How to AQUASCAPE - Dutch Style

A 58g aquascape by
A 58g aquascape by (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aquascaping allows you to create a visually impressive aquarium and there a range of different aquascaping styles to choose from for you to create this effect. The style you choose should be based on your personal preference and how confident you are keeping plants generally.

A Dutch style aquascape is a lush arrangement of plants, often containing a diverse arrangement of leaf colors, sizes, and textures. This can be compared to how terrestrial plants are shown in a flower garden and is immediately striking to the beholder. This style attempts to emphasize plants situated at different heights and on different terraces in the tank. When a strong contrast is used, such as prominent red leaves with green, this can be exceptionally striking. Particularly, this style of aquascape may be useful to consider if you are keeping an aquarium where 80% or more of the bottom of the tank will be covered with plants.

Aquascaping like this was developed in the Netherlands in the 1930s, where it became popular elsewhere in the world rapidly, particularly with the growth of commercially available freshwater equipment. Straight rows of plants are commonly called "Dutch streets" and there is a wide range of plant types which can be used in them and the planted aquarium generally. The most commonly used plants are groupings which can be neatly trimmed, plants that have contrasting leaf colorations and also plants which have a feathery foliage. Members of the Hygrophila family are common in Dutch aquariums.

The most important aspects of keeping plants successfully when you are keeping different species is to understand their individual needs and ensure they are similar. If you are keeping two different species of plants which need extremely different water conditions, one or both of them will grow sick and in the worst case scenario, will die. Try to ensure that the plants you wish to keep grow successfully with a similar composition of nutrients, lighting, water hardness, heating, and PH. It may take time to do the research on the individual species, especially in this style of aquascape where many kinds are used, but it is worth it for the long term.

t may be advisable to have a good amount of experience keeping quite a few different kinds of species before trying to create a Dutch aquascape. You may end up wanting to use a wide variety of plants to create the desired effects.

With live aquarium plants, you can overcome all the problems of a non-planted aquarium. You can improve the quality of your aeration, filtration, food and algae control. You can improve the lives of your fish.

Find out how live aquarium plants can help you, help them.

    Sean Norman  an environmental science student and freelance writer with a deep love of ecology. - Article Source: EzineArticles



A Splash of Color
Young Queen Angelfish - Photo  by      laszlo-photo  (cc)
The Queen angelfish (Holacanthus Ciliaris) is one of three very popular "large" angelfish in the marine aquarium hobby today. The other two being the Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus Imperator) and the French Angelfish (Pomacanthus Paru). It reigns as the most popular angelfish in the genus holacanthus. They are a member of the family Pomacanthidae and are one of the largest angelfish among its cousins.

The queen angelfish is commonly found throughout the Caribbean sea, Florida, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico. It is closely related to the Blue Angelfish (Holacanthus Bermudensis) and to the untrained eye they look completely alike. These two angelfish have been known to interbreed in the wild. Their offspring have also been known as Holacanthus Townsendi. It should be noted that Holacanthus Townsendi is not a valid species, it is merely a hybrid. Fortunately, telling them apart is easy, queen angelfish possess a blue-ringed crown on its head while the blue angelfish does not.

As with all larger angelfish species, juvenile coloration differs from that of an adult. Juveniles possess bright blue vertical bars from its face to its main body. These bars will slowly disappear as they grow. Adults sport a brilliant iridescent yellow and blue throughout their entire body.
Juvenile angelfish also take on a peculiar role in the wild. They assume the role of "cleaners". As cleaners they provide a valuable service for other marine fish, they feed on any parasites present on the bodies of other fish.

This is an expensive fish, small specimens usually retail for $80-$90 USD with large adults (Show quality) costing $200 and upwards.

Larger angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae have developed a well deserved reputation or being aggressive bullies in captivity. Queen angelfish is no exception.
It generally ignores other species of fish but is pretty hostile towards other large angelfish. It is especially hostile towards other queen angels or blue angelfish for that matter. One queen angelfish per tank is the general rule.

This angelfish reaches lengths of up to 18 inches. A foot and a half! They rarely achieve such lengths in captivity however, expect a maximum size of 12 to 13 inches or so.
Marine aquariums no smaller than 150 gallons should be used to house a queen angelfish. As with all larger marine fish, the bigger the tank, the better. Ensure your rock scape in the aquarium allows for ample swimming space.

