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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Build Your Aquarium Around Your Fish


There are many challenges in fishkeeping. One of them is to successfully maintain fishes that grow reasonably large or are so active or territorial that they need a spacious tank in which to thrive. Like any other animal, fish need adequate accommodation, regular feeding, clean conditions, and appropriate exercise. In fact, you should always give as much consideration to owning a fish as you would to owning any other pet.

So...you find yourself standing in front of a display tank, contemplating bringing home that really special looking fish, little realizing (unless you buy your fish from Fintastic, since we'd tell you) that that tiny little fish will outgrow your aquarium tank Charlotte NC in a very short time.

It is always difficult to know where to start when planning a new aquarium. The temptation is to buy your pet first and then consider the problems of housing it. Misjudging the long-term implications is easy, especially if the fish you have chosen is a juvenile. After all, it shouldn't grow that fast, you hope! Most fish sold are juveniles, some will get just a little larger, but others may get huge. Oscars are a good example, growing as large as 15 inches. A large aquarium, measuring at least 48"x18"x18" is essential. Other species, like many of the aggressive cichlids, are highly territorial and will need a lot of room to thrive.

The best way to go about things is to build your tank around the fish you want to keep. Having decided on a fish that interests you, the first task is to determine the minimum tank size it will need at maturity, not what it needs now when it's as small as a guppy! Next investigate the ideal filtration system to maintain the required water conditions. A filter system can never be too large for the aquarium. However big the tank you provide is, it will never be anywhere near the size of the lake or river (or ocean!) in which the fish lives in the wild! And most importantly, before you buy any fish you're not familiar with, become familiar with it. Compatibility with other species is only one issue, size and personality are important too.
 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Fall & Winter Pond Maintenance

Fall and winter are crucial times for the pondkeeper. As tropical plants begin to die and leaves from surrounding trees begin to fall, the pond accumulates nitrogenous waste material that adversely affects water quality and creates ideal conditions for preventable disease and parasite problems come springtime.

The following routine maintenance should be performed before the water temperature stabilizes at 50-55F:

Cover the pond with a net while leaves are falling.

Drain 2/3 of the pond water, removing all the sludge and debris from the bottom of the pond and scrubbing algae off the liner.

Cut back approximately 80% of the growth of live plants, particularly those with leaves under the surface.

Remove any tender plants that won't survive freezing weather.

Cut back flowers, eaves and shoots of water lilies. Transplant and separate as required (this is an ideal opportunity to begin using Soiless Potting Media). Submerse the lilies in the deepest part of the pond.

As most of the natural cover for the fish has been removed, provide them with shelter from predators. Sections of inert drain pipe and/or PVC pipe work well.

Refill the pond, being sure to use a dechlorinator.

Thoroughly clean the filter and any pump pre-filters.

If they are to be left running, raise pumps off the bottom of the pond so that the warmer, denser water that accumulates there is left undisturbed.

Restore a 3% salt solution to the pond water by adding 1 lb. of pond salt for every 100 gallons of water every 24 hours for three treatments (a total of 3 lbs. per 100 gallons). This will prevent fall and winter deaths caused by Costia, a parasite capable of surviving very cold temperatures and the number one killer of fish during the fall and winter seasons.

Fatten the fish, providing them with an adequate supply of stored nutrients to survive the winter months. Feed as many times a day as your schedule will permit, ensuring that all the food being offered is eaten with 5-10 minutes. Use a high-protein food.

Discontinue feeding entirely when the water temperature is consistently below 50F. Regardless how tempting it may be to feed on the occasional balmy day, DO NOT feed your fish! At a water temperature of 50F or less, digestive activity has ceased and this food will rot in the fishes' intestines causing illness and probable death.

A pond which is properly prepared for winter will avoid many of the problems associated with the arrival of spring!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Lighting the Water Garden

As beautiful and appealing as your water garden appears in daylight, imagine what it would look like at night when lighted! Fountains and cascades take on a whole new aspect if lit at night, becoming vibrant displays of moving, glittering water while the glow of submerged lights can create eerily attractive pools of incandescent color within the main pool.

By lighting up patios, poolsides, paths, decks, steps, bridges and barbecues, you can safely make full use of such areas at night. The safety aspect of lighting must be emphasized, as poor lighting can turn a charming daytime landscape into a potentially hazardous one at night. Lighting also improves security as well-lit gardens tend to deter possible intruders.

There are two methods of highlighting water in the garden, either from above the water surface or below. There are a number of units on the market for use as outdoor lighting, including some intended for underwater. Examine your garden and decide which features you want to highlight. Floodlights can be hidden in trees, among plants, or even fixed to buildings. If you direct these down onto the water surface, they will lift the pool out from the darkness.


Shine light at waterfalls to obtain glittering, moving reflections of the cascade. Try using a hidden spotlight to pick out the detail on a fountain ornament or sculpture and reflect it on the water surface. Shine uplighters into trees around the pool to create a green glow which will illuminate the surrounding area. The moving leaves will create a constantly changing pattern, and this will be stunningly reflected in the water.



Below the water, in-pool lighting can be used in a variety of ways. You could direct floodlighting across a body of water, causing a diffuse glow to emanate from the pool, or in ponds with clear water and pale colored bases, light can be directed at and reflected from the base.


We have many different lighting options for you to choose from and can also help you decide which garden features you want to emphasize and how to do it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Problems with Aquatic Plants

If you grow aquarium plants at optimal light levels and the proper temperature, provide the proper pH and water hardness as well as supply them with all the needed nutrients you will probably never see plant diseases or deficiencies. Incorrect care is often the main cause of stunted growth and plant damage. Here I will discuss the different problems we encounter with plants, their causes and remedies.

Nutritional and trace element imbalances.


Errors made with supplying plants with the nutrients and trace elements can lead to plant damage and damage to the aquariums ecosystem. You should try to avoid these mistakes if at all possible.


Carbon Dioxide Deficiency. (CO2)
  • Symptoms: The plants stay much smaller and grow more slowly than plants fertilized with CO2. Rough Calcium deposits on the leaves. Breakdown of the pH system causing a rise in pH.

  • Causes: A lack of CO2 can arise even with optimal care. All plants use CO2 in their respiration process and it is difficult to maintain an equilibrium. Vigorously Aerated or agitated water increases CO2 loss, as the gas escapes into the air.

  • Remedy: Regularly fertilize with CO2 and try to limit the amount of aeration and water agitation in your tank
 

Excess Carbon Dioxide CO2.
  • Symptoms: The fish gasp at the water surface for air, as if they are suffocating.

  • Cause: Oxygen deficiency resulting from over fertilization with co2, dirty filter material, poor lighting, too large of a fish load and bad tank maintenance.

  • Remedy: Check all your maintenance procedures and filters, look for dead animals and plants. If you use an automatic CO2 fertilization system, adjust the amount released and make sure it does not run at night when the lights are off.



Oxygen Deficiency.
  • Symptoms: The fish go through many bouts of disease and have a loss of vigor. With a long term deficiency the plants become stunted and the tank has excess algae growth.

  • Causes: Insufficient nutrients or light, as a result the plants are not able to produce Oxygen from the assimilation of Carbon Dioxide. The Nitrogen cycle of the tank slows due to the aerobic bacteria not working or slowly working. The results are water overloaded with waste products and an excess of CO2.

  • Remedy: Check the filters, lighting, fish population, all other tank maintenance procedures and especially your feeding habits. Make any needed alterations or corrections.
 

Potassium Deficiency.
  • Symptoms: Yellowing of the marginal sections of the young leaves. Trace element deficiency, usually Iron Chlorosis.

  • Cause: Your local water supplier or your Reverse Osmosis/DI filter removes the Potassium from the water. So a deficiency may arise.

  • Remedy: Regular fertilization.
 

Excess Phosphate.
  • Symptoms: Production of the Iron Phosphate causes the leaves to turn Black or Brown and to die. In addition if there is an excess of Nitrates your tank will experience an Algae bloom.

  • Cause: Not performing your water changes on schedule or not changing enough water.

