Saturday, May 27, 2006

SaltWater Fish

Common names/s: Red-finned Shark, Rainbow Shark, Ruby Shark saltwater fish.

Scientific name: Epalzeorhynchus frenatus.

Family: Cyprinidae.

Origin: S.E. Asia (Thailand)

Maximum size: 6" (15cm)

Care: Planted tank with plenty of rocks, wood and caves. At least 36" in length. Keep the water clean, well filtrated and airated.

Feeding: Omnivorous, some vegetable matter is required in their diet as well as more meatier foods like bloodworms. They will except most foods ranging from commercailly prepared flakes to live foods. Sometimes they will also graze on algae.

Sexing and Breeding: Males can sometimes be distinguished by a slimmer body and black lines/markings on the anal fin. Breeding has occasionally happened in the aquaria but it is rare and hard due to their aggression towards their own species.

Coments: This is a relatively small and attractive saltwater fish. However, although less of a nuisance than E.bicolor they can still show aggression towards saltwater fish of a similar shape and size so they do not make good community saltwater fish in all cases. Do not keep more than one of this genus to a tank. Captive breeding has now produced an albino form but it is still equally aggressive saltwater fish.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Saltwater Fish - Breeding Guppies

When you start talking with beginner saltwater fish hobbyist about breeding guppies the first thing you hear is, “That’s not hard to do. Just get a small tank and add water, and insert guppies. Wait a few days and you have them breed.” Well for the most part this is a simplified version of what I intend to talk about in this article. But, there is more.

A five-gallon tank will work for a trio of one male and two females, but if you want more, than I would say use a ten-gallon tank so that you can have two males and up to ten females. The latter of the two is what people that raise show quality guppies do to increase their chances of seeing all the traits in just a single saltwater fish that they are looking for. Make sure the water is cycled to avoid any ammonia or nitrite spikes. One tablespoon of aquarium salt should be added for each ten-gallons of water. Guppies do much better in water that has a little salt added to it. Floating fake plants are used quite often, but another thing I like to use is a weighted spawning mop made from a dark green or dark blue colored yarn. These mops give great refuge for the fry, so that the other adult fish do not eat them before you have a chance to move the adults to another tank. And yes, I said move the adults. It’s much easier to catch up to twelve adult fish that are at least an inch long or larger, than it is to catch up to one hundred very tiny guppy fry.

As far as what to feed the guppies to condition them for breeding, I suggest black worms, half a cube of frozen bloodworms, half a cube of frozen brine shrimp, and/or a few good quality flake foods such as foods made for guppies, or plankton/krill/spirulina flakes, and some occasional liver flakes, etc. The best advice I can give about feeding your fish is to vary the diet, and do not feed them the same thing each and every day. Your saltwater fish will thank you for doing this by growing faster, looking better, and being healthier in the long run.

There is much more to breeding guppies, some of which not everyone will decide to follow. A lot of people see a nice Cobra Delta-tailed Guppy at the store and decide that’s the fish they wish to breed, so in that process that same person either buys a female or two at the same store or they visit a different store to purchase the female or males, which ever the case may be. Meanwhile, there are other saltwater fish hobbyist that do some researching and locate a specific color and/or fin strain that they wish to breed. These strains may cost up to, if not more than $85 for a trio (one male and two females). But, keep in mind that the breeder that has these fish for sale has been working on this strain for quite some time using a process of “line-breeding” to keep the strain as nice looking and pure as possible. These are the potential breeders of a show quality guppy. Don’t get me wrong, some breeders have taken the average guppy from a local shop and through line breeding have developed some very beautiful show guppies. Neither of the two ways that you get your guppies will produce a show quality guppy rightaway; this generally takes a bit of time, sometimes over 5 years. It all depends on what you are looking for in the guppies, and how devoted to the objective you are.

