Lungfishes – the Natural History and Care of Prehistoric Fishes – Part 1

Queensland LungfishHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  I find it quite easy to imagine a Lungfish-like creature pulling itself from an ancient sea, setting off on land and, in the process, changing the course of life on earth.  Indeed, paleontologists believe that a fish very much like today’s Australian Lungfish (Neoceratodus fosteri) pulled off just such a feat during the Devonian Period, some 160 million years ago, and in doing so set the stage for the evolution of all terrestrial vertebrates that followed (talk about “leaving your mark”!).  Read More »

What Is It and Why Do I Need It, Part 1 – Activated Carbon

There are some products that you can find in every store that sells aquarium supplies and that every aquarist has purchased at some point or another, no matter how long they’ve been in the hobby or what type of aquarium they’ve had. Out of those stand-bys, how many of them do you really need, and do you know what they do (or do not) do for your aquarium? One of the most wide-spread of these “necessities” is activated carbon. Read More »

Schools Aren’t Just For Kids – Schooling Fish for your Aquarium Part 2 – Freshwater Species

African Three-stripe CatIn my last blog I talked about schooling fish, their interesting behaviors and some schooling species for your marine aquarium. If you have a freshwater aquarium, the list of schooling fish species is pretty long. Dozens of tetras, barbs, danios, and rasboras are available and new species are being introduced regularly. There are also several other types of schooling fish that you may not see in the average pet store. These colorful and interesting fish can really contribute something special to a home aquarium. Read More »

Aquarist First Aid – Anemone and Jellyfish Stings

Almost every aquarist will feel the sting from a cnidarian (anemones, jellyfish, ect.) at some point or another. For some, it can just be a mild annoyance, but for others it can be downright painful or even dangerous. The correct treatment depends on what you were stung by and how sensitive you are to it.

Cnidaria is a large phylum (one of the broadest scientific classifications) and includes jellyfish, corals, anemones, and hydroids that aquarist might encounter in their tanks. Cnidarians have specialized stinging cells known as “nematocysts” or “cnidocysts”. These cells can be used as defense mechanisms or to catch prey. Some are harmless to people, but effective on the cnidarian’s targeted prey.  Some can be lethal to anything they touch – the Sea Wasp, a type of box jellyfish, is touted as the most venomous marine animal ever and is usually fatal. Different types of nematocysts have different functions and one animal can have more than one type of nematocyst at a time, but all function essentially the same way. Read More »

Observing Piranhas in the Wild (Not What You’ll See in Piranha 3D) Part 2

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In Part 1 of this article I wrote about some of my experiences with Red-Bellied Piranhas in the wild, and examined some of the myths and realities surrounding their fearsome reputations. 

Bird-Eating Piranhas

Jabiru StorkPiranhas living near wading bird rookeries (colonial nesting areas) are often more aggressive than those dwelling in other habitats.  It seems that young birds frequently fall from their nests to the water below (the nests are usually located in trees growing in water), and Piranhas (and Spectacled Caiman) have learned to cash in.  Red-Bellied Piranhas living near rookeries are said to be particularly aggressive and will hit just anything that lands on the water’s surface.  Read More »