Here We Go Again – Part 2

Well the tank is still going strong but some of the things that came out of the rock have disappeared but new stuff is still making an appearance. My cute small brown mantis shrimp has turned medium size little over an inch peacock mantis shrimp. May have to find a trap. Most of my bristle worms are gone. Shrimp food? My St. Thomas false coral has budded. The “bud is about a 1/4 inch in diameter and is a light green in color. It has just started showing some sort of tentacles. The Zoanthids (Protopalythoa sp.) are starting to spread and multiply. My two peppermint shrimp turned into a pair and the female was carrying about 100 eggs on the underside of her tail. The eggs hatched after ten days but I didn’t find any baby shrimp, but then again there are many hiding places and also, then again there is the mantis shrimp. Again with the trap idea. A few weeks ago we added a burnt orange mushroom coral, Actinodiscus cardinalis, and a stand of button polyps, probably Protopalysthoa vestitus. Under the blue actinic light this polyps edges are a bright green with a purple center.

We took another trip into the Reef Creations, just for the ride, because we didn’t really need or have the room for any more animals. Well, a $150 later, we walked out with a very nice hairy mushroom rock with many green tipped hairy mushrooms, some pink centered Protopalythoa sp. and a neat Zoanthus pulchellus, another button polyp. I am a great one for buying and reading books on all the animals , whether fish or inverts I buy. Something in the back of my mind kept bothering me about the animals just bought, but I just couldn’t remember. After getting home and acclimating the corals I started to find room in the tank for them. I moved some rock around and took some more none interesting ones out but we finally got every coral in just the right spot. The pink centered, because they were not anchored to a piece of rock didn’t want to stay were I wanted them so I had to put my hand in the tank and move them into place a couple of times with the last time I wedge them between two rocks and changed the water flow on my weir.

Only then did I refer to my book on Corals by Eric Borneman to properly idenify what we just bought. I opened the book to the Zoanthids section and in a highlighted section I noticed the word “Neurotoxin warning!” Well, it seems that the really neat pink centered Protopalythoa sp. Produce a chemical called palytoxin in their mucus and gonads. The indigenous Pacific tribes use this neuromuscular agent to dip their spear points in order to paralyze animals and their enemies.

If one chooses to keep these animals, one should were protected gloves when placing ones hands in the aquarium. I also read that there’s an aquarists in Washington that after handling some polyps became very ill for a few days and ended up with a Vibrio infection. Things started to sound bad. I started to get tingles in my arm that radiated up toward my neck. I was almost hoping that it was the onset of a heart attack but I remembered it was the left arm and not the right. My heart started to pump hard and I thought a cold sweat broke out on my forehead. Did I also mention that times my mind runs away on me! Suggestion is a powerful thing. False alarm and I live to see another sunrise. God, this hobby’s fun.

Bubble Eye Goldfish

Bubble Eye goldfish are a “fancy” variety, which is characterized by fluid filled sacs beneath the eyes. Bubble Eyes lack dorsal fins and have double tail fins. They can be found in gold, red, black, white and calico colors. The fish can reach eight inches long and the bubble sacs grow with the fish, sometimes occluding the fish’s vision.

Bubble Eye goldfish are as cheap and readily available as any fancy breed, but are not recommended for new fish owners. The vulnerable sacs are easily damaged and require care to reduce risk. The contents of the tank must be screened to ensure no sharp or abrasive surfaces such as sharp rocks or even filter fixtures can threaten the fish. If the sacs are punctured, the water must be kept especially clean and topical medicine may be required. A punctured sac can heal, but will almost always scar.

Bubble Eye goldfish must also be kept with slow and peaceful fish due to the vulnerable eye sacs. These can get large enough to hinder the fish’s ability to swim and thus the fish will not compete as well. Other bubble eyes, telescopes and celestial eyes are particularly suitable.

Bubble Eye goldfish prefer still waters. They require a minimum of ten gallons of water, and up to fifty gallons may be optimal for large bubble eyes. This breed is best in slightly warmer water, seventy six to seventy eight degrees.

However, at these temperatures it is important to properly aerate the water. With proper use of air stones and bubble walls, bubble eyes can be healthy in water up to ninety degrees.

Water changes must occur often to keep the nitrate levels below forty parts per million.

