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…
One of the hardest groups of fish to deal with in the wholesale setting is livebearers. The problems start with the shipping process, which pretty much does everything to a livebearer that one really should not do: crowd them, keep them in poor water quality, subject them to low pH and starve them. Once they are in the fish room the situation does not get much better. They still need to be crowded. I tend to spread them out into multiple tanks, but I cannot take 250 sword tails and spread them out to 25 tanks. I can give them plenty of water changes though, and I use good Poret foam wall matten filters, so water quality is pretty stable. The big difference, I believe, is that I am able to feed the fish a LOT of quality food. Livebearers have a huge energy consumption, and they will eat all the time if there is food available to them. I feed Repashy Superfood to them at least once each day, sometimes twice. I like to mix the Soilent Green and Spawn & Grow formulas together in even amounts. I will also use Spawn & Grow, Super Green and Red Rum, especially with swordtails, red guppies and platies. The fatty acids in Spawn & Grow make a big difference in the health and vitality of the fish, the greens give the fish the plant matter they like and the Red Rum boosts color quickly and brightly. The fish learn very quickly that Repashy Superfood is good to eat. The video clips were shot after these farm-raised fish were in the fish room only 48 hours.
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…
Every now and then I am able to get a hold of something special. I have gotten two shipments of Corydoras sp. ‘Super Bicolor / Giant Panda’ … aka CW051. I am definitely pulling a spawning group of these beauties. I will try to get a video up this weekend. The fish are listed on the FISH LIST .
Repashy Superfood released a new line of marine gel food diets earlier this year. They are as good as the freshwater diets, and are designed for the nutritional requirements of marine organisms. The Reef Scraper is very unique in that it contains varieties of algae that are not normally included in fish feed, as well as the fatty acids that marine algae scraping species must have to survive. I am told that Moorish Idols are thriving on the Reef Scraper, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to make a video on that subject.
The marine diets are available in the stock shop (have been for a while).
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.