2018-02-18

Tips on Catalina Or Blue-Banded Goby Care

Blue-Banded Gobies - Photo: Wikimedia
The blue-banded goby or Lythrypnus dalli is a member the family Gobiidae. These intensely colorful fish are native to the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the coastline of California. It is, in fact, often referred to as the Catalina goby.

Collectively gobies constitute one of the largest groupings of fish on the planet. The group is comprised of 267 assorted genera and 2,100 individual species. There are even freshwater gobies but all but about 200 are saltwater varieties. Of those, gobies most commonly live a demersal existence inhabiting tropical and sub-tropical reef eco-systems.

Saltwater faring gobies are renowned for their near symbiotic relationships with crustaceans, sponges, and sea urchins. Of the entire spectrum of bottom-dwelling creatures you can add to a reef tank, it is the goby that is most likely to end up becoming the center of attention.

The blue-banded goby is a small fish only reaching a length of 2-2.5 inches when fully grown. They are cylindrical bodied species with bright reddish-orange coloring and rather unique looking neon blue vertical banding starting at their heads and working its way back to their mid-body.

Like other gobies, you will never see the Catalina goby stray too far from its sanctuary. In a reef tank, you will often see them sunning themselves on rocks or hiding under the friendly protection of a sea urchin.

Gobies are exceedingly docile creatures. They make excellent additions to any reef tank provided their tank mates are equally mild-mannered. Unlike many bottom dwellers, the blue-banded goby exhibits no territorial behavior toward members of its own species. You can add as many to your reef tank as you please as long as there are enough hiding places and food to accommodate a thriving, bottom-dwelling community.

These are a short-lived creature. They generally only live about 18 months. Warmer water temperatures seem to expedite their expiration date. If it is conducive to the other members of the reef, it is recommended that the water temperature is kept between 68-72°F.

These are a carnivorous species. They will remain quite hardy throughout the remainder of their limited lifespan if fed vitamin enriched brine shrimp, or a similar commercially raised live crustacean. They will also eat frozen marine food formulated for carnivores. They have even been known to develop a taste for marine flake food.



Spawning Blue-Banded Goby
Unlike much marine fish, gobies frequently spawn in captivity. Although they have similar color palettes, you will find that you can distinguish between male and female blue-banded gobies with a little practice. If you look closely you will see that some of them have slightly longer dorsal fins than others. These are the males of the species. Determining the sexes is not essential to the prorogation of the species. Gobies are bi-gendered. If there are no males present in a group of gobies a hormonal surge will be triggered in the most dominant female until she undergoes the transformation into a male.

Females will instinctively deposit their eggs in an empty shell or any of the various other hiding places you provide for them. The male will then guard the eggs until they hatch. Fry can be fed liquid or powdered marine food developed hatchlings. When they grow a little bigger they can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp.

    By Stephen J Broy
    The hottest new trend in saltwater aquarium ownership is pet jellyfish. Jellyfish can't be kept in a traditional saltwater tank setup. They need specially designed Jellyfish Fish Tank Aquariums to remain alive and healthy. Jellyfish tanks don't require the constant upkeep normally associated with saltwater aquariums. Moon Jellies are the most popular jellyfish for home aquariums because of their exotic beauty and ease of care. Find out more about Moon Jellyfish and other Pet Jellies. Jellyfish are among the most interesting creatures in the aquatic kingdom.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


2018-02-17

Freshwater AQUARIUM PLANTS - Aquatic Botanical Biodiversity

Planted Tank 02
Photo  by The Wandering Angel 
Aquatic plants do carry the other half of the marine ecosystem and are good additions to aquariums simply because they make the marine life equation complete. But there are good signs lately which indicate that these plants are now used for more than just equating the animal-plant balance in an aquatic community. If you are interested in purchasing freshwater aquarium plants for your aquarium, then you might find this information quite useful.

Floaters

Floaters are a common choice in aquariums because they add that style and elegance aside from the balance that they provide in the entire aquarium. Floaters, as the name suggests, thrive at the surface of the aquarium with their roots "floating" in the water, and are, by technical name, floating plants. One good example of a floater is the Fairy Moss.

