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FISH SPECIES
How to keep: ● Coldwater ● Marine ●Tropical

INSIDE

WIN!
Issue 10 EHEIM
October '14 GEAR
WORTH
£500

10 easy steps
to a nature
aquarium
Stingray masterpieces
Discover the secrets
to keeping & breeding
SEA URCHINS
Reef tank janitors that
won’t clean out your wallet!

FABULOUS
DENISON’S BARBS
A complete guide to
FINNAGE! Create energy & colour
habitat, care & tank set up with Forktail Blue-eyes

FP_PRACFISH_18292515.id1349707.pgs >>AdRocket<<

From the editor

Welcome
The Denison’s barb is our featured
fish of the month on page 6.

Learn A particularly varied issue of PFK awaits, from a
from reader’s collection of oddball fish to growing mosses,
the best and don’t miss your chance to win free Eheim gear!
Angie Kenny, Practical Fishkeeping editor

Create a classic nature
aquarium that’s pleasing
to the eye and your fish

AD KONINGS Combine the movement
is a diver and and colour of shoals of
ichthyologist. He
observes cichlid
tetras with a lushly planted
behaviour and in this backdrop to bring an
issue focuses on shell inspiring aquascape to life.
dwellers from Lake
Tanganyika. P34 Don’t forget to share your
set-ups with us. For a list of
contacts turn to page 27.

Discover the
commitment required
to keep specialist fish

KEVAN CRACK Amassing a stunning
has over 20 years of collection of stingrays
fishkeeping experience
including more than a has taken one PFK reader
decade in retail. many years of dedication.
Specialising in nano
and rare community Read about his experiences
species, he takes a look from being given a second
at Blue-eyes. P38
hand tank to building an
impressive fish house.

Journey into the
habitat of the rare
Red line lizard tetra
Join field explorer and
MARIE-SOPHIE photographer Ivan
GERMAIN
is a french author and
Mikolji as he takes a
journalist, and writes dive with an
about freshwater undescribed species of
aquascaping and
inverts; this month it’s tetra in Venezuela and
shrimp and snails from explains how best to
Indonesian lakes. P66
keep them at home.

Get more Like us on Follow us Watch us on youtube.com/user/ Join us at forum.practical
PFK! Facebook.com @PFKmagazine practicalfishkeeping FORUM fishkeeping.co.uk

www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk 3

OUTDOOR FISHKEEPING 38 100 NEW GEAR 96 FABULOUS FINNAGE Thumbs up for HELP’s Small and perfectly formed. 58 SUBSCRIBE AND GET A CRISTALPROFI FILTER Take out a subscription to PFK 14 A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION Meet a reader with a superb FISHKEEPING REVIEWS and get this bit of kit from JBL for your tank set-up. but of great aquatic shops — 72 and we found them! NATURE CALLS How to build. sea and sand. the sea urchin can be popular holiday hotspot in a cost-efective algae eater that search not of sun. aesthetic beauty for the viewer For now. Åle the eel dies aged meet a carpenter who has a bright-eyed beauty is a fish 155. crabs on the loose and giant fish loss. collection of freshwater stingray. 6 ESSENTIAL POND JOBS new range of complete soil TO DO THIS SEASON Forktail blue-eyes are stunning substrates and the JBL Important tasks to do before the and easy-to-keep fish that will CristalProfi m greenline internal colder weather arrives! create energy and colour in a power filter proves to be planted tank. an octopus is ‘Mum of the passion for cichlids. annual 6. this sharks. Plus smoking fish. makes for a magnificent display. step by step. care and feeding Denison’s barbs. Meet Nanochromis transvestitus — the girls do the chasing and dress up for the occasion! 44 ON THE COVER FISHKEEPING NEWS TANK COMMUNITY 06 FISH OF THE MONTH: DENISON’S BARB With its brilliant red streak 21 CAUGHT IN THE HEADLINES Hope for wild Red-tailed black 24 TANK COMMUNITY Share your fish. but year’ and Sealife London ’s it’s wise to check their origin before you buy. 4 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING .600-animal health check. All you need to 78 know about sea urchins. here’s a reminder of Keep the heat in with a cover. that always turns heads. high-energy nature aquarium that provides 106 READERS’ TOP SHOPS This year’s winners will be revealed in the December issue. a classic. shrimp-safe and easy to clean.Contents October 2014 Cover image: Hristo Hristov 06 A complete guide to habitat. who won your votes in 2013. and an ideal home for the fish. stories and photos with other readers. 44 BEAUTY AND THE FEAST With a few tricks up its spiny 102 SHOPTOUR Cornwall: we head of to a 96 sleeves. And from nose to flank.

co. 102 Find out what Cornwall’s aquatic shops have to ofer. 94 Subscribe today and you’ll can bring out the spectacular get 13 issues of the UK’s beauty of shrimp and snails from the Indonesian lakes — best-selling and top tips on setting one up.practicalfishkeeping. 30 get your hands on some fantastic filtration and maintenance products from Eheim. 34 FRESHWATER FISH MARINE SCENE Exclusive 30 GET INTO THE SPIRIT Look no further than Blue and Green Phantoms if you 50 LIVE ROCK HEROES Live rock provides both décor and filtration. . as well subscription fancy a plec that’s a touch as a huge and diverse range exotic yet easy to keep. Meet the cichlids that make their home in empty snail shells.. Discover how to set up a simple yet spectacular Sulawesi biotope. offer p. 66 EASY SULAWESI How a very simple biotope White spot is a common and highly infectious disease. Siamese fighters?’ 60 LIZARDS WITH LIPSTICK When it comes to eye-candy. transvestitus. unflappable and undemanding plants that join questions. worth £500. mixing shrimp with goldfish and ‘Why can’t I keep your aquaria and never leave. 50 Live rock and its inhabitants — including the bristleworm. including getting rid of algae. 66 turn to page 98. www.. including infectious and non-infectious the Red line lizard tetra! diseases and iridoviruses. CO W M I PE N TI ! TI For a O chance to N Green and Blue phantoms — community friendly and easy to keep. 83 YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED Our experts tackle your 54 MUST-HAVE MOSSES Unhurried. FISHKEEPING ANSWERS check out Brevis shell dwellers. the girls are more colourful and do the chasing.uk . of life forms. it doesn’t get much better than 94 A-Z OF FISH HEALTH A look at the Is.58 34 SHELL FISH Interesting and fun to keep. fishkeeping magazine — plus 78 WHEN GIRLS WILL BE BOYS With Nanochromis a choice of two great filters.

HEIKO BLEHER.COM. FISH of the Month Bright eyed BEAUTIES With its brilliant red streak from nose to flank. NEIL HEPWORTH Always buy these fish in groups of at least six. WORDS: NATHAN HILL PHOTOGRAPHY: MP & C PIEDNOIR. the Denison’s barb always turns heads. HANS GEORG-EVERS. ALAMY. but it’s wise to check their origin before you buy. 6 . AQUAPRESS.

Sahyadria denisonii originates from Kerala and Kernataka. Never buy individuals. ● Scientific name: Sahyadria denisonii (Sah-hee-add-dree-ah den-iss-sow- knee-eye).50. juveniles starting as low as £7. ● Availability and cost: Readily available.75–4in fully grown. Miss Kerala. India. Red-line torpedo barb.FISH & TANK FACTFILE ● Common names: Denison’s barb. 7 . ● Type: A shoaling fish that needs to be bought in groups of six or more. ● Size: 9–10cm/3.

the IUCN red list of threatened well the dangers that come with being brown or bland. but these are negligible damsel in distress. but that’s no longer on the record of the fishkeeping industry. other factors renamed in November 2013. though that’s not exactly appeared in stores. and decent sized over just a six-year period. up there coveted. easy to fall in love with at first sight. eager to by contrast. food-grade £15-£25 mark. they can be subject to the same 8 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . M “This is one of the most beautiful iss Kerala is a beauty queen. For sure. Some are piece of them. and she’s a stardom. Prices were high. In original numbers: scant initial data makes it accurate. In 1997. Over the period of Denison’s barb or the Red line torpedo coming from. everybody wanted a Harvesting was rife. and it’s ornamental exports. we know her as either the investigate where these fish were really in the species’ downfall. Large individuals are eaten by When the Denison’s barbs first get their share of the lucrative export. a biological gold rush of have had an efect. by 2000 it was like to loiter with larger. But very few people stopped to aquarium trade has played the primary role Kerala. This is Sahyadria denisonii. held as a proud totem of India’s creatures to come out of India. this is one case where the Here in the UK.000 caught and sold inadvertently killed as collateral damage extortionate. over fist. but not showing a figure of 300. wild stocks have declined barb.” she took third place in the New Species award at Singapore’s Aquarama trade expo. For a fish that because of the company they keep. the wake of the fish’s meteoric rise to hard to be certain. She’s been internationally recognised. But like those with sublime loved them. we don’t call her Miss East. with ofcial records decimating the species. Here. They were bought hand species classifies it as endangered. She was almost too attractive. just a year after she nervously made her debut appearance at stores around the globe. new seam of colours being mined from the Worst of all. Newcomers to the hobby being classified as rare. their collection. and everyone tucked in to this rich in the same category as Blue whales. too. Some still insist on calling her The Denison’s barb represents a dirty spot by somewhere between 50 and 70% of their Puntius denisonii. looks the world over. As they individuals could be purchased for the only found stardom in 1996. Old hands did backflips at the shifted to the ominous state of very rare. she knows all too introduction of a new fish that wasn’t Nowadays. By 2006 it had cyprininds. and that worked against her. some tribes. prospectors washed across India.

I see a label highlighting a fish’s provenance. the bleaker. ecological protection. I defence.uk 9 . and in fact. So. let’s see how we can The other problem is that if wild their breeding cycles of October through to ofer the Denison’s barb a home worthy collections are sacrificed altogether. figures are small compared to the the likes of Cardinal tetra collecting — has Simply put. providing income for for wild fish might be helping to finance Denison’s account for almost 60% of the regions that would otherwise resort to a responsible collector. then I’d be cautious and October. I’m breeders in Indonesia and Singapore sold turn up all around the world. whatever purchase you make and widely so. of its looks. ever since commercial native fish that should never be caught and will have consequences somewhere. if collector who’s considering growing one should be ashamed. or it could total revenue. slash and burn agriculture. large scale trawling of the shown how sustainable collection of a Denison’s barb. though further investigation of India. and if the was placed on the months of June. approach to endangered species. or other potentially be going to one of many harmful practices in order to make a living. With poverty working on refining bloodlines to make a not making it clear what the origin of their rife across India. often catch someone’s dinner.practicalfishkeeping. illegitimate traders. In this game. and many so many. of India’s species can be a powerful force in where you want your money to go. wild-caught There’s no reason that such policies farmed fish could be denying a wild That’s not to say that everyone who owns wouldn’t also work with Sahyadria. palm oil. or some other environmental highlights something that has been an But it’s the ‘giving it a chance’ aspect that hazard. www. This is one of propose that you simply ask. The not saying you should try to change the fine-tuned techniques involving hormone nation has a boom and bust mentality to world. a ban on collection of Denison’s can’t honestly blame you. The global fish trade — especially have less than intended impact. Or it could be going to someone elephant in the room for years — retailers currently proves so tricky. Such sanctions and regulations. Paying money for Farmed vs. it given the chance. poisoning and dynamite fishing used to future for their habitat becomes slightly though introduced with fine intent.co. Farmed Denison’s are available. and it’s easy to fall in love with about purchasing. given at first sight. when it comes to buying a deliberate. brighter fish. Fish of the month The origins of the Denison’s barbs ofered for sale in the hobby are not always made apparent. locals take a cavalier healthier. July the most beautiful creatures to come out retailer can’t tell you. so any changes will need to be as issue is never black and white. The problem is that you’ll rarely much about culture as economy. but you should be aware that the extracts and pituitary injections to trigger livestock. In India’s And for those who do purchase them. But again. found that this was at a disadvantage. the March. spawning. Cash lucrative ornamental fish export market. After all. like stock is. you need to decide species for aquaria.

and you can collecting them from the wild. With such Alas. If does little to settle the Denison’s electric retailer pond sections. To finish of the gradually. The 5-10mm over the whole base. I want it to be at least 150cm/5ft long. be for you. You’re about to pay out Denison’s go downhill fast. Though any cross-breeding is unlikely to almost always go hand in hand. jumble them up that you’ll want to bring the lighting on with their terror. and they have a haul. Even better. as are Typha. Spend cash somewhere along the line will help both the Most Denison’s are destined for a on good-sized glass and a filter to cope. then these fish may well not filtration with these fish. from the aquarist’s perspective. From indoors. On the tank. If you’re the kind of aquarist that likes skyscrapers of décor in Don’t skimp on tank size or the foreground. be vigilant for areas of dense marginal growth. danios and barbs to choose from. they can soon infect tank mates way. oxygenation. It follows that in such a and get that base covered. They’re out there. usually in usually found in quieter pool regions away quieter regions of the river. and you should aggression has been noted from these fish you can. If that happens to be under incorporate whatever you can to increase has been when they are kept as pairs. but creating a fair illusion guarantee the Denison’s won’t start a fight. Keep to active inhabitants and you’ll have an enviable tank of movement and colour. they roam freely. All that you need to know is skittish.Bring India home Setting up an authentic biotope or even communitope for Denison’s barbs is easy. shredded or whole. you’ll want that filter to survive but never really shine. At least consider a more ‘refined’ fine. I’d to be spotless. As long as it won’t tank if you’re going to house them. Denison’s any prospective Denison’s real estate. Get 120cm/48in long and 45cm/18in wide. you’ll not get much enjoyment for flooring. but I don’t care. that credit card out and do it properly. biotope tanks — big is beautiful. though this hybrids between Dawkinsia barbs and partly their undoing when it comes to isn’t essential. a few broken twigs and a handful of light. I know carbon where you can. actual adult fish. depending on how you want those plants to smaller the system. with some plants breaking the surface is a need to be large — hence that tank size. follow the same basic rule as for start with a thin layer of sand. you’re safe. Excess tight to the back and sides. The wild fish live a benthopelagic existence — that is to say. The only time any and tank sizes and opt for the biggest tank provide a fair flow. where they’ll Personally. which is floating Azolla goes down well. but close to the substrate. If you add Denison’s too early. On top of that. a fisher need only turn up to spooked Denison’s will launch like a Polaris Essentially. along with natural correct as such. so squeeze in activated community life. unless you want your barbs to have a all of your work. spray bar or even a Venturi incorporated Big is beautiful and you want them to be happy. particulates. Pea handfuls of Vallisneria — not geographically attack a Denison’s. a mere Lighting can be moderate to high. you might think. They needn’t be arranged in any indiferent to it. wade missile at the first fright. Forget the old rules of calculating fish Filtration should be large enough to 12 would be better. mature tanks. Despite their long. loaches. if I ever do another Denison’s More importantly. they’re not These barbs are found over fish that like to fight powerful flows and are sand or rocks. I’d say don’t bother. 90cm/36in community. Juncus species are it’s from an Indian river. good open regions and enough cover to provide psychological comfort. Denison’s and dense planting — as well as Ceratopterus and Ludwigia. and certainly their preference. the tank should be well covered. Think grasses. it’s a numbers game. they’re going to die. Catappa leaves. too. though size. and you can gravel or sand can work. Sahyadria hate whole. An airstone. for at least six. and because they are so very cobbles. this one needs If planning on a community addition of The next consideration is substrate. kind of plastic plants that look like they’ve Planting should be like a 1940’s haircut: For tank mates. keep things pristine. appear in smaller set-ups. cheap and surprisingly fun. and shoals out with a seine net. Opt Your first consideration should be tank dangerous approach. the more timid the I’d empty a sack or two of various sized fare. Never go from pitch black to full situation. so an open top barbs are highly gregarious fish. brightness screaming from all directions and don’t be afraid to have a look in some some of which they’re closely related to. Remember to add them near the end of your stocking plans for no reason other than their requirement for stable. Find some in the wild. It nerves. grab really is that simple. that’s one of the few black and white things about them. you have a whole host of crawled from a nuclear disaster. In hypoxic conditions. not preying on tank mates. usually the latter of the two. your own. Sahyadria. so mix big with small. But if you’ve got ample swimming space. as a bet they won’t be clearly marked as hybrids. and they’ll always be over either a sandy or rocky substrate. despite the expense. As biotopes go. Caves are wasted. then go for it. they lend themselves well to That’s around 15 times the length of the dissolved organics. specific tastes. 10 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . fish and the efciency of biological media. looking fake plants. lots of money for a good-sized shoal of fish. powerful torpedo bodies. Just remember that slow moving fish like angels won’t like the racing car antics of the constantly moving barbs. It’s a lot more common than Avoid garish gravels. will heart attack. as well as the work nicely. and employ some not destroying plants and not outgrowing in how skittish they are and how twitchy they fine filter wool to reduce floating any physically massive sense. They adore Personal experience suggests that a little happen in the home tank. and swimming space is a must. it’s fair game. and the fish themselves seem inhabitants. from main river courses.

11 . but leave your Denison’s plenty of open swimming space. Fish of the month Plant the aquarium well.

RO water is preferred. opt for something containing get airborne and explore the carpet. they don’t exactly do well curvature and lowered immunity. Keep the red line burning Key to Denison’s success is good feeding When cleaning a Denison’s tank. When refilling. they’re found hauled out afterwards. They’ll even indulge in Another interesting point is that in the some foraging. and you might find yourself reliant on much higher than they would like. though be tolerated: Denison’s are among the most in the aquarium. As soon as an algae pad goes in from the nose to the flank. and the moment you turn your will be dietary in origin. RO with added minerals don’t be shy with Spirulina enhanced flakes is the way to go. carotenoids — colour enhancing There’s no fish that requires as much ingredients. 50% would be even better. Larger. but for quality.8 omnivores. but the average UK nitrate levels are foods. so regular spending too long at high temperatures water changes and scrupulous testing leads to emaciated. A bloodworm and Daphnia for a while as they Nitragon or other in-line nitrate remover adapt. won’t be for any prolonged period! 12 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . and both need to be lower ends of the scale can lead to spinal zero. Of their many striking slowly. Weekly at those numbers and assume that they’ll water changes of 35% or more should keep be fine in an unheated tank. whereas with nitrate or phosphate either. the first to wither is the red streak times. and consistent water. which performing maintenance. That said. A mixture of greenery and and hardness up to around 20°H is exactly frozen fare will all be taken. the tank. wild what most fishkeepers’ taps are churning caught imports can be slower to wean to dry out. Keep an eye open for foods diligent observation when you’re listing astaxanthin as an ingredient. most success is had at susceptible fish to background levels of around 24°C/75°F. as pollution will not between 15°C/59°F and 27°C/81°F. which may even tie in with their spawning It’s essential that any uneaten food be triggers. once they’re taking. and note where the fish are at all features. pale fish. Remember to add a little shredded can be used to good efect. Just don’t look regimes are a staple for success. they go down to quite cool water. they’ll just love to foods. treat them as a cruel irony that their desired pH6. and often this they’ll bolt. because they things fresh. Chronic exposure to the ammonia or nitrite. nibbling at any leaf litter in wild.Keep that red stripe vibrant with colour enhancing foods and excellent water quality.5–7. At its broadest. dandelion leaf and spinach at this stage. When using dry back to empty a bucket. will keep that fire red line burning. go and excellent water. It’s Aside quality dry foods.

And if all else fails. Denison’s have a close cousin.practicalfishkeeping. lacking the vigour and especially the colour of its cousin. The other key diference is that S. Fish of the month The diferences between species There are two species in the Sahyadria genus. which S. chalakkudiensis is the blander of the two fish. you’ll spot a diference in mouth shapes.uk 13 . Sahyadria chalakkudiensis. denisonii lacks. notably underslung beneath the head. denisonii has a sub-terminal mouth. S. That is. both looking very similar. chalakkudiensis has a prominent black marking on the dorsal fin. S. pointed ever slightly down. chalakkudiensis has a truly inferior mouth. www.co. If you can get close enough. S. it sits at the end of the head.

The expanded space is now Hitachi Spencer Turbine air blower. For him. it’s then expanded it again to accommodate have settlement chambers. it’s all ‘wow’ factor. with the PHOTOGRAPHY: PETER GATHERCOLE fishkeepers. which 14 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING .5ft up to 3. WORDS: SEAN EVANS R ichard Hardwick lives and about unusual fish and their character. 7m/22ft long and 3m/10ft wide. He rebuilt a help of his friend Paul. in addition to and freshwater stingrays in particular. baskets of coral gravel to help with pH says he’s not massively influenced by Richard’s fish house certainly has the bufering. over 60cm/24in high and trade for many years. who also designed drawn to particular groups of fish that larger fish house some years ago now. A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION For Richard Hardwick. and the built-in multi-chamber filters. For him. via a colour — it’s just a bonus. at least in the UK. Like many long-term dedicated created a separate fish house to Richard built the tanks himself. These have become his favourites. Richard has from 2. He beloved stingrays. He has In common with a number of other majority of the tanks are 90cm/36in wide also worked in the aquatic fishkeepers who’ve found themselves front to back. They are all air-powered. foam prefilters definitely the more unusual oddball fish. Richard has found himself accommodate his collection. the freshwater stingray has no equal — and the same can probably be said for his superb collection of these oddball fish. deeply hooked on this hobby.6m/12ft long.5m/8. even wider tanks to house more of his and plenty of biomedia. The breathes fishkeeping.

patterns. at only 150W to power all the filters simple to give the rays plenty of space. many feature beech branches that he’s size to allow the rays their natural The room is space-heated by a Delonghi collected himself. ● Age: 50. Neoceratodus forsteri. ● Most spent on a fish: Too much! Richard has 35 adult rays in his collection. chamber with the type of filter he uses. Richard often recommends mesmerised. but finds that finer tank. but leaving plenty of clear floor space. including this stunning Pearl ray. burrowing and feeding behaviours. so diameter. amazed at Richard’s fish house. ● Profession: Tropical fish manager at Wharf Aquatics. supplemented Many of these pieces are suspended from Any enthusiastic fishkeeper would be in the winter by twin radiators on the the surface. ● Favourite fish food: Hikari Sinking Carnivore. reaching down into the tank. inert gravel of around 4mm plus additional aeration. something Richard believes B. Cichlid Gold and Massivore pellets.D. which he says is just the right option too. aquarium sand. or redmoor wood.co.5 kW oil-filled radiator. For stingray enthusiast will be absolutely Importantly. Newly imported juveniles are notoriously delicate and very hard to get feeding. Richard says is a very reliable piece of kit The décor in the tanks is kept relatively For this reason. is an economical Richard doesn’t like to see bare tanks. ● Favourite equipment: Hitachi Spencer Turbine air blower. Heterotis niloticus. wide-eyed as you try to take in the must not be skimped on when creating a substrates get drawn into the settlement amazing complexity of their stunning fish house. 2. Reader visit MEET THE AQUARIST ● Name: Richard Hardwick. ● Fish he’d like to keep: Australian lungfish. ● Least successful fish: African arowana. the room is very well substrate. many tanks contain and. As you move from tank to insulated. Richard explains the www. but a house central heating circuit. but smooth. ● Favourite fish: South American stingrays. ● Most tanks running at once: Up to 30.practicalfishkeeping.uk 15 .

not just for its stunning Richard has kept a huge variety of oddball fish such as Bullheads (Miller’s thumb). at age eight. snakeheads. He remembers fishing with a catfish and oddballs. the so-called seven-pointers with red long history of fishkeeping spanning more species that he has a soft spot for. Of course. net in local brooks and streams. Mention a particular species that you like 16 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . who knows Richard that his favourite Another favourite is the L25 Scarlet plec. but also its fish. In retrospect. the star of Wharf Aquatics’ 7000 l/1555 gal you don’t know what to look at first. fishkeeping themselves. Richard’s Mantilla x P. Four decades of fishkeeping fish are the freshwater stingrays of South specifically those originating from Sao Richard’s journey to this point involves a America. He’s also a big fan of than 40 years. pattern (especially in juveniles).Captive-bred Potamotrygon leopoldi tend to have larger spots than those in the wild. and his vast experience and endless enthusiasm for fishkeeping has become well known. henlei Although his parents weren’t into ray is just spectacular. where that particular fish. his parents brought back an Elephantnose for him. Datnioides tiger Sticklebacks and Stone loach. some stage. and it didn’t live as long as it should have. they encouraged and supported Richard’s interest. and on a trip to London. He took great interest in these initial fish. It will come as no surprise to anyone display tank. including arowanas. Hoplias wolf fish. them home to be housed in pretty much any graceful movement. and bringing presence and character. However. knifefish. bichirs. diferences between the species and their and he’s reaching for a piece of paper and around 22 years ago. The primitive lungfish are secondhand gold-colour-framed Juwel This very rare African catfish was acquired another favourite: he’s kept South tank. gouramis and so on. Neons. gars. but it wasn’t enough! He liked the more unusual fish. you couldn’t simply type the name of a fish into Google back then and access the information we have now! Richard’s ‘magnificent obsession’ (as his parents referred to it) continued. His favourite catfish is Dorad catfish. there are many other Felix. about 120cm/4ft long with Siamese Fighters. spiny eels and many more container that would hold water! One very large predatory catfish that — if you can think of an oddball fish. It’s like being at some fabulous as he enthuses about what he likes about tropical pond for a while before becoming living art gallery full of masterpieces. catching Leiarius pictus. Billy eventually tear your eyes away from the previous one head shape and fins ‘that extend like this…’. went to live with Richard’s friend Paul in a each time. there’s His earliest memory of having tropical Richard owned for some time was a a pretty good chance Richard has kept it at fish was his parents being given a magnificent Heterobranchus bidorsalis. and became known as diferent pattern morphs — but it’s hard to digging a pen out of his pocket to sketch its ‘Billy’ to Richard’s family. as well as its fish. he feels he was too young to know how to keep such a fish. especially on the rays of every fin.

but breeding them took things to a it should be kept. They are a real character He says he only realised one of his rays found keeping them very difcult.practicalfishkeeping. so on that first the solution was simply to change more internationally) recognised authority on occasion. and their movement is just poetry was gravid for the first time when a single It would have been easy to assume that in motion.” he says. Richard he acquired a Potamotrygon hystrix ray. there is a pause before he favourite fish. but It’s fair to say that Richard has become a concerned was a wild P. a pet. Reader visit Richard’s collection takes a lot of hard work and dedication — he’s no stranger to getting up at 4am so he can fit everything into his day! American lungfish and three of the four doesn’t work with rays. fish. and he would like to keep When asked what fascinates him about Many fishkeepers aspire to breeding their an Australian lungfish given the chance.” pup appeared in the tank! The female these fish were simply ‘hard to keep’.uk 17 . where Hooked on rays well up in him as he considers everything he there is often little or no information Richard’s first experience of keeping rays admires about these fish. remembers going into his fish house and Potamotrygon sp. he didn’t notice the bulge in her water more frequently. and with no information diverse. or the movement within the ray that is aquarium fish might be fine with a water he’s now found it easier to interact with ray characteristic of the later stages. He change every three to four weeks. when no equal. hystrix ray. “They simply have available about how to breed them. this just keepers worldwide. large specimen for a hystrix. body. www. Under his moniker ‘aquaman45’. was certainly the case with rays. he initially mannerisms. This came about more than 30 years ago. “Marble motoro”. and a Richard came to realise that a big part of nationally (and with Internet forums. Potamotrygon hystrix. rays in particular. around on their captive care. “They’re not like any other fish. While some stingrays.co. there’s has always found his rays fascinating The shop owner knew nothing about how nothing even similar. especially if they keep answers — and you can see the enthusiasm something a little more unusual. Breeding success African species. and they all have diferent whole new level. Their patterns are so subjects.

