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White Clouds Come Indoors

September 18th, 2011

We’ve started to get some cooler evenings as we’re days away from the start of Autumn. Therefore, I decided to begin the process of shutting down my raised brick pond for the year by netting out my mosquito controlling white cloud mountain minnows and bringing them indoors.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

I had put a dozen outside in the spring, but so far I’ve netted about 20 adult sized fish, and quite a few tiny fry (2-3 mm). I’m going to try to collect as many of the tiny fry as possible and raise them in an extremely densely planted aquarium inside. I love putting fish outdoors, as when I bring them back inside, I almost always multiply the number of fish I have, and the colors on the fish are fantastic from all of the live food they’ve hunted down over the summer.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

All of these minnows are going into my 12G bookshelf aquarium, which has a large colony of orange-eyed-blue-tiger-shrimp in it, plus about 50 juvenile bristlenosed plecos. This is a low-tech tank without any CO2 added and minimal fertilization, but there has a noticeable increase in plant growth since I’ve added the baby plecos and minnows. I guess they’re producing just enough waste to spur the plants on.

Hemianthus glomeratus

The baby plecos are also progressing pretty well. I’m keep their small bellies round and full by feeding them a mixture of veggie pellets, with earthworm or shrimp protein foods added 1-2X a week. Of course, I just noticed a brand new spawn of bristlenose in my 50G aquarium, so I’m overflowing a little bit with these fish at the moment.

Young Bristlenose Pleco

Nevertheless, my 12G bookshelf tank is becoming one of my favorite aquariums to sit and watch. The bottom is always moving with shrimp and plecos scavenging about, and now the white cloud mountain minnows are constantly active in the upper water column. Comments welcome!




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Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi Video

September 25th, 2010

At the last CCA meeting, I purchased a bag of Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi dwarf cichlids from West Africa. This morning, while in my fish room, I noticed the dominant male showing fantastic coloration, and policing the middle of his tank. He was chasing away the other males, while gyrating his body near some plants, presumably to lure the females over to spawn there.

The video quality isn’t fantastic, but hopefully you can still see how entertaining and beautiful these little fish are…

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Blue Tiger Shrimp & More…

September 6th, 2010

I wanted to share a few pictures that I took this afternoon in my fish room. I was experimenting with a new macro lens and flash that I got a couple months ago, which is why a few of the shots are obviously unrealistic. In any case, the blue tiger shrimp are one of my new favorites, with their black bodies and bright orange eyes.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

Of course, when you’re breeding these shrimp, you’re never going to get 100% solid black bodies. Some of them will come out as “blondes,” or shrimp with transparent bodies with the signature tiger stripes.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

Otherwise, these don’t seem to be too difficult to keep. They’re slightly smaller than cherry red shrimp, but similar in size to crystal reds.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

Mine are all housed in my 12G GLA bookshelf aquarium, where they graze on a little bit of beard algae that’s snuck into that aquarium.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

They also love to hide in the short Eleocharis sp. ‘Japan’ hairgrass that makes up the foreground in this tank, picking at whatever tiny goodies they can find.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

In my 50G aquarium, I have a breeding colony of bristlenosed plecos. Their are several generations cohabiting the aquarium, which are constantly working the driftwood and glass.

Pleco

I caught one such pleco hanging out on the front glass. I like to think that I keep my glass pretty clean, but I guess she’s finding something of value there.

Pleco

Finally, I snapped a quick shot of one of my beautiful angelfish, which really are the most personable fish I’m keeping right now. When they’re hungry, they follow me from end-to-end of the tank, begging me to drop in some tasty morsels for them to devour.

Angelfish

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my latest shots. Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve enjoyed these same creatures for yourself…

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Apistogramma baenschi ‘Inka 50’ Videos

February 10th, 2010

Since there’s multiple feet of snow outside, I’ve been sitting inside trying to come up with creative things to occupy my time. Today, I pulled out our old video camera and headed into the fishroom. I lucked upon some interesting activity going on in my 50G with the colony of Apistogramma baenschi ‘Inka 50’ . First, I have a video of a female in full bright yellow coloration guarding a little patch of territory she’s carved out underneath some Blyxa japonica stems.

Next, I caught two males displaying to each other, with the largest, most dominate one eventually chasing the other away. This happens all of the time, and doesn’t usually end up with anyone getting injured. It’s interesting to me how in both of these videos, the Apistogramma only cares about other cichlids. They never chase away the other tetras. (This would change if they were actually protecting fry.)

Finally, after the male-to-male domination display earlier, his female approaches him doing a kind of odd-looking dance to indicate that she’s not a threat. Recognizing this, he lets her go into their patch of Blyxa that he’s protecting.

