Pictures some of the Most Beautiful Fish

most beautiful fish

What to look for in Koi Pond Design

"Shape" is one the most important aspects when it comes to koi pond design. It is usually the first thing that comes to mind when put forward the plan to build your own koi pond and basically your main objective is to have a design that fits in well and blend in to your garden landscape. Most of the time, you can visualize and get the ideas from other existing pond setup to incorporate it to your own but before you move on further to the construction, several considerations have to be weighed in carefully based on your predetermined shapes. Basically what is important is not only achieving good results creating an aesthetically pleasing pond design but overall, this will also benefit your fish.

large koi pond designDetermining the right shape can be quite tricky. Let’s look at one of the most common examples and the most preferred choice among koi pond hobbyist. As you can see from the picture above, usually the kidney curving pond shape is selected because this allows free flow of water that will overall helps you to maintain a healthy enclosure (high TDO). Having this shape also avoids the dreaded “dead spots” problem associated with some designs which is basically the area whereby the water remains stagnant without fresh water going in to displace the old ones and this means that particular spot will have low oxygen content. This will lead to another problem because the location will become a potential place to harbor bad bacteria that will eventually harm your koi.

Constructing a pond with a well-planned shape is also important because koi being an active fish will tend to get themselves injured when maneuvering around, thus having rounded curves will avoid all these troubles. Apart from that, there are also few interesting concepts and different new ideas introduced over the years to make the pond look more interesting and unique. For example, a koi pond will never be complete without building a rocky stream or having the falling waterfall as the main focal point and these days enthusiasts also seem to prefer the Japanese bridge & garden theme design as well.

koi pond with window side viewOne unique feature which I would definitely recommend and remind a hobbyist not to miss out is the window view side wall which is actually built-in for those who opted for the raised/above ground koi pond. From the picture, you can see that the window view introduces a different perspective and approach to appreciate your pet fish. Rather than looking at your koi from the above, you could also see what they look like below the water level. Having this feature is also a great idea because sometimes you might need to check and look for deformities or injuries sustained on the fish and thus, having this see through fiberglass panel will give you a clearer view.

Other koi related topics:
» Common koi pond filtration system
» What to do with frightened koi fish
» Appreciating the Asagi and Shusui variety
» Selecting the best koi for breeding purposes

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Green Algae in Marine Aquarium

marine green algaeDevelopment of Green Algae in Marine Aquarium is not necessarily a nuisance as quite a number of species mainly in the Caulerpa group can help stabilize and create natural tank environment and their presence is somehow considered desirable as it can bring more good than harm. These species are considered the beneficial and “wanted” type and while its existence in small numbers can offer a lot of benefits, overpopulation will start to cause different complications that can wreck and cause instability to the whole aquarium systems. While having green algae has its own advantage as what we shall discuss later but first let us understand the causes that leads to the development of these organisms.

In order for the green algae to bloom and establish its presence in the marine saltwater tank, there are basically few requirements that must be met. Warm water is of course one of it but the main requisite is that there must be adequate lighting that comes from either natural sunlight or artificial metal halide. Apart from that, nutrient is also another source or factor that promotes their growth and it must also be abundant. High level of nutrients usually is a result of overstocking of the marine systems and during the time when the corals, live rocks and other aquatic plants have not yet established their population, the green algae will take advantage of these conditions to grow very fast. Due to their nature of easy and rapid reproduction capability, you might find green marine algae establish their foothold quickly and extensively and will overrun the system in a matter of days.

Sometimes despite your best effort to avoid development of green algae, it will not always be successful. You will find that at one time or another, these problems often get out of hand especially if you have a mini fish tank as your marine setup. While totally eliminating them is highly impossible, your biggest challenge is how to control their growth and population. First of all, changing the lighting system to those that comes with a timer that controls the lighting period should provide a good start. This will ensure that your tank gets sufficient light for the aquarium inhabitants to grow while prevents overrun of the system with green algae growth. Aquarium skimmer will also offer another value added advantage apart from just being a typical fish tank filter. A high quality and well-maintained skimmer will help to get rid of most of the nutrients present in the water and overall, this will reduce the chances or likelihood for algae bloom to develop.

