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Cichlids - Proper Care of Your CONVICT CICHLIDS

Keeping cichlids is an exciting hobby. For beginners, it is great to start off by keeping convict cichlid fishes and taking care of them is relatively easy. Convict cichlid fish is very easy to keep and breed in the aquarium. The Convict cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) is a type of fish from the family-Cichlidae, native to Central America. These popular aquarium cichlids are also known as the zebra cichlid.

An Amatitlania nigrofasciatus male.
An Amatitlania nigrofasciatus male.
(Photo credit: 
Convict cichlid fish is a hardy species that can easily adapt to almost any water conditions which made them easy to maintain and breed in aquariums. The aquarium for Convict cichlids should be decorated with a few flat stones and rocks and artificial caves for breeding. Plants are not necessary because of most of the plants will be destroyed by the cichlids.

However, if you really want to put some plants, it is better to put some hardier plants such as Amazonian swords plant and java fern to withstand their aggression. Using these plants, it can help to beautify the aquarium and make the cichlids feel more at home. In fact, as long as you avoid putting harmful toxic objects in your aquarium decoration, your fish will make themselves at home.

They accept a very wide temperature range and pH level range as long as it keep relatively stable but is best kept in 20-28C/ 68-82F and pH 6-8. Convict cichlids are unfussy omnivore and eat most types of prepare fish foods such as flake food and pellets. They also eat aquarium plants. By nature, Convict cichlids are aggressive towards other fish. This is more obvious during their breeding period. It is best to keep Convict cichlids in a separate tank for breeding.

In fact, Convict cichlids are one of the easiest fish in the world to breed. They can start spawning as young as 16 weeks of age. It is common to find a pair of Convict cichlids under a flat stone which the male Convict cichlid could have dug a cave under it earlier and they breed there.

Both cichlids parents will guard both the eggs and the fry. As good and protective parents, they can become very aggressive towards other fish that enters their breeding territory. The fry can be feed crushed flake food and newly hatched brine shrimp.

Because of its relativity small size along with ease for keeping and breeding, Convict cichlid fish is a great cichlid for beginners and aquarists who are interested in observing paid bonding and brood care.
In conclusion, keeping and breeding cichlids is a very satisfying and challenging hobby. Thus, it is very important that you know the secrets of taking care of your cichlids.


Tips For Buying A PET SNAKE

Buying a snake can be a sizable investment. Getting a snake requires making a commitment to the pet's care and well-being. It is important to do your research so you know that the particular species or breed is something you will enjoy owning in the years to come. Find out how difficult they are to feed and house before you buy. Also find out about the snake's temperament.

Remember that some snakes get extremely large, can be dangerous, and live a long time. Lifespans of over twenty years are not uncommon. Don't assume getting rid of that unwanted reptile will be a piece of cake either.

English: Negev Zoo snake
Negev Zoo snake
(Photo credit: 

Another thing to check out before buying is the laws of your particular city. In many places, snakes of certain varieties are restricted as pets.

That being said, it's a good idea to get the enclosure, or vivarium, ready for the snake to move in before buying one. Different species have different requirements in heat, humidity, and size of enclosure, so again, do your homework.

Before buying, look your snake over for indicators of poor health. It's a good idea to hang around the pet store or breeders' for a while, just watching the snakes for clues to individual snakes' personalities. The eyes should be bright and shiny. If they appear dull, it's a sign that the snake is about to shed its skin. Wait until it has shed so you can get a better idea of how it looks.

It is important to get a snake that has been hatched or birthed by a reputable breeder. Make sure the snake is accustomed to eating pre-killed food before you buy it.

The best place to go to find a reputable breeder is your local herpetological society. Most areas have herp clubs for people who are into reptiles. If you're lucky, you might get to attend a herp show in your area. Breeders attend these gatherings and show off their stock. Search online for information about herp shows you could attend. (Herpetology is the branch of biology that studies reptiles and amphibians. "Herp" is a common nickname for these animals.)

When studying the choices of pet snake species, get to know the Latin names. Common names vary with pet stores and with regions. By knowing exactly what species of snake you want, you can save yourself a lot of trouble. Different species of similar snakes, such as boas or pythons, have different temperaments and grow to different sizes. Just knowing it is a boa or a python is not specific enough to know for sure what you are getting.

