Guide to aquarium filters

various filters

Your guide to aquarium filter types: what kind of filtration is best and why

different types of filter
Aquarium filter types: canister, power, sponge, internal filters

 

Without a doubt, aquarium filters represent one of the most important elements of a properly functioning fish tank. Without proper filtration, your fish cannot possibly survive in the tank habitat you introduce them to.

The process of keeping the water clean and free of waste is so important that the aquarium industry has developed numerous solutions to approach the issue of filtration. A quick look at your local fish shop will show a wide variety of filters, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Understanding your aquarium filter types

Your aquarium water needs to be filtered in three ways to offer your fish a pleasant environment in which they can thrive. These three filtration methods are defined as follows:

• Mechanical Filtration. This refers to the physical act of pulling unwanted matter out of the water and leaving it in the filter, to be disposed of when you clean the filter. Dead plant leaves and foreign particles are commonly filtered mechanically. Vacuuming your tank regularly is also a form of mechanical filtration.

• Chemical Filtration. Chemical filters remove toxic chemicals by attracting them chemically to a filter medium as the water is pushed through them. Carbon is a very common filter medium for chemical filters because the majority of toxins will attach to carbon.

• Biological Filtration. Biological filtration takes place on the filter medium when beneficial bacteria consume poisonous waste products, saving your tank from becoming toxic.

Biological filtration cycling explained here

Also in saltwater aquariums live rock and live sand biological filtration

What are the various aquarium filter types?

Since there are so many different filtration options available, beginning aquarists can easily feel overwhelmed by the number of different products available. The differences between these filters may seem quite complicated, but the following list of filter types described below will help make the subject much more accessible:

sponge filter
Typical air powered sponge filter

• Sponge Filters. The sponge filter is one of the most basic types available on the market. It is distinguished by its lack of complex mechanical, chemical, or biological components and makes an acceptable, inexpensive filtration solution for small tanks, hospital tanks, and spawning tanks.

The sponge filter operates by using an air pump to pull water through the sponge material where unwanted particles are caught and beneficial bacteria consume ammonia and nitrite. Despite its simplicity the sponge filter provides excellent biological filtration

• External Filters. External filters are very common for aquarium hobbyists because of their excellent combination of effective mechanical, chemical and biological filtration as well as their price. External filters are usually grouped into hanging filters (HOB) for medium-sized tanks and external canister filters for larger tanks.

Both of these filters draw water into a canister filled with filtering material that provide mechanical, chemical filtration and biological filtration.

Larger external canister filters also pressurize the water when inside the canister. Because the water is pressurized and there is no air-to-water contact occurring within the canister, biological filtration is not as effective.

• Internal Canister Filters. Aquarium filters that sit directly on the glass of the inside of your tank are called internal canister filters. These filters combine excellent mechanical, biological and chemical filtration with very quiet usage, being completely submerged.

The drawback to these types of filters is that they take up space inside the tank. If you are short on space or would like to keep your tank interior pristine and natural, you may want to look at other filters.

undergravel filter operation
Details of how an undergravel filter works

Undergravel Filters. These filters are installed underneath the gravel substrate of your tank and pull water through the gravel and into uplift tubes where it is again deposited into the tank. These filters use your gravel as a mechanical filter, but leave out the chemical element.

Undergravel filters are generally not recommended for a number of reasons: Biological filtration is limited to whatever bacteria live on your substrate, mechanical filtration continually builds up a mass of decaying matter under your gravel, chemical filtration is not present, and any plants you may keep will have to deal with having their nutrients siphoned off.

Chemical Filters. Aquarium filters that base their entire filtration process on chemical means often use activated carbon as their primary filter medium. There are other materials on the market, but carbon remains by far the most popular, and for good reason.

A chemical filter that uses activated carbon can remove a great deal of unwanted chemicals from your water simply by letting the water pass through the carbon. For this reason, many external and canister filters include a small chemical filter that uses carbon.

• Fluidised Bed Filters. Fluidised bed filters are cylindrical filters that hang off of the back of your fish tank. They connect to a water pump that forces water through the bed of small, heavy particles— often sand or silica chips.

These filters can be expensive, but they offer a very useful combination of mechanical and biological filtration while remaining generally low maintenance.

Many of these filters will provide successful levels of filtering according to their type, while sacrificing their efficiency towards the other two filtering methods. In order to realise all three filtration methods for the best quality water, you will probably want to combine two filters.

The benefits of combining filters

While a great deal of aquarium filters promise effective mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, many aquarists prefer to use two types of filters that only perform a single filtration task each. Combining filters can provide distinct benefits that even a large all-in-one canister filter cannot meet.

One benefit of combined filtering is that of redundancy— if one of your filters breaks down, you will still have some filtering going on through the other filter. Since these devices are so critical for the continued survival of your fish, it pays to keep a backup running.

Another benefit is that dedicated filters perform their jobs better than mixed ones. A single mechanical filter that does not provide chemical filtration has access to more water and space for its filtration job than it would if it had to do double duty. For this reason, many aquarists prefer to purchase multiple dedicated aquarium filters.

Choosing aquarium filter media

So far, this article has covered the various types of aquarium filters available on the market and categorized them by the way they function. There is another important way to categorize these devices, however, and it is by the medium that they use to filter water.

Mechanical filters have the widest range of filter media options, generally categorized by the size of the particles they can capture:

• Fluval Prefilter Media. Essentially a coarse, sponge-like material, this is called prefilter media because it is designed to catch large debris before it makes its way to a finer mechanical filter.

• Filter Pads & Foam. This medium-grade sponge material will clean most visible debris from your water without issue, and do not need to be replaced as often as finer filter media.

• Filter Floss. This fine material requires higher maintenance in the form of more frequent cleaning, but leaves your water much cleaner in the process.

• Micron Filter Pads. The very finest filter media available, these pads can filter material that is only fractions of the width of a human hair in length. These filters require frequent replacement, but can make your water crystal clear and even parasite free in the process.

Other considerations for aquarium filters: noise

The filter you choose could make a big difference not just for the lives of your fish, but yours as well: certain filters will produce different levels of noise. Controlling that noise can be difficult with certain types of filter.

Large external filters are usually the most common culprits of unwanted aquarium noise. Those that pressurize the aquarium water will often have to make some commotion in the process.

In general, any aquarium filters that rely on air pumps are usually quite noisy. High quality filters tend to be much quieter than their less expensive counterparts, and many self contained external filters are reasonably quiet.

The quietest filters are those where the main pump is fully submerged in the water such as the internal canister filter which can be almost silent.

 

Aquarium live food rearing

daphnia swarm

 How to reap the benefits of aquarium live food rearing for your fish

If you have spent great amounts of time and effort reproducing a natural habitat for the fish in your tank, yet you still feed them commercially prepared fish food, it might be a good time to consider rearing live food. There are numerous benefits to rearing your own sources of live food, covered in the points below:

• Live food more closely reproduces the natural diet of fish, making them healthier and happier.

• Live food, being composed of living organisms, will not decay in your tank if left uneaten the way that fish flake does.

• Adult fish that are used to foraging for their food behave more actively in pursuing live food than prepared fish flakes.

• Better nutrition can be achieved through indirect enrichment— feeding your live food vitamin supplements that get passed on to your fish.

• Live food encourages breeding, and some species of fish will not breed successfully without it.

For young fry live food rearing is essential:

• Most species of fish give birth to fry that are too small to eat commercially prepared foods.

• Many species of young fish fry will only eat food that is moving, and need to be carefully weaned onto non-moving food over time.

• Live food is the healthiest option for young fry, and will help them grow faster and become healthy adults.

Types of live food

There is a huge range of live food available at your local fish store or online but this can be seasonal. Choosing which of the available types of live food you should use depends greatly on the species of fish you keep and whether you are feeding adult fish, fry, or both.

For adult fish, there are a number of attractive and healthy aquarium live food choices available. These largely consist of water fleas, various worms and larvae, as well as some shrimp. Some of the most popular species are:

• Daphnia. These tiny water fleas often top the list of easily managed aquarium live food rearing options. They live comfortably in slightly alkaline freshwater tanks with temperatures between 18-25 degrees Celsius and medium light intensity. Daphnia multiply quickly, offer beneficial vitamins for your fish, and are very easy to raise.

• Blood Worms. Blood worms are widely available from a vast majority of fish stores and bait shops, and offer a very convenient live food for your fish. They are simple to raise and once the life cycle is introduced, greatly reduce the need to supplement your fish’s diets with other foods.

• Earth Worms. Earth worms offer one of the most complete food sources available for aquarium live food rearing. They are high in protein, essential vitamins, and roughage. They do require soil, however, and can grow quite large, making them ideal for larger fish in larger tanks.

• Mosquito Larvae. Mosquito larvae are some of the easiest aquarium live food rearing options, since they will readily grow in just about any environment where you have access to stagnant water and sun. You must be very careful, however, to regularly harvest the larvae before they turn into troublesome adult mosquitoes.

• Brine Shrimp. Brine shrimp are an excellent and highly popular live food option for fish. They are especially suited to this purpose since baby brine fish are also suitable for fish fry thanks to their tiny size and nutritional value.

• White Worms. These nutritious worms are easy to cultivate and fish love them. They are high in fat as well as protein and can stay alive in the water for days. These worms can make your fish fat, however, so care should be exercised so as not to overfeed them.

Any of the options listed above should be enough for most species of adult fish, but fish fry have more subtle nutritional needs. If you are raising young fish fry, you will need to give them food small enough for them to eat and nutritious enough for them to subsist on completely, such as:

• Infusoria. This term refers to a number of extremely tiny microorganisms that serve as a readily cultivated source of food for your fry. It can be convenient to think of Infusoria as fresh water plankton. Infusoria are easy to culture and widely available online or at your local aquarium store.

• Brine Shrimp. One of the most popular and successful aquarium live food rearing options for young fry, baby brine shrimp are simple to cultivate and small enough for some fry to feed on.

