The Difference between a Lettuce Sea Slugs and the Sea Hare

Lettuce sea slugs are so named due to their appearance. They resemble leaf lettuce. Lettuce sea slugs feed on plants, particularly the algae that grow in their habitat. They live among the coral reef in the southern Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. To know the difference between lettuce sea slugs and the sea hare, it is important to study them separately.

A Lettuce Sea Slug

A Lettuce Sea Slug

The appearance of lettuce sea slugs is rather interesting. Normally, they have color green or brown. This makes them to appear as plants. Nevertheless, they may be white, yellow, red, or a mixture of these colors. Lettuce sea slugs have side appendages called parapodia and a prominent back. The parapodia on these sea animals bunch and fold, and this makes their back to resemble the top of a lettuce head. They have no shell and therefore it is at times hard to distinguish them from minute plant life. Nonetheless, two unruffled and thick antenna protrude from their heads.

These sea animals can grow up to 3 inches in length. This is smaller than a majority of heads of lettuce. There is no difference in the size of male or female of these species. In fact, they look similar and it is hard to differentiate them. They eat through a rudula. This is a mechanism through which all sea slugs feed.

However, the rudula of sea slugs is different from that of other slugs it is a needle-like organ. They normally slice open algae cells with the rudula and suck the interior. They use the chloroplast they have absorbed from within the cell for photosynthesis. Normally, they convert the chloroplast into sugars by using the parapodia on their backs. The chloroplast thereafter converts into food for the slugs by traveling to the surface of the skin and getting some sunlight.

Sea Hare

Sea Hare

A sea hare is a large snail it has a soft internal shell made of protein while the sea slug does not. It is about 3 or 4 inches, although it can grow to a foot in length.  It should not be put into your aquarium if your aquarium is smaller than 75 gallons. They get the name Sea Hare from the two long rhinophores that project upwards from there heads similar of that of a rabbits ears. They will not tolerate low water quality, something that smaller tanks typically have issues with, especially with a large Sea Hare. Also when they feel threatened, sea hares release defensive toxins into the water. It is likely the other inhabitants of the aquarium could easily get close enough to trigger this reaction from this sea animal. It is important to note that the toxins released by sea hare are lethal to the other occupants of the aquarium. They have the ability to cause high mortality among the other inhabitants of the aquarium. In case this happen, it is imperative that you get a chemical filter quickly to remove it before it causes much harm. In conclusion, the difference between lettuce sea slugs and sea hare is that one is a large snail while the other is a slug.

Led Reef Aquarium Lighting

Over the last few years, Led reef aquarium lights have become very popular.  They have really come along way and are ideal planted or reef tanks. First it was the fluorescent, then to the VHO afterwards Metal Halide to Compact Fluorescent to today’s Light Emitting Diodes. Like any other new product in the market at first the prices are relatively higher.

Led Reef Lighting

Demand and competition makes the prices to go down due to the emergence of many companies offering the same new products. In the beginning of the LED lights, they were being offered as lunar lights added to the already existing features to be used only at night. Increased popularity made their cost to come down and manufacturers started offering fixtures in wide varieties depending with the sizes and shapes.

In the beginning LEDs were not significant to saltwater reef tanks, in fact they were even not required as far as lumens, CCT and CRI were concerned. In the previous past LED development has grown at a tremendous rate both in the available colors and the intensity of light. Nowadays there are 8000K Daylight and Actinic LEDs being used in aquarium lighting.

With the way of producing light, LEDs differ a lot from the traditional sources of light. LEDs are made from diodes and the wavelength or the color emitted by a specific LED depends greatly on the material used to make its diode. Aluminum gallium arsenide is used for Red LEDs. Blue LEDs are based on indium gallium nitride and green from aluminum gallium phosphide. A combination of the red, green, and blue LEDs are used to make the white LED, another way of making it is coating the blue LED with yellow phosphor.

Most starters and the veterans in the saltwater aquarium sector are very hesitant to start a reef tank LED lighting project as they don’t understand the lighting requirements of corals and they also have the believe that reef tank lighting is out of their reach. It is important to note that there is a certain amount of lighting that is required for that reef aquarium you have and different reef aquariums have different lighting capacity.

LED Light Fixture Reef Aquarium

The heat produced by the bulbs is very little which means that during hotter days their will be no need of getting chillier. The bulb has a life of up to 5000hrs approximately eleven years on the lighting mode and requires a very little fraction of electricity. The most popular aquarium led lighting system is the aqua illuminations fixture; it has been around for a short period but has proven reliability.

Wish to Insure Your Reef Aquarium?

Human life comes with no guarantees. All of us would love to believe that we would always remain untouched and unaffected by all the calamities and occurrences that would put a wrench in the cog of our smooth running  lives. We can only try  to shield ourselves from all the unpleasant surprises that life has in store for us.