Another way to deal with the algae problem is to use algae-eating marine fish and invertebrates. Turbo snails, krill, shrimps, hermit and fiddler crabs which are all invertebrates while offer a feasible solution but however, it might not be advisable to have them around as they can actually harm your fish or ended up getting eaten. A sensible approach would then be using algae eating marine fish such as yellow tang, sailfin tang and the dwarf angelfish. These species while look nice and adds variety to the tank setup, also help to control the algae population. One common mistake made by aquarist is that with the presence of the fish, they are hoping that the algae will just disappear but in fact this is not entirely true as depending on their mood, sometimes they will just refuse to eat the algae. In the end, the best approach which works all the time even for brown or blue-green algae including also the deadly red slime algae problems is to reduce and control the nutrient levels in your fish tank.

Related: Algae control in freshwater aquariums

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Deadly Red Belly Piranha Fish

red belly piranha fishBeing an aggressive flesh eating species, the Red Belly Piranha made its name as one of the most challenging fish to keep, that is often more towards how to handle them rather than how to ensure that they stay alive. Despite its non-friendly and hostile behavior, most people are still attracted to keep them as pets as they consider it to be extremely cool. Well, obviously different people have different preferences, so as to say. However, due to their untamed and deadly nature, governments in different countries have outlawed and banned not only sale of this fish but hobbyist are also not allowed to keep them at home aquariums for fear of unscrupulous individuals who might accidentally release them into the wild and native streams and cause endangerment to human lives.

Unlike marine sharks which may attack only during certain conditions, piranhas are more aggressive as to lunge forward at the sight of food. Usually there is a leader among the pack and what’s worse is that they range and attack in numbers and with their sharp teethes, this made them even more deadly. There are numerous accounts of how victims suffer bites from the fish that inflicts serious open wounds and there are even cases whereby there are people who succumb to the flesh eating red belly piranha fish. Thus if you have intention to rare and breed them in home tanks, be prepared to face the uphill tasks attending to their needs and it is quite common to get yourself injured that comes from accidental bites happened during tank maintenance, so be prepared for this as well.

Facts about Piranha care
Piranhas are normally kept in large tanks (measuring over 80-gallon and above) with good aquarium filtration system. With their diet comprising strictly to only meat and dead fish, the water will get dirty easily and if you fail to properly change the water it will emit a foul smell especially with the accumulation of waste discharge coming from the fish after every meal. The tank that they live in should have sufficient lighting so that the fish stay active and with this, you can also grow live plants as well. Introduction of the fish to the tank can be done easily without any problem as the red belly can basically adjust to different water quality regardless of whether the water is hard or soft. It is recommended that you keep at least 6 – 7 of them to form a shoal and buy them together when they are young. Be forewarned that once you establish them to be part of a group, never introduce a new piranha to the stock or else the new fish will be considered as outsiders and ended up being attacked.

Other aggressive Amazon fish: Payara Sabre Tooth Tetra

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Archer Fish How to Keep As Pets

archer fish

The Archer Fish is known for its unique ability to actually hunt down its prey of insects for food by shooting a jet of water like those sprayed out coming from water cannon. The fish was featured numerous times in documentary series and covered in details extensively in exploration channels and my admiration for this special fish has led me to investigate further about them and getting to know more on how to keep them in confined aquarium setup.