Finally, there are some people who just should not own pet snakes. These include homes with children under five and anyone with a compromised immune system, because there is a small possibility of a snake carrying salmonella. The large pythons and constrictors can be a danger to young children, too. (And to everyone else, too! Be extremely careful, and know what you're getting into.)

Educate yourself before you start shopping for that cool looking snake. If it’s your first snake, consider getting a And prepare to be in it for the long haul.


CORALS and its habitat

Corals are a beautiful addition to any saltwater aquarium and they can also have beneficial effects on the miniature semi-ecosystem that exists in a well functioning aquarium.

English: Soft corals from Komodo National Park
Soft corals from Komodo National Park
(Photo credit: 

Corals are living animals that are commonly called sessile invertebrates. What this means is that they are animals that don't have a backbone (like vertebrates do) and that they are generally stuck in one spot and can't move around like most animals can. Corals are usually attached to a rock. Corals consist of many individual polyps. The polyps may have an internal or an external skeleton that is made of calcium carbonate. Each polyp has an oral opening that leads to a gastrovascular tube. There is a lot of variety in the types of food eaten by coral polyps. For example, some corals feed by using their stinging tentacles to catch small fish. Other corals eat microscopic organisms, where as some coral polyps don't feed at all, and obtain all their nutrition from zooxanthellae  (a single-celled algae that lives within the coral).

Corals are more complicated to keep than many saltwater fish species, and can for instance require more intricate currents, powerful lighting and supreme water quality. Keeping the water temperature in the ideal range is therefore imperative when you keep corals in you aquarium. Reef building corals prefer quite shallow depths where the light penetration is good and will therefore usually grow at depths of less than 46 metres / 150 feet. The reef building corals require plenty of strong light since they form symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae. Other coral species can however survive without direct sunlight and live much deeper down in the ocean.

Corals should be thoroughly researched beforehand because of their often hefty price tag and demanding water, lighting and feeding requirements. The great part about live rock, aside from the biological importance of using it, is that you can use aquarium silicon sealant to shape the rocks into any type of design you desire. We now have a new term - "rockscaping". You can also use a drill to create small holes in the rock and use pvc pipes to hold them together to make columns or archways. The rockscaping possibilities are endless. Another thing you'll probably need to do is place the rock directly on the tank bottom and not on top of the sand. Sand burrowing species could get injured or worse if you place the rock on top of the sand.

Corals are very popular with aquarium enthusiasts.  Some of the most common corals are now being successfully kept and grown in a rapidly growing number of home aquariums. There are hundreds of species including soft corals, corallimorpharians (mushroom corals), gorgonians, zoanthids, large-polyp stony corals, and small-polyp stony corals.

For the beginner reef aquarium, there are a number of soft corals, that require less light and less than perfect water quality standards, than their hard coral cousins. These soft corals are the better candidates for converting to a fish only, or fish only with live rock aquarium tank to a reef tank with corals.

You can have coral in any sort of aquarium/fish tank i.e. fish only tanks, fish only with live rock tanks to a full reef tank.

Moving smoothly from tank to tank isn't really all that difficult. You need to move coral because believe it or not there can be turf wars in coral reef tanks. Corals on the reef compete for space. So do the corals in your aquarium. Corals are still deemed difficult for the average reef tank hobbyist but in my experience I have not found this to be true.

Corals are found all over the world, even around the poles. Reef building corals are however only found in warm subtropical and tropical waters. Reef building corals are present in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the Western Atlantic. Their habitat is generally limited to the region between 30 degrees N and 30 degrees S latitudes. In the Indo-Pacific Ocean you will find reef building corals from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, and eastwards in the Indian and Pacific Oceans all the way over to Panama and a few places in the Gulf of California. 

In the Western Atlantic corals are living outside Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Belize and around the Caribbean Islands, Bermuda and Bahamas. Reef building corals will only live where the water temperature is warm enough; 20-28 degrees celsius / 68-82 degrees fahrenheit.


