Top 5 Large Saltwater Aquarium Fish

Top 5 Large Saltwater Aquarium Fish

Us aquarium hobbyists are always on the lookout for the next big addition to our saltwater tanks. But we rarely give a chance to the actual ‘big’ additions that will elevate our tank’s beauty and set it apart from the other tank setups we so often browse online.

Medium and large fish are very often overlooked for a variety of reasons that are rather obtuse. First, let us dispel these opinions. 

The main reasons larger fish species are overlooked in home saltwater aquarium setups are:

  • Tank size
  • Fear of aggression on smaller fish species
  • Will consume all the food in the tank
  • They are more expensive
  • There will be competition for space
  • They will grow too big
  • Tough to care for

But, most of these reasons are actually completely untrue with regards to the larger saltwater aquarium fish species. 

Tank size is a legitimate concern and if you are looking at a nano tank or a tank smaller than 40-50 gallons, larger species is not a good idea. But our experience shows that most beginners go for a 50+ gallon tank and it is widely considered the optimal size for a saltwater aquarium. A couple of medium to large aquarium fish will thrive in tanks of these sizes.

In fact, smaller tanks are tougher to maintain because there are frequent changes in water chemistry and require greater upkeep than larger tanks. They tend to be more expensive too because you have to invest in advanced pump systems and constantly monitor pH and oxygen levels too.

With regards to potential issues with food and aggression, there are several docile and calm species of large saltwater fish that get on well with all tank occupants. Plus, they are much easier to care for than smaller fish as discoloration and malnutrition are easier to notice and they can resist fluctuations in their environment better, making them easier to care for.

Here is a list of some of the best larger species to have in your tank that will be the center of attention, beautiful, and give your tank a more defined and intricate look and balance that is tough to achieve with a bunch of smaller species. We have compiled a list of fish that are atleast 6” when fully grown.

Top 5 Large Fish Species for Your Saltwater Aquarium:

Lionfish

This popular reef fish is one o the most recognized and widely known species of fish in the world. Their distinctive spines running along either dorsal surface, fins and the spine gives this fish an impressive presence.

They are slow and graceful in their movement and rarely aggressive towards other species. Their spines contain venom which gives them immunity from attack, even in the wild. This gives them the freedom to roam currents looking for small invertebrates to eat. They can easily live off the frozen shrimp diet or common fish foods available in the market.

Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)

Forgetful, charming, and kind – Dory captured our hearts in the movie Finding Dory. But the real-life counterpart to this animated fish is a regal creature that is an absolutely stunning addition to any tank. Sporting an almost iridescent shade of blue with black markings from the face along the dorsal line, the Blue Tang is one of those species that captures our attention and holds it there.

Their yellowtail and beautiful fin markings make them a striking presence and will serve as the cynosure of the tank. They possess a regal presence, moving slowly through the currents pursuing the tank for bits of algae and seaweed. Their peaceful presence and gorgeous good looks will make you fall in love with them instantly.

Growing anywhere between 6-10 “, this species of Tang does extremely well in 50-90 gallon tanks. They can be found nestling into large crevices but also swimming around the tank at any height. In their natural habitat, they tend to stick close to the reef but in a tank, with the freedom to roam around, they will be an active presence.

They mostly graze on seaweed and algae from the bottom of the tank but also love some frozen shrimp feed. If they are fed regularly with a constant supply of dried seaweed and shrimp feed, they will be happy and healthy and live for 7-10 years in a tank.

Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish

This beautiful, unique and widely distributed species of butterflyfish is quickly becoming a popular addition in saltwater aquariums. This popularity is because of their stunning yellow coloring, rectangular body shape, and a long snout that resembles forceps. Because of this remarkable snout, they are also called forcepsfish in common parlance.

Feeding on crustaceans and frozen shrimp, they do extremely well in tanks as a bonded pair (this can be achieved by raising a male and female from a very young age). They are hardy fish that do well in medium to large size tanks. Since they are very active and quick swimmers, a tank that is 90-120 gallons (large tanks) fits them best.

Though territorial sometimes,  they are generally very calm towards other tank dwellers. When fed well and with enough space to swim, they are a timid and non-aggressive species. They add a bright pop of color to the tank. Growing to 8-9 in tanks, they can easily become the preliminary attractions.

The French Angelfish

This fish found in the waters ranging from the western coast of America to the lively coast of Brazil is a hypnotic beauty. One of the larger members of the angelfish family, this fish grows to be around 9-13” long and can easily be the centerpiece of your tank.

A midnight black body with luminescent gold highlights on the scales makes this fish one of the more stunning and rare beauties of the ocean. A pastel blue face with yellow marking around the eyes sets it apart from its near relative – the gray angelfish.

These fish are omnivorous and feed on plant material like algae and seaweed but also love to munch on tiny marine invertebrates like copepods. They are extremely attractive under aquarium lights and the gold frilled scales shimmer as they swim around the reef in search of a snack. They thrive as a mating pair and tend to live their entire lives paired with a mate. It is advisable to get a male and female as younglings and let them grow up together in the tank.

Princess parrotfish

The last entry on our list is no slouch. Growing up to be around 10 inches in length, this fish displays an incredible change in appearance as it matures. As a juvenile, male princess parrotfish tend to display a plain brown/white color pattern. Upon reaching the terminal of maturity (like puberty) they turn bright blue with brilliant pink highlights and the scales and a pink band running across the face.

Parrotfish are credited with creating coral sand. Their diet of coral polyps and plant matter allows them to excrete out sand that forms a coarse reef bed. In fact, parrotfish sand has aided in the creation of small islands in the Caribbean and its beaches. A parrotfish can produce 90kgs of sand a year.

They exhibit some fascinating mating behavior and females of this species are classified as protogynous, wherein they undergo a change of sex in the absence of a terminal male presence in the reef.

They are great to observe in a tank environment for their unique feeding and mating rituals. Males are also brightly colored making them beautiful additions as well. 

