Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get rid of Planaria

     Planaria are non-parasitic small flatworms,represented by a variety of species, in our waters. They are introduced into the aquarium in the form of cocoons. They have a nocturnal life. Planaria live free in the aquatic environment without harming the fish. Usually they appear when the fish are overfed, the aquarium gravel is not hoovered accordingly or ammonia levels have risen.
     An easy method to get rid of them is to made a gauze bag, in which is inserted shredded beef. The bag is hung among plants, near the bottom of the tank. Planaria are attracted by the smell of meat, and they will gather on this bags. After several hours, under the bag, carefully insert a bowl of water or a cup, which is then easily removed from the tank, along with the bag. Bait traps should be repeated several days in a row.
     Planaria can also be destroyed by introducing several hungry macropodus fish in the tank. Sometimes it is used the chemical method with ammonium nitrate at a concentration of 0.6 to 0.8 grams at 100 liters of water.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Breeding at Barbus Tetrazona

     It is said that tetrazona fish are hard to breed. That's not true ... if you have some knowledge ... it can be done.
     You need a small volume tank, 15 - 20 liters. Place on the bottom of the tank a net to a height of 2 - 4 cm. Add half water which stood for 24 hours at least and the other half, add water from the main tank. The optimal temperature is 25-26 degrees C, low hardness, aeration moderate. Choose the pair, the female is recognized by being bigger than the male because of her belly. The male has more prominent colors than the female, red fins and red mouth. Add the female in the breeding tank in the evening to accommodate, and in the morning add two males.
     The three fish will start the nuptial dance, which sometimes may seem aggressive, but it isn't, and after that the female spawn the eggs. The net acts as a shield so the two males don't eat the eggs. Finally, after female finish her job, the three fish will be removed and the eggs will hatch in 20-25 hours. The fry will stay on the glass tank and after a few days, maximum 4, we will start to feed them with freshly hatched Artemia.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beyond the Nature

     Searching on the Internet I have found an amazing aquascaping called "Beyond the Nature" by Gary Wu, rewarded by the aquascapingworld forum with the tank of the mounth, August 2010. An island floating ... I like to call it Pandora. Gary Wu said his layout is inspired from a Japanese cartoon movie “Laputa”.
     The floating island is cover with a thin layer of substrate and small rocks with moss insert between them. Staurogyne sp. are planted on the thin layer of substrate. A visual illusion is used to mount a grid on the back glass so as the plant grows out, the whole grid is masked by the plant.
     Plant species used are Vesicularia sp., Flame Moss and Staurogyne sp. in the background, Blyxa echinosperma and Eleocharis parvula sp. on the midground, and  Eleocharis parvula sp. and Staurogyne sp. on foreground.
     Fish living here are Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi, Crossocheilus siamensis, Otocinclus affinis and invertebrates are Amano Shrimp, Chilton sp. Burnble and Blue Shrimp.
     Tank  dimensions: 152 x 51 x 58 cm.
     Lighting: 12 x 18W T8.
     Filtration system: 2 x Tetra EX120 and 1 x Eheim 2080.
     Co2: 6 bubbles non stop.
     Substrate: Seachem Fluorite.
     Fertilization: ADA step 3, Green gain, ECA, Bright K, Shade. Seachem: Iron, Excel and some gardening root fertilizer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting rid of green water with willow method

     Green water appear usually due to either a significant excess of light (particularly direct sunlight), or a major water quality problem. Although it may look terrible, it is not toxic to fish. The best way to get rid of it is by using an UV, but if you don't have one, you can use the willow method.

     Step 1: Pluck a few branches from the willow trees.

Urban Willow     Step 2: Pluck out the leaves from the bottom of the branches. So the tip of the branch will have some leaves while the bottom (the part where will be soaked inside the water) will be leafless.

     Step 3: Put the branches into the tank with the part without leaves soaking inside the water, about 30 branches at 80 liters of water.

     Step 4: Wait patiently for few days and you will see roots starting to appear from the branches.

     Step 5: The Green water should be completely gotten rid off after a week and this effect usually come overnight!