    Remedy: change a large portion of your water right away. Then modify your tank maintenance routine to include larger water changes or more frequent ones.





Cryptocoryne Disease
Cryptocoryne Rot.

  • Symptoms: In the early stages small holes develop in the leaves or along the leaf margins. Advanced stages will affect the entire plant or group and cause the breakdown of all the leaves.

  • Cause: Not known for sure, but excess Nitrate is a factor. Unclean water, improper nutrients and insufficient light also contribute to the onset of this disease. The odd thing about this disease that by trying to correct the above stated causes, often triggers this disease. Not regular maintenance, but for example doing a water change after a long period or changing the lights well after they were used up can bring about the onset.

  • Remedy: Immediate improvement to the aquarium set up. Large water change, cleaning of the substrate, removal of all dead and decaying plant material. Don't baby the plants, just leave them alone and they should recover in a few weeks.

  • Prevention: Get on a regular maintenance schedule, do the water changes, keep up with the fertilization and change your lights when the recommended time arrives.
 

Iron Deficiency
Iron Chlorosis

  • Symptoms: Yellow leaves that become brittle and glassy and finally fall off or rot away.

  • Cause: Potassium deficiency, too little fertilizer and over-fertilization with Phosphate. In well fertilized aquariums it can be caused by an overly high amount of total Carbonate hardness in conjunction with a pH over 7.

  • Remedy: Regular use of an Iron rich fertilizer compound or a substrate which contains Iron additives. If needed lower the Carbonate hardness of the water.





Manganese deficiency.
  • Symptoms: Leaves turn Yellow but the Veins stay Green.

  • Cause: Unbalanced Iron fertilization.

  • Remedy: Use a fertilizer that contains all compounds needed by plants not just an Iron rich fertilizer.

Incorrect care and its end result.


Plants can often suffer from deficiency problems caused by the wrong choice in the aquarium substrate lighting and other accessories.


Problems in the substrate.
  • Symptoms: Gas bubbles rising to the surface any time the substrate is disturbed, stunted plant growth, poorly rooted plants and rotting roots that are Black in color.

  • Causes: The bottom material is too fine and/or has compacted. The Nutrients in the substrate have been used up.

  • Remedy: loosen the bottom material and add some heavier grade material as well as a substrate fertilizer like Laterite. If this does not improve the conditions a replacement of the entire bottom material may be needed.
 

Wrong water temperature.
  • Symptoms: If the water temperature is too cold the plants will cease to grow and eventually die. Too high of a water temperature the stem plants will have small leaves and long spaces between them and the Rosette plants will show little growth.

  • Cause: Malfunctioning or broken aquarium heater. Using a heater with too little wattage to properly heat the water.

  • Remedy: Purchase a new aquarium heater designed to handle your size tank. Keep a close eye on your temperature and watch for swings that could tell of a heater problem. For detailed information on heaters please go to the Basics section of the site.
 

Insufficient light.


  • Symptoms: The plants are weak and spindly, the leaves are pale Green to Yellow and the stems are frail and thin. On the Rosette plants the stalks are weak and the leaves are small. Stem plants have only a few leaves and long spaces between them. Growth closest to the light is strong and compact, lower sections could be bare of leaves. A fine layer of Diatoms begins to grow.

  • Causes: Not using enough wattage for your tank or not enough bulbs. The Fluorescent bulbs have lost there lumen output. The photoperiod is not long enough. Wrong spectrum lights heavy on the Red side, will cause tall and leggy plants. Blue spectrum bulbs will cause low squat growth and those in the Yellow/Green range will cause stunted growth.

  • Remedy: Add more lighting, replace your tubes or increase the time your lights stay on. Purchase the right full spectrum bulbs, the so called plant bulbs are a poor choice.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Filter Media Tips

Disposable filter cartridges should be replaced monthly. Filters recirculate the same water over and over. Regardless of where particulates collect: the aquarium bottom or the filter, they will be broken down to produce ammonia. Monthly replacement will remove the particulate from the aquarium. This routine tank maintenance will also keep flow rate from slowing down due to clogging.

Reusable and/or biological filter media should be washed in water taken from the aquarium. Chlorine in tap water is lethal to nitrifying bacteria.

Micron cartridges should be cleaned by soaking in a solution of unscented household bleach and water (one part bleach to five parts water) for several hours. Rinse thoroughly under pressure. As an added precaution, they can be soaked in a solution of water and dechlorinator prior to being reused.

Chemical filter media (i.e. carbon, Ammo-carb, and ammonia chips) should be replaced each month. These remove molecules of organic compounds from the water until the surface area becomes saturated. Once saturated, these media are no longer effective and may begin releasing compounds back into the water.

Several manufacturers now offer rechargeable chemical media as an alternative to carbon. These should be used and recharged in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

IMPORTANT: If for any reason the power filter has been shut off for two hours or less, biological, chemical and mechanical filter media should be thoroughly rinsed before restarting the filter. To preserve existing nitrifying bacteria, rinse the biological filter media with water taken from the aquarium. If the power filter has been off for more than two hours, the mechanical and chemical filter media must be discarded and the biological media thoroughly rinsed. Toxic, anaerobic bacteria will be present.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Is Your Pond Fish-Worthy? By Aquascapes Design


Do you have a pond in Charlotte that your fish will appreciate? Several factors influence whether a pond is habitable by fish, so before your stock your new pond or choose a few new finned friends at your water gardening store, take a few minutes to assess your fishs' dwelling space.

Size Matters

It all starts with the size of your pond. You need to make sure that it is large enough to support fish and their growth. Pond fish generally need 10 gallons of water for every inch of their length, and you have to be ready for them to grow larger, so be careful not to overstock, no matter how tempting this may be! Some pond experts go so far as to recommend only inch of fish per 10 gallons of water as a maximum stocking density.

On occasion, you may encounter ponds crowded with 2 or even 3 inches of fish per 10 gallons of water and the fish seem to be fine. However, the density and ecological strain of this loading turn these ponds into fragile systems. The pH tends to sag, the fish tend to grow more slowly, and disease can become a common occurrence.

You wont be able to salvage sick fish in a pond that is overcrowded. Eventually, Mother Nature will pick off your favorite fish to achieve her ideal stocking density based on the system the fish are in, and then the remainder will recover as if by magical intervention. So reduce the number of fish if your pond is overstocked before Mother Nature handles this crucial step for you.

Good Morning, Sunshine

Ponds that have some sunlight are also beneficial to fish due to the valuable vitamins that are produced. Sunlight also helps the plants in your pond grow, thereby reducing nitrates in the water. Unfortunately, you cant just up and move your pond so if you have a shaded pond, simply add shade-loving plants to help balance the pond water.

Two Feet

When it comes to pond depth, koi are not very picky. Just be sure that the pond is deep enough (generally about 2 to 2 feet) to give the fish a chance to get out of the way of predators. This depth also provides ample space for over-wintering fish in northern climates.


A Balancing Act

The quality of your pond water is critical to fish health and you want to make sure your pond is balanced. The proper mix of fish, plants, filtration, circulation, and rocks and gravel all provide an important role in your ponds ecosystem. Work with Mother Nature, not against her, and you will find you spend more time enjoying your pond and less time maintaining it.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Gravel Vacuuming & Partial Water Changes


Regular, periodic, partial water changes are mandatory to maintain proper water quality and the only means by which nitrates can be maintained at acceptable levels. The gravel should be simultaneously vacuumed to remove trapped debris and uneaten food. Frequency will depend upon aquarium size, the species, size and number of fish, feeding habits and filtration quality.

A minimum of 25% of water volume should be changed every two weeks.

Unplug aquarium heater(s) before beginning.

Remove ornamentation other than live plants. "Walk the gravel cleaner across the entire bottom of the aquarium, agitating the gravel in the gravel cleaning tube until the water being removed flows clean.

Refill the aquarium with tap water of the same temperature and pH as that of the aquarium water, after having added the prescribed amount of dechlorinator and aquarium salt (for marine tanks) to the water.

