Blog, captive bred fish

Saving Bubbles

Walking around anywhere that has a saltwater aquarium you will hear excited little voices say “Look, I found Nemo” and “There is Dory”! The next fish they will recognize is Bubbles the yellow tang. He was the one in the the aquarium obsessed with the bubbling ornament.

The yellow tang is one of the most recognized saltwater fish by children and adults alike. That bright yellow color is what makes them a staple in most home aquariums. What most people dont realize is that there are very few captive bred saltwater fish, most of them come right from the ocean. Luckily there are aquariums and research facilities out there working very hard to change this. The most recent triumph was 10 years in the making, they have successfully bred yellow tangs in captivity. The Oceanic Institute in Hawaii won the prize.

After months of special care and love the captive bred babies were ready to go to their new homes. Most of them went to public aquariums and research centers. 3 swam their way to their new home at Colchester Pet.  We are so honored and excited to have these special and historic fish at our store. They live in a 150 gallon reef tank with Jock (the shrimp) and Nemo.

If we keep taking these popular fish out of the ocean for our own aquariums then someday there wont be any left. There is still a long way to go until we have captive bred yellow tangs in every fish store, but at least its a start on the way to “Saving Bubbles”.

Blog, Product Review

Flipper Magnet Review


There are many ways to clean your aquarium glass. You can use an algae pad, an algae pad with a handle, a scraper with a handle, a razor blade, your hand, or a magnet cleaner. The least expensive is of course your hand but if you are reading this post then you probably want something else.

The next least expensive is an algae pad, they usually come in a small square in blue white or green and cost a few bucks. That sounds great right? It is, until you get that first patch of stubborn algae and you are vigorously using lots of muscle to get this tiny piece of algae that won’t come off, all while losing water out of your aquarium due to the wave you are making. You also have your hand in the tank, with your killer betta.

Once you catch your breath and get a glass of water from your arm workout, you look on your phone, or trek to your local fish store and seek a better option. There are a plethora of options from an algae scrapper on a handle to the razor blade on a handle. You really don’t want to get a workout from your aquarium again and really don’t like sticking your hand in to the aquarium, (you swear your betta is out to get you).

You have decided on the $10.00 generic scrapper with handle and a razor blade attachment. You’ll show that algae who is boss when you get home, without Mr. Betta plotting his attack. When you are at the checkout counter there is an aquarium with a peculiar gadget attached to the side. It has a sign that reads “ask me how to get a spotless aquarium with little effort”. You ask the clerk for a demo on this gadget. She tells you it’s a flipper magnet aquarium cleaner. Really?? They make those? How cool is that?

The clerk starts to dance with this magnet cleaner with ease, using one finger she glides it all over the tank. Then, in one flowing dance move the magnet flips over. She explains that there are two sides to this magnet cleaner. One gets everyday algae that builds up, the other (she flips it again as she explains) gets all the hard to get stuff. You are just amazed with this awesome product, and the ease of use it has. It solves all your aquarium cleaning problems in one awesome flip! You throw money on the counter and tell her you have to have one. You go home and laugh at your algae and your betta as you dance and flip your way to the most pristine aquarium glass ever.

Its such a chore to clean the aquarium glass. Why not make it fun and easy?

There are a good amount of magnet glass cleaners out there and they all work. They range in prices and sizes but this is the best I’ve seen with dual use. The magnets are very strong and durable and the blades are replaceable. Another nice feature is the slim profile. This is perfect for getting the front glass without disturbing live plants, live rock, or corals. The flipping part takes some finesse. I tried it for the first time today and had some success. After about ten tries I was flipping with my 17 month old daughter on my hip.

