PEACOCK CICHLIDS - Introduction To The Amazing Peacock Cichlid!

Aulonocara hansbaenschi RB2.jpg
"Aulonocara hansbaenschi RB2". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Peacock cichlids are among the most preferred cichlids to breed in recent years because of their decorative appeal. Similar to the charm of peacock birds, the natural appearance and attractive colors of these types of cichlids, scientifically called aulonocara, have been admired by most hobbyists. Between the males and females, the former are more colorful, which will eventually be brighter once they reach sexual maturity. The females are generally subdued, colors ranging from silver to brownish gray.

So why choose Peacock Cichlids as your cichlid of choice? The Malawi Peacocks, since these cichlids originate from Lake Malawi, grow from 5-6 inches upon maturity. They thrive on a variety of food, ranging from small crustaceans such as shrimps and snails to insects such as mosquitoes and insect larvae. They also eat lettuce and peas.

They can be fed with either fresh or frozen foods and accept commercially available flakes or pellets. It is advised to serve them food only once to twice a day. Furthermore, be cautious of placing small fishes in the same aquarium with them because they can easily fit in their mouths and most likely to be eaten.

Aside from the accessibility of their food, they generally have a mild temperament and in most cases undemanding. They can adapt well to community-type aquariums. Even though they are likely to be territorial, they are non-aggressive and peaceful. It is advised that they are kept with other medium-sized non-aggressive cichlids.

With regard to their habitat requirement, the Peacock Cichlids are advised to be kept in aquariums that are arranged similar to their natural habitat. Be sure to provide open spaces for them to swim around as well as lots of caves and crevices where they can hide, rest, and create territories. Use sand as a substrate since they are likely to dig through the substrate after every feeding. Male cichlids also burrow through the sand prior to spawning. Using gravel or rocks, especially the sharp-edged ones, are likely to harm your Malawi Peacocks in doing this.

In terms of breeding, as long as you've provided hiding places for them, your aquarium is clean and the water requirements are acceptable, the Peacock Cichlids will do the rest themselves. They are considered ovophile mouthbrooders. The females do not eat during the incubation period, thus becoming weak and easily stressed. Such is the case that you should be ready to isolate the pregnant female two weeks after knowing she is pregnant. This will give time for the hatching of the eggs which will take four to seven days.

The female will release a number of eggs on the rocky bottom of the aquarium. Remove the mother from the tank within four days of the eggs hatching since she might eat the babies thinking it was her food. Be sure to put to feed the mother before bringing her back with other fish since she might starve to death once the breeding process continues over again. Keep the babies in a small separate tank feeding them with fine-ground flakes until they are big enough to be moved to a bigger tank.

The Peacock Cichlids are generally lovely fish to raise and cultivate. Their beauty, ease of care, few dietary concerns, adaptability to their environment, and undemanding demeanor has made them an interesting variety of cichlid to own. It is highly recommended that you try to experience the joy of watching these beautiful fish in your aquarium and see the value that this article is talking about.


REGAL ANGELFISH Care - Pygoplites diacanthus

English: Pygoplites diacanthus, Pomacanthidae,...
Pygoplites diacanthus, Pomacanthidae, Royal Angelfish
(Photo credit: 
The Regal Angel is thought of by several hobbyists to be one of the most lovely big angels in the market. Currently, it's also one of the toughest to house in the aquarium.

Its scientific designation given to this beauty is Pygoplites Diacanthus. Currently, it's the lone member of the genus Pygoplites. The regal angelfish has an extensive intense yellow main body including vertical white streaks that are outlined by blue.

Similar to all members of the large angel family, juveniles wear a noticeably unusual coloration pattern than adults. Young specimens do not have blue coloration and are commonly seen bearing yellow along with white with a distinctive spot close to the tail.

They are acknowledged to better a foot in length in the wild. In the aquarium, however, they usually attain a maximum length of roughly twelve inches.

They are generally found all over the Indo-Pacific, Fiji, and various areas in Africa. Fishes collected from the Philippines as well as Indonesia do not fare very well in captivity and normally have an excessive death percentage. This might have something to do with collection methods.

In their natural habitats, these fish are grazers that feed solely on tunicates and sponges. This really is the chief reason why Regal Angelfish typically do badly in captivity. They may be tricky eaters that usually starve to death over a length of time. They must be offered a great mixture of seafood, saltwater seaweed strips and in particular sponges daily if possible.

Always quarantine your fishes to make certain they are disease and parasite free. Sometimes you may well come upon two-inch juveniles for sale at the saltwater store. Resist the urge to purchase them if you do not have a large enough saltwater tank. The regal angelfish is the most beautiful and highly regarded large angelfish by enthusiasts. Alas, their high mortality percentage in captivity does put off a lot of hobbyists.


