LAKE MALAWI CICHLIDS - Ideal Fish Tank Conditions for Lake Malawi Cichlids

Dramatic Sky
Photo  by fabulousfabs 
If you have had an aquarium for any length of time you will, no doubt, have experimented with the types of fish you keep in a tank. Cichlids remain a popular choice for many amateur fish tank owners because they are lively fish that always seem to be doing things. It seems that people can relate to cichlids because they display many traits that we can recognize in ourselves. This makes for good viewing. Lake Malawi Cichlids are a type of fish you may want to keep in your tank. This article will briefly describe the nature of these fish and their ideal habitat. This can give you an indication of the type of aquarium you need to keep these animals.

Lake Malawi is a large Lake situated on Malawi's northeastern border with Tanzania and Mozambique. It is part of the great lakes of the African rift valley along with the better known Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria. The water is generally alkaline and has a Ph level of 7.7 to 8.6. The temperature of the water varies from 27-29 degrees Celsius on the surface to about 22 degrees Celsius at lower depths.

The two main types of cichlids that can be found in Lake Malawi are the haplochromines and the tilapiines. Like most cichlids, Lake Malawi cichlids are known for being territorial and aggressive towards each other. They are mouth brooders. They are particularly noted for the vivid colors and markings.

There is such a variety of species that it would be impossible to name all of them but the most colorful are possibly the peacock cichlids. Popular peacock cichlids are the Melanochromis auratus and the Labeotrophus trewavasae. While in many species of cichlids only the male has the vivid markings, in these two species both sexes have colorful markings. Another reason for the popularity of the Melonachromis auratus is that the fry displays the same colors and markings as the parents but only in miniature. Most are adapted for feeding off algae attached to rock or substrate.

When creating a habitat for Lake Malawi cichlids it is important to keep the water quality alkaline. The aquascape should feature rocks and substrate similar to the environment in Lake Malawi. The rocks will allow the fish to hide and feed on the algae on the rocks. To combat the territorial nature of the fish you could densely stock the tank. Given that the tank is densely stocked you should have a strong filtration system set up to maintain the water quality. Typically they eat flake, bloodworm and pellet foods.

Lake Malawi cichlids are some of the most beautiful fish in the world and are active and fun to watch. They remain one of the most popular types of fish to keep in a tropical freshwater fish tank.


CLOWN LOACHES and Their Care

Chromobotia macracanthus syn. Botia macracanthus
Chromobotia macracanthus syn. Botia macracanthus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Clown Loach is a popular fish in tropical aquariums since it is very beautiful and not too difficult to keep. Its scientific name is Botia macracanthus and it is therefore also known as Botia fish. When you buy a loach it will typically need at least a 100 liter / 20-gallon aquarium to do well. They are usually sold when quite young and will, therefore, grow larger and larger as they mature. A fully grown Clown Loach will need a 540 liter / 125-gallon aquarium or larger.

Wild Clown Loaches inhabit densely grown waters in Indonesia and will, therefore, appreciate a planted aquarium or an aquarium with plenty of rocks and caves which the Clown Loach can hide among. A combination of both plants and caves are ideal. Adult Clown Loaches like to nibble on plants and you should therefore ideally choose tough and fast-growing plants like Java Fern and Anubias. Juvenile Clown Loaches can usually be kept with all types of plants as long as they appreciate the same water conditions as the fish.

The Clown Loach loves to squeeze itself into caves, rock formations and other tiny places that can barely fit it. To put it simply: the more decorations the better. The aquarium must be decorated when you bring your Clown Loach home from the fish store since it is most likely quite stressed from the long journey from Indonesia. A majority of the Clown Loaches available in the aquarium trade is caught in the waters of Sumatra and Borneo. If you place your Clown Loach in a barren aquarium, it will not have a chance to recuperate. It will instead become more and more stressed. Stressed Clown Loaches are very susceptible to a parasite called Ich (White Spot Disease).

