www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk
September-October 2013
Meet
our
Fish
Doctor
FishKEEPING
Goldfish
Discover the world of the
Fis...
FANTASTIC OFFER!
SIGN UP FOR 12 MONTHS
AND SAVE A WHOPPING 50%!
Subscribe todaySubscribe today
Offer terms and conditions ...
THANKSTOWWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COMFORPHOTOGRAPHY
News
News & views........................................ 6
Information about a...
Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk
Fish behaviour ....................................92
Don’t miss these am...
Informationataglance
When: 10am-5pm, Sept 7th and 8th.
Where: Hounslow Urban Farm, Faggs
Road, Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 0L...
PHOTOCOURTESYSEALIFECENTRES
You can find out about each centre and its own unique features by visiting
www.visitsealife.com...
I don’t mean catching fish in a net or dangling a worm off a hook though, writes Adam Hough.
I mean taking great photos of ...
ALLPHOTOSCOURTESYOFTHEAUTHOR
Another point to consider
in terms of the tank is the
issue of reflection. In a
well-lit room...
10 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013
Didyouknow?
A special labyrinth organ adjoining their gills means that th...
September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 11Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk
you be successful, then ...
I
t might appear simple,
setting up a community
aquarium, but there are a
number of diverse factors that
you need to bear ...
Know your fish
Overcrowding is not simply
a question of exceeding the
calculated stocking density.
It can also arise direc...
being reasonably conspicuous
as they move through open
water. By forming shoals,
so the chances of a predator
picking off ...
● Find out about the adult size of fish that
you are thinking of acquiring.
● Determine their temperament.
● Don’t overstoc...
16 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013
more subtle factors can come
into play at times though.
Disruption within...
Choosing a store
Once you have set up your
aquarium, then clearly, it is
tempting to rush out and buy
some fish, but a has...
fish keepers of all levels of
experience congregate, getting
to know each other and
sharing their knowledge.
With a new ta...
It usually takes up to two
months to reach this point,
after having set up the tank.
For this reason, it is not a
good ide...
then you may need a different
approach. It is obviously
helpful to visit shows, because
this will give you a clear
indicat...
are visible). Occasionally, fry
may develop with only one
eye – perhaps most commonly
in goldfish. Although unsightly,
thi...
to ulcerate, with the visible
area of injury expanding out
from the central area. While
ulceration can be treated
successf...
In each issue, our team of fish-keeping experts
will be answering the questions that you want
answered. Why not email us wi...
Money matters
QWhat are the most
costly aquarium fish to
buy?
AThis group includes
rare and striking new
colour variants of...
Amazon basin, there is
another cichlid that displays
an even more advanced
form of parental care. Discus
choose their spaw...
and also helps directly to
improve the water quality
in the aquarium. Sloping the
gravel slightly from the back
to the fro...
Summer 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 23
www.wharfaquatics.co.uk
• One of the largest selections
of fish in the UK
• Huge rang...
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Popular fish keeping N°2

Revista de Peces Ornamentales
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Published in: Entertainment & Humor      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Popular fish keeping N°2

  • 1. www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk September-October 2013 Meet our Fish Doctor FishKEEPING Goldfish Discover the world of the Fish Popular Your practical guide to freshwater aquarium care RIFT VALLEY CICHLIDS Nature’s own genetic experiment BATTLING THE DINOSPORES LIVING IN HARMONY BUYING HEALTHY FISH WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR PACKED WITH EXPERT ADVICE HOW TO HOUSE DIFFERENT FISH TOGETHER TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL FISH PHOTOGRAPHY SEE PAGE 8 From humble beginnings to today’s international super pet! FishFish NEW KEEPING ONLY £3.95
  • 2. FANTASTIC OFFER! SIGN UP FOR 12 MONTHS AND SAVE A WHOPPING 50%! Subscribe todaySubscribe today Offer terms and conditions apply.* UK offer only. ** Subscription offer available when paying by direct debit only. A regularannual payment of £23.10 will be taken from your account until you cancel your subscription, FREE GIFTFLUVAL U1 FILTER ONLINE kelseyshop.co.uk/fk/p108 POST Fill in the form and send to: Popular Fish Keeping Subscriptions,Kelsey Publishing Ltd., Freepost RSXY-XXGK-EUYS,Market Harborough, LE16 9EF. CALL OUR SUBSCRIPTION TEAM 0845 872 7385 and quote offer code P108 1 2 3 3EASY WAYS TO ORDER PAY JUST £23.10 FOR SIX ISSUES** FREEGIFTWORTH£31.49 YOUR FANTASTIC SUBSCRIPTION OFFER GREAT free gift worth £31.49* FREE delivery direct to your door NEVER miss an issue Hello,Subscribe today and receive a fantastic Fluval U1 underwater filter worth £31.49 FREE. In each issue, we’re going to be looking at all aspects of thefreshwater hobby, ranging from tank setups to the latest trends and technology.Meet the personalities involved, anddiscover the latest scientific findings aboutfish and their behaviour, with our top teamof fishkeeping experts. There has never been a better time tosubscribe, so go on what are you waitingfor? If you don’t want to miss out –subscribe today! For international subscription offers please call:0044 (0)1858 438 856 YES! Please start my subscription to Popular Fish Keepingmagazine and send me my FREE Fluval U1 underwater filter. YOUR DETAILS Mrs/Ms/Miss/Mr ............... Forename .................................................................Surname .............................................................................................................Address .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Postcode ...................................Daytime phone ................................................ Mobile ........................................Email ................................................................................................................... DELIVERY DETAILS (if different from above) Mrs/Ms/Miss/Mr ............... Forename .................................................................Surname .............................................................................................................Address .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Postcode ...................................Daytime phone ................................................ Mobile ........................................Email ................................................................................................................... Direct Debit payment of £23.10 taken every 12 months+ send me my FREE Fluval U1 underwater filter. Instructions to your Bank or Building Society to pay by Direct DebitName of Bank .....................................................................................................Address ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Postcode ............................................Account name ....................................................................................................Sort code Account number Signature ........................................................ Date .......................................... Originator’s Id number PLEASE SEND COMPLETED FORM TO: UK Freepost address: Popular Fish Keeping Subscriptions, Kelsey Publishing Ltd.,Freepost RSXY-XXGK-EUYS, Market Harborough, LE16 9EF. *FREE gift subject to availability, we reserve the right to offer an alternative product at the same or higher retail value. On receipt of your order your free gift will be delivered within 25 working days. Offer/ prices available until 25th October 2013. Kelsey Publishing Ltd, publishers of Popular Fish Keeping magazine uses a Multi Layered Privacy Notice giving you brief details about how we would like to use your personal information. For full details visit www.kelsey.co.uk or call 01959 543524. If you have any questions please ask as submitting your data indicates your consent, until you choose otherwise, that we and our partners may contact you about products and services that will be of relevance to you via direct mail, phone, email and SMS. You can opt-out at ANY time via email on data.controller@kelseypb.co.uk or call 01959 543524. 8 3 7 3 8 3 Direct Debits from the account detailed in this instruction subject to the safeguards assuredby the Direct Debit guarantee. I understand that this instruction may remain with KelseyPublishing Ltd. and, if so, details will be passed electronically to my Bank or Building Society. P SUBSCRIPTION OFFER UK SUBSCRIPTIONS ONLY David Alderton, Editor Product Features: ❉ EASY TO USE AND QUITE RUNNING ❉ POWERFUL ECONOMIC FILTRATION ❉ DESIGNED TO BE USED IN AQUARIUMS AND REPTILE TANKS❉ QUICK AND EASY TO MAINTAIN - TOP ACCESS❉ INTEGRATED SPRAY BAR FOR GENTLE FLOW FOR PLANTS❉ BOTTOM OUTLET FOR DEEP WATER AGITATION❉ ADJUSTABLE FLOW RATE ❉ USE AS A PRIMARY FILTER IN SMALLER AQUARIUMS OR AS A SECONDARYIN LARGER AQUARIUMS David Alderton Popular Fish Keeping is the only newsstandmagazine in Britain dedicated to the homefreshwater tank environment, targeted tocommunity tanks, making this a familymagazine with practical advice for choosingand keeping popular fish. In addition, readersinterested in establishing a tank environmentfor aquatic amphibians or reptiles, suchas terrapins, will find supporting editorialadvice in this publication as well. In everyissue, we will cover topics such as feeding,housing, water quality and filtration, lightingand plant growth, fish profiles, the care ofother creatures that will thrive in a freshwaterenvironment and much more! P www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk Summer 2013 worth over £237 FishKEEPING Guppies great Fish Popular Your practical guide to freshwater aquarium care FILTRATION GUIDE What you need to know CREATE A BETTA WORLD PLANTING YOUR TANK Our expert’s top tips WIN!ONE OF THREE biOrb TANKS HOW TO KEEP THESE BEAUTIFUL FISH DISCOVER HOW FISH COUNT LIKE US Why these fish inspire such devotion among fishkeepers FishFish NE W KEEPING ONLY £3.95 PFK Cover3.indd 1 12/06/2013 20:56 M any thanks to everyone who been in touch following our first issue, with your comments, questions and suggestions. They’re all very welcome, and please keep them coming! We’ve also enjoyed seeing the photos of your fish and set-ups that you’ve sent. In response to several requests, there’s an article in this issue on how to take good photos of your fish, without letting the aquarium glass spoil the effect – even when using a camera phone. If you’re looking for a great weekend away soon with a fishy theme, don’t miss the Festival of Fishkeeping, which is being organised by the Federation of British Aquatic Societies. This event is taking place over the weekend of September 7th-8th, at Hounslow in Middlesex, and offers the biggest display of hobbyist fish to be seen in the UK. There will be various fish keeping demonstrations, with experienced advice being freely available too. Breeders will also be offering some of their fish for sale. There are both camping areas and caravan pitches on-site, not to mention the Sunbury Travelodge close-by, so a visit need not cost a fortune either. You can find full details on our news pages. The festival showcases many of the country’s very best fish, ranging from discus to specialist goldfish, and by way of introduction, to explain more about how shows operate and the way that fish are judged at such events, we’ve got an interview with a leading judge in this issue. Finally, don’t miss out on our great subscription offer. We’ll be publishing every two months, and our next issue will be available on October 18th. If there’s anything particular that you’d like to read about, just email me, and I’ll aim to arrange it. È helloM any thanks to everyone who hello SEE PAGE 4647 David has kept fish for many years, and his books include the Encyclopaedia of Aquarium & Pond Fish (Dorling Kindersley, £16.99) - a comprehensive guide to the care of over 800 species. David Alderton, Editor pf.ed@kelsey.co.uk
  • 3. THANKSTOWWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COMFORPHOTOGRAPHY News News & views........................................ 6 Information about a major UK fish keeping event; the opening of a major public aquarium in the north-west; a new catfish discovery – and more! Fish farming in Florida ......................44 Andrew Mackinnon reports on the major centre for aquarium fish breeding in the USA, and the changes that are taking place in the business there. Be inspired How to capture fish.............................. 8 Not in a net or on a line, but with your camera! Adam Hough explains how to get great results, even with a camera phone. Bush fish profile..................................10 Discover the world of the climbing perch and its relatives. This fascinating group of African labyrinth fish are still rather overlooked in the hobby. Gold, pearls and much more besides! ..28 The goldfish is the world’s most popular pet. David Alderton traces its origins from China, discusses the most widely-kept varieties, and provides a guide to help you keep these coldwater fish successfully in a home aquarium. Do it now! Subscriptions ....................................46 Don’t miss the opportunity to get a fantastic deal today! There is a massive saving to be made! African lake cichlids ........................... 52 Likened to marine fish because of their colouration and diversity in form, just what has shaped the characteristics of this popular group of aquarium cichlids? It’s a remarkable story. Puzzles................................................59 Test your fish keeping knowledge with our selection of puzzles. Send in the substitutes!......................60 Here’s some inspiration if you are looking for some more unusual tetras to include in your aquarium. The potential hidden killer..................65 Make sure that your fish are always safe! Enter the gourami..............................66 ChristianCastilledescribeshisexperiences withtheseinterestingAsianfish. Expert help Living in harmony................................12 Expert advice about how to create a harmonious set-up suitable for fish living together. Some fish such as male bettas must be kept apart. Buying healthy fish .............................17 Here are all the critical things that you need to consider, when selecting fish for your aquarium. Get it wrong, and you could be in for serious heartache! Fish judging........................................40 Theworldofexhibitingandjudgingfish isanareaofthehobbythathasakeen following.Sowhatdojudgeslookfor,when consideringwhichfisharethewinners? Starting out with turtles ..................76 The equipment needed to keep fish and turtles is similar. Just as with fish, you need to design housing for turtles specifically to suit the species that you want to keep. We reveal what is required. 4 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 ContentsSept-Oct 2013 50 Fish focus. p86 p17 p50 p8 p28 p12 52 Enter the gourami.
