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.
T. ruweti is a small, true Tilapia found in the far southeastern sections of the Congo River basin. It is famous as being the cichlid found in the Okvangu delta, a very unique habitat where the Zambezi River literally empties into a desert, creating an incredible oasis. Unfortunately, that aqua-oasis comes close to completely drying out every dry season, and if that were to happen the population of T. ruweti in that delta could disappear. That is why the fish is a priority species in the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program.
This diminutive cichlid is also one of the most well-suited Tilapines for a small aquarium. Adults rarely grow larger than 3″, and they are not overly aggressive, even when spawning. Breeding reports are few for this species. The trio I am working with act like they want to spawn, but so far… no luck. Hopefully soon….
Here we go… it has not been a secret that I had to tear down my old fish room and build a new one, but I have not been posting much specifically about the new space. This is the first video in the New Fish Room series. Enjoy…
We have covered the basics of shipping fish, now let’s take a look as some of the specific types of fish and some special considerations for shipping them. First up, armoured catfish of the Genera Corydoras, Brochis and other similar species. Catfish are probably some of the more difficult fish to ship because of their frequent puncturing of the bag and the toxic skin excretions. These challenges can be overcome with a few tricks in packing, which I share in the video (in two parts). Enjoy…
This is the last part of the series on packaging and shipping fish. These videos are dedicated to the locking-wall styrofoam inserts for boxes. I was turned on to these tongue and groove cut boxes a few months ago, and after working with them for a while I am sold. These boxes are great. Sourcing insulated boxes can be a pain, especially if you are shipping a lot of fish. Solid foam boxes are best, but they are also expensive to purchase, plus the cost of getting them to you. It is hard to keep the price down unless you order them hundreds at a time. These locking panels are also expensive to ship, but their up-front cost is lower. When the boxes are not assembled they take up a little less space than when assembled, so they are a little less expensive to ship. But the biggest advantage, for me anyway, is to finally have a consistent packaging option that is the same every time.