KOI FISH - A Beginner's Guide to the KOHAKU and the BEKKO

Murata Kohaku 50cm
Murata Kohaku
Photo by KoiQuestion
The Kohaku is the most highly cherished of the koi varieties; a good specimen will be very valuable and really stands out in the pond. It is described as a two colour, non-metallic koi, namely a white bodied Koi with a red (Hi) pattern on its back.

On a good specimen of Kohaku, the pattern should have clearly defined edges and the white should be a good unblemished colour, often described as snow white. The contrast between the two colours can be striking and this is why the Kohaku is so highly prized.

Although a Kohaku cannot have colour variations, it does have pattern varieties and these are generally known by the number, or placement, of Hi patches along the length of the body. Maruten (one circular Hi patch on the head and other Hi on the body), Nidan (two Hi patches along the back) and Inazuma (a single Hi patch along the back in the shape of a lightning strike) are some examples.

These are classic patterns, but other pattern formations are equally attractive, provided the pattern is well balanced. Normally, there should be no Hi on any of the fins of a Kohaku; they should be white at the body joint, changing to almost clear at the tips.

Otsuka Shiro Bekko 64cm
Otsuka Shiro Bekko
Photo by KoiQuestion
The body volume of a Nidan Kohaku is superb. The two patches are almost linked by the extended Hi on the right side. The white nose and caudal regions set this fish off wonderfully.

A beautiful Maruten Kohaku with a snow white skin and beautiful pectoral fins. Good body shape and the excellent pectoral fins make this a koi that will really stand out in your pond.

The Bekko is described as a fish with a black pattern on a coloured base. The black (Sumi) appears as balanced patches along the back of the koi, above the lateral line but not on the head. As in the Utsuri, the Bekko occurs in the base colour variations Shiro (white) Bekko, Aka (red) Bekko and Ki (yellow) Bekko.



Xenopus laevis
Xenopus laevis - Photo by      brian.gratwicke 
Over the last few years, there has been an increasing popularity of keeping frogs as pets. The African Clawed Frog is no exception. Although a little less interactive than non-aquatic frogs, they are a joy to have if you truly want a frog for a pet. Unlike tree frogs or toads, African clawed frogs are aquatic. That means that stay in the water all the time, and come to the surfaced to breathe.

Widely used for in scientific experiments, Xenopus have bread domestically for years. They were used for human pregnancy tests before more modern methods came into play. The female Xenopus was exposed to the urine of a woman, and if the frog laid eggs the woman was pregnant.

Today you can find African Clawed Frogs in many pet and discount stores including Wal-Mart. They are usually small when purchased, but can grow to be five inches in length. Some females have been reported to grow up to eight inches.

These frogs have healthy appetites and will consume almost anything in the tank. If they can get it in their mouths, they will eat it, including fish or other animals. They will even eat live aquarium plants. You can purchase specially formulated frog food at many pet stores or online. If you do not have access to frog food, they will eat floating goldfish pellets or shrimp pellets. An occasional treat of ghost shrimp or small fish is nice, but should not be considered a staple. They will also eat worms. A big juicy night crawler cut into a couple of pieces is always welcome.

Since these frogs grow at a rapid rate, an aquarium of at least ten gallons is necessary. You may want to choose large rocks instead of gravel for your aquarium. There is a chance that gravel could be ingested and cause an impaction problem.

A filter is not mandatory for frog tanks but may help to keep the water cleaner. You may also want to do partial water once a week to ensure water quality. Always keep a cover on your frog tank, because these frogs are great jumpers. If your frog were to jump out and be left unattended for an extended period of time, it would die. Their skin will dry out relatively quickly.

With the right equipment and some tender loving care, you frog will make an excellent pet for years to come. There are some reports of these frogs living for 20 to 25 years!


Bacterial Aquarium FISH DISEASES

List of freshwater aquarium fish species
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are many diseases that can affect the fish in your aquarium. Most diseases can be put into four major categories; Bacterial, Viral, Parasites and Fungus. The common aquarium fish diseases we will focus on in this article are bacterial. There are much more then what we will cover today but the ones below are a good mixture of fatality and ease of treatment.

One must remember that the first step in fighting any disease in your aquarium is to observe your fish on a daily basis for any signs of illness or irregular behaviour. Over time you will naturally know when something doesn't look right. When any aquarium disease is detected you should act immediately to help improve the chances of your fish making a full recovery.

Fin rot is probably one of the most common bacterial infections that appear in aquarium fish. The primary cause of fin rot is poor water quality. It is very easy to diagnosis fin rot because the fins are actually rotting away and will look as if they are dissolving down to the body of the fish. There are many medications that you can purchase in your local pet store designed specifically to address fin rot. You will also want to do frequent water changes to help improve the quality of the water.