  • 4. Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk Fish behaviour ....................................92 Don’t miss these amazing insights into how fish use their senses of smell and taste in their everyday lives. Q&A Q&A.................................................... 24 Here are the replies to some of the questions that you asked us to answer. Email your questions to pf.ed@kelsey. co.uk although unfortunately, we can’t guarantee to answer every one! Fish doctor......................................... 86 Expert advice about the ailments of aquarium fish, and how to ensure that, as far as possible, your fish stay healthy. Technology How technology helps .........................73 Discover the impact of lighting on the aquarium hobby, as well as new lights that are now available – and appreciate their limitations as well. Water, water everywhere! ...................81 It may look just the same to you – but your fish will soon be aware of the difference. Dick Mills explains what influences the constituents of our water, and how this impacts on the fish. Regulars Business profile ..................................38 We report on the Goldfish Bowl in Oxfordshire – one of the country’s most respected aquatic retail centres. Shrimp set-up ....................................48 Do you fancy a small desktop tank, accommodating plants and colourful shrimp? Follow our step-by-step guide, explaining how to create a perfect shrimp set-up. Fish focus........................................... 50 Our poster spread in this issue features a stunning and very popular barb. Fish mysteries.....................................62 Could there really be gigantic freshwater fish still awaiting discovery? Expert Dr Karl Shuker examines the compelling evidence in two such cases. How fish keeping changed our lives.... 88 Susie Kearley relates a true life story, revealing just how fish keeping can impact positively on people’s lives. Places to visit..................................... 96 The first of a series of articles covering public aquariums and similar venues that will be of interest to fish keepers. Next issue........................................... 98 And how to contact us. IN THIS ISSUE September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 5 17 Buying healthy fish. 12 Living in harmony - or not, in this case! 24 Q&A. 40 Fish judging.
  • 5. Informationataglance When: 10am-5pm, Sept 7th and 8th. Where: Hounslow Urban Farm, Faggs Road, Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 0LZ. Admission costs: £6 adult, £4.50 child (over 2 years old) with family tickets being £19 (two adults and 1-2 children). The cost for students and pensioners is £5.25. These prices are for full day tickets, allowing you to come in and out all day. Children under 2 years old are free. Further information: email Joe Nethersell, the Festival Organiser, on joenethersell@gmail.com or phone 07970 106434. 6 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 S cientists have discovered a tiny new species of catfish in the waters of Rio Paraíba do Sul basin, in south-eastern Brazil. The new species, now called Pareiorhina hyptiorhachis, belongs to a genus of armoured catfishes native to South America and found only in Brazil. The new species is distinguished from other related catfish by the presence of a conspicuous ridge on its body behind the dorsal fin. Pareiorhina hyptiorhachis is only about 3-3.5cm (1.1-1.4in) in length, making it one of the smallest representatives of the catfish order. Some of the smallest members of the families Aspredinidae and Trichomycteridae are even tinier though, measuring only 1cm (0.4in) when mature. At the other end of the scale is the gigantic wels catfish, which can reach more than 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length and sometimes weighs more than 100 kilograms (220 lb). The newly discovered catfish now known to science as Pareiorhina hyptiorhachis. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY GABRIEL DE SOUZA DA COSTA E SILVA; CC-BY 3.0. A fantastic event organised by the Federation of British Aquatic Societies, covering all aspects of fish keeping, will be taking place in Middlesex over the weekend of September 7th and 8th. There is plenty to interest the entire family, as the venue is home to a variety of farm animals and other creatures, with bouncy castles, animal rides and a children’s petting zoo among the available attractions. You can enjoy the largest display of hobbyist fish on show in the country, including the leading examples of their type. The Goldfish Society of Great Britain Show for example is staging a show here over both days, and there is also a killifish show on Saturday, along with a catfish display. The Festival Aquarist Society Master Open Show plus the Diamond Class event are scheduled for the Sunday. A number of displays and talks will be provided for visitors, with fish keeping advice being freely available. Entertainment, food and refreshments are offered on-site on the Saturday evening, from 7-11pm. Admission to this part of the event is £5, and includes both a raffle ticket and a complimentary snack. If you want to stay, then you may still be able to book into the nearby Sunbury Travelodge, Hanworth Road, Sunbury on Thames, TW16 5DA. It is located right next to J1 of the M3. The best current prices for rooms and details about availability can be found online at the Travelodge website – www. travelodge.co.uk with parking being extra. There is return coach travel to and from the farm available from the Travelodge for £5 per person. News & views New catfish found Festival of Fishkeeping Keep up-to-date with events in the world of aquatics. Share your views and opinions by Emailing us: pf.ed@kelsey.co.uk Silva GSC, Roxo FF, Oliveira C (2013) Pareiorhina hyptiorhachis, a new catfish species from Rio Paraíba do Sul basin, southeastern Brazil (Siluriformes, Loricariidae). ZooKeys 315: 65. doi: 10.3897/ zookeys.315.5307 FURTHER INFORMATION
  • 6. PHOTOCOURTESYSEALIFECENTRES You can find out about each centre and its own unique features by visiting www.visitsealife.com and then selecting from the menu of different locations. You can read the full study online here. Please visit: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ abs/10.1021/es401380p NEWS & VIEWS September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 7Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk The brown trout has proved to be a remarkable adaptable species. A new Sea Life Centre has just opened in Manchester, bringing the total number of these centres around the country to 13 – plus the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. All provide a window onto the seabed, and provide astonishing close- up encounters with thousands of sea creatures, consisting of well over 100 different species. Everything from humble shrimps and starfish to seahorses, stingrays and sharks are housed in hi- tech, spacious displays. Most centres have a giant ocean tank at their core, with a spectacular walkthrough underwater tunnel offering strolls on the seabed, surrounded by tropical sharks, colourful shoaling fish and sometimes even giant green sea turtles. Conservation is at the heart of everything these attractions do, whether simply through increasing awareness of threats to species or by raising funds for field projects. They have even managed to raise enough cash to build a sea turtle rescue centre on the Greek island of Zakynthos. Many of the centres lead visitors on a journey from freshwater displays to coastal exhibits and then onto the deep ocean. Regular feeding sessions, talks and special events offer a deeper insight in the marine world, and every centre refreshes its offering annually with the inclusion of a special feature exhibition. Sea Life Centres are becoming increasingly popular destinations for educational school visits, and their in-house education team is constantly refining its packages for schools to help pupils get maximum learning opportunities – not to mention enjoyment! – from their visits È New public aquarium in the north-west Theextraordinary adaptabilityoffish N ew research from the University of Exeter and King’s College London has shown how a population of brown trout are surviving in the contaminated waters of the River Hayle in Cornwall, where metal concentrations are so high they would be lethal to fish from unpolluted sites elsewhere. The researchers compared the trout found there with a population living in a relatively clean stretch of water in the River Teign. The results showed that the accumulation of metals in the kidney and liver – where metals are stored and helps to detoxify metals, was highly active. In addition, changes in genes responsible for maintaining the balance of ions in the body and a modest increase in anti-oxidants was also found, with both these changes helping to offset the toxic effects of the metals in their bodies. Tamsyn Uren Webster, who was one of the researchers involved in the study, explains: “This particular population of brown trout has developed strategies for dealing with the metal pollution in the water and the accumulation metals in their tissues, so as to avoid the lethal damage that such concentrations would normally cause.” Unique survivors? The county of Cornwall has a long history of mining, and although much of this industry ceased during the 19th and 20th centuries, a number of rivers and estuaries still contain high levels of metals. A detailed understanding of how the Hayle trout population has developed this tolerance to metals could have potential implications for re-stocking rivers and increasing food security in polluted regions detoxified – was respectively 19 and 34 times higher in the Hayle trout. In the gills, concentrations averaging 63 times higher were present in the trout from the River Hayle, but there were no differences in metal content in the gut. This accumulation of metals in the Hayle fish highlights their extraordinary tolerance of the extreme metal concentrations in their environment. How they survive Further study on these trout revealed that a particular gene, controlling a protein called metallothionein that of the world. “The story of the brown trout in the River Hayle is a fascinating one, demonstrating its resilience and its ability to defeat the odds and tolerate the challenges imposed upon them as a result of human activities,” added her colleague, Dr Eduarda Santos. “Many aspects of this story remain untold: we do not know how or when this tolerance has arisen, and, most importantly, we do not know what the future holds for them if they are challenged with further stressors in their environment. “But we know that such populations need careful management; if the Hayle brown trout, with their unique physiology, were to be lost, it is possible that this river may never be home to brown trout again. Therefore, understanding the relationship of fish with their environment is a crucial requirement to effectively manage and protect our aquatic ecosystems.”  Are you launching new aquatic products? Want to let our readers know? Drop us an email to: pf.ed@kelsey.co.uk PHOTOCOURTESYSEALIFECENTRES school visits, and their in-house education
