Marine Fish Of The Week
25 May 2016: Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)
OK, not technically a fish but an invertebrate, the Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp acts like the medic of any saltwater aquarium. A very active cleaner, this shrimp will wait for fish to come and be cleaned of ectoparasites or dead tissue.
Many fish value its services so highly that they even allow it to clean the inside of their mouths!
To supplement their diet, the Scarlet Skunk Shrimp will happily feed on freeze dried, frozen and flake food.
For fans of Finding Nemo, this chap will forever be affectionately known as "Jacques". A peaceful and popular creature amongst home marine saltwater aquarists.
30 April 2016: Mandarin Dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus)
Arguably one of the most attractively coloured and patterned reef fish, it is quite clear to see why it is also known as the "Psychedelic fish".
Native to the Philippines and westward to Australia, they are often found in pairs on sandy bottoms between reef crests. Quite slow and docile, the Madarin fish almost seems to hover in mid-air, moving around helicopter-like in the aquarium.
They do have rather picky feeding habits. Many will only eat pods which are typically only available in decent supply in well established reef tanks, but it’s not impossible to get them feeding on frozen feed. Make sure, when you buy one that you look for a well fed specimen with a nice round belly. If it looks under-fed, it may well have issues feeding and might have problems recovering to full health.
It is recommended that they are kept in pairs, preferably male/female, as two males might fight unless in a very large tank. Typically, they are non-aggressive around fellow aquarium inhabitants.
Mandarin Dragonets can grow to around 3" inches, and will thrive in a normal reef tank at around 74-84 degrees Fahrenheit.
14 April 2016: Marine Turtle (Testudo Mydas) a.k.a Sea Turtle
OK, technically not a fish, Sea Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines. There are seven different species of sea turtle, can you name them?
Sea turtles can be found in all oceans except for the Polar Regions, mostly in coral reefs. Once a turtle has reached adulthood it moves closer to the shore.
Females will come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand during nesting season. The resultant hatchlings facing a daring journey to the sea shortly after birth, a beach run riddled with hazards like hungry birds and crabs.
The diet of a sea turtle varies throughout the species. The vast majority are omnivorous for their entire life, but green turtles become exclusively herbivorous as they mature. Leatherback turtles feed almost exclusively on jellyfish, helping to control jellyfish populations.
There are many species considered endangered, with the majority of North American sea turtles being listed as threatened or endangered by the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). Let’s hope the sea turtle recovers to populate our oceans for many years to come.
12 April 2016: Lightning Maroon Clownfish (Premnas Biaculeatus)
Clownfish, or anemonefish, are some of the most popular fish in the saltwater marine aquarium hobby. They are very pleasing to the eye and fun to watch. Even before Finding Nemo became a household favourite they were extremely popular. Many marine enthusiasts enter the hobby simply because of their attraction to the anemonefish.
There are many different varieties, including the lightning clownfish with its unique streaky lines. Their colorful appearance and comical swimming style is truly clown-like. As their scientific name suggests, you will often see them nestled in an anemone. Other fish generally avoid anemones due to their stinging tentacles, while Clownfish appear ot have an immunity to these stings. In the wild they exist in a symbiotic relationships with certain anemones and benefit from each others company for food and protection.
Fortunately it is not necessary to have an anemone to keep a Clownfish in captivity. They will readily adapt without one, finding a substitute host in a coral or rock structure, or another invertebrate. If you do decide to keep an anemone, take care to choose one that your clownfish is known to like.
Clownfish, along with the Damselfish are members of the Pomacentridae family. Many can become territorial and aggressive when they get older with only a few exceptions, such as the Blue Reef Chromis and the Skunk Clownfish.
These fish range from about 2.5" (6 cm) in length for the smallest, which is the Percula Clown, up to about 6.3" (16 cm) for the large Maroon Clownfish. Depending on the species, they can live for five years or more with proper care.
Written by Mark.
15 March 2016: Pajama Cardinal (Sphaeramia nematoptera) a.k.a. Spotted / Polkadot Cardinalfish
Seeing as how I'm writing this at bedtime, what better fish to choose than the Pajama Cardinal. Having just watched a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef, this was one of the species I managed to spot and identify at a glance.
A species of fish belonging to the Apogonidae family. It is a popular salt water aquarium fish. It grows to a total length of about 8.5 centimetres (3.3 in) and features distinctive red eyes and a broad dark vertical 'waistband' with scattered red spots toward the tail. It is considered to be of low vulnerability, and is distributed throughout much of the western Pacific Ocean, from Java to Fiji, and from the Ryukyu Islands south to the Great Barrier Reef.
The Pajama Cardinalfish is a rainbow of playful colors. It has a greenish-yellow face, bright orange eyes, and a silver-based body dressed with a bold black scalar margin and a posterior dotted with orange polka-dots. Though its bold coloration may stand out, Sphaeramia nematoptera has a peaceful nature that lets it blend perfectly into any community saltwater aquarium.
For the best care, the Pajama Cardinalfish should be kept in small schools in suitably sized aquariums of at least 30 gallons / 150 litres. Because the Pajama Cardinalfish is a slow and methodical swimmer, it should be housed with peaceful tankmates and offered a plethora of hiding places amongst rockwork or plants. Most Pajama Cardinalfish will tend to hide in sea grass or other plants. Some may also camouflage themselves against long spined sea urchins.
Written by Mark.
29 February 2016: Wartskin Angler Fish (Antennarius maculatus)
Also referred to as the Warty Frogfish or Wartskin Frogfish, the Wartskin Angler is aptly named, looking more like a rock or piece of coral. The Wartskin's colors can vary widely, from browns to reds, yellows to purples and white. It also has the chameleonic ability of changing color to blend with its surroundings.
A good reef dweller, the Wartskin enjoys perching on coral ledges and requires a tank of at least 20 gallons. The Wartskin Angler is a hardy aquarium member but not recommended for beginners.
The Wartskin feeds by ambush, lying in wait for an unsuspecting fish or crustacean to go by and then lunging forward, grabbing and swallowing the victim whole. The Wartskin has been known to devour fish nearly equal to its own size . They grow to 10cm in length so consider this when choosing tank mates!
When first introduced into the aquarium, live saltwater feeder shrimp should be used to entice this fish to eat. The Wartskin Angler should be given feeder fish and shrimp, but do not overfeed as the Wartskin may stop feeding.
Written by Rory.