Rhizomes

These plants are commonly described as having thick stems that stretch out inside the fish tank horizontally, with the leaves sprouting evenly at the stem. They are made to "run" over the substrate, much like how a normal plant grows on land. The Anubias and the African Fern are the commonly used rhizomes for aquariums. Aquarists start growing these plants by attaching them to the driftwood, and they spread along the substrate all by themselves.

Rosettes

These plants are characterized as looking like crowns, with roots that grow underneath them. These kinds of plants are very ornamental for a freshwater aquarium plant because they present a shortened stem axis that tends to spread over its leaves beautifully. The downside is that they tend to need a good amount of maintenance and care. Some good examples of Rosettes are the Amazon Sword and the Sagittaria.

Stems

They are called this way because of their general appearance, which basically looks like a stem that is firmly rooted in the substrate. The leaves that can come in paired and multiple varieties are found at the stem's nodes


Other Notable Aquatic Plants

The Java moss may well be considered as one of the most common aquatic plants. This is because it has a high tolerance rate for varying water pH levels, and can grow relatively fast, which makes it the ideal plant for beginners.

The Water Wisteria is a plant that can also grow quite quickly. It is a good plant to use in aquariums because aside from its aesthetic function as a plant, it also helps to keep the algae levels of the aquarium low. Be careful of the water nutrient sucking capability of this plant, though.

Cryptocoryne Becketti is a plant that can pose a challenge to the more experienced hobbyist. It is an amphibious plant, meaning it can grow well regardless if it is on land or underwater (but for its underwater survivability purposes, we shall still call this an aquatic plant). Like Rosettes, it's a very good ornamental plant, as it gives a dazzling array of different colors, but it only works for those who are able to raise it well.


    Sandra Gaffney is a freshwater aquarium expert. 



2018-02-16

CALCIUM REACTORS - Do I Really Need One?

IMG_2111
Photo  by ctenophore 
Lots of people would like to own an aquarium in their home and are attracted by the thought of owning some of the more exotic species of fish. What puts most people off, however, is the possible cost of all the equipment needed. What might seem to be a relatively inexpensive pet, needing only a tank, a filter, a light, and some fish, can begin to seem more pricey when taking into consideration water treatments and tests, protein skimmers, and CALCIUM REACTORS

But do you actually require a calcium reactor? Just what is a calcium reactor anyway? Is it really so important? The first piece of advice I should offer is to not be scared by the various aquarium supplies available. A large amount of technology being sold might seem huge at first but remember that you don't really need all of this additional equipment. Be sensible, do some research on each item and determine whether you do need their help to keep the environment in your aquarium clean. Secondly - calcium reactors. So just what is a calcium reactor?

A calcium reactor is a piece of aquarium equipment designed to keep the level of calcium in your water high. This is especially useful if there is a particular drain on calcium levels in the aquarium. A lack of calcium can occur when there are several saltwater fish in a tank but is more often caused by placing a reef in the tank with them. For those with reef tanks, it is crucial to have a calcium reactor. Most species of fish are vulnerable to fluctuating calcium levels and will be badly affected if the calcium content reaches a certain level.

Additional costs such as calcium reactors will certainly increase the overall cost of an aquarium. However, it is important to see that they can also provide you with the ability to keep more exotic and diverse tanks. Anyone can create a basic freshwater aquarium, but a diverse marine tank including coral life is far more complex and impressive, and also a challenge to maintain correctly.

So rather than focusing on the costs of such a challenge think of what an opportunity you will be giving yourself. But don't stress; you shouldn't need to buy a calcium reactor immediately. In fact, it should be several weeks before the calcium in the tank will need to be altered. Only when you've populated your tank fully will it become necessary.




2018-02-15

WHITE SPOT or ICK Is a Common, But Easily Curable FISH DISEASE

Peter R. Richter, Sebastian M. Strauch, Azizullah Azizullah and Donat-P. H├Ąder - Photo: Wikipedia
White Spot
White spot disease is caused by a parasite called Ichthyophthirius multifilis. This disease is also called Ick or occasionally Ich or Ichy.