• Microworms. These hardy creatures can thrive in a wide variety of environments, and make an excellent live food choice when you need a readily available source of food quickly. They can be cultivated in days and offer a complete source of nutrition that fry will gladly eat.

In many cases, offering your fish a variety of these food sources will help give them a varied and complete diet. Many of these foods are complementary when added together, and can be combined for the optimal balance of nutrients, vitamins, and essential proteins.

How to cultivate live food for your aquarium

If you are interested in aquarium live food rearing for your fish, you will need to invest some effort in making a cultivation tank or water barrel to raise your food in. Most species of live food are very easy to raise and require very little attendance or care.

For instance, Daphnia can be cultivated in any large container with access to sunshine and green water algae or yeast. Optimal water conditions include a pH between 6.0 and 8.2 and a 20% water change every two weeks. With a large enough surface area for the water in the container, aeration is not even necessary.

Brine shrimp make a similarly easy aquarium live food rearing selection for fish keeping enthusiasts and do not even require a large container. They are filter feeders that need only be provided with a food source such as yeast or wheat flour, an air stone for aeration, and regular water changes.

Mosquito larvae are even simpler, readily growing in just about any pot of stagnant water with access to sunlight and algae. Mosquitoes will readily begin spawning anywhere they find the right conditions, and you need only net the larvae every few days to feed your fish.

Most of the worm species available at your local fish store can be raised conveniently in plant soil and introduced to your aquarium when they grow to full size. Cultures are simple to purchase and cultivate; once ready, they can be tossed directly into the aquarium.

Tips for easier growing of live food

Once you decide to begin investing in an aquarium live food rearing setup, there are a few important considerations that can help you make the most of your breeding. One of the most helpful ways to ensure sufficient stocks of food for your fish is to stagger multiple cultivars several days apart.

Keeping several separate tanks can help insure your aquarium live food rearing attempt from being compromised by disease or other problems. Just like a fish tank, any number of unwanted conditions could erupt in a live food cultivation environment, and you want to be protected against the possibility of losing your fish’s primary food source.

Depending on the specific needs of your fish, you may also be able to feed them essential vitamins and minerals through the live food you raise. This process is called indirect enrichment and can help you more effectively fight disease by ensuring the right combination of ingredients makes its way into your fish’s diet. Many fish supply sites provide aquarium live food rearing supplements like these.

For further detailed instructions you can buy the amazon book by Mike Hellweg. Click on the picture to go to Amazon

This book was written by a master breeder of tropical fish. It has been written not just to culture live food but rather to culture live food for the benefit of fish and breeding and raising fry. It is well written giving detailed instructions on how to raise the variouslive foods. Finally you will be armed with the knowledge on what to feed difficult to breed species. Over 80 different live foods are explained in great detail. This is a book for the serious hobbyist and breeder. It is well written and surprisingly easy to read and understand.

Succeed with aquarium plants

planted aquarium

How to succeed with aquarium plants: a guide to aquarium plant care

While the beginning aquarist spends a great deal of time learning how to tend to fish and give them an environment in which they can thrive, aquarium plant care is, by comparison, a subject that is rarely given the full attention it deserves. Keeping your plants happy is just as important as keeping your fish happy, though, since the two will live in coexistence in the closed ecosystem that your fish tank provides.

You can’t just place plants in your aquarium and expect them to thrive or even stay alive. You must pay attention to the lighting, water conditions and the fertilisation needs of the plants.

Choosing the right plants for your aquarium

See also best beginners plants

and Aquascaping for beginners

and keeping plants healthy

The most important aspect of aquarium plant care is: choosing the right plants for your aquarium. The right choice here can make the rest of your live plant experience a pleasure by providing a beautiful environment for your tank while controlling algae and absorbing unwanted ammonia and nitrates.

There are scores of plant species that, though undoubtedly beautiful, are very sensitive to water conditions, require specialized CO2 systems, or need extra lights in order to flourish. At the same time however, there are plenty of hardy, attractive plants that provide all the benefits that you expect from aquarium plants without the extra hassle.

A list of some of the best options for your first aquarium plants for the beginner are as follows:

• Java Moss. This unassuming plant is one of the most popular aquarium plants worldwide for a number of reasons. It thrives in a variety of environments, offers lots of convenient hiding places for fish and their fry, and offers simple, beautiful decoration for aquarium owners.

It can be tied to rocks or driftwood with fishing line, or left to float naturally through the tank. Java moss requires very little maintenance; only some occasional trimming when it gets too thick.

• Amazon Sword. This plant can reach a great size, even under low lighting. Evidently, this plant is ideal for large tanks, and may require fertilizer tablets because of the fact that it is a root-feeding plant.

• Java Fern. This plant can survive in nearly any aquarium, and is very forgiving when it comes to water quality and light. Even goldfish that regularly eat aquarium plants will generally leave Java fern alone.

• Valisneria. This plant will feel right at home in a variety of aquariums, although some hungry fish might decide to snack on it. Vallisneria spiralis is usually singled out as being one of the best varieties for aquarium plant care beginners.

• Anubias. This is one of the only underwater plants that actually prefers low lighting, and to make it even more attractive to aquarium owners, herbivore fish tend to leave it alone.

While many other specialty plants can provide a fun and challenging experience for live plant enthusiasts, any of the plants listed above make an excellent introduction to the world of aquarium plant care.

Lighting for your aquarium plants

Once you have chosen which species of plants you would like to keep in your tank, you must consider your lighting setup in order to give the plants the correct environment in which they can thrive. In general, your aquarium plants will do best with day and night cycles of 12 hours each.

The duration of the lighting period is important, but you must also examine the type of light that you use in your aquarium. Lights designed for aquarium plant care are notably different than average fluorescent lights, and you will need to make sure that yours carry a suitable Kelvin rating, among other characteristics.

• The Kelvin rating refers to the spectrum of light that the bulb emits, commonly referred to as the, “temperature” of the light.

• Most plants reject green and yellow light while absorbing red and blue light, as well as light on the ultraviolet scale. In terms of the Kelvin rating, this means that you should provide full-spectrum lighting between 5500 K and 7500 K for most tropical plants, including as the ones listed above.

• LED lights often offer the best combination of low power consumption with light intensity, ease of installation, and price. Make sure to purchase quality LED lights, however, as the market is full of low-quality options not suitable for aquarium plant care.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your plants grow large and healthy, although providing them with ample light will make your plants hungry for the nutrients they need to thrive.

Feeding your plants: fertilizing your substrate

Once you have developed your lighting setup properly, it is time to consider the fertilizer and nutrients that your plants will need. Many waterborne fertilizers will provide the boost that you need to get your plants strong and healthy quickly— especially in the beginning stages of aquarium plant care.

You should be aware that many of these store bought fertilizers, while very good for plants, contain nitrates and other ingredients that are poisonous for your fish. Most fish can tolerate small amounts, but over exposure to fertilizer will kill them, so use these fertilizers with care.

But better still use a substrate fertilizer for rooted plants like the Amazon Sword. They come in tablet form. These tablets need to be pushed into the substrate directly to the root base of the plant. In this way they directly feed the plant rather than into the water in general.

Choosing between gravel or soil

While soil is a much more natural substrate for aquarium plant care, it is notably more complex to keep in optimal condition. Soils are generally reserved for experienced aquatic gardeners who wish to grow particularly difficult underwater plants.

If you introduce soil into your tank it can affect the water quality for your fish.
Therefore, gravel is generally recommended as the safest option. You can always add soil in separate pots if you wish to experiment later on.

The benefits of potting your plants

One of the key benefits to be realised by potting your plants, apart from being able to use soil without disturbing your tank’s existing substrate, is that your pots will also protect the plants. Potted plants have a secure location from which they can grow, and this can help keep them alive when nosey fish want to dig around their roots.

While gravel may be an acceptable substrate for beginning aquarium plant care, you may find that some of your more active fish seem intent on overturning the rocks and digging into the roots of your plants, harming or possibly killing them in the process. Potted plants combat this behaviour by offering your fish very little space in which they can satisfy their curiosity or hunger.

Reproducing aquarium plants for fun and profit

If you give enough space, nutrients, and lights to your plants, you may find that they begin to propagate and reproduce. A vast majority of these plants reproduce asexually, meaning that, if the conditions are healthy, they will simply begin sprouting new individual plants without your intervention at all.

Some species of plant, however, may need your help reproducing, and often it is worthwhile to expend the effort— aquarium pants, just like fish, can be bred and sold for profit. Seeded plants like lilies are notably more complicated to breed, and tend to command higher prices than their asexual cousins:

• A plant cutting is exactly what it sounds like: a segment of the parent plants’ stem, cut and replanted into the substrate of the aquarium or pot. In most cases, these cuttings will grow their own roots and turn into full-fledged individual plants over time.

• Plants that have seeds will need to be sexed and paired in order to propagate successfully. The two parent plants will need to be flowering above the surface and then have their pollen transferred from one to the other. If pollination is successful, seeds will be produced and those need to planted in damp soil as quickly as possible.

Over time, you should be able to grow a healthy collection of extra plants using these aquarium plant care methods, and you can then begin to sell to or swap with other local aquarists either through the help of your local fish store or directly using an Internet classifieds website to find customers.

Rocks for your aquarium

planted rocky malawi aquarium

How to select the right rocks for your aquarium

While many aquarists around the world have no problem discovering their favourite varieties of fish, finding them, and then creating the perfect underwater environment for their fishkeeping hobby, determining how to select the right rocks for your aquarium can be a different story altogether. Many beginning aquarists are surprised to learn how important rocks can be in a marine environment.

Why are rocks important for your aquarium?

See plantless aquarium

Rocks in Malawi tanks

As you probably are already aware, your aquarium is essentially a miniature ecosystem that requires you to manage a precise chemical balance in which your fish can thrive. Thanks to water’s erosive qualities, the rocks in your aquarium will play a minor, but recognizable role in the “hardness” of your water— that is, the level of dissolved minerals in your water.

