Here is a video on a subject that I have been wanting to show you for a while…. unpacking a large order of fish. A lot of planning goes into getting a new order of fish into the fish room, especially am import from out of the country. In this case, 30 boxes from Peru!!!
I entered the small-tank aquascape contest at the Aquatic Experience in Chicago this past weekend. This is the first truly competitive aquascaping contest I have ever tried. There were some great entries. Mine was different that all the others… I went with a biotope riparium. Special thanks to Devin Biggs at Riparium Supply for providing the centerpiece fern. Check it out….
I have a new aquarium. 180 gallons. One of the largest I have ever owned. This tank and stand was built by CustomAquariums (click the link… ). I will show some more videos in the future about the aquarium hardware, but for now this video is just showing the fish after they have been in the tank for 24 hours.
The community includes a lot of odds & ends, lonely hearts and personal favorites that I cannot bear to part with. You will see the original Chromidotilapia kingsleyae that I brought back from Gabon in 2011. There is a big Pelmatochromis beautkofferi that lost his mate to my own stupidity, and a big male Betta patoti that lost his mate to his own aggression (let’s see how he likes living with these big fish… hah!). There is a redtail shark that is the lone survivor from a tank crash when I first opened the new fish room. The pair of Pelvicachromis sacrimontis are the grand-offspring of a wild pair I owned four years ago, but the male beats the female up a lot, so I put them in here to see if they can get along in a busier tank. There is a single Bryconaethiops boulengeri tetra that is the sole survivor of a group of 6 that I bought four years ago. There are also some alestes tetras that I have had for nearly 10 years! The Sayhadria rohani barbs are personal favorites that I swear I will spawn someday. And the Pelvicachromis humilis ‘Friya’ are in there to grow up. All the smaller fish are African tetras that have been sitting in my fish room for months with nobody buying them… so I brought them home. I like them! There are Arnoldichthys spilopterus, Micralestes cf. acutidens, Micralestes occidentalis, yellow-tail Congo tetras and a few red-cap moon tetras (which I have had for years). Plus a few things I did not list… see if you can find them.
I was working in the fish room this evening, getting ready for a couple huge orders coming in this week, and noticed that all the dwarf cichlids were very active. I kept getting distracted (and making floods), so I took a break, grabbed the camera and made this little video. All the fish are available, and if you are interested contact me quick. These fish have been going fast, and I need them to go faster! We are about to discover how much this fish room can hold…. 40+ boxes of fish coming in this week.
Here is a short video of a Betta patoti pair that I have been working with for a month or so. This is a big, active fish, but they hate the video camera. They do not particularly like me, except when I give them food… and even then they will not come out to eat until I walk away from the tank. My son Matthew, however, is welcome. He was able to shoot pictures of this pair for an hour without spooking them at all. Enjoy…
Thanks to the Missouri Aquarium Society, Inc. I had a chance to play with my video camera’s underwater housing in an Ozark stream this week. North American native fish would be an addiction easy to succumb to. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin invasive species laws prevent me from being able to collect fish all over the midwest and bring them back to my fish room. I will just have to stick to video and pictures… they are easier to transport anyway.
We spent half a day filming and netting in Whittenburg Creek, at the town of Steelville, MO, which is a tributary of the Meremac River. The conditions were great. Clear, shallow water on a sunny day. Take a look at the video:I thought the variety of fish we found was great, but the MASI members on hand told me that they usually find more at this location, especially darters. I netted this nice male fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare)
There were two common minnows in the stream, southern redbelly dace (Crosomus erythrogaster)
and bleeding shiners (Luxilus zonatus).
We also found two species of Fundulus killifish: the black spot top minnow (F. olivaceus)
and the northern studfish (F. cantanatus)
Banded sculpin were very common (Cottus carolinae).
Unfortunately, we disturbed a madtom catfish nest, but did not catch the catfish. Here is a picture of the eggs. They were hard like a cory cat egg, and very well attached to the underside of this rock. Mike Hellweg (my host for the trip) took them home to try to hatch them. If anyone can do that, it will be Mike!
We also collected fish in the Meremac River itself, but the water was cloudy and filming poor. Maybe next time!
This video shows a pair of Apistogramma defending their spawning site from their own reflections in a mirror. I use ‘mirror therapy’ to keep cichlid pairs bonded, especially pairs that I do not have extra fish of the same species for. I am convinced that an individual in a pair kept in a tank without tank mates has the potential to go nuts and start seeing its mate as a threat. I usually keep extra fish in with the pair as targets, but it that is not possible a session with the mirror once a week seems to reset their bond.
Ray is a long-time hobbyist living in Liverpool, England. Matthew and I had the privilege of staying with Ray for a few days while over in England last Fall for a British Cichlid Association event. Ray is an great tour guide. He know where all the good beer is! His fish room is impressive. I say ‘fish room’, but his hobby spreads throughout his house. Ray’s passion is really whatever captures his interest, but he has a lot of interest in South American dwarf cichlids. Take a look….
I recently imported a lot of dwarf cichlids from the Czech Republic, and the fish in this video was sold as sp. ‘Abacaxis’, which it most certainly is not! What is it? I have not been able to nail it down with the key in the Mergus atlas. I think it may be caetei or regani, but those are not quite right either. If you know, please tell me!
There are many factors that you need to consider when planning a new fish room, but one of the first is to decide what size tanks are needed and a lay out for the racks (at least a rough layout… the final result rarely fits exactly). The numbers and sizes of the tanks will define the racks, which in turn will guide the layout. The other systems are dependent upon that. Think of the aquariums and racks as the functional skeleton of the fish room. It is the framework around which the rest of the room will be built. Here is a video about the tank sizes I used, the racks I built for them and how they are laid out in the room to make use of space.