by Saltwater Smarts | Aug 14, 2016 | Fish, Reef, ScienceQuestionThis is probably a silly question, but should I rinse frozen food before feeding it to my fish? I usually just thaw the food in a cup full of aquarium water and pour it right in.” – Submitted by GMan Answer Here at Saltwater Smarts, the only silly question is the one left unasked (well, that and “What can I take to cure my kleptomania?”). Besides, I’m sure plenty of other folks out there are wondering the same thing. As is so often the case with questions pertaining to this hobby of ours, my answer is, “It depends.” Many frozen foods contain a lot of packing juice (you’ll see a cloud of the stuff in the water right after feeding) that will serve only to introduce dissolved nutrients, degrade water quality, and fuel algal blooms. So I will usually strain and rinse them in a fine-mesh net before feeding. Typically I do this over the sink under a stream of RO/DI water, but you can also put the portion in a cup with a little water, wait a few minutes for it to thaw, and then, with the net held over the sink, pour the contents of the cup through the mesh. After rinsing/straining and while the food is still in the net over the sink, I also like to apply a little gentle pressure (not squashing it) to the portion with the back of a spoon in order to squeeze out as much extra fluid as possible.
by Saltwater Smarts | Jan 12, 2016 | Corals, Fish, Reef, Science, TanksAstraea snail chowing down on nuisance algaeThis past year, I rediscovered how great an army of snails can be. At Tidal Gardens, we go pretty light on cleanup crews in general. For example, there really aren’t any hermit crabs to speak of in our systems. In 5,000 gallons of reef tanks, there may be only one or two hermit crabs. Most likely they arrived as refugees from local customers taking their tanks down who needed to re-home some of their inhabitants. I am not a fan of crabs because there is always a risk they might kill something they should not be killing, like another member of the cleanup crew or a coral. Long story short, I don’t trust them. I don’t have the same level of distrust for snails
by Saltwater Smarts | Nov 16, 2015 | Fish, Reef, ScienceOverfeeding is sometimes necessary to entice a finicky fish to eat, especially if they have little nutritional reserve to begin with, such as butterflyfishYou’ve heard time and again, here at Saltwater Smarts and elsewhere, that overfeeding is one of the surest ways to cause ill health in fish and pollute your aquarium water. The usual recommendation is to offer foods in very small quantities that the fish can consume within just a few minutes. And when it comes to reef systems, we tend to be especially sparing with fish food in order to maintain the lowest possible level of dissolved nutrients. While it’s generally good advice to feed fish sparingly and judiciously, there are certain times when it doesn’t pay to be stingy with the victuals. In fact, sometimes you really have to feed on the heavy side and then step up your water changes and other water-quality-management techniques to compensate for the increased dissolved pollutants. Here are just a few examples off the top of my head:When feeding a finicky fish in quarantine Of course we’re supposed to make sure fish are eating at the LFS before we acquire them, but over the years I’ve had various specimens simply turn off the “feeding switch” upon arriving in quarantine (and in a few cases after being moved from quarantine into my display tank), possibly due to the stress of transfer or because they simply didn’t recognize the stuff I was offering as edible. When this situation arises, it can take a lot of coaxing with different types of food at various times throughout the day to entice the specimen. In other words, you may end up introducing a lot more food to the system than is typically considered acceptable before the fish finally resumes feeding.