Datnioides their pattern is still evolving. it’s often too late. better. more usual Colombian imports. these hystrix from the Rio Negro in Brazil are Potamotrygon sp. they were allowed to continue their homeward journey. but they turned out to be a were somewhat curious about two large or work or family commitments don’t particular locality of Marble motoro tubs. P. what’s next for Richard? “I don’t have P. and what Richard says is often ask ‘Are you married?’. Don’t try to keep rays in tanks that are too small — they need lots of space. humming with their attached allow for it. they were something is wrong. he admits that neither he nor other ray keepers that intrigued to see the rays. something to anticipate! 18 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . ammonia and nitrite. Richard acknowledges not just the 4 Good water quality is essential. then rays are not the right fish imported from Venezuela.” Given the superb quality of areas. He feels very lucky to have acquired them as they are almost never imported from Venezuela. 3 Size is everything. Many potential ray keepers ask what they can keep with them. hystrix on three occasions. then you need to Argentina and is a much less striking ray. and on the way back they were to those frequent water changes. and he has concerned about the possible extent of the are not as forgiving as many other fish the F1 and F2 (first and second generation search when the customs ofcers donned when it comes to poor water quality. scobina can be kept with disc characins to have P13 leopoldi pups soon. and it encouraged him to make a more conscious efort to breed his other rays. henlei. that’s certainly tiger fish. If this expected them to be a pair of normal stopped by armed customs ofcials. his day of with his family. once the ofcers were satisfied there was nothing fishy going on (so to speak). “I plan to further improve the enormous tank. He hopes So. and on one occasion. he’s spoken to are entirely sure why. customers at Wharf Aquatics fish with rays. doing a double-take when he saw the Real dedication recently born stingray pup moving up and Many dedicated fishkeepers find down the glass! He recalls what a fantastic themselves travelling longer distances to Richard’s top tips feeling it was. as long as the needs of the Marble motoros. It’s something of a myth that rays are hard His next success had its origins in a pair France. he knows that when a hobby becomes almost an obsession. but despite some theories. and with his superb Pearl rays from the Tapajós. his most striking creation to date. Rays This pair is still breeding today. acquire the fish they really want to keep. motoro. 5 Be wise about tank mates. However.” he American eartheaters. but (such as Silver dollars) and South Many of these rays change dramatically I’m very happy with what I have now. When they were informed of the by the time a novice keeper realises Richard describes how F1 rays often have contents of the large tubs. room for any more rays at the moment. across the channel to 1 Realise the importance of large. He’s also bred P. as rays for example. Richard says this is says. surprised that rays are not compromised. a Triple-A he can also fit in a family life! Smaller rays like P. Richard’s fish house was expanded to accommodate the wider tanks his stingrays require. clearer encouragement of his parents in pursuing will not tolerate even low levels of spots than their wild counterparts. hystrix and Marble cross mini Marble hybrid. This phenomenon is especially noticeable in ‘black’ rays: captive-bred P13 leopoldi rays. Rays are fascinating hystrix. also quite dramatic in P. also known as Cururu rays. crisper patterns than wild rays. regular water changes. but if you are original hystrix was described from takes a lot of hard work. cf. cleaner. but also the support of his wife. The change is those he already has. the Looking after all his rays and other fish enough in their own right. to meet a ray keeper from Belgium. and Richard says they were somewhat 2 Get the right advice when buying rays. it is possible to keep other Brazil. who is something you’re not prepared to do. bigger rays can be kept most dramatic in his Pearl rays. tend to have larger. When hearing additional tank mates can complicate P12 henlei rays from the Rio Tocantins in about his fish collection and maintenance this. you have to find a balance. He has some patterns on the rays I’m currently with large fish that swim in the upper that are now seven to eight years old and breeding. Florida gars and Peacock bass. mini schedule. and he remembers new to keeping rays. The customs ofcers started to remove parts of his friend’s car. Richard travelled outside the UK. Strictly speaking. in the back of for you. to keep — it’s more about hard work of rays that he obtained from a hobbyist in He made this journey with his friend and dedication and particularly sticking Leicester some 22 years ago. gloves. Triple-A Marble motoros. occasions when he’s got up at 4am to get focus on the husbandry aspects of Breeding success has also been realised his maintenance done so it doesn’t eat into keeping the rays first and foremost. such as Asian arowana. and from wild) ofspring from them. If you have an from juveniles to adults. Research both their needs and also where you intend to buy them. As a family man with three children. He had Steve. Any tank that rays are added to must be already biologically mature. the car. his hobby. rather than the battery-operated air pumps. Luckily.

Myleus schomburgkii. Geophagus neambi Potamotrygon sp. cf. Reader visit Richard’s full collection of stingrays and other fish Richard is a fan of disc characins and has a fabulous collection of lesser-seen species.practicalfishkeeping. Stingrays: Other fish: Giant Brycon. henlei P12 (hybrid). Mastacembelus erythrotaenia. Brycon melanopterus Potamotrygon sp. Fire eel. “Mini Marble motoro” “Wide bar” Geophagus argyrostictus. “Pearl ray” Red hooks. hystrix Fire eel. Geophagus dicrozoster.uk www. Myleus rubripinnis Potamotrygon henlei (P12) Large Myleus species (unidentified) Show us your tanks! Potamotrygon leopoldi (P13) Metynnis fasciatus Do you have a stunning or particularly Potamotrygon sp. Brycon melanopterus. “White” interesting set-up? Get in touch at Mantilla ray x P. Mylossoma duriventre editorial@practicalfishkeeping.uk 19 . “Itaituba” (P14) Metynnis sp.co. Potamotrygon sp.co. Mastacembelus erythrotaenia Geophagus dicrozoster Potamotrygon sp. “Marble motoro” Black band Myleus.

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Each copy is signed Thomas Kjellman. It used to be common practice to drop information covering wild and cultivated fish. who was Homaloptera and Nemacheilus striking Red-tailed agriculture and residential investigating the Lower loaches. their native range Maeklong Basin of Thailand. bought the house in Brantevik by the author. Discus World 2nd edition Eel dies — aged 155! The revised and fully updated second edition of An eel. references a lone individual halfeaks. has died in a well in Sweden. it was declared The discovery has also derived from reintroduction For decades.  21 . provided the first concrete programs or was released by an Red-tailed black shark was when a tiny population was indication of sympatric species aquarist. tank mates. A4 size softback edition. Mastacembelus eels black sharks expansion. aquarists be farmed versions. the decline of the extinct in the wild — until 2011. among high flows and in sole specimen found was a relic the discovery of a wild roaming 1996. setting eels into wells to get rid of flies and other insects up. feeding. The book costs £24. it is certain that they will the Biodiversity Journal genus Notopterus. breeding before public water systems were developed. and much more. What we do know is something that hobbyists were found in the Chao Phraya Basin.99 and is also Åle was reportedly thrown into the well in 1859 available on Kindle. fish. water requirements.discusworldbook. that the wild fish remain at a oblivious to. a recent paper in These include knifefish of the critically endangered level. Dermogenys In that sense. If you own these However. thought to have been the oldest in the Discus World by Chris Ingham is now available in an world. and Parambassis glassfish. back in 1962 — and the ‘housepet’ came as part easy-to-understand language. who says the book is written in clear. Barbonymus and everywhere provide a valuable Due to environmental found by researcher Sitthi Rasbora cyprinids.com by eight-year-old Samuel Nilsson. searching. For more information. found alongside wild Red tails.CAUGHT in the HEADLINES What’s happening in the world of fish There are more Red tails in aquaria around the world than in native rivers. after some 50 years of water of 1m depth. NEW DISCOVERY Wild Red tails may not be extinct after all! R enewed hope for the degradation. over 140 photos and illustrations. gene pool of the species. from an old population. Kulabtong. It features 176 pages and The owner of the well where Åle the eel lived. was specimen in its native country. providing a wealth of of the deal. By dam. visit www. damming. (Epalzeorhynchos across Thailand has become The fish was found in a rocky It cannot be ascertained if the bicolor) has been spurred on by increasingly devastated.

Bruce Robinson. operated vehicle (ROV) was “We found her there again and Female octopuses die soon but she scooped them into used to inspect an isolated again. IN NUMBERS: of all 6. has been slammed by Typical shallower and coastal Internet users for its cruelty. ofering Measuring the Sea turtle at researchers hope that its Sealife London Aquarium. with a The supermum tended to her lit cigarette pushed into its clutch of 160 eggs for 53 months. found that this giant fish. In October 2011. but the communities in which the 1.” says Dr all of their energy into generating them to the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham. The study of the octopus began provided evidence that it was the had disappeared. last month. is now three-month-old baby hermit can quickly spot changes in extinct. their growth and development.” PHOTOGRAPHY: FALMOUTH AQUARIUM. it was also found that in those communities where fishing of these giants is regulated. Graneledone boreopacifica are The video. way past the point that we after their eggs hatch. DR RICHARD KIRBY/BNPS 22 . PHOTOMAX. curator at the to update the health logs of all Aquarium carried out their South Bank attraction. identified research. and those behind eat at all during that time. The percentage of fishing shell of the rather impressive “It’s a big job. empty eggs cases fixed to rocks.600 animals in their health of all of our animals. while fishermen laugh and it’s believed that she did not and joke as the fish sufocates. Brazil. who led the and caring for their eggs. dedicated aquarists know their Arapaima. We wanted her to had a shock when she stepped ocean. it’ll be a great opportunity to their 50 sharks. “It was like rooting for discovered in lift A woman from Birmingham the cold. where they are central California. crabs came to be in the lift. species brood for up to three months but very little is known about the behaviour of l Mystery of crabs deep-living species. her eggs for a whopping The 30-second video shows four-and-a-half years. that metabolic processes revisited 18 times over a survive and succeed. but “We’ve just recently welcomed care. crabs and 15 baby seahorses. l Giant fish on the Health check of 6. had to check the teeth and plus a Gentoo penguin chick. was a sports team. a fish out of water. dark waters of the deep by her unique scarring. However. they have successes it seemed a good time and some tiny poison dart frogs. so measure the length of each of Very small baby seahorses. one of the and log the size of the allocated animals very well and world’s largest fish. conservation is still possible.2m long rare green Sea turtle. mouth.” into the lift at the tower are much slower than that of their four-and-a-half-year period.600 animals brink of extinction A recent study shows that gets under way at aquarium one of the world’s largest freshwater fish — the Arapaima — is rapidly disappearing from the Amazon River. according to a recent study. It’s likely. almost 1. They put a Tupperware box and took canyon. after several months of breeding a new herd of baby seahorses Among other jobs. leaving behind It is not known how the in 2007 when a remotely same clutch throughout. the Arapaima is booming. Continuous growth of the eggs returned to find that the octopus discovered two live crabs. being cared for in quarantine before being put on display. which octopus (Graneledone shows a fish being forced to boreopacifica) that kept vigil over smoke a cigarette. ALAMY. with a density 100 times higher than in those areas without any fishing rules. of expected she’d persist. which can grow up to 3m/10ft in length. in The same octopus. measure the monitor their progress. The survey of fishing communities in Amazonas. Staf at Sealife London Jamie Oliver. is already extinct in some parts of the Amazon basin. CAUGHT in the HeAdlINes Octopus IN BrIef named Mum l Outrage over of the Year video showing fish smoking cigarette Scientists have discovered what There has been an angry reaction from animal lovers must be the world’s most to a video posted onto dedicated mother — a deep-sea YouTube and LiveLeak. probably the best mothers ever! it. says: of our creatures at once — 19 week-long annual health check “We’re constantly monitoring the including our new additions. the scientists block where she lived — and shallower-watered counterparts.4km deep. MIKAEL BUCK/REX.

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I’ve tried him on Tetra all round. If you have plastic up the sides to eat. mark. 45cm/68 x 24 x 18in aquarium using a sand practical fishkeeping.uk substrate. moluccensis. but he was special. ponds and freshwater inverts to plants. I then put a sheet of A better Betta treat? thin plastic in the tank to cover the whole whitecloud base. Are they fussy eaters? then began to fill it using a hosepipe. I placed the dry sand in the tank and roughly graded it. Atyopsis or bloodworm. easily removed without disturbing the sand. but he’ll usually come up to eat if everything is in the mix. feeding. so I was willing to invest time and efort. He only seems to you come to remove it. the plastic floats and Betta Bio Gold and frozen weight of the plate and jug. It helps if the plastic goes up the front minnow. Freeze dried The writer of each star letter will win a 250ml pot of their choice bloodworm may be close from this quality range of food. Barrie Sharrock. tanks. I placed a plate on top eat King British bloodworm. I started adding a little flake. TANKCOMMUNITY The place to share your fish. plastic may float! The photos on the right They can be. (forum name Channidae) and voted ‘Photo of jamesfish. the plastic tends to Mine loves Hikari begin to float up and is just held down by the As the tank fills. Find it at http://forum. is filled using a forum for fishkeepers covering there will still be more ‘mud’ to come. 24 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . as plasticfantastic. the Month’ by forum members. of the plastic and put a bowl on the plate. mixing in a little Tubifex. It often depends on what they were raised on — probably live food for fast Win FishScience aquarium food growth. plate and bowl. Fish tactic. which uses natural ingredients. Crab Cuisine. leaving gin-clear water. Most This fantastic macro shot of of mine won’t touch Daphnia a Bamboo shrimp. which can then be both it and the bowl can be removed. There is no point in trying to wash Plastic covers the sand and the tank sand — no matter how many times you do it. and back glass for a few centimetres. was taken by Tea Shyi Kai. he refused at WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO EDIT LETTERS first. Mine eat show the result. also refused. email jamesfish. I started with frozen bloodworm. two that eat anything but: catfish ● A big fan of shrimp pellets. then accepted. hosepipe directed everything from aquariums to I happened to be setting up a 170 x 60 x into a bowl. Use a ceramic or glass plate and bowl for this. This process took a month.co. As you fill the tank. I’ve had two eat Atison’s Betta Pellets. while the lower picture shows gin-clear water at the half-full kelotron. Mine was kept on his own until he accepted my regular foods. but not I’m struggling to get my Betta at the ends. letters and photos ★ HereÕs to clear water! STAR letter FORUM Join the popular PFK online I was amazed to see the result of the tank filling in the article Catfish Centrepiece in the July issue. Diferent brands still receive the snub at times. then accepted both. Tetra Betta but would not The first photo shows the set-up with touch other flaked food… plastic. it tends to become pinned in place Betta flakes which he seems and substrate disturbance may occur when to spit out. enough for them to take. bloodworms.

pet-mate. Having started this project last year and biting of more than I could chew. email go at designing and building my own — * Practical Fishkeeping.co.com/PFKmagazine profile of other readers’ ponds to have a cascade waterfall in the near future. looked before (inset). Working through the weather.practicalfishkeeping. the project was finished at the end of June.A labour of love I am writing in to show of my new Koi pond. thanks PFK! JOIN THE PFK COMMUNITY I have been interested in fishkeeping for and I have now all but finished it.co. is a hold. it’s by no Practical Fishkeeping: Tweet. I was inspired by your design and scratch build a modern twitter. his pond from scratch. Anyway. some good and bad. email ● Make yourself at home Forum member Spencer Oates’ Common clownfish has decided to host this Goniopora Ben Smith designed and built coral instead of an anemone. So. we discovered that Kath was pregnant with our first child. My fiancée purchased a builder can achieve with careful subscription to Practical Fishkeeping for planning and a lot of hard work!  : editorial@practicalfishkeeping. Adam. Search Practical Fishkeeping despite having no experience of pond underwater lights and I’m planning to construction. and how it popularity due to its unusual colour.practicalfishkeeping. I began means the largest pond. There are five diferent ways to get in touch with several years now and when I moved At approximately 2 x 1. Here are some pictures of before and after. the pond had to get finished. the build was put on Blue Panaque. with no previous experience. the project was back up and running. but gaining few months and we were new pond. there was already a pond in the garden. wrong design and not enough filtration). Pond inspiration.8m. home around 12 months ago.com or call 01932 700000.com. Media House. Using every spare minute (not many for a new dad).uk  www. In September. Keep up the good work. like us on Facebook. after a few months planning. 8 http://forum. So. Ben Smith.uk me as a birthday present last year and I’m yet to finish the installation of facebook. me and my missus (Kath) are now proud as can be with the finished product. As an avid fishkeeper with Malawi cichlids for a number of years. Kath and baby Kian. but I think it drop us an email join the forum or simply send a exploring the possibility of building my demonstrates what a novice pond good old-fashioned letter: first pond. the work began around February 2013. ● Black and blue all over With that and the weather Chris Edwards’ (forum name mrdduck) beautiful changing. the original pond just wasn’t up to my standard (too small. fast forward a Adam’s finished relative newcomer to the hobby. Peterborough PE2 6EA Correction: The contact for the Fish Mate 1500 pump on page 93 of August’s PFK should have been www. which I have just completed.uk 25 . When we bought the house five years ago.co. Baryancistrus beggini. proud parents on May 1. Lynch Wood. as we count down the days till the new magazine is out.

Grace Libby: I found all of these puns way too finny. Keep up the great work! I danio about that mate. marine with a pair of clownfish. Cod these are bad. Graham McNicoll: Please.. along not squidding! My puns may with over 100 of its siblings.. for just a pair of hardy. trout yourself. of his gorgeous Kohaku Koi. gorgeous Koi angelfish named minnow lots of fish puns. forward to reading the article Graeme Grum Scott: soon. but stripped the tank down and I’m sick of herring them.. Anyone else got any more?? Chris Green: Oh. but I’m laughing so hard I think I’ve pulled a mussel! Back to basics Mark Isaacs: I want to say how amazing the These fish puns are all very brackish set-up was in August’s funny but because you’re issue. Anyway I’m of. email 26 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . Obey Deegeefambam: tank-bred clowns? I hope you greedily gulping its food Any fin is possible if you don’t take up the challenge and I look from the surface.. went back to tropicals as it was Robert Mckillop: costing too much to run. Tom Austin: Just for the halibut. Nichole Smith: Let’s not Discus this further. gotta go watch Cory. Scale back on the fish puns. I keep looking at it and I’d doing it on porpoise. that’s a Moray.TANKCOMMUNITY FROM FACEBOOK If you can think of a better fish pun…let minnow Chris Goddard: LOL. Could ● Pond perfection I know that phrase but i just PFK do a very basic marine Mike Kelland’s crystal clear pond shows of the beauty can’t plaice it.. I’m ‘Mustardseed’ from an egg. stop carping on. Janet Cremetti (forum name Darroch Gilchrist: pterygoplichthys) raised this This scampi happening.. Will Heslop: I kept marines a few years ago. cod me better! captured this Otocinclus searching for algae George Finch: on a lush lawn of plants in his aquarium. Gavin Cole. it’s just a love to have a go. ● Green and pleasant land Nick Maynard: Dave Liptrott (forum name pose1don) Not bad. I hope nobody gets crabby here. eely bad. Chloé Sharp: ● Home grown angel You’re krilling it now. be bad but at least they are ofishal and not unlicensed.. but make it full red herring. Carl Brownlow: Shall we just close the hatchet? Sashka Louise Cave: I can think of a Betta pun. Matt Danger Johnson: Cod these puns are awful. Alex Ellson: When you’re down by the sea and an eel bites your knee. set-up.

Help for newbies I have just received the excellent September issue of PFK. being used by Bauer. It’s easy to clean. any apps or social media pages affiliated to the magazine.gentile@bauermedia.uk enclosed with the issue. PE2 6EA the supplement ‘Your Aquarium’ Email angela. we cannot promise to do so. dust and algae from the promise that you have permission from anyone featured or referred to in the submitted material to it water surface. we will be able to return any material to you. All material published remains the copyright of Bauer. Phone from overseas on +44 (0)1858 438760 worth £81.greatmagazines. a 50m hose and spare Group Managing Director membranes. and any editions of A Superfish Pond Skim 3000. enjoy many years MARKETING Phone 01733 468329 in the hobby. on the associated website.uk For subscription or back issue queries please contact CDS Global on Bauer@ Win a Superfish Koi-Flow subscription. most of that time. resulting from use of the material as described in this paragraph.co. Peterborough.) to Bauer Media whether unsolicited or requested. With a Group Direct Marketing Director long life. Bauer Media. which floats in are confirming that the material is your own original work or that you have permission from the copyright the pond and sucks dirt such as owner to use the material and to authorise Bauer to use it as described in this paragraph.co.co. The pumps have a Rob Munro-Hall CEO Paul Keenan two-year warranty. Peterborough. EDITORIAL Phone 01733 468000 Many people invest in an Editor Angie Kenny Art Editor Mark Cureton aquarium. and we reserve the right to copy or edit any material submitted to the magazine without further consent. Lincoln Road. Superfish Koi BAUER CONSUMER MEDIA Managing Director . You also leaves. If Bauer receives a claim from a copyright owner or a person featured in any thanks to its removable debris material you have sent us.  of one of his Indian glassfish.co.co. Practical Fishkeeping magazine is published 13 times a year by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. fishkeeping.practicalfishkeeping.uk 27 . By submitting any material to us you worth £79.kenny@bauermedia.gothinkbig. Media House.uk great shot in the arm for the hobby at that time. we will inform that person that you have granted us permission to use the basket and is for ponds up to relevant material and you will be responsible for paying any amounts due to the copyright owner or 40m square. Parambassis ranga. ex-chairman of Shaun Delaney. whilst we try to ensure accuracy of your material when we publish it.Leisure & Flow pumps have a high level Technology Sam Fitz-Gibbon of air output using minimum Editorial Director June Smith-Sheppard Head of Digital Charlie Calton-Watson power consumption. on 0844 848 8872.practical damage. however caused. get disheartened Art Director Rachel Hawkins when things go wrong.uk Phone from the UK 30 complete aeration kit.co.99. On looking at Lynchwood. proving they’re not just transparent.99. the magazine published by our licensees elsewhere in the world. registered address 1 Lincoln Court. Your supplement Group Commercial Director can only help newcomers to have Iain Grundy success with their fishkeeping Key Accounts Angelo Gentile A chip of the old tank! and hopefully. Brand Manager Tallulah Fuller-Smith Direct Marketing Executive It may even encourage them to This is my little son’s tank. Finally. www. I was led If you or someone you know to reflect that if we had had this are aged between 16 and 24 and are interested in informative literature all those work experience years ago. without the prior permission of Bauer. for use in fish and Koi ponds. He loves this tank to bits and is Georgina Maheffey spread their wings and join a following in his dad’s footsteps for the love of fishkeeping! Head of Newstrade Marketing Leon Benoiton local fish club! Frankie Shaun seems to love the hobby already! Tanks guys! Deputy Newstrade Marketing Manager Ken Wrightson. Registered number 01176085. email Samantha Tomblin Ilford Aquarists Society PRODUCTION Phone 01733 468000 Print Production Manager Richard Woolley Advertising Production Nicholas Greenwood ● Black beauties WIN IT! with Mike Kelland’s (forum name Printed by Wyndeham Heron Distributed by Frontline kelotron) Black telescope goldfish SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BACK ISSUES line up for their photograph! To ensure that you don’t miss an issue and for the best subscription offers visit www. I’ve been an aquarist for over 50 years with my main interest CONTACT US in breeding freshwater fish over Address Practical Fishkeeping.co.uk for a ● Classy Glass chance to win these and David O’Brien (forum name Ob1 KenOB) captured this colourful portrait other great prizes. PE1 2RF. it would have been a opportunities at Practical Fishkeeping go to www. The submission of material (manuscripts or images etc. We accept no consumption and comes with a responsibility for unsolicited material which is lost or damaged in the post and we do not promise that two-year warranty. No part of the magazine may be reproduced in any form in whole or in part. We do not accept any responsibility for any loss or Visit winit.uk ours forever. the pumps are quiet Chris Gadsby Finance Director Lisa Hayden to run and supplied with six air Group Finance Director Sarah Vickery stones. is taken as PLUS permission to publish that material in the magazine. then Production Editor Karen Youngs Editorial Assistant Nicki Manning subsequently sell the equipment and are lost to this great hobby of ADVERTISING Phone 01733 468000 Email angelo. It has low power featured person and/or for reimbursing Bauer for any losses it has suffered as a result.

The tank in my lounge is a 2m x 61 x 61cm/7 x 2 x 2ft Amazon tank. Satanoperca pappaterra l 8 Emerald catfish. Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma l 20 False penguin tetras. but I never see plants growing in the wild in perfect Darren’s larger aquarium symmetry or in regimental rows. Megalechis thoracata l 4 Bristlenose catfish. most Central American cichlids you’ve kept? are easy despite their bad reputation! All they Convict cichlids: they are the most aggressive require is more tank space than most people Current stock species I have kept. I have also What are the most challenging fish Ironically. Some Thorichthys are a bit trickier and can sufer with bloat but most In the 120cm/4ft tank: When they decide to breed. MP & C PIEDNOIR. provide them with. they defend their are as hard as nails. 28 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . Thorichthys family or perhaps one of the And the easiest? Veija/Paratheraps species. SHUTTERSTOCk ‘Laguna Catazaja’ l 8 Green swordtail.COM. but it would have to be a member of the species of late. Brochis splendens l 4 Clown plec. Ancistrus temminckii. Panaqolus maccus l 4 Hoplo catfish. Mikrogeophagus altispinosus l 2 Pantanal eartheaters. I never choose hybrids or man-made colour morphs. regardless of size. What are your favourite fish? I find it extremely difcult to name one fish. How many tanks do you have?  At the moment. I am only interested in fish that live together in nature. Xiphophorus helleri In the 2m/7ft tank: l 15 Common angelfish. l 12 Heller’s cichlid. even though they are quite small for a Central American cichlid. Pterophyllum scalare l 25 Bleeding heart tetras. Thorichthys helleri. TANKCommuNiTy Me & my TANK l Fishkeeper: Darren Stanley. PHOTOGRAPHY: DARREN STANLEY. l Occupation: Carpenter. want this in my aquariums. l Age: 41. I try to create something as close to nature as possible. l Time in the hobby: 30 years. scalare and Geophagus territory against anything. AQUAPRESS. I have two. grown very fond of P. Thayeria boehlkei l 4 Bolivian rams. l Whereabouts: West Midlands. How would you describe them?  When I set up a tank. I also have a 120cm/48in Mexican biotope tank in my bedroom. I find them of-putting. l Number of tanks: Two. This Mexican biotope is a bedroom feature. My tanks are informal and a bit wild. so I don’t houses a group of 15 angelfish. What attracted you to the hobby? My parents had a tropical tank when I was a small child and I have been fascinated by all things aquatic ever since.

