18 January 2016: Rosy Barb (Barbus conchonius)

The Rosy Barb is a good choice for beginners as it is very hardy.  It comes from India and is known by the scientific names Puntius conchonius and Barbus conchonius.

Males show a deep red when ready to breed, while females have a yellow base to their colour. A small dark patch is apparent just before the tail fin.

Rosy Barbs are active swimmers and need plenty of open space. They will also dig in gravel and are a schooling fish that should be kept in groups of 4 - 6 or more to reduce aggression. They eat standard flake foods, freeze dried blood worms and occasional live brine shrimp. Cooler temperatures and a quality diet can improve their colors.

Rosy Barbs will spread hundreds of clear eggs on finely leaved plants, such as Cabomba. After spawning, the parents should be removed before the fry hatch. Brine shrimp is best for feeding the fry, although finely crushed flakes also work.

Grows to around 6 inches maximum, their natural habitat has a pH of 6 to 8, a water hardness of 5-19 dGH, and a temperature range of 64–72 °F (18–22 °C)

Written by Mark. Picture: Rosy Barb.

 

 

3 January 2016: Golden Wonder Panchax (Aplocheilus lineatus)


The Golden Wonder Panchax is the gold form of the Indian Striped Panchax (Aplocheilus lineatus) and is an aquarium-created strain. A pair of these beautiful top-dwelling fish require an aquarium 3ft long, and if a larger group (including more males) are to be kept together, a more spacious tank must be provided.


In the wild, these fish are found in slow moving rivers, streams and lakes, the locations of which are of a high altitude and they are also heavy with aquatic vegetation. It is not unknown for them to move into swamps, paddy fields and even slightly brackish waters in some areas, and they thrive on eating the mosquito larvae which land on the water’s surface.

The aquarium itself should be aquascaped with plenty of plants, including floating varieties wherever possible. This will give the fish a natural network of hiding places and territories.

Tangles of bogwood can also be added (stood up at the back of the aquarium) to give additional shelter. Golden Wonder Panchax are accomplished jumpers, so it is essential that the tank has tight fitting coverslides.


These fish are predatory and have surprisingly wide mouths (view them head-on). Therefore they should never be combined with small community fish e.g. Neon Tetras, as these will soon become a snack.

Golden Wonder Panchax are best maintained with medium sized fish of a peaceful disposition, and which do not occupy the same extreme top level of the aquarium.

Commonly distributed around India & Sri Lanka, they will grow to a maximum size of around 10cm (3.9”). Panchax will acclimatise to a wide range of conditions. General tolerance pH: 6.5-7.5, temperature 22-25 deg C (72-77 deg F)

Written by Rob. Picture: Golden Panchax.

 

 

19 May 2016: The Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata)

Striped, or marbled, hatchet fishes are among the most delightful tropical fish species. Petite and daintily coloured, they spend much of their time close to the aquarium surface where, in their natural state, they would be seeking insects to feed on.

The hatchetfish suits the FishScience tropical food range particularly well, which features insect meal heavily in its formulas.

Because they spend much of the time dwelling at the surface, they are suited to community tanks and tend to stay where there is little water movement. The distinctive deep chest and narrow body gives this species a distinctive look, with the females appearing slightly less narrow than the males.

The Hatchetfish are native to the upper, middle and lower regions of the Amazon basin and less frequently further south of the Amazon. They will grow to around 3.5cm in captivity.

Ideal temperature range: 24-28°C/75-82°F.
Water parameters: 5.0-8.0 pH tolerated, hardness 4-20°GH.

 




28 April 2016: African Glass Catfish (Eutropiellus buffei)

A curious looking Catfish native to Central Africa, the African Glass Catfish is well suited to life in a community aquarium. A midwater swimming, shoaling catfish, many people make the mistake of buying only one or two specimens of the African debauwi cat, with the result that they quickly pine away. Be sure to keep them in a shoal of at least 5.

The body colouring is whitish-blue, with a long black line extending along the body. In reflected light, sometimes flecks of red and gold can be seen.
They grow to a maximum length of around 8cm (3") and will thrive in well planted aquariums, with pH of between 6-7.5 and a temperature of 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

With an undemanding diet happily satisfied by sinking pellets or small algae wafers, they make an excellent addition to any community tank.