Symptoms
The fish has white spots on its skin. The spots are about the size of a pinhead and the fish can look as if it has been sprinkled with salt or sugar grains. The parasite also attacks the gills of fish. This is more difficult to see. The gills may look more red than usual, but this is hard to see, and excessively red gills can be caused by a number of things. The gill infection makes it more difficult for the fish to absorb Oxygen from the water and infected fish can show signs of being short of Oxygen like "gasping" at the surface, or apparently breathing very fast. This shortage of Oxygen can be caused by many things.

Sometimes fish will swim down and try to rub their skin against objects. This is called "flashing" and can be caused by any skin irritation.

Sometimes fish show no obvious symptoms, but simply die. If a fish dies you should take a very close look at all the fish in the tank.

Omnipresent
This is a very common disease of fish. The parasite is present at low levels in most aquariums, often without causing any trouble. Most fish have been exposed to this parasite and have developed some immunity. Those fish that have been raised in the complete absence of the parasite will not have this acquired immunity and will be very vulnerable to infection.

The statement that this parasite is present in most aquariums is often misunderstood. Ichthyophthirius multifilis cannot lie dormant for long periods. It survives by living on fish. An aquarium might be empty of fish for a month. It would be free of the white spot parasite. Then a fish was bought which was free of any visible disease and then quarantined. This fish could be introduced into the empty tank and develop white spot. The erroneous conclusion might be drawn that either the empty tank had a dormant white spot, or that the quarantine was not correctly done.

What would actually have happened would simply be that the fish had a white spot infection without any symptoms. A successful parasite does not make its host ill. If the parasite wiped out all the fish in the aquarium, pond or lake it was in, the parasite itself would also die. In the wild, the white spot parasite is apparently successful and most of the time does not kill its host. In the unnatural ecosystem of an aquarium, it can easily get out of balance and kill all the fish. This is not only fatal to the fish; it is also fatal to the parasite.

The ideal parasite is one that actually gives some advantage to its host. As far as I am aware, having the white spot parasite is no advantage to fish, but other parasite/host relationships may have developed into symbiotic ones where both organisms get an advantage.

Stress
If something stresses the fish, their immune system often becomes less effective. The same effect can be observed in people. You are much more likely to get both minor and major diseases when you are under stress.

There are many things that can stress fish. One very common one is simply being caught, put into a plastic bag and transported to a new home. A common time for an outbreak of White Spot is just after a new fish has been added. Some people incorrectly assume that the new fish has introduced the parasite. They may then go back to the shop they bought it from and see that the tank the fish came from is perfectly all right.

Other types of stress include changes in temperature, pH, dH or any other water parameter.

Life Cycle
Ichthyophthirius Multifilisis an obligate parasite. This means that it can only live in the presence of fish. The actual visible white spots are the feeding stage, called a trophont. The trophont grows and then drops off the fish, falling to the bottom of the tank and forms a cyst called a tomont. Inside the tomont, as many as 1000 tomites can form. The tomont opens and the tomites go into the water.

The time it takes for Ichthyophthirius Multifilis to complete its life cycle depends on the temperature of the water. At 6 degrees C (43 degrees F) is gets through its life cycle in about 55 days, while at 29 degrees C (84 degrees F) it completes its cycle in only about 4 days.

The tomites have to find a fish quickly or they will die. At normal tropical fish tank temperatures, they only have about 2 days to find a fish to infect.

Treatment
The trophont on the fish probably cannot be successfully treated, although claims have been made of successful treatments with salt baths. The tomonts on the bottom of the tank are also hard to kill although they can be removed by gravel washing. Keeping the tank clean will help.

The only stage that is readily susceptible to treatment is the free swimming tomite. This can be killed by many things including heat, ultraviolet light, salt and many other chemicals.