Saltwater must be premixed and aerated or agitated for several hours to insure correct salinity and pH before being added to the aquarium.

Wait 15 minutes before plugging the heater(s) back in.

Medication

Many medications require water changes before, during and/or after treatment. These must be done in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Medicating without correcting improper water quality will have no beneficial effect. All carbon and other media must be removed from the filters prior to medicating. Do not turn off the filter! Just remove the chemical component of the filter.

Pond

When water temperature exceeds 50-55F, 25% of the pond volume should be changed every 3-4 weeks. This schedule should be complemented with larger volume water changes (50%+) associated with spring and fall pond maintenance Charlotte NC. Particular attention should be paid to water quality and the related necessity of water changes during the hot summer months, with frequent monitoring of pH and dissolved oxygen required.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Saltwater Vs. Freshwater Aquariums


Thinking of putting in a new aquarium and cant decide between going with a saltwater aquarium or a freshwater aquarium? There are a few things that you should consider to help you make your choice: commitment, cost and personal choice.

How Much Time do You Have to Commit?

Keeping any pet requires a certain amount of time and effort, and although fish are easier than many animals, keeping them happy and healthy is still a serious responsibility. Both salt and fresh water aquariums require daily feedings, frequent observation, and regular partial water changes and filter cleaning.

Marine tanks require a bit more attention at each of these steps. Feeding may be more complex, with different fish or corals requiring different foods, some of which may be frozen or live. Observation will include using test kits or devices to measure salinity, calcium, alkalinity, magnesium and other parameters. Water changes require pre-mixing salt water or purchasing and carrying pre-mixed salt water. Filter maintenance also includes emptying and adjusting your protein skimmer and may include maintaining reactors, refugia and other peripherals. Even changing light bulbs is more time consuming, as marine lighting fixtures are tightly sealed to protect the circuitry from salt and moisture.

Not all marine tanks will have all of these features, but leaving some of them out may limit the types of animals you can keep.

If you want a beautiful aquarium without all of this work, Fintastic offers an in-home maintenance program for marine and freshwater tanks.

What are the Costs Involved?

Most of the filtration and lighting choices for freshwater tanks are inadequate for marine use. Marine equipment is considerably more expensive, as are the fish and corals.

In both fresh and salt water, there is a trade-off of time vs. money. Better and more complete equipment will allow you to spend less time on maintenance; using barely adequate equipment will mean that you spend more time making up for the deficiencies in the hardware. Because of the many choices involved, a precise figure is impossible, but on average a marine aquarium will cost 3 to 5 times as much to set up as a freshwater tank of the same size.

What is Your Personal Choice?

Each side has something to offer that the other side cannot. In addition to affordability and ease, fresh water offers the possibility of breeding and raising fish, which is extremely rare in marine tanks. Marine tanks offer an unbelievable variety of creatures, from fish to corals, clams, crabs and feather dusters. The colors found in reef fish simply don't exist in fresh water.

Ultimately, the final decision of whether a saltwater or a freshwater tank is best will depend on how much time and money you want to invest in your aquarium, and your personal taste in aquatic life.

When you have settled on either a saltwater or freshwater aquarium, the next step will be to purchase a tank. For a wide variety of fish tanks for sale, contact Fintastic. We can get you a custom aquarium and install it for you. Visit our website to learn more about these services available in Charlotte, NC. We hope you enjoy your new aquarium!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

How to Manage Algae

Algae are normal, and often necessary components of any aquatic ecosystem - they are far from being harmful. Algae growth only becomes a problem when it interferes with the aquariums aesthetic appearance or it begins to overtake delicate organisms.

The most effective way to control problem algae is to control its food sources: nitrate, phosphate, carbon dioxide and dissolved organic matter. These nutrients are in short supply in natural environments such as tropical lakes, rivers and coral reefs. However, due to the aquarium's closed system and density of organisms, nutrients can accumulate rapidly, forming a constant food source. Therefore understanding where these nutrients come from will help you control them.

Nitrate, phosphate and dissolved organics come from tap water, feeding the biological process. Some salt additive mixes also include these nutrients. Our goal is to manage the introduction of these food sources into the aquarium.

Tap Water

Tap water in our area has measurable levels of nitrate, phosphate, silicate and heavy metals, all of which can promote algae growth and stunt the growth of desirable living plants, corals and invertebrates. Use of Reverse Osmosis (RO) water is the most efficient step in reducing the addition of these toxins. Just switching from tap water to RO water has resulted in cleaner aquariums with less maintenance for many aquarists. At Fintastic, we use RO water exclusively in all our saltwater systems and freshwater displays.

Feeding

Ninety percent of the nitrogen in foods added to the aquarium ends up as nitrate in the water. Feeding also contributes to phosphate buildup. Overfeeding is typically the largest and most common source of algae nutrients. Feeding very small amounts twice a day (all food should be eaten within one minute) with no excess food laying on the bottom of the tank is your goal.

The Biological Process

Mother Nature's bacteria will reduce ammonia, nitrite and dissolved organics to nitrate. This process cannot be eliminated or altered as biological filtration is the most important type of filtration keeping your aquarium alive! Your goal is to keep organics levels as low as possible through proper feeding and husbandry of the aquarium. In saltwater, one of the newer methods is to eliminate the biological area in your trickle filter and follow the Berlin method. This process includes using plenty of live rock (2 pounds/gallon), live sand (3-4 inches deep), massive water flow, and strong protein skimming for filtration. Maintaining a calcium level of 400-450 ppm will promote the calcareous algae rather than the undesirable microalgae.

Additions to the Aquarium

Additives for freshwater plant tanks (i.e. plant foods/fertilizers) should be done with test kits in hand to ensure the proper levels are maintained. Too little or too much will cause problems. Saltwater hobbyists should ensure their salt mix is nitrate/phosphate free and low in silicate. All other nutrient additives should be used very sparingly while other elements (calcium, strontium, molybdenum, iodine) should be consistently added.

Lighting

Lighting problems can cause outbreaks of diatoms, red slime algae and blue-green slime algae. As lamps age, the light spectrum deteriorates, triggering the growth of undesirable algae. Fluorescent lamps (standard output) should be changed at least once a year, VHO lamps every four to six months, and metal halide and super compact lamps every year.

Other Ways to Control Undesirable Algae

Once the introduction of nutrients is controlled, water changes incorporating vacuuming the detritus out of the gravel is the fastest way to remove the built-up impurities. Maintaining low levels can further be achieved by using nitrate and phosphate removing filter media. The addition of algae eating fish and snails is another natural way to keep the algae in check. Protein skimming is now considered a mandatory saltwater filtration component to reduce dissolved organics. Ultraviolet (UV) sterilization will also kill free-floating algae spores. UV sterilization works effectively with freshwater and saltwater aquariums and ponds.

Contact Fintastic for in-home aquarium maintenance Charlotte NC. Your aquatic experts will help ensure the health of your tank. We also provide installation and moving services.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Importance of Water Changes

water drop
Water is a necessity to nearly all life on earth and that includes the aquatic life in your tank. Regular maintenance can help regulate the quality of the water but eventually a water change will be needed. Whether you decide to do this yourself or call in an aquarium service in Charlotte, you should know why this process is so vital to the health of aquarium. Here is some important advice from Aqueon that will help make your whole aquarium experience quite simple and successful.

Follow this link to watch The Importance of Aquarium Water Changes for Success on YouTube, https://youtu.be/j3VgpXYoR4c, or or simply watch below. Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Fintastic Helps You Build Your Dream Aquarium System

Looking to add some living art into your life? Fintastic's aquatic experts can build your dream aquarium at your home or business. Saltwater and freshwater aquariums make for a great sensory experience for children and adults.

Watch the video below to help get inspired. Call us when you are ready to discuss a custom aquarium in Charlotte NC.


For more about our services, please visit our website fintastic.us or call (704) 817-0970 today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Basics of Aquatic Plants


Aquatic plants are a very important step in achieving a truly balanced ecosystem pond. Regardless of why you got into the water gardening hobby, adding aquatic plants to the pond is an important part of the water garden. They provide beauty and naturalization with a huge array of plant choices.

