AQUARIUM FISH death: precautions of young aquarist.

Small Aquarium with Paracheirodon innesi (neon...
Small Aquarium with Paracheirodon innesi (neon tetra), Trigionostigma heteromorpha and Hemigrammus erythrozonus
(Photo credit: 
Another thing to watch out for in a newly installed tank is the quantity of food: very little of this should be given during the first three weeks. Mind you! I am not suggesting that you should not give them food at all, because without food, no bacterial flora forms. The food supply to the bacteria should be increased only very gradually.

Fish keepers with old functional aquariums should avoid general cleaning that is washing of sand/gravel, scrubbing of the tank wall and complete water changes so as not to disturb the bacterial flora.

When you have to service, it should just be the removal of the mulm and dead leaves sufficient to ensure adequate flow through the filter and no more. The bad habit of replacing the entire filter material or the soiled part with fresh materials is detrimental to fish life. Most bacteria live in the sludge at the bottom of the tank, so don't throw them away.

Many pet shops that operate a house-to-house maintenance routine on aquariums are used to the habit of a complete overhaul which invariably lead to fish death. I have met many people who have said, "I used to service my tank myself. On close scrutiny, I discovered that he indulges in the unforgivable habit of washing the aquarium with detergents!

In real life situation, no one can attest to having experienced a complete overhaul of a river bed. The only thing that happens during heavy rains or flood is the partial/complete change of the water body. The bed, sand and gravel components get cleaned but not overhauled.

This is nature's method of 'servicing' the fish's natural environment. So why don't we all adopt nature's method? Professional aquatic pet dealer’s service aquariums in the same way, and to the committed aquarist, I will advise you to do this yourself!


A Guide To Buying DISCUS FISH

English: a fish of the genus Symphysodon
A fish of the genus Symphysodon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Buying discus fish for your aquarium should be pretty much the same as buying any other fish, yet it seems to give people all sorts of worries and anxieties, possibly because of the amount of money involved. Not many other fish has the price tag that Discus Fish has attached to them.

The main thing is that you have carried out your homework, so you know about the fish and their requirements, what to look out for, and what questions to ask, in order for you to be able to make a right decision. This may seem like common sense - but some people fail on this - and make costly mistakes!

Next - remember you're not in a race! If you are up against time or competition to get the fish you want, put down a deposit to get the vendor to keep hold of it for you, or let it go. Don't let yourself be pressurized into making a hasty decision.

When you feel you've got these bases covered - you're ready to go! So where do you go?

Discus Fish are generally available from 3 sources: Importers/Dealers, Pet shops and Home Breeders.

If you're a beginner - whether you never had discus before or are starting as a fish keeper in general - always go to the specialist shops. There are two reasons for this. They have a bigger selection of fish which means you are more likely to find something to suit you, and they have specialist knowledge for you to draw from at the time of purchase and after.

For the more advanced Discus Fish keepers - by all means, try other avenues - but take care. While the fish may come at less of a premium - you'll often find that the quality of the stock isn't always all it's cracked up to be.

So what do you need to look out for? Most people will tell you to search for Discus Fish with perfectly round shaped bodies and small bright eyes. Even though this is correct - there's more to it than that.

Apart from finding the fish with the colour/pattern (don't worry too much about their names as these tends to vary from place to place), it's important that you spend some time watching the fish closely and monitor their behaviour.

Healthy Discus Fish should be bold and alert, and not shy away from the front of the tank. Do not go for fish that hideaway at the back of the tank or behind plants etc., as that is a sign that something is not quite right.

As far as bodily defects are concerned, the things to be on the outlook for is fish that seems to be breathing heavily, fish with twisted mouths, poorly shaped fins and tails, odd or big eyes and short gill covers. These are all signs of poor breeding practices.

Also, you should not look at the fish themselves only. It's equally important to look at the bottom of the tank, to see if you can see any of their waste. Discus Fish pass their faeces regularly, and it the fish are healthy it should be black in colour. If they're white or clear this indicates that the fish may have intestinal worms or similar internal problems, in which case you shouldn't buy them.