Its because of these unexpected surprises we look at insurance policies for backup. They are meant to provide us with that all too important safety net to safeguard ourselves when calamities shower down on us. In a world where we are constantly exposed to all sorts of unexpected situations, insurance policies are vital for our peace of mind and our pets.

Our first priority is of course, our lives. But our residences too are equally important to us. Insurance Policies are abundantly available in the market today that would help you to defend your homes against any disaster that may strike it. The most common choice is of course the Homeowner’s insurance. Now let’s take a more comprehensive look at this particular aspect of insurance coverage and how it may help you cover any disasters to your marine reef aquarium.

What is Homeowner’s insurance?

The type of insurance policy that provides insurance coverage to private homes is generally referred to as homeowner’s insurance or hazard insurance. This policy covers a series of facilities associated with owning a home of your own. Thus through this system, you insure your home and all the things that occupy your home.

The common aspects that come under the homeowner’s insurance include covering losses that may happen to a person’s place of residence, damage or loss of the various contents of the house inclusive of loss of use of the same and misplacement of any of the owner’s possessions. The policy also provides for liability insurance or the loss suffered by the person due to damages caused by accidents. Thus, availing the homeowner’s insurance provides you with financial protection against any disasters that may strike your home.

The homeowner’s insurance also covers any damages that may be caused to your property by your household pets.

The exceptions to Homeowner’s Insurance

But this protection does not extend to damages that could be caused by poor maintenance, earthquakes and floods. While a separate policy would cover the damages inflicted by floods and earthquakes, issues related to poor maintenance of the home is the owner’s own responsibility. The one mandatory rule that is insisted on by all the insurance providers is that at least one of the insured should be a permanent resident of the place insured.

Insurance of pets

Remember, household pets do not fall under the list of properties that are included in the items that could be insured under the homeowner’s insurance. Almost all insurance companies offer separate policies for your four-legged companions. An enormous demand exists for insurance coverage for pets with a wide range of options to choose from. They cover an extensive range of facilities including hospital visits, medical expenses, missing or stolen pets etc.

But what if your pet doesn’t fall into the four-legged category, but prefers to swim instead? Well, there are policies available for fish tanks and aquariums too, though you may have a tough time in finding a suitable one. Of course, you cannot expect to get identical terms and clauses that are applicable to cats and dogs. But most homeowner’s insurance policy covers damages that could be caused to your fish tanks and aquariums due to various unforeseen occurrences. The coverage also helps you to get compensations in case of breakage or leakage of the tanks.

The insurance companies would not compensate for any damages caused to live fish and corals. The issue of insurance protection of fish tanks and aquariums are related to the claims pertaining to personal possessions of the homeowner’s / renters insurance.

Large Salt Water Reef Tanks

The terms and conditions for insuring large salt water reef tanks are almost similar to that of insuring fish tanks and aquariums. But of course, the size of the tanks would demand a bigger premium payment. And certain insurance companies would cover your loss in case of damages suffered by you by the failure of the equipment. They would compensate you for the damage caused to the equipment. The insurance would also cover the damage caused to your property by the flooding of the marine reef  aquarium. This provision is counted under the clause of damage caused to your property from a mechanical source which would here be the Aquarium or the aquariums equipment. Be sure to follow the directions on every piece of equipment and use cfg i(ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets.

You would also be compensated for the loss of damaged equipment. But no insurance company would cover the cost of damage caused to the inhabitants of the tank ie..corals and fish.  Before you choose an insurance company to insure your fish tank or saltwater reef tanks, be sure to collect the necessary data and clarify the various points.

  • Check whether the company has the proper license to operate. This is necessary to seek the help of your State Insurance department in case problems crop up.
  • Do not be hasty in finalizing a company. Check the prices offered by at least three different companies and decide on the best offer. But remember; do not fall for cheaper options as lesser expenses do not always assure quality.
  • Choose a company that is financially solid. You can refer to the data issues by independent rating agencies to ensure the financial wherewithal of an institution.
  • Ensure that you are provided with the best service. Check out the experiences of previous customers to find out their customer service track record.

Restrain from making hasty decisions as once you have signed on the dotted lines, it could be difficult to renegotiate.

Marine Reef Aquariums are the ideal options for those who lead hectic lives and hence cannot afford to spare the time and convenience to take care of four legged pets. With a aquarium, you can enjoy the benefits of owning pets without the hassles of sparing your valuable time in providing for their care.  Knowing that you have the right insurance for them would lift a burden from your shoulders. All in all check with your Insurance company and let them know the value of the Reef aquarium and find out how much additional coverage may cost.



