Aquarium and Pond Care with EcoBio-Block

Unique Fish Species for Your Outdoor Pond

When it comes to keeping a backyard pond, you may think that your options for fish are limited to goldfish and koi. In reality, however, there are plenty of unique and interesting fish that you can use to stock your pond. Below you will find descriptions of some of the most unique species of fish for backyard ponds.

Problems with Goldfish and Koi

Keeping goldfish and koi in an outdoor pond is more challenging than many pond owners realize. Both of these species need a significant amount of space, space that the average plastic backyard pond simply cannot accommodate. These fish need highly oxygenated water and a large water volume in order to accommodate for their high waste output – if you try to keep goldfish and koi in a pond that is too small, you will have a very difficult time maintaining high water quality. Water quality is the key to keeping any outdoor pond healthy and there are a few simple tricks you can employ to make your job easier. In addition to having a high-quality filtration system in place, you should also consider installing an EcoBio-Block Wave in your pond to help bolster the beneficial bacteria colony in your pond. EcoBio-Blocks are infused with live beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients they need to reproduce and thrive in your pond, establishing and maintaining the nitrogen cycle so that your pond water remains clean and the quality remains high.

Megalotis SunfishSunfish

The fish belonging to the genus Lepomis are collectively referred to as Sunfish and they make great additions to the backyard pond. These fish typically grow between 4 and 8 inches long, though some species can grow up to 16 inches in length. Some common species belonging to this group of fishes include the Bluegill, Warmouth, Redbreast Sunfish, Spotted Sunfish and the Green Sunfish. If you are looking for a species that will add color to your pond, consider the Megalotis Sunfish which exhibits bright red and blue coloration.

Stonerollers

Another interesting type of fish for the backyard pond is the Stoneroller. These fish belong to the family Cyprinidae and they are native to the United States. There are five different species of Stoneroller – the Central Stoneroller, Largescale Stoneroller, Mexican Stoneroller, Bluefin Stoneroller and the unnamed Campostoma pullum. These fish tend to inhabit fast-moving bodies of water, so if you plan to use them in your pond you might consider installing a stream or water channel for these fish.

Darters

The fish belonging to the family Percidae are commonly referred to as Darters and they are found in freshwater streams throughout North America. These perch-like fish tend to remain small and they can make a colorful and active addition to the backyard pond or stream. Pair Darters with minnows to add some visual intrigue to your pond or water feature.

Killifish

If your backyard pond is very small, one of the best fish you can keep in it is the Killifish. There are over 1,000 different species of Killifish but one of the best species for a backyard pond is Heterandria formosa, the Least Killifish. These fish are one of the smallest species in the world, growing up to only 1.2 inches in length, which makes them ideal for a small pond. This species also prefers slow-moving or standing water, so a small pond with a single fountain to keep the water oxygenated will be ideal.

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July 11, 2014 at 11:01 AM Comments (0)

Sharks for the Saltwater Aquarium

When it comes to stocking a saltwater aquarium, your options are nearly limitless. If you want to cultivate a saltwater aquarium that is truly unique, consider stocking it with some unique fish – saltwater sharks. In this article you will read about several species of saltwater shark that make stunning additions to the home aquarium.

Epaulette Shark

epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum)

Epaulette Shark

The epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) is a type of carpet shark native to the tropical waters of New Guinea and Australia. These sharks are named for the white-bordered black spot that sits behind the pectoral fins which looks like a military epaulette. This species is fairly small for a saltwater shark, growing to reach an average length around 3.3 feet. Epaulette sharks are nocturnal and they tend to prefer shallow waters in coral reefs or tidal pools. This species subsists on a diet of crustaceans, worms and small fish.

Wobbegong

The name wobbegong is given to a group of twelve carpet sharks belonging to the family Orectolobidae. These sharks tend to inhabit the shallow tropical or temperate waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, primarily around Indonesia and Australia. Most species of wobbegong achieve a maximum length of 4 feet, but the largest species – the banded wobbegong (Orectolobus maculatus) – has been recorded at a length of nearly 10 feet. Due to their large size, these sharks are only recommended for very large saltwater aquariums and experienced aquarium hobbyists.

coral catshark

coral catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus)

Catshark

The species belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae is comprised of over 100 species that are collectively referred to as catsharks. The species in this family are some of the most attractive species of saltwater shark but, unfortunately, they are fairly rare in the aquarium hobby. One of the most common catsharks available is the coral catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus) which typically grows no more than 4 inches long and dwells in the debris of a reef environment. Other catsharks you may encounter include the smallspotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) which grows up to 3 feet long and breeds readily in the home aquarium.