  • 7. I don’t mean catching fish in a net or dangling a worm off a hook though, writes Adam Hough. I mean taking great photos of fish that you will want to keep, even on a camera phone. the glass within the tank, so you will need to choose the area where you take the photograph more carefully, Always make sure that you clean this area outside of the tank with a soft wipe, and try to remove as much dust as possible. Otherwise, the auto-focus on the camera will invariably pick up on this, rather than your subject. well as other surface in the aquarium. It will allow you to ensure that the glass is crystal clean, without having to get your hands wet, helping to ensure the photo is therefore pin sharp, with no blurring in the foreground. Algal issues can be more of problem in pubic aquaria though, where you will not be able to clean I have been using cameras for many years now and it’s certainly the case that taking pictures of fish can be difficult, needing an element of luck as well, but as long as you follow some simple rules, you should be able to obtain some great pictures.some great pictures. Environmental difficulties Being under water is an obvious problem but luckily, your subjects are likely to be in aquariums. At home, make sure that your tank is kept clean, using an algae magnet that allows you to wipe away any traces of these microscopic plants that can colonise the glass as 8 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 A macro setting will allow you to get in close Deciding what type of image you want to take is vital. How to capture fish
  • 8. ALLPHOTOSCOURTESYOFTHEAUTHOR Another point to consider in terms of the tank is the issue of reflection. In a well-lit room, you will pick up parts of the room that will reflect on the aquarium glass. You can try a couple of things to stop this from happening though. Change your angle slightly, move the object or making the room darker can all be helpful ways of overcoming the problem. Camera choices The next thing to consider is the camera itself. There are some fantastic pieces of equipment on the market these days but to obtain a nice photo does not have to break the bank. Firstly, get comfortable with your camera and any other equipment such as lenses. Study the user’s manual and read up on all the functions that your camera possesses. I will talk about a couple of these functions briefly. Most if not all digital cameras will come with a flash, but you can turn this off in the ‘flash settings’ on your camera. If you use a flash when trying to photograph your fish through the glass, you will get a beam of light blocking out the fish on your photo as the glass bounces the flash back. Since tanks can be quite dark, using some additional LED (light- emitting diode) lights above the tank will help. On some of the higher end cameras such as those in the DSLR (digital single lens reflex) range, you can manually change the ISO settings. The camera’s ISO is a reflection of its sensitivity to light. If you have a low ISO, so you will require more light to make an exposure. Conversely, if you are using a high ISO, then less light will be necessary. There is a small downside to using a high ISO though, as it means the image will be a little grainy. But in reality, this is not usually that noticeable, especially with the recent advances in technology in this area. I try not to exceed an ISO of a thousand, but if the fish you are observing are in an Amazon style set-up with dark water, then this may prove to be necessary. The macro setting The symbol is usually the sign for a macro setting on a camera. It is extremely useful when taking pictures of small objects or objects that you want to get close to. This will not make you zoom in more to your subject, but it will focus much closer to your subject, sometimes within centimetres. It is an amazing function, so try it out. Even most phone cameras have this facility today. Another piece of kit that I would recommend for a couple of reasons, although it is not essential, is a tripod. There are a number of different types available today. A tripod will hold your camera steady and this will make the image sharper, as there will be less movement. Also, remember that you are taking photos of fish that are non co-operative, unlike most human subjects, so you could be holding the camera for some time in order to get the ideal shot. A tripod will make this a less tiring experience, and eliminates the risk of shaking through hand fatigue! È 1Tempting them out Battling to get your subjects to show themselves? Then try tempting your fish out with their favourite food! 2Framing your subject When taking a photograph, you are trying to create a picture. I know this might sound rather obvious, but it is about more than just what is present in front of your eyes. It’s about both the subject and the subject’s environment. As an example, do you want just the head of the fish in the frame with an attractive contrasting black background, or are you hoping to be able to show a shoal of fish swimming through a stand of aquatic plants? Try to imagine the picture that you are aiming to obtain, in your mind’s eye, and then go for it! 3Camera phones Why go and buy a camera when the Swiss army knife of today’s technology provides you with one? Camera phones are getting better every year, to the extent that some now rival the results that can be obtained with compact point and shoot cameras. Many camera phones now possess exactly the same functions as a dedicated camera of this type, including a flash that can be manually adjusted, a macro mode setting, plus touch screen focusing as well. If you follow the tips in this article therefore, you should be able to get exactly the same results from a camera phone as from a compact point and shoot camera. Top tips On shooting your fishTop tipsFishKEEPING Popular When taking a photograph, you are trying same functions as a dedicated camera of this On shooting your fish HOW TO: SHOOT FISH September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 9Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk A dark environment can pose problems. The focus here is on the female cichlid, rather than her fry Are you a keen photographer? Have you got some great photos of your fish? Why not share them with your fellow readers? Email your favourites, with information about the subjects, to pf.ed@kelsey.co.uk Get involved!
  • 9. 10 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 Didyouknow? A special labyrinth organ adjoining their gills means that these fish can breathe atmospheric air directly, in common with other labyrinth fish. But in the case of the banded climbing perch though, it can breathe air while moving out of the water, giving this species a distinct advantage in the survival stakes. These fish are actually able to move short distances across land on occasions as a result, using their pectoral fins to drag themselves along. This enables them to colonise new areas, or retreat from where a pool may be drying up, setting off to find a larger body of water. Sexing in this instance is reasonably straightforward, because the male banded climbing perch (M. fasciolatum) has much larger dorsal and anal fins than the female, and is also more colourful. Floating plants should be included in a spawning tank, as the male will often choose to construct his bubble nest among them. He creates this simply by blowing bubbles of saliva for this purpose. Assuming that the fish are mature, being at least 7.5cm (3in) long, then spawning is quite likely to occur at some stage. This has proved to be one of the easier species to breed. The eggs will rise to the water’s surface, and are collected by the male, who then transfers them to the nest. There may be as many as 1,000 deposited as the result of a single spawning. The young will hatch within a day, and will be free-swimming in a further 48 hours. They need to be reared on special fry foods at first. They should grow quickly, and may have reached about 1.3cm (0.5in) just two months after hatching. The ornate climbing perch. One of the popular misconceptions in the hobby is that all labyrinth fish come from south-east Asia or thereabouts. Whilst certainly tropical, the distribution of the banded climbing perch for example actually ranges from Senegal in western Africa eastward across the continent to the lakes of the Rift Valley. Jake Ward explains more. PhotoscourtesyPhotomaxattheGoldfishBowl At a glance serves as another name for the unwary when it comes to trying to pronounce it. The ‘C’ in this case is silent so that the name is pronounced ‘t’en-oh- pohma’ as a result. This description actually means ‘combed’ and describes the extensions on the rear of the gill cover that are shaped like the teeth of a comb. (In T he common name of this African group in fishkeeping circles is ‘bush fish’. As the American author Bob Goldstein once observed, with great perception (and no little wit), they might be better known as ambush fish, thanks to their natural hunting behaviour. The genus Ctenopoma Find out about bush fish in just 5 minutes Great fish keeping advice from the teamFishkeeping Popular this context, you may come across the word ‘ctenoid’ referring to a particular type of fish scale; again, this describes similar edging). The group As is usual in the world of fishkeeping, some name changes have occurred quite recently - around 1995 in this case. These have resulted in some species being reclassified into the genus Microtenopoma, although the logic that all small species fitted into this new category does not always hold true. The reason for the ‘micro-‘ prefix lies in other physical attributes rather than just their overall size. Leopard bush fish (Ctenopoma acutirostre).