Guppies and other fish that are considered livebearers are very susceptible to another bacterial disease called mouth fungus. The most obvious symptom that your fish is suffering from mouth fungus is that of cotton like growth appearing in the mouth. This growth will prevent the fish from eating so you will also observe a loss of weight. When treated quickly with an antibiotic bath mouth fungus is not fatal. You will also want to carry out partial water changes of your aquarium.

Vibriosis can quickly become fatal in fish and spread rapidly throughout your aquarium. There are several signs of infection, reddening of the body, changes in colour and a swollen abdomen and eyes. It is extremely important that if you notice these symptoms that you remove the infected fish to a quarantine tank as quickly as possible to help fight spreading of the infection to the other fish. The reality is that vibriosis is fatal. Antibiotics may help but are very unlikely. One should focus on protecting the other fish in the aquarium from the bacterial disease. By doing full water changes and treating the water with antibiotics.

The last bacterial disease to be discussed that has no treatment is piscine tuberculosis. There will be a major loss of weight and colour in your aquarium fish. The eyes of your fish may abnormally protrude from the body. This attacks the fish's respiratory system and is highly contagious and fatal. Piscine tuberculosis is less common but if it occurs you will lose much fish. The only treatment is to separate all the fish into individual quarantine tanks and observe. You will have to strip down the main tank, disinfect it and restock it. Ultimately you have to start all over again.

Keeping an aquarium can bring many hours of enjoyment. The best treatment for any disease that can affect your aquarium fish is prevention. By regularly observing your fish and acting upon signs of disease quickly you can keep your fish happy and healthy and avoid any catastrophes.



English: Red Turquise Discus Fish فارسی: ماهی ...
Red Turquise Discus Fish - (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
More and more people take up the fish breeding hobby, which would explain a large number of materials and documentation sources that teach breeding discus for beginners. Whether you choose an online e-book or a guide you buy from the bookshop, breeding discus for beginners may prove more easily said than done sometimes. You need to pay all the attention because if you follow some very strict guidelines, the rest of the breeding discus for beginners is truly piece of cake. Let’s see how you recognize the best materials about discus.

First of all, if you have no knowledge of the living conditions of the discus in the wild,  the material about breeding discus for beginners should help you learn how to recreate the most close-to-natural environment you can. In the same category of breeding discus for beginners falls the understanding of the feeding specificity. Normally you feed the discus frozen bloodworms and shrimp, but you may learn that a bag of moss placed in the water will create a closer imitation of the Amazon, as the normal background of these creatures. Thus, breeding discus for beginners requires lots of detailed information and goodwill on the part of the apprentices.

A great place to learn the secrets of breeding discus for beginners is a site such as discus-fish-secrets revealing you plenty of tips about the tank conditions and the prevention of disease too. Lots of e-books and videos that deal with breeding discus for beginners are advertised online, the good part is that they come up with solutions that are close within reach and not too difficult to understand. Make sure you choose one that looks reader-friendly meaning that you don’t need a huge amount of work to understand the supposedly easy breeding discus for beginner’s techniques.


Five Main Types of Freshwater AQUARIUM PLANTS

[WATER PLANTS] - Pogostemom Stellata - Nesaea Pedicellata - Staurogyne repens - Echinodorus Radicans - Cryptocoryne Undalatus Kasselman - Nomaphila Stricta Thay - Anubias Barteri var. Petitte - Anubias Minima - Bolbitis Heudelotii - Crinum Calamistratum - Cryptocoryne Beckettii 'petchii' - Cryptocoryne Wendtii 'Tropica' - Alternanthera Reineckii 'Purple' (lilacina) - Echinodorus 'Ozelot' - Hemianthus Micranthemoides - Proserpinaca Paulustris 'Cuba' - Hemianthus Callitrichoides 'Cuba' - Cyperus Helferi - Vesicularia Dubyana - Hydrocotyle Sibthorpioides (maritima) - Hygrophila Pinnatifida - Microsorum Pteropus 'Narrow' - Microsorum Pteropus 'Petit' - Microsorum Pteropus - Microsorum Pteropus 'Windelov' [FISH] - Otocinclus Affinis - Crossocheilus Siamensis - Paracheirodon Axelrodi - Hyphessobrycon Amandae - Corydoras Aeneus (Albino) - Corydoras Aeneus (Red Fin) [SUBSTRATE] Dupla Substrate [FILTER] Eheim Classic 2260 [LIGHT] Arcadia OT2 Freshwater 1000mm 4x39w T5 [CO2] Dupla Armatur PRO, Dupla Magnetventil and GLA Atomic diffuser [COMMENTS] The tank was setup in a way that would bring back memories of my summer holidays in Portugal, Lisbon. There is a strong light from the left side that will enhance the reds of the Cryptocorynes, Proserpinaca and Alternanthera right underneath it. The layout and color gives the illusion that the sun is rising from between the plants, with the red hues being the sun itself.
Photo: Wikimedia
Yes, you can actually grow live plants in your freshwater aquarium! In fact, it's better to landscape your aquarium with live plants. For one, they offer nutrients to your fish. They also offer hiding places, especially for babies, "fry", as they are called. And they make the aquarium healthier, often adding more oxygen and cleaning the water of toxins. So even if you prefer plastic plants, you might want to give live plants a try. They're more interesting and aren't hard at all to grow.

