Tag Archives: aquarium

Colombia 2016! – Episode 3 – Hernando’s Fish Farm

Ornamental fish farming is a new idea in Colombia. Hernando Gil purchased a farm near the Rio Meta, east of Villavicencio, ten years ago.  The farm produces cattle and sugar cane, and it used to produce tilapia and pacu for human consumption.  Two years ago, Hernando reopened the ponds to give breeding ornamental fish a try.

I have visited many fish farms, and I imagine that what Hernando is building is very similar to what the ornamental aquaculture industry pioneered in Florida decades ago.  Colombia has some incredible species, many of which are hard to find, very seasonal or hard to acclimate into aquarium life. Hernando wants to concentrate on these species, in hopes of making them more available and easier to keep.  Species like the altum angelfish and the panda uaru.  Here is a look at the operation Hernando is building….


Special thanks to my sponsors.  Please visit their websites and take a look at what they have to offer.  I use Repashy Superfood a lot, all my aquariums are filtered with Poret foam from Swiss Tropicals, and I love to read Amazonas.  I endorse what I use, and I am very happy that they choose to endorse me and my activities.  Thank you!

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Aquatic Experience 2016 – Aquascape Competition

The 2016 Aquatic Experience took place the first weekend in November in Schaumburg, IL. This is a GREAT event, and everyone should try to make it next year… same weekend. This year I was there with other members of Madison Area Aquatic Hobbyists promoting Cataclysm 2017, but I also participated in the ACA sanctioned cichlid show and in the small-tank division of the AGA/Fluval aquascape competition. Here is a video about how I set that tank up, which took 6th place. My scape two years ago was awarded 3rd place, but there were more entries this year, and all of them looked really nice. I will have to step up my game next year!

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Breeding Project – Dawkinsia rohani


I have had a small group of four Rohani barbs for about 5 years.  They have been living in my 150-gallon display tank in my living room for quite a while.  I have always intended to try to induce them to spawn and raise some fry, and now that time has come.  There were two challenges to overcome.

  • Space requirements – These are not small barbs!  The males are over 4″, and they use the entire 150-gallon tank chasing each other and displaying for the females.  I think that they could get by spawning in a 75-gallon, but I do not have an open tank that big to move them to.  So I had to figure out a way to collect eggs from them in the 150 they are in.
  • No information – Everyone I asked about spawning this species told me that it has not been done.  I do not believe that to be true, but there is certainly no information about raising the fry.  The process to hatch the eggs and rear the fry will be trial and error until the requirements are figured out.

The first video will show the spawning, egg collection and first attempt at hatching.  Enjoy…


Filed under Fish, video posts

Tannins in the Aquarium – Part 2

Here is the second part to the video set on using botanicals to infuse tannins into an aquarium.  Tannins are an important part of a soft water, black water aquarium.  Fish from these habitat really thrive in tannin-rich water.  They are more active and their colors are vibrant.  The botanicals that I feature in this video series came from Tannin Aquatics .  I am very happy with the products Tannin Aquatics sent me.

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Tannins in the Aquarium – Part 1

I keep a lot of fish species from soft, black-water habitats.  I have visited some of these places in both Africa and South America, and have seen many videos shot by traveling aquarists.  The factor in those habitats that is the most obvious, and the least represented in most aquariums, is the amount of decaying organic matter that rests on the bottom of the habitat, be it puddle or stream.  I have waded into water netting fish and sunk to my knees in thick piles of leaves, sticks, seed pods and any other organic matter that hits the water and sinks to the bottom.  There are plenty of pretty, clear, sand-bottomed, fast running streams in the tropical world, but most of the fish we keep come from the mucky waters.

I started keeping botanicals in my aquariums several years ago.  After visiting Peru last year, I have greatly increased the amount of organic debris I put in with my dwarf cichlids, but nowhere near the amount that is in the natural habitat.  To match that I would have to fill a 10-gallon tank full from top to bottom with leaves, but I do not think that is wise in such a small volume of water.  The bottomlands we were collecting in had ponds with thousands of gallons of water over a thick layer of debris, but the water was still deeper than the layer of leaves.  If you tried it in a 75-gallon tank you would want 10-12″ of matter on the bottom with clear water over it.  Someday I will have the guts to try that!

This video begins a short series on using botanicals in the aquarium.  I will show you leaves, bark, seed pods and other things that I use.  I will also introduce you to a great source of exotic botanicals, Tannin Aquatics.  I shot this video just after getting a big box of items from Tannin Aquatics, many of which I had not tried before.  So far so good.  The first episode will show you how I prepare the heavier objects, such as bark, coconut husk and seed pods, before putting them into the tanks.


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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 7: Lighting and Carbon Dioxide

Here is part 7 in the planted tank series, which will be the last episode for a few months.  At this point I am doing regular maintenance and waiting for the plants to grow.  Eventually I will add some more plants to the tanks and stock with with fish.  When that happens I will publish as update on the tanks.

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Feeding Flies to Betta sp. ‘Antuta’

Before I tell this story I want to make the point that I keep a VERY clean fish room.  All my fish foods are kept in tight containers, and most of it is kept in a fridge or freezer to preserve its freshness.  I take out the garbage at least three times each week, especially if there is something stinky in the trash can.  The rare dead fish are not tossed into the garbage, they are flushed.  I sweep the floor once a week.  I flush out the drain gutters once a week by putting a hose into each of the open ends, just in case something that can rot gets into the gutters.  I take the cleanliness of the fish room very seriously!

So I was very surprised, and somewhat concerned, this week when dozens of green bottle flies showed up in the fish room.  You have probably seen these flies before.  They are a medium size fly with an iridescent emerald green color.  Pretty for a fly, but not something that I want infesting the fish room.  The green bottle fly is a carrion fly, which means that it lays its eggs in rotting organic matter.  My immediate reaction was to find the dead carcass where the flies were breeding.  I ransacked the fish room.  Nothing.  Nothing stinks like dead flesh either.  I have no idea where the flies are coming from, but I have to assume that they are getting into the basement from within a wall where there is something dead.  I am confident that my room itself is not producing the flies.  So what to do with the flies?

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  I have been given flies, so I will use them for fish food.  They are pretty easy to catch with a dry fish net.  Just leave one light on in the fish room and all the flies go to that place.  So far there have been a out a dozen flies at a time in the fish room, so I spend a few minutes catching all I can for a few minutes and feeding them to the fish.  The life cycle of the fly is long enough that if I catch them a couple times every day I should be preventing them from laying more eggs.  Eventually the flies will disappear.  Until that thankful day the fish will get some great live food!

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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 6 – Filtration

I had intended to try to cover filtration, lighting and CO2 all in one video, but it would have been too long.  Here is an episode on filtration.  You will hear me describe a new product my Boyd Enterprises… ChemiPure Green.  That product is not on the market yet, but I really like it.  I am sure that it will be released soon.


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Interesting Things to See at the California Academy of Sciences

My family and I took a long weekend trip out to San Francisco and spent a few hours visiting the California Academy of Sciences.  I have been there several times and have posted several more detailed videos.  This video is a fast-paced look at many of the cool things to see at the museum.  Enjoy.

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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 5 – planting the level bottom

Here is the follow up video that shows the planting of the level-bottom aquarium in the fish room.  The plants for this tank are all Tropica 1-2-Grow! tissue culture stem plants.

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