Aquarium Guide
FISH, PLANTS AND ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR AQUARIUM

The Complete

© 1995, ATP - Chamalieres - France
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of the copyright owners.
Original title: Le Grand Guide de I'Aquarium
© 2000 for the English edition:
Konemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
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Translation from French: Matthew Clarke and Ian West in association with First Edition Translations Ltd.
Editing: Kay Hyman in association with First Edition Translations Ltd.
Typesetting: The Write Idea in association with First Edition Translations Ltd.
Project Management: Beatrice Hunt for First Edition Translations Ltd., Cambridge, England
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Production: Ursula Schumer
Printed in Italy by STIGE - Turin
ISBN 3-8290-1736-7
1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION WATER: A HAVEN FOR LIFE Fresh water Sea water Different types of aquarium FISH Anatomy and biology Feeding Reproduction Health Nomenclature and distribution of aquarium fish Catalog of freshwater fish Catalog of marine fish INVERTEBRATES Freshwater invertebrates Marine invertebrates
Catalog of invertebrates

8
10
12
24
32
40
42
50
60
66
72
75
126
162
166
167

179

PLANTS Origin and variety of plants Algae problems Caring for plants Catalog of plants TECHNIQUES Assembling a tank Equipment and accessories A balanced aquarium Choosing the bed Decor and background Final preparations CUSTOMIZING YOUR TANK USEFUL INFORMATION INDEX 188 190 193 196 201 216 218 226 253 260 264 272 278 282 283 .

while for others fishkeeping is just a passing fad. hospitals.has features in common with fishkeeping. today. always under the best possible con­ ditions. reproduction. Researchers use some species to test the toxicity of pollu­ tants or suspected pollutants. There are almost as many kinds of hobbyists as there are types of fish: the semiprofessional. The use of aquariums has allowed us to improve our knowledge of. those with scientific knowledge or mere novices. and behavior. A lot of thought and work goes into a top­ class aquarium. There are the fanatics. live creatures. enabling students to observe creatures in conditions resembling their natural habitats. for 8 . it is an established and popular hobby. we want fish and decor which satisfy our sense of beauty. from the comfort FISHKEEPING. The medical profession has likewise realized its benefits. The last ten or so years have seen the aquarium come into its own in institutions and public buildings. of our living rooms. our new purchase has relegated to the background our photos. AND AQUACULTURE Keeping fish contributes to the development of scientific research into aquatic environ­ ments. paral­ leling an explosion in the number of pub­ lic aquariums and books or magazines devoted to the subject. Dealer­ ships and specialized sales areas in large stores are springing up everywhere. Before long. the specialist. it is a matter of maintaining fish in captivity and encouraging them to repro­ duce. a small window onto the wide world outside. Enthusiasts include the young . enjoying permanent access to a part of the natural world that was formerly beyond their reach.the produc­ tion of living creatures with the principal aim of selling them as food . and indeed in psychiatric clinics.but this time inhabited by real. aquariums have been introduced into prisons. We select the best site. Such an immensely varied following guar­ antees that the world of the aquarist is full of interest and color. pictures and even the TV.and the not so young. and is relevant to the study of animal and plant biology. predominantly green world in a kind of underwater ballet are the perfect sedative for nervous patients. a tank of Amazonian fish faces the patient's chair. • A WINDOW ONTO ANOTHER WORLD We have all become familiar with how our television screens offer us. SCIENCE. More and more people of all ages are falling under the spell. In educational estab­ lishments it represents an important teach­ ing aid.INTRODUCTION T here was a time when the keeping and study of exotic fish was the pre­ serve of serious researchers clos­ eted in their laboratories. The fish gliding through their silent. In a dentist's surgery. who spend every minute of their time and energy on their aquariums. those actively working and the retired. ecology. it is by no means unusual to come across tanks in the waiting-rooms of doctors and dentists. An aquarium also pro­ vides a glimpse into a different universe . feeding. More recently. In both cases. the "small" and the "modest" collector. in physiotherapy rooms. Aquaculture or fish farming .

As aquarists. which are caught mainly in their natural habitats. so that all can live in harmony. an aquarium is something much more sophisticated: we are able to recon­ 9 . inviolable law is that conditions in the aquarium must always approach those found in Nature. Public aquariums have an important role to play. spelling disaster. offering unrestricted access to the beauty of this miniature world.example. If not.or during ship­ ment or in the course of acclimatization? In this sense. On the other hand. obeys a finite set of laws. The final. The fact is that though the vast majority of freshwater fish kept in aquariums are the result of captive breeding. the breeding of marine larvae destined eventually for human consump­ tion. The num­ bers taken are out of all proportion to the needs of aquarists owing to unsatisfactory conditions of capture and transport. but covers all the mechanisms regulating relationships between living creatures and their envi­ ronments. as many believe. the same is not true of marine fish. Nature. aquarists are regularly accused of being party to the destruction of certain environments. we can study their behavior and reproductive methods with the aim of rearing young which can be released into their natural habitats. The days of goldfish swimming in endless circles in a glass bowl are long past. the accusation is justified. we need to understand these laws and reproduce them on a smaller scale.often in a highly questionable manner . Everything that takes place within this mini-universe is under our control ­ up to a point. providing an excellent introduction to a branch of science which emerged in the 19th century but has acquired a high pro­ file only in the last twenty or so years. The only solution is to impose stricter controls and improve techniques so that the number of fish caught to supply aquarists remains within a safe limit. It is not concerned simply with Man and his world. where the density of animals and plants is considerably higher. the ecosystem will break down. It can also aid the preservation of species threatened with extinction for var­ ious reasons. Today. A SYSTEM IN EQUIPOISE struct Nature in microcosm. which requires the maintenance of a constant equilibrium. T H E AQUARIUM: AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO ECOLOGY A closed system like this lends itself par­ ticularly to the understanding of ecology. if not disturbed by some cataclysmic imbalance. • Salmonidae in Le Bugue Aquarium. how many have died as they were being caught . For every marine fish which arrives alive in an aquarium.

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The mean temperature most often recom­ mended for aquariums is 25°C.FRESH WATER This type of water is also known as Continental water. • • The use of a heating kit allows the water in an aquarium to be maintained at an almost constant temperature. 98% consists of sterile water. the temperature regulates the growth of animals and plants and exerts an influence not only on oxygen levels but also on many other factors.6% of the Earth's water. to the respi­ ration not only of plants but also of organisms which are invisible to the naked eye and often forgotSimple agitation systems stir the water. OXYGEN AND CARBON DIOXIDE Since air contains around 20% oxygen. in addition. their general bodily functioning) is in danger of serious disturbance over any longer periods. their metabolism (i. The temperatures of fresh tropical waters.e. They can survive only at certain temperatures and some species are more sensitive than others to variations in this parameter. 12 . leaving only the water of rivers. enhancing the diffusion of the oxygen required by fish. in the form of glaciers and underground water. and ponds as shelter for living organisms. Of this volume. the rest being made up of seas and oceans. On the other hand.barely 2% of the total volume of Continental water. TEMPERATURE An important parameter for aquatic life.branchiae ­ which allow them to extract most of this (see Anatomy and Biology. In some places the shade provided by the tropical forest cools the water. It must also be noted that excessively low tempera­ tures sometimes favor the development of certain diseases. Fish are even capable of withstanding even more significant variations for brief periods (under 24 hours). Continental water accounts for only 2. page 42). a more accurate term from the scientific point of view. lakes. and varia­ tions of 1 or 2° are of little consequence. Fish have special organs . even the most oxygenated water rarely contains more than 1% dissolved oxygen. while in calm water the temperature goes up under the direct influence of the sunlight. and sooner or later they may die. are characterized by less significant variations than those found in temperate regions. that of fish and other aquarium crea­ tures varies according to the temper­ ature of the water around them. ranging from 20 to 30°C. Whereas mammals have a regulated and practically stable internal temperature. Oxygen contributes.

plants.5 and 7. and its control is quite a complicated matter. when plants stop producing oxygen. and these chemical reactions similarly require oxygen. The latter transform the organic matter emitted from living beings (excreta and various other residues). and this can. aquatic life can exist only between pH 5 and 9. producing an amber yellow color. or non-functioning of equip­ ment due to forgetfulness. and passing it into the atmosphere. and fish. small number of plants). water contains 8-10 mg/liter. the less oxygen the water can contain (at 25°C there is 18% less oxygen than at 15°C).7 8. Plants also provide oxy­ gen. which they produce through photo­ synthesis.7 9. The rare problems which do occur are the result of negligence as regards the overall balance of the aquar­ ium (overpopulation of fish. carbon dioxide.4 8.3 9.3 8. as they absorb it by day through photosynthesis to extract the carbon they need to grow.1 8.8. and therefore the most oxygenated. although this bal­ ance changes at night. These extreme values are rarely found in an aquarium. The maximum amount of oxygen that water can contain is deter­ mined by its temperature: the higher this is.FRESH WATER ten: the bacteria. to some extent. with the value 7 representing neutrality. Categorizing water as acid does not mean that it contains dangerous acids. where the pH ranges from 6 to 8 accord­ ing to the type of water. In aquariums. the term acid water corresponds to a pH between 6 and 6.6 8.1 27 28 9. while alkaline water Maximum oxygen content of water as a function of temperature • T°C mg/lrter 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 10. and bacteria.9 9. or downward flow. The most turbulent.5. thereby reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the water. Stirring the water enhances its oxygenation. Carbon dioxide derives from the respira­ tion of fish. providing the recom­ mendations for stirring the water are followed. The more water is stirred. prove prejudicial to plants. while the most deficient water sometimes has less than 2 mg/liter. and above it the water is alkaline (or basic). or a power cut.9 8.9 7. currents. Generally speaking. Below this level the water is acid. In forest streams and rivers the water accumulates with acid organic fluid (humic acid) derived from the decomposi­ tion of plants (humus). and usually lies between 6. The oxygen content in an aquarium is usu­ ally at its maximum. Carbon dioxide is also one of the main fac­ tors affecting the pH. a process enhanced by movements in the water pro­ duced by wind. breakdown. It is therefore vital to establish a perma­ nent equilibrium between oxygen. PH VALUES The pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of water.1 7. Carbon dioxide is quite rare in an aquarium. The oxygen in water comes from the dis­ solution of the oxygen in the air. the more it is oxygenated. although this process occurs only by day. Oxygen is measured in mg/liter. plants.8 13 .5 9.

but there are other ways of modifying it. Be careful.the water can be diluted with another more acid water. A colored marker dipped into a sample of water is used to compare the color obtained with the scale provided. more extreme changes can be a warning signal. The pH is a good indica­ tor of an aquarium's equilibrium. Once the carbon dioxide has been absorbed by the plants during the day the pH goes up again. . The amount of peat needed to 14 . slowly but very regularly. Although slight variations are therefore normal. . • If the pH is too high . A HAVEN FOR LIFE pH is measured by using a color test: water from the aquarium containing a few drops of the test is compared to a color scale that provides a reasonably precise determination of the pH value. Adjusting the pH The pH of domestic water may not always be particularly suited to the fish you have chosen. Variations in pH are mainly the result of biological activity: the carbon dioxide pro­ duced by living beings acidifies the water at night and the pH goes down slightly. which will release certain acids. and a pH between 6.2 is considered neutral. T refers to one between 7.2 and 8.the water from the aquarium can be fil­ tered over peat. when an aquarium is in use the pH can rise and fall. Carbon dioxide is eliminated less quickly and remains in the water to acidify it.WATER. Elec­ tronic meters are also now available for testing pH values. because decreasing the stirring also lowers the oxygenation. and it should therefore be measured regularly. There are some aquar­ ium products on the market that enable adjustments to be made to the pH.8 and 7.the stirring of the water can be reduced. Furthermore.

below). rock. i. • If the pH is too low . is considered soft. for example. bicarbonates and sulfates. or oyster shells broken into little pieces. will require more detergent. (While they are alive. Vegetation (microscopic plankton or plants) absorbs it with carbon dioxide (CO2) and uses the mineral salts. containing few calcium and magnesium salts. The water in some areas can be particu­ larly hard. known as salts. with regular measurements of the pH.the agitation of the water can be increased. Water with a low degree of hardness. shark). This vegetation serves as food for herbivorous or omnivorous fish. are carbonates.the water can be filtered over calcareous material. . In this case. When aquatic organisms die. the material is recycled into mineral salts. Water with zero hardness does not contain any of these salts. more calcium and magnesium the rocks contain.) HARDNESS The hardness of water refers to the com­ bination of substances based on calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) that are con­ tained in it. the next link in the chain can be aquatic (dolphin. the harder the water. 15 . The effects of this can be seen in domestic use: a washing machine.e. Water with a high degree of hardness is classified as hard. as on land. Above certain limits of hardness (see the table on page 17). water is unfit for human consumption or any other use. . The main substances. From this point. Their bodies are degraded by the action of bacteria. this is the case with dis­ tilled water.the water can be diluted with another more alkaline. the hardness also increases (see below). is not possible without light. which in their turn provide nutrition for carnivorous fish. enhancing the elimination of the carbon dioxide dissolved in the water and therefore lifting the pH. The hardness of water really depends on the land through which it has passed: the There are kits on the market that offer even the novice aquarist the panoply of tests required to control the majority of the main parameters for water.FRESH WATER maintain a specific pH value must be found through trial and error. FOOD CHAINS In nature Life in water. and so the chain comes full circle. or aerial (bird). which act as nutrients. it is their excreta that are recycled. and generally harder water (see Hardness. mainly due to the presence of limestone (or calcium carbonate). they fall to the bed. terrestrial (man).

hard water. peat can be used in the filtering equipment to reproduce the characteristics of this type of water (low hardness. The relationship between GH and CH We have already seen that significant changes in the pH are prejudicial to aquatic­ life. especially if they occur too abruptly. These can be converted as follows: 1°Fr=0. To 16 . although total hardness (TH) can also be used.soft water. just measure a GH you already know.medium water. The term most often used to clas­ sify hardness is general hardness (GH). Hemigrammus erythrozonus. and has now become obsolete.9 mg Ca/liter. in some cases French degrees are used. There are three main categories of water in fishkeeping: . The use of horticultural peat. T Measuring GH A colored indicator is used: the number of drops needed to obtain a change in color indicates the degree of hardness. pH under 7. In the Amazon region of South America. you may also come across °Clark in older books on fish­ keeping. . Boil it for around 15 minutes before use. which is neutral or slightly alkaline. A HAVEN FOR LIFE PEAT Peat derives from the decomposition of vegetation in an acid environment lacking in oxygen. This means that some diseases are less common in acid water. We will go on to discover that some fish families can adapt only to certain types of water. being based on measurement of the foam created by a soap solution. fibrous peat can be extracted. the color of the water ranges from amber yellow to brown. at 3°GH or 50 ppm. coloring). which is generally acid. To confuse matters further.WATER. Pterophyllum scalare. due to the leaves and branches floating in it. The old-fashioned Clark system for hardness was somewhat laborious. If you have any doubts about the units used by the manufacturer of an analysis kit. not to be confused with Celsius degrees (°C) for temperature: 1°GH is equivalent to 17. It should be noted that the degrees of hardness used in analysis kits may vary according to the country in which it was manufactured.56°GH • How can the degree used by a manufacturer in a product be identified? The hardness of water is expressed in German degrees (°GH or °DH). which gives it slightly antiseptic properties. must be avoided in favor of the peat for aquarium use that is commercially available. which often has been enriched with various products. .9 parts per million (ppm). It endows water with both a yellow amber color and acidity. which is highly alkaline. gives rise to a peat bog from which compact. which lasts several centuries. or 17. This process. at 12°GH or 200 ppm. at 6°GH or 100 ppm. such as that of bottled water (see page 23). In an aquarium.

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WATER. the hardness due to calcium and magnesium carbonates and bicarbonates). Calculations: GH water A . In most cases. . especially for reproduction. available in bottles. you are likely to encounter a problem. i. In other. the less the risk of any major variations in the pH. with which to "manufacture" an intermediate water: . GH target water . can therefore only occur in acid fresh water. .GH target water = 9 . known as buffering. the water can be slightly too soft. If the CH is less than 75% of the GH. regularly mon­ itoring the GH. A final piece of advice: avoid using water from a domestic softener. and it is therefore not advisable to use water with these characteristics in an aquarium. Any modification in the hardness of water is matched by a modification in the pH: increasing the hardness of the water also increases its pH. as the calcium salts are replaced by other salts. A Capeta tetrazona (here the golden variety) prefers soft to medium-hard water. . and so the GH must be brought down for use in a mixed aquarium or a rearing tank. . and vice versa. the CH (carbonate hard­ ness.GH water B = 5 . i. Osmosed water (see page 17) is an attractive option. the water will be a little too hard. . and its price. 60 liters of water A and 120 liters of water B). • Reducing the GH Water with a low hardness value can be mixed with water that is too hard. Modifying the hardness of water Sometimes the water available presents a hardness value inappropriate for its intended use in an aquarium. generally easier to find than soft water.spring and well water. Another example with the same water: filling the same tank with water at 7°GH will require 120 liters of water A and 60 liters of water B. . obviously depend on which of these sources is used.natural flowing fresh water. This phenomenon. . There are several alternative sources of water 18 . . but the equipment represents a substantial investment.5 = 4. or filter the water over oyster shells crushed into tiny pieces. nature has provided a screening device. • Increasing the GH The water in question can be diluted with harder natural water.3 = 2. less common cases. Obtaining water with a precise hardness Let us suppose we have two types of water. There is a relationship between the CH and the general hardness: the closer the CH value comes to the GH value. A HAVEN FOR LIFE (see pages 21-23): .water from melted snow.water A. with a GH of 9°GH. The higher this is. the more bal­ anced the water. or put some calcare­ ous rocks in the aquarium.rain water.e. The volume of water that can be obtained. with a GH of 3°GH. The combination of 4 liters of water B and 2 liters of water A results in 6 liters at 5°GH. Filling a 180 liter tank will require 180 (6 x 30 times this mixture. and vice versa. with a GH of 5°GH. Filling a tank with a capacity of several hundred liters with water of a precise hardness can sometimes be a laborious process.defrosting water from a refrigerator. compensate for this.target water.distilled water.e.some brands of mineral water.water B. one hard and one soft. and so the GH needs to be raised.

In running or turbu­ lent water. taken as a whole. Partial and regular water changes make it possible to eliminate surplus foodstuffs.either living organisms forming plankton (rare in an aquarium) or inert matter. and any nitrates that have not been used by the plants. It is also a good idea to provide the aquarium with a sufficient amount of vegetation. which are also very toxic.FRESH WATER TURBIDITY The turbidity of water refers to the pres­ ence of suspended matter . unstirred water it forms sediment at a speed in pro­ portion to its weight. It is very important to respect the equilibrium of this cycle. which is highly toxic for animals.the light required by the plants pene­ trates the water and reaches them more easily.the visual appearance is improved. transform them in their turn into nitrates (NO3-). particularly mud. reducing both the possibility of any warping due to excessive weight and the decomposition of organic matter. systems of varying degrees of sophistication (see Filtration. . but most of them are fed by the aquarist. . Some fish partly feed on plants. In calm. At this point oxy­ gen and bacteria intervene to convert the ammonia into nitrites (NO2-). particularly in the fishes' branchiae. NITROGENOUS PRODUCTS AND THE NITROGEN CYCLE Nitrogen (N) is one of the components of certain substances. As plants are at the base of the food chain. . A bio­ logical filter enhances the development of the nitrogen cycle.there is little sedimentation on the base of the tank. largely derived from the excretion of fish. In an aquarium. These transformations.there is less risk of disease. land-based elements can also participate (see diagram). are referred to as the nitrogen cycle. such as animal or vegetable remains or particles of sedi­ ment. the situation is different. they also take part in the nitrogen cycle. The size of this suspended matter ranges from a few thousandths of a millimeter to several millimeters. Other bacteria. various types of organic matter. some of the matter remains permanently suspended. of varying struc­ tural complexity. that are dissolved in water. That is why you should not keep too many fish and you should not overfeed them. sometimes there is a surplus of foodstuffs and the nitrogen cycle is altered as a result. while ensuring that the water is well aerated. These substances. giving rise to more pronounced turbidity. page 237) allow fishkeepers keep their water clear. In aquariums. 19 . still accom­ panied by oxygen. are quickly converted into ammonia (NH3 or NH4+). where the water is always in motion. slightly toxic for fish but which can be used by plants as nutrients. and to enhance the development of bacteria. The effects of this are entirely positive: . In nature.

and there are some limits which must not be exceeded (see table above). are used as mineral salts by the plants. and so it is advisable not to intro­ duce the selected fish until 2 or 3 weeks have elapsed. the final products in the nitrogen cycle. • The toxicity of nitrogenous compounds The concentration of nitrogenous com­ pounds in an aquarium is higher than in a balanced natural setting. and the sum of the two must not be more than 0. Nitrates. although it only appears above a pH of 7 and rarely exceeds 10% of the total ammo­ 20 .WATER. extracting the oxygen from them. bacteria colonize essen­ tially the floor and the decor. A HAVEN FOR LIFE Bacteria in the nitrogen cycle Rarely found in open water (around 1% of the total count). They feed on nitrogenous compounds in the water.When an aquarium is brought into use. bacterial colonization of the environment is a slow process.4 mg/liter. Dissolved NH3 ammonia gas is the most dangerous. Ammonia is found in two different forms in water.

which have a tendency to turn yellow if there is an iron deficiency. which favors the growth of plants. • Domestic water As long as water is drinkable. There are. other metals that are also naturally present in water. plays a role in the com­ position of hemoglobin. as it is the purest. although it sometimes contains an excess of gas. little or no organic matter and a high bac­ teriological quality. Their content is generally low and does not pose any prob­ lems. such as micronu­ trients. If the latter are too abundant: . and so the option of mixing it with softer water must be considered. but their concentration hardly ever exceeds a few thousandths of a mg/liter. as it is one of the components of chlorophyll. for example. especially when it comes to obtaining natural water.either there is a general imbalance (too many fish. It can occasionally be slightly fer­ ruginous (containing iron). the more nitrites there are in the tested sample. This term covers a variety of elements including vita­ mins and metals. of course. The more common ionized NH4+ form is slightly less dangerous. but there are other possibilities. often a lack of the oxygen required by bacteria. Domestic water must never be introduced in large quantities into an aquarium which already contains fish. the red blood cells which transport the oxygen taken in by the branchiae. It is also advisable to let it settle for 24 hours to eliminate any excess of gas (caused by the pressure). too much food in the water) which entails a high production of ammonia and. as it will not be housing fish immediately. and some of them. . are even very beneficial. Manganese is equally important. • Natural water Natural water close to home usually shares many of the characteristics of domestic water. such Origin and quality of fresh water used in aquariums The simplest and cheap­ est means of obtaining water is turning on a faucet. which gives a stronger color according to the amount of nitrites present. nia. OTHER DISSOLVED SOLIDS A great many other substances are to be found dissolved in water. and it is therefore important to measure it regularly. like the pH level discussed above. with no suspended material. it is the nitrites that must be analyzed regularly.FRESH WATER LEVEL OF NITRITES (NO 2 -) No nitrogenous substance should pass the threshold limit in a well-balanced aquarium. nitrites. However. There is a colored marker commercially available. become toxic if it goes beyond this limit. as it makes up a large part of the public water supply. there is no reason why it is not suitable for fish. The darker the pink color.or there is a problem connected with the transformation of nitrites into nitrates. and some. as copper. this step is not compulsory. Iron. the green pigment in plants that allows them to absorb light and develop. The level of nitrites. • Well water This is of a similarly good quality. it should be possible to find water with different characteristics not too far away. therefore. • Spring water This is the most desirable water. is a good indicator of the equilibrium of an aquarium. In some regions the water is sometimes too hard (general hardness above 11°GH). 21 . As ammonia and nitrates are more difficult to assess. When filling a tank before putting it into operation. which in tiny quantities are indispensable to life. It also participates in the photo­ synthesis of plants.

or first mixed. mixture with other water. Total or partial filling of an aquarium. This is the case with springs and streams. microbiological risk. It is advisable to collect water with a temperature between 5 and 15°C. Not to be used.4 mg/liter Under 0. with little turbidity. Dilution of hard and alkaline water. Dilution of hard and alkaline water. Zero or very low hardness. it must be mixed with fresh water (except in rare cases. WATER USABLE IN AQUARIUMS Type of water Domestic water Characteristics Variable according to region. Variable. Dilution of hard water. Variable according to land bored.1 mg/liter Under 50 mg/liter Observations Yellow-colored water contains organic matter. for certain fish). mixture with other water. Variable. often containing pollutants.5 and 7. Its use to be avoided in an urban or industrialized area. generally with little turbidity.8°GH Under 0. down-river water . Use in aquariums Untreated. There are several brands of mineral water soft enough for this purpose. Dilution of hard and alkaline water. Total or partial filling of an aquarium. Water from melted snow Spring or stream water Well water Ponds.2°GH. Neutral. Stagnant and still water is not suitable. Only to be collected if it is very clean. Barely mineralized and close to neutrality. but often turbid. Beyond 11. The water must be limpid and crystal-clear. fresh. pH close to neutral. Variable according to region. Defrosting water from refrigerator Distilled/demineralized water Bottled water Natural water Rainwater Fresh and acid (or neutral). often exceeded in farming areas.5. Dilution of hard water. Total or partial filling of an aquarium.OPTIMUM CHARACTERISTICS OF FRESH WATER SUITABLE FOR AQUARIUMS Parameters Color Turbidity Smell Temperature pH Oxygen Hardness Ammonia Nitrites Nitrates Optimum characteristics Colorless None None Under 25°C 6-9 The maximum Under 16. Volvic is one of the softest. This is the drinking water threshold. often a little hard and alkaline in major urban areas. Sometimes water containing organic matter has a characteristic smell of humus. It should preferably be between 6. This value is rarely attained in balanced water. This is the threshold for drinking water.

23 . These are certainly not used to fill up huge tanks. or for filling a small rear­ ing aquarium. bottle by bottle. • Bottled water This is often referred to as mineral water ­ erroneously so. and it is therefore not advisable to use it. and therefore serve a similar function to that of distilled water. whether in a natural setting or in an aquarium. as this will have cleaned the roof. as some brands contain hardly any minerals and are quite soft.FRESH WATER Movement in water. with little or no hard­ ness. Their high price means that they are only used for mixing with hard water. Do not forget that softened water cannot be used. if these are put under a gutter. • Stagnant water (ponds) and still water (down­ river) Such water can pose a microbiological risk. is the best means of enhancing its oxygenization. • Rainwater Rainwater is soft and acid. take care not to collect the first water. and it is not advisable to use it. • Demineralized and distilled water Their pH is neutral or very slightly acid. so is useful for diluting water that is too hard. •4 Some mineral water can be used in aquariums. as this would be too expensive and time-consuming. rainwater is liable to contain pollu­ tants. In urban and industrial areas. It should be collected in plastic containers.

SEA WATER The main difference between fresh water and sea water is that the latter contains a great many salts which give it certain specific characteristics. and it is at its lowest near the poles (due to the influence of melting snow). but there are plenty more. Whatever its salinity. which can be calculated according to the following formula: 24 . but the den­ sity (often expressed as specific gravity. The temper­ ature in an aquarium must. marine fish are generally more sensitive to abrupt changes than freshwater fish. therefore. The salinity of water. sea water boasts one remarkable property: the proportion of each element is constant. Desalinated water does not therefore con­ tain less of one or more salts. the quantity of salts in the water. be fairly stable. especially if they contain invertebrates. and these must be understood by any aquarist who wishes to keep marine fish. The mean salinity of the Earth's oceans is around 350/00. is expressed in 0/00 or in g/liter. Furthermore. it is lower near coasts and after heavy rain. remaining at around 25-26°C. widely used for domestic and culinary purposes.e.). It is at its highest in open seas in the tropics. or approximately 35 g salts/liter. i. The salinity of sea water varies according to longitude. SALINITY The most important salt found in sea water is sodium chloride (NaCl). but the combination of salts is present in a lower concentration. S. it is not the salinity of water which is measured. A Very high quality sea water is required in marine aquariums. or even a year. particularly anemones and corals. DENSITY In marine aquariums.G. TEMPERATURE The temperature of tropical sea water varies little over the course of a day.

whose buoyancy increases as the water gets saltier. it is preferable to use the hydrometer outside the aquarium. When it stops moving. an indispensable tool in marine aquariums. just measure the density of a distilled or very soft water: it must equal 1.022 and 1. and not 1. The density. The density also varies according to tem­ perature (it goes down as the tempera­ ture goes up). the higher its density. in fact. • . expressed as specific gravity. There are no units of measurements. In the aquarium trade. which is relatively constant (25-26°C) in aquariums.SEA WATER MEASURING DENSITY Density is measured with a hydrometer.024. read the value corresponding to the level of the water (1. is all that is required to calculate salinity: it must range between 1. THE C H Unlike the general hardness (GH) which is used to describe fresh The hydrometer. a value which is easy to use. The specific gravity at water level must be read with care.023 in the diagram below. The saltier the water. The table overleaf shows the relationship between salinity and density with respect to temperature.022). as the movement of the water makes it difficult to read. decant the water into a test tube or a transparent container (a PVC bottle. To check whether your hydrometer is working properly.000. most hydrometers also include a thermometer. In this case. for example) and float the hydrometer in it.

This situation is.if it is under 7. What can you do? The first step is to mea­ sure the CH: . This is crucial for maintaining the pH. Why? The water in an aquarium sometimes contains too much carbon dioxide. but a slow and regular decrease in this parame­ ter may be seen. espe­ cially corals. as its dilution with fresh water lowers the salt content.if it is over 7. Pure sea water in the middle of the ocean has a pH of 8. and for growing corals. however. TH E NITROGEN CYCLE PH VALUES As sea water is salty. add calcium or replace some of the water. its pH is therefore higher than that of fresh water.3. will have a tendency to accumulate. In a marine aquarium the vegetation is often less abundant than in fresh water. 26 . which has a tendency to lower the pH. fairly rare in an aquarium without corals. water changes. a restricted habitat operating as a closed cycle. but regular. and there are only slight variations in pH in a natural setting. the end products of the nitrogen cycle. solely occupied by fish.2°CH. this drops to about 8 or a little less. The pH of sea water in an aquarium must vary between 8 and 8.WATER. A HAVEN FOR LIFE water. there is an excess of carbon dioxide. At high doses these pose little danger to fish but are toxic for invertebrates.2°CH. and so the nitrates. . animals will experience certain physiologi­ cal problems. carbonate hardness (CH) is used in sea water. The pH must not fall below 8.5. Stirring of the water must therefore be increased by using diffusers or an electric pump. which have skeletons made of calcium carbonate. This occurs in the same way in sea water and fresh water. Variations in pH in a marine aquarium Sea water contains a great deal of calcium car­ bonate and bicarbonate. where it serves to measure the quantity of calcium and magnesium car­ bonates and bicarbonates present. beyond these values.Near the coasts. It is therefore important to eliminate them by partial. It is a different matter in an aquarium.

In England and Wales. although the length of time can be reduced by various means (see Assem­ bling your Tank. as every aquarium is unique). Fish or other animals must not therefore be put into the water during this period. Simultaneously. In any event. The results of these controls are available to the public. Some substances can accumulate in sea water and in high concentrations give rise to concern. these nitrites into nitrates. Once a marine tank has been put into operation. in turn. some of them in microscopic amounts: for example. see page 20). and coastal areas. as shown in the graph. reaching their peak around the 15th day. Other forms of bacteria also develop. Once the water has been put into the tank. is responsible for the quality of water in rivers. Nevertheless. This is especially true in the case of organic matter. it reaches its max­ imum level after 8 to 10 days. based on the principle of introducing bacteria. It issues licenses to discharge waste into these waters and takes chemical and biological samples to monitor the effect on the environment. such as an aerator (page 250). but it is possible to eliminate them by partially changing the water or using certain devices. and that is why the salts that are used to reconstitute water must be of excellent quality. OTHER DISSOLVED SUBSTANCES Sea water contains more than 60 elements. as long as the aquarium is in use. page 218). the nitrates appear and you only need to wait a few days before inserting the fish. The Environment Agency. this parameter must be measured regu­ larly. the ammonia con­ tent rises until. estuaries. measuring the nitrite levels is an excellent indicator of the progress of the nitrogen cycle. which regularly checks up on the practices of the water companies and investigates any possible infringement of the law. The establishement of this cycle requires at least 3-4 weeks. converting. the nitrates must be eliminated by partial water change. As soon as the water is put in the tank. During this period the ammonia and nitrites reach levels that are sometimes ten times that of toxic doses (identical to those of fresh water. domestic water is monitored by the Drinking Water Inspectorate. when the quantity of nitrites goes down close to zero. on the other hand. the nitrogen cycle is slower to take effect than in a freshwater tank: around 3-4 weeks (although this is a gen­ eralization.SEA WATER FINDING OUT THE CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL WATER The European Union has set compulsory standards for drinking and environmental quality. there is 1 g/m 3 of gold in sea water. 27 . but the strict legislation in the UK goes well beyond these. While the nitrites disappear between the 20th and 25th days. the bacteria wich transform this ammonia are developing and nitrites are formed. for example. measuring the nitrites at regular intervals is still highly recommended. All the solids dissolved in sea water serve a purpose.

good sea water cannot be reconstituted using poor quality fresh water. A marine aquarium must therefore be filtered more efficiently and to a greater extent than a freshwater tank (see Filtration. where the water is desalted. the time in which the suspended material turns into sediment. Where and when to collect natural sea water? The ideal solution would be to go to the open sea. which are susceptible to pollution. In theory. the recipe is a simple one: dissolve the salts in the water. although sea water does present advantages. The best periods for collection are autumn and winter. Tropical environments in particular contain very few dissolved solids and they are the most transparent waters on the planet. because plankton develop in spring and tourism increases the risk of pollution in summer. Furthermore. it also has its inconveniences. TURBIDITY Clarity is more important in sea water than in fresh water. Rocky coasts are preferable regions from where water can be collected. where the water is likely to be less polluted and to have more constant characteristics. and areas of stagnant sea water (pools at low tide) and salt marshes. In practice. The collection of water from a coastal area is to be avoided. Coasts with sand dunes are suitable in principle. A HAVEN FOR LIFE marshes. and it is out of the question to use table salt or that derived from salt 28 . however. Near the coasts. although a heavy swell reoxy­ genates the water. the water must be fil­ tered in all cases. especially when the locality is used for dumping urban or industrial waste. • TH E ORIGIN OF SALT WATER IN MARINE AQUARIUMS The first idea which springs to mind is that of collecting natural sea water. However. or bays. the fol­ lowing must be avoided: urbanized or industrialized areas and ports. Calm weather is preferable. first roughly and then more finely. page 237). not just any water or any salts can be used. While some aquarists filter it before using it to totally or partially fill up their tanks. estuaries. anywhere near river mouths. In this case. the water can be collected 1-3 days later. but this is difficult for somebody who lives a long way from a coast or requires large quantities. the majority use reconstituted sea water. Moreover.WATER. in order to avoid suspended material. but the water is often laden with suspended sediment.

organic matter. or pollutants. • It cannot house animals for several weeks. • It does not contain "good" bacteria. 29 . pathogenic bacteria. as well as "good" bacteria. which is why some aquarists mix both types of water. • According to where it is collected. • It may contain plankton. Generally speaking. with the risk that this may develop in the aquarium ­ hardly desirable. organic matter. and pathogenic bacteria. the time taken for the nitrogen cycle to be established. pollutants. • The salinity varies according to when and where it is collected. • More expensive than natural sea water. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF NATURAL SEA WATER AND RECONSTITUTED SEA WATER Natural sea water Advantages • It is economical and contains all the elements necessary for life. it sometimes lacks certain micronutrients. Disadvantages • It must be collected (traveling and containers). it may contain suspended sediment. Reconstituted sea water • It does not contain suspended sediment. the advantages of one correspond to the disadvantages of the other. • It is manufactured with the desired salinity and can be stored in a concentrated form (3-4 times the desired salinity).SEA WATER Salt collected in salt marshes is not suitable for reconstituting sea water intended for an aquarium.

or metals. It is best to use water with a hardness of less than 8. Their quality is satisfactory. then introduce them into the aquarium. although reconstitution is still possible with higher levels. Take care to avoid water containing nitrates (often found in farming areas). Some salts are intended for marine tanks for fishes. and it is even possible to find concentrated sea water. toxic for some animals where present above certain limits. ARTIFICIAL SALTS Several companies have special aquarium salts on the market. and vitamins. before putting it into operation Fill the aquarium with fresh water and aerate it for 24 hours. to which invertebrates are very sensitive. and. There have no adverse been reports to date about the use of these salts in aquariums: in those areas where accidents do occur. micronutrients. A HAVEN FOR LIFE The reconstitution of artificial sea water The quality of the fresh water used is important: it must be as pure as possible. Making sea water in an aquarium. • Artificial sea water can be reconstituted with the help of special salts available in aquarium stores.WATER. Calculate and weigh the quantity of salts to be dissolved.4. although there are likely to be improvements in the future. 30 . they are obviously relatively expensive. as they are enriched with calcium. they are usually due to miscalculat­ ions on the part of the aquarist. adjusting it as required. others for aquariums with invertebrates. Then just aerate for another 24-48 hours and check the density. providing the CH is equal to at least 75-80% of the general hardness value.

and it is therefore the latter which must be added to make up the level. with constant checks on the density. Artificial sea water. • The density is too low The method is the same.this can be stored for later use ­ and the softest water available is added. Adjusting the density • The density is too high In this case. Both these operations must be performed with care if the aquarium already contains fish. When the water level of a marine aquarium goes down because of evaporation.SEA WATER Making sea water for storage and back-up The addition of sea water would entail an increase in density. salts must be added. These must be dissolved beforehand in a con­ tainer which is then gradually emptied into the aquarium. in order to avoid causing any excessively abrupt changes that could be detrimental to the fish. The quantity of salt can be multi­ plied by three or four to manufacture concentrated water that will therefore occupy less storage space. creates an environment that is perfectly suited to fish. reconstituted with commercially produced salts. 31 . taking care to measure the density. Part of the water is siphoned off . except that plastic food contain­ ers are generally used. it is not the sea water which is evaporating but the fresh water.

to the south.DIFFERENT TYPES OF AQUARIUM An aquarium is not just a motley collection of plants and fish. Some aquarists aim to reconstruct the biotope of a specific geographical region (Central America. However. This demands just as 32 . This is difficult.which are compatible with each other. Whatever the option. soil. livebearers. rocks. an aquarium must be attractive and well­ balanced for its occupants to thrive. approximately). These cover the areas lying roughly between the tropic of Cancer. the underlying principle is the same as in any aquarium: to recreate an environment. • Community tank.temperate aquariums. and this entails some understanding of the various habitats. the Amazon. An aquarium is a collection of elements ­ fish. water . Africa). where the water temperature varies by only a few degrees throughout the whole year. Cichlids.tropical aquariums. with either fresh or sea water. all sharing the same general principles and techniques but differing with respect to the environment created. or marine fish). . plants. often mistakenly called cold water aquariums. as well as their inhabitants. there are several types of aquarium. and ideally the water temperature should vary to the same extent that it does in nature (from 5 to 25°C. Asia. and the tropic of Capricorn. while others concentrate on a single group of fish (for example. to the north of the equator. as room temperature barely falls below 15°C and is often over 18°C. Aquariums are divided into two main groups: . where the water temperature can range from 5 to 25°C. TEMPERATE WATER AQUARIUMS These are not heated. Apart from this difference.

the attainment of varieties not found in nature (sometimes for com­ petition). if the temperature per­ mits. but this type of aquarium is often disparaged by purists. and the latter are sometimes merely secondary elements. we will cover goldfish (Carassius auratus). • Garden pond. On the other hand. Sometimes they can also play host to tropical fish for a brief summer stay. such ponds can recreate a natural biotope. which play the leading role. dictated by several factors: interest in reproduction. in aquarists' jargon . It must be stressed that we are not talking about goldfish bowls! Temperate aquariums house robust species. or group of fish with common characteristics. or quite simply a fascination which is difficult to explain. and when you come back you may be amazed by the weight the fish have put on. with the aquarist becoming a horticulturist in order to maintain it. the hobbyist concentrates on a particular species. If they are well designed. Still within this temperature range. The specialist aquarium In this case. inverte­ brates. but which. give great pleasure to many hob­ byists. fish can take vacations too. As in the pre­ vious section. On the other hand. although the former do also contribute to the equilibrium of the setting. The results can be ravishing. where goldfish and koi carps (colored varieties of the common carp) can be kept and bred. especially if they coincide with yours! It is a practical solution when there is nobody to look after an aquarium during a long absence. among them the fish found in our rivers and ponds. type. with aquatic and terrestrial plants. do not be too sur­ prised if some fish have disappeared. which fall beyond the scope of this book. and amphibians. family. unable to tolerate the change of setting ­ or the predatory instincts of the local cat. The choice of this kind of aquarium can be Dutch aquarium. The results may be charming and ingenious. After all. or by some unexpected new arrivals. in their innumerable variety. TROPICAL AQUARIUMS The community aquarium Here fish and plants not native to the same region are found side by side. all too often neglected in favor of tropical species.their first tank. The plants and fish can come from different geographical areas. The Dutch aquarium In this type of aquarium fish serve as a foil to the plants. creat­ ing an environment that does not exist in nature. although this is not a general rule. 33 . A community aquarium is often a popular choice with beginners creating . men­ tion must be made of garden ponds. the fish and plants do not have to come from the same region.or "mounting".DIFFERENT TYPES OF AQUARIUM much time and care as with tropical aquariums. which is not easy to maintain. sometimes amounting to a veritable aquatic garden.

although it is little (too little?) seen in the rest of the world. • Central American aquariums There are two possible options. The tanks with limpid colorless water. however. with the water fairly soft. and the fish. the soil. are inhabited by small Characins that are somewhat difficult for The elements of a South American tank. neutral or slightly acid. • 34 . The second is the assembly of a tank for Cich­ lids: rocky decor. and plants playing an important role. and oxy­ genated. Regional aquariums Here the trick is to reconstruct as faithfully as possible a natural biotope in which everything harmonizes: the water. a few hardy plants. these can be divided into two main categories. and in Germany too. The first is the recreation of a habitat suitable for live­ bearers from the Poeciliid family: hard water with a temperature of 26°C or more. A HAVEN FOR LIFE As its name suggests. the rocks. Mounting an aquarium of this type requires a certain knowledge of the geographical area con­ cerned. The den­ sity of living beings is higher than that of a natural setting. • South American aquariums Mainly devoted to the Amazon. the plants. well-filtered. this type of aquar­ ium is highly prized in the Netherlands. to ensure the compatibility of the various elements.WATER.

Its acidity and its color (sometimes even black) are the result of acids derived from humus. The water. Barbs and danios are the usual occupants of this type of aquar- <-Lake Tanganyika. one of the rare • Lake Malawi. The water is very soft in both these types of aquarium. particu­ larly the famous angelfish and discus. The typical plants in this envi­ ronment are Anubias. The general characteristics of aquariums for Mbunas from Lake Malawi are roughly similar. Marshes can be reconstructed with pro­ fusely planted aquariums (or aquaterrari­ ums). 35 . as these are often treated roughly by the fish. labeos. with hiding places and swimming areas to the liking of several species of Cichlids. They have few plants.DIFFERENT TYPES OF AQUARIUM Characins found on this continent. Always avoid a mixture of active and placid fishes. which must be well-filtered. or fish from the Anabantoid fam­ ily. but still transparent water. • African aquariums A biotope of a West African river can be reconstructed in an aquarium. The fish will include the Congolese tetra. The water is slightly acid and barely mineralized. Tanganyika-type aquariums are character­ ized by their calcareous and decidedly alkaline water. and soft. recreate an Amazon-style river under the forest roof. It is advisable to use genuinely aquatic plants. These tanks house other species of Characins. and cer­ tain Cichlids. but they have a rocky setting. amateurs to keep. or Cichlids. slightly acid. at a temper­ ature of 25-26°C. is neutral and quite soft. to suit barbs. The aquariums with brown. some species being particularly rec­ ommended for beginners to fish keeping. ium. • Asiatic aquariums Running water Cyprinids can be kept in a tank with clear water which is well-filtered.

veritable inland seas. Lake Victoria. at 26. The lake most familiar to aquarists. such as the killies. This lake is also exploited by the locals as a source of food. with a maximum depth of 80 m. They are mainly inhabited by fish from the Cichlid family. the second largest in the world) and the deepest (a maximum of 1. Lake Tanganyika. and temperatures of up to 27°C. and Lake Malawi. which are accustomed to its extremely hard water. from north to south. 36 . which stretches over nearly 7.000 km2. East Africa is characterized by the presence of large lakes. quite close to each other. the Nile perch. only with unsalted water.000 km2 almost as large as Tanganyika. This is also the case with Lake Malawi. A HAVEN FOR LIFE AFRICA • Aquarium with a collection of several species from Lake Malawi. lay eggs which are able to resist drought. Its water is slightly less calcareous and its temperatures range from 24 to 26°C. well-oxygenated surface waters house few plants. is one of the biggest (31. which can mainly be distinguished by their color.2. Lake Victoria. Some species of Cichlids found there are nowadays known as Mbunas. but not as deep (700 m). the main vegetation being the carpet of algae covering the rocky areas. West Africa is lined with rivers and streams with an acid pH. three quarters of which are only found in this region. Its fish represent a substantial source of nutrition locally.900 km2. The clear.WATER. although they have been in decline since the deliberate introduction of a carnivorous predator. contains very hard water which can reach a temperature of 26-27°C.400 m!). The most important of these are. but the fish which frequent them have devised various strategies to overcome this difficulty: some species. Some fishes take refuge in the empty shells of Gastropods on the sandy shores. The swampy areas disappear in the dry season. but the Cichlids are actively bred and exported all over the world. The species living there sometimes form different population groups. Lake Tanganyika. Only the first couple of hundred meters contain fish. a pH between 7.5 and 9. and temperatures of up to 27°C.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF AQUARIUM SOUTH-EAST ASIA The water in the rivers and streams is acid. MANGROVES The borders between the sea and the land provide muddy. while the artificial sites consist of rice fields. Aquatic zone in Asia. The best-known occupant of mangroves is the periophthalmus. Asiatic tank. an amphibious fish which can develop out of water on account of the form of its pectoral fins. pH values of between 7. but never rocks. Asia. in which certain trees . Tropical seawater aquariums The water must be of a very high quality: clear. therefore well-filtered and oxy­ genated. swampy areas (often estuaries). leading to the presence of fauna specific to these areas. and Australia. sometimes colored. and only a few species of fish can tolerate it (see the box on Brackish water species. in very wet environments. and their water temperature can be higher than 28°C. colonized by sea lentils. • The brackish water aquarium This is characterized by water with less salt than the sea. It can be natural or reconstituted. The swamp and marsh areas are shallow. with temperatures often exceeding 25°C. 37 . Natural sites collect rain and floodwater. the base of the plants is often submerged). The water reaches very high temperatures. and fairly high temperatures. The salinity is therefore variable. Few plants survive in this type of water. allowing the sun to exert a greater influence. of 30°C or more.plunge their roots. and the sea water exerts a very strong influence. The exuberant plant life is either completely aquatic (totally submerged) or paludal (partially underwater. pages 124-125). Mangroves is also the collective name for these tropical regions in Africa.7 and 8.mangroves . 26-27°C. Roots tangled underwater provide shelter for fish. The decor consists of branches and roots.

apart from the price of marine fish . They can also be used for the other purposes mentioned above. as the sand is made up of shells and corals.large aquariums. as the plants and fish are more robust and their price is often more accessible. Large tanks are often given over to large species which require ample living space on account of their size. for tempo­ rary use. often a simple glued glass tank with no soil. Under bright light. Contrary to what is often thought. but the latter can play host to amphibians. it is fairly rapid. the main difference obviously being the salinity of the water. The aquatic element requires skills similar to traditional aquarium maintenance. and even reptiles such as sea turtles. 38 .WATER. Marine plants are not common. which they can share with invertebrates.hospital-aquariums. The tropical freshwater aquaterrarium These days aquarists are not just con­ cerned with water but often incorporate an adjoining piece of land. . Novice aquarists are often advised not to plunge into keeping a marine aquarium without first finding their water wings in a freshwater tank.it should be pointed out that marine aquariums are not much more expensive to run. The soil is very grainy. The former usually houses fish. The same eco­ logical rules govern the two types of set­ ting. including certain shrimps. They are introduced to the aquarium in various ways.breeding aquariums. problems with sea water. They sometimes present installation problems. which is easier to tackle. because it is generally considered that the bigger the aquarium.although their growth is imperceptible to the naked eye. These are large by virtue of their length. except in a very humid setting. due to the weight on the base and the special materials required for their con­ struction. . Let us just say that it is more sensible to start with fresh water. Though aquaterrariums are quite tricky to design. while the cultivation of its terrestrial neighbor is not that different from looking after houseplants. Nevertheless. however. would discourage many beginners. the results can often prove spectacular. The generous dimensions of this aquaterrarium can house water turtles as a complement to several species of fish SPECIAL PURPOSE AQUARIUMS This category includes: . the easier it is to maintain its equilibrium. A HAVEN FOR LIFE or a combination of the two. a marine aquarium often forms a colorful environment in which fish develop among inert or living decorative elements. To be realistic.and there are some cheaper species . as their depth and breadth cannot exceed certain limits for technical and practical reasons. but algae can appear spontaneously and cover the decor of rocks or dead corals . involving the accidental loss of expensive fish. their maintenance does not imply more problems if an equi­ librium is really achieved.

in which the behavior of the animals reflects as closely as possible what actually goes on in their natural habitat. respectively. the Fenit Sea World in County Kerry. which opened in 1873 and 1904. the largest in Europe.cgi). fishkeeping takes on a new dimension.actwin. the reproduction of marine fish). such as the recently opened aquarium in Touraine. Ireland. and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. There are now literally hundreds of public aquariums in both Europe and North America. but readers can obtain information about public aquariums from the Fish Information Service (FINS) (www. • Tropical lagoon tank in La Rochelle aquarium. Freshwater room in the tropical aquarium in Tours. This new generation of "real conditions" aquariums includes among its ranks the Deep-Sea World in Fife. not forgetting illustrious precursors such as the National Aquarium in Washington and the Belle Isle Aquarium. Scotland. These "living museums" serve not only to present aquatic animals but also to study them.PUBLIC AQUARIUMS I n public aquariums. some of which specialize in the fauna of their local region. • . Detroit. Space does not permit an exhaustive list.com/fish/public. usually beyond the reach of most people. France. The general trend is to offer the public extremely large tanks. as much still remains to be discovered about some biological phenomena (for example.

.500 are of interest to the aquarist. and this can be clearly seen in aquariums.000 species of fish. Fish embody a great anatomical and biological diversity and richness. more or less evenly distributed between fresh water and sea water.Fish There are more than 30. and of these some 1.

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to feed them appropriately so that they can grow. This is equally the case with the countless fish in the coral reefs. The fins Fish have several types of fins. 42 . each one playing a precise role. in conjunction with the rear part of the body. to understand them better in order to take better care of them. However.e. Of the unpaired fins (i. particularly the Characins and the catfish. The caudal fin (incorrectly referred to as the tail) supplies propul­ sion. the most noteworthy are the dorsal and the anal fins. that are also all con­ nected with the lifestyle of the fish in question: bottom-dwellers have • Pterois volitans. These serve to stabilize the fish when it is not going very fast or is coming to a halt. and in fact this is the most com­ mon form. so varied and strange are the forms they flaunt. thin bodies that enable them to squeeze through the obstacles. there are certain fish that are unclassifi­ able. consisting of a single fin). although they always corre­ spond to a particular lifestyle. allows you to keep your fish in good health. and to facilitate their reproduction — in short. which thread their way through the blocks of coral. The information below. Finally. These hydro­ dynamic character­ istics permit rapid acceleration and not inconsiderable speeds (sometimes up to 20 km per hour) in a medium (water) that offers a certain degree of resistance. a minimal knowledge of the anatomy and biology of the species you are raising is an essential prerequisite. Their forms and names are often used to classify them into different families. presented in layman's language. known as the adipose fin. and they are tucked in when the fish swims more quickly. a flat stomach. there is a small extra fin between the dorsal and the cau­ dal fins. as it makes it easier to swim in open water. while those that live in water obstructed by plants and branches have compact. EXTERNAL ANATOMY Hippocampus kuda. in the best possible conditions. there are other forms. In some species.ANATOMY AND BIOLOGY Whatever type of aquarium you choose. The body A fish is typically drawn as an elongated spindle.

and they can rep­ resent a danger to the aquarist. from the water sur­ face to the bed. with the exception of the caudal fin. under the control of hormones. SPECTACULAR FINS MAY BE NURTURE NOT NATURE Some aquarium fish have fins that are very different in shape or size from those that are found in nature. and it affords protection against the pene­ tration of parasites or pathogenic ele­ ments. but what advantage do they have over other stunning natural specimens? Xipho (Xiphophorus helleri). dam­ aged. and it explains why fish must not be moved by hand: this risks damag­ ing the mucus and facilitating the devel­ opment of certain diseases.although this is not really used. skin. from side to side. The visual effect is guaranteed. and they can all be tucked in along the body. Coloring Every fish has a basic coloring that can be modified. for reproduction and cam­ ouflage. The paired fins. slowing down. the scales do not stick out of the body but are an integral part of the skin. or torn off. They are used for stabiliz­ ing. or more quickly. The adipose fin is merely a fold of skin. and vice versa. Contrary to a widely held belief. These can change. as in the case of the scorpion fish. When a scale is raised. slowly. Male fighting fish (Betta splendens). Their shiny. Fish with large fins in the form of sails have little more than a remote relationship with their wild cousins. from right to left. When the spokes are longer than the fins they are known as spiny fins. They are the result of patient breeding carried out by aquarists over a period of years. attached symmetrically to each side of the body. but the fish's behavior is some­ times altered. • the direction of the light striking them. metallic appear­ ance. or changing direction: vertically. 43 . derived from the crystals present in the cells of the skin. are called pectoral and pelvic fins. The mucus. the skin itself is equally affected and becomes vulnerable to the action of pathogens. from left to right. The purpose of these selections can sometimes be in doubt: they undeniably result in highly attractive fish. especially its velocity when moving around. stopping. without any spokes. for flight or aggression. bred with overdeveloped fins. and they are vis­ ible through a fine layer of transparent epidermis. Fins consist of a membrane stretched on spokes. varies according to Some species of fish are protected by the bony plates covering their head and body Euxiphipops navarchus. and scales Fishes' bodies are covered with a mucus that plays a double role: it reinforces the hydrodynamics by "smoothing" the skin. which have gone out of fash­ ion and are no longer to be seen in tanks. The latter point is extremely important. A fish's color is a result of the different pig­ ments located in the epidermis. for example.

At mating time. in contrast. also known as angelfishes. This occurs with the meeki.the head houses some important organs: . not only to seduce the female in the courting ritual but also to impress his rivals and scare them off. the male can flaunt vivid colors. controlled by nerves.and they can recognize colors. Omnivorous and her­ bivorous fish have a smaller mouth. some fish adopt a camouflage to merge in with their surroundings. Some fish living in coral reefs reject individuals of their own species or a related species with a coloring similar to their own (Pomacanthids.first of all. The coloring of fish exists not merely to satisfy the eye.detecting low intensities of light. In contrast. Thus. there are the eyes. The coloring of a fish varies according to its age and mood. which have no eyelids and are highly mobile. such as that of the moon . so as not to be con­ sidered intruders. indicating that they are predators.conical. Carniv­ orous fish generally have a large mouth that can open wide and is endowed with an array of pointed teeth. Fish are very sen­ sitive to variations in light . elongated. it plays an equally important social role.around 270°. In their desire to protect themselves. allows a fish to command a broad field of vision .a gift of nature much appreciated by aquarists! This is true of a large number of the Cichlids in the African lakes.the underside of its head turns red at mating time. • 44 . with a size and shape related to its feeding habits. have very sharp teeth. This is why their offspring have a very different coloring from that of adults. with flat teeth ideally suited to grinding food.next comes the mouth. •Fish have a particularly wide it distinguishes masses field of vision and forms rather than details. the male and female sport very different color­ ings. The black bands of the scalare enable it to hide. a Central American Cichlid . or stocky . enabling them to be distinguished .FISH COLORING: PROTECTION. for example) because they consider newcomers as enemies wishing to appropriate their territory and their food supply. In some species. such as this murena. the vertical black stripes on the scalare allow it to hide among submerged branches and plants (see drawing above). which are some­ times curved towards the back to keep hold of their prey. WARNING. The head Whatever its form . or. the clarity of its vision is unexceptional: beyond a certain distance. coupled with their position on the side of the head. The coloring of a fish can also vary when it is suffering from disease or nutrient deficiency. AND SEDUCTION Certain fish. reduce the intensity of their color to pass unnoticed. . This mobil­ ity.

