Cardinal tetras Paracheirodon axelrodi waking ...
Cardinal tetras Paracheirodon axelrodi waking up in an aquarium.
Just after the lights were turned on. Its skin yet in a pink tone.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Cardinal tetra is similar to more frequently kept Neon tetra but is much more difficult to breed in aquariums. Since both species look similar to each other at first glance, they are sometimes mixed up with each other and the Cardinal tetra is sometimes erroneously referred to as "red neon tetra". Telling them apart is however not very difficult. Both species have a characteristic sparkling blue line that bisects the body, and under this line, you will notice a red lateral stripe. If this red coloration extends only halfway to the nose of the fish, you know that it is a Neon tetra. If the red coloration instead extends much longer, you are looking at a Cardinal tetra. The red coloration of the Cardinal tetra was thought to resemble the long red robes worn by cardinals, hence the name. The scientific name of this species was given to it in honor of a highly regarded ichthyologist.

Since the Cardinal tetra is quite difficult to breed in aquariums, a majority of the Cardinal tetras in the aquarium trade has been wild caught. The native habitat of the Cardinal tetra is the upper Orinoco and Negro rivers in South America, where the water is acidic and very soft. Fortunately enough, the Cardinal tetra is very prolific in the wild and is not considered an endangered species. It is only reluctant to breed when kept in aquariums. In the wild, it is uncommon for a Cardinal tetra to grow older than one year. When you keep Cardinal tetras in aquariums without any predators around, you can, however, make them survive for several years.

The Cardinal tetra can be kept in community aquariums with other peaceful species that appreciate the same water conditions. It will usually stay smaller than 2 inches in length and a group of Cardinal tetras does not need a large aquarium to do well. This species is rarely found in beginner aquariums since it is quite scarce in the aquarium trade, but it is not overly sensitive and a dedicated beginner aquarium keeper that is prepared to monitor the water chemistry and perform frequent water changes can usually make his or her Cardinal tetras thrive. It is especially important to keep down the level of nitrate. The Cardinal tetra is a schooling fish and keeping at least ten specimens is recommended, since this will make the fish less shy and stressed. Cardinal tetras are also much more beautiful to watch when they form a big school, and living in a school makes them display a much broader variety of natural behaviors.

When you set up an aquarium for your Cardinal tetras you should ideally try to make it similar to the native habitat of the fish. A well-planted aquarium that contains floating species is recommended, but you should also leave an area open for swimming. The water should be acidic and very soft. Keep the pH in the 4.6-6.2 range and the d G H under 4. Cardinal tetras can adapt to harder water and even alkaline conditions, but they will be much more sensitive and prone to illness. The recommended temperature range is 73-81° F (23-27 ° C) or even warmer.


Fact Sheet: QUEEN ANGELFISH - Holacanthus ciliaris

(Original Title: Facts About the Queen Angelfish)

A Queen Angelfish
A Queen Angelfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Queen angelfish is considered the most beautiful of all the angelfish, although it isn't suited for a small aquarium. The Queen angelfish was named in 1758 by Linnaeus, a scientific name of Holacanthus ciliaris. They live to up to 15 years of age. If you decide to introduce a Queen angelfish to your aquarium there are some guidelines to follow:

The adult Queen is blue with yellow rims on its scales. The ventral fins and pectoral fins are yellow, their lips and edging on their dorsal fins and anal fins are blue. They also have blue around each gill cover. They grow up to 45 cm in length.
The juvenile queen angelfish has blue bodies with yellow gills, tail, and lips. They have vertical bars ranging from light blue to white.

Geographical Location
The Queen angelfish is found in the Western Atlantic, from Florida to Brazil to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It is also found in the Eastern Central Atlantic, around Saint Peter and Saint Paul Islets. It is found at a depth of up to 70 meters. It can be found on stony reef corals and Porifera sponges.

Adult Queen angelfish are found in pairs leading to suggest that they are monogamous fish. Reproduction occurs with the pair rising to the surface of the water and releasing sperm and egg in a cloud effect.