Currently I am working with some store bought guppies, one of my males has a green colored body with a snake skin pattern that starts right behind the gill plates and carries on back to the beginning of the tail, hence its name “green snake skin”. The fins of this fish are what’s called a “delta-tail.” This is a tail fin that is about three times as tall from top to bottom as the fish’s body is from bottom of belly to the top of its back. And the dorsal fin is long and floats through the water like the tail of a common Crowntail Betta. Both the tail fin and the dorsal fin have matching yellow/green/black dotted patterns. This male is being bred to similar looking females. And since these saltwater fish are not related genetically (at least not to my knowledge) this is known as selective breeding. Selective breeding is when you buy your fish and you look for the traits you wish to have in the offspring in the breeding stock you are planning to purchase. Line breeding is when you take the offspring from this group of breeders and mate them back to the original breeding group. For example, you would take the female offspring and mate them back to the male of the original group (father to daughter), or you take a pair of males and breed them back to the original female that they came from (very accurate record keeping is needed for this method of breeding sons back to mother). But, many of the top guppy breeders in the world will tell you, it is much better to breed the daughters back to the father than it is to breed the mother back to the sons.

By breeding the daughters back to the father you have a much higher chance of seeing the desired traits. From this point on you will be doing some very heavy culling of the unwanted offspring to keep just the traits you are looking for. When I say culling the offspring I am talking about pulling the slower growing or less colorful males and females from the group and keeping only the best looking fish. You also pull out any deformed fish as well since these would not make for good breeding stock in the future. There are a few different ways to get rid of the culled fish, but please, never just flush them down a toilet. The fish do not die right away and end up suffering from breathing in toxins that no one should have to breathe in, or swim in for that matter. Instead either feed them to a larger fish (not everyone likes this method either), or place them in a small bag with water and place them in the freezer. By freezing them they just slowly start to hibernate like they would during a winter season and finally just stop living altogether. This is said to be the most humane way to do this. And of course there are people that do not agree that the previously mentioned method is actually humane either. So, you are left picking and choosing your battle so to speak.

Once you are happy with some of the guppies you have been able to produce throughout all this time, you can now consider locating an International Fancy Guppy Association sanctioned fish show and enter your saltwater fish in the show. At this point I would suggest competition in the Novice category since it can be really disappointing to be in competition against some of the breeders that have been entering shows for many years and then not place well, or you may hear some remarks about how your fish should not be in that category. I have been to a few of the shows and heard a lot of bad talking about other hobbyist fish, and sometimes its not pretty language either. Or you could even start by showing your fish in your local club’s “Bowl Show” (just a gentle hint to the members of the club I am a member of). It’s always a good feeling to enter your fish and take the chance of winning some form of an award, such as but not limited to, a first, second, or third place ribbon. The prize is not as important as how the hobbyist feels when he/she sees their saltwater fish on display with one of those ribbons near it.

And there is always a chance that you will be able to produce a new color variant or strain and it will be seen at a local or larger saltwater fish show. You too will be able to sell some of your quality offspring to other hobbyists that have chosen to follow in the same direction as you have for saltwater fish.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Saltwater Fish

Common Name: Bronze Cory, Albino Cory (for the albino variety)

Scientific Name: Corydoras aeneus, previously Hoplosternum aeneum

Origin: Trinidad (from Planet Catfish)

Family: Callichthyidae

Average size: 3 inches

Care: These cute critters couldn't be easier to look after. All they really need is good water (as with any saltwaterfish), somewhere to hide and food. Oh yes, and other cories, as they like to be in groups of 6+. Bronze cories also come in albino, and are one of the few readily available albinos on the market. They are very peaceful saltwater fish, and will never nip any other saltwater fish. They can also be kept in cooler water, providing they are properly accimaltised (as most you find are kept in tropical conditions). Not to fussy about water params, and are a fairly hardy begginers fish.

Feeding: As with most cories, anything. Suggested foods include- flakes, algae pellets/wafers, bloodworm, cucumber, courgette. Just make sure the food actually reaches the bottom.

Sexing and Breeding: Sexing- Females are larger than the males, and grow larger as they bacome full of eggs. There is also a difference in the fins, but this is less reliable as you cannot always see the fins.

Breeding- Generally easy to breed
1. Condition the cories for about a week with live food until the females are laden with eggs.
2. Do a 20 ish percent water change on the tank with cooler water.
3. Leave them.