• a mouth in the lower position indicates a bottom-feeder. These appendages have a tactile and sen­ sory role. ensuring that the branchiae are always in contact with the water from which they extract oxygen. • 45 . The operculum This protects the branchiae and guarantees the circulation of water through the regular movements of the valve. Botia. The nostrils Two or four in number. The term "gills". Oxygen requirements are not directly pro­ portional to the size of the fish. • a mouth in the terminal posi­ tion is the sign of a fish that hunts underwater.ANATOMY AND BIOLOGY The position of the mouth can similarly reveal eating habits: • a mouth in the upper position indicates a top-feeder. Breathing Water is aspirated through the fish's mouth. the yellow longnose butterfly) allows it to capture its prey in the crevices of the coral. They play no part in respiration but. • The mouth of this marine fish (Forcipiger flavissimus. they perceive and analyze smells. they enable the fish to detect possible sources of nutrition. with the smallest species being the greatest con­ sumers of oxygen: ten fish weighing 1 g each consume more oxygen per gram of body weight than one fish of 10 g. The barbels Fish that live on the bed or in dark envi­ ronments (colored or turbid water) have barbels around the mouth (Corfdoras. these are located in front of the eyes. which covers them. passes through the branchiae and is expelled due to the movements of the operculum. By complementing or replacing the eyes. There is always some water washing the branchiae of the fish. for example). extended inside the head by an olfactory sac. The glass silurid detects its food partly as a result of its barbels.

While the senses of taste and smell.FISH INTERNAL ANATOMY The sum of the internal organs accounts for roughly 50 to 60% of the body weight in a classically shaped fish. After traveling through the branchiae. would be nearly equal to that of the fish's body. The total surface area of these essential organs. The brain This is fairly simple in fish. 47). where it is oxy­ genated. the lateral line. This important organ does not exist in any other vertebrates. which serves as an exit for the water that has irrigated the branchiae. The importance of the lateral line is apparent in the blind tetra (Anoptichthys jordani). p. Nature has provided fish with eight branchiae (four on each side). The branchiae are fragile organs. a darker color is a symp­ tom of a respiratory problem. demonstrat­ ing the importance of these two senses. The skeleton Obviously. each made up of two leaves. resulting in a reduced intake of oxy­ gen. detects and analyzes the vibrations of the water and sends this information to the brain.. as a fish. sometimes incorrectly used. It consists of a succession of pores that com­ municate with a canal situated under the skin. allow them to recog­ nize a greater number of smells than humans. but it is less sturdy than that of a land ani­ mal. Nevertheless. susceptible to damage from suspended sediment or par­ asites. In this way a fish can be aware of the prox­ imity of an enemy. The blood loaded with carbon dioxide is pumped by the heart to the branchiae. the relative fragility of the skeleton is a hand­ icap and it is not uncommon to find fry that emerge from their egg "twisted".. The lateral line Running symmetrically along each side of the fish's body. when com­ pared to other more evolved animals. at very low concentrations. the 46 . when spread out. The parts corresponding to sight and smell are particularly well developed. The respiratory and circulatory system This system is highly distinctive. is "carried" by the water. highly developed in fish. of a prey. the lateral line is more or less visible. or of the approach of the aquarist (see box. with all its unfortunate consequences. The vivid red color of the branchiae is due to their abundant irri­ gation of blood. with its special cells. which never bumps into an obstacle even though it has no eyes. • The blind tetra (Anoptichthys jordani) does not have any eyes but detects its prey and enemies with its lateral line. partially freed from gravity. according to the species. refers to the opening produced by the movements of the operculum. this supports the fish's body.

ANATOMY AND BIOLOGY
vivid red blood, rich in oxygen, irri­ gates the body, and the oxygen goes on to break down the foodstuffs in the organs. The fish in the Belontiid family, which live in water in which the oxy­ gen is sometimes rarefied, have a special organ for trapping atmo­ spheric oxygen. The digestive system This has no special characteristics, apart from the fact that the stomach can stretch to hold large prey, espe­ cially in carnivorous fish. This is where digestion starts, and it then continues in the intestine. With large prey the process can last several days, but in an aquarium, with artificial food, it will not take more than a few hours. The excretory system This allows undigested matter to be evac­ uated through the anus in the form of excrement, or feces. The urine is formed in the kidneys, situated under the spinal column; it is evacuated through the uri­ nary pore. It is worth mentioning that fish also excrete nitrogenous substances via the branchiae. All excreted substances contain nitrogen and are toxic for animals, but in a well-balanced aquarium they are eventually converted into nitrates and thus cause no harm. The swim bladder Fish have a swim bladder, also known as an air bladder. This is an organ connected
DO FISH RECOGNIZE THEIR OWNER?

to the digestive system, which fills up with gas and helps fish to regulate their flotation when moving between two different types of water. They empty it to dive and fill it up when they need to come nearer the sur­ face. Bottom-dwelling fish generally have a smaller swim bladder, or none at all, as they rarely swim in open water. The reproductive organs Males have two testicles that are linked to the vas deferens. while females have ovaries extended by the oviducts. In both cases the sexual products - the spermato­ zoa and ova - are expelled via the genital orifice. As the fertilization of the eggs is external and takes place in the water, there are no organs for coupling and fertiliza­ tion, except in the case of livebearers.

• In Poeciliids (livebearers), the anal fin in the male (below) is transformed into a coupling organ.

Countless aquarists have noticed that some of their fishes react more enthusiastically to their presence than to that of strangers. If they do "recognize" the person who looks after them, how do they do it? They are capable of distin­ guishing the special characteristics of the vibrations caused by the footsteps of such and such person, which are transmitted to the water of the aquarium. Not only that, their sense of sight, although not perfect, helps them in this task of "recognition."
Which of the two recognizes the other first? •

47

FISH

DO FISH SLEEP?
When an aquarium is abruptly switched on in the morning, it is noticeable that its occupants do not immediately resume their normal activity. Some of them are on the bottom of the tank, some in the plants, and others remain almost immobile in the water. It is difficult to speak of sleep in the generally accepted sense of the word, but it is certain that fish have periods of rest­ fulness, of varying degrees. This can be verified at night, with the aid of a small flashlight: the fish are practically stationary (apart from nocturnal species), but their eyes are not closed as they have no eyelids. DO THEY FEEL PHYSICAL PAIN? The sensation of pain is sent to the brain via the sensory nerves. As fish are endowed with the latter, it can be assumed that they feel pain when they are hit or wounded, and perhaps even when they are sick.

their attempts to eat the food provided by their owner. Behavior Fishes' behavior in an aquarium reflects their lifestyle in a natural habitat, albeit modified by the fact that they are living in a more cramped environment, coming into contact with other species more quickly and easily. Fish from the same species can behave differently from one aquarium to another, according to the capacity and the other occupants. • Territorial behavior When fish are in their original biotope, their territorial behavior is reproduced in captivity, and is sometimes even intensi­ fied. A territory is a living space - either permanent or temporary (as in the repro­ duction period) - with an extension pro­ portional to the size of the fish. Its occupant rebuffs individuals from the same species, from related species, or even from totally different ones. The sur­ face area must be sufficient for the fish to find refuge, foodstuffs, and fish of the opposite sex with which to reproduce. With some fish, particularly marine species, it is important to plan a territory in the aquarium that will provide shelters and hideaways. • Group behavior Strength is to be found in unity, and living in a group permits a better defense against enemies. Indeed, from a distance a group or school of fish takes on the appearance of a mass that is capable of

BIOLOGY
Swimming It is essentially the rear part of the body, particularly the caudal fin, which serves to propel the fish, while the other fins play a stabilizing and steer­ ing role. Of course, the more hydrodynamic a fish's form, the more it is capable of setting off abruptly and swimming quickly, indispensable for catching prey or fleeing an enemy. Aquarists are sometimes advised not to let quick and lively fish (like Barbs) cohabit with slower and more placid species (like loaches), as the latter may be frustrated in
A Fish with a classical shape move forwards by propelling themselves with the rear part of the body.

Some fish live in groups, which makes it easier not only to defend themselves but also to reproduce. •

48

ANATOMY AND BIOLOGY
surprising and intimidating an enemy. Group life also facilitates reproduction, as an individual has a greater chance of find­ ing a fish of the opposite sex. A group's unity and organization are governed by a series of signals which are invisible to human eyes: the use of the lateral line, for example, prevents fish from colliding with each other. • Dominance behavior The biggest members of a species domi­ nate the smallest ones: when the latter get bigger they are ejected from the territory. Dominance behavior has practical and social implications, as the dominator will have priority in food and the choice of a fish of the opposite sex. At the bottom of the social ladder, the most dominated fish is permanently subject to aggression and harassment and has to hide most of the time, with its growth being prejudiced as a result. This is the case with some species of African Cichlids. •Prey-predator relationships Some fish feed on other smaller ones in a natural habitat, giving rise to incompati­ bilities in an aquarium: take care, for example, not to let South American Cich­ lids cohabit with Characins. • Aggression Sometimes an aquarium is a stage for aggression between different species. This aggression is always justified, as it is related to the defense of territory or off­ spring. It is a problem of space - these phenomena are rarely seen in big aquari­ ums. However, a new fish introduced into a tank will often be considered as an intruder, or prey, and will be harassed. Growth and longevity Unlike human beings, fish continue to grow throughout their life, quickly at first, and then more slowly with age. The size of fish in aquariums is mostly smaller than that found in the wild, undoubtedly as a result of the restricted living space at their disposal. This can eas­ ily be put to the test: an individual whose size has seemingly stabilized starts to grow if it is put into a bigger tank. As regards longevity, this varies according to the species: a year, more or less, for the small species, and two to five years for the

majority of fish. Some patriarchs live to the ripe old age of ten or more - these are large fish, particularly marine species. It is very difficult to postulate an optimal life span for a given species in captivity, as environmental conditions introduce too many variable factors.

• In nature, the biggest fish often feed on smaller ones - obviously something to avoid in an aquarium.

HOW TO REDUCE ACTS OF AGGRESSION IN AN AQUARIUM? Only put together those fish which are known to be compati­ ble, particularly in the case of marine fish, and give them as much space as possible. Be sure to provide a number of nooks and crannies, appropriate for the dimensions of the residents. Another solution is to mix species with different lifestyles - for example, free swimmers (like Barbs and Danios) and bottom­ dwellers (like loaches) - that will not compete with each other.

49

FEEDING

Food must provide fish with the elements needed to "build" their body (proteins) and the energy (from proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids) required for its smooth functioning. Feeding a fish properly ensures that it will grow satisfactorily, as well as facilitating its reproduction and helping it to combat disease. Quality and quantity are two important concepts in feeding: an aquarist must learn to avoid over-feeding and to diversify the food supply.

DIETS AND NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS With regard to fishes' feeding habits and dietary requirements, there are three main groups: - carnivores, which feed on worms, crus­ taceans, insects, or other fish; - herbivores, with a diet mainly comprising
FOOD PORTIONS There is a tendency to overfeed aquarium fish and produce some rather flabby specimens. Moreover, there is an increased risk of pollution in a confined space: the more a fish eats, the more it excretes nitrogenous substances, and that is without counting the foodstuffs that quickly decompose in the water in the aquarium. An adult fish only eats 1 or 2% of its own body weight per day, although a juvenile consumes twice that amount. Very light flakes involve little risk of overdosing, in contrast with other foodstuffs which can sometimes slip out of the hand. Whenever possible, it is advisable to divide the daily input into separate portions, twice a day for adults, more often for fry. As fish in their natural habitat are unlikely to eat regularly every day, most aquarium fish will therefore cope well with a short­ term fast. Some aquarists impose a one-day fast per week to compensate for the likelihood that the fish have been overfed on the other days. Fasting is however not suitable for fry as it may slow their growth considerably.

Specialist aquarium stores supply
artificial fish food in a variety of

forms and sizes. •

vegetable matter (plants, algae) which they graze or grind; - omnivores, which have a very varied diet as they eat both animal prey and veg­ etable matter. In practice, diets are not always so easy to define. In a natural setting fish eat what they find, and so sometimes a herbivore will eat a small animal taking shelter in the plants that it normally eats. Carnivorous fish mainly require proteins and lipids, while herbivores have a special need for carbohydrates, and omnivores demand a mixture of proteins, carbohy­ drates, and lipids. Bearing in mind the limitations of these definitions, all three diets can be found among those given to aquarium fish, although there are some exceptions. The aquarist should also take care that vitamins and mineral salts form part of a varied and balanced diet, especially through the addition of fresh or live food. A wide palette of foodstuffs stimu­ lates the growth and repro­ duction of the aquarium's in­ habitants and strengthens their resistance against disease. As such, it is the best precaution that can be taken against disappointing results and lack of success.

50

FEEDING

ARTIFICIAL
FOOD

This is dry food which
is commercially widely
available in specialist
aquarium stores.
• Flakes of vegetable matter. In the last twenty years the entire range has
diversified considerably, and today there
is a wide variety, adapted to the needs of
different groups of fishes: for juvenile and
adult fish, for freshwater and seawater
fish, etc. These foodstuffs are character­
ized by a high level of proteins (generally
40-50%) and come in different forms: in
flakes (the most common), granulated, or
compressed.
The flakes float for a while before
they sink, which makes them easier
to grasp for surface and open­
water fish. There are obviously
also different sizes of food­
stuffs, according to the size of the fish's mouth. This artificial food is fragile and deteriorates if it is not kept in the correct conditions. It must therefore be stored in a dry place protected from the light. Its composition is only guaranteed for a certain period, so it is advisable to buy a small box if you have only one aquarium and a few fish. Some aquarists do not hesi­ tate to give their residents trout food, which they buy at fish farms. This food is very rich in proteins and lipids, thus ensuring the rapid growth of trout bred for eating, but this • Flakes for guppies. is not vital in aquari­ ums. Although such food contains pig­ ments intended to change the flesh color of salmon fish, aquar­ ists who have used it have not reported any modifications in the external color of
Flakes for adult herbivores.

Artificial food must be complemented with live prey or fresh food. Typical
artificial food for
adults.

their fish. In any case, this food can prove very economical for
large-scale breeding or garden ponds. Marine fish sometimes refuse artificial food, either for a short period after their introduction to the aquarium, or on a per­ manent basis. One trick is to progressively incorporate increasing amounts of com­ mercial food along with fresh food or live prey. This gradually accustoms the fish to its smell and taste until they finally accept it on its own.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOOD FOR AQUARIUM FISH The artificial foodstuffs currently on the market are very effec­ tive for aquarium fish. In order to cover their needs as fully as possible, fish can also be served small, live prey, which are simi­ larly available commercially and are an important source of vita­ mins and mineral salts. There are other possible options: white meat and mussels, for example.

51

once they have been separated and rinsed.FISH Artificial food in the form of tablets. rich in both blood shrimps. worms. Domestic food items Finally. food items ­ small animals. or plankton ­ and lipids. Feed them to the fish out into boiling water for a few minutes. White meats has been greatly reduced are preferable: chicken. refrozen after thawing. fish. similarly freeze-dried. so that they can be pre­ or ham. according to the manufacturer's directions and do not exceed the quantities recommended. in order to reduce the risk of microbial contamination. domestic food can be pro­ vided fresh or after freezing and Freeze-dried food thawing. They are more expensive than freeze-dried foodstuffs. 52 . Vegetables are popular with fish. Beef heart. white served more effec­ tively. As for seafood. as it ment does clearly make them expensive. They are obviously stored in the freezer and must not be Cubes of freeze-dried tubifex worms. fish can be used ­ although it must be handled with care. Beef heart. but can break up in the water . worms. It is best to avoid red It is possible to buy freeze-dried meats as they have too much fat. Frozen food Frozen products ­ shrimps. They have a very high nutri­ tional value. They sometimes needed for herbivorous fish: let­ must be stored in a dry tuce or spinach that has been blanched. Freeze-dried mussels. and plankton ­ can also be used. as freezing does not modify their composition. cockles. which can be ishing as flakes and very bought preserved naturally. turkey. i. and shrimps. can only be given in which the water content only to large fish. place. FOODSTUFFS OF NATURAL ORIGIN • Frozen food: crab and phytoplankton. This treat­ A Freeze-dried shrimps.e.as well as mus­ they are at least as nour­ sels.

provide both practical and nourishing fare. in fact they are not the ideal food for fish and it is best not to use them. phosphorus. which plays an important role in the fight against disease.FEEDING LIVE PREY These are ideal food items for carnivo­ rous fish: they retain all their nutritional value and move around to attract the fish. mussels are a top-class dish: they are rich in proteins and carbohydrates.so many aquarists have started with them! Nowadays they are out of fashion. Homemade food An aquarist can easily make his or her own fish food ­ the possibilities are enormous. also cooked. Furthermore. and mince them with a little water to make a homogenous paste. even for goldfish.or fresh food or home­ made mixtures. • Cooked mussels. can be added during this process. Take some cooked white meat (chicken. The follo­ wing recipe is just one of many. turkey. for example) so that the paste does not break up in the water. are now available. as this may become a source of pollution. inexpensive. A vitamin supple­ ment. magnesium.an important supply of vitamins and mineral salts . ham) and some seafood (mussels. LIVE PREY AND HOME PREPARATIONS The artificial food on the market these days is very effective for aquarium fish. they can also be served some of the small. particularly those in the form of flakes. 53 . iron) and even vitamin C. One of the best fresh foods: mussels This mollusk. live prey that are com­ mercially available . This mixture can then be mixed with gelatin (from a sachet of powder. One portion can be distributed immediately. but they can be frozen. Widely available. is equally appreciated by fish. cockles). Once frozen. Cut them into pieces before distributing or free­ zing them. prized by humans. The models designed for small ice cubes are particularly recommended for making a large number of small portions. More complete and suitable products. easy to freeze. they contain many minerals (such as calcium. To diversify and balance their requirements. while the rest can easily be frozen in ice trays. available from aquarium stores. DRIED DAPHNIAS These were once very popular .frozenor otherwise. especially those marine species that refuse artificial food. Mussels must be well cooked before using and their shells and connective filaments removed. they can be slipped out of the ice trays and bagged up in freezer bags for use as required. with few lipids. They are a problem to keep as they only last a few days.

These are often sold in fishing stores along the coast. these are not worms but the aquatic larvae of various species of non­ biting mosquitoes. and there have been no reports of any serious inci­ dents. • introduced into an aquarium. you can also collect them yourself and keep them in an well oxy­ genated seawater aquar­ ium. 54 . but they can be found in a freeze-dried form.FISH Bloodworms In fact. they are actually found in the water of areas that are well endowed with organic matter. page 53). They keep for a few days in the refrigerator. as they are rich in protein. able can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator. wrapped in moist newspaper. essential that this water is changed every day. Some people think that they represent a Tubifex in a risk when they are natural setting. It is useless trying to col­ lect them yourself. but it is Rich in proteins. Although it is sometimes thought that they live in mud. however. Shrimps Flowing and well­ oxygenated fresh water are home to small river shrimps of up 2 cm that swim along the banks. You will find that your fish will definitely enjoy them. The small marine shrimps found on some coasts are also highly prized. They are also com­ monly used as bait in fishing. in domestic water. This risk is very slight. but they are sold in the aquarium trade. The speci­ Tubifex worms can mens which are be distributed to commercially avail­ fish by means of a special accessory. Tubifex worms These are worms that are gathered from the mud in environments rich in organic matter. espe­ cially by marine fish. These are rarely sold live. If you are lucky enough to live in such an area. They are a good source of nutrition. Both types of shrimps can be frozen after being cooked and rinsed under the faucet. or they can also be ground and turned into a homemade dish (see box. bloodworms are a prey much appreciated by carnivorous fish. as they may carry undesir­ able bacteria.

though it sometimes proves time-consuming. Some planktonic food is available on the market in frozen form. they hatch rapidly and Artemia salina (Brine shrimp) nauplii (below): these are indispensable for feeding the fry of most species of fish. with their development interrupted. They live in the heavily saline waters of salt marshes. especially the fry. Collecting them in a natural setting is tiresome. With this in mind. Brine shrimps This is the "magic" food that every aquar­ ist should breed. for example). are recommended fare for big fish. and involves a risk of introducing potential microscopic hosts into the aquarium and spreading disease. Small fish Either fry or small fish can be used to feed marine fish doubtful about artificial food. 55 . or large freshwater fish. for use later on. some aquarists breed prolific species that reproduce easily (Poeciliids. feeding on the micro-algae that they gather with their filtering legs. live or cooked.1-1 cm) but valuable for feeding fish. Their characteristic most relevant to the aquarist is that their eggs can be stored dry. This primitive crustacean grows to 1 cm when adult and is called Artemia salina. Other live prey (larger than 1 cm) Keeping and breeding worms or insect larvae is also possible.FEEDING Coastal shrimps. Once the eggs are returned to salty water. The range of live prey listed above is adequate for the needs of your fish. Planktonic food Freshwater or marine plankton contain a host of organisms barely visible to the naked eye (0.

which measures only 0. Feeding the fry When they are born. If brine • Some clubs breed rotifers. It is advisable to divide the daily ration into two parts . If this is not the case. for example. Rotifers These are more complicated to breed than brine shrimps. among the constituents of natural marine plankton. artificial or nat­ ural food may be dispersed too quickly and washed to a corner of the aquarium where the fish will not be able to recover it. They are still too big for the fry of some fish. The end of the day .newly hatched nauplii are most suitable for the first two days. They will then often accept the fine powders which are available commercially.is usually the most practical for the aquarist. however.one in the morning and one in the evening. 56 . After that. and to get advice on the essential steps required to look after them for a few days . In any event.FISH ficiently developed to move on to a diet of brine shrimp nauplii. It is therefore best to obtain them from a laboratory specializing in oceanography or marine biology. form the basis of the diet of certain fish. food distribu­ tion offers a special opportunity to observe the behavior of your residents and check their state of health. the fry of egg-laying fish feed on the reserves in their vitellin vesicle. give them brine shrimp nauplii for a few days .2 mm. which have a crustacean-like shell and never grow to more than 0. In such cases. Feeding brine shrimps to fish is easy. animals halfway between worms and crustaceans.1 or 2 hours before turning the aquarium light­ ing off . Daily production over a period of several days must therefore be planned for. The stirring of the water must there­ fore cease when food is being distributed and eaten. Allowing the fish to come and feed out of your hand is particularly enjoyable.the time within which the fry for which they are intended will be big enough and suf­ Copepods. as they must be fed plank­ tonic micro-algae which also need to be cultivated. thereby creating a potential for pollu­ tion. it is possible to use rotifers. but take care. especially clownfish. produce a larva called a nauplius. even for an amateur (see box). as their mouth does not open until a few days later. especially marine species. vital food for the fry of marine fish.3 mm and is particularly suitable for feeding to fry. they can be offered nauplii that are 48 hours old. because some large specimens have impressive teeth! If the water is too agitated. fish eat at a regular time and become accustomed to the spot where the food is given out. FOOD DISTRIBUTION When they are healthy and well adjusted to captivity.

or even a very fine pantyhose. a tiny amount (the tip of a knife. whether with artificial food or live prey. You can then go on to feed them to the fry. but the hat­ Hatching brine ching rate will be lower (50-60% against 80-90%). The hatching occurs after 24-36 hours at 25°C. This makes it possible to keep brine shrimps until they are adults. They will only survive for a few minutes out­ side salted water. or after • Equipment available in up to 48 hours at 20°C. If you want to keep A Collecting them for several days to obtain larger or more mature larvae. special food is commercially avaibrine shrimp nauplii through lable.000 eggs weigh around 1 g. for example) and strain them through a small filter (available commercially). 57 . you can group the nauplii together using a flashlight. and the brine shrimp nauplii will be swimming just under the surface. If we estimate that 250. Aerate the water slightly to produce small bubbles. i. as they are attracted by light. such as the adult brine shrimps pictured here. i. They must be kept away from light and moisture. or. a specific gravity of 1. red for their rehydration. siphoning. which enjoy hunting them down. otherwise some of the eggs will crash against the sides of the contai­ ner and will not hatch. Finally. the unhatched eggs will fall to the bottom. Brine shrimps can also be bought frozen. The salt water can be natural or reconstituted with special aquarium salts. ADULT BRINE SHRIMPS Adult brine shrimps are sold live in small sealed sachets containing salt water and air. When feeding. The eggs gently stirred are placed in the still water for a quarter of an hour. it is important to avoid any overdosing. switch off the aeration: the aquarium stores for hatching brine shrimps. or even with rough kitchen salt (easier for aquarists who do not keep marine fish). for example .bottles. a specific gravity of 1. empty shells will float to the surface. alter­ natively. They survive for a few minutes in unsalted water.FEEDING BREEDING BRINE SHRIMPS The dry eggs (known as cysts) are available in aquarium supply stores. through the thin mesh of a piece of old curtain.014). In order to make them hatch. They are pas­ sed through a sieve before being given to the fish. It is then easy to siphon them off (with an aeration pipe. Any small glass or PVC container shrimp eggs in can be used .023. To make this operation easier.although specialist equipment is available.e. and they will not eat on the first day after hatching. for example) will produce sufficient brine shrimps. salinity 35%.e. but be careful not to stir the water too vigorously. the time requiwater. The water can be colder and less salty (up to 20°C and 20%. salt water must be prepared with the following characteristics: temperature 25°C. which will disperse the eggs.

treated.shrimps are unavailable. gives them a chance to grow. and other symptoms which may eventually be seen on its body. . Small species and more lethargic fish are often domi­ nated by their bigger and faster cohabi­ tants at feeding time. and this will be reflected in its behavior. available in grain stores) to soak in a receptacle containing aquar­ ium water. or appears to be incapable of doing so. and they also thrive on brine shrimp nauplii. a surface plant.Give fish a varied diet. used. live prey. 58 . • Paddy rice can be used to produce infusorians. easy to produce in fresh water.siphon off any food surplus as quickly as possible. . Stop fee­ ding once the ration is complete. as it feels GOLDEN RULES FOR FEEDING • In captivity. a lettuce leaf. They are usually present in small numbers in an aquarium. or some paddy rice (unhusked rice.give them a little. In this sit­ uation it must be isolated in another aquarium. another option is the production of infusorians. as the leftovers are pollutants. as they find food (organic­ matter) on its leaves. It is "sown" on the bed or placed in a tubifex worm "feeder".do not wait until the fish are sated and stop eating. Two portions a day is ideal. color. as they easily fit into the small mouths of the fry. They must therefore always be fed separately. . It is therefore a question of finding the cause and elimi­ nating it. They can also be produced by leaving a piece of potato. the fry can be fed with brine shrimp nauplii and then with fine commercial powders. For fry. As for marine fish. What if a fish does not eat? Sometimes a fish refuses to eat. the feeding can be more frequent. Each section corresponds to a daily dose. unicellular ani­ mals. . lost in its new environment. should be Automatic food distributor for artificial food. Infusorians These are microscopic. once the other fish have been distracted by other food. This is normal. Riccia. A newcomer to a tank rarely eats on the first day. and given rich food. but often. A fish can also refuse to eat if it is sick. discussed above. rotifers. Live-bearing fish (the Poeciliid family) accept artifi­ cial food from birth. preferably with mobile.

. but less so in marine aquar­ iums. can be used as a complement or as a replacement for other food. Egg yolk. although this is rare in fresh water. taking care not to put too much into the tank.FEEDING comprised of live prey or fresh produce. • Preparing defrosted food before feeding it to large fish. A MIRACLE FOOD FOR FRY A hard-boiled egg yolk is added to water in a glass. which seem to enjoy them. • Some aquarists use oysters to nourish their fish. This nutritious liquid is then given to the fry. There is no point in being stubborn: change to a varied diet based on live prey and homemade fare. rich in proteins and lipids. Sometimes fish can systematically refuse to eat artificial food. as it is always important to mini­ mize pollution. This forms micropar­ ticles which are then sieved.

Provide them with the best possible environment: • a rearing tank. THE KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL REPRODUCTION GENERAL PRINCIPLES Most fish kept by aquarists are oviparous (egg-layers). This is the maturing phase. or moonlight (research is presently in progress on the influence of .Anticipate how you are going to feed the fry. There is only one high season. sunlight. rain. especially rain. In a tropical setting. 60 . . but there are some excep­ tions . .Have well-fed and healthy parents. • high-quality water. such as. When the female's ovary swells. with characteristics as close as possible to their native setting.viviparous fish (or livebearers). This only needs a stimulus to trigger it off. other factors influence on reproduction. it is determined by the temperature. during which a species usually reproduces only once. A varied and rich diet enables fish to accu­ mulate reserves of proteins and lipids. the reproduction of fish generally depends on the season: in other words. she is ready to lay eggs. Fish can lay eggs several times a year. Pair of Hemichromis bimaculatus (jewel cichlid) surrounded by their young.REPRODUCTION In the world's temperate regions. which help them form eggs and spermato­ zoa. in the natural setting. at intervals of sometimes less than a month. where variations in temperature are less important.

The female then expels her eggs into the water. and modifies its behavior to become more and more like an adult. When this is completely formed. particularly as regards the future fate of the eggs: they can be abandoned. and the proportion of certain organs.e. It turns into fry. egg-laying is sometimes sparked off by the early morning sunlight. A larva emerges. in rare cases. depending on the species. Some fish lay their eggs on a horizontal support. The incubation of the eggs. This allows it to survive until it is able to catch prey itself. or even sometimes eaten. It derives from the vitellin of the egg . 4 -juvenile 61 . size. i.the equivalent of the yolk in poultry ­ accumulated by the female over the course of the maturing process. bul­ lies her and violently sees off any rivals. The larva has highly developed eyes. allowing it to spot its prey. differing from an adult in its form. In an aquar­ ium. It also has a vitellin vesicle. This is obviously only a general descrip­ tion that leaves room for the huge diversity found in aquarium fish. The vitellin sack of these 15-day-old larvae has been practically all used up. which distribute these reserves around the body of the larva. constitutes the fish larva's food reserves in the first days of its life. or vitellin vesicle. by their parents. which provides it with food reserves during the first days following its emergence from the egg (except in live­ bearers of the Poeciliid family). for instance. It is sent along the blood vessels. then ventilate and protect them from the rapaciousness of other species. • T H E VITELLIN SACK The vitellin sac. sees the development of the embryo. a few days after emerging from the egg. The larva gradually evolves. which beats down on the tank with varying degrees of intensity. over the course of a few days or weeks. it moves about until it breaks the egg's mem­ brane: this is the hatching. during which the male seduces the female or. The laying of eggs can be preceded by a courting ritual. which lasts several days.REPRODUCTION the moon on reproduction). and a similar variety of parental behavior is found in the treatment of the developing fry. or they can be guarded and defended in the first days of their life. and these are immediately fertilized by the male. or by a partial change of water.

• REPRODUCTION STRATEGIES Reproduction ensures the survival of a species. This often happens with novice aquarists. A support should be provided for the egg-laying. Avoid any systems which may "swallow" the eggs and the fry. More detailed information on this subject. at the best of times. and they will be discussed in greater detail in the "Catalogs of Fishes" (pages 75 and 126). these are often transparent. and nature has planned several strategies for it. This female Cichlid. Aeration is not obligatory. and the survival and proliferation of a species is normally guaranteed. if there are only a few their parents protect them most of the time. rocks) or artificial (PVC). In an catching the aquarist aquarium. the aim is to reduce the communal tank. can be found below. or in a specialized or "regional" aquarium. 62 . to distinguish between males and females. of success. Some of them will serve as prey for the other inhabitants of the tank. There is no need for a bed. since they have to compete with adults. and this can be either natural (plants. A rearing tank must be heated but only moderately filtered. Reproduction techniques for aquariums These vary according to the different fam­ ilies of fishes.THE REARING TANK This is normally modest in size. In the case of small eggs produced in large quantities. This is why it is advisable to use a tank specially intended for reproduction. In such cases the future of the fry­ is a matter of chance. it is possi­ ble to advance some general precepts on the subject here. for example). as it is used to isolate a pair of reproducing fish and their future offspring. Choosing the reproducing fish Although it is sometimes difficult. in an attempt to hide them from their predators. number of losses as far as possible. except for some species (the Cichlasomas. It is therefore time to transfer the fish in question into the rearing tank prepared for this purpose. which incubates her eggs in her mouth. the intervention of the fishkeeper considerably increases the chances unawares. and the survivors are sure to have problems in getting enough to eat. family by family. Sometimes As for large eggs.signs of the approach of the mating season. reproduction takes place in a In both cases. unaccustomed to spotting the approach of egg-laying in a female. Fill the tank with water taken from the parents' aquarium. which can then be gradually mod­ ified to obtain the precise characteristics required by the reproducing fish (pH and hardness). Choosing the reproduction site Reproduction can occur spontaneously in a mixed tank. However. finds greater peace in a rearing tank. it is easy enough to spot a female's swollen stomach and the attentions bestowed on her by one or sev­ eral males .

and above all that of the vitellin. as the quality of the eggs. SEMI-NATURAL REPRODUCTION Semi-natural reproduction can be carried out with those fish which normally live in groups and do not form stable pairs.divide the aquarium into two horizontal sections by means of a grille which only lets through the eggs.the eggs will slide between them and can easily be recov- ered by siphoning them off. so hiding places must be provided for the young . The semi-natural reproduction method can be used for neons (Paracheirodon innesi). rocks. and to achieve this they have to remain undisturbed. particu­ larly live prey.the adult fish are removed and the aquarist looks after the fry. EGG-LAYING One encouragement for egg-laying is light.REPRODUCTION CARING FOR THE PARENTS • The selection and feeding of the parents are important factors in successful breeding. you can change around 10% of the water volume. Successful reproduction depends on the good health of the reproducing fish. Their feeding is especially important. Here. if you think that your fish are taking a long time to lay. a pair of Colisa lalia. whether it is the morning sun or the aquarium's artificial lighting. Fresh food. it must never constitute the basic diet. . with an emphasis on variety. and therefore isolated. Leaving them with the eggs and fry allows a type of natural selection to come into play. such as the Characins. in a rearing tank. There are then two possible scenarios: . and this may provide them with the stimulus they need.plants on the water surface. When the eggs fall to the bed. depends on it. The advantage of this method is its rel­ ative ease: one or several pairs are allowed to form and they can reproduce whenever they want. Fish with free or non-adherent eggs There are several tricks for shielding the eggs from the voracity of their parents: the grille system (A) and glass marbles (B). the male is on the right.the adults and the fry are left together. etc. Most fish that pro- duce free eggs do not take care of them.cover the bed of the aquarium with glass marbles . Although artificial food can be used as a substitute. provided they are kept within a moist environment. and the parent fish must therefore be removed from the tank to ensure that they do not devour them. whereby only the strongest and most agile will be able to escape the predatory instincts of their parents. There are some species within the Cyprinodontid family whose eggs can sur­ vive outside water. they must be protected from the voracity of other fish . There are a couple of ruses that are useful in this situation: . 63 . . Also. The fry are not moved until they measure 5-10 mm. The remaining adults can reproduce again as soon as the maturing phase has passed. when they are transferred to another tank to grow into adults.and this can be done in a normal aquarium. must be provided. A group of ten can be inserted into a rearing tank adjusted to their requirements and left to reproduce.

The removed after the eggs female lays the eggs on the bed and are laid. in a natural or artificial cavity (center). immediately gathers them up in her Some species not only look after their eggs. There are continues to take care some occasions when the parents swap of them until they can roles. used in par­ possible to use a web ticular by the African Cichlids in Lake made of Perlon wool.lay their eggs in ble. if this is the only suitable place. Some. brightly The parents must be colored patches on the anal fin. This provides a very The males.FISH Fish which lay non­ adhesive eggs deposit them on a support (above). American Cichlids. the fry can return to the shelter of the female's lum and Cabomba). both in the wild available for use in fil­ and in the aquarium. The the scalares. such as species of "throat" is clearly visi­ the Apistogramma genus . mouth in order to help In all cases where the eggs are laid on a them to hatch. • The female lays her eggs on a support which has been cleaned beforehand. while the female ger. mouth (here Geophagus steindachneri). lay their eggs on a plant with female then tries to grab the patches at the hard leaves. ensures a noteworthy survival which is commercially rate for the eggs and fry. rigid support. PVC tube or plate. Nearby. support can also be provided. or in a depression hollowed out of the sediment (below). do so on a vertical or which the female inhales. The male will then defend the site against slightest sign of dan­ any possible enemies. However. ters. but dart back inside at the to fertilize. such as certain same time as the male ejects his sperm. this is generally cleaned by The fry gradually one of the parents before the female emerge from their deposits the eggs that the male will go on mother's mouth. Alternatively. and others when one of the two look after themselves. mouth. it is This reproduction technique.Africans from Lake Tan­ The swelling formed by the eggs in her ganyika or Americans. such as fin and rolls around on the spot. generally more intensely col­ good artificial support. • Fish with adhesive eggs Fish such as the Characins that do not look after their offspring lay them on fine-leaved plants (like Myriophyl­ A In the case of Cichlids that use oral incubation. sometimes even on eggs around in her the ceiling. The fertilization horizontal rock face. distinguish­ This technique means that these fish can able by their opaque white color. even separates out dead eggs. Malawi. Other Cichlids . ored than the females. for example. An artificial laying therefore takes place inside her mouth. They will be immediately fertilized by the male. The fry are then supervised by their par­ reproduce in a mixed tank. 64 . it is ents until they are independent. the male flaunts his anal but also sometimes their fry. by using a The embryos develop for 1-3 weeks and during that time the female does not eat. She moves the a cavity or small cave. have small. and the mother ventilates the eggs with her fins. which you should make available in the aquar­ Mouth brooding ium. while others.

with great care. although this is very unusual if she is solated in a rearing aquarium. sometimes with great violence . possible to remove the female delicately and. This operation is repeated several times. The different phases of reproduction in Belontiids: construction of the bubble nest by the male (the female is in a separate compartment).REPRODUCTION • The fry can return to the shelter of the female's mouth. This refuge also affords the fry a certain degree of pro­ tection. widespread in fish farming. such as the Poeciliids. any success is an exception. The bubble nest Fish from the Belontiid family construct a nest of bubbles under the surface of the water. make her "spit out" her fry in order to raise them in another tank separately. and then they disperse. compensating for the low oxygena­ lion in their living environment. so these are sometimes considered to be more highly evolved than other families of fish. and they immediately start to search actively for their own food. before putting them into the nest with his mouth. the laying of eggs. After hatching. Then he sets out to seduce the female. but unfortunately it is not as yet an option open to amateurs. the latter develop and hatch in the female's abdomen. The fry are therefore born alive and com­ pletely formed. is proving promising. This type of reproduction is found in only a few fish families. The male must be removed. The male builds the nest by taking in air at the surface and forming bubbles that are stuck together with his saliva. Marine fish Few marine species reproduce regularly in aquariums. where the oxygen concentration is higher.and he watches over the nest. instead. clasping her near the nest and fertilizing the eggs she lays. The male then repulses the female. Scientific research in this field still has a great deal of ground to cover. • . as he is capable of eating them. Apart from the clownfish and other related species.in which case she must be removed from the aquar­ ium to protect her from his aggression . Bubble nest built by a male Colisa lalia (Belontiids) on the surface of the water. Livebearers These do not lay eggs. the fry stay inside for a few days. the removal of the female. The use of hormones.

due to a filter malfunction or too many fish. except in the case of naturally shy fish. abrupt variations . or decor.the introduction of a fish stressed by importation. there must be substantial aeration. using 4 ml of bleach for every 100 liters of water. such as cigarette smoke and aerosol fumes. The temperature should be raised to 27-28°C. leading to the develop­ ment of the diseases latent in a healthy carrier: . or by the living conditions at a retail store.then it is known us a healthy carrier. but can also be a carrier of a disease without actually being sick itself. both the aquarium and its contents must be disinfected.reduction in the oxygen levels. .the introduction of polluted water from a natural source. . and above all establish good habits as regards tank maintenance and food hygiene.the introduction of a healthy carrier or diseased fish.the accidental introduction of various harmful substances.whether increases or decreases . After it has been used. i. It is also possible to cover the glass sides. in order to enhance the healing process. The origin of a disease can be inside the aquarium This is generally due to a disruption of the general balance. in order to prevent disease. containing only the equipment necessary for treatment.excess of nitrogenous matter. A fish can not only fall sick.brought about by a disorder in the heating system. the most that is needed is a small internal filter con­ taining only Perlon cotton.reduction in temperature or thermal shocks. A small tank of glued glass is used. Normal filtration is not required. bed. . Therefore. . as this influences the oxygen lev­ els. On the other hand. 66 . which can be furnished with a shelter made of an artificial material like PVC. the hospital aquarium should be in a quiet spot with little light. it can fall sick and contaminate other fish.e.HEALTH The aquarist must learn how to detect signs of ill health. . The disease will appear under certain conditions or will be passed on to its companions. every precaution must be taken to avoid such accidents on the part of the aquarist. Ideally. THE ORIGIN OF DISEASES The origin of a disease can be outside the aquarium . there are no plants. followed by stirring of the water over a period of 24 hours and then several successive rinses. Obviously.

. Once the illness is cured. and is stressed out.infectious and non-infectious. etc.External symptoms: white spots. The triggering factors are well-known: stress. decrease in temperature. or viruses carried by the fish. Bright colors and fully deployed fins are signs of good health. and the fish may scrape against the decor or the bed. This requires a good knowledge of its anatomy. When taking care of sick fish. and ecology. bristling scales. . It is important to avoid any cocktails of medicines and useless or harmful over­ doses. .Breathing: the fish comes to the surface to "stock up" on air. A fish in good health has bright colors and sparkling eyes.General behavior: the fish hides.an injury sustained in the course of a fight or an overexcited mating ritual. the best preven­ tion comes from maintaining a good bal­ ance in the aquarium. pro­ vide a varied and well-balanced diet. in terms of both the feeding process itself and the amount it eats. swelling of one or both eyes or the whole body. .Feeding: weight loss. .the general quality of the water. is easily scared. such as bacteria. PREVENTION Prevention is better than cure: this wise old proverb is perfectly applicable to fish­ keeping. refusal of food. sev­ eral indications can lead an aquarist to think that a fish is sick. bad diet. These phenomena can be seen in isolation or together. The former are caused by microorgan­ isms.HEALTH HOW TO RECOGNIZE A SICK FISH? Diseases are not particularly easy to detect. in order to consolidate the healing process. there are two types of diseases . . whitish marks. even if the symp­ toms quickly disappear. However. Generally speaking. but by the environ­ ment (low-quality water. biology. . and this requires a certain degree of knowledge. or from collisions with or scrapes against the decor. with damaged fins. Diseases and their treatment The bearing of this fish (Macropodus opercularis) and its siightiy raised scales suggest a poor state of health. AND A FISH IN GOOD HEALTH? There are two things to take into consideration: the fish's appearance and its behavior.Swimming: uncoordinated. 67 . In the end. several wounds. . Its body is not swollen and its scales and opercula do not stick out. . especially if they do not manifest any external symptoms. fungi. . but with natural foodstuffs. in a poor condition. underfeeding). It comes to eat in a nor­ mal way.underfeeding or a poorly balanced diet. It does not hide without a good reason. Prevention entails daily observa­ tion of your fish and their environment.. The treatment schedule must always be respected. one part in the water. it is best to feed them moderately. Non-infectious diseases are not caused by pathogenic organisms. • Scatophagus argus. Some pathogenic organ­ isms have a mixed life cycle: one part on the fish.

feeding. Methylene blue is efficacious against fungi.their color and behavior ­ constitutes one of the main rules for disease prevention in an aquarium.behavior. A solution of 1. then top up by adding water that is identical to the original. . Switch the filter on again and. but also against ichthyophthyriasis (white spot disease).Know your aquarium. It is important to respect the instructions regarding both the dosage and the treatment schedule. 7. pH. Bacterial diseases can be combated with antibiotics. always using an identical water.Avoid overpopulation. THE GOLDEN RULES OF PREVENTION • Powders such as copper sulfate and methylene blue are weighed and then diluted in water to form a mother solution. but this dose must not be exceeded. Treat fish with 0.nitrites. Change 10% of the volume each day for 5 days. Repeat the treatment if necessary. which are difficult to obtain. However.into 1 liter of water. which is effective in certain cases. Leave it to act for the recommended period.5 g per 10 liters is prepared just before 68 . 6. 5. with new medi­ cation for marine fish also being produced in the last few years. or from a lack of shelters and hiding places. and maybe the pro­ tein skimmer in salt water. Empty out half the aquarium. Bring the aeration to its original level. Methylene blue cannot be used in sea water. 4. or one day when administering copper sulfate. is not recommended. . Firstly. Dissolve 1 g of powder . regularly analyze certain parameters . Put the fish in a hospital aquarium. 12. Gradually reduce the temperature to its original level. the use of these sub­ stances.Do not introduce new fish directly into the aquarium. the protein skimmer. while at the same time increasing the aeration. 2. fol­ lowing the steps above.FISH The most common diseases and their treatments are listed in the table on pages 70-71. In a mixed aquarium. have good-quality water. particularly from mixing fish that are incompatible due to their size or behavior. 8.Avoid any permanent stress. Malachite green is particularly effective against fungi. Knowing your fish well . Raise the temperature to 27-28 °C.Avoid both overfeeding and underfeeding. provided the dosages are fully adhered to. by means of successive changes of 25% of the volume of the tank per day. It is best to spread this opera­ tion out over a period of at least one hour. . Various chemical products can be used in treatment. This operation must be spread over 3 days. where applicable. 9. The product is then eliminated through gradual changes of 25% of the volume of water. and only to be used in fresh water. and could lead to the creation of resistant strains. specifically formulated for one or several diseases. there is kitchen salt. and eggs with 1 ml/liter. Stop the filtration. . Constant progress is being made in this field. . • Medicines There are a great many medicines on the market.Know your fish and their habits . It must be added gradually to the water until a level of 5-10 g/liter is reached. the process obvi­ ously begins at point 2. the water is returned to its initial unsalted state.5-1 ml/liter of this solution. 11.which can still be found in some pharmacies . 10. Dilute the medicine as required. Once the fish is cured. Pour the medicine little by little into the aquarium. The stages of treatment 1. 3. .

in the refrigerator. the treatment dose is 10 ml of this dilution per 100 liters of water.ideally. which allows it to move about. The dilutions of methylene blue. which can then be stored. As a pre­ caution. must be kept in a cool. 15-20 minutes of treatment is sufficient. All these products. It is treated with commercially available products or with formol. A commercially available 40% solution of formaldehyde is used. and the treatment should not last more than 2 hours. apart from the salt. be aware of any possible dan­ gers. The treatment can be repeated twice. Dissolve 16 g of the crystals into 1 liter of water. The same conditions also apply to the "foam" caused by fungi. use. or after the introduction of a new fish. This disease is particularly likely to develop when there is a drop in temperature. (Copper sulfate is often used in sea water. but in any case it must never exceed 30 minutes.HEALTH THE MOST COMMON DISEASES There are very few aquarists who have never been faced with diseases associated with white spots or fungi. It alternates its existence between the water and the fish. including the Saprolegnia. It is extremely contagious. The treatment is carried out with commercial prod­ ucts. dark place . the product's introduction into the water can be spread out over one day. A The quantity required for treatment is taken from the bottle on the left. or with either methylene blue or malachite green. However. Formol is active against external parasites. especially to children. Generally speaking. Its proliferation is enhanced by skin wounds. as up to then it was a healthy carrier. This very contagious disease appears when a fish has been weakened. It can be treated with copper sulfate or with a commercial medication. 69 . at 48 hour intervals. who might be attracted by the colored liquids formed by copper sulfate and methylene blue. mala­ chite green. and copper sulfate must be carried out with distilled water. Oodinium This is caused by a unicellular parasite that bears a flagellate. after diluting at the rate of 20 ml/100 liters of water. Ichthyophthyriasis In the former case. but it is toxic for invertebrates and some plants. The ailing fishes must therefore be treated in a hospital aquarium if they are not the sole occupants of the marine tank. the infection is caused by a protozoon (uni­ cellular animal) which alternates its existence between the fish and the water.

Fresh water. but with bigger spots. DROPSY. unusual behavior. Swollen abdomen. forming a fine veil. OODINIUM. Cause Protozoon parasite. fungi. smaller than the above. viruses. Opercula sticking out. Protozoon parasite. Type of water Fresh water. Mainly bacteria. Parasitical fluke. bristly fins. Unicellular parasite. Lack of oxygen. Gyrodactylus. Fresh water and sea water. general balance of the aquarium disturbed. Identical to the above. the fins often stuck. Sea water. Underfeeding. White clumps with a cotton-like appearance. Bacteria. Fresh water and sea water.THE MOST COMMON DISEASES Symptoms White spots on the body and the fins (the size of a pinhead. including Saprolegnia. Ichthyophthirius. SAPROLEGNIA. uncoordinated swimming. Fry with deformed skeletons. tiny flukes on the branchiae. 1 mm maximum). Fresh water. Genetic origin (the parents). poor quality of water (especially nitrogenous substances). Oxygen problems. Fresh water and sea water. White spots. Dietary problems. Fresh water and sea water. Agitation. This Neolamprologus multifasciatus has foam on its wounds . EXOPHTHALMUS. Fresh water and sea water. sometimes all together. Fresh water and sea water. Weight loss. Fresh water. FOAM. scraping against the decor. Defective aeration. Gasping for air at the surface. foam. CRYPTOCARYON DISEASE. poor growth. Bad maintenance conditions. Fungi. Hereditary problem. Name of disease or problem ICHTHYOPHTHYRIASIS. or lack of vitamins. 1 or 2 eyes abnormally swollen. GYRODACTYLIASIS. Cryptocarion. unsteady swimming. rare in sea water. equipped with a flagellate to move around. Oodinium. but above all in sea water.

commercial medication. Possibility of incorporating commercial vitamin solutions into the food. Copper sulfate. commercial medication. It is not unusual for a few of the fry in a batch to be affected. . Not very easy to detect. cnange one third of the water. fish can expe­ rience breathing difficulties. appears if there is any significant drop in temperature. It is therefore preferable to use a hospital aquarium.e. Contagious. . when you see the first symptoms.the body is covered with white spots . formol. Salt. and you must act quickly. copper sulfate.the parents. Sometimes difficult to treat. . Copper sulfate. check its quality (nitrites. Easy to detect . con­ tagious.Administer the appropriate treat­ ment. and they must therefore be separated. malachite green. The disease's development is favored by wounds. or a quarantine aquarium. a bacterial disease. • Fish afflicted by white spot disease (ichthyophthyriasis). Observations Contagious. check and adjust the parameters of the water. Sometimes difficult to detect at first.this disease is very contagious. Gasping for air can also be a symptom of an infectious disease. i. Copper sulfate. there is a genetic problem . Salt. Increase the aeration. Treatment must be given as soon as the disease appears. Treating a sick fish in a mixed aquar­ ium is not without its risks: some sub­ stances can have undesirable side­ effects on other species or on the plants. WHAT YOU MUST DO FOR A SICK FISH . Increase the quantity of oxygen.IN AN AQUARIUM Treatment Increase in temperature. Fresh food alternated with live prey. pH). • A fish's swollen abdomen is often the sign of dropsy. commercial medication. commercial medication. commercial medication. commercial medication). common in sea water. malachite green or methylene blue (except in sea water: copper sulfate.Act immediately. Copper sulfate. If a lot of fry are affected. The symptoms can also correspond to an infectious disease. It is sometimes associated with small bloody spots.Take care of the fish in a hospital/quarantine aquarium. sometimes difficult to treat.

now of secondary importance. continues as a synonym. we use the abbreviation sp. It may be translated from Latin. The old name. etc. -the species name. • Scientific and common names • Scientific names The scientific name is the only one which is recognized internationally: it ensures a universal means of communication between workers in the field. This gives us the following general scheme: • Barbus oligolepis. and the petticoat fish. often somewhat controversially. are often the subject of unresolved disputes: a single species can. from another language.. The absence of any strict rule gives rise to confusion. while some fish have no common name.. others have several. without a capital. When the species name is not known for certain.. in fact. lyretail.all have individual names.NOMENCLATURE AND DISTRIBUTION OF AQUARIUM FISH The inhabitants of our aquariums . 72 . wagtail. Such is the case with Gymnoco­ rymbus ternetzi. an abbreviation of the Latin word species. The scientific name is chosen by whoever discovers the fish. borrow a scientist's name. which has been variously called the black tetra. the blackamoor. plants. or small invertebrates. or simply be invented as cir­ cumstances dictate. A group of genera related biologically and anatomically is called a family. but all referring to the same fish. PRINCIPLES OF THE CLASSIFICATION OF LIVING CREATURES A genus can comprise several species sharing common characteristics. the black widow. These. however. Related families make up an order. It is given in Latin. • Common names Often the origin of the common name is obscure. have several different names! Let's try and shed some light on this. but new scientific advances may cause the name to be changed. and consists of two parts: . following a tradition dating back to the 18th century.fish.the genus name. with an initial capital or uppercase letter. NAMING FISHES: THE CORRECT TERMINOLOGY Xiphophorus helleri exists in a considerable number of varieties: hifin. These changes mostly affect the name of the genus.

either with another hybrid or with a purebred. CROSSES AND HYBRIDS Different species . we employ the scientific names in common use today and have deliberately omitted those too recently coined to win general acceptance. is bred at the rate of thousands per month. produces a hybrid combining the characteristics of both parents.NOMENCLATURE AND DISTRIBUTION OF AQUARIUM FISH Where problems arise Problems of nomenclature — commoner with fish and plants than with inverte­ brates . STRAINS. if suc­ cessful. 73 .usually. AND VARIETIES In the natural world.500 so­ called aquarium species. this rarely happens in the wild. The mul­ tiplication of breeds. accounting for over three-quarters of species. Other areas of the world pro­ duce a limited range of species. separated by the sign "x. In addition. Crossbreeding." which simply indicates crossbreeding: Fish 1 x Fish 2. as they were caught in their natural habitats in tropical areas all over the world (see map on following page). If the hybrid does not prove ster­ ile. Some newly discovered species are initially des­ ignated by a numerical code or a provi­ sional name. In this case it is the confusion between species which gives rise to the problem. and hybrids hardly helps matters. or the veiltail sword­ tail.can involve confusions between one species and another. This hybrid will not receive a special name. shared between Hong Kong. belonging to the same genus — can be crossed. so what hope for the ordinary hobbyist? In this book. it is hard to tell exactly what you are dealing with! This is true of certain species of plants and fish found in the aquarium trade: the Latin name is frequently unreliable. but not neces­ sarily. The neon tetra. often differentiated by color. After several generations. like the former CzechosloParrot cichlid: a cross between Cichlasoma labiatum and Heros labiatus. local breeds and strains exist. On the other hand. scientists themselves sometimes have trouble finding their way through the maze. Sometimes the Latin name continues to be used in the lit­ erature. varieties. In both instances these varieties are denoted by adding epithets to the original scientific or common name. but will be known by the joint names of the two parents. 80-85% of freshwater species are bred in captivity. and names of breeds and varieties. but is a technique in common use among aquarists. lyretail swordtail. The dominant output is from South-East Asia. until the new scientific name asserts itself. for instance. or Berlin swordtail. recognized species and exhibit different characteristics. sometimes the "new" species turns out to be one already known: the result is that one species now has two names. among commercial dealers. and the veiltail angelfish. and the plant or fish will have moved on a long way from the original. originally from South America. breeders try to evolve new colors and shapes by crossing. WHERE DO AQUARIUM FISH COME FROM? Feral and captive-bred fish Today's hobbyist is unlikely to come across more than 300-500 of the 1. Formerly. You will also find Latin synonyms. some. the Philippines and Singapore. it can interbreed in its turn. and by no means always in their native regions. these went under the name of tropical fish. BREEDS. Nowadays. So we speak of the mar­ ble angelfish. and in contacts between aquarists. the smokey angelfish. so the term "tropical" is no longer appropriate.