Conclusion:

These fish species may be overlooked for being too large for many budding aquarists and experienced saltwater aquarium enthusiasts alike. But, there is so much more than just size. When raised in a tank, these fish maintain a desirable size while becoming the center of attraction of your tank. They have long lifespans and are great for jobs around the aquarium too! So, what are you waiting for, give these species a shot and you will not be disappointed.

Nassarius Vibex Snail: Food Obsessed Mollusc That Will Keep Your Tank Clean 

Nassarius Vibex Snail: Food Obsessed Mollusc That Will Keep Your Tank Clean 

Why Your Saltwater Aquarium Needs Nassarius Vibex Snails

Nobody likes an aquarium full of algae and debris, and this means that a clean up crew of inverts and fish is a must for any hobbyist. From crabs and shrimps, to fish and weird looking slugs, the range of saltwater aquarium cleaners is a little bit overwhelming!

Snails are one of the great ways of keeping your tank clean, and today we will be talking about the nassarius vibex snail. A cool name for a very cool snail!

Nassarius Vibex Snails Love Food

Unlike other snails, the nassarius vibex snail doesn’t eat algae. So, if you are having issues with algae you should look at other options when wanting to keep your tank clean and healthy.

However, this snail will eat everything else. The nassarius vibex snail is a scavenger type snail and will eat all the dead fish that might be leftover in your tank. It will spend its time looking out for anything it might be able to eat and also feeds off waste and fish excrement. Well, somebody has to.

This snail is brilliant to keep your saltwater aquarium clean of debris. As they reduce the amount of waste in the tank, your nitrate levels will be easier to maintain.

They don’t eat anything that is living, so this means that you won’t be worried about them suddenly chomping down on your prized fish!

They Are Sand Sifters

Nassarius vibex snails don’t just eat the bits and pieces that are floating around the tank, but also will sift through the sand for any debris to eat. This keeps the sand clean.

Because of their behavior, they aerate the sand. Doing this means the substrate stays healthy and viable for longer. Bacteria will be healthy and the tank will have great circulation, with oxygen levels in the sand perfect. 

They Only Emerge For Food

They don’t need sand, but it is advisable as they like to spend most of their time buried. Mud can also be used as a substrate for nassarius vibex snails. In tanks without substrate, they can survive and thrive sometimes, but make sure you have enough rockery and dark places for them to hide under. However, it is really not advised as they can get stressed without being able to bury themselves. 

But, just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean that they aren’t aware of what is going on in the aquarium! When they sense dead organic matter, their siphon will emerge from the sand and scout out where their food is.

The snails siphon is a long periscope type thing which they use to breathe and smell. These snails move surprisingly fast when they know food is about, emerging from the sand quickly and rapidly moving around the aquarium.

When they have finished their food, they will go back into the sand and wait for their next meal. Sounds like a great life, right?

Nassarius Vibex Snails Aren’t Very Big

If you have just started out keeping saltwater aquariums, these snails are a great addition to your first tank.

Firstly, this is because they aren’t that big so you don’t need a massive set up to keep them happy. They grow to about half an inch in size, their shell about the size of an olive pit. Because of this, they can be kept happy in smaller aquariums.

We recommend two nassarius vibex snails per gallon to make sure they can keep on top of all the cleaning and eating that they have to do!

However, you must make sure there is enough meaty debris for your snails to eat so they don’t starve.

They Are Easy To Care For

Another reason why these snails are great for beginners and novices alike is that they don’t demand much of your time and energy.

These snails are really hardy and can withstand a broad range of temperatures and salinity. In the wild they can be found in polluted areas, showing that they can really survive anything!

A temperature around 24℃ is perfect for them, but don’t stress too much about this. The most important thing is that they have enough to eat.

They Are Also Pretty Peaceful

Nassarius vibex snails generally keep to themselves, only emerging to eat the debris and dead fish that other aquarium dwellers leave behind. However, if they are running out of food there have been reports that they will go after living creatures, mainly other snails.

Because of this, they should be kept in an aquarium with a messy eater! Think about what fish you have and who makes the biggest mess. Seahorses and predatory fish are amazing animals but do create a lot of debris. So, these are perfect to be homed with the nassarius vibex snails! 

Final Thoughts

When we have saltwater aquariums, keeping the environment as close to nature as possible is a great way of making sure all your creatures are happy. A great way of doing this is introducing animals that help out the environment and each other.

In adding nassarius vibex snails to your aquarium, you are developing and maintaining your own little ecosystem. These snails help the aquarium stay healthy and help you by doing all the cleaning work..

The snails we offer are healthy, happy, and ready to help out! Go ahead, get yourself some new little cleaning friends to keep you and your saltwater aquarium in the best spirits!

Emerald Crabs: 5 Reasons You Need Them in Your Saltwater Aquarium

Emerald Crabs: 5 Reasons You Need Them in Your Saltwater Aquarium

Get Rid of Your Bubble Algae with Emerald Crabs

We all know how annoying algae can be. Our aquariums are our pride and joy, so when algae crops up, we can get frustrated. However, there are so many different ways that we can treat algae, and most mean fun tank additions!

Today we will take a deeper look at emerald crabs, a fantastic crustacean to have for many reasons, not just because they love to keep your tank clean! This post will highlight some of the Emerald crab’s best features and what makes it such a great addition to saltwater aquariums.

Emerald Crabs Are Scavengers 

If you are a veteran aquarium hobbyist, you will know all about bubble algae. More aggressive than other forms of algae, it seems to never go away. I am sure we have all had our own issues with this relentless slime. 

Enter, the emerald crab! These crabs are scavengers and will camp on your reef bed and pick off bubble algae. 

Crabs are famous for being algae lovers, with the blue leg hermit crab another one who just wants to munch on the green stuff. But, when it comes to bubble algae look no further than the emerald crab!