Parachromis Managuense - JAGUAR CICHLID

Parachromis managuensis
Parachromis managuensis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Parachromis managuense has a bad reputation, just like many of the other large predatory cichlids. This reputation is largely undeserved, and besides, the positive sides of these fishes more than makeup for any negative ones. Not to mention that an adult P. managuense is incredibly beautiful.

I've kept these cichlids and have nothing but good to say about them as long as you have an aquarium large enough to handle this species that grows to 55 cm/22 inches. I would say that the absolute minimum to keep these cichlids together with other cichlids is a tank of 540 litres/120 gallons. And that's a minimum; a larger aquarium is preferable. Large specimens require even larger aquariums. They can be bred in aquariums that are at least 250 litres/55 gallons.

The aquarium should be decorated so that natural territory boundaries are created and so that there are a lot of hiding places for the female, as the male can be quite mean to her if she isn't ready to breed when he is. Larger rocks should be placed directly on the bottom of the aquarium since this species digs a lot and can move large stones. Use silica to glue caves and stone formations together so that they don't fall down.

This species hasn't got any bigger demands and thrives in most water conditions as long as pH and DH levels aren't too extreme in either direction.

P. managuense can be kept with other cichlids from the region as long as they aren't too small and can stand up for themselves. This is true for most cichlids species from Central America. P. managuense can be aggressive, but in my experience, their aggressiveness is greatly exaggerated and P. managuense leaves most fishes alone. However, during breeding, they will protect their young and their territory furiously, and since they are quite large they can claim large territories especially if normal boundaries aren't created in the aquarium. But I wish to stress that P. managuense normally isn't that aggressive and doesn't beat other fish to death. Just don't keep them with fish small enough to eat (except for Ancistrus which usually survive despite their small size).

Feeding P. managuense is easy and they accept just about any food. I recommend feeding them a diet of pellets, shrimps and fish bits. To vary the diet I sometimes feed them live feeders, usually convicts since it seems that one always has spare convicts one can't get rid of by selling or giving away. I usually feed my P. managuense twice a day with the occasional week without food.

Sexing P. managuense is usually easy and follows the line of most other cichlids. Females are smaller and rounder. Breeding P. managuense is according to my experience also easy as long as you give them their own aquarium. Breeding them in aquariums with other cichlids is harder, but not too hard. The biggest problem is deciding what to do with and how to raise the very large number of fry. Each spawning can generate up to 2000-3000 fry.

They are usually very good parents and the fry grow very fast. They guard their young for up to 6 weeks during which time the fry reaches a size of 1.5 - 2 cm, or approximately ¾ inch. After that, the parents spawn again and the fry has to be removed or the parents will kill them while protecting the new batch. However, on rare occasions, the parents can protect two batches simultaneously. This usually ends in the second batch being eaten by their older sisters and brothers, which will grow very fast on this diet. :-)

Spawnings are usually 4-7 weeks apart. They usually lay their eggs on a rock or root that has been carefully cleaned, and then dig very big craters right down to the glass bottom in which to keep their young. The fry is small but accepts most kinds of food. The parents will spit out pellets that they've chewed into tiny pieces for the fry to eat. The growth rate I mentioned above is based on my own experiences when I feed only pellets. However, I don't recommend you rely too heavily on the parents chewing food for their young. You might observe whether the fry gets the food they need this way, but if they don't I recommend you feed the fry if you want them to survive.

Raising the fry without their parents is much harder and I wouldn't recommend separating fry unless it's absolutely necessary. If possible, it's better to wait a few weeks until the fry has grown a little.
If you like predatory fish and are willing to take my word that most of its reputation is undeserved, then I recommend you to try this very beautiful fish.



English: Leopard gecko example
Leopard gecko example (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1.1 - General Information
Leopard Geckos are nocturnal, ground-dwelling reptiles that were originally found in the deserts of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Iran (although they live in the desert, their natural substrate is not sand, as I will discuss later under substrate). The scientific name is Eublepharis macularius (which means "true" "eyelid" "spot"). They are one of the few geckos that actually have eyelids, and they naturally have spots. There are many different morphs of Leopard Geckos that I will go into in more detail later. Many people now breed Leopard Geckos, and you can purchase them at a local pet store (or through breeders). They may live up to 20 years if properly cared for, and reach an average size of 8-10 inches when they reach adulthood (approximately 1-2 years into the gecko's life).