  • 10. September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 11Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk you be successful, then you may not be able to repeat the exercise to order! It is very much down to the fish themselves in this case. There are generally no apparent external sexual differences between the sexes and whilst some have been observed to utilise bubble nests, the fry simply appear without any visible preamble in other cases. This has led some people to wonder as to whether mouth brooding is employed? Should you see fry in the tank, it would be prudent to remove the adults and leave the young in this large tank where they can grow without fear of being preyed upon. Bear in mind, though, that they might have a job finding the small food that they initially require in such a large space. Leaving a dim, low wattage light on 24 hours a day may help out in this respect. A good introduction The banded climbing perch is probably the most widely available bush fish. Like other members of the group, this species is relatively dark in colour, varying from shades of brown to bluish-grey, with blue being especially apparent in the fins. The scales are very pronounced. È Species within the Ctenopoma/Microtenopoma genera divide into two basic shapes, with one being more cylindrical than the other – this group includes M. ansorgei, M. argentoventer, C. multispinis, M. nanum and C. nigropannosum. The deeper-bodied species are C. acutirostre, M. congicum, M. fasciolatum, C. kingsleyae, C. ocellatum and C. oxyrhynchum. With some of these latter bush fish, the dorsal, caudal and anal fins are so near to each other that they often appear to be joined, encircling the rear half of the fish with one complete fin. The outer edges of the fins may well be transparent and this helps to disguise their typical ‘fishy’ outline and so helps to camouflage the fish in its natural habitat. Predatory by nature Speaking of camouflage, most species are of the ‘mottled hue’ variety, as you can see. This is an extremely practical colouration for hiding amongst aquatic plants, waiting ready to pounce on any passing meal. The exception to this rule is the ornate climbing perch (M. ansorgei), whose cylindrical body is covered with alternating vertical stripes of dark brown and orange. Whilst many of the gouramis are looked upon as gentle, graceful fish (although everyone always overlooks the fierce territorial nature of a nest-guarding dwarf gourami!), the same description does not fit bush fish at all. They are definitely predatory, as one look at their large, sharp-pointed jaws will indicate. They are therefore not suitable for the community aquarium, and so need to be kept apart. Tank design Their size ranges from a modest 7cm (2.8in) to a much more menacing 20cm (8in). For fish that like to hide yet have voracious appetites (which fortunately do not extend to the plants), this presents two distinct obligations on the part of the fishkeeper. Firstly, the aquarium must be tailored to suit the eventual size of the fish – so do your homework before obtaining the species: probably a 60cm (24in) tank is the minimum size required, even for the smaller species, with anything larger being a bonus for the fish. In all cases, the aquarium must be furnished to provide extensive hideaways, in the form of bushy thickets and caves where these fish can lurk. With the extensive use of plants, the light conditions in the aquarium will subsequently be quite dim, so make sure plants you use are able to thrive under less than brilliant lighting. Coming from central Africa (well, we’ll take an average location between west and east just to be on the safe side!) the water temperature should be maintained on the higher than usual side of things, say around 27-28°C (79-81°F). Feeding In addition, a wide and varied diet must be available, and it should include ‘meaty’ foods in the main. While it is reported that many bush fish will take flake and other dried foods, we all know the risk to water quality caused by uneaten foods. Live foods may be better than their frozen or freeze- dried versions simply for the reason that they move around a bit, and so will appeal to the ‘snatch and grab’ instincts of these fish, in comparison with food just laying there. Water circulation need not be too vigorous but some movement may help to keep otherwise inanimate food on the move. This is a significant feeding trigger for these fish. In the wild, some species may inhabit faster flowing waters, but retreat to slower backwaters when breeding. Reproductive behaviour The breeding of bush fish appears to be something of a mystery – extending from the sexing of individual fish right through to how they breed. Not only that, but should Otherspecies Ctenopoma acutirostre Common name: sharp-nosed ctenopoma; leopard bush fish; spotted ctenopoma. Origin: Zaire (Congo). Size: 15cm (6in). Ctenopoma kingsleyae Common name: tail-spot ctenopoma. Origin: Senegal. Size: 20cm (8in). Ctenopoma ocellatum Common name: eye-spot ctenopoma. Origin: Zaire (Congo). Size: 14cm (5.5in). Ctenopoma oxyrhynchum Common name: mottled ctenopoma. Origin: Zaire (Congo). Size: 11cm (4.3in). bushfish advice Microctenopoma fasciolatum Common name: Banded ctenopoma; banded climbing perch. Origin: Zaire (Congo). Size: 8.5cm (3.5in). did you know?
  • 11. I t might appear simple, setting up a community aquarium, but there are a number of diverse factors that you need to bear in mind, right from the outset, because unfortunately, it is not just as simple as choosing the fish! The first place to start is with the size of your tank. Bear in mind that if you exceed the recommended stocking density within the aquarium, the likelihood is that you will encounter problems. You should therefore choose the largest tank that you can afford and accommodate in the space available. Surface area It is usually recommended to allow about 75cm2 (12in2 ) for each 2.5cm (1in) of body length of the fish, minus the length of the caudal (tail) fin. This is important because it is at the surface of the water where gaseous exchange takes place. You can work out the total surface area simply by multiplying the length and width of the tank together. A tank that is 91cm (36in) long and 30cm (12in) wide therefore has a total surface area of 2787cm2 (432in2 ). Water volume The other key consideration is the water volume in the tank. You will need to work out the volume of your tank in litres, if it is not marked on the label – assuming that you are buying a new tank. This is very simple to do these days, on the web. All you need are its dimensions in centimetres – length x width x depth – and then you need to log on to the website of The International Federation of Online Clubs and Aquatic Societies (IFOCAS). Enter these figures, press the calculate button and you will have the answer in a few seconds. This site also allows you to compute the volume of a cylindrical aquarium. You then need to allow approximately 2l per cm (equivalent to 1gal per inch), based on the combined length of the fish. However, you also need to deduct 10-15% of the calculated volume, in order to allow for rockwork and other décor in the tank. This effectively then reduces the stocking volume. Allow for growth! The important aspect of both these measurements is that they refer to adult fish of your chosen species. Before actually acquiring any fish, you therefore need to sit down the label – assuming that you This is very simple to do these days, on the web. All you need are its dimensions in centimetres – length x width x depth – and then you need to log on to the website of The International Federation of Online Clubs and Aquatic (equivalent to 1gal per inch), based on the combined length you therefore need to sit down 12 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 Living in harmony For many people, part of their dream of setting up an aquarium is to establish a mixed collection of fish, which will live together without any problems. Unfortunately, the reality can sometimes prove very different. Here experienced fish keeper Don Harper reveals what can make the difference between success and failure. BELOW Tank measurements are vital when it comes to setting up a community aquarium.
  • 12. Know your fish Overcrowding is not simply a question of exceeding the calculated stocking density. It can also arise directly from your choice of fish. Remember that not all fish tend to swim at the same height in the water. You can see this from the appearance of the fish themselves, if you are in any doubt. Some, such as plecostomus catfish, tend to occupy the lower reaches of a tank, using their sucker- like mouthparts to anchor themselves on bogwood for threatened, whereas in more open surroundings, they will constantly be on the move, upsetting other tank occupants. have a function that extends beyond making the tank look attractive. They can be used to divide the aquarium into different areas, with the plants particularly providing screening, so that the fish not only have somewhere to retreat, but can escape out of the sight of possibly more aggressive tank mates. Careful planting of this type, providing areas of relatively dense cover, can also help nervous fish to establish themselves in a relatively stress-free environment. They will venture out from the aquatic vegetation because they are confident they can dart back here if they feel and work out the total length of fish that can be accommodated in the aquarium. Do not forget that the vast majority of fish offered for sale are bred commercially, and they are unlikely to be fully grown when you purchase them. You therefore need to be aware of how big they are likely to grow, when calculating the number that you can ultimately buy for your aquarium. It pays, of course, to set the tank up a week or so before you actually acquire any fish. You can then check that both the heaterstat and filter are working correctly, and equally importantly, particularly in the case of a mixed aquarium, you can set the plants in place, and give them an opportunity to start establishing themselves. Screening In a mixed aquarium in particular, both the plants and rockwork September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 13Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk MIXED TANKS Oscars start off quite small, but then grow rapidly, and may end up preying on their tank mates. Rockwork and plants help fish to live in harmony. Take care not to overcrowd the tank occupants. Keeping fish of similar size together reduces the risk of individuals being persecuted. CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE
  • 13. being reasonably conspicuous as they move through open water. By forming shoals, so the chances of a predator picking off a particular individual are correspondingly reduced. In order to create different focal points within a community aquarium, aim to include examples of fish drawn from all three groups. In addition, though, this approach will help to ensure the likelihood of conflict between different species of fish in the aquarium is reduced, as they tend to be less inclined to come into contact with each other. Environmental considerations Yet there are some obvious constraints when it comes to compatibility that have nothing to do with the behaviour of the fish, but rather relate to their physiological needs. Check the water conditions that they require. As an example, you cannot put any Rift Valley cichlids in an aquarium with Amazonian fish, which live in soft rather than hard water, unlike the cichlids. Water temperature is less of an issue, but bear in mind that some tank occupants, notably White Cloud Mountain minnows (Tanichthys albonuches) prefer a lower temperature – around 18-22°C (65-72°F) in this case – than that within a typical tropical aquarium. If kept too warm, then their lifespan is likely to be shortened. Their profile lessens water resistance as they swim – and they can accelerate rapidly if required, away from danger. In the wild, such fish are vulnerable to being attacked, fish that occupy the upper reaches of the water column by the position of their mouths, which are upturned. This is because rather than feeding beneath their bodies, this group of fish tends to snatch insects and other edible items from the water’s surface, or even sometimes in the air above. They will benefit from floating plants in the tank, beneath which they can hide away. In terms of food, items that float for a period, such as flaked food should be offered, whereas bottom-dwelling catfish are typically fed on pellets that sink through the water rapidly, in order to reach their target. There is a third group of fish that have a different lifestyle though. These are fish that occupy the middle layer in the aquarium, although they will swim up or down, often depending on the availability of food. They tend to live in shoals, and have streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies. example. Bottom-dwelling fish also display a relatively flat underside to their body, allowing them to lie on the substrate without any difficulty. Such fish are generally not fast swimmers, and so they rely more heavily on camouflage to escape the attention of would-be predators. In the case of these catfish as an example, their appearance may be mottled on their upperparts, but paler below, on the underside of the body. Another characteristic of bottom-dwelling fish is that they tend to be nocturnal, proving to be less active when the aquarium is well lit. Since these fish feed on the bottom, so their mouths are located on the underside of their bodies too. The barbels of bottom- dwelling catfish tend to be quite short. The situation is reversed in the case of fish such as hatchetfish that live near the water surface. They have a relatively horizontal back, so their presence will not be visible to would-be predators such as birds flying over the water, while the fish swim just below the surface. You can also recognise Right Neon tetras are one of the mid-level shoaling species. Note the position of the mouth, which lies at the front of the face. have nothing to do with the behaviour of the fish, but rather relate to their physiological needs. Check the water conditions that they require. As an example, you cannot put any Rift Valley cichlids in an aquarium with Amazonian fish, which live in soft rather than hard water, unlike the cichlids. Water temperature is less of an issue, but bear in mind that some tank occupants, notably White Cloud Mountain minnows (Tanichthys albonuches a lower temperature – aroundTheir profile lessens water insects and other edible items from the water’s surface, or even sometimes They will benefit from floating plants in the tank, beneath which they can hide “Bottom-dwelling fish also display a relatively flat underside to their body, allowing them to lie on the substrate without any difficulty” 14 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 A plecostomus catfish, with its mouth beneath its body. A red Jacob peacock cichlid (Aulonocara jaconfreibergi). These and other cichlids from the lakes in Africa’s Rift Valley must be kept in hard water.
