Saturday, September 13, 2014

BREEDING ANGELFISH

Common Name: Angelfish
Scientific Name: Pterophyllum scalare
Wild Distribution: Tributaries and basins. South America
Length: Up to 6 inches
Water Temperature: 74 to 83f


If you are an avid fish breeder, you know what the angelfish is all about. If not, boy are you missing out! I can't think of anything much more rewarding than a prized pair of angelfish with their young. This fish teeters a hobbyist into a new realm of fish keeping. 

Over the years, angelfish have taken many faces. Like the fancy guppy, they have jogged the genetic trail: silvers, marbles, gold marbles, leopards, blushers - the list goes on and on. For this reason it is difficult to give you a description. 

Angelfish are from the cichlid family and can be very aggressive at times. Experience will tell you that there is a time and a place for angelfish in the community tank. As with most large fish, angels develop a personality. There's no comparing one to the next. Males and females are distinguishable at sexual maturity. 

Breeding Notes:

One thing that does seem consistent is the breeding method. I could go on for hours about angelfish, but I could also tell you what you need to know on one page. There are many methods of raising angels but I am going to share my method: 

I pick up to six juveniles, which I house together in a 33-gallon tank. I keep the bottom bare and use only sponge filters. I put in two pieces of 2 inch P.V.C. pipe, which I secure at a 30-degree angle. The pH is steady at 7 and the hardness is 2 degrees. The water temperature hovers around the 80f mark. I feed my angels bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, a beef heart mixture, flakes and the occasional white worm. 

As the angels grow (six to eight months) they will begin to choose their mates. You will see them buddy up and may pick a territory to defend. If you are almost certain that you have a pair, remove them to their own tank. I use 15-gallon tanks but should use 20's. Be sure that their breeding tank is fitted with an acceptable spawning site. At this point I increase my water temperature to 82 degrees and increase feeding. 

Within five to eight days you should notice the belly on one of them to begin to swell. This will be your female. Within a few days the papilla should show on both the male and female (organ between the ventral and anal fin). The male's papilla is much smaller than the female's. Once egg laying begins you should avoid disturbing the tank. Take note of which fish was laying the eggs and watch for the male to fertilize them. Within two days you will know if your pair is fertile.
 The eggs may turn white. If you are sure of your pair, it may take a few attempts for a successful spawning. 

I currently practice only natural incubation, meaning I leave the parent Angelfish to tend the eggs. The eggs may take three to four days to hatch depending on your water temperature. Once they are wiggling it will take an additional three to five days for them to reach the free-swimming stage. It is at this point you may begin feeding: newly hatched brine shrimp and micro worms work best. I allow the parents to stay with the fry for the first few days of feeding. I then remove the parents and begin the cycle again. I find my females become gravid every ten to twenty days. 

Your new fry will begin to take on their angel shape around the two week mark. It is at this time that their growth rate explodes. You may begin to give them a variety of food. It is not uncommon to lose 20 % of your fry in the first few weeks. It is wise to work on a four spawn, month off program. Spawning activities can be draining on your angels; they need a vacation once in a while! This will help with your egg yields. 


* Angelfish can be very demanding and you must be patient and willing to experiment with different techniques. Once you find something that works, stick to it. Nothing is ever set in stone with angelfish. have had many surprises ranging from foster parents to spawning site selection, but that's all another story. There is unlimited information out there on angelfish. As you begin researching, you will find how diverse the breeding techniques can be.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Parrot Cichlid

Blood Red Parrot Cichlid, a Hybrid Cichlid

 

The Blood Red Parrot cichlid is an odd ball man made Hybrid that has stirred quite a bit of controversy in the fish world but has gained a huge popularity with many. Whether you approve of hybrid fish or not, these wonderful Blood Red Parrot Cichlids are here to stay. They are very compatable for a community tank as they are peaceful, curious and they interact well with their fish keepers once they get to know you. Blood Red Parrot fish should not be confused with the true Parrot Cichlid (Hoplarchus Psittacus) or the Salt Water Parrot (Callyodon Fasciatus).

When choosing Blood Red Parrot fish you will notice that the baby Parrots are very dark with stripes. As they start to grow they change color quickly from dark to a mottled black and orange to a true solid Orange. This happens very quickly within the first four months.
Parrot Cichlid History
First created in Tiawan in the 1980's the Blood Red Parrot Cichlid was believed to be a cross between a male midas cichlid and a female red head cichlid but since then there have been many variations to include, Red Devil and Gold and Green Severums and lately to include the convict cichlid pairing as well.
You can recognise the blood red parrot at first sight due to the unique traits this fish possesses. Its beak like head and mouth and round body with large eyes are characteristic of this fish. Their mouths do not close but stay open in a perpetual "O" shape. Their teeth are far down their throats so they pretty much bump into each other but cannot bite and are no match for an aggressive fish due to this deformity produced during breeding.