There are many possible forms of treatment. All the different ways of killing off the parasite suffer from the problem that there are many strains of this parasite and they vary in their susceptibility to the treatments. Here are a few of the ways of treating this disease:

Medications
There are many commercial treatments for white spot. They generally use some combination of chemicals like Methylene Blue, Malachite Green, Formaldehyde, Acriflavine etc. In our own tanks, the medication I prefer is Wardley Ickaway, but different people will have their own preferences.
Note that these medications are absorbed by activated carbon and if you have carbon filtration it will need to be turned off. Most of the medications are also destroyed by ultraviolet light, so ultraviolet sterilization will also need to be turned off.

Tetras and other Characins, scaleless fish like loaches and catfish as well as baby fish are more susceptible to many of these medications, and they will need to be used a half the normal rate. You can use the half rate at double the normal frequency.



Heat
The life cycle of this parasite is speeded up enormously by heat. Increasing the temperature will make the chemical treatments work faster, but will also mean that the infection will spread faster.

However, if the temperature is raised enough the parasite cannot reproduce and the infection can be cured just with heat. But some types of fish cannot survive the temperature needed to destroy white spot. To break the life cycle of this parasite you need to raise the temperature to about 30 degrees C (86 degrees F). To actually kill the parasite you need to raise the temperature to about 32 degrees C (89.6 degrees F). This temperature would need to be maintained for at least four days to have much chance of killing the parasite. Not all fish can survive this treatment and many that can be badly stressed by it. Increased aeration will be needed because Oxygen does not dissolve as much in warm water, and the fish's metabolism increases as the water warm up to the need more Oxygen.

This method of treatment is sometimes the method of choice if you are treating Labyrinth fish like Siamese Fighting Fish, Gouramis or Paradise Fish. These fish can survive the temperatures needed and can breathe air as well as water.

Chlorine
Some people have reported success in treating this disease by the careful use of chlorinated tap water. Personally, I would not attempt this, and I advise other people not to try. The actual level of Chlorine in the water as it comes from the tap varies, not just with the locality, but also with the day of the week and the season of the year.

Apart from the difficulty of getting the dose of Chlorine right, there is the problem that some places, like the Adelaide Hills where I live, have Chloranimated water. This is deadly to fish and I would not risk using the water at all without dechloranimating it.

Salt
Salt will kill the white spot parasite, but different strains have different tolerances. Most strains of the white spot will be killed by 3 grams per liter of salt, but to be sure you will need to use 5 grams per liter.

This means that many common aquarium fish cannot survive the level of salt needed to kill white spot. Generally, this treatment method is unsuitable for fish from places without much salt in the water like the rivers Amazon, Congo, and Orinoco.

It can be used on the livebearers like Guppies, Mollies, Platies, and Swordtails. It can also be used with some of the Australian fish like the Murray Cod, Silver Perch, and Callop, but not safely on the Rainbowfish.

Most aquarium plants will be killed by this level of salt.

Ultraviolet Radiation
Ultraviolet light will kill the free swimming tomite stage of the parasite, but can only work on the tomites actually sucked through the ultraviolet sterilizer. You are more likely to get good results if the ultraviolet unit is more powerful than usually recommended for your sized aquarium.

An ultraviolet filter will help to prevent white spot, but cannot be relied on to cure it.

Disease Free Fish
It is possible to breed fish in the complete absence of the white spot parasite. This happens with many of the livebearers bred in Malaysia. These fish are grown in water which is a mixture of freshwater and seawater, sometimes having as much as half the salt concentration of pure sea water. These fish will never have been exposed to white spot and to some other diseases and will be very susceptible to them. These fish can be wiped out quickly. If they are bought they need to be observed and treatment applied quickly as needed. Aquarium shops will normally warn their customers that the fish are disease-free.

Secondary Infections
White spot infection damages the skin of the fish and it is common for bacterial or fungal infections to occur together with the white spot.

Susceptible Fish
Some types of fish get the white spot disease more easily than others. The Clown Loach has a particularly bad reputation for getting this disease.