How to take Care of a Lionfish in a Reef Aquarium

Lionfish are naturally found in parts of south pacific, Sea of Japan, indo pacific and also in the red sea. They are generally connected with tropical reefs where they have been seen living on both soft and hard substrates, usually in crevices and caves during the day and later on emerge to hunt in the evenings with the dim light. Lionfish have long stripes and spines and are quite beautiful in appearance. They are very difficult to care for as compared to other pets but their unique and exotic appearance makes them worth the effort.

They have a rather royal behavior and appear to be dignified. This species of fish is venomous and extra care needs to be taken when cleaning the tank and also during its transportation. Outlined below are tips on how to take care of a lionfish:
Lionfish In a coral Reef tank

1. It is important to place the fish in a 75 gallon tank or a larger one and must have overhead lighting. A two inch layer of sand should be added at the bottom together with plants and a cave to ape the lionfish’s natural home; this will work towards ensuring that the fish feels secure. The water should then be kept clean regularly by using a carbon filter.

2. Using a hydrometer, the tanks saline level should always be kept at 1.026. Plain water should be added whenever it evaporates and salt only when its level decreases. The saltwater tanks temperature should always be maintained at 75-79 degrees F. The inside wall of the tank should be wiped at least once every week to prevent algae and calcium buildup. Thick latex gloves or reef gloves should be worn while working inside the saltwater aquarium and be very attentive to the lionfish, you do not want to get stuck by one of its barbs. While working in the reef tank you should move very slowly to reduce the chances of scaring the Lionfish.

3. Lionfish should be feed with live food which can easily be bought from pet stores. Dead or dry packaged food should never be offered to it since lionfish are naturally hunters i.e. they kill for sustenance.

4. Lionfish can grow to up to a length of 12 inches. It is important to make sure that plenty of room is left in the aquarium so that they can grow larger. It is possible to keep more than one lionfish at ago but the important thing is that there should be plenty of space for both to grow well. It is also important to note that the lionfish are rather lazy and will mostly lounge in the aquarium for the most part of the day.

5. Lionfish and other carnivorous fish are very messy eaters, you need to make sure that the aquarium’s water quality stays at reasonable levels and that you do not buildup ammonia from dead and decaying fish food.

With Those few points in mind, it can be easy for one to take care of lionfish in the best way possible. Remember if you are stung by a lionfish, Rinse the Area off with the hottest water possible to neutralize the poison. The sting of a lionfish resembles that of a very strong bee sting.

Which is the Best Type of Substrate for Reef Aquarium?

There are several questions that you may ask yourself when it comes to choosing the best type of substrate. Which is the best type of substrate for reef aquarium? If that is what you are wondering, it is best that you know that substrate is the sand or gravel that covers the bottom of your reef tank aquarium. Substrate can help with the biological ecosystem within a reef tank and can also be a place for detritivores to burrow and dig. In the past it was believed that bare bottom tank was important and made removal of detritus easy. The same type of thinking is still applied in many of today’s reef tanks, however sandy bottom tanks are aesthetically pleasing. There are five main types of substrates in use today; course crushed coral gravel, medium sized aragonite, plenum system, deep sand bed and the last one is the bare bottom which as the name indicates it has no substrate at all.

Coarse Coral gravel substrate is losing popularity and falling out of favor. This is due to the fact that excessive amounts of detritus get into crevices and it doesn’t provide a good biological zone. Many of the reef tanks set up with this type of substrate is actually due to lack of proper knowledge or research and are more often then not doomed to be plagues with severe algae growth due to the buildup of detritus. The best way of using coarse gravel sand for your reef tank is to use it with finer sand.

The most common and which has been around for long is the aragonite or coral sand substrate. Many of the reef tanks with constructed with this type of substrate are very successful. Some of the advantages of this type of substrate is that it looks good, provides hiding places for detrivitores, creates a biological zone where it can break down ammonia and over harmful chemicals. It is probably the easiest, safest and cheapest type of substrate and it also acts as a calcium buffer for your reef tank.

It was a popular system in 90`s, and have always complicated construction in which a porous platform is constructed inside the reef tank to provide o 2 inch of water dead space under the sand. In the Plenum system the dead water space provides an alternative of sinking the nutrients and preventing nitrates from accumulating. This type of substrate is really not recommended for a reef tank because of the massive chemical and organic build up can crash the reef tank’s chemistry.

Deep sand Bed (DSB) is another way to use sand as a substrate in which a bed of sand more then six inches deep can create several layers of biological and organic filtration. The disadvantage of this type of substrate is that it occupies a lot of space in the reef tank. Apart from that one disadvantage it has many advantages including its depth which encourages a wide rang of biological process to take place in the tank.

Keep in mind the particular fish and coral you wish to keep in your saltwater reef aquarium. An Aragonite base may be beneficial to many corals such as SPS but may not be good for sand sifting fish. I personally use just a little bit of fine sand for the bottom of my reef tank so that I can place corals on it, The rest of the tank is bare bottom.

