Fish of the week: Vampire Plecos and Ocellaris Clownfish

Dan Laguardia

This week we've got TWO great fish to talk about.  For freshwater fish, we're talking about the L29 Vampire Pleco.  For Saltwater, that loveable Nemo, the Ocellaris Clownfish! 

Vampire Plecos get their name because of a small sharp tooth on the sucker mouth. Though it doesn't really hurt, it can come as a bit of a shock! These plecos will live up to 15 years and grow to about 8" in length. 

Their native habitat includes strong river currents, so it's important to try to mimic that in their home aquarium. These guys are obviously bottom dwellers, so providing hiding places down there along with driftwood is a nice touch. They'll get along with other peaceful community bottom dwellers as long as it doesn't get too crowded. 

Remember, they ARE meat eaters and so they'll view very small fish as potential food. Best to keep them with at least medium sized tetras and cichlids. They'll also eat pellets and flake. 

fish for beginning reef aquariums

Clownfish - These guys are one of the most popular Saltwater fish for aquariums. It's easy to see why! Clownfish are a great addition to beginner reef aquariums, but be careful of which clownfish you choose. The "nemo" ocellaris Clownfish is a great option because it is bred in captivity, used to home aquarium conditions, and will get along well with other captive-bred clownfish.   These guys like a diet of meaty foods but also like frozen herbivore preparations too. 

Clownfish of course are known for their ability to host anemones, and in tanks they'll extend this to bubble tip anemones and even corals. They need at least a 10 gallon tank, water between 75-82 degrees F, and a pH of between 8 - 8.4.

 

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All About Cherry Barbs

All About Cherry Barbs

John Hegstad

Cherry Barbs are a great schooling fish suitable for community tanks with other peaceful tank mates. 

The Cherry Barb is native to Sri Lanka, though it can now be found in Mexico and Colombia too. Its a tropical freshwater fish and, in the wild, enjoys dense plant coverage in warm rivers. 

Description: Male cherry barbs are a lovely red to red-orange color with a dark band from head to tail. Female cherry barbs are lighter in color, almost tan.   Barbs are a schooling fish and should be kept in groups of 5 or more.  When AquariumFishSale sends you barbs, we'll make sure to send a mix of male and female fish. 

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HUGE predator fish and Beautiful Community Fish

HUGE predator fish and Beautiful Community Fish

John Hegstad

This week we've got 2 fish to showcase for you: 

First up, the largest freshwater fish of the Amazon: the Arapaima.  This air-breathing fish can grow up to 9'.  While popular for public aquariums, this may be too large for your standard home aquarium. If you purchase it, have a plan for down the road! 

The Arapaima is native to the rivers of the Amazon Basin and is currently endangered. The fish we sell are pond-raised.  They like to stay near the surface of the water so that they can raise up to breathe, with a distinctive "cough" sound. 

To get a better idea of the size of this fish, check out this video from the Tennessee Aquarium.  OR scroll down to read about a great community tank addition, the Gold Marble Angelfish.

 

Gold Marble Angelfish

Angelfish in general are pretty hardy and easy to care for aquarium fish. They can be a bit territorial though, especially when paired up to breed.  Still, they're a great addition to community tanks.

These Gold Marble Angelfish are black to white with gold accents around their heads. They enjoy a planted tank with rocks and driftwood and plenty of room to swim.  At least a 30 gallon tank is recommended. 

They'll grow to about 6" long and have a life span of about 12 years. They enjoy flake, live and frozen foods. 

If you'd like to order your own gold marble angelfish click here! 

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Cardinal Tetras and Project Piaba: Supporting the Amazon River Basin

Cardinal Tetras and Project Piaba: Supporting the Amazon River Basin

John Hegstad

Did you know that the ornamental fisheries industry brings much needed jobs and revenue to thousands of people living near the Amazon and Orinoco River Basins of South America? 

Every time we purchase wild caught fish, like Cardinal Tetras, we're supporting economic growth in South America.  Cardinal tetras are native to the Orinoco and Negro Rivers. Recently a fishery initiative called Project Piaba was started to promote sustainable collection of aquarium fish like tetras. Project Piaba has been used as an example of how research projects like this can provide economic stimulus to communities while also helping to promote sustainability and environmentally friendly collection practices. We at Aquarium Fish Sale are proud to be a part of programs like this.

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Plant of the Month: Micranthemum Monte Carlo (potted)

Plant of the Month: Micranthemum Monte Carlo (potted)

John Hegstad

Adding plants to an aquarium adds so much more than just a bit of greenery: plants provide a beautiful backdrop for your fish, relieve stress in fish, and give your finned pets places to hide and play.  

One of the easiest plants to add to your aquarium these days is potted Monte Carlo. We recommend the potted version over those created through tissue culture methods because the potted version tends to be more affordable and larger (2" pot).  