So what about the questions to ask the dealer? Well - first and most importantly - ask if you can see the fish feed. Healthy discus should, though they are slow eaters, respond fairly quickly to food. Any dealer who really wants to sell his fish will agree to do this. Otherwise walk away.

Other information you need to obtain is how long the dealer has had the fish (less than two weeks suggest that they may not be fully quarantined), where they originate from (import or bred in-house), and if they have been subject to any medication or de-worming cures? Any decent dealer will have an immediate answer to such questions - and it will give you an idea of the fish's history as well as the dealer's knowledge.

Finally, remember to ask about the water conditions the fish are in, so you can make sure your aquarium offers the same conditions before bringing the fish home. If this is not the case, go and make the necessary changes to your water, before bringing the fish home.

Again - if you have seen the fish you want - put down a deposit, and go back a couple of times to check on their conditions, while you're in the process of changing things. It's another chance for you to make sure that the fish you're buying is in good health.

If possible - buy medium sized Discus Fish - adolescent in want of a better word. The reason for this is that they will find it easier to adapt to a new environment than older fish, and they do not require as many regular feeds as the young growing Discus.


SEATLLE AQUARIUM Featured Advantage

Seattle Aquarium, Pier 59, Seattle, Washington...
Seattle Aquarium, Pier 59, Seattle, Washington. The building has a city landmark status.
(Photo credit: 
Seattle Aquarium’s goal is to inspire people regarding marine environment conservation. They provide education regarding marine preservations and handling as an exciting adventure and a more fun discovery about the extraordinary Puget Sound. 

Seattle Aquarium is under the support of a non-profitable organization promoting interests on aquarium hobbies, which provides interactions of information from aquarium hobbyists.

Seattle Aquarium provides a map of the marine sanctuary they are maintaining. Visiting Seattle Aquarium is the best destination for educators, parents, kids and visitors from other places searching for undersea information. You can see and enjoy real marine life adventures through availing of their specialized teachers' programs, field trip events and opportunities and other marine resources. Everyone enables to learn so that their knowledge can be shared with more people cultivating their awareness about protecting the marine environment.

They provide animal guides through their educator’s presentations about the life activities of particular sea creatures such as their looks or eating behaviors. Everybody could ask questions and get the right answers for them.

Seattle Aquarium is an ideal place for marine science camps. They are offering either a full or a half-day camp programs for children ages six to twelve years old held during summer, spring or winter school breaks. Parents could find the right camping programs appropriate for their children’s interest in marine life.

Seattle Aquarium does their best to incorporate knowledge on people interested in the marine world providing different opportunities for learning such as art contents for kids, aquarium classes or giving resources and workshops for teachers. They are also offering programs suitable for parents and children giving them the chance to explore and learn about marine life.

Your visit to Seattle Aquarium is well compensated. You can become a member to get an unlimited admission while supporting the Seattle Aquarium mission. Their admission fees are amazing and whether you regularly visit Seattle Aquarium, you can always find something new to explore because their exhibits are changing constantly. Seattle Aquarium has gift shops stores where you can find high-quality products and books for enhancing your experiences regarding aquariums.

Seattle Aquarium focus is to stay green and clean by using energy efficient electricity, choosing biodegradable cleaning supplies, feeding animals with sustainable foods and using building practices which are environmental friendly when building new aquariums and exhibits.

Seattle Aquarium’s associations together with other organizations are keeping the conservation moving for maintaining a clean and green environment even in the future.


Taking Care of a Molting HERMIT CRAB

Blackeyed hermit crab (Pagurus armatus, armed ...
Blackeyed hermit crab (Pagurus armatus, armed hermit crab), taken in Victoria, BC, Canada
 (Photo credit: 
Molting is the natural process of growing for a hermit crab. During this time, it sheds its exoskeleton and forms a new one. During the molting process, a hermit crab is very defenseless. A molting crab is under a lot of stress and extra care is required during this vulnerable time. The frequency of molting depends on the size and growth rate of each individual crab. Smaller crabs, that grow much faster may molt every 3-4 months. Larger crabs that grow much more slowly may only molt once per year.

