Pictures some of the Most Beautiful Fish

most beautiful fish

Japanese goldfish – Jikin and Ranchu

The Japanese Goldfish is undoubtedly one of the best strains of colorful and high quality standard of crossbred goldfish. The Japanese have always been perfectionist in whatever they do and certainly this applies as well to their favorite pastime on keeping goldfish as a hobby. There are many popular strains being created over the years and some of these fish are only available locally in Japan while some are rarely seen outside the country. Let’s look at few examples of Japanese goldfish, which I’ve come across so far based on my own research into this topic.


edo nishiki goldfishranchu japanese goldfish

Presence of ranchu is pretty common nowadays in the United States and based on my own comparison between local ranchu and those found in Japan, there’s quite a notable difference in terms of coloration and development of fins. Those kept by Japanese goldfish enthusiast in villages are usually among the best strains that are highly prized after as a collection. The ranchu are usually bred in ponds with slightly greenish algae water and the goldfish diet are strictly controlled mainly to focus only on live foods. Culling is often used to get the best goldfish and to control the population so that more care can be given for particular selected few. In ponds, they also receive full sunlight exposure and with pure natural spring water, Japanese bred ranchu are often brightly colored with well developed thick fins and with nice curve and slope on their back.

There is even a new strain of calico ranchu which is called edo nishiki in Japan and I found this to be one of the most beautiful strain ever produced with the right mix of black, orange and white coloration all evenly spread over the body. A close relative of the edo nishiki is another different variety called sakura nishiki with metallic scale and this one seems to be pretty rare. Both strains are actually similar to the ranchu in terms of body shape and what sets them apart is only on the body coloration.


jikin goldfishadult jikin fish

Jikin is another fine example of Japanese goldfish, which is highly sought after these days. The fish is characterized by presence of small patch of red spots that exists only on their fins, gills and also parts of the mouth region. In natural form, it is common to find patches of red spot on their body but for the Japanese, the will go the extra mile by actually removing the red-colored scales that form the patches on the body. Jikin is also different from other round body goldfish and is more towards the shape of common goldfish which is long and thin. As such they are best viewed from above and from top, you can actually see the finely spread tail fin that waves just like a peacock tail. (Aquarium Photo Gallery)

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Different Goldfish Community Tank

Goldfish is generally not a suitable choice if you intend to setup a tropical community tank, first because it is a cold water fish, second, they produce too much waste that it will deteriorate water quality easily and third, their large body size will also take up too much space in the tank. However, that doesn’t mean that they cannot be mixed together and it could only be possible if you allocate a special aquarium that comprises solely of different goldfish varieties living in the same tank.

Setting up a goldfish community tank is often a tricky process and basically what you need to do is to group together all the fish that has the same attributes and characteristics so that they can co-exist with each other without anyone getting left out. Here, I’ll try to separate them apart so that you can easily follow and make your choices.

Fast swimming goldfish
All the varieties in this group generally have good eyesight and they will not have any restrictions to their ability to swim normally. Thus, they can easily compete for food and will be the first to grab whatever you put into the aquarium before other does. Fish categorized in this group are like black moor, shubunkin and also common goldfish like comet and wakin.
fast swimming goldfish

Average swimmers

The average swimmers are those that have fair ability to compete for food and will have slight disadvantages compared to the fast swimming group. Among the fish that belongs here are like veiltail (with their long trailing tail that slows down movement in the water), oranda (with raspberry growth on the head that covers their eye reducing visibility) and ryukin (with the wide and high body).
goldfish average swimmer

Fancy Goldfish/Extremely slow swimmers

Goldfish in this group will always find it difficult to compete for food if mixed with other goldfish varieties because of their handicapped nature. For example, bubble-eye has a sagging pouch beneath their eyes and this will slow them down considerably. Tosakin also is another handicapped type because of their horizontal flat open tail fin which will make them hard to push across water. Other goldfish, which also belongs here, are ranchu with their round and stout body and the slowest of all is pearlscale with their short fins and ping-pong shaped body.
fancy goldfish

In order to choose the right type of different goldfish to mix into your community tank, basically a good combination is to have all the fast swimmers into one aquarium and all the average swimmers into another one while the fancy goldfish should be separated from the rest. If you have intention to mix among different groups, then my advice is to choose one or two among the fast swimmers and then mix with the lot of average swimmers, which could still be ok, although this is not a recommended thing to do. Other things to take note is that, make sure you get the right tank size for your goldfish so that they don't get stunted because of space limitation.

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Bristlenose Catfish Community Tankmates

bristlenose community catfishBristlenose Catfish looks exactly the same as a normal pleco except for the presence of tiny tentacles near the front head region. In fact, both of them are closely related and even share the same characteristic with having the suckermouth and similarly, in terms of behavior they are also an efficient algae eater with that territorial instinct. Perhaps other than the presence of bristles, different features which can set them apart from normal pleco is that in comparison, their bony plate body is more flatter and their head is also much wider.

Bristlenose catfish can make a good community fish provided that there is only presence of one of this catfish in the whole tank. If you have another species which are also bottom dwellers like pleco, corydoras catfish or otocinclus, which a type of dwarf suckermouth, then I would suggest choosing only either one of these fish since mixing them will cause problems related to aggression. It all depends on what your preferences are, if you prefer towards schooling behavior, then go for corydoras and if size of catfish is your main consideration then go for otocinclus.

In a typical community aquarium full of different species of smaller-sized tetras, danios and hatchets, presence of young bristlenose will not harm the other fish but problems may arise once they grow up to very large because this catfish can easily reach maturity length of more than 1 feet. In other community tank setup, combining bristlenose with other semi-aggressive mid-sized fish should be alright and they should get along well with certain species of cichlids (firemouth, bolivian ram), angelfish, kissing gourami, tiger barb and even discus. Fish that should definitely avoid include highly territorial species like convict cichlid, oscar and red-tailed black shark.

