2018-04-25

RED ZEBRA CICHLID - Basic Information

Red Zebra Cichlid
Photo  by J Wynia 
The red zebra cichlid is also known as the Esther Grant's Zebra or Metriaclima estherae is a rock dwelling fish or mbuna that originates in Lake Malawi. They are mouth brooder's, which means the females placed the fertilized eggs in their mouth for a period of time to incubate eggs. The fry will then be released after 21 days of caring in their mouth.

This variety used to be under the genus name of Pseudotropheus but this name is now presently pointing to another species. The genus name up to now is still being disputed some consider Maylandia while other used the name Metriaclima.

The female zebra cichlid can grow as much as 10 centimeters of four inches in length while the male zebra may grow up to 12.7 centimeters or five inches long.

The "red" name of this fish is actually solid orange in color but the males sometimes possess reddish stripes.

This variety may thrive in water chemistry with a pH level of 7.5 to 8.5 and a temperature of 24 to 28 degrees Celsius or 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. When kept in an aquarium it must be placed with other species of the same temperament. The appropriate ratio would be one female to three or four females in a tank. Overcrowding the tank may help suppress the aggression of a red zebra cichlid. Decorate tank densely with rocks or cave that may be used as their hiding place. Use also fine gravel for substrate or fine gravel with crushed coral, or driftwoods, Java ferns, or Java moss. Ensure to provide one hiding place each species and a capacious area for the cichlids to swim freely. Avoid using rooted plants for this will reduce the pH level of the water.

When it comes to breeding the female zebra is known to be mouth-brooders. The female will brood her eggs approximately in three weeks and cares will still continue to care for the fry for another week after she has released them in the open. You can identify a cichlid that she is breeding when her mouth enlarged and most clearly when she refuses to eat.


Feeding the fry in any fish food is fine but vegetable is best as its staple diet. To make them more productive in breeding the best thing to do is to isolate the red cichlid. But the more rational way of isolating her should be kept in a lesser period to avoid the female losing her social status with the rest of her tank mates. This is done to prevent fights when the breeding mother is returned to its original tank. Bear in mind that stress may lead the mother to eat their eggs and fry.

Red zebra cichlid is omnivores and enjoys food such as spinach, peas, zucchini, and lettuce. They also love live foods like crickets, brine shrimp, mealworms, glass worms, and tubifex worms and many more.



2018-04-24

A LIZARD's Eye View of Life as a REPTILE

Mexican Beaded Lizard from the local reptile h...
Mexican Beaded Lizard from the local reptile house.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you think of lizards at all, you think of those little reptiles that you see scurrying down a tree trunk or across your back door at dusk.  There are many different types of lizards in the reptile family, and the group as a whole has some very interesting behaviors.  The first unusual behavior, and the one most people know is that they can separate from their tails when they are in danger of being caught.  You may have experienced this as a child when trying to catch one of the small lizards or striped skinks, and ended up with only a tail in your hand.

The Texas gecko actually uses his tail as a decoy when confronted by a predator, such as a snake.  The gecko makes his tail point straight up, waves it slowly from side to side, and then sheds the tail.  The tail itself continues to wriggle for several minutes and is hopefully more interesting prey than the gecko itself.  Lizard's tails are made so that a wall of cartilage passes through several vertebrae in the tail, and the blood vessels and muscles are modified at these points to allow easy breakage without much damage to the lizard.  It will grow a new tail, but never quite the same as the original tail. 

A number of lizards also avoid being eaten by changing color, in order to blend in with the background.  It generally only takes several seconds for a lizard to expand the pigment in its skin to become more like his surrounding colors.    This color change is made even more effective if the lizard remains motionless.  Even without color change, a number of lizards can effectively play dead, or, as we normally call it, "play possum".  A number of predators need the vibration or sounds of movement to detect the where the lizard is, and so becoming entirely rigid can be an effective way of disappearing from the menu of the predator.   



When a lizard is not being chased by a predator, it can do interesting and unusual things with its tongue.  The tongues of reptiles can come in a number of different shapes, and lizard tongues are usually either long and narrow with a forked tip at the end, or short and broad.  Both kinds of tongues are used to collect molecules from the air and bring them back to an organ in their mouth.  This is a sense different than either smell or taste, but somewhat similar to each in some respects.  Geckos use their long tongue to clean off their eyes, as many geckos do not have eyelids, and so wipe their eyes with their tongues.  One Great Plains lizard regularly licks her eggs while waiting for them to hatch.  In Australia, a skink with a bright blue tongue sticks out its tongue at predators and lets it stay lolling out of its mouth.  Naturalists are not sure of the reason for this behavior.  Finally, chameleons use their long and sticky tongue to reel in their nightly diet of insects.

