HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR FISH
Marine fish will stay healthy, active, and vibrantly coloured, if fed suitable and nutritious diet of marine fish food. While keeping your tank clean is an important part of keeping your saltwater aquarium fish health, what you choose to feed your fish may have a bigger impact on their health. It doesn’t matter how clean the water in your tank is, if your fish do not receive a balanced diet they will fail to thrive. The key to keeping your fish healthy and thriving is to offer them a balanced diet made up of a variety of foods including flakes, live, frozen or freeze-dried foods.
What should I feed my fish?
There are many different things in which can be fed to your livestock, but it is extremely important to remember to keep a balanced diet. Below we have listed some of the most common dry, frozen and live foods, that can be used to feed your livestock…
- Marine Flake
- Marine Pellets
- Brine Shrimp
- Frozen Mysis
- Frozen Marine Mix
- Frozen Artemia
- Frozen Spinach
- Frozen Daphne
- Frozen Invertebrate Food.
At MARINE WORLD AQUATICS, we may suggest that marine keepers often make up a ‘reef soup’. A ‘reef soup’ is a mixture of foods in which are combined together, to meet all livestock needs when feeding your tank. This allows the fish to maintain a balanced diet.
When and how much to feed your livestock?
The key to simplifying your job as an aquarium hobbyist is to develop a routine – you should try to establish a schedule for cleaning your tank and feeding your livestock. Keeping to a routine will ensure that none of your duties are overlooked. In terms of feeding your livestock, try to feed them small amounts of food twice a day. Many saltwater fish graze on algae and other microorganisms in the tank, so they do not require large quantities of supplemental food. Only offer your fish as much food as they are likely to eat in five minutes or less and remove uneaten portions of solid foods after an hour in the tank.
Overfeeding your livestock can result in the build-up of organic waste at the bottom of your tank which could contribute to an increase in ammonia and nitrate levels, affecting the overall water quality in your tank. On the other hand, underfeeding your livestock can result to them becoming unhealthy.
Embarking on the journey to set up a marine fish tank is extremely exciting as you know that the finished product is going to be beautiful. However, they aren't as easy to put together as a tropical tank as they require different water conditions, additional equipment and extra measures to ensure that it is set up correctly.
What size should my aquarium be?
Marine tanks come in many shapes and sizes, and in specialist retailers that sell marine equipment, you will find the range of available options. You can buy very small, ready-to-go setups that hold just a few gallons of water, right through to bespoke made tanks and systems that can take up an entire wall or room of your house. While buying a small ready-to-go system, this will dramatically limit you in terms of the amount of fish and other livestock that you can keep in the tank. Also, the larger the tank and the volume of water that it contains, the more stable the system will be, and so the less prone it will be to suffering from mistakes or upsets in the system. Generally, a good rule for keeping fish of any type, is to buy the largest size of tank and set up that you can afford, both in terms of space and money- and never overstock it.
What essential equipment do I need to house livestock?
The setup needed to keep marine fish is totally different to that for keeping freshwater fish, and exactly what you will need depends very much on the livestock and fish you intend to keep within it. It is wise to have a fairly clear idea of what you eventually hope to keep in your tank from the get-go, as this will influence what you need to buy and how your tank needs to be set up. For a fairly basic beginner setup of any size, you will need all or most of the items listed below:
- A tank.
- A case and housing for your tank, which is specially designed to hold the filtration equipment needed for marine fish.
- A heater.
- A thermometer.
- A sump (a secondary tank under the main tank that serves to filter water).
- A Protein skimmer (to remove the residues of salt and pollutants from the tank).
- Several power heads to enable movement of the water.
- Live rock (this is rock that contains bacteria and micro-organisms that help to filter the tank).
- Live sand (as above for the substrate).
- Marine Lighting.
- A hydrometer to measure the salinity and specific elements of the water.
- Testing kits, water additives and supplements.
- Various tools and supplies such as nets, a siphon, buckets and tubes.
- A means of getting or producing salt water (this can be purchased at MARINE WORLD AQUATICS, or you can arrange your own water at home by buying a reverse osmosis filter that can be connected to your taps, and a bucket of special marine salt designed for aquariums).
Sooner or later, you will come across a reason to have to catch a fish that is in your fish tank. This may be because there is an injured or ill fish that needs to be put in isolation in a quarantine tank for treatment or recovery, to remove an aggressor or a fish that is being bullied, to move fish between tanks, to sell or trade a fish, or for any of a number of other reasons.
Using a fishing net.
Probably the most important thing to remember when you are using the fish net is to try to move the net slowly. Slow movement of the net will be less startling to the fish and will increase your chances of the fish staying near the net, while moving the net around the tank quickly startles the fish and encourages them all to hide. In addition, when the net is moving quickly through the water, it does form a "bow wake" or "bow wave" which can actually push the fish away from the opening of the net.
Contrary to this, when you have the fish in, or nearly in, the fish net, a quick motion can help to get the fish into the net before the fish can get away - just remember the fast movements will startle other fish in the fish tank into hiding and sustained fast movements will push fish away from the opening of the net.
Using a fish trap.
Fish traps are a good way to catch fish, if you are finding it difficult to use a net. It is important that you have the right size fish trap for the right size fish. For example, smaller sizes are perfect for fish such as Chromis, Clownfish and Damsels. On the other hand, a big fish trap may be used for fish such as Angels or Tangs. The traps have a removable bait container that holds food to bait the fish and is awesome because you can refill it without moving the trap. The strong suction cup will hold the fish trap against your tank wall making it easy to set in place without the worry of damaging anything in your tank.Once you have observed the targeted fish feeding from the bait holder, it is time to set the trap and make your move. First, refill the bait holder with some fresh food. The fish trap have a sliding door with a piece of fishing ling line attached and a small acrylic piece on the opposite end of the line. You will need to set the door open using the small acrylic piece and align it with the groove on the sliding door. Then find a comfy chair, grab the fishing line and wait. Once the fish is observed feeding inside the trap, pull the line and the sliding door will close and trap the fish inside.
You have invested valuable time and money researching the habitat requirements of the fish and corals you wish to house. Naturally, you want to protect this investment by executing a proper acclimation process once the specimens arrive at your door.
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.
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.
- Be patient - never rush the acclimation procedure. The total acclimation time for your new arrival should take no longer than one hour.
- Always follow the acclimation procedure even if your new arrival appears to be dead. Some fish and invertebrates can appear as though they are dead when they arrive and will usually revive when the above procedure is followed correctly.
- Never place an air stone into the shipping bag when acclimating your new arrival. This will increase the pH of the shipping water too quickly and expose your new arrival to lethal ammonia.
- Keep aquarium lights off for at least four hours after the new arrival is introduced into the aquarium.
- Most invertebrates and marine plants are more sensitive than fish to salinity changes. It is imperative to acclimate invertebrates to a specific gravity of 1.023-1.025 or severe stress or trauma may result.
- Sponges, clams, scallops, and gorgonias should never be directly exposed to air. Follow the acclimation procedure, but instead of netting the specimen out of the shipping bag, submerge the bag underwater in the aquarium and remove the marine life from the bag. Seal off the shipping bag underwater by twisting the opening, and remove it from the aquarium. Discard both the shipping bag and the enclosed water. A tiny amount of the diluted shipping water will escape into the aquarium. Do not be alarmed; this will have no adverse effect on the tank inhabitants.
- In some instances, your new tank mate will be chased and harassed by one or all of your existing tank mates.