Archive for the ‘Other fish’ Category

Dwarf African Clawed Frog

September 9, 2010

Amphibians make interesting pets, and keeping them successfully in the same habitat along with fish makes them even more interesting. Dwarf clawed frogs are completely aquatic, easy to care for, and very mild mannered. They provide a great opportunity to make your fish keeping hobby even more awesome.

African Dwarf Clawed Frog: (Hymenochirus spp.)

Size: 1.5 inches

Aquarium Size: 6-29 gallons

Dwarf clawed frogs are small, inexpensive, durable, and interesting aquarium inhabitants. Do not mistake them for the much larger and voracious African clawed frog however. The African clawed frog has much smoother skin, is generally huskier, and its eyes point more upwards. Also, if the specimen is an albino, it is the African clawed frog, not the dwarf species. A good temperature range for the dwarf clawed frog is 75-79 degrees Fahrenheit, and pH and hardness are not of great importance as long as extremes are avoided. These cute little frogs will readily take prepared foods such as flakes and freeze-dried stuff, as well as blood worms and tubifex worms and small pellets.

These frogs will not bother fish unless they are incredibly small to the point where they can be eaten; usual community fish such as tetras and barbs are under no threat. Dwarf clawed frogs get along quite well with one another as well. They can live in either small or large aquariums, but I recommend keeping them in water no deeper than 16 inches, as they regularly have to go up to the surface to gulp some air.

Breeding: Breeding dwarf clawed frogs is not very difficult. Feed them with a variety of live and frozen foods to fatten them up, and eventually perform a water change with cooler water (about 62 degrees). This will help stimulate spawning. If they feel like it, the males will grab the female around the waist and perform amplexus (frog sex). The female releases many eggs that will be fertilized, after which point the pair should be removed to prevent cannibalism. The eggs hatch in a few days, the tiny tadpoles will absorb their yolk sacs for another week or so, and after that, you can feed them things like newly hatched brine shrimp, cyclops, and infusoria. Tadpoles take a about a month to transform into little froglings, and the process is amazing to watch. Good luck!

Goldfish: ( Carassius Auratus)

Size: 5-10 inches (For common breed)

Aquarium Size: 29-220 gallons, 200+gallon pond

Goldfish

June 15, 2010
Goldfish: ( Carassius Auratus)

Size: 5-10 inches (For common breed)

Aquarium Size: 29-220 gallons, 200+gallon pond


Our beloved goldfish. Whether you won one by throwing ping pong balls into fish bowls at the county fair, were given a sickly one from an irresponsible owner, or found a nickel on the ground and used it to buy one yourself, I’m sure everybody who is reading this has had a goldfish at one point in his or her life.

Goldfish are often kept  in small bowls as some sort of house decor, and they are often used to feed large cichlids such as oscars, red devils, and the like. But there is so much more behind those ridiculous eyes and that chubby mouth constantly begging for food.

To begin with, goldfish make awesome pets (I can hear the goldfish haters crying and whining already). They aren’t anywhere near the stupidest fish, and no, they don’t have a five second memory. Go to Youtube and search up some goldfish tricks. These fish learn to do certain “tricks” because they know that doing so will reward them with food. Try it yourself some day. Oh and there are so many colors of goldfish,  as well as the dozens of varieties, from Black Moors to Comets to Shubunkins. This article will be mainly concerned with the common, “feeder” goldfish, however, because I like them more.

Before delving into more advanced stuff, there are a few things a responsible goldfish keeper must know. First of all, a fish bowl isn’t a very great home for a goldfish, or any fish for that matter. Sure, they can live in bowls. I have a friend who once kept about five or six goldfish in a small bowl, and some of them were only a few inches while one was at least seven inches. They lived there for many many years. But were they happy? No.

Goldfish grow quickly and eat a lot; consequently, they shit a lot. This means a powerful filter and frequent water changes will be necessary. This also means that goldfish aren’t suitable tankmates for fish who won’t grab food very quickly, including a lot of bottom dwelling catfish-the goldfish will slurp up their algae discs before they even wake up. Young goldfish can be purchased at a very low price. However, since these are intended as feeders, many of them will be malnourished and sick, so don’t hit yourself if your goldfish dies soon after purchase. Young goldfish can be started off in smaller aquariums, just be sure to provide a couple hides.  Adult goldfish can live happily in a 29 gallon tank, but if possible, get a 55 gallon-that will give them plenty of room to swim. Goldfish can also live very happily in ponds; there are plenty of natural foods that grow in ponds that goldfish can munch on to enhance their colors.

Goldfish are coldwater fish, one of a couple reasons not to mix them with tropical fish. Although there is no temperature range written in stone for these fish, In my experience, temperatures of 65-73 degrees Fahrenheit have provided me with healthy and vigorous goldfish. Goldfish are very hardy, and can even survive in extremely cold water in which the top layer is frozen; they can also tolerate higher temperatures, however, goldfish are very active fish and require plenty of oxygen, and warmer water results in lower dissolved oxygen.

