Apr 232016
 

Well, things have been going well lately with my freshwater aquarium and fish.  We purchased a new home for the Betta Fish.  It is small just 2.5 gallons but it seems to be plenty for him.  We planted two plants that have large leaves in the tank for him.  The leaves give him a place with reduced lighting as Betta’s do not tend to like bright light.  He even has a little yellow submarine with holes in it that he enjoys swimming in and out of.

We also bought him some treats.  I know we are spoiling him.  The treats are three different types of insects and/or worms.  They are freeze dried and come in a “dial a treat” plastic box.  I did not know how he would react to the treats but soon found out he loves them.  We do not give much to him only a little every three or four days.  Other than the treats I found that he likes frozen foods as well.  Shrimp and blood worms.  We also only feed him this on occasion and stick primarily to the Betta Pellets.

We gave him some companions as well.  The are Otocinclus Catfish, we call them Otto’s for short.  These little fellows are ferocious eaters!  Luckily they like to eat algae and any uneaten food in the aquarium.  We have them in our large aquarium as well and they do a great job of keeping it clean.  They are very peaceful fish that only seem to be interested in doing their eating thing.  We are hoping this will help keep the Betta tank cleaner as Betta’s can be a bit messy.

The Betta is doing wonderful and is as beautiful as he can be.  He swims around quite a bit, eats well, and has a good overall appearance so I suspect that he is in good condition.  They can live for a while so I hope to have this one for a long time to come.

 

 Posted by at 8:53 pm
Apr 142016
 

Why should this fish be chosen?

This is a very beautiful fish and it is considered to be an excellent choice especially for beginners and there is many reasons why this is so, as will be seen in this article. The Betta fish is also known as the Siamese fighting fish and originally they come from muddy streams and ponds and also from rice paddies in Thailand. They were not always colorful but rather the original Betta’s were very dull in color and they had short fins. The modern day Betta looks completely different because they now have long flowing fins and they are available in a whole range of extraordinary colors which has resulted from genetic mutations in the breeding process. One of the primary distinguishing characteristics is the very long flowing fins which is sported by the males in the species, while the females a significantly smaller and they also have shorter fins. It is also well known that the males is significantly more aggressive than the female Betta’s. Because of this aggressiveness it is preferable to separate them in captivity because if this is not done they will immediately attack another Betta and this hostility is mostly fatal and this is where the name Siamese fighting fish comes from. Betta Fish 101: The Complete Betta Fish Keeping Guide

Dietary and feeding habits

It’s important to ensure that your Betta fish follows a well-balanced diet which should include food which is either frozen, in tablet form or flaked. Several varieties should be used to ensure optimum nutrition in order to ensure a healthy and happy fish. It’s important to pay attention when feeding your Betta and you should never give more food than which can be eaten in approximately 3 to 5 minutes and the fish should only be fed three times per week. Frozen foods should be thawed and remember that smaller Betta’s should be given smaller portions. With proper care a Betta fish should have a life span of between three and five years. They are able to grow to a size of 2 1/2 inches excluding the tail. Their diet should consist primarily of insects or as mentioned above, and the minimum aquarium size should be at least a quarter of a gallon. Water temperature should be kept at between 72 and 82°F. Remember that your Betta fish should be able to breathe from the surface of the water and they prefer water with very little or no current.

Dealing with male Betta’s

It is best to keep male Betta’s in individual containers or aquariums but this should be at least 1 L in size or larger. Under normal conditions male Betta’s can coexist in a community tank as long as there are no other aggressive fish such as tiger barbs or other aggressive species. This will not apply to female Betta’s who tend to be less aggressive. In order to ensure optimal conditions for your Betta fish it is important to ensure stable water quality as well as carefully regulated temperatures and also stable pH levels all of which is things which is important to ensure perfect aquatic conditions. There are many sources were advice can be obtained if you do not know what to do. It will be important to check your filter, water temperature and other equipment on a daily basis. At least once a week it is necessary to check the quality of the water and in an aquarium of less than 2 gallons it is best to do a complete water change in order to avoid unnecessary complications.

 Posted by at 8:16 pm
Apr 112016
 

Cichlids are a part of the fish family Cichlidae, and they are members of the Labroidei suborder as well as pomacentridae (damselfishes), Embiotocidae (surfperches), and Labidrdae (wrasses). This family is considered to be diverse, and one of the largest family of vertebrates. There are as much as 1,600 described species with an estimate of 3,000 undescribed species. Meaning the real number of this particular species is actually unknown, but annual discoveries keep revealing newer ones.