The most important function of aquatic plants is to help balance the ponds ecosystem and provide valuable biological filtration that removes nitrogen, ammonia, nitrates and other minerals from pond water. These excess nutrients are often the cause of unsightly water conditions. The end result helps to minimize pond maintenance, leaving more time to enjoy your pond. Without aquatic plants, your pond would not be able to function as a complete ecosystem.

Aquatic plants can be classified into a few main categories: water lilies, marginal plants, floaters and submerged (also known as oxygenators). Plants can also be put into two basic types known as tropical and hardy. Hardy plants will over-winter in colder climates and tropical plants are more suited to warmer climates, although tropical plants are often used as annuals in colder climate zones.

Water Lilies
Water lilies are among the most popular of aquatic plants and are often the centerpiece of the water garden. A water garden never seems complete without a few beautiful water lilies. Not only are water lilies breathtaking but they provide valuable shade, which helps to keep the pond cool while providing refuge for pond fish. Ideally, thirty to sixty percent of the water surface should be covered with aquatic plants. There are also day and night blooming water lilies in many colors.

Marginals
The marginal plant group is the largest aquatic plant group by far, containing both hardy and tropical plants. Most of them are true perennials and come back year after year, like your favorite Daylily or Black-Eyed Susan. Marginal plants serve many functions such as adding beauty and providing valuable filtration. They are called marginals because they typically grow around the edges or margins of a pond or lake. Marginal plants thrive in wet soil or standing water that covers the crown or base of the plant by as little as two inches and up to as much as six inches. Some examples of marginals include sweet flag, marsh marigold, taro, canna, water iris and creeping jenny.

Floaters
Floating plants do just as their name indicates: they float on the waters surface of ponds and aquariums Charlotte NC. Their roots dangle beneath the plant absorbing all their nutrients from the water. Most floating plants do a great job of filtering ponds by removing nutrients directly from the water as opposed to the soil where most other aquatic plants are situated or planted. The two most popular are water hyacinth and water lettuce.

Submerged
Like the name implies, this group of plants lives below the water surface. They are commonly referred to as oxygenators. Submerged aquatics do produce oxygen during most of the day. Submerged aquatic plants live entirely under water, almost. Some oxygenators bloom and the flowers often rise to the surface. They include plants such as parrots feather, hornwort, foxtail, cabomba and vallisneria. For the most part, submerged plants absorb their nutrients directly from the water. This means they compete with algae for nutrients, thereby helping to balance the ecosystem.

Putting it All Together
Just like their soil counterparts, a good mix of aquatic plants lends the best visual impact for your water garden. Marginals help to blend the pond into the surrounding landscape, while water lilies provide pops of color at the waters surface. Take some time to familiarize yourself with all the wonderful options out there and you will soon find what most appeals to you. When you need expert pond service in Charlotte, simply call Fintastic.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Common Custom Made Fish Tanks

The lure and draw of having fish in ones home is something that many people enjoy. It is part hobby, part passion and part decoration. This is because larger fish tanks and aquariums truly become a focal point inside of a home almost as soon as they are unveiled. Though many standard tanks are readily available, one may want to look in to custom aquariums so that they truly can have the right tank for their fish, their home and their personal sense of style. This is because such tanks can be designed in various shapes, sizes and even colors. The options are vast when it comes to creating and having crafted a truly unique and stylish aquarium.

Custom aquariums allow the fish lover to pick and choose exactly what they want; based on need and not have to be bound by commercially available options that are more simplistic in design and appeal. This then allows the person to have made an aquarium that really does become an integral part of their home and their overall decor. The fact that various heights, shapes and enclosures can be chosen further allow for even greater customization of the aquariums. Imagination plays a key role in the process, and the fish owner and the designer can work together to find the best solution.

Not everyone has the exact same space available to house a tank, and this is where using custom aquariums really can be most beneficial. This allows the designer or design team to work around and with the space available. This is why some such tanks turn out to be tall, yet thin, tanks that rest atop ornate pillars. Additionally, one can choose to have aquariums that are built in to walls, turned in to tables or even connect from one room to another. The ideas and design options are truly amazing; with many turning out to be works of art. The addition of the fish once the tank is built and installed just adds to the overall look of the final display and this is why many people choose this route when they really want something unique, eye catching and ideal for fish and other aquatic life.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Keeping a Saltwater Fish Tank

A saltwater fish store is unique in the fact that it is the perfect place to acquire a new addition to an individuals collection of aquarium dwellers. Saltwater fish are notorious for being difficult to raise and provide a natural environment suitable for long term survival. This statement could be nothing as far from the truth. That used to be a true statement twenty years ago.

Science and technology have perfected the art of saltwater fish keeping. At a saltwater aquarium store this difficult concept soon is dispelled. Saltwater Aquarium keepers are a breed that has the skills and knowledge of what it takes to keep these beautiful, colorful animals alive and thriving. There are such a multiple of choices for the avid saltwater enthusiast to indulge their interests and collection of species.

Types of Aquariums and the Species Kept

Maybe a saltwater collection is presented in a office location as a center piece of conversation. The aquarium could be made to look like a living reef, with the addition of live coral, sea sponges, fish, and a little live rock the allusion of the bottom of the oceans reefs can be a reality in the office. Watching these types of aquarium set-ups is very relaxing and very educational as well. Professionals at the saltwater fish store will be able to educate and inform the aquarium keeper how to keep their fish, corals, live rock, and any other type of invertebrate alive and thriving. Usually these individuals at the saltwater fish store are extremely educated from years of learning the craft of fish keeping. Water, temperature, food, species of fish all plays important roles in keeping an aquarium in a state of homoeostasis.

Difficulty of Species

Very exotic species can be purchased from the saltwater aquarium store. Most species are captured in the wild and begin their life in the wild. Usually the aquarium store has importers that specialize in different locations and different breeds. A type of fish that is viewed in a catalogue or another aquarium can usually be acquired if the name of the species is known. A reputable saltwater aquarium service will have the species stay in a isolation tank called quarantine.

Quarantine is very important so that if the new fish, coral, animal has any parasites, diseases or other dangerous infectious problems it will not spread the problem. Another reason for quarantine is to get the animal accustomed to captivity and eating. Often new fish captured will not eat and often the water PH and other factors like salt content must be gradually introduced to be tolerated by the animal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fishkeeper Themes With Mixed Communities


Although general mixed communities remain the most popular freshwater aquaria, many fishkeepers are drawn to certain themes. African cichlids are perhaps the best-known niche within the aquarium hobby, but there are many others, and recently weve been expanding our selection to help you explore different kinds of fish communities. Here are a few directions you might try.

1. PEACEFUL CICHLIDS


Yes, you read that right. These cichlids get along with most community fish platies, tetras, gouramies, angels (which are also cichlids), catfish and such. They still should not go with helpless things like goldfish or bettas, and you must remember that fish dont read fish books, so they dont always act as is typical for their species. Many of these top out at around 4 inches, making them suitable centerpiece fish for 29 gallon tanks. They are fun because they show the intelligence, personality, territorial displays and parental care of cichlids without all the bloodshed.

Keyhole cichlids, blue acaras, and orange chromides all fit this description. Larger fish (55 gal +) but still on the peaceful end can include chocolate cichlids, jurupari and other geophagus types, and festivums. Slightly pushier but still considered community cichlids are severums, firemouths, uarus and blood parrots. Going smaller, dwarf cichlids that are normally OK with community fish can include rams, kribensis, thomasi and apistogrammas. Some of these fish prefer planted tanks, while others will uproot plants; ask us about planting and landscaping for the species you choose.

2. MICRO FISH


The edge tanks, picotopes and other desktop systems have opened up a niche for fish that stay under 1 inch. The scarlet badis has been very popular, as have the various algae eating shrimp. Were adding other fish that will fit those communities including various micro-rasboras and small tetras, featherfin rainbowfish, jewel glassfish, killifish, freshwater gobies, pygmy cories and tiny gourami and betta species. Some of these are sturdy beginner fish, while others ae a bit delicate and require some special attention to food or water chemistry. Other familiar fish will also fit here guppies, neons or cardinals, harlequin rasboras. Watch out for dwarf frogs; they will go with some of these but their mouths are bigger than you think!