Behavior
BR Parrots are a shy fish that is timid but will acclimate to a community tank very nicely. They learn to recognise their owners and will come to the front of the tank to greet them. They do love to have their own clay pots or caves to hide in and I would recommend caves in their tanks. They seem to have so much fun swimming in and out of the caves. I find these fish to be very playful and they interact very well with each other and with dither fish as they swim around the tank. I would recommend them for anyone with a tank large enough who would like a peaceful set up with active fish.

Breeding Parrot Cichlids
Although Parrots will pair off and spawn the male Parrot is usually infertile and the eggs will die off. Successful spawning has resulted when the females have cross bred with non hybrid fish such as the convicts and other cichlids such as the Severums and Midas. Female BR Parrots have been bred with male Convicts to create the Jelly Bean and Bubblegum Parrot. These are usually dyed Red, Green, Blue, Purple or Pink. These fish should be avoided so not to contribute to the horrific procedure these dyed fish are put through. Newly developed though are specimans that are a true pink, due to the cross breeding between the Pink Convict male and a BR Parrot female and are not dyed. They have been called Jelly Bean as well. There have been cases of Jelly Bean and Bubblegum breeding but do not mistake them for true Blood Red Parrot fish.
The Purple Blood Parrot is another popular Parrot that is not actually purple but a bright red and is not dyed. Another is the Love Heart BR Parrot, a tailess varity that has a heart shape body.

Parrot Cichlid Diet
Feed your Parrots a varity of food, such as blood worms and brine shrimp as these seem to be their favorite foods. You can also feed them a quality pellet as well as a quality flake. Food high in b-carotene will help maintain their vibrant colors.

Parrot Cichlid Compatibity
BR Parrots are compatible with many fish such as mid size Tetras, Giant Danios, Cory cats or any catfish, Plecos, Kribs, Severums and Angelfish. Convicts are a good choice as well, but be careful of any aggressive issues and the possiblity of a spawn between these two species.

Parrot Cichlid Tank requirements
Adult Parrot fish can reach 10 inches. Most males though will average 7-8 inches and females a bit smaller averaging around 6-7 inches. You should make sure they have ample swimming areas with clay pots or caves. Rocks and driftwood would complete a comfortable tank set up as they love to have places to hide. Water temperature should be maintained between 76-80°F. PH should be around 6.5-7.4. A smooth small sized gravel or sand is ideal. They are a hardy, undemanding fish that only require room to swim, compatible tank mates and good healthy foods in order to be happy. With the heavy bio load of Parrots, it is essential that you have good aquarium filteration.
I have 5 juvenile BR Parrots in my 55 gallon community tank that will move to a 120 gallon tank this spring. I cannot say enough of the joy these special fish have brought to me and when you look into those big beautiful eyes, you will find them hard to resist as well.

Scientific Name : none, a Hybrid Cichlid
Common Names : Blood Red Parrot, Bloody Parrot
Care Level : Moderate
Size : 8" (20 cm)
pH : 6.5 - 7.0
Temperature :72-82F (22-28C)
Lifespan : about 10 years
Origin / Habitat : Man-made, not present in Nature, but Parents are South American Cichlids
Temperament / Behavior : Peaceful
Breeding : Males are usually infertile. Can be bred with Midas, Severum and Convict Cichlids.Egg layer, open Breeder.
Aquarium Size : Minimum 42 gallons, additional 10 gallons for each thereafter.
Compatible Tank Mates : non aggressive fish species.
Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease
Diet / Fish Food : omnivore, see above for more details.
Tank Region : Bottom- mid dweller
Gender : Even for experts, it is nearly impossible to sex them. Usually the only way is by dissection, or if they happen to lay eggs (an unlikely occurrence).
Similar Species : Cichlids

Oscar Fish - Astronotus spp.

The Oscar fish is also known as the Red, Albino and Tiger Oscar. Originating in the waters of the Amazon, the Oscar fish is another extremely popular fish. Their popularity stems from their personality, which has been compared to that of a puppy. Many keepers experience begging around meal times or the seemingly playful greetings they receive from their fish when they get home.
There are a few color varieties of the Oscar Fish including albino, olive-green, brown and dark gray. They can get quite large, usually 12-14 inches and should be kept in a 75 gallon or larger aquarium. The Oscar is also known for being one of the more messy tropical fish to keep. Try to get the best filtration system possible for them and be prepared to perform frequent water changes. They are known to rearrange their environment from time to time and to bash in to filter uptake tubes and heaters. If you are wanting to keep live plants in an aquarium you may not want to get an Oscar because they love to dig up plants. They are also very good jumpers, so a heavy hood is a necessity.
The Oscar Fish will eat most flakes, pellets, frozen, freeze dried and live foods including any other fish they share a tank with that are small enough to fit in their mouths.