What are your favourite aquarium plants? I love mosses in tanks. as you get a lot more for your money. Use pond products for your cichlids. This is one of the Thorichthys species I’ve yet to keep and I’d like eventually to have kept and bred them all. of which Darren has 12. For the upper 120cm/48in tank. Fish of a certain Xiphophorus helleri. It’s the interaction between create an aesthetically pleasing biotope. cichlids. I believe this is one of the Thorichthys because in the wild they live most important factors when trying to Things I wish I’d known. It’s immoral. It’s colonies I find interesting. Which fish would you most like to keep? Satanoperca daemon — this is a beautiful and fairly peaceful cichlid that can be kept in groups. with sand and large river Darren’s advice for beginners rocks with overhanging branches. In a large tank with a sandy substrate and overhanging branches.. I’d have 100 Green swordtails. natural. lived-in look I find appealing. I’ve used an African lotus lily before but felt a bit of a fraud! Green swordtail. it’s for a large group of Geophagus cichlids aquascape. www.. your tank and looks to scale in its need to catch a fish.25 x 0. I’d love a Mexican lily.uk 29 . a group of adults looks magnificent. 15 Heller’s for your aquarium. wrong and cruel. I’d go size can look out of scale to their Save time. The fish would be a group of 15 Firemouth Resist buying fish that grow too big Save money. Fish like Oscars or tanks. outside water butts. Thorichthys meeki. Darren’s wish list Satanoperca daemon. but they won’t thrive.practicalfishkeeping. Choose something that fits much quicker to remove all the décor if you in an Amazon-style tank. avoid buying dyed fish. Thorichthys helleri and a pair of Jaguar cichlids may live OK in a Grow your own live food like Daphnia in large Vieja bifasciatus. If you have a large aquarium. I am most drawn towards Geos and surroundings. layers. best to buy the biggest tank you can aford or orders and hierarchies are formed. in colonies.9m/13 x 3 x 3ft tank. accommodate from the start. Alternatively. They give a Darren also has ten Koi in his pond. Firemouth.9 x 0.co. What would be your idea of a dream aquarium? I would go for a 6. Thorichthys socolofi. Thoricthys helleri. Moss adds a mature feel. Thorichthys meeki. Every tank I buy will never be big enough. as pecking One more thing. It’s a scale thing too. Also. Xiphophorus helleri.

but still remains easy to keep.GET INTO the spirit! If you fancy a plec that’s a touch more exotic and colourful. 30 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . ● Easy to keep and feed. look no further than the Blue and Green phantoms. WORDS: JULIAN DIGNALL reasons to keep ● Attractive alternative to Ancistrus and other commonly sold plecs. ● Community friendly. It’s possible that the Blue and Green phantoms are diferent colour forms of the same species.

curved) caudal (tail) ● Size: 30cm/12in.practicalfishkeeping. Looking at the shape and form two diferent species of of their teeth is a sure-fire way of telling them apart. It is Rather than work out if the tank is getting probably best described as Hemiancistrus.DK. a plec may seem like a good option. Venezuela is spots on the head. but variations introduced by age. lose some. selling literature and scientists have. As they grow. Even the catfish and this needs a bit of explaining — smaller fish shops will typically which I’ll do once I’ve introduced the other ofer one sort or another for sale. ● Size: 30cm/12in. or water change regime is below par. £25 to £60. between the genera Peckoltia. So. then it’s going to grow into a Hemiancistrus and the newly proposed ● Lifespan: Ten to 12 years. has a tall. JJPHOTO. Freshwater catfish P lecs are everywhere. colouration. the colour ● Scientific name: Hemiancistrus continent of South America. Green Colombia and. L128 is probably best described as a FISH FACTFILES For the entry-level fishkeeper. Young specimens exhibit a deep. It could be argued reverse. ● Common name: L128. Sadly.co. which look very similar in terms of we find L128 and L200: two l-numbers that. l-number plecs it has supplied to the green than yellow and Baryancistrus the ● Lifespan: Ten to 12 years. irrespective of its large adult size. middle. Blue phantoms are found further downstream in the Orinoco near Puerto Ayacucho. It’s typically bristlenose plecs (Ancistrus spp. bordering Colombia and Venezuela. and continue ● Scientific name: Hemiancistrus sp. But what’s the next step up? The engagingly simple l-number system Know your phantom provides us with nearly 500 such L200 is two species: Hemiancistrus candidates. They are mustard-yellow to near The Rio Orinoco river system in lime-green in colour and come with lighter ● Common name: L200. at the top and ● Ease of keeping: Simple. it’s a bristlenose. It should not intensifies and they may lose some. fin. to nearly all. number. They are commonly sold as as we will see. both from condition and source population mean that ● Availability and cost: Common when in the point of view of availability and its telling the two apart by colouration is a bit season. relatively easy to find retailers that will dark inky-blue colouration with light blue stock the much larger Common plecs to white spots on the head and sometimes (Pterygoplichthys spp. damaging to the fish to haul them out of the water to peer at their gnashers in a retail environment. frequently ofered for sale. www. it is not unreasonable seasonal. L200 is actually hit or miss. due to the adult size and generally ● Availability and cost: Medium but aquaria and reflect badly on the retailer. As can be seen from specimens in top condition. principally. of these spots. perhaps ofered for sale as the Blue phantom plec or from a local breeder. research reaches consensus on this. if it’s one of the larger species. L128. £20 to £60. Among those. “Hi-fin”. which is longer ● Lifespan: Ten to 12 years. SHUTTERSTOCK. but it may be at best impractical and at worst. Green phantom Baryancistrus demantoides plec “Hi fin”. HRISTO HRISTOV lunate (pronouncedly dem-an-toy-dees). that will outgrow the majority of common time. beauty. but. ornamental fish trade. it is still just L128. sail-like pointed ● Scientific name: Baryancistrus dorsal fin and a more demantoides (Barry-an-sist-russ PHOTOGRAPHY: NEIL HEPWORTH. which may extend to the plantom plec. plant-munching foot-long friendly giant Ancistomus. However.uk 31 . second only to the mighty Amazon on the upper body. is being overfed or the filter as it’s been called Chaetostoma in old hobby phantom plec. Hemiancistrus is a bit more ● Size: 25cm/10in. of the spots.) for customers extended to the upper body. of which over 100 are subviridis and Baryancistrus demantoides. There are two other things you should look for to tell these two species apart and both concern the fins. or subviridis (Hem-ee-an-sist-russ be too much of a surprise to learn it is also nearly all. ● Common name: L200. £25 to £80. bottom than it ● Availability and cost: Available from is in the time to time in season. the second in terms of the number of Typically. asking for a fish to eat algae or keep the tank the fish become a little darker and usually clean. Blue too much light. actually give the aquarist Green phantom plecs or L200 and L200 three options.). the more enlightened retailer will ofer species of Hemiancistrus. Both Green phantoms come from the upper Orinoco. sub-vir-id-iss). As they grow. If more elongate shape. wrestle with what the diference is (Hem-ee-an-sist-russ). ALAMY. to use Hemiancistrus until the experts’ growing to not much more than 10cm/4in. However. ● Ease of keeping: Simple. then it will do well. to. that chief among them is L200. it’s unclear at the present ● Ease of keeping: Simple.

that varies in colour from yellowish-green to brownish-green. so more expensive. the more yellow around. The areas 32 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . they are typically sold as diferent species. Deeply sunken bellies are a sign (such as Hisontus aky and Acestridium these fish are. H. you wish to buy a group then. size and positions of the spots is The description of Baryancistrus species in the same publication in 2005 (by entirely inconsequential in terms of gender. The former appears widely distributed and known from the Río Iguapo. However. This independent fish shops.hence the name “Hi fin”. and the further downriver the that the fish may or may not have some dichromum) are found hanging out on bluer and darker. that’s to say flowing water over exposed it’s also important because Baryancistrus Imports of these fish typically have a bedrock. with the Baryancistrus being less commonly available. a type of gemstone. They are robust and hardy fish. however. relatively short supply chain and so the within the nooks and crannies provided by The various hues of Blue (L128) and condition they are ofered for sale is primarily rocky surroundings. The Green phantoms. there don’t them to a month’s worth of pampering by diferences. as more members of apart from the fact the darker fish appears water. and science only recognised these two number. But I mention telling them apart for a few reasons. the lower edge of the dorsal is well clear of the back of the fish when held erect and. bargains can still be the time being. I would recommend sometimes possible to pick out species as L200 or not — scientists have yet quarantine for a month. just a little bit in front of the adipose fin. The adipose is that small stubby fin on the back between the dorsal and caudal. as Colombian appear to be any other discernible external ofering the best possible foods and two or exporters will commonly supply direct to or behavioural diferences. it would have been confusing. Baryancistus demantoides species’ name refers to a demantoid. indeed. you specimens collected in the upper Orinoco Avoid buying any fish if there are signs of need to check they’re all the same species. fish being ofered for sale. for three 25% water changes a week. demantoides. greenish light-blue fish Hemiancistrus the long run. However. raggedy fins and slightly concave bellies the more curious. All other green loricariids The further upriver you go. subviridis (meaning form of internal parasite. paper) also gave an insight into the natural in fish tanks for a decade). in crevices under boulders and and Hemiancistrus have diferent needs. when Hemiancistrus is ofered for include more yellowish-green populations. efort if you’re just going to buy one fish. with calling yellow to intensive care is by no means required in found — diamonds in the rough. Hemiancistrus sp. This gives you the Baryancistrus bargains. L128 is collected for the trade further downstream in the Orinoco near Puerto Ayacucho. ‘corroncho diamante’ is what locals call pretty much any plec with a black base and white spot colouration so. is known only from a smaller range around the confluence of the Orinoco and Ventuari — where it is collected with the more widely distributed Hemiancistrus. system and can be reasonably considered to red marked infections on even one of the Finally. Secondly. Río Ventuari and Río Casiquiare. The best start in their final destination. This focus on habitat of H. but it is fair to say that chance to acclimatise your new fish to your increasingly harder. as well as the main channel Río Orinoco itself. while there was potential for calling this fish the Diamond plec. Green (L200) phantom plecs that belong to variable. B. there is a fair stretch of bare back between the two fins. demantoides is restricted to areas of dark Hemiancistrus represent a continuum of Good food and clean water will bring even granite — making its lurid colouration all fish from the upper Orinoco to the lower. again. The word itself comes from the obsolete German word diemant meaning ‘diamond’ and the Greek sufx -oïdes meaning ‘to resemble’. B. subviridis and is typical of correct identification might seem a lot of Buying your phantoms similar plecs: medium-strength current. but Care of Hemiancistrus is less involved. although this is to tackle that one. both originate in the upper Orinoco. If adding to an sale in larger shipments of smaller fish. The clincher is that the lower edge of the dorsal fin is attached by a small membrane to the back of the fish. That said. subviridis and B. We are left. subviridis (in one which time they’d been swimming around population and species. The Blue phantom. bluish-green to reaching excellent condition and given the l-number specialists years to figure this out inky-black Hemiancistrus sp. keep a close eye on them and treat the supply chain cotton onto the to grow a few centimetres larger. but it will result in your plecs Don’t be afraid to ask or check: it took the subviridis and darker. demantoides and H. bordering Colombia and Venezuela. but are certainly similarly coloured vegetation. you want to be sure you’re paying for the right thing. In Hemiancistrus. in obvious reference to the colour of the fish. These days. If you’re buying the more expensive species. if greenish) was described from olive-green significantly underfed and probably weak. H. demantoides. L128. it is What’s trickier to call is if L128 is the same established aquarium.

5–30°C/78–86°F for available and easy to keep. ● Size: 120 x 45 x 45cm/48 x 18 x 18in this cannot be considered a sustainable minimum is preferable. BANANA PLANT. Take the 1st step All three are reasonable community tank they get plenty to eat. Though from North America. Ofer a mix of algae/vegetable ● Type: Larger community. Plants are entirely optional and Only fish in good condition can be sexed will begin to be eaten if other food is accurately and. DIAMOND TETRA. Sexing and breeding Even as adults. Such odontodes are ROCKS. slightly acidic. All three can be given Baryancistrus demantoides. they are entirely peaceful and will not harm even fry (they will eat eggs). depending on temperature. ● TANK MATES parameters were 32. in males.4°C/90. as many of the not forthcoming. also present on the body. H.3°F. then any of these plecs is an smaller pebbles from your local garden excellent choice. These would work Hemiancistrus are omnivorous. plastic pipes or stacked rocks. MOENKHAUSIA very protein heavy tablets. eating I am not aware of any published very well alongside Green phantoms in pretty much anything that reaches the spawning account of Baryancistrus a larger set-up. they aren’t the easiest plecs to sex. UARU CICHLIDS. Cleanliness is can even be kept in a community tank. They are not very good demantoides in English. they can hold their own with more boisterous companions. sp. L128 are cave spawners.practicalfishkeeping. algae eaters and certainly cannot be left to THINK TANK pick up scraps from the other fish present. Their only downside is that they are medium-sized plecs. While Hemiancistrus males can reach sizes up to 30cm/12in. so you need something SUBSTRATE. Try to avoid ● Water chemistry: pH 6–7.04. Feeding when lights Hemiancistrus subviridis and shoals of these tetras.co. Remove uneaten food community tanks. The darker colours of the Blue issues in terms of digestion.5–30°C/74–86°F for phantom would look good underneath large preferably twice a day. they can be gathered up and condition. however. but all will cope without. which are commonly are of is a good way to ensure they get most 25. If kept singly. Baryancistrus are more herbivorous and will do a pretty good job on algae. It’s best to buy a younger group in an attempt to build a viable ratio of boys and girls. distinguishing features are relative. the bottom long enough for the plecs to feed. broader heads. based pellets and some protein. but again.5. females will typically be 4 or 5cm smaller and spawning can be expected at half this size. of the food ofered. The Ofer a selection of sizes and let the fish AQUATICA. subviridis. but are less obvious. so long as water changes are Settle your phantom plec in with this adhered to and food reaches and stays on choice of décor and tank mates. Baryancistrus demantoides is the easiest and once they leave the cave and use up member of the genus to keep in good their yolk sacs. courgette and Phantoms are great for larger melon rind as treats. Males also appear hairier: that is to say the tiny teeth-like structures (hypertrophied odontodes) on the pectoral fins and cheeks of the fish are much more noticeable in males. It’s best to let the male take care of the fry. Freshwater catfish softer veggies like cucumber. The specimens used in the are quite large and a female can be expected description of the species were captured in to lay 30-40 in one go. You can use either sand or like a 120 x 45 x 45cm/48 x 18 x 18in tank — gravel — perhaps sand mixed with some if you have. but you can do it. the yellowy eggs these provide a realistic lake look. The fry are diet and acceptance of a broader range of relatively large and can immediately eat conditions than its Brazilian brethern and soaked flake and tablet foods. rocky. mainly due to its more varied grown out in a separate tank.5°C /72–80°F PITTIERI. food source. water is warm. Power filtration is more or less required to ● DÉCOR deal with the amount of waste they produce. www. They take about five early spring at a depth of 2m when water days to hatch. choices. They do prefer current. Mature females are wider across the mid-body. subviridis and H. so feed often and Feeding phantoms never leave anything to rot. behind the dorsal as the natural habitat is primarily fin. In H. NYMPHOIDES clearwater or weak blackwater profile. pH 7. flowing and neutral to choose. In all three species. bottom of the tank. the issue here. it is not always easy and is only possible with mature stock. so long as the water quality is up to scratch and before it rots. 23. males tend to be larger with bulkier. as this can cause ● Temperature: 22–26. These are a key ingredient.uk 33 . as the fry can be sensitive to bacteria on the substrate. centre along with some larger rounded cobbles would be about right. Feed daily — for L128. Caves can be constructed from where these plecs are found have either a clay tubes.

● Availability and cost: One of the more commonly available Tanganyikan cichlids. ● Lifespan: Six years or more. PHOTOGRAPHY: AD KONINGS. ● Common name: Brevis shell dweller.6in for females. ● Scientific name: Lamprologus brevis (Lam-pro-low-guss brev-iss). but will protect its fry by chasing other fish away. SHUTTERSTOCK 34 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . 4cm/1. ● Size: 5cm/2in for males. Lamprologus brevis is found in Lake Tanganyika in Africa. ● Ease of keeping: Simple. AQUAPRESS. Lamprologus brevis is FISH FACTFILE the smallest cichlid in Lake Tanganyika. Expect to pay around £8 each. ● Temperament: Peaceful.COM. MP &C PIEDNOIR.

Freshwater cichlids Shell fish! Brevis shell dwellers live and breed inside empty snail shells. brevis is usually ● Pairs live together in an monogamous. WORDS: AD KONINGS T he smallest cichlid in Lake Tanganyika is the shell brooder. Lamprologus brevis. Sharing a shell L. Even in the aquarium. where many cichlids grow to a larger size. an area where small cichlids are very vulnerable prey. making them particularly interesting and fun to keep. brevis has a lake-wide distribution and occurs in a few diferent geographical variants. Probably as a logical consequence of its lifestyle. and is thus able to live empty snail shell. and L. and thrive in areas with an extremely ● Easy to breed. brevis is the reasons to keep only known species in which both male and female hide in the same shell. which are cave brooders like most other substrate brooders. When immature and when adult. the most important prerequisite for a cichlid is a size small enough to fit into it. It is not uncommon to find that some cave brooders use an empty shell as a brooding cave in the aquarium.6in in total length. This usually happens when the shell is large enough to hold both male and female. L.uk 35 . An empty shell is the equivalent of a cave among the rocks for such small cichlids. brevis is about 5cm/2in for males. low density of empty shells and sometimes inhabits regions where there are no other shell brooders. Empty shells are found on the open sand. In order to benefit from the protection ofered by an empty shell. but females rarely exceed 4cm/1. www. this remains a small species and seldom reaches more than 5cm/2in total length.practicalfishkeeping. In only a few species are both adults small enough to shelter in shells. The maximum total length of L. ● Can be housed in a small aquarium.co.

I have encountered L. L. the males and L. Females of L. with shells found in shallow as well uncommon situation at Karilani Island may male stays with the female till at least the as in very deep water. often with long place inside the filaments at the tips. males is crescent-shaped. but females of both species are of similar small size. and when L. The shells of At other shell beds. The shell is usually not covered or The local configuration of the shells may the 35mm-long intestine of a 45mm-long hidden in the sand. brevis is normally be due to the absence of shell brooders that fry are free swimming. Both sexes have an orange may hide in the the reason to synonymise these two species were it not for the fact that both patch behind the eye. such uncovered shells pronounced colour pattern in all (Tanzania) on the central eastern coast. temporarily. Such a shells. calliurus. brevis do not. and the resident females in the be much longer than its body length. Female L. calliurus. lying scattered made entirely with the smaller Lavigeria diatoms). the an orange patch (i. but not exclusively.g. the shores. lamprologines. after which he may found at depths of more than 5m/16ft — I’ve cover or uncover shells. distinctly yellower belly. while the fry are free many populations of L. L. adult females have a a single shell. indicates same shell. brevis almost always form pairs. i. brevis is the only cichlid known thus far own shell. on the other prominent on the posterior part of the body hand. those along the central A male and female L. This was. brevis normally has a rounded tail. It can them in the shell.e. The relatively accepted as shelter. is provide living quarters for the smaller populations. at Karilani Island with the water. Spawning takes place inside seen them at up to 40m/131ft. in shells with no mineral deposits. a indefinable organic matter. populations (e. brevis is one of the smallest species have distinguishable behaviour. one would expect its intestine to on the sandy or muddy lake bottom. and females have a slight to inhabited by a dwarf form of L. but at Karilani. which are thin and long. but in sometimes dig holes in the bed and uncover swimming. “Spawning takes tell apart because an adult L. These are covered inside with home. they also occur on shell beds. is always found on shell beds where a and narrow vertical bars in the caudal fin. If it also fed on of Lake Tanganyika’s largest snail. but the main character that L. and only on those objects in direct contact growth. The most important diference particular. pattern is rather common on many sandy male’s harem were very small indeed. at which is the relatively large number of gill rakers: point usually only the female is guarding 18 to 21 on the lower outer gill arch. in populations along the northern Tanzanian and eastern entire family Zambian shores) are very difcult to tell apart morphologically. shell colonies of Lamprologus callipterus phytoplankton (cyanobacteria and Neothauma tanganyicense. male has a harem of several females. In some appears to be even smaller than elsewhere. invertebrates are eaten. large cichlids the shell. albeit sets it apart from most other dwarf species. Males and females of shell. the smaller only very small species can use them as that even the tiniest of planktonic female enters the shell first. How to tell shell dwellers apart Lamprologus brevis males The tail of Lamprologus calliurus have a rounded tail.6in vs. until there are fry. brevis (9cm/3. of course. although shells have led to an extreme case of individual was filled with copepods and abandoned by other shell brooders are miniaturisation at Karilani Island. thus easily distinguished from males. brevis that cichlids for a long period of time. L. those that are old and ‘glued’ deposition of minerals proceeds very slowly is the larger size of the male at all stages of together with a thick layer of lime.e. Males These two species both have a lake-wide of L. Males are usually easy to 5cm/2in). which has the same colour pattern found on the open sand with widely consisting of four to six vertical bars most scattered shells.” there is very little diference between males some areas. Since the and females. It was found that male. and when the fry are free their habitat are sometimes far apart. calliurus always has a crescent tail. brevis is mostly. (or variant) in the lake — each have their picking at zooplankton drifting past their L. When threatened. Adult males have a more One such shell bed. the entire family may hide in 36 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . brevis usually occupy Feeding and breeding Tanzanian shores). brevis is a plankton feeder and a pair is bright yellow or golden yellow belly and are females — by far the smallest cichlid species most often found hovering above its shell. same shell. development which is seen at all shell beds short length of the gut is an indication that The habitat consists of single empty shells but to a lesser degree. brevis is serially monogamous. while L. calliurus also grow considerably larger distribution and look so much alike that in than those of L. brevis is a carnivore. followed by the shelters or breeding caves. L. calliurus. brevis that do possess such swimming. the past they have been synonymised on several occasions. abandon her. The high number of gill rakers in which both male and female reside in the such a thick crust of mineral deposits that (18-21). actually only be confused with L. calliurus always have a bright orange patch on the nape behind the eye. The L.

so juveniles need to rely on to remove. Breeding about 20cm/8in distance apart. replaced in the community tank. empty snail shell must be available. L. However.5 gal minimum for a when fry are being guarded. original snail species. Just ensure their tank mates aren’t large enough to eat them! the same shell. They are ideal with diferent species on a mainly aquarium inhabitants. occupy shells. Fine gravel (1–3 mm) is accepted. is sufcient. and fry can be removed by taking the unable to find empty shells to occupy shells out of the water. or becoming mobile and wander about over prerequisites needed to breed these similar-sized shells. www. with a pH >7. Empty escargot shells. The cryptic colouration of the fry but coarse sand is a better choice. brevis is a very ● Temperature: 25–27 °C/77–81°F. essential camouflage as they are usually tank. an normally takes place in the community colony-breeders are kept as well. against other possible inhabitants. available from delicatessens. most of the smaller Best kept in pairs shell dwellers will leave the shells in the net In captivity.5ft is near the front and make certain none of groups and prefers a choice of shells not exceptional). the example of the extent to which cichlids fish come out of their shelter and the have adapted to each and every possible smaller ones may swim through the net to niche available in Lake Tanganyika. Any object. piscivorous snail shells. good addition to a community tank. at least one the other tank mates are large enough to close together. cichlids show an astonishing vigour in their ● Type: Best in a shell dweller community chasing of intruders. cichlids may consider them as food. Shell dwellers have small mouths and often need to remove sand from the shell. For each pair. Artemia. are produced per spawn. The accept an empty snail shell as refuge and shells with the adult cichlids can be spawning site. are perfectly suitable the lake bottom in search of their own cichlids. so avoid using gravel as a substrate. with the only sandy substrate. a tank of just 25 l/5.practicalfishkeeping. brevis is another the top of a nursery tank. including during the juvenile phase. ● DÉCOR: COARSE SAND. unless blends well with that of the substrate. and ● Size: 25 l/5. small community tank because territories community aquarium. so are sometimes difcult necessary for the wellbeing of the fish. Both fry and adults or plants. L. Place the shell The shell dwelling form lives in can be relatively large (50–70cm/2–2. gives the best size shells female that guards them — the male may but empty escargot (edible snail) shells. but these are not It appears that only adults are able to hide in the shells. shell for them all. and it is ‘LAMPROLOGUS’ OCELLATUS. are perfectly Usually there are no more than than 15 to suitable. such as rocks because of the territorial demands of adults. The shell is defended THINK TANK shell dweller. the bottom of the tank. The females are smaller than the males. Lamprologus brevis make perfect aquarium fish. it will defend a shell placed on the sand. from when the fry are a few days old. Freshwater cichlids Take the 1st step Give these shell dwellers the ideal home with the right décor and tank mates. But more often than not. best to keep just a single pair in a relatively ● Water chemistry: Can be kept in a large TELMATOCHROMIS VITTATUS.uk 37 . The fry leave the parental An empty snail shell — avoid sea shells shell about one or two weeks after — and a sandy substrate are the only SNAIL SHELLS. but soon there won’t be space in the shell dwelling species in one tank. these small cichlids quickly and take refuge in those on the bottom. with various empty problem being that larger. Neothauma. have moved to another mate. Place the shells at shells. If we place some shelter on the bottom.co. Around 20 to 40 fry OTHER DÉCOR. can be used. A small relatively easy to select a pair from a group of fish of the same age. these little single pair. It is Daphnia and similar foods. where ● Feeding: Frozen Cyclops. L. it is only the Lake Tanganyika. which hides its shell by covering it with sand. due to ● Water chemistry: Neutral to hard water their small size. for these shell dwellers. It is quite possible to house several 25 fry. Add bufer salts when For just one pair. One method of removing the fry their cryptic colouration and careful is to hang the shells in a wide meshed net in ● TANK MATES movements to survive. brevis is best kept in pairs.5 gal tapwater is too soft. The consider them as food. After a while.

Fabulous FINNAGE Easy to keep blue-eyes will create energy and colour in a planted tank. NEIL HEPWORTH Forktail blue-eye. Pseudomugil furcatus. 38 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . JACQUES PORTAL. WORDS: KEVAN CRACK PHOTOGRAPHY: HRISTO HRISTOV.

exhibit dafodil. Expect to pay £2 to £4 each. Another feature that endears these fish you’ll know just what I mean. some fantastical polka dot butterfly. but to me. ● Special notes: Endemic to a small area of Papua New Guinea. Admittedly. relatives of the ever-popular rainbowfish yellow edges to their angular array of fins. New Guinea and surrounding islands.practicalfishkeeping. B lue-eyes remind me of Cocker viewed close up. delicately black-on-white spotted pattern Some species will live in brackish ● A colourful alternative to that is reminiscent of the spread wings of estuaries and others are even found in tetras in a well-planted tank. colourful finnage.uk 39 . spaniels. this is more than made up for with their waters to flowing rivers. but some are is a Cocker spaniel in motion. ● Ease of keeping: Easy. P. ● Availability and cost: Medium. Male Forktail blue-eyes. have a truly white or black as these charming little astonishing yellow and black display. bear a resemblance to colouration on the leading edge their larger and more frequently seen of the blue-eyes’ pectoral fins resembles relative. this may Many variants of the widespread Pacific seem a little odd. Papua feel to a displaying individual. (Melanotaeniidae).4in. ● Beautiful blue eyes. when full seawater. orange. from still ● Fabulous finnage. ● Scientific name: Pseudomugil furcatus (Syoo-doe-moe-gill fur-cart-us). They are found mostly giving a stunning and radiant near-gothic in the coastal waters of Australia. ● Lifespan: Two to three years in a well maintained aquarium. ● Temperament: Peaceful though constantly high activity levels can be intimidating to shy tank mates. Males from Harvey Creek behind the eyes. beauties swim about the aquarium evokes although they also exhibit an unusually what might seem a rather strange high aggression level for what is in general comparison. have a they are predominately inhabitants of less intensive colour to their fins. ● Size: 4–6cm/1. the Celebes rainbow.6–2. but I stand by it — and I think a mostly placid and peaceful group of fish. Positioned among the most striking of small quite high up and raised aloft directly freshwater fish. the blue-eye. Freshwater community FISH FACTFILE ● Common name: Forktail blue-eye. www. for many it is their striking and the fish are kept as a shoal in the aquarium. in Queensland in particular. to many are those marvellous blue eyes. that once you’ve got to know the blue-eyes. where it inhabits clear forest streams with heavy vegetation and slow to medium current. though freshwater environments. the bounding bundle of flapping ears that Marosatherina ladigesi. gertrudae. in the Musa and Kwagila river basins. Blue-eyes (Pseudomugilidae) are close Pseudomugil furcatus. the flash of yellow.co. It is this charm that draws me to these which make a very attractive sight when gems. P. and reasons to keep Spotted blue-eyes. Blue-eyes are found mostly in the coastal waters of Australia. signifer. Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands.

As such. with the opposite scenario moving waters. M. though as with almost all fish they may predate upon juvenile shrimp. Iriatherina werneri. the smaller species will need feeding on a range of small foods. but l Special notes: They are found in due to their innate adaptability. items such as Black mosquito larvae and adult Artemia. Corydoras and small Rasbora. maintained aquarium. being found sympatrically with Forktail blue-eyes and being an excellent choice for those wishing to create a biotope. The larger types are great in well chosen communities. vegetation. Larger blue-eyes. New Guinea and specimens collected from these habitats Eastern Indonesia. but should you wish to keep them with others. far the best aquarium set-up to keep l Lifespan: Two to three years in a well blue-eyes is a densely planted aquarium. with the Peacock goby. waters-edge environments. mostly with dense also viable. even Northern Australia. they should be able to live happily in have been collected from still and slow freshwater. M. They also go well with Caridina and Neocaridina shrimp species. it would be best to avoid delicate species in their aquarium. Melanotaenia praecox. I would recommend a minimum of 70 l/16 gal. FISH FactFIle but for larger species that can attain sizes of 6cm/2.4in or more. and in both clear and A mature set-up is a must. feeding mainly on phyto. Small rainbowfish such as the Neon dwarf rainbow. branching or overhanging wood can help l Availability and cost: Not frequently provide cover that would be much stocked. Expect to pay about Some species do inhabit brackish and £2 to £3 each. alternatives to tetras in such a luscious l Temperament: Peaceful. on request.Success in the aquarium The smaller species of blue-eye are suitable for aquaria of 40 l/9 gal or more.2–1. among A pair of Spotted other similarly sized fodder. pencilfish. Dwarf rainbow. Blue-eyes are omnivorous. though should be available appreciated by many. Floating plants and l Ease of keeping: Easy. with species will also accept slightly larger the male below. I would recommend small tetras. alongside many of the aforementioned possibilities. marine environments in the wild. do not tolerate the presence of nitrogenous compounds well. 40 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . Cooler indeed. by l Size: 3–3. maccullochi and the Sunset dwarf rainbow. I have had great success feeding them on a mixture of frozen Cyclops and Daphnia. along with the similarly spectacular Threadfin rainbow. Due to their diminutive size. they would make ideal conditions can lengthen lifespan. aquascape. parva. as they are intolerant of one another. as blue-eyes tannin-stained water. Boraras and Danio. In the wild. then choose similarly sized and peaceful co-habitants. Tateurndina ocellicauda. l Common name: Spotted blue-eye. live Artemia nauplii and finely crushed high quality flake foods.and zooplankton and small invertebrates suspended in the water column. make excellent additions.8cm/1. One thing that is common throughout l Scientific name: Pseudomugil the genus is a predilection towards living gertrudae (Syoo-doe-moe-gill in areas of dense foliage and in ger-true-day).52in. Due to the potential aggression of some of the larger growing northern variants of Pacific blue-eye males. Blue-eyes are best kept in a species-only aquarium. and I would only keep one male per aquarium.

Freshwater community www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk 41 .

