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….
Category Archives: video posts
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….
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.
This episode in the shipping series has two parts, packaging fish into Kordon Breathing Bags (which we usually call ‘Breather Bags’ in the hobby) and then packing the filled bags into boxes. I am purposefully not going into a LOT of detail here because I do not use Kordon Breather Bags for shipping anything that will be in transit for less than 48 hours. And since I rarely ship any fish slower than overnight, I do not see much use for Kordon Breathing Bags.
The Kordon web site has all the information you need to learn how to properly use their product. I use their methods for packing, especially for double-bagging, and have never had problems with using the product. The advantages are many:
- constant transfer of carbon dioxide out of the bag and oxygen into the bag, thus reducing acidification of the water in the bag
- eliminating sloshing of fish
- saving space in a box
But there are also negatives:
- fish waste or dead fish fouls the water much faster, so fish must be more carefully purged before packing
- the added weight of filling a box with breathing bags costs more to ship AND puts the box at risk of breaking as it tumbles through the mail system (when a heavier box drops its mass is more likely to cause the box, or the bags inside it, to break)
- they are more expensive
- it is harder to ship spiny fish
- the bags sometimes seep
I use Kordon Breathing Bags when I need fish to survive packing for more than 48 hours. When I travel to other countries, Breathing Bags make it possible to keep fish alive for weeks and get them home safely. I believe that Breathing Bags have revolutionized hobbyist collecting expeditions, and the explosive discovery of new species entering the hobby can be attributed, in part, to Breathing Bag technology.