The Best and Worst Fish for Beginners

The vast majority of marine fish sold by aquarium dealers are native to warm, tropical coral reefs. Their brilliant colors, unique body shapes, and animated behavior make these fish preferred saltwater tank inhabitants. In this chapter, we'll look at the various families of fish that commonly inhabit coral reefs and whose members may be available for your tropical fish-only marine aquarium. This is by no means a complete list of tropical marine fish families, since there are thousands of...

Caution

In the aquarium, these wastes must be removed. Carbon dioxide generally leaves the water through aeration at the surface or as part of photosynthesis by algae in the aquarium. Ammonia must be converted to nitrite, which is then converted to nitrate, a less toxic compound. This process of ammonia conversion is called the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle is driven by bacteria. Now, as we all know, there are good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good bacteria that convert ammonia (NH4) into...

Anaerobic Conditions

Biological filtration will not be completely established for several months, so be sure to be very conservative when you add your first fish. Start with a very small number of peaceful, inexpensive fish. Introducing very territorial fish, such as some of the Damsels, may make it difficult to add more fish, since these fish establish territories and may be aggressive toward newcomers. Closely monitor ammonia and nitrite levels after the first fish are added to make sure the biological filtration...

Dottybacks

Fishes of the family Pseudochromidae are very similar to the Fairy Basslets in size and appearance, yet they are distributed in the Indo-Pacific while the Basslets are confined to the Caribbean. This family contains the large genus Pseudochromis, comprising about forty species. Unfortunately, some of the Dottybacks can be highly territorial and care must be taken to choose the right species for a peaceful marine aquarium. The brilliant purple Strawberry Dottyback is very hardy in captivity. The...

Clownfish and Damselfish

These fishes are very popular in the aquarium trade for hobbyists at all levels of experience. The family Pomocentridae includes the popular Clownfish and the Damselfish. The Clownfish are also called Anemonefish because they live unharmed among the stinging tentacles of anemones. The Clowns and the anemones live in harmony and both seem to receive protection from the relationship. This relationship works in the aquarium as well, but Clownfish don't need anemones to survive in the aquarium....

Magazines

Monthly aquarium magazines provide you with some of the most up-to-date information on aquarium keeping. Timely articles on breeding, feeding, disease, and species-specific husbandry entertain and inform the new aquarist. Product information and classified advertising are excellent features of an aquarium magazine. Magazines that have proven to be very good conduits of information are One TFH Plaza Neptune City, NJ 07753 (908) 988-8400 www.tfh.com

Boxfish and Trunkfish

The fish of the family Ostraciidae have box-shaped bodies covered with bony plates and no pelvic fins. These fish release poisons into the water when threatened and are, therefore, a poor choice for the average aquarium. Boxfish are generally bottomfeeders and can be intolerant of their own kind. You may find the This Spotted Boxfish secretes poison. This Spotted Boxfish secretes poison. Spotted Boxfish Ostracion meleagris in the aquarium trade, but, like all its cousins, it is best avoided. It...

T I P

Think carefully about where the tank will be placed because once the aquarium is set up, it cannot easily be moved. water. Since most marine tropical fish prefer water warmer than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the amount of oxygen may be limited in the tank. If a tank has a lot of surface area, which is dictated by its length and width, then it has more room for gas exchange at the surface. This means more oxygen entering the water and more toxic gases leaving the water. Hence, larger tanks can hold...

Snappers

The family Lutjanidae, which includes more than 200 species, is another group of fast-growing, highly active fish that are not suitable as adults for the average marine aquarium. Several species of this family are commercially exploited The Emperor Snapper will quickly dominate an 1 1 f oti throughout the world. aquarium. These fish are predatory by nature, require a lot of space, and will quickly dominate an aquarium. The Emperor Snapper Lutjanus sebae , a large, predatory fish, does turn up...

Info

If you are interested in keeping a saltwater aquarium, this is the book for you. Perhaps you've had a freshwater tank and would like to graduate to the more complex marine environment. Perhaps, like me, you are a fish enthusiast. The world of fish is both fascinating and complex. This book will help you to understand that world and will teach you what you need to know to set up and maintain a successful saltwater aquarium. To do that, you'll need a general knowledge of fish, their anatomy and...

Angelfish to Avoid

Three-spot Angelfish Apolemichthys trimaculatus Delicate, territorial, difficult to acclimate and feed Bicolor Cherub Centropyge bicolor Delicate Blue-faced Angelfish Pomacanthusxanthometopon Shy, delicate Queen Angelfish Holacanthus ciliaris Aggressive, territorial, grows large King Angelfish Holacanthuspasser Very aggressive, grows large Rock Beauty Holocanthus tricolor Very aggressive, finicky French Angelfish Pomacanthusparu Aggressive, grows large Koran Angelfish Pomacanthus...

Parasitic Diseases

Trematode Infection Saltwater

Cause Amyloodinium ocellatum dinoflagellate protozoan Symptoms The gills are usually the first site of the infection. It then spreads to the skin, making it dull, patchy, and velvet-like white spots are visible on sections of intact skin. As the disease progresses, the fish's behavior may include fasting, gasping, scratching against objects, and sluggishness. Lesions caused by the dinoflagellate can lead to secondary bacterial infection. Treatment This organism has three stages to its life...

Fungal Diseases

Ichthyophonus Disease, Whirling Disease Symptoms These fungi invade the internal organs of the fish, infecting the kidney, heart, spleen, and liver. Clinical signs include emaciation, spinal curvature, darkening or paleness of the skin, roughening of the skin, fin erosion, and skin ulcers. Erratic swimming behavior can be a sign, as well. Necropsy reveals white nodules on the internal organs. Treatment This fungus is a parasitic organism with a complex life cycle. The fungal cysts are usually...

Dinoflagellates

Members of the group Dynophyta are single-celled organisms that have the characteristics of both plants and animals. The name dinoflagellate refers to the forward swimming motion created by their tails, which are called flagella. Not all species of dinoflagellates are photosynthetic some are planktonic, while others live on the bottom. A few species of dinoflagellates are harmful to sea life and those that consume it. Dinoflagellate blooms, called red tide, turn coastal waters reddish-brown,...

Fairy Basslets

There are only three species of Basslets in the family Grammatidae. These somewhat shy fish from the Caribbean prefer a lot of shelter, which they defend from other tank inhabitants. Although a beautiful addition to any tank, the Basslet's finicky habits are best suited for the invertebrate tank of the experienced hobbyist. You may see two family members, the Blackcap Gramma Gramma melacara and the Royal Gramma Gramma loreto , in the aquarium trade. Avoid them both are highly territorial.

Viral Diseases

Symptoms The main sign is fin and body lesions that are raised, whitish, warty, and have a lumpy texture like cauliflower. These lesions may take three to four weeks to reach their full size. Diseased fish typically show few signs of distress and continue to eat and behave normally. The infection is generally not fatal, but it can be transmitted to other fish in the tank. Treatment There is no effective treatment for this viral infection, other than to isolate the fish immediately and let the...