The cories *should* go into spawning behaviour, which involves the T position. The eggs are laid on the sides of the tank, the floor... Anywhere really. After the fry hatch, feed on MW, BBS, Liquifry, or whatever, until big enough to take flake. Viola! Your own baby cories. For a ore detailed account, check the profile on other cories.

- Saltwater Fish

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Tropical Fish - Algae Eaters

What algae eaters are for sale?

Most omnivorous fishes will eat some algae, with cichlids and livebearers being particularly happy to graze on algae if nothing else is on offer. However, only a few species of fish and invertebrate are sold primarily as algae eaters. Catfish from the family Loricariidae, known colloquially as "plecs", are perhaps the best-known of these.


Otocinclus -- Sometimes called "ottos". Typically 3-4 cm long, usually black or mottled grey. Being small, they are often recommended for small aquaria; however, they are very delicate, particularly when newly imported, and will not survive long in immature aquaria. They need stable water conditions, lots of oyxgen, and a mixed diet including algae, soft vegetables (such as slices of cucumber), and bloodworms.

Peckoltia -- Occasionally sold as "clown plecs" but more often under their Latin name. From 5 to 10 cm long depending on the species. Some species are nicely patterned while others are rather drab. Not particularly delicate, once they are feeding, so for inexperienced aquarists these are a better choice for small tanks than Otocinclus. Feeds primarily on green algae, but will also take soft vegetables.

Ancistrus -- The popular bristlenose plec. Grows to around 8-10 cm. Widely sold, inexpensive, hardy, and long-lived (7 years no uncommon) these are very good fish for beginners. Will eat algae as well as general aquarium foods such as bloodworms, mussel, catfish pellets, etc. The most common species, Ancistrus dolichopterus is not particularly attractive, but the bristles on the males certainly make them interesting to look at.

Hypostomus, Liposarcus, Pterygoblichthys -- These are the common plecs. While many aquarium books will cite Hypostomus plecostomus as the common plec, this species is hardly ever imported any more, and the species you are most likely to see is in fact Liposarcus pardalis. Exact identification of the fish doesn't matter. All these are big catfish (30+ cm) that tend to be territorial towards one another but harmless towards other fish. They are hardy, and as juveniles will eat algae. As they mature, they become less effective, if only because they cannot perch on plant leaves or crawl into small spaces to get at the algae there. Besides algae, they also need soft vegetables and some meaty foods such as prawns, bloodworms, or mussels.

There are lots of other loricariid catfish sold, including species of Chaetostoma ("bulldog plecs"), Farlowella ("twig catfish"), and Panaque ("royal plecs"), but these fish tend to be more demanding and/or less effective algae eaters.

Hillstream Loaches

Hillstream loaches, family Homalopteridae, are an obscure group related to the carps and loaches, despite a superficial resemblance to the plecs. They are algae eaters, and most are rather small, around 5 cm in length, so could make good aquarium fish. However, they are delicate, and need water that is subtropical (i.e., 18-22 C), well oxygenated, and completely free of nitrite and ammonium. In other words, these are fishes for a mature, specialised tank rather than a beginner's community aquarium.

Several genera are traded, including Homaloptera, Gastromyzon, and Pseudogastromyzon. These go by a variety of names, including "butterfly loaches", "Hong Kong Plecos", and "Borneo suckerfish". They have a relatively consistent appearance. The pectoral and pelvic fins are expanded to produce a wide sucker with which they stick onto rocks or glass. Many species are attractively patterned.

Sucking Loaches and Garra spp.

The sucking loach, or Chinese algae eater, Gyrinicheilus aymoneri is a fish best avoided. While cheap, hardy, and not unattractive, it is a giant fish by aquarium standards (easily reaching 20-30 cm) with a mean attitude to boot. While possibly useful alongside large cichlids or catfish, it simply cannot be housed in a regular community tank.