Caring for your bristlenose catfish should not pose much challenge to your fish keeping skills since they will pretty much survive on their own. Furthermore, they will not require any specialized food and in fact, they will gladly accept anything that you provide to your main community pet fish. With regards to water quality, they are considered hardy fish and will adapt and tolerate moderate changes very well without showing complications. Therefore your main focus should be on your other fish rather than this one, which you can just leave it to roam about and cleaning the aquarium.

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Green & Pink Kissing Gourami Behavior

pink kissing gourami lock lipsKissing Gourami is an interesting fish that will never fail to thrill even novice fish keepers. In fact, their actions and behavior are so adorable that sometimes people thought they were actually kissing each other as a lover. That’s actually not true because the lip-locking act is a test of strength between two male kissing gouramis especially seen during the breeding season to impress the females. However, there is nothing to worry about because the act would not actually cause harm and injury to the other party.

Basically, there are two variants of the fish, one which is green in color and another is the normal pink color which are commonly found sold in pet stores. If you intend to mix your kissing gourami with other community fish, I would suggest you take a careful approach to introduce and then observe closely whether they might attack other species. Mixing with smaller fish like neon tetra, danio, guppy, platy and swordtail is not an option here because they can ended up being harassed or hurt by the larger sized kissing gourami, most problematic especially with their aggressive fin-nipping behavior.

So far, among potential tank mates that can live with them are certain species of cichlids like firemouth, kribensis, bolivian ram cichlids and even though they can be territorial, as long as there is large enough aquarium space, there should not be any problem. Other species compatible with kissing gourami include clown loach, pleco and silver dollar fish.

Similar like any other tropical fish species, both the green and pink kissing gouramis will thrive well in warm and soft water with neutral pH. When it comes to food, they have no particular preferences and will generally accept whatever that you feed to them. In fact, most of the time, they will scour the bottom gravel bed looking to consume off the algae appearing in the aquarium and having them around will usually help towards having a clean well-managed tank.

Kissing Gourami is also an intelligent fish because they can actually recognize the owner who feeds them and swim happily from one end to another upon seeing you. They also have a long lifespan and if properly cared for, can live up to 15 years and above. Because of that, they make a perfect pet for every home aquarium. Find out also which is the best pet fish for young kids.

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Protein Skimmer Freshwater Tank (Do I need it?)

external protein skimmerHaving a Protein Skimmer in Freshwater Tank does not serve any extra function although it doesn’t hurt to have one. It is a waste removal system designed primarily only for saltwater aquarium whereby enhanced surface tension of the water will lead to formation of smaller air bubbles which is the key to the whole set up. Generally the main purpose is to get all the protein and other soluble organic compound attracted to the air bubbles and then float to the top whereby the collected materials will be forced out through a disposal cup and then clean water returns back to the system.

Basically, the smaller the air bubbles the larger the surface area is, which means that more waste can be removed from the system. Furthermore, small air bubbles will take longer to travel to the surface and this will allow more time for it to collect the waste material. Therefore back to the question whereby, does freshwater tank benefit from having protein skimmer? The answer is definitely NO because the water itself does not create that kind of surface tension to allow formation of these fine air bubbles.

Learn the tricks to having successful marine tank:
» Right Way to Set Up your Saltwater Tank
» Populating Marine Coral Tank
» Saltwater Fish Disease and Treatment

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Payara, Sabre Tooth Tetra

payara sabre tooth tetraSabre Tooth Tetra is a freshwater tropical species and the appearance of the fish is practically plain and colorless. It was originally classified as part of the Characidae family but unlike normal tetra fish that belongs to the group which are generally peaceful, sabre tooth tetra is totally different as the fish are known to be a very aggressive species. It has since been assigned to its own family Cynodontidae. Sabre Tooth Tetra is sometimes referred to as Payara Fish and some has even named it as Vampire Tetra for the presence of two large fangs and also due to its predatory instinct that will seek out and hunt its prey. In fact, the fish actually belongs to the Amazon river close to where the piranha lives and exists.

Over the past few years, popularity on Sabre Tooth Tetra as pets has grown and aquarists have even tried to rare the fish in home aquarium and so far, most of these attempts have not been successful with some reporting that it only managed to survive for few months. In fact, even with large tanks, aquarist tried to provide the best they can to simulate just like in the natural environment by providing strong water current using powerhead filters but only a handful managed to grow until it reach maturity age. Don't get yourself confused if you see the normal 4 to 5 inches fish sold in pet stores because basically those are still young juvenile as an adult sabre tooth tetra can actually reach maximum length of 26 inches. There are also different variants of the fish and the most popular is the red tailed payara.

In terms of community behavior, Sabre Tooth Tetra can be mixed with other tankmates as long as the other fish are bigger than its size. Angelfish, red-tailed black shark and pacu are some of the common tropical freshwater species which could live together with it. When it comes to water requirements, the condition needed should be about the same as any other tropical fish adaptability with soft water, pH ranging from 6.5 to 7.5 and temperature within 24 to 28 degree Celsius.

The best diet for your payara should consist mainly of live feeder fish because that is the food they will enjoy the most. Usually people will use guppy, small goldfish and put it into the same tank and let the fish devour its prey. With its large powerful jaw, the feeder fish will be swallowed alive and then crewed inside the sabre tooth mouth, which is full of tiny teeth. This is definitely not the type of fish recommended for aquarium beginners except for those who are into exotic freshwater species.

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Use of Bio Balls Filter System

bio balls filter systemBio Balls can function as an important biological filter media and it can be used with different aquarium filter system like trickle filter and external power filter. Good thing about bio balls is that unlike other conventional filter media which can wear off and expire over time, it will stay the same and basically all you need to do to keep it fully working is by performing periodic cleaning and include it as part of your tank maintenance. In fact, your main aim is actually to ensure that there is no clogging and water can still freely pass through the inner compartment area. As explained before in previous chapters, growth of healthy population of bacteria is part of the aquarium nitrogen cycle.

