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Guide Selecting Low Maintenance Pet Fish

Being new to the aquarium hobby, ideally you would want to make most of it and enjoy as much as possible but the real fact is that, this was often not the case. Most of the time, people found that after getting their feet wet and then learning the whole process, it turns out that things are sometimes quite complicated and difficult to comprehend. No matter how advanced the aquarium technology has evolved which provides the best setup to automate the whole process of taking care of your pets, like having automatic fish feeder to expensive temperature regulators, one way or another you will still need to intervene in order to make sure that everything runs smoothly. So the question now is how you can still enjoy fish keeping without the sacrificing the luxury of your time and precious hours? Obviously your best bet should be about getting the right fish that requires very little care and for sure, one which is overall the low maintenance type.

Not all fishes that you see sold in pet stores are the same. Most people often confused themselves and take things for granted because they have never imagined how demanding all these little fellows can be. Soon when they found out that things don’t turn out the way that they wanted it to be like having to deal with problems such as cloudy aquarium, sick fish, so on, eventually it will lead to getting caught in the state of frustration. So after hearing all the dilemmas and scary thoughts, how do we actually proceed from here? Okay, for starter, some fancy varieties with beautiful colors are often saltwater fish which unfortunately you have to strike off from your shopping list because these pets will require a lot of commitment to ensure that they stay alive. Freshwater fish is definitely your best bet but looking at so many options which one is really the right type of fish for you? This guide here will provide some considerations and recommendations towards selecting your perfect pet fish companion.

Moving on.. Your first step towards having low maintenance tropical tank.

blue grass male guppyGuppies make great starter fish. Not only because they are cheap but also the main reason is that they are very tolerant of any harsh aquarium condition. The fish only grows average to about 2 inches in length (although some cross bred can attain bigger size) and basically what is more important is that they are very beautiful with vibrant colors plus attractive markings seen on their fins and bodies. The male fish are considered very active and that is one important element that you are looking for in a pet fish and sometimes what makes you attracted to them spending all your time watching every movement is that they almost swim non stop. You can often find them chasing after the female fish which very sad to say is very pale in comparison to the males and one of the problems related to keeping guppies is that they reproduce very fast. Under optimal best living condition, you will find that they multiply quickly and their numbers will fill up and occupy the whole tank but all these can be avoided if you only purchase the male fish. Most hobbyists make it a point to keep and retain only the males and so this is one of the options that you might want to consider. You can read more about guppies here.

platies pairPlaties are grouped under the same category of fish similar like the guppies but however, they don’t display the wide variety and selection of coloration compared to the guppies. Being a tolerant and hardy fish they can also withstand changes in the tank which means that they are more forgiving if let’s say you ended up making mistakes not watching closely the water chemistry. Platies also reproduce very fast but one of the traits that is often despised upon is that sometimes they can ended up fighting and showing aggression towards each other due to competition of foods and companion. Other than that, they make wonderful addition to the community tank and they will not have much problem adjusting themselves to their new home and environment. Thus, I would suggest for you to consider getting the platies as one of your tank addition if the idea of low pet maintenance is something top of the agenda going on in your mind.

Finally, I’ve compiled together all fish keeping resource here on this site which I suggest you check it out to help you get started on your journey.
» Selecting the right type of fish foods
» Community tank ideas and suggestions
» Most expensive freshwater pet fish

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Most Expensive Freshwater Pet Fish

Number #1 – Arowana (Scleropages)

golden crossback arowanaArowana easily qualifies as one of the most expensive freshwater pet fish you can buy for your home aquarium. The sky-high price is actually not attributed to the supply factor or scarcity although the Asian species is actually placed under UN "list of endangered fish" but the main reason is because of its uniqueness, grace and beauty. The Chinese have always treasured them and considered their presence in the tank to be symbolic as it represents wealth and prosperity and the fish is often adopted in business premises as the owner believes that arowana aquarium can bring them good luck when placed in the right direction.