All the same. Aquarists are fre­ quently accused of abetting the plunder­ ing of coral reefs. are beginning to breed on a large scale. almost all species are caught in the wild. the argument is that. nine die at the time of capture.FISH OUTLINE DISTRIBUTION OF TROPICAL FISH vakia. it is therefore unfair to blame them for the reduction in numbers or disappearance of these fish from the wild. for example. thus reduc­ ing the number of catches made from the wild and helping to preserve the natural fauna. the genuinely professional firms employ more sophisticated and humane methods: a team of several divers works around a section of reef after sealing it off with a net. Breeders either use imported juve­ niles or raise their own stock. it is extremely dif- ficult to know the real effects on the nat­ ural environment of catches that are made to supply aquariums. After selecting fish according to various criteria (especially size) and catch­ ing them in hand nets. inflicting severe losses on their populations. some even provide a food source for the local human population. or at various stages of handling. Without precise studies. Most aquarium species exist in large numbers in Nature. At the present moment. Catching tropical fish with a net. Protected species Hobbyists do not keep protected species. some species no longer exist in their former abundance ­ for example in the Amazon basin . they carefully bring them to the surface and house them in holding tanks to await export. As for marine fish. • 74 . during trans­ port. Harvesting of tropical marine fish There was a time when any method of catching fish was considered legitimate: explosives or cyanide were used to stun them. for every fish arriving in our aquariums.and proposals are afoot to declare certain areas protected zones to safeguard local populations.

with a pH of up to 8. Some require a very low level of hardness. fill the aquarium from the household supply.FRESHWATER FISH These inhabit various biotopes in tropical and equatorial regions. only a few hundred need concern the aquarist. with a typical pH of around 6. Basically they may be divided into two groups. in principle. The second group prefers hard. These are consequently ideal for the beginner.000 species native to inland waters. For some species the level of hardness must be extremely high. . A few species can survive in brackish water. acidic conditions are essential. who can. Though there are over 10. There are some fish which are not dependent on water quality. alkaline conditions. The first comprises those for which soft.

and you need to use marbles.will take small. Size: 4-5 cm. Size: 10-13 cm.000 eggs in soft. and is also found in certain catfish species. Gregarious and peaceful. but prefers small.50 liters or less . The sensory organs of its lateral line allow it to avoid obstacles. Over the course of time it lost the use of its eyes. As a result of geological upheavals. acidic water to bring out the best in its coloration. but it can still find its food on the riverbed. acidic conditions. and black tetra. It will eat dried food. Size: 4-5 cm. such as the human hand. Getting them to spawn. THE EXCEPTION Phenacogrammus interruptus (the Congo or Zaire tetra) does not share the same origins as other Characins.FRESHWATER FISH CHARACIDAE (CHARACINS) T he majority of characidae commonly known as Characins (over 1. Size: 8-10 cm. of insects and insect larvae. 76 . and needs plenty of swimming space. provided the water is soft and acidic. A veil variety.000 species in all) live in South America. even unanticipated ones. the blind cave tetra found itself trapped in a number of subterranean rivers in Mexico. once considered a problem. you can then restore the normal lighting. factors which guarantee the protection of their eggs. Characins live in groups or shoals in running water and pools where there is plentiful shade and vege­ tation. with noticeably larger fins. peat. or they will devour their own eggs. thanks to its sense of smell. • The black tetra or black widow breeds best in low light levels and can lay up to 1. You can usually identify them by a small adipose fin situated between the dorsal and caudal fins. glowlight tetra. especially in the Amazon basin. they can be kept in community tanks of no great size. The male is recognizable by the tubercle on the middle of the anal fin. pH can be as low as 6. Size: 5-6 cm. cardinal tetra. and the light levels low: the aquarium can even be placed in total darkness. Gymnocorymbus ternetzi Aphyocharax anisitsi The bloodfin is a free swimmer living in shoals and requiring uncrowded conditions. The water must be soft and acidic. water hardness must be practically zero. For breeding. live prey. however. such as neon tetra. Remove the breeding pair (or all adults if you have used two males to one female) after mating. this requirement applies particularly to the black water Amazonian species. live prey. is within the scope of the hobbyist with some experience: most species repro­ duce indeed in the same manner. Their solid teeth indicate that they are carnivores: their diet consists. The aquarium should be small . The fry ­ which grow rapidly . this is not always present. but they are voraciously fond of small. among other things. Anoptichthys jordani There must be abundant plant life in the tank in order to diffuse the light. live prey just a few days after hatching. or fine-leafed plants to protect the eggs. It lives in shoals in soft. The development of the eggs (300-500 approximately) must take place in darkness. mildly acidic conditions. Cheirodon axelrodi The cardinal tetra needs peat­ filtered. but not all are aquarium fish. The Characins will accept manufactured food. has been evolved through artificial selection.

5. Size: 4-5 cm.5).12%GH 10-20 ppm). It lives in shoals in acidic. Hemigrammus hyanuary • Hemigrammus pulcher Thegarnettetradelightsin small. It thrives on regular water changes and moderate light levels. The female can lay up to 1. Breeding is considered problematic: pH 6. Hemigrammus caudovittatus Somewhat shy at first. densely planted conditions. 77 . the Buenos Aires tetra nonetheless acclimatizes easily. The January tetra is still fairly rare in commercial outlets. in soft. Use peat filtration. A shoal of ten or so of these very tranquil fish produces a stunning effect in a South American­ type tank. Hemigrammus erythrozonus The glowlight tetra will spawn under dim lighting. hardness 0-1. Often confused with related species H. Size: 5 cm. but distinguished from them by the extension of the red coloration to the beginning of the lateral line. Size: 8-10 cm. Size: 4-5 cm. Hasemania nana The silver-tipped tetra can be distinguished from other Characins by the absence of an adipose fin.000 eggs. acidic water (pH: 6. rhodostomus (red-nose tetra) and Petitella georgiae (false rummy-nose). especially within a shoal of ten or so individuals. live prey. low lighting. Size: 4-5 cm. Size: 4-5 cm.CHARACIDAE • Hemigrammus bleheri The rummy-nose tetra prefers brown water.

remains relatively unknown. the eggs sink to the bottom. It will breed at 26°C in very soft water. and also one of the least fussy about water quality for breeding. well­ planted water. Size: 4-5 cm. Size: 4-5 cm. though day-to-day care is not particularly difficult. bentosi (rosy tetra). Spawns prolifically under moderate lighting in soft. Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma The dorsal fin of the bleeding heart tetra is more elongated than the female's. little commercialized. Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi The black neon tetra likes clear. males have a small. After spawning. Size: 4-5 cm. peat-filtered water. Hyphessobrycon pul­ chripinnis The lemon tetra lives in a shoal among vegetation. Size: 4-5 cm. In general. We suggest the novice try two species: Hemigrammus ocellifer The head. Size: 4-5 cm.and tail-light fish is one of the commonest characins. elongated white spot on the anal fin. • 78 . the eggs need very dim light to hatch." Incubation must take place in darkness. callistus: the callistus or jewel tetra The male's dorsal fin is taller than the female's. Hyphessobrycon bentosi The absence of a black spot behind the head distinguishes the rosy tetra from H. CHARACINS FOR THE BEGINNER Breeding from this family is not always some­ thing for the beginner. with fine-leafed plants for a "spawning substrate. • Hyphessobrycon peruvianus The Loreto tetra. serpae (serpae tetra) and H. Breeding is difficult and requires peat filtration. The eggs are laid in the foliage of particular plants.FRESHWATER FISH • Hyphessobrycon callistus The callistus or jewel tetra is frequently confused with H. Size: 4-5 cm. acidic conditions. It thrives and breeds best in shady. It likes clear. Size: 4-5 cm. and sometimes seeks out shaded areas. and the parent fish must be prevented from eating them. acidic water.

can be mutually aggressive. Under these conditions. Breeding is difficult: use diffused lighting. Breeding is awkward. and breeding is awkward. Size: 4-5 cm. in acidic. and demands diffused light and very soft water. Megalamphodus megalopterus The black phantom tetra lives in shoals. •Paracheirodon innesi The coloration of the neon tetra. Size: 5 cm. Size: 5-6 cm. This is not a prolific species. swimming in shoals among the vegetation. recognized by her shorter dorsal fin. and needs plenty of swimming space. Size: 5-6 cm. the female. Does not require such soft or acidic conditions as other Characins. Size: 4-5 cm. • 79 .CHARACIDAE Nematobrycon palmeri The emperor tetra swims in small shoals. • Prionobrama filigera Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae• The yellow-banded Moenkhausia prefers still water. clear water. can lay up to 300 eggs. has earned it both its name and tremendous popularity. hardness level approaching 0. sometimes hiding in the vegetation. more brightly colored than the females. Breeding requires good water quality with peat filtration: pH close to 6. set off to perfection by dark water. It can also leap out of the water. The males. and peat filtration giving a pH of 6. The glass bloodfin is a top­ feeder which hangs around the filter outlet.

Gasteropelecidae . Size: 7 cm. However. • 80 . They are voracious carnivores favoring a meat-based diet. The Gasteropelecidae (hatchetfish) owe their name to the shape of their bodies.Serrasalmidae . Size: 4-5 cm. but also exaggerated. Metynnis belong to the same family as the piranhas and resemble them. In their natural habitat. FAMILIES RELATED TO THE CHARACIDAE Lebiasinidae . they also share the pencilfish's acrobatic ability. It prefers dark water and diffused light. and their diet is predominantly herbivorous. but hard to breed. the scent of which drives them into a frenzy. A Leporinus striatus (Anostomidae) The striped leporinus is an omnivorous species. Breeding is uncomplicated. head uppermost. In the wild they are native to South America. Pristella maxillaris The X-ray fish is robust. Anostomidae are somewhat aggressive.000 eggs. Size: 20-25 cm. covered tank. The family Serrasalmidae includes piranhas. whose behavior and aggressiveness are well known. living in soft. as it is capable of leaping out of the water. shady conditions. their streamlined bod­ ies and transverse or longitudinal stripes serves a camouflage. blending them in with the vegetation. the female lays around 1. They flourish in calm. but requires extra vegetable material. quite tolerant of water quality. they are only dangerous in the presence of blood.Anostomidae few fish with certain anatomical resemblances to Characidae are found in hobbyists' tanks. acidic waters. The Lebiasinidae (pencilfish) are top-dwellers and can leap out of the water.FRESHWATER FISH Thayeria boehlkei Boehlke's penguin swims obliquely. they are inoffensive. Its size and aggressiveness require it to be kept in a large. The high position of the mouth indicates that they catch small prey near the surface. Their rectilinear backs and slightly upturned mouths denote that they too are surface-feeders.

and is often somewhat awkward to breed Size: 5 cm. 81 . Reproduction is difficult in captivity. it will nibble away the vegetation. well-planted tank. Size: 5-6 cm. It shows a preference for live prey. In captivity. needing large supplements of vegetable material. but it is herbivorous. • Nannobrycon eques (Lebiasinidae) The hockey-stick pencilfish or brown-tailed pencilfish swims at an angle of 45°. strigata. but will not refuse commercial foods. Gasteropelecus sternicla (Gasteropelecidae) The silver hatchetfish is somewhat larger and more timid than C. Nannostomus trifasciatus (Lebiasinidae) The three-lined pencilfish requires shady vegetation but also swimming space. head upwards. live fish. Size: 10-15 cm. • Carnegiella strigata (Gasteropelecidae) The marbled hatchetfish lives in small shoals and is a surface-feeder. hatching and rearing are traditionally considered difficult. without these. They are by preference carnivorous: feed meat. Though the female lays prolifically (around 1. it lives in shoals. • • Serrasalmus nattereri (Serrasalmidae) This is the red-bellied piranha. piranhas must be isolated from other species in a spacious. but shares its reluctance to breed in captivity. Size: 5-6 cm. Size: 20-30 cm. mussels. or small. Size: 5 cm. Fairly timid.000 eggs).CHARACIDAE: RELATED SPECIES Metynnis argenteus (Serrasalmidae) The silver dollar closely resembles the piranha.

and some species detect their food by means of their barbels. Size: 25-30 cm. constitute an important human food source: the annual captive production of various types of carp . including supplements of vegetable material. More or less peaceful. The smallest species . Barbs Barbs are native to Asia and Africa. CROSSBREEDING Some species of barbs can be crossed to produce viable fry. it does however require plenty of space. the parent fish must be removed after laying. danios. as with Puntius nigrofasciatus (black ruby barb) and Capoeta tetrazona (tiger barb). food when they are at this stage should be Artemia nauplii. seasoned water. Spawning (reasonably straightforward) requires soft. Hatching takes place after 36 hours. the teeth do not grow from the jaw but are relegated to the throat. the fry measure just over 3 mm. They are active fish. and well-filtered and oxygenated. For the first 2 days after they are free-swimming.sometimes over 100 in num­ ber . rasboras.the most familiar member of this family ­ exceeds 6 million tonnes.only a few centimeters in length . The largest. feed the fry on infusoria. with more than 2. etc. slightly acidic. Barbus schwanenfeldi The tinfoil barb or Schwanenfeld's barb can exceed 25 cm in the aquarium. with abundant food.adhere to plants and other supports. The Cyprinidae are characterized by a frequently thick-set body and rather broad scales. mature water.FRESHWATER FISH CYPRINIDAE W idely distributed over the planet the Cyprinidae (barbs. 82 . The eggs . but acclimatize to the domestic aquarium without difficulty. After hatching. Size: 5 cm. It is easy to cross with other barbs. and the liveliest ones may even tease other species with quite large fins. which can grow up to 1 m in length. a hybrid of which is shown here.) form one of the largest freshwater fami­ lies. live prey or vegetable material) and adapt well in captivity to artificial foods. carp. the optimal temper­ ature is usually around 28°C. Enthusiasts have evolved a veil variety by selec tive breeding. It breeds easily (the male taking on a pink coloration) in soft. among the hundred-odd known species in Nature. A Barbus oligolepis The checker barb is a gregarious species. Barbs are omnivorous (taking small. They are omnivores. They are best kept in aquariums with plenty of plants and where the water is soft. which varies from none to four. Spawning (relatively uncomplicated) demands slightly acidic conditions and fine-leafed plants. living in shal­ low. and if we lump together all species (including freshwater and marine aqua­ culture) we end up with a figure of around 17 mil­ lion tonnes. These fish originate from quite diversified biotopes.000 species. Size: 8 cm. only a dozen or so are currently available commercially under this collective name. moderately fast-flowing waters rich in vegeta­ tion. labeos. living in groups or small shoals. The dif­ ferent species can be distinguished by the number of barbels. BARBS FOR THE BEGINNER The rosy barb (Puntius con­ chonius) is very gregarious. Size: 5-6 cm.are very well known and extremely popular with hob­ byists. most sur­ prisingly.

in the male. It owes its common name to its color. schuberti The male is more elongate and brightly colored than the female. Size: 5-6 cm. preferring shaded areas. by mutation or hybridization. which. The fry grow quickly and mature within 10-12 months. It is quite timid. Size: 5-6 cm. Size: 5-7 cm. mainly in the form of transverse bands. The stripes appear on the fry within 2 weeks or so. the eggs hatch in 36 hours in Water at 26°C. Size: 5-6 cm.CYPRINIDAE Capoeta semifasciolatus The green barb or half-striped barb is perhaps the species responsible for the production. During mating. • Banded barbs Certain species have "stripes". Itis gregarious. swimming activelyin groups.see C. deepens noticeably at mating time. of the golden barb . Size: 5 cm. • Capoeta tetrazona Golden tiger variety.itis most likely a mutation or a hybrid of related species. Size: 8-10 cm. • Capoeta schuberti The golden barbis a curiosity: unknown in the wild. Capoeta tetrazona The tiger barb is one of the most common species. the males become markedly aggressive towards the females. Capoeta tetrazona (tiger barb) Barbodes pentazona (five-banded barb) Barbodes everetti (clown barb) Puntius lateristrigata (T-barb or spanner barb) Puntius nigrofasciatus (black ruby barb) 83 . • • Capoeta titteya The cherry barb is one of the smallest members of this family. Breedingis quite easy. and the golden tiger (without the black pigmentation). the albino tiger. their size and number serve as a means of identification. There are several varieties of this species: the green tiger. The female can produce several hundred eggs.

raised and bred in Europe since the early 1800s. the giant danio is just as hardy and easy to spawn. allowing the eggs through but not the parent fish. though. possibly deriving from isolated laboratory stock. Size: 6 cm. The eggs will then sink quickly: a layer of mar­ bles prepositioned on the bed will provide safe lodging places. a veil form appeared. The fish currently sold commercially originate from localized breeding centers in South-East Asia. Incubation of the eggs (up to 200 or 300) lasts 2-3 days. It is vital to feed them small. with markedly elongated fins. Recently they managed to pro­ duce a line of clones: genetically identical fish. with the fry swimming between the 6th and 7th days. and therefore with the same reactions to a given phenomenon. Twenty years or so ago. Size: 5-6 cm. Size: 8 cm. they are extremely gregarious. Brachydanio albolineatus The pearl danio is a shoal­ swimming. Alternatively. voracious feeder. continuously active. • Brachydanio frankei This species.FRESHWATER FISH Danios Hardy. To prevent the parent fish devouring the eggs. Size: 5-6 cm. suspend a layer of fine netting halfway down. pH neutral. indicating that she is ripe. easy breeders. thus erad­ icating the influence of genetic variability on experiments. unfussy eaters. Like barbs. SPAWNING THE ZEBRA DANIO You can breed the zebra danio in a tank without substrate using a mixture of new water with some taken from the parents' aquarium. use two males to one female. and the optimum temperature is around 26-27°C. It can survive temperatures below 20°C. appears not to exist in the wild. keep the depth of water between 10 and 15 cm. • 84 . After laying . as it is commonly known. For a set-up like this.remove the parent fish. Danio aequipinnatus Larger than its cousins. this fish has not given rise to other selective forms. choos­ ing a female with a plump belly.which seems to be stimulated by the first rays of the morning sun .infusoria or rotifers if you can get them. Its hardiness and its readiness to spawn have been put to use by scientists to test the tox­ icity of certain substances. which they will do with gusto. curiously. The leopard danio. which resembles a tiny trout. A DANIO FOR THE BEGINNER Known. The hardness level must be low. live prey . A veil form exists. lives in shoals near the surface and acclimatizes easily. danios have the ideal qualities for a starter fish. the striped or zebra danio (Brachydanio rerio) has given countless hobbyists their first real thrill of excitement.

and requires plenty of swimming space in captivity.CYPRINIDAE Rasboras These small. To set off its coloration to perfection. It spawns in acidic conditions (pH 6. sticking its eggs on or underneath large leaves. Rasbora elegans The elegant rasbora lives near the surface of open water. lively fish live in groups or shoals in fast-flowing. Size: 5 cm. Size: 10 cm. hatching in 24 hours. Size: 5 cm. shallow water. with peat filtration). A robust species. THE BEGINNER'S RASBORA The scissortail (Rasbora tri­ lineata) owes its name to its tail movements and needs plenty of room. darkened tank containing fine-leafed plants. only slightly adhe­ sive. they are easy to care for in soft. The eggs. live prey for 2 weeks. 85 . It accepts both artificial foods and live prey. ideally in a darkened tank. their forked fins clear indicators of their swimming ability. but breeding is a less straightfor­ ward proposition. Keep the water acidic and slightly hard. slightly acidic conditions. The fry must be fed with small. Rasbora borapetensis The magnificent rasbora or red-tailed rasbora will spawn (up to 500 eggs) in a small. use a dark bed. are laid in the fine foliage of certain plants. Size: 5 cm. A Rasbora heteromorpha The harlequin rasbora is one of the most popular species of this group.

FRESHWATER FISH Labeos One look at the labeos' shape reveals that they are bottom-dwellers in fast. they are also aggressive toward con­ specifics in defense of their territory. it has now spread throughout all the temperate waters (5-25°C) of the globe. it needs extra vegetable material.) which form an essential part of the aquarium furnishings. By day it lurks in various hiding places (rocks. if she is "ripe. Originating from Asia. the fry wil l then display the coloration of one or other of the parents. it has become possible to breed the labeo borrowing techniques recently developed by scientists for propagating marine species.is removed from carps or related species and crushed in a slightly saline solution. with a flat belly for resting on the bed and barbels for sensing prey on or in the substrate. etc.a small gland located at the base of the brain . Labeo bicolor The red-tailed black shark. Size: 10-15 cm. The classic red variety was selectively bred from feral stock.is injected into the chosen fish. A minute quantity of this solution . Goldfish varieties (Carp family) The goldfish: theme and variations The goldfish is the oldest "domesticated" fish. Labeo frenatus The red-finned shark or rainbow shark is distinguished from Labeo bicolor by a less intense body coloration and by its red fins." she will start to lay within 24 hours. rather nocturnal in its habits. can reach 40-50 cm. after a long and painstaking series of selections. less brightly colored than the present fancy varieties. The earliest importations to Europe date from the 17th century. Labeo frenatus • Albino variety. The feral form. and is a method unavailable to the amateur breeder. though breeding has made enormous advances since the Middle Ages. which can be mated with the normal variety. 86 . its story began long before hobbyists started keeping it in aquariums. There are many varieties. producing hundreds of eggs. obtains its food by sifting the bed of its natural habitat. in the form of gifts made to the French royal family. roots. all of which have been isolated. This involves the use of hormones. As is the case with other aquarium fish. using the familiar red strain as a starting-point. What happens is that the hypophysis .flowing water: quite stream­ lined to minimize current drag. Sometimes a commercial albino variety is found. though coexisting peacefully with other species. In captivity. Size: 10-15 cm. probably before the time of Christ. Size: 10-15 cm.con­ taining the diluted hormone . These fish are primarily "twilight" (nocturnal) species.

these are in fact differ­ ent varieties of carp selected (starting from the feral variety) over more than 1. they will overwinter safely. Telescope-eyed goldfish The eyes of this variety are globular and protruding.for the capture of carnivores. Breeding is by no means impossible outdoors. The modern varieties are raised in Italy. the aquarium must be big enough to let them swim freely among the plants.CYPRINIDAE Shubukin The dorsal and caudal fins are markedly elongate. color may be uniform or appear as red. Sometimes there is no dorsal fin. white or black splashes. Size: 20-50 cm. The commonest varieties are entirely black. and the presence of barbels clearly distinguishes them from the smaller goldfish. the parents will try to gobble the eggs. while the sub­ strate can be fairly coarse. Besides its popularity with hobbyists. Filter the water. CARING FOR GOLDFISH Goldfish must be kept in conditions corresponding to their natural habi­ tat. in addition. Size: 10 cm. Coloration: variegated. In every case. provided the minimum pool temperature is 19-20°C. there is much crossbreeding between those mentioned here. is an important commercial activity. Size: 10 cm. 87 . However. THE GOLDFISH (CARASSIUS AURATUS): A ROARING COMMERCIAL SUCCESS Breeding goldfish. but do not use heating: gold­ fish are considered hardy. it is used as live bait . Other varieties of goldfish exist. while below 5°C the fish become noticeably sluggish.000 years. The caudal fin may be normal. Japanese veiltail The veiltail has a caudal fin composed of two or three lobes. but the maximum temperature should be 20-22°C. The fry acquire the characteristic coloration only after several weeks. A close relative is the celestial goldfish. A GOLDFISH HILTON If you want to offer your goldfish the very best conditions. Size: 10 cm. Size: 10 cm. keep them in a garden pool where they will grow much larger. yellow.under stringent legal conditions . • Though people often confuse koi with goldfish. with no fixed pattern. or divided into several lobes. even if the water partially freezes. The bubble-eye You can spot this variety at once by the bubble­ like pocket under the eyes. which are unlikely to go out of fashion. Lionhead The lionhead has protuberances in the form of swellings on top of the head. Hard­ ness and pH are not so critical as with other species of aquarium fish. Size: 10-15 cm. They can reach 1 m in length. sometimes the dorsal fin is absent. gold. though the most sophisticated forms (often called "Chinese") are produced in Asia.

they hide away during the day. They pos­ sess a small number of barbels which they use to detect prey as they search the substrate. they can leap through any tiny gap in the aquarium lid. Epalzeorhynchus kallopterus Tranquil enough .except with its own species. You can recognize these fish by the presence of a spine under the eye. which arc those most commonly obtainable from commercial outlets. Beginners will find it worth trying for its sturdy constitution: it can withstand temperatures as low as 18°C. as they are commonly known. but can also entangle the fish in the hand net. otherwise they rarely reproduce in captivity. so you will need to provide lurking places. There is no evidence that it has been successfully bred in the aquarium. Given this feeding procedure. Acanthophthalmus kuhli The coolie loach. it is preferable to use a fairly fine. • COBITIDAE T he Cobitidae are close relatives of the Cyprinidae and are found in both Europe and Asia. A closely related species. like the labeos. It has not yet been successfully bred in the aquarium. smooth sand. Shy and non-aggressive. E. Size: 12cm • 88 . which revels in swimming and can leap out of the water. They have been successfully bred with the aid of hormones. •Tanichthys albonubes The common name of this small fish is the white cloud mountain minnow. Size: 20-30 cm. are bottom-dwellers. kallopterus by the longitudinal black band running along the middle of the body only as far as the caudal fin. they differ only in the pattern of their coloration. siamensis or Siamese flying fox. Size: 10-15 cm. the flying fox is a bottom-feeder. It is also simple to breed from. it is distinguishable from E. Balantiocheilus melanopterus You will need a large tank for the bala or tricolor shark. as the parents do not eat the eggs.even timid . has the reputation of keeping down green algae which can sometimes proliferate. Size: 5 cm. but will not spawn in the aquarium. Loaches.Tanichthys As well as the groups already mentioned. They are happy with artificial food. there are a few other species of interest to the amateur aquarist.FRESHWATER FISH Other Cyprinidae: Balantiocheilus Epalzeorhynchus . A number of species are available commercially under this name. this is designed for defense. and basically twilight species.

Size: 10 cm. the zebra loach has thin transverse bands along its body. Rather more active than related species Size: 10-12 cm. they search the substrate for food. i. Botia modesta The orange-finned loach takes its name from the more or less pronounced reddish-orange coloration of the fins. mainly hiding away during the daytime.COBITIDAE Botia macracantha The clown loach is the most well-known and commercially successful species of the genus Botia. T • Botia lohachata The Pakistani loach is less nocturnal than its relatives. Botia striata One of the prettiest of the loaches. myersi (slimy myersi) A. burying itself in the sand during daylight. kuhli sumatranus A. • The four main species of Acanthophthalmus A.e. All species are bottom­ sifters. Size: 15 cm.. kuhli kuhli A. with only its head showing. Size: 15 cm. Size: 10 cm. Acanthopsis choirorhynchus The horse-faced loach or long-nosed loach is another twilight species. sometimes displaying pale banding. the clown loach can be aggressive when cramped for space or defending territory. • • Botia horae Hora's loach changes color according to its moods. semincintus (half-banded loach) 89 . A twilight fish. Size: 15 cm. Less common than other members of the genus. and will not hide away when the aquarium is illuminated. None will breed in captivity.

It is very rare to hear of them breeding in captivity. the spotted catfish resembles the skunk clownfish. schwartzi (Surinam sub-species) C. T Corydoras punctatus (Callichthyidae) In color. but are all members of the order Siluriformes. Ten or so species are currently available in the trade. The Loricariidae live on the beds of streams and rivers in South America. • C schwartzi C. Harder to breed than the peppered cory. All are either partially or completely herbivorous. The Callichthyidae include the genus Corydoras. The female lays 100-200 eggs which hatch in a week or so. Not very fussy about water quality. angelfish or discus. Size: 5 cm. and are mainly twilight species.FRESHWATER FISH CATFISH C atfish belong to different families. they are active mostly at dusk and during the night. this includes breeding. their bodies are "armor-plated. Generally considered a difficult subject. others appear on the market intermittently. Their flat bellies indicate that they live and search for food (arti­ ficial. Corydoras arcuatus (Callichthyidae) The skunk catfish. • Corydoras trinileatus (Callichthyidae) The arrangement of spots on the three-line corydoras varies according to its origins. Prefers diffused illumination. Originally native to South America. melanistus (sub-species) 90 . Size: 5 cm. Size: 5 cm. The Latin arcuatus (banded) refers to the broad black band running along the back from the eye to the caudal peduncle. these fish do not have scales. • Corydoras melanistus (Callichthyidae) The black-sail corydoras or black-spotted corydoras has a distinctive black smudge near the dorsal fin. Size: 5 cm. or small live prey) on the bottom. with which it is often confused. They possess bar­ bels. Two families are of particular importance: the Callichthyidae and the Loricariidae." and they often have spines on their fins. they play a major part in maintaining the balance of the aquarium as they scavenge algae or par­ ticles which have sunk to the bottom. but their flanks are covered in layers of over­ lapping "shingles" (bony plates) They can also be recognized by the barbels round their mouths and the spines on their dorsal and pectoral fins. but the black markings on the back are absent. Their mouths resemble suck­ ers. live a solitary life on the bottom. Corydoras species are ideal subjects for keeping in a regional aquarium along with Characins. melanistus C.

The female lays 50 eggs a day. There is a boisterous-mating display. Spawning may be triggered by a vari­ ation in atmospheric pressure. The male stations himself near the female. Size: 5 cm. Rather shy. sticking them to a suit­ able surface. with the male chasing the female for perhaps several days. Size: 5 cm. so known because of its distinctive spot pattern. Size: 5 cm. this is now within the scope of the experi­ enced and meticulous hobbyist.CATFISH CORYDORAS SPECIES FOR THE BEGINNER Two robust and sturdy species are particularly recom­ mended to the beginner. or a rise in temperature. a water change. •Corydoras schwartzi (Callichthyidae) Schwartz's corydoras is often confused with other species: its coloration varies according to region. she may continue laying like this for several weeks. • Corydoras aeneus Corydoras metae (Callichthyidae) The female of the bandit catfish fastidiously cleans plants or the glass of the tank before sticking her eggs to them. the male's dorsal and pectoral fins are more pointed than the female's. Note that the fry are very sensitive to any changes in their environment. The pair may repeat this ritual several times and hatching takes place a few days later. 91 . BREEDING CORYDORAS Once considered extremely difficult. it is easily confused with species having similar markings. As with many Corydoras species. The peppered corydoras (C. Corydoras paleatus Corydoras aeneus Albino variety. to ensure his milt thoroughly fertilizes the tiny eggs. • • Corydoras julii (Callichthyidae) One of the most attractive Corydoras species is the leopard catfish. and difficult to breed. and is raised in South-East Asia. Size: 5 cm. even the walls of the aquar­ ium. it is not hard to see how confusions arise in distinguishing between fish species. sometimes hanging perpendicularly in the water. The female takes the eggs between her ventral fins and deposits them on a suitable surface which she has previously meticulously cleaned. paleatus) has long been famil­ iar to aquarists. Given that there are over 150 feral species of Corydoras. The aeneus catfish or bronze catfish (Corydoras aeneus) is rather drab: there is also an albino variety created through artificial selection.

Size: 13 cm. Size: 1 5-20 cm. Size: 20 cm. Mature males can be distinguished by the presence of long barbels on the head. There is a serrated spine on each pectoral fin. It prefers darkness and soft. • Acanthodoras spinossimus (Doradidae) The talking catfish has spines along its pectoral fins. spending the night on the bottom.FRESHWATER FISH Hypostomus plecostomus (Loricariidae) The pleco feeds on algae. foliage or the glass. It clings to rocks. • Sorubim lima (Pimelodidae) The peaceable shovel-nose catfish can reach 60 cm in length. Size: 15 cm. • Ancistrus sp. peaceable fish that lives on a diet of algae. it can become invasive and disturb the decor. It is omnivorous and quite shy. a spacious aquarium is therefore essential. As this fish grows. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (Gyrinocheilidae) The Chinese algae- eater has a sucker-like mouth for grazing algae. Mainly nocturnal. it is a greedy feeder. acidic conditions. not known to spawn in captivity. so it needs a roomy tank. (Loricariidae) The mouth of the twig catfish is positioned well back underneath the head. It very rarely spawns in captivity. taking live prey or fresh food. though captive breeding is rare. • 92 . Once it has reached a certain size. A LITTLE SCAVENGER FOR THE BEGINNER: OTOCINCLUS VITTATUS (LORICARIIDAE) This is a small. it can become aggressive. Ancistrus browses encrustant algae. Farlowella sp. Size: 12 cm. Size: 5 cm. The female deposits her eggs on carefully selected sites. This is a nocturnal bottom-dweller. (Loricariidae) Several species of the bristlenose are sold in commercial outlets under a confusing variety of names.

and is likely to die if kept in isolation for long. has two long barbels acting as organs of touch. Rarely breeds in captivity.and breeds . •Kryptopterus bicirrhis (Siluridae) The glass catfish or ghost catfish.CATFISH Synodontis nigriventris (Mochokidae) The adult of the black-bellied upside-down catfish swims. A few other species ofSynodontis are available commercially. Omnivorous. and will not spawn in the aquarium. while juveniles behave quite normally. Size: 10cm. •Synodontis petricola (Mochokidae) Like S. Size: 8 cm. Size: 20-30 cm. A nocturnal. somewhat solitary. peaceable species. seldom spawning in captivity. the angelicus pimelodus lives on the bottom and requires plenty of swimming space. as the name suggests. It is not suitable for mixing with boisterous species. but will require a small amount of extra vegetable material. •Eutropiellus debauwi (Schilbidae) •Pimelodus pictus (Pimelodidae) A twilight species. it prefers soft. Size: 10 cm. It swims in a normal position and often remains hidden during the day. There is no evidence of successful captive breeding. Size: 15 cm. In the wild it lives . one of the few aquarium species with a transparent body. Pangasius sutchi (Pangasiidae) An omnivorous species. A good swimmer. and will need a capacious tank. acidic conditions. As yet it has not been successfully bred in captivity. the evenspotted synodontis is a native of Africa. belly upwards. 93 . the Siamese shark swims restlessly in shoals. nigriventris. frequently hanging in an oblique position.in shoals in open water. the three-striped glass catfish lives in shoals. it is omnivorous. Size: 10-12 cm.

They are preponderantly marine species. The rays on the dorsal fin are more developed in the male. which sink to the bottom and hatch in 5 days.but make sure there is a planted area. Another gorgeously colored species. and hierarchical position. Size: 10 cm. is sometimes available commercially. Size: 6-8 cm • Bedotia geayi The Madagascar rainbow appears more or less indifferent to water quality and is a restless swimmer. breeding con­ dition. ladigesi lives in shoals. Telmatherina ladigesi Some experts consider that the Celebes rainbowfish belongs to another family: the Telmatherinidae.FRESHWATER FISH ATHERINIDAE T he Atherinidae are characterized by long. Coloration varies according to mood. with very few inhabiting inland waters. their initial growth is quite slow.quite large and hatching in 7-10 days . Melanotaenia boesemani Boeseman's rainbowfish is one of the most colorful of this family. It is reasonably straightforward to breed. herbertaxelrodi (Lake Tebera rainbowfish). They thrive best in hard water with a pH above 7. Water quality is not too important. Size: 10-12 cm. as the parent fish will not devour the eggs. Size: 10-12 cm. uncluttered tank where they can swim in peace . MELANOTAENIIDAE (RAINBOWFISH) C ommonly called rainbowfish.are fixed to plants by fine filaments: an unusual feature in aquarium fish. • 94 . Melanotaenia maccullochi Several closely-related species are marketed under the name of McCulloch's rainbowfish or dwarf Australian rainbowfish. they come form the rivers and swamps of Australia and New Guinea. preferring hard water and uncrowded conditions. Breeding is straightforward. Feed the fry on live prey until they are ready for fine dried food. and another which prefers hard water. T. demanding a large. streamlined bodies which immediately suggest their speed and agility in the water. M. The eggs . The fry remain clinging to a surface (the aquarium wall or a plant) until free-swimming. All are robust. though the fry accept only tiny prey.

and are prized by some enthusiasts for their remarkable breeding habits. most are exchanged between killie­ fanciers. and they have no need to be adhesive. They have teeth. killies or killifish being the popular name for these species. with over 500 species in all. Make sure that the boxes or plastic bags used for transport are completely airtight.CYPRINODONTIDAE CYPRINODONTIDAE (KILLIES. To start the eggs hatching. if you put a layer of peat on the bottom of the tank. sometimes mere puddles. development resumes and the eggs hatch. It is also possible to put males of different species in one tank. and shallow waters. Caring for killies in the aquarium Ideally. and their mouths are oriented upwards to seize prey on or near the surface. return them to water. Conditions must be soft and acidic. especially since coloration varies between geographically diverse populations. They are small in size. cool con­ ditions. How killies reproduce Those killies whose habitat never dries out deposit sticky eggs which take several weeks to incubate. sometimes. the adults perish. page 60. Killifish are very fond of small. as long as they are kept in damp. There is much confusion between species. but do not put females together. which are liable to dry up. the fish will use it to lay their eggs on. At the first rains. Only a few are regularly handled by dealers. but will also take dried foods. You can tell that hatching is imminent when you can see the eyes of the embryos through the eggs. Thus their incubation period may last from 3-6 months. but their eggs survive: see Reproduction. as many of them are so much alike that you will have trouble telling which species is which. The incubation period is sufficiently long to enable them to be trans­ ported. The seasonal species can withstand much drier conditions than continuous breeders: lower temperatures serve to prolong the diapause. 95 . In this case. vividly colored. some species can even leap out of the water. The eggs spawned in the mud undergo a period of dormancy in their development (the diapause) for as long as the drought lasts. rarely exceeding 8 cm. this will provide a colorful spectacle. The maximum temperature should be 24°C. Those dwelling in areas prone to periodic drought have developed a special method to ensure the sur­ vival of their species. live prey. Preserving and transporting eggs Hobbyists who live a long way from one another can exchange killie eggs through the mail. you should provide a special small tank (10-15 liters) for each species. stagnant. They dwell in calm. ETC.) T he Cyprinodonts (meaning "toothcarps") flourish in virtually all the world's tropical inland waters (Australia excepted). so you will need to use peat filtration.

which hatch after 2 weeks. • Aphyosemion marmoratum The marbled killifish employs an intermediate form of reproduction.FRESHWATER FISH Aphyosemion Species of this genus inhabit most areas of Africa east of Benin (formerly Dahomey). they will take longer to hatch. Size: 12 cm. It is a continuous breeder. some species exhibit breeding patterns intermediate between both types. and hatching will be correspondingly staggered Kept in peat. The female lays 50-100 eggs. One way to do this is by blowing gently down a tube into the water. a seasonal killifish. •Aphyosemion bivittatum The two-striped aphyosemion reaches 6 cm in length. Seasonal species are less common than the continuous breeders of drought-free areas. The pH should be between 6 and 7. Remove any infertile eggs (cloudy instead of transparent). It is hardy. The eggs hatch in 2-3 weeks.a technique also valid for other species. If you leave the eggs in the aquarium. 96 . each only 1 mm in size. Size: 6 cm. Size: 6 cm. the eggs hatch in under 15 days. It is a continuous breeder. Hatching can be accelerated by raising the level of dissolved CO2 (carbon dioxide) . Size: 6 cm. T •Aphyosemion gardneri The exact coloration of the steel-blue killie varies according to its geographical origin. incubate in 5 weeks at 22°C. Aphyosemion sjoestedti The eggs of the blue gularis. but its growth is slow. Size: 6 cm. Size: 6 cm. incubation lasts 15-20 days. with almost zero hardness. Aphyosemion walkeri Walker's aphyosemion or Walker's killifish is a seasonal breeder. The sticky eggs incubate in less than 2 weeks. and spawns continuously without particular problems. introduce fine-leafed plants and keep the temperature below 23°C. and particularly from the Niger to the Congo. Prepare a bed of peat in a small tank. Aphyosemion australe• The Cape Lopez lyretail or the lyretail panchax is obtainable from most commercial outlets and is the species of aphyosemion most frequently recommended to hobbyists wishing to familiarize themselves with the genus. Kept in continually moist peat at 18-20°C. but all the fry will emerge simultaneously.

They are continuous breeding. The eggs (3 mm) incubate in around 15 days.Epiplatys . Epiplatys is a genus of killifish found from Senegal to Chad and even as far south as the Congo. Cynolebias comprises seasonal killies from South America. Rivulus.some species are found in Canada . unlike their close relatives Aphyosemion. the eggs must be kept in peat for 4 months. Size: 7-8 cm. They are continuous breeders. Their breeding habits resem­ ble those of Aphyosemion. Fish of this genus have more slender bodies than those belonging to Rivulus.Cynolebias Besides Aphyosemion. Specimens are rarely found on the commercial market. with a moderately warm temperature of around 24°C.and Central America. from Central America or the northern zones of South America. The breeding of this seasonal species is difficult. There are no particular requirements for water quality. in those areas with alternating rains and droughts. The eggs must be kept for 3-6 months in moist peat. closely related to the two illustrated below. Some species will even bury themselves in the peat to lay their eggs.Aplocheilus . Cynolebias bellottii The males of the Argentinian pearl fish will sometimes fight one another or harry the females. in the watercourses of tropical forests. Cynolebias nigripinnis The black-finned pearl fish is a seasonal species. Roloffia species are native to the African coastal countries west of Benin. there are several other genera popular with hobbyists. Size: 5 cm. usually sticking their eggs to plants. They are not normally avail­ able from commercial outlets. after replacement in water. There are several species. hatching in around 2 weeks.Other Cyprinodontidae: Roloffia . They prefer soft water (23-24°C maximum) and moderate levels of light. Nothobranchius species live in the waters of East and South-East Africa. but are just as colorful. Size: 5-6 cm. laying eggs on plants or on the bottom. they hatch within a week. 97 .Fundulus . • Rivulus cylindraceus The female of the Cuban rivulus is arger than the male and can also be distinguished by the black patch bordered with white on her caudal fin.Rivulus — Nothobranchius . is a genus preferring calm waters. The eggs adhere to plants. Note that these fish can jump out of the aquarium. The genus Aplocheilus consists of a small number of species native to Asia. Fundulus is a genus originating from the United States . but you can obtain them through clubs and aquarists' associations.

and they require live prey small enough to swallow. You need to preserve the eggs in peat for 6-12 weeks. acidic conditions. Epiplatys annulatus The clown killie is only 3-4 cm long and is a top-dweller. Both originate from the same habi­ tat: Lake Tanganyika. Size: 3-4 cm. and they will hatch over a period of 2 weeks. The male is brightly colored. you are unlikely to obtain this species from your dealer. Roloffia geryi • A continuous-breeding species. 98 . The diapause can last 4-5 months. shoal-swimming behavior makes it an ideal companion for Cichlids. though a fascinating subject in itself. tanganicanus.FRESHWATER FISH Aplocheilus lineatus The striped panchax requires a large tank. A CYPRINODONT TO KEEP WITH CICHLIDS: LAMPRICHTHYS TANGANICANUS This is a species of interest to anyone seeking tankmates for Cichlids (see page 104). Gunther's notho is small but very handsome. return them to water. the fry are tiny. with plenty of vegetation. • Roloffia occidentalis The golden pheasant is a seasonal species spawning in soft. the female duller. Unfortunately. sometimes longer. as it can reach 10 cm in length. Size: 8-10 cm. L. Size: 6 cm. The eggs are only 1 mm in size and hatch in around 10-12 days. Gery's aphyosemion can spawn every 15 days. The fry grow rapidly and can breed at the age of 3 months. • Notobranchius guentheri A seasonal. difficult breeder. Size: 8-9 cm. they hatch after 8-10 days. It lays its eggs in fine-leafed vegetation. the Tanganyika pearl killie can reach 12 cm and its lively. The eggs are laid in the plants.

99 . These are much bigger than the fry of oviparous (egg-laying) fish: they are able to swim and eat fine artificial food on birth. A darkish patch on her belly . • • Poecilia sphenops (molly) • Gambusia affinis ft native of the southern United States. includ­ ing small. it is not a "true" aquarium fish. alkaline. favoring hard. It is also a good idea to feed supplements of vegetable material. like certain marine species. In a sense. the spotted gambusia or mosquito fish has been widely introduced to tropical and temperate areas of the world. close to the Mediterranean coasts and even as far north as Bordeaux! These deliberate importations were designed to reduce plagues of mosquitoes. The male is normally smaller than the female. Size: 8 cm. for instance. Poecilia latipinna This is known as the sailfin molly and should be kept in identical conditions to P. This is a family of active. Size: 5 cm. has developed into a gonopodium (see illustration). energetic fish. and sometimes even slightly brackish conditions where the water is rich in plant life and normally calm. or for those fish with a tendency to refuse artificial foods. foetal position. The black lyretail variety is probably a hybrid of the two species.or 1 teaspoonful of table salt to 10 liters of water. sphenops. since the fry are voraciously fond of the aquatic larvae. a feature which distinguishes this family from the Goodeidae. They will accept any form of food. a tubiform copulatory organ. raise the temperature by a few degrees. rather than a variety of one or the other. To encourage reproduction. with varying degrees of black spotting. It is met in southern France. near the genital pore signals imminent spawning in a ripe female. but appreciate extra vegetable material. fourth and fifth rays. The eggs hatch inside her ovary. You can raise it as live food for voracious predators like the Cichlids. ideal for the beginner.POECILIIDAE POECILIIDAE T he Poeciliidae inhabit considerable areas of the American continent. but it is very sturdy and spawns prolifically. she then immediately expels the fry. the female will then spawn every 3-4 weeks. though often more vividly colored. to which you can add 1 % seawater . The common variety of short-finned molly or pointed­ mouth molly has a silvery-gray body. The female can then produce several successive broods separated by a few weeks without intervention by other males. Size: 8 cm.the gravid spot. by a mod­ ification of the third.) The dorsal fin is both higher and longer then that of P. as it can survive a few minutes' immersion in salt water. The black variety is more popular with some enthusiasts. then. often still in a curled. (Both are popularly referred to as simply the molly or black molly. through which he deposits his milt (sperm) into the female's genital pore during a fairly brief pseudo-coupling. His anal fin. sphenops. live prey. The molly prefers hard water.

with sometimes one or two black patches. Only the Goodeidae can be classed as true livebearers. and even easier if you raise the temperature a few degrees. Their fry are born live (already hatched). A black variety exists. as its red eyes imply. • basic variety pointed-tail spadetail lyretail top sword 100 . • Poecilia reticulata Even those who have never kept an aquarium will have heard of the guppy! Discovered in the middle of the 19th century. Poecilia reticulata Half-black red. but it is less common than the "gold". In actual fact. the latter is rather incongruously named. and the fins are of normal size. alkaline conditions. Feral guppies are unspectacular in color. Size: 15 cm. Hemirhamphidae. Size: 5 cm. Breeding is straightforward. the descriptions are sci­ entifically inexact in the case of the first two fami­ lies: there is no anatomical connection between the egg and the mother fish as there is in certain sharks and in mammals.FRESHWATER FISH •Poecilia velifera The Yucatan sailfin molly has an overdeveloped dorsal fin. Size : 5 cm. since it is practically an albino. a phenomenon rare among fish. and Goodeidae. • Poecilia reticulata Feral guppy Size: 5 cm. but it is extremely tolerant. but aquarists commonly lump all three families together under this heading. TRUE OR FALSE LIVEBEARERS? The term "livebearer" or "viviparous" is applied to fish of the following families: Poeciliidae. it is one of the most popular species owing to its uncomplicated breeding habits and the large number of available varieties. which are classified according to overall coloration and the shape of the caudal fin. • Varieties of guppy. classified by dorsal fins Poecilia reticulata Size: 5 cm. A female can produce up to 100 fry every 4 weeks if the temperature is raised to 27-28°C. The guppy prefers hard. The females can produce up to 100 fry.

• black: blue. it can leap out of the aquarium. Xiphophorus helleri The photo opposite clearly shows why X. with black fins. There are many varieties available commercially. Size: 15 cm. A very lively fish. and the male is sometimes truculent. and function in all respects like a male! Size: 15 cm. she can undergo a spontaneous sex reversal.POECILIIDAE A LIVEBEARER FOR THE BEGINNER: THE PLATY XIPHOPHORUS MACULATUS In addition to the guppy.or greenish-black metallic sheen. and you can cross the platy with the swordtail and Xiphophorus variatus (variegated platy or "variatus"). They produce about 50 fry. Size: 15 cm. Females do not have the "sword. • tuxedo: red and black. the platy or Xiphophorus maculatus is an ideal starter fish. lower swordtail double swordtail flagtail delta fantail 101 . • Xiphophorus helleri Gold variety." The female can produce up to 200 fry and exhibits behavior very rare among fish and indeed all other animals: after one or two spawnings. Xiphophorus helleri Wagtail variety. • lemon: cream-yellow body. • Simpson hi-fin: overdeveloped dorsal fin. Common varieties of platy are: • red: one of the most popular. helleri is known as the swordtail. • wagtail: red or orange-yellow.

with which it can be crossed.FRESHWATER FISH Xiphophorus variatus The variegated platy has fewer varieties than X. Size: 15 cm. •Xiphophorus montezumae This is the Montezuma swordtail. helleri. with dark metallic sheen. The female can produce up to 100 fry. black fins.the specimen illustrated here is a feral variety . They are rarely sold commercially. Size: 5 cm. • Xipho helleri Red veiltail variety. spotted with black. Most swordtails . • Berlin: red. • black: in reality blue or green. with a broken red line on each flank. • Xipho helleri Simpson hi-fin variety Size: 15 cm. Xipho helleri Green variety.have shorter "swords" than X. • red: entirely red body. maculatus. Xipho helleri Veiltail variety. • tuxedo: red background. Size: 5 cm. large black streak from back of head to caudal peduncle. • Simpson (hi-fin): highly-developed dorsal fin. Size: 15 cm. • veiltail: all fins are larger than normal. T 102 . • wagtail: red body. • lyretail: upper and lower sections of caudal fin prolonged by filaments. probably closely related to the feral form. VARIETIES OF SWORDTAIL Swordtails are distinguished by their color and/or the shape of the finnage: • green: more or less bright green. Size: 15 cm. the commonest variety.

and his anal fin less clearly modified than in males of the Poeciliidae. Gestation in the female lasts up to 2 months. recognizable by their orange hindparts.may be slightly disappointed. where they are judged on color. Size: 7 cm. Contrary to what hap­ pens with the Poeciliidae. where they live in hard. which have been patiently evolved through selection. Though the truth is some­ what more complex. with the fry (40-60) growing rapidly. and the development of the finnage. etc. there are five different color varieties of swordtail. the wild stock from which captive varieties are descended. HEMIRHAMPHIDAE GOODEIDAE T he Hemirhamphidae (which are false livebear­ ers) originate from Asia.mainly because they breed easily . are trtie livebearers. the number of varieties becomes enormous. shape. plus another three for fin shape. Size: 7 cm. natives of Mexico. How many varieties are there? At the present time. Size: 8-10 cm. Some aquarists enter their prize specimens for shows. but they are readily obtainable commercially.HEMIRHAMPHIDAE . sometimes brackish waters. are sometimes slightly aggressive. These varieties do not exist in Nature. who are encouraged to try these fish . let alone owned. The Goodeidae.GOODEIDAE T H E POECILIIDAE: CROSSES A N D VARIETIES There are very few aquarists who have seen. They are charac­ terized by a lower jaw which projects distinctly fur­ ther than the upper. • Dermogenys pusillus (Hemirhamphidae) Ameca splendens (Goodeidae) The male butterfly goodeid is more brightly colored than the female. The fry acquire the characteristic "beak" only after several weeks. there's no way you'll remember them all! You sometimes hear aquarists remark that the present vari­ eties. 103 . Given that similar figures would also hold good for the platies. are less hardy than earlier ones.) can interbreed. Dealers offer several species under this name. Breeding is less prolific than with the Poeciliidae. platies. with the addition of salt: 1 teaspoonful per 10 liters. The Malayan halfbeak proper lives and feeds just below the surface. beginners. and that all species of Xiphophorus (swordtails. The males. variegated platies. the females produce only one brood after mating. • Xenotoca eiseni (Goodeidae) The red-tailed goodeid. Breeding requires hard water.

they can become quite bel­ ligerent. There are more than 1. these toothed carnivores are voracious feeders. 104 . affording them a greater chance of survival. Often quite large and powerful-looking. Asia. and. at least under certain circumstances. basically lively and boisterous. such as during spawning or in defense of territory.500 species (related to the European perch). One particularly interesting technique is mouthbrooding: the female shelters the eggs and fry in her buccal cavity.FRESHWATER FISH CICHLIDAE C ichlids have acquired a none-too-flattering reputation for trouble . which throng the freshwater areas of America. But this is not always the case. The breeding habits of Cichlids vary. Africa. elongate dorsal fin. Some species possess a distinct personality and are decidedly temperamental. Their anatomical characteristic is the single. to a lesser extent.persistently quarreling with other (and their own) species and wrecking the decor.

CICHLIDAE 105 .

there is no problem keeping them in captivity. They deposit their eggs on a suitable surface: existing sites are usually sufficient. especially of conspecifics. Feeding is no problem: these fish particularly appreciate live prey and fresh foods. requiring a sizable tank: at least 500 liters. The golden yellow coloration is less common in the wild.FRESHWATER FISH CICHLIDAE: AMERICAN SPECIES In general these prefer slightly acidic. while the male defends the territory. The species prefers alkaline and moderately hard water similar to that found in their home waters of Central America. especially during spawning.000 eggs and the parent fish nurse the young for 3 weeks. the male then fertilizes them. it is important to keep them in large tanks: 200 liters for the smaller species and at least 400 liters for the largest. The female is capable of producing up to 1. but they take good care of their fry (several hundred per brood) which become free­ swimming 5-6 days after hatching. A 250-liter tank containing hard. Size: 30-35 cm. These fish are considered as potentially aggressive. • 106 . the Chocolate cichlid can be recognized by its bulbous forehead. Cichlasoma (or Parapetenia) salvini The adults of Salvin's cichlid are belligerent. is perfect for these fish. • Cichlasoma citrinellum The Midas cichlid is rather aggressive. Cichlasoma crassum Quite timid and tranquil. After some 2 days incubation. Because of their temperament and their size. The decor should consist of rockwork and sturdy plants. the female is smaller than the male. but be aware that they are quite voracious. Size: 15 cm. The aquarium (300-400 liters minimum for the largest species) must be equipped with hiding places and an efficient filtration system. These fish are omnivorous. The hatchlings remain there for a few days. where most specimens are more or less gray. She lays her eggs on a rigid surface which she has previously mouthed clean. The excep­ tions to the rule are the mouthbrooders. with some sturdy water plants as a finishing touch. requiring soft. In general. soft conditions. A native of the Amazon basin. alkaline water. and sometimes appear sensitive to any change in water quality. they are carried to nursery pits hollowed out of the sand to encourage them to hatch. Size: 15-20 cm. despite reaching up to 30 cm in length. Cichlasoma maculicauda The blackbelt cichlid is equally intolerant. though some species remain reason­ ably peacable. acidic conditions and a large tank. The genus Cichlasoma The genus Cichlasoma originates from Central and South America.

producing 500-800 eggs.CICHLIDAE: AMERICAN SPECIES Mesonauta festivus (Old genus name Cichlasoma) Unlike other Cichlids. Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum The Texas cichlid has a color pattern which varies according to its origin. the flag cichlid . it is actually quite belligerent. Size: 10-15 cm. The water should be soft and acidic. Size: 20 cm. this. The female lays up to 200 eggs. while the larvae are subsequently attached to another support by the parents. has a fairly calm tem- perament and is a good subject for the hobbyist wishing to gain experience with Cichlids.it is vigorously territorial . • Cichlasoma labiatum Easily distinguishable from related species by its large.it requires a large aquarium. and is aggressively territorial. the two-spot cichlid. Its relatively modest size (15 cm maximum) means it can be kept in a 200­ liter tank with slightly smaller fish such as some of the Characins. It is easy to mistake the fast-growing juveniles for the golden cichlid.sometimes called the festive cichlid. and display brighter coloration during spawning. Size: 30 cm. The female lays up to 1. this species is commonly known as the red devil. T. blubbery lips. A CICHLASOMA FOR THE BEGINNER Thorichthys meeki (Old genus name Cichlasoma) To intimidate other fish. Cichlasoma bimaculatum.and are deposited at the bottom of a nursery pit dug into the aquarium bed. Cichlasoma octofasciatum For a long time sold commercially under the name C. Cichlasoma nicaraguense The males of the spilotum grow up to 25 cm in length. It is best to separate the parent fish from the young after hatching. Despite its small size. meeki enlarges its opercles (gill-covers). A'n interesting subject for the more experienced aquarist moving on to Cichlids. Size: 20-25 cm. A bad character. which hatch in 48 hours.lays its eggs on vertical surfaces. 107 .a rarity among Cichlids . The eggs are not adhesive . and likely to savage the decor! On the plus side. which has earned it the common name of firemouth cichlid. octofasciatum. the fry are free-swimming 4 days later. The female lays up to 600 eggs. and the fry grow rapidly. Size: 20-25 cm. Because of its size and behavior . biocellatum. but the females are distinctly smaller.000 eggs. Water should be alkaline and reasonably hard. Aequidens curviceps . deploying its brilliant red throat membrane. it spawns prolifically. A temperamental fish: keep it separate from smaller species. The dorsal and anal fins of the male are more pointed. and not to be confused with the other flag cichlid. the Jack Dempsey (named after the boxer) is properly called C.