2018-02-13

Keeping a FLOWERHORN CICHLID

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Photo:  Wikimedia Commons.
Have you ever walked in a shop and wondered why an awkwardly looking fish is staring at you? You might question the aesthetic appreciation of the owner for keeping what seems to be an ugly fish. If you would ask the owner or the keeper of the store, they would tell you that the fish is the bearer of good luck. The strange looking fish is the flowerhorn cichlid. The FLOWERHORN CICHLID has been famous among business owners. Due to their association with bringing great fortune, the Flowerhorn sale has been proliferating mostly in the Asian countries.

The rampant crossbreeding of South American cichlids resulted to the flowerhorn cichlid. The new species of cichlid was developed in the mid 90's in Malaysia. The combination of the species used is still unknown except for those who made them. Both the male and female flowerhorn has the same appearance. One must be very keen to differentiate between the sexes. When the fish is approximately 10-12 centimeters, one can differentiate the male from the female flowerhorn by checking the anal pore. A U shaped anal pore signifies a female flowerhorn, while a V-shaped anal pore is for the male flowerhorn.

The flowerhorn sale is not greatly affected by the sex of the fish. The markings and the huge hump on the head appear both in the male and female flowerhorn. The black markings resemble the Chines characters at times. A fish with a pronounced marking will be considered very special. The hump on the head of the fish is believed to resemble the high- forehead of SHou Xing the Chinese God of Longevity.


The flowerhorn fish is easy to maintain. One must have an aquarium that would have an ample space for the fish to swim in. One to three flowerhorn fish can be kept in a spacious aquarium. If more than one fish is to be kept, however, there should be enough accessories or items that would make the territories of the fish separate and distinct. Small variations in the condition of the water would not bother the resilient fish much. A neutral or alkaline water is best in keeping the fish. Water with a lower pH would fade the color of the fish.

The flowerhorn cichlid is kept because people believe it is lucky or just merely because of its interesting appearance. No matter what the reasons are, flowerhorn cichlids are one of the favorites of an aquarist.

    Quintus Macon is a freelance writer and a budding aquarist who owns a female flowerhorn.
    Article Directory: EzineArticles



2018-02-12

Cheap DISCUS FISH - 3 Important Tips

Discus Fish
If you are planning to have an aquarium in your house then one of the best fishes to consider is cheap discus fish. This type of fish has very attractive outer looks that add beauty to your entire aquarium. However, it is likewise important to observe some maintenance tips when raising this kind of fish to ensure that they survive long enough to breed and reproduce.

This type of fish generally requires close attention to keep them healthy at all times. You may also need to observe proper environmental requirements for its survival to ensure their health and breeding capacity. One of the important things that you need to observe when raising cheap discus fish is to keep the aquarium balance. In other words, you need to create a well-balanced environment for the fish for its optimum health.

One of the things that you must always remember is that this kind of fish requires ample space to swim around. The most ideal space provision is 1 fish per ten gallons of water; hence, if your tank capacity is 40 gallons of water then the ideal maximum number of discus fishes is four. Raising more than this number is already considered as an overcrowded place for them to live healthily. Hence, it is best to observe this rule of thumb.

Another equally important aspect that you should consider is to place the cheap discus fish in tanks that are taller; or in deep aquariums. They prefer to swim around in deeper tanks rather than in longer yet shallow tanks. The ideal depth for these fishes to swim around is 3 feet tall; hence, consider purchasing aquariums with at least 3 feet in water depth. Although, they can swim around in swallow tanks with depths lesser than three feet; however, it may sometimes cause stress among them as they are not able to dive down deeper than what they are used to swim.



Lastly, but definitely not the least among the tips on raising cheap discus fish, is to keep the water clean and well balanced in terms of PH factor. The most ideal PH of aquarium water for this kind of fish should be within the 5 to 6.5 PH range. Similarly, its water temperature should be within the range of 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit for its optimum health.

These 3 important tips on how to raise cheap discus fish are useful when planning to raise this type of fish in your aquarium.