“Hard” water contains a higher level of dissolved minerals such as magnesium and calcium than “soft” water does. Obviously, the primary source of these dissolved minerals is the tap in your home, but the rocks that you introduce to your aquarium habitat can change the water hardness over time. Depending on the fish you wish to keep, this can be desirable or dangerous.

Additionally, well-placed and well-chosen rocks offer a beautiful decor that gives the tank a serene sense of beauty. Fish also love them, as the varied texture and landscape gives them lots of places in which they can hide and take shelter, just like their natural habitat would.

Aquascaping is enhanced with the addition of carefully selected rocks of various colours and textures. Make this choice based on the colours of the fish you plan to keep and whether the aquarium is to be planted or not.

Determining which rocks are safe

When it comes to finding out how to select the right rocks for your aquarium, its important to choose safe rocks, as certain types can be poisonous for your fish. There are several methods available to determining which rocks you can use:

• Purchasing aquarium-safe rocks. If you purchase aquarium-safe rocks from a quality pet store or aquarium supply centre, you can be relatively certain that the rocks will not gravely affect the hardness or pH level of your aquarium water.

If you choose to go this route, it is important that you purchase from trusted vendors, as some pet shops have been known to cut back on quality control and put unfit rocks up for sale.

• Testing outdoors rocks and gravel. Many aquarium enthusiasts and fish keepers like to take home interesting-looking rocks from riverbeds or other natural sources and introduce them into their aquariums. This approach requires testing, since outdoor rocks can contain high levels of calcium and other materials that will change the chemical content of your water and affect your fish. Granite, slate and sandstone are relatively inert and have little or no effect on the water chemistry. Also clay, although not strictly a rock, is a good source of rock-like material. Clay pots, pipes and slates can be used adding a nice brown colour to the landscape.

How to test outdoors rocks for aquarium use

If you have found some interesting rocks that you would like to introduce to your aquarium, there are two main ways to test them for use in your aquarium:

• The vinegar test. Vinegar reacts with calcium by fizzing and foaming on contact. If you pour a few drops of vinegar on your rocks and you see that they begin to react in this way, you should not use the rocks in your aquarium. This is an indicator of high levels of calcium. Rocks that do not react with vinegar can generally be used, but a more reliable test may be in order if you would like to be perfectly certain.

• The standing test. If you have some rocks or gravel that you would like to introduce to your aquarium and would like to test them securely, the best way is through the standing test. Let the rocks stand for a week in a bucket of the same water that you use for your aquarium, and then test the water hardness and pH level.

If you see that the water quality has not significantly changed, then you can reasonably expect that the rocks are aquarium-safe. Naturally, longer testing times will provide more detailed results, and help eliminate any doubt about the quality of the rocks or gravel you have found. When figuring out how to select the right rocks for your aquarium, the standing test represents the best way to be absolutely certain, although it takes time.

Also after adding new rocks it is wise to keep an eye on the fish over the following weeks to see if they show any sign of distress. Some rocks may very slowly release poisons into the water over the long term. If the fish do show some signs of distress, try removing the rock and do a 50% water change to see if the distress is relieved.

Freshwater vs. saltwater considerations

As you would expect, there is a marked difference between the types of rocks ideal for freshwater tanks and those that saltwater tanks can safely house. If you are a beginning aquarist determining how to select the right rocks for your aquarium, you need to base your choice of rocks on the type of water you are using.

While freshwater tanks are significantly simpler to manage, saltwater aquarists have additional concerns about maintaining the salinity of their tanks’ water. Given that some rocks can have poisonous effects, and that most will affect the water quality in some way over time, it is important to choose carefully and test your rocks.

An additional option that can help maintain excellent water quality, appropriate salinity, and balance a tanks’ pH level is live rock. Live rock is especially useful in saltwater tanks, but is also recommended for certain freshwater tanks such as the Malawi biotope, where it also helps create a decorative atmosphere in place of plants that may not be present.

What is live rock?

See live rock and live sand

Live rock is a bit of a misnomer, since the material in question is neither a rock nor alive. Live rock is made up of pieces of coral skeleton that have broken off of reefs and are collected for use in home aquariums. These coral skeletons become natural biological filters, helping the nitrogen cycle take place effectively.

In this case, the material that you are introducing to your aquarium is designed to affect the water composition, but in a positive way. Live rock introduces helpful bacteria, algae, and tiny invertebrates that can improve the quality of your aquarium water. Live rocks can raise the salinity and the pH level of your tank water. If you are looking for attractive solutions on how to select the right rocks for your aquarium, live rock is an important element to consider.

As an added benefit to saltwater aquarists, live rock can form the foundation of bright and colourful coral colonies that distinguish saltwater aquariums from their freshwater cousins. Many ambitious saltwater aquarists choose these rocks for their aquariums specifically for those species of bright coral to grow.

Additional considerations for your aquarium rocks: gravel

Since gravel often forms a significant element of any aquarium’s substrate base, it should be given special attention due to the additional concerns over its small size and numerous individual particles. Gravel offers a very natural appearance for your tank. The colour chosen must blend in naturally or pleasantly contrast the rock work. Examples are grey rock work with yellow sand or salmon pink rockwork with grey gravel.

Large-grained gravel allows waste to penetrate the substrate and stick unpleasantly to the bottom of the tank. This, in turn, will affect the water quality and the health and lifespan of your fish. For this reason, many aquarists prefer to use small-grained gravel or even sand. If you insist on using large-grained gravel, you will have to carefully and efficiently clean your tank regularly in order to maintain ideal water conditions.

Aquarium maintenance: long term

aquarium-vacuum

Making your aquarium last: tips for long term aquarium maintenance

syphoning aquarium
syphoning aquarium[
For most aspiring fish keeping enthusiasts and beginner aquarists, just getting the aquarium to function well enough to keep your fish alive and happy in the first place is enough of a challenge, but this article will focus on how to keep it that way by applying a long term aquarium maintenance routine.

No matter how much care and effort you put into setting up your aquarium perfectly for the introduction of your first batch of fish, over time you will notice that the environment changes. Gradually, you may come to realize that the bright and colourful tank that you once enjoyed has lost its original lustre.

Applying a regular long term aquarium maintenance routine will help to ensure that your tank looks like new even years after you began keeping fish in it. Key to this is assigning some monthly and annual tasks that will keep your tank fresh and lively.

See also low maintentance fish keeping

Weekly tasks

. Check your fish for signs of distress, usually if they are breathing heavier than normal or are scratching themselves on objects. Check for any spots, marks, red blemishes or fungus. Also check that all the fish are present. Sick or dead fish may be hiding. Take the appropriate action.

. For the keener aquarist, do a 10% partial water change with aged water. Check your water parameters such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph and hardness.

. Vacuum any accumulated fish waste on the gravel surface.

See also keep your livebearers healthy

Monthly tasks for a healthy aquarium

While aquarists should be well aware of the importance of daily tasks such as maintaining the proper temperature and feeding the fish, the constantly changing conditions of an active fish tank make some monthly tasks necessary to keep the aquarium in like-new condition. Scheduling these tasks and adhering to them over time will help keep your aquarium in excellent shape.

• Partial water changes. One of the most critical elements of long term aquarium maintenance is frequent water changing. Generally, a 25% water change monthly will help maintain the proper water quality for a tank, but 10% weekly can sometimes be even more effective.

Water changes should be accompanied by a test of the water quality in order to make sure that you have not upset the necessary balance of nutrients that your fish need to survive.

• Gravel churning. If you use a gravel substrate to line the bottom of your aquarium, you should use an aquarium vacuum to clean up the rot and waste that can easily collect underneath the gravel at least once a month. You need to really dig up and disturb the gravel so that the vacuum can suck up accumulated waste.

If you are using an under-gravel filter, it is necessary to clean the gravel when you do your water changes in order to prevent waste from collecting in between the gravel and preventing effective water flow.

• Cleaning algae and dirt from the glass. Every healthy aquarium will feature algae inside of it. This is an inescapable sign of a healthy underwater environment, making regular monthly cleanings necessary.

Controlling algae as part of a long term aquarium maintenance routine is important because algae grows incredibly rapidly and can overwhelm your tank if left unchecked. One of the best ways to control algae growth is to use a specialized algae scraper once a month along the interior of the tank and on any decorations that have been consumed by algae growth. Or better still reduce the wattage of your lighting.

• Plant pruning. Any aquarium that features live plants will eventually end up with dead leaves and plant matter decaying inside the tank. This waste can quickly build up and stress the environment for your fish, so your plants should be pruned at least once a month and dead plants removed as soon as they are discovered.

• Equipment checks. Always schedule a monthly equipment check so that you can be sure that every part of your tank is functioning properly. Over time, you may notice that your tank heater does not provide as much heat as it used to, or that your air pump valves need replacement.

Catching faulty equipment before its too late can be the only way to skirt disaster, which is why effective long term aquarium maintenance is necessary. If you can catch and replace defective equipment before it affects the livelihood of your fish, you stand a good chance of keeping your aquarium in excellant condition for years to come.

• Filter cleaning. Although you spent time and energy cycling your tank so that beneficial bacteria could grow on your sponge filter, you should regularly clean off the filter so that water flow does not get obstructed. If you have this kind of filter, it is easy to clean without losing all of the helpful bacteria.

Removing your sponge filter and rinsing it in the same water you use in your tank is the best way to remove unwanted particles without harming the bacteria on the sponge. This is vastly preferable to replacing the sponge or wiping it perfectly clean, since that would require you to cycle your tank again afterwards from scratch.

The best thing to do is to schedule your filter cleaning several days apart from your tank cleaning so that there are enough beneficial bacteria present to keep your fish happy in the process. If you have a large tank with several filters, stagger your filter cleaning so that there is enough time for bacteria to grow back on the freshly cleaned filter before you clean the next one.

See also how to clean a tank

Annual maintenance tasks for long term aquarium maintenance

Keeping your aquarium freshly cleaned on a monthly basis can help reduce the chance of having to replace major elements of your aquarium on an annual basis, but it is important, nonetheless, to give your entire aquarium a quality once-over in order to be certain that the environment is ideal.

