Angelfish

Angelfish from coral reefs throughout the world are very popular aquarium fish. Some grow quite large (over 24 inches), while others don't get much longer than a few inches. Angels come in a variety of colors and patterns, which in some species change as the fish matures from juvenile to adult. Angelfish are often confused with Butterflyfish because both have ornate colors and deep, flattened bodies. The Angels, however, belong to the family Pomacanthidae and can be readily distinguished from...

Bacterial Diseases

Causes Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Vibrio bacteria Symptoms This is an external bacterial infection that causes erosion or rotting of the fins and the fin rays. The base of the fins usually reddens as well. In advanced stages, the disease spreads to the gills and skin, causing bleeding and ulceration. Treatment The occurrence of this disease is thought to reflect deteriorating water quality. Immediate steps should be taken to improve aquarium conditions. Remove uneaten food, do a partial water...

Blennies

These long, slender, very active fish belong to the family Blenniidae, which includes about three hundred species. They generally eat a variety of foods, from algae to commercial flake foods, and prefer hiding places such as caves and crevices. Most Blennies rarely exceed 4 inches long in captivity, and many are peaceful additions to a new aquarium. Midas Blenny (Ecsenius midas) Distribution Indian Ocean, Red Sea Size 3 inches Food Omnivorous Tank level Lower level Like most Blennies, this fish...

Bluegreen Algae

The blue-green algae are not algae at all, they are bacteria. For years, they were considered algae because they are aquatic and they make their own food. This group of bacteria is called the Cyanobacteria and it has the distinction of being the oldest known group of fossils more than 3.5 billion years old. Because they are bacteria, blue-green algae are small and single-celled, but they grow in colonies that are large enough to see. Although called blue-green algae, their colors can range from...

Butterflyfish

These popular aquarium fish belonging to the family Chaetodontidae have oval, flat bodies, terminal mouths (the mouth is on the tip of the snout), and stunning color patterns. The Butterflies are well adapted to life on the coral reef, feeding on the reef itself by seeking algae, sponges, and corals. The Butterflyfish in general are not suitable for the inexperienced aquarist because they can be difficult to keep. Although very beautiful, these fish tend to be very sensitive to changes in water...

Butterflyfish to Avoid

Collare Butterflyfish (Chaetodon collare) Difficult to feed Saddleback Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ephippium) Difficult to feed, incompatible with others Banded Butterflyfish (Chaetodon striatus) Delicate, incompatible with others Copper-band Butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus) Delicate, difficult to feed, needs very high water quality Four-eye Butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus) Delicate Red-headed Butterflyfish (Chaetodon larvatus) Delicate, difficult to feed Chevron Butterflyfish (Chaetodon...

Cardinalfish

The Apogonidae family comprises almost two hundred species of slow-moving, peaceful fish. Large eyes, two dorsal fins, and a large head are characteristic of these fish. Although nocturnal, Cardinals can be acclimated to daytime feeding and activity. When kept with other tranquil species in a community tank, these fish are well suited for the beginner. Distribution Western Atlantic Ocean The Flamefish is one of the tranquil Cardinalfish that is well suited for the beginner's aquarium. This fish...

Check the Filter

If you have an external filter, it is very important to check the filter media. The top-level mat gets dirty easily and quickly, since this is the level that collects the largest pieces of debris. An excessive build-up of detritus in your filter inhibits flow and ultimately reduces the filter's effectiveness. Rinse the filter mat every three or four months under lukewarm water until the water runs clear. You should probably replace about 50 percent of the filter media every six months, making...

Commercial Remedies

It is very important to use commercially available treatments instead of homemade remedies. Some experts recommend chemicals such as malachite green or potassium permanganate for treating diseases. These chemicals must be handled in very exact dosages. Overdosing a fish with one of them will kill the fish more rapidly than the disease. That's why commercial remedies are a much better choice. Discuss all the possible remedies for a disease with your local aquarium dealer and let that person...

Copper

Copper is a pollutant in the marine environment. It is, however, thought by many aquarists to kill parasites. Copper can have adverse effects on fish, it is not very stable in saltwater systems, it kills invertebrates, and its fate in the aquarium is not fully understood. For all these reasons, there are experts who believe copper should be eliminated as a treatment of aquarium fish disease. Nonetheless, it The number of treatments available for marine fish diseases is very limited. This is a...

Diatoms

These algae of the group Bacillariophyta are microscopic cells composed of overlapping half-shells of silica. These are the diatoms, planktonic (free-floating) and benthic (bottom-living) algae that float in the ocean or are in the sediment. Their silica shells, called frustules, are geometric in shape, but their microscopic size makes it difficult for the average aquarist to see them. These algae proliferate in aquariums with high nitrate levels. They are usually the first algae to establish...