20 April 2016: Rummy-nosed Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)

Back in the day, they used to call this the Alex Ferguson fish in my local store. No prizes for guessing why!

A great fish for community tanks, the head of the strikingly coloured Rummy-nosed Tetra is covered with bright red, while the caudal fin is black with four white horizontal stripes. A thin line spreads from the middle of the body to the central dark bar on the caudal fin, which is topped by gold as it crosses the caudal peduncle.

Native to South America and growing to a length of around 55mm, they can be quite shy, and sensitive to changing water quality. Breeding is not always straightforward, and can be rather sporadic, even in the best environments.

Diet: Dried Tropical Fish Foods, Worms, small crustaceans, plant matter.

Ideal water temperature: 75-79 degrees Fahrenheit, 24-26 degrees Celsius.



13 April 2016: Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Classic choice here, everyone wants a Neon Tetra...

So popular and eye-catchingly colourful, the Neon Tetra is said to have been banned from competitive shows after its introduction to the hobby in the 1930's because it was felt to have an unfair advantage over all the rest of the exhibits. A shoal of Neons in a well-furnished aquarium is an unforgettable sight.

Clearly definable by the iridescent blue line along the body, the Neon Tetra also has a good set of teeth - a reminder of the family relationship to the Piranha.

A hardy fish, it occupies the middle and lower levels of the aquarium and can be easily acclimatized to many types of water. Soft water is preferred for breeding however, the ideal temperature being 21-26 degrees Celsius (70-79 degrees Fahrenheit)

Their natural diet would consist of worms, small insects and crustaceans. In captivity tropical fish flake and granules are ideal.

11 April 2016: Black Belt Cichlid (Cichlasoma Maculicauda)

Native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala, its easy to see how the popular name of this striking cichlid arose. The black belt-like bar is a very prominent feature of the fish.

This is a typical Cichlasoma species of medium to large size, much sought after by aquarists. Ideal for a general community system of cichlids, the Black Belt Cichlid will grow to a maximum length of around 300mm (12")

These will feed on almost any aquarium prepared cichlid food, mature fishes will relish shrimp and large earthworms.

15 March 2016: Red Dragon Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

What's in a name? Well, you can guarantee when you take your kids to a pets store to check out the fish, a name like "Red Dragon" Guppy will grab their attention. Closely followed by the "King Cobra" Guppy perhaps, but that’s a fish for another day...

Guppies are one of the most popular and widely distributed tropical fish, and you’re bound to find a few colourful varieties in every decent fish house.

Also known as millionfish and rainbow fish, it is a member of the Poeciliidae family and, like almost all American members of the family, is live-bearing.

They are highly adaptable and thrive in many different environmental and ecological conditions. Male guppies, which are smaller than females, have ornamental caudal and dorsal fins, while females are duller in colour. Wild guppies generally feed on a variety of food sources, including benthic algae and aquatic insect larvae. Captive species will thrive on a varied diet of high quality flake and granules, particularly those made with insect meal.

Guppies prefer a hard water aquarium with a temperature between 25.5 and 27.8 °C (78 and 82 °F) and salt levels equivalent to one tablespoon per 19 l (5 US gal). They can withstand levels of salinity up to 150% that of normal seawater which has led to them being occasionally included in marine tropical community tanks, as well as in freshwater tropical tanks.

Guppies are generally peaceful, though nipping behaviour is sometimes exhibited between male guppies or towards other top swimmers like members of the Xiphophorus genus (platies and swordtails), and occasionally other fish with prominent fins, such as angelfish. Guppies should not be kept as a single fish in an aquarium because both males and females show signs of shoaling, and are usually found in large groups in the wild.

Its most famous characteristic is its propensity for breeding, and it can breed in both freshwater and marine aquaria. Guppies prefer water temperatures around 22.2–26.1 °C (72–79 °F) for reproduction.

Lifespan of well-kept guppies can be anything up to 2 years, making them a highly rewarding fish, with the added bonus of being relatively easy to maintain!
Written by Mark.