  • 14. ● Find out about the adult size of fish that you are thinking of acquiring. ● Determine their temperament. ● Don’t overstock the aquarium. ● Be observant and act if trouble threatens. Some specific pointers Tiger barbs may be included in a community aquarium, but unfortunately, they do have a tendency to nip at the fins of certain fish, particularly Siamese fighting fish and angelfish. They should therefore be kept apart from these fish. Other barbs tend to be less inclined to engage in this vice, although the related zebra danio has a bad reputation in this respect as well. There is plenty of choice when it comes to deciding which fish you want to include as part of your aquarium though, so this should not be a problem. Male Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) must never be housed together, because they are aggressive, and will attack each other. Yet you should also try to avoid fish displaying similar colouration to the male in the aquarium too, since they could end up being seriously harried as well. Given the range of colouration in the case of these bettas though, this too should not be a problem. Buying the fish Armed with the stocking density figure based on your tank size, you can then go off in search of the occupants. Selecting the fish, once everything is set up, should be really enjoyable, but chose with care where you go to buy the fish. You want be sure that they are suitably acclimatised, and should settle without any problems. (This is discussed in more detail in the next article – ED). Warning! The impact of teeth can be important, when it comes to attempting to determine which particular fish will live together. Certain species such as piranhas have particularly powerful teeth in their jaws, which can be used to tear prey apart. Yet it is the size of the mouth that is perhaps the key indicator in terms of determining the likely level of aggression of the fish concerned. Even those that lack teeth at the front of their mouths can still inflict a painful and damaging bite by simply relying on their strong jaws. You may not see any overtly aggression, but simply find one or more of the fish in the tank have clearly been attacked. Do not ignore any nocturnal species that you have in the tank as possible suspects. It is not unknown for such fish to hunt down other species sharing their quarters after dark. The only solution in such cases is to remove the most likely culprits and hope for an improvement. Don’t ignore the traffic lights! When it comes to determining which fish will live together in harmony, help is often at hand in-store. Many aquatic shops provide information informally with their so-called traffic light system. If you are looking for fish that should be suitable for a communal aquarium, the you simply need to concentrate on those that have a green dot after their names on their tank labels. Be wary with fish that are marked orange, simply because they may give rise to problems in these surroundings. Names of fish accompanied by red dots are usually too aggressive, grow too large or may have other particular requirements, such as preferring brackish water. This means that they will definitely be unsuitable for the typical community aquarium. Expert guide… to community harmonyFishKEEPING Popular ABOVE A piranha’s teeth seen in close-up in a museum specimen. It is easy to see why shoals of these fish are so feared in the wild. Be careful when choosingcompanions for Siamesefighting fish. They can be bothaggressors and victims. DID YOU KNOW? Themed tanks These issues surrounding water conditions help to explain why so-called ‘themed tanks’ became so popular several years ago. The idea in such cases was to maintain a mixed collection of fish, while selecting those that occupied a particular area of the world, where they naturally co-existed. The planting and overall set up was a microcosm of their attack each other. Yet you which can be used to tear prey apart. still inflict a painful and damaging bite by simply relying on their strong jaws. the tank have clearly been attacked. Do September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 15Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk MIXED TANKS CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE Keeping fish of similar size together reduces the risk of individuals being persecuted. Dramatic landscaping helps to emphasise the appeal of community aquariums, as shown in this case. in search of the occupants. Selecting the fish, enjoyable, but chose with care where you go to community harmony ABOVE A piranha’s teeth seen in close-up in a
  • 15. 16 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 more subtle factors can come into play at times though. Disruption within a settled mixed collection is most likely to occur as the fish mature, and come into breeding condition. They often become territorial at this stage. Typical signs may include the dominant male being more brightly coloured than his companions, with persistent chasing of weaker rivals as well as females. In this case, aggression is likely to be focussed on other members of the same species sharing the aquarium, although again, fish of similar colouration may also be harassed. This is when the benefits of a slightly and accommodate a tank divider in the existing set-up, removing this barrier once the level of aggression has declined. Meanwhile, you can transfer the aggressive fish behind the barrier, allowing the others to carry on without any disturbance. As a general guide, even if your fish do breed successfully in the aquarium, the chances are that their eggs and young may not survive, unless there is plenty of cover in the tank. È well-planted aquarium will be very apparent. A male will often stop harrying a would-be rival if the other fish disappears from sight into vegetation or behind rockwork. When aggression is a problem, you will need to split up the fish, because otherwise, they will suffer from stress and sustain injuries to their fins and scales as well. These wounds can easily become infected with opportunistic fungal organisms that are likely to be present in the aquarium water, and will have to be treated. Rather than setting up another aquarium though, you may be able to readjust the décor natural environment. If you want to learn more about this trend, one of the best books that you can look at for inspiration, deriving in part from the photography, is The Complete Aquarium by Peter Scott, published by Dorling Kindersley back in 1995. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is out of print now, but you can buy copies for just pence on internet sites like Amazon UK. Signs of trouble Aggression itself is relative – although certain fish offered for sale are predatory in their feeding habits, and clearly, this needs to influence their choice of companions. Other, The difference in the breeding habits ofbettas reflects the environment in which they live. Siamese fighting fish are found in still areas of water with no currents. These would otherwise destroy their delicatebubble nest. Mouth brooders occur inareas where water currents are morepowerful, and so it is believed that theycollect their eggs, to prevent thesefrom being swept away. did you know? mixed tanks Male Siamese fighting fish are highly aggressive towards each other, and will fight to the death.. “When aggression is a problem, you will need to split up the fish, because otherwise, they will suffer from stress and sustain injuries to their fins and scales”
  • 16. Choosing a store Once you have set up your aquarium, then clearly, it is tempting to rush out and buy some fish, but a hasty purchase may soon be regretted, so take your time, and do not place On the other hand, if you are seeking specific or more unusual species, it will be better to go to a specialist aquatic store. You can find a number advertising in this magazine, but if there is not one close to where you live, try an internet search, or ask for a local recommendation if you have some fish keeping friends. Theexcitementis mounting–everythingis setupandtheelectrics and filter are working, so now is the time to obtain some fish. But where should go, and what should you look for? It pays to do your homework. Otherwise, you could easily end up introducing disease to the aquarium, and creating problems for the future. Greg Jennings provides advice. Y ou can obtain fish from various sources, ranging from ordinary pet shops to specialist aquatic stores, and even via mail order. The choice may be influenced to some extent by the types of fish that you want, as much as any other factor. Most pet stores stock a basic selection of tropical fish, usually including a selection of livebearers such as platies, maybe some barbs and similar species like rasboras, common tetras like the neon, plus a few of the smaller catfish like corydoras. These are usually quite suitable for a community aquarium, because if the shop only has a few tanks, then it will tend to stock the popular species that are easy to keep. LEFT A cardinal tetra – one of the most beautiful of all freshwater aquarium fish. PHOTO COURTESY AXEL ROUVIN. local recommendation if you have some fish keeping friends. Most pet stores stock a basic selection of tropical fish, usually including a selection of livebearers such as platies, maybe some barbs and similar species like rasboras, common tetras like the neon, plus a few of the smaller catfish like corydoras. These are usually quite suitable for a community aquarium, because if the shop only has a few tanks, then popular species that are LEFT A cardinal tetra – one of the most beautiful of all freshwater aquarium fish. PHOTO COURTESY AXEL ROUVIN. Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 17 Buying healthy fish: What you need to look for BUYING FISH Corydoras are widely available, representing one of the most popular groups of aquarium fish. It is important to study all the fish in the tank before deciding which, if any, to buy. Choose your fish carefully. CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE
  • 17. fish keepers of all levels of experience congregate, getting to know each other and sharing their knowledge. With a new tank, using a local supplier also makes it more convenient if you want to stock it gradually over a few months. Buying locally There are a number of advantages to obtaining fish locally where possible. In the first place, they are likely to be more acclimatised to the local water conditions, at least to some extent, depending on how long they have been in stock. They will also only have a short journey to their new home, lessening the stress of the move. If you become a regular customer at your local store, you can easily keep a check on any new fish that become available. You are also more likely to get a helpful response in the event of any problems, and often free advice, which can be particularly important when you are new to the hobby. Remember that dedicated aquatic shops provide far more than just fish and dry goods – the best ones are community hubs where yourself under pressure. If you are doubtful about the way that the fish are being kept at one store, or their condition, then err on the side of caution and look elsewhere. The fish themselves are only a relatively small part of your outlay, compared with the cost of the equipment, but if you don’t buy wisely, you could waste both time and money, landing yourself with a lot of frustration and additional problems right from the start. Also, bear in mind that if you add sick fish to the tank, you will endanger the health of their companions, as well as any subsequent arrivals. Always aim to obtain the best stock that you can find, and keep newcomers after your initial purchase in a basic isolation tank at first for this reason. Even though this will not guarantee their good health, it will protect the established fish. This is often recommended, as the efficiency of the filtration system improves as the filter starts to work at maximum efficiency. “If you don’t buy wisely, you could waste both time and money, landing yourself with a lot of frustration and additional problems right from the start” With a new tank, using a local supplier also makes it more convenient if you want to stock it gradually over a few months. local water conditions, at least stock. They will also only have efficiency. BUYING FISH 18 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 Avoid stock the aquarium to its maximum capacity from the outset. The size of larger fish such as discus will influence their cost, with large specimens being more expensive. Proven, compatible pairs or rare colours also tend to increase the asking price.