Cleaning does not mean that you will need to do thorough scrubbing for complete removal of scum trapped in the compartment because those are usually colony of beneficial bacteria growing in it. In fact, the correct method usually involves a gentle rinsing which is more than sufficient to keep the bio balls in tip-top condition. In fact, another technique, which I normally employ, is by removing only half the bio balls quantity for the cleaning and leave the rest untouched. This will ensure that there is still presence of beneficial bacteria, which could regenerate and repopulate back itself again. If proper maintained, these bio balls will continue to serve your aquarium needs for many years and still remain fully functional.

Bio balls are mostly used in freshwater aquarium system rather than the saltwater tank setup. Main reason is because saltwater biological load is usually more demanding and the needs for better system means that the use of marine live rocks is more effective for water treatment purpose. However, this does not mean that you will need to completely remove the bio-balls because if you already have it running in your aquarium system, combining with marine live rocks will mean that you can have two systems helping each other and having something extra certainly doesn’t hurt at all.

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Panda Goldfish (telescope, veiltail, oranda)

panda telescope moorPanda Goldfish usually refers to the type of goldfish, which has a mix of white and black coloration on its body. Basically, there are 3 different variations, which you can find sold in the aquarium pet stores. One is the panda telescope with a pair of eyes that resembles the feature found on telescope goldfish. Another one is the panda oranda similar like a normal orange oranda with a hood that covers their eyes while the other variant is the veitail panda or sometimes known as butterfly panda. The veiltail panda is probably the most attractive of all, and coincidentally, they are also one of the rarest goldfish, you will ever find.

There is no historical evidence that suggest that panda goldfish exist in the wild in its original form with the black and white coloration because they were actually produced out of selective breeding. Goldfish regardless of whether they are shubunkin, fantail or pearlscale, will interbreed as long as there is a chance for them to. The veiltail panda goldfish for example, is probably a result of internal breeding between a normal veiltail goldfish with a black moor and that is why the panda goldfish still retains the long-trailing tail fin and the black coloration from the moor. Although, you can always find a new goldfish offspring that retains the mix of orange and black coloration, the white and black combination is somehow very tough to produce, probably why that makes the veiltail panda not easily available.

The telescope panda is the most common out of those 3 types, which you can easily find offered for sale in aquarium stores. Although there is no explanation as to why this is so, most probably the genetic makeup that constitutes the two main features with the white and black color mix and the telescopes eyes genes are not easily suppressed when both the black moor and normal telescope interbreed.

One thing to note is that despite the new features produced in the panda moor, they still maintain the same natural characteristics as in normal goldfish without any genetic abnormalities or defect. If you have intention to obtain a pure breed of telescope panda, what you need to do is to interbreed the same batch of offspring with one another so that you can get back the pure strain. Lastly, the oranda panda with the appearance of hood is also a special breed of goldfish that is also highly sought after although they are also quite rare in the market.

Related topics:
Interesting Goldfish Facts
The Best Tank Size for Goldfish

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Keeping & Breeding Black Ghost Fish

freshwater black ghost fishWhen I first saw Black Ghost Fish back in year 2006, it was one of the strangest looking species that I’ve ever come across. Unlike normal freshwater fish that swims around using forward thrust with the push provided from the tail fin, black ghost actually rely on their long pelvic fin that extends from the head until the tail end to navigate and move around. Although I never quite figured out how the fish actually coordinate their movement around the water, what I observe is that sometimes they could even swim in circular motion while at times they even rest standing vertically.

My initial thought was that, it was extremely cool and apparently, the fish also looks more like an eel to me. What really caught my attention is that the size and shape were totally different and it led me to think that probably the reason why they got their name as black ghost is because of the pelvic fin which sways just like a moving feet of a ghost. Furthermore, all these were also coupled with their natural all black coloration except for small stretches of white band at the tail.

One of the characteristics of black ghost is that it loves to scour the aquarium gravel bed looking for food. In fact, scientific research also point to the evidence saying that they are actually capable of producing a weak electric signal that helps them to locate and pinpoint the source of food. Other than that, according to a friend of mine, who is a fish breeder, black ghost can also eat up smaller sized fish that would fit into their mouth. Therefore, if you intend to mix it to your community aquarium, I would suggest you plan carefully by removing all your other smaller sized pet to another tank, or you just simply have to setup another separate aquarium just to accommodate the fish.

Successful breeding of black ghost fish in captive confinement has so far been reported in Indonesia although the actual secret and right method was never been shared. But based on information gathered around is that, those breeders actually use ponds with natural sand bed and basically what decides on their success rate mainly lies on the climate condition whereby the fish is also a tropical species. It has also been reported that in order to trigger spawning, the ratio of female must outnumber the male by 2 to 1, which means that for every male black ghost fish that you have, you will need 2 females to accompany him. Diet is another factor that was mentioned and basically it comprises mostly of bloodworms.

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Otocinclus affinis or Oto Catfish

oto catfishOtocinclus or better known as oto is a type of small-sized catfish that can help you to keep your aquarium algae growth in check. Unlike normal catfish, they only grow up to 4cm in length and hence, this will pose less competition in terms of food, space and oxygen with your main community fish. Since it also does a good job in cleaning up your aquarium, this sucker mouth is highly sought after to be included as part of any community aquarium.

Otos rarely come out during daytime and during this period they will become inactive and usually gone into hiding among the plants. Unlike certain species of sucker mouth, which can be very territorial even among its own kind, otocinclus will live in groups without showing aggression and I’ve seen before a 55 gallon community aquarium house at least 3 to 4 of these small little cleaner fish. They can be mixed with other tropical freshwater fish that are non-aggressive like neon tetra, danios, platy, swordtail and guppy. However, goldfish is not an option here, first because both species have different requirements in terms of best water temperature with goldfish being a coldwater species while otos belongs to the tropical groups of fish. Second, mixing otos with goldfish is also a bad idea since they can feed off the slime on the goldfish body causing raised scales and open wound which will lead to introduction of disease.

