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  1. Feeding my Fish: Part 1- The Basics

    Most of us love to eat, and so do our fish! There is a dizzying array of food options available to the home hobbyist. There are frozen foods, irradiated foods, freeze dried foods, and even live foods, just to name some very broad categories. The question is, how do you know what to pick and what’s best for your fish and your aquarium?

    Well, I think it's most important to realize and remember that your aquarium is unique. Although aquarists love to share information with one another (and should do so!), remember to be practical and know that what works for your fellow aquarist might not work for you. Having said that, there are a few guiding principles that can help you make informed choices about food for your home setup.

    First things first, do your homework! You must always start with the natural history of the species you are keeping. Do you have fish that eat zooplankton, and also fish that graze on algae? Are your butterflyfish going to pick at

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  2. Turn up the Bass: Chalk Bass in the Home Aquarium

    As a public aquarium curator, over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with animals of all stripes.  I know you aren’t supposed to play favorites, but I can’t help but gravitate towards some of my favorite species, one of which is the Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum).

    This easy-to-acquire-but-not-often-seen fish is native to the Western Atlantic, including southern Florida and the Caribbean, along the reefs.  This diminutive species stays small, growing up to 8 cm. (3 in.) but can be a great addition to any marine setup.  Tanks from 20 gallons up to several hundred gallons can be appropriate for this species, if you are sure to provide for its needs.

    The beautiful chalk bass has a lovely dark pink coloration, with bright blue stripes.  Choosing a variety of foods, including those with naturally-occurring pigments like astaxanthin, will help your chalk bass to maintain superb colors. Several small daily feedings of frozen and prepar

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  3. Some Considerations for Building a Marine Ornamental Hatchery

    Some Considerations for Building a Marine Ornamental Hatchery

    The propagation of marine ornamental animals requires a substantial investment in infrastructure, and successful commercial propagation requires even more expansive facilities.    Typically, a hatchery must have adequate aquarium space to house the broodstock, larva and grow-out animals in at least three separate systems.  There must also be space for food culture, offices and packing animals for ship-out. 

    Most people would think that a marine ornamental hatchery would be best located in a tropical region, near the sea for access to seawater.  In reality, inshore water is rarely of sufficient quality for this use, so less expensive locations, away from shore should be evaluated.  There is however, merit to having a hatchery location in tropical areas near the sea.  The three basic advantages are; ample natural sunlight (if photosynthetic invertebrates are being cultured), moderate temperatures to save on heating costs, and access to o

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  4. Marine Fish Respiration Rates

    Marine Fish Respiration Rates

    A means to objectively determine relative stress levels in fish


    Aquarists are frequently advised to watch for rapid breathing in their fish as a symptom of potential problems, yet few know just what “rapid” is.  Obviously, fish kept in warmer water or those with gill disease will respire more rapidly.  Actively swimming fish respire faster than sedentary ones.  Less obvious is that larger fish respire more slowly and, in some cases, high ammonia levels will cause a fish to respire more slowly than normal.  While there is some difference between species, (Chinese algae eaters will breathe twice as fast as any other fish their size) most tropical marine fishes of the size kept in home aquariums should breath at a rate of between 70 and 120 gill beats per minute.  Relative respiration rate is the most important value – capturing the respiration rate of your fish when they are known to be healthy, gives you a base

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  5. Why should you care about the Amino Acids in your reef tank?

    Amino acids are an important part of the coral diet. Corals use amino acids to build proteins for many different functions including growth and pigment creation. There are twenty-two different amino acids that act as the building blocks for proteins in all organisms. These amino acids are linked together, forming a peptide chain which then can be combined and molded to create the necessary proteins for basic living function. There are, however, nine essential amino acids that many animals have difficultly synthesizing on their own and require an outside source such as plants or dinoflagellates for production. If the amino acid needs of the animal are not being met through synthesis, both the coral and the zooxanthellae can intake more through the transport of amino acids, dissolved at low concentration, in the water column or by consuming protein rich

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  6. 5 Basics You Must Know About Your Aquarium

    Based on the questions we have been receiving from hobbyists, novice and advanced, it seems that it maybe useful to go back to the basics to make sure that we don’t forget core husbandry that must be maintained for successful aquarium keeping. If you are considering getting a new aquarium, please take a moment to understand these basics. If you have had an aquarium for some time, this may be a good refresher or provide a checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten the basics.

    In order to understand what’s happening in your aquarium’s general environment, an aquarist must be aware of these five basics and consistently monitor them. Unfortunately, an aquarium is not as self sufficient as a cat and can’t be left alone for more than a day or two without your supervision. Thus, if you are thinking of getting an aquarium, think of it as a new dependent or at least an additional part-time baby who while providing you with so much joy, will also require your weekly if not daily att

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