     Step 6: At this point of time remove all the willow branches else your plants will suffer from the lack of nutrients.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Goldfish Hand Spawning

     Don't try this method unless you have some skill and apply only when the fish have started agitation in the tank. We will take every fish in hand and we will gently squeeze in the anus region. If eggs comes out is a female and if a white smoke comes out is a male. The fish of which nothing comes are not ready for spawning or are not sexually mature and we will put them back in the tank. Having the fish sex separately we can begin "milking" operation.
     Prepare a 10-15 liter tank, maximum 10 cm height, with an air pump. The water should be put in the tank 2-3 days ago with a 20-22° C temperature. Take one goldfish of different sex in each hand. With both fish bodies in the water, we gentle massage their belly, from head to anus. Will come out eggs from both female and male, fertilization being done immediately. We repeat this massages until nothing comes out.
     "Milking" will be done easy and careful, not to break the fish bladder. After finishing this operation, the fish will be introduced in the tank and will be fed. Usually, goldfish start breeding at 4-5 o'clock in the morning, so if you want to practice this method, you'll have to wake up early.
     The water from the breeding tank will have a misty appearance due to eggs from male. After 10-15 minutes, we will change the water from the breeding tank (don't worry, the eggs are sticky on the glass and will not fall) with clear water at the same temperature. Now, all we can do is wait, everything is just like at a natural breeding.
     Bellow is a movie to make you understand better the hand spawning.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Feng Shui and Aquariums

      Water is a basic and traditional Feng Shui element, and the combination between Feng Shui,  water and fish can produce successful results. In Chinese, the word "yu" is used  both for fish and success as well.
     Movement of water and fish in the aquarium, activate and increase "chi" energy  in your home. A tank arranged by the Feng Shui principles can bring wealth and luck in a household. The fish will help with Feng Shui positive energy, eliminating negative energy from your home.

     The Chinese have always associated fish with prosperity by saying "nien nien yew yu" that means to collect wealth every year. Given the powerful symbolism of fish, Chinese homes are often decorated with ponds, aquariums and art objects representing fishes.
     The goldfish  are very important in Feng Shui. These fish are traditionally  dragons babies, which makes them good luck bringers, who bring good results in any business that want to start it. For example, a goldfish bowl is ideal to be located at the entrance where you going to start a business (personally I disagree with keeping fish in a bowl).
     Chinese tend to put put eight golden and one black moor fish to attract wealth. In Feng Shui the number 8 represents prosperity. If a disaster will befall your family, the nine fish will die, taking on him misfortune. If a black fish died is important to be replaced with another black fish.
     To increase their fortune, some Feng Shui practitioners added coins to the bottom tank. If you decide to follow this advice, you must ensure that these coins will not affect fish in the aquarium.
     One of the best Feng Shui tips to promote wealth is to place an aquarium in the eastern part of the house. It is important to be clean water in the aquarium.
     Avoid adding red aquarium fish, red represents fire.

Arrowana fish is known to Chinese as live dragon or golden dragon, because of his metallic dragon scales color. Arrowana has a mysterious mental abilities that enable them to always keep focus, to understand human language, and is very talented. 
     It is said that Arrowana send powerful vibrations which increase the surrounding aura  and can predict future negative events. Therefore, those who rise Arrowana fish say that  sometimes have seen them hitting the tank walls to warn about bad things that will occur. It is said that this faithful fish would jump from the aquarium, committing suicide to banish negativity with the price of their lives.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

IAPLC 2010 Results Part I

     Finally, the world rankings for the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest have been published. I haven't found any pictures of the winners, but I hope this will be made public soon so we can admire their creations. The first 10 winners from 1819 applications from 55 countries are:


     1. Pavel Bautin - Russia
     2. Zhang Jian Feng - Macau
     3. Xuan Thuy Nguyen Thi - Vietnam
     4. Yutaka Kanno - Japan
     5. Zeng Qing Jun - China
     6. Chen I Sheng - Taiwan
     7. Grigoriy Polishchuk - Ukraine
     8. Long Tran Hoang - Vietnam
     9. K.P. Wong - Hong Kong
    10. Li Da Wei - China

     Congratulations to Pavel Bautin from Russia, he has an aquarium design company, you can admire some of his aquatic designs here. Is the first time the award is out of Asian's hand.

