Monday, July 22, 2013

The Oscar Fish

Can Oscar Fish Hear?
A very common question we often get asked is "can fish hear?".  The answer to this question is Yes fish can hear, but not in the same way we hear sounds.  Think about it, have you ever seen a fish with ears?  Of course not, a fishes hearing isn't the same as human hearing. You can shout as loud as you like, play music at full volume, a fish will not hear anything, don't believe me?  Try the experiment yourself.
So why is this then?  Fish don't have external ears like mammals, however they have got specialized hearing parts inside their head.  They also have an organ called the lateral line which they use to detect the tiniest vibrations in the water.   So if you were to play a radio very loudly outside the tank, the Oscar would not hear it.  

On the other hand, a lot of bass as we know creates a lot of vibrations, these vibrations could be transferred through the aquarium into the water. I've never experimented myself, but I strongly suspect very heavy vibration caused by a lot of bass could well upset your fish.

Friday, July 19, 2013

An Introduction to Livebearing Fish

Just as their name suggests, livebearers are fish that give birth to live, free-swimming young. However, in the aquarium hobby, the term live-bearer is commonly used to refer to a specific group of fish belonging to the family Poeciliidae. This group of freshwater fish includes perennial aquarium favorites such as mollies, guppies, and platies.

Caring for Live-bearers:

Livebearers are able to thrive in a variety of water conditions and do well in planted aquariums. Though peaceful in temperament, it is a good idea to keep several pairs of the same species to eliminate any potential aggression that may occur. Livebearers are omnivores and require both algae-based foods as well as meaty foods. A varied diet including algae-based flake food, along with freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms, and brine shrimp will provide proper nutrition to a wide range of different live bearer species.
With an average life expectancy between 5 and 7 years, livebearers are relatively long-lived. This allows most hobbyists to witness the birth of several generations of fry. In fact, one of the most fascinating aspects of keeping live-bearers is the rearing of young fry. Hobbyists of all ages will be immediately enthralled and discover a new joy to fish keeping. Live bearers provide depth and dimension to fish keeping, provide a fantastic learning experience for both children and adults, and nurture a life-long appreciation for the aquarium hobby.

Birth of Live-bearers:

For most hobbyists, their first experience with fry (baby fish) is often through livebearers. Without any effort on your part, you may discover that the livebearers you brought home have given birth to a small brood. Depending on water conditions, temperature, and diet some live bearers can have broods as often as every four to eight weeks. You can tell if a female is ready to give birth by her enlarged abdomen or a dark spot located near her anal fin. The spot will turn darker as her delivery date nears. But you must be watchful because some fish will eagerly feast on the newly hatched fry.

To prevent this from happening, place the pregnant female in a separate 5-20 gallon breeding tank just before she releases the fry. This nursery should have all the features of a regular aquarium including filtration (simple foam filters are a great choice), a heater, and some artificial plants for cover. Float the plants, as babies will hide at the surface when first born. Substrate is not necessary and having no substrate makes it easier to see and remove uneaten food. After the pregnant female has released all of her fry, remove the female and return her to the main display aquarium.

Raising Fry:

The fry should be fed a quality food, such as baby brine shrimp, baby fish food, or quality flake food ground into a fine powder. Feed the fry small amounts several times a day. Maintain good water quality by performing regular water changes. Using water from your established aquarium is a great way to acclimate the fry to water conditions of their future home. In about 4 to 6 weeks, the babies should be large enough to release into the main aquarium. But be sure the babies have grown larger than the mouths of adult fish. If it's not possible to set up a separate aquarium, drop-in breeders are a great alternative. Keep in mind that the babies will quickly outgrow and crowd the net breeder. The fry will need to be moved to a larger aquarium sooner to ensure proper growth.

No More Muddy Waters: 5 Aquarium Cleaning Tips

Man's best friend may be looking less like a pup and more like a fish. A recent survey from the American Pet Products Association revealed that more than 170 million freshwater fish are currently kept as pets in U.S. households. To put that into perspective, it's a number that far surpasses other types of pets featured in the survey, including cats (93.6 million), dogs (77.5 million), birds (15 million), and reptiles (13.6 million).

Perhaps the possible health benefits are part of the draw, as some studies have suggested the presence of an aquarium can be soothing to the point of actually lowering your blood pressure. Even if you don't buy that, fish are certainly easier to maintain than some other pets since they don't need to be walked or bathed.

Of course, fish are by no means maintenance-free. You do need to keep their aquatic surroundings clean, but not completely sterile, which can be even more harmful to your fish. This is because you run the risk of removing beneficial microorganisms such as nitrifying bacteria which help break down ammonia present in fish waste. This ammonia can become lethal if left intact, so a little "dirt" is a good thing.