The behaviors of these cichlids provide unending fascination to me as I enjoy my aquariums during a  cold wintry day. Comments welcome!

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Wild Angelfish

January 29th, 2010

I just wanted to share a couple photos of the new inhabitants in my 75G aquarium. After finding a good home for my Blue Spotted Sunfish, I decided that I would like to keep Angelfish again. This time, rather than just getting the various commercially bred color variations, I wanted to get ones with the wild coloration. I feel the natural coloration with the vertical black bars are the most elegant looking Angelfish of all. I was fortunate to have another GWAPA member turn me onto a breeder.

F1 Wild Angelfish

The breeder imports and breeds wild Peruvian angelfish to keep the gene pool healthy for their other various color variations. They also sell of some of the offspring from their live imports. Finding this out, I bought 7 first generation (F1) domestically bred wild angelfish. The breeder sent 8 fish, and they all looked fantastic, even in the bag.

F1 Wild Angelfish

At first in the tank, the fish hid every time I came into the room, but after a week of feeding them, they have really warmed up to me, and are starting to follow me up and down the tank when I’m working in my fish room. Right now, the Angelfish are the only mid-level swimming fish that I have in this aquarium. I still have my Nannacara, red-lizard catfish, and L279 bristlenosed plecos, so the bottom level is covered. I’m having a hard time settling on a small schooling fish to act as attractive dithers for the Angelfish. Suggestions welcome!

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Vietnamese White Clouds

January 15th, 2010

Last fall, I bought a dozen Vietnamese White Clouds in an auction at a Capital Cichlid Association’s meeting. I have never kept these fish before, but was always tempted by them in the fish stores. The one thing I never realized was how magnificent their fins can be until I put the group in my 20L and the males started displaying. In the stores, the fish just seem to hover in place, but in my tank, the males are constantly chasing each other around.

White Clouds

Supposedly these fish are very easy to breed, but I have not yet seen any eggs or fry in my aquarium. It’s possible that some loaches are taking care of any eggs that might be in the tank. These White Clouds seem to be fantastic fish for the planted aquarium. In addition, they can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, so you don’t necessarily have to keep a heater in your aquarium. There is also a long-finned version of this fish which is even more impressive.

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Zebra Danio: Oldie But Goodie

October 27th, 2009

The Zebra Danio is one of the fish that has been in the hobby forever. They are commercially bred and are available for sale in virtually every pet store, commonly being one of the first fish people keep when entering the hobby. For this reason, they are easily overlooked by more seasoned hobbyists when choosing inhabitants for their aquarium. This spring, the temperatures outside were still chilly, but I was beginning to see mosquito larvae outside in my pond. I went to my favorite fish store, and asked the owner what he suggested for a reasonably cold-tolerant fish that would provide mosquito protection, and he suggested the Zebra Danio.

Zebra Danio

For all of the reasons I mentioned above, I was hesitant, but the price was right (less than $.99/fish) so I came home with a dozen fish. They cleared out the mosquito larvae problem nearly overnight, and were quite active in the pond. Also, outside in the full sun, I noticed far more colors than their typical brown and tan zebra stripes. Flashes of blue or green iridescence showed up, as well as, yellow on the tops of their fins. Before long, I noticed lots of small fry swimming outside in the pond. My dozen fish had easily tripled, if not more.

Zebra Danio

When fall came, and the nighttime temperatures began to decline again, I brought the danios inside and placed them in a riparium/terrarium setup that I have going. I thought they would like the extra water flow I have in that particular aquarium, and so far they don’t seem to have any complaints. They are probably the best schoolers and most active fish I’ve kept in a planted aquarium. They might stress more calm/docile tank mates, but they are fun to watch as they never stop schooling from one side of the tank to the other. If you’re looking for an inexpensive schooling fish for your planted aquarium, you really can’t go wrong with the Zebra Danio.

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Apistogramma baenschi “Inka”

July 19th, 2009

A couple months ago I ordered a pair of Apistogramma baenschi “Inka” off of Aquabid. This is one type of Apistogramma that I’ve wanted to keep for a long time, after seeing pictures of it online. I love the mohawk that the males have, as well as, their very pretty coloration.

Male Apistogramma baenschi

Just like Apistogramma panduro, they have a red ring on their tail fin, with a caudal spot on their body just before their tail fin. This particular fish is still a juevenille, but even so, you can see the brilliant irridescent coloration on his dorsal and pectoral fins. Blue, yellow, orange, and red are all represented on the same fish — who said freshwater fish aren’t colorful?