The first thing to remember is that when molting, a crab will bury him or herself; do not move him or her! As hard as it is not to pick him up and look to see if he’s ok, you must be brave and let him do his thing. Molting may take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks for the averagely sized crab. Smaller crabs may take a shorter time; larger crabs may take longer. They may stay buried the entire time. Another important thing to remember is that molting crabs are in danger from other crabs while they are molting. Other crabs may attack the molting crab while it is vulnerable. Always keep the molting crab in an isolation tank. Most pet stores have dividers available to section off one part of an aquarium from another.

Once the process is complete, the crab should not just be put back into the main tank, as it takes awhile for the new exoskeleton to harden. The real way to tell if the crab is ready to be back in with the other crabs you may own is when they are active and appear healthy again. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Be patient and let your friend heal.

A question you may have about molting is how you will know when your crab is going to molt. There are usually pretty obvious signs. Your hermit crab will most likely start to act a bit differently and look a bit different just before molting. However, though there are crabs who exhibit obvious signs, always be prepared for molting as some hermit crabs may surprise you by molting when you least expect it. Keep a close eye out for the following signs and be prepared to support your molting hermit crab through this stressful and vulnerable time. Once you see these signs, you should consider isolating the hermit crab from the other crabs right away.

- Sluggishness or relative inactivity.
- Ashy body color.
- A crab might dig more than usual. (Always check tank conditions as this can also be a sign of temperature and humidity problems.)
- Eating and drinking significantly more. The crab may stop eating completely just before a molt.
- Spends lots of time around water.
- A molt sac, or water sac under the abdomen, may form.
- Missing limbs may occur.
- Whitish color on legs and claws.
- Cloudy, whitish color to the eyes Legs may seem weak.
- Eye stalks may face away from each other.
Observe carefully for these signs of molting and offer your hermit crab support. Remember, isolate him, and leave him alone. These are the best things you can do for your crabby.


GIANT SNAKEHEAD Care - How to Raise an Aggressive Fish

Français : Tête de serpent à l'aquarium tropic...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some people keep fish for their beauty. Some people keep fish for the relaxation the hobby brings. Then there are those that keep fish so they can see them eat other fish. Those would be who own predatory fish, such as the Piranha, the Cichlid and most importantly (at least for this article), the Giant Snakehead.

I have in the past been an owner of several varieties of the above-mentioned breeds and can say that the most aggressive was the Giant Snakehead. On top of being strong, hardy and highly aggressive, the Giant Snakehead fish is an eating machine. If you do not believe this, then the (unjust) nationwide ban across the USA done for fear of the Giant Snakeheads potential environmental damage should be enough. With that said it is important to remember that even a naturally aggressive still need some intervention by their owners to bring out their true potential.

We are going to look at the approach I have used in the past to raise the aggression levels in my Giant Snakehead from its youth to adulthood. The basic idea behind my approach is live food as early on in life as possible, with live food as the Giant Snakeheads primary food source. There have been many arguments against the use of live feeder fish due to health concerns, but I can honestly say that it is all my Giant Snakeheads have ever eaten and I each have lived very long happy lives.

In their infancy stages, I do not recommend live feed as the Giant Snakehead will not be fast enough, nor big enough to catch and eat his prey. Bloodworms and bits of Nightcrawlers are both solid choices until your Giant Snakehead reaches about 4 to 6 inches long. Follow that I would slowly introduce him to live feed. Give him a single feeder fish at a time and watch to see if he begins actively hunting it. If he does not eat it, remove it from the tank and try again later. If he does eat his first I would suggest one live fish a day for a week, while he learns to become a more effective hunter.