  • 18. It usually takes up to two months to reach this point, after having set up the tank. For this reason, it is not a good idea to add fish up to the maximum stocking density from the outset. The filter could easily become overloaded, affecting the health of all the fish as a result. Ordering fish If you cannot see the particular species that you want, a store may be willing to order the fish especially for you, particularly in the case of a specialist aquatic outlet. They may only be prepared to do this for a firm order though, which rather binds you to buying the fish before seeing it, which is not generally recommended. If the dealer seems knowledgeable and the premises are well run though, you may want to take the risk, with the proviso that if the fish has a problem, such as missing scales, then you will be entitled to cancel the order, having being able to inspect the fish. When seeking breeding stock, it become more complicated, unless the sexes of the species concerned can be discerned very easily, so there is no scope for confusion. Mail order fish Perhaps unsurprisingly, the least satisfactory option, in general terms, although it may work well in individual cases, is to buy fish unseen from someone in another part of the country, and have them sent to you by courier. Shipment is quite costly under these circumstances, often being well in excess of the price of the fish themselves, and so this method only tends to be used with more expensive fish - typically breeding stock. Under these circumstances, the breeder or supplier may well be willing to supply you with photos online, even if they are not on their website. This is definitely to be recommended, as it gives you an opportunity to see the fish before they are dispatched to you. Always check when the fish will be sent – some suppliers As with any type of store, some aquatic outlets are better and more informed than others. Although it may be tempting to rely on the length of time that a store has been trading, this can only be a guide; newly-opened stores can be very well-run, offering sound advice, as can chains of stores where there is usually a great deal of emphasis placed on training. This approach may provide a uniformity of service and information that you will not necessarily find in independent outlets. Some of these will be very knowledgeable, and others less so. Independents often tend to specialise, having an area devoted to catfish for example, alongside other fish, making it easier to track down a particular species. The following tips should help you to check, irrespective of the type of store, whether it is generally good for obtaining healthy fish:- 1.Trademembership Although it is not a cast- iron guarantee, look for a store that displays current membership of a trade organisation, and particularly the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA). Such bodies run special staff training courses, so the personnel in these outlets should be able to offer you sound, knowledgeable and up-to-date advice, on all aspects of aquarium management. Many independent outlets belong to OATA. 2.Sickfish Avoid any store where you spot dead or diseased fish on view. Yes, fish occasionally do die in stores, just as they do in home aquariums and in the wild, but leaving them on view suggests a lack of attention to detail, and the welfare of the other fish. The overall state of the tanks will give a general indication about the store. Be certain that they are clean and not overcrowded. In some cases, there may be a label, saying the fish in a particular tank are in quarantine. This can be frustrating if you want to buy some when you visit, but it is actually a positive sign in terms of helping to ensure that you do not walk out of the store with sick fish. 3.Airsupply If the fish are congregating at the surface (as distinct from recognised surface-dwellers such as hatchetfish), and particularly if they are gasping, they may be suffering from an oxygen deficiency and therefore under stress, making them more vulnerable to infections. These can then develop in your tank at home. This suggests poor management in any case. 4.Clear,detailedlabelling A fairly reliable sign of a well-run store. The labelling may highlight the compatibility of the different fish and other details such as their ease of care, quite apart from their price. This suggests a knowledgeable and responsible management. 5.Helpfulstaff Watching the staff at work can give you a useful insight, particularly with regard to their attitude to other customers. Are they happy to talk about the fish, being enthusiastic and helpful, or are they offhand? Should you or another customer want a particular pair of fish in a tank, but the staff seem unwilling to catch them up for you to look at, trying to fob you off with others instead, then you may well prefer to go elsewhere. Expert tips Store checklistFishKEEPING Popular BELOW The fish should be swimming normally – only surface dwellers like hatchetfish should be up near the surface. CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE advice, as can chains of stores where there is usually a great deal of emphasis placed on training. This approach may provide a uniformity of service and information that you will not necessarily find in independent outlets. Some of these will be very knowledgeable, and others less so. Independents often tend to specialise, having an area devoted to catfish for example, alongside other fish, making it easier to track down a particular species. The following tips should help you to check, irrespective of the type of store, whether it is generally good for obtaining healthy fish:- 1.Trademembership Although it is not a cast- iron guarantee, look for a store that displays current membership of a trade organisation, and particularly the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA). Such bodies run special staff training courses, so the personnel in these outlets should be able to offer you sound, knowledgeable and up-to-date advice, on all aspects of aquarium management. Many independent outlets belong to OATA. BUYING FISH Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 19 It is a good sign if the shopuses different nets, which aredisinfected regularly. Netscan spread disease easilyfrom one tank to another,through contaminatedwater. DID YOU KNOW?
  • 19. then you may need a different approach. It is obviously helpful to visit shows, because this will give you a clear indication of the type of fish that you need, quite apart from allowing you to see the winning entries at such events. Attending shows also provides the best way of meeting breeders as well. They may have surplus stock available, either on-sale at the event or at their homes, or may be able to recommend other exhibitors who can help you to set up with good stock. As you will see, there is a considerable variance between quality exhibition and ordinary pet shop-type Guppies for example. In the exhibition field, the fish tend to be slightly larger in size, with more vivid colouration, than those of the same species that are sold simply as pets. Consider joining a specialist society too. There have set dispatch days each week. Consignments can usually be tracked on route, and you probably be given a delivery window of an hour or two, to ensure that someone will be at home to receive the fish. They will be shipped in special insulated boxes, with heat packs so they will not be subjected to great variations in water temperature, although shipping is usually delayed if the weather forecast is bad, so as to ensure that the fish do not be stranded. Obviously, if there are lengthy, unexpected delays in transit, this may harm the fish. They need to be unpacked and placed in an aquarium as soon as possible once they reach you, but do not forget to allow the bag to float on the water surface in the tank for 15-20 minutes, to equilibrate the water temperatures, before releasing the fish. Show stock If you are interested in keeping and breeding exhibition stock, 20 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 then you may need a different approach. It is obviously helpful to visit shows, because this will give you a clear indication of the type of fish that you need, quite apart from allowing you to see thehave set dispatch days each Obtaining oscars as young fish brings benefits. Some catfish are more active than others. BELOW Show stock is more uniform in appearance. A sunset marigold hi-fin platy is seen here. “It is obviously helpful to visit shows, because this will give you a clear indication of the type of fish that you need” ABOVE Aquarium nets are a potential hazard. and so will not be active under bright lights. Start by looking at all the fish in the tank lurking here, this could potentially cause serious problems within your new aquarium. A number of diseases are not just spread from fish to fish, but the harmful microbes responsible for the illness survive in the water. This is a common means by which infection can enter the tank. As a further check, look closely at the fish before deciding which – if any – you want to purchase. Stand back from the tank at this point, and carry out an overview, and cast a general eye over all the fish. If there are ailing individuals are organisations representing all the major groups of fish. This will put you in touch with dedicated and experienced enthusiasts, and in addition to advice, this can also give you access to more unusual species that would be hard to obtain from the average aquatic outlet. Selecting your fish When it comes to choosing the fish themselves, allow time to watch and observe them, before reaching any decisions. It is not just about inspecting their condition. You need to know about how the species in question behave, so you can recognise any abnormality. Not all catfish for example are very active swimmers – and yet a readiness to swim can be a sign of good health. Furthermore, some fish tend to be nocturnal,
  • 20. are visible). Occasionally, fry may develop with only one eye – perhaps most commonly in goldfish. Although unsightly, this need not be a significant handicap, because they will find their food by scent. Nevertheless, do always ensure that both eyes are present – this problem is not always immediately apparent, as the fish will seek to keep you in focus with its good eye. If one or both eyes are bulging out abnormally (not to be confused with the telescope eyes of some goldfish), then this may indicate a condition described as ‘pop eye’, or more technically as exophthalmia; do not buy such fish, as they often do not have a realistic hope of recovery. environment may well lead to an improvement in their state of health, the damaged area could still be susceptible to fungal or bacterial attack. 3.Bodycondition Healthy fish should appear plump, and never thin, which could be indicative of a chronic disorder and even piscine tuberculosis. It is obviously easier to assess their condition when several of the same type are in a tank together. Bear in mind though, that young fish will be smaller, while the bodies of females will swell when in breeding condition, plus in some cases, there may be a difference in size between the sexes. 4.Eyecheck Make sure that the eyes are not cloudy, and that both are present (except in the case of blind cave fish, where no eyes within members of a group, and since none of the fish are likely to be ready to spawn, so the male will not be inclined to bully the female when they are transferred to unfamiliar surroundings. This is otherwise something that you may need to watch, with female fish of this type often taking longer to settle down than males. A closer examination Here is a checklist of points to watch for, to help you avoid the risk of selecting poor or unhealthy specimens. 1.Swimmingindicators These are very important. Are the fish swimming normally, and not tilting or encountering difficulty in maintaining their balance in the water? Any that appear to be having difficulty may be displaying signs of dropsy, particularly if their abdominal region appears slightly swollen, or a swim- bladder disorder, for which there are no real cures. 