     The second part of this article will be posted whit the winner's photos when they will come out.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Pearling Effect

     Pearling is the beautiful effect of tiny oxygen bubbles forming on the leaves that occurs when the water is saturated with oxygen and additional oxygen produced by the plants simply forms a bubble and floats to the surface rather than being dissolved into the water. This occurs at different times depending on the rate of growth and oxygen levels during the night, but in general it occurs more towards the end of the light period or at least in the second half.
     When we make a water change a similar thing occurs due to the pressure the tap water is held in the pipes. This saturates it with gasses and will therefore appear to make the tank pearl temporarily.
     Not having pearling doesn't mean the CO2 isn't being utilized or that the plants aren't photosynthesizing, it just means your O2 levels have not reached a point of saturation in the water.
     If you want to make your plants start pearling:
     - you need to have a good illuminated tank, more than 0.7W/liter.
     - the tank need to be planted heavily with fast growers.
     - keep your CO2 stable at around 30ppm.
     - add fertilisers, both macro and micronutrients.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Malaysia Guppy Competition 2010 Results

     This weekend took place at Kuala Lumpur the 6th Malaysia Guppy Competition 2010  and here are the results, a Full Red Crowtail and a High Dorsal Blue Grass.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Aqua Design Amano

How to breed neon tetra

     First you have to know that is difficult to reproduce neon tetras. But if you are tempted to do it, I advise you to try first to breed Hemigrammus erythrozonus (pink neon), which is much easier. In case you succeed, you can try to breed neon tetra then. The main problem at reproduction is that they were kept in water with excessive hardness. In this case, females have deformed ovaries and are incapable to breed. It was found that if females neon tetra are kept in water with 8dH, chances of reproducing decrease to 0%.
     So one of the essential conditions is to purchase fish when are babies and to grow them in a water with 4-5dH, a pH of 5.5-6 and a temperature of 22 degrees C. After a period of about 10 months neon tetras are apt for breeding. Usually, an immature pair, will make a few eggs, 20 to 30, but getting used to a regular cycle, at 30 days, will be obtain between 100 and 200 eggs. Another problem is feeding the parents, which must be done with live food: tubifex washed and sterilized, cladocere, copepode, etc., with at least one month before beginning reproduction.

     Arrangement of a breeding tank. A tank of approximately 10 liters (3 gallons) with a water column height of 12-15 cm is sufficient. A net placed on a frame at 2 cm high from the bottom of the tank is essential to protect the eggs, not be eaten. The frame must fit exactly in the tank, so not to exist any risk for the fish to enter between frame and tank glass and can not escape. Above the net you put a "ball", not too dense, made of green synthetic fibers where practically neon tetras will make the deposit of eggs. Some authors recommend the use of Vesicularia dubyana bushes instead of green synthetic fibers, but natural plants are more difficult to be sterilized. The water tank will have the following characteristics: 1.5-2 dH, 5.8-6.5 pH and temperature between 20 and 22 degrees C and will need to have a slightly brownish tinge which is done by gentle filtration through carbon and to be very clear. The breeding tank will be illuminated with a small power incandescent bulb, max. 15W. The tank and all materials used will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, this represent one of the basic conditions for successful breeding.

     Reproduction. The breeding tank must be prepared with 7-8 days before adding the parents. The best period to breed is September - March. All tank sides will be cover with black paper, less the front side which will be cover later. The neon tetra parents will be added in the breeding tank in the evening.  Normally, the reproduction should occur within 1-3 days, if not you replace the pair with another. Usually,  reproduction take place in the evening, and when they start, the light must be turned off. Right after they lay the eggs, the pair will be removed and the front side and the top of the tank will be covered with black paper, to obtain total darkness. The tank will stay covered for five days and then begin to gradually uncover. The eggs and the fry are very sensitive to light. However, to satisfy our curiosity about the appearance of juvenile, we can light with a small flashlight and for short period inside the tank, but is not recommended. 
     The hatching occurs after 24 hours and the other four days the fry will feed exclusively from the yolk sac. Since the 5th day you begin the feeding. There is special food in stores for them, JBL Novo Baby for example. Starting with the 10th day, the black paper can be removed all. In this period food will be given in very small portions and tank cleaning will have to be rigorous. After 15 days may be given food as a powder or other suitable feed size. After about three weeks they begin to color, but the hard period pass only after three months when it begins a gradual adaptation to shift them into another tank. Adaptation will be slow, with small exchanges of water between the main tank and breeding tank, until the water parameters are equal.
     I wish you good luck on breeding neon tetras!