With a Grain of Salt
Fishes of the Brackish Water Aquarium, by Eric Crouch

 
Amphibians
Axolotls
Caecilian Worm
Chaco Toad
Mud Puppies

Newts General
Newts Eastern
Newts Golden

Newts Mandarin
Salamanders
Suriname Toad
Tadpoles
Terrarium I
Terrarium II
USA Toads
Water Dogs
Misc. Toads

Frogs
Bull
Clawed
Dumpy
Dwarf
Fire-Belly
Floating
Green Tree
Leopard
Pac Man
Pipa pipa
Pyxie
Red-Eyed Tree
Tomato
Misc Frogs 
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV

Misc Frogs V

Animals
Bunnies
Bunnies II 
Chinchillas
Degus
Ferrets
Ferrets by BOB
Gerbils
Ground Squirrels
Guinea Pig
Hamsters I
Hamsters II
Hamsters III
Hamsters IV
Hamsters V
Hedgehogs
Kittens
Kids & Kittens
Mice
Mice Pets II
Parasites
Rats I
Rats II
Rats III
Rats, Hairless
S-T Opossums
Siberian Chipmunks
Sugar Gliders
Sugar Gliders II
Water Bottles

Bugs
Crabby 500
Crab 04 Results
Centipedes
Cray/Lobsters
Crayfish II
Crayfish III
Cray, Yucatan
Fiddler Crabs
Shrimp, Algae
Shrimp, Aqua
Shrimp, Red
Shrimp, Flower

Shrimp, Ghost
Shrimp, Rudolph
Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs II
Madagas Roach
Mantids
Mini-Clams
Mini-Crabs
Patriot Crabs
Giant Millipedes
Red Claw Crabs
Reiman Butterfly
Snail, Apple
Snail, Colombian
Snail, Land
Snail, Malaysian

Snail, Mystery
Snail, Trapdoor 
Scorpions
Tarantulas
Tarantulas II
Tarantula Night 2006
TarantulaWeen VII
TarantulaWeen 9
Misc. Bugs
Misc Bugs II  

Birds
Breeding Tips

Button Quail
Canaries

Cockatiels
Dove, Diamond
Dove, Ringneck
Finches
Love Birds
Parakeets
Pelleted Foods
Quaker Parrots

Parrot Pictures
Parrot Pix II

Parrot Pix III
Dave's Parrots


Lizards
Alligators
Anoles
Bearded Dragon

Beardies II
Calotes
Chamel, Jackson
Chamel, Panther
Chamel, Veiled
Crested Geckos
Gecko, Golden

Gecko, House
Gecko, Leopard
Gecko, Tokay
Horned "Toads"
Iguana New
Iguana Dragons
Iguana Q&A I
Iguana Q&A II
Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
Knight Anoles
Monitors, Nile

Monitors, Savana
Monitors, Water

Salmonella
Skinks
Skinks Blue-Tongue
Tegus
Uromastyx maliensis
Water Dragon
Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
Misc Lizards 3
Misc Lizards 4
Misc Lizards 5

Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9


Snakes
Anacondas
Boa, Rosy

Boa, Red-Tail
Corn Snake
Garter Snake
Green Snake
Kids/Corn Snakes
Kids/Red-Tail Boas

Kids at Pet Expo 1

Kids at Pet Expo 2

Kids at Pet Expo 3

Kids at Pet Expo 4

Kids at Pet Expo 5
King & Milk
Python, Ball
Python, Burmese

Snakes Alive
Snakesgiving
Snakesgiving II

Misc Snake Pix
Misc Snakes II

Misc Snakes III  

Turtles/Tortoises
Box, Asian
Box, USA
Races
Snapping

Sulcata
Water

Western Painted

Live Foods
Blackworms
Blood Worms
Br Shrimp I
Br
Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
Crayfish 2
Crayfish 3 
Crickets
Daphnia
Earthworms
Feeder Goldfish
Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
Bubbles
Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
Quarantine Tank
Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

Aquatic Plants
Amazon Swords
More Swords
Sword Plants III

Anubias
Aponogetons
A. boivinianus
A. fenestralis
A. ulvaceous
Aquarium/Bog
Banana Plant
Bolbitis
Bunch
Bunch Plants II
Cryptocorynes
Crystalwort
Dwarf Lily
Grassy
Grassy II
Hornwort
Hygrophila
Lace
Java Lance Fern
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

LA
Scatophagus argus.  Ask your Greek friends what "scato" means

There is a renewed interest lately in things a bit “out of the ordinary” in the aquatic world.  People come into Aqualand looking for something exciting, something rare, something weird -- something other than the run-of-the-mill neon tetra or angelfish.  There are several categories of fishes that will fit this bill.  One is a category lumped together not by inter-relatedness, or taxonomy, but by environment:  the brackish water fishes.  There are several different species of brackish water fishes -- some are colorful, some ugly, some stately, some comical, some frankly odd.  Before we go into detail about the critters themselves, though, let’s talk about their preferred environment and their care and keeping.
 
