Welcome To Specialty Pets



Discus protecting their eggs in the 150 planted display tank


Freshwater like nobody else

We have always had the greatest selection of healthy freshwater fish in the area. There are many other venues that sell fresh water but you will find that few have the rare species that we manage to keep on a rotating basis. You might find rare cichlids, inverts or plants here that you just wont find at any LFS for prices under what you would buy them for online. If you are looking for a special rare piece for your tank let us know and we can usually locate it for you at no extra charge to you.




Yellow and blue African cichlids
We keep a large variety of cichlids, mostly African, as they are more colorful and sell the fastest. We can also order in South Americans,           such as Jack dempseys, Oscars, Flowerhorns, etc. If you are interested in keeping cichlids there are a few things you will want to take into consideration such as tank size, and substrates. We recommend using a cichlid specific substrate. This will help buffer your water and lead to a happier healthy fish. You wil also need a large enough tank for the fish you intend to keep. Just because you see a tank full of two inch colorful African Cichlids does not mean they will always be that size. Plan accordingly to the estimated final size of your fish and provide an aquarium large enough for them to grow. Cichlids will also benefit from lots of rock in the aquarium. Use reef rock as it will continue to help buffer your tank water and help to maintain a proper pH for the fish.

A good quality cichlid substrate will ensure proper conditions in your display tank


We have always enjoyed inverts such as snails in our aquariums, but recently you may have noticed an increasing presence of shrimp into the hobby. It began with the Ammano shrimp which several years ago made its way here from Japan where its use as a tank janitor was well established. It has lead the way for even more exotic shrimp such as the crystals, bamboos, cherries, blueberries, etc. Some of these shrimp demand high prices on the market and some are used for algae grazing while others are simply an ornamental resident much like a prized show guppy. We have raised our own line of cherry shrimp for years and occasionally have them available for sale at the shop. If you are thinking about getting into shrimps for your tank just remember shrimp are small and larger fish will eat your shrimp. You will also find that shrimp benefit from heavy planting. They lay eggs on the plants as well as graze on the fine algae's that grow on the plants. Some of the best plants to use for shrimp include, Java moss, star grass, java ferns. Some shrimp require higher pH than others and others such as the cherry shrimp are far more adaptable to various tank conditions.

Setting up your first tank

There are a few steps you need to take in setting up your first aquarium. First you need a tank, pick one that is within your budget and one that will be the proper size for the fish you are wanting to keep. There is a popular myth that the a fish will only grow to the size tank it is kept in. This is not the case and can lead to serious problems in the future. For example, remember the common pleco can grow to over a foot in about a year and a half. Fortunately Specialty Pets takes in trades on larger fish but we have our limits and some species we wont take.

After you decide what size tank you will require you will need to get an appropriate sized filtration system for your tank. This can range from Hang On the Back filters to sumps and canister filters. For the best results, choose a filter rated for at least two times the tanks volume. Small tanks with smaller fish tend to do fine with hang on back filters. Larger tanks with heavier stock loads will benifit from a much larger filter solution such as a canister filter or a sump. You will need a heater as well, check the box for ratings as each will vary. Never trust a used or damaged heater, always replace any heater that is not functioning properly. Never use a heater that is to small for your tank, the thermostat is likely to fail and stick on causing the tank to over heat and likely kill all of your livestock.

Once you have chosen your filter method it's time for substrate. For years the most common substrate used was colored gravel but today's hobbies can choose from many different substrates designed specifically for the live stock they wish to keep. Cichlids for example do better with a more calcium rich substrate, this helps to maintain proper Ph and minerals in the tank. Plants do best with a good quality plant material. We use and highly recommend Eco-Complete, this is the substrate we have used in our plant tanks for years. If you just want a tank with plain old gravel, that's still around as well. Today you can choose from nearly every shade of the rainbow. What ever you choose just make sure you choose enough for nitrifying bacteria to colonize as you enter the nitrogen cycle.


Cycling is the process of a tanks biological filtration coming into balance. You won't be able to throw in a full animal load into a newly set up tank because there are no beneficial bacteria in the water yet to help break down any waste products from the animals. In order for a tank to cycle there must be bacteria present in the water. We can add this by introducing a bottled solution or we can add several fish which are more resistant to ammonia and bad water conditions, such as the common feeder gold fish. Once the cycle begins the tank will begin to have a milky appearance. This is a bloom of bacteria and once it colonizes and balances out the milky appearance will dissipate. It is important that you do absolutely nothing to hinder the tanks cycle. A cycle must occur and any water changes during the cycle will only delay it further. Cycle time varies depending on media used to introduce bacteria to the size of the tank, and depth and type of substrate used. DO NOT ADD ANY FISH other than your cycle gold fish until after the cycle has completed as the water's toxicity will likely stress out any new tank occupants potentially causing disease and death.