Many of these fish will require a heater; if your micro tank does not have one, we have heaters that are the perfect size. Good plants for these setups include Anubias nana, banana plants, and almost any plant with dwarf in its name.

3. BRACKISH AQUARIUMS


Where the river meets the sea youll find a unique environment. In estuaries and coastal marshes the water is not fresh or salt, its a mixture that varies with the tides. This unique environment has produced fish that are found nowhere else. Archer fish that spit water at flying insects, puffers that inflate when frightened, even mudskippers that climb out of the water are all brackish fish. Some familiar freshwater fish do very well in brackish tanks, including mollies and other livebearers. Most freshwater families have one or more brackish or brackish-tolerant species; there is a brackish cichlid, a rainbowfish, a catfish and a gourami.

Brackish water fish tend to be very resilient; as long as their water has a bit of salt in it, they are easy to keep. Some are fussy about their food; youll probably need frozen foods to keep them happy. Some (puffers, scats, monos, archers, tigerfish) are active and competitive, others (glassfish, gobies, halfbeaks, mollies) are more peaceful. If you like hearing people say Wow, Ive never seen that before!, a brackish tank may be right for you.

Need help stocking and maintaining your pond or aquarium? Contact the aquatic expert at Fintastic for Pond Service and Aquarium Service in Charlotte.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Porites

Porites


Class Anthozoa, Order Scleractinia, Family Poritidae, Genus Porites

Common names: boulder coral, Christmas tree worm rock

Natural origin: Indo-Pacific

Sensitivity (Level 3 to 4): These corals can be quite unforgiving and intolerant. They are not impossible to keep but demand well established aquariums and experienced care.

Feeding: A small polyped coral, they have poor prey capture ability and feed only on very small particle food. In a well fed tank with a variety of food, additional feeding might not be necessary.

Lighting (Level 7 to 10): Though adaptable to some degree, these corals usually need more intense lighting conditions. The ideal lighting for any particular coral will depend on the species and/or the depth and clarity of the water where it was collected or cultured. As with any zooxanthellate coral, coloration can change in response to changing lighting conditions. As always, sudden changes in lighting conditions can result in bleaching. Be sure to acclimate properly.

Water flow: Strong, turbulent water flow is important for effective feeding, good health and to prevent sediment damage.

Placement: Not a particularly aggressive coral in captivity, they can easily be overgrown by more aggressive tank mates.

General: In the wild, Porites corals grow to be quite massive, some being several thousand years old. To increase chances of survival, keep only in well established aquariums that are at least a year old. Steady tank parameters and calcium levels of at least 420 ppm will promote coral health and growth.

Sensitivity:

Level 1 - These corals are easy to care for, good for the novice aquarists.

Level 2 - These corals require slightly more attention than level 1 corals, but are generally tolerant and forgiving.

Level 3 - These corals require stable, established aquariums and care by an experienced aquarist.

Level 4 - These corals should only be kept by the most experienced aquarists.

Level 5 - These corals are not known to be able to survive in aquariums even when under the care of the most experienced aquarists

Note that this scale is not set in stone, but based on the numerous experiences and reports of professional and hobby aquarists. The sensitivity and tolerance of any given coral in your tank will depend on species, health when collected/purchased, how long it's been in captivity, and other factors that may or may not be knowable.

Lighting Scale (approximations):

Level 0 - no light

...

Level 3 - one foot below modest VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 5 - two feet below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 6 - one foot below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

Level 7 - two feet below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Level 8 - one foot below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

...

Level 10 - one foot below 400 watt single ended MH (or 250 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Note that this scale is quite crude and only meant to provide a rough idea of the different levels of light intensities. How much (and what kind of) light actually reaches the corals in your tank also depends on the type of reflector in the light fixture, the temperature of the bulbs/lamps, the clarity of your tank water, etc.

It's also important to note that different individual corals, even of the same species, can have very different lighting requirements and ideals. Often times, the same types and species of wild caught corals come from different depths and different water clarities. It's nearly impossible to know what kind or how much light was getting to your coral when it was first taken from the wild. One advantage of aquacultured corals is that you can know what light they were grown under. Beyond health, the color of any given zooxanthellate (photosynthetic) coral will change and adapt in response to the lighting it is placed under. All corals are vulnerable to bleaching if not allowed to acclimate to a change to more intense lighting. If your coral begins to bleach, move it to an area of lower lighting and feed it especially well.

Acclimation:

Please, always take the time to acclimate new corals. \

Step 1: Float the bag with the coral in the aquarium water (away from lights!) for about 20 minutes.

Step 2: Open the bag and test the salinity of the bag water. Step

3: Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 10-20 minutes until the bag water and tank water are approximately the same salinity. You can add less water over longer periods of time to acclimate more slowly for more sensitive animals (or when the bag water and tank water have substantially different salinity).

Acclimation can also be done in a bucket (rather than the transport bag). However, the bucket water temperature can get closer to room temperature than tank water temperature (especially for slow acclimations). Insulating the bucket in a Styrofoam box or cooler during acclimation should help.

To acclimate to new lighting conditions, first place the coral in a less light intense area of the tank. Every few days, move the coral towards more direct lighting until it is where you want it to be. If it begins to bleach at any point, move it back to a less light intense area. After the coral recovers, commence moving towards more direct light more slowly.

General "Disclaimer"

These care sheets are a brief presentation of the needs and characteristics of a variety of commonly kept aquarium corals. Though there's a lot of science in reef keeping, the hobby itself has always been and continues to be an imperfect science. Much is still unknown and there is often more than one way to do things. Please take what's written here as a starting point, but always keep an active and curious mind.

Pocillopora

Pocillopora (and Stylophora)


Class Anthozoa, Order Scleractinia, Family Pocilloporidae, Genera Pocillopora and Stylophora

Common names: cauliflower coral

Natural origin: Indo-Pacific

Sensitivity (Level 3 to 4): These corals can be quite sensitive and intolerant of unstable conditions. Though not impossible to keep, they require experienced care and well established aquariums.

Feeding: Small polyp corals, they have poor prey capture ability and need food of very small particle size. In a well fed tank with a variety of food, additional feeding might not be necessary.

Lighting (Level 6 to 10): Though adaptable, Pocillopora spp. tend to grow faster and fair better under more intense lighting. The ideal lighting for any particular coral will depend on the species and the depth and clarity of the water where it was collected or cultured. As with any zooxanthellate coral, coloration can change in response to changing lighting conditions. And as with all corals, sudden changes in lighting conditions can result in bleaching. Be sure to acclimate properly.

Water flow: Like Acropora spp. and Montipora spp., these corals need strong water flow for effective feeding, health and growth.

Placement: These are not aggressive corals and can be overgrown or out-competed by faster growing or more aggressive neighbors.

General: Some species are confused for branching Montipora. Fortunately, care requirements are mostly similar for both corals. Steady tank parameters and calcium levels of at least 420 ppt will promote coral health and growth. Pocillopora spp. can grow relatively fast under favorable conditions. A brooding coral, Pocillopora can sexually reproduce in captivity.

Sensitivity:

Level 1 - These corals are easy to care for, good for the novice aquarists.

Level 2 - These corals require slightly more attention than level 1 corals, but are generally tolerant and forgiving.

Level 3 - These corals require stable, established aquariums and care by an experienced aquarist.

Level 4 - These corals should only be kept by the most experienced aquarists.

Level 5 - These corals are not known to be able to survive in aquariums even when under the care of the most experienced aquarists

Note that this scale is not set in stone, but based on the numerous experiences and reports of professional and hobby aquarists. The sensitivity and tolerance of any given coral in your tank will depend on species, health when collected/purchased, how long it's been in captivity, and other factors that may or may not be knowable.

Lighting Scale (approximations):

Level 0 - no light

...