2018-02-10

Breeding ZEBRA DANIOS

Danio rerio, better known as the zebrafish
Danio rerio, better known as the zebrafish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many fishkeepers sometimes get a little embarrassed when they admit that their first fish breeding was a livebearer, feeling that they, as fish keepers, didn't have very much to do with the event. Whilst this may be true to a certain extent, it nevertheless does mean that the fish had been kept in correct conditions and were sufficiently healthy to want to reproduce and this must be a reflection of their owner's skill in maintaining the aquarium over a period of time.

However, with an egg-laying species, the aquarist can have a great deal of control over what fish he wants to breed and, just as importantly, when.

It should be said here, that fish will breed whenever they choose inasmuch that should a ripe male and female encounter each other then they will probably spawn spontaneously in the aquarium anyway. Without the care and attention of the fishkeeper, the eggs from egg-scattering species especially will more likely than not be eaten by the other fish in the tank and no fry will be seen. The fry from egg-depositing fish stands a better chance as first of all their parents will prepare and defend a spawning site prior to spawning and also guard any subsequent fry afterward. Let's suppose you want to try your hand at breeding something deliberately and have taken the advice of many experienced fishkeepers by choosing that popular Cyprinid, the Zebra Danio.

First of all, we must ensure that the fish are 'in the mood' to breed rather than just put a male and female together and hope for the best. 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' is one way of putting it but, realistically, separating the would-be parents is based on a practical rather than emotional supposition.

It is possible that should you simply select a male and female and put them together to spawn then one of them might just have spawned without your knowledge; in which case, the attempt to spawn them would be fruitless.

By separating the sexes prior to spawning, you can ensure that they are in the best condition; feeding them copious amounts of quality food (including live food) will make the females fill with eggs. This conditioning process can take a couple of weeks or so. The best way to do it might be to put the female into the breeding tank first before introducing the well-fed male later.

Sexing the fish is fairly straightforward: the male fish is more slender than the female and if you look at a female, even when she is not full of eggs, there is a definite kink in the horizontal stripes along the body just to the rear of the dorsal fin.

Like all Cyprinids, the Zebra Danio is no respecter of new-laid eggs, including its own. There are several ways to prevent egg eating. Any method that separates the adult fish from reaching their newly-laid eggs is acceptable.

One popular method is to cover the bottom of the aquarium with a layer or two of glass marbles (the eggs fall between the marbles beyond the reach of the adults). Alternatively, you can use a bunch or two of dense plants in the spawning area: as the male chases the female into the plants, she releases the eggs which after fertilization fall into the dense plants away from the attention of the adults.

There is no reason why you cannot 'flock spawn' fish. If you have several Zebra Danios then separating all the females from all the males during the conditioning period should give you more Zebra Danio fry than you'd believe possible upon the adults' reunion! But there's still the problem of egg protection.

The answer is to drape a piece of fine netting across the entire water surface area of the spawning tank so that it hangs a few centimeters below the surface; weight the corners down with small pebbles. Now all that is needed is to introduce all the preconditioned fish (both sexes) into the water above the net.

When the males chase the females, any eggs that are released and fertilized then fall through the net into the tank beneath before the adults have time to realize what's going on. The eggs are safe! In order to return the adult fish to their previous aquarium all you do is lift out the net (take the pebbles out first!). The fish are caught all at once with no stress at all.

Meanwhile, the fertilized eggs are quietly hatching and in a few days, you will see what looks like tiny splinters of glass hanging on the sides of the aquarium. These are your new Zebra Danios.

Because they are not exactly sizeable fry, they will require quite small particle-sized food at first. There are preparations of liquid fry food available at your aquatic store and it's a simple task to add a few drops of this at the recommended times to their tank. It may help if you keep a low-level light burning over their tank so that they can feed 24 hours a day.

It is important during these first few days not to over-feed - a difficult task, as you'll never be exactly sure how many baby mouths you've got to feed. Therefore, regular partial water changes are of the highest importance, if water conditions in the nursery tank are not to be compromised.

As the fry grow, then the feeding routine can mirror that outlined earlier for livebearers, with a gradual progression on to larger particle foods. Again, spacing out of fry into larger tanks may be necessary.