The following list of tasks should be exercised at least once a year, although many experienced aquarists suggest that a bi-annual check once every six months is even better for effective long term aquarium maintenance, depending on the complexity of your tank and its bio-load.

• Change your light bulbs. While it may seem like your aquarium lighting setup is working perfectly fine, you may want to change your lights at least once a year. Even if the lamps appear to be working just as well as the first day you bought them, they may not be providing the same ultraviolet frequencies as before, hindering your aquarium’s reproduction of natural daylight.

• Check your pumps and filter mechanisms. While you should be cleaning the actual filter media of your tank once a month, the mechanical elements responsible for water flow also need some regular attention. A specialised tubing brush can help you wipe away any debris that may have gotten into the motor or impeller of your setup.

Some pumps may require annual lubrication in order to work properly. If you discover that any of these parts are cracked, damaged, or otherwise working improperly, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Effective long term aquarium maintenance requires that these parts are kept in pristine working order.

• Examine your fish. Your aquarium is nothing without your fish, so it is important to give them a close visual inspection at least once a year, though preferably even more frequently. Look especially for signs of sickness in your fish. You may want to set up a hospital tank for your ill fish so that they do not infect the rest of the community.

This could also be a convenient time to exchange some fish. Unwanted residents of your tank can be sold off and replaced with different, more interesting fish that can give you a new appreciation for your aquarium.

• Close search for rot and decay. If you have been properly taking care of your monthly long term aquarium maintenance tasks, you should not have any major problems with dead plant matter or decayed fish food in your tank. However, it is important to regularly give your tank an especially close look in order to be sure.

Dead fish, of course, should be immediately removed as soon as they are discovered. The same, however, goes for any decaying or rotting material in your tank. Any of these can seriously affect the water quality if left in the tank, and lead to sick or dying fish, as well as greater long term aquarium maintenance complications later on.

Get sophisticated with aquarium lighting

Advanced lighting freshwater aquarium

Get sophisticated with your aquarium lighting

aquarium in kitchen
beautiful aquarium in kitchen. Good lighting and lots of angel fish

When considering all of the different elements that go into creating a successful aquarium, it is easy to let things like filters, tanks, and water circulation distract you from paying appropriate attention to aquarium lighting. The truth of the matter, however, is that lighting is an incredibly important element of your tank’s success.

The goal of proper aquarium lighting is no different than the goals of all the other parts of a successful tank: reproducing the natural habitat of the creatures you want to keep. This simple rule is what dictates most of the following tips concerning appropriate lighting for your aquarium habitat.

The importance of the day/night cycle

Many beginning hobbyists who are starting their first tanks make a critical mistake concerning their aquarium lighting: leaving it on. It may seem simple, but your fish feel just as uncomfortable being constantly bombarded with bright lights as you would, and this can make them feel stressed and begin acting unnaturally. It can even affect their health, making the day/night cycle an incredibly important element to reproduce for your tank.

Recreating the day/night cycle is not as difficult as it sounds, but it does take some effort. For one thing, you will almost certainly want to invest in an automatic lighting timer so that you do not have to rely on your memory to switch from day to night every 12 hours.

Another important consideration is the fact that most natural environments are not pitch black at night. Low-intensity lights can help your fish feel natural and happy at night by simulating the effects of moonlight, and offer you a convenient night light so that you can observe nocturnal behaviour without disturbing your fish.

How to reproduce daylight In your aquarium

While moonlight is relatively simple to simulate, reproducing daylight in an aquarium lighting setup is a bit more complex. This is because of the unique characteristics of the light that the sun emanates. Conventional lighting does not carry the same spectrum of wavelengths that sunlight does and can, in fact, be detrimental to a tank by promoting algae growth without offering the necessary ultraviolet benefits.

In order to reproduce daylight, it is necessary to understand the value of light wavelengths for the organisms in your tank. Generally, fish and plants respond best to a combination of ultraviolet light and low-wavelength red light. Combining bulbs that produce these two types of light in a balanced way is key to promoting plant photosynthesis as well as healthy, colourful fish.

Ultraviolet lights designed for aquarium use are commonly called actinic lights. They provide wavelengths of light that the human eye cannot see, but which are nonetheless necessary for the promotion of healthy plant and fish life without promoting uncontrolled algae growth.

Using light to control algae

well lit marine aquarium
Metal halide lamp lit aquarium

Encouraging the growth and health of aquarium plants without being overwhelmed by algae is a common concern for aquarists. Since both these organisms photosynthesize light in order to grow, your aquarium lighting can just as easily be used by algae as it can by your plants.

Fortunately, well-tended plants with about 12 hours of daily light will tend to outcompete algae for essential water nutrients. This means that if you have large, healthy plants that are receiving enough light to grow, they should keep algae to a minimum all by themselves.

One of the most common lighting issues that leads to algae growth is direct sunlight. If you are supplementing your aquarium lighting setup with direct sunlight, chances are that algae will grow in order to use the excess light, quickly overwhelming your aquarium in the process.

If you find that your tank is a target for constant algae growth, you probably need to reduce the amount of light that it is receiving every day. Some aquarists do this gradually, reducing the 12-hour day to a 10-hour day, and others prefer to cover the whole tank with a thick sheet for several days to create a total black-out. Either method can help control algae growth by limiting their access to light.

Managing the lighting needs of your fish

While light is incredibly important for live plants, and, if properly used, can help to control your algae population, your fish are also very sensitive to aquarium lighting. Different combinations of light temperatures can help fish exhibit more varied and exciting scale colouration. The overabundance of bright light of a single colour can make fish scales turn dull and unattractive.

This is especially true if you are using sand or some other bright, reflective substrate to line the bottom of your tank. Bright light reflecting off the surface of your substrate can spook your fish and make them act unnaturally, hide more often, and dull their scales’ colouration. In this case, a more subdued lighting setup is recommended.

If you have a dark-coloured substrate such as gravel, then you may be able to get away with bright aquarium lighting on the higher end of the Kelvin-temperature scale without spooking your fish. This will help encourage plant growth, inhibit algae, and keep your fish looking bright and healthy.

Using aquarium lighting to encourage breeding

If you are an aquarist who would like to encourage your fish to breed, you may have to alter the light conditions of your tank in order to get your fish to spawn. Some species of fish may even require you to reproduce the lunar cycle using your night lights in order to begin properly breeding with one another.

In general, fish are reluctant to breed if placed in a brightly lit environment. Most fish are conditioned to begin breeding in the morning when lighting is dim, so timing your lighting correctly can make a great difference in encouraging your fish to begin spawning young fry. In this case, slowly raising the intensity of your lighting setup can help create the impression of a rising morning sun.

Types of lights and their benefits

While there are numerous options on the market for aquarium lighting solutions, the three most common choices are as follows:

• Flourescent Lights;

• Metal Halide Lights;

• LED Lights.

Of these three, fluorescent lights are by far the cheapest, and offer the simplest lighting solutions for a wide variety of aquarium habitats. Metal Halide lights are notably more expensive, but make one of the best possible choices for reef aquariums and other tanks that need high quality full-spectrum light. For most aquarium keepers, however, LED lights are the best choice available.

LED lit marine aquarium
beautifully lit LED tropical marine aquarium

LED lights represent some of the newest advances in lighting technology for aquariums: they are inexpensive, do not produce the same overheating problems that other lights do, and often last for years. As an additional benefit, aquarium-specific LED lights produce much less yellow/green spectrum light, which helps to maximize the efficiency of your aquarium lighting set up.

Beginners guide to newly bought fish

The beginning aquarist’s emergency setup: new fish survival guide

Beginners guide to newly bought fish

It seems perfectly reasonable to a newcomer; excited to be entering the world of fishkeeping, purchasing their first batch of fish at the spur of the moment and taking them immediately home to introduce to their brand new aquarium habitat.

Beware, however, as this is a common cause of unnecessary fish death due to what is frequently called New Tank Syndrome. A brand new fish tank is not immediately ready to support your fish, and introducing them immediately can unbalance the delicate ecosystem of your aquarium.

See also cycling a new fish tank

and how to start a fish tank

How to keep your new fish alive

Although the situation described above may seem perfectly reasonable at first, the fact of the matter is that the fish tank environment is a much more subtle one that it may appear at first glance. Simply throwing your fish into a tank of tap water and hoping for the best will not work.

Your fish tank needs some time to become established before it is ready for fish to be introduced; this is performed through a process called fish tank cycling. A properly cycled fish tank is ready for fish to inhabit it because the bacteria necessary to process fish waste matter are present in the filters, providing the correct quality water to support life.

How to cycle your fish tank

A brand new fish tank does not contain all of the elements necessary to sustain your new fish’s life. In order for this to happen, it must be given enough time for the nitrogen cycle to take place: Bacteria will grow in the filter, converting toxic ammonia (broken down from fish waste) into nitrite, and nitrite into less harmful nitrate.

After being left to grow in the filtration system for a few weeks, the bacteria will take care of this job by themselves and let your fish lead long, happy lives. During this time, you are recommended to add fish to the tank one at a time over the weeks so as not to overwhelm the bacterial colony.

If you already brought your fish home

If you have just bought a brand new fish tank, threw in your fish, and are only reading this now, you need to adhere to the following emergency setup guide. This will take some work, but if you are careful about it, you will be able to avoid having any of your fish die.

• Do not over feed the fish. For the first 2 or 3 days do not feed the fish at all. Then start light feeding the fish for a couple of weeks. As the weeks go by and the filter becomes more established, increase feeding to normal amounts.

• Do not add ammonia. You may have read that you need to add ammonia to your fish tank in order to create the correct environment for your fish— you don’t anymore. This is only for a fishless tank cycling in which you let the bacteria grow before adding fish. Now that you have fish in the water, they will start producing ammonia by themselves, and that is precisely the problem.