Otocinclus catfish diet includes normal fish foods, which are sinking type. Occasionally you can also give them algae wafers which they really love. However, try not to leave behind a lot of uneaten food because these little fellas will actually do an excellent job of finishing off whatever waste that is left until their stomach become bloated. Prolonged condition is not good for their health because there are theories around that point to overfeeding which can increase their susceptibility to bacterial infection leading to dropsy, an aquarium fish disease that are usually lethal.

Other catfish family members: Albino Corydoras Catfish
Related topics: Housing your oto catfish in unique aquarium.

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Danio Fish Care & Breeding

danio fish speciesDanio is one of the best community fish to have in your home aquarium. In fact, they are also recommended to be part of the group of beginner freshwater fish suitable for aquarium novices because they don’t have special requirements when it comes to diet and will tolerate changes in water quality quite well. In community tank, you should buy at least 5 to 6 of these small fish and their presence will make the whole aquarium look stunning.

There are different types of danio with the most common like zebra (insert picture), leopard and pearl danio. Except for the giant danio, the rest are quite tiny which typically measures about 4 to 5 cm in length and all of them have an elongated body shape which makes them fast swimmers. Certain danios like the zebra fish has beautiful stripped blue white marking while the leopard danio has body marking with black and yellow spots. Pearl danio looks much simpler and they are generally grey and silver in color with slight shiny glow.

In terms of characteristic and behavior, they are generally peaceful and they won’t bother or care about presence of other types of fish although at times there will be some fin nipping occurrences take place but somehow this is not serious. They can be mixed with other tropical species like swordtail, neon tetra, hatchet fish, platy, guppy and corydoras catfish but I would avoid putting them with other larger sized fish such as angelfish, convict cichlids or discus because they will end up getting chased after and harassed.

When it comes to water quality, they will accept and thrive in water with pH between 6.0 to 8.0. The water temperature can be anywhere between 23 up to 27 degree Celsius although the best should be somehow close to the upper region at 27 to promote better appetite. When it comes to food, they will accept just about anything like floating flakes, pellet and mix of occasional live food will be beneficial to promote nice coloration.

Danios can sometimes be susceptible to spread of aquarium fish disease especially ich. When they are infected, the fish will most of the time stay still and will not accept any food. The body will lose coloration and occasionally you could see them dashing from one end to another trying to scratch their body on gravel bed surface. If you focus clearly, you could even see presence of white color dots appearing on their tiny fin. As such, it is important that you have good aquarium filter to maintain crystal clear water quality all the time. Periodic water testing is also important as part of tank maintenance and a good aquarium fish keeping practice is to perform regular water changes to prevent breakout of disease. See page on ich treatment for better understanding.

Breeding danio should be rather easy as there is no special attention required. The fish that form pairs will spawn and discharge their tiny eggs among aquarium plants and the parents would not care for the fry and will even eat the eggs. If you intend to breed large numbers of danio fish, then I would suggest removing all the other tank mates including the parents to another separate aquarium. However, as what I would normally do, I will just leave the fry to fend for themselves similar like in the wild natural selection and if you have aquarium full of vegetation with sufficient hiding spot, 2 to 3 danios will eventually survive and reach adulthood.

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Kribensis Dwarf Cichlid (rainbow krib fish)

kribensis fishKribensis or better known as rainbow krib is one of the most beautiful dwarf cichlid you will ever find. Perhaps the colors are not that attractive during normal condition but during the breeding season, the female kribensis will start to show full attractive coloration with the bright red appearance on its belly. On other parts of the body, there will be a display of variety of color mix with combination of purple, yellow, orange and light green appearing on its smooth skin and especially on the fin and gill. In fact, other aquarists have even come to name it as purple cichlid.

Kribensis will make a wonderful pet fish and is also considered one of the best aquarium species for your community tank. They are somehow peaceful loving fish that will live along well with other tank mates and will not exhibit aggressive behavior except during mating season. So far, I’ve seen before kribensis mixed together with other community fish species like gourami, different kinds of tetras especially neon fish, pleco, clown loach and even angelfish with all happily living together. When it comes to caring for your rainbow krib, they are generally accepted as beginner freshwater fish for its hardy nature which can adapt to different water setup although the best condition should have pH around 7.0 to 7.5 and temperature in the range of 24 to 28 degree Celsius.

Breeding kribensis will occur naturally without your intervention as long as requirements on diet and good water quality are fulfilled. Kribensis males can easily be differentiated by the larger body size with pointy and sharp-end tail fin while the females have plump and round bodies especially when they are full with eggs. In fact, the belly region will become more reddish than usual times and once you notice your fish start to form a pair, they will find a hiding place for mating. If you do not have a tank full of live plants, I would suggest getting an artificial aquarium cave or you can use inverted clay pot for your pets. Soon enough you will notice free swimming fish fry coming out from the hiding spot and practically, you don’t have to do anything because the parents will care for them.

In about a week, you can start to offer hatched brine shrimp or you can use crushed egg yolk. The fry will follow the mother closely and if she sense that there is a threat with other fish approaching, she will turn aggressive and may attack. I would suggest moving other tank mates out from the aquarium as a precaution so that they will not be harmed. At the same time, you must also ensure that the aquarium filter is regularly checked and perform only partial water change to ensure that the water stays clean. I would suggest getting a trickle filter system setup that will clean the water more thoroughly while at the same time, avoid strong water turbulence which will make the fry harder to maintain balance in the water.

