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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 3 – Level Bottom with Manzanita

Here is a look at the other tank that I am working on in this planted tank project.  I apologize up front for the messed up footage of attaching suction cups to the piece of wood, but it is a pretty simple procedure.  Just tie suction cups to the wood, and leave some slack in the line to accommodate for the depth of the substrate.

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February Newsletter: Tank Raised Dwarf Cichlids

If you have yet to sign up for the Newsletter, please consider doing so.  I send out a newsletter at the beginning of each month featuring something that is happening in the fish room, news about up-coming orders, or anything else that I am thinking about at the time.  The newsletter will also have a voucher code in it for the Stock Shop.  This month the focus of the newsletter is Tank Raised Dwarf Cichlids, and there is a voucher code for 20% off your entire order when $50 worth of cichlids are purchased.  Here is the text of the newsletter:

Dwarf Cichlids…

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This has been an interesting Winter.  Lot’s of ups an downs.  On the negative side, imports have been challenging, and I have not been able to bring in nearly the number of fish as last year.  The issue has been supply-side.  I am not sure where the fish have been going, but they have not been coming here.  Looking around at what is happening all over the USA, it is apparent that I am not the only importer having a hard time getting livestock.

On the positive side, all the empty tank space has inspired me to set up more fish for breeding.  Dwarf cichlids have been my main focus.  I counted 36 pairs today, 23 of which are Apistogramma sp. and the rest West African.

When I go to clubs to talk about fish, I usually end each talk encouraging everyone to breed the fish they have, because ‘we never know if the last box to come in will be the last box ever’.  So I looked around the empty fish room and started to follow my own advice.  Ready access to wild fish has been tough… so time to start breeding what I have on hand!

That got me to thinking about wild livestock vs tank raised.  I sometimes think that by providing a lot of wild caught fish that I am sending the message that they are somehow better than tank raised, when what I truly believe is the opposite.  Quality tank-raised livestock have a lot of advantages over wild fish… with the operative word being ‘quality’.

Good tank-raised fish are:

  • parasite-free
  • acclimated to life in an aquarium
  • less stressed by shipment
  • acclimated to non-live foods
  • usually younger
  • usually cheaper (unless they are imported)

One of the ‘issues’ with tank-raised fish stems from the source of most of them sold through on-line retailers (including TedsFishroom)… the Czech Republic.  These fish, overall, are not bad livestock.  But the breeders over there are not known for their quality control.  So tank-raised fish have gotten a bad reputation, when the problem is really the origin.

I have not ordered Czech fish for quite a while.  I am sure that I will again, but right now I am fortunate to have access to some pretty good tank-raised dwarf cichlids from here in the upper midwest, USA.  I have been working with a few breeders over the past two years.  Getting them some good livestock.  Encouraging them to produce a lot of fish, and being happy to buy everything they produce.  Those efforts are starting to pay off.

I have been carrying the local fish for the past six months, but now the breeders are starting to provide a much wider variety.  There are several new fish in the Stock Shop this month.  Apistogramma – baenschi, panduro, nijsenni, bitaeniata‘Rio Tigre’, sp. ‘Rio Mamore’, eremnopyge, cacatuoides ‘triple red’, and iniridae.  I also have Laetacra curviceps and L. dorsigerafor the first time from local breeders, and some F1 Pelvicachromis pulcher ‘yellow’.

And there are fry born here in my fish room that are growing out… A. baenschi, A. allpahuayo, A. huascar, P. kribensis‘Moliwe’, P. drachenfesli and Nanochromis transvestitus.  Most of those should be available in the Stock Shop by May.

The imports are starting to loosen up a bit, and there are some shipments from Peru, Colombia and Asia in the works.  So wild fish will also be available.  But I have committed some space (and money) to ensure that more tank-raised fish are coming through the fish room.

So… to encourage the purchase of these newly acquired tank-raised fish, this months special is a voucher code for orders with cichlids.  Any cichlids… not just the tank-raised fish… though I hope that you will jump on the tank-raised bandwagon.