Whatever the belief is, for those who do not even have the slightest idea about Chinese mythology will even consider getting the arowana fish for their own special reason and most people would say that the size, shape and movement are the ones that capture their attention the most. Arowana is also known to live and survive for long period of time (at least 20 years) and to get them to grow to its maximum size requires a lot of work and dedication. You need to provide the best live foods, ensure clean water quality and they require huge tank to thrive in or else all your effort will be gone to waste. These factors when combined together make total sense on why they are worth so much especially those that are already considered matured arowana fish. Some people even breed them just for sale and export businesses while small young fry can easily fetch hundreds. Below is the list and guidelines on what you would expect to pay for some of the most expensive species, all grouped under similar category.

Super Red or Golden Crossback – easily above $2000
Nami Green Arowana (with its snakeskin pattern) – at least $5000 minimum

Number #2 – Koi/Japanese Carp

utsurimono koiKoi although originates from common, pale-looking carp, but however through years of selective breeding has produced extraordinary and unique looking fish that is unrivaled in terms of its appearance. Its popularity is so widespread that it stretches across the globe from Asia to America including Europe and with its fan base located just about everywhere. I bet no matter where you come from, there is bound to be a local koi club that exists within your vicinity. Over the years, different koi breeds were developed that captured the hearts of so many hobbyists and they remain one of the favorite pet fish until today and it is not surprising to see people who are willing to pay top dollars for a perfect well-developed specimen.

Koi can be classified and grouped together according to different man-made classifications which are generally defined based on their scaling properties and color pattern. Basically some of the most common breeds you will find sold in pet shops are kohaku, sanke and showa but there are also some which are considered those special varieties which costs a little more extra like the hariwake, bekko and utsurimono. Generally there is no limit as to how much a koi collector is willing to pay and how much a single fish is worth because generally it all depends on the desirability factor that is based on how the color patterns are arranged to form special and unique marking. Thus, it is not surprising to find a well-developed specimen to sell for few hundred dollars up to thousands.

Number #3 - Discus

red leopard snakeskin discusDiscus at one time was very popular among hobbyist and due to the high demand, rare and unique species (mostly albino) could easily fetch ridiculously high selling price. Although nowadays the popularity has since waned and the craze toned down but nevertheless, they still commands a certain value and most hobbyists have no problem to fork out that sum of money to get one. Discus although not as expensive like the arowana or koi but somehow, their price difference is still far higher compared to a normal aquarium fish selling in pet shops. Most believe that the value is mainly attributed to the reason whereby a perfect discus fish is always hard to come by and there are always different judging standards applied for every individual fish.

The patterns on each discus can be very discerning and even the color combinations can be very unique. Furthermore, it takes an experienced hobbyist to actually know how to provide the best care for the fish to develop to its true potential in terms of coloration and size, thus, all these could be the reasons on why the pet fish is sometimes described as those reserved for the elite hobbyist. Don’t get me wrong, but these are the assumption that I’ve put forward although I still can’t comprehend the real truth behind it and especially how a flat shaped and round, slow-moving fish can be worth so much. For example, when the Red and Golden Leopard Snakeskin was first introduced to the market, it was worth few thousand dollars.

For more pictures displaying the best freshwater fish, you can also visit the aquarium photo gallery

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Uncovering the Eel Fish Family

A quick glance on a snake-like fish wriggling at the bottom of the aquarium will immediately relate our thoughts to “Eels” as they are the only fish known to exist with the shape of elongated body. But however, little do we realize that there are actually various types of species belonging to different fish family in existence and the article here is meant to share the information and find out about this extraordinary creature.

Eels belong to a large, diverse group of fishes classified under the order Anguilliformes. There are few hundreds species among the same family, some of which survives in freshwater and brackish water conditions while there are others which are saltwater. Because of their diversity, identifying and discussing each and every one of them is almost impossible and basically to make it short, there are those which are considered normal true eels but there are also some which are not eels at all although they actually look almost the same. For our discussion here, we will exclude kuhli loaches as they are not related or part of the eel family at all. Perhaps some of the most popular which are commonly heard that arouses the interest of aquarist are the American Eel and Moray eel which we shall go into details here.

