Pitbull Pleco – Parotocinclus jumbo

March 11th, 2008

A few weeks ago, I stopped by my local fish store on the way home from work, looking for some regular Otocinclus to help eat some algae in my 40G tank. Unfortunately, the store was out of Otos, but the owner recommended a curious little fish called the Pitbull Pleco, or Parotocinclus jumbo.

Pitbull Pleco

Of course, with the reputation that pitbulls have, I wanted to be sure that this little fish would not be a mean killing machine if let loose in my aquarium. So, the owner kindly helped me lookup more information on the fish, and as it turns out, the name is a bit of a misnomer. The fish was originally named after a pitbull due to the fact that its eyes are more on the top of it’s head, rather than on the sides, similar to the canine.

Pitbull Pleco

Satisfied, I promptly bought a half dozen of them, and brought them home. Once accustomed to my heavily planted 40G aquarium, these plecos are really quite attractive fish. They’re roughly the same size as an Otocinclus, and according to many sites only, they will not grow too much larger. In fact, they really look like a different colored Otocinclus, especially when hoisted on the glass, as seen below.

Pitbull Pleco

So, the next important question was whether they would actually eat any algae. Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to find the answer to this question, as they went straight to work, clearing the glass, rocks, and leaves of any of the spot, dust, diatom, or similar algae. They seem to leave alone the hair and fuzz algae, but that’s what I have Amano and cherry red shrimp for.

Pitbull Pleco

All in all, I would recommend the Pitbull Pleco to anyone looking for a similarly sized, but different algae eater, than the Otocinclus. They’re attractive, peaceful fish, that seem to group together, and do a fine job keeping the glass and hardscape clear. They seem to tolerate similar water parameters as most corydoras, making them ideal for 90% of the aquariums out there. Highly recommended!

Business Broker

CCA – Ron Nielson – March 2008

March 10th, 2008

Capital Cichlid AssociationOn Saturday, I attended the Capital Cichlid Association’s March meeting. The speaker for this month’s meeting was CCA member, Ron Nielson, who gave a presentation on the “Conservation of Malagasy Cichlids,” which is the precursor for the same talk he will be giving at the American Cichlid Association’s yearly convention in Atlanta, GA later this year.

Since Ron will be giving a very similar talk at the ACA convention, I don’t want to post many specifics about his presentation. I will say that it was quite interesting because prior to the meeting, I could not name a single cichlid from Madagascar. Many of these fish are on the endangered species list, or not far from it due to the terrible loss of habitat in the country. Introduction of food fish to the rivers have further threatened the native species.

Paretroplus nourissati

For this reason, it’s great that Ron and others are doing their best to stimulate interest in this group of fish, and provide details about how to successfully keep and breed them in our aquariums. Most of the available cichlids (various Paratilapia, Ptychochromis, and Paretroplus) require large tanks to keep, but Ron has managed to keep some of them happily in much smaller quarters than conventional wisdom suggests.

Paretroplus menarambo

I don’t know if I am going to be able to make it to the ACA convention this year, but for anyone that does, you definitely don’t want to miss Ron’s presentation. I promise you’ll learn something! For those that can’t, you can visit Ron’s website at http://fishpost.com to learn more about these great fish.

Additionally, CCA announced that later this summer they’re hoping to host a swap meet in the area, which will allow all of the local clubs, vendors, etc to setup tables to sell items. Any hobbyist looking to obtain plants or fish that are otherwise hard to come by, this will be the place to do it. The date will most likely be July 13th, but that’s still somewhat up in the air.

Business Broker

40G Aquascape – Updated Picture

March 5th, 2008

Here’s an updated picture (click picture for larger view) of my 40G aquarium. If you remember what it previously looked like, you’ll notice a profound change in the plants present. For starters, I removed most of the Micranthemum umbrosum, replacing it with the Limnophila aquatica, and just a hint of red with some stems of Ludwigia arculata.

40G Aquascape - March 5, 2008

Additionally, the Didiplis diandra and Rotala rotundifolia in the back-right are much more pronounced, while I’ve significantly hacked back the Eriocaulon sp. ‘Type 2’ in the right midground to better transition from the grassy foreground to the plants in the back. I’ve also cured most of an algae outbreak that I had in this tank, after finally putting into practice some of the tips I mentioned in my algae presentiation.

Blyxa aubertii

Once I did that, the Blyxa aubertii lost many of the hair-algae strands attached to its leaves. One of my favorite things about the various Blyxa plants is the cellular pattern on each leaf, as you can see above. Overall, I’m pretty happy with how the 40G aquascape is coming along, but I’d love to hear any of your comments or suggestions.