Order $50 worth of cichlids, get 20% Off your entire order.

voucher code:

FEBCICHLID

 

Use the code in the voucher box in the checkout cart.

Normal whole-invoice discounts still apply.  Whole invoice calculated after the 20% has been subtracted.  Offer valid on orders placed through February 29, 2016.  Discounts on in-stock items only, and on orders placed through the TedsFishroom.com/catalog website.

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Breeding Project: Ancistrus claro

I have a new species to work with:  Ancistrus claro.  The ‘gold marble’ bristlenose catfish is a neat little species.  They stay small (less than 3″), are relatively social and active during the day.  I have a group of 14 young, wild-caught fish that I am setting up in a 30-breeder.  Here is the video, followed by a transcript:

Video Transcript:

Breeding Project – Ancistrus claro

Welcome back to TedsFishroom… Let’s take a look at what is happening in the breeding projects, and introduce a new species to the program. Another loricariid catfish… Ancistrus claro.

So far I have introduced three breeding projects. Here is a look into what is happening in each of them.

The Panaqolus albivermis are growing. They have become much more active, less shy and come out readily for food. Occasionally I will see one of them exploring a spawning cave, but so far none of the males have taken up more permanent residence. The only change that I am contemplating is to change the type and size of spawning caves.

The Benitochromis nigrodorsalis have settled in and a weak pair has formed. The largest male has started to exert his dominance over the other fish in the tank, and even killed a few tetras. He tolerates one female in his space, but the other two fish are constantly avoiding him. I removed the female, as she was very stressed by the negative attention. The extra male is still holding his own, but I will remove him soon. I want to give the new pair a but more time to cement their bond. I am concerned that removing the extra male too early may result in the dominant male turning on the female he seems to tolerate.

The only changes to the tank have been the addition of some pebbles for more structure and spawning sites, and a power head to provide more current and aeration in the tank. I added the pump because the cichlids were not being very active, but now that the water is really flowing they are coming out into the open more frequently.

The Apistogramma pairs stalled a bit when my reverse osmosis machine started having some problems. You can watch the video on the overhaul of the unit, resulting in water that is much softer and lower in pH. Since fixing that problem the dwarf cichlids are faring much better and showing more signs of spawning. Especially the Apistogramma baenschi pairs. This female appears to be guarding a clutch of eggs.

The Apistogramma sp. ‘Kelleri have also responded well to the softer water. They spawn regularly, but I did see the female holding larvae in her mouth for first time (but I missed getting some video).

A new species to the program are two pairs of wild Apistogramma sp. ‘Abacaxi’. This species needs very low pH, and I am currently working to getting the acidity down to under 5.0. These are young fish, and are just now reaching maturity.

Ancistrus claro is probably one of the best oddball loricariid catfish to come into the hobby in the past 20 years. The common name most frequently given to the fish is the gold marble bristlenose pleco, which accurately describes the coloration of an exceptional male. The base color is green with a network of golden yellow markings. My fish are still young, however, and have not developed their best color.

Ancistrus claro comes from the Rio Claro in the state of Matto Grosso in far southwest Brazil, and is a part of the Rio Parguay system. This distant location from the major fish export cities makes the gold marble pleco an uncommon export, but this year several shipments made it out.

As an aquarium fish, Ancistrus claro has a lot going for it. It is a small species, topping out at under 3 inches, and they are not particularly nasty to each other, colonies of many fish are possible. The water they come from is moderately soft, and successful spawning has been reported in a wide range of pH levels. They are omnivrous leaning to vegetarian, so are not hard to feed. They spawn in caves in typical ancistrus style. If there is one knock against claro, it is that the spawns are relatively small and infrequent, compared to other types of ancistrus.

My colony will be set up in a 30 breeder aquarium on the top row of my racks. The temperature here will stay in the mid-70’s, so I am using a heater to keep the water in the upper 70’s.