29 February 2016: Rope Fish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus)

The Rope Fish is a fascinating and primitive-looking fish related to Bichirs which grows to around 25cm in length. The Rope Fish has many unusual physical features including a flattened head, elongated eel-like body, and thick bony scales that form a distinct reticulated pattern. In addition, the Rope Fish has a modified swim bladder that it uses like a pair of lungs. Found in slow-moving or standing water with low dissolved oxygen content, the Rope Fish relies on this physical trait to gulp fresh air at the water's surface to obtain vital oxygen.

Besides these remarkable physical characteristics, the Rope Fish is an interesting fish with a lot of personality. It is a curious and peaceful nocturnal fish that does well with other larger, peaceful fish. Due to its poor eyesight and nocturnal habit, the Rope Fish may seem, at times, reserved or reclusive. However, the Rope Fish is a social fish that prefers the company of other Rope Fish. The ideal setup is a large aquarium capable of housing two or more Rope Fish.

The aquarium should be heavily planted with plenty of hiding nooks created with roots or driftwood. Because the Rope Fish tends to move snake-like at the bottom of the aquarium, a fine gravel or sand substrate is recommended. The Rope fish is a notorious escape artist that can also jump a great distance. It is essential that the aquarium is equipped with a tightly fitting lid without holes. Though the Rope Fish is primarily a freshwater species, the addition of some aquarium salt may be beneficial.

The Rope Fish is a carnivorous fish that requires live food in its diet. Chopped meats, beef heart, insect larva, as well as tubifex, bloodworms and earthworms may also be included in the Rope Fish diet.

Written by Rory.

19 May 2016: The Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata)

Striped, or marbled, hatchet fishes are among the most delightful tropical fish species. Petite and daintily coloured, they spend much of their time close to the aquarium surface where, in their natural state, they would be seeking insects to feed on.

The hatchetfish suits the FishScience tropical food range particularly well, which features insect meal heavily in its formulas.

Because they spend much of the time dwelling at the surface, they are suited to community tanks and tend to stay where there is little water movement. The distinctive deep chest and narrow body gives this species a distinctive look, with the females appearing slightly less narrow than the males.

The Hatchetfish are native to the upper, middle and lower regions of the Amazon basin and less frequently further south of the Amazon. They will grow to around 3.5cm in captivity.

Ideal temperature range: 24-28°C/75-82°F.
Water parameters: 5.0-8.0 pH tolerated, hardness 4-20°GH.
A curious looking Catfish native to Central Africa, the African Glass Catfish is well suited to life in a community aquarium. A midwater swimming, shoaling catfish, many people make the mistake of buying only one or two specimens of the African debauwi cat, with the result that they quickly pine away. Be sure to keep them in a shoal of at least 5.

The body colouring is whitish-blue, with a long black line extending along the body. In reflected light, sometimes flecks of red and gold can be seen.
They grow to a maximum length of around 8cm (3") and will thrive in well planted aquariums, with pH of between 6-7.5 and a temperature of 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

With an undemanding diet happily satisfied by sinking pellets or small algae wafers, they make an excellent addition to any community tank.


20 April 2016: Rummy-nosed Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)

Back in the day, they used to call this the Alex Ferguson fish in my local store. No prizes for guessing why!

A great fish for community tanks, the head of the strikingly coloured Rummy-nosed Tetra is covered with bright red, while the caudal fin is black with four white horizontal stripes. A thin line spreads from the middle of the body to the central dark bar on the caudal fin, which is topped by gold as it crosses the caudal peduncle.

Native to South America and growing to a length of around 55mm, they can be quite shy, and sensitive to changing water quality. Breeding is not always straightforward, and can be rather sporadic, even in the best environments.

Diet: Dried Tropical Fish Foods, Worms, small crustaceans, plant matter.

Ideal water temperature: 75-79 degrees Fahrenheit, 24-26 degrees Celsius.
13 April 2016: Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Classic choice here, everyone wants a Neon Tetra...

So popular and eye-catchingly colourful, the Neon Tetra is said to have been banned from competitive shows after its introduction to the hobby in the 1930's because it was felt to have an unfair advantage over all the rest of the exhibits. A shoal of Neons in a well-furnished aquarium is an unforgettable sight.

Clearly definable by the iridescent blue line along the body, the Neon Tetra also has a good set of teeth - a reminder of the family relationship to the Piranha.