2.1 - Housing
First things first, you should never house multiple male Leopard Geckos together. They are territorial and may fight each other. You shouldn't house a female and a male together either unless you want babies. However, you can house multiple females together, but you must watch them carefully because there can be situations where one may be a leader. Some signs of "bullying" would be marks on one of the geckos, one getting more food than the other, or one of the geckos getting a good bit larger than the other.

Next question one might have is, "How big should my tank be?" Well, this depends on how many geckos you plan to house in the tank. A 10-gallon tank would be on the small side for one gecko, but it works. My opinion is that a 20-gallon tank works best for 2, maybe 3 geckos and a 30-gallon tank can fit up to 4 or 5 (this area is debated, so the fewer geckos, the safer). I do not suggest you ever house more than 5 geckos in one tank. Another thing to consider when purchasing a tank is that Leopard Geckos don't climb as much as other geckos, so it is better to buy a tank with more surface area. For example: A 20 gallon tank (24" x 12" x 16") meaning 24" by 12" surface area, compared to a 20 gallon long (30" x 12" x 12") which has 30" by 12" surface area. You could get those two tanks for the same price, but the 20 gallons long would be a better choice.

3.1 - Feeding
When it comes to feeding, babies/juveniles eat more often than adults because it is important for them to grow a big healthy tail. A good rule of thumb to go by is once a day for any gecko 1 1/2 years and every other day for older geckos. You should let your gecko eat as much as he or she can in 15 minutes. They have good judgment and will not eat more than they can. When they are younger, they may eat too much and regurgitate food. This is just a learning process and doesn't hurt your baby, it should teach them not to eat that much. When your gecko grows older you should keep feeding it as much as he/she can eat in 15 minutes, but only feed it every other day. A good rule of thumb to use is don't feed anything longer than the width between your gecko's eyes (or 3/4 of their head). This will keep your gecko from swallowing something too big and choking, although they usually regurgitate. To learn more about what to feed your geckos, continue reading through the next couple of sections.

4.1 - Health
Health is an important part of your gecko's life, of course. Some positive signs of a healthy gecko are:

  • Feeding well.
  • Growing (if a baby).
  • Is active at night.
  • Has a fat tail (it is OK if younger geckos don't have fat tails, as they are still growing).
  • And is acting normal

You should always check for signs of unhealthiness. Also, if you get a new gecko (or geckos) and you are planning to house them with another gecko that you already had or you just bought, you should "quarantine the new gecko(s). This is a process where you take the new gecko and put him in a tank by himself for about 3 months. If you don't do this, and your gecko came with a disease, the disease would spread to the other gecko and both of them would have died. After the 3 months, you can safely house that gecko with another one. This is just a safe way to determine if a Leopard Gecko is "disease-free".

CLOWNFISH and SEA ANEMONE: Symbiotic Relationship

LARGER On Black Ocellaris clownfish, Amphiprio...
On Black Ocellaris clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris. Some clown anemonefishes are brave.
When divers close to them, papa anemonefish will swim out to defense. (Looks like very angry!!) But, often they will hide. (papa will hide faster than their babies. haha~) Lovely!!
(Photo credit: 
Clownfish or the anemonefish are small fishes belonging to superclass Pisces and family Pomacentridae. There are about twenty-nine species of clownfish are known all over the world out of which one belongs to the genus Premnas and others are kept in the genus Amphiprion. As their name indicates they form symbiotic mutualistic associations with the sea anemones in the ocean world. 

Depending upon the species these may be overall yellow, orange, reddish, or blackish while others may bear patches or bars. The largest species are not to attain a body length of about 18 centimeters while the normal range of body length is about 10 centimeters. The well known popular movie entitled Finding Nemo by the Pixar/Disney figures out the clownfish as the leading character.

Clownfish are known to inhabit the warmer waters of Indian and Pacific oceans along with the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea. The majority of the species are known to dwell in restricted areas while others have a wide range of distribution. They are generally hosting specific but some species also show coordination with other species also. They are known to dwell at the bottom of the seafloor confined in the shelters of lagoons or coral reefs. They prefer to live in pairs. 

They are also distributed in northwest Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan and the Indo-Malaysian region but totally absent in the Caribbean region. They are known to feed on small invertebrates otherwise they may cause damage to the sea anemone. The fecal matter released by these fishes acts as a source of nutrients for the sea anemone. They are strictly omnivorous and their gut content has revealed that their diet includes 20-25% of algae. The diet comprises of copepods, algae, zooplankton, and algae. They also feed on small crustaceans and mollusks. When kept under captivity they are provided fish pellets and fish flakes and food. They also feed on the undigested food material of the sea anemones.