Angels will accept manufactured foods. start to feed on Artemia nauplii a few days after hatching. It is distinguished from its cousin by the sharp indentation just above eye level. which do not resemble the adults. acidic watercourses of the Amazon basin.except during spawning . acidic conditions. Cichlasoma synspilum Despite its considerable size. Whether breeding is successful or not. however. Their original habitats are the soft. Size: 30 cm. Both parent fish are involved in caring for their young. Further. and imitate their nursing behavior by positioning an airstone or diffuser near the nest: this will stir the water and aerate the eggs. but they delight in small. there are veil forms of practically every variety. but spawns easily. Both strains can interbreed with the redheaded cichlid. introduce smaller species. are also essential to form refuges. You should not. Relatively tranquil except during spawning. Its care is not quite so straightforward. the redheaded cichlid is fairly well behaved with other species. the severum thrives in soft. and so is rarer and more expensive to buy. it requires huge amounts of space. such as the aquarium glass or the heat­ ing equipment! The male then joins the female in guarding the eggs and fanning them. Angelfish Angels are the most well-known and popular of all the Cichlids. Obviously. with the female laying only a hundred or so eggs in a clutch. remove the adults. but the hybrids inherit the convict's behavior patterns. The female deposits her sticky eggs on broad-leafed plants (especially those of the genus Echinodorus) or on PVC pipe placed in the tank. including depth. Angels are peaceful species . with the female capable of producing 800 eggs. Heros severum A native of the Amazon basin. where they can swim without restriction. Sometimes.FRESHWATER FISH Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum The convict cichlid is a territorial fish which you will often find playing bulldozers in your aquarium! It is best therefore to avoid plants or delicately positioned rockwork. they need an aquarium with a great deal of space. the angelfish exists in a large number of varieties classified according to the amount and intensity of black coloration. hatching takes place in 1-2 days. • 108 . on the other hand. the parents fail to fulfil their role and ignore the eggs. Pterophyllum scalare Currently bred both in Europe and Asia. the quality of the water must be just right. sur­ prising sites. Size: 1 5 cm. which is the best option. provided they respect its territory. a long way from its native waters. which the angels are likely to regard as prey. it is one of the least prolific species of Cichlid. • Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum Xanthochromic variety. which is just as belligerent. Size: 20 cm. Size: 15-20 cm. Selective breeding has gradually evolved a xanthochromic (golden) variety. The fry.and you can keep them with Characins and Corydoras species in a regional South American tank. live prey. especially with the first clutch. Pterophyllum altum The deep angelfish is caught in its natural habitat. She will sometimes choose other. Size: 10-15 cm. both the parent fish are able to mate again soon afterwards. sporting fins that are distinctly longer than normal. Plants.

Symphysodon aequifasciata • Brown variety. wavy stripes . blue body with brownish-red streaks . exhibiting stress reactions in the presence of livelier species. Deprived of this critical feeding stage. aequifasciatus. with hatching following in about three days. Unlike its cousins ­ the subspecies and varieties of S. plant pot. Ultimately they can be fed on Artemia nauplii. or even slightly less. Size: 10-15 cm.CICHLIDAE: AMERICAN SPECIES Discus A native of the Amazon and Orinoco basins.green. Symphysodon aequifasciata • Breeding pair. Symphysodon discus discus The Heckel discus has only three dark transverse bands.brown.azure. It lives in calm. using peat filtration. which has a red back and belly. for certain native populations. the head and upper back show blue. under the supervision of the parent fish. depends to a large extent on water quality: acidic. but the adults pair off naturally into breeding couples. Breeding. the discus is a leisurely swimmer. aquarium glass). they will not survive in the aquarium for very long. especially the finnage. considered extremely difficult. basically brown. with blue streaks on head . visibility varies) 109 . Vary the diet. Three other strains of discus have been bred selectively: . much of whose body. Symphysodon aequifasciata There are several natural varieties of discus. a newcomer to the market. The female lays her eggs (up to 200) on a vertical support (PVC pipe. Keep the temperature above 26°C and make regular partial water changes. species of Corydoras and Apistogramma or the var­ ious angelfish. Size: 10-15 cm. The most extraordinary feature of these fry is that they derive nourishment from a mucus secreted from the parents' bodies . temperature must be consistently maintained at 28°C.a virtually unique phenomenon in the entire fish world. and plants. the fry remain attached by their heads and only start swimming two or three days later. the discus is often considered the most beautiful and regal of all freshwater fish. is covered with blue streaks. with a lighter body and blue-green belly. A large aquarium is necessary: allow 10 liters per adult. very soft. the pelvic fins are black. technically known as subspecies: . It is not easy to sex discus.royal blue. roots. Size: 10-15 cm. clear waters with soft and acidic properties. Tens of thousands of fish of these species are exported every year. which are mainly raised in captivity . which should consist mainly of live or fresh prey.blue. as opposed to red in other varieties . the Heckel forms a modest food resource. there is little data concerning the nfluence of these culls on the natural population. • Symphysodon aequifasciata The black stripes vary in intensity according to mood and behavior. Size: 10-15 cm. Size: 10-15 cm. using a decor of suitably prepared bogwood.red. As a matter of nterest. with a pH of 6. on a very localized basis. central band always visible) Symphysodon aequifasciata (nine transverse bands.the Heckel discus is usually procured from the wild. but these Cichlids do not appear to be endangered. and apparently very hard to breed. Tranquil and peaceable. The best tankmates for it are Characins. Symphysodon discus discus (three transverse bands.

which shares its English name. not to be confused with Mesonauta festivus. She then keeps guard over them. The female lays 200-500 eggs on a flat stone. Size: 7 cm. • Astronotus ocellatus The oscar grows to 30 cm and has a bad reputation for wrecking the decor. and peaceful enough except at spawning time. Or.000 eggs on a suitable surface. The answer is to use a very large tank (several hundred liters) and tough. partial changes. Size: 12 cm. both parent fish then keep guard. it has plenty of character. well-anchored vegetation. The female cleans a solid support before laying up to 300 eggs. Papiliochromis ramirezi Ramirez's dwarf cichlid is sensitive to water quality. Agassiz's dwarf cichlid demands regular water changes. Size: 7 cm. though producing fewer eggs. Bronze and gold varieties of oscar have been evolved by artificial selection. is a small species from the Amazonian basin. Aequidens pulcher The blue acara is a territorial species and can be aggressive. Size: 8 cm. even timid.FRESHWATER FISH Other American species There are still more American members of this fam­ ily. •Apistogramma cacatuoides Males of the cockatoo dwarf cichlid are mutually antagonistic. arrived at by artificial selection. driving off all intruders. The fry cling to their support by means of a substance secreted from glands on the head. • Aequidens maroni The keyhole cichlid is tranquil. it also prefers well-planted aquariums with plenty of hiding places. The fry swim 5-7 days after hatching. Some of the smaller ones are deservedly popu­ lar on account of their coloration and behavior. while others are giants requiring an aquarium of commensurate size. 110 . and needs a well­ planted tank with hiding places. when they become free-swimming feed them on Artemia nauplii. Aequidens curviceps The flag cichlid. The female deposits her eggs on the roof of a natural cave or an artificial retreat such as a plant pot or piece of PVC pipe. so you will need to carry out regular. Its breeding behavior is similar to that of Aequidens curviceps. and doesn't bother too much about the plants as it barges about. The female deposits up to 1. There is also a golden (xanthochromic) variety of this species. The female lays between 300 and 400 eggs on a flat stone. • Apistogramma agassizii Tranquil and peaceable. Size: 15 cm. less uncharitably. Size: 6 cm.

lay eggs on a suitable surface or support. Size: 30 cm. • golden dwarf cichlid likes soft. Cyphotilapia frontosa The frontosa demands an aquarium containing a minimum of 400-500 liters. which are distinguishable by coloration. though some prefer sandy zones. Size: 25-30 cm. the triangle cichlid is more active at spawning time. Females are mouthbrooders. unique to the locality. The female lays her eggs on a stone in a quiet place and then guards them. powerful filtration. certain species practice mouthbrooding. though they will dart back inside when frightened. You can usually tell the males apart by their coloration. Care of this species demands a tank with a minimum capacity of 400-500 liters filled with soft. Size: 8 cm.CICHLIDAE: LAKE TANGANYIKA SPECIES Nannacara anomala The modest-sized Uaru amphiacanthoides Rather slow and timid for its size. for the majority of species.5 and 8. Lake Tanganyika Cichlids Some 80-90% of Cichlids found in this lake are endemic.e. most of the African species require a tank of some considerable size. It feeds on quite large prey such as mussels or prawns. with a decor of rockwork. and few plants . The best form of decor is an imitation scree offering plenty of hiding places. the rest are substrate-spawners. Size: 20 cm. Many of the Cichlids found in East African lakes are endemic. The water should be distinctly alkaline (pH between 7. Geophagus steindachneri The redhump geophagus is a placid species which loves to burrow in the sand. acidic water. After laying. you will also need to keep areas clear for swimming. A large number of species practice mouthbrooding. the rest spawn in a cave or on a suitable surface. • Geophagus brasiliensis The pearl cichlid can exceed 20 cm in length and is highly teritorial. acidic conditions.the latter are in any case quite rare in the natural habitats. an aquatic gastropod. even higher for certain species) and hard. The adult males can be recognized by their bulging foreheads. when both parents guard and fan the 300 eggs. 111 . i. CICHLIDAE: AFRICAN SPECIES In view of their size and behavior. but you will need to carry out regular changes. even against the male. whence the fry emerge in 2-3 weeks. Tolerates water with average pH and hardness levels. Some of the smaller species shelter in the empty shells of Neothauma. The existence of localized populations sometimes gives rise to several strains of the same species. it is essential to keep it in a large tank with similar-sized species. in other words. the female gathers the eggs in her mouth.

• AN AFRICAN CICHLID FOR THE BEGINNER The behavior of Neolamprologus brichardi (lyretail lamprologus) makes it an ideal starter fish. The male looks after the older ones while the female tends the youngsters. The fry are free-swimming after 8-10 days. save at spawning time. • 112 . They seek out areas of rock with hiding places and shelters where they can reproduce. The female can give birth again after 1 month. sis­ ters. Size: 8 cm. The eggs are laid on the roof of a cave which the parent fish will hollow out. ornatus has three longitudinal bands on a light background. sometimes under a rock. often darker than that of its cousins. and male and female cousins all living together. transcriptus is rarely available commercially. even the fry join in defending the territory. the striped julie or convict julie can grow to 15 cm. even when not spawning. The English name derives from the four longitudinal bands. under the watchful eyes of the adults. It lives in shoals and is gregarious. these species feed mainly on algae and plank­ ton. The female cares for the eggs while the male stands guard over the nest. Size: 10-12 cm. and by the blue border on the fins. In the wild. when it becomes territorial. J. Size: 8 cm. • Julidochromis marlieri Marlier's julie is remarkable for its brown-and-white checkerboard patterning.FRESHWATER FISH Julidochromis transcriptus The three bands of the masked julie are linked by black smudges. conse­ quently. the female tends them while the male defends the territory. Size: 8 cm. When they are a few centimeters long. other species usually measure 7-9 cm. Julidochromis regani • Julidochromis dickfeldi Dickfeld's julie can be distinguished by its background coloration. Size: 10 cm. One of the largest julies. J. Julidochromis ornatus Males and females of the ornate julie pair-bond in a permanent. Like other julies. the fry are free-swimming some 8 days after hatching. Several hundred eggs are attached to the roof of the spawning site. you may find several generations of brothers. sedate relationship. but in captivity will take small live prey.

The female lays her eggs in a very small cave guarded by the male. in tanks where there is abundant rockwork and the water is changed regularly. the female. It is fond of sandy areas furnished with plants ­ beds of Vallisneria for instance. Size: 8-10 cm. Neolamprologus sexfasciatus Though not particularly aggressive. but sharing a virtually identical lifestyle. In the aquarium. Size: 1 5-18 cm. the female then fixes her eggs (100-150) to the roof. The female lays 200-300 eggs in a cave. for example. The female lays her eggs in a shelter. Size: 5 cm. Size: 8 cm. Size: 8-10 cm. Neolamprologus tetracanthus The tetracanthus is a Cichlid which is likely to bully smaller species. the fry take several days to emerge. This is not an easy species of Cichlid to obtain. on the underside of the roof. sexfasciatus should not share a tank with smaller species. N. which you should then scatter with different-sized snail shells (edible or marine species) placed with the opening upwards. gregarious species dwelling in rock zones. Neolamprologus leleupi Rather aggressive. also lays in a narrow cavity. Size: 10 cm. Its favorite food consists of live prey. It spawns in the empty shell of Neothauma.CICHLIDAE: LAKE TANGANYIKA SPECIES THE SHELL-SQUATTER Neolamprologus brevis (the dwarf shell-dweller) is a shy. this is a solitary dweller. The female of the lemon cichlid lays some 200 eggs in a cave hollowed out under a rock. Telmatochromis brichardi A small. Size: 8 cm. When the fry grow to about 2 cm they seek out shells of their own. • Neolamprologus tretocephalus The five-barred cichlid is belligerent and territorial. you will need to provide a fine sand substrate. with the fry hatching in 3 days and swimming freely a week later. with the fry not emerging till a week or so later. Telmatochromis bifrenatus The striped telmat is distinguishable from its cousin T. It makes a tiny cave at the base of a rock by burrowing away the sand. • 113 . thriving. even timid species. a snail which shares its habitat. like all species of Neolamprologus. bhchardi by the presence of an extra longitudinal stripe.

FRESHWATER FISH Tropheus moorii The moorii seeks out rocky zones with clear water and a supply of algae. but they will accept granulated artificial foods. and so requires supplements of vegetable material in captivity. The water must be distinctly alkaline. Size: 12 cm. duboisi breeds in an identical manner to T. where even free-swimming fry will retreat if threatened. almost all endemic. with rockwork and a sandy substrate. Size: 12 cm. Cichlidae: Lake Malawi species There are reckoned to be more than 200 species living in this lake. varies ­ as does the exact shape . how­ hierarchy establishes itself among the males. It requires a tank large enough for unrestricted swimming. mouthmouth.practically the only vegetation present. around 20 at most. and well-lit water. nyassae. but ensure the arrangement is stable. 400-500 liters for the largest) fitted with a powerful filtration system. in any case. The female incubates 30-50 eggs in her mouth for around 3 weeks. Until the last few years.e. • 114 . with a minimum pH of 7. surrounded by clear. some of which could well be different species. leaving a transverse white band halfway along the body. Cichlids are very fond of live or fresh prey.5 . The Cichlids feed on the algae encrusting the rocks .4° GH (100-150 ppm). the term "hap" (i. These fish require a fairly large tank (200-300 liters minimum for small species. ever. Tropheus duboisi The blue-faced duboisi juveniles are black with a scattering of white spots which disappear when the fish reach the adult stage. a certain number of species were grouped within the genus Haplochromis. which. The habitat con­ sists of rocky zones with hiding places and shelters. otherwise the more boisterous spec­ imens will dislodge it. Most species are mouthbrooders. There brooding Cichlids. Haplochromine) is still com- After laying her eggs on a stone. she can only hold a small number. shallow. The female incubates the eggs in her mouth. Copadichromis boadzulu On reaching 1-2 cm. The coloration of juveniles differs from that of adult fish.even 8 and over .6-8.and fairly hard: 5. Rocks will form the main decor. The males will fight for territory. Size: 12 cm. monly used as a catch-all desig­ the female incubates them in her nation for these endemic. T. fry of this species join groups controlled by a dominant male. Size: 12 cm.according to their original habitat. as they are larger than those of other species. Scientists Aulonocara nyassae have now redistributed these The Nyassa peacock is only aggressive towards conspecifics and until a across a variety of genera. are several varieties of A. moorii.

The female incubates up to 300 eggs for 3 weeks. the male is blue. moorii seeks out sandy areas of the lake bed with rocks to demarcate its territory. Juveniles have two dark patches which usually disappear in adulthood. Sciaenochromis ahli • A rather shy and timid "hap". more prominent in the males. N. Size: 20 cm. The Livingstone's mbuna is somewhat pugnacious and bullies smaller species. is easily confused with a closely related species. Size: 20 cm. The dominant male of the venustus has a yellow body and blue head.exhibit brown spots on a light background. Rather timid. The female incubates the eggs in her mouth for 3 weeks. Size: 18-20 cm. • 115 . C. Copadichromis jacksoni (female) Sometimes confused with Sciaenochromis ahli. or Linn's haplochromis. Nimbochromis venustus The Latin name of the genus Nimbochromis refers to distinctive patches of dark coloration on the body. a native of Pacific waters. this species is actually larger. metallic coloration. Size: 20 cm. The dominant male takes on a blue. whose name derives from its reputation for devouring the eyes of other fish. polystigma (English name: the polystigma) but has a downward­ tilted mouth. flat head and slim. Size: 12-15 cm. while the females ­ who incubate their eggs for 3 weeks . Size: 15-20 cm. Size: 20 cm. It swims with head tilted slightly downwards ready to seize its prey. The preferred habitat is a sandy area with beds of Vallisneria. the fry are free-swimming when they reach 1 cm. • Nimbochromis linni The elephant-nose polystigma.CICHLIDAE: LAKE MALAWI SPECIES • Cyrtocara moorii The adults of the blue lumphead have a bulging forehead. elongate body characterize the Malawian eye-biter. the female grayish with dark transverse stripes. A typical habitat would be a sandy bed with plantations of Vallisneria. • Nimbochromis livingstonii • Dimidiochromis compressiceps The long.

and Melanochromis. It requires supplements of vegetable material. The (polygamous) males are distinguish­ able by their coloration from the females. Mbunas are hardy." In most cases. annectens. •Labeotropheus trewavasae The Trewavas Malawi cichlid ­ yellowside variety. lively and quarrelsome. the fry emerge from their refuge when 7-8 mm in size. Labeotropheus fuelleborni Fuellebom's cichlid can be recognized by its curious parrot-beak snout. Size: 15 cm. . Size: 15-20 cm. Placidochromis electra This species (deepwater hap) feeds on tiny particles which it extracts from the substrate by filtering it with its mouth. which display certain behavioral similarities. with the female incubating them for 8 days in her mouth. The female deposits her eggs in an out-of-sight nest while the male keeps guard. trewavasae has a slimmer body than L. Size: 15-20 cm. Size: 8-10 cm.FRESHWATER FISH Protomelas annectens A shy and timid species. They are active fish. especially in the case of the dominant male. Its diet is essentially herbivorous. but it will also accept small crustaceans. especially at spawning time or when defending territory: in the local African dialect M'buna means "stone-striker. which incubate the eggs in their mouths for some 3 weeks. which he then fertilizes. • Under the general name of Mbunas are grouped the genera Pseudotropheus. Breeding can take place in the community tank. but sensitive to any reduction in oxygen level. Size: 10-15 cm. Size: 8 cm. The male of the annectens prepares a burrow in the sand for the female's eggs. a patterning reversed in the female. fuelleborni and will defend its territory vigorously. The fry leave their refuge after 2 weeks. There are several varieties or subspecies found in different parts of Lake Malawi. Mbunas are difficult to categorize owing to variations in color among local populations and to the more or less regular stream of new com­ mercial imports. it is advisable to segregate them in a species aquarium and not to mix larger with smaller specimens. The eggs are laid in a burrow dug into the sand. She incubates them in her mouth for 2-3 weeks. Labeotropheus. he is recognizable by two dark horizontal stripes on a light background. Protomelas similis The dark stripe extending longitudinally from the gill­ cover to the tail of the red empress can lead to confusion with P. •Melanochromis auratus The Malawi golden cichlid is the most belligerent of all Mbuna species. L.

with black transverse bands. Pseudotropheus elongatus The slender Mbuna has a more streamlined body than other Pseudotropheus species.MBUNAS Melanochromis johannii • Is very agressive . The female retires to a quiet area of the tank to incubate her eggs. Size: 13-15 cm. This Mbuna is aggressive and defends its territory ferociously. the female golden yellow. Pseudotropheus zebra The Malawi blue cichlid was one of the first Mbunas known to aquarists. juveniles assume these colorations on reaching 3-4 cm. Size: 12 cm. 117 . unlike other Mbunas. This fish readily accepts vegetable supplements. • Pseudotropheus lombardoi The male kennyi is golden yellow. •Melanochromis crabo A territorial and highly hierarchical species. Size: 13 cm. Size: 8-10 cm. the male has eye-spots {ocelli) on the anal fin. The female chameleon cichlid lays her eggs on a flat stone. then retires to a quiet place to incubate them. but details vary extensively. The male displays a violet­ brown coloration. the female is dark yellow. There are several color morphs of P. some may in fact be closely related species. Pseudotropheus tropheops The tropheops is one of the largest Mbunas and can measure up to 18 cm. The basic coloration is blue. Pseudotropheus socolofi• Unlike other species in this group. The male is dark with horizontal stripes. Its diet is mainly herbivorous. the female blue. zebra (blue or orange. Supplements of vegetable material are desirable. It appreciates supplements of vegetable material. Size: 12-15 cm. for instance). the male and female cobalt blue cichlid are scarcely distinguishable. Size: 8-10 cm.even the females attack each other.

Size: 10-15 cm. lesser-known lakes. At the moment it is not in great favor with hobbyists. It is more or less tranquil. Size: 10 cm. including Lake Victoria. where it is raised on a large scale to improve food resources.and plankton-eater in the wild. the fry can withstand a progressive increase in salinity over 4-6 weeks from the time they are 1 cm long and are consequently useful for feeding as live prey. it has been introduced into practically the whole of trop­ ical Africa. Pelvicachromis pulcher The kribensis is a native of Nigeria. The male will defend its territory vigorously. even brackish waters with abundant vegetation. it thrives in hard. • Astatotilapia burtoni Burton's mouthbrooder is a species encountered in the Nile and East African lakes. • OREOCHROMIS NILOTICUS An algae. and Senegal.FRESHWATER FISH Cichlidae: other African species Besides the Cichlids of Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. the Nile perch or Lates niloti­ cus. • Oreochromis mossambicus The Mozambique mouthbrooder has been introduced into several tropical regions of the world. a few more interesting species are found in other. The female lays 200-300 eggs in a cave. the feral varieties having a more marked red coloration. especially to marine species. niloticus has also been introduced into many of the world's tropical regions. O. which can exceed 1 m and weigh more than 100 kg. but becomes territorial during spawning. Size: 30-50 cm. It grows fairly rapidly. Chad. This fish. Size: 10 cm. the female lays up to 500 eggs on a suitable surface. is a notorious example of bad practice: importing a non-native species without proper precautions. and in certain rivers in East and West Africa. the population levels of small Cichlids in Lake Victoria do not seem to have been affected. and is very hardy: it can with­ stand a temperature range of 13-33°C and also survive in salt water after careful and progressive acclimatization. tending them while the male defends the site. though he is less aggressive than other Cichlids. However. The fry are free-swimming 1 week after hatching. with the fry swimming within a week. Originally from the Nile. Fishing for this species provides an important local source of food. Size: 50 cm. the Nile mouthbrooder becomes omnivorous in captivity. The female lays her eggs in a hollow dug into the substrate and then incubates them in her mouth for 2 weeks in a secluded part of the tank. but the largest specimens (often destined for smok­ ing) are becoming rarer since the introduction of a voracious predator. A large female can incubate several hundred eggs in her mouth for 3-4 weeks. The adults acclimatize well to seawater. Hemichromis bimaculatus Several related species are sold under the name of crown-jewel cichlid. 118 .

CICHLIDAE: ASIAN SPECIES Tilapia mariae The tiger tilapia can be extremely aggressive when defending its territory. • Tilapia buttikoferi The female hornet tetra lays 200-400 eggs on a stone. Extra vegetable material should be added to the diet. The female lays up to 100 eggs in a depression hollowed out of the sand and then incubates them in her mouth for around 10 days. brackish water. Size: 20 cm. brackish waters with abundant vegetation. The female lays 100-200 eggs in a hollow. CICHLIDAE: ASIAN SPECIES Very few in number. Size: 20-30 cm. The newly hatched fry are then carried to a hollow dug out of the sand. • Steatocranus casuarius The bellicose lionhead cichlid or African blockhead has its home in fast-flowing. the banded chromide requires a good-sized tank. The parents become very aggressive. the hobbyist is likely to come across only two species. A tranquil species which spawns quite prolifically. which both parents will guard. Size: 8-10 cm. in fact. turbid waters. Size: 30 cm. defending both eggs and fry. with the female laying 300 eggs on a suitable support. The female lays up to 400 eggs on a suitable surface and then keeps guard until they hatch 2 days later. Etroplus suratensis • In view of its size. It does best in hard. There is also an all-gold variety of this species. Size: 8 cm. Etroplus maculatus The orange chromide also likes hard. Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor The dwarf Egyptian mouthbrooder is a small Cichlid dwelling in the Nile and Lake Victoria which will defend its territory against larger species. The characteristic protuberance on its forehead is larger in the male. Size: 10 cm. 119 .

The labyrinth. as she runs the risk that her mate will attack or even kill her. As soon as the female has laid her clutch of several hundred eggs. The females are always mutually tolerant. since some can scramble out onto land. or green) can therefore be kept in a regional or community tank. live in environments deficient in oxygen: standing water.and to females after spawning ­ but they do not interfere with other species. The females lay over 100 eggs in soft. They were also formerly known as Anabantidae (meaning "climbers"). Size: 6-8 cm. acidic water. Betta splendens Males. developing in juveniles during the first few weeks of life. remove the male after hatching. Size: 5 cm. • Colisa labiosa The timid thick-lipped gourami hides in the vegetation whenever it feels threatened. acidic water. This process is supplemental to the normal function of the gills and represents an adaptation to their habitat. she must be removed. natives of Asia.FRESHWATER FISH BELONTIIDAE T hese fish possess an unusual feature: located in the upper part of the head is a special organ known as the labyrinth . The female lays several hundred eggs in soft. Size: 10-12 cm.hence their earlier name of Labyrinthidae. allows them to breathe oxygen from the atmosphere. Incubation takes 2 days. A handsome male (red. Colisa fasciata Males of the giant gourami will battle for dominance. Betta splendens The Siamese fighting fish only partly deserves its common name: the males are aggressive towards one another . This species interbreeds with the thick­ lipped gourami: dealers market the resulting hybrids under either name. The fry will develop rapidly. The underlying reason is that Belontiidae. Size: 10 cm. The pectoral fins of certain species have developed thread-like organs which have a tactile function and help the fish find its direction. in fact. 120 . A gregarious but timid species. including pools and rice paddies. Betta splendens A ripe female. blue. stagnant and often muddy. • Colisa sota (Colisa chuna) The honey gourami does not always construct a nest for spawning: the male carries the fry about until they are free-swimming.

and like them possesses a labyrinth. The "kissing" behavior observed between individuals probably has some social function. Macropodus opercularis The paradise fish has been familiar to aquarists since the mid. with the fry feeding on small live prey. Helostoma temmincki The kissing gourami is a near relative of the Belontiidae . but possesses the advantage of withstanding temperatures down to 15%C ­ sometimes even lower for short periods. The female. 121 .it actually belongs to the family Helostomatidae .000 eggs. There is also an orange-red ver­ sion of this species . Size: 10-15 cm.1800s. Trichogaster trichopterus Trichogaster trichopterus The tranquil blue gourami or threespot gourami prefers to breed in seclusion from other fish. though admittedly also occurring during the mating ritual. and builds a bubblenest for its eggs.the third spot referred to in its English name is really the eye. The eggs hatch in 2 days.the sunset. Size: 10 cm. A GOURAMI FOR THE BEGINNER The Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) is the traditional recommendation to the novice: the male makes a glorious sight in the aquarium. the female is duller in color. Size: 13 cm.BELONTIIDAE Trichogaster leeri The male of the peaceful pearl gourami has a more pointed dorsal fin than the female. The current variety has only two black spots on its body . Size: 10-15 cm. which is not albino. less brightly colored than the male. it is better to try the blue gourami or the dwarf gourami. retreating into the vegetation if disturbed. is very prolific. it is not necessarily linked to reproduction. Once again. The fry are slow to develop. which can lay up to 1. These spots are not present in the Cosby strain. If your aim is to familiarize yourself with breeding procedures. There is also a most beautiful golden variety. It is the "black sheep" of the family. The female lays several hundred eggs which hatch in 2 days or so. Size: 5 cm. The latter (Colisa lalia) is tranquil and timid.

and tends to be nocturnal. which links the swim bladder to the digestive tube. Appears not to breed in captivity. exist only as a single family in the world of the aquarist . as it is rather timid. is used as a food source in certain parts of the world. one of them. Size: 15-20 cm.and quite harmless . gulping down its prey (it has a preference for live food) with its yawning mouth. Size: 12 cm. Notopterus notopterus. often possessing unique anatom­ ical features or biomechanisms. The elephant-nose can emit weak .electrical discharges. Pantodon buchholzi • (Pantodontidae) The butterfly fish is a surface­ dweller. which has only recently been successfully bred in captivity. Several species have proved marketable. and therefore prefers soft. Another more or less twilight species. Its common name derives from its butterfly-like appearance as it swims with pectoral fins outspread. preferably in darkness. Eigenmannia virescens (Rhamphichthyidae) The green knifefish originates from calm waters in South America. Size: 20-30 cm. chitala by the absence of a dorsal fin. it appreciates live prey. Size: 10-20 cm Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae) Peters's elephant­ nose uses its "trunk" to sift the substrate for food. For these reasons we have grouped them together on this double page. it can leap from the water. but resembles it in being a twilight species. • Xenomystus nigri (Notopteridae) The African knifefish is distinguishable from N. It can swim both forwards and backwards. • 122 .FRESHWATER FISH CURIOSITY CORNER S ome species. acid conditions. Occasionally it emits a groan-like sound from the pneumatic duct. Sometimes aggressive. Size: 20-30 cm. Notopterus chitala (Notopteridae) The Indian knifefish or clown knifefish lives in Asia in slightly alkaline waters.and sometimes also in the wild.

This is more than questionable ­ it is downright unacceptable and ought to be stopped. This is a peaceable species. (Mastacembelidae) Several color variants are sold commercially under the name of Mastacembelus or spiny eel. swims at an oblique angle. one of them. Breeding in captivity is impossible without hormone injections. Size: 20 cm. the col­ oration achieved is not permanent. The female lays a hundred or so eggs in the fine-leafed foliage of certain plants. Size: 5-6 cm. but hard to breed. Be careful too that this species does not escape from the tank. otherwise there wil l be constant fighting. • Chanda ranga (Centropomidae) The natural habitats of the glassfish are hard. There are several related species. which belongs to the genus Monocirrhus. as it is very agile. head down. A practice current in SouthEast Asia consists of injecting the fish with chemical dyes. in any case.CURIOSITY CORNER A DISGRACEFUL PRACTICE The coloration of the back and belly is absent in feral varieties of the glassfish (Chanda ranga). We suggest very strongly that you boy­ cott the purchase of such specimens. Its deformable mouth means that it can swallow prey measuring up to half its own size. It is best to keep only one specimen. The tiny fry must be fed on infusoria of a suitable size. and has a small barbel on its lower jaw. Polycentropsis abbreviata (Nandidae) The African leaf fish really does resemble a leaf . The long snout acts as an organ of touch: only the head remains sticking out when the fish buries itself in the sand for protection. brackish waters in Asia.a camouflage used to outwit its enemies. Mastacembelus sp. Size: 6-8 cm. • 123 .

When in poor health. which allows the fish to attach itself to a support and resist the current.BRACKISH WATER SPECIES S ome species cope well with conditions where there are large variations in salinity. few hobbyists think of actually keeping a brackish water aquarium. You will find several species available on the market. However. once grown to adulthood. or when the water quality is unsuitable. sebae (the fingerfish). Monodactylus argenteus (Monodactylidae) The mono begins its life in fresh water. the coloration of both species darkens. It is vital to keep such fish in special aquariums where the salinity is carefully adapted to suit their metabolisms. Caring for them in captivity requires an aquaterrarium rather than a simple aquarium. normally. except America. M. The adults are true sea-dwellers. papilio (butterfly mudskipper). Captive breeding is very rare. the silvery background predominates. Brachygobius xanthozona (Gobiidae) The bumblebee fish comes from the coastal regions of South-East Asia. where they complete their development. Some of the species described below will coexist quite happily in the controlled environment of an aquarium. The two species most commonly available commercially are P. they live permanently in the sea. Size: 15-18 cm. They are found in all the world's tropical regions. It feeds on small. Size: 5 cm. which should not exceed 15 cm or so in depth. is partially herbivorous. A timid species. with a gentle slope allowing them to emerge from the water. some possess really remarkable features and are regarded by aquarists as curiosities. though this can be just as exciting as a freshwater or marine tank. This species requires a large tank with enormous amounts of space for group swimming. barbarus (blotched mudskipper) and P. In the case of others. • Periophthalmus sp. (Gobiidae) The genus Periopthalmus contains some very bizarre fish which can leave the water and move around using their pectoral fins. it prefers live prey or fresh food. juveniles start their lives in fresh water before descending to estuaries. . A near relative. live prey and rarely breeds in captivity. living in the sandy areas of estuaries. Its pelvic fins are modified into a sucker. with the juveniles migrating to brackish regions as they mature. Size: 10-12 cm. they need a bank of sand.

which it then snatches with its mouth. Size: 15 cm. To capture small insects for food. argus. Tetraodon reticulatus (reticulated puffer) is aggressive and frequents distinctly saline waters. The round-spotted puffer. Not known to breed in captivity. brackish water. and can feed on mollusks and crustaceans. palembangensis is known as the figure-eight puffer. Size: 8-10 cm. . A territorial species. When threatened. T •Tetraodon palembangensis or T. and thrive best in brackish or saltwater aquariums. It feeds voraciously on small snails. • Scatophagus argus (Scatophagidae) Adults of the spotted scat can survive in fresh water.Toxotes jaculator (Toxotidae) The archer fish has its "hunting ground" just below the surface. they have teeth. it shoots out a powerful jet of water. only reproduces in brackish water. in any case. live in brackish water. Size: 20-25 cm. It appears that this puffer can be bred in captivity by using brackish water and keeping the temperature above 26°C. It accepts live prey or meat-based foods. Appears not to have been bred successfully by hobbyists. T. the jet can hit a target up to 1 m away. This is a gregarious fish which requires vegetable supplements. Scats are much more prone to disease if kept in fresh water. it is not known to breed in captivity. otherwise tubifex or the fry of Poeciliidae. and requiring hard. biocellatus (Tetraodontidae) Several related species are marketed under the general name of Tetraodon. the commonest. Food consists chiefly of living prey: preferably insects. can become aggressive on reaching adulthood. Size: 7-10 cm. but are much less active than in salt conditions. all species can inflate their bodies with air and water to intimidate the enemy. but will also take live prey. a marine family for the most part. rubifrons (tiger scat) is probably only a variety of 5. knocking down the prey. The species 5. Tetraodon fluviatilis (Tetraodontidae) A few species of Tetraodontidae. Its precisely aimed "shot" is made possible by excellent vision through both water and air. sometimes aggressive.

Medium-sized species (around 20 cm) must he kept in tanks of 300 liters. or at least 400 liters if they are active. The smallest marine fish require a minimum water volume of 150-200 liters. most come from the Pacific and Indian oceans. It is advisable to obtain juvenile (or sub-adult) specimens. particularly as regards feeding: some refuse to eat artificial food. Marine fish are usually collected in their natural environment and rarely reproduce in captivity. .MARINE FISH There are almost 20. Of these. although a few are native to Australia and the tropical Atlantic ocean. They find it more difficult to acclimatize than freshwater fish. but only a small minority is of any interest to the aquarist. as they are generally easier to acclimatize and feed.000 species of marine fish in the world. and others have very special dietary requirements.

and any mistakes in this respect may prove tragic for your residents. On the other hand. more delicate species: annularis angelfish (Pomacanthus annularis). group life). Chaetodontidae). the yellow longnose butterfly (Forcipiger flavissimus). sebae) and blue damsels. all of which belong to the Pomacentrid family. whose first tank will be a marine one. Pomacanthidae). Balistids and Pomacanthidae not mentioned above. as well as some more regal species: queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris. MARINE FISH FOR BEGINNERS The term beginners refers here not only to newcomers to fishkeeping. MORE DELICATE MARINE FISH Once an aquarist is familiar with the problems of marine aquariums and how to deal with them. all from the Pomacanthid family. in addition to these species. but also to aquarists who have already had experience with freshwater tanks. auriga and raccoon butterfly fish (Chaetodon auriga and C lunula. on the basis of the characteristic traits of each species. Ostraciontidae). some dwarf angelfish such as Centropyge acanthops (yellow and blue angelfish). The more experienced can try. Siganidae). foxface fish (Lo vulpinus. the Naso and Zebrasoma genera (Acanthuridae). yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus. Also suitable are the smaller Labrids and the Blennies (family Blenniidae). . clown and hippo tangs (Acanthurus lineatus and Paracanthurus hepatus. The table below therefore indicates how to fill a marine tank. Beginners are recommended some species of clownfish (Amphiprion darkii and A.COHABITATION OF MARINE FISH Bearing in mind their behavior (aggression. and the Zanclidae. some species can be recommended only to the most experienced hobbyists: the Pakistani butterfly (Chaetodon collare). other clownfish and damsels. the copperband butterfly (Chelmon ros­ tratus). FOR THE EXPERIENCED. all from the Chaetodontid family. he or she can inves­ tigate other. Acanthuridae). need for territory. Also considered delicate are the Acanthuridae. not all marine fish can live together in the same aquarium.

It must be furnished with some hideaways. the red soldier fish hunts small. and a tank of at least 300 liters capacity. live prey. Myripristis jacobus Species related to M. Adioryx spinifer Its bright red coloring distinguishes it from the Adioryx cornutus. Size: 20-30 cm. Lutjanids enjoy live food but can also be given pieces of fish. such as small fish. equipped with strong. 128 . Size: 18 cm. • Robust and sociable. Size: 18 cm. though it must be given live food. This species must be put in a large tank with suitable hiding places. their large eyes endowing them with good vision to detect their animal prey. and so must be provided with shelters. mussels. and need a large tank and enough space to enable them to swim in small groups. are not always able to tolerate each other. but not necessarily reefs. It is easy to keep. pointed teeth. LUTJANIDAE T he Lutjanids (or snappers) frequent coastal waters. Size: 14 cm. but its lifestyle is very similar. They remain hidden by day.MARINE FISH HOLOCENTRIDAE T hese are most active at night. murjdan. Size: 20 cm. or shrimps. which are often solitary. The adults. mainly at night. They are voracious fish. Myripristis murjdan Adioryx cornutus The squirrel fish is a placid species which lives alone. • Lutjanus sebae The red emperor snapper lives close to corals.

In aquariums they can be gradually adapted to artificial food. live prey. Size: 20 cm. It must be kept alone. Size: 30-35 cm. Plectorhynchus orientalis The zebra sweetlips acclimatizes easily when young. This strong swimmer likes to eat fish and small crustaceans. Size: 20 cm. There are several related species with horizontal bands. and need a big tank to feel at home. often sifting the sand to capture small. PLECTORHYNCHIDAE T he young live in groups. Size: 20 cm. while the adults are bright yellow with dark dots. They are barely active by day. The black-spotted sweetlips is a peaceful fish that feeds on adult brine shrimp or other animal products.PLECTORHYNCHIDAE Lutjanus sanguineus • Ocyurus chrysurus The yellowtail snapper is native to the tropical Atlantic. proportional to its size. Lutjanus kasmira The juveniles of the eight-stripe snapper have less vivid coloring than the adults and a black spot on the body. their coloring differs from that of adults. Its diet consists of small fish and crustaceans. It is quite voracious. The juveniles have a dark band running from the eye to the base of the dorsal fin. it needs a large tank. but this is not very evident in adults. The white spots on the juveniles disappear when they become adults. Size: 30-40 cm. Size: 35 cm. which are more solitary. and relishes shrimps. or other animal products. • Plectorhynchus gaterinus Plectorhynchus chaetodontoides The spotted sweetlips lives alone (or in very small groups) in coral reefs. The blood red snapper has a good appetite and appreciates small fish. They need a large tank with shelters. 129 . Rarely found in aquariums (regrettably. They are bottom-feeders. because it is a magnificent species). The young fish sport horizontal bands. morsels of fish.

This fish is sometimes classified in the Anthiid family. It feeds on plankton in the wild and prefers small items of food. • Cephalopholis argus You can train the black groupe to eat out of your hand. The panther snapper can grow up to 65 cm in the wild.MARINE FISH SERRANIDAE T here are more than 400 species of Serranids in the world (including the groupers found in European seas) and some are easy to keep in a large aquarium (at least 400 liters). It can live for over 5 years in an aquarium. Serranids are robust and live alone once they become adults. dominated by a few males. Several specimens can live together in a large tank. The coloring grows darker in adults. Size: 20-25 cm. Size: 20-30 cm Cephalopholis miniatus The solitary red­ spotted grouper lives somewhat hidden in corals. live prey and suddenly pounces on them. • • Pseudanthias squamipinnis The scalefin anthias lives in a group or shoal. • Cephalopholis urodelus The white line grouper can be recognized by the two oblique white bars on the caudal fin. It can b recognized by its brown coloring speckled with white dots. This pretty little fish can live in a fairly small tank (minimum of 200 liters) furnished with hiding places. It stalks its small. The mouth of these voracious carnivores allows them to swallow small fish or large pieces of fresh food. Size: 20-30 cm. Cromileptes altivelis • The patches on the young grow less pronounced in adults. It is placid by nature and likes to have hideaways. particularly live prey. and in an aquarium it can reach 30-40 cm. Size: 12 cm. 130 . This species does not succumb easily to common parasitic diseases.

Size: 13-14 cm. Hypoplectrus indigo The indigo hamlet. they cannot fertilize themselves. the blue hamlet is aggressive and can only be kept if there is no other fish of the same species. Size: 12 cm. worms. They feed on crustaceans. native to the tropical Atlantic.SERRANIDAE Hamlets The Serranid family includes the species belonging to the Hydroplectiis genus. but they can only use one or the other.e. is distinguished by its vertical bands. bigger than the blue hamlet. These fish live alone and hide in crevices in the decor. • Hypoplectrus gummigutta The golden hamlet is characterized by a black triangular patch in front of the eye. • 131 . i. Hypoplectrus gemma Like the other species in this genus. which are paler than its background color. they are endowed with both ova and spermatozoa. and small fish. All hamlets are hermaphrodite. In other words. Size: 10-11 cm. Size: 15 cm. • Hypoplectrus guttavarius The coloring of the shy hamlet varies from one specimen to the next. that are small in size and therefore much appreciated by aquarists who have only a 200 liter tank.

The temperature must be a minimum of 26°C.022-1. This means the water must be of excellent quality . If they refuse this type of food they will soon die.023- Generally speaking.and regular changes. through which they can weave about in comfort. worms. Chaetodon auriga One of the best-known butterflies. some eat the tentacles of anemones or coral polyps. This sometimes leads to acclimatization problems. generally staying close to the coast. small shrimps. as they will not accept a normal diet. while others prefer different kinds of invertebrates. filtered. The decor should consist of blocks of coral. on account of their vivid coloring. They are widespread in the tropical seas. which can cause some confusions between species. Active and not prone to shyness.MARINE FISH CHAETODONTIDAE (BUTTERFLY FISH) T he butterflies are some of the most beautiful of all marine fish. Size: 16 cm. but they must be given sufficient free space for swimming and feeding. invertebrates are out of the question as cohabitants. thanks to their body form. Size: 14 cm.thoroughly stirred. Chaetodon chrysurus The red-tailed butterfly fish seems to tolerate other species from the same genus. however. and oxygenated . pieces of mussel. it can refuse all food in its first few days in the aquarium. although they do accept fish from other species. Nevertheless. Feed it with living or frozen food. where they live in coral reefs. either singly or as couples. It is an active fish that grazes on the algae in the decor and eats pieces of worms and mussels. it is only possible to keep one Chaetodon per tank: they are territorial and do not really get along with each another. The juveniles often have a different coloring from adults. in small quantities. the auriga is characterized by the adult's filamentous extension of the dorsal fin. are beneficial. it is easy to acclimatize. Sometimes. The Chaetodons are considered the most demanding of fish as regards living conditions. . according to the species: some graze on algae. and the specific gravity 1. backed up by vegetable material if there are no algae to graze on in the decor. Butterfly fish generally have a specialized diet. They must therefore be trained to eat other food: adult brine shrimps.

worms. Chaetodon fasciatus The Red Sea butterfly fish is considered very difficult to acclimatize. the lemon butterfly fish feeds on the soft parts of corals. Size: 13 cm • Chaetodon collare The Pakistani butterfly fish will tolerate fish of its own species. because it feeds on anemone tentacles and the soft parts of coral. It is one of the rare species emanating from the tropical Atlantic. Size: 15 cm.CHAETODONTIDAE Chaetodon capistratus Acclimatizing a four-eye butterfly fish can be complicated. tubifex worms). Size: 15-17 cm. as well as small anemones of the Aiptasia genus that sometimes "spontaneously"appear in marine aquariums. it is not unusual for it to die in captivity. as it normally feeds on the tentacles of anemones and corals. • Chaetodon lunula Easy to acclimatize. then frozen ones (brine shrimps. Size: 20 cm. Size: 15-17 cm. In captivity. but it soon becomes easy to keep. Size: 10 cm. Even if it does accept substitute food. Meyer's butterfly fish proves very difficult to acclimatize as it feeds on coral. The black patches on the young (dorsal area and rear) get bigger in adults once they have reached 7 or 8 cm. the raccoon butterfly fish accepts food of animal origin backed up with vegetable material. It has a reputation for being easy to keep. lunula. where it is common. • Chaetodon meyeri Rarely found in the aquarium trade. Undemanding as regards diet. live prey. it has to grow accustomed to small. This species can be confused with C. • 133 . Chaetodon melanotus There are few differences between the juveniles and adults of the black back butterfly fish. Size: 17 cm. Chaetodon miliaris In its natural habitat. and small pieces of mussel. it accepts both frozen and live food and also feeds off algae in the decor. This somewhat nervous species appreciates brine shrimps.

• BUTTERFLY FISH COLORING The coloring of adults is often slightly different from that of juveniles (size less than 5 cm). It seems to accept the presence of other specimens from the same species. but it also swims in open water. the black patch on the rear of the dorsal fin sometimes disappearing in adults. the dot-dash butterfly fish can accept artificial food. live prey. the juvenile bands can fade or disappear completely. the four-spot butterfly fish feeds on corals or small anemones.by a band or black patch) to deceive an enemy and surprise it by fleeing "in reverse. making it easier to keep. Chaetodon quadrimaculatus In its natural habitat. can get bigger. Size: 10 cm. Size: 17 cm. Chelmon rostratus The elongation of the "beak" of the copperband butterfly fish (more pronounced than that of the Chaetodon genus) has evolved to enable it to pick out food from crevices in the coral. It is considered difficult to keep. Size: 20 cm. Size: 15 cm. as it is sometimes considered to be delicate. but a vigorous swimmer.MARINE FISH Chaetodon punctatofasciatus Placid. Chaetodon ocellatus The placid spot-fin butterfly fish feeds on small live and frozen prey. except when it is alarmed. Once the fish are fully grown.and hidden . 134 . this theory has yet to be proven. It does accept brine shrimps and frozen food in captivity. This robust species swims slowly. although some. Size: 11-12 cm. notably crustaceans. It seems to act as a false eye (the real one being sur­ rounded ." However. It feeds on small. Chaetodon semilarvatus The highly active masked butterfly fish searches out small prey near the substrate or in the algae. in contrast. Its maintenance can pose problems. after first adjusting to small animal prey. little prone to aggression.

Size: 15 cm. It does not pose any problems once it has become used to small food items (crustaceans and anemones of the Aiptasia genus). • Heniochus diphreutes The first spokes of the fins of the Heniochius genus are elongated to a greater or lesser extent. • Chaetodon striatus The banded butterfly fish. when it can swim as actively as by day. tubifex worms. • • Heniochus varius The brown butterfly is distinguished by a protuberance between the eye and the base of the dorsal fin. Small. Size: 20-25 cm. This species is not given to shyness and is easy to feed. At night. and by small tentacles above the eyes. Size: 15 cm. or fish flesh. with live prey and vegetable supplements. the longnose butterfly likes to have some hiding places. is native to the tropical Atlantic. live prey is its favorite food. while the other butterflies come from the Indo-Pacific region. capistratus and the C ocellatus. except on the upper part of the body. Heniochus intermedius The background coloring of the black and white butterfly fish can vary from white to yellow. depending on the species. which are more developed in the adult male.CHAETODONTIDAE Chaetodon vagabundus The color of the young vagabond butterfly fish differs from that of adults. it gets darker. like the C. Size: 15 cm. Its diet comprises mussels. 135 . Its acclimatization is relatively smooth. Forcipiger flavissimus This is an easy species to acclimatize if it has not suffered too much during its importation. Size: 1 5 cm. Not inclined to be aggressive (except against members of its own species). The pennant butterfly fish is peaceful and easy to keep in a spacious tank. Size: 20 cm.

Chaetodonplus mesoleucus The Singapore angelfish resembles a Chaetodon. They are good swimmers and live alone or in small groups. it will then go on to accept artificial food. The coloring of the juveniles gradually changes when they reach 8-10 cm (though this is not a general rule). but also eats tubifex worms and brine shrimps. Size: 17 cm. prefer small items of food. As angelfish are highly territorial. It devours large prey (nereis. they react badly to other members of their own species. Size: 30-40 cm.MARINE FISH POMACANTHIDAE T he Pomacanthids are reef-dwelling fish. the young are very similar to the adults. • • Chaetodonplus melanosoma The black velvet angelfish respects other species but chases members of its own species off its territory. Juveniles adapt more easily to captivity. territorial and fearful. also known as rag worms). although younger fish adapt more easily to the food offered by aquarists. Euxiphipops xanthometopon Young blueface angelfish acclimatize more easily and can adopt a "cleaning" role with other fish. Size: 18 cm. mussels. and reckoned to be hardy. Its skin is very sensitive to parasites. • 136 . Their diet should consist of brine shrimps. close to shelters such as caves and coral overhangs. The Pomacanthids include both angelfish and dwarf angelfish. and turns into that of the adults. The adults. although they can also be found in the rocky coastal areas where algae grow. but only one angelfish can be kept in a 500 liter tank. as well as grazing on algae. They can sometimes be difficult to feed in captivity. It is relatively easy to acclimatize if it is first fed live prey. and shrimps. a good swimmer. Angelfish Angelfish can be distinguished from butterfly fish by their protractile mouth and the presence of a spine at the base of the operculum. It is shy. along with cooked and chopped vegetable material. with some vegetable material.

This does not prevent it from being an assiduous grazer of the decor's algae. They are easy to acclimatize. • Pomacanthus chrysurus The African angelfish is rarely seen in aquariums. This enables them to avoid being considered as intruders on their own patch. by the time they are adults. Famous for being difficult to acclimatize. When it is young. It needs vegetable components in its diet. Size: 20 cm. below 7 or 8 cm. it covers their entire body. Queen angelfish Adult. Pomacanthus annularis Adult annularis angelfish can grow to 30 cm. but demanding as regards the quality of the water. the majestic angelfish likes to have hiding places.POMACANTHIDAE Holacanthus ciliaris Even the juvenile queen angelfish are territorial. Queen angelfish Juvenile. Size: 20 cm. although it does also accept small prey. sponges. 137 . as the adults rebuff fish of the same species. Size: 20 cm. which adapt to captivity better. they feed on algae. which can cause cohabitation problems. its yellow-orange tail distinguishes it from the queen angelfish. so it is worth trying to make them a "pate" in this color. or those with similar coloring. Their acclimatization is more difficult than that of younger fish. • • Euxiphipops navarchus Somewhat shy. These fish graze on the algae in the decor but also appreciate meat dishes: reddish food seems to attract them. in order to defend their territory and its resources: food and shelters. brine shrimps. and mussels. until. Their diet comprises brine shrimp. algae. Both juveniles and adults share the same goal: to survive and per­ petuate the species. and small pieces of fish. ANGELFISH JUVENILES' COLORING: HOW TO AVOID BEING TAKEN FOR AN INTRUDER The coloring of angelfish juveniles (usually consisting of lines) is markedly different from that of adults. Holacanthus tricolor The black patch on the juveniles of the rock beauty angelfish enlarges as they grow. Size: 15 cm.

• Pomacanthus semicirculatus Pomacanthus paru Active by day and night. pieces of fish. The juveniles display several white circles against a blue background. the purple moon fish feeds on sponges and coral.MARINE FISH Pomacanthus imperator This is one of the most beautiful of all the angelfish. The young of both species can similarly be confused. and can then move on to commercial food. but the ends of its scales glow with luminous yellow dots. • The young have a dark blue body set off by fine white lines curving towards the rear. they are markedly different from the adults. However. as well as algae. nereis. The territorial raccoon angelfish leaves its shelter to eat nereis. raw or scalded mussels. Size: 30 cm. with curved yellow stripes against a black background. lettuce. Size: 20 cm. the French angelfish will eat brine shrimps and mussels. Size: 40 cm. Size: 25 cm. so these should be avoided in its aquarium. the territoriality of the emperor angelfish can make it aggressive towards other occupants of the tank. • Pomacanthus maculosus In its natural environment. shrimps. fish flesh. and can sometimes be tamed. The adult resembles that of the Pomacanthus arcuatus (gray angelfish). tubifex worms. This fish eats raw or cooked mussels. and tubifex worms. live prey. 138 . In captivity it can adjust to eating small. and plenty of filamentous algae. shrimps. lettuce. Pomacanthus paru Sub-adult. and riccia.

In the wild it feeds on sponges. but it also eats mussels. Size: 25 cm. and animal foodstuffs. It feeds on mussels. and the patch on its sides. It grows very slowly in an aquarium. it lives in small groups and tolerates other angelfish. and both stand out against the yellow background. Size: 25 cm. Sometimes confused with Pomacanthus maculosus. The black patch on the caudal fin of the young disappears in adults. the gray poma angelfish nibbles at algae. lettuce. but often on the move. it must be supplied with small food items: brine shrimps. Size: 20 cm. Size: 20 cm. Size: 20 cm. The Lamarck angelfish is sociable. the regal angelfish loves to take shelter in nooks and crannies. The flagfin angelfish appreciates a vegetable component in its diet. It is a vigorous swimmer which needs a large tank. mussels. Shy. Genicanthus lamarck The male has a yellow patch on the underbelly and its pelvic fins are black. • . it eats the same as the G. • Apolemichthys trimaculatus The spine characterizing this family is blue. it can be distinguished by its yellow caudal fin. lamarck by its vertical stripes. and brine shrimps.POMACANTHIDAE Genicanthus caudovittatus The Japanese swallow can be distinguished from the G. •Arusetta asfur The asfur angel is an active swimmer. Pygoplites diacanthus Somewhat unassuming. and chopped shrimps. but likes hiding among rocks. as is the mouth. is further forward. despite its shyness. Apolemichthys xanthurus An easy species to keep. lamarck: prey small enough to fit into its mouth. in an aquarium. also yellow. shrimps. Size: 10-13 cm.

live prey. Centropyge eibli Centropyge acanthops This is a small species.MARINE FISH Dwarf angelfish or Centropyges These also belong to the Pomachantid family and share its characteristic spine. The caudal fin is not convex. It is sometimes difficult to keep in a tank and has a reputation for being a fussy eater. in captivity. Their natural diet mainly consists of algae. • . but rarely found in the aquarium trade. they can be aggressive with members of their own species. it is recognizable from the fine blue stripes on the dorsal and anal fins. The flame back angelfish likes hideaways and feeds on algae and small invertebrates. Size: 7 cm. where they frequent the coral reefs taking shelter in caves or under overhangs. They are sociable with other fish and respect invertebrates. In some specimens. Centropyge ferrugatus The medium-sized rusty angel can be confused with other species. relatively easy to keep. is easy to keep in captivity. Territorial. the peaceful bicolor angel live in groups. the eye is surrounded by a blue circle. a vegetable diet of spinach and lettuce can be topped off with small. • Centropyge bicolor In nature. and chopped mussels. but this is not possible in captivity. They are mainly native to the Indo-Pacific region. Eibl's angelfish. Size: 10 cm. except in very large aquariums. Its vegetable diet can be complemented by small invertebrates. They are rarely longer than 12 cm and require an aquarium of at least 200 liters. However. Size: 10 cm. equipped with places to hide. or with Centropyges with a similar coloring. Size: 12 cm. tubifex worms. especially crustaceans. aggressive towards all the other species in the genus. Its basic diet consists of brine shrimps.