American Eels (Anguilla rostrata)
This is one of the most fascinating creature in terms of its breeding behavior and they are popular among anglers as these eels are often caught and consumed as delicacies at dinner tables. The fish show some interesting life cycle as the adult eels undergo different stages and observe changes in its physical appearance from a glass like transparent eel to become a yellow adult fish. The sexually mature eels which can be found living in brackish swamps up to freshwater streams and rivers will travel to deep sea and ocean in order to spawn and produce young fry. After spawning, the parents will die at the sea and for the young eels, once they reach a certain maturity age, they will again migrate from the deep sea where they were born, to return to the places from where their parents originate.

american eelSome of the American eels are also kept in home aquariums as pets. With its ability to grow up to 5 feet in length, one should never take things for granted and confine them to a small tank. The minimum aquarium capacity to keep the fish that size should be at least 100 gallons and above and anything below that will subject your pets to harsh and cramp living condition. In captivity, your pets will readily accept any kind of foods from worms, feeder fish and even carnivorous pellets. They can be kept together with other larger peaceful aquarium tank mates but putting them in community tank will ended up having all the smaller fish getting eaten up. One word of caution however, try to make sure that there is no open gap present on top of your tank and it should be well covered with hood or else, these eels are known to be good jumpers. The eels are also enjoyed as exotic delicacies in Asian restaurants and widely consumed for its healing properties. As such, sometimes you can actually find them being reared in large-scale fish farms and they form part of the aquaculture industry that contribute economic value in certain countries.

Moray Eels (Gymnothorax)
zebra moray eelMoray eels are saltwater marine species which are commonly found hiding in caves made up of live rocks or reefs structure in tropical regions. Being a timid and sometimes described as odd-looking creature, they often catch unsuspecting divers unaware of their presence. Depending on species some of these eels can be quite friendly but there are some which can turn aggressive, even though they are not provoked. Most of them get too big to be kept in home aquariums with some reaching at least 10 feet overall, but there are also smaller specimen like the Snowflake Eels measuring only about 3 to 4 feet. Others which are also commonly known are the Dragon Moray, Zebra Moray (depicted in the above picture) and Gray Moray and attempts to keep them in home aquariums did not turn into much success and these are best left to the experts in large public aquariums.

saltwater snowflake eel fishFor now, the only moray eels that are successfully kept in home fish tank are snowflake eel. Being a smaller species of the generally big-sized family members, they are often described as a peaceful and responsive creature that can identify the owner who feeds them. Newly introduced snowflake often show problems related to being lethargic and will often reject foods offered to them but as time goes by they will start to adjust and acclimatize to their new environment. Make sure that you provide the right type of diet as these creatures will only accept crustaceans such as crabs, krill, shrimps and prawns.

Other types of Eels-like creature but not true eels (these are often thought to be part of the eel family)

Electric Eels (Gymnotidae)
electric eelThis is perhaps one of the famous fish which generates the most attention both among the circle of hobbyists and scientists alike. They are not actually true eel but rather part of the catfish family. As what the name implies, the species is actually capable of generating it own electricity coming from within its body to stun and paralyze its prey or when under condition that it feels threatened or startled. And when I say electricity, what I mean are exactly the live electricity which powers our light bulbs and homes. Because of its nature, this type of fish is not suitable to be kept in home fish tank, not only on the concerns on how to maintain and keep them alive but their mere presence and how you intend the handle fish will pose serious dangers both to yourself or towards anybody unsuspecting of its true capability.

Electric eels are freshwater species and a normal, full-grown adult fish can actually attain very large size often reaching at least 5 feet in length. A word of caution though, a fish that large is enough to stun and demobilize a horse causing temporarily paralysis, thus you can imagine what the effect would be like if you are not careful and ended up being a victim.

Hagfish with some call it Slimy or Blind Eel (Myxiniformes)
The hagfish which is a saltwater species is often considered to be an ugly fish due to its mouth region that is surrounded by pairs of barbels. Some even describe their personal experience when encountering the fish as being gross because of the amount of slime that it produces which is basically a defensive mechanism to discourage predators from eating it and then allowing it to escape from the clutches of its captors. However, certain species of the fish are still enjoyed and served as delicacies.