Tips for Keeping Sharks

Unlike traditional aquarium fish, sharks do not have scales so they may be more sensitive to changes in water temperature as well as water chemistry. The key to keeping your saltwater sharks healthy is to maintain stable conditions in your aquarium, including high water quality. A simple way to ensure high water quality in your tank is to install EcoBio-Stones in your tank. These stones are made from porous volcanic rock and infused with live beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients they need to thrive. When added to your tank, these beneficial bacteria will reproduce to establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle which is the key to keeping your tank water clean and clear. EcoBio-Stone M 2 packs will treat up to 120 gallons of water (under good water conditions, additional 2 packs can be added for poor water conditions and for larger tanks) and will work for up to two years and once you put it in your tank and will keep your water clear and healthy.

Keep in mind that even the smaller species of shark require a very large aquarium in order for the shark to remain healthy. You will need to research the particular species you plan to keep so you can aquascape the aquarium appropriately – many sharks are nocturnal and will require places to hide during the day. As long as you do your research and select a species that is well-suited to the home aquarium, you should be successful in keeping saltwater sharks.

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July 9, 2014 at 3:46 PM Comments (0)

Top 5 Aggressive Freshwater Aquarium Fish

The truth of the matter is that some fish are simply less community-friendly than others. Sometimes, the fish that cause the most trouble in your tank are the ones you would least expect – something as small as a Tiger Barb, for example, may cause more problems than a large cichlid. In this article you will learn about the top five species of freshwater fish that are known to cause problems in community tanks.

top 5 aggressive fish

From top, Blue Gourami, Tiger Barb, Convict Cichlid, Chinese Algae Eater, and Skunk Loach

Blue Gourami

Also known as the Three-Spot Gourami, the Blue Gourami is generally considered a community fish. While all gouramis are a little territorial, these fish tend to stake out their area in the tank and may defend it fiercely. If you do plan to keep these fish, make sure you have a very large tank or keep only one gourami with other species of community fish.

Tiger Barb

The Tiger Barb is a beautiful fish, named for their striped appearance. Unfortunately, these fish can be extremely nippy – in fact, they have been known to damage the fins of other fish right down to the flesh. To reduce this behavior, make sure to keep your Tiger Barbs in large groups of 6 or more.

Convict Cichlid

The Convict Cichlid is a very popular species of cichlid because it doesn’t grow too large and they have a very attractive striped coloration. For the most part, these fish are not aggressive – especially if you keep a male and a female pair. The problem occurs when the fish breed and they become extremely territorial. Though these fish usually only try to drive away perceived threats from their nest, they can do some damage if the other fish is persistent.

Chinese Algae Eater

The Chinese Algae Eater is a favorite among aquarium hobbyists because they often help to remove algae and accumulated detritus from the tank. As these fish mature, however, they become less interested in performing this duty and they may even become aggressive toward your other fish. What many hobbyists do not realize is that this fish can grow up to 11 inches long and they can become very territorial. If you do keep these fish, it should be in a very large tank to prevent problems with aggression and territoriality.

Skunk Loach

The Skunk Loach is a fairly small fish, growing only to about 4 inches in length. Though they may be small, these fish can also be very nippy – they tend to antagonize fish with long, flowing fins like Angelfish and Fancy Guppies. If you plan to keep these fish, keeping them in a group of 6 or more will help to reduce their aggression.

Other Tips for Keeping the Peace

It doesn’t matter what type of fish you keep in your aquarium, if your fish are stressed by poor water quality then you are likely to have problems. Fish that are stressed may not only be more prone to disease but they may also exhibit behavioral problems such as aggression. To help keep your fish from becoming stressed, do what you can to maintain high water quality in your tank. One easy way to do this is to install an EcoBio-Stone in your tank. EcoBio-Stones are made from natural rock and infused with the beneficial bacteria needed to establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle in your tank. A single stone can last up to 2 years, helping to keep your tank water clean and clear for your fish.

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June 9, 2014 at 3:15 PM Comments (0)

The Black Ghost Knifefish-Unique Freshwater Species

Black Ghost Knifefish

The Black Ghost Knifefish

If you are looking for a unique and attractive species of freshwater fish for your aquarium, consider the black ghost knifefish. These fish have sleek, black bodies with white bands on the tail and an elongated ruffle-like fin running along the underside of the body from the head to the tail. If you have never seen one of these fish before, one look will be enough to understand why they are quickly becoming popular in the freshwater aquarium industry.

About the Species

The black ghost knifefish belongs to the Apteronotidae family and it is what is known as a true bony fish. In addition to their unique appearance, these fish are known for growing very large – they can reach up to 1 ½ feet at maturity. Another interesting fact about these fish is that they have the potential to develop dog-like personalities, begging at the surface for food and even being tolerant of handling by their owners. The black ghost knifefish is generally a peaceful species that does well with other larger fish but it can be a little aggressive toward smaller fish.