Cichlid are not just the most diverse fish family, but they are also said to be the most popular fish types that people love to keep as pets in their aquariums at home. If you are one of such “fish lovers”, then it’s wise that you first know everything about them.

In this guide, you will learn about the Cichlid species and the right species you can keep in your home (if you plan to keep them).

Basic Information of Cichlid

Generally, Cichlids range from one species to the other with variable sizes, but ovate shape is the most common one you will find with laterally compressed bodies. Neolamprogolgus is the smallest cichlid species, which measures lesser than an inch at maturity. Whereas other species like the Giant Cichlid, (Boulengerochromis microlepis) can reach as much as three feet in length and sometimes more. Even though most of the Cichlids today have laterally compressed bodies, a few other species have cylindrical or more elongated bodies as compared to the others.

Species may vary in their physical differences, but there is one trait common to all Cichlids and that’s their set of pharyngeal jaws. This means that most of this fish species have their lower pharyngeal bones fused together to a single tooth-bearing arrangement, which is solely controlled by sets of complex muscles. These allow the entire structure to be of use as a second jaw set. With a set of two jaws, cichlids are able to easily process wide ranges of the food (primarily, cichlids are herbivores, meaning they feed on plants and algae) they eat. It also allows them to process meals efficiently. This quality is assumed to be one of the reasons why this particular species is a diverse one. Other features that differentiate them from other Labroidei families include:

  • Absence of the bony shelf found below orbits of the eye
  • Instead of two nostrils, they have a single nostril locatable on each side of their forehead
  • A uniquely shaped otolith
  • Their small intestines exit from the left side of their stomach rather than the right as visible in other Labroidei species
  • Their lateral organs split into two sections, the first being on the upper half area of the flank and the second along the flanks midline (halfway along their body).

Cichlid are widely spread throughout the world, though they only breed in freshwater habitats. Some of the famous species include:


South American Cichlids

One destination in the world where some cichlid species are easy to identify is South America. You can find popular ones like angelfish, dwarf, Oscars, and severum. It is a fact that over more than a half of cichlid species are native to South America and they come from the warm waters of the Amazon River basin all through the year. A popular cichlid specie worth talking about is found in South America is the discus fish, which are famous for being the most beautiful fish types for aquariums. They have a disc-like and unique shape with bright colors and black stipes on their body.

Oscar cichlids are also popular because they grow to become large. However, what makes them unique is their ability to develop individual personalities. This means some allow their owners to easily handle them.

African Cichlids

Though it is difficult to decipher the exact number of species of cichlid in existence today, it is an estimate that over 1,600 species exist just in places like Africa. Majority cichlids are easy to find in natural lake rifts like Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Malawi, some in Lake Victoria. In the world of aquarium trade, cichlids from these lakes are the most common ones and they usually prized high for their brilliant, vibrant colorations as well as being robust in their aquarium world.

Another quality that makes them popular is their interaction or social behavior. These species tend to be highly active and sometimes they can become aggressive and possessive about their territory. Some popular cichlid species you can find today from Lake Malawi are some like peacock cichlids, and Mbuna cichlids (or rockfish). The peacock cichlids are popular for their display of bright colors that range from canary yellow to electric blue.

On the other hand, masked Julies, five bar cichlid, frontosa cichlid, and lemon cichlids originate from Tangyanyika Lake. Cichlid fish species from here are not a famous choice for home aquariums but this doesn’t mean the fish are less beautiful in anyway. A particular one from Lake Tangyanyika known for its captivating beauty is the Aeneocolor, which has a bright red and yellow body.

Other Cichlid Species

Even though majority of the species from this fish family are more in number in South America and Africa, there are also a few different species that originate from Central America, Asia, as well as North America. Rainbow cichlids, convict cichlids, fire mouth cichlids, Dempsey cichlids are common cichlids from regions like Central America. The only cichlid specie native to USA is the Texas cichlid. Throughout the eastern regions of the world, cichlids are not evenly distributed. Some are locatable in Asia, and belong to the Etroplus genus.