After the first week, you can begin to give your Giant Snakehead two to three live fish a day for the next several weeks, while slowly weaning him off his non-living feed. As he gets larger you will want to increase his feedings. Once every two weeks, I would gorge him in a large amount of live feeder fish, giving him three to four times his usual daily allowance. Doing this will not only help his growth but also increase his aggression as your Snakehead will go into something of a feeding frenzy.

If all goes well in two years time your Giant Snakehead should be reaching nearly two feet in length and you can begin considering feeding him live rodents and frogs on the extremely rare occasion. I say this because in my research I have found it can make your Giant Snakehead very stressed as it will be a very foreign food object entering his tank. On the several occasions that I fed him rodents, he becomes violent and erratic in his tank.

On a final note, you should exercise caution when taking this approach at raising your Giant Snakehead. In his later years, the Giant Snakehead will get very large, very strong and lightning fast. An adult Giant Snakehead could easily leave with you a very nasty bite and could possibly remove meat.


LESSER JOYWEED - Alternathera denticulata

Lesser Joyweed - Alternathera denticulata


MBUNA CICHLID Breeding - Step by Step Guide To Avoid Common Mistakes!

different Mbuna from Lake Malawi
Different Mbuna from Lake Malawi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Breeding Mbuna cichlid fish is facile. To get them to spawn is to provide them with the same care and conditions as with the non-breeding Mbuna's.

Place the breeding mbuna's in a tank approximately one male to 2 - 3 female ratios. The aquarium in which they are kept must be well stocked and adding extra aeration and filtration is important as well as a frequent water change. Remember that Lake Malawi has a stable environment thus Mbuna does not appreciate rapid changes in water quality and will not breed with unstable water conditions. Keep Mbuna's in an aquarium with a pH of 7.5 - 8.5 water range and a KH/GH of 12. There should be zero contents for ammonia and nitrite and nitrate of no more than 15 ppm. More so keep the temperature at 75 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the breeding to be successful it is relevant not to overfeed your mbuna. Keep in mind that they tend to utterly eat anything and everything give to them and may easily lead to obesity which is bad for its health. Furthermore, larger mbuna's would mean fewer fishes in your aquarium plus the fact that its aggressiveness may also increase. As a result of its violence stress is manifest in your fishes hence making them less capable to breed. Not only will that, but overcrowding the aquarium may also hamper breeding as well.

Mbuna cichlid natural diet includes algae and insects. But if they are fed with prepared foods, make sure that vegetable and algae matter like Spirulina is always included.

Another important factor that mbuna's are rock dwellers, thus it is apparent that they prefer to spawn in rocks, crevices, or caves. Needless to say, when keeping and breeding mbuna's it is vital that the breeder must provide a substantial amount of hiding place with the use of rocks or caves.

Initially, breeding is noticeable when the male will start claiming a small territory which he thinks is suitable for the spawning process. It is quite obvious that the male mbuna will show himself in front of the female mbuna and starts dancing usually by causing its whole body to vibrate and its fins will start to erect.

Moreover, its color will exude more brightness than normal. If the female is also in a spawning condition, then she will willingly go with the male to its spawning site. Both the female and the male cichlid will now start to swim closely to each other in a circular motion and amazingly the female will now start depositing the eggs in the spawning location. She will then pick the eggs and put it in her mouth for guarding and at the same time receives a mouthful of sperms to fertilize the eggs.

She will continue depositing eggs in the site and the process will follow the same cycle until all the eggs are fertilized and inside her mouth. When the eggs are all kept in her mouth the male mbuna will drive away the female in its territory. The female will try to hide the fry on hiding places provided for during the aquarium set-up. Even with the meticulous caution, some of the offspring may still be eaten but at least there are also a relative amount of babies saved. Female Mbuna cichlid fish may be moved to another aquarium to increase the rate of survival of its fry.

    By Lacey Bryant
    Lacey Bryant is a cichlid enthusiast and author, who has been caring for cichlids for over 15 years. She has been breeding Cichlids for years and it has become her passion to share her knowledge about their proper care.
    Article Source: EzineArticles