Do not be fooled into buying smaller juveniles for a 50 gallon aquarium. They will quickly outgrow such small tanks in a matter of months. The queen angelfish is not reef safe, it can eat corals or at least nip on them until they eventually perish. Though some hobbyists have been successfully keeping them in reef aquariums, they are more often seen in large, fish-only aquariums.

They feed on tunicates, sponges, corals, algae and plankton in the wild. Avoid housing them in a reef aquarium with many corals as they can make short work of your expensive corals.
Offer them a good variety of foods from sheets of nori/seaweed to meaty foods like krill or mysis shrimp. New Life Spectrum produces some of the highest quality pellets on the market and would be my first choice as a good pellet food to offer my fish.

Formula two is a pretty balanced food for angelfish as well, containing seafood and extra algae for herbivorous fishes. It is available in pellet, flake or frozen cube form.
The most complete food available for Queen Angelfish is Angel Formula by Ocean Nutrition. This food was specifically designed to cater to the needs of large angelfish, they contain a good mix of fresh seafood, algae, vitamins and most importantly, marine sponges. Angel Formula is only available in frozen cube form.

With regards to nori sheets/seaweed sheets for your queen angelfish. You could choose either branded seaweed sheets from companies catering to herbivorous fish or you can always run down to your local supermarket and get some there. Depending on the brand they could either be very expensive or very cheap.

If you're buying from the supermarket, make sure you buy the plain, unflavoured/unspiced version. Raw nori is a good choice if available. Get a clip for your nori and stick it on the side of the aquarium glass.


PEPPERMINT ANGELFISH - Paracentropyge boylei

PEPPERMINT ANGELFISH - Paracentropyge boylei - Photo: Wikimedia


KOI Types - Your Guide To Koi Varieties

watching the monitor
Koi watching the monitor - Photo  by      The_Gut  (cc)
The word "Koi" means "carp" and originates from the Japanese language. The nomenclature indicates both the brightly colored Koi types and the dull gray fish. In Japan, the fish are called nishikigoi. The literal translation of nishikigoi is "brocaded carp". Koi in Japan means love or affection. Koi in Japan are symbols of love and affection. They have also become a popular subject for tattoos.

The common carp was grown for a food fish in China as far back at the fifth century. It has been concluded through scientific study that there is a minimum of two different subspecies of carp. One is from East Asia and another from Eurasia. Through continuous cross-breeding, the various varieties have evolved. Through the study of mitochondrial DNA, it has been learned that Koi are descendants of a variety of hybridized species.

The characteristics that distinguish the Koi are scalation, patterning, and coloration. The primary colors of Koi are black, white, yellow, red, blue and cream. The color combinations are unlimited. Breeders have taken it upon themselves to identify certain color combinations. The most popular of the Koi varieties are the Gasanke which consists of the Taisho Sanshoku, the Showa Sanshoku and the Kohaku varieties.

The crossbreeding has continued. As recently as the 1980's, Ghost Koi was developed in the UK. They are a cross between the wild Koi and the Ogon Koi. Their metallic scales are what distinguish them from other Koi. The dragon carp, which is also known as the Longfin Koi or the Butterfly Koi have long flowing fins which distinguish them from the other varieties. There are those breeders that do not consider the butterfly Koi and ghost Koi to be true Nishikigoi. The development of Koi types continue and the variety of choices increases. There are some who feel that the original Koi types are the only true Koi.

The Various Koi Types

Kohaku: This popular white Koi has red markings on the top of its body. the name Kohaku means red and white. This original Koi developed in the 19th century.

Taisho Sanshoku is also known as Taisho Sanke. In 1914, breeders introduced these types of Koi. They are similar to the Kohaku but have additional black markings. These small black markings are called Sumi. In the United States, they are frequently called Sanke. The kanji can be read as Sanshoku or sanke.

Showa Sanshoku is a black Koi. It has red and white markings. These types of Koi was first shown in 1927 during the Showa empire. The amount of shiroji, white markings, has increased over the years. In the United States, the name has been abbreviated to Showa.

Tancho Koi are distinguished by the single red patch that you see on the head of the Koi. The Koi in this category can be either Tancho Showa, Tancho Sanke or Tancho Goshiki. This Koi was named for the Japanese crane. The crane has a red spot on its head also.

