fairy wrasse is probably in its early teens and will reach a maximum of about 5″ at adulthood.

The first few days, the Solar Fairy charged the Filamented Flasher very aggressively, but only in short bursts, with no apparent contact or bite marks. This continued for the first week, however, it was not a constant occurrence. By the middle of the second week, they hardly pay attention to each other. The Filamented Flasher Wrasse prefers to hang out near the two clownfish in the front right corner of the tank, and the Solar Fairy Wrasse is all over the place, typical of these wrasses. The Flame Angelfish seems to keep the Solar Fairy occupied and periodically darts at him, leaving no damage. The only time the two wrasses interact is when the flasher wrasse gets spook and darts in the direction of the Solar Fairy, who then reacts as any normal creature would if someone is running at them!

I have observed that the Flame Angelfish occupies the Solar Fairy Wrasse’s attention by periodically chasing him, so that may be a variable as to why both wrasses are working out. Has anyone else had these two wrasses WITHOUT a dwarf angelfish with success?

What’s Next?

My next attempt will be to add a Lubbocki’s Fairy Wrasse or another flasher wrasse like a McCosker’s Flasher or Carpenter Flasher Wrasse. In a previous tank I had a Rosey Scale Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis who was a constant companion to my Solar Fairy Wrasse, so I may even try adding 3 next time. When this happens, I will add all 3 at the same time, to divide the attention of the established Filamented Flasher and Solar Fairy. I will again rearrange the rockwork to break up territories that the Flame Angelfish will have and to distract the little red monster! I was told I should try female flasher wrasses, yet I feel this may compromise the harmony of the males.

Filamented Flasher WrasseFilamented Flasher Wrassse hanging with his pals

Two Previous Fairy Wrasse Communities

As I mentioned earlier, I had a 150-gallon tank with 2 different sets of fairy wrasses Cirrhilabrus species at different times. The first set of fairy wrasses were added in the following order: Solar Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus Solorensis, Lubbocki Fairy Wrasse C. Lubbocki, Scott’s Fairy Wrasse C. Scottorum, Velvet Fairy Wrasse C. luteovittatus, and then a Whipfin Fairy Wrasse C. filamentous.

The Solar Fairy and the Lubbocki were settled in for several months before I added the Scott’s Fairy Wrasse and the Velvet Fairy Wrasse. When I added the Scott’s Fairy and the Velvet Fairy, the Solar Fairy then hid under a rock, but fortunately he was visible so I could keep an eye on him. His color was blotchy and he was obviously very intimidated by his two new tank mates. The Solar Fairy would grab food as it floated by, so I was not worried about him eating, although at the two-week mark, I needed to make a decision to remove him. At the 10-day mark he started to come out and the other wrasses passively checked him out, but there was no aggression. I think he realized they were not a threat and all this hiding was just silly! Who knows the mind of a fairy wrasse! Maybe it’s along the lines of, “Food, food, and food, OH! there’s a copepod! NOM NOM NOM… food, food, food… OH! There’s my human! Okay, look cute and fluttery and fairyish!” Did I feed them this morning?

The mistake I made was adding the Whipfin Fairy Wrasse last. This fish was so freaked out; it enlisted in a carpet surfing competition! After watching carefully, I saw that the Velvet Fairy Wrasse was the pursuer and antagonizer, who also chased my Lubbocki up and out of the tank to join the Whipfin’s team! I did get rid of the Velvet Fairy Wrasse after the Lubbocki jumped ship, however there were no bite marks or wounds, so I assumed he just ran out of water depth trying to get away from the Yellow-Streaked demon Velvet Fairy!

Interestingly, I did have a Harlequin Tuskfish who never paid the other wrasses any attention. The Solar Fairy Wrasse had no problem with the smaller and more peaceful fairy wrasses yet could hold its own with the larger fairy wrasses. I am guessing he was not much of a threat, but his size kept them at bay. I call the Solar Fairy Wrasse the “crossover” wrasse and this is why I chose it to put it with a flasher wrasse in the above experiment.

The second set of wrasses came after a tank crash, which occurred while I was away for 2 weeks. At any rate, I had decided to add several wrasses at one time. They consisted of a small Red Scaled Wrasse Cirrhilabrus rubisquamis, a larger Temminck’s Fairy Wrasse C. temminckii and a Lubbocki Fairy Wrasse. I already had another Solar Fairy Wrasse in the tank of course! The only issue was that the Lubbocki Fairy Wrasse did jump out of the tank, so I decided not to add any more of the smaller, more peaceful wrasses with the more aggressive larger wrasses.

