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!

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.

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.

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.

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 3 – Level Bottom with Manzanita

Here is a look at the other tank that I am working on in this planted tank project.  I apologize up front for the messed up footage of attaching suction cups to the piece of wood, but it is a pretty simple procedure.  Just tie suction cups to the wood, and leave some slack in the line to accommodate for the depth of the substrate.

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 2 – Contoured Bottom

The second part in this series on planted aquariums will focus on installing the soil substrate, the sand cap and the hardscape in the tank that will have a contoured bottom.  The tank that appears in the video is located in my living room, and will be the centerpiece aquarium in the house.

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 1 – Soil Substrates

I am finally getting around to working on a few of the display tanks that are coming back home since closing the warehouse.  I decided to tear all the planted tanks down completely and start over with new substrates.  One 75-gallon tank will be in the family room and be the centerpiece display in in the house, so I am taking my time and being careful to get everything just the way that I want it to be.

The first step is mixing the soil substrate that will be on the bottom of the tank under a cap of fine sand.  The mixture I use is something that hobbyists here in the Madison, WI, area came up with years ago the works well for us:  3 parts clean topsoil, 1 part peat, 1 part calcined clay (Turface).  Some people will also put a medium gravel in the mix, but I do not (the calcined clay serves the same purpose).

This video is the first in a series of however many parts it takes me to tell the story.  Part one is about making the soil mixture….

Bermuda Aquarium

The island nation of Bermuda is surrounded by the Sargasso Sea in the western Atlantic Ocean.  There is an aquarium and zoo there, and the aquarium is dedicated to the waters around Bermuda.  I was first there several years ago, and the facility has since been totally remodeled.  This is a very nice little aquarium that is well worth a visit.  Enjoy…

Monterey Bay Aquarium – Open Sea Gallery

I am in San Jose, CA, this weekend visiting friends and giving a talk to the Pacific Coast Cichlid Association.  I made the pilgrimage to Monterey for lunch and a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I only shot video of one gallery this time.  I have several videos of this wonderful aquarium already posted, but I cannot go to any aquarium without making at least one video.  The Open Sea gallery is unique.  There are lots of places with kelp forests, tide pools, coral reefs and rocky shores.  Monterey Bay Aquarium is the only place I have been to with big tuna!  Enjoy…

Breeding Project: Endler’s Livebearers and Small Guppies

I have been looking for an opportunity to start working with some small livebearer species for a while, but I have not pulled the trigger on buying small groups of fish that would take a long time to build up into a good size colony.  I want some livebearers types that are desirable as aquarium subjects, but will also produce enough culls to feed my growing collection of small predatory fish like dwarf pike cichlids and small wolf fish.  A member of our local club (Madison Area Aquatic Hobbyists), Jeff Zwicker, recently posted an ad to sell his colonies of Endler’s livebearers and other guppy types, so I took a trip out to see them… and made a purchase.  Six different colonies!  Enjoy the video….