Dietary Needs of Fish

Like all living animals, fish have dietary requirements for the basic building blocks of life protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In their natural environment, fish forage to meet their dietary needs. In the home aquarium, they rely entirely on you to bring home the bacon. Unfortunately, the exact nutritional requirements of tropical marine fish are very poorly understood. These requirements can differ by species, age, water temperature, and many other factors. The best that...

Feeding Your Fish

The raw materials needed for life and growth are called nutrients. Fish, like all animals (and plants), need these nutrients for sustenance, growth, and reproduction. They can only get these nutrients by eating plants or other animals. There are many things to take into account when it comes to providing food for your fish. In their natural habitat, fish have evolved various feeding strategies to optimize their ability to obtain nutrients. With all the different kinds of fish and habitats, you...

Filefish

Like their close relatives the Triggerfish, members of the family Monocanthidae have a modified dorsal spine that locks into place. In contrast to the Triggers, the Filefish are more peaceful, less active, and generally smaller, making them more ideally suited to a tropical community tank. However, there may be some difficulty in getting these fish to eat in captivity, since they normally feed on coral and algae. Particularly avoid the Long-nosed Filefish (Oxymonocanthus longirostris), which is...

Gobies

Somewhat similar in body shape to the Blennies, the Gobies belong to the family Gobiidae. Gobies have modified pelvic fins that are joined, forming a sucking disk. This family is the largest of the marine fishes, with more than 1,500 species and 200 genera. Some are able to live out of water for extended periods, returning to wet their gills. Like the Blennies, Gobies prefer hiding places and shelter. Some reef-dwelling Gobies act as cleaner fish. Most Gobies are brightly colored, peaceful, and...

Green Algae

This group is called the Chlorophyta. With 7,000 species, this is the most diverse group, but only about 10 percent of the green algae species are marine forms. These are typically the most beneficial algae, although some species are less desirable because they can cloud water or grow out of control. They are green because they contain chlorophyll, just as higher forms of plants do. The planktonic spores of green algae are not visible to the naked eye and appear as a green cloudiness in the...

Groupers and Sea Bass

Like the Grunts and Snappers, the family Serranidae is a group of fast-growing, large, predatory fishes. Most, therefore, require larger aquariums if they are to be kept for any length of time. Nonetheless, with more than 350 species in this The Blackcap Gramma is too territorial to live in a community tank. The Blackcap Gramma is too territorial to live in a community tank. You may have trouble getting the Fringed Filefish (Monacanthus ciliatus) to eat. You may have trouble getting the Fringed...

How to Feed Your Fish

The biggest feeding problem for the beginner aquarist is knowing how much and how often to feed. Some fish are gluttons while others will stop when they are sated. Follow the guidelines below when feeding your fish and you will develop a working sense of how much and how often to feed. 1. Offer as much food as your fish will eat in five minutes. Flakes should sink no deeper than one-third the height of the tank. Provide tablets or pellets for bottom fish. 2. Feed your fish in very small...

Info

There are likely to be a few other items that you're dying to pick up before bringing your fish home. Use the following blanks to note any additional items We can be reached at (_)_-_ Cellphone (_) We will return on_(date) at_(approximate time) Other individual to contact in case of emergency _ In the following blank lines, let the sitter know what to feed, how much, and when what tasks need to be performed daily and what weekly tasks they'll be responsible for. Other tasks and special...

Internal Medication

Some remedies need to be administered internally. This is usually accomplished by injecting the fish or feeding it the remedy. Giving your fish an injection is not recommended for the average home aquarist. A hospital tank should be small and sparsely decorated, but make sure to include some hiding places for the fish. A hospital tank should be small and sparsely decorated, but make sure to include some hiding places for the fish. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a sick fish will still...

Lionfish and Scorpionfish

No aquarium book is complete without mentioning these unusual fish of the family Scorpaenidae, which includes more than 300 species of fish with stocky spiny heads and spiny fins armed with venom glands. They are generally predators that hover or lie in wait for prey, suddenly lunging at and engulfing it. Their camouflage coloration and body shape help them ambush their prey successfully. For obvious reasons, these fish must be handled with great care. In captivity, they are generally peaceful...

Live Foods

Live food is an excellent source of nutrition for the tropical marine aquarium. Fish fed live foods usually grow faster and have higher survival rates. This is because live foods retain active enzymes that make digestion more efficient. Many aquarists believe live foods are an essential requirement of captive fish and should be fed at least as a dietary supplement. The kind of live food you offer will depend on the size of the fish you are feeding. Small fish, such as freshwater Guppies and...