Females can release from 25-75 thousand eggs each evening, which equates to 10 million eggs in their spawning cycle. The eggs hatch in 15-20 hours as larvae. The larvae don't have eyes, fins or a gut. Within 48 hours the sac is absorbed and somewhat resembles a free-swimming fish. The larvae feed on plankton. 3-4 weeks later the juvenile will settle on the bottom and is around 15-20 mm in length.

Aquarium Requirements
The Queen angelfish is not recommended for a novice aquarist. It is sensitive to organic waste and because of that, it is hard to feed. It is a lively fish and swims in the open in the day.

The tank needs to be at least 150-200 gallons as it approaches its full size in length. It needs to have hiding spots for the Queen as well as other fish who may want to keep away from it. The Queen angelfish can be semi-aggressive and therefore should be added last to the aquarium. Two male Queen angelfish can lead to violence, but if it's to be kept with other angelfish they should all be introduced together. This is not a guarantee though that it won't be aggressive, however.

It is best to make sure the aquarium environment factors such as water temperature and pH-balance is stable before you introduce the Queen.

Queen angelfish respond well in a reef aquarium. They will nip at soft corals, clam mantles, and stony corals. It is best to train it to eat foods other than sponges, hydroids, tunicates, feather dusters because they can deplete the environment and it leads to malnutrition.

In the sea, the Queen survives mainly on sponges. In an aquarium it is expensive to feed it only sponges so training it to eat other foods is advised. Serving up frozen meat foods like shrimp, squid and an angelfish formula which consists of sponges is beneficial. They also require algae on a daily basis. You can also feed them vegetables like spinach, aubergines, and zucchini. They require many small portions of food a day.

    By Kate Strong
    Although there are a few requirements to get your Queen angelfish to thrive in your aquarium, the beauty of these fish certainly outweigh any hardships you encounter along the way.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



Neon Tetra Photo: Wikipedia
Cardinal tetras are beautiful fish because of their bright red color. They are very popular among the fish keepers. However, their cousins Neon tetras have shiny neon blue color and they are also attractive. So sometimes it becomes difficult for the fish-keepers to make a choice between them.

Neon tetras are inexpensive and sturdy fish ideal for beginners. As they have a good temperament, they fit well in a community aquarium. They can grow only up to 1 inch and they do not have any eating habits.

Cardinal tetras will grow up to 2 inches and they are expensive because their breeding in captivity is very difficult. They need to be imported from the South American region.

Paracheirodon cardinalis.JPG
Cardinal Tetra Photo: Wikipedia
As neon tetras are hardy fish, they can tolerate variations in the living conditions. If there is any major change in the temperature of the water or the ph level, they will try to cope up with that environment. Out of the whole family of tetra fish, neon tetras are the toughest. On the other hand, cardinal tetras are very sensitive to the conditions of water and a slight change in the conditions of water may affect them in a big way.

Both cardinal tetras and neon tetras are schooling fish and the need to live in a group. When you decide to keep any of them, you should buy a group of at least 10. If they are kept alone, they will get stressed and will get sick and may die.

Both these species can eat any type of food offered to them. They love to eat live food but at the same time, they can eat boiled vegetables and flaked food. Both of them can eat small insects and worm which are present in the water.

However, both of these species love to remain in the middle level of the aquarium. So when you decide to keep both of them in one tank, there will be problems. Even though your aquarium is large, if both of them want to occupy the middle area, there will be territorial problems. In addition, there will be problems during the breeding periods of neon tetras. Their eggs may be eaten by cardinal tetras. So it is better to keep only one of them in the aquarium.

It is a difficult decision to make. However, here are a few guidelines for you:

1. If your budget is limited, cardinal tetras will be expensive for you. So you should go for neon tetras.
2. If you are a beginner, it will be very difficult for you to keep ideal conditions of water in the aquarium all the time. Even a slight variation in the conditions may hurt cardinal tetras. So you may select neon tetras to start with. Later you can think of keeping cardinal tetras.
3. However, if you have some experience in fish-keeping, and you want to show off your aquarium to your family and visitors, you can select cardinal tetras. Their beautiful bright red color will shine against appropriate background of substrate and decorations.