How to take care of a Peppermint Shrimp In a Reef Aquarium

Peppermint Shrimp, with scientific name (Lysmata wurdemanni) is a small marine invertebrate that has a transparent body with stripes and grows to a size of 5cm. The Peppermint shrimp is a common invertebrate for a marine reef aquarium and can be bought from any good aquarium shop. Other names for the Peppermint Shrimp are ‘Candy Shrimp’ and the ‘Caribbean Cleaner Shrimp’.

Peppermint Shrimp

Peppermint Shrimp

Peppermint shrimp are known to eat glass anemone (Aiptasia). This anemone is  considered a pest in the marine reef aquarium as it reproduces at a high rate and has the ability to sting coral and fish. To control and get rid of this pest, many reef keepers use the Peppermint Shrimp.

Even though the peppermint shrimp is  regarded as a “cleaner shrimp”, the Peppermint shrimp may not clean as regularly as other shrimps such as the skunk cleaner shrimp.

Peppermint shrimp can coexist with many other of its own species but may fight with other species of shrimp in the tank. Reef hobbyists have had mixed reactions in regards to keeping these inverts in a tank. Some report that they bite into corals, and some are quite shy, very rarely appearing from the rocks for many days in a stretch. Personally I have never had these problems with my peppermint shrimp but I will say that they are more comfortable in groups.

It is a known fact that Peppermint shrimp do not get along with Coral Banded Shrimp of the same sex, so do not put them in the same tank.

Peppermint shrimp can be a shy creature and  are nocturnal, which means you will see most of their action at night when they go out in search of food, while all the other fish in the tank are sleeping.

As for nutrients and health, Peppermint shrimp, like other shrimps need Iodine supplements on a periodic basis to assist them in shedding their exoskeleton. This is known as “molting”. When shrimp molt, they will be quite vulnerable and will usually hide under the live rock until the molt is complete. Some marine reef aquarium owns insist on dosing iodine to help cleaner shrimp and other inverts molt. You must ensure that you use an iodine test kit to ensure that you give the correct of dosage into the water. If you overdose on Iodine, you can get side effects such as too much brown algae within the aquarium or harming and staining corals. If you are doing water changes frequently then there may be no reason to dose iodine.

Do not worry about feeding the shrimp on regular basis, as they will most likely scavenge and eat any leftover fish food, detritus and algae from the tank. They will sift through the sand at the bottom of the tank, so ensure that you put find sand in the aquarium, not coral sand or gravel. From time to time you can supplement their diet with with meaty foods such as scallops, mysis shrimp or other meaty seafoods.

How to Take Care of a Yellow Tang In a Reef Aquarium

Yellow Tang

Yellow Tang

Yellow Tangs are one of the five most popular fish in the marine hobby along with the Percula Clownfish, Blue Tang, Flame Angelfish and Royal Gramma.

They are the most common Surgeonfish along with the blue tang. Their bright, vibrant color makes an excellent addition to any reef aquarium and frequently used in advertisements and marketing in the aquarium industry.

Their bright yellow color is second to none and they possess no other markings except for a small white blade on its dorsal fin which is only used during fighting.

The yellow tang is prevalent in Hawaii and surrounding islands and swim in huge shoals. Divers who dive in the area regularly witnesses their schooling behavior and marvel at their beauty.

In the tank, Yellow tangs are prone to marine ich and lateral line erosion.  Marine ich can be treated with various Aquarium Pharmaceutical products, hyposalinity and other methods.  The price of these fish are relatively cheaper than hard-to-find tangs such as the Sohal or Achilles Tang.  Usually Yellow tangs sell for between $60 and $80 per fish.

In regards to temperament, the yellow tank is a peaceful fish and can coexist with other species of fish. However, they may get aggressive with other types of surgeonfish, especially with other yellow tangs. These hostilities will be eradicated if these fish are houses in an aquarium which is large enough.

Yellow tangs like to form shoals and play ‘follow the leader, so if you are planning to keep more than one yellow tang, ensure that you introduce them at the same time.

yellow tang in a reef aquarium

Yellow tangs reach up to 8 inches and require a 100 gallon tank (minimum) if you are to keep them to adulthood

A Yellow tang’s diet includes a combination of algae, krill, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, pellets or marine food. Although herbivores in the wild, tangs will eat a combination of algae and meat matter. Being completely safe for reefs, they are safe to keep with your corals. It is noted that you should never feed Tangs lettuce, as it does not provide any nutrition to the fish.

Since Yellow tangs consume a large amount of algae in the wild, it is crucial that these fish get an adequate diet of algae. Algae can be given as part of a flake, frozen food or as pellets. There are many reputable brands which sell these food, along with trace minerals and nutrients which are found in the wild.