• Change the water daily. Essentially, the problem you are facing is that your fish are slowly being choked by their own waste. You need to flush out the waste by changing 25% of the water volume every day for the first few weeks. This will keep the ammonia levels suitably low until the bacteria have a chance to grow.

• Use de-chlorinated water. If you filled your fish tank with tap water, chances are that there is chlorine present in the water. Dissolved chlorine is added to tap water in order to prevent bacteria from growing. Also, chlorine irritates and burns the fish. Furthermore, the beneficial bacteria will not grow in chlorinated water.

Thankfully, there is an easy way to de-chlorinate most tap water: simply leave the water out and exposed to air for 24-48 hours and the chlorine will evaporate. Having a large barrel of water standing in the garden to draw from can make this task easier. Most pet stores also carry commercial de-chlorinating chemicals that can do the same thing in a rush. If you already have fish in the tank, you should immediately de-chlorinate your water this way.

Keeping up the emergency setup

You will need to keep a careful eye on your fish and make sure that they look healthy. Changing 25% of the water every day should be enough to remove the waste, but you will also want to check for disease during this time.

Your fish, having just been transplanted into a new habitat, are highly susceptible to a wide range of problems at this point. Check for sick-looking fish with inflamed gills or ones that look like they are struggling for air. If you see that your fish look like they are gasping for air at the surface of the water, then an immediate water change is needed.

Heavy breathing, rapid gasping and wide opening gills are also indicators of toxic water. Fish in water with ammonia, nitrites and chlorine, after a few days, will succumb to illness. It can be useful to set up a temporary “hospital” tank in which you can isolate sick fish so as not to threaten the rest of your population.

During this time, you will want to check the ammonia and nitrite levels in your tank regularly and cut back on feeding your fish too much. More food turns into more waste, which can cause an ammonia spike and create more damage. Once you begin to see readings of zero ammonia and zero nitrite regularly for a week, it is safe to call off the emergency and begin enjoying your new tank normally.

Setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium

A quick guide to setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium

There are many aquarists and fish keeping hobbyists interested in setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium, and for good reason: The African Great Lake is home to more fish species than any other lake in the world, including about one thousand separate species of cichlids. It represents a unique ecosystem that many aquarists find incredibly fascinating. The beauty of Malawi fish rival that of tropical marine fish in the range and vivacity of colours.

The specific term for an aquarium that is designed to mimic the conditions of a real-world location is, “biotope”. This kind of aquarium is highly rewarding for its keeper as it provides a unique view into the ecosystem that it represents. Keeping a biotope healthy, however, can be a complex process.

See also Malawi biotope

and tips for keeping African cichlids

and Peacock cichlids from Malawi

Water conditions for a Lake Malawi biotope

Lake Malawi’s water is alkaline in nature; it features a pH level ranging from 7.7 to 8.6. The water has a hardness level of GH 7 and KH 10-12. The tropical waters of this lake are generally warm, with a surface temperature of 24-29 degrees Celsius and a deep-water temperature of 22 degrees Celsius year-round.

The first step to setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium is recreating these water conditions in your tank. This will require the use of high-quality testing kits for the water’s pH level and hardness.

Managing your water pH level

Keeping your water at the correct pH level is critical for setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium, and can be achieved using a material to buffer the pH level and keep it high. Crushed coral sand placed in the substrate or filter, crushed oyster shell, or live rock can do this for you.

Using rocks such as limestone will help buffer the pH level of your water and keep it at the desired amount, as well. Extra care should be exercised when changing the water, as your pH levels can change greatly during this procedure if the new water is not properly prepared beforehand.

Once your water is prepared, you are ready to begin gathering the necessary ingredients necessary to setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium.

Malawi biotope fish: cichlids

malawi fish with rock backgrounds
malawi fish in public aquarium

If you are interested in keeping a Lake Malawi biotope, chances are that you want to keep a community of cichlids. These beautiful fish are by far the most common inhabitant of Lake Malawi, and any Malawi aquarium should have quite a few.

There are two general types of cichlids in Lake Malawi: Mbuna, which are rock dwelling fish, and non-Mbuna, that live in the sandy areas of the lake and feature such species as the bright and colourful Peacock cichlid.

Some species of mbuna can be quite aggressive, especially the larger varieties. It can prove difficult to maintain peace and order between the species if they are not carefully chosen, with mysterious deaths occasionally happening. However, one mbuna species to consider is Labidochromis caerulus, also known as the “yellow lab” fish which is a relatively peaceful fish.

 

 

mixed malawi fish tank
crowded mixed malawi fish in rocky aquarium

In general, aquarists who wish to keep a mixed Malawi tank are recommended to keep larger peaceful non-mbuna like the Peacock with smaller slightly aggressive mbuna fish. However, avoid cichlids that are too aggressive, or grow very large like Venustus. Furthermore, attention must be paid to the male female ratio. One male to three or more females. This will reduce the males over pestering the female and avoiding fights between rival males.

Choosing the right mix of fish is an art. Special attention must be paid to the right colour mix, temperament, age of fish and especially the size of the fish. In some species it is just the males that are colourful with other species both males and females are colourful. And the choice of fish must contrast well with the rockwork, sand and even with the other fish.

Your decision about which types of cichlids to house in your Malawi biotope should reflect the setup of your aquarium: A mostly Mbuna aquarium should feature numerous rocks for the fish to feel comfortable in and use as shelter, while Non-mbuna fish will feel much more comfortable surrounded by sand and lots of open water to swim about in.

It is also important to keep your aquarium relatively heavily populated. It is in the nature of Malawi cichlids to fight over territory more often when they have plenty of space and few competitors. A heavily populated tank is a notably more peaceful one for this species of fish.

Considering plants for setting up the perfect malawi aquarium

aquascaped malawi aquarium
sandy rocky planted malawi aquarium

If you insist on keeping plants in your Malawi aquarium, the only commercially available underwater plant that is suitable for a strict Malawi biotope is Vallisneria spiralis, although Anubias and Java Fern can be suitable if you are willing to bend the rules of biotope keeping.

In general, Malawi aquariums have no need for plants with many keepers of this particular biotope do not add plants to their setup at all.

Setting up your tank

The size of your tank should reflect your needs regarding the amount of space that your fish need. It is important to remember that these fish tend to play nice with one another when they are in a more crowded tank.

A good rule of thumb for setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium is to keep one fish for every 20 litres of tank capacity. A few more fish can be acceptable if you change your water more often— for example, 50% weekly.

It is recommended that you line the bottom of your tank with a plastic egg crate-style light diffuser along the bottom of your tank. This will help distribute the weight of the rocks you will need to line your tank with and protect the glass from the digging action of Mbuna cichlids.

In general, setting up a successful Malawi biotope comes down to choosing the right rocks, layering thin substrate of sand over the egg-crate bottom, introducing a healthy mixture of smaller mbuna and large, friendly non-mbuna, and balancing their habitat with two high quality filters.

The best way to filter a Malawi tank is using a dual-pronged approach. The best results are realised by combining an external power filter and an internal mechanical filter in your tank. This offers excellent biological and mechanical filtration, improving water circulation and oxygenating the water effectively, especially for a crowded tank.

How to choose the right lighting

The last essential consideration for setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium is lighting. Fluorescent or metal halide lighting is preferable to other forms, and should be liberally distributed at a rate of 1 watt for every 2 litres of tank capacity.

Malawi cichlids respond best to subdued lighting. Overwhelming the fish with too much light can cause them to lose their lustrous appearance and spend most of their time hiding out under the aquarium rocks or in whatever shady place they can find.

Conclusion

If you follow this short guide correctly and take the necessary steps to ensure that your Malawi biotope is put together faithfully, you will be able to enjoy a realistic example of one of the most exciting and interesting freshwater lakes in the world from the comfort of your home.

Setting up the perfect Malawi aquarium is an involving task, and it takes more involvement than a general freshwater community tank, but it can be a very rewarding experience for the ambitious biotope aquarist. With the help of this guide and numerous other web resources, your Malawi biotope can become a great success.

How to set up a home-based breeder business

Setting Up A Home-Based Aquarium Fish Breeding Business: An Overview

Setting up a home-based aquarium fish breeding business can be an exciting step for any fishkeeping enthusiast to partake in. While experience goes a long way in ensuring the success of your ambitions, just about any aquarist can begin breeding and start realising profit in the fun and rewarding business of fish breeding at home.

Why home fish breeding works

breeding tanks
professional breeders multi-tank set up

When you visit your local aquarium fish store and take a look at the various imported species of fish that they offer, chances are that a great deal of them come from commercial breeding farms that, in some cases, can be separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometres of distance from the store itself.

Naturally, this presents problems for the local store owners: namely, the health of the fish during transport. The local store has to pay for the number of fish they purchased regardless of how many of those fish show up dead-on-arrival or battling sickness and stress. These newly imported fish undergo a quarantine period where they are nursed back to health during which the shopkeeper will not be able to sell them.
 
For this reason, many local stores are more than willing to purchase their fish from local suppliers who can provide healthy, happy fish at similar prices and with a greater chance of their continued survival. Fish which can be put up for sale within days. If you are interested in setting up a home-based breeder business, you can earn a decent living through a reliable network of these local stores.

The Internet also provides a great way to make a profit through your home-based breeder business, especially through using local classifieds websites that let you undercut the local fish shop entirely, selling and delivering your fish directly to customers who, if they are pleased with your fish, will become repeat customers and pass the word on to their friends.

How to begin setting up a home-based breeder business

juvenile discus fish
juvenile discus fish in growing on tank

Naturally, the first thing that you need to do is choose which species of fish you would like to breed. Buying quality pedigree fish can pay dividends in the long run. In general, you can expect to get a higher price on species that are harder to breed successfully, or on common species that you can breed with specialised morphs or colours, ie of high pedigree. It is just as expensive to breed and raise expensive fish as inexpensive fish but the returns are greater. It is better to compete on quality than quantity.

 

 

• Killifish are a popular choice, but need a lot of involvement to breed;

• Discus fish are difficult to breed, but can earn breeders a healthy profit and are always in great demand.

