How Many Fish You Can Keep in Your Aquarium?

It is a natural assumption that the larger the aquarium, the more fish you can keep in it. Whilst this is obviously true, it is a statistic that can only be applied proportionately depending on what area of fishkeeping interest you intend to follow. It all depends on the oxygen levels in the water. Tropical aquarium water temperatures mean less oxygen than in coldwater tanks, and larger coldwater fish use up oxygen more than their relatively small tropical counterparts. Again, salt water contains a different amount of oxygen than freshwater. These factors conspire against the assumed conclusion. Continue reading

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What Is Suitable Water for Your Aquarium?

Water, as it comes out of the tap, has been treated to be safe for human consumption. This means certain additives are present which fish are unlikely to have encountered in their natural habitat and which may adversely affect them. Most people are familiar with chlorine in this respect. Fortunately, the aquatic industry has come up with treatments which nullify many of the additives and so can make tap water more suitable for fishkeeping – something not always appreciated by the local water authorities! Continue reading

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Tips for Choosing the Best Aquarium Lighting

Fish will not thrive in captivity unless we are able to replicate, as closely as possible, the conditions they enjoy in nature. Fortunately for us, the aquarium manufacturing industry has risen to the challenge admirably providing reliable, efficient equipment for the task in hand. Continue reading

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Fish Disease – Diagnosis and Treatment

As with quarantining, the course of treatment must be thorough and also well documented. Don’t jump to conclusions. An example of this might be the following scenario: fish are panting at the surface. Obviously an oxygen deficiency, but where? If adding extra aeration doesn’t relieve the situation then there may be enough oxygen in the water, but the fish cannot access it because of a parasitic gill infection. So the next step is to examine the fish’s gills. Depending on the problem, there are two options open for methods of administering treatment. Treatments can be carried out collectively in the main aquarium, say, for curing a disease that all the fish have contracted; or a single fish, say, suffering from a wound or sore, can be individually treated in a separate hospital tank.
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Common Fish Diseases and How to Deal With Them

Fish ailments can range from their equivalent of a common cold to some debilitating infection that is beyond treatment. Diseases fall into two groups, those that have early external visible symptoms and those that don’t. The problem with the latter type is that by the time the fish’s behavior or eventual general appearance tells you something is wrong, it’s usually too late to effect a cure. Continue reading

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A Guide to Keeping Goldfish in Your Aquarium

The Common Goldfish must the most commonly-kept fish in the world, althoug its popularity as an aquarium fish has diminished against the hugely popular tropical fishes which are now available, both for freshwater and marine aquariums. Having said that, the Goldfish can still be as source of enjoyment as long a it is treated respectfully, and given a large enough aquarium.

There are several extensions to the Goldfish theme for, although only consisting of one variety, Carassius auratus, many years of aquarium breeding have produced several different strains. The London and Bristol Snubunkins are the two most basic ‘improvements’. The London has a shorter tail against the Bristol’s well-developed broad-lobed tail but it is in the color development where the attraction lies. Pigmentation under the skin produces violets, blues and reds which, coupled with the non-reflectivity of the scales produce a wide range of colorations quite distinct from the single red/orange color of the metallic-scaled Common Goldfish.

The Comet, another metallic fish, has a large forked tail almost as long as the body. This specie can swim at high speed but only for short periods.

All of the varieties are suitable for both aquarium and pond culture. They are known as ‘singletails’ as the tail fin comprises a single unit. The following varieties have double tails and are known as ‘twin-tails’.

From here on, the traditional Goldfish body shape has undergone further development and has become more and more egg-shaped. By further selective breeding, more flowing fins have been added, in some cases the dorsal fin lost, eyes have become telescopic and tails flattened and curved almost horizontally.

These varieties form the bulk of the Fancy Goldfish interest and include all the colorations and scale patterns. There is even a jet black Goldfish called the Moor.

Typical Fancy varieties are Fantail, Veiltail, Jikin, Ranchu, Ryukin, Wakin, Oranda, Lionhead, Celestial, Bubble-eye and Tosakin and each variety has its own characteristic qualities.

Most of these varieties are not suitable for pond culture and will have lost much of their swimming prowess. Their internal organs will have become cramped through the shaping of the body with the result that some will develop swimming or balance abnormalities.

Other coldwater fishes
Whilst there are many other species of coldwater fish suitable for aquarium culture, recent legislation has made the importing, selling and keeping of such fishes much more difficult, especially those fishes imported from other countries. The reason for this is quite simple: because the fish share the same water conditions in their country that exists here, any imported fish that is set free into our native waters could seriously affect our own native fish stocks, either by predating on them or by breeding at such a fast rate that they are outcompeted for natural food.

At the time of writing, licences are required to be held by both the vendor and purchaser in respect of non-native fishes. Those fishes most affected are many found naturally in North American waters; these include Pimephales, Cyprinella, Lepomis, Notropis, and Umbra, all very attractive aquarium subjects.

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A Guide to Keeping Cichlids Fish in Your Aquarium

cichlidsNow this is where it gets really interesting. To many fishkeepers, Cichlids are ugly brutes who think nothing of re-arranging the aquarium’s decorations when it suits them although, to be fair to the fish, they usually do it when breeding and, understandably, are only staking out their breeding territory.

Cichlids come in diverse shapes, sizes and colors originating in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Central American species are generally the tough guys; South America offers the highly-colored Apistogramma genus, the stately Discus and everyone’s favorite, the Angelfish. Not to be outdone, Africa holds its own with the dazzling colors of its Rift Valley fishes, many of which are endemic to each particular lake. For a region so normally blessed with fishes, Asia is a poor third with only two or three Cichlids native to its waters.

So there’s an ample choice to attract you, but the real attraction for most fishkeepers is that these fish are parents par excellence. All cichlids are egg-depositors, females laying their eggs on a firm surface for the male to fertilize, but there are variations on this basic premise. The majority are happy to prepare a spawning site in open water, then fertilize and defend their hatching eggs against all-comers. For the fishkeeper, this makes a very watchable process.

Taking parental care a little further, some species get very secretive about their breeding and prefer to do it in the privacy of a rocky cave, a flowerpot or even a vacant large shell, well away from their owner’s prying eyes.

Others, some African Lake species, only just make it into the egg-depositing category; in these cases, the female does lay eggs (usually in a depression in the substrate) but then as the male fertilizes them she picks up the eggs and incubates them in her throat cavity until the young fish are developed enough to swim free. Even then, her task is not over for, at the slightest threat, the fry all dash back into her mouth for safety.

Another feature of Cichlids, is that the fry of Discus is noted for finding its first food in the mucus covering of its parents’ skin. When one parent has had enough of being a feeding station the fry are flicked towards the other to continue their meal.

Caring for Cichlids is both straightforward and complicated, depending on which species you choose. Central American and African Lake species are hard water loving, whilst South American fish are better suited to soft water; Discus require more stringent water management than most.

Feeding is no problem as most are omnivorous although some African Lake species will need green matter in their diet as they normally graze on algae-covered rocks in their natural home.

As you can appreciate, tenancy of territory plays a strong role in these fishes’ life style, so any aquarium destined for Cichlid inhabitants (and they occupy all levels) must be large enough to give each fish their allotted space – or there will be constant skirmishes between rival house-hunters.

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