Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Breeding and Rearing Live-bearing Species of Fish

Live-bearing species of fish like guppies and swordtails are notorious for breeding in the community tank. If you want to breed these fish on purpose, however, there are a few tips you might want to know.

 If you have a community tank stocked with guppies, swordtails or other live-bearers you should not be surprised to find baby fish swimming around at some point. Live-bearing species of fish are known for reproducing in the community tank with little to no effort on the part of the aquarium hobbyist. Unlike many species of fish which lay eggs, live-bearing species of freshwater fish produce fully-formed fry. These species may reproduce as often as once every few weeks, but they generally produce fewer fry than egg-laying species of fish. If you are interested in trying your hand at breeding freshwater aquarium fish, you may want to start with live-bearing fish. To get started with breeding live-bearing species of fish, you should first learn the basics about what type of fish belong to this group, how to prepare the fish for breeding and how to care for the fry once they do.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Also known as the tricolor shark or silver shark, the young bala shark is a staple item in most aquarium stores. However, this fish is a poor choice for most aquaria. The bala shark (the name is an abbreviation of the scientific name) is active, grows to fourteen inches, and prefers living in midwater shoals. So the typical community aquarium is too small for keeping the bala shark long-term.

The bala shark is very peaceful. Even though this fish grows large, it will not bother other fish—except those small enough to fit in its mouth. Ideally, you should keep groups of six or more, but no less than three.

Silver Arowana Species Profile

The Silver Arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) is a long and beautiful fish known for its voracious appetite and constant surface skimming, looking for things to fit into its mouth. It is native to waterways of the Amazon River and other areas in South America. 

It is a very popular fish for intermediate to expert aquarists as it swims fairly gracefully and with purpose and has a nice and powerful jaw. Aquarists like to watch it feed, especially live foods such as earthworms and other insects. A true carnivore, the silver arowana can be aggressive, especially toward smaller fish in the tank, so if you are going to keep an arowana with other fish, choose tankmates wisely. Fish that inhabit the middle and lower portion of the aquarium's water column are preferable. 

The silver arowana's domain is near the surface, where it stays most of the time. The silver arowana is a visual hunter, and it has been observed in the wild jumping out of the water to snatch a hapless bug from an overhanging tree branch. 

Angelfish Species Profile

Long a favorite among aquarists, the angelfish is a tall fish that can be kept in a community setting, as long as its tankmates are not overly aggressive or habitual fin nippers. Fast-swimming fish may also make an angelfish nervous and may out-compete it for food. Gouramis in the genera Colisa and Trichogaster make ideal tankmates, as do many of the cichlids, such as the festivum and most of the South American and West African dwarf species. Small tetras like neons should not be housed with angelfish unless they are intended as food.

Because it is a tall fish, an angelfish should be housed in a relatively tall tank. It is particularly sensitive to poor water quality, so efficient filtration (a hang-on-the-back power filter coupled with a sponge filter is ideal), along with 30 percent biweekly water changes are a must. It prefers water that is soft and slightly acidic (pH 5.8 to 6.2). It is a shy cichlid that should be provided with adequate cover in its tank.

Monday, December 22, 2014

African Jewelfish Species Profile

The jewelfishes from Africa are some of the most beautiful, and most bellicose, of the cichlids. While bimaculatus was the original jewelfish introduced into the hobby many years ago, there are now a number of other species available. They all behave the same and require the same conditions. Being from western Africa, they need softer, more acidic water than the cichlids of the rift lakes in eastern Africa.

This is definitely not a community fish. In fact, when it matures, and most especially when it is breeding, there is virtually no other fish that can be in the tank with it. But its beauty and behavior make it worthwhile to consider keeping a tank just for it.

The jewelfish breeds in the typical cichlid manner, laying a large mass of eggs on a flat surface on the bottom of the tank, and defending the spawn and the babies against all comers. When it is in breeding color, the jewelfish is absolutely stunning — the reds become incredibly intense and the spangles of other colors give it an almost psychedelic appearance. Breeding begins with these colors appearing, and with the fish tearing up the entire tank with its digging.