Garra spp. could easily be mistaken for small sucking loaches. There are variety of species, some tropical, other subtropical, but all need clean, well oxygenated water. Garra taeniata, for example, is a true tropical while Garra pingu needs cool water. Check with your retailer before purchasing, and if in doubt, get the Latin name and do a Google search or visit Fishbase to find out if the species on sale is right for your tank. Garra spp. typically grow to around 10-12 cm and are quite peaceful. They are good algae eaters.

Sharks and Foxes

These are a mixed bag. The Siamese Algae Eater, Crossocheilus siamensis (sometimes Epalzeorhynchus siamensis) is a first-rate algae eater that will work well in most aquaria. It is territorial towards its own kind unless kept in large groups, but is otherwise fairly peaceful. The Flying Fox, Epalzeorhynchus kalopterus is almost as good but tends to be more aggressive and should be kept singly and with tankmates able to swim away from trouble. Red-tailed and ruby sharks, on the other hand, are indifferent algae eaters. While they certainly make good pets for other reasons, they shouldn't be bought as algae eaters.

Mollies and other fish

Often overlooked, mollies can make excellent algae eaters in the right tank. They will peck away at algae on fine leaves that catfish and the other, more benthic fish leave behind. However, they do need hard, alkaline water, ideally with a little salt added. While livebearers and some other kinds of freshwater fishes do well in slightly salty water, most do not. Mollies are therefore best kept only in tanks where adding salt is possible.

Other fishes that will also eat a significant amount of algae include: platies, Florida flagfish (Jordanella floridae), barbs, scats, violet gobies (Gobiodes spp.), and the herbivorous "mbuna" cichlids. While not commonly kept as algae eaters per se these fish do appreciate some algae in their diet.


Shrimps have been in vogue as algae eaters for some time now, with at least one species being known as Amano shrimps after the aquarist who first popularised them. However, while shrimps can make good algae eaters, they are not without problems. They are small, for a start, typically around 1.5 to 3 cm in length, and substantially larger fish will simply view them as live food. They are also rather delicate, and need excellent water quality. They do not do well in very soft, acid water. Finally, being rather small, you need a lot of them to see much impact in large aquaria.

Snails are the other invertebrate sold as algae eaters. Most will eat a great deal of algae, particular from the glass, but some species will also eat plants as well. Apple snails and Colombian ramshorns are notorious for this. Nerite snails (e.g., olive snails) are more trustworthy, but they need brackish, not freshwater, to do well long-term. Malayan livebearer snails are excellent for cleaning the substrate, and will eat some algae, but because they breed very quickly, many aquarists do not like having them in their aquaria. Nonetheless, if you want a snail that is adaptable and does no damage to living plants or fish, then the Malayan livebearer is probably your best bet.

Will these fish beat algae?

In a word, no.

What! But they're algae eaters, aren't they?

Algae is a characteristic of unbalanced aquaria. Over time, the waste produced by the fishes in the tank are turned into nitrate and phosphate by the biological filter. Nitrate and phosphate are fertilisers, and the more of these chemicals in the water, the easier it is for the algae to 'bloom'. Therefore, the more fish you add to a tank, the more nitrate and phosphate, and thus the quicker the algae can grow. It doesn't matter if the fishes are algae eaters or not, simply putting them in the tank makes life easier for the algae.

There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to carry out frequent water changes and thus keep the nitrate and phosphate levels as low as possible.

The other (and easier) approach is to use plants.

Using plants to stop algae

George has written a great introduction to this topic here:

Algae in the Planted Aquarium

My own 180 litre aquarium is quite heavily stocked (including, a 15 cm Panaque, 9 glassfish, 17 cardinals, 6 halfbeaks, 3 dwarf upside-down cats, a pufferfish, etc.) and at times the nitrates go as high as 100 mg/l. But I have hardly any algae, and the only place hair algae appears is on dead leaves floating at the top. The glass is cleaned perhaps once every 2 months, and there's not a trace of the blue-green algae you might expect in a tank with high nitrates.

What's the secret? Lots of plants. I'm cutting back Cabomba and scooping off Salvinia every week, sometimes twice a week. These rapidly growing plants simply put the algae out of business. I should note my system isn't complex or expensive: two 30 W Triton tubes, reflectors, and a bit of pond soil in the substrate are the only concessions to plant growth. There's no laterite, or CO2 fertilisation, or high-output lights.