The Temmincki Fairy Wrasse was spectacular and in charge. This fish would swim at the upper level of the tank, with characteristics of a flasher wrasse, with an electric appearance to the lines on his body! As he swam near the surface, I always worried about him jumping out, yet he never did. I didn’t have any aggressive fish in the tank, so that may have been the reason for my success!

What to Try

In conclusion, try adding smaller and more peaceful wrasses first and if possible add them all at the same time. If you cannot do that, add two or three at a time and rearrange the rockwork to diffuse aggression. Several choices would be; to stay only with the smaller and more peaceful wrasses, go with the larger and more aggressive fairy wrasses (possibly not involving flasher wrasses in this group, unless it is an aggressive species if such a fish exists), or have a dense population of wrasses to diffuse aggression between the larger and smaller wrasses, while providing many places to hide and plenty of food to eat.

Lessening aggression with food, distraction, and hiding places is an almost universal solution when it comes to many fish. For those who are having problems with their wrasses, try the elliptical or stair master! Or for your fish, try rearranging the rockwork. Yes I know that is hard, but your body and your fish will thank you for it! Catching a wrasse can prove difficult in some cases, so give that a shot first! Interestingly, this method of rock work rearrangement works great when introducing a new Tang/Surgeonfish to a tank with establish Tangs/Surgeonfish. If that does not work, remove your largest or smallest wrasse, since either the tank size or length, or aggression may be the issue. PLEASE let us know of any success or observations, and include other fish, tank size, and tank length in your comment.

Carrie McBirney is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

6 Tips for Picking Your First Aquarium Fish

Learn how to start your aquariumLearn how to start your aquarium!
Freshwater Aquarium Basics

The right aquarium fish can make all the difference. Here’s 6 great tips to help you choose the best beginner fish as you embark on your aquarium keeping adventure!

Choosing your first aquarium fish may seem like a daunting task for a beginner. However, with a little research, you will be able to know what fish will prove to be hardy, undemanding, and well-suited to beginners. Perhaps the pet store may have recommended guppies, neons, or catfish, but many beginners have found it difficult to raise them, considering that they are still learning the ropes of aquarium fish care.

These six important tips will help you pick your first aquarium fish. Taking care of these fish species will certainly be a rewarding undertaking that will fuel your love for the hobby.

1. Choose fish which can easily adapt to new surroundings

A good first species should be one that is hardy, active, confident, and disease resistant. Select fish that appear healthy. Avoid fish that manifest visible signs of disease such as white spots, discolored skin patches, frayed fins, etc. Make sure that the fish can withstand water fluctuation since a new tank often has fluctuations in water quality that can stress your fish.

Aside from water conditions, your new fish should be able to adapt well to the presence of aquarium decorations and to the company of other fish species in the tank. Large or active fish can thrive well alone in a tank with little aquarium decor. However, there are fish species that find being alone distressing. Even with excellent water quality, you may find your pet hiding, not feeding, and may become vulnerable to illness.

2. Avoid fish with known specific feeding habits

Pick a fish species that can be fed a simple flake food for the first 6-8 weeks. Fish with specific feeding habits may result in excess amounts of waste products leading to high ammonia and nitrites in the water. The accumulation of these compounds is hazardous to your fish population.

3. Select fish from the same community

Selecting fish species from the same community will help ensure that you achieve balance in your aquarium. If you choose to get several varieties, make sure that they will get along well. Be sure to select the hardiest species. Fish that belong to the same community will have similar water chemistry and temperature requirements while exhibiting like behavior.

4. Start with peaceful community fish species

Aggressive tropical fish species may need to be fed live feeder-fish and this can certainly add up on your list of responsibilities. It is important to know which aggressive fish species can be matched, or else your peaceful community fish species may end up being eaten by its more aggressive tank mates. Aggressive fish species also need more tank space. Some of the tropical fish species that can thrive well in a community tank include tetras, gouramis, and platys.

5. Don’t buy too many at once

It is important that you stock your aquarium slowly. Being a neophyte, you run the risk of losing large numbers of fish to disease or bad water quality. Putting in many fish at the onset may overload the new tank water and lead to a build up of ammonia. The size and type of your tank and aquarium filter will help determine the amount and frequency of introducing new fish species to your tank. As a rule of thumb, no more than six small fish species should be added every seven days.

6. Buy from reputable breeders and pet shops

Before buying fish from a breeder or pet shop, it is recommended to visit the establishment and observe how they take care of the fish. You can see for yourself if the fish has a healthy appetite or is suffering from any health problems or defects. Never buy fish from aquarium shops that are not particular about maintaining hygiene and sanitation in their tanks. Pet shops that allow dead fish floating inside the tank or fail to quarantine sick fish should never be patronized.

Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for betta fish tanks, goldfish tanks and also aquatic plant care products carrying top of the line brands including API, biOrb and Exo Terra.

