Tips on RASBORA - Care and Spawning

English: Harlequin rasbora, Trigonostigma hete...
Harlequin rasbora, Trigonostigma heteromorpha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rasboras or Rasbora heteromorpha are members of the family Cyprinidae. Rasboras are native to Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, and southern Thailand. There are several species in the genus Rasbora. We will focus our attention on R. Heteromorpha. The Greek translation of Heteromorpha literally means differently shaped.

Rasboras are commonly referred to as harlequin fish or harlequin rasboras. This reference alludes to the black triangular patch on the back half of their bodies which is reminiscent to the patterns found on the costume of a harlequin.

Rasboras have a docile temperament. They make a good choice for a community tank provided their tank-mates are equally peace loving and not large enough to view them as a source of nutrition. Rasboras are shoaling fish. Shoaling fish are highly social creatures that function best as a community. They don't adapt well to a solitary existence. It is recommended that you have at least four of these upper to mid tank swimmers in an aquarium.

Rasbora is a small fish. They only grow to an adult size of 1.5-1.75 inches. They thrive it soft, slightly acid water with a pH 0f 6.8 and a water temperature ranging between 74-78 °F. Under ideal conditions you can expect them to live up to 10 years of age.

Rasboras are omnivores. They will survive just fine on a diet of common tropical fish flakes.
Distinguishing sexes in rasbora is relatively easy. The male bodies are thinner. Females are more full bodied especially when carrying eggs. The distinct triangular marking on the rear of their bodies differs between sexes. The males have more defined angular markings that extend further back on the lower abdomen than the females.

Breeding Rasbora

In their natural habitat, they inhabit streams that are littered with jungle decay. As a result peat grows abundantly in the streams releasing humic acid into the water. These same conditions can be simulated by filtering the breeding tank's water through peat or adding a thin layer of peat to the substrate. This will naturally increase the acid levels in the water. Make certain the peat contains no chemical additives or fertilizers.

A high protein diet of brine shrimp, tubifex or bloodworms will help induce the spawning cycle. Provide plenty of plant life to replicate their natural spawning grounds.

The male will begin chasing the male as a manner of courtship. Once the courtship phase is over the pair will spawn amid the foliage. Their eggs will be deposited on the underside of a broad leaf. Remove the adult from the breeding tank.

Once spawning has occurred you will want to darken the tank. The fry are susceptible to fungal growth. Surround the with paper or tin foil until the fry hatch and are free swimming. Eggs will hatch in about a day. After they hatch check the tank once a day. When you see the fry are free swimming it is time to start feeding them. This should take no longer than 3 days or so.

Free swimming fry can be fed liquid fry food formulated for egg layers or newly hatched brine shrimp. An economical and readily available alternative is powdered eggs. Make sure not to put too much in the water to avoid clouding it up.

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    Article Source: EzineArticles


Pet TOAD Care

English: Front view of Eastern American Toad. ...
Front view of Eastern American Toad. Photographed in Berks County, Pennsylvania
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is perhaps no other creature that has been so mythologized, feared, and misunderstood as the toad. Indeed, the toad has long been associated with black magic, poison, and death. At the same time, however, toads have been considered symbols of fertility, love, and health by alchemists, gypsies, and all manner of ancient peoples. In a more modern context, toads have enjoyed increasing popularity as easy-to-keep, unique pets. With options ranging from the garden-variety American toad to the more exotic Oriental fire-bellied toad, keeping a pet toad can be an education unto itself, provided you learn the following valuable pet toad care pointers first!

While your methods of toad pet care will depend largely upon the individual needs of the species you choose as a companion, there a few basic "rules" that should be heeded. The first rule as that most toads doesn't take kindly to being held or touched. While there is no truth to the old wives' tale that says touching a toad will cause warts, it is true that toads will secrete a toxic, defensive substance from their skin when they feel threatened. To that end, you should always wash your hands if you must touch your pet toad, but you should also keep in mind that the reason your toad feels threatened in the first place is that you're many, many times larger than it is! Toads are not wired to respond to affection like a cat or dog, therefore, they are best enjoyed happily dwelling in an enclosure that resembles their natural habitat as closely as possible-an appropriately appointed living space.

Your pet toad care success depends largely upon selecting a secure, adaptable home for your toad. Aquariums are always best, whether your toad is a land-dweller or a water lover as they allow for maximum viewing potential while keeping your toad safe from harm. Outfit your aquarium with a snug-fitting mesh top that will provide adequate ventilation, and ensure that your toad has enough room to hop and swim about. A good rule of thumb is that a single medium-sized toad should be given at least ten gallons worth of aquarium. 

