Hiding Spots for Aquarium Fish – A Word of Caution

Pleco StuckThe other day I was doing one of my daily walk-throughs and looking for a particular fish, but simply couldn’t find it. Mind you, this was not some tiny little goby or tetra that could almost literally disappear, this was a rather large, Spotted Royal Pleco, Panaque cf. nigrolineatus (L330). This particular Royal Pleco is something around 8 inches long. How in the world do you lose an 8 inch pleco? Check out the pic to the right and you’ll see. Read More »

Spawning Fish and Fish Eggs in the Aquarium – A Guide for Beginners

Bettas Spawning under bubble nestWhat could be more exciting for an aquarist than seeing a pair of fish spawn or finding a mass of eggs in the tank? Many beginner aquarists may not realize that their fish have formed a pair, what the fish are doing if they show a courtship ritual or that they are preparing an area to lay thier eggs. When eggs or babies appear, someone new the game may have lots of questions and concerns about what (if anything) they need to do for a successful hatch or to raise the fry.

Chances are you’re doing something right if you have a pair of fish that are prepared to spawn in the tank. Typically conditions must be favorable (clean water, ideal spawning chemistry, ect.) for the fish to be interested in breeding to begin with. If you’ve reached this point you’ll want to know what happens next. Read More »

Cichlid Territories and Aggression

Black DevilThis time around I want to talk about something I hold dear to my heart…aggressive cichlids. Most cichlids have a mean streak towards other fish in the tank, but its a whole different story when that aggression is turned on an unsuspecting aquarist.

Most of the species that exhibit this type of behavior tend to be in the South and Central American cichlid group. The African Rift Lake cichlids normally keep the aggression focused on other fish in the tank, though I’ve had some shell-dwellers who would attack my arms and on occasion rip out some arm hair…truly they can be like feisty little bulldogs. Some larger West Africans and cichlids from Madagascar have also shown brazen territoriality towards me in my many years of keeping them. Read More »

Using Terrestrial Plants in Aquariums

Lily in display tankThere are some plants offered in the aquarium industry that are doomed to fail in the average home aquarium. But just because some varieties of plants wont thrive in a submerged environment doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to enjoy them in your set-up in other ways. Sometimes you have to think outside of the “glass box” to bring a new dimension to your aquarium display.

Many aquarium displays of the past were boxed in by a hood or canopy, but especially with advances in lighting aquatic displays no longer have to be confined to the top of the aquarium. Some newer aqaurium designs even facilitate marginal plants and emerged growth. Read More »

The Importance of Water Changes In Aquarium Maintenance

BucketRoutine water changes are the most basic, most necessary, and most overlooked acts of tank maintenance. Most aquarists know they should do water changes, but not everyone does or even knows how to do it the right way. How much and how often are highly debated topics among aquarists no matter what kind of tanks they keep.

Why should we do water changes?

Removing water from the aquarium and replacing it with new, “clean” water removes waste and organics that are dissolved in the water. It also helps to remove any chemical treatments or medications when the treatment is complete. Dissolved organics contribute to Nitrate and Phosphate build-up that aquarists try so hard to control. These compounds can affect the health of your livestock directly and can promote algae and cyanobacteria growth, making your tank unsightly. Changing the water also helps to replenish minerals and other trace elements. This can be especially important in tanks with corals and crustaceans (crabs and shrimp, both freshwater and saltwater) that use these minerals to form their skeleton or exoskeleton. Corals and other saltwater invertebrates can use up minerals fairly quickly in a closed environment, and replacing old, depleted water with fresh saltwater adds these minerals back into the tank. Read More »