The tank is filtered with a Poret cube filter, and current is being provided by a small internal power filter. The natural habitat of the species is described as fast flowing with rocks, pebbles and sand. I am including some wood in the tank for the plecos to chew on. But the primary structure will be rocks and spawning caves.

My tap water is too hard for this species, especially the carbonate hardness, so I will be using reverse osmosis water, and reconstituting it with some general hardness and a little carbonate to buffer the pH. My target is a GH of 4 and KH of 2. I will let the pH be where it will be, but with thee hardness levels the pH will be close to neutral.

I have 14 A. claro in this colony. They are young and not so easy to sex. Males will have the tell-tale tentacles on their face, but females can have a few as well (though most females do not). I think that this groups is about 50-50 males and females. I have had these fish in quarantine for three months with no issues or losses.

The tank is ready for the fish, so in they go and this breeding project is officially started. The available literature describes claro as slow to grow and mature, so I am not expecting much from this group for several months. But you never know…. Fish cannot read.

Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel. You can also read about this breeding project and my other aquarium adventures on my video blog at www.tedsfishroom.com. If you have some experiences with Ancistrus claro that you would like to share, we would love to read about them in the comment section here on YouTube or on the blog site.

Thanks for watching TedsFishroom.

 

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Aquatic Experience – Nov. 6-8

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The Aquatic Experience show starts soon!  It is an event well worth checking out.  (www.aquaticexperience.org)  I will have a booth, so please stop by and say hello.  I will be promoting the Stock Shop website, and will have four display aquariums set up with some cool rare fish to see.  I will be selling the Repashy and Ted’s Most Excellent gel foods, and the Paradigm freeze dried foods while I am there.  But I will not be bringing a lot of fish for sale.  The display fish can be purchased, but not taken home until Sunday afternoon.  I will bring pre-sold fish for pick up, however, so if you want me to bring something for you, I will!  Just place an order through the Stock Shop, choose the ‘pick up’ shipping option, and let me know in a message with the order to bring the fish to the show.  Please note that I will be packing fish on Thursday morning, so plan to pick the fish up on Friday afternoon if possible… or Saturday at the latest.

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TedsFishroom Difference

I was very nervous about making this video…  Some friends of mine were sitting around the fish room talking about fish, and the discussion took turn towards all the things that I do associated with selling fish.  Two of my guests were customers from out of state who drove up for a visit.  They were really grilling me on quarantine, sources, my trips to meet suppliers, packing, feeding…  I started to wonder if I had done something wrong!  After about two hours one of them said to me, ‘why aren’t you telling people all of this?’  I did not have a good answer.

They started to make a list of all the things that they called the ‘TedsFishroom Difference’, and encouraged me to make a video.  So I did.  I also sat on this video for a while, because talking about myself in such a direct manner is uncomfortable to me.  I showed it to the guys who were pushing me to make this video, and they said, ‘perfect!’  So here it is… The TedsFishroom Difference.

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Iquitos, Peru – Part 1

Here is the first installment from last month’s trip to Iquitos, Peru.  The purpose of the trip was to get our feet wet with visiting Iquitos.  We have every intention of going back, hopefully more than once each year.  So this trip was pretty loosely planned out, and we scheduled out days based upon what was available to us.  This first video is about our first foray out into the city to look at fish sellers.  The video specifically shows the aquarium of my main supplier in Peru.  Enjoy….

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Grub Pie… a new insectivore food from Repashy

Repashy Superfood has a new diet:  Grub Pie, an excellent diet that emphasizes insects in its protein profile.  The food is already listed in the stock shop, but it will arrive here this week.  Any orders will ship early next week.

Insectivore Gel Premix

Our Insect Based (75%) Meal Replacement Gel for Insectivorous Species of Tropical Fish. Great for Livebearers, Gouramis, Catfish and even Amphibians. Insects are raised in the USA on high-quality ingredients!