Not only does it like to eat the bubble algae, but this crustation is an omnivore and so will do more than just keep your tank clean of the slime. It will clean the aquarium of any uneaten bits of organic matter, and debris. One less job for you! 

It must be said that even though these crabs will keep the majority of your aquarium clean, you might still have to roll up your sleeves occasionally and help out. If you have a huge outbreak of bubble algae you should really clean most of it out first before leaving the leftovers for the emerald crabs. 

Then, hopefully, the emerald crab will keep on top of the algae and chomp down on any growth, making sure another outbreak won’t occur. 

Emerald Crabs are Easy to Care For 

The emerald crab is extremely hardy and a great thing is that they are easy to look after. When the tank is low on algae they will just need a bit of dry seaweed or frozen shrimp to keep them going. If they get too hungry they might try and go for other animals in your tank, such as snails or smaller fish. So make sure they have a decent amount of food to eat and keep your aquarium at peace!

They are nocturnal and love to chill out in a dark quiet area during the day, so make sure you have enough places for them to hide out in. Plenty of rocks is a must when it comes to these crabs. When they get comfortable in the tank and used to their surroundings they will start to come out during the day, exploring the tank looking for scarps to scavenge on. 

They will molt from time to time, and this can be a bit weird the first time you see it, but don’t worry, it is completely normal and a sign of good health.

When the emerald crabs molt they leave behind their exoskeleton. It might look like a dead crab but don’t panic too much when you see this, it is only their exoskeleton that they are leaving behind as they grow bigger. Just remove it from the tank and make sure your crab is doing well and is happy in his new shell.

They are Docile and Tolerant

These crustaceans are peaceful and don’t really mind who they share a tank with. If the crabs have enough food to eat, they will not bother the other fish and inverts that you might have in your aquarium.

However, you must make sure that there aren’t any big predators in the tank. Triggerfish and hawkfish are two fish that shouldn’t be put in the same aquarium as your emerald crabs as they are known to prey on them.

Other types of crustaceans, such as crabs and shrimp., are fine to have in the same aquarium as emerald crabs. They live in harmony together, and as long as the emerald crab is cleaning, everybody is happy!

Emerald Crabs are Beautiful Too!

Of course, a main reason why we have aquariums is because they are really nice to look at. There are so many interesting and beautiful creatures that we keep, and the emerald crab is one of these. 

Their green exoskeleton is very eye-catching and adds a brilliant pop of color to the mix of any aquarium. Helpful, peaceful, and beautiful?! These crustaceans are a must for your tank. 

They Don’t Grow Too Big 

These crabs are also great because they don’t grow too big, and this means you won’t have to worry about the size of the tank. 

Emerald crabs grow to about two inches and do well in medium to large tanks where they have a lot of room to explore and feed. You will just need one or two for your tank to keep on top of the cleaning. Don’t put too many of them in the same tank as even though they are pretty chill, nobody likes to not have any personal space! Overpopulation of emerald crabs in the same tank might lead to aggression. 

Final Thoughts

These crabs are amazing for keeping your aquarium clean. Once you get a pair of emerald crabs, you will wonder why you didn’t get them sooner! They can be picked up pretty cheaply, around $12.99 per crab. A small price for such a big boost to the health and wellbeing of your aquarium! 

Top 5 Best Shrimp for Your Saltwater Aquarium

Top 5 Best Shrimp for Your Saltwater Aquarium

Some of the most exciting animals you can keep in a saltwater aquarium are shrimp! If they are put in the correct aquarium, most of the shrimps available to aquarists are reasonably easy to keep too. When given the suitable shelter and food, they thrive and help add beauty and diversity to the tank. Most reef-dwelling species, for instance, simply need crevices or overhangs to hide in. The key thing to remember with adding shrimp to your aquarium is ensuring there are no predators that might feast on your latest additions! 

This article looks at the top 5 shrimps for your saltwater aquarium, and why they are the best choices. As always, before buying additional animals, please do sufficient research to ensure your aquarium is appropriate. 

Sexy shrimp

The sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis) is undoubtedly the cutest shrimp you can add to your saltwater aquarium! This tiny shrimp (~2.8cm) is one of the smallest shrimp species, with vibrant amber to orange colored bodies with white spots. These little shrimp spend their time wiggling their tails and vibrating their abdomen in order to clean their host anemone. They have also been known to take up residence on nearby corals if their chosen anemone is not available.

Do be aware that clownfish are very protective of their host anemone and will likely not want to share. Otherwise, the sexy shrimp is considered as a great reef-safe option for your aquarium. 

Randall’s pistol shrimp

Randall’s pistol shrimp (Alpheus randalli) is a small yet powerful little shrimp! These shrimp come with their very own built-in stun gun! They have a large claw-like appendage that works like a pistol, the hammer-like part of the joint allows for quick-release of their pincer. This action creates a rather interesting snapping sound too. Scientists have uncovered this sound comes from the bubbles created by the pincer snapping back into the socket. This lightning-fast, high-energy movement causes the surrounding water to boil to up to 18’000 F, which releases the bubbles! Not bad for a tiny shrimp. But don’t worry, this will not damage your aquarium. 

If possible, Randall’s pistol shrimp prefers to team up with the goby fish and share a burrow, excavated by the pistol shrimp. Randall’s pistol shrimp is nearly blind, so the goby acts as its lookout. These two animals make a great pair!

Coral banded shrimp

Next, another great option for your saltwater aquarium is the coral banded shrimp (Stenopus hispidus). This shrimp comes in an array of brightly colored forms! From red and white banded individuals as well as yellow, blue, and purple. This is a hardy nocturnal shrimp species that prefers to hide in caves or under ledges. This species can be territorial and fight off other coral banded shrimp to guard its territory. It is not uncommon for legs or pincers to be lost during these fights, but these will grow back when the shrimp next molts. 

