Pictures some of the Most Beautiful Fish

most beautiful fish

Why You Need Cleaner Shrimps in Marine Aquariums

Adding cleaner shrimps not only enhances the beauty and aesthetic value of your marine aquariums but also these little creatures will act as an effective cleanup crew. It is often fascinating to watch them go about with their daily activities as they chew and tear apart the unwanted build-up of algae at the coral reef surfaces and sometimes certain species can also play the role to attract the aquarium fish to get closer to them so that dead skins and parasites are removed by these shrimps from the fishes’ body. Taking into consideration on how useful they can be, it doesn’t come as a surprise that if you ask any aquarist, they will sure tell you that these small crustaceans are perhaps the best addition one can choose to have in any saltwater tank.

There are a wide variety of the shrimp species found in the ocean but for the “cleanup crew”, all collectively known as Cleaner Shrimps, basically they can be narrowed down into to 3 different families. These are the Palaemonidae, Hippolytidae and Stenopodidea and within the group, there are a few notable choices that I would recommend you check it out and learn as much as possible about them. I would say these friendly creatures are the best that a hobbyist can get for their community aquarium. Let’s start with some of the most commonly heard names.

Banded Coral Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus)

banded coral shrimpThis particular species is known to fight until they injure or kill themselves when encountering each other in the tank and that is why they are often bought in mated/bonded pairs. Males especially can be quite aggressive and during the time when they are young, the shrimp will not pose much threat to the other aquarium inhabitants but as they mature and grow older; there is a high possibility that they might even attack the smaller sized fish with their elongated pair of claws. Otherwise, banded coral shrimps would be a fine addition to your reef tank as they can quickly adjust and adapt to the surrounding without giving much problem. When scouting for the perfect shrimp in pet shops, I would suggest you pay close attention and get those that are the most active. Forget about avoiding one with a lost leg or claw because these will eventually grow back during the next molting period. Also you might want to take note that losing part of the limb is not a major issue to these shrimps, as they purposely give them away so that this will distract the attention of the predators and thus, it acts as one of the protective mechanism to ensure survival.

Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni)

peppermint shrimpIf your preferences are towards having a more community feel in the tank, then I would suggest getting the peppermint as they are more sociable and would live in large groups without showing signs of aggression. They are less colourful with their partially translucent see-through body but one of their strong points is that they act as natural predator to the Aiptasia anemones which can be accidentally introduced to the tank if the live rocks are not properly cured. Thus having these shrimps around will ensure that these unwanted pests are removed once and for all. Peppermint shrimps are known to readily breed in marine aquariums but however, in order to ensure that the young ones survive until they reach maturity age, it is best that the other community fish are isolated to another tank. Either way, you can also ensure that the tank is as large as possible with ample hiding spots so that the larvae will stand a better chance of not getting eaten. Peppermint shrimps are curious onlookers and playful pets because once they get themselves acclimatize to the surrounding environment, you will often find them trying to tickle your skin every time you put your hands into the tank when doing water changes or performing aquascaping. If well looked after with plenty of foods and clean living condition, a peppermint shrimp can survive long enough to produce multiple offspring while based on my own experience raising them in a smaller 29 gallon biocube aquarium, they managed to live more than a year.

Common/Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)

skunk cleaner shrimpThis is one of the most beautiful shrimps due to its dark red coloration mixed with some white stripes. Just like the peppermint shrimp, they can easily spawn to produce young larvae in the tank and survive under harsh condition as long as it is not in the extreme. They are one of the favorites among hobbyist because these little fellas like to move in groups and then set up cleaning stations whereby fish which are infested with parasites will often stop by and let the shrimps do the work of removing the pests from their body or even mouths. However, care has to be taken especially if you have soft corals in the tank, whereby potentially these shrimps will feed on it. Another variant within the Lysmata genus is the Fire Blood Red Shrimp which is an all red type with some white spots on the carapace.

Finally, certain things you need to take note though. No matter how big the tank can be or how well you setup the reef system to provide sufficient hiding space, your shrimps can still be vulnerable to any fish added to the tank. Lionfishes, basses and starfishes in particular will often make a good meal out of your pet shrimp, thus choose your tank mates wisely and finding out more details about each individual species before you take drastic action of putting them together.

comparison between fluval and eheimComparing Between Different Fish Filters (Advantages and Disadvantages). How about other brands like the BiOrb?

Marine Aquariums Guide for Starfish Tank

orange marble starfishStarfish remains one of the most fascinating and challenging creatures you can get for your coral reefs tanks and fish-invertebrates systems. They can adapt well to the artificial made-made aquarium environment and most species can adjust to the captive condition away from the sea and survive without much complication. So far, there are approximately few hundreds sea stars’ species that has been identified, known to exist all over the world scattered across the oceans. Contrary to beliefs thinking that starfish is somewhat a dull sombre boring pets, but however, in their true nature, they are actually a very active species exhibiting wide range of behaviors that requires patience to really understand and appreciate their presence.

Attempts to keep them in home aquariums are best achieved with high rate of success if you have a very large tank with an established marine population. They require sand beds at the bottom of the tank with adequate rocky setup (live rocks) so that they can hide from the attention and for shelter to stay away from the lights. Starfish makes one of the best scavengers apart from your shrimps and they will readily consume mollusks such as mussels or clams dropped into the tank or they can even feed on the coral polyps. That is why having a huge tank that can easily sustain itself is the key to the survival of all these creatures as they can interact both symbiotically or reproduce fast enough to support the overall growth of the marine population. But beware; if your intention is to breed saltwater clams, then I would suggest dropping your plan to keep the starfish as your colorful clams will end up becoming foods. Most of the common sea stars species which are famous within our hobbyist community are the sand sifters, chocolate chips to the more exotic Fromia which includes the Orange Marble types (as depicted in the above picture) including the blue color Linckia laevigata. Sometimes people also made the mistake of grouping the brittle stars into the starfishes group although both of them belong to different classes with the former showing faster mobility and having a more slender thinner body.

Tank Setup Guide
Aquarium setup to keep your pets should have at least a protein skimmer because sometimes slight concentration of toxic content build-up especially ammonia can easily affect their health. Ideally the tank should also be equipped with a pH probe so that you are aware of the changes in the pH level and react fast to contain the situation. Calcium content in your sea water is also another parameter you will need to watch out for as deficiency in the concentration can be harmful to your sea stars. If possible maintain a constant SG so that this will keep the stress level down. Also make it a habit to routinely check for any presence of holes of abnormal patches appearing on their body because it can mean infection caused by fungus or parasites. Nevertheless when adding a new marine starfish, try to ensure that you place close observation whether they can blend in well with the rest of your tank inhabitants because certain wild species are even known to kill fish and destroy reefs. For certain species such as the chocolate chips sometimes you need to place a close watch just to understand their interactions with your other pet fish because puffers and wrasses are known to attack and consume them while even the small-sized cheeky dottybacks can sometimes threaten up to the extent of causing injury.

Breeding and Reproduction
Starfishes if well cared for will reproduce by sexual means with the opposite sex living within the aquarium confinement but however, it is quite rare to actually see it happening. Of course the more famous approach is by fragmentation to cut off part of their arm but make sure that you don’t end up damaging the central disc as this will potentially kill them instead.

comparison between fluval and eheimComparing Between Different Fish Filters (Advantages and Disadvantages). How about other brands like the BiOrb?

About Me

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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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