One nice thing is that the package comes with a blade for glass and a blade for acrylic aquariums. The Glass blade is very sturdy and it does work very well. We were doing a complete change on our rimless 57 gallon show tank and I used the flipper aquarium magnet to get rid of the hair algae and some coraline algae (pink calcium). It surprised me how well it took the algae off with not too much effort. We did have coraline that was on the aquarium with two or three layers on it and that did not come off easy at all. I would not recommend, using it for massive amounts of coraline for two reasons:

  1. It would take a lot of elbow grease to get the caked on coraline from years and years of buildup. If you aren’t careful then the water in the tank could create a wave and overflow all over your beautiful floor, I would bet someone in your house would not find it impressive or funny, and you would have a floor to clean after your aquarium. And really, who has the time or wants more work, right?
  2. If you do decide to mess up the floor with your feat of strength and defeat that massive amount of algae, then you will dull your blade. Now not only are you wasting time, cleaning the floors but you are wasting money with needing a new flipper magnet blade. I don’t know about you but I don’t have the time (between chasing after my toddler and running my own business) or money to waste all on a silly patch of algae in the back corner that no one will ever see.

What you will love about this flipper aquarium magnet is the ease of use for weekly and even monthly maintenance on the war against algae. It will make you want to use it because its fun and easy. I was pretty impressed by the scrubby side of the flipper magnet. There is really no downside to daily use. You can scrub anytime with no fear of scratching. Its so nice to have an all in one magnet that really works. It saves you time and effort by having both of the components on the magnet and the fact that you flip it is pure genius. I said earlier that it takes a bit of finesse to flip, but its not hard at all. I have fun and demo it to pretty much every customer I talk to. My daughter loves to watch it flip while sitting on my hip.

The flipper aquarium magnet comes in 3 sizes. One for nano tanks which I sell for my many customers with Bio cubes. One for medium tanks, which it the one I use for all my demos on my 57 rimless aquarium. The last one is a huge flipper for use on huge aquariums. Its good for my 150 gallon that houses our 3 captive bred yellow tangs (read about them here).

Here is a rundown on Flipping the flipper aquarium magnet cleaner.


Do have the flipper up near the top of the aquarium when you want to flip

Do pull the magnet away from the aquarium and flip it over

Do put the flipped over magnet right next to the magnet inside aquarium and watch in awe as the inside magnet gently and slowly flips over and reconnects to your magnet

Do practice a lot and impress your friends with a flipping show

Do have fun cleaning your aquarium

Do try flipping in the corner over to the other side, it’s the easiest way to flip, plus the fact that you can get it to the next side is pretty cool too


Don’t try to flip near the sand because you can get the sand between the magnet and glass and scratch the glass

Don’t try to get it to flip without flipping magnet first

Don’t get frustrated and throw it at the tv

Don’t forget to buy your new flipper magnet aquarium cleaner right here

Don’t forget to comment on this review with your flipping stories

If you do live near Colchester Pet, in Connecticut you can always buy one at our store.

Thank You!

Happy Flipping!

Blog, captive bred fish

Reflections in Aquaculture


As we celebrate the one year anniversary of our Aqua cultured Yellow tangs I am taken back to a year ago. When i opened an email from Segrest farms that talked about the first aquacultured yellow tangs being available for sale. I remember telling my mom and dad about it and thinking that we had to get some. It was such an amazing piece of history.
I had no idea in that moment that our lives would shift to a different path. One with endless opportunities and one of giving back to this amazing industry that has been our life for years. In the past year we have brought in so many amazing aquacultured species and our goal is 100 % aquacultured fish.

I love how this industry is at a turning point and that there is so much support. Rising Tide Conservation is the driving force behind this turning point. They have been a part of these historic accomplishments and continue to lead the way in research and most of all education of the public. This is where we need to really step up. Aquacultured fish are an amazing accomplishment and have changed the industry forever, but all of that work will be nothing without the education of the public to buy these fish. We need to shout from the rooftops how amazing aquacultured fish are and how they are healthier and happier, how they will not only survive, but thrive! We need to tell the story of Tango our captive bred pacific blue tang. We need to make it known that the oceans are dying and if we want our kids and grand kids to know what its like to have saltwater fish, then captive bred fish have to be the answer.

Our Yellow tangs have been here a year and are thriving, not surviving. How could they not thrive? All they know is aquarium life.  They eat frozen food, pellets, flakes, nori, and any other type of food we throw in there. They are not afraid of us. I imagine that they do not look out longingly and think of ocean life, they just keep swimming.