Striped Rafael Catfish, nicest “thorny” catfish pokes in on Animal-World

April 2, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Spotted Rafael Catfish, Agamyxis pectinifrons

The Striped Rafael Catfish will be quite prickly if touched, but it is a darn nice fellow with a very pleasant attitude!

Despite its thorny protection, the Striped Rafael Catfish is a peaceful, friendly companion towards its tank mates. That is at least towards the one that are big enough that they don’t look like food! This fellow is moderately sized and very pretty too. It’s about 6″ in length with bold black and white striping running horizontally along its body.

Curiously, in the wild the youngsters can act as cleaner fish. They will clean ferocious piscivores (fish that eat other fish!) like the Wolf Fish Hoplias cf. malabaricus. These deadly predators allow them to remove parasites and dead scales from their skin. Cleaner fish are usually striped, so it may be that their patterning triggers recognition, allowing the juveniles to get to away with snacking on the predator, rather than it snacking on them!

If you’re a beginner looking for your first catfish, this pleasant fellow could be just the ticket. It’s hardy and will eat just about anything that lands on the bottom of your tank. It may rest most of the day due to its nocturnal nature, but then at night it will emerge to become a great natural vacuum as it snacks on tasty morsels on the substrate. Yet despite its nocturnal tendencies, this fish also has a very curious nature. Once its comfortable in its home, it may very well come out of hiding during the day just to scout around!

Provide it with a comfortable home and it can live 20 years or more. A decor of driftwood and rocks that offer caves where it can rest, and a bit of plant cover to help subdue the light, and you will have a happy catfish for a very long time.

Learn more about the nicest “thorny” catfish. Pictures and information for the Striped Rafael Catfish Platydoras armatulus, also known as the Humbug Catfish, along with habitat and aquarium care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Aquarium Fish Get Mean, Meet the Bad Guys

Red-bellied Piranha, Pygocentrus nattereriRed-bellied Piranha. Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Jonas Hansel

Bad guys come in all shapes and sizes. Sometime even fish that are considered great community members can get mean!

There are several aquarium fish species which are known to exhibit aggressive behavior. One of the important causes of aggressive behavior inside the tank is attributed to their being territorial, thus you may find some fish species that chase away or nip at others as a means of protecting their space inside the tank.

Yet fish aggressiveness is also attributed to competition for food and difference in size. Sometimes fish will fight when a dominant one feels that its status is being threatened by another fish. Aggression can also be a warning sign; sick fish can become aggressive while other fish tend to bully sick fish. In some instances, a recognized peaceful fish can become aggressive, thus it is common to have one mean fish in the bunch.

The most common manifestations of aggression inside the tank include tail beating, fin-nipping, pushing water at the enemy, mouth-locked wresting, chasing, biting, and even killing.

When choosing to keep a community aquarium, you should know which species can live harmoniously together. Most species of aggressive fish are more suitable for a single species aquarium.

Some of the aggressive fish groups include the following:

Tiger Barb – The Tiger Barb is considered a good community fish however it is prone to nipping fins, thus they should not be kept with long-finned fish species such as angelfish. Tiger barbs can become aggressive if there is overcrowding inside the tank.

Large Tetras – Tetras are considered community dwellers however there may be an aggressive one in the group. When adding new fish, be sure to observe the temperament and whether the new addition is compatible with the rest of the inhabitants of the tank.

Cichlids – Many varieties of cichlids are aggressive and are best kept in one-species tank. Many cichlids can grow to very large sizes. These include the Green Terror, Jewel Cichlid, and Red or Tiger Oscar. African Cichlids are known to be highly predatory and extremely territorial. While not all Cichlids are very aggressive, the largest is usually the dominant one, behaving aggressively towards all the other tank inhabitants.

Giant Danio – The Giant Danio’s long and narrow body can crowd out other fish in the tank. It is also very active and likes to school.

Red Belly Piranha – Piranhas are notoriously predatory. They are known to eat live food. In fact, they will bite fingers when aggravated or hungry.

Large Gouramis – Kissing Gouramis are recognized for being mean and energetic. Gouramis are also considered fin nippers.

Large Rainbow Fish – Although Rainbow fish can live well with other species in a community tank, they can grow large and their fast speed makes it easier for them to prey on smaller inhabitants of the tank.

Wolf Fish – The freshwater wolf fish is a well-known aggressive predator. Also called “Piranha eater”, they have voracious appetites for feeder fish. Any fish that looks like prey can be disemboweled by the wolf fish. Although they don’t really mess with other fish, they are territorial and will nip other inhabitants of the tank.

Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for betta fish tanks, goldfish tanks and also aquatic plant care products carrying top of the line brands including API, biOrb and Exo Terra.

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