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Synodontis Catfish – African Companion Fish for Your Cichlid Aquarium

Synodontis eruptusIt isn’t hard to understand the appeal of Synodontis Catfish. I mean, what’s not to like? Besides the array of bold and attractive patterns they exhibit, they have interesting history and habits that drive many freshwater aquarists crazy. If you’re not familiar with this group of fish already, read on to find out why they’re one of the most popular in the aquarium trade.

Synodontis Cats originate from the continent of Africa from the sub-Saharan rivers and rift lakes. There are over 120 identified species, ranging in size from just a couple of inches to over a foot in length. They are robust in build with prevalent dorsal and pectoral fins as well as large adipose fins (between the dorsal and the tail). Large eyes and 3 sets of barbels (whiskers) are also distinguishing characteristics. Synodontis catfish are also scaleless.  Read More »

The Flowerhorn Cichlid, Past and Present – Personal Recollections

Living Legend FlowerhornHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  While new fishes occasionally enter the trade (much to our delight!), it’s not often that an entirely new species is created by breeders.  But that’s exactly what happened in the early 1990’s, when the incredible Flowerhorn Cichlid burst onto the scene.  Since then, “fine-tuning” has resulted in a fish with perhaps the most complicated parentage of any hybrid – 7 to 10 species have contributed their genes!  Read More »

Seahorses in the Community Aquarium – Companions for Live Food Specialists

Seahorse
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Seahorse husbandry has advanced quite a bit in recent years, with several species having now been bred in captivity.  One stumbling block, however, is the near impossibility of keeping Seahorses with other marine creatures.  Seahorses are slow, methodical hunters, and the live foods they require are also favored by other fishes.  In typical community aquariums, food is gobbled up by other species before the Seahorses even know its feeding time.  But there are some options…following are a few creatures that I’ve experimented with over the years.

Pipefishes

Pipefishes are classified with Seahorses in the order Syngnathiformes, and are also confirmed live-food specialists that hunt in a similarly slow manner.  They are the best choice as Seahorse companions –all those I’ve kept have gotten along very well with Seahorses.

The Banded Pipefish, Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus, strikingly marked in red and yellow, makes a spectacular tank mate for tropical Seahorses. Read More »

The Uncertain Future of Seasmart

Reef Soft CoralA few months ago I wrote about SeaSmart, a new program/company planning to revolutionize the way livestock is collected and handled, before it ends up in a local retail store. The program was working out extremely well, with an influx of sustainable Papua New Guinea fish to the market every week. The aquaculture portion of the company was on the verge of sending out the first coral frags in the coming months.

Suddenly, at the end of last year, exports from PNG stopped. Read More »

Four of a Kind – Our New Batch of Rhamphochromis

Rhamphochromis macrophthalmusThe thought of a freshwater counterpart to the stealthy marine barracuda is just awesome to me. There are several fish called freshwater barracuda, but in the world of cichlids, Rhamphochromis fits the bill. So, I tend to get excited when I hear anything about Rhamphochromis, especially when they arrive in the store. I’ve never kept these fish, but I can see them in my future. Here are some things you may want to know if you’re as intrigued as I am. Read More »