The latter has breeding group. so to maximise l Availability and cost: Not frequently yields. Environments quality powdered dry foods are also suitable vary from clear to black water. Expect to pay about £3 with a mature air-powered sponge filtration to £5 each. Usually no more than ten eggs are laid in a though males of larger growing day and the spawning media should be variants can be considered to checked frequently for eggs. generally throughout the daytime l Lifespan: Two to four years in a well and. immediately and do best when ofered P. the fry will feed Lake in southern New South Wales. In this way. while Australia. it tends to be around ten days. and brown water. Expect to pay about £10 to £12 each. l Scientific name: Pseudomugil sp.Breeding blue-eyes Breeding in the aquarium is accomplished FISH FactFIle in much the same way as their larger and more illustrious cousins. ‘red neon’ (Syoo-doe-moe-gill). the rainbowfish. this is reflected in its price.8in. forest for use and can provide a more easily streams. Paramecium. This is as true of the blue-eyes floating plants and their roots.5cm/1. A group of mature adults. lowland swamps and Pacific blue-eyes are best sourced alternative to live foods. l Lifespan: Two to three years in a well maintained aquarium. stocking species for aquatic stores. with a ratio of two to three females per male. particularly on the surface in the form of generally are available within the trade and marvel at. show no parental care towards eggs or fry. it is recommended to remove the stocked though should be available eggs and place them in a separate container on request. the fry. cf. from the Cape York with the larger. in river banks with overhanging and The Red neon blue-eye is a submerged plants and murky fairly recent introduction. l Temperament: Peaceful. Cooler conditions can lengthen lifespan. flowing rivers. Papua province.4in. Artemia though it will tolerate brackish and nauplii and similarly sized foods. As signifer (Syoo-doe-moe-gill continuous spawners. l Common name: Pacific blue-eye. paskai. l Size: 3–3. and Although even the more common We are currently blessed with an though there was initial speculation that it blue-eyes couldn’t be considered a core ever-increasing range of beautiful and was maybe a hybrid form of P. micro worms. sp. but in the smaller blue-eye the majority of the Eastern coast of species. even in the presence of the adult paskai and P. New blue-eyes on the block become the preferred nomenclature. l Temperament: Generally peaceful. morning to early afternoon period. P. Their origins are not confirmed but they are potentially found near Timika. though may be available on request. a variety of names including P. unit. l Special notes: A relatively recent but beautiful addition to the ranks of blue-eyes available in the UK. highest breeding maintained aquarium. Incubation periods can vary due to l Special notes: They are found along temperature. l Availability and cost: Very infrequently stocked. should be placed in an aquarium containing l Scientific name: Pseudomugil spawning mops or aquatic moss. iriani. 42 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . As the adults be fairly aggressive. it can be around 21 days. peninsula in the north to Merimbula When hatched.2–1. Mimika Regency. In 2011. signifer is found in freshwater. basis. produce a low number of eggs on a regular l Size: 3. we areas of aquatic moss. l Ease of keeping: Easy. housed one male to a tank. as with rainbowfish. they interesting species of small fish to keep and genetic testing has shown it to be a close FISH FactFIle l Common name: Red neon blue-eye. A second option available to the breeder is to keep a large group of eight to ten individuals in an aquarium with an abundance of dense foliage and cover. blue-eyes will sig-nif-ur). ‘red neon’. it is for you should you be unable to saw a new species become available under possible to facilitate the survival of some of find some.5–7cm/1. Indonesia. they are liable to eat both.4–2. l Ease of keeping: Medium. and large most shops should be able to source them as it is with any other genus. High full saltwater also. Cooler activity levels are often observed in the late conditions can lengthen lifespan.

blue-eyes. P. ‘blue l Tank maTes endearing features and characteristics of its neon’ and P. hybrids or species in their own right. signifer. This attractive freshwater high quality flake foods. PEACOCK GOBY. sp. then it is best to try to match the environment they were found in. This will help to provide the cover these fish need to feel secure. This stunning species will work be fine for most tank bred specimens. paskai and a though they are still relatively pricey at in the substrate or as a floating plant. if you are lucky enough to get your hands on some wild-caught fish. l Décor BRANCHING WOOD.uk 43 . although Pseudomugil signifer is found far south in Australia and will overwinter in temperatures down to 10°C/50°F. furcatus in will also take Black mosquito larvae and the wild. body with electric blue highlights. truly be considered a gem. ‘orange neon’ although these relatives alongside a stunning mandarin could prove to be variants of known species. It has all the Other recent imports include P. l Type: Species set-up or small fish community. sp. ‘red neon’). IRIATHERINA l Water chemistry: pH 6. Larger species goby is found alongside P. This is especially true if you are dealing with individuals from oligotrophic black water environments. P. Dense planting is best. l Temperature: 22–26°C/72–79°F is best for most blue-eyes. and this particular species grows well both relative of P. this is one of the most desirable small fish One thing is for sure. adult Artemia. sp. INDIAN FERN. species in its own right. For me. it’s never been now available.co. 70 l/16 gal for P. and I would encourage better for enthusiasts of the beautiful anyone with an interest to keep them. gertrudae.practicalfishkeeping. but well with blue-eyes. Freshwater community Take the 1st step Keep your blue-eyes happy with this selection of décor and tank mates. furcatus. gertrudae and of P. l Feeding: Frozen Cyclops and Daphnia.5–7. THREADFIN RAINBOW. THINK TANK l size: 40 l/9 gal for the smaller species (P. www. TATEURNDINA live Artemia nauplii and finely crushed OCELLICAUDA. This species must around £10–£12 per fish. CERATOPTERIS THALICTROIDES.5 should WERNERI.

● Ease of keeping: Most species readily available in the hobby are easy to care for. aquarium of algae. CREATIVE COMMONS FACTFILE ● Common name: Sea urchins. ● Temperament: Can be feisty when threatened. 44 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . BEAUTY and the feast With a few tricks up its spiny sleeves. the sea urchin can be a cost-efective algae eater that makes for a magnificent display. It will usually try and beat a hasty retreat and the display is intended as a warning rather than real aggression. ● Class: Echinoidea (Eck-inn-oyd-ee-ah). This is usually seen by the animal bristling its spines in the direction of the threat.5in. ● Size: To 22cm/8. WORDS: TRISTAN LOUGHER SEA URCHIN PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY. ● Lifespan: Up to five years. £15-40 will soon strip an depending upon species and size. NICK HOBGOOD. Long-spined sea urchins ● Availability and cost: Excellent. SHUTTERSTOCK.

crustaceans Many are designed to break of in the (Crustacea). which sharing many common anatomical can contain powerful venoms. Marine invertebrates T he animal kingdom is divided Venomous spines into a number of diferent The internal hydrovascular system. potentially and the urchins are no exception. and some contain sponges (Porifera). studying them superficially is likely only This is not exclusively defensive in to demonstrate obvious diferences nature. and this is with long and movable spines. the spines are less thousands of species that. more flattened clues we have to the presence of this body shape to aid their passage into and system are the tube feet and pedicellariae through soft substrates. where discomfort for many years if the hollow. molluscs (Mollusca). For example. Marine aquarists calcium carbonate. comprising a series of water-filled canals and these are subject to further is enclosed. brittlestars. These are reflected in the number of diferent Phyla defensive in nature and can cause painful that may be present in a reef aquarium. or design. burrowing species system that has a role to play in such as heart urchins and sand dollars locomotion. Phyla are large entirety from the wound. Toxopneustes spp. Each of these subgroups envenomation from fire urchins contains very distinctive-looking animals results in long-lasting. feeding and possess hair-like spines and have sensory perception. as is the case with can cause painful injuries that cause hitch-hiking organisms. the can be found in a home aquarium Long-spined sea urchins. gas exchange. but this is or removing the larvae of other only a small fraction of the 900 or so organisms that may settle upon the shell species currently described. Diadema spp. indeed. Corals (Cnidaria). urchins are known to feed between starfish and sea urchins rather on small animals that fall victim to their than similarities. such as their hydrovascular pedicellariae.uk 45 . animal groupings and may contain many In some species. venomous appendages. Externally. — structures also unique to echinoderms that can have diferent purposes Algae grazers determined by their form that can be Aquarists might encounter as many as globular or claw-like. such as the features. under 200 are found in tropical shallow www. Of these. and fire urchins Sea urchins belong to the phylum Asthenosoma spp. a group it shares with nausea and vomiting in their human the starfish. can appear markedly diferent globular versions found in toxic urchins to the naked eye. inside a hard shell of eventually to species. Closer scrutiny reveals some shared Not all sea urchins possess long characteristics unique to the defensive spines or venomous echinoderms. The former can cause Echinodermata.co. crinoids and sea victims. despite problematic than the pedicellariae. of the urchin. but excruciating pain. bristleworms venom or have venom-filled sacs at their (Annelida) and tunicates (Chordata) are tips. cucumbers. the barbed and brittle just a few of the diverse life forms that spines of aquarium favourites. each animal has been intentionally venom-tipped spine isn’t removed in its stocked by the aquarist.practicalfishkeeping. the only evolved a less domed. whether by accident. whereas unsurprisingly. together with the other subdivisions from orders to families and internal organs. perceived aggressor. This is referred to as are spoiled by the sheer diversity of the the ‘test’ and in many species it is adorned animals they are able to keep. subcategories termed Phyla. The latter are often ten species of sea urchin in the aquaria of used to assist in camouflaging the animal their local marine specialist. injuries to the unwary aquarist.

Indo-Pacific. some commonly purchased (and returned) When calcareous algae is in short supply sea urchins are more suitable to an Long-spined urchin. This wouldn’t be a problem to aquarists if it were not for its similarity to a useful grazing species. fans of the fish food. they make for a magnificent display. despite still harbouring the beneficial bacteria the rock was initially Size matters small throughout their lives. In grows to 10cm/4in or more test diameter. as stripped rocks can look rather dead. whereas the stocked for. remain urchin could make a case for them actually being a preferable choice of “Sea urchins are very important as herbivore when compared to the surgeonfish and tangs more frequently grazers of algae on reefs and. for most aquarists. there is no guarantee that the corals and the aforementioned issues with chunk of space in any aquarium. as well as feeding on algae rich in calcium. and possesses five rasping teeth. grazers of algae on reefs and. such as filamentous ‘hair’ algae. Mespilia globulus. cuttlebone can be aquarium existence than others. 46 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . but one should consider that a Many sea urchins will be stocked in them can be difcult. preventing algae from home aquarium. individual urchin stocked. the food preferences of sea urchins are not always limited to plant material. rehome it and seek advice. Echinometra mathaei. However.. the teeth form part of Aristotle’s Lantern (after the Greek philosopher and teacher who first described the structure). This behaviour. which will occupy a large However. in some locations. wafers and dried nori are all useful. as their clumsiness in knocking over prized least 50cm/20in. The mouths of sea urchins appear simple at first glance. tastes where algal varieties are concerned. be given to the size potential of each species. those that burrow into soft This might not seem particularly hungry urchins. as this will be rasped by calcium general. consumption of calcareous forms of algae and substrate removed incidentally when encrusting algae are removed from hard surfaces. given their often cosmopolitan necessary. In an aquarium dominating the environment. test of 10cm/4in diameter could mean marine aquaria for their beauty. Often. Of those species available to aquarists. algae pellets. are commonly encountered as Sea urchins are very important as hitch-hikers on coral base rock. internally. However. in the aquarium. one species. an infrequent hitchhiker on coral base rock. Spineless urchin. such as the beautiful Blue tuxedo or usually low purchase price.” sympathetic to their needs. along with their relatively small size and some specimens even seeking out uneaten Some. Paraselenia gratiosa. diameters of a couple of centimetres or so. regardless of puncture wounds and venom. is known to include a significant proportion of coral polyps in its natural diet. with and they make very tempting purchases. preventing algae from dominating the environment. substrates are best left alone as feeding impressive. may be added to control undesirable forms potential hazards surrounding urchins. are the most abundant will never compete with brightly coloured fish for the honour of being stocked into the herbivores. in some stocked by reefeepers. Echinometra spp. Where doubt exists concerning the true identity of the species. the herbivore of choice for many aquarists.water zones of the Caribbean and Reef urchins. are the most abundant herbivores. and it can adjust the angle and pressure of the biting teeth allowing them to be used for boring holes in rock substrates. It consists of 50 skeletal elements and 60 diferent muscles. Diadema setosum. such meaning the entire span of the animal is at of algae. sea urchins may not be specific algae in your aquarium. but in their own right they are fascinating creatures. In tanks where carefully placed stony the species’ reputation. which often arrives as an accidental arrival on live rock. contribute to the formation of coral sand. ofered. in which case. Indeed. Unfortunately. will consume the perhaps the greatest consideration should corals are housed. but others Aquarists should always be aware of the spines of 20cm/8in or more in length. Stripping calcareous algae from rocks in the aquarium may be seen as desirable by some aquarists and undesirable by others. However. consisting externally of a hole located on the underside or leading edge (in burrowing forms) of the animal. they locations. supplementing the diet of urchins will be Many urchins can be purchased with test However.

Eucidaris tribuloides will graze. www.uk 47 .. such as the HARDY Blue tuxedo urchin. remain relatively small and can be accommodated in Pencil urchin spines can aquaria of 100 l/22 gal or more. and these are naturally found over sand and rubble substrates into which they will bury. It can also change its urchin possess spines so venomous Colouration is highly variable and ranges camouflage at any time. be kept. given the love of many them.4. and it is a relatively spines and ensure that they have — and carries this around with it.1–8. that your valuable corals are dumped in and even nausea and vomiting if cream or brown to combinations of two or inaccessible places. Nitrate <25ppm. ensure corals are fixed into In an aquarium context. Its spines are aficionados. and grows to 4cm/1. as some of its relatives. it is an interesting. place securely. non-venomous spines and grows to a and transport them around the tank on its ● Special notes: Some species of modest spine-span of 11cm/4in or so. ammonia and nitrite 0. Lytechinus variegatus. In an trouble-free and inexpensive purchase. rockwork. non-venomous spines. However. ● Tank mates: Threats to sea urchins EASY TO KEEP come from specialist predators such as butterflyfish. it is undemanding 13cm/5in spine-span. Where larger species are to fairly slowly. ● Décor: This will largely be determined by the species of urchin that is being kept. contain triggerfish. Lytechinus variegatus the urchins available in the hobby will One of the most innocuous and least aquarium context. including meaty oferings clumsy. These can be tricky animals to care for. ● Invertebrates: While most species very hardy and usually trustworthy with innocuous species that appeals to urchin will ignore sessile invertebrates. and they demand open areas of sand and/or gravel. including the perennial hence the common name. this has sessile invertebrates such as colonial polyps aquarium over which they can graze.co. been given a chance to recover More sea urchin choices over the page. the Long-spined sea urchin can have a spine-span of 50cm/20in or so and must be given a much larger aquarium. hobby. whereas others seem to This Caribbean gem may not be as colourful and its ability to strip an aquarium of be generalists. as it picks up pieces of keeping. including reef and live rock based systems. bottle caps to disguise itself. Make sure you research the The Pincushion urchin is one of those individuals of this species for filamentous species of urchin concerned species that utilises dextrous pedicellariae forms of algae and its relative ease of thoroughly before purchase! Avoid to aid camouflage. short. but it is inexpensive. despite The Pincushion urchin. which can nibble the tube feet from in-between the defensive spines. and this may mean that they can cause nasty irritation from regular. almost hairy urchins with a flattened appearance.5in test diameter. ● Water chemistry: pH 8. ● Temperature: 25–28°C/77–84°F. upper surface. This Pincushion urchin is using being commonly available in the has short. it is probably best to avoid potential conflict and avoid The small white pedicellariae stocking them in any tanks that collect camouflage material. Although not all triggers will attack an urchin. Large be used to write with.practicalfishkeeping. species. uniform colours such as green. provided there is an problematic species of sea urchin a bit of a nuisance as it can ‘collect’ hitherto abundance of hard substrate in the commonly available in the hobby. from importation. However. Some species of urchin are quite specific in the forms of algae they Caribbean pencil urchin. sea other invertebrates. It will accept a range of urchins are known to be rather relatively immobile and solid and it grows substitute diets. calcareous algae aside. ● Feeding: Most commonly imported urchins are primarily herbivorous but may obtain a certain amount of nourishment from organisms living on or in their algal/seaweed diet. Triggerfish are one of the natural predators of sea urchins. Heart urchins from the family Brissidae are small. it is always likely to be forgiven buying any individuals with sagging the substrate — or indeed anything loose such misdemeanours. Marine invertebrates THINK TANK Choosing your sea urchins ● Size: Smaller species. such as behind inadvertent contact is made with more colours. ● Type: Urchins will thrive in most marine aquaria where adequate food and peaceful tank mates are present.. this may make the urchin be happy. favourite. most of Pincushion urchin.

They grow quickly and will accept substitute diets when necessary. They are striking and easily cared for in most instances. Sea urchins can be the most abundant and important herbivores in reef habitats. Mespilia globulus Arguably the least potentially problematic of all commonly available sea urchins.5cm/3in spine span (spines account for only 15mm of this). range of algae. Aquariums can also make a feature of them. yet shares the same carrying tendencies of the aforementioned Pincushion urchin. small spines and blue their aquarium. including the iconic Banggai cardinalfish. venomous spines and grow large: 50cm/20in spine spans are not unusual in some individuals. a mouthbrooding fish that releases fully formed juveniles into the protection of the spines. TICKS ALL THE BOXES Blue tuxedo sea urchin. Pterapogon kauderni. the Long-spined sea urchin is not an Diadema setosum. Such animals will have large appetites and can strip an aquarium bare of algae of all types. 48 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . accepts substitute diets and looks great. the Blue tuxedo or ‘spineless’ sea urchin is beautiful to behold. widely available and inexpensive species and one that should be considered by any aquarist who really wants to maintain an urchin in The Blue tuxedo urchin grazes a wide Long tube feet. eye — it’s actually a specialised organ called the anal bladder! These beautiful species of sea urchin have long. grazes a wide range of algae. However. it achieves a more modest 7. pedicellariae of the Blue tuxedo urchin. It is a hardy. Diadema setosum (Indo-Pacific) and Diadema antillarum (Caribbean) The coloured structure at the top of Long-spined sea urchin. particularly as these are the kinds of urchin used for protection by many fish species.Marine invertebrates LARGE APPETITES Long-spined sea urchin.

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aquarium brings a number of benefits. which are responsible for the 50 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . ALAMY. including worms. previously cryptic animals filtration: the highly porous structure of the These include microscopic organisms such and algae make a guest appearance several rock harbours countless aerobic nitrifying as bacteria and protozoa. SHUTTERSTOCK Words: dave Wolfenden P ut simply. sponges. it looks the part: although artificial as ‘living rock’) is chunks of coral One of the endlessly fascinating qualities rock is available. a diverse range of years later! and anaerobic (an organism that lives in algal species and an array of macroscopic Using good quality live rock in the reef oxygen-poor conditions) denitrifying life. In some cases. It also acts as a natural form of biological become colonised with various life forms. broken of the reef and have living on it can appear after a very long time. Live rock heroes In the reef tank. nothing quite compares to rubble that have naturally of live rock is how many of the organisms the authentic look of the genuine article. live rock (also known echinoderms and molluscs. Firstly. PHOTOGRAPHY: NEIL HEPWORTH. bacteria. live rock provides both décor and filtration and brings with it a huge and diverse range of life forms. crustaceans.

co. the biodiversity introduced to the reef relying on live rock. due to the high costs the curing process. reducing their efects on From the reef to the aquarium correctly. detritivores of nitrate problems. and then taken to a nearby holding Curing involves placing the rock in salt optimal conditions. dead or decaying organisms. However. As a Thirdly. but you really can run a successful rather than being fully submerged. Instead. so the rock nutrient cycling in a highly efcient filters) can actually increase the likelihood can’t be used in the aquarium immediately manner: the array of algae. In fact. it must be ‘cured’ or (organisms that feed on detritus can behave as ‘nitrate factories’. carefully. conversion of ammonia to nitrate.uk 51 . If it’s carried out scavengers process waste products in a live rock excels at. Additional result. This is an important step in the (decomposed organic matter)) and uncoupling the tight nutrient cycling that treatment of live rock. as these can enough good quality live rock is used. a wipeout of all the rock’s water quality. Marine Good quality live rock looks great and if you use enough of it. some of the life will inevitably die of aquarium through live rock can assist with biofiltration (such as canisters or trickle over the course of transport. assimilating and locking life inhabiting it. ‘cycled’. water. A The rock is then shipped in polystyrene drastically impact on water quality during protein skimmer is recommended for containers. Such filtration types upon landing. it is merely kept damp nitrate to harmless nitrogen gas. that supplementary facility where it is sprayed with seawater. having first removed any obviously biological filtration is unnecessary if often for several days prior to transport. system. the rock can retain much of the complex food web. Ammonia levels can www.practicalfishkeeping. there won’t be any need for supplementary filtration. and then removal of much of the organics from the of the airfreight. Live rock is collected as rubble from around associated life can result. it’s so efcient at maintaining the reef. if curing is not managed up nutrients.

and considering how each will fit in with your they’ll be able to carry out water changes as aquascaping and whether it’s appropriate appropriate. and rock can be placed (and in time. polluting the water. functioning biofilter. l/2 gal for a reef aquarium is as indicated by the density of algal growth. Be aware that some dry base a scarlet hawkfish perching on live rock. 52 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . get it are just too great. a reef in fiji. otherwise. home as soon as possible to reduce the 4 likelihood of any life dying of. be very porous and light compared to When the rock is in place (providing it’s the dense branching rock from Tonga. and it may often be to check for any spikes of ammonia and sold completely dried out. buy the best rock you can aford. organism has died and further curing ever consider adding uncured rock to an needs to be carried out before the rock is established aquarium — the risks of safe to be used. a few weeks prior to use. it’s safest to So-called ‘base rock’ or ‘reef bones’ is carry out water testing for the first few days very low on diversity. recommended. Once the rock has been packed up. it is possible that terms of weight) than Tongan. 2 the introduction of livestock — one of the nifty things about live rock is its ability to Is there a cheaper potentially create an instant fully alternative? functioning biofilter. A period of new life). and thoroughly inspect each piece. Pay particular attention to the life on the How much do I use? surface of the rock. see the quality of the rock on ofer. and it will need to be soaked for is that it creates an almost instantly system is ready for the first light stocking. three days with zero readings of ammonia rock may still harbour decayed organic one of the great things about this rock and nitrite is a good indicator that the matter. properties. as not all live rock is the light-loving organisms will be placed in same. Fijian rock. rocket during curing as further life forms Choosing and using live rock die of. Check for grey than uncured. Its main value nitrite. as this indicates that an starts to look more attractive. it’s far easier to the origin of the rock and how it’s cured — buy fully cured rock from an aquarium any decent retailer will be more than happy dealer. then wait for is in creating a foundation on which live levels to fall as the rock cycles further. for example. skimmers and large circulation pumps. Your dealer will have the facilities to discuss this with you. for example. If either is detectable. Visiting several retailers will allow you to Curing live rock is an involved process. allowing for achieve the same filtration capacity.Brittlestars are common live rock live rock being collected from around hitch-hikers and make great scavengers. However. Create your chosen aquascape by adding rock to the aquarium (which has been already filled live rock frequently as 1 and heated to the correct temperature). and the key to managing the curing As it forms the basis of the reef aquarium’s process is ensuring water quality is filtration. and don’t and while it is possible to buy ‘raw’. allowing whatever life is left to skimping on price is a false economy. uncured be afraid to ask plenty of questions about rock and attempt it at home. tends to shade where they are likely to die of. available to cure large quantities of rock in Choose pieces with as much life on as dedicated vats equipped with powerful possible. even don’t introduce the first fish or corals until base rock will become colonised with ammonia and nitrite are at zero. recover and re-establish itself. even with small pieces. in order to the system could be mature. many pieces will have a Around 1kg/2lb of live rock per 10 distinct upper and lower side. so fully cured and hasn’t been subjected to any it’s possible to use less Fijian rock (in trauma during transport). And never. controlled. Cured rock is more expensive for the aquarium’s size. but factor in the hassle and patches or white ‘flufy’ areas that have an expense involved in doing it yourself and it aerobic smell. although it does depend Ensure the orientation of the rock in the on the origin of the rock and its aquarium reflects this.

uk 53 . 4 Do FOWLR set-ups use it? Fish-only-with-live-rock systems may use reputation. coral polyps. They also have a bad bad rap. detritus and leftover food. aggregate).co. are beneficial. A few of live rock with obvious organisms should be signs of this ‘enemy avoided if possible. which is a bit unfair.practicalfishkeeping. one with bare hands! www. THE BAD Not everything inhabiting A definite pest. also have a good look is any evidence in there — a it in can be great fun. those specialised to feed on systems. harmless and beneficial such as skimmers. however. Before adding piece of wire and see if there separate aquarium to house structure are collected for use as building rock. Some larger many other inverts. However. which can similarly sting crustaceans are predatory send a mantis shrimp out if concerns about over-harvesting have led to corals. Thorough inspection of the rock should reveal them in many cases. and Bristleworms aren’t the most attractive of animals. Sponges are often found. but is much less larval life stages. larger holes. performing useful processing of echinoderms (such as inside live rock. and never touch external canisters or trickle filters. but these may die of during transport. Organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are working with THE UGLY collectors to ensure rock is harvested for the aquarium trade in a sustainable manner. Bristleworms get a in a way that benefits local communities. Aiptasia. some may be highly cryptic and appear long after the rock is introduced. again. so if there 3 is evidence of these pesky Is it sustainable? anemones on the rock In principle. focussing instead on a specimens can be a centrepiece fish species. such as angelfish and butterfly Don’t get too obsessed fish). and in overfed corallivores (i. collection is sustainable. An hassle then curing your own. Most are some of the same equipment as reef tanks. Most found on live rock. and it’s best to avoid and can attack small fish. including Halimeda and Caulerpa species can be found on rock. It might be more present in virtually invisible expensive. anemone’. they can take over. Worms of all kinds Caulerpa and other are often found inhabiting macroalgae are frequently nooks and crannies. These feisty into the hole will usually pieces are naturally broken of. many of which are problem. one is present. setting up a small. avoid pieces live rock is a bonus.e. many use additional filtration such as live rock. If you do find bans in some areas (it does need to be introducing it to the Have a poke around with a one. but they omit corals and scavengers. although some Buy cured rock from your pests hide out or may be retailer. Marine What to expect on live rock THE GOOD Various macroalgae. remembered that large parts of the reef aquarium. example is the glass anemone. Aiptasia. While FOWLR aquaria do incorporate live about removing them from rock. so watch out for these — they can grow back from remaining fragments following curing. as — avoid it! Another pest for mantis shrimp in the dribble of carbonated water the reef naturally renews its structure and anemone is the Majano. which can spread rapidly and sting corals. which isn’t entirely fair. brittle stars) and cnidarians most of these are beneficial Crustaceans (including (such as mushroom polyps) and a welcome addition to crabs and amphipods). may all be lurking on or the aquarium. Pink coralline algae may encrust the rock. It’s very difcult to ently asked questions eradicate once introduced to the aquarium.

undemanding. and unflappable plants will join your aquaria and never leave. 54 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . Must -have MOSSES These unhurried. WORDS: NATHAN HILL Aquatic species of moss are easy to grow and give the tank a sense of age.

You’ll buy a clump of them and they’ll hunker down on a piece of wood and get comfy. they also act as convenient egg mops for the likes of killifish. mosses don’t behave like other plants. Some species tear the soft growth apart to make nests for their families. tetras and barbs. which live on their surfaces. and this is most likely due to their functionality as much as their ease of keeping. providing more than just sanctuary for juvenile fish. fizzing with carbon dioxide and elite substrates can be their downfall. Drying out barely bothers them. then mosses are the country bumpkins who like life at a slower pace. But it’s here that the mosses step in. A clump strategically placed into a spawning tank can be the final trigger required for two amorous fish to start spawning. intensively lit tank. Others plunge head first into it. pending species. relying on spores to spread their progeny. instead relying on tiny rhizoids to www. They play an integral role in the breeding exploits of many hobbyists.co. a job they are unbeatable at.practicalfishkeeping. In fact. they lack any kind of flower. Ironically. making spawning even easier again. For the dedicated fish breeder. mosses are as much a staple for success as fry foods or air powered filters. and desiccated fragments have been known to linger on a piece of wood in the shed or garden for months — perhaps even years — before emerging as though from a relaxing sleep when they hit the water again. only to have a fresh bloom within weeks. as they become smothered with algae. Freshwater plants I n this age of high-end gadgetry. If aquascapes resemble the excited jostle and sophistication of cities. They lack seeds. Unplant-like behaviour Notably. This is because in many ways. they’re totally unlike other plants. For one. These tiny bugs and beasties in turn provide food for young (and some adult) fish. these plants are so laid back that the high-energy hustle and bustle of a fertiliser-drizzled.uk 55 . Some mosses won’t even die with a little accidental abuse. They may even have ‘sexes’ in order to reproduce. esoteric dosing devices and gas spewing CO2 canisters. it’s easy to believe that all plants are the dominion of the aquascapers. they become a focal point for tiny micro-organisms. because of the dense nature of mosses. They don’t even have roots. As well as that noble task. with wriggles and jiggles indicating the egg laying antics within. Easy to keep focal point Mosses have quite the underground following in the UK. I myself have been caught of guard multiple times when using a piece of wood that I thought was moss free.

albeit a little clumsily. Instead. Never feel 56 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . it stands to reason that the aquatic When tying moss. I use else afterwards. Be wary to see a suitably successful attempt in good reason that they like to linger in damp too of inquisitive fish. such as Corydoras then smother across substrates. unsightly. dyes have been used: you don’t want small clump (picture a small pinch of In the absence of these. mosses draw with serrated fin spines. leggy growth sprouting Before you think about tying your mosses eventually grow to cover the light patch. so use sparingly. the plant. themselves on any poorly tied loops of line. To secure mosses to wood. making it need to do is pull out handfuls of it when it Most moss species we encounter are even harder for the surface growth to take. Personally. a pair of kitchen scissors will fish. Then just sit back and wait until it gain some mass. so will leave a white mark. in which case all you PHOTOGRAPHY: MP & C PIEDNOIR. the whole exercise is For moss that’s tied onto wood or décor. or in the cracks between paving or small pufers. such as Betta species aquaria. Green turned out to be the most kitchen towel for this. as you’d expect inhabitants. which can be appearance of a rather bad hair day. with I’d avoid this. aim for dark thread over hold it in place for a few seconds until it’s do the job. There’s which almost act as fishy ‘snares’. They are slow them in any aesthetic sense. NEIL HEPWORTH. can easily snag technique is common in terrariums. and be sure to dry if you’re going to use them on anything few occasions. where Water is essential for their growth. you’ll need to a time. mossy ground cover is needed. starts to overgrow the tank. These rhizoids are down. secure themselves. Watch this space for developments woodland. You’ll need to remove any décor remember to thoroughly clean the things brown to work better than black. shamefully from all directions. If going with thread. check the moss at strategic points over wood and check. as they die of. to from any other plant. Just add a few strands at you’ll need to trim regularly. but lose their anchoring as they get tie them down. SHUTTERSTOCK spend so little of their lives attached to it! contaminates the whole area. Certain fish. I can assure you. stuf. and eventually you can snip away itself from its moorings and drift away like Tying mosses down any thread once the plant gets a foothold. don’t use thick clumps Moss maintenance species are particularly easy to grow. that that they care not one iota about what denied enough light to survive. Note that the glue Kept badly. and doradid cats. With such a high craving for the wet get themselves trapped. Just light. AQUAPRESS. I’ve always found that this in turn about in the water. and tie them on firmly without growing. Unless. some flufy green iceberg. or if you have a lot of anything leaching out that might harm your tobacco. and that’s how much I use) and moss to mow. spare a thought for any tank There’s also some mention of using a above drawing nutrients. or you can even use manicure packaging first to ensure that no noxious stones. and they will is. I use a single droplet of the stuf on a scissors if you have the time and patience. success can be had with Frequent ‘mowing’ with a pair of either a small amount of thread or fishing small dabs of superglue to stick clumps of aquascaping scissors will keep things in line. especially those mixture of moss and yoghurt in a blender. but I’ve yet including the terrestrial varieties. of the stuf. Go easy to begin with. but it’s not Perhaps the best point about mosses is packing results in the bottom layers being entirely without maintenance. The moss will random. I thought I’d be clever and the area as best you can before adding. I’ve always found dark sealed. use green. entirely free floating and drift of as soon as and in the event.COM. as excess Moss can be a doddle to grow. As a guide. The what they need directly from the water. and on a from the tank to do this. they’re given the chance. GEORGE FARMER. you’ll need Alternatively. this sounds applying so much pressure that you garrotte thicker. your moss will soon have the clashing colour with any mosses I tied. it can suddenly disengage grows in. and in order to use doomed to failure. Once an established clump starts to a lot harder than it actually is. you’re just using a clump of it floating substrate you have in the tank. which can inadvertently once somebody masters this approach! slabs.