Maintaining Your Aquarium

You planned your aquarium, bought your equipment, set up your tank, established excellent water quality, carefully selected and introduced the fish, and fed them well. Now it's time to keep your fish healthy by maintaining the quality of their new home. Aquarium maintenance involves everything from turning the light on and off and feeding the fish every day to spending time observing your fish. Watching is the fun part, of course that's why you have an aquarium, after all. But it's also...

Moray Eels

These well-known, unique fish belong to the family Muraenidae. The Morays lack pectoral fins, have small gill openings, and sport long, fang-like teeth. Morays are generally nocturnal fish, feeding on other fish and invertebrates at night and spending most of their daytime hours in holes and crevices. In the wild, these fish easily grow longer than five feet, but this is not common in the average aquarium. Moray eels readily accept a variety of foods, but they are carnivorous and will consume...

Natural Foods

As the name implies, natural foods include items that are obtained fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried with little to no processing. These are typically leafy green vegetables, fish and invertebrate flesh, and thawed or freeze-dried brine shrimp and other plankton. This Midas Blenny has a healthy appetite and will eat just about anything. This Midas Blenny has a healthy appetite and will eat just about anything. It is essential to provide vegetable matter for herbivorous fishes. Algae in your...

Partial Water Changes

Partial water changes are one of the most important aspects of cleaning and maintaining your tank. When you do a water change, you remove some of the aquarium water and replace it with properly balanced artificial sea water. The amount you change will vary with the quality of your tank and with the frequency of water changes. Some experts believe a 5 percent water change is sufficient every two weeks, while others believe this volume should be up to 20 percent. I recommend that you start with a...

Porcupinefish

These oddities of the marine aquarium belong to the family Diodontidae. They have spiny scales and are able to inflate their bodies to ward off danger. Although relatively easy to keep in captivity, they generally get too large for the average aquarist. This Goldentail Moray Eel (Gymnothorax miliaris) grows up to be big and aggressive. This Goldentail Moray Eel (Gymnothorax miliaris) grows up to be big and aggressive. The Long-spine Porcupinefish gets too big for the average aquarium. The...

Prepared Foods

As you would guess, this category of food includes processed flakes and dried food for aquarium fish. Commercially prepared foods make every effort to approximate the three basic dietary requirements proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. They are also supplemented with vitamins and minerals. These foods come in many varieties, depending on the type of fish (carnivore, herbivore, omnivore) you are feeding, and new formulations are added every year to better meet the dietary needs of your fish....

Puffers

The Pufferfish look like Porcupinefish without spines, but they belong to a different family, the Tetraodontidae. They are smaller than the Porcupines and have fused, beak-like jaws. These fish also inflate to avoid being eaten, but their flesh is poisonous. Pufferfish are vigorous feeders in the aquarium, but some species can be aggressive. Spotted Sharpnose Pufferfish (Canthigaster solandri) This Pufferfish is the smallest and most beautiful of the common puffers. It differs from the others...

Rabbitfish

The family Siganidae originates from the Indo-Pacific and contains two genera and about a dozen species. Their flat, oval bodies and small mouths are similar to those of Surgeonfish. In the wild, they prefer to browse on algae and other The Foxface Rabbitfish is a vegetarian. The Foxface Rabbitfish is a vegetarian. vegetable matter, but they can be lured into taking vegetable foods in captivity. Rabbitfish have venom glands in their dorsal and anal spines, so care must be taken when handling...

Red Algae

This group of algae, called the Rhodophyta, contains about 6,000 species. Most are marine seaweeds. Although most red algae are multicellular and grow attached to rocks and other algae, there are some single-celled forms. Red algae are red because of the pigment phycoerythin, which absorbs blue light and reflects red light. Their coloration depends on how much of this pigment they have, and may range from reddish yellow to bright red to greenish blue and If your water becomes cloudy, you won't...

Seahorses and Pipefish

These exotic fish of the family Syngnathidae are no strangers to the aquarium trade. The Pipefish lack the characteristic prehensile tail, vertical swimming position, and angled head of the Seahorse. The group is characterized by unusual reproductive behavior, in which the female deposits eggs into an Seahorses are beautiful to watch, but are too delicate for the beginner aquarist to keep. Seahorses are beautiful to watch, but are too delicate for the beginner aquarist to keep. abdominal pouch...