The archer fish is a brackish aquarium species meaning that it lives in water having salinity level ranging between a freshwater and those saltwater. To explain further, brackish condition actually refers to the environment which is normally found in swampy areas close to beaches whereby you can find freshwater from streams ended up flowing to seas and over there you have water concentration which is a mix between the fresh and saltwater. Although there are quite a number of invertebrates (such as crabs and clams) and other fish species living in this special setup, none of them could be as interesting as the archer fish. So far, my experience with them are mostly confined to research which I did few years back thoroughly examining and studying their behavior and that has provided me a lot information about how they actually survive in the wild.

archer fishSetting up an aquarium to keep them as pets in home tank can be quite challenging. First being a brackish species, they require water with the right salinity meaning that you need to mix in some seawater salt into your freshwater as well. You can buy those from pet stores and if you are not sure what concentration you are getting and how much to dose in, I would suggest you get a hydrometer as well in order to get an accurate measurement. Although there won’t be any immediate effect that can lead to your fish falling sick, however prolonged failure to properly treat and prepare the water with the exact concentration (usually SG in the range of 1.003 to 1.006) can cause them to feel uneasy, the fish become jittery and easily frightened with your presence around.

Archer fish can be very efficient when it comes to hunting for their foods. Being a very patient and highly adaptive species which has evolved and develop their skills to survive in the wild harsh condition, their natural ability to shoot and spits out water means that they can devour land insects which are normally out of reach for most underwater fish species. Based on my observations, they will hardly miss their target (although sometimes they do) and what amazes me is that they can easily position themselves at the right angle avoiding light distortion and then accurately dislodge the insects causing them to slip and fall into the water.

When kept in man made home aquariums, you will need to prepare the environment very much similar like in the wild. Avoid filling the whole tank until brim full with water but instead leave at least half of it empty so that you can place branches and leaves and then cover the top part with aquarium hood to prevent the insects from escaping. Usually I use bogwood that rise above the water level or you can use tree trunks or either way construct a permanent elevated platform so that you can plant small shrubs with soil in a container.

Feeding them during mealtime is usually the most interesting aspect of keeping the fish because you can actually observe what they are doing until they managed to get their food. The water in which they are live in should be around 24 deg Celsius and care requirements for this species is very much similar just like any aquarium pet fish.

Article contributed by Simon Schmidt
Some other interesting fish species: Snakeheads

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Asian & Giant Snakehead Fish Facts

Although Snakeheads is not my ideal type of fish that I would want kept in home aquariums, this has not prevented me from finding out more facts in order to learn about this carnivorous species. Snakehead is among the few of the earliest fish that I got to know when I just started getting into the aquarium fish hobby. Being rather new at that time, I know little about them but after I joined a local aquarium community club and sharing information among fellow hobbyist who also kept this fish, I got the chance to learn and study about this evasive and highly territorial species.

giant snakehead Channa micropeltesThe Snakeheads belongs to a highly diverse group of fish is and most of the commonly found species like the Asian Snakeheads originate from the rivers in that locality especially in Vietnam and Indonesia. They all share one common appearance which can be easily recognized with all of them have a very elongated body and posses quite a nasty and ugly head. One quick glance will tell you that it is a very ferocious species waiting to pounce on meat as it has a set of very sharp teeth. Other than that, the fish also has a labyrinth organ that allows it to breathe normal air (just like gourami) so that it can survive in low oxygen level water condition and that makes it an efficient hunting and killing machine. With this ability it will allow the fish to actually survive in mud waters especially in ponds and paddy field and devour other species that comes in its wake. African clawed frogs being one their favorite foods.

The snakeheads are also being hunted themselves and while most Asian people would serve them on dinner table just like tilapia, most American and European counterparts will keep them as pets. Even nowadays, you can even find the snakeheads escaping into natural territory up to the extent of establishing a stable population there. Their presence has been blamed to be the cause of disappearance of native species and that has led to governments around the world enacting laws that ban the sale and keeping the fish as pets in home aquarium.

Snakeheads will accept any food that you throw to them whether it is flakes, dry pellets and they love constant feed of live fish including invertebrates like fiddler crabs introduced into the aquarium so that they can chase and devour after it alive. If well fed, they have a very fast growth rate with certain species like the Giant Snakeheads able to achieve growth rate of about 1 inch every week and they can attain maximum length of more than 3 feet. With that being said, even a normal 100-gallon fish tank will not be enough and you will need at least 1000-gallon minimum for them to properly grow and survive.