Level 3 - one foot below modest VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 5 - two feet below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 6 - one foot below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

Level 7 - two feet below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Level 8 - one foot below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

...

Level 10 - one foot below 400 watt single ended MH (or 250 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Note that this scale is quite crude and only meant to provide a rough idea of the different levels of light intensities. How much (and what kind of) light actually reaches the corals in your tank also depends on the type of reflector in the light fixture, the temperature of the bulbs/lamps, the clarity of your tank water, etc.

It's also important to note that different individual corals, even of the same species, can have very different lighting requirements and ideals. Often times, the same types and species of wild caught corals come from different depths and different water clarities. It's nearly impossible to know what kind or how much light was getting to your coral when it was first taken from the wild. One advantage of aquacultured corals is that you can know what light they were grown under. Beyond health, the color of any given zooxanthellate (photosynthetic) coral will change and adapt in response to the lighting it is placed under. All corals are vulnerable to bleaching if not allowed to acclimate to a change to more intense lighting. If your coral begins to bleach, move it to an area of lower lighting and feed it especially well.

Acclimation:

Please, always take the time to acclimate new corals.

Step 1: Float the bag with the coral in the aquarium water (away from lights!) for about 20 minutes.

Step 2: Open the bag and test the salinity of the bag water.

Step 3: Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 10-20 minutes until the bag water and tank water are approximately the same salinity. You can add less water over longer periods of time to acclimate more slowly for more sensitive animals (or when the bag water and tank water have substantially different salinity).

Acclimation can also be done in a bucket (rather than the transport bag). However, the bucket water temperature can get closer to room temperature than tank water temperature (especially for slow acclimations). Insulating the bucket in a Styrofoam box or cooler during acclimation should help.

To acclimate to new lighting conditions, first place the coral in a less light intense area of the tank. Every few days, move the coral towards more direct lighting until it is where you want it to be. If it begins to bleach at any point, move it back to a less light intense area. After the coral recovers, commence moving towards more direct light more slowly.

General "Disclaimer"

These care sheets are a brief presentation of the needs and characteristics of a variety of commonly kept aquarium corals. Though there's a lot of science in reef keeping, the hobby itself has always been and continues to be an imperfect science. Much is still unknown and there is often more than one way to do things. Please take what's written here as a starting point, but always keep an active and curious mind.

Pipe Organ Coral

Pipe Organ Coral


Class Anthozoa, Order Alcyonacea, Family Tubiporidae, Genus Tubipora

Common names: pipe organ coral, organpipe coral

Natural origin: Indo-Pacific

Sensitivity (Level 3 to 4): These corals can be difficult to keep because they are difficult to feed. They tend to fair better in established aquariums with well populated sand beds. The manner of collection may be a factor in the difficulty of maintaining these corals in aquariums. A coral that is well established on a rock base will usually fare well while a coral that has been collected by being sliced from the top of a colony in the wild will not.

Feeding: The coral's feathery polyp tentacles help it catch food suspended in water. They appreciate food of smaller particle size, but shouldn't be target. Oyster eggs and other such small particle foods are recommended.

Lighting (Level 7 to 10): Though adaptable, these corals prefer more intense lighting. Ideal lighting will depend on the depth and clarity of the water at which the coral was collected or cultured. As always, please acclimate to new lighting conditions.

Water flow: Moderate to strong water flow is important for effective feeding and to prevent sediment damage.

Placement: Pipe organ corals are not aggressive. Provide enough space for the coral polyps to extend without inhibition. Polyps can reach up to a foot in height when fully grown and fully extended.

General: The polyps of these corals retract into red, pipelike structures held together with calciferous (calcium carbonate containing) horizontal plates. This often leads new aquarists to mistake them for stony corals when they are actually classified as soft corals.

Sensitivity:

Level 1 - These corals are easy to care for, good for the novice aquarists.

Level 2 - These corals require slightly more attention than level 1 corals, but are generally tolerant and forgiving.

Level 3 - These corals require stable, established aquariums and care by an experienced aquarist.

Level 4 - These corals should only be kept by the most experienced aquarists.

Level 5 - These corals are not known to be able to survive in aquariums even when under the care of the most experienced aquarists

Note that this scale is not set in stone, but based on the numerous experiences and reports of professional and hobby aquarists. The sensitivity and tolerance of any given coral in your tank will depend on species, health when collected/purchased, how long it's been in captivity, and other factors that may or may not be knowable.

Lighting Scale (approximations):

Level 0 - no light

...

Level 3 - one foot below modest VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 5 - two feet below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 6 - one foot below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

Level 7 - two feet below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Level 8 - one foot below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

...

Level 10 - one foot below 400 watt single ended MH (or 250 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Note that this scale is quite crude and only meant to provide a rough idea of the different levels of light intensities. How much (and what kind of) light actually reaches the corals in your tank also depends on the type of reflector in the light fixture, the temperature of the bulbs/lamps, the clarity of your tank water, etc.

It's also important to note that different individual corals, even of the same species, can have very different lighting requirements and ideals. Often times, the same types and species of wild caught corals come from different depths and different water clarities. It's nearly impossible to know what kind or how much light was getting to your coral when it was first taken from the wild. One advantage of aquacultured corals is that you can know what light they were grown under. Beyond health, the color of any given zooxanthellate (photosynthetic) coral will change and adapt in response to the lighting it is placed under. All corals are vulnerable to bleaching if not allowed to acclimate to a change to more intense lighting. If your coral begins to bleach, move it to an area of lower lighting and feed it especially well.

Acclimation:

Please, always take the time to acclimate new corals.

Step 1:

Float the bag with the coral in the aquarium water (away from lights!) for about 20 minutes.

Step 2:

Open the bag and test the salinity of the bag water.

Step 3:

Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 10-20 minutes until the bag water and tank water are approximately the same salinity. You can add less water over longer periods of time to acclimate more slowly for more sensitive animals (or when the bag water and tank water have substantially different salinity).

Acclimation can also be done in a bucket (rather than the transport bag). However, the bucket water temperature can get closer to room temperature than tank water temperature (especially for slow acclimations). Insulating the bucket in a Styrofoam box or cooler during acclimation should help.

To acclimate to new lighting conditions, first place the coral in a less light intense area of the tank. Every few days, move the coral towards more direct lighting until it is where you want it to be. If it begins to bleach at any point, move it back to a less light intense area. After the coral recovers, commence moving towards more direct light more slowly.

General "Disclaimer"

These care sheets are a brief presentation of the needs and characteristics of a variety of commonly kept aquarium corals. Though there's a lot of science in reef keeping, the hobby itself has always been and continues to be an imperfect science. Much is still unknown and there is often more than one way to do things. Please take what's written here as a starting point, but always keep an active and curious mind.

Pectiniidae

Pectiniidae


Class Anthozoa, Order Scleractinia, Family Pectiniidae, Genera Echinophyllia, Oxypora, Mycedium and Pectinia

Common Names: chalice coral

Natural Origin: Indo-Pacific

Sensitivity (Level 2 to 3): Though not exactly beginner corals, most are tolerant and forgiving. Please note that they have delicate skeletons that break easily. Handle with care.

Feeding: Most species feed at night with long feeding tentacles. They generally have impressive prey capture ability and can feed on a variety of finely chopped sea foods, mysis and brine shrimp.

Lighting (Level 3 to 6): Though adaptable, moderate lighting is preferred. The ideal lighting for any particular coral will depend on the species and the depth and clarity of the water where it was collected or cultured. As with any zooxanthellate coral, coloration can change in response to changing lighting conditions. As always, sudden changes in lighting conditions can result in bleaching. Be sure to acclimate properly.

Water flow: Relatively gentle, but constant flow is ideal. Be sure that debris and sediment do not collect on the coral.

Placement: These can be aggressive corals. Please place with care, leaving several inches of free space around each specimen. They should also be placed at a slant to help keep the coral free of debris.

General: Members of this family are copious mucus producers and are probably not good candidates for smaller tanks less than 15 gallons. In small volumes, excessive coral mucus can cause fowling of the water and threaten the health of the whole tank.