Don't be afraid if you notice that your Clown Loach has squeezed itself behind a piece of aquarium equipment, chances are that it is not at all stuck, it just likes to feel safe. The Clown Loach is also found by digging itself into tiny places. It is therefore important to use a substrate without any sharp edges in the aquarium. In the substrate, you can place a wide range of different things for your Clown Loach to explore and hide among. You do not have to limit your self to plants and rocks; PVC pipes, flower pots, roots and ceramic and plastic aquarium ornaments will also be highly appreciated. It is important that the decorations have no sharp edges since the Clown Loach will like to squeeze itself into the smallest places possible. If you place floating plants in the water they will dim the light and make your Clown Loach less shy and more active during the day.

Vigorous filtration is necessary since Clown Loaches are sensitive to poor water conditions. A combination of mechanical, chemical and biological filtration is recommended. Change 25 percent of the water at least once a week. Smaller and more frequent water changes are even better. Even a slight disturbance in the water quality can harm you Clown Loach and in a community aquarium, the Clown Loach is usually the first fish that fall ill or die when the water quality drops. Since you will find the live Clown Loaches in streams and rivers, the aquarium should ideally also have strong water circulation. The aquarium must have a well-fitted lid since Clown Loaches are vigorous jumpers.


Choosing AQUARIUM PLANTS - Fake Or Real For Your Freshwater Aquarium?

Artificial Aquarium Plant
When setting up your new aquarium, you will soon realize that it looks bare without decorations or plants. These additions, besides serving a decorative function, are a necessary addition for the health of your fish. Plants make your fish more comfortable in their home by providing hiding spots.

When it comes to aquarium plants, there are two main choices: real or fake. Live would require care, just like houseplants. They will need to be chosen wish your fish species in mind and will require more of your time than fake plants, which require little effort and are easy to care for even if you're not an experienced fishkeeper. While fresh may die if the water quality is not monitored closely, fake plants can withstand everything. The only care required is an occasional cleaning in the sink.

Plastic plants are also available in a wide array of styles and colors, including neon shades, that simply isn't achievable if you choose to plant your aquarium with real aquatic plants. However, neon plants do not create a very natural setting and may stress out your fish. Many have found that plastic, even those with natural colors, simply do not have the realistic appearance they are after.

If you're looking for aquarium plants that are realistic, yet easy to care for, consider silk. These are just as easy to care for as plastic plants but lend a more natural appearance to the tank. Always purchase silk plants designed for aquariums, because they will not contain any chemicals that could leach into the water and harm your fish.

There are advantages to using real plants in an aquarium. If you are interested in breeding fish, you should know that some fish species will only breed in an environment with live plants. Fresh plants also add oxygen to the water and use nitrates, becoming a beneficial part of the nitrogen cycle and helping to clean your tank. Live plants are eaten by many species of fish, and in fact are one of the healthiest and most natural food sources you can provide for the herbivores in your tank.

Despite the benefits of using real plants, they can require specialized care. If you do choose to plant your aquarium with fresh plants, be sure that you understand their care requirements. Plants also require specialized aquatic fertilizers and lighting; no plant can grow without lights, which are required for photosynthesis. Many varieties of aquatic plants require specific pH levels or water temperatures. If these are incompatible with the needs of your fish, one or the other will suffer. You'll need to choose plant varieties that are compatible with the fish in your aquarium.

Cleaning a planted tank is more difficult than cleaning one with fake plants because real plants should not be uprooted for cleaning. As the plants naturally decay, there will be more waste material at the bottom of the tank, which can reduce water quality over time. While healthy plants will improve the aquarium habitat, those that are not cared for properly have the potential to harm your fish. Aquatic plants require pruning, just like your houseplants.

Only you decide whether planting your tank with real ones is worth the additional maintenance. If it is your first time ever having fish, choose fake ones. The complicated care of real ones can get quickly become overwhelming if you're not used to caring for an aquatic habitat.