List of other beginner freshwater fish: guppy, platy, swordtail

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Mixing Red Tailed Black Shark

red tailed black sharkRed-Tailed Black Shark is not a community fish and they are best kept alone in its own confinement. It can grow up to very huge measuring about 6 inches long and with its size, it will need a large tank to swim around with best aquarium capacity measuring at least 55 gallon. It is not the type of fish recommended for aquarium beginners because you will have a hard time fulfilling their requirements looking for compatible tank mates, setting the ideal environment for them to stay in while maintaining good water quality.

Most people often mistaken this fish species simply as a shark which lives in the sea but in actual fact, it is not true because red-tailed black shark is a freshwater fish. It shares few similar characteristics like a clown loach, first because it is a bottom dweller and other reasons are because the shapes between both species look very much similar. Perhaps what makes the red-tailed unique is that, it has a complete black coloration covering its body except for the tail fin, which appears as either orange to red coloration. Similar like clown loach, it also has barbel near the mouth region.

Trying to find suitable tank mates for your red-tailed shark is a difficult task. Since it does not mix along well with most common community fish because of its territorial behavior, aquarist only keep this fish in its own tank. Even among the same species, they could live together with each other when they are young, but once a dominant fish outgrows the rest, it will end up harassing the smaller ones. A mature red-tailed black shark will also define and protect its own territory and will chase after other fish that encroach into its area. In fact, trying to mix them into an established community aquarium will actually resulted in complete havoc. So the answer to a simple question on whether two red-tailed black sharks could live together in the same tank is definitely, no.

Luckily, there are options available with a small number of fish species that could be tolerant of its behavior like tiger barbs while there are different opinions regarding convict cichlids as potential tank mates. So far I’ve also tried before mixing with platy but once it grew larger than the pack, the harassment nature starts to kick in. But one thing for sure, I would avoid mixing them with pleco and clown loach because both species are also bottom dwellers in which they will clash with your red-tailed while scouring for food. Although the red-tailed black shark doesn’t really bite and injure other fish, it loves to chase them around and most of the time will drive the other fish into hiding and will never let them out. If you are planning to house them together with other fish species, I would suggest getting even larger aquarium, more than the standard recommended size of 55 gallon and provide a lot of hiding places.

Interesting Fish Species: Black Ghost Fish

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Firemouth Cichlid Care & Breeding

firemouth cichlid fishFiremouth Cichlid is basically a type of aquarium fish with silver coloration and with black spots marking lined up across its body starting from the gills and end up either in the middle region of the body with some actually going straight until the end reaching the tail fin. What makes it special from others fish in the cichlidae family is the appearance of red colored area on the belly region, which is probably where it got its name from. When the fish feels threatened, they will start to open the gills as wide as possible so that it will look fierce and it’s meant to scare away other fish that tries to encroach into its territory. However, this is not a sign of impending aggressive behavior because they rarely attack others except during the mating season.

Being a tropical climate freshwater fish, their requirement is towards water temperature that falls within the region of 26 to 28 degree Celsius while pH is close to neutral around 7. A matured firemouth cichlid can grow up to around 6 inches in length and a tank size measuring about 40 gallon should be perfect for their survival. They also prefer soft water and the tank setup should have a lot of vegetation filled with live aquarium plants (java fern is highly recommended) in order to get them acclimatized to the home aquarium environment. Firemouth cichlid is generally accepted as community fish and as long as the other tank mates somehow measure with a size that does not fit into the mouth and generally peaceful, that should be fine. Somehow mix of corydoras catfish, bolivian rams cichlids and clown loach, seem to get along well with your firemouth and all these fish species can be your main consideration towards setting up your community aquarium.

Breeding your firemouth cichlids can be a rewarding experience since there’s a high demand for their young fry and there are fish lovers who are willing to fork out at least $10 for a well-developed specimen. What you can do to promote spawning is to enrich their diet with live foods. Firemouth cichlids will generally accept fish flakes, pellets and tablets but with higher proportion of live feed, this will stimulate the spawning process. During the mating period, both male and female exhibits full bright coloration that is simply stunning. The pair will choose a breeding spot, which they will defend as their territory and soon after the eggs are laid, all should hatch in about 2 days depending on the water temperature. Young fry will readily accept brine shrimps and liquid fry food and they will be under the care of their parents.

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Keeping Albino Corydoras Catfish

albino corydoras catfishThe medium-sized and white colored catfish with red eyes is indeed attractive and appeals to every fish lovers. They only grow up to 3 inches in length and similar like any other catfish in its family, has barbels near the mouth region. One of their defining characteristics is that they love to school and in order to ensure that your Albino Corydoras Catfish is living happily in your community aquarium, you must get at least 5 to 6 numbers of this fish for companionship. They also love to hide and it is a good idea to place objects like driftwood and decorative cave for them to play around.

Caring for the species is not difficult and as long as you fulfill their requirements like providing clean water condition coupled with nutritious food, they will thrive well even in small community tank of less than 20 gallon. The pH level of your water should be around 6.5 to 7.5 and moderately warm water of around 26 –28 degree Celsius is fine for them. Adding some aquarium salt is also recommended because basically it can serve as a tonic and disease prevention for the fish.

Other than the basic requirements above, albino corydoras will also do best in high oxygen waters since they are basically bottom dwellers. An undergravel filter system that serves to provide clean water and at the same time ensuring that the whole tank is properly aerated will be the best set up for your pet. Since they also stir up the debris and then munching through the leftover food, corydoras catfish will be perfect for your community tank that demands high water quality. Suitable tankmates for them can be just about any other community fish like neon tetra, hatchet fish, platy, pencilfish, swordtail and they can even be mixed with angelfish and dwarf gourami.

When it comes to feeding, your pet will accept just about anything. One of the best food for albino corydoras catfish should be medium sized sinking pellets made-up of high quality ingredient. From time to time, you can also add variety to their diet like providing shrimps and bloodworms as extra supplement. Algae wafers will do fine for them as well and the only condition attached is never to overfeed your fish.