Now, onto diet. Goldfish will eat almost anything. Commercially prepared flakes, shrimp, bloodworms, plants, peas, guppies, blanched lettuce, algae discs you name it. A goldfish can live its whole life on flakes, but feeding them a more varied diet reduces the risk of constipation and malnutrition, and it makes your goldfish look healthier and more colorful. It is suggested to feed them flakes, peas with the shell removed, blanched lettuce or spinach, and other greens. They will also take meaty foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, blackworms and things of that nature, but those aren’t required. Goldfish can and will overindulge, so it is important not to overfood, or it will result in a lot of health problems. More goldfish probably die of overfeeding than underfeeding. Generally, don’t feed more than what your fish can consume in a minute or two. Young and growing goldfish should be fed twice a day, but of course, be careful not to feed in excessive amounts. Also, a warning about flakes-I know you love to flood the tank with them and watch your goldfish gobble them up. This inhalation of air bubbles and the expansion of flakes later on can lead to swim bladder problems, so especially after your goldfish has done some growing, it would be wise to pre-soak flakes and feed other foods to avoid tragedies.

Breeding goldfish is somewhat difficult, and it’s generally beyond the scope of this text *meaning I am too lazy to explain it in depth). It will be partially discussed; if you are serious about it, go find some information on the internet or find some good books. Conditioning goldfish (once you have a sexed pair of course) involves changing temperature and diet, and may require a cooler. Goldfish will gobble up their own eggs, so a substrate of large marbles, or a net can help prevent this while spawning. Goldfish fry are very small, and after losing their yolk sacks, will eat microscopic foods such as algae, paramecia, or microworms. If you choose to breed goldfish, then good luck to you.

Swim Bladder Disease: Unfortunately, goldfish are prone to swim bladder disease because A) They tend to gulp a lot of food off the surface of the water, and B) Many fancy varieties have compressed, unnatural digestive systems.

What to look out for? If your goldfish is wobbling, or has off balance swimming, then react immediately; the sooner you notice a problem, the greater your chances for curing it are. Unfortunately, swim bladder disease is rarely curable, and may prove fatal. However, if you remain a diligent fish keeper, you can reduce the chances of this misfortune. Always maintain good water quality.

1. Prevention: When you sprinkle flakes on the top of the tank, your goldfish gulps air while ingesting them, and furthermore, the flakes expand inside the fishs digestive tract, furthering the problem. I suggest you soak the flakes in water ahead of time, and then try to get them to sink down before the goldfish start gulping in air.
You can also feed many different foods, such as the ones mentioned previously in this article. Feed peas regularly.

2. Peas: Peas are great. You can buy them frozen or canned, just make sure they are thoroughly thawed, and make sure to take off the skin. Unless your goldfish is very large, you will want to cut up/mash the peas so that they can be eaten with great ease. Peas are great when fighting swim bladder disease, and help to prevent it as well.
3. Fighting it: Hopefully you have discovered swim bladder disease early on; you should always be paying frequent attention and giving care to your fish. If you are unable to do that, please don’t overload yourself by buying more fish. First and foremost, perform a 15-20% water change. Then, check the pH and the nitrate levels. The nitrates should read ZERO, and the pH should be close to neutral; goldfish do not like acidic water.

Make sure you fix any problems there, do not feed your fish for a couple days, and then start to feed peas, every day, in appropriate quantities. Do not feed flakes. AT ALL, EVER AGAIN. Do not feed corn or soy either, these will exacerbate the problem. Again, peas, peas, peas. You can also feed frozen or gel based foods to help mix things up, but these aren’t as helpful as peas are.

Again, the problem cannot always be determined. It may be a virus, a bacterium, or just problems with diet. It is also possible to inject a needle into the swim bladder to help relieve it, but don’t do this unless you really know what you are doing. I wish you the best of luck should this situation arise!

Betta

March 27, 2010
Betta: ( Betta Splendens)

Size: 2-3 inches

Aquarium Size: 5-55  gallons

There are dozens of them at the pet store, mostly red and blue, housed in tiny containers. Some of them are dying, others have the energy to beg you to take them home. But will you stuff them in a tiny bowl too? I should hope not.

While bettas can live in these crude bowls, it shortens their lifespan and makes them sad. If you can provide them at least a 5 gallon container with a heater and even a filter, they will be much better off. The optimal temperatures for bettas are 71-76 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretty much any pH between 6.4 and 7.5 will suffice, considering how long bettas have been bred in captivity. They are known for their aggressive behavior; males will constantly fight each other, and will kill females that aren’t willing to mate. Females will also quarrel amongst themselves. Some good tankmates for bettas are fish that won’t steal their food or pick on their fins; this rules out most barbs and cichlids. Try corydoras or tetras.

Bettas will eat pretty much anything. They can subsist just on betta pellets, but studies have shown that they will live a better life with a greater variety in their diet. Try live brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, or even newly born fish. Your betta will go crazy and start “begging” you each time you pass by its tank, just like an aquatic puppy.