How to Safely Change the Water in Your SALTWATER Aquarium

As with people fish thrive when kept in an environment as close to their own as possible. For this reason aquariums should be carefully structured to imitate the natural environments of the species it is home to as closely as possible. Even if it is not possible to duplicate exactly the living conditions found in the deep blue the fish will benefit from the effort.

English: This is a Ptereleotris zebra fish fro...
This is a Ptereleotris zebra fish from my marine aquarium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fish are also very adaptable creatures. It is what allows them to live and thrive in captivity when many other marine animals are unable to make the change. The fish will adapt to the environment around them and learn to live in the conditions of their tank. It is important that these conditions remain as constant as possible. As in nature a tip in the balance of the elements in an aquarium can bring with it devastating consequences. It is important that changes in the aquarium environment be few and far between.

This is generally a very simple matter until the time comes for the water in the tank to be changed. In nature the water in the ocean is constantly cycling; therefore, the water never has the opportunity to become stale and overloaded with elements that will have a negative impact on the well being of your aquatic friends. Since this is not the case in an aquarium even with an excellent artificial filtering system and organic filtering methods combined it will still be necessary on occasion to manually clean the tank.

The water with which you replace the dirty water in the aquarium should be as close as possible to the water that was originally filling the tank. What this means is that if you opted to buy a pre-made saltwater mix when you started your tank you should continue to use that same pre-made saltwater mix. If you made your own saltwater you should use the same type of sea salt in the same proportions that you used in the beginning. If you opted to transplant ocean water or purchased filtered ocean water you are going to want to use that same type of water when you make the change.

Water in aquariums should be changed every couple of months, more if you happen to notice that wastes are beginning to build up. This will be evident by the hazy look the previously clear water will take on and the obvious accumulation of waste at the bottom of the tank. Be sure when you change the water you also clean the components of the tank and the inside of the glass itself. Putting clean water into an empty tank is along the same lines as putting clean clothes on a dirty body-there is little point.

By keeping your tank clean and the conditions as constant as possible you are giving your fish the best possible chance to thrive in their artificial environment, guaranteeing that you will be able to enjoy their beauty for a very long time.


KILLIFISH Are of Interest to Experienced Fish-Keepers

Killifish are basically medium sized fish. They have a peculiar cylindrical shape. With their upward turning mouths and habit of swimming near the surface of the water, they are very unique in the fish community. They are found mainly in Africa and North as well as South America and some parts of Asia.

Killifish Killi des mangroves
Killifish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They are famous for their unique behavior while breeding. Most of them are the annual killifish and they live for a short time. They follow a peculiar life cycle.

Killifish as such are happy to stay in soft but acidic water and if there is any extract of black water in it, it makes an ideal condition for their living. If the temperature the water is lower, it suits them. So if they are kept in an indoor aquarium which is not heated, they can live a bit longer.

They are not 'social' in nature. If you keep them with other species of fish, they will usually ignore them. However, some will be aggressive with other males in the breeding season. They cannot be considered as schooling fish also. In fact, male and female will swim together but they will totally ignore other mates in the aquarium and other species too.

Killifish will not eat plants so they are suitable for aquarium with a lot of plants. They should not be kept in a tank with higher temperatures because that will shorten their life.

They lay their eggs for reproduction. These eggs are very tough and they can survive even in the times of partial dehydration. In fact some of the eggs may not hatch if they are not out of water for a certain period of time.

There are two types of killifish on the basis of their breeding pattern - some are egg hangars. They will lay eggs on the plants and these eggs can survive several seasons. The other type is called bottom layers which will live in bodies of water which will get dry during some part of the year. They will bury their eggs in the mud and those eggs will survive until the period of rain starts.

If you want to breed killifish, find out whether they are egg hangars from your pet store. For this type of killifish, the breeding process is relatively easy. You should keep them in a tank which is having plenty of plants with big leaves. The eggs will develop eventually and they will hatch within a period of three weeks.

If you are trying with the other type of killifish, you should provide peat moss in the tank which will be an ideal place for them to bury the eggs. It will take a period of several months for the eggs to hatch as they should be placed in dry conditions and thereafter again in water to hatch. After the dry season, if you provide soft and slightly acidic water with modest temperature, that will be an ideal environment for the eggs to hatch.