Chagoi is tea-colored Koi. The color covers a wide spectrum of colors from a very pale olive drab green to a copper or bronze hue. Recently some have appeared in shades of orange. These particular Koi types are friendly, docile and very large. Keepers like to keep them in their pond with other Koi varieties as they feel they are a sign of good luck.

Asagi Koi is usually red, yellow or cream below the lateral lines of the fish and on its cheeks. The rest of the fish is a beautiful light blue. The name means pale greenish-blue in Japanese and also spring onion or indigo.

Utsurimono Koi are black and have either white, red or yellow marking. The original is the black and white markings, called the zebra color. The red and white are Hi Utsuri and Shiro Utsuri. Utsuri means to print. The black markings are very similar to ink markings. These types of Koi are genetically the same as Showa but without the white or red pigment.

Bekko is a yellow, white or red skinned Koi that has distinctive black markings. The name translates to "tortoise shell". The white, red and yellow Koi varieties are Shiro Bekko, Aka Bekko and Ki Bekko. Occasionally they are confused with Utsuri.

Shusui translates to "autumn green". The Shusui appeared in 1910. It is a cross between the German mirror carp and the Japanese Asagi. These particular Koi types have one line of large scales that extend from its head to its tail.


Fact Sheet: GREEN TERROR - Andinoacara rivulatus

Green Terror 

Andinoacara rivulatus - 20061112.jpg

Common Name: Green Terror
Binominal name: Andinoacara rivulatus (syn Aequidens rivulatus) 
Origin: South America
Family: Cichlidae

Care Level: Moderate

Tank Conditions: 72-80°F; pH 6.5-8.0; KH 9-20

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 8"

Color Form: Bright Blue, Green, White

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Diet:  Omnivore

The Green Terror is a beautifully marked cichlid. Its body is a greenish white with many electric blue spots on the chin area. The males of this species have a longer tail fin, which is outlined in red.

The Green Terror requires an aquarium of at least 50 gallons, with a sandy bottom, and rock work that will provide plenty of hiding spots. Live plants should be planted in pots to protect the roots from these fish. The Green Terror is generally peaceful with other fish of similar size, but can get more territorial as it matures.

The Green Terror is an open-breeder and will accept a range of water conditions. The Green Terror readily pairs and the female will take the bigger role in raising the fry. The female will lay the eggs on a cleaned, flat rock. They will spawn about every two weeks if the young are removed from the aquarium.

The Green Terror is omnivorous and will eat most prepared and frozen foods, including freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and ocean plankton, as well as flake food and Cichlid pellets.


Testing the Hardness of Your AQUARIUM WATER

Česky: Pitná voda - kohoutek Español: Agua potable
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As the ecosystem in nature is very fragile and prone to triggering severe consequences if the balance of elements is altered so is the ecosystem inside of an aquarium a very fragile thing, leading to devastating consequences if the balance is thrown off. Because of this it is important that the elements of the water be tested on a regular basis and necessary alterations made as frequently as possible.

There are many elements which are important for the well being of your aquarium fish; temperature and pH have the greatest immediate impact on their well being and should be monitored closely. There are certain precursors which can be tested in order to anticipate problems with these elements, and by closely monitoring these precursors an attentive owner can prevent the death of their fish in much the same way that an attentive physician may be able to head off the formation of cancer.

The carbonate hardness, or kh, level of the water should be monitored closely using one of the commercial systems which are available on the market. These can be purchased from any saltwater fish dealer or through an online retailer such as Amazon.com. The hardness of the water is significant because it can lead to rapid swings in pH. These swings can cause the fish to become stressed, making them more vulnerable to disease than they would be otherwise. This means that it will take very little to make them ill; the germs from the fingers of human hands could be enough to cause an epidemic and wipe out your entire aquarium population. Remember what smallpox did to the Indian populations because their immune systems were not prepared? The consequences could be just as fatal.

Fish will generally adapt to the hardness of the local water supply fairly quickly; however, to truly thrive their environment should be as close to that of their natural habitat (i.e. where they would be living if they were not living in a tank in your home) as possible. This is particularly necessary if you are entertaining the notion of breeding your fish-bear in mind that much like human newborns baby fish will not have had a chance to adapt to an environment that was not suited for them, and many may die because of this. Organic water plants will also thrive best in water that closely resembles their natural habitat. There are many commercial products available which will help to soften the water if the kh level is too high.

By carefully monitoring the kh levels of your aquarium you will be able to stay one step ahead of the elements and help to ensure that your fish have the best chance of survival possible.