 

INGREDIENTS: Insect Meal, Dried Seaweed Meal, Coconut Meal, Ground Flaxseed, Stabilized Rice Bran, Dried Brewers Yeast, Lecithin, Dried Kelp, Locust Bean Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Taurine, Watermelon, RoseHips, Hibiscus Flower, Calendula Flower, Marigold Flower, Paprika, Turmeric, Salt, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (as preservatives), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Manganese Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Copper Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Selenium Yeast. Vitamins: (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-Polyphosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex).

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein min. 40%, Crude Fat min. 12%, Crude Fiber max. 15%, Moisture max. 10%, Ash max. 12%, Calcium min. 1.5%.

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New Stock List… New Peru!!!

Another great order of fish arrived from Peru yesterday.  There are some very rare fish on this one!  Check out all the very cool wood cats, and some Apistogramma species that have been been around for a long time.  I do not have pics of the cichlids yet, but here are some of the catfish:

Acanthodoras sp.

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Ageneiosus sp. (only two of these…. contaminant… ask if you want them)

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bolt cat!  A. turosus… this is a voracious predator!  Gets big!

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Not sure what either of these two are….

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Centromochlus reticulatus!!!!!

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Helogenes marmoratus

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Tatia dunni… the real deal!  3-4″ adults

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Undescribed Tatia sp.   juveniles and adults

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Tetranematichthys sp. (prabably wallacei)… if you are really into these fish, I got a black one in the mix!  ask….

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Some of the Apistogramma highlists are:

A. sp. Winklefleck

A. sp. Matses

A. payaminonis…. HOLY GRAIL!!!!

A. sp. rocafuerte/shaly

A. barlowi ‘red’

Trying something different on the apistos…. I always get a wide range of sizes, and some are not sexable.  I have changed the pricing on some items to prices for males (largest in the group0, obvious females and unsexed.  That way you can save some money, but you risk not getting even sex ratios.

I also got in some very nice silver arowana, wild angelfish and red shoulder severums.  Here is the most up to date list:

[embeddoc url=”http://tedsfishroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/TFR_PriceList.xls” download=”all” viewer=”google”]

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New Instock with Plants and new discount structure

Here is a new in-stock list with the plants that came in this week.  I am also doing away with a separate wholesale list, and this new list has a discount structure to accommodate wholesale quantities.

The plants arrived from Singapore in excellent condition, as is usual.  Some of them are in limited quantities, so if you are interested jump on them quickly.

[embeddoc url=”http://tedsfishroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/TFR_RETAIL.xls” download=”all” viewer=”google”]

 

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Group Order Pre-Sale List for Below Water (Oliver Lucanus)

Below Water is Oliver Lucanus’ business in Canada (Montreal).  Oliver has spent a lot of time and effort developing many export contacts from many of countries in South America and Africa, and he manages to bring some of the rarest fish from those countries…. to Canada.  Oliver and I are going to try to offer those fish to hobbyists in the USA.  I am organizing the first pre-sales import to arrive in Chicago on January 8, 2015.  If you are interested in joining in on the order, the link below will download a spreadsheet order form.  The instructions for placing an order are at the top of the spread sheet.  If you have any difficulties, please send me an email (tjudy@tedsfishroom.com) or contact me through this website.

Jan8_PreOrder

Here are the basics:

  • Orders are due to me by January 2
  • If we have enough participants to place the order, I will send you a PayPal invoice with the total including shipping from me to you.  That invoice will need to be paid by January 4 in order to place the order.
  • Fish will arrive in Chicago on January 8 (a Thursday) at 9:00 AM.  I will drive down to get the order (clear inspection, customs, etc…) and then repackage the fish (rebag/reox…. water change if necessary) and ship them out to you via FedEx Priority Overnight the same day…. you will receive the fish on Friday, January 9.
  • Prices reflect Oliver’s retail plus a service fee to cover the overhead of the order.  Prices are FOB Chicago… shipping to you from me is extra.  Most boxes will be in the $50 -$70 range to get to you.  If you need a shipping quote before I send you an invoice, please ask.

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