Nearly all toads enjoy water to some extent-some pretty much live in it, climbing out only occasionally to rest, feed, or breathe while others spend most of their time grubbing around on land, entering the water only to drink or have a little swim. Once you've learned your toad's species-specific preferences, you can devote your time to building a realistic habitat. For instance, if your toad is a native to wet forests, give him lots of leaf cover, moss, and a few lush, live plants to enjoy. If your toad is a prairie dweller, he'll need flat rocks, a stand of tall grass, and a small pool to lounge in.

As you consider your pet toad care checklist, keep in mind that you'll have to account for your toad's dietary needs, even if you're squeamish about things like insects and worms. Most toads sold in the pet store will enjoy a steady diet of crickets, provided the crickets are dusted occasionally with a vitamin-rich powder (also available at pet stores). Toads may also enjoy earthworms or wax worms. Some toads have considerably more exotic dietary needs and may need to be fed mice or goldfish to maintain their health and happiness, so always take care to consult a reputable book or salesperson before bringing your new toad home.

While owning a toad may not be for everyone, learning the ins and outs of pet toad care can make for a rewarding, unique, and perhaps even magical pet ownership experience for those who are up to the task. As you learn more and more about the varying needs, habitats, and mythologies behind these fascinating creatures, you'll soon be ready for a toad of your very own. Educate yourself well and head to the pet store. You may just return home with a new best friend.


CLOWN LOACH - Chromobotia macracantha

Clown Loach - Chromobotia macracantha


SEAWORLD SAN DIEGO Review - A Look at Some of the Must-See Attractions and Shows

San Diego Sea World.JPG
"San Diego Sea World" Photo:  Wikimedia Commons.

If you're planning a SeaWorld San Diego vacation, you should preorder your tickets online so that you won't have to stand in line all day. The tickets are actually available at a discount price on the internet, so you'll be saving money anyway. All of the shows, aquariums, rides, and exhibits are included with park admission.

You really can't go wrong with a SeaWorld vacation in sunny California. Whether you simply want to view a few of the exotic sea animals or want to go all out with a guided tour and interaction program, you'll have an unforgettable experience.

In this SeaWorld San Diego review, let's go over a few of the must-see attractions and shows.

Riptide Rescue
Climb aboard the rafts of Riptide Rescue and get an idea of what it's like to go on a sea turtle rescue mission. Just like a real rescue, you'll be in for a wild ride. If you decide to go on this ride, you must either secure all of your loose items or place them in a locker. You don't want to end up losing something in the middle of the wild ride!

Shamu Rocks
Why go back to your hotel early when you can party the night away with Shamu? This show has a lot of flashes - and splash - and tourists enjoy every second of it. The show is a combination of killer whale acrobatics with breathtaking special effects. The killer whales perform impressive tricks with rock music playing in the background.

Penguin Encounter
Even if the park is located in sunny San Diego, there is still a spot dedicated to penguins. The temperature is kept at really cold levels so that the penguins can be comfortable. There are nearly 300 penguins of all sizes for you to see. The population includes different types of penguins including regal emperors, adelies, macaronis, and gentoos.

Dolphin Point
Here's your chance to touch and feed bottlenose dolphins. Observe their movements from just a few feet away. Dolphin Point is also the home of sea otters. There is a dolphin interaction program available, although it costs additional money. It can be a very educational experience for children and adults alike.

These are just a few examples of the many exciting things to experience at SeaWorld San Diego. If you plan on staying for more than one day, you can choose from 14 partner hotels. A Silver Pass is ideal if you want to make multiple visits for the rest of the season.

Hopefully, this SeaWorld San Diego review gave you some ideas of what you will want to do during your visit. There are plenty of other attractions, shows, and exhibits to check out. You can also find a variety of restaurants and shops. Always look online for SeaWorld coupons before you go.


Live AQUARIUM PLANTS - Background Plants

In an aquarium, background plants refer to those plants that are normally placed at the rear of the aquarium. These aquarium plants are usually taller plants with longer stems or leaves. They are placed at the rear of the aquarium for mainly two reasons. Firstly, they enhance the appearance of the aquarium background scene. Secondly, they help to conceal unsightly items such as filter tubes and heaters at the rear of the fish tank. Sometimes, these aquarium plants are placed at the front corners of the fish tank to the further enhance the overall appearance. Some common background plants are described below.

Fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana)
Cabomba caroliniana is a fine-feathered plant which is light green in colour. This aquarium plant looks stunning when planted in groups of three or more. It grows fast and lives well in bright lighting. It can grow up to a maximum height of about 50cm. Cabomba caroliniana is one of the most common species available and fairly easy to keep. An advantage of having this plant in the fish tank is that it is good for filling up spaces and hiding areas in the background. Another advantage is that it can be used to capture the eggs scattered by fishes. The majority of community fish kept in aquariums uses the egg-scattering method for their reproduction. The disadvantage with this aquarium plant is that fish loves to nibble on it and its leaves come off very easily. Thus, you will often find many leaves floating around in your planted aquarium.