Adding fish, any fish, improves the conditions in the tank for algae, so algae eaters are counterproductive if used as your sole method of algae control. Instead, you need to balance the tank by adding live plants. These will stop the algae growing in the first place, resulting in a tank that needs much less looking after and is a healthier place for your fishes to live.

- Tropic Fish

Friday, March 24, 2006

saltwater fish


Before introducing any fish into your tank, buy yourself a good water test kit. Ideally it should contain tests for:Ammonia,Nitrates,Nitrites and Ph. Readings, except for the Ph should all read zero before introducing any fish.
Make sure that the temp. in the tank is suitable for your chosen occupants. Freshwater(generally) 21-27C. Marines(generally)26CColdwater(generally) 13.5-20C.
Depending on the size of the tank and the intended occupants, filtration can be mechanical,biological or both. They can be air driven or power driven. Filtration is the heart of any tank. It's the life source of the environment. You will need to know the species of fish you wish to keep and then do some homework about the types of waters and/or environment their natural habitat is and filter accordingly. There are an array of filters on the market and you will be sure there is one for your setup.
Freshwater trops. recommended of surface area to 1cm of fully grown fish. Marines For a fish only setup 2.5cm of fish for 9ltrs of water and for reef only 2.5cm of fish to 27ltrs of water. Ponds: 250cm of fish to 5000ltrs of water.
Learn as much as you can about the species you intend to keep.
Fish should be introduced into your new setup gradually. Overloading your tank will cause problems. Remember your filter wil need to build up friendly bacteria to break down the byproducts from your fish.
This is a question I'm most asked by newbies. Do I really need to quarantine my fish? The short answer is YES. Introducing new fish to a new system will invariably bring its own problems, so if you can why risk it? Using the same water as the main tank, introduce the fish in the Quarantine tank for a week or so and if there's no probs. then introduce them into the main tank.
Twice daily is more than enough. Only feed as much as will be taken within 3 minutes, otherwise it will decompose at the bottom of your tank, causing other problems, such as high Phosphates and Nitrates and unsightly algae.
Regular water changes, around 25% per week is good for your tank and good for your fish.
These should be cleaned regurarly according to the manufactures instructions. It is best however if you don't clean the sponges in raw tapwater, but use some of the water syphoned from the tank. This way the beneficial bacteria are not killed off and only the debris is cleaned away.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Saltwater Fish

Saltwater Fish

Hi all,

Well, yesterday was my birtday and I just became 46. After a hard day of work I had a nice dinner
with my wife and she told me the kids had a surprise for me. They bought me a book about all the secrets
of tropical fish. They know I like saltwater fish, its a hobby of mine.
I got tons of books about tropical fish already so I thought "nice,one to add to my collection".

But the day after, I started reading it and boy was I in for a SURPRISE !
It has answered all my fish problems.
I have visited a pet shop many times to ask simple questions about my saltwater fish tank and they look at me like I have 2 heads!
This is the first time in my life that I owned a fish tank and I was getting so frustrated.
I was thinking of getting rid of it but I love to watch the fish and the ones that lived have become my family pets!
So finally there is a book out there that tells people that fish can survive with a little help.
I call your book my Fish Bible!
Now all I have to do is go to my library here in the house and look up what I might be doing wrong or what I might be doing right.
for this great book ! You really have to check it out.
Check it out

Saltwater fish

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Saltwater Fish

Saltwater Fish

Saltwater fish are pets like other pets and you have to know what you're doing and I will try to help you with it.
First of all you have to buy a tank. Look for a tank that is big enough to store the fish you want
(keep note that some fish need bigger tanks as they need more place so do your homework !)
I'd suggest to go for a bigger tank cause having some extra room is a good idea.