What's the best way to make sure your tank is safe and sound for your fish? Let's take a look at the key steps for keeping your aquarium in check without going overboard.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How To's for Moving an Aquarium or Transferring to a Bigger One!

Their are alot of us fellow reefers out there who at one time or another have moved, therefore had to break down a tank and set it back up again at there new residence, or are wanting to upgrade to a bigger tank. And their will be many more who are in the process or will be crossing this path soon enough! So becuase of this, I am going to try to offer some help and experience since I have had to do this a few months ago. 
The first and foremost thing that needs to be accomplished is a game plan or strategy if you will. This will cover things such as supplies needed, where the tank is going to be set-up again, equipment needed, who is going to help you with the set-up and/or moving of your tank, and a detailed step by step as to how the move/transfer will take place. Trust me, I assure you that by visualizing these issues, it will make for a much smoother and less stressful time!!!

Let's Discus Fish Tank Mates

What other types of tropical fish can be successfully kept with discus?
Cardinal tetras are probably the best companion fish for your discus aquarium. First of all, a group of cardinal tetras are simply beautiful tropical fish. They are fun to watch. Cardinal tetras are also very suitable with the warm, acidic water that discus like. Finally, cardinal tetras are dither fish. Dither fish can have a strong calming effect on more timid, larger fish like discus. The small dither fish swim back and forth in the aquarium, out in the open. The discus notice that these small fish seem secure in their environment. That gives them a signal that everything is safe in their enclosed environment and allows them to come out into the open without any fear. If you ever have shy, skittish discus that always seem to hide, you might want to add a school of cardinal tetras to your aquarium.

Corydoras catfish are another good fish to add to a discus tank. Adding a few corydoras catfish to the tank will help with clean up maintenance. They will scamper around the aquarium looking for any particles of food that have not been eaten. This will help keep the aquarium water cleaner and your discus will be much happier for it. If you add coryadoras to you discus aquarium, try to keep the water temperature around 82 - 83 degrees. Corys don't like the higher temperatures. Sterbai Ancistrus are also suitable tank mates for your discus. These fish will help keep your tank clean by eating the unwanted algae that forms in your aquarium. Make sure you supplement the ancistrus's diet with some quality algae wafers on a regular basis and add a small piece of driftwood in your tank to help them digest their food.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Small Aquariums: The Perfect Gift to Beautify the Home or Office

Have you considered bringing the beauty and therapeutic benefits of an aquarium to your home or office? Perhaps you decided against it thinking, "I don't have room or time to set up an aquarium... especially during the holidays." Thanks to today's small desktop aqua
riums, adding the colorful and wonderful beauty of tropical fish is easier than ever.
Glass bowls are a thing of the past
Technological advances have brought about lightweight acrylic aquariums that dramatically redefine the concept of small aquariums. Sophisticated, streamlined, and designed for convenient set up, many desktop aquariums now feature an all-inclusive hood with built-in filtration and lighting. These integrated systems save time by simplifying equipment selection and fish enjoy much healthier water conditions.

Fun new pets and learning opportunities for everyone
A new desktop aquarium makes a perfect gift for children or budding hobbyists of any age. Not only are they beautiful to look at, aquariums are fun, educational tools that parents and children can enjoy together. The excitement generated over an aquarium spurs eager minds to share what they learned with family members and friends.

New Arrival Acclimation Guide - Aquarium Care

The purpose of acclimation is simple: 
The water that the fish or corals are packaged in has different temperature, pH, and salinity parameters than your aquarium. Fish, and especially invertebrates (including corals), are very sensitive to even minor changes in these parameters, so proper acclimation is the key to ensuring their successful relocation.
We recommend either of the two acclimation methods explained below, and wish to remind you the acclimation process should never be rushed. Also, remember to keep your aquarium lights off for at least four hours after the specimens are introduced into the aquarium to help them further adjust.
Though not a requirement of our acclimation procedures, we highly recommend that all aquatic life be quarantined in a separate aquarium for a period of two weeks to reduce the possibility of introducing diseases and parasites into your aquarium and to ensure they are accepting food, eating properly, and are in optimum health before their final transition to your main display.
Floating Method
  1. Turn off aquarium lights.
  2. Dim the lights in the room where the shipping box will be opened. Never open the box in bright light - severe stress or trauma may result from sudden exposure to bright light.
  3. Float the sealed bag in the aquarium for 15 minutes (Fig. A). Never open the shipping bag at this time. This step allows the water in the shipping bag to adjust slowly to the temperature in the aquarium, while maintaining a high level of dissolved oxygen.
  4. After floating the sealed shipping bag for 15 minutes, cut open the bag just under the metal clip (Fig. B) and roll the top edge of the bag down one inch to create an air pocket within the lip of the bag. This will enable the bag to float on the surface of the water (Fig. C). For heavy pieces of live coral that will submerge the shipping bag, place the bag containing the coral in a plastic bowl or specimen container.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag (Fig. D).
  6. Repeat step 5 every four minutes until the shipping bag is full.
  7. Lift the shipping bag from the aquarium and discard half the water from the bag (Fig. E).
  8. Float the shipping bag in the aquarium again and proceed to add 1/2 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag every four minutes until the bag is full.
  9. Net aquatic life from the shipping bag and release into the aquarium (Fig. F).
  10. Remove the filled shipping bag from the aquarium and discard the water. Never release shipping water directly into the aquarium.
Drip Method