Coral banded shrimps are generally found in crevices or caves, or even hanging from ceilings. Interestingly, they enjoy sharing their hiding places with moray eels, as the shrimps feed on the eel’s body slime and any parasites. The shrimp also encourages other fish to take advantage of its cleaning surface and uses its long antennae to encourage posing. 

Cleaner shrimp 

The cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) makes a great addition to your aquarium for a number of reasons. Not only are they colourful and active, they also enjoy living in groups. The key benefit is the free cleaning service they provide to their other tank mates. The cleaner shrimp will happily remove parasites and dead scales from your fish’s bodies, gills, and mouths. This shrimp likes to live on rock and coral outcroppings so that it can easily wait for fish to swim past and perform its cleaning duties.

The cleaner shrimp is no bother to other corals or fish, making it another excellent reef safe option. 

Peppermint shrimp

Finally, we have the peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni). It is also known as the candy cane shrimp due to its transparent body with bright red stripes. This shrimp is nocturnal, so can seem shy, but it is easy to care for whilst adding a bright flash of color to your aquarium. Again, this shrimp is happy to be kept as part of a larger group. 

Your only consideration is to be wary of placing these little shrimps in with anemones, as occasionally they have been known to snack on them. This is often solved by keeping their shrimp pellet topped up so that they don’t feel the need to feast on your anemones. 

Feather Duster Worms: Add a dash of Color With These Gentle Filter Feeders

Feather Duster Worms: Add a dash of Color With These Gentle Filter Feeders

Feather Dusters worms are some of the most interesting creatures you can have in your aquarium. Beautiful and hypnotic, their day-to-day behavior, and way of life is just incredible to observe. Not only that, even though they are mostly stationary creatures, their movement in the tank adds a dynamic presence that is different from every other creature you can have.

It is important to note that feather dusters that you might have seen in tanks or on videos are often observed in their ‘home’. Like spiders or birds, these worms build their cocoon or tube to climb into and then bloom their ‘feather-like’ radioles or crown outside to catch debris and organic matter floating by in the currents. 

What makes this species fascinating is that, even though they are an almost stationary worm species, they are revered for their beauty. They add a ton of color and character to the tank that it is impossible to believe that they hardly ever move from place to place.

What Is The Feather Duster’s Shell Made Of? 

For protection and safety, these worms build a robust shell around themselves and spend most of their lives inside them. Though they might go through many shells in their lifetime, they are completely out in the open for very small periods and often get cracking on a new shell once they have abandoned the old one.

They secrete a mucus-like substance that they then use along with tank debris and organic matter to create a robust and safe tube that they crawl into. Inside this shell, their natural predators cannot reach them. Once they are into this shell, they tend to keep building and extending it further into the ocean or tank surface by burying in downwards or into the surfaces of soft rock crevices. This makes them extremely hard to reach and is a great way to keep safe for a soft worm. 

Visual Appeal

So, you might be thinking that a feather worm that buries itself into a shell might not be the best tank addition. But, these amazing creatures are filter feeders. Meaning they catch small pieces of organic matter floating in the oceanic currents near the bed.

To do this, they reveal a brightly colored crown or appendages known as radioles. They are a group of cylindrical projections resembling an underwater feather duster (hence the name). They are described as having small two-edged comb-like projections on the microscopic level. These appendages/tentacles slowly swish and swirl in the currents and the tiny comb-like projections catch any organic matter floating by.

Feather DUster worms are brilliantly colored ranging from a hypnotic white to a bright, almost fluorescent neon purple. Because the crown pulsates and sways in the water, they look marvelous and people love looking at them for a long time contemplating the existence of these fascinating and beautiful creatures in an almost meditative, enchanting experience.

Feather Duster Care

They do well in tanks of any size. As long as they have plenty of reefs and rocks to nestle with, they will do fine. They need a nice comfy layer of aquarium substrate at the bottom to bury into and a medium to strong current in the tank as this helps mimic their natural environment the best. They are found in the sandy areas of the reef as this helps them secure their shells the best.

Also, they feed on plankton and organic matter that floats in the tank. You do not need to include any special food for them as your fish and reef feed will do just fine. They are happy just boobing around the currents all day catching stray organic matter that is floating around.

Also, when you receive your shipment containing the feather duster, they might shed their shells as there is no substrate in the shipment container. Do not panic. Just discard the old shell and put them at the bottom of a buffer tank and cover them partially with substrate, They will form a new shell soon. Also, they tend to molt their feathers but this will regenerate quickly enough.

Lettuce Nudibranch: Cute Sea Slugs That Combat Aggressive Algae

Lettuce Nudibranch: Cute Sea Slugs That Combat Aggressive Algae

Lettuce Nudibranch or Lettuce Sea Slugs are incredibly underrated tank additions. There are no other species that are more unique, beautiful, and capable of some astonishing things than the Lettuce Nudibranch. They not only add a unique look to the tank but also help rid the tank of some of the more aggressive and vigorous forms of algae. 

Elysia crispata is a form of sea slug but is also knows as the Lettuce Nudibranch because of the function they perform within saltwater tanks. Like the nudibranchs, they help rid the tank of algae by voraciously consuming it throughout the day. 

Function and Diet 

They belong to a category of creatures broadly classified as sarcoglassans. What makes them unique is their ability to absorb the chlorophyll from the plant and algae matter they consume into their tissue. This allows them to generate their own energy in the presence of sunlight through a process called kleptoplasty. But, it also gives them a stunning green tinge to the curly furls on top of their slender body. This gives them a distinct appearance.

They broadly consume all forms of algae but their favorites include hair and bubble algae. Both these types of algae is a pain for aquarium hobbyists because they are very aggressive. Even after Fluconozole treatments, they tend to return quickly and take over the tank, depleting oxygen and nitrogen for the fish and reefs.

By consuming these rarer but harder-to-get-rid-of algae, they perform a crucial function in certain tank setups. They also consume more algae than other ‘tank-cleaners’ like the hermit crabs and snails. This makes them the pound for pound champion of algae destruction!