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Common Aquarium Problems

Common Aquarium Problems

John Hegstad

Maintaining aquariums takes patience and a little bit of know-how.  Some of that comes with experience, but the more you know before you begin your aquarium journey, the better off you'll be! There are some common aquarium problems you can easily avoid by learning as much as you can about caring for fish before you get your first tank. 

1. Getting the wrong size aquarium: It may seem like a smaller tank is easier to take care of, but that's actually just the opposite. Larger tanks, 20-55 gallons for beginners, are easier to care for. There's more water and more room, and therefore if a problem with nitrates, ammonia levels, or something else occurs, you have a better opportunity for solving it than you would if you had a 10 gallon tank. 

2. Not prepping the tank: Your tank will need a few days of preparation before it's ready for fish.  This means you can't buy fish the same day you buy your tank (and really, no respectable shop owner should let you!).  You'll need to "cycle" the tank first. According to this article from Aqueon:   "the safest way to cycle a newly set up aquarium is to 1) Add just a few fish initially, 2) feed sparingly and 3) Test ammonia and nitrite levels until they stabilize at zero. Repeat this process until the aquarium is fully stocked." 

3. Overstocking: Once your aquarium is ready for more fish to be added, make sure to avoid overstocking.  There's a good rule of thumb for aquariums: 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. So, if you've got a 55 gallon tank you can have up to 55 inches of fish (making sure to consider that some of them will grow larger...).  Overcrowding leads to all sorts of issues including imbalances in ammonia and nitrates and also fish aggression.  It's better to have less fish and plenty of space for them all than to have too many fish.

4. Not enough plants or decor: Fish like to have plants for cover.  They'll use them to hide and feel safe, to stalk prey, and as play areas.  Not having enough cover will create stress in your fish.  We've got a large selection of plants that are perfect for your aquarium and we can ship them right along with your fish! 

5. Incompatibility: Before you purchase a new fish make sure it's compatible with the ones already in your aquarium. Use our fish compatibility chart to avoid that error from the get go! 

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Let's Talk about Tetras

Let's Talk about Tetras

John Hegstad
Tetras enjoy a well-planted aquarium.  They're native to streams and rivers in South America and having plants to hide under is comforting.  However, they still need plenty of room to swim as these are active fish most of the day.  A 20 gallon tank or larger is recommended for tetras. 

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Unique Aquarium Ideas and Decorations

Unique Aquarium Ideas and Decorations

John Hegstad

Aquariums are a great way to destress.  Watching pretty fish swim about in a tank can help to sooth nerves, lower blood pressure, and even help you sleep.  

Working on your aquarium should also be fun and relaxing! Finding just the right spot for a tank, or just the right plant to add can bring joy and anticipation.  There are lots of things you can do to make your aquarium unique, starting with the type of tank you use. 

There are lots of great "standard" tank options, including frameless ones, hexagon tanks, vertical, etc. However, you can get even more creative and find unique tank options too! You can turn a glass coffee table into a fish tank, turn an old TV into one, or even create a glass frame around your couch for a fish tank! 

Lighting is another way to make your aquarium unique. With lots of lighting systems, like this one from Fluval, controlled from an app on your phone, you can create your own lighting sequences.  Combine this with water movement specific to the species you keep for great overall effects and fish health.  

Plants can help your tank stand out! They also provide great cover and play spaces for your fish.  Interesting plants like moss balls provide a really interesting focal point and others like this broadleaf tiger lotus are a great addition too!

There are all sorts of crazy aquarium decorations you can add to your tank. A few of these provide more places for fish to hide and entertaining options for them to swim through and around.  We've posted pictures on our Facebook page of Harry Potter themed tanks, SpongeBob Square Pants tanks, and more! For something not quite as unique, you might consider adding driftwood, castles, or even a cave like this one made out of all nature eco-friendly materials. 

Finally, there are the fish themselves! Fish can truly set your tank apart from others! We have an entire collection of both Freshwater and Saltwater "oddballs" like this African Butterflyfish

or these angler fish: 

We hope we've given you some fun ideas on how to make your aquarium stand out from the crowd! 

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Three Saltwater Fish for small aquariums

Three Saltwater Fish for small aquariums

John Hegstad
We can't stop talking about the huge selection of saltwater fish we have in stock! There are so many options, from Tangs for your large aquariums, to Damsels for your small aquariums, and everything in between.  Below are three saltwater fish options for small aquariums:

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Styles of Aquascaping

Styles of Aquascaping

John Hegstad
Aquascaping is the arrangement of plants, rocks, driftwood, and stones in an aquarium. Often in aquascaping the plants are the primary focus and small fish, like neon tetras, are there to provide scale and a bit of background interest. However, an addition of just a few plants in any aquarium improves the balance of the aquatic environment and lowers the stress within the fish community. Happy plants happy fish. 

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