This method is considered more advanced. It is geared toward sensitive inhabitants such as corals, shrimp, sea stars, and wrasses. You will need airline tubing and must be willing to monitor the entire process. Gather a clean, 3 or 5-gallon bucket designated for aquarium use only. If acclimating both fish and invertebrates, use a separate bucket for each.

  1. Start with Steps 1-3 of the floating method to acclimate water temperature.
  2. Carefully empty the contents of the bags (including the water) into the buckets (Fig. G), making sure not to expose sensitive invertebrates to the air. Depending on the amount of water in each bag, this may require tilting the bucket at a 45 degree angle to make sure the animals are fully submerged (Fig. H). You may need a prop or wedge to help hold the bucket in this position until there is enough liquid in the bucket to put it back to a level position.
  3. Using airline tubing, set up and run a siphon drip line from the main aquarium to each bucket. You’ll need separate airline tubing for each bucket used. Tie several loose knots in the airline tubing, or use a plastic or other non-metal airline control valve, (Fig. I), to regulate flow from the aquarium. It is also a good idea to secure the airline tubing in place with an airline holder. The Doctors Foster and Smith Acclimation Kit is a convenient alternative that simplifies the drip acclimation process.
  4. Begin a siphon by sucking on the end of the airline tubing you'll be placing into each of the buckets. When water begins flowing through the tubing, adjust the drip (by tightening one of the knots or adjusting the control valve) to a rate of about 2-4 drips per second (Fig. J).
  5. When the water volume in the bucket doubles, discard half and begin the drip again until the volume doubles once more – about one hour. 
  6. At this point, the specimens can be transferred to the aquarium. Sponges, clams, and gorgonias should never be directly exposed to air. Gently scoop them out of the drip bucket with the specimen bag, making sure they’re fully covered in water. Submerge the bag underwater in the aquarium and gently remove the specimen from the bag. Next, seal off the bag underwater by twisting the opening, and remove it from the aquarium. Discard both the bag and the enclosed water. A tiny amount of the diluted water will escape into the aquarium; this is O.K. Also, to avoid damage, please remember never to touch the "fleshy" part of live coral when handling.
NOTE: Most invertebrates and marine plants are more sensitive than fish to changes in specific gravity. It is imperative to acclimate invertebrates to a specific gravity of 1.023-1.025 or severe stress or trauma may result. Test specific gravity with a hydrometer or refractometer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

About Live Aquarium Corals

Live aquarium coral can be difficult to maintain, but by using aquarium coral you can create astonishingly beautiful and fascinating underwater landscapes in your aquarium. If you have no previous saltwater experience, you should ideally begin by keeping a fish-only saltwater aquarium or a fish-only with live rock aquarium before you set up a reef aquarium with delicate live aquarium corals.  

Aquarium coral have very particular requirements and keeping healthy aquarium coral differs a lot from keeping fish and mobile invertebrates. The ocean is filled with an abundance of different soft and hard coral species and only a fraction of them have been successfully kept in hobby aquariums. Always research each species thoroughly before you purchase them for your aquarium in order to find out more about the specific requirements for each species. 

Aquarium coral is not only beautiful to look at; they will affect the entire environment in your saltwater aquarium and many dedicated aquarists have managed to create intricate reef ecosystems in their tanks. Aquarium coral is usually attached to a substrate in the aquarium, such as a cliff or coral skeletons. Corals can also grow on artificial objects, such as aquarium decorations. In the wild, sunken ships and airplanes can quite rapidly become covered in corals. 