Freshwater plants

CHOOSING YOUR MOSSES

● JAVA MOSS ● PHOENIX MOSS
Scientific name: Taxiphyllum barbieri. Scientific name: Fissidens fontanus.
Temperature: 15–30°C/59–86°F. Temperature: 28°C/ 72–82.4°F.
Water chemistry: pH 5.0–8.0; 1–25°H. Water chemistry: pH 5–7.5; 1–15°H
Carbon dioxide: Unnecessary. Carbon dioxide: Not required.
Lighting: Low to very low, unless Lighting: Very low.
incredibly high CO2 used. Ease of keeping: Easy.
Ease of keeping: Perhaps the easiest. Growth rate: Incredibly slow.
Growth rate: Slow to very slow unless in a Fissidens is rarely found except for in highly
high-energy set-up. specialised aquatic retailers.
Shrimp love moss and will The classic moss, it is a low light, low This is one of the slowest growing plants in
help to keep it algae-free. energy, slow growing, nitrate gobbling the hobby, and is at home breaking the water
powerhouse. Sometimes you’ll see it as it is immersed in it. Because it is so slow,
under the alternative name of Vesicularia you’ll never need to prune it, but don’t expect
dubyana, and there’s some taxonomic to harvest it either.
argument surrounding it. Choose This plant is prone to being smothered by
bad about cutting back any embarrassing companion plants wisely, as it will be algae, but avoid the use of liquid carbon to try
lengths of moss. outgrown by most. Use on its own or with to control this, as it will kill the plant of before
Note that many aquatic centres are happy slow growers like Anubias and Java fern. the algae.
to give store credit on bags of moss. Or, if
you fancy nurturing your inner
entrepreneur, why not invest in a few small
pieces of bogwood, glue on the moss from
your mowing, let it establish, and then sell
them of privately?
The other big issue for moss, and this one
can be lethal, is algae. The tiny leaves lend
themselves to growth of filamentous algae,
which will not only smother top-growth,
but get right into the mat of moss and
become near impossible to eradicate.
If the only plants you have in your tank are
mosses, then I have found that ongoing
dosing with one of the liquid carbons
(glutaraldehyde) helps to keep it down, but ● WEEPING MOSS ● CHRISTMAS MOSS
won’t help to remove an infestation. Here, Scientific name: Vesicularia ferriei. Scientific name: Vesicularia
mosses go hand in hand with shrimp. Temperature: 15–28°C/59–82.4°F. montagnei ‘Christmas’.
Shrimp, especially the algae-eating Amano Water chemistry: pH 5.5– 8.0; 4–20°H. Temperature: 20–28°C/68–82.4°F.
shrimp, are prerequisite if you’re using Carbon dioxide: Helps, but not essential. Water chemistry: pH 5.5–8.0; 4–20°H.
mosses in any quantity, and they excel at Lighting: Low to medium low. Carbon dioxide: Recommended.
getting in among the growth and pulling out Ease of keeping: Easy. Lighting: Low to moderate.
nuisance algae strands. Growth rate: Very slow. Ease of keeping: Slightly tricky.
You’ll need to syphon your mosses every Weeping moss is frequently misidentified, Growth rate: Can be fast in high-energy tanks.
so often, too, as odd as that sounds. Those as it doesn’t always ‘weep’ when A plant in high demand because of its
wispy leaves are as good at trapping purchased. Interestingly, this plant appealing green hue, it lends itself better to
particulates as the best aquarium filters, thrives, like many of the mosses, when the aquascape, as it has a faster growth rate
and that can lead to a ‘store’ of ammonia- exposed to high oxygen levels, and an than some others. Carbon dioxide and oxygen
and nitrate-producing wastes. By gently airstone or good turnover in the tank will are desired, as is a small amount of flow over
pressing a gravel cleaner into your moss (I help it considerably. the plant. Position it carefully, as the fir-like
repeat, gently!) you can pull out the worst of Because of the shape, it needs frequent fronds can quickly look out of place on certain
the muck before it starts to become a trimming and sculpting; otherwise, it’ll woods. Best used where it isn’t competing
problem. Don’t be alarmed if a few leaves soon look ugly in a tank. visually with hardscape. Prune aggressively!
are pulled out in the process.

www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk 57

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I was really expecting smaller version of a malnourished all times. making the aquarium calmer for tank mates and for you to watch. ● By making notes about the behaviour of this undescribed species. I love to hear the of the water. I get goosebumps from my head to extremely aggressive. They are filled I am placing my camera and other gear Amazonas jungle. his Amazonas impenetrable jungle. alone. rivers and into the underwater cases. Locals call it ‘The with abundant wildlife. which give him a great greenness of everything around is so stream. and or probably beat me with a stick! 60 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . His feet face deep in the middle of the Venezuelan huge Golden Tegu lizard. ● Jaw dropping colours and stripes. The teguixin. or to put it in another way. The passion and front of me trickles a gentile melody. sudden I hear the tall grass next to me WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY: IVAN MIKOLJI smaller than a human. hairy and So. sitting next to a shake. hard to convince me that ‘The Primitive As I listen attentively. Tupinambis backwards. you could become an ichthyic pioneer! L egend says there is a half human belief that I see in the faces of the people ever-changing glittering stars dance to its creature that appears to people that tell me the horror stories makes me beat over the gentle ripples on the surface in the middle of nowhere. it doesn’t get much better than this! reasons to keep ● Slow swimmer. The crystal clear water river in it to come out of the bush and attack. plants. Lizards with lipstick Photographer Ivan Mikolji goes swimming with the Red line lizard tetra. making its way towards the heels face forwards. soothing and refreshing to my eyes. here I am. Outrunning it in the fantastic stream in the middle of nowhere. when all of a Primitive Man’ and say that it is a bit fear of loneliness and the unknown. in the middle of the Venezuelan Amazon tales and stories. I imagine it as a The jungle noises are faint but present at Man’ does not exist. deep wonder if it really exists. I turn my head slowly and see a bush is impossible. bite Sasquatch or Bigfoot. my toes. Even though my mind tries very running advantage. When it comes to eye-candy for the freshwater aquarium.

the Golden Tegu is staring at me. It is for sure one of the most ‘aqua incognita’. This place is magical. I direction as the water current moves ● Availability and cost: Not a common stare back at him and tell him. I see fish fleeing and movement bewitch me. I finish arranging my gear. a beautiful Tocantins and Orinoco whispering sound as it passes by my ears. one at that: the Iguanodectes sp. I realise that I have been staring before. clothes and put on my dry suit. ● Temperament: Peaceful.5in in the wild. it seems like they are import. schooling tetras.uk 61 . The 25°C/77°F water enchanting movements on earth. The water current makes a pleasant undescribed species of tetra. take of my aquatic plants line the banks of the river.co. Then. ● Lifespan: Unknown. Freshwater habitat The red line above the mouth makes it look like they’re wearing lipstick! FISH FACTFILE ● Common name: Red line lizard tetra. They are an the Amazon. Large amounts of lizard tetra. ● Scientific name: Iguanodectes sp. right?’ I gently make my way into at them too long and try to break the terra incognita or to be more precise. and as I sink below into the contrasts between dark and light. trance. But these is found in Primitive Man’. Red line River basins. ● Size: 9cm/3. have never seen a human with a wetsuit dancing. www. To me. in the region of £5.practicalfishkeeping. colours underwater world. out of Iguanodectes frightfully from me. away. ‘Bet you them. are no ordinary fish. A few feet The plants sway and wave in one ● Ease of keeping: Advanced. The feels cold. To them I am ‘The the dark comes a school of fish.

which they are green. The species in the genus are definitely not. moving ornaments between dead Christmas trees. The red line Universidade Federal de São Paulo. including this one. the fins. If you are very patient and take your time to 62 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . coloured lateral stripe starting at the end of specimen. dorsal. The red spots on the caudal which is hopefully going to be described the operculum. thinning and ending below peduncle sometimes lead to them soon by Dr Cristiano Moreira from the the adipose fin. Their pectoral. Iguana-like teeth approach them slowly. how the light hits There are eight species in the genus and Red line lizard tetras have a pink to red them or just varies from specimen to two to be described. making These fish have been exported and Their body colours seem to vary or reference to their very peculiar teeth that sometimes sold in the hobby as change a lot. due to gender. both of which extend half way as though they are wearing red lipstick. translates to ‘Iguana biter’. The colour change seems too reptile. black spot. that is five times the standard longitude. they resembled live.5in long. anal and caudal have a strong yellow aquarium fish! seem to swim against the current in slow motion. spots in the caudal peduncle over a large right above the mouth makes them look The Red line lizard tetras are fascinating. Their slender bodies seem to wiggle as they swim against the water current. Tocantins and 25 anal fin rays.” from side to side as it crawls up a tree. from a light beige to a bright resemble those of the Iguana iguana Iguanodectes geisleri. medium-sized pelagic fish that grow up to into the caudal fin. They are slow moving and pelvic. they will let you get colour that fades out towards the ends of The Iguanodectes genus etymology quite close to them. They also have two red resembling a traffic light. red stripes and of the way a Green Iguana swings its body yellow tones. They also difer from the colours from its surrounding habitat. Their body movement reminds me “With their green body. Orinoco River basins and coastal drainages Iguanodectes adujai by having a body height The colour diferences are probably near the mouth of the Amazon River.The underwater world of the Red line lizard tetra. mood. Now this is what I call a really cool 9cm/3. because they have more than strong to be caused by the reflection of distributed in the Amazon.

Freshwater habitat
The green colouration varies,
depending on the habitat, but the
red line and ‘lipstick’ still stand out.

These fish can hold one
position in the water for
long periods of time.

 
Habitat afects the colour colour seems to be the greenest. to attract all the fast swimming tetras in the
It is possible to divide a stream into many The second preferred habitats are the river. Everything here is a monochrome
diferent habitats; these habitats difer river depositional zones. These lentic beige colour but is a tetra paradise.
mainly in current speed, substrate, depth habitats have very slow water current. It is The thin fallen tree branches vibrate as
and plant growth or accumulation of one of those spots in the river where all the fast water passes by them. Here, the Red
driftwood, to name just a few. These smaller dead stuf winds up rotting. line lizard tetras are always hiding behind
habitats, sections or systems are inhabited The aquascape is a monochrome of these branches, which seem to shelter them
by permanent or transitory tenants. ochre tones. Dead leaves, fallen branches and give them a break from the strong
Red line lizard tetras hang around three and all the silt deposit here. It all resembles direct current.
types of sections of the stream, all of them a phantasmagoric, surrealist Salvador For some reason, here they seemed to lose
less than a metre deep. Their favourite Dali painting. most of their green colouration and turned
section of the stream is the heavily planted Probably, this is a place where they take a almost beige. It seemed to me that I was
riverbanks. These are less than 40cm/16in break from the strong water current. It looking at a diferent species — all the traits
deep with lots of aquatic plants and a definitely is not a transitional zone, because were the same except for the lack of
medium fast current. They specifically like they stayed there for long periods of time. In green colouration.
to swim in narrow corridors between the this spot, their green body colour was not so  
aquatic plants. strong but still striking. With their green Fighting the current
I let go of a leaf underwater and it takes body, red stripes and yellow tones, they Red line lizard tetras are as peaceful as fish
around five or six seconds to travel 1m/3ft resembled live, moving ornaments between get, and opposed to many other tetras of the
downstream. So, in the square metre in dead Christmas trees. same size, they seem not to swim around
front of me, where the Red line lizard tetras The third habitat, in my opinion, is one of too much and do not like open waters. They
were swimming, they received an average the dullest sections in the river. This is the spend their day behind branches or behind
water change of 72 l/16 gal per second. This stream’s narrow deep straightaway or runs. aquatic plants where they seek shelter from
habitat is the one where the fish’s body The fast, oxygenated water current seems the direct water current.

www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk 63

Freshwater habitat
Many of the fish had marks, suggesting a predator had
swallowed them up to the middle of the body, leaving
a pressure scar. if these really were ‘war wounds’, ivan
Take the 1st step
wonders how so many had managed to escape. Make Red line lizard tetras feel at home
with the right décor and tank mates.

l Décor

AquATic PlAnTs. The fish in this
genus are herbivores so aquatic plants
could be eaten — but they must be
provided to give them shelter.

sAnd. Use a fine, sandy substrate,
preferably white silica sand.

These fish feed on the organic material As the sun sets in their habitat and Wood. Use lots of dry, long, skinny
that is dragged by the water current and everything gets dark, it is time for me to go. I branches. Place them diagonally from
happens to come their way. I have also do not like, and try not to use, artificial the top outside edge of the aquarium to
seen them picking on the periphyton and illumination in my photography. When I get the bottom underwater edge, lengthwise.
algae stuck to or growing of the natural out of the water, I am usually shivering from The more they become covered with
décor, including aquatic plant leaves and hypothermia. The eight or more continuous algae and muck, the better.
fallen branches. hours in a flowing river drain your body Don’t include rocks or pebbles, as they
They are one of those tetras that do not heat. As my shivers dissipate, a feeling of are non-existent in their natural habitat.
swim around much; they actually keep the extreme relaxation arises, making my
same location for a long period of time in senses awaken. The jungle noises sound
the river, just fighting the current without louder. The river sand between my toes l Tank maTes
going anywhere. A good example would be a feels great. The smell of nature perfumes
fly in a glass window: they make the efort the air.
but go nowhere. As I sit at the edge of the river in the
Once in a while, they spot a succulent middle of nowhere… I think I just heard
piece of algae growing on a rotting fallen ‘The Primitive Man’ yawn.
tree branch, take a bite and go back to the
exact position they had when they started.
So you can say they also resemble an Iguana
because they feed on the green that grows Think Tank
on tree branches. l size: 1m x 40cm x 50cm/3.2ft x 16in
Many of the Red line lizard tetras have x 20in or more for a school of DEKEYSERIA SCAPHIRHYNCHA. These
marks on their bodies that suggest they these fish. plecs occur sympatrically with Red line
have been victims from a predator attack. l Type: Atabapo River Basin biotope/ lizard tetras.
They have what seem remnants of a war specialist community.
wound inflicted by a fish that swallowed all l Water chemistry: soft, acidic
the tail and up to the middle of its body conditions: pH less than 6; KH below
where it left a pressure scar. If the markings 30mg/l; GH below 20mg/l.
are really war wounds, I wonder how or why l Temperature: 27°c/80.6°F is the
they all managed to escape their aggressors. optimal temperature — these fish will
The markings seem to have been made by a not mind the occasional low
non-piercing fish such as a Peacock bass, temperature of 25°c/77°F.
because a fish like a piranha would just have l special notes: These fish love to
chopped them in half. Making a highly crazy swim against water current. Place
and science fiction inspired hypothesis, it filter outlets only on one side of the APISTOGRAMMA MEGAPTERA. This
seemed like they had the ability to expel a aquarium so water flows ‘the long slow-moving cichlid will help maintain
secretion from their cloaca that would way’. This will allow you to view the the relaxed feel of this set-up.
make the predators release them. fish sideways at all times. 

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following their expedition to the Sulawesi Islands in Indonesia. but they’re becoming much more available from private breeders and also to purchase online all over Europe. They might be hard to find at your local shop. Easy Sulawesi A very simple biotope can bring out the spectacular beauty of shrimp and snails from the Indonesian lakes. shrimp and snails. It was hard to imagine that some of these sandy or rocky-bottomed lakes containing such warm water could be so rich in life. most of the fish and crabs aren’t found in the trade. Unfortunately. especially Germany. crabs. and aquarists were stunned by the pictures of these aquatic landscapes and their fauna. PHOTOGRAPHY: CHRIS PHOTOGRAPHY: LUKHAUP CHRISLUKHAUP . but you can still make a stunning biotope aquarium with the spectacular Caridina shrimp and Tylomelania snails that are available. The Sulawesi lakes and their afuents support some remarkable endemic species of fish (mostly gobies and ricefish). WORDS: MARIE-SOPHIE GERMAIN F reshwater shrimp expert Chris Lukhaup and his team introduced a number of stunning new biotopes and invertebrate species to the hobby several years ago. Shrimp such as Caridina spinata (below) and snails including Orange Poso (right) can help to make a stunning biotope.

Note how clear the water is below the surface of Lake Poso. In Central Sulawesi. These lakes are ultra oligotrophic. WHERE DO THEY COME FROM? The Malili system is composed of several lakes: Matano. Mahalona and Towuti (other lakes like Masapi and Lontoa aren’t directly connected). .Freshwater habitat Lake Poso in Indonesia is rich in life. as it is poor in organic materials and nutrients. meaning that their water is extremely clear. Lake Poso. we find what is also the third deepest lake in Indonesia.

l Availability and cost: Available Don’t expect to see them a lot. l Size: 2cm/0. they can also be hard to spot! Blue Leg Poso shrimp l Scientific name: Caridina caerulea (Ka-ree-dee-na care-ru-lee-a). l Size: 2cm/0.Shrimp selection There are several species of shrimp you can host in a Sulawesi tank. l Lifespan: One to two years. but l Scientific name: l Ease of keeping: will also eat the usual shrimp food. spinata. (Ka-ree-dee-na spin-ar-ta). When frightened. loehae. l Availability and cost: Online and from breeders and specialists. lanceolata and C. C. Since they are very small. l Lifespan: One to two years.75in. holthuisi. They spend Gold flake shrimp all their time pecking the algae in the tank. they just crawl quickly away and hide in a crevice. all from the Caridina genus: C. Cardinal shrimp l Scientific name: Caridina dennerli (Ka-ree-dee-na den-er-lee). £5 to £7. it’s given in the evening under a dim light.75in. as these l Size: 2cm/0.75in. C. online and from breeders and species are quite shy. to name a few. l Lifespan: One to two years. these shrimp don’t jump like other Caridina species. Like most of the Caridina species. caerulea. 68 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . £8. so long as Caridina spinata Takes time to adapt. for they have a high mortality rate. dennerli. C. these Indonesian beauties breed in freshwater and their dozens of eggs produce fully developed juveniles. C. Don’t purchase wild-caught specimens. l Availability and cost: Available online and from breeders and specialists. especially to begin with. £8. specialists. l Ease of keeping: Takes time to adapt. l Ease of keeping: Takes time to adapt.

When she’s large and old enough. the female carries one or several embryos within a uterine brood pouch inside her shell. (Ti-low-mel-ay-nee-a).co.75in. l Lifespan: Possibly ten years up.uk 69 . making them perfect for life in an aquarium. l Availability and cost: Available online and from breeders and specialists. so don’t mix the species. l Lifespan: Possibly ten years or more.5-2. they are fully developed. www. They are easy to White-spotted rabbit snail keep and accept all kinds of food. When hatching. l Scientific name: Tylomelania l Ease of keeping: Easy. or more. l Size: 6-8cm/2. Orange Poso l Scientific name: Tylomelania sp. £8. l Size: 5-7cm/ 2-2. The young feed on a nutritious material produced by the albumin gland.practicalfishkeeping. Tylomelania perfecta (Ti-low. Available online and l Size: 6-7cm/2. suggesting that these snails are very long lived. £5 to £7. Freshwater habitat Pick of the snails Tylomelania species are real stars among aquarium snails. Available online and from l Size: 5-7cm/2-2.75in. Hybridisation can (Ti-low-mel-ay-nee-a pat-ree-arch-al-iss).75in. from breeders and l Lifespan: Possibly ten years breeders and specialists. Thunderbolt snail Yellow-spotted rabbit snail l Scientific name: l Ease of keeping: Easy. They’re not only spectacular with their conic spiralled shell and sometimes bright colours and patterns. (Ti-low-mel-ay-nee-a). and even if they breed all year round. £5 to £8. l Ease of keeping: Easy. preference for fresh. The young take a long time to grow. even frozen bloodworms. These features mean that Tylomelania species are considered as ovoviviparous: a reproductive strategy that is rare among snails.12-0. l Availability and cost: mel-ay-nee-a pur-fec-tar). and depending on the species can reach the size of 3mm to 2cm/0. with a l Scientific name: l Lifespan: Possibly ten years or more.25in. you won’t have a snail invasion. poached vegetables and Tylomelania patriarchalis l Ease of keeping: Easy. l Availability and cost: sp. with a possible lifespan of ten years or more.75in.5-3. from breeders and specialists £6 to £8. but they also have an interesting breeding method. l Availability and cost: Available online and occur. It also means that they don’t produce a lot of ofspring. specialists.

9 tips for setting up Sulawesi-style 2 Choose the right rocks To replace the limestone rocks of the Matano or Towuti lakes. 4 Choose plants with care There are few plants at the bottom of the Malili system’s lakes. which have similarly crimped leaves. it’s a good idea to put a thick layer of gravel underneath the sand substrate. such as oak and Catappa. a Poso or a Towuti biotope. However. In the wild. These rocks are easy to find from aquascaping specialists. if you want to add some greenery. 70 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . choose some Ohko stones or Dragon stones (pictured). as this will help to avoid compaction and the development of harmful anaerobic bacteria. these species live on soft substrate (sand and mud). slates are a good option. otherwise your snails might get stuck. A cluster of grass-like plants might do as well. so it’s important to provide a sandy area. you don’t need to specifically recreate a Matano. and those that are present are not available in the trade anyway. driftwood and maybe also include some dried leaves. but also on rocks and roots. Keep the décor simple and leave some space between the rocks and the sides of the tank. Some Tylomelania snails love to bury themselves in it once in a while. 3 Cover the bottom with sand Sand is the best substrate for use in this aquarium. Don’t use anything that will be too abrasive for the snails’ feet! 1 Keep it simple Since most of the snails and shrimp species can be found in several lakes and so can all be kept in the same way. Forget other types of plants though — even the strong leaves of Anubias are likely to be eaten by hungry Tylomelania snails. and they won’t enjoy crawling about on uncomfortable gravel. like Eriocaulon. you can replace the spectactular Ottelia mesenterium from the Matano lake with few Pogostemon helferi (or Crinum calamistratum if you have a large tank). as well as some rocky structures. Alternatively. However.

before being suitable for these shrimp. the tank should be at least two to three months old — some breeders recommend twice as long — and rich in micro organic life. Don’t use more than 1w for 2 poached vegetables and even frozen l/0.5. The conductivity is 150 μS/m in average. while the shrimp will l Tank size: The tank should be spend their time hiding. from 4 to 6. but it’s even more important when we talk about a Sulawesi biotope. it’s not recommended for these a powerhead (see picture above). so a heaterstat will be required. these species feed mostly on the microscopic algae covering the stones and the driftwood. the snails will become very inactive and think tank won’t feed very much. Kept in cooler water. 54 l/12 gal minimum. Most importantly. www.practicalfishkeeping. The shrimp will peck at snails with a lot of hiding places and large algae all day. food in the evening. A good water flow is important to provide a 6 good gas exchange at the water surface in Heat it up! this very warm tank and also helps to raise While we can keep some species at room the pH. or add temperature.1 to 8. 7 l Type: Sulawesi biotope. there are some lucky people who Both Sulawesi snails and shrimp can successfully keep their captive-bred Sulawesi be found in lakes. For this reason. You can use a strong filter. the pH range is from 8. That means you’ll probably have to deal with RO water (up to 100%) or mineral water. The Sulawesi Caridina shrimp are very fragile and often have a hard time adapting to a newly set up aquarium. and as the tank is not dedicated to l Feeding: The snails accept all kinds of plants. Go soft on the light l Water chemistry: pH 8. remineralising salts and coral sand (in the substrate or in the filter). And Provide a good water flow yes. in dimmed light.uk 71 .4 gal of water.1–8. but also in rapids.5. and the GH and KH are low. but will also take shrimp areas of shadow. 5–7°H. 8 Be patient! Patience is one of the aquarist’s greatest virtues. Indonesian invertebrates. and provide your shrimp and bloodworms. light. Sulawesi invertebrates don’t like strong l Temperature: 27–30°C/81–86°F. shrimp in their regular tapwater. They need a temperature range from 28-30°C/82-86°F.co. the basic lighting provided with many food but have a preference for fresh tanks is perfect. Freshwater habitat 5 Get up to speed on water chemistry In the Sulawesi lakes. It’s up to you to find 9 the right solution according to the values of your local water and your possibilities.

WITH THANKS TO WWW. nAtURE PHOTOGRAPHY: GEORGE FARMER.COM CAllS This high-energy aquascape provides aesthetic beauty for the viewer and an ideal home for the fish.TROPICA.COM AND WWW.AQUAVASAQUARIUM. WORDS: GEORGE FARMER 72 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING .

www.uk 73 . Step by step The dense vegetation produces lots of oxygen and security for the fish.co.practicalfishkeeping.

filter hoses and glassware. enhance the aesthetic balance. Bolbitis and Anubias are used. and this can be witnessed through visible oxygen bubbles on the leaves. It needs to be covered – around £200 l Driftwood – £30 with regular gravel or sand to prevent cloudy water. the biggest job is trimming. Java fern. The water level is just above the gravel to make 5 Epiphyte plants are attached to the wood using cotton thread. The wood is positioned deliberately of-centre to 1-3mm in size and is an inert quartz. This provides a greater sense of depth when viewing from the front. add liquid fertiliser. sloping to 8-10cm/3-4in at the rear. This spreads the water and prevents too much disturbance of the substrate. The plants also provide shelter and security for the fish. the plants are removed from their pots and the rockwool teased apart from planting much easier. 2 The base layer is topped with fine gravel. which in turn helps to prevent algae. Shopping liSt l Natural Aquario custom-built aquarium. this aquascape has it all. l Natural Aquario gloss white l Plants – £100 cabinet – around £300 l Tropica substrate – £15 l Natural Aquario LED l Gravel substrate – £15 lighting (6 x 18W lamps) l Fish and shrimp – £60 – around £400 l Total – £1. The plants are kept moist by regular misting. weekly — prune plants. The depth at the front is 3-5cm/1-2in.). This provides nutrients to the plant roots and also takes in nutrients from the aquarium water. 4 The aquarium is partially filled with water using a colander. Maintenance includes: daily — feed fish.510. 74 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . 65 x 40 x 40cm/26 x 16 x 16in (104 l/23 gal) l Fluval G3 filter – £300 l TMC glassware – £50 l Hydor external heater – £40 1 A 1-2cm layer of nutrient-rich substrate is added to the bottom of the tank and flattened. The dense vegetation produces lots of oxygen through intense photosynthesis of the plants. and monthly — clean filter. Before attaching to wood.10 steps to a classic nature aquarium i f you’re looking to bring a classic nature aquarium to life. clean aquarium glass and 50% water change. With the relatively large quantity of fast-growing stem plants (Hygrophila polysperma and Ludwigia sp. This is actually two separate pieces of driftwood tied together using cable ties to form one interesting formation. check filter and check CO2. Liquid fertiliser is added daily to ensure the plants are well-fed. the roots with tweezers. The gravel is 3 The décor (hardscape) is added. so won’t afect water chemistry.