When you're in the store make shure to take some extra equipment with you cause you'll need it.
I suggest getting:

1. Heater
The heater is the most important part of a tropical tank. For most tropical fish, 25Cis a good average.
4 watts per gallon is ok, buteach heater will state the size aquaria it accommodate for.
For the larger aquaria, it is often best to have two smaller heaters for a couple of reasons, one because should one break,
u still have one to keep your tank going until u can replace it, and two should you have 1 big heater, and the thermostat got stuck on, it would raise the temp of the tank far more and in less time than a smaller one would.
All heaters now have a built in thermostat which turns the heater on and off when needed to keep the tank at a stable temperature, the heater should never be un-plugged.

2. Filter.
Best to check if the filter fits your tank. this is very important !.The size of the filter depends upon 3 factors :
- tank size
- # saltwater fish
- plants
There are lots of different types of filters : internal filter,external filter,gravel filter and box filters (I advise to skip this one cause they are for small tanks).

3. Gravel
The gravel is mainly for aesthetic purposes, but it also is vital if you are keeping live plants as they need a substrate of some sort to anchor them selves down with.
If you have a planted tank, then 2-3inches of gravel is advised, but if u have an unplanted tank, then u may use ½ - 2inches of gravel.
The gravel also holds some of the bacteria in the tank, and if the tank has an under gravel filter, then the gravel will contain nearly all of the bacteria in the tank.

Its best to start with the gravel and other decorative ornaments, place it in a bucket , stir the gravel ensuring that no dust is left. Once this has been done its probably a good idea to pour boiling water over the gravel and shake it in the container before straining it off, the boiling water will kill any bacteria or other nasty organisms and prevent them getting in your tank!

Use a clean cloth and a bucket of clean water and clean thoroughly the inside of the tank, look for any leaks or cracks (hopefully there will be none!) Then empty or sponge out the water you have left in there. Your aquarium should now have no nasty residues or dust in it! Position the tank in the place you want it remembering that once filled a tank can not easily be moved use a level to ensure the surface you place it is on is flat, if not then the glass will put under stress and may crack, also remembering how heavy the tank will be make sure the place you put it on is strong enough to hold it, and if on an upper floor that the floor is strong enough for it.

1) Add the gravel, place it evenly in the tank, do not waste too much time on a design as when you add the water it will get disturbed again.

2) Fill the aquarium half way with dechlorinated water, once half full you will be able to sculpt the gravel the way you want it to look. If you wish to have plants then they'll need at least 5cm of gravel in order to establish a root system. Also add plants and any decorations you wish to add now as they will be easier to plant and position now.

3) Install the equipment place the filter in and secure it using the suction caps which have been moistened with water from the tank. Keep them turned off till the tank is full of water, once securely in position proceed with step 4.

4) Finish adding the water use your hand or the side of the tank to prevent the water splashing heavily into the tank and potentially upsetting your gravel and plants, use your hand above the water to soften the impact when the water actually hits the water surface of the tank.

5) Turn the system on Make sure all the equipment is working, the heater will take a couple of hours to get your tank to the desired temperature. The filter should kick in immediately producing both bubbles and water movement.

Thats it you now have an aquarium set up and ready to go! Well not quite!! Leave the filter and heater running for two or three days before you purchase your first fish for cycling the tank, alternatively you could go for a fishless cycle in which case you will have to delay adding the fish for several weeks while adding pure ammonia every day in order to build up a decent colony of bacteria in the filter. When adding the fish float the fish bag in your aquarium to allow the water inside the bag to adjust to the temperature of the tank, so when you introduce the fish there is not a big temperature shock, for 15 minutes gradually introduce a bit of tank water at this time and after 5 minutes release them into the tank. Please note that for first fish you should only have a few tropical fish, for a 20 gallon tank 6 platies is ample for cycling the tank, adding more will just lead to fish dying because the ammonia produced by their waste is toxic.

Yeah and Robert owns a few blogs on
tropical fish ,aquarium fish ,saltwater fish and freshwater fish !

Saltwater Fish

Saltwater Fish

Saltwater Fish

Welcome to my site dedicated to Saltwater Fish. I will talk about how I take care of my tropical fish and how to feed saltwater fish. I hope you will enjoy your stay here and we will learn together about tropical fish !

Saltwater Fish