These behaviors are only the tip of the iceberg for this fascinating group of reptiles.  Make your own study of these beautiful and unusual creatures, whether capturing one in your backyard or discovering those a world away at the library.



2018-04-23

Fact Sheet: CARDINAL TETRA - Paracheirodon axelrodi

peace with my buddies
Photo  by Leino88 
The Cardinal Tetra, Paracheirodon axelrodi is closely related to the very popular Neon Tetra Paracheirodon innesi and the Green Neon Tetra Paracheirodon simulans. It is less closely related to the hundreds of other tetra species. The Cardinal's specific name, axelrodi was given to honour the great fish expert, Herbert R. Axelrod. The Black Neon Tetra Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi is not a very close relative of the Neon or the Cardinal. Its name is misleading.

The Cardinal Tetra's maximum length is a little over 4cm. Cardinal Tetras are a peaceful community fish suitable for keeping with other small, peaceful fish. Common companions include other small tetras, small Rasboras, Guppies and other livebearers like platies and swordtails, as well as Corydoras catfish.

Cardinal Tetras are often kept successfully with discus and seem better able to tolerate the high temperatures. Discus fish need than Neons. They are also a little bigger than Neons and less likely to be eaten by a discus.

Fish I would not recommend putting with Cardinals include all large fish, Buenos Aires Tetras and Tiger Barbs. I have known cases where people have successfully kept Cardinals with some of the fish I just listed, but there is some danger if you attempt it. If you keep Angel Fish and Cardinal Tetras together, you need to accept the likelihood of the Angel Fish growing big enough to eat the small fish.

The Cardinal Tetra comes from the upper reaches of the Amazon River. This is a tropical area and is a tropical fish. Cardinals should have heated water, unless they can be kept in a room that never gets cold. The obvious way to heat the water is with an aquarium heater. I suggest setting the thermostat to 24C.

It comes from acidic and extremely softwater. This is the ideal water for them and is probably essential if you want to breed Cardinals. However, they can be kept successfully in water with Ph ranging from 5.0 to 7.4. They will tolerate moderately hard water for living in, but extremely softwater is needed if you want to attempt to breed them. When they are kept with mixed other fish in an aquarium, I recommend a Ph of about 7. Some cover like plants are beneficial for the fish.

Cardinals can be kept successfully, even in the strange water that comes through the taps in the Adelaide Hills as long as you get rid of the high level of Chloramine and adjust the Ph.



Like many tetras, the Cardinal is a schooling fish and I recommend that at least five be kept together. A school in an aquarium is a surprisingly beautiful sight. When it is dark, this fish losses its bright colours, but quickly regains them when it gets light again.

Although Cardinals will school with their own species for preference, if there are too few Cardinals to form a school they can school with Neons.

Like many fish, Cardinal Tetras are naturally omnivores and will eat a wide variety of food in the aquarium. Flakes are the normal basic diet for them. I find they also benefit from dry fry food. They enjoy small live food like small wrigglers (mosquito larvae) and small crustaceans like daphnia. Frozen foods like blood worms are also good. Remember they are small fish. DO NOT OVERFEED.




2018-04-22

Creating the Perfect REEF AQUARIUM

our 440 l reef tank
440 l Reef tank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just as nature above the sea level is as variable as the sun, from the deserts of Arizona to the snow topped caps of the Swiss Alps, so can the world under the sea be a constant study in contrasts, with no two reefs the same. This is good news for the underwater enthusiast who is attempting to establish the perfect reef aquarium in their home; there is no established "formula" for the perfect tank. There's plenty of room for creativity!

One thing that cannot be shirked upon is the size of a tank. It must be more than adequate to allow the species of fish that are chosen to inhabit it plenty of room to exercise and grow. Just as a person cannot thrive in an enclosed environment, neither can a fish. A 75 gallon tank is a generous size for the home marine biologist to establish their own eco-system and allows for space for several species of fish to spread out (provided they are compatible species, of course. Putting two species together who are unsuited to tank life together is a recipe for disaster, regardless of the size of the tank).

Courtesy of advances in the convenience of establishing a home aquarium it is now possible to purchase an aquarium that has been pre-drilled in order to prevent overflow. This provides a cleaner look than the traditional "hang on the back" overflow system for the home professional who is attempting to create the picture perfect reef aquarium.