Albino corydoras will spawn on their own accord without needing your intervention. Active spawning activity will usually resulted in eggs deposited all over the aquarium especially at plant leaves. It will be scattered everywhere and once you notice tiny white opaque eggs, you should immediately remove the parents to prevent them from devouring the eggs. The fry will start to hatch in about 2 to 3 days depending on the water temperature. It might help to make the process become faster if you increase the temperature using aquarium heater and maintain close to 29 degree Celsius all throughout the period. Once they hatch, you should leave them for about a day to settle before offering them supply of live microworms or brine shrimp. In about a month or so, they will start to take appearance of adult corydoras catfish and the next live cycle begins. If you can’t care for so many of them, I would suggest you give them out to friends who are fish hobbyist rather than dumping them into ponds.

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Caring for Bolivian Ram Cichlid

bolivian ram cichlidBolivian Ram Cichlid belongs to the diverse freshwater Cichlidae family. The shape of their body is often mistaken as Blue Ram Cichlid but the fins are spread much wider. Provided that they are given perfect living condition, the fish can grow up to 5 inches in length. Other characteristic of the fish is that, basically it has silver coloration and the male is bigger sized compared to the female.

There are conflicting opinions among fish owners about how easy it is to care for Bolivian Ram Cichlid. In order to be successful, you will require large aquarium, which measures at least 30 gallon. As with other tropical freshwater fish, they need soft waters with pH close to neutral while temperature is in the region of 26 to 28 degrees Celsius. The Bolivian Ram Cichlid is generally a peaceful fish and they can be mixed with other community fish like neon tetra, rummy nose tetra, plecos and dwarf gourami. In order to make them feel comfortable in your home aquarium, it is recommended that you should put some driftwood and artificial cave for them to hide.

The fish species will eat just about anything and will accept vegetable and meaty diet. Flakes and pellets are fine for them, as long as it is nutritious with high quality ingredients. In order to supplement their protein requirement, you can add bloodworms, mosquito larvae and tubifex worms. However, just make sure that the source, which you obtain the supply of live foods is clean or else, you risk introducing aquarium fish disease to your Bolivian Ram Cichlids. Generally sticking to your feeding schedule of three times a day should be sufficient and you should avoid overfeeding your pet.

Nowadays breeding the fish is a lucrative business for the aquarium fish ornamental trade. Upon maturity, Bolivian Ram Cichlids will pair up and in one single spawn, a breeding pair is capable of producing at least 100 to 200 eggs. The fry generally has high mortality rate because the parents will care for them and feeding live foods will accelerate their growth rate.

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Guide on Decorating Fish Tank

Creating beautiful and thriving home aquarium is an art that can only be successful with passion and determination. A plain and barren-looking aquarium can actually make the whole fish keeping experience dull and boring, thus it is important that a well-managed aquarium should also be complemented with the best decoration.

Decorating Your Fish Tank can take up a lot of effort and time but however if you plan carefully, everything should be relatively easy. The whole setup does not necessarily has to be complicated and in fact a simple, well planned aquarium should have all the arrangements for decoration properly set in place and the idea is to come up with a basic low-maintenance design. There are of course few important points that you need to bear in mind to achieve this.

1) Avoid putting decorative item too close together and creating tight spots or gaps that your fish will try to squeeze through and injure itself.
2) Avoid creating hard-to-reach places, which will prevent proper aquarium cleaning, and this is also part of algae control. Nooks will also cause accumulation of noxious gas that can be harmful to your pet fish.
3) Avoid stacking objects especially rocks in a way that a slight bump will topple everything.

fish tank decorationaquarium modelaquarium design
(picture showing 3 different designs for freshwater tanks)

Let’s look at the whole process to liven up your aquarium.

STEP 1: Creating the background
First thing first, an all-glass aquarium or acrylic fish tank exposed at all sides is not an ideal setup for your fish to live in. The aquarium must at least have one section covered with aquarium background so that this will prevent light reflection that is often frowned upon when it comes to fish photography. Even your pets will appreciate this setup because they will feel more secure with the placement of background and this will also avoid jittery to the fish.

STEP 2: Setting the aquarium bed
Next, the base of your aquarium should be covered with gravel so that this will help to make the aquarium look more natural. Shop for the right gravel size and avoid putting calcium rich crushed coral which will cause your water pH to rise to unsuitable levels (sometimes as high as 8 and above is possible). I also do not recommend using the colorful red, blue and different brightly colored gravel because these types were actually painted and the coating can easily peel over time. Furthermore, they do not create that kind of natural aquarium look and the best choice should be the medium sized grain sand with either brown or white type.

STEP 3: Putting in other decorative items
After the base is ready and the background has been put in place, then it’s time to get driftwood, large rock and decorative caves so that it can serve as hiding spot for your aquarium fish. These items must be properly rinsed and soaked in clean water for at least a week before putting into your fish tank. The driftwood should be at the center of your aquarium and becoming the focal point while other items like the rocks can be loosely scattered around the tank. The decorative caves can be placed in corners depending on your preferences.

FINAL STEP: Getting plants to establish
Once all these are done, the last step is to buy live aquarium plants so that it will create that natural look. Make sure that you have proper lighting suitable to promote plant growth. Read more on how to create and maintain planted aquarium.

Looking for something creative & different?
Go for Unique Aquarium and Hanging Fish Tank

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Convict Cichlids Breeding Profile

Convict cichlids can only be kept in their own aquarium tank without presence of other fish species. They are known to be the most ferocious and intimidating fish ever known among all freshwater species and even the oscars come second after them often losing in a one-to-one fight. This is something amazing and unusual considering the fact that their full-grown size of 3 inches is far less than the size of an oscar fish which can easily measures up to at least 1 feet in length and above.