There are even reports of fishing groups capturing live snakehead fish in the wild measuring more than twice the size. Nevertheless, regardless of how fun it is to keep the fish as pets, I really don’t like the idea of having something swimming in the aquarium that will eat almost anything and that includes your finger!

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Factors Causing Fish to Lose Colors

fish losing colorsSometimes despite what you have done to ensure that your pets get the best of everything, your fish might still be losing colors and remain dull and pale. Before you jump into conclusion, consider few related facts that can cause this condition. First ask yourself, is your fish healthy? How sure are you that it is not sick or develop infection to disease? As a fish owner, you must remember that it is very common for pets to fall sick so you need to be prepared.

You will also find that most of the time newly purchased fish is fast losing colors but there is no reason to press the panic button. It takes fish some time to adjust itself to new aquarium and thus give it chance and a brief period to recover and get used to the new environment. Frightened fish will also not show its true colors and usually during this period, it will become very pale. It will dash quickly looking for cover for any slight movement in its surrounding but as soon as it gets used to it, the fish will become friendlier and thus its colors will return.

Color changes can also happen because of deteriorating health of the fish and each time you notice that the fish is fast losing its appearance, it is a sign that you should act quickly to find out what went wrong. Most of the time, these conditions are related to water quality and a quick check on the parameters will reveal what went wrong. Finally do not get fooled by unscrupulous fish traders that will sometime trick you into buying your fish. There are somehow cases whereby the fish is fed or injected with chemicals which provide temporary color enhancing effect and you will be surprised how bright it can be but will soon fade away very fast in a matter of days.

Finally one last factor that you should not miss out is that sometimes certain fish display strong bright coloration only during certain period of its life especially during breeding season. This condition happens in Kribensis which is a type of cichlids fish and therefore, do not get carried away or frustrated when despite what you have done; you still can’t bring out the colors of your pets. The fact is that they only display strong brightly multicolored appearance during mating time and it is done by the females to attract the male fish.

Topics that you might be interested in:
List of best pet fish for kids and children
Symptoms shown by sick fish

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How to Enhance Fish Natural Colors

colorful fishThere are a number of breeds of freshwater fish with vibrant and strong natural colors, most notable the goldfish, kribensis, koi, betta and the male guppies. Colors are not only important as an indicator to find out whether your fish is healthy but also as the owner you would definitely want to see your pets showcasing its best natural beauty and it is extremely pleasing to have a tank full of colorful fish. There are different methods to enhance the natural colors of your fish and what follows on next, we shall explore each and every factor on how you could make it possible.

First of all, exposure to sunlight or full spectrum lighting will help the fish develop its colors. The skin cells actually contain pigments that define the red and yellow appearance seen on your pets. For example, like goldfish and koi, they actually have buildup of carotenoid which is derived from the food that they eat. With exposure of sunlight, this will help the cells stay healthy and these pigments will develop further and thus projects the beautiful coloration that you see.

As what I always stress, try to avoid placing the aquarium on a location whereby it is subjected to longs hours of sunlight (to avoid algae problem) but somehow a short period of exposure should be fine. For me, this is more than good enough because what you will notice is that your fish’s natural color will get stronger and if you are staying at a place whereby you can’t find the right location to get the brief sunlight exposure or you just decided not to rely on sunlight, then try to get aquarium lighting which provide full spectrum of light.

As mentioned earlier, diet and what you feed to your fish is also equally important. Depending on what you provide your pets, certain types of high quality fish food sold in aquarium stores are mixed with Astaxanthin which is the main ingredient derived from prawn shells that contain the essential compound that will enhance the fish’s natural colors. Apart from that, do not rely solely on processed foods for your pets because sometimes you need to mix in the live foods as well to create the balanced meal and I would recommend you use a mixed supplement of bloodworms as natural feed combined together with high quality fish pellets. If these are provided in the right amount, it will definitely help to bring out the colors of your fish.