The black ghost knifefish is native to South America where it can be found throughout the Amazon River Basin in parts of Peru and Venezuela. These fish are nocturnal so do not be surprised if they spend most of the day hiding – using subdued lighting in the tank may help to encourage your fish to come out more during the day. Another interesting fact about these fish is that they are weakly electric fish – they have a special organ that enables them to produce a weak electric current that they use to navigate their habitat and locate prey. Unlike other electric fish like the electric eel, the black ghost knifefish’s electric capabilities cannot be used for defense against predators.

Caring for Ghost Knifefish

The black ghost knifefish is a carnivorous species so it requires a diet comprised of mostly meat-based foods. Offer your knifefish a variety of live and frozen foods such as chopped earthworms, beefheart and prawns as well as pellets and freeze-dried foods. The ideal tank size for a black ghost knifefish is 150 gallons or more – a tank this size is necessary not only to accommodate for the size of the fish but also to ensure proper water quality. In regard to water parameters, the black ghost knifefish prefers a water temperature between 72° and 82°F with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.0. The tank should be lined with fine gravel or sand and decorated with plenty of live plants and rocks to provide hiding placing for this timid species.

Additional Tips

The black ghost knifefish is a fairly hardy species but they do require excellent water quality. To achieve this your tank should be outfitted with a high-quality filtration system that offers both mechanical and chemical filtration. Biological filtration is also important in a knifefish tank because it will help to keep ammonia levels in check. To ensure high water quality in your tank, consider installing an EcoBio-Stone. These products are made from natural stone and are infused with the beneficial bacteria your tank needs to establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle. Even if your tank has already been cycled, an EcoBio-Stone will help to keep your tank water clean and clear, making it a safe environment for your black ghost knifefish.

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June 6, 2014 at 3:28 PM Comments (0)

How to Set Up and Maintain a New Pond

koi pondWhether you have owned an aquarium or not, setting up and maintaining an outdoor pond can be quite a challenge. The key to success in setting up your pond and keeping it running smoothly is to do your research beforehand. In this article you will receive a number of useful tips designed specifically for first-time pondkeepers.

Setting Up Your Pond

If you plan to build your own pond, it is essential that you perform some research in order to choose the right location as well as the right construction method. The materials you use to build your pond will be determined by the desired size of your pond as well as the shape. If you are looking for a small, conventionally shaped pond you can buy prefabricated pond liners at your local home and garden store.

  • Choose the right location – your pond should not be placed at the bottom of a hill or anywhere that it might be affected by agricultural runoff
  • Don’t place your pond directly beneath a tree or you will constantly be removing leaves
  • Choose a heavy-duty plastic tub as the base for a small pond – this is the easiest method for installing small backyard ponds
  • If you want to build a bigger pond, use a heavy-duty pond liner and weigh it down correctly with heavy stones
  • Don’t be afraid to landscape the area around your pond – use potted plants and large stones to decorate the area surrounding your pond

Stocking Your Pond

If you plan to keep fish in your pond, you need to think carefully about what kind of fish and how many you want. Even though a pond is much larger than the average fish tank, you have to consider the fact that many pond fish (like goldfish) require a significant amount of space so you shouldn’t add too many fish to your pond.

  • Research and purchase the right size pump and filter for your pond – this is essential if you want to keep fish in your pond
  • Determine how many fish you can safely keep in your pond based on its size – remember that koi need very large ponds (over 1,000 gallons) while goldfish can be kept in smaller ponds
  • Consider adding lilies or other aquatic plants to provide shade and to act as natural algae control in your pond

Maintaining Your Pond

Once you have set up your pond you must maintain it properly in order to keep it clean and to keep your fish healthy. Maintenance tasks will vary by season – they may also differ depending on the type of filter system you use and how many fish you have in your tank.

  • Give your fish only as much food as they can eat within a few minutes – this will prevent the accumulation of uneaten fish food on the bottom of the pond
  • Make sure your pond has adequate water movement to keep oxygen levels high and to discourage breeding mosquitoes
  • Install an EcoBio-Block Wave in your pond to help maintain a colony of beneficial bacteria – a single block is adequate for 300 to 1000 gallons and will help keep your pond water clean and clear and reduce the likelihood of getting algae

These are just a few basic tips to get you started in your research before building your pond. It should be clear to you by now that building a pond isn’t quite as simple as just buying a plastic tub and filling it with water. Like an aquarium, a pond is a self-contained ecosystem that must be carefully planned and maintained if you hope to see it thrive.

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May 29, 2014 at 4:14 PM Comments (0)