It is difficult to breed neon tetra is in captivity but it is almost impossible for the experienced breeders to try for cardinal tetras. Considering their huge demand, some experienced breeders may try to sell you something which they will label as neon tetras or cardinal tetras. The fish will be cheaper but may not show their bright colors and they may look dull and inactive. Most of the times, they may die soon after bringing home. So you should be careful while purchasing any of them. You should speak in details to the staff of the pet fish store and if possible consult your friends before you buy.

    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


FIREMOUTH CICHLID - Cichlasoma meeki

FIREMOUTH CICHLID - Cichlasoma meeki



Photo  by leafbug 
Mandarinfish Synchiropus splendidus, belong to the Callionymidae or dragonet family. They are endemic to the Pacific Ocean. Their native habitat ranges from the Ryukyu Islands to Australia. This bottom-dwelling species is commonly found in sheltered lagoons and inshore reefs.

This is one of the most beautifully colored fish in all of nature. It color palette looks like it came straight from one of the polyester shirts popular in the 70s. A psychedelic montage of oranges, yellows and greens coalescing across a neon blue body make this fish a sure standout in any aquarium. Its vivid coloration evokes the rich color patterns and embroidered adornments on the robes of an Imperial Chinese Mandarin. This coloration makes for ideal camouflage against the brightly colored species typical of a tropical marine reef formation. They are sold under a variety of trade names including striped mandarin fish, mandarin dragnet, striped dragonet, green dragonet, mandarin goby, green mandarin, and even the psychedelic mandarin fish. One would think a species of such exotic magnificence would fetch a hefty price. In reality, these are very affordable fish.

Dragonets account for 10 genera and more than 182 species of the 267 genera and 2,100 species collectively referred to as gobies. Gobies are small fish. A fully grown adult mandarin will only reach between 2.5 and 4 inches in length. This is a mild-mannered creature and should not be housed with more aggressive species or fish large enough to view it as an appetizing snack. In nature, they often commune in small groups. However, in the confines of an aquarium two males may demonstrate territorial behavior toward one another. Keeping a male and a female together will not present a problem. This is a timid fish. Avoid having lots of other bottom dwellers in your community tank. 

The Mandarin is more likely to starve itself to death rather than compete for its food. It will also require plenty of hiding places. This is a suitable candidate for a reef aquarium. It does consume crustaceans but they are much smaller than the ones you would purchase to populate your reef tank. Do not keep them with sea anemones as you may well wake up with one less fish in your aquarium. Mandarins secrete a toxin in their mucous that covers their bodies as a form of protection against predation. However, this toxin will not affect the other members of your aquarium as long as they do not attempt to eat the mandarin.

Mandarinfish are recommended for expert aquarists only. This is specifically because of their specialized diet in nature. This omnivore's diet is largely comprised of amphipods (small shrimp-like crustaceans), copepods (planktonic sized crustaceans), Gastropoda (tiny univalve mollusks) and polychaete worms.

Mandarins will often succumb to a death of malnutrition within the first six months of captivity. Many simply cannot make the transition to life in an aquarium. It is highly recommended that you ask to watch the one you intend to purchase feed before taking it home. Providing plenty of well established live rock and living sand as a substrate will help in the acclimation process.

Despite its troubles adapting to a life of captivity, mandarins are a hardy and highly diseases resistant species. They have scale-less bodies and a skin type that is naturally immune to ichthyophthirius (ich). Mandarins who successfully acclimate to aquarium life are healthy active fish that can easily live in excess of 10 years possibly even as long as 15.

It is relatively easy to sex mandarins. Males are generally larger than females. The male's dorsal fin is more elongated and pointed than that of the females. This fish has been known to 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


Safety With REPTILES

Beautiful Little Snake (In The Shade)
Photo by Tobyotter
Reptiles are animals to be respected.  Many people think it's funny to irritate a reptile to get a reaction.  These same people probably have the pet peeve of others irritating them to get a reaction. It's the idea of dishing it out and not being able to take it.  Please put yourself in the reptile's place. While they may not exhibit emotions other than what seems like anger, they are living beings that deserve to be treated in a kind way.

It is illegal in many places to hold a reptile captive, even if you consider yourself to be taking good proper care of the animal.  You may need a license or permit to be able to take care of it, even if you are trying to "save" it because of obvious injury or illness.  It is best to contact a wildlife rehabilitator any time you see a wild animal in distress.  If you can't find a wildlife rehabilitator, perhaps you could call a game warden or a nearby zoo or vet for further aid.