Elodea (Egeria densa)
Elodea is a popular aquatic plant. It is fast-growing and can grow to a height of about 50cm. It is a suitable plant for beginners. Growing the Elodea has many benefits. Firstly, it is easy to keep as it survives well in a wide range of conditions. Secondly, it grows very thick if kept in bright lighting and thus, is an excellent plant for filling up spaces. Thirdly, it secretes substances that help to prevent algae growth. Fourthly, Elodea is known to remove great amounts of nitrates. Hence, it helps to purify the water. Lastly, a small piece of the plant can actually regenerate to become a new plant within a short period of time.

Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri)
The plant derives its name 'Amazon Sword' from the fact that it grows in Amazon and the shape of its leaves is similar to that of the blade of a sword. This beautiful plant can greatly enhance your aquarium decor, especially when it blooms. Echinodorus bleheri lives well in moderate lighting. However, a point you need to note is that Echinodorus bleheri has large roots and thus, it needs additional fertilizers for it to grow well. Also, if you placed this plant in your aquarium, you need to ensure that the large roots of the plant do not choke out other plants.

The above are some common background plants you can consider placing in your aquarium. These plants can certainly help to make your aquarium decor more stunning. They can help to conceal unsightly items at the rear of the fish tank and fill up the spaces. As described above, each plant has its own benefits as well.



Elite 799 pump
Photo: Windell Oskay - Flickr
As we all know rivers and lakes are the natural habits of fish and other marine life. Rivers and lakes have a large surface area which makes maximum provision of oxygen for fish survival possible. On the other hand, an aquarium is not like river or lake, it has a smaller surface area and there is a limited movement of habitats.

This makes the provision of alternative means of oxygen for fish to breathe importantly. This artificial process of providing oxygen is called aeration. It's a simple process of re-oxygenating the water in an aquarium tank.

The Aquarium Aerating System: 

An aquarium aerating system made up of a series of materials that increases the supply of air (thereby increasing oxygen concentration) they are:

  • -the air pump
  • -t-pieces
  • -rubber tubing
  • -clamp or regulator
  • -diffusers or airstone 

Air pumps come in different shapes and sizes but the most popular ones are tecax air pump from Taiwan together with 'Dyna free, and the dragon' another popular one is super 555 from India though cheaper, but not as rugged. Occasionally available are the more expensive whisper and rens air pumps from Uk and rance respectively. Always place air pumps above the water level hooked to a non-vibrating material.

You can accomplish aeration in your aquarium tank by using the above-listed aeration materials.

For small tanks, all you need is to attach a simple aquarium air pump to airstone by means of a rubber air tube. The system will be blowing air into the water which causes motion in the aquarium tank and thus provides the necessary oxygen your fish needs to breathe in the aquarium.

Sometimes people complain that the air pump is too loud. A trick to keep the air pump quiet is to insulate its vibrations by placing the air pump on a large sponge.

I have even heard of some people who have buried the pump in cat litter with an air tube running to the surface from the air inlet... but you don't have to go to that extent. A large sponge should do the trick.



Cyphotilapia_frontosa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Frontosa Cichlid originates from Lake Tanganyika in East Africa. This pet is easily identified by its cranial hump, which begins to develop as adults or when they reach a length of approximately 4 inches. These fish are usually found at depths of 100 feet or deeper in the wild. Even though the males will grow from 14 - 16 inches and the females will grow from 9 - 12 inches as adults, in Lake Tanganyika they will sometimes fall prey to larger fish, but in an aquarium, anything under 3 inches in length will often time become a snack for these generally mild predators.

Frontosas are meat eaters in the wild, mostly consuming snails and other mollusks. In an aquarium, however, their diet must be protein rich in the form of krill, adult brine shrimp, most any type of worm, and silversides.

The Frontosa is a mouthbrooder, meaning the female will carry fertilized eggs in her mouth for approximately 21 days, at which time the fry are released into the water to fend for themselves. The female will allow them back into her mouth a couple of times if she fears harm to the young ones, but will only allow them to seek cover once or twice. The female will eat hardly anything during this time period, and placing her in a separate tank will help keep her stress levels down.

The Frontosa Cichlid makes a very nice pet. It is basically nonaggressive, however, it will defend an established territory. 8 - 12 pets in at least a 200-gallon aquarium is recommended, with a sandy bottom and lots of caves. They will generally leave plants alone too. These guys will often live up to 25 years, making them a beautiful, long-term pet!

Keeping them to the age of 25 requires stable temperatures between 72 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, lots of oxygen - keep bubblers going day and night, avoid overfeeding and overstocking, 10 - 20% water changes weekly, and a constant checking of nitrate levels. Keep them happy and you'll have a nice group of pets for a long time.

The Frontosa Cichlid is an amazing pet. It is one of the few nonaggressive African Cichlids. You will be surprised at what you can mix with these guys and how your aquarium can glow with the beautiful colors from these delightful fish.