Sensitivity:

Level 1 - These corals are easy to care for, good for the novice aquarists.

Level 2 - These corals require slightly more attention than level 1 corals, but are generally tolerant and forgiving.

Level 3 - These corals require stable, established aquariums and care by an experienced aquarist.

Level 4 - These corals should only be kept by the most experienced aquarists.

Level 5 - These corals are not known to be able to survive in aquariums even when under the care of the most experienced aquarists

Note that this scale is not set in stone, but based on the numerous experiences and reports of professional and hobby aquarists. The sensitivity and tolerance of any given coral in your tank will depend on species, health when collected/purchased, how long it's been in captivity, and other factors that may or may not be knowable.

Lighting Scale (approximations):

Level 0 - no light

...

Level 3 - one foot below modest VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 5 - two feet below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 6 - one foot below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

Level 7 - two feet below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Level 8 - one foot below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

...

Level 10 - one foot below 400 watt single ended MH (or 250 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Note that this scale is quite crude and only meant to provide a rough idea of the different levels of light intensities. How much (and what kind of) light actually reaches the corals in your tank also depends on the type of reflector in the light fixture, the temperature of the bulbs/lamps, the clarity of your tank water, etc.

It's also important to note that different individual corals, even of the same species, can have very different lighting requirements and ideals. Often times, the same types and species of wild caught corals come from different depths and different water clarities. It's nearly impossible to know what kind or how much light was getting to your coral when it was first taken from the wild. One advantage of aquacultured corals is that you can know what light they were grown under. Beyond health, the color of any given zooxanthellate (photosynthetic) coral will change and adapt in response to the lighting it is placed under. All corals are vulnerable to bleaching if not allowed to acclimate to a change to more intense lighting. If your coral begins to bleach, move it to an area of lower lighting and feed it especially well.

Acclimation:

Please, always take the time to acclimate new corals.

Step 1: Float the bag with the coral in the aquarium water (away from lights!) for about 20 minutes.

Step 2: Open the bag and test the salinity of the bag water.

Step 3: Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 10-20 minutes until the bag water and tank water are approximately the same salinity. You can add less water over longer periods of time to acclimate more slowly for more sensitive animals (or when the bag water and tank water have substantially different salinity).

Acclimation can also be done in a bucket (rather than the transport bag). However, the bucket water temperature can get closer to room temperature than tank water temperature (especially for slow acclimations). Insulating the bucket in a Styrofoam box or cooler during acclimation should help.

To acclimate to new lighting conditions, first place the coral in a less light intense area of the tank. Every few days, move the coral towards more direct lighting until it is where you want it to be. If it begins to bleach at any point, move it back to a less light intense area. After the coral recovers, commence moving towards more direct light more slowly.

General "Disclaimer"

These care sheets are a brief presentation of the needs and characteristics of a variety of commonly kept aquarium corals. Though there's a lot of science in reef keeping, the hobby itself has always been and continues to be an imperfect science. Much is still unknown and there is often more than one way to do things. Please take what's written here as a starting point, but always keep an active and curious mind.

Pavona

Pavona (Cactus Coral)


Class Anthozoa, Subclass Hexacorallia, Order Scleractinia, Family Agariciidae

Common names: cactus coral, lettuce coral, potato chip coral

Natural Origin: Indo-Pacific

Sensitivity (Level 2): Though scarce in the aquarium trade, these corals can be relatively forgiving and tolerant in healthy aquariums.

Feeding: These are very small polyped corals. They feed on very fine particle foods (no need for targeted feeding).

Lighting (Level 6 to 10): These corals can adapt to a range of lighting intensities over time but generally prefer more intense lighting. As for all corals, changing lighting conditions can sometimes result in color changes in the coral. Note that when one of these corals changes color, that doesn't necessarily mean the coral is unhealthy. The coral may simply be adapting to your lighting conditions. This is true even of aesthetically unfavorable color changes. As always, take care to acclimate to new lighting conditions.

Water flow: Moderate to strong water flow is important for feeding and to prevent sediment damage.

Placement: These are peaceful corals. Place safely away from aggressive corals. Be mindful of fast growing encrusting corals that will compete for space.

General: These corals have thin, fragile skeletons and interesting growth patterns that often look like clusters of petals. Contrary to normal wild behavior, in captivity, many species extend their polyps during the day. Though not especially fast growing, their resistance to disease upon breaking makes them good corals for captive propagation by fragmentation.

Sensitivity:

Level 1 - These corals are easy to care for, good for the novice aquarists.

Level 2 - These corals require slightly more attention than level 1 corals, but are generally tolerant and forgiving.

Level 3 - These corals require stable, established aquariums and care by an experienced aquarist.

Level 4 - These corals should only be kept by the most experienced aquarists.

Level 5 - These corals are not known to be able to survive in aquariums even when under the care of the most experienced aquarists

Note that this scale is not set in stone, but based on the numerous experiences and reports of professional and hobby aquarists. The sensitivity and tolerance of any given coral in your tank will depend on species, health when collected/purchased, how long it's been in captivity, and other factors that may or may not be knowable.

Lighting Scale (approximations):

Level 0 - no light

...

Level 3 - one foot below modest VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 5 - two feet below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 6 - one foot below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

Level 7 - two feet below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Level 8 - one foot below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

...

Level 10 - one foot below 400 watt single ended MH (or 250 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Note that this scale is quite crude and only meant to provide a rough idea of the different levels of light intensities. How much (and what kind of) light actually reaches the corals in your tank also depends on the type of reflector in the light fixture, the temperature of the bulbs/lamps, the clarity of your tank water, etc.

It's also important to note that different individual corals, even of the same species, can have very different lighting requirements and ideals. Often times, the same types and species of wild caught corals come from different depths and different water clarities. It's nearly impossible to know what kind or how much light was getting to your coral when it was first taken from the wild. One advantage of aquacultured corals is that you can know what light they were grown under. Beyond health, the color of any given zooxanthellate (photosynthetic) coral will change and adapt in response to the lighting it is placed under. All corals are vulnerable to bleaching if not allowed to acclimate to a change to more intense lighting. If your coral begins to bleach, move it to an area of lower lighting and feed it especially well.

Acclimation:

Please, always take the time to acclimate new corals.

Step 1: Float the bag with the coral in the aquarium water (away from lights!) for about 20 minutes.

Step 2: Open the bag and test the salinity of the bag water.

Step 3: Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 10-20 minutes until the bag water and tank water are approximately the same salinity. You can add less water over longer periods of time to acclimate more slowly for more sensitive animals (or when the bag water and tank water have substantially different salinity).

Acclimation can also be done in a bucket (rather than the transport bag). However, the bucket water temperature can get closer to room temperature than tank water temperature (especially for slow acclimations). Insulating the bucket in a Styrofoam box or cooler during acclimation should help.

To acclimate to new lighting conditions, first place the coral in a less light intense area of the tank. Every few days, move the coral towards more direct lighting until it is where you want it to be. If it begins to bleach at any point, move it back to a less light intense area. After the coral recovers, commence moving towards more direct light more slowly.

General "Disclaimer"

These care sheets are a brief presentation of the needs and characteristics of a variety of commonly kept aquarium corals. Though there's a lot of science in reef keeping, the hobby itself has always been and continues to be an imperfect science. Much is still unknown and there is often more than one way to do things. Please take what's written here as a starting point, but always keep an active and curious mind.

Montipora

Montipora


Class Anthozoa, Subclass Hexacorallia, Order Scleractinia, Family Acroporidae, Genus Montipora

Common names: velvet coral

Natural origin: Indo-Pacific

Sensitivity (Level 2): Though not exactly beginner corals, they're usually considerably more tolerant than their Acropora cousins.

Feeding: These corals have nearly invisible polyps and rather poor prey capture ability. They fed on food of very small particle size. In a well fed tank with a variety of food, additional feeding is usually not necessary.