Flowerhorn Cichlids Breeding - About Flowerhorn Breeding

Flowerhorn cichlid fish is a type of hybrids that was created in Malaysia during the second half of the 1990s. The fish quickly became very popular due to their beauty and the fact that they got a reputation as bringers of good fortune. This resulted in Flowerhorn cichlids being sold at very high prices and Flowerhorn breeding becoming big business. Flowerhorn breeding became something that could make you rich and the fish was even traded in the same manner as stocks for a period on time before the bubble burst and a lot of people lost a lot of money they invested in no much less worth Flowerhorn cichlid fish.  

Flowerhorn cichlids are easy to breed and Flowerhorn breeding can be conducted in much the same way as many South American cichlids which are believed to be the origin of this species. This text will help you successfully breed your Flowerhorn cichlids but will not say anything about how to line bread and crossbreed Flowerhorn cichlids to get high quality fish as an result of your Flowerhorn breeding. Mainly because of the fact that this is a carefully guarded secret that is only know among commercial Flowerhorn breeders. 

Flowerhorn cichlids are best kept in large aquariums and should only be kept with other aggressive species. They can be very aggressive towards the other sex and the use of a separator is sometimes a necessity when breeding Flowerhorn cichlids. The holding tanks for Flowerhorn cichlids should be decorated with rock formations and it is beneficial if the decoration is designed in such a manner that natural territorial borders are created, especially if more then one Flowerhorn cichlids are meant to be housed in the aquarium tank. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How to Set up a Tropical Aquarium? - Step by Step Guide

  1. Place your tank and stand where you want them to go. Keep in mind that tanks in direct sunlight are prone to algae problems.
  2. Start by filling your tank with your substrate, about 5 cm from the bottom.
  3. Install your filter and heater, but don't turn them on yet.
  4. Fill the tank halfway with treated tap water. You can pour the water over a saucer or other small dish to avoid messing up your substrate.
  5. Put in your decorations and plants.
  6. Fill the rest of the tank about 5cm from the top of the tank.
  7. Turn on your equipment and make sure everything is working properly. Set your heater somewhere between 78 and 80 degrees F.
  8. Put on the hood and check that the lights work.
  9. Cycle the tank before adding any fish.
  10. Once your tank is cycled, only add a few fish at a time to let your biological filter catch up.

How to Feed a Fish? - Proper Feed Guideline for Aquarium Fishes

  • Buy the type of fish food that is suitable for the fish you bought. Do some research and find out if your fish is an herbivore, a carnivore, or an omnivore. Most fish can be fed flake food or pellets, but some species have specialized diets. You may want to buy several types of food.
  • Feed in small portions, only as much as your fish can eat in 2 or 3 minutes. If you put too much food in the tank, scoop it out with a fine net.
  • Spread out the food so everyone gets some.
  • Several times a week, give your fish frozen, freeze-dried, or live foods, such as bloodworms, tubifex worms,daphnia, and brine shrimp. This will improve their overall health and color.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How to Set Up an Aquarium - Aquarium Care Guide

Setting up your aquarium should be a relatively simple procedure. You should be able to get the whole system up and running in a couple of hours at the most, although you'll have to wait some time before you add the fish.
The most important thing for you to do before you begin is to be sure you're prepared. Know in detail what you want the aquarium to be like when you're done, and be sure you have all the equipment, space, and tools you'll need.
A new, brand-name tank will almost certainly not leak, but you may want to be absolutely sure about this before setting up the tank in its final location. Choose a dry area, cover it with newspapers, and place the tank on them. Very carefully fill the tank to the rim with cool water and wait for an hour or two. If the newspapers are wet, you know you have a problem with your tank.
If there are no leaks, empty the tank, wipe out the interior, and place it on the aquarium stand in its permanent location. If you like, you can apply a background material to the back of the tank. This is optional, but many fish feel more secure if the back and sides are covered. Once this is done, you are ready to install the filtration system.
The undergravel filter plate should be rinsed thoroughly and then placed in the tank. If the plate does not fit the bottom exactly, place it so that it is up against the back of the tank and centered.
The lift tubes can be installed next. Because the tubes are designed to fit the tallest tanks, you may need to cut them to fit your particular aquarium. If so, cut the tubes so that the tops will be just below the surface of the water when the tank is filled.
Next, you must hook up all of the air line tubing to the undergravel filter and any air stones. Connect a length of tubing to the air pump.
If you are using a check valve to ensure that no water can flow into the air pump, make sure it is facing the correct direction. There is often an arrow on the body of the valve indicating this. You can also test the valve by blowing into either end to determine which way it allows air to flow.
Cut lengths of air tubing to go from the check valve to the gang valve or directly to the air line stems at the top of the undergravel lift tubes. Even if your air pump has two outlets and you are only using two lift tube air stones, a gang valve offers better control of the air flow to each piece of equipment.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Atlanta Aquarium - Lets You Swim With Whale Sharks

A shark with 15 meters length, and weighs about 12 tons and is swimming directly behind you. Stay calm and try not to look or smell like phytoplankton. These sharks don’t like meat – at least that’s what the guides told you after you paid $225 for 30 minutes of swimming with these giant whale sharks in the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta.