• Angelfish are easier to breed, but are not likely to gain a good price unless you pick a specialised colouring or finnage.

• Guppies are easy to breed, and make an excellent beginner’s breeding fish. Some specialised varieties can even fetch good prices.

Pedigree livebearers

• Bettas are easy to breed, but you will have to specialise— for example, pedigree bettas such as koi bettas are highly desirable.

pedigree koi betta fish
pedigree koi betta fish

There are many other options available, and a successful fish breeder will want to have a selection of species available. Once you become established as a fish breeder, you will develop a good reputation and begin to get repeat customers who will be interested in other species you can provide.

Once you have chosen your fish, you can begin grouping them into suitable pairs or spawning groups. This will require sexing the fish, which is a simple process for some species and a very specialised one for some others. There are several important traits to consider in your pairs or groups that will yield higher-quality results in the resulting offspring:

 

 

• Markings, colour and finnage. Choosing fish that display attractive markings and bright colours should produce similarly attractive young. Many people are impressed by the colouration of tropical fish, and this factor will play an important role in the value of the fish you breed.

Similar markings and colours should be paired together, as differences in these attributes will often produce unattractive young. It is generally good advice to avoid crossing different strains of fish for this reason.

• Fish health. Only mature, healthy fish should be used for spawning because unhealthy fish can produce sick or deformed young.

• Pair Compatibility. This is an important factor for some species of fish. For example, some species of cichlids will only form pairs after being raised together for months or years. Other species will respond poorly to induced breeding and begin to bully one another, sometimes to death.

As an additional consideration for pair compatibility, fish must be of the same species. Hybrid fish tend, like many other members of the animal kingdom, to produce sterile young.

One final tip: Keep your eyes and ears alert for any new species of breed of fish that crops up. If you feel you could successfully breed these novelties then you could make money if you are ahead of the curve.

Breeding strategies for egg-laying fish

Breeding egg laying

While livebearers are very easy fish to breed and offer a great starting point for beginners, you will eventually need to begin breeding egg-laying fish in order to realise a profit. There are five major groups of egg-layers to be considered when setting up a home-based breeder business:

• Egg-scattering fish These species of fish scatter their eggs during spawning. The eggs either fall down into the substrate, attach to plants, or float to the surface. These fish will produce large numbers of small eggs, and may eat their own eggs. So must be separated from eggs soon after spawning.

• Egg-depositing fish These fish will deposit their eggs safely on a substrate in the tank. This may be the glass wall of the tank, or on rocks or wood present in the tank. The eggs tend to be larger than scattered eggs. Some of these egg-depositing species will care for their eggs and the resulting young, while others will not.

• Egg-Burying Fish. Setting up a home-based breeder business with egg-burying fish can be tricky. These fish inhabit lakebeds that are dry for some portion of the year; the eggs lay dormant until the annual rains begin and hatching begins then. Recreating these conditions in an aquarium can be difficult.

• Mouth-Brooding Fish. Mouth-brooders are fish that retain the eggs and sometimes even the young fry in their mouth until the fish are ready to fend for themselves.

• Nest-Building Fish. These fish are not unlike egg-burying fish, except that they actively construct nests for themselves to lay eggs in. Examples include the bubble-nests formed by labyrinth fish.

Whichever type of fish you choose to breed, you must design your tank to have the necessary rocks, plants or other spawning material and enough space for the fish to feel comfortable spawning.

Designing your spawning tank

yellow lab fish breeding set up
Mouthbrooding yellow lab with previous spawning young yellow labs

Since community tanks are filled with neighbouring fish that may predate on the vulnerable young, it is crucial to grow the young fish in a separate spawning tank. Spawning tanks need to have some special construction elements to protect the young fish:

• A protected heater will keep the young fish from burning themselves against the edges of the heater.

• A slow-moving sponge filter will prevent eggs or fry from being sucked into the filtration system.

• Tanks with a dual-layer substrate are ideal for egg-scattering fish since the parents of these fish may eat their own eggs. A permeable layer that lets the eggs fall down out of reach of the hungry parents is ideal for allowing optimal spawning conditions.

• Egg-depositing fish should be provided with a healthy number of fine and broad-leaved plants. Additionally, egg-depositors that do not care for their young should be removed from the tank once the eggs are laid.

• Nest-building fish should be provided with materials with which they can build their nests. Additionally, water currents should be very low so that the nests are not disturbed.

Once you have setup your spawning tank, you need to simulate natural conditions and keep your parent fish in good, healthy condition in order to stimulate the production of offspring. With care and a little bit of luck, you should begin to see young fish appearing in your tanks, ready for sale.

You will also need growing on tanks for maximising the growth rate of your young fish. large tanks without gravel and sponge filters are ideal. This will result in fish that are saleable within 3-6 months depending on species. The earlier you can sell the young the more profit you will make.

Tips on advertising and selling your fish

Like any business, you need to be competitive in the existing market both in terms of price, quality, and advertising. These three factors are what combine to create value in any product or service, and your fish are no different.

While the price is largely determined by the existing local market, and the quality by your fish keeping experience, your advertising is only limited by how much effort you invest in the process. Taking good pictures is a must— high quality photographs of your fish will attract buyers. Invest in a reasonably good digital camera, preferably one that takes animal photos. Then, take many, many different photos and select the best.

It is especially important to include pictures of your adult fish, as well as the young, in your adverts so that your buyers have a good idea about what to expect as they grow. Investing in quality photographs can pay off with a stream of interested buyers, especially if you choose to advertise your breeding business exclusively online.

How to photograph fish

Floating plants in a bare bottom tank

floating plants bare bottom tank

How To Use Floating Plants For A Bare Bottom Tank

water lettuce in aquarium with dangling roots
water lettuce in aquarium with dangling roots

The use of gravel or sand as a bottom-lining substrate for aquariums has been a staple of aquarium culture for years, but recently interest has sparked in using floating plants for a bare bottom tank design. These tanks eliminate the need for expensive and time-consuming gravel cleaning and make it easier to control the nutrient flow within the water of the tank.

Bare bottom tanks eliminate the possibility of uneaten food and fish waste collecting underneath the gravel or sand substrate, where it will rot and pollute the water. Bare bottom tanks also helpfully allow for higher water flow rates. Once the nitrogen cycle complications are taken care of by having your tank cycled properly, using floating plants in your setup can help you enjoy the benefits of plants in your aquarium without the disadvantages of gravel.

The primary arguments against floating tanks are that they tend to look unnatural and can be difficult for certain species to adapt to. The lack of plants can leave some species nervously trying to find a hiding place. Also, without a substrate to hold onto, waste can collect in the water if not vacuumed and filtered often enough.

See also plantless aquarium

Why Use Floating Plants For A Bare Bottom Tank?

frogbit covering the aquarium surface
frogbit covering the aquarium surface

While most of the beneficial bacteria in a fish tank make their homes on the aquarium filter, where a continuous flow of oxygenated water let them filter the waste and complete their part of the nitrogen cycle, the remaining nitrate still needs to be accounted for. Thankfully, these plants tend to absorb more nitrate than other plants, and a healthy population of these plants will help reduce the need for constant water changes.

As an added bonus, most free-floating plants are very easy to care for and get along magnificently with a wide variety of fish. A few examples of useful floating plant species that should be considered for any bare bottom aquarium are as follows:

• Tropical Hornwort. Ceratophyllum Submersum is a phenomenally easy, fast-growing floating plant that thrives in waters with a pH range between 5-8, at a temperature of 10-30 degrees Celsius. Hornwort is one of the easiest plants to manage: if you toss it into the water, it will situate itself naturally and need little-to-no care after that.

dwarf-water-lettuce
dwarf-water-lettuce

•Dwarf Water Lettuce Pistia stratiotes is an easy care fast growing small sized floating plant that does well under bright light. It reproduces by sending out runners that create baby plants that are easily separated at any time. Remove discolored or yellow leaves which will induce new growth.

• Marimo. Aegagropila linnaei, also known as Marimo, which is Japanese for “ball seaweed” is a rootless algae colony that can attach itself to rocks or other tank décor. Marimo can also float around freely within the tank. This particular plant is highly prized for its unique, beautiful appearance: small-to-medium balls of green plant material that make any tank look superb.

• Java Moss. Taxiphyllum barbieri is not actually a free-floating plant at all, and it will attach itself to just about anything within the tank. One of the best ways to realise the use of this plant as a free-floater is to give it a thin wire net to attach to on the interior of the tank and then let it attach to that. It is a popular choice because it provides food to newborn fry.

• Anacharis. Egeria densa is a very hardy plant that grows extremely quickly in a wide variety of conditions. These plants can grow as rooted plants or be kept as floating ones. In both conditions, they provide very useful benefits to the quality of the water as well as the appearance of the tank.

Adding in a healthy number of these floating plants can help structure your bare bottom tank and give you a clean, easily maintained tank without you needing to worry about periodically cleaning the accumulated dirt beneath the gravel or sand.

How to make floating plants look great in a bare bottom tank

floating plants cover fish
floating plants cover gold barb fish

One of the most common arguments against using a bare bottom tank is made by aquarists who do not like the unnatural look of a bare bottom tank. Thankfully, floating plants such as the ones named above can help to create a luxurious-looking underwater environment in an otherwise barren tank.

Since there is little-to-no substrate along the bottom surface of the tank, it is likely that waste will collect along the bottom. Normally, this requires frequent, simple cleaning with an aquarium vacuum cleaner. Even with this solution, however, It is recommended that bare bottom aquarists paint the bottom of the tank a dark colour such as brown or black.

Bare bottom tank aquarists have to clean their tanks less often than those with substrates lining the bottom of their tanks. Many of these aquarists, however, report that waste collects so quickly that they rarely get to enjoy a perfectly clean bottom unless they use a powerful mechanical filter that will collect up the waste matter. Adding a layer of paint to the bottom can help maintain a clean appearance in combination with beautiful and well-kept floating plants for a bare bottom tank.