Spiny Eels
Peacock, Tire Track and Fire eels are among the few examples belonging to this group. Again because of what they look like with their long cylindrical body, these eels-like creatures are often thought to originate from the eel family. The fire eel for example is native to the South East Asian countries in particular Vietnam and Thailand and they are known to be kept in large tanks with the presence of bigger size tank mates as their companion. They are brightly colored and their favorite foods basically comprises of crustaceans and worms.

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Facts on Demasoni Cichilds (care and breeding)

Demasoni or better known by its scientific name of Pseudotropheus demasoni is a type of tropical freshwater fish that belongs to the mbuna cichlids (substrate dwelling) group which originates from the Lake Malawi in Africa. So far there are two different variants of the same species one called the Pombo Rock and the other one known as Mozambique or sometimes called midnight demasoni, whereby both fish were actually named after the area of the lake from where they were caught from. Both types of cichlids look almost the same except that the color of the Mozambique variant is more towards faint purplish while the Pombo Rock which is more commonly seen sold in aquarium shops has darker blue stripes. One should never confuse and wrongly identify the fish to be similar like the other zebra Malawi cichlid as all of them bear some close resemblance compared to each other and sometimes it would take an expert hobbyist to really figure out the difference between them and correctly identify which group belongs to which.

pombo rock demasoni cichlidsDemasoni are extremely territorial and they are best kept as the only single species in the tank meaning that no other fish should live in there other than themselves. Don’t underestimate their size as the species can be very mean towards the other fish present and there are some hobbyist with bad experience mixing them with convict cichlids in the tank as they will do their best to defend their territory. Sometimes even among themselves, they will shows some level of aggression towards their smaller sized siblings and this gets worse during the mating season as the male will try to coax the female into its chosen breeding spot. The cichlids will only reach a normal adult size of about 2 inches in length and to the pair of untrained eyes; both male and females can turn out to be quite similar. If you look carefully however, the males usually project a brighter coloration and usually look much larger in comparison. However, there is nothing to worry about if you can’t 100% ascertain their gender as you can confirm your observation later during the mating ritual.

It is recommended that the aquarium capacity should be as large as possible (above 50 gallons tank would be nice) so that there is less competition among them going against each other for foods and living space. Usually with the tank volume, that is enough to accommodate at least 3 of the same fish species but serious hobbyist will usually buy more up to 4 or 5 so that they can be sure that they will end up having at least one mating pair. The ideal condition would be having one male fish while the rest up to 3 are all females. If by any chance you ended up having two males in a group, I would suggest removing the less dominant one so that it will not get bullied all the time. Other options would be, you could even set up another active pair if you have an extra tank to spare so that they can reproduce away from the attention of the other competing fish. Don’t worry about having to deal with so many fry because anyone would be tempted to have Demasoni as a pet if you are willing to offer them for free or even better, you could sell them to other hobbyist to raise some cash to replenish your fish supplies or to simply upgrade your aquarium accessories. A fine juvenile specimen can easily fetch up to $10 or more per fish.

The aquarium which houses your pet should have plenty of decor made up of rocks to form large caves and passageways similar like the rocky environment in the wild which they come from so that the fish can hide inside it and feel secure. Sometimes it is better to use a small inverted flower pot instead if you have a difficulty arranging the pile of rocks together. Try to use sand as well as it will make things look more natural and if possible by any chance your local fish shops have some supply of live aquatic plants, you can try to add in one as well. Go for those types which have large leaves such as Anubias but please make sure that you have firmly tied the whole bunch together secured onto a piece of bogwood and then bury into the substrate, or else your enthusiastic cichlids will try and find a way to uproot and move things around as they want to. Plants also make a wonderful addition to the tank as your cichlids will spend their time nipping on the leaves and tearing away chucks of it if they get too hungry. The water which your pet fish live in should be slightly alkaline with pH in the range of 7 to 8 and also with hardness level of between 12 to 13 dGH. Don’t worry if you have problem understanding what all these terms mean because you can always get an aquarium water density meter to conduct the hardness test and to get to the correct ideal level suitable for your fish. You can also read up topics about water hardness with a table to help you understand better.

