Nothing Mysterious about the Mystery Wrasse’s Charms

Mystery Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus)Pseudocheilinus ocellatus, the mystery wrasse (aka the tail-spot wrasse, white-barred wrasse, or five-barred wrasse), is somewhat uncommon in the hobby and usually priced accordingly. But if you can get past the sticker shock for such a modest-sized fish, you’ll find this species can be a worthy aquarium candidate. Physical traitsExhibiting the banana-with-fins morphology typical of so many wrasses, this denizen of the western central Pacific reaches around 4 inches in length. Its yellow-rimmed eyes move independently and seem to be constantly appraising the goings on both inside and outside the tank. Base coloration is quite variable, commonly lavender to pinkish/purplish, while the face is yellow with purple/pink lines. The caudal peduncle is yellow and adorned with a prominent ocellus, or eyespot.

Salty Q&A: To Rinse or not to Rinse Frozen Foods?

QuestionThis 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.

Freckled Hawkfish: A Hardy, Hefty Option for the Rough-and-Tumble Tank

Freckled hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri)When it comes to keeping hawkfishes in aquaria, one of the more common admonitions is to avoid housing these predators with fish or crustaceans small enough to swallow. For most of the hawkfish species that grace our tanks, which generally have a maximum size somewhere between 3 and 5 inches, only very small tankmates are truly at risk. A noteworthy exception is the freckled hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri), which can reach a rather prodigious size and has a mouth to match. You really have to take that warning seriously with this species! That said, P. forsteri is a hardy, easy-to-care-for hawk that makes a worthy aquarium candidate provided tankmates and housing are chosen judiciously.Physical traits P. forsteri has the deep, stout body and high-set eyes, typical of the hawkfishes. Its maximum size is approximately 8½ inches.

5 Circumstances that Warrant a Species (or Specimen) Tank

A large, aggressive species, such as a queen triggerfish, is sometimes best kept singlyA diverse community of marine fishes presents quite a visual feast, especially when housed in a reef system brimming with colorful corals. However, in some stocking situations, it’s preferable to avoid the “typical” marine community (if there is such a thing) in favor of a single-species or even a single-specimen tank. Ah, but if you limit your livestock to a single species or specimen, won’t that make for a real yawner of a tank? On the contrary, sometimes systems that put the focus exclusively or primarily on a particular species or individual are among the most fascinating to observe.Here are five circumstances that warrant going single-species or single-specimen: 1. The shy, specialized feeder Seahorses, which are slow, awkward swimmers, shy by nature, and very specialized, methodical feeders, come to mind here. In your average community aquarium, these fish would basically be doomed, as they’d be unable to compete with bolder, faster-moving tankmates for food and would be unable to tolerate the brisk water movement typical of such systems. Not to mention, a community tank of any appreciable size would make it extremely difficult to provide the steady supply and high concentration of suitable food items necessary to sustain seahorses. On the other hand, in a small dedicated system with very gentle current, no competition for food, and suitable “hitching posts” to cling to, a group of seahorses can make for a truly mesmerizing display

Threadfin Cardinalfish: Peaceful and Most Impressive in Numbers

Threadfin Cardinalfish (Zoramia leptacantha)Walk by an LFS sales tank containing a few specimens of threadfin cardinalfish (Zoramia leptacantha), and you might not give them a second glance. Chromatically speaking, this species isn’t exactly a showstopper compared to some, especially when viewed in your average LFS environment. But don’t let this cardinal’s unassuming appearance fool you; it can make for an impressive display species when kept in groups. Physical traitsZ. leptacantha is a diminutive fish, reaching only about 2.5 inches in total length. It’s laterally compressed and has two dorsal fins, the first fairly elongated relative to the second. As mentioned, this species’ color is nothing to write home about (in case you’re one of those types who like to write home about the colors of fish). It’s semi-transparent to yellowish-silver overall with iridescent blue around the eyes as well as blue and yellow accents on the anterior portion of the body.
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