They also might consume some other plant matter, but this is rare behavior and there should be plenty of algae for them to consume. If you think that your tank has very low quantities of algae (observe rocks for greenish tinge or slimy texture), you might want to supplement this with some frozen algae in small quantities. This will ensure that your lettuce nudibranchs have plenty to graze on.

Care

The Lettuce Nudibranch is very sensitive to strong currents in the tank. Their lack of limbs makes them easy to displace in tanks with strong filters or electronic current generators. They tend to occupy shallow ocean pools where currents aren’t so severe.

Make sure you have screens on your filters if you decide to introduce Lettuce Nudibranch into your saltwater tank. Also, try and use non-electronic wave generators to keep rotating the nutrients instead of a high-power electronic pump.

Having aggressive or highly curious species of fish also might be detrimental to the Lettuce Nudibranch because of their appearance. The more aggressive fish species tend to peck and nibble at them, creating a highly stressful environment for the grazers.

However, this shouldn’t cause too much of a concern because the lettuce nudibranch does well in most aquarium setups. They tend to find tiny crevices and spaces and spend most of their time feeding while being almost still.

The Lettuce Nudibranch, like most invertebrates in the ocean, are very sensitive creatures that react to minute changes in their environment. This makes it extremely crucial for you to acclimatize them slowly into their new saltwater tank. The breeder or vendor might have water of different pH and mineral densities. To make sure they will thrive in your tank water, slowly introduce them to their new environment in incremental time periods. Also, make sure to test your water for Copper concentration as it is a deadly metal to lettuce nudibranchs. 

But, fret not. They are very robust creatures once you follow a few easy rules. You will have a unique creature with varying colors and a wavy, hypnotic pattern to observe for many years. They also help keep your tank clean and maintain a wholesome environment for all creatures in your tank. 

Sexy Shrimp: Add Oomph To Your Tank With These Cute Crustaceans

Sexy Shrimp: Add Oomph To Your Tank With These Cute Crustaceans

When visualizing the perfect saltwater tank, all aquarium hobbyists like to imagine a tank full of different, fascinating marine fauna that exhibit a range of behaviors and are a delight to observe and marvel at.

The sexy anemone shrimp is one such creature that aquariums all over the world consider must-have’s, just because of their extremely unique and mesmerizing movement and brilliant, bright coloration.

Sexy Shrimp (Thor Amboinensis) is a small shrimp species that grow to about 0.5 – 1 inch in length. Though small and delicate – they will quickly become the cynosure of any tank. Their intriguing name aside, their behavior, demeanor, and personality make them an extremely affable and gorgeous marine pet to have and care for.

Behavior

Sexy shrimp get their name from the way they move around the tank. They have this bobbing gait and they move their tails up and down as they move around the tank. They are called sexy shrimp because it looks like they are walking with a swagger, moving their tails rhythmically.

They are extremely docile creatures and love to laze around scavenging at the bottom of the tank or nestled in anemones for protection from larger shrimps. They also tend to be active throughout the day, giving you chance to observe them for extended periods without them rushing behind corals or hiding in small crevices. If you have anemones, the sexy shrimp will quickly become their best friend.

They also leave your fish alone and are generally a very friendly tank inhabitant. The only thing to keep in mind is that you have to acclimatize them slowly to the tank environment, with a buffer similar to the water they previously lived in. Slowly increase the time they spend in your tank and do not just drop them into a new environment from day one.

Environment

Another specialty of the sexy shrimp is that they are extremely versatile. Because of their size and diet, they are just as comfortable in a large tank as they are in a nano tank. In fact, they are a very popular species amongst those who own a nano tank setup. This is because they are much smaller than the other common crab and shrimp species and perform the same function in the tank.

They also do well in tanks with a lot of rocks and anemones. Anemones are their best friend because sexy shrimp are not the best when it comes to self-defense. Other bigger and more aggressive species of shrimp, like the Coral Banded Shrimp, often attack and kill them. But Anemones provide a natural defense once the sexy shrimp and anemones create a bond. Anemones naturally repel Coral Banded Shrimp but do not sting Sexy Shrimp since they clean the anemone’s tentacles of pesky organic matter left over from the fish and reef feed.

Diet

Sexy shrimp do well with a range of carnivorous foods. They are versatile when it comes to the diet, they are comfortable with frozen shrimp and fish feed and also a variety of blended organic matter and store-bought carnivorous fish feed. Since they spend the majority of their time scavenging, mixing up your finely blended frozen feed with slightly larger lumps that sink to the bottom is a good idea.

Being a voracious feeder, they can go through a lot of food and quickly deplete the tank. Just add a little extra every day to keep them happy and well-fed. 

Since they are highly social creatures, having multiple sexy shrimp is a great idea. Once they form mating bonds and have a loosely-linked colony of sexy shrimp around them to feel safe, they can live for up to 3 years. They will quickly become your favorite reef dwellers. Their bright orange exterior with hypnotic white spots all over makes them easily identifiable and their beautiful gait and utility make them one of the best tank additions you can find. 

Coral Banded Shrimp: Monogamous Decapod with Incredible Mating and Feeding Displays

Coral Banded Shrimp: Monogamous Decapod with Incredible Mating and Feeding Displays

These colorful decapods are a delight to have in any aquarium. They add a lot of color and character and are extremely fun to observe. These shrimp-like creatures are extremely versatile, durable, and easy to care for and have become one of the most popular marine aquarium additions.

Being a decapod, they have 10 legs. These crustaceans have bright red and white bands that run along their body and first set of pincers. They have a total of two sets of pincers. One set of pincers are found on their front two feet. They are strong and are used for displays of territorial dominance, mating displays, grabbing food, and fighting. They have a smaller set of white pincers on their next line of feet. These are used for exploration and additional support while feeding.

They are nocturnal creatures that use crevices in rocks and other dark areas in a tank to nap and become active during the night. They look for small worms, algae, and pieces of fish in the tank to eat. They are not active hunters but could chase down worms in their environment.