Male Apistogramma baenschi

I have a much larger male Apistogramma baenschi “Inka” in another tank without a mate, but I didn’t want to put these significantly smaller fish in with him. That male, however, has a mohawk that is much more feathery and while it can stand straight up, he often lets it ripple to the side in the current. It’s very unique looking, and if the guy ever sticks around for a picture, I’ll post it.

Male Apistogramma baenschi

For now, these fish are in my newly rescaped 20L, and pretty much have free reign of the aquarium. I have another pair of Botia sidthimunki loaches in there as well, but will try and fish them out when I can so that they don’t poach on any Apistogramma fry. So far, these fish seem rather straight-forward to keep, so hopefully they’ll breed for me. If anyone has any tips/experiences specific to this species, I’d love to hear them!

Apistogramma baenschi “Inka”
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Threadfin Rainbowfish (Adults and Fry)

September 8th, 2008

In a 20L aquarium, I have a small colony of Threadfin Rainbowfish, Iriatherina werneri, that I’m attempting to breed. These blue-eyes are beautiful fish that I’m hoping to eventually have a huge school for my 75G aquarium. The males are especially brilliant, displaying long fins, which they use constantly to prove their dominance to other males, and to impress females.

Threadfin Rainbowfish

The males also tend to get a striking headlamp, a bright yellow/orange stripe along the top of their head, when they’re courting females. The females are not pictures here, but they do not have the elongated fins that the males do. It’s quite easy to tell them apart due to the noticable difference in finage.

Threadfin Rainbowfish

As you can see from the backgrounds in these pictures, I’ve been using spawning mops made from acrylic yarn to try and harvest eggs. The goal is to float these mops, have the fish lay eggs, and then remove the mop and place it into a hatching/rearing tank. By cycling two mops between these tank every 10-14 days, I hope to constantly have new fry. So far, I’ve been successful, but only on a very small scale.

Threadfin Rainbowfish Fry

The fry are absolutely tiny when they first hatch; no more than a millimeter or two long. Right now, I have a couple that are 5-6mm long, but recently lost some to a Hydra infestation. I feed the newly hatched fry GP 5micron powder, which besides green water is just about the only thing that will fit in their tiny mouths. I’ve started feeding the larger fry some baby brine shrimp. Hopefully, they’ll grow up fast, and will be able to go in with the adults soon. If anyone’s successfully bred and raised these fish, I’d love to hear some advise.

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Native Fish – Sunfish, Killies, Darters

August 14th, 2008

I managed to get a few pictures of the native fish that I recently collected from the Potomac River in Virginia. I’m really happy with these fish so far. When I first put them in the tank, they went straight into the plants, not to be seen.

Blue Spotted Sunfish

Blue Spotted Sunfish - Enneacanthus gloriosus

Since then, I’ve been feeding them blackworms, and have spent a lot of time in front of the tank, which seems to be getting them used to my presence. The sunnies, in particular, were quite shy to begin with. Now, it’s not unusual to see several of them out and about at the same time.

Blue Spotted Sunfish

Blue Spotted Sunfish - Enneacanthus gloriosus

Many of the sunfish have also colored up quite a bit. Some of the younger ones don’t yet have their blue spots, but the older fish are actually quite striking. The little teardrop, or black stripe, under their eye reminds me of Bolivian Rams, Mikrogeophagus altispinosus.

Tesselated Darter

Tessellated Darter - Etheostoma olmstedi

In general, I tend to really enjoy lazy bottom dwellers, and this Tessellated Darter, Etheostoma olmstedi, is exactly that. I love how darters prop themselves up on their front fins, and just sit there waiting for food to come along.

Tesselated Darter

Tessellated Darter - Etheostoma olmstedi

He’s readily accepting blackworms, but even though I’m adding a few pellets with my other feedings to try and get him on commercial food, so far he’s not interested. The Banded Killifish, Fundulus diaphanus, are another one of the fish that are slowly calming down in my tank.

Banded Killifish

Banded Killifish - Fundulus diaphanus

When I first introduced them, they would often jump from the water when I approached the tank. Now, they’re still staying close to the plant cover, but they’re at least out in the open, while keeping a close eye on me.

Banded Killifish

Banded Killifish - Fundulus diaphanus

I’ve noticed that they have an interesting mouth that tends to open and unfold a little bit differently than other fish I’ve kept. I presume this is designed to suck surface bugs into their mouths. If I’m ever able to get a picture of it up close, I’ll post it. Overall, I’m still quite pleased with my recent acquisitions. All of the fish appear to be healthy, and should be a nice addition to my tank for some time.

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