Do-it-Yourself – Making an Aquarium Pest Trap

Trap MaterialsMany aquarists encounter some sort of nuisance animals at some point. Whether it is snails in freshwater or shrimp, worms or the errant troublemaking fish in saltwater, trying to remove the offender can be difficult. While there are traps galore available for sale, you can also make your own at home if you need a quick trap. This kind of trap is effective on things like Mantis Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp, freshwater snails and other small inverts and can be made from items you probably already have in your home. Read More »

Setting up a South American Cichlid Aquarium

Peacock BassHey folks, it’s been a while! Today I’m going to give you some suggestions on creating a habitat for small South American Cichlids, but first let me tell you about some new additions to my finny friend collection. I recently bought a 4 inch Geophagus altifrons and two 5 inch Ocellaris Peacock Bass. They ended up going into my 40 breeder with my 2 to 2.5 inch Cuban Cichlid pair. After acclimating for an hour or so, they were placed into the tank.  I observed their behaviour towards the Cubans for a while, just to be sure there weren’t giong to be any problems. The bass showed no interest in attacking or devouring my little Cubans, actually it was the opposite, as the Cubans actually displayed threatening behaviour towards the bass by flaring their gills and charging at them. This went on for at least 2 days, and then I noticed that the bass would not eat any of the prepared foods that I put into the tank. I offered some trout worms and still no luck. I decided to break down and get a few small feeders, a last resort.

As the days went by I noticed that the Cubans would hide a lot and only came out for feeding, so I decided to watch them with the room lights off. The bass were hunting the Cubans! We were getting ready to move to another apartment, so I had to think fast. The wheels in my head started spinning. I moved the pair of Cubans into the 10 gallon that was holding my Largemouth Bass, and he went into the 40. He quickly assumed dominance over the Peacock Bass. I thought that maybe if the Peacocks saw the Largemouth eat that they would catch on. Again, no luck…now they’re stuck on feeders, so I’ll be hoping to trade them in one day soon.

Now on to the subject at hand, a set-up for South Americans. A tank for South Americans can range from a 10 gallon to an aquarium over a couple hundred gallons, depending on the fish you want to keep. If you’re hoping to keep fish like Peacock Bass to maturity, you’re going to need a BIG tank, but for this blog installment, I am going to talk about a 15 gallon set-up for some Dicrossus filamentosus. Known as the Lyretail Checkerboard Cichlid, males top out at 3 inches and females at 2.5 inches. This species is found along muddy shorelines with scattered leaf litter, so the decor I suggest will make them feel at home. You can furnish the tank with driftwood and maybe some small clay pots and flat stones for when the fish are ready to spawn. If you want, you can even try to add some leaves you may find in a river, stream or lake; just make sure you rinse them off really well. The last thing you want is to unleash a hellgramite or some other unwanted invader into your aquarium (yuck). I would recommend some low light plants, like java fern and anubias species tied to the driftwood, and a dark, fine sustrate for the bottom. Low light will complement the fish, too. Under bright light the blues, greens and reds on this species practically disappear. Low light plants, driftwood (which often leaches tannins) and the addition of products like Amazon Extract (blackwater) keeps this particular species looking sharp.

Checkerboard CichlidOnce you fill the tank, check out your pH and hardness. You should aim to maintain a stable pH of 6.5 for wild fish and 7.0-7.4 for captive bred fish, with a low general hardness. The driftwood and Amazon Extract or a similar additive will help to keep the water soft. These little guys like the water warm and stable at about 80 to 82 degrees, so you’ll need a fully submersible heater for the tank.  For a 15 gallon, one in the 75 watt range with a external thermometer should do the trick. Lighting should be chosen with the plants in mind more than the fish. A small power filter pushing 75 to 100 gallons an hour should keep the environment healthy, as long as you don’t overcrowd. Stay on top of weekly water changes, about 10 percent each week. Diet for these fish can consist of any foods from flakes to frozen to live foods, like blackworms and bloodworms. I would add 4 to 5 small 1 inch fish to the tank to try to get a pair, moving the rest once a male and female pair up. Then I would add 5 rummy nose tetras and 5 neons or cardinal tetras to keep the middle of the tank active since the cichlids spend most of their time on the bottom.

I hope this was an enjoyable read for people and I hope I piqued someone’s interest in these little gems from South America. Let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like to share your own ideas for a South American set-up.

Until next time,

Jose

Peacock bass image referenced from wikipedia

Goldfish Diversity – The Many Forms of a Single Species, Carassius auratus

CometWith the wide range of body shapes and colors, it is hard to believe that all of the fish we call “goldfish” come from the same ancestor, a rather dull, silver/brown carp known as Carassius auratus. Almost two thousand years ago, Asian fisherman raised these fish in ponds for food, and soon the natural orange and yellow mutations of these fish caught the eye of Chinese royalty. Over time, the fish that we know as “goldfish” were selectively bred for specific traits and colors which would eventually become the varieties we see in fish stores today. Let me introduce you to some of the most popular “breeds” that have become aquarium mainstays over the past few hundred years.

Made for Outdoor Living

Comets – Perhaps the closest in appearance to the “natural” carp, Comets have longer fins than the common goldfish, and are often sold as “feeder fish”. They can be orange, white, silver, yellow or black. They get fairly large and are often sold for ponds rather than aquariums. The Sarasa Comet is a very popular variety whose coloration is a combination of pure white and deep red. Read More »

EcoTech Marine Coral Glue – A Pro Fragger’s Dream Adhesive

Super Glue TubeI have been fragging corals for over 8 years, through those 8 years I have gone through hundreds of bottles of Cyanoacrylate better known as Super Glue, or other brand names marketed by a variety of companies. The problem with basic super glue is that it’s way too runny. Fraggers know that you tend to end up having more glue on your hands than on the plugs and corals. Over the past couple of years, companies within the aquarium hobby have developed their own “reef glue” formulas. They are much easier to work with, thicker and quicker to set. However, even with improvements, many still aren’t that great. The neck and pointed opening eventually become clogged with old glue, making it impossible to use all of the glue. More often than not, the glue in the bottle just becomes too hard after extensive usage, thus making it no longer useable. Read More »

Are you feeding Pure Flake? – Pure Aquatic Flake Food Debuts at That Fish Place

Pure Aquatic Cichlid FlakeThat Fish Place is. We are proud to introduce a new line of flake foods from Pure Aquatic.  In the rapidly growing product line from Pure Aquatic, the flake foods are the latest offering to hit the shelves here at That Fish Place.  They have a flake formulas suitable for almost any aquarium application.  All Pure Aquatic foods are made in the United States, and packaged fresh, for maximum quality.  Pure Aquatic Flake foods are Marine Biologist tested and approved, and are made with high quality ingredients and are fortified with vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Read More »