Breeding Convict Cichlid is perhaps the easiest task and even novice fishkeepers will get it right. As long as you have a male and a female convict, slowly they will form a bond and become a mating pair. Usually getting about 4-5 young fish and raising them to adulthood will ensure that you have at least the opposite gender. Sometimes the pairing up process takes time and until that happens, the convicts can be aggressive towards each other. Identifying a male and female convict cichlids should not be difficult because the male can be easily distinguished based on its pale colorization and less profound black bands while the females have darker and intense appearance. Males are also larger in size and they have pointed dorsal fins with some showing a large lump on their foreheads.

breeding convict cichlidsOne interesting fact about this fish species is that they will breed without factors to induce spawning as everything will occur naturally without your intervention. Furthermore, the mating pair will also become good parents protecting their young and fend off other intruding cichlids fish with the female staying close to the fry while the male will be guarding the surrounding area. Perhaps the only thing that you need to do is to prepare a proper breeding environment such as coming up with well-arranged clay flowerpots tilted to its side so that the mating pair can hide inside it. Decorative caves work as well and as long as they can find a place to retreat to their hiding spot, that should be fine. I would also recommend putting an aquarium heater to control the temperature during this critical period and it’s best to maintain around 27 to 30 degree Celsius usually slightly higher than the normal temperature in which you raise them. Ensure also that the pH does not fluctuate using digital pH meter to constantly monitor the water quality.

Growing the fry should also be relatively easy because once they have consumed off the yolk sac, you can start feeding them with brine shrimp and other live foods like microworms. If everything is well taken care off with clean water condition without outbreak of aquarium fish disease, the fry should have high mortality rate of about 80 percent and above. Don’t be surprised that most convict cichlids fish owners have already successfully bred several generations and choosing the best among the lot. All in all, they should make a wonderful pet. If you are a cichlid fish fan, then you might want to have a read up on Midas Cichlid as well.

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Caring for Tiger Barb Fish

tiger barb fishTiger Barb is an interesting fish because although they can easily be mistaken as a harmless, docile species because of their size, they are actually aggressive notorious fin nippers. They would form shoals moving in groups of about 5 and anything less than the number will result in one tiger barb attacking and chasing the other. The tiger barb should only be kept in a single-species tank and they are not suitable for community aquarium. Even with large tanks with different types of fish and heavy vegetation, eventually they will still seek out other tank mates and begin pecking on their fins. Although most people including myself have tried before mixing either with platy or betta, they are still considered not a good combination for your tiger barbs, as both species will show aggression towards one another. So far, the only compatible tank mate suitable for them is clown loach.

Being part of the tropical freshwater group of fish that originated from Malaysia, Indonesia and Borneo, they prefer warm water with temperature ranging between 26 to 28 degree Celcius. They are not exactly the kind of demanding fish and with clean and good water condition mainly with the pH close to neutral level and water hardness being soft, they rarely develop any complication and will breed easily. The only thing that needs your attention if you intend to collect generations of baby barbs is to remove all the adult fish to another tank once you notice small tiny eggs deposited on the aquarium plant leaves.

When it comes to feeding your tiger barbs, there is nothing extraordinary as they will easily accept any type of dried flake foods including live worms. Despite their small size, they generally have a large appetite and will enthusiastically swim around chasing after their food in groups. Sometimes, they can also suffer from fish disease most common is the development of white color fungus which is widely associated with poor water condition. Other threats to their health include dropsy, which will usually cause the affected fish to die, and there is no cure in sight.

Other tropical fish species: Dwarf Gourami, Hatchet fish, Neon Tetra, Discus

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Dwarf Gourami in Community Tank

neon blue dwarf gouramiIf you own a community aquarium and are looking for a middle dweller species with striking blue colors, then the Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami should be the perfect choice. Unlike normal gouramis, which originally appears as pale silver shades, this type of fish species will exhibit extremely bright colors especially when they are ready to spawn. The fish can grow up to 3 inches in length and this is one of the main factors you should consider if you have intention to setup a single species tank or will just let them to thrive in your community aquarium. Being a generally peaceful and non-aggressive tank mates, gouramis including their cousins of honey and gold variation should find themselves easily adapt to the natural environment provided that there is large enough living space (minimum 55 gallon tank) with dense vegetation covered by live plants.

Other reasons why this fish make suitable community tank mates is because they will never compete for oxygen with other species. Similar like betta fish, blue dwarf gouramis possess a labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe oxygen directly from the air and thus no competition for this precious resource with your other fish. In fact, they will thrive successfully in coexistence especially with presence of swordtails, silver dollars, catfish and angelfish. However, based on my own experience, I would avoid leaving them together with neon tetra and barbs because for some unspecified reasons, my gourami seems to like to pick on this tiny fish and even injuring some of them. In fact for even smaller fish fry, they will even make a good meal out of it. Certain people decided to keep gourami in community tank full of guppy for the purpose of preventing over-population.

Another important consideration that you might want to take note is that gouramis can become territorial during spawning and the male female pair should be best removed into another separate tank away from the community aquarium for this to take place. This is to avoid unnecessary situation whereby the male gourami will attack other fish species even including female gouramis as well which invade their breeding territory. Therefore, once you notice the fish start courting each other, the pair must be removed. It is not advisable to get two male gouramis and put them together in your community tank because they will fight with each other and injure themselves. The best combination is to get one male with two females and remove the pair to a separate tank for the purpose of spawning.

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Saltwater Fish Disease & Treatment

Dealing with Saltwater Fish Disease is rather difficult as little is known about the causes and symptoms while there are limited options when it comes to treatment. So far, there are probably few identified fish diseases known today and somehow what listed below are the most commonly found affecting saltwater tank setup.