Maybe the 14 year old clown fish tells them stories from her ocean days but she likely has forgotten them too. I can imagine the tangs all sitting in their caves tucked in after the lights are out and listening to her stories, in awe. Maybe she had adventures like Marlin and Dory did. Maybe she tells of the day she was caught and thrown into a tank. Whatever the story is I hope its epic.

These are the days we will look back on in history and our story could go one of two ways.

The first could be:

Wow the beginning of the century sure was great for aquatic life and that’s when we started to get serious and save the oceans. Aquarium fish are now being mostly raised in captivity, and everyone can still enjoy them in their homes.

Here is the second way it could go.

Wow they made such advancements in aquacultured fish back then but not enough people cared and bought them.  Now the only way to see these beautiful fish is in public aquariums, or in books and online. Home aquariums are a thing of the past.

These two scenarios are of course extremes, but they can turn into reality if we don’t change our ways.

I support aquaculture, will you?

Blog, captive bred fish

Why is aquaculture the future?

We love the ocean and everything it has. We love it so much we want a piece of it in our own homes. We make movies about sea adventures of fish that are box office masterpieces. We write books about sea adventures in the deep with scary sea creatures. A vacation paradise usually starts with white sandy beaches and reading a good book while listening to the waves crash on the shore. We walk for  miles on the beach collecting remnants of ocean life in the form of empty shells or starfish that have washed up on the sand.

The ocean is vast and undiscovered. There is more water on our planet then land. I think we need to keep her as healthy as we can, don’t you? There have been changes in the oceans lately, but they are not good. Coral reefs have been dying and that is pretty serious. Fish live on the coral reefs and they need each other to survive. We all know that this is a big problem but we are not sunk yet. Biologists are working hard to figure this out. They are also working hard to make coral farms in the ocean. A lot of the corals that are in fish tanks these days are aquacultured or (raised in captivity). This is great news for coral keepers and coral in general.

Some coral frags that we have had at our store

Many people will not care about fish in an aquarium and will think that they only belong in the ocean. That is a fine opinion, but not at all realistic. Human beings are so infatuated with the sea and sea creatures. It makes sense that you see aquariums in so many hospitals, doctor’s offices, and children’s hospitals. A fish tank is so relaxing. They can calm down a scared child, lower blood pressure, help with anxiety, and more. Public aquariums are always a busy place that captivate anyone. So let’s think about what would happen if we leave all the fish in the ocean. Everything I just said would be gone unless you raise these fish in captivity.

Our trip to the Long Island Aquarium

Aquacultured or captive bred means that these fish or corals are raised in closed systems where they can monitor water quality, food intake, temperature of water and more. These fish are acclimated to live in these conditions that vary from ocean life. They are given the perfect environment to spawn and everything is documented so this can happen again and again. The eggs are collected and put into a different tank. These researchers have to figure out what the newly hatched baby fish (called fry) will eat. Then they wait, and see who will survive. Many people don’t understand why fish are still taken from the ocean, but here is why. There is so much research that goes into successful captive breeding. Lots of trial and error also, because each type of species may need different food, water movement, temperature or  whatever else.

Three of the first aquacultred Yellow Tangs from the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii.

These amazing people are really trying to get these fish bred in quantity but it takes money and time. Its not just researchers that are making a difference. There are many hobbyists that are trying their hand at captive breeding too and making huge leaps. The industry is also on the right track as a whole.

Aqua cultured Banggai Cardinal

I think one of the biggest challenges is education of the public. Education that most saltwater fish are still wild caught. Education to choose the aquacultured fish over wild caught even though they cost more. Education to demand better from the average pet store or online retailer. Most stores don’t carry aquacultured fish because they don’t think they will sell. We need to convince them that yes they will sell. One organization is a shining star in this education. Rising Tide Conservation is amazing, they work so hard on educaton of the public. They are also the driving force behind all the tangs being aquacultured and so many other fish.

Tango one of the first aquacultured pacific blue tangs

This is where Tango comes in. One of the 27 original aquacultured pacific blue tangs. So many people have been educated at our store and through our blogs about the importance of aquaculture. Most of our customers will choose them over wild caught when they have a chance because we educate them. Tango is our shining star and the face of aquaculture. Tango is the future and Aquaculture is the future!