Thank you S. T. for making this short video of unpacking one of my shipments.
The Steinhart is one of the famous aquariums in the USA. It is part of the California Academy of Sciences museum in GOlden Gate Park, San Francisco. I visit any time I am nearby. The aquarium features many freshwater displays from small nano-aquariums to a huge Amazon River tank. Here are a few of them…
I had another opportunity to visit the Bireley family in California recently, and shot some more video of their home and fish room. I was last there two years ago, just after Rich had taken possession of some large catfish (and some that would be getting larger), and now we can see the plan for those fish complete. There is a lot of debate about whether or not large, ‘monster’ fish should be something we keep in captivity. 99% of hobbyists should not keep them. But if you have the resources to provide adequate space and adequate food, these animals can become wonderful pets. Yes…. pets. And they can live for a very long time.
The pond that these catfish are housed in is a 24-long fruit liner used for hauling fruit from orchards. Rich has one of these big tubs and two smaller. It is truly one of the most unique fish room features I have ever seen. Enjoy…
Once upon a time, all of the checkerboard cichlids were in the genus Crenicara. When the genus was split, two fish were left in the genus and all the others went into Dicrossus. The type species is C. punctulatum (the other is C. latruncularium). This original checkerboard cichlid is a fun fish to keep. They are not overly demanding, though they do not do well in dirty water. This fish is a sequential hermaphrodite. All of them start off looking phenotypically female. As a group of young fish mature, the most dominant fish will grow faster and become the breeding male. He will pair with a female that will also grow, though not as larger, and take on brighter colors and redder fins. The rest will stay comparatively small… as though they are suspended in growth. If the male is removed, a new male will arise (usually the previous dominant female). The sex change is not reversible. So that means that the easiest way to get a breeding pair is to pick up a group of 6-8 juveniles and let them grow up. Once a pair forms, move the rest to another tank and another pair will arise. Fun fish!
Finally! A fish room blog post. Hopefully I will be able to follow this one up quickly. This post is about sponge filters, which I believe are the most cost effective method of filtering aquariums a fish room setting. They are not pretty, but they work. But not all sponge filters are the same, and the way they they are used can make a difference too. One of the debates is whether a matten filter wall is worth cost. Sure…. a filter all has a HUGE amount of surface area compared to a smaller cube filter. But do you really need it more surface area in the same size tank that is being filtered effectively by a basic cube filter? No… the only reason to use a matten filter, in my opinion, is if you want to over stock a small aquarium.
Bacteria grow and die very quickly, and their cell population is dependent upon the same ecological rules of carrying capacity as any other living things (except maybe humans… assuming we have surpassed our carrying capacity). A biological filter needs the waste of fish to thrive. If there is more waste than the bacteria cells can use, the cell population grows. If fish waste reduces, bacteria cell population goes down. And it happens very fast. Days. Hours even. So there is really no point in a filter with 300 cubic inches of volume if the tank is going to hold two fish. But… if you want to grow 200 cory cat fry in a 10-gallon tank, a matten filter will let that happen.
This video presents the basics of sponge filters, how they work and how to clean them. I will cover how to run them with air in the next installment.
A few weeks ago I went on the trip out to Portland, Oregon, to give a talk to the Portland A. S., and while I was there I had the chance to visit a store that I have really wanted to visit for a long time: The Wet Spot Tropical Fish. Marcie and Steve Lundblad have established a great store. Easily one of the best in the USA. A video is worth a thousand words…. Enjoy.
Here is a short video of a few of the dwarf cichlids that are set up in spawning tanks. The Apistogramma cacatuoides ‘Pucallpa’ have 10-day old fry. A first look at the wild Pelvicachromis subocellatus ‘Moanda’ pair I got from Oliver a couple weeks ago. An update on the Nanochromis splendens that are starting to mature. And a look the the A. bitaeniata ‘Rio Tigre’ that are, hopefully, close to spawning.
Here is a video of one of the black chin apisto types I am working with right now. This is the ‘common’ variety, which means that it is a mix of fish from various places and given the descriptive term ‘yellow form’. You will see two distinct types of males in the video. I also have some of the same species from specific river systems (Rio Tigre and Rio Aguaytio). They are different, though some of the fish in the ‘common’ look a lot like the Aguaytio form. The black chin is very similar to A. cacatuoides. They are often mistaken for each other. One of the easiest featured to look for is the gap between the rear end of the lateral line stripe and the caudal peduncle spot… that gap is characteristic of A. aplpahuayo. I really like this whole group of cichlids, and it seems like every river in Peru has a different form. Enjoy…
A new import from Peru arrived last week with a lot of cool fish that I have not brought in before. The price lists are updated on the livestock page. Here are some of the highlights:
Corydoras stenocephalus – Rio Ucayali
Corydoras cf. semiaquilus – Rio Napo
Hyphessobrycon sp. ‘bleeding blue’
Lots of splash tetras…
I have not started photographing the Apistogramma yet, but new fish include:
There are also some oddball catfish: Helogenes marmoratus, Myoglanis koepckei & Denticetopsis seducta
And… because lots of you have asked for them…. more red wolf fish! Erythrinus erythrinus
Here is a video of a pair of wild A. panduro that are in the process of getting ready to spawn. This species is one of the nijsseni-group apistos, and as such it can be pretty aggressive. They prefer to spawn in pairs, and other fish in the tank can take a pretty good beating from a dominant pair. This can be a problem when a pair is not fully bonded. If the male is not receptive to the advances of the female, or if an amorous male does not get the response he wants from a female, then there is a chance that the male can attack and kill the female. Mirror therapy can help… by using a mirror to solicit a territorial response by the pair, their bond is made stronger. You will see in the video that the male is very aggressive on the mirror… he hits it hard multiple times. The female will also join in on the defense, which is a good sign that the pair is bonding well.