With a basic guide on the cichlid species as a whole, you can now make a detailed decision on whether this particular species may be of any interest to you. If you wish to keep cichlid species in the aquarium tank of your home, ensure that you first carry out a detailed research on that particular species and ensure that you attend to all its relevant needs like food, cleanliness of the tank and more. Aquatic Supplies

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Apr 072016
 

We decided a couple of weeks ago to include some live, aquatic plants in our aquarium.  We purchased five aquatic plants.  We bought four different kinds of plants as we did not know what ones would do well in our aquarium if any.  Planting each aquatic plant was a bit difficult.  Our tank is kind of narrow but “deep.”  My wife and I both have short arms so reaching the bottom is a challenge.  We managed to get all the plants in by a miracle we did not break anything.

Once we were done planting we took a good look and wondered why we have not done this before.  The fish seemed to love them and they look awesome!  They are much better than the plastic decorations we had in there.  I wish I had taken note of what the aquatic plants names were but, I can find out from Petco where I purchased them.

It has been a few weeks now and the plants have done well.  I am planning on getting some more plants when the budget allows.  The plants are a little on the costly side of around $7 to $8 dollars a piece.  I am glad they did not die that would be a lot of money wasted.

Our Betta fish loves the plants.  Most of the fish can be seen interacting with the plants at one point or the other.  However, the Betta almost lives in them.  From my understanding there is a plant called a Betta fish plant.  I am not sure if that is the correct name or if that is the name for marketing purposes, but I believe that the Betta fish like these particular plants more so than others. Aquarium Plants (Mini Encyclopedia Series for Aquarium Hobbyists)

 

 

 Posted by at 5:59 am
Apr 032016
 

Well, we went to the fish store and my wife picked out a new Betta Fish. I must say that she picked a beautiful fish. He is dark, dark blue to the point he generally looks black. He has tints on his fins that sparkle when he expands. He likes to swim and likes to be “puffed up” so he is constantly showing off his beauty. My wife really likes him. She has been a bit frustrated trying to feed him. He does not know the routine that her past Betta Fish did.

The one thing about this Betta is that it is aggressive. Immediately upon being placed in the tank it would puff up and attack other fish. He is so aggressive my wife has named him “BAB” for Bad A** Betta. The other Betta was a wimp compared to this guy. He rarely puffed up and usually was hiding somewhere. Not Bab! Bab is always puffing up and swimming around. I like the new Betta except for him harassing his tank mates all the time. However, this has seemed to settle down after a couple of days. He still takes jabs at them but only when they come by him now. Before he was searching them out.

 Posted by at 3:39 am
Mar 302016
 

Somehow our Betta Fish has gone missing.  I have no idea how a fish goes missing in a 46 Gallon tank, it makes no sense to me.  It happened yesterday at feeding time we could not find him.  This was strange as the Betta Fish comes to feeding times eagerly.  We searched for hours looking in all of the decorations, the plants and on the floor (just in case the little bugger found a way out).  We did this multiple times last evening.  We finally went to bed and hoped to see him in the morning.  Sadly the Betta Fish was not around and we had to assume the worst.  We figure that he may of died and something ate him.  I cannot imagine what could eat him as most of our fish are small.  I don’t know, not much else makes sense at this point.

It makes me think perhaps putting a Betta in a large tank may not work well. But I know that this is something that does work – as long as there is only one male! Should one want more than one males they would have to get multiple tanks, small or large. Many folks like to take and put the tanks next to each other so the fish naturally is showing off their colors to intimidate the other Male Betta fish that they see. If I was going to do this I saw an awesome, waterfall setup. It is one tank separated into three sections each one slightly lower than the other and water flows down to all of them

My wife was pretty distraught about losing her Betta.  That was her fish and she liked him a great deal.  We will most likely buy another at some point, but we do not expect the same personality.  But that is OK it is fun to learn about each fish we have and how they behave.  My wife will have fun being able to pick another one out.  I won’t as she takes a long time to do so lol!

 Posted by at 10:03 pm
Mar 292016
 

We have an awesome Betta fish.  This fish has been trained to come up to the top to be basically hand fed.  We feed our Betta – Betta pellets.  They are really small and hard but the Betta seems to like them.  I am researching about Betta fish to better understand Betta fish care.  Betta fish, as I understand, can be a bit picky.  Ours has seemed to adjust completely to the environment of our community tank.  He is colorful, active, and feeding.  I probably should have read about how to take care of a Betta fish when I got him but we seem to be managing.  I am learning a few things though that may help keep my Betta alive for longer.  One thing I learned is a Betta may live for up to five years!  I had no idea they could live that long.