A hardy fish, it occupies the middle and lower levels of the aquarium and can be easily acclimatized to many types of water. Soft water is preferred for breeding however, the ideal temperature being 21-26 degrees Celsius (70-79 degrees Fahrenheit)

Their natural diet would consist of worms, small insects and crustaceans. In captivity tropical fish flake and granules are ideal.

11 April 2016: Black Belt Cichlid (Cichlasoma Maculicauda)

Native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala, its easy to see how the popular name of this striking cichlid arose. The black belt-like bar is a very prominent feature of the fish.

This is a typical Cichlasoma species of medium to large size, much sought after by aquarists. Ideal for a general community system of cichlids, the Black Belt Cichlid will grow to a maximum length of around 300mm (12")

These will feed on almost any aquarium prepared cichlid food, mature fishes will relish shrimp and large earthworms.

15 March 2016: Red Dragon Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

What's in a name? Well, you can guarantee when you take your kids to a pets store to check out the fish, a name like "Red Dragon" Guppy will grab their attention. Closely followed by the "King Cobra" Guppy perhaps, but that’s a fish for another day...

Guppies are one of the most popular and widely distributed tropical fish, and you’re bound to find a few colourful varieties in every decent fish house.

Also known as millionfish and rainbow fish, it is a member of the Poeciliidae family and, like almost all American members of the family, is live-bearing.

They are highly adaptable and thrive in many different environmental and ecological conditions. Male guppies, which are smaller than females, have ornamental caudal and dorsal fins, while females are duller in colour. Wild guppies generally feed on a variety of food sources, including benthic algae and aquatic insect larvae. Captive species will thrive on a varied diet of high quality flake and granules, particularly those made with insect meal.

Guppies prefer a hard water aquarium with a temperature between 25.5 and 27.8 °C (78 and 82 °F) and salt levels equivalent to one tablespoon per 19 l (5 US gal). They can withstand levels of salinity up to 150% that of normal seawater which has led to them being occasionally included in marine tropical community tanks, as well as in freshwater tropical tanks.

Guppies are generally peaceful, though nipping behaviour is sometimes exhibited between male guppies or towards other top swimmers like members of the Xiphophorus genus (platies and swordtails), and occasionally other fish with prominent fins, such as angelfish. Guppies should not be kept as a single fish in an aquarium because both males and females show signs of shoaling, and are usually found in large groups in the wild.

Its most famous characteristic is its propensity for breeding, and it can breed in both freshwater and marine aquaria. Guppies prefer water temperatures around 22.2–26.1 °C (72–79 °F) for reproduction.

Lifespan of well-kept guppies can be anything up to 2 years, making them a highly rewarding fish, with the added bonus of being relatively easy to maintain!
Written by Mark.

29 February 2016: Rope Fish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus)

The Rope Fish is a fascinating and primitive-looking fish related to Bichirs which grows to around 25cm in length. The Rope Fish has many unusual physical features including a flattened head, elongated eel-like body, and thick bony scales that form a distinct reticulated pattern. In addition, the Rope Fish has a modified swim bladder that it uses like a pair of lungs. Found in slow-moving or standing water with low dissolved oxygen content, the Rope Fish relies on this physical trait to gulp fresh air at the water's surface to obtain vital oxygen.

Besides these remarkable physical characteristics, the Rope Fish is an interesting fish with a lot of personality. It is a curious and peaceful nocturnal fish that does well with other larger, peaceful fish. Due to its poor eyesight and nocturnal habit, the Rope Fish may seem, at times, reserved or reclusive. However, the Rope Fish is a social fish that prefers the company of other Rope Fish. The ideal setup is a large aquarium capable of housing two or more Rope Fish.

The aquarium should be heavily planted with plenty of hiding nooks created with roots or driftwood. Because the Rope Fish tends to move snake-like at the bottom of the aquarium, a fine gravel or sand substrate is recommended. The Rope fish is a notorious escape artist that can also jump a great distance. It is essential that the aquarium is equipped with a tightly fitting lid without holes. Though the Rope Fish is primarily a freshwater species, the addition of some aquarium salt may be beneficial.

The Rope Fish is a carnivorous fish that requires live food in its diet. Chopped meats, beef heart, insect larva, as well as tubifex, bloodworms and earthworms may also be included in the Rope Fish diet.

Written by Rory.