Land And Underwater Wonders In DALLAS WORLD AQUARIUM

Dallas World Aquarium Entrance
Dallas World Aquarium Entrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do you need to free yourself from stress? Are your days filled with nerve-racking events that you wish the world would stop for just a moment?

Studies show that one way to relieve stress is communing with nature. You can take a slow walk and breathe fresh air. You can have a swim. Perhaps, gazing at creatures such as the animals can put off worries. If you want to be out and commune with nature, the Dallas World Aquarium might be perfect for you.

Dallas World Aquarium is a recreational center located in Dallas, Texas. It is believed to be one of the many first-rate tourist spots in the area.

Let the swimming and gliding fishes and other sea creatures from around the world soothe your eyes. In Dallas World Aquarium you will be able to see different species of fish and other underwater creatures. If mere looking at them does not satisfy you, you will have the chance to take a stride inside a tunnel. It gives you a feeling that you are in the underwater world.

It is not only the underwater world that you may experience. If you enjoy the flora and the fauna, then the rainforest section may be a good place to visit. Here you can find the incomparable beauty of diverse trees and flowers. Additionally, you will be able to hear and see how rainforest animals react to every moving situation. Indeed, there is a rainforest area in Dallas World Aquarium.

Dallas World Aquarium also reveals the exquisiteness of South Africa through its exhibits. The display area is a lagoon-like. It showcases the different South African biomes and living things dwelling on said biomes. It is not your traditional exhibit hence you will have a full appreciation of the area.

Have you ever heard of Yucatan’s Gulf coast? If you have not, then this is your chance to gain knowledge of the area when you taste the life of “Mundo Maya.” Dallas World Aquarium gives you the chance to experience Mexican nature by the immersion exhibit they have set-up for visitors.

The above-mentioned are places where you can divert your attention from the hurriedness of life. More to this, it may teach you how to value other living things aside from your own. Being able to understand and appreciate life outside your comfort zone will help you realize and be thankful for what you have.


DIY DRIFTWOOD for your Aquarium

A beach covered with driftwood near Porirua, N...
A beach covered with driftwood near Porirua, New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
DIY driftwood takes time, but it will save you tons of money. Some small pieces cost well over $20. Also, the soak method (minus the salt) will work for store-bought driftwood. Store bought driftwood is cleaned and has not been soaked. This may lead to tannin’s being leaked into your tank

What you’ll need:

  • Driftwood, which can be found anywhere. It doesn't necessarily have to come from the water. You could find it in the woods, as long as it is weathered down and looks unique. Also, make sure the wood is not rotting.
  • BIG soaking container, I use a 15 gal rubber maid container.
  • Aquarium Salt, I use Doc Wellfish brand. This is used as a natural way of killing bacteria and parasites.

The first step, clean off your wood! Make sure all debris and bark are removed from the wood (or it’ll fall off in your tank!). Once complete, boil the water in the BIG pot and add aquarium salt. I use about a tablespoon per gallon. Boil the entire piece for about 2-4 hours depending on your size. If you can only fit half the wood in the pot then you will need to boil the other half.

Once the boil is complete you can transfer your wood into the rubber maid container. Add water until the whole piece of wood is underwater (you can also add salt if you want). If the wood does not sink place something on top of it until it does. It’ll sink after a week or two. You’ll notice the water turn into tea-ish color. It is the result of the tannins that are released into the water. If you didn’t soak the wood, the water in your tank would be this color. Tannins are natural and some fishes actually like it because it’ll make them feel more at home. It’ll also affect your PH, I’m not sure about GH or KH. You’ll need to do water changes every other day to clean the water. This may take weeks or months.

When the color of the soak water suffices, you will need to soak your wood for another week without any salt. This will make sure that the wood does not hold any salt that may leak into your tank.

Once soaking is complete wash the wood well and transfers the wood into your tank. Do not keep the wood out of water for a long time or it will float.

    For more information and pictures about this project, please visit www.CarolinaFishTalk.com and check the DIY section.