Lighting (Level 6 to 10): Most Montipora species can adapt to a considerably wide range of light intensities but tend to prefer and grow faster under stronger lighting. Like all photosynthetic corals, changing lighting conditions can sometimes result in color changes in the coral. Note that when one of these corals changes color, that doesn't necessarily mean the coral is unhealthy. The coral may simply be adapting to your lighting conditions. This is true even of aesthetically unfavorable color changes. As always, failure to acclimate to new lighting can cause bleaching.

Water flow: Plating species can be especially susceptible to sediment damage. Both branching and plating types need strong water flow.

Placement: These are very peaceful corals. Keep safely away from aggressive corals and be careful of fast-growing encrusting corals that will compete for space.

General: Different Montipora species can be encrusting, plating or branching. All three growth forms can grow very fast when kept well. Steady calcium levels of approximately 420 ppm are best for coral health and growth.

Sensitivity:

Level 1 - These corals are easy to care for, good for the novice aquarists.

Level 2 - These corals require slightly more attention than level 1 corals, but are generally tolerant and forgiving.

Level 3 - These corals require stable, established aquariums and care by an experienced aquarist.

Level 4 - These corals should only be kept by the most experienced aquarists.

Level 5 - These corals are not known to be able to survive in aquariums even when under the care of the most experienced aquarists

Note that this scale is not set in stone, but based on the numerous experiences and reports of professional and hobby aquarists. The sensitivity and tolerance of any given coral in your tank will depend on species, health when collected/purchased, how long it's been in captivity, and other factors that may or may not be knowable.

Lighting Scale (approximations):

Level 0 - no light

...

Level 3 - one foot below modest VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 5 - two feet below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 6 - one foot below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

Level 7 - two feet below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Level 8 - one foot below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

...

Level 10 - one foot below 400 watt single ended MH (or 250 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Note that this scale is quite crude and only meant to provide a rough idea of the different levels of light intensities. How much (and what kind of) light actually reaches the corals in your tank also depends on the type of reflector in the light fixture, the temperature of the bulbs/lamps, the clarity of your tank water, etc.

It's also important to note that different individual corals, even of the same species, can have very different lighting requirements and ideals. Often times, the same types and species of wild caught corals come from different depths and different water clarities. It's nearly impossible to know what kind or how much light was getting to your coral when it was first taken from the wild. One advantage of aquacultured corals is that you can know what light they were grown under. Beyond health, the color of any given zooxanthellate (photosynthetic) coral will change and adapt in response to the lighting it is placed under. All corals are vulnerable to bleaching if not allowed to acclimate to a change to more intense lighting. If your coral begins to bleach, move it to an area of lower lighting and feed it especially well.

Acclimation:

Please, always take the time to acclimate new corals.

Step 1: Float the bag with the coral in the aquarium water (away from lights!) for about 20 minutes.

Step 2: Open the bag and test the salinity of the bag water.

Step 3: Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 10-20 minutes until the bag water and tank water are approximately the same salinity. You can add less water over longer periods of time to acclimate more slowly for more sensitive animals (or when the bag water and tank water have substantially different salinity).

Acclimation can also be done in a bucket (rather than the transport bag). However, the bucket water temperature can get closer to room temperature than tank water temperature (especially for slow acclimations). Insulating the bucket in a Styrofoam box or cooler during acclimation should help.

To acclimate to new lighting conditions, first place the coral in a less light intense area of the tank. Every few days, move the coral towards more direct lighting until it is where you want it to be. If it begins to bleach at any point, move it back to a less light intense area. After the coral recovers, commence moving towards more direct light more slowly.

General "Disclaimer"

These care sheets are a brief presentation of the needs and characteristics of a variety of commonly kept aquarium corals. Though there's a lot of science in reef keeping, the hobby itself has always been and continues to be an imperfect science. Much is still unknown and there is often more than one way to do things. Please take what's written here as a starting point, but always keep an active and curious mind.

Lobophyllia/Symphyllia

3836761565_fdae8f15ba_oLobophyllia/Symphyllia


Class Anthozoa, Order Scleractinia, Family Mussidea, Genera Lobophyllia and Symphyllia

Common names: open brain coral, lobed brain coral

Natural origin: Indo-Pacific

Sensitivity (Level 1 to 2): Sensitivity depends somewhat on species, but most are quite tolerant and forgiving when healthy and well fed.

Feeding: These corals have strong prey capture ability. They typically have considerably larger polyp mouths and can take larger food than can the Blastomussa/Micromussa/Acanthastrea species of the same family. They should be fed at night since this is often the only time they will extend their feeder tentacles.

Lighting (Level 5 to 8): They can adapt to a range of lighting conditions but tend to prefer more intense light. As always, to prevent bleaching, be careful to properly acclimate the coral to new lighting conditions.

Water flow: Moderate water flow is preferred.

Placement: These corals are not aggressive. Even so, they can expand quite a bit and so need plenty of room. Please place them safely away from aggressive corals.

General: Feeding tentacles are usually relatively small and only come out at night. Care should be taken to make sure the coral gets enough food. Slow tissue recession could be a sign of starvation. Regular night-time target feeding can help.

Sensitivity:

Level 1 - These corals are easy to care for, good for the novice aquarists.

Level 2 - These corals require slightly more attention than level 1 corals, but are generally tolerant and forgiving.

Level 3 - These corals require stable, established aquariums and care by an experienced aquarist.

Level 4 - These corals should only be kept by the most experienced aquarists.

Level 5 - These corals are not known to be able to survive in aquariums even when under the care of the most experienced aquarists

Note that this scale is not set in stone, but based on the numerous experiences and reports of professional and hobby aquarists. The sensitivity and tolerance of any given coral in your tank will depend on species, health when collected/purchased, how long it's been in captivity, and other factors that may or may not be knowable.

Lighting Scale (approximations): Level 0 - no light

...

Level 3 - one foot below modest VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 5 - two feet below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

...

Level 6 - one foot below extensive VHO or T5 fluorescent lighting

Level 7 - two feet below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Level 8 - one foot below 250 watt single ended MH light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)

...

Level 10 - one foot below 400 watt single ended MH (or 250 watt MH with HQI ballast)

Note that this scale is quite crude and only meant to provide a rough idea of the different levels of light intensities. How much (and what kind of) light actually reaches the corals in your tank also depends on the type of reflector in the light fixture, the temperature of the bulbs/lamps, the clarity of your tank water, etc.

It's also important to note that different individual corals, even of the same species, can have very different lighting requirements and ideals. Often times, the same types and species of wild caught corals come from different depths and different water clarities. It's nearly impossible to know what kind or how much light was getting to your coral when it was first taken from the wild. One advantage of aquacultured corals is that you can know what light they were grown under. Beyond health, the color of any given zooxanthellate (photosynthetic) coral will change and adapt in response to the lighting it is placed under. All corals are vulnerable to bleaching if not allowed to acclimate to a change to more intense lighting. If your coral begins to bleach, move it to an area of lower lighting and feed it especially well.

Acclimation:

Please, always take the time to acclimate new corals.

Step 1: Float the bag with the coral in the aquarium water (away from lights!) for about 20 minutes.

Step 2: Open the bag and test the salinity of the bag water.

Step 3: Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 10-20 minutes until the bag water and tank water are approximately the same salinity. You can add less water over longer periods of time to acclimate more slowly for more sensitive animals (or when the bag water and tank water have substantially different salinity).

Acclimation can also be done in a bucket (rather than the transport bag). However, the bucket water temperature can get closer to room temperature than tank water temperature (especially for slow acclimations). Insulating the bucket in a Styrofoam box or cooler during acclimation should help.

To acclimate to new lighting conditions, first place the coral in a less light intense area of the tank. Every few days, move the coral towards more direct lighting until it is where you want it to be. If it begins to bleach at any point, move it back to a less light intense area. After the coral recovers, commence moving towards more direct light more slowly.

General "Disclaimer"

These care sheets are a brief presentation of the needs and characteristics of a variety of commonly kept aquarium corals. Though there's a lot of science in reef keeping, the hobby itself has always been and continues to be an imperfect science. Much is still unknown and there is often more than one way to do things. Please take what's written here as a starting point, but always keep an active and curious mind.