HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR FISH




FEEDING

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
  • Seaweed
  • Copepods
  • Phytoplankton
  • 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.

Feeding problems.

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.

 

HOUSING

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).

     

     

    HANDLING

    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.

     

    AFTERCARE

    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. 

    Floating Method.

    1. Turn off aquarium lights.
    2. Dim the lights in the room where the shipping box will be opened. Never open the box in bright light - severe stress or trauma may result from sudden exposure to bright light.
    3. Float the sealed bag in the aquarium for 15 minutes. Never open the shipping bag at this time. This step allows the water in the shipping bag to adjust slowly to the temperature in the aquarium, while maintaining a high level of dissolved oxygen.
    4. After floating the sealed shipping bag for 15 minutes, cut open the bag just under the metal clip and roll the top edge of the bag down one inch to create an air pocket within the lip of the bag. This will enable the bag to float on the surface of the water. For heavy pieces of live coral that will submerge the shipping bag, place the bag containing the coral in a plastic bowl or specimen container.
    5. Add 1/2 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag.
    6. Repeat step 5 every four minutes until the shipping bag is full.
    7. Lift the shipping bag from the aquarium and discard half the water from the bag.
    8. Float the shipping bag in the aquarium again and proceed to add 1/2 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag every four minutes until the bag is full.
    9. Net aquatic life from the shipping bag and release into the aquarium.
    10. Remove the filled shipping bag from the aquarium and discard the water. Never release shipping water directly into the aquarium.

       

      Drip Method

      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. 

      1. Start with Steps 1-3 of the floating method to acclimate water temperature.
      2. Carefully empty the contents of the bags (including the water) into the buckets, making sure not to expose sensitive invertebrates to the air. Depending on the amount of water in each bag, this may require tilting the bucket at a 45-degree angle to make sure the animals are fully submerged. You may need a prop or wedge to help hold the bucket in this position until there is enough liquid in the bucket to put it back to a level position.
      3. Using airline tubing set up and run a siphon drip line from the main aquarium to each bucket. You will need separate airline tubing for each bucket used. Tie several loose knots in the airline tubing, or use a plastic or other non-metal airline control valve, to regulate flow from the aquarium. It is also a good idea to secure the airline tubing in place with an airline holder. The Doctors Foster and Smith Acclimation Kit is a convenient alternative that simplifies the drip acclimation process.
      4. Begin a siphon by sucking on the end of the airline tubing you will be placing into each of the buckets. When water begins flowing through the tubing, adjust the drip (by tightening one of the knots or adjusting the control valve) to a rate of about 2-4 drips per second.
      5. When the water volume in the bucket doubles, discard half and begin the drip again until the volume doubles once more – about one hour.
      6. At this point, the specimens can be transferred to the aquarium. Sponges, clams, and gorgonias should never be directly exposed to air. Gently scoop them out of the drip bucket with the specimen bag, making sure they are fully covered in water. Submerge the bag underwater in the aquarium and gently remove the specimen from the bag. Next, seal off the bag underwater by twisting the opening, and remove it from the aquarium. Discard both the bag and the enclosed water. A tiny amount of the diluted water will escape into the aquarium; this is O.K. Also, to avoid damage, please remember never to touch the "fleshy" part of live coral when handling.

           

          Important Facts

          • 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.