Killifish are not very difficult to keep but beginners usually like to stay away from them as their life cycle is short and their breeding is not in normal way like other species. Experienced fish-keepers like them because of their unique breeding pattern and their colorful and lively presence in the aquarium.

    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


Aquarium Plants - Different Types of Live AQUARIUM PLANTS

Most of the people love to have aquarium at homes. Aquarium comes in one of the best interior additions that you can add to interior decor of your home. Aquarium increases the beauty of your home and attracts the attention of everyone passing around. There are many people who find it hard to keep the aquarium plants in their aquariums. If you are also one of them and need some help about different types of live plants, then you come across the right article. In this article, you will read about some of the different types of plants, which are given below.

Aquarium Plants
There are many different types of live aquarium plants available in the market these days. You must know that these plants are also very useful and advantageous for the life of your aquarium. Most of the people use these live plants to give it a natural look. These live plants can be growing by using bulbs in aquariums. Some of the hard and rough type of aquarium plants takes a lot of time to grow, but when they grow completely they looks very beautiful and increases the beauty of your aquarium. These plants are the best if you use them in small ponds.

You should also keep in mind the species of fishes that you have in your aquarium, while choosing the live aquarium plants. Some of the live plants have floating ability and that looks very natural and attractive. These floating plants are great for such fishes that want to hide for their safety. The common type of these plants is called rhizomes, which are very popular and the most demanding aquarium plant. These live plants have thick leaves and stem on the top as well as on bottom. These plants are also called as runner plant as they have ability to float on the surface.

    Another very famous aquarium plants is known as rosette. This type of plant looks like crown because it has lots of roots below as well as on the top. These plants often have beautiful flowers that look very beautiful when they move in aquarium. Another type of aquarium plant is water wisteria, which has the ability to grow faster than other plants.


Fact Sheet: GUPPY - Poecilia reticulata

Photo by markplymouth
Guppy Fact Sheet 
The Guppy, Poecilia reticulata is an attractive and normally peaceful fish. It was named after Robert John Lechmere Guppy who discovered this fish in Trinidad. He believed that this was a previously undiscovered fish. After being scientifically described, the fish was called Girardinus guppii. The common name of Guppy was given the fish.

The Guppy males tend to have a smaller body and bigger fins than the female. The fin underneath the fish in about the centre of the fish's body (the anal fin) is long in the male and is used in fertilisation. The male is capable of pointing it forwards so it can make contact with the female and transfer the sperm. In the female, this fin is triangular in shape. The males tend to be much more colourful than the females. Modern female guppies often have good colours, but the wild ones did not. Modern Guppy males tend to have purer colours, while the wild ones tend to have more varied ones. Often the wild males have more colours on each fish.

It was later found that the fish had been previously discovered by Wilhelm C. H. Peters, described and named. The fish is now usually called Poecilia reticulata. The most common of the common names is 'Guppy'. There are several other common names including 'Rainbow Fish' and 'Millions Fish'. The name Rainbow Fish is appropriate to its many and varied colours, but is misleading because of the several other fish with the same name. I prefer the name "Guppy'. However, I would note the name 'Guppy' is sometimes used for other fish. Fish I have seen called 'Guppies' include goldfish, Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios and Gambusia. This is simply misleading and can be confusing.

Guppy standards Large strains A flag tail B tr...
Guppy standards Large strains A flag tail B triangle tail C fan tail D veil tail Sword strains E double sword F upper sword G lower sword H lyre tail /  Short strains I spade tail J spear tail
K round tail L pin tail (Photo credit: 
Guppies are native to several Caribbean islands and north western South America including Barbados, Guyana, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands, Venezuela and Brazil.

The Guppy is a popular aquarium fish. It can be kept with other small peaceful fish, including Platies, Swordtails and Mollies. It is in the same family as these fish and is in the same genus as Mollies. Other fish suitable as companions are White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Siamese Fighting Fish, Peppered Catfish and other Corydoras catfish, Cherry Barbs, and other small peaceful fish.

Note that many of the fish just named are schooling fish. I would recommend that these be kept in groups of at least four, and preferably more. The Guppy is not a very strongly schooling species and can be kept singly or in small groups, although I certainly prefer larger numbers. It is both the way they usually occur naturally, and they look good. A tank of the highly coloured Guppies is a beautiful sight. Males and female guppies can be kept together although if they are I suggest that at least one female be kept for each male. If you keep several males with one female, all the males want to mate with the female and do not give her much peace.