Setting up a beginner’s community fish aquarium

beginners aquarium

5 Key tips on setting up a beginner’s community fish aquarium

Child choosing fish in aquarium storeIf you are new to the world of keeping tropical fish, there are a number of key considerations that you should keep in mind when you are choosing your very first community fish aquarium. These considerations are important for anyone who would like to keep a healthy, productive and colourful community aquarium, since fish are notoriously sensitive creatures and the choices you make in this regard will seriously affect them.

Often, people who are just starting out in the wide and wonderful world of tropical fish community aquarium keeping will simply walk down the aisles of the aquarium section of their local pet store and collect the most colourful combination of fish they can find there and throw them all into whatever aquarium seems to fit their tastes. While a good eye for beauty is great to have, it is critical to apply some forethought and expertise to your choices as well to ensure that your fish lead happy lives.

See also set up beginners aquarium

and avoid these mistakes

Tip Number One: Choose The Right Fish

choice of beginners fish aquarium storeIn general, your interest in keeping an aquarium should remain focused on the fish that you would like to have living there. While it is perfectly reasonable to see an aquarium you really like and then choose the fish afterwards, it is important that the fish you keep are chosen based on their compatibility with the environment that you wish to keep them in.

Some species of fish, for example, are very difficult to keep alive and happy in a community environment. They can be overly sensitive to water quality, require special marine conditions to survive, or represent a species that does not get along with other fish in your community fish aquarium. It is always best to start with hardy, well-disposed community species.

Here are some examples of popular fish that are ideal for living in a freshwater community aquarium:

selection of beginners tropical fish• Barbs And Rasboras; (But not tiger barbs)
• Corydoras Catfish;
• Danios (including the popular Zebra Danio);
• Loaches;
• Guppies;
• Black Mollies; (or any coloured molly)
• Swordtails;
• Tetras;
• Rainbowfish.

There are numerous other species of fish that are well behaved and offer an easy experience for fish enthusiasts to plan their first aquarium. As always, good research is important before any purchase so that you know what to expect.

See also suggested compatible fish groups

Tip Number Two: Choose The Right Size Tank

choice of fish tanksThere is a common misconception among beginning aquarium owners that smaller tanks are always easier to keep than larger tanks. This is not true— in fact, smaller tanks make it harder to control the water quality correctly and make it easier for a tiny mistake to end up with disastrous results.

Ideally, a tank in the range of 200 litres allows for small changes in pH, ammonia, or nitrite levels in the tank to have a less drastic effect than if you begin with a tiny tank. The water quality will change over time and you will need to be ready to address those issues before their consequences become realised.

For a beginner’s community fish aquarium, it is important to appropriately measure the amount of space that you have for your tank and to relate that with the size and number of fish you would like to keep. Two useful rules of thumb can be applied when choosing the size of your tank. In general, you want to have:

• 1.5 litres of water for each centimetre of fish length;

• 30 square centimetres of surface area per centimetre of fish length.

These are not strict rules and they do not take into account the activity level of the fish, social behaviour, and their eventual growth. However, they are very helpful for beginners to gauge the right size of their tank in relation to the fish they’d like to keep: miniature tanks for small schools of tiny fish, and large tanks for larger specimens or greater numbers.

Tip Number Three: Keep Live Plants In Your Aquarium!

selection of beginners aquarium plantsWhile it is possible to successfully keep a thriving community fish aquarium without live plants, it is advisable for beginners to keep a healthy number of live plants in their aquariums for a number of reasons:

• Plants oxygenate the water that your fish and for the essential bacteria rely on to survive.

• Plants, as living organisms, are notably more complex than algae and utilize waterborne nutrients more effectively and readily than algae can. Having a mixture of the two is a good option to consider.

• Plants offer additional decorum that double as an important part of the living ecosystem you are creating. In terms of their natural beauty, they are vastly preferable to little pirate ships or plastic pieces for creating a pleasant aquatic environment.

See also beginners plants

Tip Number Four: Invest In Your Filter

different types of filter
canister, power, sponge, internal filters

Your water filter is one of the most important elements of your community fish aquarium. While you may hear that it is okay to purchase an aquarium filter that turns your water two or three times per hour, it is recommended that you get a filter that will do so at least four or five times per hour for the best results.

When in doubt, remember that it is perfectly okay to get a filter slightly larger than necessary, but that a smaller filter can easily lead to frustrations in your community fish aquarium. Under-investing here can undermine your entire attempt at successfully keeping a thriving aquarium environment.

Tip Number Five: Use A High Quality Submersible Heater thermostat

There are a number of aquarium heaters available on the market, and you owe it to your fish to choose a high quality submersible heater instead of a more expensive titanium solution or a hanging heater. This piece of equipment is vital to your community fish aquarium and, if chosen correctly, will provide years of service without causing any problems.

There are certainly better and more complicated heating solutions on the market, but simple submersible heaters represent the best choice for beginners. Hanging heaters may require you to cut a hole in the aquarium hood in order to make room for the head of the heater, and submersible titanium heaters are more expensive solutions meant for tanks with large, boisterous fish.

New Species of Sweeper Fish Discovered in Indian Ocean

New species discovered pempheris flavicycla

New species discovered pempheris flavicyclaPempheris flavicycla has been discovered in the seas off Oman, Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and islands of the Andaman Sea. It has a yellow body and a bright yellow ring around the pupil of its eye. The yellow ring gives it its name of flavicycla. It dwells in shallow coral reefs in water less than 15m in depth.

 

original article here

Fighting Betta Splendens – some say cruel others say entertaining

Siamese fighting fish for a fight

Siamese fighting betta fish in a fightHistory of Fighting Betta Splendens

Wild bettas (fighter betta) originate from the tropics of SE Asia, Thailand, Malaysia and parts of Vietnam. Where children would collect them from the paddy fields and then pit them against each other for sport. In Thailand, the fish has been raised in households since the Sukhothai Period, more than 700 years ago. Records from the reign of King Lithai of Sukhothai allude to fighting fish being reared for sport. It was at this time the fish were developed for fighting prowess.

About fighting fish

It is the male bettas that fight each other. Male bettas may be aggressive to females and females may or may not be aggressive to each other. In a large aquarium with many hiding places many female bettas can be kept together.

Officially, It started in Siam some 180 years ago. The King of Siam started collecting, breeding and fighting them in the 1830s. The King of Siam in 1840 decided to license them and to collect taxes on them as well. He also presented several of his prized fighting fish to a friend of Theodor Cantor, and he, in turn, gave them to Cantor, a doctor in the Bengal Medical Service. In 1849, Cantor published an article on the fighting fish he called Macropodus pugnax, var. It was not until 1909 that Mr Tate Regan re-examined this and noted that pugnax was already a distinct species. Since the fish had no scientific name, Regan renamed it Betta splendens, according to Gene Wolfsheimer, author of Enjoy the Fighting Fish of Siam. Bettah is a tribe of warriors in Thailand famous for their warring prowess and Splendens means splendid.

The first fighter bettas were introduced into Germany in 1896. From there, bettas were first introduced into the US in 1910. However, it was not until 1927 that the first brightly colored, long finned betta varieties arrived in the US.

Ethics of Fighting Betta

siamese fighting betta fish attackingSome say it is a cruel sport to provoke two male fighters to maliciously attack each other. Some say it is a cruel sport where fighters damage each other for the mere entertainment of its human audience. On a scale of cruelty it is less cruel than fox hunting and culling wild populations of animal pests such as rabbits or rats. Is it more cruel than exhibiting exotic breeds of dogs that have been bred with a genetic trait that is a genetic malformation such as small size, short legs, droopy ears, baldness or any of the other abnormalities? On the other hand the male bettas ability to fight another betta is an inbuilt instinct that nature has selected for it to fight rivals for territory and females. It could be argued that breeding for fighting ability is more ethical than breeding for colour or long flowing fins.

Fighting Bettas is no more and no less ethical than two professional boxers fighting.

To minimise any cruelty, rules have been developed that prevent ill or injured fish fighting and removing one or both fish when one fish has conceded defeat or no winner has been declared after a set time.

Betta fighting is entertaining and amazing to watch and is acceptable if done professionally. First of all, any fights to death are immoral, cruel, unnecessary, barbaric, and wrong. It is the difference between the modern day morally acceptable boxing and and the cruelty of the roman gladiator’s fight to the death. We are no longer cave men, and the time for acting as such has long since past. We may all responsibly enjoy betta fights without death or permanent injury if these simple guidelines are established and strictly enforced.

Selecting fighters

Champion siamese figher - fighting betta splendensAt present, fighter betta are developed for intelligence, attacking accuracy, endurance, power, courage, speed, strong lips and hard scales. Sharp teeth is one of the major factors in determining a winner.

Always try to select a smaller or weaker opponent if possible.

Fighter’s teeth can sharpen at different ages some younger some older.

Good fighter, like good boxers, will finish off an opponent given the opportunity. A fighter that lets his opponent off the hook will be liable to a comeback from his opponent. A good fighter will know where to attack an opponent.

Select a fish that looks strong and is aggressive. If you fish’s mouth show black or swelling than it is useless. You must select a big size, firm and strong fish. Always carefully select your opponent to increase your chance of winning making sure that your fish is more superior than its opponent. Never match your fish against a fish that has beaten it previously.

Looking after fighters

It is the same as looking after professional boxers. Provide fresh live protein. Exercise. Clean water conditions. Like prize fighters they are given a few days rest before a fight and their jars are shielded from all distractions while they are being fed the best quality food available. Mosquito larvae and caterpillars are ideal. A healthy fish is a strong and fast fish.

Training fighters

Train the fighting fish by exercising it every morning and evening.

plakat thai fighter betta splendensExercises include swirling the water for 15 minutes. Also placing two fighters in adjacent jars and swirling the water while they threaten towards each other while swimming is great fighting practice. Also placing a female in an adjacent jar will make them more aggressive and territorial.