There are many options for decorating a reef aquarium, although it is generally much more aesthetically pleasing and healthy to the fish to keep all of the decorations one hundred percent organic. Live rock is a vital element to any eco-system, yet makes a lovely addition to a home saltwater aquarium. The microorganisms which grow on the rock (the rock is not really alive, obviously; it gets its name from the fact that it is a natural habitat for many species of bacteria) will help to filter out the harmful waste products produced by the fish that will accumulate in the water of a saltwater aquarium in spite of the filtering system-after all, how often does Mother Nature need to clean her saltwater aquarium? She has created the perfect filtering system as long as man does not add any elements to throw off the balance.

Live plants and coral are also essential elements to the perfect reef aquarium. There are many different types of plants which can be added to a reef aquarium, and it is best to choose based on the species of fish which will be inhabiting the tank. For successful transplantation of live aquarium plants it is essential that the sand or silt on the bottom of the tank be deep enough to allow the roots of the plants to successfully take hold. These plants will also require additional light and carbon dioxide to allow for proper photosynthesis.



There are many options for creating the perfect saltwater aquarium, many of them very costly; however, with the proper mix of imagination and frugality it is possible to create a reef aquarium that is aesthetically, ecologically and financially friendly.



2018-04-20

Tips on LONGFIN BANNERFISH Care

Pennant coralfish
Pennant coralfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The longfin bannerfish or Heniochus acuminatus is a part of the family Chaetodonidae. This family contains over 120 different species in 10 genera. Longfins are endemic to the Indo-Pacific region and the Red Sea.

These fish bear a strikingly similarity to the Moorish idol. They are narrow and triangular in shape with two thick black, vertical stripes contrasting against their white bodies. The first tripe is just behind the head. The second is located just prior to the base of their caudal fin. Their caudal, anal and pectoral fins are bright yellow in color. They have a long sickle-shaped crest the top of their dorsal fins that extends well past their tail just like their look-alikes.

So why is their resemblance to a Moorish idol of any significance? The exotic elegance of the idol makes it a very desirable choice among aquarists. Unfortunately, idols are one of the hardest marine species to maintain in captivity. Many expert aquarists can't manage to keep Moorish idols alive and healthy. Whereas the longfin bannerfish is one of the easiest fish to raise in a saltwater aquarium. 

You get the exotic look you are after without investing in a recipe for disaster. Longfins are in fact commonly referred to as "the poor man's Moorish idol," within the aquarium trade. Longfins are not considered less expensive than Moorish Idols. But they are much more likely to still be alive a year from now. This makes them a much more economical species. Longfin Bannerfish is also marketed under the names black and white butterflyfish, black and white Heniochus, and pennant coralfish.

Pennant coralfish are relatively large fish. They grow to a maximum adult length of 10 inches although 7 inches in length is more typical. This is a very active and robust fish. A minimum tank size of 55 gallons is recommended. If you intend on keeping them as community fish you will require at least a 100-gallon aquarium. These are peaceful animals and should not be housed with more aggressive species. 


They are a shoaling fish by nature and will mix well with other members of their species in the confines of an aquarium. There is a distinct possibility that they will establish a dominance hierarchy when first introduced into an aquarium. There may be a little bit head-butting until the pecking order is established. These fish may demonstrate territorial behavior toward other butterflyfish species. Pennants do not make particularly good marine reef fish. They have a tendency to nip at soft corals and smaller invertebrates. Pennants are mid-level to upper-level swimmers in an aquarium. They may live in excess of 5 years in captivity.

Longfins are omnivorous. They are primarily zooplankton feeders in their natural habitat. They generally acclimate quickly to aquarium foods. They will readily accept both flake food and pellets. As with all marines species, a varied diet will help avoid nutritional deficiencies and maintain overall fit and vigor. Frozen or freeze died preparations for marine omnivores is a good start. A good supply of well-established living rocks and dried algae sheets will help to round out their diets.

There are no distinguishing traits between the males and females of this species. These fish rarely breed in captivity.

    Technological advancements in the aquarium industry continually redefine the concept of "home aquarium ownership." Just twenty years ago not even the biggest public aquarium was capable of keeping jellyfish alive in captivity. Now they make desktop Jellyfish Fish Tank Aquariums. And why would you want a jellyfish tank? Perhaps you should check out what the translucent bodies of Pet Moon Jellyfish look like under LED lighting. Pet Jellyfish give a whole new meaning to the term exotic pets.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



2018-04-19

Lively PLATY FISH Are the Color Kings in the Entire Fish Community

English: A female "Golden Comet" or ...
A female "Golden Comet" or "Twin Bar" Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus).
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Platy fish are very famous for their colors. In fact, they are called color kings in the entire fish community. They are good for the beginners and they can easily live with other species of fish in the same aquarium.

