NYC Trip – Manhattan Aquariums

On a recent trip to New York City, I decided to see what aquatics stores might have to offer. Overall, I was fairly disappointed in the the selection of stores I could find. One of them was a disturbingly barren and algae ridden. Most aquarium stores that were listed online were no longer in business at the address given online. Most of my day was spent wandering around, becoming increasingly frustrated by abandoned or missing storefronts of businesses that still had working answering machines and websites.

There were two beautiful gems amid the chaos. One of these was Manhattan Aquariums. They are a aquarium store with a strong focus on marine fish and corals, but they also had some beautiful freshwater tanks. By this point, my battery was dying, so I didn’t wind up even taking any pictures of the freshwater tanks! The store was very clean, had a huge selection, and had some absolutely amazing display tanks. Here are some pictures of this store:

The second store I visited was Pacific Aquarium Inc. They had a ton of freshwater and marine fish, lots of plants, and ample supplies of every sort for planted tanks. Beautiful petrified wood pieces, a variety of substrates, planting tools, … I spent a lot of time here looking at everything. It was a lot of fun to see all of the potential supplies, fish, plants, and aquascapes available today!

Here are some pics of their amazing freshwater aquascapes

Petrified Wood Aquascape with Riccia Carpets

Petrified Wood Aquascape with Riccia Carpets

And here are some of the back store, where the majority of the fish (fresh, marine, etc) were housed. Everything was clean, the fish all looked quite healthy, and the plant tanks didn’t seem to have a single snail. Beautiful store!

I’m hoping to have my next short trip be to a city where I might get to see some great tanks. So, if you have a recommendation of a beautiful aquarium store to visit, let me know!

Fish On My “To-Do” List

The more I got into freshwater fish and plants, the more species I learned of that would make really interesting and beautiful tank inhabitants. Here are some of the fish I haven’t yet had the opportunity to care for, along with some of their basic requirements. In no particular order:

Furcata Rainbow

aka Forktail Blue Eye Rainbow, (Pseudomugil furcatus )

Two male furcata rainbows

Two male furcata rainbows

 reach around 2″

prefer tanks densely planted with shady areas

pH 6.0 to 8.0, temp 75 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit

best kept in large groups


Spotted Blue-Eye Rainbow

aka Gertrude’s Blue-Eye, (Pseudomugil gertrudae )

Gertrude’s Blue-Eye Rainbow, male

reach about 1.5″

like densely planted tanks with driftwood, floating plants to break up light

wide pH range, prefer around 6.0 to 7.0

temperature between 73 and 86 degree Fahrenheit

best kept in groups

Peacock Gudgeon

aka Peacock Goby, (Tateurndina ocellicauda )

Male Peacock Gudgeon

reach about 2.5″

15+ gallon tank

temperature 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit

pH of 6.5 to 7.8

prefer tanks with lots of cover


Boesmani Rainbow

aka Boeseman’s Rainbowfish, (Melanotaenia boesemani )

Boesmani Rainbows

reach about 3″

30+ gallon tank

temperature of 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit

pH 6.5 to 8.0

prefer planted tanks with lots of swimming room

like being in groups


Rainbow Darter

(Etheostoma caeruleum )

Rainbow Darter

reach about 2.5″

very sensitive to water conditions

North-American native fish!

prefer rocky substrates and water with a decent current

temperature 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

African Butterflyfish

(Pantodon buchholzi )

African Butterfly Fish

reach around 4″

need 30″ gallons

75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit

pH close to 7.0

floats just below water’s surface


Lace Leaf Java Fern and Wood – 2.11 Gallons – Update



Last time I posted on this tank, it was to show off the hardscape and discuss my initial inspiration/motivation. Here was the initial hardscape:

Hardscape and First Plants 4

I’m never a fan of initial tank setup photos. They always look disappointing compared to what they become. Here is the same tank after a second round of planting:

2nd Planting

And, finally, a third round of adding more lace leaf java ferns:

I’m excited to see the java continue to grow and intertwine amid the wood. I also plan to add some shrimp to this tank! Not sure what kind yet. I want to be sure it has settled and would be a good home for them first.

Here’s a rundown on this this tank’s specs as of these final photos:

Tank – Aquatop 4.12 Gallon Cube, Low-Iron High-Clarity Glass, available here

Filter – Azoo Mignon Filter 60, rated for up to 3.5 gallons, available here

Substrate – Fluval Shrimp Stratum, available here

Lighting – Mr. Aqua Ultrathin Aquarium LED Clip Light, available here

  • I’m not sure how I feel about this light yet. It sure is bright, and based on the Mr. Aqua reputation I expect it is a good light. Yet the color is very blue, and it is a bit too large for this tank. I’d probably like and appreciate it more on a different tank. I also tend to like warmer light. For some of the shots above, I moved my little Ikea desk light over to warm up the shots.

Heater – Aquatop Nano Aquarium Heater with Thermostat, NH-15W, available here

Plants – The only plants in here are lace leaf java fern and a floating moss ball I put behind the wood centerpiece. I added it since previously that moss had been floating in a cycled tank and growing well. It only floats because I placed a single cut-out bubble from a sheet of large bubble wrap within the moss using some string. There is also some regular java fern in there, but mostly to keep the tank looking more full for now. There are also some floating plants in there – frogbit an some other random ones from other tanks. They helped it cycle and keep the light from being too bright for the java fern below, which is a low-light plant for the most part.

Here is a shot of the tank that shows off how the equipment is setup. The filter is on the right side. The heater is behind the wood, such that the filter outflow and intake still interact with in front of and behind the wood.


This shot also really helps show off how cold looking the Mr. Aqua light is compared to the Ikea desk lamp. I’m not saying anything about the quality of the lights or ability to grow plants, just the aesthetics they create. I also really love how the main piece of wood juts out above the tank rim. This can be a very effect tool for making smaller tanks look even larger. Getting a decent light balance to really show off this aspect in standard tank shots is hard for me right now, but it would be worth it in the future.

Lastly, here is the tank on my aquarium shelf, next to my 4.12 gallon rimless cube and the 3 gallon bowl upgrade that my original 1 gallon Walstad received. I’ll probably do a post on the bowl Walstad tank once it has settled and I’m a bit happier with it.