Just like any other freshwater tropical fish, Demasoni requires constant supply of clean water to thrive and as such routine aquarium maintenance should be periodically carried out. Most cichlid tank that I’ve seen employs the use of high-powered aquarium filter to ensure that the water is crystal clear at all times. That being said, water cleanliness should not be much of a concern because their diet are basically plant-based which means that those water-polluting foods stuff with animal origin like shrimps, fish meal and worms are not needed at all. Your fish should readily accept algae sticks and if for any reason you to decide to use pellets just make sure that the main ingredient contains wheat germ as special meal. There are a few commercially prepared aquarium foods with top brand names like Hikari and Tetra which you can try that I know are specially made for cichlids fish.

comparison between fluval and eheimComparing Between Different Fish Filters (Advantages and Disadvantages). How about other brands like the BiOrb?

Things to Know before Getting New BiOrb

small biorb fish tankBiOrb offers one of the most interesting aquarium packages, complete with matching kits plus accessories and all these are made specially for those aquarist who intend to keep it simple with a space-saving tank design for their homes. Interesting enough, if you search carefully and browse across the web, you will also find that they are also among one of the well-known fish products which receives its fair share of criticisms leveled by die-hard hobbyists who regard them as a provider that place importance toward the design and compactness above all rather than the pet fish’s welfare. However, to be fair to them this only holds true under certain conditions and scenarios.

Product ranges related to the brand are mostly mini-sized setups having the capacity below the 10-gallon limit. Some even go as small as 4 gallons like the Baby BiOrb tank which by itself is quite famous among parents looking to get something new and easy-to-manage for their kids. But one thing that they often forget is that with the aquarium so small, one should never make the mistake of getting a pet which can outgrow the size of the tank! Baby BiOrb are meant only for small fish and before we proceed further, let’s not forget that putting goldfish in it is definitely out of question here. If you really understood about the fish, you will know that depending on the species, some can easily grow beyond 3 inches in length. Thus, I would suggest you read up further about goldfish in details before you make up your mind and heading to the store. On the type of fish to choose, you can also read up on getting small pets for your tank. Hopefully all these will provide you the necessary information on what to go for and expect in the long run.

BiOrb shapes and also the overall quality are the winning plus points on why some people prefer it over the conventional square or rectangular fish tank. Compared to the others, the glass for the aquarium is one of those special-made that projects a clear and high transparent rating see-through type allowing you to view flawlessly into your tank. Other matching additional accessories which you can get to decorate and make it a complete set are the acrylic stands and having one would definitely project that kind of modern look into your homes. However, needless to say with that kind of quality comes along with it the hefty price tags that are often above the premium range. Most people would describe it as being overpriced, however I will leave that to you to make your own judgment. Other interesting aspects about the fish care brand is that all the packages have with it, its own lighting and undergravel filter so that you can instantly setup the tank without much fuss and hassle.

One of the negative points related to having the new fish bowl is on the maintenance aspect. Don’t forget that every pet even for a small one will generate a lot of waste and unless the aquarium has been fully cycled, the water can get cloudy very easily making it a bad experience that you will want to avoid at all cost. Most of the problems related to the management of the BiOrb are the water parameters and even with the filtration system at maxed out performance, most of the time you will still face difficulty trying to keep the nitrite and nitrate under control, as fluctuation in the levels are often at the extreme side. If your intention is to setup a marine aquarium, then I would suggest you avoid using the BiOrb because it will get even harder especially when saltwater fishes are more sensitive to slight changes in the environment. As mentioned, with such a small range to play around, it will only make life difficult both for you and your fish.

In conclusion, finally whether you decide to get one or totally forget about your plans, it all depends on what you want in the first place. If design and contemporary looks are what you are searching for to decorate your home, then BiOrb is definitely suitable for that but however, if caring and raising a healthy fish is your main concern and objective, then by all means go for full large-scale aquarium tank.

comparison between fluval and eheimComparing Between Different Fish Filters (Advantages and Disadvantages). How about other brands like the BiOrb?

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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