The pots are split into several portions to give ample coverage. Over this amount of time. A large rock is positioned on top of the wood to prevent it floating. Eleocharis parvula.uk 75 . it will cause severe 9 The aquarium equipment is fitted. Mission accomplished! www. the aquascape has reached full maturity. 8 The aquarium is slowly filled with water through the colander to help prevent clouding. It is important that the nutrient-rich layer underneath the gravel is not disturbed. Trimming the ends of the grass using sharp scissors stems are gently inserted into the substrate using tweezers. as this achieves a balance in the aquarium early on and helps prevent algae. with appropriate maintenance and trimming. inline heater and CO2 injection system.practicalfishkeeping.co. once the wood becomes sufciently waterlogged. but the 7 Dwarf hairgrass. 10 After six months. After one week. lights with plug-in-timer. The pots are prepared as for the epiphyte plants. clouding that may take days to clear. Planting density is high. leading to a lawn efect. otherwise. encourages the plant to send out new runners. the plants have created a complex textured look that is very natural and peaceful to look at. the rock is removed. including filter. is planted around the foreground. Step by step 6 Background and midground plants are added.

resulting in a very bright unit indeed. provide extra colour provide the perfect focal point. Anubias and Bolbitis are and to prevent it smothering makes a classic lawn that’s are very active and have slow-growing species that also slower growers. I would suggest only the very experienced planted hobbyists attempt to run an aquascape for any length of time using all six. Low iron OptiWhite has a paler blue tinge. with this amount of lighting. subtle but this has not been an issue sense of maturity to the right hand side. was growers. they can be almost widow tetra. in lovely fresh green texture that by incorporating more Neon tetras. easy to grow and maintain. heater versus an in-tank model. meaning it can be lit with three or all six lamps. Being slow decided on shoals of Black wood-based layout with lots of Hygrophila polysperma. Gymnocorymbus epiphytes (plants that attach used. as this is an economical option. on the Over the months. as it provides minimal impact on the aquascape when compared to standard lighting that has to be fitted to the aquarium. but for the purist aquascaper. Each of the six LED lamps is rated at 18W each. and Serpae tetra. at six months and counting. with their attractive electric especially with a backdrop of the base of the wood work well. it was more To give the layout a dense add interest with their leaf the aquarium’s dimensions so appropriate to go for a and lush feel. Both fern. it is definitely a desirable quality. I decided to use a refillable 2kg CO2 cylinder. provide instant impact and a Staurogyne repens. reputations for fin-nipping. The unit has two separate power cables. but swapped this for an external inline difuser. These are lower maintenance because they require less cleaning and they have the benefit of sitting inside the aquarium cabinet. This requires frequent totally neglected. the classic weed. species that added to the innesi. shape and colour. Various crypts placed around naturalistic feel. themselves to décor). with the cylinder typically lasting over three months. A pressurised CO2 system is essential for this set-up. Aquascape and fish As this was going to be a red from the Ludwigia. The same has minimal impact on principle applies to the external inline the aquascape. These. as is the daily addition of liquid fertilisers. This system provides a good compromise where the lighting is suspended from a stainless steel frame that bolts on to the aquarium cabinet. The diference is hardly noticeable versus OptiWhite through usual observation. 76 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . I have always been a fan of suspended lighting. The LED lamps are fitted inside housing identical to 36W Power Compact T5s. I wanted some tall-bodied blue flash. Paracheirodon combination with the wood. complements the Hygrophila. Java trimming to keep it in check Hairgrass in the foreground Hyphessobrycon eques. and I have run three lamps successfully for the aquascape’s life so far. I originally used an in-tank glass ceramic difuser. provides a changes were made in this set-up. you can look through the cross section and it is a definite green colour. as they are shade-tolerant and and active fish to complement long-term project.Choosing equipment and stocking the tank T he aquarium is made from an ultra-low iron glass with clarity superior to the now commonplace OptiWhite glass. Usually. aquascape. I would suspend the lighting from the ceiling but my new rented accommodation meant this was not an option. With regular float glass. so do not Suspended LED lighting distract from the aquascape. ternetzi. but this glass is almost white when viewing through the ends.

FiSh FACtFilES l Common name: Neon tetra. l Ease of keeping: Easy. l Scientific name: Paracheirodon innesi l Scientific name: Gymnocorymbus l Scientific name: Hyphessobrycon eques (Para-kie-roe-don inn-ess-eye).co.practicalfishkeeping. ternetzi (Jim-no-cor-im-bus turn-etz-eye). l Lifespan: Five-plus years. l Availability and cost: Widely available.5in. from around £1.5in. l Lifespan: Five-plus years. a solid planted carpet has formed. l Ease of keeping: Easy. l Availability and cost: Widely available.75 each. l Common name: Serpae tetra. l Temperament: Peaceful. l Common name: Black widow tetra. l Size: Up to 6cm/2. (Hi-fess-o-bry-con ek-wess). around £1 each. l Lifespan: Five-plus years. from around £2 each. After a few months. www. Step by step Ludwigia soon grows from the water surface.uk 77 . l Temperament: Semi-aggressive. l Ease of keeping: Very easy. l Temperament: Semi-aggressive. l Size: Up to 5cm/2in. l Availability and cost: Widely available. l Size: Up to 4cm/1.

it wasn’t until 1973 that Congo River basin. description was eventually assigned to a gaudy violet abdomen act like beacons them in 1984. ● Fry are easy to raise. HEIKO BLEHER t’s not by chance or entertainment protection in the limited light. which was around the time to communicate in the gloom. Nanochromis transvestitus have stripes are a constant reminder to fry Surveying an area at the southern end of their finery. but with Nanochromis transvestitus. white stripes on fins coupled with this occasion. ● Courtship dance is spectacular. With the ebb and Lake Mai-Ndombe in the Democratic comparatively dull. A scientific home. this large body of colours are the tools of nature that supper with a myriad of small fish for water lies at the lowest elevation in the females use for courtship display and fry generations.COM. it just happens that a Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). AQUAPRESS. it’s the girls that do all the chasing and they certainly dress for the occasion! WORDS: KEITH NAITBY reasons to keep ● Striking female colouration. When girls will be boys It’s unusual for the female fish to be the more colourful. vibrant Although no doubt caught for the locals’ At 135km in length. With light flow of evolution. while males remain that mum is present. those fin the first description of these dwarf cichlids. Possessing excellent vision. providing an important 78 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPI NG . tannin-stained waters of their to the female rather than the male on several museums for analysis. Acting as Donald Stewart and Tyson Roberts made value for aquarists that female primary guardian of their brood. over penetration and visibility so poor in the colour upgrade was more advantageous 100 specimens were collected and sent to dark. I PHOTOGRAPHY: MP & C PIEDNOIR. Natural habitat they began to appear in the hobby.

practicalfishkeeping. ● Lifespan: Around four years. Lake Mai-Ndombe lies in the Democratic Republic of Congo. ● Availability and cost: Specialists will stock them.uk 79 . Percolating These fish have been found in later the lake are not uncommon. transvestitus. Freshwater breeding FISH FACTFILE ● Scientific name: Nanochromis transvestitus (Nann-o-crow-miss trans-vest-it-uss). eventually being association with laterite rocks over a sandy against the sandy beaches. gently sloping banks isn’t unusual. but always in tumultuous frenzy. weather. results from the location of a large lake with an average depth of around rocks is no doubt important from a breeding rivers that feed into it. but also provides sanctuary swamp forest surround the northern for N. although this is still a little deep perspective. Expect to pay around £20 for a pair. The males find that red belly irresistible! haven for countless species both above and living more than 100m/328ft from the The highly acidic nature of this lake below the surface. which is rarely from predators and refuge during inclement perimeter where the majority of recorded below a metre. crashing in large waves humic compounds. This type of habitat isn’t restricted to head down is probably a wise option for This gentle osmosis changes rapidly the immediate shoreline and finding them small cichlids when the wind blows! during the rainy season of October/ www. Ferocious storms that race over tributaries are located. females 6cm/2. ● Temperament: Not overly territorial. bed.co. even when spawning. but pairs can be quite aggressive towards conspecifics. Keeping your drawn through these veins to the lake. Vast areas of 3m/10ft.5in. The shallow water of the lake (3m depth) is tannin-stained and acidic. A with a pH of 4 and hardness that barely Mai-Ndombe is extremely shallow for such sheltered location among the scattered registers. causing the through these permanent swamplands. ● Size: Males 7cm/2.8in. surveys living much further north than the shallow waters to be whipped into a the water becomes inundated with original description. Due to the lie of the land.

spend half an hour or so observing adults and fry alike. pairs will settle happily As with many species. swathe of land on the western side of the real bugbear. I’ve spawned them in two entirely diferent cherries. bloodworm and Daphnia will soon have Once these previously impenetrable your fish in breeding condition and what areas have been cleared. the male makes occasional visits but leaves egg care to the female. Once the male is climate. ultra-aggressive in defence of their young. I found a transvestitus likely breed year round. although it must be kept soft for breeding. a few hidey holes and a varied option. If choosing the former As with many heavily forested regions around in. No follow suit in the wild. I haven’t found them to be Diet wise. The old adage of purchasing the girls cavort in front of potential lake. with November when water. enters the lake in volume. mosquito larvae. the clued up shops will not want this to happen! reference to this lake in a book at a dusty old influx of flooding brings with it a bounty of If you should discover a tank with several emporium. the local Choosing a pair glorious creatures females become when population are understandably Keeping and breeding these cichlids ripe. my knowledge was limited to them inundating swamp areas. the bagging and moving “Plump bellies. she will set about finding a projects in the region. being cut by commercial companies. reading food and greater foraging opportunities for fish. Luckily.” 80 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . conditions that would occur in nature. granular food. possibility certainly exists. Not much to go on but. My advice would I purchased my first pair of transvestitus org/redd-project/wwc-mai-ndombe be. isn’t carried out during the dating game and being cave spawners. can be found online at www. another tank is necessary. Totally irresistible. The Lake Mai-Ndombe REDD several fish and letting them pair naturally partners. but apart from their African matter. are N. for a large basics. Male After spawning. Whether they decamp them on a quiet afternoon and a pair will no with many other species to spawn in these flooded areas we may never know. with these feisty little characters if removal home. you will need to add some trace around the world. rich with organic I’ve seen the carnage that can take place the odd tweak. community and biodiversity impractical for the majority of fishkeepers. They will normally shortly after their arrival in the hobby.coderedd. Although N. to new homes rarely disrupts that bond. under her spell. details of which as once the fish have bonded. however. RO is normally the choice of today but mine have happily bred fatale fashion. Even if elements back to the water. Having sold many such pairs over the years. the colour and form of converting them to agriculture use. I wanted to replicate have space to split the pairs as they form. but must be soft and acidic. Plump bellies. Help presents few problems if you stick to some juicy cherries are used to lure their mates in seems to be at hand. they may be lake bound by nature. there isn’t one best form of juicy into mixed communities of small to medium sized fish. displaying that abdomen in a Project aims to help with a range of is a potentially expensive route and also vibrating. Mai-Ndombe are under threat. transvestitus are hardy little souls and quite unfussy with regard to water tanks with equal success and suspect the adaptable nature of cichlids allows them to used to lure their chemistry for everyday keeping. In an be purchasing batches of young fish and attempt to breed them. curving dance. let your retailer do it. it mates in femme matter if your filtration creates some flow. the colour and Aquarium care Breeding success Given a few basics. Gravel fine enough to poke filter full of carbon. Tank reared way of breeding these fish in aquariums. removal to suitable location for setting up home. but finding a compatible pair is the femme fatale fashion. but the doubt come to light. The one consideration above all others is water. with trees they spawn. the surrounds of diet will keep them in fine fettle. water movement is common in this in rainwater that’s been run through a box A threatened forest environment.

practicalfishkeeping. These were set on the top rack of digging again and spawning a week later! sand out from one of the flowerpots. everything went back in the open-mouthed display. the little swarms leaves into aquariums couldn’t be described simply staggering. Working in the trade at would make their way back to the hive. A 8. Using the same water parameters and water change. As the 2-3mm gravel and positioned centrally in ● Type: Small fish community. www. the females were operating as sole excavator. my first sight of their family inverted and positioned on the gravel with ● Water chemistry: For general keeping didn’t occur until day eight when the female an edge just overlapping the dish. anyway. breeding them in a half-inch fry were caught and transferred to conditions I was after. natural style aquarium can’t be beaten but grow-out tanks via another tub. Once filled. my fish house and filtration supplied by Month after month. curving dance! between the lines. Shifted On introduction. On this occasion. transvestitus. my pair of fish were soon this made it nigh on impossible for catching gravel was scooped of the bottom and inspecting their new surroundings and youngsters to grow on. which turned out to work spawn and rear them on a more commercial followed by all the furnishings. For breeding. the contrasting tanks were devoid of substrate but the base still couldn’t keep up with the demand! colours on females could be seen as was painted dark brown.5 and 1–6°H. bloodworm and Daphnia. ● Feeding: Granular foods. I needed came into its own. the female became noticeably rotund and. which had evolved through trial and error. help from the male. Larger pieces were tied with receiving orders for fish faster than I could Fry were large enough to be moved on in fishing line to slate and buried under the breed them. one of my customers was popping up through the entrance. The male would make consisted of a 15cm/6in plastic dish used ● Size: 60 x 30 x 30cm/24 x 12 x 12in occasional visits but other than that. tank front. would signal to the fry by retreating to the tank and temperature was maintained at The market for dwarf cichlids in Japan for caves and poking their heads back through 25°C/77°F. For interest. feeding regime of previous years. Recalling some of my previous less than a month. And I tank under some branches. I scaled breeding tank as it was. placed back into the trays. Parental duties were as previous 7. pairs down to tanks of 35 x 40 x 25cm/14 x Within ten minutes. a small internal power granular food and progressed in no time to corralled at night was always fun. these fry were from beneath the pots in no time. Fed on a diet of brine a quick peek and discovered batches of A substrate of silver sand was topped with shrimp. Throwing oak branches and a period in the early to mid-nineties was the gap. The perfectly for creating the low light basis.co. entrance to their lair faced away from the the tank. began to dig 16 x 10in. but watching the youngsters being buried. a layout was designed around the tank. fry grew rapidly and began to show creamy white eggs dangling loosely inside a range of diferent size rocks and halves of those tell tale body stripes within ten days. I took that I felt gave me some chance of success. With this cue. After a 50% posturing in their strange head-up. Furnishings were invaluable in the wild — stunning! restricted to a few lengths of grey overflow Finding her holed up in this cavity two days later. as fashionable at the time but they went in that time. which were At this juncture they began to accept fine years.5in clay pot was ● Temperature: 24. which was filled with for a pair. care was the female’s responsibility. when this simple set-up sand to stop them floating up. picking and pecking at weeks and others soon followed suit.uk 81 . including the pairs. With a little females were depositing a spoil of gravel pH between 4–5. displaying that abdomen in a vibrating. Within a fortnight. egg for holding plant pots. more or less to the day. these pairs produced Situated in one of the dark recesses of the homemade sponge filters.6–26°C/76–79°F. My four they aren’t fussy and a pH between 6–8 could be found standing guard over her pairs soon took to these caverns and and 5–15°H is fine. Females filter ran the 120 x 30 x 45cm/48 x 12 x 15in their parents’ fare. it was obvious spawning had tube and a simple cave.27cm/3. Freshwater breeding Female The girls cavort in front of potential partners. The only experience with N. 120 to 150 fry. anything edible. This cave system THINK TANK taken place. the pots.5cm/3in clay flowerpots. Adults were removed spare lighting I had was an old 38cm/15in to find a method that would allow me to first and placed into margarine tubs Sun-glo tube. mosquito meticulously guarded as they ventured The first spawning occurred after three larvae. aim for a brood of around 50 youngsters.

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the filter to another is easiest where NEALE MONKS established tank. mature your new aquarium. efectively maturing it If the mature filter is a very the new tank. EMAIL Practical Fishkeeping A for many years. A mature biological Exposing biological media to lecturer in aquatics. Email your problems to questions@practicalfishkeeping.uk No. remaining bacteria will very the two filters hold the same has kept fish for biological filters were quickly colonise the new media types of media. All else being equal. colonise solid surfaces. BOB MEHEN has been keeping fish since the 1970s and has a particular passion for catfish. it won’t be able to DAVE you use other types of filters you can add a small number of donate enough media to WOLFENDEN such as canisters.uk 83 . PHOTOGRAPHY: NEIL HEPWORTH JEREMy GAy has kept fish most of his life.1 FOR ADVICE OUR ExPERtS GEORGE FARMER is a world-renowned aquascaper. Can I mature my filter by using water from my other fish tank? is a world authority on fish diseases.practicalfishkeeping. He has authored a predominantly undergravel put in to replace that removed. ethical issues. has authored books and has contributed to CHRIS WALMSLEY. for over 20 years. you wanted to use gravel to suggest you monitor your eliminate the cycling process. Provided the stress or even kill the bacteria. but Cheshire and is now curator at the Blue Planet of well oxygenated water. This still works if instantly. He co-founded the UK Aquatic Plant Society and now works as a freelance aquatic specialist. Of NEALE MONKS www. books and has a remove a few cups of gravel can then be added to your new especially the external designs. the media you remove with whatever media you want. this assumes that the little. Canisters. a manager of nitrifying bacteria that live in a A better approach is to ‘clone’ that of the original aquarium. numerous stores and a biological filter prefer to a filter. DR PEtER BuRGESS Q. the top centimetre or so that has and not experience any of the filter. aquarium isn’t too diferent to has worked as a public aquarist. you quickly mature serious problems. He teaches. can often be stufed number of fishkeeping filters. adding a small He has lectured at any nitrifying bacteria because ammonia or nitrite rises that amount of media will speed up Reaseheath College in these bacteria need a good flow usually cause problems in new the maturation process. Hardly filter can lose up to half its dramatic changes in pH. new aquaria by adding live donor filter is then left alone Transferring media from one biological media from an for a month or two. It might speed things up a you’d have to skim away just course. water to be on the safe side. He’s managed Transferring some of the media from an award-winning a mature filter to that of a new set-up store and is a former will cycle it much more quickly.co. example. biological media without any temperature and salinity can well equipped to cover Ideally. PFK editor. consults. so the trick then was to Anyway. but it’s only fish to the tank straight away instantly mature a much bigger holds degrees in both zoology and botany. His background in philosophy makes him any live in the water.Fishkeeping Answers We’re proud to have the world’s best experts on hand to help you. small one.co. In this case. particular passion for brackish species. So. from the old tank and add it to filter. He helps to moderate the PFK website forum and excels at advising and guiding new keepers. if tanks — although we still probably not enough to totally � Aquarium at Cheshire Oaks. The problem is that the the mature tank. He’s now Evolution Aqua’s business development manager. but it’s not the best the surface layer of gravel from environment in the new NAtHAN HiLL way. In the old days.

rather than attempt sucking loaches are another the extravagant fins sported stock. NOVICE /Fishkeeping answers Q. especially given set-up and with your current l/5. power filter such as yours potentially aggressive species is making it hard for them to siamese fighters in your current minimum size of around 25 can prevent them thriving. The tank has a Fluval U4 filter.5°C/76°F and my pH is 7. such as siamese fighters. A some people successfully keep siamese fighters. I have two Gold Siamese fighters do best in a gouramis. I thought they were easy to keep. been a contributing factor to another potential issue is their deaths. especially if their tank mates aren’t chosen with special care. I do a 15% water change weekly. emaIl I have a 90cm/3ft tank that has been set up for eight months.2. These are a colour variety of the Three-spot gourami. Why can’t I keep Siamese fighters? JulIe Turner. My aquarium dedicated to a single them as a community fish? species and. I have added three Siamese fighters (not all together!) in the last eight months and none lasted more than a couple of months. What am I doing wrong? My water temperature is 24. MP & C PIEDNOIR. but it be the culprit in this case. five platies and a bristlenose. common name and ferocious Betta splendens are naturally a reputation. AQUAPRESS. which can be an aggressive species. set-up with gentle circulation. My main concerns with your current stocking are the two gold gouramis. a Sucking loach. ALAMY. Trichopodus trichopterus.COM gouramis and related fish. i don’t know if you have witnessed any aggression between your gouramis and fighters. siamese fighters fish from still waters and it is are actually quite timid fish and possible that a large internal just the presence of these larger. especially the males — and particularly to other PHOTOGRAPHY: SHUTTERSTOCK. I have wood and some Java fern and an air-stone running for extra oxygen. eight X-ray tetras. as a community fish but they will not do well in all cases.5 gal). My personal preference is to keep them in their own tank where their specific requirements can be met. while less likely to advice would be to steer clear of male (i would recommend a BoB mehen 84 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . can seems likely that it may have still be a problem. settle and rest. Despite their the power of your filtration. Betta splendens. why not set up a small the balancing act of keeping notorious aquatic ‘bully-boy’ by aquarium varieties.

They do indeed there is the risk of passing on Many people ‘grow’ their own that might have been present. my water and it’s all OK. duller in platies. the bloodworms and Daphnia are anything nasty to your fish. period of quiet away from the It still feeds and I have tested other fish to recover. males will be more extreme. I would recommend causes. If the fish is a male. fish.practicalfishkeeping. emaIl One of my danios has stopped exhausted and seeking a swimming with the others. emaIl A it’s amazing how quickly wildlife will take advantage of any new opportunity and it’s especially true of a pool of water left for a few days — within a couple of weeks you’ll have a mini.co. it’s likely that any aggression between or a good look at the fish. make excellent occasional parasites and diseases to your live foods in more controlled which is the best way of being treats for fish. danios and four corys. in close-up. whose larvae go through an aquatic stage. adding a couple more danios then it might be that there is and if the shy fish seems to be another. females might be wrong? I have four are slightly larger. Can I feed the bloodworm I found in my pool to my fish? elIJah (8). then it’s better to your tank. Daphnia and Tubifex good reason. i conditions and this can provide sure of what you are adding to Depending how long you leave the water standing. With only six fish. which can leave them BoB mehen Q. all of these can be fed still need to be aware of the gamma irradiated to kill of to survive in water with low to fish. but if in doubt. any parasites and diseases oxygen levels. Males are slimmer A It’s hard to be certain without a full set of recent water test results and more brightly coloured. eight Neons. but with any live food. ‘Bloodworm’ is a name given to the aquatic larvae expect quite a range of insect life of this — they are not known buy commercially produced of a type of non-biting midge fly to take up residence: mosquito as ‘sewage worms’ without foods that will help limit that is rich in haemoglobin (the larvae. BoB mehen � www. Bloodworm (left) and wildlife pond! above.uk 85 . but if it is still feeding and as there are less fish to spread showing no obvious signs out the dominant fish’s of illness or disease. especially when ready to spawn. dominant male in a male. giving fish coming out for food. the chance of passing on iron-rich protein used in blood worms are commonly seen. degree that it’s hiding away to especially floating varieties. then try and pick out a your group and it has chased couple more males. these six colouration and far plumper. avoid more trouble and only may help as well. aggression in males. Do Sexing Zebra danios is you have any ideas what straightforward. Mosquito larvae. then belligerence. If you have there are a couple of possible space. then you can would recommend not feeding wild-caught Tubifex because free live food for their fish. places to hide away and rest Zebra danios do best in If the fish is a female. which they need water. Q. seen by the dominant male. so you have to be careful. to transport oxygen around latter especially in stagnant generally a little safer but you some frozen varieties are the body). then where they won’t be so easily larger groups to dilute it might have just spawned. potential risk. What has caused my Zebra danio to become anti-social? melanIe WIld. This is There are a number of insects one of the safer live foods. the shy individual to the Adding some aquatic plants.

it may swell up sand and ocean rock are green with algae. Why do my cichlids hide after feeding? NATHAN WHENMAN (14). Bleeding begobies largerwith thanvery bite-size. with Yellow labs. while your knifefish are rainbowfish and swordtails. nitrite and also be that they’re just stufng décor. Yel- A The amount of food the fish are eating could be causing background ammonia. at least double that volume and Within an hour of feeding. Nonetheless. socolofi socolofi and auratus. getting along now. you for food. as they mature. common in heavily stocked mean they have had enough. but the potential problem here is competition along well. bottoms with plenty of driftwood appropriate to your local water Panaque and Ancistrus spp. Some of the small fish. can become PHOTOGRAPHY: NEIL HEPWORTH. which really need been fine until recently. Get your knifefish feeding well and putting on water is dark. fast and usually of trouble. What can I keep with a trio of 15cm/6in Black ghost knifefish in a 180cm/6ft tank? STUART. small fish. EMAIL My 125 l/27 gal mbuna tank has coral sand and ocean rock. Apteronotus albifrons. heart tetras and Silver dollars NEALE MONKS 86 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . but to bear this in mind. large to be eaten are ideal. get It’s unclear whether and leaf litter. flicking. nitrate are zero. Catfish and loaches can work well. as do most Corydoras. test kit isn’t accurate enough once inside them. This is brisk current. lethargy. with gasping. and the fact watch the trewavasae. so when it comes to South American knifefish do live community situations. the fish are much more settled. the larger danionins and So. the more weight before adding catfish flowing across sandy or muddy could choose species that were herbivorous L-numbers such as and loaches. Ammonia. you need in large groups. especially after feeding. have you renewed or fish is eating their food. but known to be social. would be appropriate: their deep-bodied shape and high naturally inhabit rivers where the speed ensuring they stayed out chemistry. a common trait among electric Obvious choices include fish and has been widely medium-sized characins and reported with Elephant noses. it could kept over light substrates and incensed if they think another them. They’re predators. Tropical/Fishkeeping answers Pseudotropheus socolofi needs a tank of at least 250 l/55 gal. tanks. Mbuna are insanely cleaned it lately? when coral JEREMY GAY Q. trewavasae. Any ideas? themselves. low peacocks. but your greedy and they are probably nailing the food as soon as it hits the surface. Apteronotus species are social or primarily on insect larvae and solitary in the wild. along spooking them? This happens aggression. there’s no If you were after an authentic Tank Don’tmates keepfor knifefish Black Torajashould guarantee this will be the case South American look. Check there’s no unresponsive to food. As a under aquarium conditions even general rule. All has to pick it up. much more when these fish are bullying — alpha males become There’s nothing to spook gasping and yawning. barbs. are you sure nothing’s footprint due to their the fish are hiding and are causing loss of appetite. Q. But otherwise. schooling fish too species like Glass knifefish. ammonia is quite that they won’t eat could simply and auratus. Ad KONINGS you’d want species happy with a territorial and aggressive. EMAIL A Black ghost knifefish.

other end. dust into the water (which gets had to remove the carbon for opposed to absorptive media The second is that your grabbed by algae and biofilm. you should also consider bogwood such as Anubias and NEALE MONKS depends on ambient room insulating the room. to get the best out and epiphytes attached to predatory freshwater species. you Vitamin supplements for this. You could even make a lid out of clear plastic. ANDY. Q. How do I keep a Potato puffer? KATRINE MANN.Q. using a 2kw greenhouse heater to keep complex as you want. but this is because of with it. How do I heat a 9000 l Filtration should be robust. but otherwise. for mixed species set-ups. is there much and the more organics in the the carbon. i say. you could consider space heating. If the room is small. behind. magnet for organic material that can lose its grip on some waste. sooty NATHAN HILL  www. your pond will some dehumidifiers. On a ventilation and maybe even concrete floor. order of the day. you want a tank that’s easy to clean. you chemicals like residual point in having carbon in the tank. but of their body is visible! Despite being piscivores in the above ground. So. 50mm polystyrene for that with adequate sheets or Kingspan. safer foods include A I’d recommend an external. it it will deposit working for you. haddock and tilapia. Tetraodon miurus.uk 87 . so JEREMY GAY line the sides and the base with insulation. a simple canister wild. indoor since you’re only keeping one fish in there. these fish are easily satisfied with frozen foods. Which one you would need of it. space heat. two weeks. Because puffers are seafood and fish fillet is the DAVID HARRIS. Then. which in the simplest of terms. element and a digital stat. Usually. two things occur. the tank looks even clearer a sponge. using when maintaining sturdy job. so if not rinsed beforehand i’ve specifically needed to remove something. An indoor pond of that I’d definitely consider volume will cause considerable insulating the pond with either condensation. tropical pot and couple of plastic plants such cod. With temperature and then the pond will do fine. people remove a chunk treatment. hands in the water for ers’ because they mostly sit on too long — a useful tip the bottom. EMAIL change carbon around every of the bacteria i’ve never made a habit of six weeks. inline heater like an Elecro (pictured below. as these are frequently deficient in thiamin. keeping it in my tanks unless A Carbon is an adsorptive (not absorptive) media. as with any predatory fish. since these fish can bite. pond for stingrays. Minimise get the aquarium cycled before adding the fish. Many fishkeepers They aren’t active fish. the faster it’ll become accidentally medicines after a course of filter? I also use Purigen. If it’s a cold room. so that belongs to an informal you don’t have your grouping known as the ‘lurk. when you change removing some unwanted regularly. The catch with carbon is that leaving their cosy biomedia tank and excellent at despite replacing it it has a finite lifespan in aquaria. a smoky. But if you bogwood. chunky trick nicely. I’ve noticed that that gobbles stuff up more like beneficial nitrifying bacteria making the tank look grubby). This nippy side — so watch your hands! will all help keep heat in and your bills down. so any use a sandy substrate for these aquarium upwards of 100 l/22 gal will work fine. Décor can be as limited or use of mussels and prawns. EMAIL sensitive to poor water quality. lose heat through the base. so be prepared thick.practicalfishkeeping. double wall roofing sheets The Potato puffer can be a little on the or even bubble wrap. squid and white fish right) ideally with a titanium the room at a steady. Firstly. floating indian fern. may migrate to the carbon. smothered. This rules them out with a net while you work at the great for stingrays. guesswork rather than hard cal- culation. but otherwise. often so deeply only the top half Q. it’s handy for polishing the than it did with the carbon.co. a flower cockles. The downside is that if you leave it in the tank for too Carbon can also be dusty. is an african freshwater fish Java fern. you would ideally use rigid water will also attain and hold can use water-worn rocks and aquarium fish are well worth pipework for a neat but very that temperature. temperature. stick with the purigen if it’s means it’s something like a long. EMAIL A The potato or Congo puffer. but beyond that. Do I need carbon in my filter? In my 240 l/53 gal tank I’ve accumulates on its surface — as releasing it back into the water. fish because they like to burrow. arowana and Discus? filter loaded with sponges or Youngsters take bloodworms ceramic noodles should do the and krill. waiting to lunge is to have a friend trap the upwards at prey swimming puffer at one end of the tank A large indoor pond is overhead.