I have also learned that you never want to put a male Siamese Fighting Fish together with another male Siamese Fighting Fish.  This name implies fighter fish and that is what two males will do, they will fight to the death.  A female Betta fish in the same tank is fine but not another male.  Our Betta likes to have cover.  He likes to hide in the barrel and plants.  He lays on the plants at night to rest.  I would like to get a female Betta fish and try to breed them but I have read it is difficult without the right knowledge to do.  I may get one anyway just so he will have company.

 Posted by at 6:48 pm
Mar 242016
 

The filter I use for my aquarium is a Fluval AquaClear 70.   This filter is a hang on the back of your aquarium type and is made for 40 – 70 gallon tanks.  It does a great job on my 46 Gallon tank.  I would prefer to have a canister filter as I had one years ago and they are awesome however, I cannot afford one at this time.  Regardless though the Fluval AquaClear 70 serves my needs just fine.  This filter has a basket design for the filtration media.  This is a good design as you only have to lift out the basket and all three of the media comes out with it.  You do not have to power down the filter.  This enables it easy to change out the necessary media.  The filter comes with foam, activated carbon and biomax.

I found that this filter has a better price for the media than other ones that I researched.  Some of the filter’s media are very expensive and will carry a high monthly cost.  Also the filter’s basket has room to hold another media!  I bought some pete moss that I want to add to my filter to control the pH levels in my tank.  It is simple to add it – I just put it in a mesh bag and set it on top of the other media and its all set.  The filter is quite running and is powerful.  Overall I am happy with the choice I made for a filter.

 

 Posted by at 9:34 pm
Mar 232016
 

I had another fish die 🙁 this time a Pot-Bellied Molly.  These Molly’s are awesomely cool in how they behave and look.  They love to eat.  We had five of them now there are four.  This one was one of the special ones as he looked like the Gateway Cow – black and white pattern.  My wife was sad to lose this fellow.  I went to another pet store for new ideas and spoke with a helpful staff member.  I explained what was going on with my tank and she was able to give me some ideas.  One, for the pH level is to use Pete moss substrate (Pete granules) in the filter.  This is known to help regulate a neutral pH level (7).  She also told me not to do extreme water changes.  Only do about 20% of the tank at a time as I may be throwing the whole chemical balance out of whack if I change too much water at a time.  Also she told me to check my tap water that I use to fill the tank to be sure it’s pH levels were fine.  I did and they are perfect.

So I ordered some Pete moss and am awaiting its arrival.  It is supposed to be delivered tomorrow.  I also ordered some five-inch pieces of Cholla wood that are also supposed to help stabilize pH levels.  I have given up on the pH up and pH down chemicals I have as they are not doing anything and the store’s, staff member told me it does not work.  I did buy some stabilizer stuff (Neutral Regulator) that she recommended and it has a 60 day money back guarantee.  I am giving it a shot.  It does multiple things:  it takes out chlorine, neutralizes ammonia, and works to keep the pH level neutral (7.0).   I hope with all these actions I can get my fish healthy and living!  I also put some stress coat in to help the fish deal with all of the changes going on.

This has been a frustrating endeavor as well as a big money sink.  I don’t mind as I do enjoy the aquarium and the fish.  I just hate for any of them to lose their lives because of something I am doing wrong.  I have performed a great deal of research on the web about pH levels and found that the actual desired level ranges quite a bit depending on the species.  So I am not positive that the pH level is what is causing all the fish to die.  I got to thinking last night about it and remembered my wife has to basically hand feed her beta fish with its pellets.  She inserts her hand into the tank and lets the pellets fall in front of the fish so he will get some.  My wife wears perfume!  She puts this on her wrists.  So I am wondering if that perfume is poisoning the tank?  She is not going to feed the beta any more that will be my job now and we will see if that makes a difference.

 

 Posted by at 7:25 pm
Mar 212016
 

We went one day without a fish dying however, the next day their were three more dead.  This was frustrating as I though we had fixed the problem.  I took a sample of the water to the local pet store and they tested it for me.  Come to find out the PH levels were off the chart.  I bought the chemical that reduces PH levels and returned home.  I performed another large water change and tested the PH it had come down some but was still a bit high.  After adjusting the PH with the chemicals (not cheap) the PH level was once again fine.  We have not lost fish in 4 days now and counting.  I am reluctant to purchase anymore until I see if the tank is going good with what we have.  I have learned that aquariums are very expensive not only to buy and setup but to upkeep as well.  I do find it worth it though as it is beautiful to watch.

 Posted by at 2:31 pm