2.Barbels It can be harder to assess the health of some fish, notably those catfish that are relatively inactive by nature. But check the barbels around the mouth are of even length and do not appear to be inflamed. This can happen, particularly if the substrate is dirty. Inflammation may extend to their underparts in this case as well. While a change of after they have been caught, and are in the clear plastic carrying bag, to be sure that they are no obvious signs of any problems. Start small... It is almost impossible with most tropical fish to be sure of their age, especially if they are fully grown when you acquire them. Small species such as livebearers may live for little more than a year, so buying them is something of a lottery. Although less impressive in some cases, it is usually better to choose young fish because it is easier to determine their age – or at least be sure that they are relatively young. Even with fish such as oscars (Astronotus ocellatus) that grow to a larger size and can live for a decade or more, it may still be better to select smaller individuals. They will be cheaper, and perhaps more importantly, they will usually settle down more easily in new surroundings. This is especially important with “character” fish such as oscars that can be taught to feed from your hand. Furthermore, if you are hoping to breed from a pair in due course, then this approach can also be helpful in the longer term. It allows a pair bond to develop naturally A closer examination Here is a checklist of points to watch for, to help you avoid the risk of selecting poor or unhealthy specimens. 1.Swimmingindicators These are very important. Are the fish swimming normally, and not tilting or encountering difficulty in maintaining their balance in the water? Any that appear to be having difficulty may be displaying signs of dropsy, particularly if their abdominal region appears slightly swollen, or a swim- bladder disorder, for which there are no real cures. 2.Barbels It can be harder to assess the health of some fish, notably those catfish that are relatively inactive by nature. But check the barbels around the mouth are of even length and do not appear to be inflamed. This can happen, particularly if the substrate is dirty. Inflammation may extend to their underparts in this case as well. While a change of livebearers may live for little more than a year, so buying them is something of a lottery. Although less impressive in some cases, it is usually better to choose young fish because it is easier to determine their age – or at least be sure that they are BUYING FISH Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 21 Fish vary in their swimming abilities. Lionhead goldfish for example are not such strong swimmers as normal goldfish, but this individual is quite healthy. RIGHT Check fish have both eyes – sometimes one may be missing. CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE
  • 21. to ulcerate, with the visible area of injury expanding out from the central area. While ulceration can be treated successfully, particularly in larger fish, this is likely to be a costly and worrying process. Also, even if the fish does recover, there may well be some permanent scarring here. Raised scales, held slightly away from the body, are an indicator of general illness and are often seen in association with other symptoms, such as a reluctance to swim and a swollen abdomen. Avoid any fish like this because they are likely to be seriously ill. A final warning! When selecting fish for purchase, if there are obvious signs of a problem such as the parasitic ailment known as ick or white spot (see page 86-7 for more information – ED) on some of the fish, then it really will pay to shop elsewhere. In addition to the risk of introducing the infection to the aquarium via the water from the tank, even if the fish you choose seem healthy, there is still a risk that they could develop the infection, especially after being transferred to new surroundings. The last thing you want when setting up a new aquarium is to start having to medicate the water. This applies particularly with a disease that can lie dormant and then flare up again unexpectedly in the future. You may even want to invest in a separate quarantine tank for all new fish. This can be a fairly basic set- up, consisting of a tank, a heaterstat and protective grill, plus a power filter, along with a thermometer. Keeping the fish here initially for a couple of weeks, before introducing them to the main aquarium, will provide another barrier in terms of disease control. È be a hazard to others, and so should be avoided. Scale damage – make a careful inspection of the fish’s scales, because if there is a damaged area here, it can soon become infected and will start Much more worrying is when the fins are kept closed or clamped abnormally, as this is often a sign of general ill-health, especially in fish that are naturally active. Severe erosion around the edges of all the fins is highly suggestive of either a weakened fish and/ or poor water conditions. Such individuals may not recover, even with careful management, and are likely to Further key indicators The condition of the fins is very important, especially in the case of those fish with prominent or elaborate fins. In some cases, you may notice a few small nicks, particularly in the dorsal and caudal fins, although these should normally heal, especially in clean water, without a problem. There is a slight risk of a fungal attack in the meanwhile. In some cases, fish may exhibit poor colouration. If all the individuals in a tank are less brightly coloured than you would normally expect, it may well be that the lighting is too bright, which tends to make their colours appear less vivid. A pale, washed out appearance is typically associated with many types of tetra housed under these conditions. In the wild, these fish often inhabit areas of water where the level of illumination is relatively subdued; if housed under such conditions, and especially if provided with some cover in the forms of floating plants, their colouration will very quickly become more vibrant again , typically in just minutes. Expert help with… colour changeFishKEEPING Popular Pay particular attention to the condition of fish with long fins, like angelfish. BUYING FISH 22 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013 BELOW Here are two different photographs of cardinal tetras, showing how bright light, reinforced by pale gravel, impacts on their colour. The fish photographed on its own displays the typical colouration of the species, in darkened surroundings. This change is very temporary, and not of significance in terms of their health. some permanent scarring here. Raised scales, held slightly away from the body, are an indicator of general illness and are often seen in association with other symptoms, such as a reluctance to swim and a swollen abdomen. Avoid any fish like this because they are likely to be seriously ill. A final warning! When selecting fish for purchase, if there are obvious signs of a problem such asbe a hazard to others, and so abnormally, as this is often a sign of general ill-health, especially in fish that are naturally active. Severe erosion around the edges of all the Eating is generally a sign of good health.
  • 22. In each issue, our team of fish-keeping experts will be answering the questions that you want answered. Why not email us with yours to pf.ed@kelsey.co.uk? filled canal that runs down each side of its body and detects vibrations caused by movement in the water. This allows this member of the tetra clan to locate its food, find its way around and escape danger. Interestingly, in the home aquarium, these fish are virtually as adept at finding food as similar characins with normal eyesight. It appears that the ancestors of these fish were somehow swept into the caves from the rivers above, where their rather plain-looking relatives are still to be found. They then developed their distinctive appearance below ground over many thousands of years. A fearsome reputation QI’m planning on setting up an aquarium. Just how aggressive are piranhas? Do they make interesting tank occupants? APiranhas are the most notorious and feared of freshwater fish, with a mouthful of sharp teeth, although tales about their aggression are often exaggerated. Nevertheless, there is no denying that they have a very belligerent side to their natures, especially when they are in a feeding frenzy. This can even cause problems in aquarium surroundings. As an example of what can happen, Percy, a piranha being kept at Aberdeen University in Scotland, swallowed one of the rubber suckers used to attach equipment to the side of his aquarium. A delicate operation was then required to remove the piece of rubber from Percy’s digestive tract, allowing him to recover. The outcome was less favourable for another piranha, however, who probably ranks as the largest ever kept in the UK. Also called Percy, this fish grew to a length of 33.7cm (13.25in). Unfortunately, he sparked his own demise by biting through the cable running to his aquarium heater, possibly mistaking it for a worm, and electrocuted himself instantly as a consequence. Although red-bellied piranhas (Serrasalmus nattereri) have sharp teeth in their mouths, they are not particularly active fish, resting in the same part of their aquarium for long periods and only become active when being fed. Not the best choice therefore, if your aim is to keep lively fish. In addition, piranhas will become increasingly aggressive as they mature, with smaller and weaker individuals likely to be preyed upon by others sharing their accommodation. You might well end up having to separate members of a group therefore, which will cause problems. Particularly if you’re starting out therefore, consider some other types of fish that will be easier to manage. Seeking something unusual QWhat are some of the more unusual fish that are popular with fish keepers? ACamouflage can come in a variety of forms, and a number of tropical freshwater fish have evolved transparent bodies. The so- called x-ray tetra (Pristella maxillaris) and Asian glass catfish (Kryptopterus bicirrhis) are typical examples. The bones of the fish’s body and even its body organs may be visible in such cases thanks to the lack of pigment, but you can pick up the subtleties of their colouration by keeping such fish above a dark substrate. The glass catfish for example has a slight purple hue behind the gills. Their transparent appearance actually helps to conceal the presence of such fish however, particularly in well-planted environments where their bodies merge into the background of their surroundings. Not surprisingly, both these particular fish have become popular with fish keepers because of their unusual appearance and their general ease of care. Another bizarre fish originates from a series of caves in Mexico, and is now very widely kept in the aquarium hobby today. The blind cave fish (Astyanax mexicanus) is not actually blind when it hatches, but skin grows over its eyes, obscuring its vision. Its body is pinkish-white, having no pigment as with many cave- dweller species. Within the confines of its dark subterranean world, the blind cave fish would derive no benefit from eyesight. Instead, it relies on its lateral line, which is a jelly- In each issue, our team of fish-keeping experts will be answering the questions that you want A fearsome reputation and only become active when such fish however, particularly in well-planted environments where their bodies merge into the background of their surroundings. Not surprisingly, both these particular fish have become “Bones of the fish’s body and even its body organs may be visible” CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE Camouflage can come in a variety of forms, and a number of tropical freshwater fish have evolved transparent bodies. The so- Pristella Kryptopterus The bones of the fish’s body and even its body appearance actually helps to conceal the presence of no benefit from eyesight. Instead, it relies on its lateral line, which is a jelly- EXPERT HELP September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 23Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk An X-ray tetra Piranhas should be kept in small shoals, but they are not ideal aquarium occupants. Q&A