The general rule of thumb is to landscape your aquarium with plants that would probably be native to your fish's original environment. Even if your fish have never actually been in his native habitat, this is true. The following is a quick course in some of the live plant trade secrets of successful aquarists that you'll need to know to accessorize your freshwater aquarium. There are several main types of aquarium plants that have been found to be successful in tanks. Each group has different planting methods that will be best for them to grow healthily.

  • Bulbs
  • Floating plants
  • Rhizomes
  • Stem plants
  • Other types of freshwater plants

I'll go over a few of these types here. 

Bulbs will usually grow rather large plants and will not be for all aquariums. You'll probably want to grow them in larger tanks. There are more and more bulb-type plants appearing on the market today. You can find some at your local fish store, but be sure to check the internet for a wider variety. And live plants, in general, are not very expensive. To plant bulbs, you'll need to leave the top half of the bulb exposed, the bottom half will be buried in the substrate. Usually, bulbs will grow more little bulbs and form groups, which can later be separated and spread around your aquarium.

Floating plants are really wonderful and require zero care. They just float on the surface of the tank, and in the water, too. Fish love to hide in them and eat in them, and you don't have to plant them. A lot of floaters will resemble ferns or even moss. Great to have around for the "fry" (baby fish) and for your other shy fish. If you're wanting to make your tank a little dimmer, if it seems too bright, floating plants might be a good answer because they'll filter the light and also keep your aquarium cooler.

Rhizomes are similar to bulbs, but the bulb-like root area needs to be planted totally under the substrate. The leaves will grow above the rhizome. These plants are also easy to grow. I've just gone over a couple of types of live aquarium plants here. These are easy to keep, and require almost no care, and will add a more "live" environment for your fish to live in, and they'll be happier and healthier.



"Ichspotonforehead" by User:Helian - Own work. Licensed under
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Fish death is one of the main problems that beginner aquarist and even some expert aquarist face. It’s frustrating to the extent that most quit keeping aquarium fish.

But fish death can be avoided. Most fish deaths are caused as a result of both an internal and external types parasites that compete with the fish in the tank.

As a result, if you watch your aquarium fish often you should be able to discover when they have been infected by this parasite and be able to treat them to avoid fish death.

Look out for the following White Spot disease behavioural symptoms in your fish.

- Constant lying on the bottom or hanging at the surface.
- Rubbing of the body against rocks
- Gasping at the water surface
- No response to feeding
- General dullness and lethargy
- Hovering in a corner
- Fish swimming with clamps up

The most common of the visible signs is the development of the pinhead-size while spots on the body or fins. This ailment is referred to as White Spot disease and is caused by the parasite - Ichthyophthirius Multifillis.

This parasite has a free-swimming stage, which attaches itself to the fish. The most common chemical used in treating infected fishes is Methylene Blue. You could buy a one percent stock solution from a reputable chemist or aquarium shop and apply at 0.8 to 1.0ml per gallon of water. This amount should be added all at once. Repeat after one or two days.

The fishes must remain in this bath until every while spot has disappeared. A water change after treatment is necessary or else prolonged contact with the chemical may affect the fertility of the fish.

Another tip, if you are using a side filter with activated charcoal, should remove it to prevent the coal from absorbing the Methylene Blue.

Another tip... during treatment you should use artificial aeration with coarse bubbles near the surface since a dirty bottom would inactivate the medicament by absorption. A better measure is to remove all dirt from the bottom before treatment.

Methylene Blue is harmless to young fish and unlike the general belief, it does not affect plants if used in weaker concentration.


