I love to feed fish. I think that we all do. I especially like it when the fish I am feeding are aggressive on the food, and the best food for that is live black worms. Here is a video of several of my dwarf cichlids I have set up in spawning tanks getting a treat. I feed black worms a couple times each week to the fish that can handle them. You will see some Congochromis sabinae and some Nanochromis splendens getting some worms, but those fish only get them every other week or so: and even then they do not get many. The apistos can handle the worms though, and in the immortal words of the incomparable Charley Grimes, ‘Nothing like worms to eggs in a belly.’
The tanks are all 10-gallon set up for breeding. All the structure is in the back, away from the light. The spawning site that I hope the fish use is visible from the front. I use yarn mops in dwarf cichlid tanks for a couple reasons. A fish being picked on can hide very well buried in a mop, and when that mop is mature it will be loaded with infusoria for the fry to eat. I also use wood, magnolia leaves and live plants (potted crypts and free-floating java moss) for structure. The filter is in the back corner, which makes it another place a fish can find refuge under. There is only a little sand on the bottom. Lighting is very dim (which is why some of the video resolution sucks). The magnolia leaves add tannin, but sometimes they make the water cloudy, which you will see in a couple tanks. After a week and a few water changes, however, the tank will clear. I also use alder cones, which add some antiseptic chemicals to the water.
The tanks all start with two pairs or two trios. After a few weeks I will remove any fish that are obviously not handling aggression. By the time fry start to appear, most tanks have a pair or a trio. There is a tank in the video with some A. kelleri, which cannot stay in a 10-gallon tank forever. This is one of the mouthbrooding species, and it gets BIG.
Here is a video showing two Apistogramma species from the most recent order from Peru. I set these fish up in the photo tank and decided to get some video as well.
Apistogramma bitaeniata ‘Rio Tigre’ is one of the prettiest forms of this species I have seen. I really like the black, white and yellow markings. Just after I put them into the photo tank a couple males really lit up, but by the time I had the video camera in my hand they stopped. Here is a still pic though:
The second species in the video is a bit of a mystery. It was shipped as A. payaminonus (a holy grail species), but that is not what was sent. I think that they are one of the cruzi-group fish that comes from the same area, possibly A. playayacu. It is a pretty fish though. Notice in the pictures and video how bent and skinny the larger fish are. This is sue to malnutrition, and can happen rapidly, especially in older fish. But the condition is usually reversible with plenty of food and good water quality. I generally stay away from buying these larger specimens, however, and choose younger fish when I can. Here are some still pics of a young male, an old male and a female:
Here is a video of a recent aquarium makeover I did. The tanks are two 350-gallon monsters set side by side so that they look like one long 700-gallon tank. These aquariums have been running for several years, and were not very well maintained. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me), the previous keeper was unable (or unwilling) to keep the filters clean, and the owners went looking for someone else to do the job. I apologize for the iPhone video. I did not think about documenting the project when I started, and the phone was all I had with me when I realized I should probably make a blog video.
Here is an event I am very sorry to miss. The Aquatic Experience is happening right now for the first time. This is the first all aquarium consumer trade show I know of ever happening in the USA. Lots of all pet industry shows, but this one is just for the fish geeks. If you are anywhere near Chicago, you should go. If you are no near Chicago, try for a cheap flight into O’Hare (relatively near the event) and get there. This video is really just a preview. I was able to godown there today and shoot it. GO TO THE EVENT!!!! (go to www.aquaticexperience.org to get specific information)
I am over in England to attend and make a presentation at the British Cichlid Association Fall event (September 8, 2013), and I brought Matthew with me a few days early to do a bit of touring and visit a few hobbyists in the Liverpool area. This fish house belongs to Steven Chester, a gifted fish breeder and aquarist at a public aquarium. I have known Steven through apistogramma.com for some time, and getting the chance to meet him face to face and see his operation was really very special. He is in the process of remodeling his fish house, so the video should a bit of the old and the new. Enjoy…
Over a year ago I posted a series of videos of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but when I was there the Open Sea exhibit was undergoing a major renovation. I was able to use my iPhone to shoot some footage of the completed tank when I was in Monterey last weekend. To be honest, I had forgotten that I had not been able to include a video of the Open Sea exhibit in the original series, and did not take my video camera to California with me. The iPhone did a decent job, though the resolution is not as clear as I would like and the brightness is lacking. But the aquarium is dimly lit… Our timing of the visit was good though. We caught one of the daily feedings! Enjoy…
I visited the COAST aquarium club in southern California a few weeks ago, and one of our tour stops was Dr. Anthony Mazeroll’s fish room. Dr. Mazeroll is a Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Soka University of America. His work on wild fish genetics and environmental impact of humans takes him all over the world. His fish interests are just as broad. He has a huge DIY aquarium in his living room that is full of Lake Tanganyika cichlids. His fish room has a fish diversity from fancy bettas to wild discus. Dr. Mazeroll is a man truly dedicated to tropical fish, both professionally and as a hobby. Enjoy….
I have always liked puffers, but I have not taken advantage of many opportunities to keep them. When this species popped up I decided to import a bunch of them and see how they do. What an awesome aquarium fish! C. borneensis is very uncommon in the hobby, which is why we do not know a lot about it. It is very similar to the C. irrubesco, which is more common, so we can extrapolate a lot. My first surprise was how large he males came in. When I think of the genus Carinotetraodon, I think of the pea puffer fron India (C. travancoricus). The Borneo red eye is larger… but does not grow as large as the true Tetraodon sp. I learned one lesson the hard way… do not kep them with cory cats. You will see what I mean in the video….
Where can you get cool plants like this Mayaca seweliniana? I get them from Singapore when I am able to put in an order. Unfortunately, I am only able to take advantage of it a few times a year. Now is one of those times, so I thought that we might try something different. I very, very, very rarely do pre-orders for anything. I prefer to get stock in, acclimate it and then offer it once I know it is good. Plants are different than fish though. They come in GREAT and are best when they can be sent out as fast as possible. So let’s see if doing pre-orders works out.
Please note that this list is all the aquatic plant species that the exporter MIGHT have, and that the fill rate is usually 70% or less. So please do not get mad at me if they do not send that really rare plant you desperately want. The stem plants are priced per stem, and will come to you as loose stems… no rubber band or lead weight. You should also assume that if the description says ‘bulb’ that it will not have a shoot coming out of it.
I need orders (use the contact button above) by Tuesday, January 22. The plants will arrive to me the following Monday. I will let you know what filled and give you a chance to add to it from other stock, then invoices will go out. I need to be able to ship on that Tuesday or Wednesday.