Collection and transport of reptiles can cause damage or trauma.  This may make the reptile more apt to strike out in defense upon any close contact.  Would you be a bit annoyed if someone removed you against your will to put you in an unfamiliar place?

It is best for the animal if it is allowed to stay in the environment to which it is accustomed when possible.

If you do happen to be unable to resist the urge to capture a wild reptile and later decide it wasn't such a good idea after all, please contact someone who would be qualified to take over its care.  Wildlife animal refuges and zoos are equipped for the care of reptiles and may be happy to assist to keep the animal alive and well.

If you know of a reptile that is being abused or neglected because of improper care or treatment, you could try contacting a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.  Your local veterinarian's office, game warden, zoo, or animal shelter should be able to direct you to the right phone number or address of the nearest office for complaints.  Should you be uncomfortable with providing your name, make it known from the start.  It is understandable to want to keep yourself protected from an irritable owner caught by authorities for cruelty.  But please, don't let this stop you from helping the poor unwilling creature.  There are ways to protect yourself and reach out to help.

The exotic pet trade is big business that uses clever marketing techniques to snare people's interest in reptiles.  Some people want the exotic pet as a hobby, a novelty item, or a status symbol.  It may present the element of class or style they mistakenly wish to portray.  The animal is the one that suffers when the interest has grown dim, and the excitement has worn off.

Safety with reptiles is not just about safety for the humans who are interested in handling the reptiles.  It's also about the safety of the reptiles themselves.


The Amazing ASAGI KOI: Types and Classifications

Oya Asagi 78cm
Photo   by KoiQuestion 
Koi fish come in a large variation around the world and are one of the most popular when it comes to fish collecting enthusiasts.

Originally, koi used to come in three basic colors: red, white and yellow, but with the passage of time and advancement in science that helped cross-breeding to take place, we have a huge variety of koi to choose from.

With variety comes a score of colors and designs, all in sub-classes. Whatever type of koi you choose for your pond, however, you can be sure that you will be making the pond aesthetically pleasing.

When we think of types of koi, probably the oldest type of koi that comes to mind is the Asagi koi. The Asagi is believed to be the original koi, its appearance dating back to as far back as 160 years. It is also now known that the Asagi is the result of a mutation of an earlier type called the Magoi (Black koi).

A variant of the species came into being from the Black Koi, having blue scales and a lighter shade of blue around the scales, making a net-like pattern. This new species was cross-bred with Kohaku to get Asagi koi.

This koi had red cheeks and fins and a blue dorsal area.
Usually, gray/blue scales on the back are a common feature of Asagi koi. Sometimes the scales can vary in color and turn from lighter to darker shades of blue, usually around the center of the dorsal area.

Usually, the pectoral fins and the gills of the Asagi koi are found to be bright red but the koi can turn really dark in cold water. It has even been observed to turn totally black!

There are several sub-classes of the Asagi koi which have been formulated according to the patterns they come with. The classification is as follows:

Konjo Asagi: This is the darkest colored Asagi koi that you will find anywhere and can sometimes be totally black.

Narumi Asagi: There was a town in Japan called Narumi, where this special type of cloth with patterns was produced. The Narumi Asagi is named after that town because of having a similar pattern to that cloth.
The Narumi is usually dark blue in the center with light blue or white edges of the scales.

Mizu Asagi: This is the most expensive Asagi koi and comes in a totally light blue color. The color of blue in this koi is the lightest to be found. The Mizu Asagi is also known as Akebi.

Asagi Sanke: This type of Asagi is one of the rarest and priceless Asagi in the world. It has a pearl white abdomen.

Taki Asagi: A pretty uncommon variety, the Taki Asagi has a red abdomen with a white streak across it. The basic Asagi pattern is present.

Shusui: Large mirror scales are the highlight of the Shushui. There are also lateral lines to the left or right of the dorsal line that make the Shushui instantly identifiable. The result of a cross-breed between Asagi and Doitsu.

Most, if not all, of these differences, are easy to spot when choosing the type of Asagi koi you want. Keep in mind though that the most valuable Asagi are the ones with a white abdomen and they are very, very rare.