Business Broker

Limnophila aquatica – Ambulia

March 4th, 2008

At the last GWAPA meeting, a couple of bags of Limnophila aquatica were up for auction, and at one point, I think it reached market saturation, as no one was bidding on it. I decided to grab it for a $1.00, despite not really wanting it, but I’m glad I did.

Limnophila aquaticaLimnophila aquatica, or Asian Ambulia as it is commonly known, has been in the hobby for a number of years. Its fine, feathery, leaves add a much softer texture to the tank that other, more solid bodied, plants cannot.

The plant is a bright green stem plant that is likely to be the brightest plant in your aquarium. Originally from Southeast Asia, Ambulia requires moderate high to have nice bushy growth. It can also grow very quickly with proper fertilization and CO2, and will reportedly grow out of the water with small blue flowers. I hope to see those flowers at some point!

Asian Ambulia can be propagated like any other stem plant, by cuttings or through side-shoots. So far for me, it’s been a rather fast grower.

Despite not originally having plans to add Limnophila aquatica to my 40G aquarium, it has really added a nice focal point for my aquascape. I’ll post updated pictures of the 40G, once the new plants grow in a little bit more.

Business Broker

Rotala macrandra ‘Green’ Confusion

March 3rd, 2008

You may remember this picture that I took of Rotala macrandra var. ‘Green’ last year at my friend Aaron’s house. He had it growing beautifully in his ADA 90P aquarium. Notice how the leaves are slight, with some hooked edges, and somewhat transparent.
Rotala macrandra var. 'Green'

Now, take a look at the picture below. This is the same plant in my 40G tank. The leaves are rounder, thicker, and lacking the spiked edges. Why the difference? Well, about 2 months ago, I got lazy, and didn’t trim this tank, allowing the R. macrandra var. ‘Green’ to grow emersed from the water. Then, I finally performed a water change, raised the water levels, and replanted the tops of the stems, submersing them.

Rotala macrandra var. 'Green' submersed

This also coincided with a significant increase of light when I upgraded to the AHSupply 2x96W kit. Since then, the emersed growth form of the Rotala has continued, even though it has been persistantly submersed. I would have figured that the lesser CO2 levels of the water verses the atmosphere would have triggered the plant to convert to its’ submersed form, but apparently not.

I’m still deciding which form I like best. Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon before?

Business Broker

Olive Nerite Snail Shots

March 2nd, 2008

I just wanted to share a couple pictures I took of the Olive Nerite Snails in my 40G aquarium. As mentioned in last week’s algae writeup, these snails are fantastic organisms to have in your aquarium as algae eaters.

Olive Nerite Snail

Here is a close-up shot of a Nerite Snail grazing on the glass. I imagine that this guy is scraping algae filaments from the glass that aren’t even visible to the naked eye.

Olive Nerite Snail
Taken 100mm/2.8 with 68mm Kenko extension tubes

Here’s a little bit clearer shot of the snail’s mouth and foot. Their antennae constantly move back and forth over the ground in front of them, and sometimes appear to just flow with the current of the water.

Olive Nerite Snail
Taken 100mm/2.8 with 68mm Kenko extension tubes

By keeping my nutrients balanced, and these snails in the tank, my tank is not algae free, but kept completely under control.

Business Broker

Apistogramma sp. ‘Rotpunkt’ Fry

March 1st, 2008

Over the past few days, I have noticed that my two females in the 40G have been bright yellow in coloration, and have remained very close to their caves. These are tell-tale signs that they’ve been spawning. It looks like the first female’s fry are now free swimming!

Apistogramma sp. 'Rotpunkt' Fry

Right now, there is a sizable group of fry, with at least 20-30, but it could be even more. They move around so much, and they all look the same, that it’s near impossible to count. They spend most of the day grazing on tiny organisms and detritus throughout the tank, and especially on the porous mossy rock that contains all kinds of nooks and crannies for them to sort through.

Apistogramma sp. 'Rotpunkt' Fry

Some of them even seem to take refuge in the small holes formed in the volcanic rock. I don’t plan on trying to remove the fry from the tank, so essentially it’s up to their parents and the cover of these rocks and plants to grow them up. I will, however, prepare a batch of baby brine shrimp for them this week to help them grow up big and strong.

Apistogramma sp. 'Rotpunkt' Fry

Business Broker

  Next Entries »