They come from South America, especially Mexico and Guatemala. As they carry a dark spot on their tail, they are famous with the name 'Moonfish'.

Originally, there were two main species of platyfish. Now there are numerous varieties created by the breeders. They are interbred with swordtails and it is now very difficult to separate them from other species. Presently they are available in all possible colors you want and even in all combinations of colors your desire. So these variations make your aquarium very lively and colorful. That is the main reason for experienced fish-keepers to go for platyfish.

A well-lit aquarium with a lot of plants is ideal for platyfish. If you add a small amount of salt in the water, they are very happy to live in. Of course, this will depend on the other species of fish you are keeping in the aquarium. There should be enough open space for them for swimming and hiding. If you provide some floating plants that will automatically provide enough hiding places for them.

One important thing to remember about the colors of platyfish is - the males will not show their colors until they are fully grown up. If you keep the temperature of the water a bit colder, their colors will brighten up.

Platyfish will eat all types of live food as well as flaked food. In addition, they will eat a lot of algae and other plants. If you provide them live or frozen brine shrimp, blood-worms or tubifex, they will be very happy. They will require some amount of proteins in their food but at the same time, they will require algae in their daily diet.

The females are bigger than the males. The females grow up to 2,5 inches while the males can grow only up to 2 inches. However, the females are in plain color while males are found in a number of colors.

They can happily live in the water having a ph level of 7.0 to 8.0. The temperature of the water should be kept in the range of 60 to 75° F.

They are very easy breeders because they will reproduce without any efforts or attention on your part. They will not eat their eggs or fry and they will live peacefully with their kids. They will get overpopulated soon; you should provide enough space in your aquarium for their growth.

As they are hardy and they can tolerate a wide range of conditions of water, they make an excellent choice for both the beginners as well as for the experienced fish-keepers.


    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


2018-04-18

SEVERUM CICHLID - Basic Information About the Breed

Green Severum
Green Severum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They are scientifically known as the Heros severus and commonly called the green severum, or the Hero cichlid, or even the Banded cichlid. This variety belongs to the family Cichlidae of the South American cichlid. Normally they can grow as much as 8 inches in length at maturity and has a lifespan of approximately 10 years.

They are endemic to South America and can thrive in a 40-gallon aquarium. They do well together with New World Cichlids as tank mates such as the Firemouth, Green terror, Salvini, Texas, Blood Parrots and even Peicos.

Severum cichlids came from the Northern American region of Brazil and appear to have a body shape similar to that of a discus. There are two color variations of these species and that includes Gold severum which was developed out of the green severum. They are originally bred from a pale yellow iridescent color without dark band original color. From the word green, green severum possess a greenish body with a good number of bands on its body.

Severum's thrive well with a water temperature of 72 - 84 degrees Fahrenheit, a pH range from 5.1 - 6.5, and a hardness between 3 - 10 inches. Regularly change about 10 - 20% water change weekly or bi-weekly depending on the number of cichlids in the tank.

Breeding information:
Although they are a peaceful species, they still have the possibility of eating small fish when placed together. Furthermore, severums may be quite difficult to breed compared to the other New World Cichlids because they are hard to pair off and also they do not readily pair off with the females. Sexing female or male severums are hardly recognized merely by its appearance. But they also have features that match that of other cichlid varieties and that is they basically spawn in a particularly clean horizontal surface as well as acting very concern parents to its young. They would patiently guard and take care of their young while growing up.


What is its proper diet?
Severums are omnivorous, they love flake foods, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and cichlid sticks which are considered as its favorite. They also like blanched zucchini, earthworms, or marine crustaceans. However, do not feed beef heart or liver for this food is hard to digest and may cause illness. Feed the food only 2 - 5 pinches in a small amount and in small quantities a day and not at once. This way the quality of water is kept for a long period of time. By letting your fish fast for one day once a week is also advantageous to your pet. Providing severum cichlid with vitamins and supplements which are added to its food may also be beneficial.

    Lacey Bryant is a cichlid enthusiast and author, who has been caring for cichlids for over 20 years. It is her goal to see that all Cichlids are properly cared for.
    Article Source: EzineArticles