Fish tuberculosis
Documented scientific facts point to the cause of the disease by bacterial infection and the symptoms affecting the fish can be identified by lesion to the skin and observation of frayed fins. Usually the fish will suffer from loss of appetite and become lethargic. The only known form of treatment is by use of antibiotics, administered through injection and this should be best done by a professional veterinarian. The disease is water-borne meaning that it can be easily transmitted to other fish unless the whole system is stripped clean and disinfected.

Ichthyophonus or better known as whirling disease
Obvious symptoms can be seen with the fungi causing paling of the skin and development of ulcers. Infected fish will usually swim in an erratic manner and usually it will cause internal organ damage with development of white colored cysts. Treatment is made even more difficult because of the nature of internal infection and usually bath treatment with short dip in freshwater is ineffective to counter the disease and fish usually die months after infestation.

Marine velvet disease
Similar like freshwater ich infection, marine velvet disease will cause the fish to be scratching against objects and the skin area will become dull with development of visible white spots. Treatment method involves short dip about 3 to 5 minutes in hospital tank filled with freshwater mixed with methylene blue solution added to concentration of about 3mg/liter. Same procedure can be repeated once every 3 days until the fish recovers. In fact, similar form of treatment applies to marine white spot disease as well.

Related: Basic fish medication and How to deal with sick fish
Reference: Stoskopf, M.K., Fish Medicine, W.B. Saunders Co., 1993

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Trickle Filters (Wet-dry System)

Different types of aquarium filters are available for freshwater and saltwater marine hobbyist such as powerheads, undergravel system, aquarium diatom that utilizes diatomaceous earth, external canister filters but little is known about Trickle Filters. Also referred to as wet-dry filter, this system is now widely adopted for use in home aquariums and the working principle behind this simple operation is the use of surface area to maximize exposure of water to air in order to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.

A normal setup of trickle filters has an overflow box located behind the tank to deliver water drawn from the aquarium using a pump that goes through a large box filter filled with bio-balls. The feed of water is controlled at a very slow rate and the purpose is to allow small amount water to drop to the distribution tray so that it can spread out evenly (maximize to large surface area) before moving to the compartment containing the bio-balls. Because the feed rate is generally very slow, this compartment is mostly dry except for the lower bottom few inches. The water that flows down is first collected at the sump before it goes to another compartment through a sponge block filter media before it is returned back again to the aquarium.

The diagram below will give a better illustration on what actually takes place and the whole system is actually not that difficult to setup. If you are a DIY kind of guy who prefer not to purchase a ready made filter from pet stores, you can actually construct your own system so that you can lower down on your aquarium budget and you can use the money saved from this for something else.

aquarium trickle filter system
Aquarium trickle filters offers several benefits over other filtration system mainly because of its efficiency and low cost of maintenance. Bio-balls hardly chokes up and usually a routine maintenance done once in a week is more than enough to prevent clogging and to ensure maximum working efficiency. However, there are several things you need to bear in mind, which you must be careful when using trickle filters.

First due to the maximum exposure on surface area, the water loss from evaporation is very high meaning that you will need to regularly monitor the water level. This is made even more difficult especially for saltwater aquarium because this will affect and change salinity level tremendously. Secondly, compared to other types of aquarium filter, the capacity or volume of water involved in the filtration is much lower since you will need to control the feed rate in order for the system to function efficiently. Therefore this type of setup is mainly to serve mini aquariums or small fish tanks unless your resize the box filter to match your aquarium capacity.

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Eliminate Aquarium Noise Problem

aquarium noiseHaving an aquarium is indeed fun but one of the problematic areas is the generation of noise from air pumps and water flow from filters. It can be annoying at times, especially if the aquarium is located in the living room and at the same time, you are trying to enjoy reading some good books or listen to your favorite music to relax your mind.

Pumps are usually the main cause of the problem because the loud humming noise can be irritating at times. There are several methods to go about solving this problem and one of the best solutions is to try by insulate the pump body with soft materials for example like sponges in order to absorb the vibration. Usually the noisy pump problem can be prevented in the first place during the time when you shop for your aquarium filter by testing it out at the pet shop and listening to the hum before you purchase. However, since you’ve already made up your choice and then realizing the mistake, the only way to get around it is to take the preventative measure mentioned above to eliminate the aquarium noise.

Another possible solution to prevent noise is by hanging the pump (provided that the size is small weighing less than one kg) and leave it dangling without touching the surface. But be careful to make sure that the pin or nail is sturdy enough to hold on to the weight or else, consequences of dropping to the floor will definitely cause permanent damage to the aquarium pump. Sometimes, noise can also be generated due to jammed up mechanical parts like bushing and worn out shaft while for air pumps, usually the main cause is the clogged up air output line. If you don’t have necessary experience dealing with mechanical parts, a good idea to go about doing this, is to enlist the help of a friend who has knowledge of servicing and repairing damaged items. However, be forewarned that opening up the pump will usually void the item of warranty, so make sure you’ve made the right choice.

Another alternative which I’ve found to be most effective is to make an extension to the electrical cord so that you can place the noise generating pump far away from the living room, an ideal location is a well-ventilated store room. Since this one requires the help of an electrician, be prepared to spend some money if you intend to relocate the it to a different location.

Dealing with noise generated by water flow is rather straightforward, as there are several approaches to go about doing it. Most of the time the noise usually come from dropping water stream and therefore the only way to get around this is to extend the piping so that the water flows straight directly beneath the water surface. The main disadvantage if you are doing this is that, this will actually limit the exchange of gases since there is now less surface agitation. Therefore, this is basically a give-and-take situation and of course if you have an under-stocked aquarium tank with enough oxygen supply for every fish, then this might not come as an issue at all in the first place.

Air stone is also another major cause with the bubbling noise and similar like before, you can actually remove it, if you feel that the level of dissolved oxygen in the aquarium is already at the healthy level. These can also be substituted by having live plants to generate more oxygen rather than relying on air stones which is the main cause of noise problem.

Which one is better? Saltwater or Freshwater Aquarium?

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About Me

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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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