as the plants will decompose after If you do less than 7. Ensure much. EMAIL PHOTOGRAPHY: MP & C PIEDNOIR. Java fern. lighting. One characteristic of hardscape. it’s a densa and Hygrophila polysperma. so how much liquid fertiliser you make them available aquarium water. the more have used the same your plants regularly. Soils turn into a mud-like the soil. keep an eye on your livestock have been adding. NEIL HEPWORTH. or use an inert quartz alternative. After seeing some of the lovely planted tanks in PFK magazine. Other possible planting options include species that grow very quickly. I if you like to uproot and consider testing the water. Change your ornaments for large aesthetically balanced. as there is a leaves are incredibly tough and where the main planting is huge amount of bacteria in the substrate. the more soil for three years. a lot less toxic than ammonia. apparently Java fern leaves taste positioned. the lifespan of the soil is that they tend to cloudy tank! CO2 injection and have a pH of is extended. Avoid sand because it can compact over time. Is it possible to have a planted tank with goldfish and can you recommend some aquascaping ideas? I don’t want to use CO2 injection.COM. Can I keep goldfish in a planted aquarium? I have a 200 l/44 gal coldwater tank that has been established for just over two years. the top of the old substrate and replace with some new soil. Also. The largest. then be filter. Spend time eating by the fish does not matter too known to eat some plants and nibble on choosing and positioning them. my advice would be in favour of ammonium. It currently has three medium-sized goldfish and is decorated with pink gravel and fake ornaments. so I fine. the nutrient lifetime depends on various they are able to take in nutrients from but if you have bottom-dwelling fish such as Corydoras. or reposition your plant growth and an established nutrients the plants will demand. the water and they may cloud the result in an ammonia spike. something more natural. However. JACQUES PORTAL A It is possible to have a great looking planted aquascape with goldfish. PLANTS/FISHKEEPING ANSWERS Q. DAVID FINCH. most dominant Keep an eye on your fish and change more very bitter. These are ideal because they too small. which is have a high cation exchange substance. to the plant roots. In acidic water the obtain a lot of their nutrients several months and decide to change ammonia/ammonium balance is from the water instead. How often do I need to change my active soil substrate? JULIAN MARSHALL. AQUAPRESS. EMAIL A there is no specific lifespan of active soils. Be aware that when changing over your are low-light tolerant and should be Tie the Java fern and Anubias to the gravel that you may lose a lot of attached to décor (hardscape). to make it GEORGE FARMER Q. Plant Suitable species include Anubias and common mistake to use pieces that are these in the background. which means issues in terms of plant growth. You don’t mention your lighting. including plant mass. especially if you are using fertilisers. syphon a thin layer from GEORGE FARMER 88 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . this should not be an If you are using plenty of liquid active soil substrates prepared for a very issue. this presents no not to change it all in one go. Instead. Goldfish are pieces of wood and rocks. pieces of wood and planting should water than usual for the first few weeks Swap your coloured gravel for ideally be placed around one third across after the re-scape. I am interested in trying something more natural-looking. Be aware that some soils factors. CO2 levels and so on. in a set-up with healthy growth you have. Suitable examples include Egeria others but there are options. Anubias wood using cotton thread and consider biological filtration capacity. so any assume it is relatively low. Pea gravel is the length of the tank. capacity (CEC). they fill the tank appropriately.

Carefully separate the plants into as many single portions as possible and plant using fine tweezers. This is rarely mixed with other nutrients due to its chemical make-up.uk 89 . containing every necessary nutrient. as they do not have a large nutrient store like their potted counterparts. as long as there are enough of them. if your tapwater has high levels of nitrates but very low fertiliser will be less expensive and simpler to use. GEORGE FARMER � www. in terms of actual plants. It is important to feed the plants with liquid fertiliser right away. a lot more plants will be sold this way. It is less expensive and a lot simpler than buying several bottles. Are separate supplements better than all-in-one fertilisers? HARRISON MESSE.co. all-in-one A Sometimes. First impressions are that there appears to be not much plant matter there! However. for example. It is best to do this under warm water by gently massaging the root mass. advantages of tissue-cultured plants sold in jelly? KAtHERINE MOSS. for years. One exception is liquid carbon fertiliser. so is sold separately. there are typically many more than a standard potted plant — it’s just they’re a lot smaller. Other advantages are that they are free from pesticides. they also have no algae or snail hitch-hikers present.practicalfishkeeping. However. plants really are not fussy about the ratio of nutrients. EMAIL A these are wonderful products and I anticipate that in the future. you might wish to add a specialist fertiliser containing just phosphorous. In this case. I have used a comprehensive liquid fertiliser. EMAIL A comprehensive. GEORGE FARMER Small. levels of phosphate. Anubias won’t be uprooted by Q. but perfectly formed — tissue-cultured plants also have the benefit of being algae and snail-free. it may be necessary to add more of one nutrient than another. What are the the digging activities of goldfish because it’s attached to the décor. It is important to wash of the agar jelly prior to planting into the substrate. Q. making them suitable for aquariums with shrimp.

clams. it can not have established a sexual be interesting. should be removed before Boring animals that may they can do further damage. — not all are ‘man-made’. are great at this. separate aquarium. and even time and allow them to clowns of diferent species complex hierarchy of clowns. Plenty of crabs lurk within live rock. Attempt You may see some activity if to trap the crabs using a the culprits emerge to feed. isn’t an environmental factor If removal of the rock is not such as water quality or possible. are enlarged. will be immature males. It’s best to traits due to the complexities of accurate. but instead. baited glass jar tipped at an From the sound of it. Add these at the same species together. can be a recipe for lethal sexual dimorphism and the (female) and smaller As for breeding. identity as either a breed. Mixing fish together. Many of these organisms can weaken crabs of the family Xanthidae. I’d consider trap technique in situ instead. Some ‘morphs’ are the group dynamics. there are no squabbling. the rock’s structure as burrows for example. so related behavioural (presumably male) clown can guarantees with colour morph ensure your species ID is mechanisms that maintain result in upset. dave WOLFenden Q Why is my live rock dissolving and polyps colony half the size? JaCk WInstOne. The action can get their claws on. however. they worn away by an animal.MARINE /FISHKEEPING ANSWERS Mixing clowns of different species can be a recipe for lethal squabbling. that a crustacean might be to dave WOLFenden 90 PraCtICal FIShKEEPINg . sometimes work. worms entirety (to prevent them and crustaceans. eMaIL A Live rock can harbour a multitude of burrowing and boring organisms within blame. and in angle of about 45 degrees with view of the shrinking polyps a rock propped against the colony (assuming that there rim for the crabs to climb in. Adding two females into the aquarium ing male or breeding female. Observe the spreading to neighbouring rock closely — both with the rocks if they haven’t done so lights on as well as in darkness. Q Can I keep a clownfish morph with a normal clown and is it OK to breed them? TAYLOR GOODBURN. Due to the is an absolute no-no. be hitch-hiking on the rock Try to remove the rock in its include urchins. and it’s possible If it is xanthids (or any other that your rock is being slowly opportunistic crabs). and they will eat pretty much anything they the structure itself. live rock and sneak out to feast every now and then. but it’ll natural aberrant colour forms ‘forced pairings’. avoid obtain small fish that should the genetic involved. EMAIL A You should be able to mix a ‘natural’ clown and a colour morph of the same Make sure the clowns don’t fight. but large. already) and place it in a using a dim light to help you. and this applies if mixing two normally coloured dominant female fish can harass individuals. attempting to keep a large establish their roles naturally. employ the same Xanthid crabs can enlarge their burrows within lighting to blame).

tropical seas. but as a guide. whereas others of rock) system.co. In an emergency. the safest place truly stunning. � www. there are no feeding on polyps. although it reaches a impeccably. and it’s possible 14cm/5. the aquarium or sump — this can be enough to drop the bleaching is fatal for the majority. difcult to keep. of angels can be recommended sexual dichromatism). and many are 30°C/86°F as an absolute provision of an integrated low voltage. In fact. DaVE WolFENDEN Q How do I keep my tank cool in hot weather? saMMy MerrItt. as swallowtails. the lamarck’s (G. algae is available in the diet. the control. they larger size. A chiller with an integrated alternative is using evaporative cooling courtesy of fans. units corals can survive at does vary pump. Not only that. these angels will available and most manageable fare. Loss of their the aquarium. Some Pomacanthus have been successfully housed in reef systems. Chillers do need to be Either have the fan running corals will be under considerable carefully positioned so that any constantly or connect it to a stress and they’re likely to start heat is dissipated from the area temperature controller for bleaching (expelling their PhotograPhy: alamy and not blasted directly back to precise cooling management. DAVE WOLFENDEN thermostat will allow accurate control. it’s difcult to recommend one that’s reef safe. with a handful of exceptions. argi – to 8cm/3in). the same species can decimate regular feeds can help to reduce should be maintained as at Provide enough swimming a reef aquarium. and Secondly. angels tend to peck at sessile invertebrates and algae. the regal angel (Pygoplites diacanthus — up to 20cm/8in) can make a safe addition to the Lamark’s angelfish reef. adding angels to the reef aquarium can be quite a gamble. regular feeding on cherub (C. preferably incorporating hardy. but this does tend to specifically manufactured for depending on a number of provide the greatest potential for aquarium use are the best option factors. but as a long-term option. which draws heat temperature below danger levels. Above this. which is much safer maximum for corals from thermostat also allows accurate than using a mains-voltage fan. or a them — apart from those but one of the better pygmy for the reef — the planktivorous small harem of one male and caveats. a more cost-efective float plastic bags of ice cubes in while some corals can recover. but ensure that adequate not bother sessile invertebrates. While a regular household The upper temperature that dedicated chiller unit fed by a fan can do the job. eMaIL A There are a number of ways to maintain an optimal temperature. it’s not really viable. many species are (G. one genus can be reliably sexed thanks to tank mates. eMaIL A In general. and avoid aggressive hard or fast rules regarding the guarantee. zooxanthellae). although this is often in very large aquaria with sufcient invertebrate growth to lessen their impact. larger angels of the genus Pomacanthus can look stunning in a large aquarium and they have great presence with some specimens reaching 50cm/20in in length. reckon on cooling the aquarium. it’s possible to algal symbionts is bad news. to maintain any of these angels to maintain more than one lamarck). Q Are there any reef-safe angelfish or dwarf angels? derek evans.uk 91 . although these fish are is a hardy species. on a slightly smaller scale. you can’t go wrong. Centropyge are hit-or-miss. and the fleshy polyps of corals and the mantles of clams are just too tempting for some. the in terms of design.practicalfishkeeping. however. but it’s no least a pair (males and females space. they need a mature system. The most Positioning a fan blowing across the aquarium or sump increases evaporation. is another hardy some individuals behave is a FoWlr (fish only with live (which often is not the case for species. also known several females if space permits. Being one of the most readily algae-based feeds and frozen this Western atlantic species is planktivores. expensive method is to use a out. at around 20cm/8in. which may harass suitability of individual species. however.5in). with many individuals refusing to feed outright. Providing very other angels). bellus — to around Pygmy angels of the genus on balance. angels is the aptly named Genicanthus angels. species is the Bellus angel sponge-based diets.

although simply clean your airline with a cloth. Can I add a Pearlscale goldfish to a tank with Orandas and Ryukin? ROBeRT CUmmINGS. The darker brown it goes. as they will pursue her constantly and may stress or tire her out. NEIL HEPWORTH I’ve got brown algae growing might be a bit extreme. pipes. but I It’s living on your airline because probably strange in that I rather on the airline inside my like to keep my tank spotless the bubbles rising up inside your like biofilms. so take it as read that they have something when you buy them. Large Ryukin can be on the over-amorous side and I wouldn’t want to put a lone female Pearlscale into a tank full of male Ryukin. If you are buying mature fish. and your uplift with a very soft bottle brush or the same cloth and it does more good than any visual harm. try to sex your existing fish first. aerobic biofilm is why old sponges brown slime algae disliked filter bacteria. so watch it eating and make sure it’s not losing out to your other fancies. water flow and high oxygen levels! What can I do to get rid of it? A The brown algae you are describing sounds more like a bacterial biofilm and. always end up stained brown. so I’d probably undergravel filter uplift and this is really starting to uplift are bathing it in oxygen and leave it. you won’t even tell if your Pearlscale is starving. running my goldfish set-up. alert. active and swimming at the correct orientation — not head down or head up. emaIL A Pearlscales are a little less able-bodied than your Ryukin and Orandas. This variety may also be sold under the names of bubble Pearlscale or Hamanishiki. Finally. It can be more difcult to see skin parasites on Pearlscales too. so avoid buying any that are sat on the bottom. Crowns are pearlscales that develop a single head growth on the tops of their heads when mature. emaIL conditions for friendly. Some Pearlscales can’t swim very well. JeRemY GaY Hamanishiki pearlscales develop a crown on their heads. Because of that ribcage giving them their spherical golf ball shape. How do I get rid of brown slime algae? PHOTOGRAPHY: SHUTTERSTOCK. I actually a good sign.ColdWATER/Fishkeeping answers Q. I’m JeRemY GaY 92 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . quarantine them and treat them before they join your other fish. and then select the sex of your new Pearlscale accordingly. so make sure they get their fair share of the food at feeding time. To get rid of it. it is wrapped around the end of biological load. You want yours to be bright. something long and thin. ALAMY. the heavier the The undergravel filter is it may look unsightly. There is hardly any annoy me. decide whether you want a normal Pearlscale or one of the crown types. Q. nutrient rich water — perfect The brown colour of a proper light there and I thought aNGeLa WHITe.

www. either leave them out of indoor tanks. What’s causing my Black moor goldfish to change colour? My Black moor used to be belly upwards.practicalfishkeeping. Old fish can even go white changing colour. Can I mix shrimp with goldfish? GEORGE BROWN. They would also goldfish tanks. as we’ve in places! noticed she has started I don’t think it’s the food to turn almost orange on you’re using that is to blame for her belly. and eat ornamental shrimp. the colour change. JEREmy Gay Larger goldfish are likely to see shrimp as live food. Q.uk 93 . so could a bronze/black belly into an this be causing the change orange/black belly.5cm/5in this can develop into orange lump of a fish and my and can spread right over the partner reckons she’s fish. Email A Temperature-wise yes. or provide safe to clear up any uneaten food havens for the tiny shrimp in left over by the goldfish. in colour? Apart from that. Most turn exactly that — black — but bronze on the belly with age but now she’s a 12.co. Most Black moors develop JEREmy Gay a bronze belly with age. apart from do a very good job of getting those containing small into those nooks and crannies juveniles. Q. as those Cherries and bee shrimp are better in unheated however. and almost always from the normal and nothing you should worry about. floating plants. so in order to avoid a very expensive meal of live food. the colour aNNiE DEaNs. dense thickets Any goldfish over about of oxygenators. Email change you are seeing in your Black moor is all perfectly A Lots of Black moor goldfish change colour. although it I feed my fish colour may be turning what would be enhancing food. moss or 5cm/2in size is likely to try plastic plants.

using this guide from Dr Peter Burgess. Other PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY. and some develop abdominal swelling. NEIL HEPWORTH. For ● Bacterial infections example. Iridoviruses Lymphocystis is one of the This family of viruses infect better known examples of a range of freshwater and an iridovirus. always seek ● Adverse water conditions expert advice. some categories of disease. 94 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . a fish that develops ● Fungal infections a swollen abdomen could ● Parasitic infections (parasitic be sufering from a viral or protozoa. A highly pathogenic iridovirus has been associated with mortalities in gouramis — afected fish become dark in colour and lethargic. A well known example is Lymphocystis. which causes cauliflower-like growths on the skin and fins of certain fish (see future A to Z entry: Lymphocystis). DJPALME. Diagnosis of iridovirus For more information on virus high mortalities. as well as iridoviruses of guppies and other livebearers. If Non-infectious diseases: in any doubt. or at risk. and cichlids. angelfish (Pterophyllum). bacteria and disease) will be more prone parasites that can pass from to bacterial infections fish to fish. A TO Z OF FISH HEALTH I Identify fish health problems and learn how to deal with them. or it might and so on). by foraging on the carcasses infections is not easy and requires diagnosis and control see Fish are thought to acquire of iridovirus-infected fish. Infectious diseases and White spot is a common and non-infectious diseases highly infectious disease. ● Nutrition-related diseases In many cases. diseases in fish are: It isn’t always easy to tell whether sick or dying fish are Infectious diseases: sufering from an infectious or ● Viral infections a non-infectious disease. SHUTTERSTOCK. CREATIVE COMMONS iridoviruses of ornamental fish include Goldfish iridovirus-1 and -2. Another harmful iridovirus has been linked to outbreaks of abdominal distension and pop-eye in freshwater iridoviruses by contact with Stressed fish are probably more There is no chemical treatment. specialised laboratory tests. future A to Z entry: Viruses. For tumours are triggered example. which appear relatively harmless. there is a ● Genetic diseases link between these two ● Tumours (however. while non-infectious (infectious disease). fish that are weakened by viruses). This month. bacterial infection. flukes. he takes on the letter I. Infectious diseases are due to by poor water conditions or disease-causing organisms. have a tumour or some other non-infectious condition. conditions are not caused by Some of the common causes disease-causing organisms and of infectious and non-infectious cannot spread. with virus particles in the water. poor diet (non-infectious such as viruses. marine fish. gut-worms.

The weeks of their life. such as interferon. pond fish such as quickly reseal the wound.01 mm) parasites that possess two hair-like flagellae. the thymus (which when the water is colder. including Khawia and Lymphocystis. parasites to which they will have immune system. The major lymphoid organs in fish A fish’s immune system are the spleen.. Immunity and disease Immunity is the means by bacteria by eating them. and parasites). which an animal resists known as lymphocytes. kidneys is complex (although less and liver. Such tissues are unable to resist life-threatening said to have ‘lymphoid function’ infections and would quickly (i. which occurs in ich). through injury. An important species is A disease or condition where Ichthyophthirius is a Ichthyobodo necator. NEXT MONTH: With no entries for J. The efciency of a fish’s immune Skin defence system varies with age.e. these bodily defences Various organs and tissues are form the immune system. the fish would be them for combat. are more vulnerable to infectious layered skin functions primarily diseases for the first few days or Koi and other pond fish are less as a physical barrier. viruses animals possess special organs and small parasites. in resistant to infection in winter. www. they deal with lymphocytes). and cells that help prevent or combat infections. The multi. microns/0. phagocytes. Treat See previous A to Z entry: See future A to Z entry: the entire pond or aquarium with a commercial skin parasite remedy. Ichthyobodo (Costia) Idiopathy Ichthyophthirius Genus of single–celled (protozoan) parasites. generates new skin cells that For example. particularly the cause is unknown. involved in manufacturing the Without an efective immune white blood cells and activating system. Sick and young specimens are especially prone. which is responsible for of skin mucus. goldfish and Koi are more prone to infections during winter. secrete infections (such as those chemicals and special proteins caused by viruses. that are badly stressed tend to are able to kill invading have weakened immunity. and the cause of freshwater white spot disease involves microscopy of a skin or gill scrape for the presence of tiny (ten which is not clearly understood. due Immune cells in blood to the cold water temperatures Fish blood contains immune suppressing their immune cells known as white blood defences. and Lymphoid organs together. thymus.practicalfishkeeping. there are advanced than ours) and scattered areas of lymphoid tissue involves the interplay of several in other parts of the body. Hole-in-the-Head syndrome. so and parasites. One single-celled parasite pond fish. surface of the skin (and gills) Rosy barb fry. Diagnosis some cichlids.uk 95 . is covered in sticky mucus produces protective lymphocytes) that helps entrap (glue-up) does not become functional until bacteria and small parasites five days after hatching. die as a result. as cells to the damaged site in well as tumours. In addition. Others. Fish and other inactivate and kill bacteria. order to combat any invading The fish’s immune system pathogens. which ulceration or parasite damage) explains why very old fish are more then the fish’s immune system prone to fungus outbreaks and will dispatch white blood other opportunistic infections.co. notably organs. If the protective skin layer is only limited resistance. the skin and gut.g.. For this that happen to land on the fish. Fish kinds. One group. in fish. Heavy example is Hole-in-the-Head (commonly known as freshwater infestations cause breathing problems and increased production (HITH) disease. decreases in old age. reason. resulting in hazy or whitish areas of skin. Whitespot disease. can be weakened by low water the damaged skin rapidly temperatures and poor nutrition. Skin is the front-line defence Newly hatched fry lack a fully against water-borne pathogens functional immune system. Immunity breached (e. of which there are many slower at lower temperatures. tissues and cells. Wound healing is also cells. the breeder should take Mucus also contains special care to avoid exposing Newly hatched fry lack anti-bacterial and anti-viral fry to harmful pathogens and a fully functional chemicals. Additionally. which infects the skin and gills of fish. Dr Peter Burgess continues his health series with the letters K and L. bacteria (antibodies) that recognise. For example.

. As summer turns to autumn. Fallen leaves should be removed. or the pond netted to prevent them getting into the water. it’s time to start preparing your pond for the winter.

At the same time. Then. potential predators. prove expensive! www.co. It have been put in place to allow you to do is commonplace for these to freeze — and this. if you run a waterfall. WORDS: KEITH HOLMES 3Change your food Cooling water temperatures should also spark you into looking at the food you are feeding your Koi and other pond fish. If your pond is unheated. ALAMY consider diverting the main flow so. Also. risk of freezing increases so be sure to lag instead of coming down the waterfall. but if this was not the case. Ideally. it may still be worth netting it over to prevent leaves falling in. so be 5Protect sure to either cut back or remove any dead plants as you see them.uk 97 . if temperatures drop much below 8°C/46°F. the water of the pond. the PHOTOGRAPHY: SHUTTERSTOCK. polycarbonate sheeting may 6Don’t let pipes freeze! that they will be mixing the cold air with be employed. such as herons. you will find that as the temperature drops and the days become shorter. a simple if they do. if you want something chilling the water. you may want to As autumn moves into winter. returned to the pond via a pipe. it will have an adverse efect on your water quality. you should change to a wheatgerm-based food. it’s all exposed pipework and equipment. a bypass should with static water in it. as these will only have the efect of using bubble wrap or. your plants will start to die back. This is down to the fact more substantial. you should start to look at using a lower protein food.practicalfishkeeping. This can be done pond. it’s a 4Get the covers out The first frost is a good indicator that it is good idea to look at reducing any time to look at covering the pond. they are prone to cracking. if your aim fountains that may be running in the is to keep some heat in. and a good cover net will ofer some extra protection for your fish. 2Adjust water features and waterfalls As soon as the first frost occurs. such as a purifier. Outdoor fishkeeping 6 essential pond jobs to do this season There are some important tasks to do in and around your pond before the colder weather arrives. will be looking for easy food sources. your pond from leaves and herons! If you do not wish to cover your pond completely. as the water temperature drops to below 18°C/64°F. If this dead plant matter gets into the pond and decomposes. Ideally. This is especially true if using anything when the pond was built. 1 Attend to plants If your garden pond is planted. as winter approaches. pipe going from the top of the waterfall to which is not only a pain but can also the pond will sufce. as the days become shorter and colder. you may even have a period of no feeding at all.

l For our privacy policy please go to media options of an external eat it almost immediately after www. surface film or scum at some measuring 34cm/13in in height. 98 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . The Eheim skim The Eheim MultiBox has Please tick which products you are interested in winning: 350 is suitable for tanks up to many practical uses. Address are individually adjustable. It can be hung on the n Eheim biopower 240 The Eheim air pump 400 aquarium glass or cabinet door Name has two separate outputs. Eheim substratpro. Email address and the rubber suction pads The Eheim feeding STATION l By entering this competition you agree that Bauer Consumer Media (publishers of dampen vibration. Most aquariums sufer with for tanks up to 240 l/53 gal and PO Box 57.practicalfishkeeping. It has a mechanical pre-filter and the question. breeder. Its relatively small size and low energy consumption at 5W is modelled on the tried and for 4000 lph.30 2 x Eheim feeding STATION £8. Peterborough PE7 2FF by September 30. Photocopies will be accepted. The prizewinner will be notified by post. delivers the food under water. The Eheim Pro 3 600 is designed for tanks from 240–600 l/53–133 gal.10 2 x Eheim skim 350 worth £27. It has a very quiet operation and holds 2. l We promise that you can unsubscribe The Eheim biopower 240 resulting in very little being at any time if you don’t find them interesting. It for fish acclimatisation and can be mounted flat or hung medication.co. simply answer is desirable. 2014. October Eheim competition.40 T his month we’re ofering you the chance to win filtration and maintenance products from Eheim. photographs and locations of the winners.25 each 1 x Eheim streamON+ 4000 worth £68. and has sections to hold items each rated at 200 lph. These from tools to plant trimmings.10 each 2 x Eheim MultiBox worth £16. The promoter accepts no responsibility for resultant loss or damage to person’s properties (other than death or personal injury due to allows flow in any direction hold Eheim’s autofeeder. Designed form to Practical Fishkeeping magazine. Its rotatable powerhead detachable platform. The device Terms and conditions. 1 x Eheim Pro 3 600 worth £268. Open to UK residents only. It features a 16W pump rated at 1250 lph. whether n Eheim Pro 3 600 n Eheim streamON+ 4000 n Eheim skim 350 350 l/78 gal and quickly you’re an avid aquascaper or fish n Eheim air pump 400 n Eheim MultiBox n Eheim feeding STATION removes surface film. With its ability to swivel 180° and adjustable magnetic mounting system. making it easy to clean and maintain.5 l/ 0. It Postcode Tel. What is the power consumption of the Eheim streamON+ 4000? point. the streamON+ 4000 powerhead ofers great flexibility. Closing date for entries is September 30. The hanging vertically on the aquarium bracket is adjustable. but only one entry per envelope will convenience of an internal consists of a food chamber and be entered. 2014. Practical Fishkeeping magazine) can keep you up to date by email and free mobile messaging with fantastic ofers and promotions. will be despatched 28 days after the closing date. No prizes can be returned or cash alternative given and no filter. it has an automatic self-priming function and large pre-filter. It can negligence of the promoters or their agents) as a result of these prizes being awarded. glass using the supplied hook. Coates. make it ideal for tested Eheim aquaball design. no. and you’ll only get messages about things # combines the flexible filter wasted. which can correspondence will be entered into by the promoter. This looks unsightly it consumes 8W and has a Answer: (Please tick one) a) n 5W b) n 10W c) n 1W and may also prevent oxygen maximum flow rate of 750 lph. We reserve the right to feature the names.25 each 1 x Eheim air pump 400 worth £37. tick which product you would like to win and post this three-year warranty.10 1 x Eheim biopower 240 worth £61. Recognised as being one of the quietest filters in its class. as the fish soon learn to that we’ve chosen especially for you from ourselves and our network of great partners whose products and services we think you’ll enjoy.Competition Prizes WIN filtration and maintenance kits £500 We’ve teamed up with Eheim to give you the chance of winning worth some great products to keep your tank looking its best.5 gal. exchange. Prizes and its modular construction be used in marine or freshwater. measures 310 x 187 x 101mm. as There is even a compartment are the supplied difusers. COMPETITION ENTRY FORM tanks where extra circulation Supplied media includes To be in with a chance of winning one of these prizes.uk canister filter with the it’s dispensed.

id1320491.pgs >>AdRocket<< .FP_PRACFISH_1986151.

