Reducing cross tank contamination

Fish net bucket containing methylene blue. Photo by the author.

During your fish keeping journey, you hopefully won’t have to experience any of the multitude of maladies that affect tropical fresh water fish. Inevitably, however, you will if you’re in this hobby long enough. Furthermore, many pathogens that affect fish are contagious and can spread within your tank and across tanks. Though there are numerous pharmacological options to treat bacterial, viral, and fungal illnesses, that is a post for another day.

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Upcoming internal filter review

OASE BioPlus Thermo 200 internal canister filter. Image from

Thanks to the fine folks at Aquarium Life Support Systems and OASE Living Waters, I recently received one of OASE’s BioPlus Thermo 200 internal canister filters to review. I am really anxious to unpack this thing and get it going. I have used internal filters before, but never one this large. Recommended for aquariums up to 55g , the 200 is the largest of the three sizes in the BioPlus Thermo line.  

Whether you’re familiar with OASE or are just now learning about them, they make solid aquarium products. If you’re interested in an external canister filter, see my review of their BioMaster Thermo 350.

Stay tuned!

Feeding shellie cichlid fry – update

10″ 14 gauge Luer lock, stainless needle and 30 ml syringe purchased from Amazon. Photo by the author.

Back in August, I posted about a nice way to feed shellie fry. I have subsequently improved upon that method. The syringe and water line tube work great…until they don’t. What I discovered is that, over time, the tube end that connects to the syringe will “stretch” such that the connection point isn’t airtight. What happens is 1) air gets in between the tube and the syringe, preventing a good suction and 2) just a little bit of air will allow whatever food you’ve been able to pull into the tube to invariably flow back out before you can remove it from the food source. 

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Sicce endorsement

Sicce logo. Image from

Many of my previous posts mention the equipment that I use. However, I wanted to explicitly mention a company named Sicce. This Italian aquarium products manufacturer produces filters, pumps, heaters, etc. Though lesser known in the United States compared to companies like Hagen (Fluval) and Eheim, IMO Sicce’s filters and pumps are as good or better. If you’re a regular on Facebook, you have probably seen an increase in posts about them and the number of LFSs carrying their products. Though they have been in the states for a while, they are making a big push into the home aquarium market. 

I use Sicce pumps and canister filters almost exclusively. I have for many years. In fact, all of my larger tanks are filtered by Sicce canisters.

If you want to venture out of your comfort zone and try some products you haven’t before, give Sicce a try. 

Plastic plants are fine, but….

Base of large plastic plant. Notice the holes and general shape where detritus and waste can accumulate. Photo by the author.
Base of small plastic plant. Notice how there is little area for waste to accumulate. Photo by the author.


I’m increasingly seeing a lot of new or inexperienced cichlid keepers asking about adding live plants to their tank. Live plants work for many cichlids but not all. Why? Some species dig them up and others simply eat them. For Lake Tanganyika tanks, I did a post a few years ago about plants species you might look at if you’re considering a biotope set-up. So what about plastic plants you ask?

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OASE releases larger canister filter

OASE BioMaster 850 external canister filter (cut-away view). Image from

For the canister enthusiasts among you, OASE North America has released a new, larger external canister filter as part of their BioMaster line. I did a review of the BioMaster Thermo 350 back in January of this year. At that time, the largest filter in the BioMaster line was the 600, rated for aquariums up to 160 gallons. OASE recently released the 850, suitable for 250 gallons. 

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