Oscar Fish Picture

Oscar Fish

Scientific Name : Astronotus ocellatus
Common Names : Albino Oscar, Tiger and Red Oscar, Marbled Cichlid
Care Level : Easy, good for freshwater beginners with a large enough tank and those with an adequate aquarium filter and those willing to perform frequent partial water changes.
Size : 13 inches (33 cm)
pH : 6 - 8
Temperature : 72°F - 80°F (22°C - 27°C)
Water Hardness : 5° to 20° dH
Origin / Habitat : Amazon
Lifespan : 10 - 13 years
Oscar Fish Temperament / Behavior : They can be aggressive if not given a large enough aquarium.
Breeding Oscar Fish / Mating / Reproduction : They reach sexual maturity at 4 inches and will form life long pairs. Keep the water temperature around 82°F (28°C) and provide a spot for them to place the eggs. A large rock would work well.
Aquarium Size : 75 gallon or larger.
Oscar Fish Compatible Tank Mates : Not many - Bala Shark, Silver Dollar, Pleco and Jack Dempsey fish are some acceptable tank mates. However, don't put in any fish that are small enough to fit in the mouth of this fish.
Oscar Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease
Diet / Foods : Omnivore, will eat flakes, pellets, freeze dried and live foods. Give them a varied diet with lots of protein.
Tank Region : All over
Gender : Can be difficult to determine. The female is usually smaller and less colorful than a male of the same age.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Severum

Severum - Heros efasciatus



 

The Severum (Heros efasciatus) is known as the common severum - the fish pictured is actually a wild collected Heros notatus. H. efasciatus gets to about 12 inches (31 cm) and needs at least a 55 gallon aquarium or larger.

Severum

Scientific Name : Heros efasciatus
Common Names : Severum, Common Severum, Hero Cichlid
Severum Care Level : Easy to keep and will adjust to a relatively wide range of water parameters.
Size : 12 inches (31 cm)
Water Parameters : pH 6 - 8 | dH range: 5 - 25 | Temperature : 75°F - 85°F (24°C - 29°C)
Lifespan : 5 to 8 years, maybe longer
Origin / Habitat : South America, Amazon River basin and its tributaries (ref: fishbase)
Temperament / Behavior : May eat smaller fish as it grows and can become aggressive with other fish (it is a cichlid)
Severum Breeding : Can become quite aggressive during spawning. They are egg guarders and really need their own tank for breeding.
Aquarium Size : 55 gallons or larger
Compatible Tank Mates : Similar sized fish species, may fight with other cichlids
Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease
Diet / Foods : Food items in wild fish include plants, benthic algae, insects and other fish. A cichlid pellet food (cichlid sticks) can form the primary portion of its diet.
Tank Region : All over the aquarium.
Gender : May have to wait until they are mature and the males will have more spots on the face and gills.
Similar Species : Cichlids

Silver Arowana - Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

The Silver Arowana comes from the Amazon River in South America. The silver arowana is a very beautiful and a fascinating fish to watch. However, because of their huge adult size of 35 - 40 inches (89 - 102 cm) they are not recommended for the beginning aquarist. Actually, this is one of those fish that are probably best kept in the wild or in huge public aquariums.
The Silver Arowana requires at least a 200 gallon (750 liters) tank to adequately keep them. You also need an excellent aquarium filter such as an external canister filter. Arowanas are also excellent jumpers so you will need a good, tight fitting hood with no escape holes. In the wild, the Silver Arowana can jump out of the water at insects and small animals on overhanging branches.
Because of their potential adult size, there are not many compatible tank mates that quickly come to mind but you may be able to keep an Arowana with a larger Common Pleco.
This fish is definitely one fish species that is best left to the experts and public aquariums.
Silver Arowana Picture


Silver Arowana

Scientific Name : Osteoglossum bicirrhosum


Common Names : Silver Arowana, Dragon Fish, Arawana, Aruana, Arrowana, etc.

Arowana Care Level : Moderate to Difficult, needs a large tank and is not recommended for the beginning aquarist. Needs a good aquarium filter like an external canister filter.

Size : 35 - 40 inches (89 - 102 cm)

Temperature : 75°F - 83°F (24°C - 28°C)

Lifespan : 10 - 20 years or longer.

Origin / Habitat : South America, Amazon River

Temperament / Behavior : Can be aggressive, especially with smaller aquarium species.
Breeding : They have been bred in captivity. The males carry the eggs in their mouths (mouth brooder).

Aquarium Size : 200 gallon minimum but preferably much larger tanks. This fish is best left in the wild, in public aquarium displays or with advanced hobbyists with the equipment and space to keep them.

Compatible Tank Mates : Because of the huge adult size of Arowana there are very few common aquarium species recommended. One that may potentially be kept with them is the Common Pleco, but you would need an even bigger tank (bigger than 200 gallons) to provide both of them with adequate water volume as adults.

Diet / Foods : A carnivore - provide a varied diet with pellet food, frozen food and they will definitely accept live food.

Tank Region : Mostly at the top of tank

Gender : May only be possible to determine gender differences in mature adults Arowanas. Males may have larger mouths since they are mouth breeders.