Fish I would not recommend as companions for guppies include Black Widow Tetras, Serpae Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras, Paraguay Tetras, Red Eye Tetras, Tiger Barbs, Rosy Barbs, Paradise Fish, Galaxias, and any other fish that can be fin nippers. Larger fish are also generally not suitable companions for Guppies.

The Guppy is easy to feed. They are omnivores like most fish,and benefit from some vegetable food including algae. Guppies will eat most fish food. I suggest a good flake food as a basis for the diet, if possible supplemented with other food to give variety. Good flakes include the Wardley Total Tropical or Total Colour. As well as Wardley there are many other reputable manufacturers of fish food who make excellent foods. Other foods can include live food like Daphnia. Mosquito larvae (Wrigglers) are an excellent food. In the wild, Guppies will eat a lot of these. Their upturned mouth is well adapted to eating wrigglers. Blood Worms are related to wrigglers and are also a good food. Frozen Blood Worms are also good, as are several other frozen foods. Live or frozen Brine Shrimp are good. I also find that Guppies will benefit from dry fry food as achange.

Do not over feed your fish.
I suggest feeding once a day, but not too much. For most types of food the fish should have finished it in a couple of minutes. Guppies are good eaters and generally will get the food quickly. Larger food including Algae Wafers is also good. Because these are hard, the Guppy will take longer to eat them.

Guppies generally thrive in fairly hard, slightly alkaline, water. They can tolerate very large amounts of salt in the water. In some countries they are bred in water which is a mixture of half fresh water and half sea water. The Guppies thrive in this water, but these fish can cause problems when people put them into normal fresh water aquariums. As well as having to be acclimatised to the fresh water, the Guppies have not been exposed to columnaris disease. These fish can die very quickly in a normal aquarium unless strong treatment is done quickly. To get immunity the fish have to be exposed to the disease, and the disease cured.

Rain water is not good water for guppies although many people have used it successfully. If this is the water you have, I suggest using a rainwater conditioner (A mixture of salts). If you are using tap water (as I do), make sure you get rid of the Chlorine or Chloramine.

For a tank of mixed small tropicals, I suggest a pH of 7 and a moderate amount of salt and hardness. In most places normal tap water, with the Chlorine or Chloramine removed and the pH adjusted to 7 is suitable for Guppies, and to a mixed community. If in doubt about your tap water, I suggest visiting your local aquarium store. They should know about the local water.

The Guppy is a tropical fish. However, different strains of Guppy have different tolerances to low temperatures. I have even heard of strains that are claimed to be able to tolerate temperature down to 4Ì? C (39Ì? F). I have never encountered any of these. Once I heard of a creek to the north of Adelaide that was supposed to have a naturalised strain of Guppies. I searched for the creek. I was able to identify the creek from the description I was given. There were no Guppies in it. (Actually, there was not even any water.) Although I tried to find where the Guppies would have gone, I was unable to find any Guppies. I suspect that this was a case of mistaken identity of the fish.

As a general thing I would not suggest a temperature of lower than 18 degrees C (65 degrees F). Guppies will certainly tolerate up to at least 32 degrees C (90 degrees F), and probably higher. Although I sometimes give the maximum and minimum temperatures types of fish can tolerate, it needs to be remembered that subjecting fish to their limits is not good and you are stressing the fish very badly. Stress will leave the fish very vulnerable todisease.

I generally set the thermostat at 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) although some people prefer a few degrees higher, especially for breeding.

The modern Guppies have been selective bred for colour and fin length, as well as other external characteristics. In the process they have lost much of the original hardiness of the Guppy. The life span of the Guppy now is often no more than a year.

Pest Fish
The Guppy has been introduced to every continent except Antarctica. In some places it is causing considerable damage to the native fish of the areas it has been introduced to. You should not release aquarium or pond fish into the wild, and you should ensure that they cannot get introduced accidentally.

It is worthy of note that many of the most destructive introduced fish and other animals have been introduced deliberately, often by government agencies.

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