• Centropyge potteri The Potter's angelfish is placid and accepts a wide range of food. although it does not have the blue marks on the eye. It feeds on algae and brine shrimps. Centropyge heraldi The yellow angelfish resembles the lemonpeel angel. This species is fragile and is rarely imported. Size: 10 cm. • Centropyge flavissimus The eye of the lemonpeel angelfish is framed by a blue circle. • 141 . Nevertheless. but may also accept commercial food. Size: 11 cm. It is particularly aggressive towards other dwarf angelfish when it is deprived of sufficient space. Size: 7 cm.POMACANTHIDAE Centropyge loriculus One of the most beautiful dwarf angels. but keeping it in captivity has its complications. the flame angelfish appreciates hiding places in an aquarium. and fins. Size: 10 cm. the juvenile has an ocellus (eyelike spot) in the middle of each side. it is sometimes considered delicate for an aquarium. Size: 13 cm. Centropyge vroliki This is one of the largest fish in this genus: the half-black angelfish acclimatizes well and flourishes in captivity. accepting both live and dead prey. It accepts small items of food. This delicate species is rarely imported. operculum.

Modest in size and brightly colored. later become females.the males are generally monogamous . they are active and easy to keep. Amphiprion akallopisos Easy to keep in captivity. and they can also live without the company of their tenants. who can put them in a tank with a minimum of 200 liters of water. because their life is generally intertwined with this invertebrate. which offers them protection. They feed on small animal prey. Amphiprion bicinctus The two-banded clownfish is among the biggest of the genus. they breed less often. •Amphiprion ephippium Territorial and sometimes aggressive. although this is not always the case.can reproduce every 2-4 weeks. Anemones also play an important role in the reproduction of Pomacentrids for.25 m-) close to the anemones. on its return it has to gradually rehabituate itself. The Amphiprions are not affected by the action of the anemone's venom. the anemones can take advantage of the clowns' leftover food. The parents. If a clownfish is separated from its anemone for any length of time. at first males. and defend the site. the red saddle clownfish lives alone or in couples. often with their associated sea anemone. mussels. which grants them a kind of immunity. lay their eggs on a support. and they sometimes accept commercial artificial food. which are then bigger. It lays its eggs close to an anemone. Size: 15 cm. It lays eggs without any problems and can live without an anemone. In return. These fish are recommended for beginners. Feeding them in captivity does not present any problems: they like small live and frozen prey. without them. It is a robust species.MARINE FISH POMACENTRIDAE T hese are undoubtedly the most popular marine fish found in aquariums. which stay faithful to each other . . It is sometimes dominated by other species. Several species are commercially available nowadays. the pink skunk clownfish can live in small groups. Size: 15 cm. Clownfish. both live and dead. Most species reproduce without any problem. which is sometimes aggressive towards other Amphiprions. Size: 10 cm. and chopped shrimps. Clownfish or Amphiprions These fish owe their name to their coloring. The fish mark out a territory (around 0. they protect themselves by progressively rubbing themselves in it.

towards both its own species and Amphiprions. It is sometimes confused with the true clownfish (Amphiprion percula). the ocellaris clownfish is nevertheless fragile in its acclimatization period (1-3 months). Size: 11 cm. the tomato clownfish lives in couples. the females are white or translucent.POMACENTRIDAE Premnas biaculeatus The maroon clownfish is distinguished from the Amphiprion genus by the spine on its operculum. Size: 9 cm. 143 . The dorsal and anal fins of the male skunk clownfish display a fine orange band. Amphiprion clarkii Clark's clownfish lives in couples. Size: 15 cm. Size: 15 cm. is one of the biggest Amphiprion species. Highly territorial. It is one of the easiest to acclimatize. if it is big enough. It is quite aggressive. The male is distinguished by its yellow caudal fin (white in the female). easy to keep in an aquarium. after that. it is highly robust. • Amphiprion sebae Seba's clownfish. sometimes with the fry. it reproduces easily. without any other clownfish. Amphiprion frenatus The juvenile's small white band in the middle of its sides disappears in adulthood. An anemone houses a single couple. Amphiprion ocellaris Several couples can live in the same anemone. • •Amphiprion perideraion It is best not to keep more than one couple of this small species. Size: 13-15 cm. Easy to keep. but its white bands are fringed with black. as the female grows o 12 cm. occupying several different anemones and straying some distance from them. It lays eggs without problems and accepts artificial food.

although there may be confusion because the scientific names of anemones changed some 10 years ago. others are more exclusive. in captivity it is best to provide them with one . the associations concern exact species. Some anemones can house several species of clownfish. In fact.MARINE FISH ANEMONES ASSOCIATED WITH CLOWNFISH Even though some clownfish can live without anemones. 144 .but not just any one.

Size: 15-17 cm. It accepts artificial food. Size: 8 cm. damsels are recommended for aquarists making their first venture into sea water. Chrysiptera cyanea) is territorial and can sometimes be aggressive. and chopped shrimps.POMACENTRIDAE DAMSELS Damsels are pretty fish that are easy to raise. The sergeant-major can live to an age of 5 years or more in captivity. It accepts commercial foods. Size: 8 cm. In a smaller aquarium it is wise to keep only a single specimen. Abudefduf saxatilis • Glyphidodontops cyaneus Like the other species known as damsels. and some live in association with anemones. and ground shrimps are clear favorites). mussels. This fish will accept commercial food. Chrysiptera parasema (azure damsel. Chromis caerulea (the blue-green damsel) is active and lives in groups. Chromis caerulea Chrysiptera parasema 145 . this is one of the least expensive of aquarium marine fishes. and not forgetting their modest price. syn. • Pomacentrus coelestis The electric blue damsel can live in groups in a large tank. Hatching occurs after 1 week. sometimes dominated by the males. With these characteristics in mind. The female can sometimes lay more than 200 eggs. DAMSELS FOR BEGINNERS Novices are advised to start with the "blue damsels" group. they lay eggs quite easily. It eats mainly brine shrimps. They adapt well to captivity and often accept artificial food (though live prey. and is then ejected from the nest by the male. Glyphidodontops hemicyaneus) is a robust species which lays eggs in captivity. mussels. The blue damsel (syn. This is more aggressive than the other damsels. which takes on the task of guarding it.

although this varies from one specimen to another. Aggressive towards other wrasses. Size: 14 cm. LABRIDAE T he Labrids constitute one of the major fish families (several hundred species divided among 70 genera). The young domino damsels live in groups. this fish buries itself at night. 6 or 7 species are currently imported). the young live in groups. These highly active. red dorsal patches. which fade when they reach a length of 10-15 cm. Coris angulata Coris formosa The adult Formosa wrasses are dark brown with dark patches. The juveniles are characterized by their large. the male watches over the eggs.all these fac­ tors endear them to beginners. therefore. • Dascyllus aruanus The three-stripe damsel does not exceed 8 cm in length as an adult and prefers to live in isolation. D. but will become accustomed to deep-frozen (sometimes commercial) food.which are less common in aquariums. be kept away from them). They are all easy to accli­ matize and feed. The white spots disappear in older fishes. The Coris clown wrasse grows to 1 m in the wild but does not exceed 30 cm in an aquarium. colored fish with fusiform (tapering at each end) bodies often live alone. The coloring of the juveniles is often very different from that of the adults. In captivity they accept live prey. melanurus (black-tailed damsel). Some species bury themselves in the sediment at night. Size: 20 cm. Their reproduction is easy. especially in the species that are pre­ dominantly blue. is distinguished by a vertical black band on the tip of the caudal fin. Their sturdy teeth allow them to feed on invertebrates (which must. while the adults gradually isolate themselves. The third group covers the Abudefduf genus . or when in danger. The adults are a uniform brown­ black. and they reproduce in captivity . The second group of damsels is distinguished by its vertical black bands (genus Dascyllus'. while the blue damsels can present yellow coloring on the tail and belly. and this must be taken into account when planning the aquarium: provide them with a sandy bed. A closely related species. • 146 . The latter includes a blue-green damsel.including the species sometimes known as "devils" . the paler juveniles have big white spots.MARINE FISH Dascyllus trimaculatus CLARIFICATION Occasional variations in color and name changes can lead to confusions in this group.

It feeds on live prey and it has a highly distinctive habit: it "cleans" other fish. and artificial food. 20 cm (female). a female can change sex. it belongs to the Blenniid family ­ but it closely resembles the true cleaner. It takes advantage of this resemblance by tricking fish into getting cleaned and then tearing off pieces of their skin. it is easy to keep and its feeding poses no special problems. although the position of its mouth is different (it is terminal in the true version). with a reputation for being difficult to acclimatize. It feeds on mussels. It puts on a show in a specific part of the tank to attract them. lives in couples as an adult. 147 . Labroides dimidiatus The cleaner wrasse. the young are red with white dorsal patches which gradually fade with age. • Coris gaimard The adult red coris wrasses sport bright blue dots on a brown-red background. When there are no males available. although it is a good swimmer. but two males will not tolerate each other. worms. Size: 10-12 cm. shrimps. or even their branchiae. On very rare occasions they attack fish belonging to the Labrid family. This fish buries itself in the sand. The adult male is green­ blue. • THE FALSE CLEANER (ASPIDONTUS TAENIATUS) This is not a Labrid .LABRIDAE Gomphosus coeruleus The birdmouth wrasse can live in couples. and it then frees them of their external parasites or pieces of dead skin. the female brown-purple. Size: 20 cm.in fact. Size: 30 cm male). Size: 10 cm. Labroidesdimidiatus This wrasse is "cleaning" an Acanthurus leucosternon. False cleaners are raised in specific aquariums and fed on crustaceans.

aggressive even toward bigger fish. with only their head sticking out. Size: 25 cm. This Spanish hogfish has carnivorous tastes. It buries itself in the sand and needs hiding places. Size: 15 cm. but the males are very different. Size: 20 cm. An aquarist must be careful. The adults do not tolerate members of their own species. MURENIDAE (MURENAS) T hese usually nocturnal fish stalk small prey. although the aquarium must also provide it with shelters. likes eating mollusks. especially at mealtimes. • 148 . It can live for quite a long time. Echidna nebulosa The snowflake murena is an attractive species which sometimes makes an appearance by day. They camouflage themselves in rocks and crevices. because a murena's bite can be dangerous. Size: 20 cm. • Anampses chrysocephalus The active red tail anampses spends its time looking for food of animal origin. Its tail can also be very long. although it requires large open spaces in which it can swim freely.MARINE FISH Bodianus mesothorax The young are brown-black with dark patches on the fins that disappear in the bicolor adult. • Bodianus rufus There is barely any difference between the young and the adults. and crustaceans. Size: 20 cm. It is easy to acclimatize. The harpfish swims continuously. and it needs shelters. which are somewhat aggressive. Lienardella fasciata The Harlequin tusk wrasse. Size: 90 cm. and it must therefore be given a large space with room to move about. so plan on a big tank. worms. • Thalassoma lunare The lunar wrasse is aggressive towards other members of its own species. The coloring of the young resembles that of the female shown in the photo.

These small-mouthed fish are herbivorous. 149 . live prey and can sometimes attack invertebrates (corals. by local fishermen. It is placid but active. along with somewhere to hide. In captivity it must be given a wide range of food so that it can make its own choice.ZANCLIDAE SIGANIDAE T hese are distinguished by spiny spokes which secrete a venomous substance. Even if their form suggests otherwise. Zanclus canescens The Moorish idol normally feeds on algae and sponges. and even sometimes venerated. they feed on small. Z. although. they are closely related to the Acanthurids. cornutus is considered a closely related species. live prey and vegetable material. Size: 20 cm. Size: 25 cm. they are respected. Size: 20 cm. A prick is painful for an aquarist. These fish are sensitive to chemical treatments and can die suddenly. The peaceful rabbitfish graze algae in the decor but also accept small pieces of animal food. Considered fragile and delicate. although not as much as one caused by a lionfish (but it is still advisable to consult a doctor). It does not tolerate the presence of other Zanclids. they do not have a spine on the caudal peduncle. but is distinguished by the absence of small spines in front of the eyes. and needs room to swim. who often return them to the sea. • • Lo vulpinus Hardy and easy to acclimatize. It wil l accept mussel pieces but what it really relishes is ground spinach. unlike these. worms). Siganus Several of these species are commercially available. In their native habitat (the Indo-Pacific region). the foxface feeds on small. When they are frightened they take refuge in the hiding places that are indispensable for these fishes. without any apparent reason. ZANCLIDAE T he Zanchlids have a very compact body: one of the spokes of the dorsal fin is extended in a fine filament.

MARINE FISH

ACANTHURIDAE (TANGS)

N

ative to the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, the tangs are less common in the Atlantic
ocean. An upright spine on the caudal peduncle has earned them the alternative name of surgeonfish,
as this spine resembles a scalpel. It plays a defensive role and can represent a danger for the aquarist.
Despite their squat bodies, which seem to have been squashed sideways, they are good swimmers, and
they live in groups in a natural setting. They feed on algae and small prey which fit into their mouths.
These fish are active and require a tank of at least 300 liters, with only one tang, because in such a limited
space they do not get along with each other. It is also advisable not to put any invertebrates into the
aquarium. Tangs feed on brine shrimps or other live prey, but they also require a vegetable complement.
The water must be well filtered and stirred, with fairly bright lighting,
to favor the growth of algae.
The young are easier to acclimatize. Their reproduction, which,
in their natural environment, seems to be connected with the
lunar cycle, has never been observed in an aquarium.

Acanthurus achilles
A very delicate species to keep, the Achilles tang appreciates partial (but small) changes of water on a regular basis. It accepts vegetable foodstuffs and small animal prey. Size: 15-18 cm. •

•Acanthurus japonicus
The powder brown tang is a good swimmer. It keenly grazes the algae on the decor, but also accepts small prey. It is very delicate to keep in captivity. Size: 18 cm.

Acanthurus lineatus
This is a fairly easy species to keep in captivity, if it is supplied with vegetable foodstuffs. A good swimmer, the clown tang behaves extremely aggressively towards other tangs. Size: 18-20 cm. •

Acanthurus leucosternon •
The powder blue tang appreciates hiding places and changes of water. Difficult to acclimatize, it can however accept commercial foodstuffs if they are predominantly vegetable. Size: 15 cm.

150

ACANTHURIDAE

Acanthurus sohal
The sohal tang is one of the most beautiful of the Acanthurids. It can accept artificial vegetable food, but it prefers to feed on brine shrimps and ground mussels. Its territorial behavior sometimes makes it aggressive. Size: 25 cm.

Naso brevirostris
Young longnose unicorn fish do not have a horn. A related species, N. unicornis, only has a hump on its forehead. These two species are vigorous swimmers and mainly feed on algae; the adults are more carnivorous than the young. Size: 25-30 cm. •

• Naso lituratus
The smooth-headed unicorn fish is a relatively easy species to keep. Although generally placid, they can become aggressive if they are upset. The adults in this species have fine extensions to the tips of the caudal fin, while the juveniles have white patches. Size: 25 cm.

Paracanthurus hepatus •
The blue coloring of the young turns gray on their belly and back once they reach adulthood. Somewhat unobtrusive, the hippo tang likes having hiding places. Size: 18 cm

• Zebra so ma flavescens
The anal and dorsal fins of the zebrasomas are more developed than those of other tangs. These timid species must be provided .vith shelters. The coloring of the yellow tang varies according to ts geographical origins. Size: 18 cm.

Zebrasoma veliferum
When the sailfin tang is in motion, this beautiful swimmer tucks its fins along its body, although it does open them to "impress" other members of the same species and to chase them off its territory (the yellow tang does the same). Size: 30 cm. •

151

MARINE FISH

SCORPAENIDAE (LIONFISH)

L

ionfish are not only stunning to look at, but they can also constitute a real danger for an aquarist: some of their spiny spokes emit a venom similar to that of certain snakes. They are placid and majestic fish, easy to keep in an aquarium of at least 300 liters. The tank must be furnished with elaborate and convoluted decor, complete with grottoes and overhangs: lionfish swim through them flat or at an angle. Their large mouth is equal to their voracity: they devour live prey, often small fish (take care with their roommates!). Nevertheless, these remain amongst the most deirable subjects for the amateur aquarist and repay without any doubt any amount of trouble.
Pterois volitans
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STUNG
Consult a doctor immediately. The very intense pain increases for 20 minutes, reaches a peak, and gradually subsides over a period of 4-24 hours. Bleed the wound and immerse it in the hottest water possible to partially inhibit the action of the venom. Obviously, the best idea is to avoid getting stung; take care when putting your hand into the tank and wear protective gloves that are water­ impermeable. The volitan lionfish is the one most often found in the aquarium trade. It gets accustomed to dead foodstuffs. The membrane linking the spokes of the pectoral fins runs to the rear end of their body, which is not the case with the other species of the Pterois genus, where the rear is unencumbered. Size: 35 cm

• Pterois antennata

The antenna lionfish has four dark bands
on its head. A close relative, P. sphex, has less intense coloring. The latter is hard to find in Europe, but is frequently imported into the United States. Size: 20 cm.

Pterois radiata
Two white horizontal bands on the caudal peduncle distinguish the radiata lionfish from the other species.
Easy to keep, it gets used to eating dead prey. Size: 25 cm. •

Dendrochirus zebra
The dwarf lionfish does not grow longer than 15 cm, in contrast to the Pterois. It is also distinguished by the absence of a membrane between the spokes of the pectoral fins. Size: 15 cm.

152

BALISTIDAE

BALISTIDAE (TRIGGERS)

T

riggers live in reef areas where the water is in constant movement, so you must plan a large aquarium for them (at least 400 liters) with highly agitated and well-oxygenated water. Their jaws and teeth allow them to graze on coral, crabs, and mollusks. In captivity they accept animal food, such as small mollusks (cockles, mussels), complete with their shells. They are fairly aggressive and must be kept singly, away from small fish and invertebrates. One of the distinguishing features of this family of marine fish is its ability to stick out the first spoke of its dorsal fin, and then block it with the second one (explaining their alternative name of crossbowmen).

• Balistapus undulatus
The undulated trigger fish is so resistant that it can survive for over 10 years in an aquarium. It is easy to acclimatize and keep, although it is prone to knocking over bits of decor. Size: 20 cm.

• Balistoides conspicillum
The clown trigger is not only voracious ­ it is also fast, usually reaching any food before other fish. It is not slow to rearrange the decor, either, although it is easy to domesticate. However, it is best to acclimatize it before it measures more than 10 cm. Size: 25 cm.

Balistes vetula
The queen trigger fish, native to the tropical Atlantic - the others come from the Indo-Pacific region - is one of the most placid. It is easy to acclimatize and grows quickly - sometimes up to 50 cm. Size: 30-50 cm.

• Rhinecanthus aculeatus
Its common name, the Picasso trigger fish, comes from its distinctive coloring. It defends its territory fiercely. Some related species (R. asasi, R. rectangulus, R. verrucosus) are sometimes commercially available, often under the same name. Size: 20 cm.

153

MARINE FISH
Odonus niger
The blue trigger fish can live for more than 10 years. If you have a couple, reproduction may be possible in a very large aquarium, in a nest dug into the sand. Size: 20 cm. •

Pseudobalistes fuscus
The coloring of juveniles is paler than that
of adults. The blue line trigger is fairly
aggressive but can get to know its owner.
It sometimes looks for its food by
"spitting" water to lift up the sand.
Size: 35 cm.

Xanthichthys auromarginatus •
The magnificent blue throat trigger requires a large tank, with shelters where it can take refuge at night. It is aggressive towards both fish smaller than itself and members of its own species. Size: 30 cm.

HAEMULIDAE - NEMIPTERIDAE

T

he Haemulids (grunts or pork fish) make sounds by grinding their teeth, with the swim bladder acting as
a resonator. Rarely found in aquariums, they are
nevertheless robust.
The Nemipterids live near reefs and are vigorous free­
swimmers. They feed on small prey captured on their
journeys or in the sediment.

Anisotremus •Symphorichthys virginicus (Haemulidae) spilurus (Nemipterid)
The pork fish lives in schools when it is young. The adults gradually become loners as they grow older, and their coloring becomes brighter. In captivity, they can be fed small animal prey, dead or alive. Size: 30 cm. The large long fin or blue and gold snapper requires a lot of water to be able to move around freely. It prefers to live in calm areas and accepts a wide range of food. This brightly colored fish is rarely found in the aquarium trade. Size: 30 cm.

easy to feed with small live or dead prey. Their anal and dorsal fins are long. This fish has a reputation for being fragile and an avid consumer of oxygen. The barbels around the mouth have a tactile function and help to detect food. but these fish are nevertheless highly active. Their elongated body enables them to weave their way skilfully through natural obstacles in their path. If they are alarmed. Size: 30 cm. is highly unusual. which can sometimes be "tamed" to eat out of your hand. with deadly effects for other fish in the vicinity. and the pectoral fins have a spiny spoke connected to a venomous gland. when they are faced with danger. although it only acts aggressively towards its own species. Size: 15 cm. Ostracion cubicus Easy to keep. with "horns" on its head. Size: 25 cm. It is a placid species. hiding in a shelter when disturbed. with their heads facing outwards. Their small mouth means that they can only eat tiny prey and algae.PLOTOSIDAE OSTRACIONTIDAE (BOXFISH) T heir body form renders their swimming clumsy. Plotosus lineatus The young live in shoals where they form a ball. the adults are more solitary. • Lactoria cornuta The form of the long horn cowfish. • Ostracion meleagris The magnificent spotted boxfish is considered tough. Their skin is fragile and very sensitive to parasites. The coloring varies according to the fish's age and sex. 155 . They feed on animal foodstuffs or small prey appropriate to the size of their mouth. It must be supplied with animal foodstuffs and a vegetable complement. boxfish secrete a toxic substance. Size: 10 to 15 cm. In an aquarium it is best to keep only one specimen. the yellow boxfish is aggressive towards all other boxfish. • PLOTOSIDAE T his is one of the few catfish families that live in the sea. It swims slowly in and out of the decor.

Canthigaster margaritatus The peacock puffer is distinguished by a black patch framed in pale blue. They feed on mussels and small shellfish . • Diodon hystrix It is best not to put invertebrates in a tank with the common porcupine fish as there is a chance it might find them appetizing.complete with shell ­ which they can munch thanks to their strong teeth. Size: 20 cm. as a decorative object. but are placid in the company of other fish. is less common in the aquarium trade than the peacock. they feed on crustaceans and mollusks. closely related to the Tetraodontids.MARINE FISH CANTHIGASTER T his is a small family. and the effect is enhanced by the fish puffing out its body to impress its foe. If Canthigaster are not fed properly they may start nibbling at the fins of other fish.but watch out for its teeth! Sadly. Canthigaster valentini The Valentini puffer. or mussels out of your hand . but they do not tolerate members of their own species. dried and bloated. or even as a lampshade! It can grow to 90 cm in the wild. It adapts well to an aquarium. Easy to keep. which can be recognized by its two black bands. which stick out in response to danger. Porcupine fish are considered easy to acclimatize. They are aggressive towards members of their own species. It may eat shrimps. they are commonly known as puffers because they can blow up their bodies. • DIODONTIDAE (PORCUPINE FISH) T heir skin is dotted with spines. 156 . small crabs. Size: 12 cm. this fish is sometimes sold. though its animal food supply must be complemented by vegetable material. like them.

Size: 20-25 cm. Size: 15 cm. Arothron citrinellus The yellow puffer is easy to acclimatize. in motion. particularly the meleagris puffer. They are bad swimmers and feed. They are easy to keep in captivity with the same diet. It stays in a vertical position. live prey. known as sea needles. Size: 50 cm. joined together like a parrot's beak. 157 . but they can puff themselves up with air and water in the event of any danger. Reproduction may be possible in captivity: the male incubates the eggs in its ventral pocket. related species. usually yellow. it feeds on brine shrimps or other small. A. In captivity.SYNGNATHIDAE TETRAODONTIDAE (PUFFERS) T heir skin is highly sensitive as they have no scales. They are easy to keep in captivity. It is easy to acclimatize and can sometimes be tamed. with its tail serving to cling on to the decor (which must be free of Coelenterates). on small planktonic crustaceans. are sometimes available. and invertebrates should obviously be ruled out. Their teeth. Hippocampus kuda The yellow seahorse is. It can get so accustomed to an aquarist that it will even allow him or her to scratch its back! There are other puffers on the market. Do not be tempted to feed them out of your hand. It appreciates a vegetable complement to its animal food. as its name suggests. Arothron nigropunctatus The gray color of the dogface or hushpuppy gets darker with age. meleagris. and are particularly suited to aquariums for invertebrates. but its coloring gets darker in poor environmental conditions. enable them to break corals and the shells of crustaceans. • SYNGNATHIDAE T his family includes both tem­ perate and tropical sea­ horses. but it is best to keep them singly as they cannot stand other puffers. to avoid getting bitten. In the same family. Size: 20 cm Arothron hispidus The stars and stripes puffer is not only aggressive towards other puffers but can also turn against smaller species if the aquarium is too small. It is active and needs space for swimming. along with hiding places in which to shelter.

pieces of mussel. In aquariums. This family of coral-dwellers numbers only a few species. or small fish. and small fish. rather shy nature. the Grammids are small and colorful. Gramma loreto The royal gramma takes refuge in hiding places. This fish is recommended for invertebrate aquariums with enough space for it to hide. They live in reefs. can be distinguished by their large dorsal and ventral fins. ground mussels. They must cohabit with species of the same size. often with its head inside. Size: 7 cm. It flaunts a golden yellow coloring set off by purple. in a decor furnished with hiding places.MARINE FISH GRAMMIDAE K nown as dwarf bass. This has led them to be considered as somewhat rare. where they hide in the crevices. of which only one is found in the aquarium trade. Pseudochromis diadema This resembles the royal gramma. active fish which quickly go into hiding when they are disturbed. • 158 . in keeping with its placid. It feeds on brine shrimps. • PSEUDOCHROMIS T hese are solitary. As an adult it lives alone and can be aggressive towards members of its own species. Size: 8 cm. related to the Pseudochromis. although there are probably more of them than is generally Calloplesiops altivelis The marine beta grouper has a majestic bearing. live prey and pieces of mussel. it seeks out dark nooks and crannies. It cohabits with species of the same size and feeds on live prey. due to their similarity to the true bass. It feeds on small. Its eyesight is exceptional. They are ideal fish to include in an aquarium with invertebrates. PLESIOPIDAE T he Plesiopids. Size: 15-18 cm. with which it can cohabit ­ which is not the case with members of its own species.

Some related species are also widely available. They can raise themselves slightly by supporting themselves on their ventral fins. Synchiropus splendidus The blue mandarin accepts small morsels of fish or mussels.CALLIONYMIDAE EPHIPPIDAE (BATFISH) T he dorsal and anal fins of young batfish are disproportion­ ately large. 159 . Even when raised in couples. Slow and easy to acclimatize. Platax pinnatus The red batfish must be kept with peaceful species if its fins are to remain intact. Size: 10 cm. diminutive and brightly colored. prefer darkness (as their large eyes suggest). It is sometimes confused with the closely related species 5. They live in groups and are not too keen on active fish. They grow very quickly. orbicularis. where they look for the live prey that make up their diet. These fish are well suited to invertebrate aquariums. Size: 10 cm. As they reach adulthood. They must both be fed with small animal foodstuffs. Sphaeramia nematoptera The pajama cardinal can live in groups and respects invertebrates. but feeding the fry brings new problems. they will fight to the death. however. Their cylindrical body is covered by a scaleless skin. 1 latching is possible in captivity. especially if the tank is too small. which it will only take from the bed. APOGONIDAE (CARDINALS) T he cardinals. making their body higher than it is long. with some adults reaching heights of 75 cm and weights of around 25 kg. they are. • CALLIONYMIDAE (DRAGONETTES) T heir life is inextricably linked with the bed. which is also commercially available. they gradually adopt a circular form. aggressive toward other batfish. Its diet consists of small live or frozen prey. The male incubates the eggs in its mouth (rare among marine fish). They are usually found in fairly shallow water.

T hese generally live in shallow coastal waters. It can live in groups and is recommended for invertebrate aquariums. • Oxymonacanthus longirostris The orange-spotted file fish likes nooks and crannies but is also an active swimmer. Size: 10 cm. Size: 11-25 cm. hiding themselves completely if there is any danger. The adults are loners and can attack some invertebrates. It is rarely captured or imported. but all its food must be broken up into small pieces. • Opistognathus aurifrons The pearly jawfish. In captivity. even more than live prey. These rather timid fish feed on very small prey (brine shrimps. OPISTOGNATHIDAE CIRRHITIDAE T his family digs vertical burrows in the sand. an easy fish to keep. pieces of mussel). they prefer to share with peaceful fish that do not penetrate into their strictly demarcated territory. Chaetoderma penicilligrum The tassled file fish stands out due to the protuberances on its skin. then small animal foodstuffs appropriate to the size of its mouth. and fish flesh. Size: 10 cm. Oxycirrhites typus The longnose hawk. a delicate species to keep. It accepts brine shrimps. 160 . Their large mobile eyes enable them to detect their small prey.MARINE FISH MONACANTHIDAE (FILE FISH) T hese are somewhat more pacific than the triggers. It must have at least 15 cm of sediment. shrimps. It relishes algae. Reproduction is possible. but is best left to experienced fishkeepers. to which they are scientifically related. Size: 10-15 cm. is recommended for invertebrate aquariums. and barely venture out. is suitable for an invertebrate tank. It feeds on mussels.

They are easy to raise and feed on small. although it is possible to find some species belonging to the Ecsenius genus. Lythrypnus dalli The Catalina goby. It accepts artificial food. a small species native to California. more than lives up to its Latin name of magnifica. The blennie defends its territory. It moves around. These robust little fish. easy to raise.BLENNIIDAE GOBIIDAE (GOBIES) G obies live in coastal waters. and so it must be kept with placid species. It lives in harmony with invertebrates. When they are away from their shelters. Size: 10 cm. but often remains stationary to observe its surroundings. are sometimes found on the market. Size: 4 cm. with similar vivid coloring. They are characterized by their abundant mucus and their often bright coloring. • Nemateleotris magnifica The fire goby. Blennies are not common in the aquarium trade. so the presence of other fish from the same family is not advisable. or in an invertebrate tank. Size: 8-10 cm. native to the Indo-Pacific region. BLENNIIDAE (BLENNIES) B lennies live in rocky coastal spots. 161 . can be distinguished by its vertical blue bands. Several species from the same genus. It adapts well to captivity but remains somewhat timid. which are turned into suckers (although there are exceptions to this). live prey. Ecsenius sp. are well suited to a tank for marine invertebrates. or hides among the decor. or in sheltered reef areas. It feeds on algae taken from the decor and also accepts small animal foodstuffs. they resist the movement of the water by clinging on to rocks with their pelvic fins.

.

.

as there are around 10. which include anemones and corals. Although they are considered less evolved animals than the vertebrates . Their body is soft. such as plankton. even now the term animal-flowers is used to describe them. but they are usually blue or purple. These very old animals were among the first to appear on earth or.the group to which fish belong . SPONGES COELENTERATES These animals. slightly more evolved than sponges. . that their field of research was extensive. but some marine species can be kept in captivity. but are never found in fresh­ water aquariums. The crustaceans. in the sea. or it is supported by an internal calcareous skeleton.000 species of sponges. or retract to escape their predators. while corals and anemones unfurl to capture microparticles. in open water. for example. The col­ oring of worms can vary enormously. Freshwater species are rare and are not found in aquariums.rarely seen in aquariums. more exactly. as their name indicates. flecked with white. They live in a tube and are often sedentary. have no backbone. WORMS Worms are barely evolved soft-bodied animals. A few specific species can be kept in captivity in sea water.invertebrates sometimes adapt in surprising ways to ensure their survival. The Coelenterates comprise medusas ("jellyfish") . were also classed as vegetables for many years. apart from a few public ones .THE MAIN INVERTEBRATE GROUPS T he invertebrates. or by a shell in mollusks. They are more common in aquariums as live food than as resi­ dents. can walk or swim to look for food or flee an enemy. and almost always bicolor. however. but it is protected on the outside. Up until the 19th century.and the Anthozoa. by a carapace in the case of the crustaceans. some of which are found in aquariums. as in corals. naturalists hesitated when classi­ fying sponges: animal or vegetable? It must be admitted.

and can feed on live or dead prey . Do not. ECHINODERMS These possess a symmetry based on five.MOLLUSKS Their limp body is protected by a shell. or plants. as they play a more preventive role to restrict their untimely growth. if they are cut down the middle. allows them to graze micro-algae on the decor. which have five pairs of walking legs.these are the bivalves .formed. The two pairs of antennae. the radula. They can sometimes attack the leaves of plants or eat a surplus of the food intended for fish. Some species are carnivorous. CRUSTACEANS The crustaceans' bodies are protected by an articulated carapace. Echinoderm means spiny skin: this is highly appropriate in the case of sea urchins. as their name suggests. this phenomenon is called the molt. according to the species. as most animals have a binary symmetry. related to land snails. This cleaning function constitutes their main attraction for aquar­ ists. pose any problems. echinoderms will not survive for long outside water. The animal abandons its carapace when it becomes too small due to body growth. They are found only in sea water. meaning that. play a tactile and sensory role. two identi­ cal parts can be observed. Keeping them in an aquarium does not. the first of which are used as pincers.as in the case of :he gastropods. Crustaceans are car­ nivorous. less so in rela­ tion to the rough starfish. The crustaceans found in aquariums belong to the decapod group. Generally speaking. there­ fore. have a spiraled shell which varies in shape. The gastropods. expect them to gobble up all your unwanted algae. however. with varying degrees of strength. The bivalves half-open their shell .they are not difficult to feed in an aquarium.to filter water. which has two parts . In this way they absorb oxygen and capture food particles. because they have to be cut into five sections to obtain identical pieces. . which is extremely rare in nature. The crustacean is particularly vulnerable to attacks from predators during the formation of the new carapace. particularly vege­ tal plankton.or a single part . by two valves . glass sides. highly developed in shrimps. An organ in the mouth in the form of a grater. This is not possible with echino­ derms.

the next morning it will be covered in snails. they are not popular with aquarists. they can be removed by hand or by trapping them with a leaf of lettuce or boiled spinach: if you put one of these in a tank at night. and some crabs can even live in brackish water. As regards the gas­ tropods. This can be a useful attribute in an aquarium. some species are considered pests ­ physas. If they are fed properly. like this golden variety. play a positive ecological role. In good conditions.. MOLLUSKS Bivalves commonly known as freshwater mussels can be found in some tropical waters. these are mainly repre­ sented by several species of shrimps. If a population of gas­ tropods disappears from an aquarium. Bivalves there­ fore have a somewhat limited appeal to fish­ keepers.FRESHWATER INVERTEBRATES Although freshwater invertebrates play a significant ecological role in their natural habitat. 166 . It is during this critical period in their life­ cycle that crustaceans usually attack each other. or partially buried. as it helps contain the proliferation of this type of algae. On the other hand. As crustaceans' carapaces mainly consist of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Car­ nivorous fish are obviously out of the ques­ tion as roommates.which is not always noticeable at first. and even small crabs. in the sediment. all crus­ taceans feel more at home if they are pro- Shrimps from the Macrobrachium genus are becoming increasingly common in freshwater aquariums. especially as few tropical species are available in the aquarium trade. Crustaceans' role in the wild as environmental regulators can be repro­ duced in captivity. Small species of fish are not normally at risk from crustaceans. they proliferate rapidly. Although they differ as regards their anatomy. but the animal is vul­ nerable while it is forming a new carapace. are one of the most effective gastropods against algae. although it is occasionally possible to find a tropical crawfish. • Ampullaria sp. this process will occur regularly. but a weakened or sick fish may be captured and devoured. and Malay­ sian snails. They live buried. They eat by filtering micro-algae or vegetal plankton dissolved in the water. for instance ­ while others. they will eventually die . especially during the molt. and therefore entails a risk of pollu­ tion from their dead bodies lingering in the water. Am­ pullaria. CRUSTACEANS In freshwater tanks. if there is not enough food. this is probably a sign of imbalance. such as the Planorbidae. above all by feeding on unwanted algae. they are in fact distant cousins of the mussels on our coasts. it is advisable to keep them in hard water. They are represented by two main groups: the mollusks and the crustaceans. and this is a great shame. vided with shelters. Whatever species you may choose.

anemones. they are very sensitive to the quality of the water. accompanied by its clown fish. Coelenterates. although it is possible to achieve satisfy­ ing results. The invertebrates which are most robust and easiest to acclimatize can reproduce in captivity (especially some species of anemones). the best option is a specialist tank. on the other. although those fish which can cohabit with invertebrates represent a logical complement to this type of aquarium. It makes sense any­ way to install as large a tank as possible. However. requires ample knowledge of these animals. as your enthusiasm for these creatures is bound to grow. Mounting a tank almost entirely composed of invertebrates.MARINE INVERTEBRATES Marine invertebrates are sometimes more difficult to keep in an aquarium: on the one hand. on the grounds both of cost and risk. A volume of 167 . not only with each other but also with fish — as invertebrates are the favorite meal of some fish! For all these reasons. particularly in the case of sponges. but you must not get carried away: it is not feasible to reconstitute a coral reef. with a few fish added. and. A maximum height of 50 cm is recommended to allow the light to penetrate. Nevertheless. Do not con­ sider a tank of under 300 liters for a medium-sized anemone. both in terms of ecological equilibrium and an engrossing spectacle. some marine aquarists hesitate to cross the threshold from fish to invertebrates. feeding them is complicated. which must be as faultless as possible. as well as making it easier for the aquarist to intervene. but success in this area requires a solid background in marine aquariums on the part of the hobbyist. which will provide a spectacle just as fascinating as that of a fish aquarium. and corals. these days there is a craze for this type of aquarium. 400-500 liters is the absolute minimum for a tank containing several species of inver­ tebrates. the easier it is to acclimatize the invertebrates. It is also important to consider the compatibility of invertebrates. • GENERAL MAINTENANCE CONDITIONS The aquarium The bigger it is.

This pro­ cess is repeated every day until a pH of 8. to facilitate the penetration of light. once a week. In order to facilitate the operation and reduce the burden of the filter. A box filter is indispensable. lighting serves to enhance the development of Zooxanthel­ lae. As a comple­ ment to these techniques. Deeper water requires powerful HQI lamps. There are also some readyto-use solutions for this purpose available in the aquarium trade. and up to ten times. the micro-algae which live in the ani­ mals' tissues and contribute to their equilibrium.3. and add 1 ml of this solution to each liter of clean water.026. • The substrate in marine tanks consists of coral elements in fairly large grains. It must be pointed out. The lighting must be strong (around 1 W per liter of water) and should be left on for about 13 hours every day. and its vol­ ume must equal at least 10% that of the aquarium. Dissolve 5 g in 1 liter of water. Invertebrates are extremely sensitive to nitrates (NO3-).INVERTEBRATES LOWERING THE PH IN A MARINE INVERTEBRATE TANK The pH in a coral tank sometimes undergoes slight but regular decreases. The specific gravity of the water must be around 1. you are strongly advised to perform partial water changes. or madreporites. This is extremely important. thus increasing its efficacy. put the protein skimmer in its first section. that of the volume of the aquarium. at a rate of around 10% of the volume. If the water is less than 50 cm deep. it can be raised with sodium carbonate. in con­ junction with a blue tube. The substrate Fine-grained soils are to be avoided. again com­ bined with a blue tube. Apart from the aesthetic effect. UV lamps are not recom­ mended for invertebrates. a size of 2-5 mm being perfect. which can be complemented by crushed oyster shells to guarantee a moderate supply of calcium carbonate. Do not forget that the water in an invertebrate tank will never be as agitated as in a natural setting. that tanks containing true corals. which must be perfect in an invertebrate tank. It is advisable to change the water the day after the weekly feeding session. which form reefs can some­ times work well without this type of filter. however. both as regards quantity and quality. Water This must be stirred vigorously: use a pump with an outflow equal to at least five times. although it can go up to 1. More detailed information on lighting can be found in the chapter Equipment and Accessories (page 226). The water must be very clear. as this will help to reduce pollution. Light • Easy-to- use tests make it possible to control water quality.3 is obtained. possi­ bly in conjunction with an air pump. use fluorescent tubes as day lighting. It is therefore vital to have good mechanical filtration. The bed must be calcareous and comprise sand made from corals and marine algae. 168 .024. When it drops to under 8.

MARINE INVERTEBRATES

ZOOXANTHELLAE These are green micro-algae which live in the skin of Anthozoa and other organisms, such as sponges or giant clams, a type of bivalve mollusk. They exchange substances with the cells of their hosts. The carbon dioxide (CO2) resulting from the metabolism of the cells - i.e. the oxidation of the foodstuffs - is collected by the Zooxanthellae. These, in their turn, absorb nitrogenous and phosphorous substances, carry out photosynthesis, and produce organic substances that enhance both their own growth and that of their host. This type of mutually beneficial association taking place inside an animal is known as endosymbiosis. The Zooxanthellae contribute, to some extent, to the feeding process of Anthozoa, which there­ fore need only a very scanty external supply of nutrients: some organisms, such as the anemones, need to be fed only around once a week in an aquarium.

• The green coloring of this Anthozoa indicates the presence of a significant number of Zooxanthellae: this animal must
therefore be placed under fairly intense lighting.

The decor This serves as a support for some animals. Create an aquascape in tiers or with steps, and place the species on it according to their need for light. This is easy to do with artificial materials, and the decor can be finished off with dead coral and rocks.

Caulerpa prolifera is a common alga in marine invertebrate tanks.

169

INVERTEBRATES
tank is recommended. When handling invertebrates, be aware of the stinging capability of some species (such as anemones and madreporites).

• When well acclimatized, the Coelenterates soon deploy their tentacles, which is a sign of good health.

Vegetation Plants release substances that have a ben­ eficial effect on invertebrates, although as yet we still know relatively little about the mechanism of this process. Use algae of the Caulerpa genus, but do not allow them to become too dense. In addition, remain on the lookout for the growth of certain filamentous algae, as there is a danger that they might smother some sponges and delicate Coelenterates. Acclimatizing invertebrates As the characteristics of invertebrates' native waters are radically different from those of the tank in which they will be placed, great care must be taken with respect to their acclimatization. The con­ tainer in which the new arrival has been transported must be gradually filled with water from its future aquarium, to enable the invertebrate to slowly adapt before it is carefully transferred into its new habi­ tat. The whole process takes about 1 hour. A quarantine period in an acclimatization

SPONGES Sponges enjoy shadows or darkness as they can only tolerate a small amount of light. They do not like water with a high content of nitrates or filamentous algae, which smother them. They reproduce, either sexually - rarely achieved in an aquarium - or through asexual division, with a detached piece of sponge evolving into a new specimen. A sponge is a kind of "sack" devoid of any specialized organs. Water penetrates the walls, circulates in the canals, as a result of the movements of thousands of strands protecting the cells, and leaves via the opening in the top. The water provides oxygen and the particles on which the sponge feeds, particularly the micro-algae of phytoplankton. Removing a sponge from water has fatal consequences, as air bubbles enter the canals where the water circulates and block them. The sponge, unable to elimi­ nate the bubbles, eventually dies. Sponges are fed in the same way as Coe­ lenterates, with a preparation based on mussels, or special liquids available com­ mercially from specialist suppliers.

COELENTERATES The Coelenterates constitute a complex group (see table, page 171). They include the Anthozoa, which are divided into hexacorals, where the number of tentacles is a multiple of 6, and octocorals, where the number of tentacles is a multiple of 8. The hexacorals are divided into: - Actiniaria (true anemones); - Ceriantharia; - Zoantharia (colonial anemones); - Corallimorpharia (discus anemones); - Scleractinia (madreporites or true corals). These invertebrates are characterized by tentacles attached to a foot, and the whole organism is called a polyp. Anemones and Ceriantharia are isolated polyps, while

170

MARINE INVERTEBRATES
the other Anthozoa are colonial polyps, connected to each other at their base, which end up by spreading out over large areas like certain plants. Darts for defense The bodies of Coelenterates, particularly the tentacles, are covered with urticant (stinging) cells, equipped with a strand that is sensitive to contact with other organisms. When a Coelenterate is touched, thousands or even millions of cells open and eject a filament with a microscopic dart at the tip which injects venom; in this way, a prey is quickly par­ alyzed before being eaten. Care should be taken when handling, therefore. Introducing Coelenterates to an aquarium Coelenterates must of course present all the necessary signs of good health before being introduced to an aquarium: they should be unfurled, swollen, and full of water. If they are in a bad state, they look wilted and may not be viable. Anthozoa like clear and well-lit water, as it benefits both them and the Zooxanthel­ lae to which they play host. They must be placed close to the surface of the aquar­ ium. The water quality is, of course, very important, and in addition the calcium
WHAT IF YOU TOUCH A COELENTERATE? Some species have a greater stinging capability than others. Serious reactions, such as cramps or breathing difficulties, rarely encoun­ tered among aquarists, can be provoked by certain medusas (jelly­ fish), due to a phenomenon known as anaphylaxis: the body is sen­ sitized to the venom after an initial contact and becomes more vul­ nerable. In the event of an accident, detach the tentacles and, above all, do not rub your eyes. Treat the stung area immediately with diluted ammonia, but it is best to consult a doctor.

INVERTEBRATES
levels must be monitored with particularly close attention. The skeleton of corals is mainly com­ posed of calcium carbonate, which is abundant in the natural habitat - up to 500 mg/liter - and so an aquarium that is to be inhabited by corals must also have the same level. The concentration in an aquarium can sometimes fall below 300 mg/liter, depending on how many organisms there are in the tank, and in these cases calcium must be added. Several relatively simple methods for raising the calcium level are detailed in the box on page 173.
Certain species of fish and marine invertebrates found in aquariums come from coral reefs.

Coral reefs The accumulation of calcareous coral skeletons gradually forms reefs, of which the most famous is the Great Barrier Reef, stretching north-eastward from south Aus­

tralia for almost 2,000 km. It is the biggest structure of animal origin in the world! This ecosystem, one of the richest and most diverse in existence, is also fragile and constantly subject to attack. The last few decades have witnessed the destruc­ tion of some reefs, the coral being used to build houses, roads, and even airport run­ ways! Obviously, aquarists have been accused of taking part in this pillage, which seems grossly exaggerated: the removal of corals from their natural habi­ tat for the aquarium trade does occur, but it is negligible compared to other large­ scale extractions. Furthermore, some species are protected by law and never reach hobbyists' tanks. Public marine aquariums can, on the con­ trary, make a contribution to the study of invertebrates. The aquarium of the Monaco Oceanographic Museum, for

W H E N MUST CALCIUM BE ADDED? Calcium is added when the concentrated measured is less than 400 mg/liter. There are tests on the market to measure the quantity of this parameter. Remember that the mea­ surement of CH, in sea water, reveals the quantity of carbonates and bicarbonates. When this is less than 7°CH (128 ppm), it can be concluded that a lack of calcium car­ bonate is more than likely and steps should be taken to remedy this.

172

MARINE INVERTEBRATES

H O W TO SUPPLY CALCIUM TO A CORAL AQUARIUM Method 1 From the start, i.e. when you put the first water in, use com­ mercial salts enriched in calcium. Then, add the same salts over the course of regular partial water changes, at the rate of 10% per week.

Some commercial salts are specially designed for marine
invertebrates. •
Method 2 Use commercial products specially prepared to increase calcium levels. When adding calcium, the pH value must not rise above 8.5, regular control is necessary.

Method 3
Place a calcareous element, such as calcareous rock, or crushed and washed oyster shells, in the filter, and this will gradually release calcium. However, this method will not give rise to any rapid or significant increase in calcium levels. Method 4 Prepare a solution of slaked lime, Ca (OH)2, available in aquarium stores, at a rate of 1.5
g/liter. Pour in 1 ml of this solution per liter of sea water.
Proceed gradually, monitoring the pH constantly to ensure it does not rise above 8.5.

Method 5

This is the most complicated, but also the most effective.
Prepare two solutions:
- one of dehydrated calcium chloride (CaCI2, 2H2O) at a rate of 15 g/liter, which will
provide the calcium;
- the other of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), at a rate of 17 g/liter, which will pro­
vide the carbonates.
Then calculate the difference between a carbonate hardness of 130 ppm (7.2°CH)
and the one measured in the aquarium. Multiply the result by the net volume of the
tank, and divide the result by 10. This will give the amount of each solution
required, in milliliters, to pour into the aquarium.
Example: for a tank with a net volume of 500 liters, with a carbonate hardness of
100 ppm (5.6°CH), the result is:
Amount of each solution (in ml) = 500 x (130-100) + 10 = 1,500 ml.
The following table gives you the required amount of each solution (in ml) for specific cases.

173

but these are difficult to supply in an aquarium. raising corals on this scale in captivity was impossible. pumps. The nitrogen produced by the metabolism of these bacteria then passes into the atmosphere. but not everybody breeds these animals. . above all because of their very great sensitivity to nitrates (NO3-). Cook the mollusks and fish. it must be made clear that com­ mercial foods on the market provide little more than a stopgap. if necessary.shelled shrimps in cans (optional). as it is inexpensive. and aeration for a moment. It is best to put the food into the aquarium at night. lean and free of lipids. FOOD FOR SPONGES AND COELENTERATES: A RECIPE Ingredients: . rigid tube. If the paste is too thick after mixing. and distributing plankton is not a task to be taken lightly. i. There is another food which is available to all hob­ byists. then discard any excess water. thin it with sea water. and vitamins. using a 40 m3 tank containing several tons of corals. It is possible to use rotifers or freshly hatched brine shrimp nauplii. This complicated technique is beyond the reach of most aquarists. is carrying out research in this field. The filtration and aeration systems can be switched back on a few minutes afterwards. Coelenterates feed on animal plankton. You can add a vitamin solution. Allow the puree to stand for several hours in the refrig­ erator. However. . or can be frozen. 1 or 2 hours before switching off the lights. easy to make. thanks to the anaerobic bacteria which survive at the bottom of the tank. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Other possi­ • The leather corals of the Sarcophyton genus will not tolerate being dose to Coelenterates highly prone to stinging. Scientists solved this prob­ lem by allowing these nitrates to turn into nitrogen gas (N2). normally used as the main food for fish. Deposit the food above the invertebrates with a narrow. Until recently. and can be frozen: it is usually called mus­ sel choppy. keeping.mussels or cockles. What is left behind in the sieve can be distributed to anemones or small fish. and distribute the equivalent of one tablespoon of the prepared liquid for every 200 liters of water. Collect­ ing. Put the shrimps in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. 174 . • example. however experi­ enced they may be. where the oxygen levels are low.white fish. The resulting paste can be used straightaway for feeding. this puree can also be frozen. Thaw the food. Switch off the filters. mineral salts. Pass the mixture through a sieve. In their natural habitat. which are nurtured and bred. Remove the mollusks' shells. and it is best to look for other solutions. Mussels are not only cheap but also rich in proteins. particu­ larly the crustacean zooplankton. flakes or granules of fish food.e. carbohydrates. boiled spinach. the Coelenterates trap small suspended particles. or the special foods for invertebrates available commercially.INVERTEBRATES Feeding Coelenterates By filtering the water.

175 . but there are cases of clas­ sic incompatibilities (see table. Other alternatives for a Coe­ lenterates tank are algae . and are readily available.and even with small fish. so that they do not smother the Coelenterates (left. fish. It must be remembered that the majority of organisms being fed play host to Zooxanthellae. Do not forget that the best time for this is the night before a water change.whether encrusting or not . The other problem is establishing a feed­ ing schedule. a group that includes the sea worms used as bait in fishing. or cans of shelled shrimps. bilities are cockles. Specially designed artificial decor can be colonized quickly. cost lit­ tle. The madreporites and anemones are among the most urticant. Compatibility between Coelenterates Urticant (stinging) Coelenterates must be kept apart from the more delicate species: a safety margin of 10-15 cm is often rec­ ommended. Their develop­ ment must be controlled so that they do not end up smothering the Anthozoa. depending on the organisms' rate of growth and reproduc­ tion. which are pro­ duced in large quantities in Asia. WORMS Some species belonging to the Annelida.supported by live rocks. or even caulerpae. The introduction of certain fish is possible.encrusting or otherwise . the flesh of lean fish. and they must not be put alongside a leather coral from the Sarcophyton genus. and so a weekly feed is more than sufficient. for example. to reduce the risk of pollution. which often satisfy a significant proportion of their dietary needs. even desirable. page 178). or shrimps or a mixture of these. live in a tube which they build themselves: these are known as In an invertebrate tank the development of algae must be restrained. The larger anemones feed on adult brine shrimps. This can sometimes make it difficult for even a practiced eye to spot the dif­ ference between artificial and natural decor in an aquarium which has been in operation for several months.MARINE INVERTEBRATES The Coelenterates can cohabit with algae . a Cerianthus). small pieces of mussel.

INVERTEBRATES
cowries, well known to collectors of shells, can be kept in captivity. Some fish may nibble the "mantle", the part of the animal's body used outside the shell. Of course, in the event of any danger the animal retreats into its shell. Hobbyists enchanted by the beauty of this shell can put a specimen in a tank containing small Pacific fish (Gobiids, Blenniids, Grammids. Pseudochromis, for example). In the bivalve group there is the famous giant clam, which can sometimes grow up to a length of 1 m in the wild, where it feeds on vegetal plankton. Some smaller species can be acclimatized in an aquarium. However, these animals are only recommended for experienced hobbyists.
sedentary Annelida. The brightly colored
branchial plume which sticks out of it traps oxygen, as well as the organisms which
make up zooplankton. At the sign of any danger, or if the tank or its support are knocked, this branchial plume retreats into its tube. The feeding of Annelida in captivity is identical to that of Coelenterates. When you buy one, make sure that the branchial plume is func­ tioning correctly and its tube is intact. It is best to buy a worm fixed to a piece of rock.

• This cowry has withdrawn its mantle into its shell.

CRUSTACEANS

It is easy to keep a few species in a
marine aquarium, to take advantage of their bright colors. These invertebrates are carnivorous: in an aquarium they should be fed on mussels, fish, or white meat.

MOLLUSKS
Shrimps play an ecological role by feeding on fishes' leftovers.

Few mollusks are found in
aquariums, and they are not
often available commercially.
Among the gastropods, the

• Hermit crabs are highly striking invertebrates which run around the aquarium in all directions to look for their food. They withdraw into their shell when frightened.

Shrimps These rarely swim and prefer to get about by walking on the decor. If they are dis­ turbed they abruptly recoil by tucking up their abdomen. Several specimens can live together, but it is vital to keep them away from carnivorous fish.

176

MARINE INVERTEBRATES
food or a sucker. The latter allows sea urchins to develop on rigid supports or the glass sides of the tank. Starfish These are not recom­ mended for a marine invertebrate tank, as they attack other species, such as sponges. Starfish are in fact either carnivo­ rous, gripping their prey with their long arms that emerge from a central disc, or microphages, in which case they feed on small organisms on the bed. The ophiuroids, sometimes called brittlestars and closely related to starfish, have articulated arms which allow them to move around quite quickly. These arms, like those of the starfish, can regenerate themselves if they break off.

• Enomotoplus sp., the lobster crab, related to the langoustine, is an attractive and placid resident.

Crabs

The small abdomen is tucked under the lower part of the body. Their pincers are particularly well developed. The larger specimens, which can be aggressive, must not be put into marine aquariums, as they can attack other invertebrates, and some­ times even fish.
Pagurids

Some species of sea urchins with varying sizes of prickles can be found in marine aquariums.