While all goldfish are vulnerable to poor food choices, bubble eye goldfish are especially vulnerable due to the breed’s large belly. The fish have best results from sinking food and a variety of fruit and vegetables. Floating food can lead to air ingestion, and bubble eye goldfish are even more vulnerable to this than most goldfish. This can lead to constipation and swim bladder problems. The fish will have trouble swimming upright and will spend time near the surface or bottom. These symptoms can also be caused by poor water cleanliness. Swim bladder problems should be treated with a fast of twenty four hours followed by a diet of frozen green peas for several days. If processed, floating food must be used, it should be allowed to soak up water before being fed to the fish.

Cherry Barb

Family: Cyprinidae
Species: Barbus titteya
Size: 2 in (5 cm)
Diet: Omnivorous
Temperament: Peaceful
TankConditions: 74-79°F; pH 6.0-7.0; dH 4-10
TankLevels: Middle and Lower

Barbs are predominantly small to medium sized fish with a typical diamond-shape, compressed laterally. A few species do grow large, but these are not commonly seen in the aquarium trade. Many, but not all, barbs have small barbels. Most barbs offered for sale come from Asia and belong to the genus Puntius, but barbs are also found throughout Africa. Many barbs (and other cyprinids) have a distinctive iridescence caused by the presence of guanin. Barbs belong to the sub-family Cyprininae, as does the well-known Silver “shark”.

Many barbs are quite undemanding of water quality, although there are exceptions. In general the waters to which these fish are native are slightly acid to neutral, of moderate hardness, clear and swift flowing. Apart from the few delicate species, barbs are quite adaptable to higher pH and hardness. However, to promote breeding behaviors, more specific conditions are usually needed, see the breeding section. Most barbs need a heated tank, but a few species, namely Rosy, China and Odessa barbs, can be kept indoor in unheated (coldwater) aquaria.

Most barbs are happy with a tank that provides plenty of swimming room with some plants or other decoration to provide shelter.

Barbs are generally peaceful, schooling fish, although some (e.g. Rosy barb, Tiger barb) are prone to be nippy. Any aggression is minimized by keeping them in a school of four to six fish, and they can then be mixed with most community fish. However it is not recommended to mix most of the larger-sized barbs with timid, very tiny, or fancy-finned fish. Larger barbs are lively, active and can be boisterous, so timid fish may become shy even if they are not being bullied. Many of the bigger species can be kept with quite large community fish or with cichlids. On the other hand, many barbs, and particularly small species such as the cherry barb, are extremely peaceful fish, sometimes inclined to be timid themselves.

Apart from a few plant-eating species that are not readily available, barbs are quite well-suited to planted aquaria.

Breeding: Barbs are egg scatterers that do not tend their eggs or fry and so a separate spawning/fry tank is needed. Spawning usually occurs between pairs, but in some species, one male may spawn with a group of two to three females.

In some species there are few visual differences between males and females, but in many males are more colourful than females and not as plump. To bring the adults into breeding condition, plenty of frozen foods should be included in the diet, and the water should be kept soft, slightly acid and with blackwater extract added. Fine leaved plants or an artificial spawning mop should be used to collect the eggs. A bare bottom is recommended so that the tank can be kept very clean. After spawning the parents should be removed.

The eggs take between 1 and 2 days to hatch. Very fine live foods, e.g. infusoria, are usually needed to raise the fry. Frequent feeding is important, as are daily water changes to keep water quality high.

The Cherry Barb is a very timid fish. The Cherry Barb is suitable for small aquariums and should be kept with other small fishes. Subdued lighting conditions complement the fish’s coloring. During spawning, the male will turn bright cherry red. HABITAT: Borneo, Indonesia, Sumatra.

Compatibility: Barbs, Gouramis, larger Livebearers, Dwarf Cichlids, Sharks, Rainbowfish, Plecos, Catfish, and Loaches

Albino Bushinose Pleco

About 8 months ago my father (Dick McEniry) Bought 3 pairs of Albino Bushienose Plecos (Ancistrus Sp.) After listening to other breeders and hearing their succeses with the Pleco, I realized the fish is not just a Herbivore. Yes one of their foods they relish is algae, but they also like to eat frozen blood worms, Adult frozen brine shrimp, And even baby brine shrimp (freshly hatched) I’ve also learned that some need “Elephant wood” in their diet, But that is for more rare and delicate species. Albino plecos have to hide in caves and under rocks. It is very easy to sex them. Males will have wider abdomine and they will have a growth on their nose, that looks like a bush. Females have a much narrower abdomine and not as big of a bush on their nose.

