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					Aquatic Invertebrate

Experience level: beginner, for a tropical to semi-aggressive community

For ages: 8 & up, with adult supervision

Traits & behavior

Non-aggressive
Many species of aquatic invertebrates are peaceful and can be kept with tropical fish, but be sure the sizes
are compatible so neither group sees the other as food.

Bottom swimmers
You will see crabs and shrimp swimming at the bottom of your aquarium or climbing on the decor. Snails,
however, will adhere to the aquarium glass and crawl up the sides of the tank.

Molters
This is a characteristic of crabs and shrimp and means they need to shed their outer skin in order to grow.

Things to remember

Multiplying snails
Snails readily reproduce in an aquarium environment.

Cover your aquarium
A tight-fitting aquarium hood is essential as many of these invertebrates can escape from an uncovered
tank.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's
home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young
children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at
greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your
doctor for more information.

Nutrition

Staple diet
Although snails will move along the surfaces of the aquarium scraping green algae with their mouths, they
will also accept all kinds of commercial flake and pellet foods. Crabs and shrimp must be fed sinking pellet
foods that they can find at the bottom of the tank.

Frequent feedings
For optimum health, feed your aquatic invertebrates as much food as they will consume in 1-3 minutes,
twice a day.
Health

Signs your aquatic invertebrates are healthy:

   Eating vigorously
   Clear eyes and smooth, clean skin or shells free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
   Active

Things to watch for:

   Decreased appetite
   Inactivity
   Shell damage or discoloration

Environment

Aquarium
Most freshwater aquatic invertebrates require an aquarium habitat similar to any freshwater tropical fish. A
good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish or invertebrate. Minimum tank
size should be 10 gallons.

Décor
For crabs, hiding places should be offered as they prefer a secure area as a retreat. Live aquatic plants are
beneficial for snails, which will graze on their leaves.

Compatibility
Snails can be kept in most tanks, but some gouramis, skunk loaches and other large fish may eat smaller
snails. Juvenile shrimp and crabs can be kept in a general community aquarium, but as adults they may
harass their tankmates and should be kept by themselves or with other large, tough fish.

Filtration
An outside power filter, an internal box or an undergravel filter should be provided to keep water clean and
invertebrates healthy.

Water changes
Test water weekly to assess water quality. It is recommended that 10% of your aquarium water be changed
per week. At the very least, 25% of your aquarium water should be changed per month.

Water temperature
Water temperatures should range between 72-82º F. Use an aquarium heater to maintain water
temperature.

Aquarium placement
Place your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Aquarium stand
An aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium.
Are aquatic invertebrates right for you?


Yes    No
             I have an appropriate location and stand for a correctly sized aquarium.

             I will test the water quality weekly and do a partial water change every 1-4 weeks.

             I will provide a proper environment and adequate nutrition for any invertebrates I keep in my
             aquarium.


Supply list

Here's a list of the necessities you'll need to take home today to help your new aquatic invertebrates stay
healthy and happy.


Home
       An appropriate size glass or acrylic aquarium

       Aquarium stand

       Aquarium hood

       Gravel (2"-3" layer or 1.5 lbs. per gallon)

       Filtration system (ask associate for recommendation)

       Aquarium heater and thermometer

Food
       Fish food (flakes/pellets)

Décor
       Decorations (driftwood/rock/ornament)

       Live plants (assists with biological filtration)

       Artificial plants

Supplies
       Water conditioner/de-chlorinator

       Water test kit/strips

       Gravel vacuum (for water changes)

       Fish net

				
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posted:9/5/2012
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