These are better known as hermit crabs. Some tropical species can be found com­ mercially, some of them bearing a small anemone on the gastropod shell which houses them. The shell is discarded when it becomes too small for the growing ani­ mal, so it is vital to provide bigger ones, as, unlike other crustaceans, a pagurid's abdomen is not protected by a carapace that it makes itself.
ECHINODERMS

"LIVE ROCKS" These are pieces of rock or fragments of dead coral (madreporites), that are bound together by calcareous rocks or various pieces of debris from invertebrates. They

Sea urchins These are not very easy species to accli­ matize. It is possible to keep one small specimen at most, which will often live away from the light. They are herbivores that sift the substrate looking for algae to eat. In among the prickles it is possible to see the articulated pedicellariae, which end either in a tiny pincer for trapping
"Live rocks" are covered with many small organisms (worms, Coelenterates) which would be difficult to introduce into an aquarium in any other way. •

177

INVERTEBRATES

are sometimes removed from their natural setting and sold commercially. "Live rocks" harbor various organisms: bacteria, algae, sponges, small Coelenterates, and sometimes even small crustaceans, hidden in crevices. They can therefore be consid­ ered as living pieces of decor which con­ tribute to the equilibrium of the aquarium. If, before sale, they have been suitably transported, cared for, and housed, then they are worth acquiring, despite their high price, as they permit the introduction of a variety of beneficial organisms into the aquarium, in the most "natural" way possible. Another option is to collect these types of rock yourself, off the shores of Florida, for example. Organisms capable of surviving in a tropical tank grow there in summer, when the water temperature is higher. There is always a chance, however, of introducing an undesirable organism or of finding that some residents of the "live rock" deteriorate and die, with an ensuing risk of pollution. It is therefore best to proceed with caution and isolate the rock in a quarantine aquarium.

COMPATIBILITY BETWEEN INVERTEBRATES AND MARINE FISH
Invertebrates cannot cohabit with just any fish, for a number of reasons. The first is that they are liable to become prey for carnivorous fish. Coelenterates are com­ pletely incompatible with angelfish (Pomacanthids), for example. Secondly, some lively and active fish, of over 10-15 cm in length, can jostle and disturb inver­ tebrates in the aquarium. Furthermore, the bigger and more active a fish, the more it excretes nitrogenous sub­ stances, leading to the accumulation of nitrates (NO3-), which are harmful to invertebrates. It is therefore best to avoid the presence of this type of fish. Too many fish produce the same result and the same degree of harm for invertebrates. Finally, there is another problem when a sick fish has to be treated, particularly with substances containing metals, which are toxic for most invertebrates. Remem­ ber that it is always preferable to nurse a fish in a hospital aquarium.

178

INVERTEBRATES
These days, more and more aquarists seem to be taking an interest in these animals. Ecologically speaking, invertebrates represent a natural complement to fish and plants; in visual terms, you can put on a spectacle of luminous beauty, particularly in sea water, using anemones and corals, to which can be added small fish, either lively or placid, but always brightly colored. There are also a few species of freshwater mollusks and crustaceans which are easy to keep in captivity, although they are little known and oftenoverlooked.

FRESHWATER INVERTEBRATES

GASTROPODS

T

hese are often unintentionally intro­ duced into aquariums, usually via plants containing eggs or small juveniles which are difficult to spot. Gastropods lay their eggs in a small, transparent, gelati­ nous mass.

Ampullaria
Some species of the apple snail can grow to 20 cm in the wild, but those found in an aquarium (belonging to the Ampullaria genus) do not exceed 7 cm. They eat vegetation and detritus, helping to restrict the development of algae, and like fairly hard water. Unlike many other gastropods, they are sexed and lay their eggs outside the water. Size: 6-7 cm. • Ampullaria gigas

Planorbis
These are water snails with a flattened shell. Their orange-red body contains plenty of red globules to establish a high oxygen concentration, as they live in environments lacking in oxygen and breathe through their lungs, sometimes rising to the water surface. They graze on both short and filamentous green algae, whose growth they help to restrict. Size: 3-4 cm. Planorbis sp.

Malayan snails
They breathe through their branchiae and can retreat into their tapered shell, which closes with an operculum. They relish the tiny algae which encrust the decor; if they are well fed, they proliferate quickly. They are considered less effective than the planorbis, but as they bury themselves, they contribute to the equilibrium of the aquarium by turning over and aerating the bed. If you want to get rid of them, introduce a fish from the Tetradon genus, which will appreciate these mollusks. Several Malayan snail species belonging to the Melanoides genus (such as Melanoides tuberculata), native to South-East Asia, can be unintentionally introduced into tanks along with plants. Size: 1-2 cm.

Physas
Their spiraled shell is markedly less elongate than that of Malayan snails and they are also slightly bigger. They do not play an important role in the control of unwanted algae. As they reproduce rapidly, it is best not to introduce them into an aquarium. Size: 1-2 cm.

Melanoides sp.
(Malayan snail)

Physa sp. •

180

it acts as a garbage collector in a tank by eating the particles left behind by the fish. Size: 15 cm. It is therefore best to keep a single specimen. It is prone to attack the fish fry. the Louisiana crawfish. It is the smaller species that are sold in the aquarium trade. and it is often forgotten that they also live in fresh water. Size: 6-7 cm. Less colorful than their marine cousins. as it tolerates a wide range of temperatures and requires little oxygen. which it easily detects with its acute sense of smell. as well as other crustaceans. and so their ecological role is quite substantial. which grows to 25 cm. These shrimps from the Atya genus (particularly Atya moluccensis. Macrobrachium sp. Several specimens can live together. native to South-East Asia) are only occasionally found in the aquarium trade. When it is really frightened. lanchasteri being the most common at the moment. It grows quickly (starting to reproduce at the age of 7 or 8 months) and is highly adaptable. They are bottom-dwellers that feed on leftover food . sometimes in brackish water. where there are red and blue varieties.CRUSTACEANS CRUSTACEANS T he word crustaceans usually brings marine species to mind. • Procamburus clarkii 181 . has been imported by a number of countries. even if the aquarium is very big and endowed with hiding places. It is omnivorous and can attack plants and fish. Crawfish There are around thirty species of crawfish in the world. on account of the calcium carbonate that forms their carapace. without counting its pincers. with M. rosenbergii.both natural and artificial . Shrimps Few species are commercially available. Size: 7-8 cm. They like lively. These long­ pincer shrimps are sometimes raised for restaurants: this is the case with M. such as the genus Macrobrachium (which covers some 200 species). as well as a large number of freshwater tropical species. well-oxygenated water and are sociable. This shrimp likes filtered light and shelters for taking refuge if it is disturbed. They prefer hard water. • Atya moluccensis Palaemonidae This family includes the familiar pink shrimp. One crawfish. It can cause a great deal of damage as it is fossorial and burrows in river banks. Although some European species can adjust to tropical aquariums. and so can be kept in small groups. if there are a sufficient number of shelters to provide hiding places in the aquarium. and Asia. Many of the imported specimens come from South-East Asia.and fish. Procamburus darkii. Native to South-East Asia. it can jump out of the water to escape from danger. they are nevertheless interesting to observe. even though they are abundant in certain tropical regions. distributed across the temperate and subtropical zones. it is advisable to let them remain in the wild as the regulations concerning their entrapment are strict. Africa. Atya These shrimps are found in many tropical regions in the Americas.

Species of this genus can achieve a diameter of several dozen centimeters. there is sometimes confusion over their names: some species may not even have one as they have yet to be systematically studied and described! Hexacorals This group covers the majority of the Coelenterates found in marine aquariums. as their capacity to sting can be considerable. shrimp. asexual multiplication can take place via budding. protecting them from their predators. Sponges seem to proliferate spontaneously in marine tanks. fish. • Red Sea sponge COELENTERATES T hese are the favorites among aquarists that specialize in inver­ tebrates. or a choppy made from these ingredients. brown. as these are signs of good health.MARINE INVERTEBRATES SPONGES T he form and color of sponges are extremely diverse: balls. Heteractis magnifica Anthozoa sometimes provide a refuge for shrimps. which will go on to produce a young anemone. Both the com­ mon and scientific names are little known and it is difficult to ascertain with any exactitude which species are found in the aquarium trade in the absence of detailed research. particularly anemones and corals. Only clownfish can accustom themselves to contact with their tentacles. orange. they sometimes excrete filaments of mucus that can pollute the water. When buying anemones. and they are appreciated by several species of clownfish. as they contain Zooxanthellae. as they can be intro­ duced. or gray. A large living space must therefore be planned for them. along with other invertebrates. The great majority of these animals are imported from the Indian or Pacific Oceans. attached by their single foot. 182 . which are quite long (up to 10 cm) and somewhat rigid. Sexual reproduction is a possibility. live rocks. mats. and that they can be fed on small morsels of animal origin. They attach themselves to a sup­ port (rocks. or tubes. yel­ low. but also dead coral or mollusk shells) and shy away from the light. Do not forget that most of them need strong light. although their availability . but they are only sporadically available in the aquarium trade. They are fairly robust in an aquarium if in water that is well lit and aerated (some anemones have Zooxanthellae).can vary enormously. in sizes invisible to the naked eye. but they can move around and find the place that suits them best (sometimes the tank's front pane). which acts as a sucker. The aquar­ ist must take care when handling some species. in red. or in water.and their price . Some rare species live in the sand and can retreat into it. Diameter: 30-40 cm. Heteractis (formerly Radianthus) This has a large number of tentacles. Anemones eat small pieces of mussel. moreover. Sea anemones (Actinia) These live on the substrate. Furthermore. make sure that they are puffed out and unfurled. and some anemones are livebearers. as other Anthozoa do not appreciate their tentacles.

COELENTERATES Stichodactyla (formerly Stoichactus) In its natural habitat a species of the Stichodactyla reaches lengths of 1 m. Diameter: 5-10 cm. as they have no calcareous skeleton. When buying this encrusting anemone. as they live in colonies. corals. they are not attached by a single foot but live in a self-secreted tube. and therefore need the appropriate light level. Ceriantharia feed on finely ground mussels. Moreover. particularly round the edge of the anemone. to the detriment of other Anthozoa. They must not be put close to stinging Anthozoa. 183 . Diameter: 20-50 cm. Aiptasia The glass anemones are often introduced to an aquarium along with rocks or water. their food consists of a fine choppy based on mussels. with tentacles that do not exceed 5 mm in length. and Gorgonians. Height: 20-30 cm. Parazoanthus sp. they do have advantages in an aquarium with butterfly fish (Chaetodontid family). Cerianthus sp. although their name is often unknown or incorrect. 15-20 cm thick. They can harbor Zooxanthellae. as they constitute these fishes' staple diet. due to the presence of Zooxanthellae. and sometimes sponges. • Aiptasia sp. fish. Zoantharia (colonial anemones) These are neither anemones. shrimps. although they can be distinguished by their non-retractable tentacles. or brine shrimps. Entacmaea This genus was created a few years ago to cover some species from the old Radianthus genus (the remainder being included in the Heteractis genus). whose support requires a layer of not too rough sand. Certain species can sometimes be found in the aquarium trade. This colonial anemone consists of small polyps which can reach a height of up to 2 cm. • Stichodactyla mertensii • Entacmaea quadricolor sheltering the clownfish Amphiphon bicinctus. However. These animals colonize rocks. Ceriantharia These resemble anemones. The tentacles are arranged in dense ranks. make sure that it is attached to a rock. They are livebearers that can quickly colonize a tank. Like many other animals in this group. nor corals. They must be placed 10 or 20 cm under the water surface in an aquarium to take maximum advantage of the light. mollusks' shells. Parazoanthus sp.

it is essential to partially change the water on a regular basis. once a week. The colored tentacles are drawn in by day. regular basis. as they require well­ aerated water of the highest quality. known as bubble corals. Avoid allowing the bubble coral to touch other invertebrates. This skeleton means that they make the most significant contribution to the building of coral reefs in tropical seas. Asexual reproduction through budding is possible in captivity. Scleratinaria True corals or madreporites live in a calcareous skeleton.MARINE INVERTEBRATES Corallimorpharia These invertebrates. on the contrary. and are some of the easiest to keep in an aquarium. essential ­ to put it into the aquarium already is the result of Zooxanthellae. identical to that of the animals above. Their feeding. which are not corals . The distinctive skeleton can be used as a decorative feature. Plerogyra (Caryophylliidae) The species in this genus. and these mean that this coral requires strong lighting. In the wild. live prey. Height: 20-50 cm. for example). Leptosammia (Dendrophylliidae) One temperate species in this genus also tolerates tropical temperatures: Half-open Plerogyra sp Some Leptosammia pruvoti. The color of the bubbles varies depending on the presence of Zooxanthellae. A supply of calcium carbonate is desirable for the growth of the skeleton.and therefore crystal clear . This does not mean that corals like darkness. they must be provided with a great deal of light.they have no skeleton . Size: 20-30 cm.and an extremely low nitrate content. as Zooxanthellae supply a part of the substances they need to live and they sometimes reject the food offered by the aquarist. Platygira (Favidae) These are easy to keep in captivity and accept small. It is preferable ­ in fact. Favia. often drawn in by day. tentacles are visible. 184 . As they are very sensitive to nitrates. These are the most difficult invertebrates to keep in a marine tank. attached to a support. Size: 5 cm. Size: 20 cm. as they should not come into contact with other Anthozoa once their tentacles have unfurled. The tentacles. their growth is rapid (a few centimeters per year) and they can exceed 1 m in height. Actinodiscus Several species from this genus are available on the market. unfurl at night to capture food. Size: 20-30 cm.are known as discus anemones. They live attached by a foot that is less powerful than that of the anemone.with relatively large. on account of the presence of Zooxanthellae.when the tentacles are unfurled . Take care when placing them in an aquarium. Fungia (Fungids) These solitary (and therefore non­ colonial) corals generally live on the sediment and do not take part in the construction of reefs. The diameter of the disc­ shaped polyp varies from one species to another. In the wild. as the tentacles are not attacked by fish (butterfly fish. Goniopora (Poritidae) The species from this genus are imported on a fairly A Fungia sp. the green color Its yellow-orange color and small size make it good for decoration. and they are easy to keep. They prefer moderately aerated water. are quite easy to keep in an aquarium. Size: 10-30 cm. on account of its capacity to sting. The daytime "bubbles" withdraw at night to • Actinodiscus sp. with no suspended particles . It is best to feed it at night . Acropora (Acroporidae) They are rarely imported alive but their skeletons are often used as decor in domestic aquariums. the bubbles provide the coral with a certain degree of protection. Goniopora sp. live prey. give way to stinging tentacles 1-5 cm long. into they which they can withdraw. Diameter: 20 cm. The presence of Zooxanthellae demands strong light. • Acropora sp. in small volumes. They are carnivorous. It is also possible to accustom it to eating a fine choppy based on seafood between the bubbles by day. feeding on animal plankton in their natural habitat and a choppy based on mussels or fish in captivity. should take place on a weekly basis.

and their disappearance can be attributed to fishing off the coasts of France. These animals prefer a fairly dark environment. Their weekly diet consists of a fine choppy of mussels and other seafood. • The red coral (Corallium rubrum) found in the Mediterranean. where they live attached to a support. which comprises several families. Their color varies according to the concentration of Zooxanthellae present. Gorgonians The species in this group. These days there are no colonies over a few dozen centimeters. up to a depth of 200 m. such as sponges or filamentous algae. They are able to build a skeleton.. Their tentacles. Size: 15 cm. 185 . Their skeletons can be used for decorative purposes. Sarcophyton (Alcyoniidae) When they expel water from their tissues to renew it. The presence of Zooxanthellae means that they require strong lighting. Sinularia sp. but it is not the same as that of the madreporites. hence their name leather corals. soft coral from the Indo-Pacific region. trocheliophorum. are 1-5 cm long. some species can house Zooxanthellae. A FALSE CORAL. closed (left) and with the polyps extended (right). well away from other stinging species. A TRUE GORGONIAN Alcyonarians (or soft corals) These live attached to the substrate by a horny secretion. through budding. they look like leather. They are easy to keep in well-aerated water and they grow quickly. numbered in multiples of eight. WORMS Gorgonian and Alcyonarian W orms belonging to the genus Sabellastarte are some­ times imported.. Size: 20-30 cm. It is best to keep them away from stinging Anthozoa. and their polyps can be withdrawn. The branchial plume (in a double crown) can reach 15 cm in diameter. Their reproduction is either sexual or asexual. As with the hexacorals. Two leather corals are most commonly found in the aquarium trade: Sarcophyton glaucum and 5. They sometimes have a tendency to be colonized by other organisms. Sardinia. Sarcophyton sp. Their diet is the same as that of the Coelenterates. present a ramified. is in fact a Gorgonian. and Tunisia that is so intensive it is best described as pillage! Such demand is exp­ lained by the fact that the bright red skeleton of this species is used in jewelry (particularly so in Italy). Sabellastarte sp. Their food must be very fine and distributed daily.WORMS Octocorals These live in colonies in both temperate and tropical seas. They must be positioned with care in the aquarium. fan-like form and can grow to a height of 2 m.

they pick up the food rejected or ignored by fish. Cypraea The highly decorated shell of the Cypraea is much prized by collectors. shelled or intact. Bivalves It is sometimes possible to come across small specimens of the giant clam (Tridacna genus) that can be fed on mussel choppy. you can also try providing filamentous algae for this shrimp. containing the sensitive organs. Size: 7-8 cm. this shrimp molts several times in a year. Gastropods Cypraea tigris The species found in the aquarium trade are mainly carnivorous and feed on mussels or fish. they are not difficult to keep. both with a carnivorous tendency: the tiger Cypraea (Cypraea tigris). Size: 7-8 cm. CRUSTACEANS T he most common species in marine aquariums are shrimps . they can be sold legally." Apart from the usual food. In contrast. In aquariums the porcelain-like shell is only visible when the mollusk is at rest. it is covered by the mantle (the most external part of the body). Lysmata amboinensis (formerly L. the barber shrimps live in couples and serve as cleaners. where they will take refuge by day. Shrimps These very brightly colored animals are much appreciated by hobbyists for the theatrical flourish they add to a tank.and they are expensive. especially for angelfish (Pomacanthids). Stenopus hispidus This is one the most common shrimps in the aquarium trade. and they must therefore be placed close to a strong light source. Other species Small gastropods can sometimes be introduced on live rocks. In their natural habitat (several tropical seas). nevertheless. although more subdued species are also found . They are relatively easy to keep if the water quality is good and the aquarium is equipped with hiding places. although they are rarely found in the aquarium trade. They are mainly active at night. Like many shrimps. Those that do appear on the market are mainly raised in tropical areas . Most species have Zooxanthellae on the outer part of their mantle. mappa). particularly if it is well fed. It cleans the skin of certain fish with its antennae. These animals pick up food left over by fish and in this way they contribute to the equilibrium of the aquarium. as it searches for microorganisms in them. they need a certain amount of protection. when they are active. which also detect the presence of the specimen to be "cleaned. in an aquarium if they are well fed. and the geographical Cypraea (C. grabhami) This very sociable cleaner shrimp tolerates the presence of other shrimps and can also live in groups. over 10 cm in length. Giant clams are demanding as regards water quality.MARINE INVERTEBRATES MOLLUSKS ertain species of mollusks can be kept with fish. Generally speaking. as they are herbivores. Stenopus hispidus • Tridacna sp. and sometimes with other invertebrates.and they are imported on a fairly regular basis. In good conditions. It is best to keep a couple in a tank and provide them with hiding places. Lysmata amboinensis 186 . The male searches for food and gives it to the female. There are others which graze the algae on the decor. Size: 5-25 cm. They abandon this role. so they are popular among hobbyists.usu­ ally brightly colored. which rarely exceeds 7 cm. the species belonging to the Murex genus eat by piercing the shell of other mollusks. New species regularly crop up on the market. so they can be fed small mussels. totally or partially. Two species are sometimes found on the market. as they are most active in the dark.

Starfish These survive well in an aquarium. this decapod. and do not seem to be put off by their stings. but. Hermit crabs (or pagurids) These are sometimes considered the garbage collectors of the aquarium as they eat a wide range of detritus. like other species of the same genus. and some Labrids. the mantis shrimp must not be kept in an invertebrate aquarium. The red shrimp is still rarely found on the market. • Linckia laevigata. is not aggressive. which have teeth strong enough to break the internal calcareous skeleton of sea urchins. puffers. The names of the species found on the market are often not known. although there is little risk in an aquarium inhabited by fish. cannot live without an anemone. Size: 10-15 cm. The latter resembles the L. • Neopetrolisthes sp. Feed them with raw or cooked mussels. Enoplometopus occidentalis Contrary to what may be inferred from its common name of lobster crab. Sea urchins These crawl over the decor to graze on the algae which form their diet. which is native to the Mediterranean and also to tropical regions. as they can withdraw into their shell. closely related to the langoustine.ECHINODERMS Lysmata debelius This is a timid species that lives in couples and prefers temperate waters to tropical ones. Size: 4-6 cm. Size: 4-5 cm. Size: 7-8 cm. and Fromia. Linckia. perhaps. It is not advisable to introduce them into a tank with other invertebrates (except. Other genera. In the light of its behavior and feeding habits (small crustaceans and fish). especially the bivalve mollusks. the smaller species). it is best to keep a single specimen. a microphage starfish that can cohabit with other invertebrates. Its size and agility make it suitable for cohabitation with certain fish. such as Lysmata wurdemanni. are microphages and feed on the assorted debris found on the aquarium bed. This is a crustacean worthy of a place in an invertebrate tank. although they are fairly resistant and survive well in a tank. ECHINODERMS T hese invertebrates are the hardest to find in the aquarium trade. such as the Echinaster. They must not be kept in a tank with other invertebrates. 187 . Size: 10-15 cm. By day it remains hidden in a shelter. seticaudata. Other crustaceans Odontodactylus scyllarus The aggressive mantis shrimp spends much of its time prowling and swimming in search of food. Size: 10-15 cm. especially mussels. Species of the Neopetrolisthes genus (porcelain crabs) live in symbiosis with anemones (for example. Eucidaris tribuloides. Lysmata debelius Crabs Some small species can occasionally be found in the aquarium trade. even though it can bury itself in sand. The ophiuroids are attractive echinoderms in a marine invertebrate tank. because they are highly prized by Balistids. native to the Caribbean. and is very popular in Europe. Be careful. it also needs a hiding place. which can be fed on nauplii of brine shrimps or very fine slithers of mussels. and sometimes filamentous algae). They are preferable to the carnivorous starfish in an aquarium. In captivity. Stichodactyla gigantea) and feed on small particles using a pair of claws equipped with tiny fringes. The names of the extremely few species available are not known with any precision. they can be accidentally introduced with live rocks. which feed on other invertebrates. Worthy of note among the carnivores are the Protoreaster and Oreaster genera. such as one from the Stichodactyla genus. coming out at night to feed on the bed of the aquarium (leftover fish food. Size: 10 cm.

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Sunlight may be complemented by artificial lighting if the plants demand this. which can sometimes lead to confusion. Some plants sold in aquatic stores are mere hybrids bearing the name of one of its two "parents". These plants serve as decorative elements in the aquarium. partly heated by solar energy. using hot water pumped into irrigation canals. but this is not their only role. that are very useful in aquariums. They generally live partly out of the water. Other plants are totally aquatic. DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLANTS Contrary to what one might expect. and quite big.ORIGIN AND VARIETY OF PLANTS The vast majority of aquatic plants are not taken from the wild but are grown by specialist firms. and the plant reassumes its previous form. although the environment is extremely humid. but tend to change the shape of their leaves when introduced into this different environment.sometimes very heavy in tropical regions . Most species are raised with a large part of the plant .or even all of it . The collection of certain plants from the wild is prohibited. unless you want new species or a pure variety. especially via their production of oxygen when in the light. THE ORIGIN OF AQUARIUM PLANTS All aquarium plants will reproduce in tanks. covered by water. or sometimes even com­ pletely. There are also amphibian or totally aquatic mosses. with the upper part of their stems only rarely seen above the water level . They develop submerged leaves. with only the lower por­ tion permanently submerged. mainly in South-East Asia but also in Europe and the United States. which are different from those which appear outside the water. unbroken in form.usually to produce a flower. Agricultural greenhouses are used. 190 . most of the plants found in aquariums are not really aquatic. being finer and more delicate. When the level of rivers and ponds rises due to rain . so there is no point in collecting them in their natural setting. • Most aquarium plants are raised out of water. Their leaves are sturdy. They adapt to the aquarium setting.outside the water. At the end of the rainy season. or sometimes geothermically. in this case under glass. in an extremely hot and humid atmosphere. as they provide a place for some fish to lay An enormous variety of plants can be cultivated. the water returns to its initial level. as they also contribute to its ecological balance. Aquarium plants are cultivated by special­ ist companies.the plants end up almost entirely.

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and thus reduce the concentra­ tion in the water. it is easy to see why they are totally off limits for many aquarists. Finally. or even on fine-leafed plants (as in the case of livebearers from the Poeciliid family). Their exuberant growth. plants do not merely serve as decoration but also make a major contribution to the equilib­ rium of the aquarium (see page 196 on the mechanism of photosynthesis): by day.as well as nourishment there. but as an aquarium is a reconstitu­ tion of a piece of nature. which grow quickly under the right conditions. as the plants enhance the development of microorganisms like infusorians. Some of these artificial plants. as they are bound to enhance the overall balance. 192 . watch­ ing over their eggs. which helps to keep them out of sight of predators. Some species (like Ancistrus and Gyrinocheilus) feed on algae that grow on the decor. they find shelter in the vegetation . use large leaves to fan them. These algae attach themselves to the floor and decor with a runner. Another option is ferns. They are highly recom­ mended in a marine tank. The effect created by plastic plants is not always in exquisite taste! • THE ROLE OF PLANTS IN AN AQUARIUM Contrary to what is often thought. When the fry are born. it can also provide welcome shade and hiding places for adult fish. can serve as a support in a rearing tank for those species of fish that lay adhesive eggs. they absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by fish and produce oxygen (O2). Plants are similarly useful for fish. who prefer their plants to be natural. the end product of the nitrogen cycle (see page 19). though this can spoil the visual effect. lay their eggs on the foliage. PLASTIC PLANTS It is possible to find excellent imitations of nat­ ural plants.particularly plants with floating leaves . such as South American Characins. • Plants with fine leaves are prized both by herbivorous fish and other species that lay their eggs on them. which are a valuable food source. however.PLANTS PLANTS IN A MARINE AQUARIUM There are substantially fewer marine plants suited to an aquarium than fresh­ water ones. however. their eggs. Fish such as scaklares. This anarchic behavior must there­ fore be restrained by regularly eliminating a certain amount of this vegetation. The most common are from the Caulerpa genus. not only the best-known species from temper­ ate regions but also those from the tropics that can survive entirely submerged by water. Others. can sometimes interfere with fixed marine invertebrates. such as anemones and corals. they absorb nitrates. if the vegetation is sufficiently lush. Moreover.

• If due care is not taken. and their advantages Algae can also be grazed or ground by some fish. or. they incrust themselves on the slightest details in the decor. In sea water. exert an antag­ onistic effect by diverting nutritious salts away from the plants. with a scraper equipped with a razor blade or a small scouring pad (available commer­ cially. and Acanthurids. with the subsequent risk of suffo­ cating their hosts. and sometimes ammonia. reducing the visibility.often with varying degrees of success. Panaque. to which these algae 193 . Epalzeorbynchus). The vegetation is less abundant in marine tanks. as every aquarium is a special case. While a modest presence of algae can be considered a sign of equilibrium. by sliding the leaves of the plant between the thumb and index figure. finally. it is better to avoid excess growth in the first place than to have to try to fight it. and the decor. this overgrowth is evidence of a degree of imbalance. COUNTERING ALGAE PROBLEMS Mechanical methods These are substantial. . particularly nitrates. This type of growth can form quite thick layers on the glass panes. this applies to the Poeciliids and the species known as "suckers" or "washers" (Gyrinocbeilus. sand. Oto­ clinchus. made up of bacteria and fungi. The disadvantages of algae Apart from being an eyesore. Generally speaking. micro­ algae can rapidly cover the decor and panes of an aquarium. their presence in an aquar­ ium can help these fish acclimatize them­ selves to the artificial environment of the domestic aquarium. You must be careful. however. algae form part of the diet of fish families. (while whitish or gray filamentous masses. although you can also make one yourself). Ancistrus. on the contrary. They attach themselves to plants and pro­ liferate.. outside the aquarium. Algae can be removed by hand. Hypostomus. In fresh water. This is the normal role of plants in fresh water. appearing as filamentous tufts or even completely covering other green algae. Finally. and so algae . ALGAE OVERGROWTH This overgrowth can be recognized by its greenish or yellow-brown color. Centropyges. the bed.can play an important role. and so algae are often referred to as biological indicators. by rolling filamentous algae around a stick. and applying a generaliza­ tion to a specific situation could ultimately lead to the wrong conclusions. branches. excess algae grow on the panes. as the plants are prevented from exchanging gases and absorbing the salts in the water. coral skele­ tons. may also be mixed in with algae).particularly the filamentous green ones . which does nothing to enhance the visual effect..ALGAE PROBLEMS The large majority of aquarists have found themselves confronted with undesirable levels of algae that are sometimes difficult to combat. and algae can therefore complement this action or. Any rocks. such as the Chaetontids. or roots infested by algae can be treated. but the visual effect is seriously undermined. This does not necessarily have a negative effect on the fish. Algae consume nitrogenous substances. in a 10% bleach solution.

Green algae(Chlorophyceae) It is generally considered that their appearance in small. Under poor ecological conditions. • 194 . diffuser. generally unicellular.PLANTS DIFFERENT GROUPS OF PROBLEMATIC ALGAE Red algae (Rhodophyceae) It is unusual to find a proliferation of these algae in an aquarium. the prolif­ eration of algae can be so extensive that the only option is to create a whole new aquarium from scratch. they can follow from certain green algae. Any submerged equip­ ment colonized by algae (heating. sparse clumps is a good sign (especially in alkaline water) that may indicate that the aquarium is well-equipped. filter) can be treated in the same way. if the conditions are right. layer with a velvety sheen. These algae are very thin and. to keep algae off the front of the tank. although they sometimes only grow to a few centimeters in length. unicellular microscopic algae. in strong light. It is important to rinse and dry them thoroughly before putting them back into the tank. Ecological methods Try to regulate the factor provoking the algae overgrowth by adjusting the amount of light. produces good results. which can move around with the help of a flagellum. this is probably one of the types of overgrowth most often seen. Brown algae(Pheophyceae) In an aquarium. These grow and form a thin film on the decor and glass panes of the tank. with one very short filament. which should be reduced in the case of green or blue algae. they can extend to several dozen centimeters. A disposable razor is useful for eliminating algae that grow on the aguarium panes. pipes. Despite their name. sometimes brownish. they form a green-blue. sufficient to colonize an aquarium in a fairly short space of time. In fresh­ water aquariums. They reproduce through fragmentation. you can make partial water changes. this is caused by the widespread growth of microscopic algae. They often develop if the lighting is excessive. these are extremely ancient in origin: they were among the first living elements to appear on Earth. or the addition of deflectors. if they proliferate they create two main types of problem: . are very sensitive. Blue algae (Cyanophyceae) Also microscopic.green filamentous algae. however. In a natural setting. these mainly consist of diatoms. However. particularly nitrogen. is too high. .green water. these constitute phytoplankton. on a fairly regular basis. using water with a low hardness contain­ ing few mineral salts. They often proliferate rapidly when the concentration of nutritional elements (mineral salts). invisible to the naked eye. Sometimes. Changing the position of the tubes.

For the same reasons. 195 . Several fish can be used in the biological battle against algae in fresh water: Epalzeorhynchus siamensis (right) and Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (left). The extent of this phenomenon is very difficult to appreciate in an aquarium. the use of copper sulfate is not recommended. but it is not unusual to find that the algae reappear after a while. as it is dan­ gerous for invertebrates.ALGAE PROBLEMS Be careful. As their effect has not been fully established. Biological methods These can involve the use of herbivorous animals only interested in certain types of algae. as these sub­ stances probably also affect other plants. as it is invisible to the human eye. as larger aquatic plants release substances that can inhibit the development of algae. In seawater tanks. change the water. replacing it with reconstituted water of the same salinity. it is best to be cautious with the dosage. The use of several techniques at the same time some­ times has positive results. The battle on the biological front is some­ times fought without any intervention on the part of the aquarist. such as the fish mentioned above or gastropods (rare in sea water). Chemical methods There are special products on the market designed to kill algae. There is no miracle solution. however. It is best to get used to par­ tially eliminating them on a regular basis. not to make any drastic alterations to the quality of the water if this has been specially adjusted to specific plants and fishes.

oxygen (O2). such as the floating fern. They consume oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. as it makes up part of the chlorophyll pigment that absorbs light.CARING FOR PLANTS Plants need light. with the minimum levels being reached in the last third of the night. An increase in the water's oxygen level pushes up the pH. whether natural or artificial. alkaline and hard. thereby affect­ ing the oxygenation of the water. If plants are defi­ cient in iron. both in a natural setting and an aquarium. in reaction to light . mineral salts (fertilizer). are easy to keep. while the production of CO2 at night acidifies the water and the pH goes down. MAGNESIUM. the plants will turn yellow and eventually die. A fishkeeper also needs to be an aquatic gardener and have "green fingers" to cultivate his or her live decor. 196 . and seem indiffer­ ent to the quality of the water. Although some plants. You must respect the needs of plants to obtain optimal growth and reproduction.they absorb the carbon dioxide from fish respiration and produce oxygen: it is this photosynthesis that enables them to grow.therefore only by day . Iron plays a role in the chemical reactions of photosynthesis. AND IRON Magnesium is an important element. This phenomenon has a beneficial effect on the equilibrium of the aquarium. An aquarist (preferably an insomniac!) can verify this by measur­ ing the pH every hour in a cycle of 24 hours (see diagram on page 14). produced by special fluorescent tubes for 12 or 13 hours a day.a condition also seen in agriculture. WHAT PLANTS NEED Plants have an overwhelming need for light. Water Aquatic plants are in general very sensi­ tive to the water quality. once they have absorbed carbon dioxide. Light Aquarium plants usually need strong light­ ing. There may be slight variations in the oxy­ gen levels from day to night. and photosynthesis Like all living beings. others require water that is soft and acid or. and their survival and reproduction depends on the right proportions of these elements. • If the lighting is deficient in either quality or quantity. as it results in the pro­ duction of more oxygen than the plant consumes in its respiration. Carbon dioxide (CO2). and will only flourish in water that is adapted to their specific needs. plants are continu­ ously respiring. specialists refer to this as chlorosis . By contrast. alter­ natively. CHLOROPHYLL. to grow and produce oxygen. and carbon dioxide (CO2) to grow. For information concerning lighting see page 226. their growth slows down and they turn yellow.

an enriched soil that will gradually release these mineral salts. sometimes even up to 8. 2. This name covers all the substances needed for the growth of aquarium plants. in fresh water. You can also make a solid fertilizer at home. in the form of sustained-release mineral salt capsules placed at the base of the plants. from your aquarium store owner or from clubs and associations. or none at all. Placed at the base of plants. In an aquarium. Some aquarists provide. which is a self-contained environment.add solid fertilizers.CARING FOR PLANTS This phenomenon. • house plants. but it can sometimes be deficient. Carbon dioxide diffusers are available in the aquarium trade to rem­ edy this problem. some aquatic areas are considered fertile. . These gradually run out and the plants are therefore in danger of mineral deficiency. When an aquarium is put into operation. Choose plants suited to aquarium water. at a rate determined by the quantity of the vegetation. the water and the bed con­ tain mineral salts that will gradually run out. Fertilizers A FEW RULES FOR A NOVICE "AQUATIC GARDENER" 1. Deposits can also be seen on the glass panes. You must therefore make plans to reinforce the mineral salt level on a regular basis. or for house plants. as you would for Nowadays specialist aquarium stores stock equipment designed to supply plants with the CO2 they need. form small balls. Satisfy their needs. and by the roots in amphibian plants. Knead it. Do not hesitate to ask for advice. rarely entails any problems for fish. . which con­ tribute to its oxygena­ tion. from the very beginning.5. In the natural environment. Those regions lacking these vital elements are characterized by sparse veg­ etation. which is only really visible in heavily planted and densely populated aquariums. help expel the CO2 dissolved in the water into the atmosphere. 5. You must also bear in mind that aeration and stirring of the water. Mineral salts are absorbed by the roots and leaves in truly aquatic plants. Check the supply of nutrients. the carbon dioxide that has been trapped by the bicarbonates is used in its turn: the pH often rises above 7. This is particularly useful when 197 . to obtain "new" water containing salts. Choose hardy species. and the calcium forms a fine layer on leafy plants and "suffocates" them. based on clay. these balls gradually release their nutrients. an aquarist has three options: . They are in fact the equivalent of the fer­ tilizers that are used in agriculture. as the renewal of the water and the equilibrium of the natural cycles provide sufficient amounts of mineral salts for plants to prosper. Plants' needs vary according to the sub­ stance: some are only required in tiny amounts (metals. This means that excessive stir­ ring can sometimes have dire consequences for plants. Mineral salts A LACK OF C O 2 There is usually enough carbon dioxide in the water. Faced with this situation. even in a tank that is profusely planted and well lit.regularly change part of the water (gen­ erally 10% of the volume per week). 4.add liquid fertilizers specially designed for aquatic plants. especially as regards special lighting. 3. If this occurs. some rapid growers and other slower. for example) but they must be constantly available. then have them soak up liquid fer­ tilizer. the bed and the water contain mineral salts. at water level.

for example . extensive planting is envisaged for the aquarium (in the case of a Dutch aquar­ ium. How do you know if your plants have a growth problem? A plant lacking any of the elements it needs to live turns yellow or brown and rapidly dies.Nitrogen. contained in phosphates. However.Phosphorus. . A few other substances are also needed. which is a component of other salts. sometimes in very small quantities: .if it is provided with good lighting and nutrient salts. others cultivate them in the same way as they raise fish: they make them grow and even reproduce. • GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR GROWING AQUATIC PLANTS Many aquarists treat plants as mere decorative elements. The leaves get covered with a fine layer of filamentous algae and even­ tually fall off.Vitamins. contained in nitrates. such as iron and magnesium (see page 196). .Potassium. It is pos­ 198 .see page 33). sible to find veritable "aquatic horticultur­ alists" who obtain astonishing results.MINERAL SALTS REQUIRED BY PLANTS .Metals. in some species it is not easy to tell when the growth pro­ cess is slowing down. Vegetation can thrive in an aquarium. .

cut the upper part (top) and replant it (center). however. The techniques used. it is advisable to make a clean cut. It is best to use fertilizer. It is this vegetative multiplication method that is used in aquariums. and lateral shoots suitable for cuttings can grow. Roots form and the new plant normally grows quickly. Pieces of plants that have broken off or been uprooted. 199 . The upper part. these substances do not reach the lower part of the plant. sexual reproduction gives way to asexual reproduction. To take cuttings from a plant. which is cut cleanly with a razor blade or scissors. know as vegetative multiplication. This technique is widely used when the stem of a plant reaches the surface of the water. on the grounds that they will gradually be converted into mineral matter as they are degraded. Some fish need to be added to ensure the supply of C0 2 to the plants.REPRODUCTION OF PLANTS In the wild. settle and take root. If you have small rearing tanks. about one third of the length. and filtration should be moderate. A FEW HINTS FOR SUCCESSFUL CUTTINGS If the lower part of a stemmed plant loses its leaves. When the conditions in a setting are inauspicious. In this case. the most common mode of reproduction among plants is sexual. this means that light is having difficulty in penetrating right to the bottom of the aquarium. Some aquarists prefer to remove the leaves from the lower third of the cutting before planting it. in the form of liquids or clay balls. which vary according to the type of plants. T How to encourage cuttings? The upper part of a stemmed plant produces substances that inhibit the growth of side shoots. If this section is cut off or firmly squeezed. is replanted. while others recommend leaving them in place. cut the plant a few centimeters from the bed and transplant the healthy upper part. these can be used as aquatic "greenhouses" for the cultivation of stemmed plants. Cuttings can be easily taken from most stemmed plants. To take a cutting from a stemmed plant. Adventitious roots (those grow­ ing sporadically away from their normal location) make it easier to take cuttings from most stemmed plants (like Cabomba. TAKING CUTTINGS Cuttings can be taken from a stemmed plant. Aeration is not strictly necessary. The lower part of the mother plant produces lateral shoots that can be used for cuttings later on. and then swept along by the movement of the water. involving flowers and seeds. Hygrophila). provided a few precautions are taken. This provides the opportunity for lateral shoots to emerge on the original stem (below). are similar to those of horticulture.

If there is not enough car­ bon dioxide. A few fish will add the fin­ ishing touches to the equilibrium. These days many aquarists are enthusiastic about the reproduction of fish. produce a horizontal aerial stem. or exchange with other enthusiasts. which sprouts new leaves The water level should not be too high. and division of the base are regularly performed. and the bed should be given appropriate enrichment. A young plant then grows out of this. to avoid the CO2 dissolved in the water being let off into the atmosphere. to assist the penetration of light.PLANTS DIVIDING THE BASE Plants without stems thicken at the base. you are left with two independent plants. this produces a rhizome that grows slowly. and if you choose speci­ mens from the same species. After about a week. secondary feet with roots. A "REARING TANK" FOR PLANTS? Why not? Some aquarists sometimes manage to get plants to reproduce sexually. producing roots that enable it to establish itself in the bed. In the case of the Congo fern. with new leaves appearing on it. equipment to provide moderate diffusion of this gas into the tank is available in aquarium stores. the plants are then transplanted into a community aquarium. They use one or several cultivation tanks. known as a runner (or stolon). in which cuttings. using jars or ice cream or yogurt cartons. The filtration should be gentle. LAYERING Some plants. for example. These can be carefully removed with a razor blade and replanted. The division of the base is a technique applicable to many plants. Marine algae of the Caulerpa genus multiply by extending a runner. when they bloom. such as the Echinidorus species or the marine algae from the Caulerpa genus. If you cut off this rhizome between two leaves. Top right: Valliseneria and Sagittaria reproduce spontaneously via runners (top). and there should be no oxygenation at all. layering. 200 . either spontaneously. A reproduction tank for plants must have specially adapted and fairly strong lighting. but few are interested in cultivating plants. Miniature jardinieres can even be constructed. or with added help from the aquarist. they can reproduce as well. sometimes forming smaller. who may have to encourage it to take root. although this can be just as fasci­ nating. The new plant must be made to take root (center) before cutting the runner (below). such as the cryptocorynes. the roots will have grown sufficiently to allow the runner to be cut off. The propagation of aquatic plants is easy and you can quickly build up large stocks to pass on to. When they are fully grown.

. The vast majority of these come from tropical fresh water. mosses. with the remainder com­ ing from northern climes. or only amphibian.have been grouped together. The most common plants are generally the most robust. The special plants . only a few hundred are to be found in the aquarium trade. they should be of interest to all aquarists. and ferns . and therefore suitable for temperate aquariums and garden ponds. and are therefore specially suitable for beginners.the floating species. Others are best left to committed aquarists keen to create a veritable aquatic garden.AQUARIUM PLANTS Of the thousands of plants that are genuinely aquatic. on account of their exceptional lifestyle.

These plants reproduce by dividing a rhizome between the buds. The biggest. grows to a height of 30 cm. It will not tolerate temperatures over 22°C and is therefore exclusive to temperate aquariums. but taking cuttings is the best way to propagate.AQUARIUM PLANTS MOST POPULAR PLANTS T hey could also be called "the classics. the green acorus. southern United States. Acorus (Araceae. the smallest. The snowflake hyssop grows quite slowly and is very easy to keep but it requires good lighting. is ideal in foregrounds. As it can grow to a height of over 1 m. Acorus calamus The sweet flag or muskrat root is found in Europe. with their paired oval leaves. Some are species that adapt to different types of water. They are mainly stemmed plants which provide cuttings without any difficulty and grow rapidly provided they are given the appropriate level of light. Central America) These hardy plants. Asia) The Acorus genus. Bacopa monnieri There is more space between the leaves than in the above species. They prefer water that is neutral or slightly acid and not too hard. Size: 30 cm. it is reserved for garden ponds. Acorus gramineus Bacopa caroliniana Bacopa monnieri • Bacopa (Scrofulariaceae. at around 10 cm. They are generally paludal (marsh plants) and are equally suited to aquaterrariums and garden ponds. native to temperate and cold waters. the dwarf acorus. 202 . but will not stand those above 24-25°C." as they have given great pleasure to both veteran and novice aquarists for generations. although they will also survive totally submerged. Some are of particularly interest to beginners. Size: 30 cm. oth­ ers are more suited to a regional aquarium. and are best planted in groups. can be made to flower in an aquarium. Acorus gramineus There are two varieties of this species. is widely distributed outside its original breeding grounds. with small spaces between their stems. Bacopa caroliniana The hardy water hyssop tolerates temperatures as low as 20°C. as they are not only easy to cultivate but also inexpensive.

but can tolerate temperatures of up to 25°C. on account of their tendency to proliferate. though this temperate water plant can adjust to tropical aquariums. Size: 30-40 cm. Size: 30-40 cm. For reproduction take cuttings from the side shoots. while other partially herbivorous fish graze on it. It grows quickly. Ceratophyllum demersum The water sprite is found in Europe and Central America. this means that you must avoid circulating it too vigorously. • Cabomba aquatica Ceratophyllum (Ceratophyllaceae. and a more or less neutral pH. • Cabomba caroliniana Ceratophyllum demersum Elodea and Egeria (Hydrocharitaceae. where it can sometimes grow in profusion. Cabomba caroliniana More robust than its cousin. South America) Some fish. with an optimum temperature range of 15-20°C.MOST POPULAR PLANTS Cabomba (Cabombaceae. although its stem breaks easily. It is a plant for temperate aquariums or garden ponds. take advantage of the fine foliage of the cabomba to lay their eggs. but only one species is common in aquariums. Egeria densa (formerly Elodea densa) Both sexes of the dense elodea were. or float on the surface. It is well suited to tanks with goldfish or garden ponds. such as South American Characins. the fish grass or water shield can tolerate temperatures of 20°C but its soil must be fairly rich. It is relatively indifferent to the hardness and pH of the water. or from the top. although only the female has been present in Europe since the middle of the 19th century. water that is not too hard. it therefore has to be "wedged in " by rocks or branches. introduced into Europe. and it can obviously only reproduce through cuttings. Size: 30-40 cm. alkaline water. Size: 30-40 cm. Canadian pond weed has been introduced into temperate regions all over the world. southern United States. Under an intense light they produce a great deal of oxygen. They put down roots but can also live afloat. preferably in hard. or from side shoots. the water cabomba spreads out on the surface of the water. It is easy to take cuttings from the main stem. The form of its leaves depends on the conditions under which it is cultivated. Elodea canadensis Originally from North America. It does not have any true roots and finds it difficult to establish itself in the substrate. similarly. Cabomba aquatica If the light is weak. although it is highly unusual to find reproduction through flowering in an aquarium. unless the water is lacking in carbon dioxide. These plants need good lighting. Egeria densa 203 . It is suited to temperate aquariums. It is easy to cultivate. but it does require strong lighting. cosmopolitan) These are known as water pests. cosmopolitan) Ceratophylls can be found all over the world.

It is easy to take cuttings: just chop off the head of the stem as soon as it reaches the surface. Heteranthera (Pontederiaceae. but with sufficient spaces between the stems. It multiplies through cuttings of the side shoots. in hard.AQUARIUM PLANTS Eleocharis (Cyperaceae. When the leaves drop off the stem. Hygrophila corymbosa (formerly Nomaphila) The giant hygro tolerates temperatures as low as 15°C. recognizable by an almost square stem. although they can also be cultivated in aquariums under strong lighting. Central or South America) These plants are totally aquatic. South-East Asia) More than 10 species are found in the aquarium trade. and are therefore suited to aquaterrariums. the leaves at the bottom of the stem fall off. The stem is quite fine and can float on the surface of the water. Heteranthera zosterifolia The stargrass can live totally submerged. Size: 30 cm. They live half-submerged. They are sensitive to any deficiency in iron. resembling tufts of grass. it can also grow as a creeper. live in swamps. Hygrophila guianensis (formerly H. Size: 40 cm. alkaline water. and should be planted in groups. They need intense light to grow well. Size: 30 cm. requiring intense light and a fairly rich soil. • Eleocharis vivapara. a species closely related toEleocharis minima • Hygrophila guianensis Hygrophila (Acanthaceae. the water wisteria is prized by aquarists for its pale color and finely serrated leaves. The presence of adventitious roots is an advantage when taking cuttings. Hygrophila difformis Hygrophila corymbosa 204 . Size: 20-30 cm. is sensitive to excessively hard water or a lack of iron. young shoots appear in their place. they spread out and do not emerge above it. a process that is facilitated by adventitious roots on the stem. Hygrophila difformis (formerly Synnema triflorum) Considered a weed in its native region. The water must be slightly alkaline and moderately hard. Eleocharis minima When the stems of the spiked rush reach the surface. Size: 30 cm. This plant tolerates fairly wide ranges of hardness and pH. but can tolerate immersion in a moderately hard acid or neutral water. Size: 30 cm. When the light is insufficient. Vegetative multiplication occurs with the help of runners or the division of a clump. Heteranthera dubia The yellow-flowered heteranthera can be reproduced with cuttings. salicifolia) The willow leaf hygro. although when these first appear their form is less delicate. tropical regions) These plants. although the existence of different varieties and the modifications made to scientific names can lead to confusion.

205 . providing it has an adequate supply of mineral salts. • Limnophila heterophylla Ludwigia (Onagraceae. Size: 30 cm. Myriophyllum aquaticum In contrast with the other species. Ludwigia ascendens The totally aquatic large-petaled ludwig can sometimes appear above the surface. North and South America) Around a dozen species from this genus. Size: 30 cm. Small shoots from its base are perfect for cuttings. Ludwigia alternifolia As its name indicates. they all require good lighting. These amphibian plants can live submerged. Ludwigia repens Myriophyllum aquaticum • Myriophyllum (Haloragaceae. Size: 30 cm. You can achieve a stunning decorative effect by planting a copse of these plants. iron. both amphibian and totally aquatic. At this point cuttings should be taken and transplanted. Several other species of milfoils are available on the market. This ambulia must be planted in clumps. tropical regions) Ludwigs thrive on light. Cuttings are taken by lopping off a stalk under the adventitious roots. It can therefore be used in a temperate aquarium. and when they reach the surface of water they spread out on top of it. Myriophyllum spicatum The spiked milfoil is a hardy. South-East Asia) Its fine foliage is much appreciated by certain fish which lay their eggs on it or. Size: 30 cm. Their soft foliage is appreciated by fish with herbivorous tastes. acid water. A lack of iron causes their leaves to turn yellow. Ludwigia repens The rampant ludwig is found in both a green variety and a reddish variety. although this must be clear. and not directly opposite each other. It tolerates a wide range of hardness and a pH of around 7. Both require good lighting but are considered hardy.MOST POPULAR PLANTS Limnophila (Scrofulariaceae. as small suspended particles get trapped in the foliage. munch on it. alkaline water and temperatures slightly below 20°C. • Ludwigia sp. some with reddish hues. Cuttings are taken by removing the top or the tiny branches. and fairly rich soils. with the stems slightly separated to take advantage of the light. depending on the species. Limnophila heterophylla The heterophyllous ambulia is less tufted than the above. fast-growing plant that needs fairly hard alkaline water. Ludwigia brevipes A fairly resistant plant. although removing the top is equally effective. Good lighting is essential. while others use it to lay their eggs. acid water. which avoids the loss of any of the lower leaves. Size: 30 cm. It prefers soft. It must be pruned regularly to ensure that it remains sturdy. Size: 40 cm. The main method used for reproduction is that of taking cuttings. Size: 40 cm. constitute some of the most popular aquarium plants. the leaves of the alternate leaf ludwig are arranged alternately along the stem. the water milfoil prefers soft. It is especially recommended for beginners. Limnophila aquatica The aquatic ambulia grows well in soft or slightly hard and acid water. Size: 30 cm. The aquatic milfoils thrive on light and relatively hard water. the false lusimakhos tolerates hard. Another option is to cut off the top of the plant. but its tips must nevertheless be removed regularly.

soft or slightly hard water. especially on the underside. Rotala macrandra The coloring of the giant red rotala varies according to the intensity of the lighting. 206 . They can produce a striking visual effect if they are planted in a grove. Rotala rotundifolia The upper face of the leaves of the round-leaf rotalia is green. though you must leave sufficient spaces between the stems when planting. The formation of adventitious roots makes it easy to take cuttings. but. Size: 40-50 cm in water. acid water. The runner can then be cut off. It is beautiful in clumps. Take care not to push the rhizome too far into the soil: the plant can be held in place by a curved piece of wire. They all prefer moderate lighting. Few transversal veins. as they stand out well against green plants. Size: 30 cm. The transversal veins are perpendicular and numerous. Sagittarias The longitudinal veins do not reach the tip. Vallisnerias The longitudinal veins reach the tips. under strong lighting. South-East Asia) The leaves of these species are reddish in color. It grows quite quickly. Sagittaria graminea There are several varieties of the narrow leaf arrowhead.AQUARIUM PLANTS Rotala (Lythraceae. Sagittaria sagittifolia The amphibious arrowhead is quite common in calm waters in Europe. They grow in soft. but pruning encourages the growth of lateral shoots which can be used for cuttings. where it resists the winters. Size: 40 cm. North and South America. which differ in the length and width of their leaves. sometimes at oblique angles. When the leaves emerge from the water they turn completely green. Size: 30 cm. and an approximately neutral pH. especially in garden ponds. and need plenty of iron. and Europe) The leaves of these paludal plants that are above water are arrow-shaped. as is name suggests. although it prefers sunny areas. but their shape varies according to the setting. Sagittaria graminea • H O W TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SAGITTARIAS AND VALLISNERIAS Sagittarias and vallisnerias can be distinguished by the tips of their leaves. Vegetative multiplication occurs by means of seedlings formed on a runner. Rotala rotundifolia • Sagittaria sagittifolia Rotala macranda Sagittaria (Alismataceae. red usually sets the tone. or with the help of the aquarist. the lower one a reddish color. while the submerged ones take the form of thin ribbons. which can took root on their own.