Breeding the Albino Bushienose Pleco is not that difficult, just give the plecos many dark caves and hiding spots. Some catfish do not like bright light. Be sure to give the plecos a constant supply of algae or par boiled vegatables., like Zucchini. Also vary their diet up with frozen foods and newly hatched baby brine, Even though Adult plecos may look to big for brine they will love it as a treat once in a while. I keep all my adult plecos in one 30 gallon tank with 2 box filters. I keep the Temp around 77-80 degrees Fahrenheit. They will normally breed once a month. The firs time mine bred, they were in a cave 3″x3″x3″ the female layed about 30 eggs. After the eggs hatched I took the fry and put them in a 10 gallon tank with baby Guppies. Once the Ancistrus consumed their egg sacks they take algae wafers and baby brine shrimp. When the fry hatch they are 3/4 of an inch. For Adult plecos I keep them in their own tank by themselves just for breeding. The most eggs I got with one breeding was 60. The male is 7 1/2 inches long and the female was 6 inches. This pair has only bred once though. It takes the fry about one year to grow up for them to get to beeding size. These fish are very unique and I plan on breeding this pleco for a long time

Low Light Planted Tank

Low light low tech planted tanks are ideally suited for beginners or those hobbyists who would rather not spend lots of time maintaining their tanks. Growth is slow and for the most part when the tank is “balanced” the aquascape remains static for long periods of time, unlike the High light high tech tank that changes from week to week with lots of nutrient additions and pruning of rapid growth.

Low tech tanks are generally meant as tanks with low light and no CO2 injection. To create a successful low tech tank there are some items that from my experiences have been critical for success.

Begin with 1 to 2 watts per gallon of linear normal output fluorescent lighting. This usually equates to two lamps (Bulbs). You don’t need to purchase expensive aquaria specific bulbs, just choose bulbs with a color rating between 5000K and 10000K, my preference is to mix 6500K and 9325K bulbs when ever possible.
vNext, choose a “rich” substrate. Plain gravel is a poor choice in my experience. You can use plain gravel but mix in a few handfuls of ground peat and some laterite. Laterite is an iron rich clay substrate that can be purchased from your local fish store or online. Other combinations of substrate materials can be used also but always add the peat in addition to the sand, Flourite, or other material. Ideally if you have an already established tank adding some mulm from that tanks substrate really helps a new tank. Substrate depth should be 3-5 inches deep. Make sure you locate the peat and laterite in the bottom 1/3 of the substrate. Use any style filter even bio-wheel filters are fine since we aren’t trying to inject CO2. Bio-wheel’s on’t cause a loss of CO2 in a non injected tank. Don’t use undergravel filters though.

Plant very heavily right from the start making 75% of the plants fast growing stem plants. Adding some floating hornwort or similar is also very beneficial at the start, just limit the surface coverage to 20%. tock with small fish and a low number for the first 3-4 months, but always try to keep a low fish load in a low tech planted tank. It’s a good idea to have an algae cleanup crew consisting of any one or a combination of the following; Siamese Algae Eater (SAE), Amano or Cherry Shrimp, Otocinclus (Otos catfish), American Flag or Florida Flag Fish, and Rosey Barbs.

Here’s the part that makes most people cringe. Leave it alone. No water changes, no fertilizer. Only add tap water weekly or as needed to top off the tank due to evaporation. If your plants show signs of nutrient deficiencies such as yellow leaves or holes in the leaves you can add a Comprehensive fertilizer such as Flourish or Tropica Master Grow once a week until improvement is noticed then only add it once a month thereafter. Limit water changes to times immediately after you’ve uprooted plants or done a major pruning. Personally I change water in my low tech tanks about once every 3-4 month at pruning/replanting time. If you can leave the tank alone it will not disappoint you. The more you dabble with this type tank the more likely you’ll upset the balance and algal problems will appear. If this approach seems too tame and you desire more involvement then you should consider the high light CO2 injected tank.

Source: Reprinted from TropicalResources.Com

A WNY aquarium club for the tropical fish hobbyist