Now, unto breeding. First and foremost, take into consideration how many offspring you will end up with (Easily 20+; 50 isn’t rare). Many people keep them in jars, but I recommend you buy a large tank and split it up with plastic or glass slides; that way you can keep many bettas in a filtered and heated tank.

First, picking your stock. The bettas you see at Petco/Petsmart are usually mutts; don’t buy these if you are planning to breed for specific color or fin lineages. Try finding a reliable betta breeder, perhaps online. Once you have picked a male and a female, you must condition them in WARM, FILTERED water with live foods. Brine shrimp, mysid shrimp, etc. all work well. Keep the male in up a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter, a heater, and 5-6 inches of water, and provide a half-cut foam cup to help the male construct a good bubble nest. Keep the water clean. Introduce the female in a jar or something. If she shows interest and is trying to follow the male, and has vertical stripes, let her loose. The male will probably have constructed a bubble nest by now. The male will squeeze the eggs out of the female in an interesting ritual, and then fertilize the eggs. At this point, remove the female. The male will put the eggs in his bubble nest for the next couple days, until the fry hatch. They will live off of their yolks  for another couple days, and after that you must remove the male or he will start to eat the fry.

Feed the fry things like daphnia, green water, or walter worms; you can also try powdered fry food, but the fry won’t always recognize these as edible due to the fact that they aren’t moving around very much. Oh by the way, you should have a culture ready well before you introduce the male and the female. You can also start them on newly hatched brine shrimp; however, most of the fry will die off because they aren’t big enough to take these at first. Only the big ones will survive. Anyway, feed the fry 2-3 times a day, and keep the water and air clean. Failure to do so will screw up the fry’s developing labyrinth organs. Keeping a sheet of foil with holes above the tank can help keep dust out. Keep caring for the fry in this manner until they are large enough to take larger foods. After a month or two the males will start sparring. At this point you have to separate all the bettas and find them homes. But that’s not a problem, because you planned ahead before breeding your bettas, right?

One more thing: Give the parents plenty of rest after they mate. It’s a lot of work for both the male and the female. Give them water with proper temps and feed them well until they recover. Good luck.

Crayfish

February 28, 2010
Louisiana Crayfish: ( Procambarus clarkii)

Size: 2-5 inches

Aquarium Size: 10-55 gallons

This article will be specifically discussing the Louisiana Crayfish, but care is essentially the same for almost any crayfish.

Crayfish are hardy animals, able to tolerate wide levels of pH and pollution. They will eat anything from fish to babies, so it’s usually a good idea to keep them alone. They will also not object to cannibalism.

Crayfish are aggressive towards other crayfish, and will seize the opportunity to gut and eat a fish that is resting. They will also uproot plants and eat them, climb cables to escape their tank, and invade foreign countries, too.

Louisiana Crayfish can be cared for in the same manner as most other crayfish can. They do well at room temperature. Don’t keep more than one together unless you have a very large tank. As mentioned earlier, they will eat anything. As a general rule, all wild caught crayfish will immediately take to bloodworms, and can subsist on this diet for a long time. You can also feed them  mussels, zucchini, lettuce, snails, and fish. It’s best to feed adult crayfish every 2 or 3 days, while younger ones can be fed every day.

Provide at least one cave or hiding spot for your crayfish, otherwise it will be stressed.

Crayfish really are easy to care for and make great pets. It’s just that they don’t get along well with others. They can live in a small tub or a 10 gallon, as long as you provide a place for them to hide. Filtration and aeration is a big plus.

To treat wild caught crayfish for random external parasites, it’s recommended to give them a 15-20 minute saltwater bath. Problem solved.

Guppy

February 15, 2010
Guppy: (Poecilotheria reticulata)                       

Size: 1.1-2.79  inches

Aquarium Size: 10-40 gallons

Guppy. Anybody who doesn’t know what this is must have a brain tumor.

It’s the guppy! These fish are great for beginners, as well as for pros looking to breed for specific traits. Being captively bred for so long, mainly in the eastern US, they can tolerate a wide range of pH. A pH of 6.7-7.3 is best. A temperature of 78-82 Fahrenheit is also best.

Breeding: Guppies breed like crazy. In fact, they produce so much offspring that can be raised so cheaply, they are used to invade and mob foreign planets, destroying, devouring, and overpowering entire civilizations with sheer mass. In this case, quantity has a quality of its own. Guppies are livebearers, and once pregnant, a female may storm sperm and produce several batches of up to 30 young through a mechanism known as super-foetation. The gestation is usually a few weeks to a month. Guppy fry are born fully formed and may be fed finely crushed flakes, newly hatched brine shrimp, or other small foods. Beware that adults usually won’t hesitate to cannibalize their own children.

You can set up a breeding tank that guppies freely breed in. For this, a 10-20+gallon is recommended, as are live plants. Some fry will be eaten, but many will survive and grow up. You may also set up a separate tank for a female to give birth in; however, this is very newfaggish and is generally frowned upon. Another option is to select a number of desirable fry and cull the rest. Do this if you are looking to breed a specific fin or color lineage; in this case, don’t buy the mutts from the local fish store. You will want to get a pure strain from a breeder.


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