Alternanthera reineckii Alternanthera sessilis 207 . which makes it ideal for decorating the sides or rear of an aquarium. The second can be distinguished by the brown-green coloring of the upper part of the leaves. and can adapt more easily to a totally aquatic life. Asia) The vallisnerias are often confused with the sagittarias. which may be frustrating for more impatient aquarists. South America) These plants prefer soft. does not last for more than a few months if it is fully submerged. Its leaves are spiraled. Alternanthera reineckii More hardy than the above species. Size: 40-50 cm. Vallisneria gigantea Its leaves. which can grow to 1 m in length and 3 cm in width. It is obviously only suitable for large aquariums. they are a beautiful sight if their requirements are satisfied. Size: 1 m. Alternanthera sessilis There are two varieties of sessile alternanthera. and a slightly acid pH. Their reddish color stands out among the other plants in an aquarium. you can move on to other less common plants. The spiraled eel grass is very popular in aquariums and reproduces actively under good conditions. The giant vallisneria prefers intense lighting and a slightly enriched soil. Size: 40-50 cm. with totally red leaves. Alternanthera (Amaranthaceae. Vallisneria spiralis The term spiralis refers to the floral peduncle and not the leaves. Size: 30-40 cm. However. It can exceed 40 cm in height. especially with respect to the water quality and the intensity of the lighting. acid water and multiply with the help of cuttings. rest on the surface of the water. need plenty of light. Vallisneria asiatica The eel grass is found in several varieties. they reproduce through runners. which make it easy to take cuttings. Like them.PLANTS FOR THE MORE EXPERIENCED Vallisneria (Hydrocharitaceae. Those that take the form of tufts tend to grow quite slowly. The first. It produces lateral shoots under intense lighting. Vallisneria gigantea Vallisneria spiralis • PLANTS FOR THE MORE EXPERIENCED O nce you have gained experience with the above species. Size: 30-40 cm. Reineck's alternanthera is not so eye­ catching as it does not share the red coloring. water that is not too hard.

they are oval or lanceolate. Size: 15-20 cm. Barter's anubias. Anubias barteri There are two varieties: the smallest. Anubias heterophylla The Congo anubias can exceed 35 cm in height and is therefore only suitable for large aquariums. Size: 50-70 cm. Size: 40 cm. and it requires fairly rich soil. acid water. It dislikes water that is too hard. slightly acid to alkaline.AQUARIUM PLANTS Anubias (Araceae. Multiplication takes place through a division of the rhizome. which sometimes gives rise to confusion. Size: 40 cm. It is amphibious in its natural environment. has spear-like leaves and can be placed a little further back. Cryptocoryne ciliata The ciliated cryptocoryne is one of the species in this genus that tolerates hard water. to highlight it. Cryptocoryne balansae Balansa's cryptocoryne prefers intense light and a temperature over 25°C. West Africa) These grow slowly. the soil must always be quite rich. Cryptocoryne cordata The Siamese cryptocoryne exists in several varieties. • Anubias barteri Cryptocoryne cordata • Anubias heterophylla Cryptocoryne (Araceae. is ideal for foregrounds. paludal in the wild. which differ from each other in the shape of their leaves. Size: 30-40 cm. Size: 40 cm. broadly speaking. South-East Asia) Several dozen species of this genus are used in aquariums. It adjusts well to hard water. The shape of the leaves can vary considerably but. Cryptocoryne crispatula A large hardy species. Size: 30 cm. Cryptocoryne beckettii Beckett's cryptocoryne. which must never be covered with soil. the biggest. Cryptocoryne beckettii Hottonia inflata • Cryptocoryne crispatula (foreground) 208 . The quality of water required varies according to the species: soft to moderately hard. under weak lighting. It should be kept as a single specimen. the dwarf anubias. in soft. the undulated cryptocoryne is reserved for big aquariums. others amphibious. Some are genuinely aquatic. Sexual reproduction with flowers is rare. is very resistant and can live totally submerged. where it deserves to be shown off. vegetative multiplication occurs by means of runners or the division of the clump.

but they can also survive underwater. 10-15 cm above water. and tolerates temperatures under 20°C. South America) Most echinodorus are paludal plants. Hippurus (Hippuridaceae. is worth highlighting in a large aquarium if it is the only r epresentative of its species. The shape of the leaves depends on the conditions under which they are cultivated. Hippurus vulgaris Its aerial leaves differ in shape from those underwater. The cardinal flower is appropriate for temperate or tropical aquariums. approximately neutral water. are either terrestrial or paludal. though it requires intense light in a tropical tank.PLANTS FOR THE MORE EXPERIENCED Echinodorus (Alismataceae. Central America) Some species from this genus are native to the northern hemisphere. It does not like too many fine muddy particles round its base. which can range from slightly acid to neutral water. Echinodorus amazonicus Under good conditions (moderate to strong lighting). Echinodorus quadricostatus The dwarf Amazon serves to decorate the foreground of an aquarium. Echinodorus tenellus Echinodorus amazonicus Lobelia (Lobeliaceae. so you must ensure that there is an adequate supply. One of the latter types can adjust to tropical aquariums. Size: 10 cm. the featherfoil likes soft. The shape of the leaves varies according to the lighting. native to tropical regions. The water spruce can be cultivated in a tropical aquarium. It is highly attractive when planted in groups. Echinodorus tenellus The pygmy Amazon. Lobelia cardinalis This amphibious plant can resist temperatures of 10-20°C in moderately hard. If the water is too hard it is markedly smaller and appears to stop growing. It multiplies by means of cuttings. like it. although it grows very slowly. acid water. Lobelia cardinalis Hottonia inflata A totally aquatic plant with finely serrated leaves. prefers soft water. cosmopolitan) These plants are found in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. The plants in this genus. and low to moderate hardness. Adventitious roots on the knots of the stem make it easy to take cuttings. the Amazon grows to 40 cm. North America) Echinodorus sp. Size: 30 cm. and so they can resist water temperatures down to 15°C. the smallest of the genus. You can reproduce them by taking a cutting of a rhizome on which seedlings have appeared. It can rapidly accumulate an extensive covering of runners. Hottonia (Primulaceae. It prefers a moderately rich soil. They are most common in garden ponds. 209 . Size: 10 cm. Echinodorus maior The giant echinodorus reaches the same height as its Amazonian cousin and. Size: 30-40 cm. These plants turn yellow when they lack iron. Size: 20-30 cm. Size: under 50 cm submerged.

but its leaves do not exceed 1 cm in length.AQUARIUM PLANTS SPECIAL PLANTS T hese plants are not rooted and complement the classic vegetation on both the aesthetic and ecologi­ cal fronts. but vegetative reproduction is much more common in an aquarium. One species is particularly popular among aquarists. but it can also survive floating. If they are introduced into a tank. It can be used to provide shade in one part of the aquarium. Ceratopteris cornuta (Parkoriaceae. It grows quickly under strong lighting: when it takes root . The rhizome can be cut off when young fronds appear. Bolbitis (Lomaropsidaceae. root. Ceratopteris thalictroides The Sumatran fern prefers to be rooted.or tying it down with a nylon line. South-East Asia) This genus includes ferns with a clear predilection for humid environments. Africa and Asia) These ferns live either wholly or partially submerged. This process can be encouraged by wedging the rhizome between stones .taking care not to squash it . 210 . or a refuge for fry. floating plants provide shade and shelter for fry. it can reproduce sexually with spores. Bolbitis heudelotii The species from this genus most often found on the market. either deliberately or accidentally. Lemna minor The duckweed is often confused with L. they can colonize the entire surface. Lemna (Lemnaceae. It is a fast-growing. so they must be eliminated regularly. or a support for the bubble nests of the Belontiid family. cosmopolitan) Water lentils float on the surface and grow very fast. water of a moderate density. This attachment can be temporarily encouraged by tying the rhizome with nylon line. or wedging it between small stones. Size: 15-20 cm. Size: 50-60 cm. though its leaves grow thicker. and a pH of around 7. hardy species. Microsorium pteropus The Javan fern grows slowly.its coloring turns paler and its leaves change shape. Only one species is of any great interest to aquarists. floating plants are renowned for the speed with which they grow. or artificial decor).which it does with ease . Size: 20-30 cm. cosmopolitan) This floating fern makes an ideal shelter for new-born fry. and slow-growing ferns colonize solid supports. Like all ferns. is a true fern and its rhizome must never be buried as it naturally attaches itself to a support (such as a rock. Size: around 1 cm. It grows slowly and requires normal lighting. but it is very hardy. Moreover. under moderate to intense light. Ceratopteris thalictroides Microsorium pteropus Lemna minor Microsorium (Polypordiaceae. mosses are used by some fish to lay their eggs. gibba. It can be made to reproduce by cutting off the rhizome when new shoots appear. and can attach itself to a support with the help of small roots.

This plant needs strong lighting to grow and for seedlings to form on the runners. with moderate lighting. it grows quickly in neutral. soft water. minima. Dracaena. Diameter: 5-6 cm. which distinguishes it from the closely related.SPECIAL PLANTS TRUE TERRESTRIAL PLANTS A N D FALSE AQUARIUM PLANTS Some house plants that require plenty of humidity. This plant prefers moderately hard water. and Chlorophytum. although they are sensitive to drops of condensation falling from the lid. the salvinias are floating aquatic ferns. They do not last very long when they are completely submerged. but. It is badly affected by drops of water formed by condensation on the lid of the tank. acid water. at a pinch. It is a floating plant which grows rather slowly. If the lighting is good. Pistia (Araceae. and can rapidly invade a tank. 211 . They reproduce by means of runners. and otherwise biologically identical. and a breeding ground for the infusorians that often constitute their first food. is also on the market. while some are amphibious or aquatic. are sometimes sold as aquarium plants. The leaves are usually rough and arranged on either side of a floating horizontal axis. as well as a shelter for fry. It can sometimes be invaded by filamentous algae. It likes soft. Vesicularia (Hypnaceae. with a pH of around 7. Bogor's moss (Glossadelphus zollingeri). Riccia fluitans The floating riccia provides shelter for fry. It provides an aquarium with shade and a refuge for fry. Size of a floating leaf: 2 cm. A close species. Pistia stratoites The leaves of the water lettuce have a velvety sheen. especially under strong lighting. but they spread to form a floating carpet. Most are terrestrial. tropical regions) The Pistia genus appears to contain only one species. and Asia) Riccia fluitans Single specimens of these plants are tiny (1-2 mm). but it is of great interest to aquarists. South-East Asia) This genus includes a large number of species native to continental tropical regions. They are usually bicolored. S. rocks). North and South America. You are strongly advised not to buy them for an aquarium. They grow quickly. Vesicularia dubyana Javan moss is very popular among hobbyists as it attaches itself to all types of decor. such as Aglaonema. When introducing it into an aquarium you can help it to establish itself by wedging it with small rocks or pieces of wood. Salvinia auriculata The floating leaves of the salvinia are more than 1 cm long. they can be put into the bank of an aquaterrarium. It offers an excellent support for the eggs of certain fish. Riccia (Ricciaceae. and so they must be cleared on a regular basis. Salvinia auriculata Pistia stratoites • • Vesicularia dubyana Salvinia (Salviniaceae. South America) Despite their distinctive appearance. Europe. whether artificial or natural (wood. with leaves combining green with either red or white. It is recommended as a haven for fry in rearing tanks.

which should be soft and slightly acid . Size: 40-50 cm. Their bulbous rhizome. with no leaves. otherwise you might be rapidly dis­ appointed. at a temperature of around 15°C. it looks best if it is grown as a single specimen. Nevertheless. as they have to pass through a "wintering" period lasting a few months. If they are set off well. highlighted against other plants. and they need a long "wintering" period every' year. Africa. Madagascar. Size: 40-50 cm. Vegetative multiplication occurs if the rhizome is divided. which give it a striking appearance but also make it especially vulnerable to invasions by filamentous algae. These very beautiful plants are by no means easy to keep in an aquarium. North America) The vegetative reproduction of these plants can be achieved by taking cuttings or dividing the rhizome. it is best to cultivate this plant partly outside water . Like the other species of this genus. However. South America) These are amphibious plants that can be cultivated in flowerpots.AQUARIUM PLANTS Saururus (Saururaceae. but it does need plenty of light. Sexual reproduction with flowers is possible in an aquarium. crispus grows quite quickly. it is possible to take cuttings from the stems. After wintering. It is often sold under the names Aponogeton fenestralis or Aponogeton henkelianus. Size: 40-50 cm. translucid leaves this specimen is considered to be one of the prettiest aquarium plants.for a few months if you have kept it totally submerged. these plants can quickly becomer the focus of attention in a tank. but has a reputation for being difficult to cultivate. The cultivation conditions for some of them are quite unusual. without any apparent explanation. Their leaves are sturdy and their growth is slow but regular. some aquarists manage to keep them alive for longer periods. Size: 40-50 cm. must be kept in a separate tank in shallow water. particularly in Dutch aquariums. The aponogetons like strong lighting and moderately hard water. Aponogeton crispus 212 . This paludal plant is hardy and grows slowly. and buried once leaves and roots have appeared. They live in marshy areas and so are often only partially submerged. • Spathiphyllum wallisii PLANTS FOR THE AQUATIC GARDENER L ess commonly available (and often too expensive for many aquarists). Saururus cernuus Leiden's plant can acclimatize to an aquarium: it is not fussy about water quality. the water level and temperature are increased. A Saururus cernuus Spathiphyllum (Araceae. Aponogeton ulvaceus With its wavy. and Sri Lanka) Aponogeton crispus A. Aponogeton (Aponogetonaceae. Spathiphyllum wallisii The spathy usually dies within a few months if it is permanently underwater. Aponogeton ulvaceus Aponogeton madagascariensis Aponogeton madagascariensis The leaves of the Madagascar laceleaf consist of veins. Size: 40 cm. You should have extensive experience of aquatic plants before tackling these specimens. these species demand the utmost respect for their requirements.

lotus. and South America) There are several species of crinums scattered round the tropical regions of the world. It needs soft water and good lighting. Crinum natans The aquatic crinum is hardy and can reach a height of 1 m when its growth is enhanced by intense lighting and hard. The leaves that reach the surface must be cut to enhance the growth of the ones underneath the water. South-East Asia) The Barclaya genus contains only three species. barely mineralized water. its fine leaves are round at the tips. Diameter: 50 cm. although there are plans to alleviate this by producing methane from water hyacinths through fermentation. Two species can be kept totally submerged in an aquarium. It must be kept in fairly soft water. Eichhornia crassipes Eichhornia azurea Nymphaea (Nympheaceae. Asia. Size: 50 cm. Africa) The nymphaeas. Size: 40 cm. Size: 40 cm. Nymphaea lotus There are two colored varieties of lotuses: one is predominantly green. but are suitable for garden ponds. alkaline water. South America) This genus includes both submerged and floating paludal plants. This plant needs to be kept on its own to highlight its distinctive coloring. The purple lotus therefore stands out dramatically when surrounded by green plants.otherwise its leaves will remain small .and a neutral or slightly acid.PLANTS FOR THE AQUATIC GARDENER Barclaya (Nymphaeaceae. young plants appear on the rhizome shoots. are basically pond plants: one plant can sometimes cover up to 1 m2. all native to South-East Asia. Size: 10 cm. Eichhornia crassipes This magnificent floating water hyacinth. Nymphaea lotus 213 . the barclayas are closely related to water lilies and are included in the same family. has also been successfully introduced into many tropical areas to purify the water. Nymphaea rubra This species has exactly the same requirements and biological characteristics as N. as it gobbles up nitrates. but has a strong purple coloring. ideal for garden ponds. is available to the aquarium trade. with a covering of floating plants to provide shade. Size: up to 50 cm under water. Barclaya longifolia. Only one of these. Crinum (Amaryllidaceae. Barclaya longifolia The only species found in the aquarium trade. Eichhornia (Pontederiaceae. Although the relationship is not immediately apparent. Eichhornia azurea When the azure water hyacinth is submerged. When it reproduces. demands strong lighting . Growth can slow down during the wintering period. However. the other mainly red. but new leaves appear afterwards. They are rarely found in aquariums. It is difficult to make it reproduce by cutting the rhizome. in large bodies of water it grows so profusely that it has caused problems for boats. Africa. better known as lotuses. Size: up to 50 cm under water. South-East Asia. native to West Africa. • Crinum sp. and so it is best to wait for young leaves to sprout. It can be reproduced by means of cuttings. and all have a bulb.

AQUARIUM PLANTS CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS ACCORDING TO THE TYPE OF AQUARIUM TYPE OF AQUARIUM North and Central America (water slightly hard and alkaline) South America (soft. Nymphaea Acorus. Lemna. Rotala. Cabomba. Hottonia. Hygrophila. Size: 1-10 cm. Elodea. Halimeda tuna (in the foreground) 214 . alkaline water). Egeria. Ceratophyllum. Echinodorus. Cryptocoryne (some species in hard. Heteranthera. This species prefers well-lit areas. Udotea petiolata (Udoteaceae) Like the above. Hippurus. Ludwigia. Vallisneria. Egeha. Cabomba. Hippurus. Size: 20 cm. Vesicularia Madagascar (moderate hardness) Cosmopolitan plants. Pistia. Salvinia. This species likes strong light. Elodea. acid water) SUITABLE PLANTS Bacopa. Myriophyllum. Lemna. Lemna. relatively indifferent to water quality Plants for temperate water aquariums Plants for ponds Plants for aquaterrariums MARINE VEGETATION IN AQUARIUMS N o plants are found above the water (or with flowers) in a marine tank. Crinum. Eleocharis. Bolbitis. Hippurus. the udotea prefers poorly lit settings and grows on sand or rocks. Mediterranean algae Some species native to the Mediterranean coasts can acclimatize themselves to tropical aquariums. Riccia. Riccia Acorus. Llmnophlla. Myriophyllum. Codium bursa (Codiaceae) The felt ball codium forms a sphere with a diameter that can exceed 25 cm. Ludwigia. Nymphaea. Eichhornia. Microsorium. Egeria. Nymphaea. Vesicularia Aponogeton Acorus. it is advisable to take not only the alga but also part of its support. It grows very slowly and the biggest specimens unfurl. Unlike the undesirable microscopic or filamen­ tous algae. Pistia. but the results can often be highly attractive. Salvlnia Anubias. Ceratopteris. Sagittaria sagittifolia Acorus. Lemna. Ceratophyllum. These hardy plants take in nutrients over practically all their surface area. Halimeda tuna (Udoteaceae) The Halimeda likes a murky environment and grows more quickly when the temperature is high. acid water) West Africa (variable water characteristics) Asia and South-East Asia (slightly soft. Eleocharis. usually a rock. Bardaya. Sagittaria. Size: 3-20 cm. Riccia Eichhornia. these species can be quite big and do not present any problems. Microsorium. Codium vermilara (Codiaceae) Its felt-like appearance and bottle-green color are the distinguishing features of the felt codium. If you remove them from their natural setting. Saururus Alternanthera. provided this does not exceed 25-26°C. only a few algae can be cul­ tivated. Heteranthera. Elodea. some Cryptocorynes.

serularoides. Vegetative multiplication takes place through the division of the runner. also translucent. and so aquarists must be careful when they throw out water. the Caulerpa taxifolia species was found off the coast of Monaco. Furthermore. In 1984. Caulerpa sertularoides The feathery caulerpa grows just as rapidly. Where does it come from? The aquarist community has been blamed. They do not last for long in an aquarium. the plant grows up to six times the size found in the tropics! The morphology of C. A huge research program is underway to evaluate the propagation. and it grows quickly. stretching from the Spanish island of Majorca to Croatia. several species). in any case. well-circulated water. This is logical. a genuine but increasingly rare flowering plant. Sexual reproduction is rare in an aquarium. and these are not eaten by humans.by sending down divers to collect it by hand or with suction pumps. their shape varying according to the species. • Caulerpa sertularoides Caulerpa prolifera (full leaves) and C sertularoides with Hippocampus kuda T H E TROPICAL CAULERPA ARRIVES IN TEMPERATE WATERS It was thought that tropical caulerpas could not tolerate northern climes (around 10-23°C). according to some estimates. The fronds extend from these rhizomes. it is best not to use this alga in aquariums. occupying a few square meters. but are useful as food for marine fish with herbivorous tendencies. There are several dozen species. Leaf size: 25-30 cm. Size: 10 cm. a fragment of this alga can give rise to a small seedling. This invasion shows that certain species. where young fronds appear. dumping tons of salt on them. especially the tropical ones. elongated leaf. • Ulva and Enteromorpha Caulerpas like moderate lighting and clear. but only a few are found in aquariums. Size: 15 cm. and is therefore suitable for temperate marine aquariums. Caulerpas grow quickly in an aquarium. as it tolerates temperatures of 14-30°C. Other solutions proposed include releasing copper ions toxic to these plants. the other two species being good alternatives. They consist of a filamentous runner. It is worth noting that in the wild Ulvaceae thrive in areas rich in nitrates. The frond takes the form of an narrow. and influence of this alga in the Mediterranean. which attaches itself to a support by means of rhizoids (or anchoring feet). The shape of the fronds varies according to the setting and. the light. now covers over 80 km2 in the Mediterranean. In addition. It is very adaptable. The ulvas or sea lettuces (several species belonging to the Ulva genus) resemble translucent lettuce leaves. taxifolia contains toxins that could cause food poi­ soning in humans. often to the detriment of other plants. on the assumption that it was accidentally thrown into the sea. but (like other tropical algae) it could also have been introduced on ships' anchors and hulls. Caulerpa prolifera The Mediterranean caulerpa is found not only in the Mediterranean but also in other temperate regions around the world. The caulerpa invasion can be held in check . most especially. Since then it has proliferated wildly and. particularly Posidonia oceanica.MARINE VEGETATION IN AQUARIUMS Ulvas and enteromorphs (Ulvaceae) These algae are common on European coasts. and pale green (Enteromorpha genus. 215 . can survive else­ where. but this involves vast expense. or sending in a fleet of caulerpa-eating snails. Caulerpas (Caulerpaceae) The caulerpas are green algae (Chlorophyceae) found in the tropics. as this alga is only eaten by a few fish. taxifolia is similar to that of C. the runner can sometimes increase its size by several centimeters per week. distribution. The enteromorphs are filamentous.at the moment it seems impossible to eliminate it completely . however. C. although no case has yet been reported. Size: 40-50 cm.

Choosing the right equipment and understanding the basic rules will enable you to get the most out of your aquarium. These days even novice aquarists have easy access to a wide variety of techniques. .Techniques Creating an aquarium and putting it into operation do not demand any great expertise.

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5 m. These are the materials found in public aquariums.and the cheapest ­ consists of a tank with a lid. vertical rect­ angles. For bigger volumes. then there is always the alternative of constructing a home-made tank. The hobbyist thus has the chance to choose a tank according to his or her requirements or the setting within which it will be placed. of varying widths.5.ASSEMBLING A TANK If an aquarist is unimpressed by the range of aquariums on the market. These proportions can be adhered to up to a length of 1. This type of aquarium can be sold on its own or with a support. where the contrary is the case. in the top range. and the aquarium is framed by dec­ orative elements that leave it visible from three sides. but they are impos­ sible after that. Traditionally. It is also pos­ sible to equip it with a lighting hood. There are other models with an integral hood and minimal external decoration. which is light but also scratches easily. with silicone joints.5 m (see table). i. or panoramic aquariums. that goes round both the base and the top. if they are put on narrow pieces of furniture. THE AQUARIUM Different models Aquariums come in various shapes and sizes so that they can fit into the interior design of any home. Finally. such as a mantelpiece or a divid­ • An aquarium can only be fully appreciated when it is integrated into its environment. Plexiglas. but these days it is also possible to find cubes. is used for the rarer round forms. normally containing a filtration 218 . It can sometimes be fitted with a filtration unit. Materials Commercial aquariums are almost always made of glued glass. with only the front part of the tank made of glass. unit and lighting hood. polyester resin or cement are used. Small plastic tanks are also available for use as rearing or quarantine tanks. except in built-in tanks. how­ ever. The supporting furniture often has shelves or closets that serve to hide the pumps and other equip­ ment. The generalized nature of the materials and the relative simplicity of the gluing mean that any careful hobbyist can build a glued glass aquarium him or herself. Dimensions The most harmonious form is obtained when the length is equal to the height mul­ tiplied by 1. all spe­ cially adapted to a specific setting. This requires only patience and precision: the most important thing is to follow the sequence of operations. These materials are suitable for water vol­ umes of around 500 liters . as the height must never exceed 0.volumes rarely exceeded in the aquarium trade.5-2. It is not advisable to use very narrow aquar­ iums. The height will be slightly greater than the width. hiding the surface of the water. Narrow tanks can be attractive.e. as a trick of the eye means that a tank seems one-third narrower when it is filled with water. producing an unfortunate visual effect. there are aquariums built into a piece of furniture. a strip. most tanks take the form of a horizontal rectangle. The basic model .

as once it is filled it will be impossible to move it anywhere else. or be built into a wall. a big tank fits better into a large room. This depends on the bed and the extent of the decor. VOLUMES. It is a complicated decision. (La Rochelle Aquarium) ing wall between two rooms. to avoid any competition between these two centers of attention. practical considerations. AND WEIGHTS You must consider the gross volume (that of an empty aquarium) the net volume (when the tank is full. It can occupy a corner. Positioning An aquarium must be positioned with care. • Visual impact Obviously. An aquarium traditionally has its longest dimension set against a wall. 219 . involving the visual impact on the room. the weight is therefore only indicated as a rough guide. • Practical considerations You must plan on having an electrical DIMENSIONS. because an aquarium is heavy when it is put into operation: the weight of the water and decor must be added to that of the tank itself. and ecological criteria. be placed on a partition between two rooms. An original shape providing a striking visual effect. but there are other ways of setting it off. It is also important to take into account the weight of the tank. the sand and decor take up a certain amount of space) and the final weight of the aquarium when in operation. Choose a fairly dark spot to high­ light it. as these vary from one tank to another. A solid support is required. well away from the television.ASSEMBLING YOUR TANK "Diamond" tank. and a narrow tank into a small room.

but it should never be smaller. AVOID: . it is advisable to have several small lids which fit together. not to mention an excessive increase in temperature in sum­ mer.placing any decorative objects immediately above the aquarium. The lid must be made of glass to allow light to enter the tank. is necessary for several reasons: . especially in big tanks. due to the possi­ bility of water spilling. When the aquarium is set against a wall.on the support. • Ecological criteria It is essential that sunlight. as it should be at eye level to be seen to advantage. It is therefore best to face the tank towards the north or east. . and so it must be cleaned regularly. you can set the aquarium. If you are a do-it-yourself enthusiast and have patience. it is advis­ able to leave a space of a few centimeters at the back to make room for cables and pipes.to prevent any possible jumping fish escaping from the tank. THE LID The lid. There­ fore. . small pegs stuck to the top make it easier to handle.10-15 mm thick. A nearby tap would also be an asset. its base must be around 1 m from the floor.to avoid water spilling on the lighting hood.and in this way children will also be able to see it without any problem. as there is a danger that green algae will grow. On a practical level. placed directly above the tank. . Special furniture is available in the aquarium trade. . Also for practical reasons.putting any electrical devices under the aquarium: this is dangerous. 220 . as this makes using the lid impractical. The support can be the same size as the tank or bigger. The height of the aquarium also has to be planned with care. It is there­ fore vital to set up a sturdy and perfectly horizontal support (check the latter with a spirit level). and some corners can be cut away to make room for pipes and electrical cables. the essential point being that the weight is distributed on intermediary beams. • There are a huge number of original ways of setting off an aquarium.to reduce evaporation. Do not hesitate to try out different positions with an empty tank before taking a decision with lasting consequences. . The support As we have already seen. into a piece of wooden furniture. especially that coming from the south. either in length or width. the weight of an aquarium is quite considerable. and then cover this with a 15 mm thick polystyrene sheet. socket at an easy distance. but you can just as well build one yourself. when it is placed in a main room. according to the dimensions and weight of the aquarium . together with its support. but if this is not possible make sure you have a hose for filling and draining the tank.to stop dust falling into the water. which will compensate for any irregularities in the support. Put a sheet of water-resistant marine plywood . does not strike the aquarium directly.installing the aquarium near a radiator. so that it can only be seen through its front pane.

Materials and tools • Glass The fundamental material for your aquar­ ium. It is advis­ able to practice first with a small rearing tank or hospital tank before taking the plunge and building a large aquarium. In larger Marine tank built into a wooden closet. There are also provisions for longitudinal reinforce­ ments. 221 . The crucial factor is the care taken in the operation. This operation must be per­ formed correctly. which prevent the glass panes from curving due to the weight of water and support the two-section lid. as it will give you a chance to meet experienced aquarists who can provide advice or give you a hand when you come to glue your first aquarium. these days it is also an option for hobby­ ists. The table below gives you the dimensions of the glass required for two tanks of different vol­ umes. reconstituting the biotope of Lake Malawi. Tank 3. as any slight mistake in the cutting can have serious conse­ quences. the front. It can be cut to measure in glass merchants or do-it-yourself stores. is obviously glass. Hanging out in aquarium clubs can be useful. the element which underpins its exis­ tence.ASSEMBLING YOUR TANK MAKING AN AQUARIUM OF GLUED GLASS Making an aquarium with glued glass is not the exclusive domain of professionals. and the back. You need a base. and do not forget to take into account the thickness of both the glass and the layer of glue (around 0. made by an aquarist. The calculation of the dimensions of the panes must therefore be made with care. especially if the corners are not perfectly square. two small sides.7 m long.5 cm). along with a good organi­ zation of the work plan and respect for the sequence of the operation.

• Glue A good glue is needed for sticking the glass walls together effectively: trans­ parent silicone glue for this purpose is available. It is a lot more difficult if clothing becomes impregnated with it. make sure not to rub your eyes when handling it and. Do not forget to cut a piece off a corner of each section of the lid and have some pegs (around 2 x 5 cm) ready to use as handles. • tanks. When exposed to the air it hard­ 222 ens to form a watertight join. one or sometimes­ several lateral reinforce­ ments are also required to consolidate the unit. the glue stays soft for around 3 minutes. You are advised to be very careful when handling the glue. so special care must be taken in summer. It keeps well if the tube is closed with its original cap and stored in a cool. After the cutting. dry place. to avoid any unfortunate acci­ dents from splinters or sharp edges.TECHNIQUES CUTTING THE GLASS FOR TWO DIFFERENT TANKS We have chosen one tank of 96 liters and another of 200 liters (the gross volume in both cases) that can easily be built by two people. Squeezing the silicone glue onto a sheet of glass. where the length is equal to or greater than 1 meter. remember to ask for the edges to be sanded down lightly. The hardening is sensi­ tive to the touch for 1 or 2 hours after­ wards. The speed of hardening depends on temperature. This glue gives off a characteristic vine­ gary smell which disappears after a little while. . Above all. At a temperature of 19-20°C. which allows time for working. If you happen to spill or smear some. in the event of any accident. consult a doctor immediately. dark. and is complete in 48 hours. Offcuts of glass can be used as pegs for lifting off the lids. a dried run-off on a smooth surface can be easily scraped off with a cutter.

When you have assembled all the neces­ sary materials. • Panel dividing off the box filter.set square and tape measure. Going back to the example of the two tanks which served to illustrate the gluing of an aquarium. Installing the box filter There is very little volume must not be less than 1/10 of the total volume of the aquarium. the dimensions of this panel would be: • 28.7 x 38 cm for the 96 liter tank • 38.small receptacle for water. . such as a wooden facing that matches the aquarium and its support. They must not be more than 8 cm apart.ASSEMBLING YOUR TANK • Supplementary materials You will require the following materials for the gluing process: . with the glass strips in pairs facing each other. you must add the following parts.cutter with a fine blade. . Front view of aquarium. for clean­ ing the panes before gluing. It is advisable to get somebody to help you by holding the panes. Inside the tank. with a perforation to allow the water to flow through. you are ready to go on to the construction.methylated spirits or acetone. for the moment. Sticking the various elements together (see panel overleaf).clean rags or absorbent paper. Prepare a work surface large enough to allow you to spread out the panes and move around freely. cut from 3 mm thick glass: . to allow the water to circulate. . It can be placed on the right or on the left and must be hidden by exterior trim. . . . if it is to be completely effective. These elements must be mounted in accordance with the diagram below (if the filter is to be on the left of the aquarium). • • To work efficiently. left for you to do.sticky tape. The filtration sys­ tem can be planned at the gluing stage or added afterwards. Its 223 .a glass panel separating the filter from the rest of the aquarium.four strips of glass intended to hold the filter­ ing material (3 cm wide and 38 cm long for the 96 liter tank. 48 cm long for the 200 liter tank).3 x 48 cm for the 200 liter tank. Note that the box filter is slightly lower than the main tank. The distance between the perforated panel and the clos­ est side is 8 cm for the 96 liter tank and 10 cm for the 200 liter one. apart from installing a box filter. you must be able to spread the panes out on a sufficiently large work surface.

STICKING THE VARIOUS ELEMENTS TOGETHER The sequence for the operation is as follows: 1. Apply the glue paral­ lel to the edge of the pane (diagram C). 5. Even if the glass panes were sanded when they were cut. so the panes must only be handled by their future top edge. 2. 4. then wipe them clean. Lay the panes flat. 3. Put one of the two large panels in place. . as in diagram B. Note the position of the hands on the top edge of the panels. Then allow to dry (it dries quickly). Clean the parts to be glued with the acetone or methylated spirits. run a piece of fine sand paper along the edges. then the two small ones (diagrams D and E). These areas must not come in contact with your hands.

7. but there is no point in rushing: bad gluing can have disastrous consequences for the stability and watertightness of the tank. scrape off the glue with a cutter. Moisten a finger in the receptacle containing water. do not put the front pane in place straight-away. indicate the source with a felt pen or sticky tape. If the aquarium leaks. It is quite normal for the glue to squeeze out on both the inside and outside. the three main ones are: . to check whether it is watertight. . The whole gluing process must be finished in 3 min­ utes. 9. Stick the pegs on the lids. In the latter two cases. Place the aquarium on an absolutely flat surface and pour in water. if their length and breadth are almost the same.this is extremely important. Finish off by putting the second large panel in place (diagram F). leave to dry. making sure to extend beyond both edges of the source of the leak. unstick. Use the sticky tape on the outer side to keep the four vertical panes upright (diagram G).a pane may break when you are handling it. Apply pressure to the areas which have been glued. . If you are planning to use decoration made of synthetic materials. Clean the defective area and reapply the glue on the inside. then empty the tank and leave it to dry.you may make a mistake in the mounting. 13. espe­ cially with the small sides. Leave to dry for 48 hours. Once you are through. Carefully trim any excess glue on the outside and any smudges on the inside. 11. Of the possible problems that may emerge during this procedure. 12. so that you can add it in greater comfort. and smooth down the glue (diagram H). 10. The result must be concave. 8. then smooth down the glue on the inside of the aquarium.6. finish off the gluing of the tank. to eliminate any air bubbles . clean. wedge them. and then mount the tank again. Make sure you do not damage the parts you previously smoothed down. Glue the reinforcements. .the pieces may not fit together properly.

as regards quantity and. You must be realistic as regards what you can achieve: no artificial light is going to be the same as sunlight. It is pointless (and expensive) to think big. This means that too much light often causes the growth of unwanted algae. Firstly. however.the type of bulb used and the quality of the light produced. It is. most important. An aquarium must therefore be equipped with a light source which resembles as far as possible the one found in their natural habitat. need the alternation of day and night. as regards: . paying particular attention to the potentially dangerous combination of water and electricity. LIGHT Light not only serves to provide visual pleasure and highlight the aquarium. There is sufficient variety in the aquarium trade to supply hobbyists with a reasonable choice. 226 . on the basis of their particular needs and means. On the other hand.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES An aquarium can only function properly with reliable equipment. It is unfortunately impossible to take full advantage of it in an aquarium.the duration of the lighting. . . It is therefore essential to resort to artifi­ cial lighting placed above the aquarium. The action of light also makes it possible for plants to perform photosynthesis and grow. if the direct influence is deficient. for two main reasons. chromatic quality.the intensity of light supplied to the aquarium. possi­ ble to get close. It must be easy to put into place and to use and it must offer every possible guarantee of safety. the best light would be that of the sun. it cannot be quantitatively dosed. the aquarium does not receive enough light to ensure that the plants grow satisfactorily. Quality of the light Obviously. sunlight does not adequately highlight the aquarium and fish. like most living beings. besides. and so it is important not to directly expose a tank to natural light. Secondly. as fish. simplicity is often the byword for efficiency and success. Marine inverte­ brates that play host to micro-algae (see page 169) require strong lighting. ideally with a combination of different complementary light sources. This lighting must satisfy certain conditions. which acts as a biological clock. it is also essential to its equilibrium. especially if it is fac­ ing south. usually in a hood specially designed for this purpose. which permits life on our planet.

particularly if the beams have to travel long distances. Light is recognized as being important for plants. and also for marine invertebrates. and a final part is diffused by suspended sedi­ ment. 227 . however. which can be detrimental to the growth of small plants. and as a result many aquariums are under-lit.recover as much as you can in the hood through reflection. The tables on the following pages give the indications required for obtaining an opti­ mum amount of light for your aquarium. as plants must be provided the amount of light they need to grow in this artificial environment. the greater the importance of the absorbed light). in watts) is often under­ estimated. It must be sufficiently strong to reach the bottom of the aquarium.the lighting hood. the use of fluorescent tubes is generally recommended for water up to a height of 0. another part is absorbed (the deeper the aquarium.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES Intensity of the light The total intensity provided by the light­ ing is an extremely important factor. In order to reduce the loss of light. for the sake of simplicity. . the greater the loss in: .the glass lid covering the aquarium. Part of the light is reflected by the surface of the water. .the water.keep the aquarium lid spotless. It is unusual to find cases of overlighting. Loss of light The further away the light source. .5 m. that some light is lost. It is estimated that the bed only receives 20-30% of the total light. It is inevitable. As a general rule. The importance of the intensity of light (expressed. you must: .

but they are less common.5 m if you are using fluorescent tubes. the ballast. • 228 . Other colors are available.5 m in height. but they are absolutely out of the question in aquariums: the quality of light is poor. known as HQI daylight. are prized by aquarists. which prevents them from turning black. and have therefore acquired the name of actinia tubes. They last for 3. or around a year. • Incandescent lamps These are what we use from day to day in our homes. is avail­ able to aquarists. resulting in a balanced lighting which is as pleasing to the inhabitants of the aquarium as it is to the eye of the beholder. This does not always mean that you can rest easy. the tubes will be provided.TECHNIQUES . and a starter which produces the electrical discharges required. Some aquarists do not appreciate their somewhat unnatural color. Light sources A whole host of light sources. as plants may be traumatized by this abrupt change in the intensity of the light. which are trapped by plants and used in the photosynthesis pro­ cess. imperceptible to the human eye. These lamps can be equipped with a rheostat. It is sometimes possible to find tubes with a yellow dominant.000 hours. never change all the tubes in a tank at the same time. Sometimes tubes with a blue dominant are combined with white to cre­ ate a light reminiscent of that found in deep waters. and this type of bulb gives off too much heat. Such tubes are beneficial for corals and other animals from the same group. Some. and the daylight tubes. • Fluorescent tubes Incorrectly known as neons. which is compensated by a blue flu­ orescent tube. A fluorescent tube is not plugged directly into the mains: you must insert a trans­ former. Also available are colored tubes with a variety of dominants. The latter approximate sunlight the most closely and provide well-balanced light­ ing. each with its own distinguishing features. which are to be avoided. For this reason. as the intensity of the pre-installed tubes is sometimes insufficient. including the tubes with a pink dominant used in horti­ culture. such as mercury or sodium vapor . A used tube can be recognized by its black or dark ends. however. which are combined with blue tubes to achieve a more balanced light. Fluorescent tubes come in various colors: firstly. Some blue fluorescent tubes can compensate the dominant yellow of HQI bulbs.maintain the depth of the water below 0. which are particularly effective for the growth of plants. They give off little heat and are available in var­ ious lengths and intensities. as they mainly emit blue and red rays. The quality of the illumination decreases over the course of time. as they help to acclima­ tize Anthozoans with Zooxanthellae (see page 169).make sure that the water is clear. which tends to exaggerate the red and blue tones of fish. They are mainly used in seawater aquariums over 0.000-4. these tubes contain a gas that turns fluorescent under the action of an electrical discharge. • Halogen lamps The tungsten filament of incandescent bulbs is here replaced by another metal. the cold white or industrial white tubes. These lamps have a slight yellow dominant. . If you buy a well equipped aquarium. but they are expensive and impractical for normal tanks.which emits an intense light. and this can be clearly seen if an old tube is replaced by a new one. or one with a lighting hood. They heat up and consume more electricity than fluorescent tubes. • Discharge lamps An electrical discharge between two elec­ trodes vaporizes a gas. but they are generally little used by hobbyists.

.

Several different lengths of tube. You can. coat it with white or metal­ lic paint. Loss of light in the hood can be substantial. sometimes up to 20-30%. but even with these restric­ tions the illumination can be satisfactory. The lighting is therefore incorporated into a hood which cannot get splashed by the water. The ballast gives off heat. The situation is different for plants and animals raised in captivity. Glass is therefore the ideal material.. • The hood Whatever type of light source you choose. which can tol­ erate different lighting. include basic equipment. To avoid any loss of light. One will not compensate the other under any circum­ stances. (This reduction in intensity has been taken into account in the calculations for the strength of the lighting and the num­ ber of fluorescent tubes. or make one or several semicir­ cular metallic reflectors to fit round the Some. out of reach of splashed water. aquariums.) Watertight caps are available to protect the ends of the tubes and to avoid any electricital accidents. the day lasts for approximately 11 to 13 hours. but some hob­ byists exceed these limits. the main principle being to reflect as much light as possible towards the water. clean. any partition between the lighting and the water must maintain its shape when exposed to heat. generally small. It should not be any closer than 5-8 cm. it is important for the latter to be as close to the water as possible. Once the lighting is suitable. As the intensity of the light decreases when it gets further away from its source. for technical and safety reasons. It is often protected by a pane of glass but. if this is not the case. above all. There are a few tricks which can resolve this prob­ lem. the aquarium lid serves the same function.TECHNIQUES tubes. with the wattage adjusted proportionally. Flu­ orescent tubes must be included in a hood. are available. In tropical regions. • 230 Duration of lighting High-quality lighting serves no purpose if it is switched on only for a few hours a day. there is no sense in pro­ viding illumination for 15 hours a day if the lighting is inappropriate. line the inside of the hood with the smoothest possible aluminum foil. so it should not be installed in the hood. it requires a support: this is the hood. therefore. both qualitatively and quantitatively. as they get used to turning the aquarium on when they get up and switching it off late at night. and this is what wild plants and fish are accustomed to. as well as being transparent and. but always within the bounds of reason. although unfortunately this does occur in some commercial equipment. In this way the lighting can be on . by contrast. An aquarium can be lit for 13 hours a day. you must decide for how long you are going to switch it on. Some galleries on the market use one of the last two techniques.

Balance between a natural-looking light and a light to enhance plant growth. Low to medium intensity. but at the expense of natural-looking light. possibly with a blue tube Marine tank. This attempts to recreate the natural lighting of clear reef waters. Medium intensity. Type of tank Type and combination of tubes . High intensity. For enhancing the maintenance and growth of invertebrates playing host to Zooxanthellae. TLD 18 or Bluemoon).A pink tube. High intensity. WHICH TUBES FOR WHICH AQUARIUM? The following examples all assume a maximum water depth of 0. for example). This attempts to recreate the natural lighting of these waters.Daylight lamps. combined with daylight lamps Marine tank with invertebrates (particularly Anthozoans) .At least 50% pink tubes.An actinic blue tube (the TL03. average number or few plants This respects the balance of the colors. 231 . Regional East African tank A blue tube (for example. without any plants or invertebrates Marine tank with plants but without any invertebrates .5 m and a minimum of three tubes. Medium to high intensity. with the pink enhancing the growth of plants. combined with daylight lamps Observations Classic freshwater tank. Low to medium intensity. combined with daylight lamps This encourages the growth of plants. combined with daylight lamps . combined with daylight lamps.A pink tube.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES A blue tube can be added to daylight lamps to recreate the lighting in reef areas. Freshwater tank with abundant vegetation .

Problems arise when the tubes are markedly shorter than the tank. which is far too much. sea water without invertebrates or plants Sea water with Anthozoans (corals. making sure that they are arranged to cover the whole surface of the tank and that their total intensity is sufficient. although it is notice­ able that the sides of the aquarium receive a little less light than the center or the front and back. for example). regional East African tank Sparsely planted freshwater tank. the aquarium will receive the light of the new . A partial solution to this problem is alternating the position of the tubes along the sides (diagram 2). which can occur in commercial aquariums with unusual dimensions. In the fitted aquariums that are commercially available. or in homemade ones. for a normally planted tank: Dimensions of tank (L x w x h in cm) 80 x 30 x 40 100x40x50 1 2 0 x 4 5 x 50 150x50x50 Volume (in liters) 96 200 270 375 Length of tube (in cm) 60 90 90 120 Power (in W) 20 30 30 40 Number of tubes 2 3 4 4 or 5 for stretches of 16 or 17 hours. anemones) and plants 1 W/2 liters of water/ normal intensity 1 W/liter of water/ high intensity 1 W/3 liters of water/ fairly low intensity 1 W/liter water/high intensity These are the data. Here are some indications for water of a maximum depth of 0. marine tank with plants Densely planted freshwater tank (Dutch aquarium. In this way. then there is a space on both sides. a distance of 8-10 cm between them (diagram 1). which can be harmful to some fish in the aquarium. and particularly avoids any abrupt and unnatural transition from dark to light. Another option is the use of tubes of different lengths. optimally. but it nevertheless changes the balance of the aquarium. How many fluorescent tubes are needed for good illumination? • The number of tubes required depends on their intensity and the size of the aquarium.TECHNIQUES GOOD LIGHTING REQUIRES GOOD INSTALLATION The positioning of fluorescent tubes in a hood The fluorescent tubes must be distributed with. It does not especially harm the fish. the length of the tubes matches that of the aquarium. If the tubes are all centered.5 m: Normally planted freshwater tank. The use of programmed electrical clocks facilitates this operation. which may disadvantage plants on the sides of the tank. It is advisable to keep the lighting on for about 10 hours and switch it off at 232 around 10 or 11 o'clock at night. according to some standard dimensions. and is particu­ larly conducive to the development of algae.

then. a short while later. Classic ther­ Once you have established your require­ ments. attached to a thermostat. which means that a 100 liter tank requires a heater­ thermostat of 100 W. it would first turn off some of the tubes . or even 27°C for sea water. with the temperature guaranteed at around 25-26°C. They often have a small light which indicates when the element is heating up. The power depends on the volume of water the aquarium will hold: calculate around 1 W/liter. mostats for aquariums allow the tempera­ ture to be regulated with some precision. the next step is to choose the problem of the heating equipment. one after the other. followed by its own lighting. or allow the dawn light to exert its influence. Once the artificial lighting has been switched off at night. There are independent elements available. Several hours of darkness. You must first estab­ lish your requirements. but they have HEATING FOR BEGINNERS A heater-thermostat is the most practical solution for beginners. It is also possible to create a program that switches the fluores­ cent tubes on and off. which is no less important: heating. the ambient lighting in the room. to around 0. the final tube. Tropical aquariums must therefore be heated. A heater-thermostat must always be totally submerged. These react to variations of the order of 0. Good lighting must both cover the needs of plants and satisfy the visual sense of onlookers. there fol­ lows a second issue. • 233 . Make sure to choose a model in which the temperature readings are clearly visible. finally. More precise electronic thermostats are also available. whether total or partial. unbalances the growth of plants and the behavior of fish. and. These temperatures can be main­ tained with a watertight electrical heater connected to an adjustable thermostat that switches itself off once the desired tem­ perature has been achieved. using several timers.1°C. the tank will still be able to take advantage of the ambi­ ent lighting. The aquatic ani­ mals and plants in tropical regions live in warm water in which the temperature hardly varies over the course of the year.5°C. then turn on one tube about 1 hour later. Heating equipment HEATING After the vital matter of lighting. thereby recreating. the thermostat reconnects the current and the heater starts to heat up again.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES day first. When the lat­ ter goes down by 1°C or less. The ideal lighting pro­ gram would therefore switch on the room's ambient lighting in the morning. sun­ rise and sunset. but unfortunately they are more expensive. and finally switch on the other tubes a little later. At night. to a certain extent.with just one remaining lit . Last but not least: do not interrupt a day­ time light.

200.combining both a thermostat and a heater . if you want to modulate the power of the heating. which is placed in the sed­ iment. both inside and outside the aquarium. Finally. but unwieldy as regards electrical cables. 100 W will be required for a 100 liter aquarium. A power level of 1 W/liter is generally sufficient to ensure this increase in temperature.TECHNIQUES the disadvantage of multiplying the number of electrical connections and cables to be hidden. put the heater­ thermostat in a turbulent spot. 50. setting. Therefore. cellar. Another option is a heater-thermostat .a lounge or bedroom ­ rarely falls below 17°C. there is a danger that the cable may be partially unearthed by a bur­ rowing animal in the tank.which is completely watertight and submergible. and this will also suffice for a 150 liter tank. Therefore. especially when 234 . The heating power level The temperature in an inhabited room . 100. It is therefore easier to hide than the two separate elements. to one of around 25-26°C. 75. a less common type of element consists of a heating cable sealed inside a flexible tube. • Installing the heating equipment in the aquarium It is important that the heat dis­ charged by the heater is spread throughout the aquarium. in order for the temperature to be relatively uniform. In an uninhabited. Beyond that. This system is becoming increasingly popular as it is so easy to use. and 500 W). The ther­ mometer must be kept away from the heat source. the glass protecting a heating apparatus may break. • The thermostat must be placed some distance away from the heater for an adequate control of the temperature. Another alternative is to distribute the heat by dividing the overall intensity .two heat sources of 100 W instead of a single one of 200 W. Furthermore. or loft. • A reliable thermometer is necessary for monitoring the temperature. such as a garage. Some aquarists. If an aquarium is installed. 150. which will be the same as that of the unheated tank. A heater­ thermostat comprises both thermostat and heater. There is a sufficiently wide range of heating devices and power levels to cover all your needs for volumes up to 500 liters (25. but rarely more than this. however. the heating must be sufficiently powerful to go from this room temperature. it is cheaper and easier to heat the entire premises (as in the case of clubs and public aquari­ ums) than to heat tanks individually. to help spread the heat and prevent any areas being warmer than others. Possible problems Sometimes. for example ­ but this entails more cables to hide. to avoid being directly affected by it. and usually unheated. • Independent thermostat and heater: practical. a tank sometimes requires up to 2 W/liter. think that the diffusion of heat via the bed damages the roots of plants.

It is not therefore the bubbles produced that directly oxygenate the water. the smallest are suffi­ cient for aquariums of a maximum volume of 100-150 liters. normally planted. especially when they house fish with high oxygen require­ ments. and in a few hours the temperature of the tank can soar above 30°C. there is no need to aerate it: this is often the case in small. in the form of vigorous stirring of the water. particularly salt water. This can occur with well-used thermostats. inserted as a safety measure between the first and the mains supply. such as the large freshwater Cich­ lids. Pumps make a certain 235 . in contrast. to recreate the con­ ditions of the natural setting. aeration is recommended. gentle aeration does provide a degree of security. of varying degrees of output. and it is sometimes thought that aerating the water means introducing oxygen. Obviously. when a vol­ ume of water is circulated. • There are several types of air pumps. of getting an elec­ tric shock . draws in the atmospheric air surrounding it and pushes it along a narrow pipe to a diffuser. or on the heater component of the heater-thermostat. although the problem can be avoided with a second thermostat. you are handling it. Strong aeration is similarly necessary in marine tanks. an internal black deposit appears in the heater. However. however minimal. some have controls to regulate their intensity. Aeration equipment • The pump • A diffuser placed under the heater-thermostat distributes heat throughout the aquarium. In this case. If in doubt.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES AERATION Here a question arises: should we speak of aeration or oxygenation? The two terms lead to confusion. Circulating also allows the heat given off by the heating apparatus to be diffused and thereby distributed evenly over the whole tank. if an aquarium is well balanced. meaning that the water is no longer being heated and gradually cools. the agitation of the surface facilitates both the penetration of atmospheric oxygen into the water and the elimination of the carbon dioxide dis­ solved in the water. consult a qualified electrician who has experience in dealing with domestic aquariums or your local supplier. is an excellent conductor of electricity.water. The heater's heating wire can break. In fact. There are several models of pump. before plunging your hand into the aquarium. connected to the mains. as there is a risk. Another common problem is the blocking of the thermostat in the heating position: the metal strip "sticks" to its contact. For large aquariums. according to the vol­ ume of air required. but the movement they create. it is essential to unplug the heating system. The water expelled from the filter can also help to stir the water in the tank. the element continues heating. A small pump. and quite densely populated tanks. This forms the bubbles that will break on the surface of the water. However. and so it must be replaced.

through the use of shunts. to avoid any unpleasant surprises.For a tank of 100-150 liters. to allow a slight controlled escape of air (this solution is effective only in some pumps). a single diffuser with a moderate out­ put is sufficient. making it possible to increase or decrease the volume of air produced. of which the most com­ mon diameters are 4-6 mm. of varying degrees of rigidity. shaped in the form of a T. Connectors. for example. It is best to choose one that is fairly stiff. microporous or ceramic materials. • Small accessories There is a wide range of diffusers on the market: rectangular or cylindrical. .beyond that. in fresh water. Do not forget that diffusers will become encrusted with calcium.if the output of the pump cannot be regulated. • The diffuser • There is such a huge range of aeration accessories that no aquarist will have any problem finding equipment suited to his or her individual requirements. where its noise blends in with other household appliances). for example. in the same tank or in different ones. 236 . . . so they must be held down.enclose the pump. if the tank is sparsely planted. . The output of some pumps can be regulated. as an aquarium is generally appre­ ciated for the impression of silence and serenity that it creates. as.make a support for the pump. There are several types of air distribu­ tion pipes. which may seem a nuisance. . in a cupboard. normally planted. Y. make it possible for a single pump to supply several diffusers. and this can sometimes be irri­ tating when the aquarium is situated in a bedroom or other inhab­ ited room.place the pump away from the tank. or algae after they have been in use for a while. There are several ways of reducing this noise: . They have the disadvantage of floating. with a stone. Be aware that diffusers that pro­ duce fine bubbles require stronger air pressure to maintain the flow. . calculate one diffuser for every 100-150 liters (one for every 100 liters. in natural or artificial materi­ als. or not planted at all). or X. Various small accessories complement the main items. use one diffuser for every 75-100 liters. These produce very fine bubbles and can be cleaned easily when they get clogged up. salt. Always buy a piece of tube longer than you need. The most practical ones are made of REDUCING THE NOISE OF THE AIR PUMP Some pumps are noisier than others. make a shunt with a faucet on the end. with a sufficiently long aera­ tion pipe (an air pump often goes unnoticed in a kitchen. at top intensity. it will not be completely flattened and will still allow a lit­ tle air to pass through.in sea water. using a small wooden board on a block of foam. or also a filter­ plate. if it happens to get jammed. H O W MANY DIFFUSERS IN AN AQUARIUM? This depends on the volume and type of aquarium. • The air distribution pipe • A single pump can feed several diffusers.TECHNIQUES amount of noise.

Small filters are able partially to purify the air. in plastic or metal. The faucets regulat­ ing the air must obviously be placed outside the aquarium. A pump can sometimes be found below water level. • Positioning the aeration equipment It is best to place the pump above water level. this is not a serious problem. this eliminates the possibility of water flowing back down the air pipe when the current is switched off. and pieces of vegetation. as the plants themselves produce enough oxygen. If the pump is placed below the water level of the aquarium. which is placed in the air circuit after it leaves the pump. there is a risk that this debris will spread over the tank. with all the unappealing visual results that may be expected. Many aquarists consider that bubbles in a tank provide a somewhat unnatural appearance. uneaten food. However. There is a variety of models. do not put the diffuser on the bed. in the case of well planted aquariums. and the bubbles are only noticeable when they break the surface of the water. sometimes vigorously. For the reasons mentioned above. such as excreta. These consist of active carbon that absorbs smells and fumes. no aeration equipment is used. especially in built-in aquari­ ums. Perfectionists place the air pump outside the room containing their aquarium. make sure that no pipe comes into direct contact with an element. It is advisable to check that the lid fits properly at the point where the bubbles reach the surface. Often. and so a small valve must be inserted to reduce the above risk. along with a few meters of pipe and a diffuser in microporous plastic. the ideal position for a diffuser is close to a heating apparatus. To avoid this annoyance. such as aerosol sprays or cigarette smoke. It is not the bubbles from the diffusers that oxygenate the water. but the movement that they create. but to place it halfway up the aquarium. Faucets regulate the flow when there are several channels. 237 . Since a diffuser stirs the water. it is possible that it also puts back into suspension various pieces of debris. so they hide their diffusers and pipes in the decor. it is vital to acquire a valve to prevent the water flowing back. to avoid any possible diffusion inside the aquarium of toxic products.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES AERATION FOR BEGINNERS One of the smaller pumps on the market is sufficient. in order to avoid any splashing of water onto the lighting hood. if this is not the case. If the suction of the filtration system is nearby. single or in sets for large installations.

and therein lies the danger. neglect to remove the biggest scraps yourself. via a double action: first mechanical. on the other hand.TECHNIQUES FILTRATION Why filter the water? Once an aquarium is put into operation. and secondly biological. and so their accumulation is a cause for concern. External filter with several filtration compartments. In this way the water gradu­ ally becomes loaded with suspended matter . and invertebrates .as well as various chemical reactions that occur in the water and sedi­ ment. You must not. it is visible. sometimes even dead bodies ­ and suspended solids produced by the activity of the occupants. The medium in mechan­ ical filtration serves the same function as a biological filter once it has been colonized by bacteria. The suspended solids. it takes on a yellowish color. These modifications are a result of the biological activity of living beings ­ plants. as it retains the particles that are in suspension. In order to transform nitrogenous sub­ stances and encourage the nitrogen cycle (see page 19). Principle of filtration Several filters function by retaining sus­ pended matter: this is mechanical filtra­ tion. in the long term. as the nitro­ 238 . The various filtration systems • The under-gravel filter The water travels from top to bottom through the sand and is taken back in under a platform that is slightly raised from the bottom of the tank. The biological filter therefore comprises a support that will be colonized by bacteria. filtration also contributes to good oxygenation. The suspended matter remains in open water.animal excre­ ment. The water is then pushed out into the aquarium by means of an air-lift (see panel on page 239) fed by an air pump. Of these. in order to attain clear water that is more receptive to the penetration of light and avoid any risk of intoxicating the residents of the tank. The filtering media gradually become clogged and must be cleaned or changed. or ends up as sediment. the most significant are the nitrogenous products released by animals' liquid excretion. the characteristics of the water change fairly rapidly. These substances are very toxic. In either case. vegetable debris. Here. fish. surplus food. with circulation of water to provide oxygen. are not visible. This alteration can be detected very early on by immersing a white object. it is the sand which acts as the filtering medium. It is however. Filtration therefore aims to trap the suspended matter. As we have already pointed out. oxygen and good bacteria are required: this is biological or bacterial filtration. possi­ ble to ob-serve a slow mod­ ification of the water color. however.

the water clears quickly Disadvantages . THE AIR-LIFT This ingenious system allows water to be raised to a certain height and also helps to stir.it can only. . The air-lift makes it possible to use an under-gravel filter or a drip filter. or by using a long thin rod. and bed (which means reconstructing the aquarium). -easy to install. In order to reduce the noise of the bubbles and enhance the circulation of the water. .Inexpensive.It must be put in before the bed. It can also be made at home. .draining the bed is not beneficial to most plants with roots. vegetation.fed by an air pump (often the same as the one used by a diffuser). As a rough guide. an air-lift with a diameter of 3 cm. has a flow of several hundred liters per hour. using a pipe and a PVC bend (2-3 cm in diameter). . there is a risk of deoxygenating the bed.easy to camouflage. and must be cleaned (taking us back to the point above).the sand builds up rapidly. .little or no maintenance. . which can cause the development of toxic products. and therefore oxygenate it.when the filter is inactive for a while. with a water depth of 40 cm. therefore. It is attached to the tank with suction pads. when the aquarium is being built. fed by an air pump. its top section can be bent to be flush with the surface. be removed by taking out all the decor.THE UNDER-GRAVEL FILTER Advantages .the base of the air-lift may become blocked if it is narrow (under 1 cm). according to its density. This type of air-lift is available in the aquarium trade. it can be cleared by blowing down it. . . . or send water from a box filter into the aquarium. .

