Friday, June 29, 2007

Some fish foods contaminated . . .

Some fish foods have been found to be contaminated with melamine. Whether or not melamine has a negative impact on fish is not known, but better to be safe than sorry right? If you are worried your fish food may have melamine in it, read the label if it has any wheat products in it, toss it, or call the company that makes it and ask where their wheat products come from. Some companies in China have been purposely putting melamine in their wheat flour that is shipped to the USA to increase the protein rating. The melamine has caused many deaths in cats and dogs due to kidney failure caused by the contamination, it could also affect our finned friends.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jordanella floridae

Soon I will be in possession of some very young american-flag or florida flag fish (J. floridae). Currently they are eggs, by the time I get them they will probably be a week or two old. I plan on either keeping them individually in gallon jars and changing half the water daily, or putting them into breeder nets in my 60 gallon planted tank, which will be their eventual home. I have yet to decide which way I want to raise them. I just have to get them big enough that Bull (my angelfish) will not eat them.

J. floridae is often referred to by two different common names. The first American-flag fish, is because of its coloring. When in adult coloration males look somewhat like the American flag. The second, florida flag fish, is a combination of its scientific name (J. floridae) and it's common name. This name is a bit misleading as it makes it seem like the fish is a flag fish, when it is actually a killie fish. Either way I most often here it referred to as a florida flag fish, or simply as a florida flag.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

African Cichlids

African Cichlids

When a person thinks of African cichlids, they usually think of the cichlids from the three great lakes of east Africa. These lakes are lake Victoria, Malawi and Tanganyika. These lakes are also known as the rift lakes as they are in and around the Great Rift Valley. Lake Malawi lies in the eastern region of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Tanganyika lies in the eastern region of the valley. Lake Victoria is found between the main branch and the western branches of the valley. Lake Victoria is the world's second largest freshwater lake. The water in these three lakes is usually hard and has a high pH.

Cichlids from Lake Victoria are perhaps best known for their quickly declining populations due to the 1950's introduction of the Nile perch. Prior to the introduction of the Nile perch there were approximately 500 different species of cichlids, mostly belonging to the genus Haplochromis. It is believed that the Nile perch has wiped out nearly 250 species of cichlids from lake Victoria. When kept in captivity it is recommended to keep lake Victorian cichlids in groups rather than pairs. Many of the cichlids from lake Victoria are maternal mouthbrooders, meaning the female holds the eggs in her mouth until they hatch. Lake Victoria has a pH range of 7.2 to 8.6, so the fish from this lake should be kept in that range.

Lake Malawi has a larger variety of cichlid species than any other lake. So far over 500 different endemic species of cichlids have been found in lake Malawi. Malawi cichlids are often brightly colored and patterned. Because of this they have become popular aquarium fish. Different types of cichlids are found in lake Malawi. "Mbuna" ( pronounced umboona) are one type found in lake Malawi. Mbuna are rock dwelling fish. The name Mbuna means rock living in one of the local languages around lake Malawi. These fish are often found along the shoreline. They graze off of algae that grows on the rocks they inhabit, and also eat some small insects and snails. Many people keep these fish in groups in aquaria. They are territorial and require a large tank with a lot of rock work in the tank. They should be fed a plant based diet. Haps are another type of cichlid found in lake Malawi. Haps once belonged to the genus Haplochromis. They are also called "peacocks" and many now belong to the genus Aulonocara. These fish are mainly pisciovores, meaning they eat other fish. Where Mbuna inhabit rocky areas, Haps are generally found in open water. Haps generally have long and slender bodies. Juveniles and females are usually drably colored, while males are often brightly colored. It usually not recommended to mix haps with mbuna, as the mbuna are more aggressive and territorial. Fish from this lake like a pH from 7.8 to 8.6.

Lake Tanganyika, the world's longest lake, has only one outlet. This causes the water to be much more alkaline that the other two lakes. Lake Tanganyika has almost 200 unique species of fish. Lake Tanganyika has a sandy bottom, so fish from this lake are more suited to tanks with sand on the bottom, rather than rocks. Tanganyikan cichlids require very clean, highly oxygenated water. The water should have a high pH (8.6-9.5) and be hard, total hardness in the lake is anywhere from 11 to 17 dh. Temperature is important with these cichlids. The water temperature should not be allowed to be above 84*f. The temperature range in the lake is anywhere from 75*f to 84*f. At higher temperatures the fishes' metabolism increases, and their already high oxygen requirements increase. Some of the cichlids from lake Tanganyika are very small and can be comfortably kept in 10 or 20 gallon tanks. Two examples are the shell dwelling fish, from the genus Neolamprologus and Lamprologus. Cichlids from this lake are not as brightly colored as the ones from lake Malawi, but many have very interesting behaviors and are very diversified. The variety of parental care of Tanganyikan cichlids is of much interest to many people. The species in lake Tanganyika are greatly varied, and so their care is also very diverse. You have fish like the shell dwellers, that are small and do not require much space, and then you have fish like the Tropheus species that are vegetarian and are best kept in large groups in very large aquariums. Then there are fish like Frontosas that are large (up to 14 inches) pisciovores to the Cyprichromis species, which inhabit the upper portions of the water column and are platonic feeders.

There are many other cichlids from the great continent of Africa that inhabit the many streams, rivers and tributaries, but we will save these for another day.


Image from:

Monday, June 4, 2007

We have launched a new website called It is a social networking site for aquarists. Its not a forum, but has communities, blogs, you can upload pictures, have friends. I think it will be a great site for meeting other people interested in aquarium keeping, and a great site for bouncing ideas off of other people. Its easy to use and for everybody . . . beginners and advanced hobbyists alike.

Please take a second to play around on it.