  • 23. Money matters QWhat are the most costly aquarium fish to buy? AThis group includes rare and striking new colour variants of discus (Symphysodon species), which are sold for breeding purposes to commercial collectors. Such fish may often be displayed at leading Oriental fish shows. Also in the Far East particularly, arowana (Scleropages aureus) are sought-after fish, commanding a potentially very high price. Some of the more unusual catfish can be very expensive as well, selling for more than £1000 in exceptional cases. Catfish, however, represent one of the most diverse groups of all the fish kept in home aquarium, both in terms of their size and shape. They can usually be distinguished, however, by the presence of projections around their mouths. Likened to a cat’s whiskers, these structures are called barbels. They have an important sensory function, helping the catfish to find its way around and seek food in what are often murky surroundings, although the length of the barbels can be very variable between different groups. Not all of the world’s 2,000 or so catfish are sedentary by nature; some live in fast- flowing areas of water and are streamlined predators. The shape of the barbels can give a further clue to an individual’s lifestyle, since those catfish with long and often slender barbels are typically hunters rather than scavengers. They are often nocturnal hunters, or may naturally occur in very turbid water in the wild, where visibility is restricted. This arrangement clearly provides more extensive sensory details about the fish’s environment and possible prey rather than short barbels that are most useful at close quarters. The appearance of the barbels can therefore be helpful in determining which species can be housed safely with other fish. Breeding interest QWhich fish are the most interesting to breed? AMany species have no parental instincts whatsoever, to the point that they will consume their own eggs as these are laid. There are a few exceptions however, typically within the cichlid group, such as the mouth-brooders originating from the Rift Valley lakes of Africa, as discussed elsewhere in this issue. Females in such cases actually gather their eggs, keeping them in their mouths without feeding often for about three weeks, until their young hatch. Even then, if threatened, the young cichlids will dart back inside their mother’s mouth for safety. In Central and South America too, cichlids often display parental care towards their eggs and their young. Angelfish (Pterophyllum) for example guard their eggs and will watch over their young at first, shepherding them from danger as far as possible. Within the the barbels can therefore be helpful in determining which species can be housed safely Which fish are the most whatsoever, to the point that own eggs as these are laid. There are a few exceptions often for about three weeks, until their young hatch. Even then, if threatened, the young cichlids will dart back inside will watch over their young at first, shepherding them from danger as far as possible. Within the Money matters in terms of their size and shape. They can usually be distinguished, however, by the presence of projections around their mouths. Likened to a cat’s whiskers, these structures are called barbels. They have an Striped anostomus. PHOTO COURTESY BRIAN GRATWICKE LEFT Discus can be costly. This individual is an example of the red melon strain. True reds were very expensive when they were first bred. Barred sorubim (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) – a predatory, nocturnal catfish, as revealed by its appearance. It can grow to 104cm (41in). “Likened to a cat’s whiskers, these sensory devices are called barbels” 24 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013
  • 24. Amazon basin, there is another cichlid that displays an even more advanced form of parental care. Discus choose their spawning site together, cleaning the rockwork or leaves where the female lays her eggs, and the pair will guard them until hatching occurs. Then once the fry are have absorbed their yolk sacs and are free- swimming, they will start nibbling at the sides of their parents, feeding on a special mucus secretion produced for them. In some cases, the adult fish may initially eat their eggs, but do not despair - once they are more settled in their surroundings, breeding is likely to progress without problems. You will then be able to watch this amazing behaviour at close quarters. Upside down QWe’ve recently added a long-bodied fish called a striped anostomus to our aquarium, but we don’t know much about it. It seems to be feeding well, but appears to be having difficulty in maintaining its balance. It spends time with its head pointing downwards. Is there anything we can do? Could it be suffering from a dietary deficiency? AThere’s no need to worry. This is quite normal behaviour for these and other anostomus fish, and is the reason why they are also sometimes known as headstanders. Striped anostomus (Anostomus anostomus) are mainly vegetarian in their feeding habits, and should be fed on a prepared diet of this type. Beware though, as they can sometimes damage the more delicate plants in an aquarium. The striped anostomus can grow quite large, attaining a maximum possible length of about 20cm (8in), with its homeland being northern South America, where it occurs in faster-flowing stretches of rivers such as the Amazon and the Orinoco. There are five species forming their genus Anostomus, and these can be quite similar in appearance. In fact, the striped anostomus closely resembles Anostomus ternetzi, but it can be distinguished by the red suffusion on its fins. A different view QOur local aquatic shop has some of the weirdest fish that I’ve ever seen. They’re labelled as four-eyed fish. They look as if they’re scanning the surface with part of their eyes above the water. Are they easy to keep? AThe unique arrangement of the eyes of these fish is due to the fact that they naturally live very close to the surface of the water. While half of each eye remains underwater, the upper part is directed skywards, on the search for unwary insects that form their diet, as well as potential predators that would spell danger. Four-eyed fish make unusual aquarium occupants, and are not especially difficult to keep, although since they often occur in brackish waters, the addition of a little marine salt to their quarters can be beneficial. These fish originate from parts of Central and South America, with a water temperature in the range between 22-30°C (82-86°F) suiting them well. Their aquarium must be covered, because otherwise, they may leap out of the water, ending up with potentially catastrophic consequences on the floor. Add floating plants to the aquarium so as to reduce the risk of the fish injuring themselves by jumping up. These will provide cover fish, and they will spend much of their time lurking under this vegetation at the surface, hidden from above. The water itself should be quite shallow, typically no more than 30cm (12in) deep. Four-eyed fish may even sometimes clamber on to a rock out of the water and rest there: this is quite normal behaviour. Provide a smooth rock for this purpose. A variety of invertebrates will be needed to keep these fish in good health, as they normally snap up such prey from the water’s surface. Curly-winged flies (which are unable to fly, because of their aberrant shape of their wings) and calci-worms (which are rich in calcium) can be useful. Crickets and locusts of suitable size that have been gut-loaded on special food, to improve their nutritional balance, can also be provided. Be sure to offer plenty of variety in the diet of these fish. balance. It spends time with its head pointing downwards. Is there the red suffusion on its fins. A different view QOur local aquatic shop has some of the weirdest fish that I’ve ever seen. They’re labelled as four-eyed fish. They look as if they’re scanning the surface with part of their eyes above the water. Are they easy to keep? Aof the eyes of these fish is due to the fact that they naturally live very close to the surface of the water. While half of each eye remains underwater, the upper part is directed skywards, on the search for unwary insects that form their diet, as well as potential predators that would spell danger. Four-eyed fish make unusual aquarium occupants, and are not especially difficult BELOW Four-eyed fish are unusual and fascinating livebearers – but they can grow relatively large, and this needs to be reflected in the size of their tank. 1. Underwater retina where this part of the image forms. 2. Lens. 3. Air pupil. 4. Tissue band. 5. Iris. 6. Underwater pupil. 7. Air retina, detecting the image seen above the water’s surface. 8. Optic nerve, carrying these complex images to the brain, where they are interpreted. The eyes of four-eyed fish are effectively split into two parts, as shown by this diagram. COURTESY SGBEER. CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE EXPERT HELP September-October 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 25Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk
  • 25. and also helps directly to improve the water quality in the aquarium. Sloping the gravel slightly from the back to the front of the tank is recommended. This will allow you to see the dirt that is accumulating. Furthermore, it will then be easier to remove it from here with a siphon. È weeks or so, use one of the aquarium cleaners that serves as a siphon as well, in order to remove the mulm (waste matter) from the gravel. They are very simple to operate, and clean the gravel effectively, with minimal disturbance to the tank itself. This should lead to improved functioning of the filter bed, coarse, as the aim is for water to flow down through this filter bed. An undergravel filter needs time to become effective because it relies on beneficial bacteria to break down harmful ammonia via nitrite to less toxic nitrate. Their numbers must build up over the course of a number of weeks, and in a new aquarium, you can help this process by seeding the filter bed with one of the products containing a bacterial culture for this purpose. The filter should then be operating at maximum efficiency after approximately two months. The air pump used in association with the undergravel filter must be left on constantly. This supplies the essential oxygen to the bacteria in the filter bed which they need to function effectively. With any type of filter, including an undergravel filter, it is still very important not to overfeed the fish, as uneaten food not only pollutes the water, but also causes the filter to become overloaded. When you are carrying out a partial water change in the aquarium every two Sexing of four-eyed fish presents no problems once they are mature, since females grow about twice as large as males, reaching up to 30cm (12in) long. A very strange anatomical feature of these fish is that their external sex organs are either right or left- sided however, which places restraints on their choice of partners, because right and left must come together for the purposes of mating. Female four-eyed fish give birth to live fry, with broods consisting of as few as three offspring, although they may breed twice a year. There is no likelihood of overlooking the young however - they are typically over 2.5cm (1in) long at birth. Servicing needs QPlease can you give me some advice on setting up and servicing an undergravel filter, as I’m just assembling an aquarium for the first time? AThe most important thing to bear in mind at the outset is that the undergravel filter plate needs to cover the entire floor area of the aquarium, with the gravel then being tipped in on top. The gravel particles must also be relatively improved functioning of the filter bed, over the course of a number of weeks, and in a new aquarium, you can help this process by seeding the filter bed with one of the products containing a bacterial culture for this purpose. The filter should then be operating at maximum efficiency after approximately two months. in association with the undergravel filter must essential oxygen to the to function effectively. still very important not also causes the filter to When you are carrying out a partial water change in the aquarium every two An undergravel filter is relatively unobtrusive, especially as the uplift tube can be concealed with décor in the aquarium, as seen here. The grid pattern on the filter, usually obscured by gravel is important for the circulation of the water. “An undergravel filter needs time to become effective because it relies on beneficial bacteria to break down harmful ammonia” EXPERT HELP 26 Popular Fish Keeping / September-October 2013
  • 26. Summer 2013 / Popular Fish Keeping 23 www.wharfaquatics.co.uk • One of the largest selections of fish in the UK • Huge range of aquarium dry goods • Friendly advice from experienced fishkeepers • Custom made aquariums and cabinets Massive range of cichlids, including more than 70 tanks of Malawi & Tanganyika cichlids Great selection of catfish, plus rare and oddball fish Just 5 minutes from junction 28 of the M1! 65-67 Wharf Road, Pinxton, Notts. NG16 6LH Tel: 01773 861255 Tropical - Marine - Pond - Reptiles SPECIAL EVENT WEEKEND Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th September 2013 Discounts on everything! See website for details. 0161 755 0030 FOR AQUARIUMS, REPTILES, PONDS & PETS Our shop is on 2 levels with the lower floor housing a marine room, a freshwater fish room, an aquarium display room and a pond room. The upper floor is where we house all the accessories required for keeping fish, along with our reptiles and small pets. What can you buy from our shop? • Aquariums displayed in our tank & cabinet room • Coldwater & Tropical aquarium fish and plants in our freshwater fish room • Marine fish and corals in our marine room • Pond fish, foods, filters, UV, piping - everything for the garden pond in our pond room • Almost every accessory needed to run an aquarium www.urmstonaquatics.com Open 7 days a week Mon - Fri: 9:30 to 6pm Sat: 9.30 to 5pm Sun: 10.00 to 4pm Family run since 1997

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