Be patient it takes time for the nitrogen cycle to balance out. When this occurs we say the tank is "cycled". We advise our customers to bring in a water sample weekly so we can tell when it is safe to add fish. We look for ammonia levels to increase at first followed by a rise in nitrite levels. When both ammonia and nitrite fall nitrates will begin to rise. This is when the first 25% water change should take place. After a cycle it is recommended to add your livestock slowly so as not to throw the tank out of balance. Maintain your tank by removing uneaten foods and waste by doing partial water changes at least once a month and you will have a happy healthy aquarium for years to come.

Lighting solutions for any tank

Lighting in freshwater tanks has come as far as lighting for saltwater systems. Today the hobbyist can choose from many lighting choices with more and more going on the market almost every month or so it can be hard to decide what you may really need. First things first, if you have a fish only system with no plants any light solution will work fine for you. You can choose from T-5, normal fluorescent, to LED's. Just be sure not to leave the lights on too long or you will likely get an algae bloom.

If plants are more your thing then lighting does matter. You will need to get whatever lighting the species of plants you are keeping requires. This can range from multi bulb T-5 fixtures to halides like we see over reef tanks. Remember more light may equal more growth but it also equals more algae and there must be a balance between light and CO2 in he tank. You may need to invest in a CO2 delivery system for your plant tank if you are trying to keep more light intense plants such as Glossostigma Elatinoides for example. This plant requires far more wattage than a normal fluorescent can produce. Make sure you provide the proper lighting suited for your particular aquarium needs.



My first tank

If you are setting up your first tank, you will want to follow some simple guidelines that we use for setting up a new system. First you will need a heater and adequate filter for your tank. If you are planning to have a lot of fish remember you will require more filtration than a tank with few fish. You will also need a heater rated a little above your tank size. This will help the heating elements to last longer than on a smaller sized heater which will likely be running far more. You may also add an air pump for additional oxygen also add your gravel or substrate. The first thing you will want to do is make sure your equipment works and that there are no leaks. once you do this add in some starter bacteria to kick off your tanks nitrogen cycle. We recommend adding a few gold fish as they are more equipped to survive in high ammonia that will kill most other fish. Once your tank is finished cycling you may remove the gold fish and return them to the shop for credit toward your first fish. Insure that your tank ammonia and nitrite levels are in the safe zone prior to adding any other fish to the tank. We can also conduct weekly water tests for you and help you decide when it's safe to put fish into your system. By taking your time and doing it slowly you will soon have a great tank that you can be proud of.


Serious filtraton for fresh water tanks

Tunze is a name you mostly heard in the saltwater community. But Tunze also has options for freshawater tanks like it's comline filters and "River Pack" systems. If you are in need of a larger filtration system such as sumps or canister filters the comline can fill that void, take up less room and provide more filtration than most other brands. Don't forget Specialty Pets is the areas ONLY AUTHORIZED Tunze dealer.

The compact internal filter system Comline Riverpack 605 has been developed especially for fresh-water aquariums from 200 to 600 litres (52 to 158 USgal.). It is ready-to-mount with magnet holder and storage container finding enough space in almost every aquarium. It consists of a mechanical quick-run filter fitted with Turbelle® e-jet 1605, Osmolator 3155, Bio-Hydro-Reactor 3179 and a fill of Granovit. Comline Riverpack 605 ensures direct removal of pollution from the aquarium water circulation through an efficient quick-run filtration, complemented with biological oxidation and reduction to permit a breakdown of nitrate, enabling primarily stable and perfect water values.

FILTRATION: Comline Filter 3166 combines bottom and surface suction with modern cartridge technology. The filter cartridge can be washed out, but the system also comes with five spare cartridges.
BIO HYDRO REACTOR: Part of the purified water is diverted from the quick-run filter and is irrigated over the two-zone Bio-Hydro-Reactor 3179 with a fill of Granovit. Thus, nitrogens, such as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, are degraded without any special effort. Used as a hydroponics reactor, it also relieves the aquarium water, which is especially important when keeping Cichlidae, for example.






During pond season you will find main varieties of pond fish. We carry both domestic koi and import koi and offer discounts on larger and bulk purchases. We also offer a full line of pond supplies and can help you set up your pond. If you are interested in set up or maintanance services give us a call for price quote.



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