What makes them so popular is their mating display, their tendency to be monogamous and bright colors, and active persona. A tank usually houses a male and female. Their mating ritual dance is a very cute and highly documented behavior in decapods. Male coral banded shrimp have blue undersides and females have blue and green undersides

As they are territorial, it is not advisable to have two males. They fight aggressively and lose pincers or limbs which regrow in 30 days. 

They also shed their exoskeleton periodically. This is a good indication of their health. Since they move in a unique, crab-like way – they are extremely mobile across the tank. When they are active, they move constantly putting on an impressive display. 

They live for 2-4 years. They can survive in a 72F temperature but are robust with fluctuations. Their other limbs are used for sensing the environment and detecting prey. These shiny white antennas float around and add to their beauty. They are scavengers and can feed on a range of diets including worms. 

Coral Banded Shrimp bring life and movement to the tank. They thrive with coral feed and the rocky terrain of a large tank. Make sure you release only a mating pair into a tank and watch out for unwanted offspring too. The eggs are easy to spot and dispose of. Also, they can be aggressive, so watch out when you introduce a new one into the tank.

They are best enjoyed in a well-lit tank with plenty of food for them to scavenge. Coupled with bright fish, they add a new dimension of floor dwellers to the tank and their distinct behavior as a pair can make for great viewing. They combine a tank-cleaner with a marine addition with a quirky and lovable personality which has made them so popular. 

Anemone Crabs: The Cool Crustacean For Every Aquarium

Anemone Crabs: The Cool Crustacean For Every Aquarium

Any saltwater aquarium thrives on diversity in species. The closer a tank is to natural reef environments, the better the health of the fish that live in it. They do not just add variety for you to observe but also provide ecological benefits to the tank by adding essential diversity that our abundant oceans have.

In a list of coral dwellers, crabs are often overlooked for salt-water aquariums by beginners. But their benefits cannot be understated. Crabs are decapod crustaceans that make all the world’s oceans their home.  Depending on the species, they have a range of diets and can be extremely colorful and intriguing additions to any tank.

The Anemone Crab is one of the first that pops to mind or aquarium enthusiasts. Beautiful, colorful, and useful – they can occupy your reefs and be a great addition to many tank setups. They are versatile, robust, and low maintenance and are a delight to look after.

The Porcelain Anemone crab (Neopetrolisthes maculatus) are indigenous to the indo-pacific waters but are now widely regarded ‘aquarium regulars’ across the globe. They sport a distinctive red polka dot pattern on a bright white shell body. They have one of the most unique feeding patterns in the marine world which makes them very fun to observe. 

 

Feeding Habits

Anemone Crabs are classified as filter feeders. This means that they feed on organic matter floating in the currents. The Anemone Crab has fan-like filters behind its pincers that it uses like a net. By raising these ‘fans’ into the flowing current, they catch small bits of food which they then pick off using their pincers.

 

They are known as Anemone crabs because they usually center their habitat around large patches of Sea Anemones and nestle into the tentacles and feed off the scraps that settle on the anemones. Since they spend most of their day in and around anemones, they are named anemone crabs!

Temperament

These small and beautiful creatures are very docile. Especially when they are raised together from spawn. They also do well as a male-female pair in tanks and are usually docile around their own species. 

They also do not attack any tank dwellers. Their pincers are used to feed and rarely used in defense. They are the perfect addition to medium to large tanks as they have plenty of space to move from one anemone to another feeding and looking pretty!

They are so calm and docile that the anemone does not sting them. They share a symbiotic bond. The crab cleans the anemone by feeding on organic matter that is stuck between tentacles and the crab naturally deters shrimp away from anemones and serves as self-defense for their tentacled home.

How to Care for Anemone Crabs

These beautiful coral dwellers are easy to take care of. There is no specific diet for them as they feed on the small pieces of frozen Shrimp reef roids you feed your fish. When these floating pieces settle, the crabs will munch them up. Just remember to add a little extra feed when you have crabs.

Also, Anemone Crabs usually do better in larger tanks and with a few anemones around (though not compulsory). They also thrive with a good filter and electronic pump setup that produces medium currents through the water. This is crucial as anemone crabs love to raise their beautiful fan-like appendages. This behavior is extremely unique and gives you something uniques to look at, study, and enjoy with friends and family. 

New Copepod Shipment? Follow This Guide to Acclimatize Them Successfully!

New Copepod Shipment? Follow This Guide to Acclimatize Them Successfully!

Ordering live creatures online can be stressful. As aquarium enthusiasts and lovers of marine life, we understand the importance of quality shipping. But success or failure in rehoming them into their new aquarium environment lies in keeping a few rules in mind.

It is easy when you are dealing with resilient copepod and amphipods. But, a lot of new hobbyists tend to throw them into the deep end too soon, quite literally. When you receive your shipment of copepods and amphipods, follow these simple steps for a 100 percent success rate in transferring them into their new tank. 

What are Copepods and Amphipods?

Copepods and Amphipods are small crustaceans that come in a range of sizes. They are one of the smallest creatures in the marine food chain but are no slouches when it comes to positive contributions to the marine and aquarium ecosystems.

In an aquarium setting, they perform two extremely crucial functions. They are the best clean-up crew in the business and also are the richest and most natural source of nutrition for the larger, more eye-catching fish in your tank. 

They primarily feed on waste and algae that gets deposited in the impossible-to-reach crevices in your corals and tank bed. It is essential to maintain a clean, waste-free tank to avoid an outbreak of algae (algae are hard to get rid of). But, this is not their primary function. 

They are the best source of food for marine fish. Copepod and Amphipods are the first links in the marine food chain. They are a delicious source of protein for fish. They are almost 40 – 45 percent protein, which is excellent to maintain fish health and shiny scales that add beauty to the tank.

How to Acclimatize a Copepod or Amphipod Shipment? 