It does not compact like sand. HELP (High quality Easy treatment Low Price) Advanced Soil is a little diferent in that it ofers three varieties. NEW GEAR Spend your money wisely with PFK’s expert reviews Sound soil for planted tanks George Farmer reviews the range of complete soil substrates from HELP. rather than 5 AQUASCAPING MADE EASIER. known simply as Advanced Soil. months using HELP Advanced Soil (Shrimp). unlike some other soils on the market. undertaken. BOB MEHEN well as livestock. These are essentially the same product as the plain Advanced Soil but with additives. performs like many other soils on the market. The other two varieties of HELP Advanced Soil are tailored towards shrimp keepers and plant growers. so it can be used to create relatively deep areas in the aquarium Price: HELP Advanced Soil varieties are available in 3 and 8 litre bags and cost between £10 and £25. biz/english/ 100 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . I’ve noticed the soil granules are firmer than some others on the market and do not adding additional nutrients to ensure the plants do not go hungry. phosphorus and potassium (NPK). unlike other gravels and sand. Rinsing the requirement for additional liquid three varieties and no ammonia spike the product before installation should not be fertilisers in a low-energy system. GEORGE FARMER. 1 NO INSTALLATION RINSE OR OTHER SOFTENERS. to 4mm. The results were impressive. The soil is almost black in colour. Advanced Soil (Plants) is a proven performer: I have Verdict A solid performer that provides some having to use other softening techniques. into a mud-like sludge too quickly. while the Plants variety has added nutrients in the form of nitrogen. aquascapes. It reduces pH and KH and bufers the pH at approximately 6. as I tested it over several comes supplied in 3 A shrimp and planted aquarium set-up after several months in two low-energy planted and 8 litre bags. Advantages to using it 3 DARK COLOUR.help-advancedsoil. injected set-up with moderate to high The firmer grains are also a welcome lighting. so plant and wood matter may float to the surface during initial installation. I would expect sludging to occur after around 12 months. This makes it an attractive contrast for any plants as 6 CREATES A STABLE ENVIRONMENT. This makes it ideal for fish that prefer softer and more acidic water. techniques. I can certainly vouch for this product’s HELP Advanced Soil performance. Availability is currently low in the UK. some other soils. The manufacturer says it’s an entirely natural product. successfully grown healthy plants without unique selling points in the form of such as reverse osmosis (RO) water. In a CO2 after installation.5. and the grain size ranges from 1 and does not receive any liquid fertiliser. but I expect this to change soon. The Shrimp product contains added humic acids that are said to assist in the nurturing of baby shrimp. Typically. decompose into a mud-like sludge so quickly. I would recommended addition to prevent the soil from turning 2 IDEAL FOR PLANT GROWTH. However. The basic variety. however. It does not give an ammonia spike PHOTOGRAPHY: JAPAN PET COMMUNICATIONS. There are many soils now available for the planted tank hobbyist. This makes it ideal for keeping softwater species without 4 PROVEN PERFORMER. making it an efective contrast against This low-energy aquascape has been set up with HELP Advanced Soil (Plants) livestock. without the dosing of additional liquid fertilisers. the four to six months I’ve experienced with that can be useful for various aquascaping More info: Visit www.

width designing new products with shrimp in mind and the JBL some water to bypass the foam. and fry when the filter is mature. tip-top condition. them out to clean them.54. if installed as shown in the instructions (with the intake flow as the pumps capacity remains the same. however. It’s a little larger than some shrimps’. which is fine for small tanks providing a service cover that touch. The filter runs quietly and. OATA MEMBERS. with many manufacturers and retailers material used for this sucker will stay supple.practicalfishkeeping. the density of the 4 EFFICIENT DESIGN. allows Like many internals. crustaceans now available. engaged or an output of 200lph. be aware fry.29. Modul expansion offeRS tank filled with micro fish species sucked in against their will. This has been great news for those wanting to keep their shrimp in 1 SHRIMP-SAFE. However.uk 101 .4cm on curved front. The outflow for the filter is through and come face to face a fine slit on the top. Above: The filter is expandable via extra modules. www. but not always aesthetically clips over the front of the filter pleasing for those wanting before you take it out. However. so I suspect that no fish or shrimp would be expansion kit adds a further 11. and the tight fit of the filter body mean that inquisitive media. New gear SIXHILLS AQUATICS Easy-clean shrimp-safe filter GRIMSBY Bob Mehen puts the JBL CristalProfi means that it can fit snugly into the corner of most tanks. but it’s also top of the filter just above the Verdict seen a large number of small water’s surface). Likewise.co. many have water held within the foam drains thermometer fallen back on that old fry tank back into the tank. such as carbon or phosphate removers. Now the trend has set down filter body via the slot on the top. One drawback of large-scale foam filters is that when you lift FACEBOOk Left: The alive if they’re lucky. the three-sided. kits (which simply clip onto the base) — with the only limits being EXPERTS joining the gold rush to cater the depth of your tank. you can expand the filter by adding Modul expansion PET FISH in the last few years. and it is supplied with a two-metre cable. still 2 EASY TO CLEAN. Each Modul SpeCIAL CristalProfi m greenline internal power filter is an example of this. £12. The large foam panel will also be its roots and appears to be which allows the sucker release an ideal grazing site for shrimp here for the long haul. some leaver to move back and forth.5cm to 1. MARINE FISH. This. Freshwater shrimp have been a boom area only long-term testing will show whether or not the silicone rubber If required. can be DN32 9LQ shrimp are unlikely to slip placed. (top right) favourite. Price: £34. is how the pump and 3 GENEROUS FOUR-YEAR WARRANTY.8cm. further reducing filter at its base and draws water through a large sheet of foam. Where it difers. There is a decent-sized space in the body of the filter behind the Below: A detachable service cover makes the filter easier AVENUE 35ppi (pores per inch) foam foam panel where other bagged to clean. meaning that the suction is HAINTON far more difuse than on a traditional internal. for the vast range of colourful Advantages to owning one the more you add. bow-fronted shape of the filter prevent CO2 loss in planted tanks. the weaker the TROPICAL. The pump is rated at an energy-efcient 3. adding to the 166-168 filter capacity. it can be This is a great little filter for those INVERTS aquariums and related products considered truly shrimp-safe. in something more than shrimp combination with a valve on life support. the clean water to drain back into the CristalProfi m greenline is a tank before you remove the filter simple piece of kit: a plastic box for maintenance. I tested this. COLDWATER. in an attempt that there is the chance that internals yet is unobtrusive and to cash-in.jbl. glass foam are positioned: the pump thermometer that can be clipped is held inside the body of the on the front. shrimp and fry could access the easily hidden. or similar. and the 12. manufacturers are properly Submerged this would also allow Dimensions: Height 19cm. the air-powered sponge JBL has overcome this by is a nice filter. clutter. gentle manner designed to help IN THE TRADE.5W.de/en YOU LIkE US ON degree of risk and most shrimp keepers will have found a filter full of shrimp at some point. It’s attached with an innovative 5 ENERGY EFFICIENT. Plus the filter also comes with a small. wanting something safe that isn’t AND PLANTS not designed for the purpose If you are tempted to place the air powered for their shrimp and but emblazoned with ‘great for filter fully submerged. Filtering a shrimp tank (or a suction associated with the slot was not noticeable. with a pump and some foam for mechanical and biological filtration. with JBL internal power released with the use of a small rating the filter as suitable for filter through its lever on the top of the filter — and tanks from 20 to 80 litres. the base of the filter. depth 6.7cm height. AVAILABLE IF or fry) has always carried a More info: Visit www. distributes the water flow in a Space-wise. unit. paces. the dirty clip-on To reduce this risk. providing m greenline sucker design. which 27+YEARS with the pump impellor.

TR3 6LN... adaptable but best in soft...OOOOO ● Pseudohemiodon Cichlids . but of great aquatic shops — and we found them! Maidenhead Aquatics @ Truro Address: Carnon Downs Garden Centre................. one coral table..... A solid range of Fish we wanted to take home! STAR RATING Best buy ● Melanotaenia splendida Tropical fish ..OOOOO rosenblatti £150 KEY: Member of OATA — the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association Member of the PFK anti-dyed fish campaign Member of the Big Fish Campaign 102 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING ..... it was good to see most budgets. sea and sand..50 or two for £24 Discus .. sump tank to illustrate..................... Quenchwell Check the tanks carefully........OOOOO Liosomadoras oncinus 68-82°F........ hard species to bargain comprehensive.. W hile not the largest of the Maidenhead Aquatics chain..fishkeeper..... can lead to sudden drops in pH................. buescheri £13 or two Pond dry.... ● Price: £100.......OOOOO apithanos £75 Oddballs ...... aquatic plants is available. Website: www......... for there are rarities and oddities in Road... uk/store/truro Opening hours: Mon–Fri 9am–5:30pm.... the shrimp tanks... which The coldwater section all the associated kit...... to prevent crashes. 13 coldwater.............. abundance at this store.. 12 shrimp.... as well as a to Maidenhead Truro exciting...” Kevan Crack Tropicals are a joy...........OOOOO Marine inverts..NS ● Size: 25cm/10in...OOOOO on show inornata ‘Flat Rock Creek’ £12..... Discus are here in Corals range from high-end Dry goods are well laid out and number and quality as well.... and the abundance........................... well-maintained fish................OOOOO Catfish...NS ● Skifa multipunctata £9 Pond fish... Telephone: 01872 870055....................50 or and a catfish classic! Pond plants.... you rush to see what treats the from goldfish towards smaller should ofer something to fit Catfish lovers will not be next tank holds.. 25 marine.. Lovers of species.. Tanks: 130 tropical..............................OOOOO rubrocaudatus £15....... £3.....co. Carnon Downs............ requirements....... in search not Cornwall of sun........... Cornwall.................... Healthy ‘bread and Every tank deserves a careful basement frags. with couple of large goldfish in the then you should probably take array of soft water cichlids all the major groups in number...................... slightly acidic conditions.. WORDS: BOB MEHEN.. up another hobby! elsewhere........OOOOO (Lie-oh-sew-ma-door-us ● Water chemistry: Hardy and ● Neolamprologus Indoor dry ...... one frag and one live rock...... for £25 Freshwater inverts ...NS six for £85 Koi ........ Sat 9am–6pm.....OOOOO ● Aquarium size: 150cm/60in. ● Opistognathus Labelling... PHOTOGRAPHY: KEVIN HARRIS.... Truro packs in a huge range of livestock and dry goods with a TIP FROM THE TRADE mouth-watering selection of “Cornwall is blessed with soft tapwater oddities and rarities.. so display tanks tempt you to grow keep a close eye on your water chemistry your hobby in new directions......... but so are rarities can all be easily overlooked as commendably focuses away choice of aquaria and cabinets and unusual colour morphs............. Cichlids your cutting edge freshwater information about goldfish thing? Banks of rift lake species crustaceans will be drawn to growth potential and long-term Verdict: If you don’t find a trip dominate one end of the store. which.... Truro..........50 or three for £8 Marine fish. STAR RATINGS AND PRICES REFLECT THE TIME OF VISIT disappointed........ Banks of colourful common livebearers are flanked by their rarer cousins.... Shoptour Cornwall We head of to a popular holiday hotspot..NS Jaguar catfish or three for £25 Fancies ...... Sun 10am–4:30pm................OOOOO on-sin-us)............... while ideal for a wide range of Bright....... with an equally impressive Marines are impressive..OOOOO ● Scientific name: ● Temperature: 20-28°C/ ● Xiphophorus pygmaeus Indoor coldwater... as is butter’ tetras and barbs are in second look for rarities.......OOOOO ● Nannostomus The true Jaguar — Indoor plants.........

practicalfishkeeping..... Carclaze for fishkeeping shines through were available to buy from the Coldwater fish were catered for Industrial Estate.... scratch polishing and living a dream many of thing.. including name......020 navarchus £85 Pond dry.............. required water chemistry Opening hours: Mon by busy weekend...............024......NS with its customer focused Catfish.....OOOOO Marine inverts.uk 103 .OOOOO coh-sus)..............OOOOO (Rye-ner-can-thus ver-roo..30pm.......... especially the marine side... 20 tropical and however.. table....NS ● Size: To around 25cm/10in........ but what was still available was Amphiprion percula morphs........OOOOO that extra mile... ● Agamyxis pectinifrons Labelling.... Nemo’s has made a solid start................... stock was low.. we’ve seen... to 1..NS Fish we wanted Pond fish............uk maintenance day.. and Tropical fish ........OOOOO XL £15 STAR RATING: Excellent OOOOO Good OOOOO Average OOOOO Below average OOOOO Poor OOOOO Out of season OS Not stocked NS www..OOOOO style and willingness to go Cichlids ............... Sun 10am-4pm. Tues-Thurs.............. which is clearly the focus of this predictably for a shop named being updated to an excellent Telephone: 01726 77564... we can only Oddballs .. punctatofasciatus £32 Marine fish.. by a few token plump goldfish..NS Bursa or Black-belly triggerfish to take home! Fancies ................ a range of the popular etc............. there were plenty of clownfish! TIP FROM THE TRADE “Don’t be scared of marines.......nemosplace............ they are happy to corals... displayed in clean tanks and many bred in the shop’s own Dry goods were lightly stocked 10am-6pm... St Austell. Nemo’s two coldwater........... Marines dominate and.. pieces....... good health... The small tropical facility or by local breeders.. 10.......... but covered all the bases...................... become a full-time profession....1 to 8.OOOOO Discus ...99..4.. ● Price: £21..OOOOO Rhinecanthus verrucosus 73-79°F... Cornwall........................ Labelling was in the process of PL25 4EW. acrylic as well as drilling for and Annika Warne are aquatic horticulture is not his well-lit..... display tanks.............co.. compact shop. Tanks: 90 marine.... there was a fine own design including scientific www.. Verdict: Taking the plunge Their enthusiasm and passion into the aquarium trade Great character but Best buy when so many shops are not invert friendly! on show disappearing is a brave and STAR RATING admirable decision.......... Our arrival on a after everyone’s favourite photo-based system of Darren’s Website: Monday coincided with Disney fish...... nice selection of hard and soft While there were only a couple one frag tank..co.. ● Water chemistry: ● Pomacanthus Indoor dry ....... the usual you’re getting and to put your something that ‘of the shelf’ Place up just over a year ago as bombproof suspects such as purchase straight into your tank just won’t provide......NS Koi ... one coral section was well-stocked with A large coral table displayed a especially on the marine side..... which was as good as any appointment only....... Rd.30am-5..... Treverbyn when you talk to them.. research thoroughly.......... ● Diodon holocanthus £32 Freshwater inverts . however........ one cured live rock table. don’t be afraid to ask questions and you’ll find it’s not as difcult as you think.........NS Pond plants..NS ● Aquarium size: 150cm/60in...... Indoor plants...... Live rock is sold fully build service in both glass and O wners Darren Wilson Darren readily admits that cured from another large....... having set Nemo’s sales display.................OOOOO wish them well.... ‘bread and butter’ species..............NS ● Scientific name: ● Temperature: 23-26°C/ ● Chaetodon Indoor coldwater........... and after a selection of clownfish.... their hobby expanded to Java fern clinging to bogwood without further curing....... Nemo’s is marine-heavy — and yes........................................ Fri-Sat...... order oddities if you’re looking ofered bargain-priced smaller ofers a bespoke tank design and for something more unusual........... pH 8..... open top ‘table’ tank sumps.. and a smaller frag tank of small tanks for sale..” Annika Warne Nemo’s Place Address: Unit 100.... SG 1. so there was no plant allowing you to see just what repairs — great if you want us foster.................

.... so if you want to simply because it’s so unusual bases in a limited way.....................49 or Pond plants......................... ordered in for you.OOOOO ● Temperature: 20-24°C/ for adults. An old-school shop where the fish are so settled that they’re breeding in the sales tanks..... look no further................ just fecund livebearers and excellent health..OOOOO Gold ring hillstream loach five for £6.. You’ll find plump........... is in Telephone: 01209 716281... out anything you buy from the A cursory look will show you pond. Big fish in small tanks are a problem for the hobby that can easily be avoided. this species..OOOOO Catfish....99 ● Caridina gracilirostris Freshwater inverts ....5. community aquariums.... might take him a while to coax Sewellia lineolata.. four coldwater lush décor.. TIP FROM THE TRADE “Make sure you do your research before buying. £2. as well as quality STAR RATING community tank favourites.. Tehidy....... owner Andy Plummeridge is a one-man sales..5in. but tanks.OOOOO Tempting tiny tank-bred tigers! to take home! Oddballs ......... piled is proven by the fact that many sparsely populated tanks.... at first glance...... that haven’t spent the previous deeper and you’ll spot oddballs.50 Koi ......... so while it as Gold ring hillstream loaches..........OOOOO ● Boraras maculatus £1............ Coldwater is simply a few www....... trilineatus showed just how big There was also a modest sense: good quality. to 7.. ● Hyphessobrycon rosaceus Pond fish. project.......... maintenance Verdict: Small and rough and advice team and his shop is Best buy around the edges it may be... school shop in the best stock tank......99 Labelling..OOOOO Indoor plants...... First on show Totally Tropical ofers delights aplenty for the more attentive fishkeeper...uk the same care we like to lavish but harder to crack species such token fancies and there is a Opening hours: Mon–Sat. Sun 10am–4pm....OOOOO Fish we wanted Cichlids ..99 Pond dry.... five shrimp.........OOOOO Marine inverts.. choked wasteland but Andy was weeks stressed trying to find rarities and noteworthy fish.................... with Koi and goldfish....... plants and décor. ● Batasio afnis £8... £7...... Website: Andy’s stock is displayed with aquatic rabbits like Ancistrus.OOOOO ● Size: 6cm/2.OOOOO la-ta).... Tropical fish ..........OOOOO ● Aquarium size: 60cm/ ● Price: £3 for juveniles ● Mogurnda mogurnda £5.......OOOOO Sewellia lineolata ● Water chemistry: pH 6 £3.OOOOO ● Centropyge bicolor £39 KEY: Member of OATA — the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association Member of the PFK anti-dyed fish campaign Member of the Big Fish Campaign 104 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING ........co....99 or buy three get the Fancies ......... £8.” Andy Plummeridge Totally Tropical Address: Trevenson Moor impression is of a host of The settled nature of his stock Marines are covered in a few Garden Centre... looked like nine marine..OOOOO (So-well-ee-ah lin-ee-oh........... well mature specimens where many these fish should grow and a selection of pond plants............ small outdoor pond section 9am–5pm........... TR14 0EP. colouration in sales tanks...OOOOO 2ft minimum...... on our own pets... moderately hard water for ● Crenicichla sp. bred at the shop.... you’ll be getting fish solid community stock but peer nothing more than an algae- and four pond...OOOOO ● Scientific name: 68-75°F... One Tanks: 58 tropical........... Camborne..99 Indoor dry ...... three-high and packed with fish have bred in the shop — not but what there is. but none the worse for this.............................. cared for livestock held in shops are filled with fish barely tank of Rosy tetras stood out Dry goods covered all the largely individually filtered out of the egg....... mature Corydoras breeding projects: sticklebacks. quick to point out another of his T otally Tropical is an old somewhere to hide in a barren Huge......OOOOO Discus ...................totally-tropical. ideally with fourth free Indoor coldwater.. While bigger shops boast start a fast track breeding to see them displaying full anything not here can be a host of liveried assistants......................99 Marine fish.....

....50 or two for £20 Fancies . with some comprehensive.OOOOO ● XL Ryukin £17...OOOOO ● Schistura cf....uk 105 . million crickets living Marines were abundant. led by Monty Ray. rush.NS £69............... 8............... how does the new site. Pond fish are the nostalgic fishkeepers may miss well-known names in the trade....... Pool memories of the dark.........75... airy. the road..... and the old Tri-Mar see.......co. replaced brightly lit coral tables ofering dedicated reptile room....................OOOOO Catfish... balteata Discus .. and 23 coldwater....... Catfish were well covered..... ● Water chemistry: ● Pervagor melanocephalus Indoor dry ......OOOOO Carpet eel-blenny £10......OOOOO ● Nanochromis Oddballs ....75 Pond dry.. humid......OOOOO dew-sens).............. the Carpet Best buy ● Mastacembelus STAR RATING eel-blenny is actually a dottyback! on show erythrotaenia XL £38..... the team catered for with a particularly well-loved icon of the hobby was shop of the year.....99 STAR RATING: Excellent OOOOO Good OOOOO Average OOOOO Below average OOOOO Poor OOOOO Out of season OS Not stocked NS www...........OOOOO ● Mastacembelus ellipsifer Pond plants. ● Xanthichthys Freshwater inverts . Remember to feed sparingly....... welcoming space.. including some locally bred browsing and the range for all Website: The new Tri-Mar is an entirely rarer Corydoras..............30am–4.4. Cichlids were aspects of the indoor hobby is www............. the new Tri-Mar A move from its home of nearly Tropicals are many and comets.022 to 1.. instead by a light........ pH £24........ an enviable selection....30pm: Sun & Bank airstones and the chirp of a species catching our eye..99 Cichlids .. TIP FROM THE TRADE “Avoid adding too many fish at once and listen to the advice from the shop staf. four coral tables reptile section...........OOOOO Marine inverts.OOOOO (Con-grow-gad-us sub..OOOOO ● Size: 45cm/18in...75 Tropical fish ......30am–5.... but while is surely one of the most knowledgeable...” Monty Ray Tri-Mar Aquatics & Reptiles Address: Unit 16b.OOOOO Congrogadus subducens 77-80°F.... ● Price: £24..50 Marine fish....75 Indoor plants... demantoides £32..... 9.OOOOO ● Scientific name: ● Temperature: 25-27°C/ ● Baryancistrus Indoor coldwater.. back then... just up favourites alongside a range of in aquaria indoors..OOOOO transvestitus £14.OOOOO ● Aquarium size: 150cm/60in. cave-like interiors of shops but there was still plenty to displayed on neat and Pool.......tropicalfish.....30pm............. Dry goods in the old store started the hobby in the last Our visit was post the weekend often required a ladder and a Fish we wanted century will have nostalgic to take home! Despite the name........... Tri-Mar is made up of the same impressive selection of fancy not without risk... so varied with community as a sprinkling of Koi all held 21st century............. Druids Road.. all building has a decent selection Tanks: 85 tropical.50 ● Polypterus delhezi £14...2-8.....................025.. SG 1....... 31 free-range after escaping the in good health and colour........... so stock was a little light map to find but are now Industrial Estate... There is a marine......... auromarginatus pair £120 Labelling.............................. A small room to one side of the holidays 10.. burgeoning shelves for ease of Telephone: 01209 217774.. Redruth.. helpful staf goldfish........ Gone is the everywhere.. While the Coldwater fish are well Verdict: Moving such a F our times winner of PFK location has changed......... certainly fitted that mould........75 Koi .practicalfishkeeping.....org......uk diferent prospect..... TR15 3RH. Aquaria and Opening hours: Mon–Sat thunder of a thousand interesting soft water African cabinets of all sizes are stocked..OOOOO £3....... orfe and tench as well has placed itself firmly in the 50 years took place recently........ usual mainstays such as the old shop. PFK shoptour The new Tri-Mar is light and airy — and still ofers the fabulous variety of fish for which the old shop was so well-known....OOOOO ● Corydoras weitzmani Pond fish. with of pond equipment....... compare? Many who the rarer and more unusual...

ROLL OF HONOUR Scotland 8 Charterhouse Aquatics. Rutland 27 Seapets. Lancs. Runner-up Pier Aquatics Emperor Tropicals Oakham. 30 The Aquatic Design ● Freshwater shrimp ● Marine Product of the year Centre. Runner-up Runner-up Runner-up 40 Woodford Aquatics. Gyractor (Arcadia). ● Aquatic plant ● Tropical Product retailer of the year ● West Midlands retailer of the year 28 Sharnbrook Shrimp. 6 Aquahome Aquatic Centre. Scotland. Kent. Plymouth. 4 Amwell Aquatics. ● Cichlid retailer of the year Aquatic Village South 15 H2O Aquatics. Cheltenham. Salford.practicalfishkeeping. Runner-up Rare Aquatics Runner-up Greater Manchester. The Japanese Koi Company (Evolution Aqua) Runner-up 36 Trimar. Enfield. Durham. Fishkeeper Edinburgh Maidenhead Aquatics. ● Pond and Water Gardening ● Wales retailer of the year ● Pond Product of the year Henlow. Grays. 2 Abacus Aquatics. London. Fishkeeper Glasgow Abacus Aquatics Rolf C. Wigan. West Mids. Lancs. Knottingley.S. Cardif. Belfast. Dublin.uk 106 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING . Essex. Cheshire East. Warks. Scotland. Sharnbrook Shrimp Runners-up ● East retailer of the year 32 The Coral Cave Aquatic Centre. West Woodford Aquatics Seahorse Aquariums Midlands 14 Fishkeeper Glasgow. Runner-up Aquabatic Runner-up 37 Wharf Aquatics. The Aquatic Store and Trimar retailer of the year 19 MG Marines. Greater Manchester. Colchester. 25 Real Reefs. West Midlands. London. H2O Aquatics Runner-up Leinster Fish Keeping Society Ballymount. Runner-up Wharf Aquatics Runner-up 26 Seahorse Aquariums. 5 Aquabatic. retailer of the year The Green Machine Pure Pond Bomb 35 The Trop Shop. London. Bedfordshire. ● Discus retailer of the year retailer of the year ● Online retailer of the year Devotedly Discus Ferrybridge Aquatics Charterhouse Aquatics 22 Pier Aquatics. Durham Discus Runner-up Runners-up 18 Maidenhead Aquatics Shirley. Devon. Runner-up Maidenhead Aquatics... Soham Seachem Reef Fusion (ALF) 34 The Japanese Koi Company. Cornwall. Essex. A & D Aquatic and Garden Centre. Camborne. Gloucs. Woodford Aquatics. and Runner-up One). Pinxton. MG Marines. East Sussex. Wales. Great Runner-up Runner-up Harwood. Bristol. ● Yorks and Humber Darlington. Runner-up Exotic Aquatics Northern Ireland North 11 Exotic Aquatics. ● Oddball retailer of the year Aquahome Aquatic Centre ● London retailer of the year West Midlands. Emperor Tropicals Amwell Aquatics. Paddock Farm ● South-west ● Catfish retailer of the year retailer of the year 17 Maidenhead Aquatics Rutland. Wildwoods Water Gardens South East West Brentwood. Cambs. Maidenhead Aquatics. The Aquatic Store. North Wales. Emperor Tropicals Runners-up Seachem Prime Stratford-upon-Avon. Here’s a reminder of who won your votes in 2013. Soham. London. The Green Machine of the year Fluval FX6 Sharnbrook. Hagen 39 Wildwoods Water Gardens. Runners-up Bubble Magus protein skimmers Hardwick. Wigan. ● South-east ● Scotland retailer of the year retailer of the year ● Manufacturer of the year 38 Wholesale Tropicals. 7 Aquatic Village. Emperor Tropicals Green Go (Kockney Koi) Nottinghamshire. Edinburgh Punchard Discus Seapets 24 Rare Aquatics. and Wrexham.co. Dudley. Co. Stockport. The Coral Cave Aquatic Centre Runner-up West Northern Ireland.Readers’ TOP 40 SHOPS Those with the highest number of top shops votes across all the categories (listed in alphabetical order): 1 A & D Aquatic and Garden Centre. Essex. Midlands Runner-up retailer of the year Wales East 13 Fishkeeper Edinburgh. Rare Aquatics ● North-west Solihull. Bedfordshire. The Coral Cave Aquatic Centre (J&K). Dublin. London. Wildwoods Water Gardens Woodford Aquatics 21 Paddock Farm. Oldbury. Maidenhead Aquatics. Kent. Manchester. and Sweet Knowle retailer of the year Aquatics TMC AquaRay LED lighting 31 The Aquatic Store. 9 Devotedly Discus. Ireland. Runner-up 23 Punchard Discus. ● Small retailer of the year The Trop Shop ● Republic of Ireland East West Yorkshire. North Runner-up London Lanarkshire. Emperor Tropicals retailer of the year North East 10 Emperor Tropicals. ● Marine retailer of the year ● East Midlands ● Club of the year Crewe. ● Retailer of the year ● Northern Ireland Polegate. Ireland. Ramsgate Seachem www. AquaReef aquariums (Aqua 33 The Green Machine. This year’s winners will be revealed in the December issue. 3 Abyss Aquatic Warehouse. Shirley Runner-up 29 Sweet Knowle Aquatics. Co. Leics. Wharf Aquatics Runner-up The Aquatic Design Centre 20 Oasis Aquarium. Runner-up ● North-east retailer of the year 16 Maidenhead Aquatics The Trop Shop Ramsgate. The Abyss Aquatic Warehouse retailer of the year Ilford and District A. No runner-up Yorkshire & Humberside 12 Ferrybridge Aquatics. Cambs.

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they use their highly elastic stomachs and the ability to very quickly ingest a huge quantity of water to convert themselves into an inedible ball several times their own size. Instead of swimming to escape. Parting shot Pufer power Biologists believe that puferfish developed their famous ability to inflate to several times their normal size as a defence mechanism due to their slow and clumsy swimming style. SHUTTERSTOCK SHUTTERSTOCK 114 PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING .

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