    The article was written by krayzievanh@yahoo.com, member of CFT Community - Proofread by Brandan Njagu  b.njagu@gmail.com


Familiarize Yourself With AFRICAN CICHLIDS Breeding

Telmatochromis sp congo mâle
Telmatochromis sp congo mâle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There really comes a time when a pet owner would love to breed their own fishes. As a matter of fact, African cichlids breeding has been a common practice for most fish enthusiasts. Since these types of fishes are very popular, it is somehow rewarding to have a few of your own. Inter-breeding different species of African cichlids enables one to come up with cichlids with a unique color. Now, that's another feather on one's cap.

Although breeding African Cichlids is exciting as it may sound, it still involves some sort of hard work and discipline. It would also require you to do some research. Studying the ins and outs of the process like what you are doing now can really help.

The first thing you should know is that most species of African Cichlids are mouthbrooders. When this is the case, the female cichlid keeps her eggs inside her mouth. Male African cichlids do a dance-like routine to woo the female cichlid. Once you see this seemingly unusual behavior from your male cichlid, you should start monitoring the next events.

After the actual mating process, the female will lay the eggs in the water. The male cichlid should be able to fertilize the eggs before the female takes it in her mouth. The whole process is repeated until there are fertilized eggs. The unfertilized ones are just left behind.

There is sometimes a stumbling block in breeding African Cichlids. How do you get the female and male cichlids to mate? You won't have a problem with this if you have a few female cichlids in your tanks.

You see, male African cichlids tend to fight with one another when the female cichlid is ready for mating. The fights can turn ugly and may lead you to lose some fishes. The key to this situation is to have one male and probably three female cichlids. This way, the male would have controllable aggressiveness.

Bear in mind that female cichlids must undergo necessary preparations prior to her spawning period. She must be at the pink of health. Also, take the time to ensure that she's well-fed. Female African cichlids usually go by without food during her spawning season.

Remember those female cichlids are mouthbrooders. The eggs stay inside the mother's mouth for at least two months. Feed the female as frequent as you can because she can only take little food during this time.

After the fry hatches, you need to put them in a separate tank. Otherwise, the mature cichlid will mistake them for food. The fry needs to be in a tank away from other mature fishes. Also, try to separate the mother cichlid as she needs to recover. She won't be able to do so if she has to deal with bullying from other fishes.

There is surely a lot to learn when it comes to African cichlids breeding. However, your patience would surely pave way for more worthwhile discoveries. Just pay close attention and love your cichlids more. They would surely reward your hard work.



Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis - Zitronensalmler...
Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis - Zitronensalmler (Länge: ca. 3cm) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Glassily transparent, the lemon tetra (hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis) could appear to be just a sunbeam flashing through your community tank if not for background elements like plants and driftwood. Another member of the large characin clan, the lemon tetra has a fairly elongated body like its smaller relative the neon tetra and like neons and other characins, the lemon tetra does best if kept in small schools of six to eight fish.

One of the most distinguishing features of the lemon tetra is their large eyes. The upper part of the lemon tetra's eye is brilliant red, which is a sharp contrast to the yellow pastels it displays in its body colors. Actually, though, the lemon tetra is quite colorful on close inspection. Body coloring is a delicate pale yellow, flanks are silver, and the leading edge of the anal fin is shiny-bright-yellow and sharply divided from the other rays, which are black. 

In the male, the rest of the anal fin is broad and fringed in black, a characteristic that is missing in the plumper female. As many male characins do, the male lemon tetras also have tiny hooks on their anal fins. Both males and females have the tetras' characteristic adipose fin, which is also pale yellow in color.

Although omnivorous and able to exist on a diet of flaked food, the pale yellow color of the lemon tetra displays best if the fish's standard diet is well supplemented with live treats. The lemon tetra is an egg-scatterer. However, breeding can be tricky since females often have a problem expelling their eggs and after spawning, the lemon tetra like many others of its species is quick to cannibalize its eggs if not removed from the breeding tank. However, eggs will hatch in about 24 hours after spawning. Fry should be fed alive diet and if they survive, they'll be about two inches long as adults.