Their mouths – wide enough to swallow a Volkswagen - are lined with 350 teeth, but they’re for sifting rather than chomping. When the shark expels a mouthful of water through its gills, those teeth hold back all the tasty stuff to be swallowed. They are the largest fish in the sea, but they eat only krill, macro-algae, plankton and small squid or vertebrates that get sucked in to their huge mouths while they filter feed.
You’ll learn all this during 90 minutes of preliminary instructions and education before plunging into the 10-metre-deep pool containing 6.3 million gallons of sea water. It’s the only place in the world where you can snorkel or scuba dive with whale sharks, unless you fall overboard far from shore in some tropical sea.

Don’t touch. That’s the first rule when swimming with these gentle giants. Three guides accompany six guest swimmers at a time in the tank and one of the guides is vide taping your experience so you can buy the DVD when you’re back on terra firma.

Audubon Aquarium to Open Geaux Fish Gallery

NEW ORLEANS — The Audubon Nature Institute is scheduled to open a Louisiana fisheries exhibit Thursday at its Audubon Aquarium of the Americas called Geaux Fish! It will feature six sections that both highlight the Louisiana game fish, bait fish, and commercial seafood industries and educate visitors about the importance of preserving the Gulf of Mexico's abundant aquatic resources through research and conservation.
"Audubon's mission has always been to celebrate the wonders of nature, and Geaux Fish! is an exciting opportunity for us to expand our already considerable presence in the landscape of conservation through an entertaining and memorable way," said Audubon President and CEO Ron Forman. "It is essential that we teach our children about the importance of a vibrant, well-managed marine ecosystem so we can enjoy an abundance of aquatic life in the future."
There are two life-sized boats that feature interactive fishing games, where visitors can cast virtual reels and identify local species. There also is a simulated seafood market and a play area.
And, visitors can learn about the nonprofit institute's various ongoing Gulf-related initiatives.
Look for the tagged red fish and drum in the biggest tank. Those flexible yellow straws poking from their bodies help scientists keep track of the fish population.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Home Aquariums - Why These Aquariums Are Handy

The practice of keeping fish in the home came about in the late 1800′s. These fish were usually kept for short periods of time, and were used as a food source. Home aquariums were generally kept only in coastal towns where the fish were readily accessible. Today, however many things of changed. 

We wouldn’t dream of dipping a net into an aquarium and frying up the family pet for dinner. That’s what Red Lobster is for. Home aquariums are for our personal entertainment and enjoyment. Aquariums add life and color to any room. They soothe sick patients at doctor’s offices, and entertain small children while their parents are shopping at Nordstrom.

When considering adopting a family pet, think fish. They are a good compromise when your children are eying that puppy in the window of the local pet store. Aquariums need little care in comparison to cats, dogs and even birds. When going out of town, it is acceptable to leave the fish alone for a week or even longer. Just have a neighbor feed them once or twice. There is no grooming or bathing needed for fish. 

Tips on Aquarium Care and Cleaning - Aquarium Guide

The more you understand about any subject, the more interesting it becomes. As you read this article you’ll find that the subject of Aquarium is certainly no exception.
The proper care and cleaning of your aquarium is the most important, yet most overlooked aspect of owning an aquarium. By avoiding the care and maintenance of a fish tank, not only will it lose the visual appeal, but your fish will be unhealthy and unhappy. By following a daily, weekly and monthly care program, you will maintain a beautiful, clean and healthy aquarium.

Daily Cleaning Routine:
To maintain a clean aquarium, there are some daily tasks that must be done. First and foremost, it’s important to check the temperature of the tank and make sure it stays consistent. For tropical freshwater fish, the temperature should average at around 77 degrees. Too much heat in your aquarium will promote the growth of algae. 

Always check for sick or dead fish daily. If you have a sick fish, it should be removed from the tank immediately or it may harm the other inhabitants of the aquarium. Lastly, check that the pump and filter are functioning properly.
If your Aquarium facts are out-of-date, how will that affect your actions and decisions? Make certain you don’t let important Aquarium information slip by you.