Fact Sheet: TIGER BARB - Puntius tetrazona

(Original Title: Tiger Barb Fact Sheet)

Tiger Barb 1
Photo by willwhitedc
The Tiger Barb, Puntius tetrazona, is a very popular little fish. Another common name is the Sumatra Barb. Other scientific names that have been used for this fish are Barbus tetrazona, Capoeta sumatraus, Barbodes tetrazona, and Capoeta tetrazona. This fish grows to about two and a half inches long (7cm). It comes from Sumatra, Borneo and the Malay Peninsular. It might have been native to some other places in South East Asia including Cambodia but it has been introduced into places and it is not always clear which are native populations and which are recent introductions.

Water Conditions
Tiger Barbs come from tropical areas. They are a tropical fish that has a slightly better tolerance to lower temperatures than a lot of tropical fish. 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) is a suitable temperature.
Tiger Barbs tolerate a wide range of conditions. I try to keep the pH about neutral (7), but some people prefer to use slightly acidic water. They come from soft water but do not appear to mind some hardness in the water.

There are many colour variation of the Tiger Barb. These include the Moss Green Tiger Barb, also called the Green Tiger Barb, and the Moss-banded Barb. This pretty fish is highly melanistic but does not appear completely black. The scattering of light due to the Tindal Effect makes it appear dark green. It is clear that different people see the colour of this fish slightly differently. A variation of this colour variety is the Platinum Moss Green Tiger Barb. Another popular variation in the Albino Tiger Barb often called the Golden Tiger Barb. Some people consider that the Albino Tiger Barb is less aggressive than the wild-type. I have not observed any difference.

The Tiger Barb is an omnivore and is easy to feed, eating all normal fish foods. They like live food like Daphnia and Mosquito larvae. In the absence of live food, they benefit from the occasional feeding of frozen foods like Blood Worms.

Fin Nipping
The Tiger Barb has the reputation for being the worst of all small fish for nipping the fins of other fish. This reputation is partly deserved. In some circumstances, they can certainly be a problem. However, if you keep a school (At least 6) the problem is reduced. I have known cases where people have bought just one of this species in the mistaken belief that one will be less dangerous than a group. In fact, the opposite is the case, and one or two will usually be much worse than a school.

Once, in our shop, I saw that a single male Guppy had got into a tank of Tiger Barbs. It must have been in for several hours, but it was swimming quite happily and the supposedly aggressive little fish were ignoring it.

Tiger Barbs should be kept in a school. The various varieties all seem to school together. Even with a school of these pretty fish, avoid slow moving fish with long fins like Siamese Fighting Fish, Guppies Endlers Guppies. Some suitable companions are: Rosy Barbs, Paraguay Tetras, Pristella Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras, Colombian Tetras, Rummy Nose Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Scissortail Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Black Widow Tetras, Emperor Tetras, Head and Tail Light Tetras, Glass Bloodfin Tetras, Swordtails, Platies, Mollies, Zebra Danios, Glowlight Tetras, and White Cloud Mountain Minnows, as well as the Corydoras catfish like the Peppered Catfish. Also, avoid larger predatory fish that might eat the Tiger Barbs.

The Tiger Barb is a fairly easy fish to breed. The females tend to be plumper than the males. The male has a redder nose and has a red line above the black part of their dorsal fin.

Keep a school of the fish and allow them to form their own pairs. The prospective parents need to be well fed with live food like Daphnia or other rich foods.

Hobbyists normally breed them in a separate Breeding Tank. The water in this tank should be soft and slightly acidic. They are egg scatterers giving no parental care and will eat fish eggs including their own. They also eat baby fish so it is usual to remove the parents after spawning.

The Breeding tank should have fine-leaved plants, either real or artificial. Some breeders use tanks with nothing on the bottom, but others prefer to use large (perhaps half an inch diameter) round gravel or marbles to stop the parents getting at their eggs.

The adults will often spawn early in the morning of the day after they are put in. If they have not laid their eggs after a few days, try a partial water change with water a little warmer than the breeding tank.

Typically, the female will lay about 200 eggs. These should hatch in about a day and a half, and the babies will be free swimming after five days. The young can be raised on commercial fry food, supplemented when possible with suitable sized live food. The babies need plenty of space to grow quickly, and you need to watch the water quality while feeding them frequently.

The fry grows quickly and if they are well fed, could be over an inch long in eight weeks. These young fish are potentially big enough to breed.

Pest Fish
The Tiger Barb has been introduced to many countries, including Australia, Colombia, Singapore, and Suriname as well as Asian countries they are not native to. They have the potential to cause considerable damage to aquatic ecosystems. Care should be exercised with Tiger Barbs as well as other types of fish to not allow them to escape into the wild.