We ship these tiny crustaceans in filters drenched in water. We do not put them in a water-filled bag because they are highly active and can quickly burn out the oxygen in the water during transit. This could lead to unnecessary loss in numbers. 

To avoid this, we here at Aquarium Depot, always ship our copepods and amphipods with minimal water, embedded in a series of filters. The filters themselves are damp, enabling the amphipods to stay alive until they reach you. We guarantee an almost 100 percent survival rate for our amphipod shipments. 

To acclimatize your new batch of amphipods and copepods, firstly, keep a tub of water handy (the same water you use for your tank). Measure the temperature of this and use a small wave generator or pump to mimic the lazy currents of the ocean. Once you are sure that the tub of water mimics your tank perfectly, open up your shipment. 

Extract the filters and slowly pry apart the many layers one by one and drench each extracted layer into the tub. As the filter enters the water, the copepods magically gain energy and start swimming into their new environment. Do this until you have all the filter layers free of tiny copepod. Sometimes a few might be left behind. The best thing to do here is to drop the filter momentarily in the water and swish it around gently, providing a means of escape for the copepods. 

Now, wash the cover they came in because there will always be copepods stuck to the sides. This ensures that you extract every last member and get the most out of your shipment.

Let the copepod sit in this incubator for a few hours and watch their activity levels occasionally. Once you see them settle down and look natural in their new environment, it is a simple case of transfer to the marine tank. A simple catch and release using an aquarium net is enough to rehome them. Once they enter their new habitat, they immediately feel at home because of the brief incubation period in which they gained energy after an arduous shipping process.

These tiny but robust creatures will make the tank their new home and immediately relish the algae and start feeding. Another pro tip is to feed the fish in the tank before you introduce the copepods. This is because hungry fish might immediately start eating the new population of copepods. But, allowing the copepods to settle make new homes amongst the coral reefs will mimic the natural environment perfectly, allowing the fish to catch their juicy pods.

Munch Munch Munch … I eat Your Worst Nightmare

Munch Munch Munch … I eat Your Worst Nightmare

The blue velvet nudibranch is a type of sea slug that is popular among marine aquarium enthusiasts. They are black in color with a few bright, electric blue lines that run along the length of its body. They have a head wider than the body and have a blue stripe run down the middle of their head too. They are experts at biomimicking, like most species of nudibranchs. They use this ability to find flatworms – which are the majority of this sea slug’s diet. Their mouth resembles a chameleon’s tongue. They have a tube-like appendage that shoots out to suck flatworms in. Watching them hunt in aquariums is fascinating to watch as their movement is hypnotic.   Blue Velvet Nudibranchs require a steady diet of flatworms to be healthy and active.

Though they do not have a great life expectancy in closed-off tanks, they can thrive when taken care of. They need to be acclimated slowly to an aquarium using the drip method. They should not be thrown into an aquarium with a large flatworm infestation as they tend to feed heavily and remain dormant for days which makes them die sooner. They are also known to be sensitive creatures who respond negatively to spikes in alkalinity or nitrate levels in the water.

They should be handled by experts and are not a good choice for beginner aquarium enthusiasts. This fragility means that care should be taken in fencing off pipe outlets, pumps or drains. Heavy turbulence or flow could easily dispel these creatures causing harm. They come in the 1 to 2 inch size range and do not grow very big. They also stick to rocky outcrops in the tank and move around searching for worms. This makes them a beautiful addition as they provide a different viewing experience to traditional marine life. They offer functionality and beauty to the tank, a rare feature in aquariums. Usually, tank cleaning marine creatures are not the brightest or most attractive.

But, the nudibranch will be the cynosure of even the most intricate and beautiful tanks. They still are some of the most efficient and beautiful methods of flatworm control for any aquarium and if you are thinking about getting a blue velvet Nudibranch, we suggest you shore up your tank care and ensure a steady and reliable environment for them. Learn to use the drip method to introduce them to new environments as they do not do well to sudden changes. Temperature and alkalinity settings along with current speeds should be monitored and maintained before considering nudibranchs.

Copepods & Amphipods: Fun Facts that will blow your mind!

Copepods & Amphipods: Fun Facts that will blow your mind!

Copepods

  • Copepods meaning “oar-feet” are a group of small crustaceans found in the sea
  • The body of an amphipod is divided into 13 segments
  • Amphipods are typically less than 10 millimeters
  • Mature females bear a marsupium, or brood pouch, which holds her eggs while they are fertilized and until the young are ready to hatch
  • Around 7,000 species of amphipods have so far been described
  • Most amphipods are detritivores or scavengers with some being grazers of algae, omnivores on small insects and crustaceans. Food is grasped with the front two pairs of legs which are armed with large claws
  • The name Amphipoda comes, via the New Latin amphipoda, from the Greek roots meaning different foot, in reference to the two kinds of legs that amphipods possess.
  • The copepods from AquariumDepot.com are benthic meaning they live on the ocean floor
  • Copepods are sometimes used as bioindicators-Biological indicators are species used to monitor the health of an environment or ecosystem. An example of such a group are the copepods and other small water crustaceans present in many water bodies. Such organisms are monitored for changes (biochemical, physiological, or behavioral) that may indicate a problem within their ecosystem.
  • The copepod is typically 1 to 2 millimeters
  • Copepods typically have a short, cylindrical body, with a rounded or beaked head. The head is fused with the first one or two thoracic segments, while the remainder of the thorax has from three to five segments, each with limbs.
  • Because of their small size, copepods have no need of any heart or circulatory system
  • Many benthic copepods eat organic detritus or the bacteria that grow in it, and their mouth parts are adapted for scraping
  • They are usually the dominant members of the zooplankton, and are major food organisms for small fish, whales, seabirds and other crustaceans such as krill in the ocean
  • Live copepods are used in the saltwater aquarium hobby as a food source and are generally considered beneficial in most reef tanks. They are scavengers and also may feed on nuisance algae
New Copepod Shipment? Follow This Guide to Acclimatize Them Successfully!