Clownfish and certain damselfish are the only known species of fishes which are able to remain unaffected by the poison secreted by the sea anemone. Many theories have been put forward to support this view. According to one view, the mucus coating of the fish may be composed of sugars rather than proteins so the sea anemone fails to recognize the fish as food sources and does not attacks it. Another view suggests that due to co-evolution clownfish have developed immunity against the toxins secreted by the sea anemone. 

It is well known that they tend to live in pairs in a single anemone and when the female dies the male changes its sex to female. This process is known as sequential hermaphroditism. Clownfish are born as males and that is why they are protandrous hermaphrodites. On top of the hierarchy reproducing females is presently followed by the male but if the female dies this hierarchy gets disrupted. The largest member of a group is a female and the second largest one the male. Clownfish are neuter which means that they do not have fully developed sex organs for either gender.

Clownfish prefer to lay their eggs on flat surfaces where they can adhere properly. Spawning generally occurs around the time of the full moon. The male is known to guard the eggs until they hatch after 8-10 days. They lay eggs ranging from hundreds to thousands. They are the first known fishes to breed in captivity. The average life span is of 6-10 years but in captivity, they live up to 3-5 years. They show a special association with the sea anemone. The activity of these fishes results in a greater amount of water circulation around the sea anemone and sea anemone provides them protection from its toxins. Clownfish depends on the sea anemone for its daily food. 

When anemone paralyzes a fish and consumes it these fish eat the chunks and pieces left after the feeding of the anemone. The fish also keeps the anemone free by eating up its dead tentacles and act as a lure by attracting predators towards itself by its bright coloration. This sort of symbiotic association of the clownfish with the sea anemone makes them the most astonishing creatures living underwater. They are known bred in captivity in the marine ornamental farms in the USA. If the anemone of the aquarium dies they tend to live in the soft varieties of corals. The corals may agitate the skin of these fishes and in some cases may kill the corals also. Once they get confined in the corals they defend it. We can conclude that they are amazing fishes showing unique features.


You Can Start Your Hobby With Any Type of GOURAMI FISH

Golden and Blue Gouramis
Golden and Blue Gouramis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gouramis are very appealing species of fish to the fish-keepers because of their bright colors, hardy nature, and entertaining style of living. They are always energetic, playful and peaceful with other species of the fish in the same aquarium.

There are many different species of Gourami fish available to beginners. Here are some of the most popular ones -

1. Blue Gourami fish - They are also called three-spot Gourami. They are one of the largest fish out of the Gourami family. They prefer to live in shallow waters and in an area with abundant vegetation. Their body looks like elongated and compressed. You will find three spots on their body - one is on the tail, the other one is in the middle of the body and the third one is their eye! They usually feed themselves with insects from the water. With their bright blue color which changes according to their moods and movements, they are very popular.

2. Pearl Gourami fish - They are the hardiest among the Gourami family. When they are quiet in the water with the water moving slowly over them, they resemble like a pearl. They can grow up to 4 inches in length. They prefer low lighting and dark substrate. They are easy for taking care and they can live up to eight years.

3. Banded Gourami fish - They are also known as rainbow Gouramis because of their attractive color combinations. While their body is of golden color, there are stripes of pale blue color over the entire body. They are sturdy you should feed them a lot of vegetables to keep them lively.

4. Kissing Gourami fish - They have originated from Thailand. They are found in two colors - pink and silver-green. They prefer to stay in slow-moving waters like marshes or ponds. When the males of this species challenge each other, they will lock their mouths, so they are known as kissing Gouramis. In the open nature, they can grow up to one foot but in captivity, they may grow only up to 6 inches. So you should always provide a large tank for them. In small tanks, they may develop stress and may die. They love to eat algae and they have sharp teeth. If no algae are available in the tank, they will start eating the plants!

5. Moonlight Gourami fish - They have a unique shape which is quite different from the entire Gourami family. They are famous for one particular habit - at the time of spawning, the male will roll the female!

6. Dwarf Gourami fish - Originating from the Indian subcontinent, they love to live in a quiet environment. However, they can live peacefully with other species. You can find them in different color-combinations in the market. They are suitable for smaller aquariums. The only precaution you should remember about them is, always keep them in a quiet environment. If there is a lot of noise around, they will develop stress and will get sick soon.

It is better to discuss with the local pet fish shop before buying any of these. In addition, you can also make small research over the Internet to keep them well.

    By Chintamani Abhyankar
    Chintamani Abhyankar is a goldfish enthusiast and has been raising and breeding goldfish for many years. He is an expert on their care and an advocate for raising healthy goldfish the natural way.
    Article Source: EzineArticles