Water and living condition are also other two areas which you need to look into. Make sure that the water is clean and do remember that crystal clear water might not indicate that ammonia is not present. Thus make sure that you have your test kits in hand to conduct a simple analysis to confirm water quality is fine. Temperature is also something you need to take care of as well. Higher temperature does not necessarily means it is fine for your pets as different species of fish has different range of temperature level that they prefer.

Somehow at times, introduction of live plants combined with use of backdrops and sands will also bring out the color of the fish. Well although you can argue that it is not something introduced or ingested by the fish, a simple explanation is that change of surrounding and environment can actually affects the mood of your pets making them happy. Do not rule out this possibility because it does make sense.

Other reading materials:
Factors that can cause fish to lose colors

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Crayfish Info: How to Care, What to Feed & Tank Mates Selection

big electric blue crayfishCrayfish or sometimes called Yabby (Yabbie) is usually a favorite among freshwater hobbyist as they are normally introduced to an aquarium not just to add variety to the freshwater inhabitants but they also play a part towards scavenging and cleaning up unwanted leftover foods. Crayfish does not resemble or look anything similar close to a pet fish as most people would easily get confuse with but in fact, it is more like a freshwater lobsters and it can be bluish in color as in the electric blue crayfish or it can be red as seen with the red claw crayfish. Crayfish are found everywhere in almost every continent and depending on which type of species, their size can be as small growing up to only 3 inches in length while the largest reach more than 1 feet and above.

Crayfish are normally added to the tank when they are small but once they reach a certain maturity size, they are best taken out and put in a solitary confinement with one crayfish per tank or in groups with only your pet being the single species. Crayfish are notorious for fighting with each other, sometimes up to the extent of losing their claws and if you put crayfish of different sizes, usually the smaller ones get bullied and become malnourished and stay that way the same with that size. One advice that I would have for new starters or beginners is that never add them to a community tank full of small fishes such as guppy, neon tetra or danio, else you might find your fish numbers starting to dwindle in no time.

Usually the best companion for them would be either gourami (banded, pearl or even dwarf) which can dart away fast enough or cichlids which are bold enough to fend for themselves. While I’ve also seen certain people mixing them together into a red tailed black shark tank and also on one occurrence which I’ve seen the crayfish staying together with black ghost knife fish, but however, not sure what’s the outcome would be like as time goes on. Place close observation though because sometime it is not your pet fish that ends up becoming the victim in the food chain, but it’s your crayfish getting eaten up especially when they are extremely vulnerable after molting. Never put them together with Oscars though.

Crayfish feeds on almost everything from vegetable leaves for example spinach, carrots, algae wafers and if you want to supplement the diet with meaty foods for faster growth, you can also use fresh market shrimps and fish fillets. However, I rarely go to the extent of providing them a specially prepared diet unless it happens once in a blue moon because the main idea on why I have it there in my 100 gallon aquarium is to become the cleanup crew. Anyway, nowadays I’ve also seen packed flakes and dried pellets sold in pet stores which are meant specially to feed for your crayfish.

Tank setup for your pet should be pretty much straightforward. One thing obviously they need is a tank full of large gravel and pebbles so that they can occupy their time moving around to form their home. Sometimes hobbyist go to the extent of creating artificial hiding place using cut out pipes, coconut shells or even aquarium caves which you can buy from pet stores. If you intend to grow live plants in the tank, make sure that you choose to use those hardy large leaves type or else your crayfish will tear them apart easily. Finally, your pet crayfish will breed naturally if all conditions such as clean water source with rich diet is available and as such I would recommend getting a filter even though the water will not get dirty easily. So far, I’ve met few individuals who are so successful with their crayfish care that they even set up a small farm to house and breed the invertebrate for commercial purposes.

Related post:
Using show tanks to display your best fish collection
Interested about pet fish? Check our aqua photo gallery

Check out editions of Aquarium Fish Monthly Magazine

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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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