Do you want copepods in your reef tank? Considered the Super Food of the Ocean

Copepods: the largest biomass on earth, the fastest organism and having one of the highest nutrient dense biological makeups,

The mighty Copepod is the Super food of the Ocean.

This subclass of Crustecean, Copepoda, make up the largest biomass on earth.; this fact alone is indicative of the critical role copepods play in the health of the earths water sources.  Much to many peoples surprise, Copepods are not limited to oceans.  Copepoda live swimmingly well – in both freshwater as well brackish water.

Copepod varieties are well over 10,000 with these small yet durable creatures boasting one of the must robust adaptation abilities known to man.  Not only are they the largest single component of the food web, but they are also the fastest animal on the planet relative to their size.  Comparatively – if a person could jump 1/2 of a mile in 2 seconds, humans would earn the coveted title of fastest creature.  Copepods have all of us beat, hands down.  As they are a highly sought after food source, their ability to out maneuver predators has marked their success in the game of cat vs mouse.

Copepods also commonly referred to as Pods, need only a small quantity of moisture to sustain life.  They have been found in moist moss as well as polar regions.  In 2004, the New York Times wrote about a small crustacean found in the drinking water in NY City.  Our forever friend, the copepod, caused quit a ruckus as many orthodox Jews were concerned about the small crustacean and the “Kosher-ness” of their kitchens.  Water Filters were installed at such an alarming rate the wait time was several weeks as the plumbers in the NY City area struggled to keep up with demand.

 

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Copepods are also Environmentally friendly.  Scientists estimate that copepods are the largest absorber of carbon, valued at 1-2 billion tons of carbon each year.  Since they release less carbon waste then they absorb, this gives the humble Pod the well earned nickname carbon sink, defined by Wikipedia as a reservoir which accumulates more carbon from the environment then it excretes.

As a key component in the nutritional well being of many animals, the amazing aspect of pods is their sheer percentage of protein they bring to the dinner table.  Pods are one of the most nutrient dense organisms on the planet at an average of 50% Protein.  Animals, such as, seabirds, invertebrates, both freshwater and saltwater, as well as whales & many other fish, survive primarily on a diet of pods.  .

When considering what these small but mighty creatures will do for your reef tank, consider this:  Uptake of waste, super food of protein value, and a natural super organism.  Why would you not wan them in your tank?

Considering all that they do and are responsible for, it is easy to say that copepods are the most important creature we can own.

Copepod

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Saltwater Aquarium Snails … Algae Eaters vs Detritus Eaters

Saltwater Aquarium Snails … Algae Eaters vs Detritus Eaters

Saltwater Aquarium Snails can be classified a few different ways but for the use of snails in aquariums, it is most helpful to think about what they eat.

First consider this, unlike crabs, saltwater aquarium snails consist of a large meaty body… so if they die they will produce a LOT of waste.

Waste becomes Ammonia which becomes Nitrites which becomes Nitrates which then feeds the Nasty Algae.

The Nitrification Process explained via a Simple Infographic

Simple Infographic displaying the Nitrification Cycle in an Aquarium.

So if you buy the wrong snails or to many snails you will actually increase your algae instead of reducing the algae.

Lets look at the 2 main food substances consumed by saltwater aquarium snails.

1. Algae – algae eaters get a lot of attention because everyone thinks they are the god send for the aquarium.  This is partially true.  They are great for eating algae … However to much of a good thing is a bad thing when it comes to algae eating snails.  To many snails .. not enough food … Snails die …. algae is fed from the death of snails so you end of with more algae.   YIKES!!!


2. Detritus eaters / waste eating snails.  Now these are your TRUE friends.  They keep the house clean in ways you may never know or think about.

A safe recommendation for snail stocking is:

Algae Eating Snails: 1 per 5 gallons of tank water
Detritus Eating Snails: 1 per gallon of tank water

The other consideration is the type of snails.  As with people, all snail palates are not created equal.   So variation is KEY.

Some snails like green algae (ie: Turbo Snails) on the glass, while Cerith Snails prefer brown algae on the rocks.

My favorite detritus eating snail are Nassarius Vibex.

 

Main Point:
Snail biodiversity is key to eliminating
nuisance algae issues.

 

 

Saltwater Turo Snail Grazing on Algae

OOOOOO Yummy Algae … Me Like!!

 

 

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Saltwater Hermit Crabs …. Eating Cyano & Waste …. Best Crab Ever!

Saltwater Hermit Crabs …. Eating Cyano & Waste …. Best Crab Ever!

I noticed several saltwater hermit crabs piled up at the front fighting for food, as I watched my saltwater aquarium after feeding time.   Their antennae raised and lowered in a warning communication call.  It was fascinating to watch them duck and dive for the food pieces, maintaining their distance from each other yet still attempting to steal the morsels.

 

Blue Leg Hermit Crabs Fight

Hey, That’s Mine!! Get your Own!

One of the best uses for Saltwater Blue Leg Hermit Crabs is the reduction of Cyano Bacteria aka Blue Green Algae aka Red Slime Algae.  I conducted an experiment with a patch of slime algae and 100 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs.   The pictures speak for themselves!

Red Slime Algae Before Hermit Crab Addition

Red Slime Algae Before Hermit Crab Addition

After Blue Legs Hermits ate all the Red Slime Algae

After Blue Legs Hermits ate all the Red Slime Algae

The diversity of saltwater hermit crabs is amazing, from blue legs, green legs, brown, red, scarlet, white and black.  Additionally there are many that have some type of patterned design; ie:  halloween, blue knuckle, etc.  Some grow very large while other stay small.   The diets are very different as well, from carnivores to strict herbivores.  Blue Leg Hermits typically will utilize a shell from a whelk, turbo or cerith.  I have seen some pretty inventive hermits who took up house in pieces of sponge, dragging it around on their back.

 

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