Squirrelfish

These vibrant red fish of the family Holocentridae are nocturnal in the wild, using their large eyes to help them feed at night. In the aquarium, they can be conditioned to eat during the day. Their long bodies have two dorsal fins a longer fin of spines and a shorter, soft-rayed fin close to the tail. Squirrelfish need a lot of space to accommodate their highly active nature. They can be disruptive to a peaceful community tank and, as they get larger, they may consume smaller fish. You may see...

Surgeonfish and Tangs

These common aquarium fish belong to the family Acanthuridae. They are characterized by high profile and narrow, oval bodies. Their name is derived from the presence of two scalpel-like spines at the base of the caudal fin (tail). These are used for defense and during territorial disputes. These schooling fish are algae grazers in the wild as well as in captivity, but can be trained to take other kinds of food. In the wild, they will grow longer than 15 inches, but rarely reach half this length...

Sweetlips

This group of fishes belongs to the same family as the Grunts, the Haemulidae. Originating in the Indo-Pacific, Sweetlips can be active like Grunts but are excellent aquarium inhabitants as juveniles, which are generally more brightly colored than adults. These fish have a quiet disposition, preferring a community tank without aggressive tankmates. The Yellow Sweetlips is hardy but shy. The Yellow Sweetlips is hardy but shy. Yellow Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus albovittatus) In general, the...

T I P

Too much food is bad for your fish and bad for your aquarium. It is definitely better to feed too little than too much. species will not go to the surface to eat, and wait for food to disperse throughout the tank. Don't rely on surface feedings and the leftovers of others to feed bottom fish. Use pellets or other foods that sink to the --* Remember, refusal to eat is one of the first signs of illness, so keep an eye out for fish that seem to have no interest in food. Try using flake food and...

Test the Water

When you first set up the aquarium, testing the water every couple of days is critical to monitoring the maturation process. When you begin to add fish, water chemistry changes radically and monitoring water quality is critical to the survival of your fish. After this sensitive period of two to four months, it is still very important to test your water, and I recommend that you do so every two weeks. Testing gives you a good understanding of the nitrogen cycle and lets you know when a water...

The Dip Method

This method can be very stressful to the fish. It involves removing the infected fish from the aquarium and dipping it into a bath containing a therapeutic agent or just fresh water. The dip is brief enough not to injure the fish but long enough to kill the pathogen. Unfortunately, this method does not treat the infected agents in the aquarium, just the fish. The bath is prepared by filling a 1.5-gallon container full of fresh water that has been conditioned to match the temperature and pH of...

The Hospital Tank

In chapter 3, I mentioned that some aquarists isolate new fish in a quarantine tank. This way, the fish can be evaluated for signs of disease before introducing them into the main aquarium. I recommend that you set up such a tank to isolate individuals suffering from disease. This tank will reduce the likelihood of the disease spreading to other animals in the aquarium. It will provide refuge for a fish that may be harassed by healthier fish. The hospital tank will also make it easier to treat...

Triggerfish

So named for a dorsal fin that locks into place, the Triggerfish is a member of the family Balistidae, which includes more than 130 species. These fish can be quite aggressive and they have sharp teeth that are well suited to feeding on invertebrates. They readily accept any food in captivity, but their aggressive nature renders many species of Triggerfish unsuitable for the beginner. These fish move primarily using their dorsal and anal fins, saving the tail for emergency situations. Sargassum...

Vacuum

Vacuuming is one of the most important parts of maintaining your tank. You must reduce the accumulation of detritus (also called mulm) in the gravel so that your filtration systems remain effective. Mulm is the combination of fish wastes and uneaten food that decay on the bottom of the aquarium. If it is not removed, this organic waste ultimately breaks down into ammonia and nitrites and overwhelms the nitrogen cycle. This will disturb your water chemistry, potentially harming your fish. If...

Wrasses

The family Labridae comprises more than 500 species that span the globe and are not confined to tropical waters. This group is quite diverse, with a variety of body shapes, behaviors, and sizes. Many Wrasse species are capable of changing sex as needed for reproductive purposes. Some are substrate burrowers that require sand, while others rest in mucus cocoons at night. Some members perform cleaning services similar to those provided by a few species of Gobies. The more active species of...

How to Siphon

Fill the tube completely with water, making sure there is no trapped air in the tube. Make sure the siphon is clean and that your hands are clean, too. You can fill the hose by submerging it in the aquarium, but only do this if your aquarium is large enough to accommodate the hose without spooking the fish. Otherwise, place one end of the tube in the tank and apply suction to the other end to start the flow. 2. Make sure the bucket end is lower than the aquarium, or the siphon will not work. If...

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...

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...

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...