Judy Cook, Spokane, WA, October 19, 2007
Greetings- I love your website so much.  I wish that you did ship because I would totally buy from you.  Our local choices are either Box stores or the local pet shop with tanks that look like sewer treatment plants.  Much of what we get comes from mail order.   
But I very often refer to your site, especially on issues of compatibility and it's just great to read.  And also the infusoria info has been a light bulb solution for us too.  You're all informative and I just wanted to say Thank You for posting all the information.  It's a great resource for even us non-Iowans.
I was reading the Brackish pages the other day.  We got some Mudskippers and wanted to see what might be compatible with them.  They do tussle with each other somewhat, but aren't too bad now.  The fish don't really spend much time in the water.  It's a big tank and a lot of water area too, so we were thinking about tank mates.  So reading your mudskipper experience was just great.  Thank you for sharing.
One bit of info I wanted to pass along to possibly add to your page and to your available stock, if you stock Brackish fish regularly for your customers to purchase.  We're using these snails -- Olive Nerites or Olive Snails, Neritima reclivata.
Mature ones are dime to nickel sized and they thrive in brackish water.  They are unbelievable vacuums too.  I'm actually amazed myself at how well they do.   They also make great (perfect) food for puffers.
We found them through mail order, but I've seen them in more places now.  Many sell them as freshwater snails.  We use them in freshwater tanks too, because they are the very best tank cleaning snails that do not eat plants.  And in freshwater they will not breed.  (They do still lay eggs, but these have never hatched.) In brackish they thrive and do multiply well if there's too much nutrients.  (Or free puffer food for those with puffers.)  Even though they are a brackish snail, they do live well in fresh.  Any that die get snagged by a fish.  (If they've come from a brackish source, they have to be acclimated to fresh.  And as I see that many sources sell this species as fresh, I'm sure those would have to be gradually acclimated back to brackish.)
Anyway, wanted to pass long about the snails.  They work so well in fresh (no eating plants or multiplying), but since there's such a limitation on bio agents for brackish conditions, we've really found them to be perfect.
And again, thank you very much for posting your website.  We love it.

A:  Thanks for the kudos and the info.  I'll try to find some way to work it into the brackish pages.  I've had the nerites before but their eggs never hatched.  Now I know why.  Thanks.  LA

Environmental Quality.  Brackish water is a term describing the conditions that occur at the mouths of rivers where they meet the ocean (estuaries).  In other words, brackish water is a sort of intermediate condition, neither fully saltwater nor freshwater.  These conditions are usually far less stable than those found in the ocean itself or within rivers.  If flooding occurs upstream, the concentration of salts or salinity, will drop at any given point in the estuary.  Likewise, if a drought occurs, the salinity increases.

Estuaries are among the most fertile of aquatic environments.  The constant mixing of fertilizing nutrients from streams and the trace elements of the ocean, and the constant stirring provided by currents and tides, and the shallowness of the water (providing excellent light penetration) create a perfect habitat for organisms that can exploit these conditions without succumbing to the instability of this environment.  Thus, many brackish water organisms are omnivorous, to take advantage of the wide range of available foods.

LA
Monodactylus sebae

Salt Level.  Brackish water as applied to aquaria means different things to different people.  Thus, it is often that one person’s brackish water tank is set up quite differently from another’s.  I have seen successful brackish water tanks that had a concentration of one teaspoon of ordinary pure salt per gallon, with no attention paid to pH levels.  I have also seen successful setups in which a quality marine mix had been used to a salinity of 1.010 (just under half that of seawater) with crushed coral used as gravel, to keep pH at 8.2.

Brackish water is quite variable.  Anywhere in the range described above is usually just fine for most species (some species can’t take 1.010 salinity, however).  Personally, my ideal set up uses a marine mix with a concentration hovering around 1.005, or approximately one-quarter seawater, with some crushed coral optional (up to one-quarter of the gravel).  I say “hovering” because, recognizing the instability of the natural brackish water environment, I like to vary salinity 0.002 in either direction.

 

pH Level.  I don’t tend to worry too much about pH, since this, too, varies in the natural environment.  A word of advice: if you decide to vary the salinity, use a hydrometer for accuracy, and although brackish water fish often undergo much more rapid changes in the wild, it is safest in the aquarium to allow no greater change than 0.001 in a 24-hour period.  Keep in mind that under natural conditions a fish can travel to remain at the level of salinity it is most comfortable with, if a salinity change in a given location is too rapid for its comfort.  There is no escape in your aquarium.

Temperature.  Although temperature is another instability in most estuarine environments, do not allow your temperatures to vary much (if at all), and certainly very slowly.  Your aquarium is much smaller than an estuary, and temperature changes are much more swift (and more shocking to the fish) than estuarine temperature shifts.

Tank Size.  It is not recommended that you use a tank less than ten gallons in size (for most fishes, let alone brackish water fishes).  The larger the tank, the greater the stability of the environment.  (You may decide to vary conditions a bit, but you want all variations fully under your control.)  Use an under gravel filter with plenty of circulation.  Use a strong air pump or a power head to move water through the filter.

LA
Half-grown green scat.

High pH.  If you use plain salt with no coral, you will not need to pay any more attention to the nitrogen cycle than you would in any freshwater tank.  On the other hand, if you choose to use marine mix and crushed coral, pay special attention to the nitrogen cycle.  High pH levels make the ammonia excreted by your fish and given off by decaying, uneaten food much more toxic.

 

Cycle Your Tank.  You may want to completely “cycle” your tank before adding your fish, or to add only one small fish until the necessary bacteria have established themselves in the gravel.  Or inoculate your tank with bacteria from a successful aquarium.  Or use one of the new bacteria in a pouch.

Change Your Water.  Make regular water changes.  Some brackish water species are sensitive to water quality (particularly while young).  Changing a quarter of the water per week is a good habit to be in for any aquarium (certain saltwater habitats being the exception).  If you are keeping your tank’s pH high, this is extra important.

Now – Let’s Talk Fish -- Brackish Water II

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