Another exercise is to place a female fighter in the same jar as a male and watch the pair carefully for about 3 minutes. They will mostly threaten each other but may occasionally nip. If it looks like getting serious separate the pair.

Never put two males into the same jar as this will result in unnecessary minor injuries that need to heal.

Keep up this practice for 10 – 12 days. Those fish will be strong and ready to fight.

A small black tipped stick is used to test the fish’s aggressiveness. If it challenges the stick vigorously, this marks the end of the training phase. The fish is ready to fight.

The training phase typically lasts for 1 to 2 weeks.

When fish are ready for fighting, they should be given 2 to 3 days of rests. Bottles are shielded to minimize interruption to their rests. Complete shielding of the jar sides will rest the fish before any fights so that they don’t attack insects or distractions on the jar causing themselves unnecessary injuries.

Fighting rules

two fighting bettaThe fighting rules within countries of the South East Asian region differs, in Thailand there are no time limits, the fight will end only when there is a winner. (The loser is the fish that gives up the fight and flees). In Singapore and Malaysia, the time limit is usually set at 3 to 4 hrs. If there is no winner within that time then it is a draw.

At the fighting ring, fishes are matched for fights based on their physical size. They are put side by side and scrutinized, fish owners will then decide whether a fight should go ahead. A bigger fish is certainly a stronger fish, therefore it is critical to try and gain a size advantage before a fight begins.

Sizing is an art, hardcore players never give in and will try every means to look out for an advantage in size. Fishes also come in different dimensions, some are taller, others thicker when viewed from the top and last but not least the ratio of fishes’ head and body also differs. These all make sizing complicated.

Cheating is not uncommon in fights involving large bets, there are many tricks employed by unscrupulous players. Poisoning opponents’ fish is one example, in some arenas the top cover of bottles are sealed during sizing. Replacing the fishes after sizing with a similarly colored but bigger fish is also common. Last but not least the bottles also play tricks, some bottles give the illusion of a smaller fish due to the design of the glass, but when thrown into the fight bottle the fish becomes bigger.

It is very easy to humanely referee a betta fight. There are only 2 major guidelines so it is much easier then refereeing a human fight

The following guidelines will ensure a professional fight. As long as these are followed, and an honest referee judges the fight then betta fighting is perfectly safe.

Guidelines-

1) Injury. In the beginning of fight a single bite does not do much damage, but repeated attacks on the same spot can become serious. So fights must be stopped BEFORE permanent damage. As soon as a torn fin or skin damage occurs fight must stop. So it is imperative to stop fight as soon as either opponent sustains minor injury.

2. If a betta refuses to fight as an active aggressor but turns to escape or look for retreat, then he is considered a loser and the fights must be stopped immediately. The fish still actively pursuing the opponent is declared the winner.

Starting and closing fighting ring time:

Open ring 8.30 am close the ring 5.30 pm

Fight before 12.00 end the game at 3.30 pm

Fight after 12.00 end the game 5.30 pm

General rule in fighting fish ring:

Whoever opens the cap of the fighting jar means surrendered the fight.

Each player has a chance of change fighting jar with new water within 10 minutes after fight.

Moving a fighting jar is under the judge’s consideration alone.

After putting a fighter in the fighting jar, a player should never touch the jar.

When to Stop a Match and Declare a Winner

Wining and losing:

Owner of the fighter surrenders by opening the cap of the fighting jar.

One fighter runs away and the owner surrenders.

Referee fish trial and judge declares the trial result.

If both fighters run away, draw if agreed or a referee fish can be used to make a decision

Drawing:

When both players agree to draw in any stage of the contest.

When both players use referee fish on opponent two times and both fighters flare gills each time.

Use of a Referee Fish

Both players have a common right to call for a referee fish trial. A player may call the judge to use referee fish to examine both fighters to win the game early. When both fighters have completely stopped fighting, a judge will examine the fight. If both fighters do not hit one another then he will trial both fighters with a referee fish.

Trial by the referee fish:

A fighter must flare both sets of gills fully on approaching the referee fish.

Opening one set of gill or half flared gills or not approaching the referee fish is a fail.

Both players have an equal right to call judge for referee fish trial.

A player may call the judge to watch his fighter to see if he is eligible to call for a single trial of the opponent’s fish.

Single trial of 1 minute duration:

To claim a single trial the caller’s fish must flare gills approaching the opponent fully.

If an opponent fighter express an action willing to fight. Then the caller claim is null.

If a caller’s fish flares gills when approaching the opponent fish and the opponent fish doesn’t react to fight, then a judge takes that opponent fighter to a single trial with a referee fish.

A caller may call the judge to check opponent fighter continuously two times. If he fails then he has to wait 5 minutes for his next call. But the other player keeps his right to call.

Each player has two chances to call for single examination. If opponent fighter flares gills towards referee fish fully before five hits, then both fighters fight again in a new jar.

How to Conduct a Single Trial of One Fish:

A judge places a fighter to a trial jar.

A referee fighter is placed in the same jar.

A judge watches only from above.

If a fighter flares his gills approaching the referee fish within 5 strikes by referee then he passes the trial otherwise he fails the trial.

Both fighters fight again in a new jar when he passes the trial.

Each player has a common right to call the judge single trial 2 times.

Match Trial of Both Fish by Referee fish:

The two fighters are removed to two separate jars

The referee fish’s jar is placed in the middle.

Cardboard is placed all around the referee fish’s jar.

The two fighter’s jars are placed either side of the referee fish

The judge adjusts the water level of all 3 jars to be level.

The judge sets up the clock for 2 minutes.

The cardboard is removed completely so the fish can see each other.

The judge watches the flared gills of the fighters from above only.

If one fighter flares gills and approaches to the referee fish, the judge declares “flared gills”. He then shifts this fighter to another jar and checks the other fighter.

If the other fighter does not flare the gills and approach the referee fish, the judge spoon it out for a single trial.

Each player can call for referee fish trial 2 times. If a fighters flare gills and approaches referee fish two times during the trial then that player has no right further trials. But the other player still has a right to call for a trial.

If both fish do not flare gills then continue the game of fighting the same jar.

If both flare gills approaching the referee fish then continue the fight in a new jar (new water).

A player may call the judge to check an opponent fighter that ran away. If the judge sees a fighter running away, he will take the fighter to single trial. If a fighter shows it’s willingness to fight with trial fish then the game is drawn.

If both fighters still fight to the end of fighting time, the judge will take each fighter to examine with the referee fish by single examine.

One flares gills = win

Both flare gills = draw

Both do not flare gills = draw

The judge is a key man in the fighting ring. The main factor to run fighting fish ring successfully is depend very much on the fairness of judge.

A fighting ring judge must:

-not have fish that fight in the ring.

-not put direct bet or side bet in the ring.

-be fair and not take sides.

-not express personal opinion during doing duty.

The Amazing Archer Fish

archer fish shooting insect

What is so amazing about the Archer Fish?

The only fish that can shoot a surface to air missile to hit targets above the water, knocking its prey down and eating it.

archer fish hits insect with jet of water
Click picture for animation

 Once that they spot their prey, they shoot it down by squirting a precisely aimed jet of water with their mouth, so that the prey falls into water where it gets readily devoured.

 It takes just on tenth of a second after the fish has squirted its prey to anticipate the spot an insect will fall so swim towards it and devour it.

It does this using the narrow groove in the roof of its mouth. The creature presses its tongue against this groove to form a narrow channel, then contracts its gill covers to force a powerful jet of water through the channel.

Physicists from the University of Milan looked at the different trajectories of spit squirted by archer fish. They discovered jets of water consistently hit insect targets at a faster speed than they left the animal. The head of the jet is slower than the back of the jet. The back of the jet stream catches up with the head of the jet stream at the point of impact giving a harder impact than from a continuous uniform jet stream.

Archer fish are remarkably accurate in their shooting; adult fish almost always hit their prey on the first shot. They can bring down insects and other prey on perches up to 3 m above the water’s surface. This is partially due to their good eyesight, but also their ability to compensate for the refraction of light as it passes through the air-water interface and take into account the trajectory caused by gravity, when aiming for their prey. They aim higher than a straight line to the target.

 

 The preferred angle they spit at prey is 74° from the horizontal, but can still aim accurately when spitting at any angle between 45° and 110°.

 When an archer fish selects its prey, it rotates its eye so that the image of the prey falls on a particular portion of the eye in the ventral temporal periphery of the retina, and its lips just break the surface, squirting a jet of water at its victim. The resulting jet of water can be up to 5 m long, but their accuracy allows them to shoot insects only 1–2 m away depending on body size. The fish can alter the power of the shot for prey of different sizes. If the first shot does not knock the victim into the water, the archer fish will keep trying.

 Young archer fish start shooting when they are about 2.5 cm long, but are inaccurate at first and must learn from experience. During this learning period, they hunt in small schools. This way, the probability is enhanced that at least one jet will hit its target.

archer fish jumps out of the water

Archer fish are surface dwellers remaining near the surface of the water. They are also opportunistic and will often leap out of the water and grab an insect in their mouths if it happens to be within reach. They can leap up to distance of 12 inches. They use their ability to visualise where the refracted image of the insect is to target their leap. If after hitting an insect with several jets, the insect is not dislodged, then it will resort to leaping at it.

 

 

‘Extinct Jellyfish’ Sighted After 103 Years

extinct_crambione_cookii_jellyfishThe Crambione Cookii has not been seen since 1910 but was spotted off Queensland, Australia, by Puk Scivyer, who chanced upon the animal while releasing a rescued sea turtle.

The aquarium worker said: ““As soon as I saw it I realised it was a species I’d never seen before.
“But to then discover I was the first person to see this species in over a hundred years was just incredible.”
Jellyfish expert Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin was called in to identify the unusual ocean-dweller, after it was captured in waters off Sunshine Coast.
It is now being cared for at the UnderWater World aquarium in Queensland.
Scientists are baffled how the 20in pink jellyfish –  which has a sting so powerful it can be felt in the waters surrounding the creature – escaped notice for so long.