This system works well but is insufficient for an aquarium with a volume of over 100 liters. before being expelled into the aquarium. although there are models available that can be adjusted according to the vol­ ume of water being treated and that will prove effective. PVC pipe. often made up of foam. Water recovery chamber 5. serving not only as ballast but also as a pre-filtration element (see box below). Take a PVC receptacle that is easy to cut. The use of foam tends to make the apparatus float to the surface. page 260). Block of foam 4. Diffuser 2. but these days it has given way to other techniques. such as foam or Perlon. A QUICK WAY TO MAKE A SMALL INTERNAL FILTER 1. so you must insert a ballast to weigh it down. heavy material. Air-lift 3. ideally a bottle with a capacity of 1. PVC bottle 6. You can make this type of filter at home. at the other extreme. Block of foam hollowed out in the center to allow room for the air-lift 4. However. This is why you should avoid sand that is too fine and. The upper part of the foam can be covered by coarse. with incisions all down one side. Gravel (pre-filtration and ballast) -> Direction of water 240 .TECHNIQUES • Small internal filters with an electric motor The motor makes it possible to draw up the water through a thick grid that blocks the passage of the larger pieces of debris. The water is then guided towards a filter­ ing medium. 1. as a complement to another filtration system. such as gravel or sand. They are only effective in small aquariums with a capac­ ity of 50 liters or less. The under-gravel filter used to be extremely popular. The size of the grains of sand is therefore important (for more detail. sediment that is too thick. see Choosing the Bed. Diffuser 2. Gravel (pre-filtration and ballast) -> Direction of water • This under­ gravel filter is used with a thick sediment that serves as a filtering medium gen cycle is created by the bacteria and the oxygen supplied by the circulation of the water. which will be set into the block of foam 3.5-2 liters. but with a slow and continuous flow. • Small internal filters fed by air These also work with an air pump. but a small filtering medium. it can be used in small temporary tanks or in a community tank. as it must allow both the water to pass through and the particles to be retained. replaces the sand.

using either an air-lift (left) or an electric motor (right) is sufficient. They must be placed at the bottom of the tank to avoid any possible draining. Strainer to prevent small fish or bits of debris getting sucked up and blocking the pipes 2. 1. These filters are more expensive than those already described. It is even possible to find filters for garden ponds. Perforated rigid pipe which allows the water to be expelled at or above surface level. depending on the power of the pump and the volume of the filtration bay. For a small tank.it can be inspected through the PVC of the filtration compartment. It is easier to clean if you have the foresight to install faucets on the pipes. they are not effective in biological terms.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES • External filters The water siphoned into the aquarium passes into a filtration bay containing sev- SMALL SUBMERGED FILTERS WITH AN ELECTRIC MOTOR The outflow of the motor is sometimes excessive for the volume of the filtering medium. The latter must be cleaned regularly as it gets blocked up . Faucets Direction of the water 241 .some have a flow of 1 mVhour . though they are mechan­ ically very efficient. to enhance the exchange of gases 6. their main disadvantage lies in the amount of EXTERNAL FILTERS WITH AN ELECTRIC MOTOR These are suitable for large aquariums . Semi-rigid pipes 3. but. The use of particles of different sizes prevents the apparatus from getting blocked up too quickly.and contain materials with various particle sizes in the filtration compartment. These filters are highly efficient. a small internal filter. Filtering media that get finer as the water advances 4. There is a variety of models available. eral filtering media and is sent back into the tank by means of an electric pump. Motor compartment 5.

and the pipes for sucking in and expelling the water inside. The grid or strainer prevents fish passing through. In sea water. These are sometimes built into some aquariums on the market. This part of the box filter can receive heating and aeration. slowing down or even preventing the circulation of the water. build up there. which can sometimes be recovered in the box (2). Entrance for water through a hole in the glass. however. This retains fine particles and is the medium for the biological filtration. as various bits of debris. In the latter case. There is a variation on this system: the double box filter. Double box filter 242 . Sump for keeping water before it is sent back into the aquarium by a pump or air-lift. with the pump and filtra­ tion bay outside the aquarium. Filtration foam (page 248). This can contain a pre-filtration material. 2. It is easier to maintain if it is divided into two approximately equal parts. 4. In a large aquarium. space taken up by the equip­ ment. 1. Box. apart from the smallest fry.TECHNIQUES Pumps for box filters. they must be hidden by exterior fit­ tings. Both must be maintained regularly.can prove insufficient. its mechanism ­ the retention of particles . protected by a grid. A siphon with a strainer on the end (la) can also be used. but they can also be added afterwards. such as Perlon (page 248). The use of this type of filter is BOX FILTER becoming more widespread. • Box filters • A box filter integrated into an aquarium. and so a complementary external filter must also be used. it is an ideal replacement for the protein skimmer (page 250). 3. particularly vegetal matter. as it is easy to put into operation and maintain.

therefore. encouraging good oxygenation of the water and effective functioning of the nitrogen cycle. but are sprinkled by it.Wet-dry filter under the aquarium: this is considered the ultimate filtration system by some aquarists. The water descends into another tank and drains through the Two box filters in the rear corners. which requires more space. built into artificial decor recreating a cliff or rocky slope. The main problem in setting it up lies in the incorporation of an outlet for excess water in a side wall or the back of the tank. In the diagrams above. Wherever it is put. its oxygenation. the aquarium is seen from above. and the more recent wet-dry filter. This means that they are in permanent contact with the air. Chicanes can increase the time taken by the water's journey and. • Wet-dry filters Gutter filter equipped with thick filtering media (left) and finer ones (right). the foam is represented by hatching. which has long been in use. the filtering media are not totally submerged in the water. • The box filter is normally placed on one of the sides of the aquarium. . Box filter in central position. V Here. The decor can be artificial.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES placed under the aquarium. The water then passes along the gutter and falls as 'rain' into the tank. . with the front at the bottom of the drawing. and is easy to set up. In both of these cases. coarse pre-filtration media are desirable. thereby enhancing the oxygenation. GUTTER FILTER 243 . This technique is particularly popular among experienced fishkeepers with large fresh­ water or marine tanks.Gutter filter: the water is pushed up from the aquarium by an electric pump or an air-lift to a horizontal gutter equipped with filtration material. it is vital that the volume of the fil­ ter is equal to at least 10% of the volume of the aquarium. There are two systems: the gutter filter.

.

000 liters/hour pump model.the maximum flow. In the case of marine aquariums. PUMPS Pumps are used for box or wet-dry filters.the maximum water height to which the pump can take the water. or simply surrounded by a block of foam. • A pump's power There are several brands of pump and various levels of power. they are sometimes used merely to circulate the water. but the precision here is sufficient to see that the pump has a flow of no more than 600 liters/hour for transporting water to a height of 40 cm. corresponding to a flow close to 0.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES PRINCIPLE OF WET-DRY FILTER PLACED UNDER THE AQUARIUM filtering medium. • 245 . . The power level is calculated for the operation of a pump that does not raise the water level: the water is pumped and sent back to the same level. Manufacturers supply two figures for every pump: . which corresponds to a flow reversal height of 0. before being pumped back into the aquarium. Some manufacturers market small internal wet-dry filters. The real power of a pump actually depends on the height of the water. capable of reversing the flow to a height of 1 m: In fact. THE REAL POWER OF A PUMP Here is an example based on a 1. which are intended for aquariums of a maximum volume of around 200 liters. a very slight curve should be visible.

rocks . crushed oyster shells. use gravel. Sea water Box filter. They are being increasingly replaced by artificial material. • Lava rocks These rocks. but fairly thick sand (grains of 2-3 mm) are still required in freshwater under­ gravel filters. Different materials correspond to specific functions. peat. • Oyster sheik and calcareous rocks These play the same role. advantages.or arti­ ficial . cotton. play a double role: mechanical. quarantine Volume Under 100 liters Filtration system Under-gravel filter.e. especially in the external filters. a filtering material must be chemically neu­ tral.TECHNIQUES In some rare cases. but also on the hobbyist's budget. external filter. Also. and biological. choose the external filter. or Perlon. All the filtering media of variable volume (gravel. wet-dry filter 246 . clay) are easier to handle if they are placed in a fine-meshed pouch (made from a net curtain or tights. and various plastic materials. sand. For a coarse filtration. sand. • Gravel and thick sand These are used as pre-filtration media to trap the largest pieces of debris. but also release WHICH FILTER FOR WHICH AQUARIUM? The type of filter depends on how the tank is being used. the directions for use will include a graph that makes it possible to calculate the real power corresponding to each height of flow reversal. clay. foam. active carbon. it must not modify the main char­ acteristics of the water (pH. in order to trap the bulkiest particles. Fresh water Over 200 liters Over 300 liters Box or external filter The two systems can be used together. Box filter or external filter Observations The under-gravel filter is not the most practical solution. Peat. i. The use of two complementary techniques makes it possible to obtain the maximum efficiency in biological filtration. as well as good water circulation of water. or large pieces of PVC. a biological filtration.PVC. you must therefore look for the best quality/price ratio. crushed oyster shells. clay. If the tank does not have an in-built box section. powered by air or electricity. rocks. Perlon. this reduces the risk if one filter is affected by a technical or biological problem. or clay. A fine filtration requires fine sand. or calcareous rocks are effective materials for exerting a chemical action. small internal filter. active carbon. foam. These three techniques can be used together. foam. for suspended matter. broken into pieces of various sizes. Uses. Fresh water 100-200 liters • The pre­ filtration material is often coarse. hardness. sand. earth. sand. for example).The form and surface of the rocks encourage the presence of bacteria. With the exception of the last category. Type of aquarium Rearing. or density). and disadvantages of the various filtering media The filtering materials can be either natu­ ral .gravel. but on most occasions you will have to draw this yourself.

active carbon traps smells. It also fixes some medicines. but rather as a complement to another material. and then rinsed carefully. not at all advisable to apply Perlon retains fine particles. there­ fore. for instance. To sum up. but no more so than other more prac­ tical filtering media. active carbon is a material with very specific applications. What is more. and it must be rinsed in warm water before use. although you will have to proceed by trial and error and do some tests before finding the quantity needed to maintain a specific pH.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES • Lava rocks provide a good bacterial support. It is rarely used on its own. or killies. such as regional East African aquar­ iums. • Active carbon Active carbon is obtained by calcining (burning) vegetable matter under very pre­ cise conditions. although it can trap some particles. • Clay Clay. • peat designed for horticultural use. provides a good bacte­ rial support. Balls of clay can be used for pre-filtration. its main role is not filtration. They are therefore used to maintain a high degree of hardness in some types of tanks. Be aware that peat turns water an amber yel­ low color. to be used only in fresh water and not in sea water. Suitable peat is commer­ cially available. once the treatment has been completed. a filter is only used to eliminate a medicine. in order to eliminate the fine particles produced. page 35. They must be pounded and crushed. therefore. in the form of balls of a few mm to 1 cm in diameter. It is a very porous material with properties useful to fishkeepers. It is an easy material to use. • Peat Peat (see page 16) is placed in a filter to acidify the water passing through it. espe­ cially those based on colorants. page 95). which makes it possible to obtain really clear water. moderate amounts of calcium carbonate into the water going through them. as it contains substances that can be dangerous in an aquarium. In this case. Its main deficiency is that it loses these distinguishing properties quite quickly. It offers a good support for bacte­ ria. It is used in fresh water to obtain the low pH required to keep and reproduce certain species (see South American aquariums. to ensure pre-filtration. It fixes organic coloring substances. It is. and also Cyprodontidae. • Perlon This artificial material comes in the form of inter­ twined filaments. Be careful: it 247 .

else home-made. • Various plastic-based materials Different types of plastic material. before being taken in through the slit pipe and returned to the aquarium.must not be con­ fused with glass wool. the ideal one corresponding to a density of foam of 20 kg/m3. neutral. • There is a very w/de range of filtering materials. the experience of a great many aquarists and public aquariums has shown that a thickness of 8 cm. as it can release tiny fragments into the water. The foam generally used has a density of 20 kg/m-\ and its poros­ ity is ideal both for retaining suspended particles and for allowing bacteria to develop. it provides a highly effective bacterial support. and contains not only items found in the aquarium trade but also recy­ cled domestic materials. 248 . and is also excellent for mechanical filtration. When they are saturated.lt is possible to find some commercially available. like that found in mattresses or cushions. • Foam This synthetic polyester foam has open pores. such as a garden hose . while the others retain the finer particles. • Combinations of filtering media When several filtering materials are found in the same filter. or MAKING A FOAM FILTER IN AN EMERGENCY The sucking nozzle of an electric pump is extended with a pipe - PVC or semi-rigid plastic. The coarsest materials serve as a pre-filter for large pieces of debris. they can • Polyester foam comes in various porosities. such as PVC. as well as being cheap. with pride of place being taken by foam and clay balls. Generally speaking. This is inserted into a block of foam with the center already cut out with a knife or blade. the speed at which the water flows through them and finally the amount of sus­ pended matter it contains. is usually sufficient for filtration. Furthermore. filters entirely composed of foam . This quick and easy filter works well when improvisation is called for to keep an aquarium in operation. both box and wet-dry . often the most desirable is the one offering the largest surface area for trapping bacteria. cubes with an openwork design. divided into two more or less equal parts for easier upkeep.and these are also completely satisfactory. The list is endless.with a series of slits down the sides. the water must succes­ sively pass through materials decreasing in grain size. This material is very fashionable in the aquarium trade these days and it seems to offer nothing but advantages: it is light. All these filtering media enhance the development of bac­ terial colonies that convert nitrogenous products.small internal filters or external filters. easy to handle and cut. espe­ cially so in box and wet-dry filters. balls. It is generally used in association with foam as the first fil­ tering material. etc. can be used to make the filtration or pre-filtration elements: small pieces of pipe around 1 cm in diameter. which is highly unsuit­ able for aquari­ ums. at a rate depen­ ding on granule size. Cleaning the filtering media The filtering media progressively accumulate parti­ cles. The water has to pass through the foam.

Strainer 2. REVERSE-FLOW UNDER-GRAVEL FILTER The water passes through the substrate from the bottom to the top. pri- 1. The filtration flow must be 3-5 times the volume of the tank per hour for fish. you can clean only half the filtering media each time: the bacteria living in the unwashed part will be sufficient to purify the water and will quickly recolonize the other half. in order to obtain water of the highest quality. providing it is no more than 6-8 cm thick. especially Anthozoans. then the foam can be thicker. be cleaned with warm tap water. thereby avoiding any possible problems resulting from a lack of oxygen in the bed. It is unfortunate that cleaning eliminates the large majority.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES • A pump. It is vital not to interrupt the nitrogen cycle in a biological filter. of the useful bacteria. marily serving a mechanical function. Passage of water from bottom to top This type of filtration is sometimes used in large marine aquariums containing fish. you can. Once again. in the meantime the filtering media can be put into the filter of another aquarium. but it must not be used on its own. Equipment specific to sea water Marine fish are more sensitive to the qual­ ity of the water than freshwater species. the other with a stronger flow. until clear rinsing water is hence obtained. One effective combi­ nation consists of a reverse-flow under­ gravel filter coupled with an external filter (see box). This calls for the use of equipment to complement the filtration system. Aquarists who have several tanks wash several pieces of foam together in a wash­ ing machine. and a block of foam make up a filter that can be quickly put into operation. If the aquarium has to remain empty. 249 . To alleviate this problem. Suction of water 3. An under-gravel filter can also be used to en­ hance the circulation of water in the gen­ erally fairly thick sediment. The filter will therefore be effective for particles but will no longer be able to play any biologi­ cal role. more for oxygenation than filtration. The ideal solu­ tion would be to use two filters: one with a moderate flow. or indeed all. such as crushed oyster shells or PVC materials. of course. which is fil­ tered by an exterior system before being propelled under the sediment. Never use peat or active carbon. If thick mate­ rials. and in this way they will still collect bacteria and can quickly be put back into service. Return of water under the filter 5. though obviously without any washing powder. are used. a PVC pipe with slits down the sides. External filter with electric motor 4. mainly for the conversion of nitrogenous matter (a box or wet-dry fil­ ter). There are no particles to form sed­ iment. clean one at a time. FILTRATION OF SEA WATER Filtration of sea water: special points It is necessary to discuss separately certain issues specific to sea water. foam is the perfect material. If you are using two filters. Under-gravel filter 6. without any detergent or soap. and up to 10 times the volume for inverte­ brates. as this may give rise to toxic compounds. as these are sent back in suspension into the water.

• The protein skimmer. eliminates certain dissolved substances and helps purify the water. and if a biological filter is already working effectively. the pro­ tein skimmer is not used if the tank is not overloaded. and the water is pumped around it. thanks to a quartz sheath that allows this type of ray to pass through. have germicidal The agitation of the water with a protein skimmer precipitates a foam made up of substances to be eliminated. Beyond these volumes. or invest in one fed by an electric injection pump. It can also complement the fil­ tration system. However. the principle is simple: a lamp. Do not look directly at the source of the UV rays. and therefore well fil­ tered. Also very often employed as a preventive measure in tanks containing fish. UV sterilizers are commercially available. Some of them are responsible for tanning (UV A and B). The principle is simple: the water is agi­ tated in a confined space.TECHNIQUES • The protein skimmer This system enables the aquarist to carry out partial chemical purification of the water by eliminating certain dissolved substances. The protein skimmer is an independent element that can be placed anywhere in the tank. The protein skimmer is recommended for an invertebrate tank. such as proteins. usually a tube.somewhere in the order of a few cen­ timeters. especially as their action is selective. as they do not destroy the "good" bacteria of the nitro­ gen cycle. while others. the quality of the rays usually deteriorates after 4 months. but invisible to the human eye. These UV rays are used for the bacterio­ logical purification of water. 250 . with a shorter wavelength (UV C). leading to the precipitation of a number of substances. The blue-violet color given off by the lamp only serves to show that it is functioning. as they are dangerous for the eyes — this is why the sterilizer usually has an opaque covering. The water must therefore pass close to the source of the rays. The lifespan of a lamp operating for 24 hours a day is around 5 or 6 months. often yellow-colored. Again. The lamp is completely watertight. at a speed which allows it to receive sufficient amounts of their luminosity. The field of action of these rays is limited . The power of a UV system and the flow of the water around the lamp vary according to the volume of water being treated. and therefore supported by an air pump. specific to sea water. In order for the rays to exert their maximum effect. Aquariums of up to 300 liters use a pro­ tein skimmer fed by a fine­ bubble diffuser. although it does eliminate some substances that are absorbed by invertebrates. the water must be clear. and so they should be replaced three times a year. reducing the burden of a box filter when it is installed in its first section. is pro­ duced. • properties and kill a large number of bac­ teria and viruses. A frothy foam. sends out rays. plan on installing two protein skimmers. and this is then eliminated via the overflow. • The purifying action of UV rays Ultraviolet rays are lumi­ nous. especially one with corals and anemones.

They generally work on the basis of a change in the color of the water. They are sold separately or in complete kits. colored blue or red. Choose a small net for small fish or aquar­ iums with elaborate decor. both veg­ etable and inert. car­ bonate hardness (CH). Landing nets These are obviously absolutely essential for catching moving animals. Thermometer Absolutely essential.e.indeed. away from the source of heating. The last three are equally indispensable in sea water. i. wedged into rocks. The fish will get used to its presence. carbon dioxide. is suffi­ ciently precise. when you switch the lights back on. Aquarists will almost invari­ ably tell you: as soon as you want to catch a particular fish. Not all have the same degree of precision. and pH. iron. Various models of thermometers are available. although it is possible to restock a basic product when it runs out. There are other parameters that can also be monitored by small pieces of analysis equipment: nitrates. before switching off the lights. • 251 . Whatever model is used. nitrites. One simple trick consists of putting the net into the tank at night. ammonia. with foreseeable con­ sequences: wounded animals and the decor. • The size of a landing net depends not only on that of the fish being caught but also on the space available in the aquarium for handling it. without having to buy the whole kit again. indispensable . they are also a little more difficult to read. pandemonium breaks loose. the salt content. The size of the latter dictates the size of the net. used to analyze water. but it must be stressed that it is a vital instrument for monitoring the density of sea water. it is not easy to catch fish in a landing net. as their precision is not reliable. or stuck with a suction pad. some in conjunction with a density meter. along with the space available for handling it. which must be compared with a scale printed on the packaging. and calcium (for marine invertebrate aquariums). are on the market. although variations of more than 1°C can be recorded between different thermometers. the thermometer is put into the water. in fact.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES VITAL TOOLS FOR THE WELLEQUIPPED AQUARIST There are certain useful . turn topsy-turvy. Hydrometer We have already discussed this (page 25). An alcohol ther­ mometer. External thermometers with liquid crystals have failed to convince most aquarists. Although mercury thermometers are more precise. However. it seems to see you coming! Once the net is put the water. to avoid being directly affected by its warmth. Equipment for analyzing water Several brands of simple tests. It can be attached to a weight. oxygen. and so it will be easier to catch the following morning. Four tests are more or less obligatory in fresh water: general hardness (GH).accessories that an aquarist always needs at hand for everyday chores or the upkeep of the aquarium: a tool kit.

Miscellaneous equipment . to siphon off waste products. nozzles and con­ nectors for air and water pipes. . 252 . .pincers for planting.a mini vacuum cleaner connected to the air pump. for clean­ ing the algae on the glass panes.a long pipe for filling or drain­ ing the aquarium. • Small plastic tanks sometimes prove useful for maintenance operations. just stick a self-adhesive label at each end of a cable or pipe and write on it the name of the corresponding element. • • Another possibility is the use of two nets.TECHNIQUES Magnets to clean the panes and vacuum cleaners connected to an air pump are commonplace instruments for tank maintenance. a first label near the pump indicates which diffusers it is feed­ ing.suction pads. for example. . or the pipe that needs to be disconnected. and also allows them to record their personal observations on reproduc­ tion. • Garden pincers are very practical in deeper tanks. results of the analysis of water. You can also stock up with some other pieces of equipment that often turn out to very practical: . etc. In the case of aeration. or for providing a temporary home for plants and fish when an aquarium is being repaired. and then rinsed several times. sickness and the general behavior of their fish. available from commercial aquarium stores. .an electronic timer for programming the lighting.a notebook enabling you to keep track of certain tasks: purchase dates for fish. though many aquarists prefer using their hands. Landing nets must be disin­ fected regularly with bleach (partic­ ularly after handling sick fish). mainte­ nance schedule.plastic food containers to hold water. The latter is particularly recommended for beginners. . while a second just before the point where the pipes enter the aquarium makes it easier to locate the diffusers in question. meaning that it is sometimes diffi­ cult to find the right socket. To find them more easily.a scraper furnished with a razor blade or a small abrasive scouring pad. faucets. with one remaining sta­ tionary to receive the fish being pushed forward by the second. . CABLES AND PIPES: LABELING A fully equipped aquarium quickly accumu­ lates electric cables and pipes for air and water and these have an irritating tendency to get mixed up.

aeration. the density must be checked. and. it nevertheless evolves: fish get bigger and reproduce. Water analysis Bad water can cause problems unnotice­ able to even the most discerning eye.A BALANCED AQUARIUM Although an aquarium constitutes a self-contained environment. In the aeration sys­ tem. the pH. and the nitrites. this is enriched by numerous organic substances (animal excreta. must be monitored once or twice a week. the water undergoes changes that may not always be visible . The dif­ fusers eventually get blocked by algae or calcium. Checking the equipment You must also keep a close watch on the systems for lighting. As regards the lighting. Cleaning the panes The glass panes of the aquarium can accumulate green or brown algae (page 194). but they can also be unblocked. and filtration.the nitrate concentration increases but the mineral salts depleate. calcium. others less often. or biological deposits (bac­ teria and non-pathogenic micro-organ- • Certain parameters of the water. worrying fish behav­ ior. In this way you can detect any sickness. so it is important to monitor its quality regu­ larly. As for the bed. heating. The second rule is to maintain the aquar­ ium. In both fresh and sea water. the upkeep of an aquarium is not time­ consuming. it is necessary to change the equipment. Any malfunction in the heating will quickly be reflected in a decrease or increase in the temperature: in this case. Clean the fil­ tering medium regularly. and only demands 1 or 2 hours a week. The more regular the maintenance of an aquarium. in fresh water. three main parameters have to be monitored: the temperature. Additionally. in sea water.which is why it is important to analyze it regularly. The first of these rules requires a daily inspection of the tank and its occupants. make sure that the electrical contacts do not get rusty (espe­ cially with salt water). 253 . Similarly. or an abnormal water color. It is best to change them. the less time-consuming it becomes. Some operations need to be performed every day. the small lozenge which filters the air needs to be changed twice a year. the hardness. for example. surplus food) that will normally be converted into mineral elements. while plants grow. at feeding time. such as the pH. When undertaken on a regular basis. MAINTENANCE The equilibrium of an aquarium is fragile and can rapidly be disrupted if a few sim­ ple rules are contravened.

at regular intervals. page 255). the triggering of egg-laying. Density Once a week Total hardness Once a week Carbon dioxide Once a fortnight (sometimes less) Calcium Once a week In sea water. which gradually gets covered with algae and calcium (or salt. or a toilet. In fresh water. Do not forget to clean the glass lid. but in the long term they scratch the glass of the aquarium. they should be totally absent. Mainly in quite densely planted aquariums. The substitute water must always present the normal characteristics of the water to be replaced (particularly pH. even fish corpses. A change of 5-10% of the volume per week is there­ fore recommended. These deposits vary from one aquarium to the next and do not in them­ selves represent any danger to fish . The combination of this opera­ tion with siphoning eliminates both assorted detritus and some of the nitrates which eventually accumulate. A Scrapers allow access right to the bottom of the panes. After 2 months or so you will see a strik­ ing contrast with aquariums in which the water has not been renewed. in aquariums containing corals. Ideally. 254 . The photosynthesis process and the respira­ tion of animals cause variations from day to day.TECHNIQUES isms). It must not vary by more than one or two units. The clear water that is introduced supplies some mineral elements and provides a stimulus for the aquarium: the growth of fish. PARAMETERS TO BE MONITORED Parameters Temperature Nitrites PH Frequency of monitoring Every day Once or twice a week Once or twice a week Observations It must not vary by more than 1°C. Small specially designed vacuum cleaners are available in the aquarium trade. restricting the passage of the light needed by plants. This obviously demands a stock of water with identical characteristics to that of the aquarium (especially pH. Looking after the bed An assortment of debris piles up on the bed: fish excreta. Domestic scouring pads can also be effec­ tive. in a quiet corner. Slight variations are not abnormal. So the panes must be scraped with a razor blade or one of the small devices found in specialist stores. and sometimes. and the growth of plants. hardness. and salinity). you must immediately change one third of the water. hardness. are one of the keys to success in fish­ keeping. In the event of any serious problem. then 10% per day for the following 5 days.the damage sustained by an aquarium through a dirty front pane lies more on the aesthetic plane. bits of plants. surplus food. These are two very good reasons for getting rid of it by siphoning (see box. in a marine tank) on the inside and dust on the outside. to get rid of any unwanted algae. All this disrupts not only the visual harmony but also the bal­ ance of the tank as more oxygen is required to degrade this debris. a sink. Only in sea water. and density). but you can also use a flexible pipe draining out into a plastic bowl. Changing the water Partial water changes.

and so there is a progressive concentration of salt or other mineral substances in the aquarium. making it possible to bend it over the side of the container or tank. usu­ ally at the same time as you make a par­ tial water change. To avoid this problem. as the water changes are less frequent. for example).there are no abrupt variations in the environment. are regularly eliminated and therefore do not accumulate. Readjustment of the water level is not nec­ essary if you are using a drip that func­ tions automatically. replace the evapo­ rated water with very soft or demineral­ ized water in order to readjust the hardness or density. many fishkeepers find this sys­ tem the ideal solution: . by slightly diluting the new water with fresh water. trace elements). This can be done when you change the water. It requires a special installation. The water in an aquarium evaporates. and above all an overflow for the aquarium ­ equipment which is not readily available in every case. . which is hardly attractive. . . After a while a regular increase in the hardness of fresh water (or the salinity of sea water) is noticeable: the water that evaporates from the surface is fresh water containing no salts. 255 . This must there­ When stemmed plants grow too big. such as nitrates. . and slide the siphoning pipe inside it. The ideal solution is daily renewal of a small amount. . This has no ecological consequences. This technique is becoming more common among experienced aquar­ ists. However.this method seems to restrict the growth of certain somewhat unsightly algae. A word of wisdom: the water siphoned off a freshwater aquarium is excellent for watering house plants as it contains dis­ solved organic matter! Evaporation and the water level fore be adjusted on a regular basis. The trick is to get hold of a washing machine draining pipe or a snorkel.the pH is stabilized.it entails a regular. sup­ ply of the various substances contained in the water (mineral salts. but it does mean that the surface of the water comes into view at the top of the panes. even in sea water.the maintenance is reduced. with a ten­ dency to slip out of the aquarium or the container for the siphoned water. as it often leads to floods! The pipes can be too flexible.various substances. though limited. you can consider taking cuttings.A BALANCED AQUARIUM A TRICK FOR SIPHONING OFF WASTE People who live with aquarists dread siphoning time. with the help of a drip (see page 256). A stiff bent pipe can also be used to siphon in the less accessi­ ble parts of an aquarium (grottoes.

TECHNIQUES A SIMPLE DRIP TECHNIQUE Two points must be taken into account: the arrival of the new water and the overflow of the aquarium water. Do-it-yourself experts may consider making a connection with the plumbing pipes in the home. Water from the aquarium can flow into another container. as there is a danger that bubbles may interfere with its functioning. The system is set in motion by sucking on the pipe. For aes­ thetic reasons. larger than the first. A flexible PVC pipe can be used to connect the faucet with the aquarium. such as a jerry can with a faucet. This device can easily be attached to the inside and outside of the aquarium with suction pads. for use above the water level of the tank. The water level can be regulated by raising or lowering loop A. There is another solution: use a siphon that functions continuously (diagram 3). 256 . but there is a more sim­ ple solution. There remains the problem of the aquarium overflow. to avoid any risks of overflowing (diagram 1). You can get a glass store to make a hole in a side or rear pane when you are mounting or buy­ ing the tank. Take a PVC container. Always put a strainer on the end to avoid any small fish or large pieces of debris from getting sucked up and caus­ ing a blockage. and a small diameter (1 cm) ensures the continuity of the operation. It is best not to put a diffuser near the entry of the siphon. this is hidden in a cupboard or other piece of furniture. You will have to adjust the drip by trial and error. Insert a PVC plug with connections for the evacuation pipe. do not forget to also provide an escape for the water (diagram 2). after calculating the volume that needs to be renewed (around 1 % of the volume of the aquarium per day).

A long absence There are two options for a long absence: .and gradually increase these amounts until they reach the usual level. Plants can go with­ out lighting for one week. This only applies to adults. and certain precautions must be taken. . • The lighting can be controlled automatically with a small electric timer. .make a final check the night or morning before you leave. . This means that there is no need to let the sunlight into your home and so you can close your shutters.the second is finding a friend kind enough to feed your fish for you . cut off.switch on the automatic lighting system and.A BALANCED AQUARIUM Maintaining the vegetation When you are siphoning on the bed. filtering media. as the fry must always be fed on a regular basis. Vacations •Before leaving: . • Automatic food distributor with a mains connection. If your friend is not a hobbyist. one or two visits a week being The use of batteries makes some food distributors automatic and very practical. (However. cannot endure fasting for more than a week. if they are not going to receive any other food.change 5-10% of the water every day for a few days.if possible including live prey or fresh food .put the vegetation in order by trimming the plants and taking cuttings. as it avoids any excessive increase in the tempera­ ture. nitrites. vegeta­ tion). 257 . or density.give the fish smaller portions of food than normal . generally sufficient). Likewise. hardness. . especially for vacations.prefer­ ably another aquarist who will monitor the feeding and the aquarium just as you would.the first consists of using an automatic food distributor controlled by a timer.clean the filtering media and panes. any leaves that are start­ ing to rot. Liquid or solid fertilizer should be added regularly. you can take cuttings or use another means of vegetative multiplication. in order to avoid any overfeeding. Freshwater fish can go without food for two weeks. but after any longer period they turn yellow and grad­ ually wither. . Short absences do not represent a prob­ lem. WHEN THE AQUARIST IS AWAY What do you do if you are away for more than a day? What will happen to the aquarium? This depends on the length of the absence. tem­ perature. .increase the frequency (but not the quantity) of water changes. .check the equipment. with a razor blade or scissors.check the pH. panes. then you must prepare daily doses of dry food and leave him or her some instruc­ tions. or even three in the most robust species. It is therefore advisable to install an automatic timer that will switch the aquarium lighting on and off at spe­ cific times.slightly overfeed the fish for a few days before your departure. which can only be used with dry food.switch off the auto­ matic devices and gener­ ally put the tank in order (siphoning. if you are using it. When the plants need a new lease of life. . the instructions on the pack will tell you how often and at what rate each product needs to be added. do the siphoning. which will have repercussions on the aquarium. You can also add plants with fine leaves for her­ bivorous fish. but marine fish. • When you get back: . This is particularly relevant in summer. this friend will not be obliged to drop by your home every day. on the other hand. . you must remove any dead leaves that may have fallen. an automatic food distributor. .

.Do not illuminate the aquarium for a few days. then repeat the operation 48 hours later. or green water).Reduce the numbers of fish. problems Development of bacteria due to malfunctioning filter or overfeeding.Increase the filtration rate. .Change 30% of the water immediately. Yellowish or amber (an amber color is normal when the water is acidified with peat.Change 30% of the water immediately. Coloring can appear gradually (yellowish or amber) or more quickly (turbid.Reduce the food for a few days. .Put a UV lamp into operation (in a marine aquarium).Change 10-20% of the volume of the tank every day. or when there are roots in the aquarium). EVIDENCE OF A GOOD BALANCE The water in an aquarium should usually be clear and transparent. then thoroughly clean the filtering media a few days later. . Green water (a rare phenomenon). feed reasonably. Proliferation of microscopic planktonic algae (maybe due to an excessive "richness" in the aquarium). . . . milky. . .Increase the oxygenation.Put in an aerator or increase its strength if there already is one (in a marine aquarium). Water color Turbid.THE WATER COLOR. increase the strength of the filtration. . What to do . or a malfunctioning or undersized filter. overfeeding. Causes. .Check the filter and the filtering media. then repeat the operation 48 hours later.Prevent any sunlight from reaching the tank. Accumulation of organic materials due to overpopulation. . milky.Check the filter. .

Plants and fish must be stored in another tank. there are apparently no problems. easy to raise and recommended for novices: these are not unattractive. nobody is completely invulnerable to problems with the equipment or the equilibrium in an aquarium. Make provisions for good filtration and aeration. 7. The thermostat obvi­ ously turns the heating off. as it con­ tains the good bacteria needed to under­ take the nitrogen cycle. GOLDEN RULES FOR A GOOD BALANCE Here are some important rules to follow as regards a well balanced aquarium: 1. in the event of a power cut there is a danger that the water stagnating in the filter will acquire sub­ stances that are toxic to the fish. Remounting an aquarium A well-balanced aquarium can be self-sufficient for up to one year. 6. but the tem­ perature can still sometimes exceed 25-26°C. If this is not the case. the hardness (in fresh water) or the density (in sea water). you must be prepared for a rare accident. with their original water. The temperature can also go up in sum­ mer. using the gluing techniques described on pages 224-225. Now comes the turn of the actual aquar­ ium. to avoid the penetration of sun­ light. The aquar­ ium cools. the nitrites.AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM No matter how many precautions are taken. remounting must be considered. Regularly monitor the temperature. 259 . Consider planting the aquarium. with their original water. If the aquarium is to be remounted in a single day. but you must make provisions for cooling the room by dark­ ening it. Start to put it back into operation by reintroducing fresh water of the appropri­ ate kind. move the aquarium. It is therefore very important to empty it before turning the power back on and putting the filter back into operation. If this happens. Note that substituting part of the water with domestic water or putting ice cubes in the aquarium have little effect. but the heat loss can be reduced by wrapping the tank in a blan­ ket (also the solution to any malfunction­ ing of the heating system). An electric power cut. 2. has no dramatic consequences over a short period. and are often found to be the least expensive. but it is worrying if it lasts a whole day (rarely the case. 8. There is no need to panic up to the 27-28°C level. Regularly siphon and change part of the water. or even move home. especially with sea water. depending on the room where the aquarium is housed. 5.A BALANCED AQUARIUM POTENTIAL PROBLEMS . The water color is a good indicator of the equilibrium of the aquarium: if it is clear and transparent. This can also be done when you want to change the decor. A rough rinse will get rid of the bigger pieces of debris. the easier it will be to maintain its balance. you must act quickly. An abnormal increase in the temperature can occur if the thermostat gets stuck in the heating position. Think big: the greater the volume of the tank. A young hobbyist and aquarium dub member remounting several tanks. it is true). for example. or even more. transferring the plants and fish to another tank. The only real solu­ tion is to unplug it and adjust it. until the water is clear. even with sea water: many beginners do not put enough plants in their tanks. but any coloring may be the sign of imbalance. the pH. and clean and store them until they are used again. 4. 3. Generally speaking. Finally. for a good visual effect. Do not overpopulate. Start with robust fish. and allow the temperature to slowly drop to its ini­ tial level. such as a leak. Then take out all the non-living elements. Do not overfeed. if it is maintained on a regular basis. A drop in the pH is often the result of an excess of carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. The aquarium must then be completely emptied and dried. or a cracked pane. and you must locate and block the leak or change the cracked pane. with only the top layer being cleaned several times. it is advisable not to wash all the sand that serves as a bed. This can be solved by increasing the rate of aeration.

Of course. the bed is put in after the decor. a bed must have the following characteristics: . 260 . . to avoid spoiling the appearance: 5-8 cm is a theoretical standard to be adapted to each particular case. It is therefore important to make the right choice of material at the aquarium's planning stage. This is why. but not too deep.look both visually pleasing and natural.1. Do not forget that a bed is heavy .not too dense.4-2 kg per liter volume . and biological mechanisms unfold in accordance with its composition and granule size. This is particu­ larly valuable if you are using an under­ gravel filter. For all these reasons.it must also contribute to the overall balance of the aquarium. made up of rocks and other elements. It is a living environment in which various physical. in order to satisfy all these requirements. Only a hospital aquarium has no bed at all. Generally speaking. WHAT DEPTH OF SAND? Enough to enable the plants to take root. coarse sands never weigh less than 70 kg/m2. THE ROLE OE THE BED The main role of a good bed is mechanical: it supports the decor. The bed also has a biological role that is no less important: it contains bacteria that contribute to the nitrogen cycle. although sufficiently so for plants to be well rooted. The table below gives the approximate weight of sediment for a surface of 1 m2. chemical. the most obvious role for the bed is to enable plants to take root. for obvious hygienic reasons.medium granule size.and so you must plan for an adequate support for the aquarium (around 30 kg of sediment for a • The depth of the sediment is an important factor in the establishment of plant roots. when an aquarium is being mounted.CHOOSING THE BED The bed does not merely serve an aesthetic function . par­ ticularly in fresh water. and is therefore involved in the elimination of nitrogenous compounds. .

Quartz sand comes from crushed siliceous rocks (granite). originally came from the bed of the river Loire in France. it is sometimes used to set off pale fish. and. The grains are more eroded. See also page 16. Gravel In sparsely planted aquariums. Moreover. it contains residues of nutritive material that can be absorbed by plants. DIFFERENT TYPES OF BED Natural beds in freshwater aquariums • Coarse sand and fine gravel These are the best sediments for aquari­ ums. with the whole aquarium amounting to some 150 kg). but it has the disadvantage of not allowing the water to circulate freely. excreta. 100 liter tank. as its name suggests. for big fish (Cichlids. although it is not the most appropriate substrate). and it is better suited to filtration. These produce a very thick sediment when crushed. When it has been taken from rivers. identical sand is taken from other rivers or pits. There are various types of sand. the finest grains Dark sediment can be used to set off pale fish. or those containing plants with sturdy roots. Its grains. have sharp splinters that can irri­ tate burrowing fish. DIFFERENT TYPES OF SEDIMENT Sediment Dark or black sediment Use Often volcanic. while the traditional sands are better suited to dark or brightly colored fish. (Egg-laying Cyprinodontidae. Quartz sand is considered a sediment low in nutri­ ents. Pozzolana and other volcanic rocks Peat Support for the eggs of killies. 261 . Some have a distinctive reddish­ brown color. but it enables the water to circulate well. providing excellent water circulation. than those of quartz sand. Its color varies according to its iron oxide content. More widely used for their visual effect than for a natural look. seen from above. 1-3 mm long. • Fine sand This pale-colored sand appeals to many hobbyists. unsightly deposits of plant debris. Loire sand. These days. with different sized particles and colors. finally. and leftover food show up very clearly.5-1 mm). the bed serves as a wedge for the decorative elements. see page 95). for example. and therefore finer (0.CHOOSING THE BED In this marine tank.

from South America) use fine sand to hide themselves. and this is true. Do not use an under-gravel filter with this substrate. Cover this with a few centimeters of quartz sand. This certainly has practical advantages . The granule size gradually decreases as the water flows downstream. already prepared. The water supplies oxygen to the microfauna living in it. However. Sediment can often be found where it has collected in the inner part of a bend in a watercourse. enhancing the progress of the oxygen cycle. Enriching natural beds THE BED AND OXYGEN As a general rule. in the aquarium trade. Even if you are reluctant to apply this method directly in an aquarium. as the most common sands. followed by 2-3 cm of the mixture and pack down thoroughly. it contains mineral elements. you will not be able to dig around in this kind of substrate. • Some fish (here. a sign of oxygen deficiency and the presence of toxic substances. a bed must be considered as facilitating the movement of water. as we have previ­ ously recommended. it can nevertheless be used in small aquatic jardinieres containing plants. Like a gardener. like quartz and Loire sand. Sturisoma rostratum. If the sand used is too fine. Hobbyists who want their plants to grow more quickly can introduce an enriched substrate at the outset. This is available. Once a good equilibrium has been achieved. it does produce other reactions. It might be argued that it is not oxygenated. of sand may finish up suspended in the water. but you can also make your own enriched bed on the basis of a recipe used and advocated by countless fishkeepers and specialist magazines (see box below). and so there is a danger of plants being MAKING AN ENRICHED BED The classic recipe is: . Obviously. before moving on to create specific individual substrates. the bed will gradually get richer and will start to be really beneficial to plants after about 4-6 months of operation.50% unprocessed Loire sand: if this is not washed. • Collecting sediment from a natural setting Some aquarists may be tempted to collect sediment themselves from a natural setting. and accidents with it are very uncommon. Some aquarists have reported that this type of bed can remain effective for more than one year. Mix the ingredients and put a 1 cm layer of quartz sand on the bottom.10% clay: this enhances the use of mineral salts by the plants. A clean and well-oxygenated watercourse must be chosen. the aquarist can enrich these natural soils. However. However.they are easy to move .40% heath-mold without manure: beware of false heath-molds and various types of compost. Other specific factors related to its use can be seen in the table on page 261. so do not forget to put the decor in place before­ hand.but you will have to cam­ ouflage the bed. either wholly or partially. bottom-dwelling fish endowed with barbels seem to appreciate this type of sand.TECHNIQUES affected by this when the aquarium is put into operation. This may give rise to black patches. 262 . Remember that it is possi­ ble to add both solid and liquid fertilizers to compensate for this deficiency. are somewhat deficient in mineral elements. . sometimes more than two. although in theory this is forbidden. beginners are advised to start with a normal or commercially enriched bed. . it becomes too compact to allow the water to circulate freely.

B. but it does control any variations in the tank's water pH. such as the bacteria in the nitrogen cycle. • Crushed coral The thickness of this sediment can vary.CHOOSING THE BED Natural beds in marine aquariums In a marine tank the bed plays a different role. below. but it can be topped off with crushed oyster shells. • Maerl This is a coarse sediment. and many hobbyists are unconvinced about the beneficial effects of this sand. They cannot therefore be considered as really natural. . which is not the case with other sediments.and cheaper. and collect some coarse sediment. However. mainly consisting of pieces of bivalve mollusk shells. Two materials are used mainly. but they can be used as a substitute for coralline sands as they are more accessible . It contains a large number of micro-organisms. It is there­ fore. but they are often confused and grouped together under the term "coralline sand". The fragments have been sufficiently eroded so that any injury to creatures that walk on the bed or burrow into it is unlikely. There is a temptation to collect sand from the seashore. but no aquarist has been known to encounter problems for extracting small amounts. It must be pointed out that the last two types of sediments are not to be found in the regions inhabited by tropical fish. taken from cer­ tain sea beds and consisting of calcareous algae and the remains of mollusk shells and Anthozoan skeletons. ready for action as soon as the aquarium is put into operation. Two types of sediment are most common in marine tanks: maerl (above) and eroded and crushed coral. to get rid of any fine particles. and so the sediment does not need to be very dense and can be made up of coarser granules. but several precautions must be taken if you choose to do this. If this only comprises sand it will be deficient in calcium. It is best to look for a shell sedi­ ment. It is very rich in calcium and reduces variations in pH. with plenty of movement in the sea. • In principle. it is illegal to take large quantities of sand from a beach. as it contains bacteria. • Live sand This is taken from the sea and sold moist by aquatic retailers. which is coarser. as the sparse vegetation found in this type of aquarium does not take root in the bed. the results differ greatly from one tank to another. It contains practically no calcium. Find an area free of pollution. Wash them thoroughly. in theory. N. depending on the extent of the crushing. Rinse the sediment thoroughly before introducing it into the aquarium. These two beds for marine tanks are available in the aquarium trade.: dune sand is absolutely unsuited to marine tanks. in order to eliminate the finest grains. It consists entirely of pieces of the skele­ tons of corals and other similar animals. • Crushed oyster shells These can be mixed with the above coarse sands to increase the levels of cal­ cium.

the decor allows you to hide equipment.Anthozoans. Even if the residents do not make use of the shel­ ter provided. When an anemone is first introduced into an aquarium. and make sure that the overall effect still has a natural look. which like to re­ arrange the furniture. for example . mask the glass panes. as it exerts a decisive influence on the visual impact of the aquarium .e. These observations are equally applicable to invertebrates. and easy to maintain. Shy fish look for permanent hideaways in it. DECOR: A VITAL ELEMENT IN AN AQUARIUM The role of decor Decor is necessary for some animals and plants to feel at home. and in marine tanks. laying their eggs on ver­ tical or horizontal rocks. some rules must be respected when you are designing your decor. Of course. although it will be a great deal less if you are using artifi­ cial materials. and other algae in sea water.DECOR AND BACKGROUND The decor is extremely important. Once again.and the pleasure derived from a beautiful scene is surely one of the main satisfactions of fishkeeping. do not for­ get that the decor must be put in place before the bed is laid. Main characteristics of decor Apart from the search for a visual effect and a natural look. except in rare cases. thereby providing a backdrop and bringing harmony to the aquarium overall. which is caused by the release of car­ bon dioxide. Dutch aquarium style. and cut off the rear corners. the decor can sometimes serve as a support for the invertebrates that live attached to it. this means that the rock contains calcium. The decor also provides a support for certain types of vegetation: ferns and moss in fresh water. in freshwater tanks that are densely planted. Caulerpae. must be neutral. Calculate for an average of 60 kg per square meter. accessible. • 264 . while others find the refuge they need to reproduce. do not get carried away. How can you recognize a calcareous rock? By repeating a tried and tested experi­ ment that some of us performed in school: pour a few drops of vinegar or acid onto the rock. In sea water. i. • Decor based on plant material: peat-bog roots and willow branches. It must be functional. it must not modify the characteristics of the water. It must also be solid enough to resist fish like Cichlids. some of which .live attached to elements in the decor. Finally. Make sure they have no excessively sharp splinters: sand them down to ensure that the fish do not get injured when in con­ tact with them. the decor gives them physical ref­ erence points. which allow some species to mark out their territory. DECOR IN FRESHWATER TANKS Rocks Rocks suitable for use as decorative elements in an aquarium can be found in natural settings or in specialist stores (see table page 265). it is not unusual to see it move around before establishing itself in the spot best suited to it. The material used. the decor increases the weight of the aquarium. If a slight efferves­ cence does occur. However. The same method can also be used to test sand.

.heavy but with smooth edges. Although this is no problem for Ama­ zonian aquariums. wood creates a beautiful decorative effect. . Shale Slate .typical of flowing waters. brown.light rocks broken off or thrown out in eruptions. black. Wooden materials have two major disadvan­ tages. or reddish. Secondly. the fibrous structure is still visible.black sets off plants and fish well.beware of slate with golden flecks. When used alone or with a rock. . this is not really the case in waters that have to be kept hard. Firstly. light leaves.DECOR AND BACKGROUND SOME ROCKS FOR FRESHWATER AQUARIUMS Types Calcareous Observations . branches that have fallen into the water.free it of most of its acid sub­ stances and colorings. The treatment aims to: . pale color. . fungi. .various colors: gray. .only to be used to increase or maintain the hardness of the water (East African or brackish water aquariums). but they are also available in the aquarium trade. bark. and other undesirable organisms. and plants that become submerged in the rainy season. they release acid sub­ stances that turn the water a yellow­ ish amber color. It is therefore logi­ cal to use wood in an aquarium. First brush down the wood carefully. espe­ cially if it also plays host to moss or ferns. .heavy lava with sharp splinters. • Treating wood before putting it into the aquarium • Rocks can be taken from natural settings. practical for hiding accessories. . • 265 . . .various co ors: reddish.this is not a rock. Lava Basalt Shingle Petrified wood Wooden materials The natural environments of our fish often contain more vegetation than rocks: roots. but silica which has gradually replaced the living parts of the wood.help water penetrate the piece to make it heavier. .useful for building a small structure with shelters. as it contains metals. . then disinfect it by soaking it for 48 hours in: Wood can be held in place by screwing it to a small stone base. but it must be treated first. especially those found in a natural setting: bacteria. greenish. wood is light and must be wedged or weighed down.free the wood of all animate material. .it can be split into thin.striking decorative effect.

Use cork oak to decorate the side and rear panes of the tank. often insufficient: the wood may still float and have to be wedged into the aquarium with DECOR IN SEAWATER TANKS Tropical marine fish live ment lacking rocks but. in an environ­ on the other and other ele­ form the decor a few rocks.either bleach (1 ml/4 liters of water. If the latter is colored. as is wood washed up by the sea. These are attractive in an Asian aquarium. and vines are all possibilities. this marine decor is a mixture of the two. with a 266 . Also known as peat-bog roots. You can otherwise also weigh it down with small stones attached by a nylon line that is all but invisible in the water. They are often rough or sharp­ edged and their stiffness depends on which species they belong to. and.TECHNIQUES WOODEN ELEMENTS USED IN AQUARIUM DECOR Branches. colonized by invertebrates. so that it gradually fills up with water. hand. which is saturated in salt. roots Oak. Only use dead wood. replacing the water several times. putting it in place with silicone glue. the treatment should be concluded by keeping the wood submerged for 1 or 2 weeks. combined with plants with ribbon-like leaves. hiding this part of the wood in the sediment or else among other rocks on the bottom. they rapidly release acid substances that color the water. this is proof that the acids are leaving the wood. such as Vallisneria. especially if they have already spent some time in water. Coral skeletons are one of the classic elements of marine decor. beech. Corals Calcified coral skeletons can be used for decor.or copper sulfate. however. at 1 g/liter. Ideally. They come in different shapes and sizes. Bark Peat-bog wood Bamboo Natural or artificial? In reality. As the branches and roots have been in this environment for a while. using a concentrated sachet). Then boil the wood. • . This is. abundant in corals ments that can be used to for an aquarium. Resinous wood is out of the question. .

are whitish in color. especially in large freshwater and marine aquariums.DECOR AND BACKGROUND few rare exceptions. Be careful when handling polystyrene as it can melt. but they can also provide a refuge for small fish and. Use a serrated knife or small saw to cut the cold blocks or sheets. or you can work with heated polystyrene. It is also possible to use the shells of mollusks (clams for example). Do not apply this treatment to corals from the Tubipora genus with a colored skeleton. Two main types of material are used: polystyrene and polyurethane. You can recycle it or buy it in a store. in the same way. They are both light and neutral. with a portable blowtorch or hot-air paint stripper. This whole process is usually completed out­ side the aquarium. Then burn the parts that are visible to give them a natural look. never with bleach. which can partially mask the side panes. The diagram on the following page explains how to make this type of decor. • Polystyrene decor ARTIFICIAL DECOR Modern artificial products are rapidly growing in popularity. wash and brush them under running water and then soak them in bleach (1 sachet of bleach for 10 liters of water) for 1 week. as it is more practical. The design shown can be completed with other pieces of polystyrene. and emit toxic vapors. crustaceans. it is usually used as a protection against bumps and heat (in some house­ hold electrical appli­ ances. These are stuck together using resin mixed with sand. Gorgons have a dark skeleton that makes an attractive decorative element. Live rocks can also play an important role in the decor of an aquarium. Small-grained polysty­ rene is preferable as it is stiffen It is very light and floats on water. so it must therefore be fixed into the aquar­ ium. Polystyrene Available in blocks or sheets. catch fire. and resin and sand are applied to the structure (apart from the natural elements). If you are using sheets a few cen­ timeters thick. You can also combine sheets with large or small blocks. for example). At this point natural elements such as rocks or coral skeletons can be added. Some aquarists consider shells as potential traps for accumulated waste products. you can heighten the relief by putting several sheets on top of each other. before clearing up with a vacuum cleaner. They must only be treated with hot water. Other elements of animal origin Gorgons produce a dark skeleton that often gradu­ ally decays and even ends up crumbling. and the decor is then stuck to the glass panes with silicone glue. In aquariums. Polystyrene can be prepared to meet your requirements before putting it into the tank. 267 . Cut a block in the size and shape you need. making it possi­ ble to choose decor that fits his or her exact requirements. This will not only whiten the skeleton but also destroy any organic particles that may have settled in it. In this case. These must be cleaned with a soft brush in hot water and dried as above. Bleaching them results in a perfect white. dead corals often gradually accumulate a covering of green algae. Then rinse thoroughly and leave to dry in the open air for at least 8 days. Their main advantage is the creative freedom they give to a fishkeeper. Brush and wash them in hot water before putting them into the aquarium.

rocky cliff or slope. In tanks equipped with a box filter. Polyurethane is increasingly used for decorating large tanks. You can work vertically to create a decor resembling a cliff. This reduces their weight by 25-30% and endows them with a color resembling tiles. Finally. calculate around 100 g of clay per liter of volume. use a vacuum cleaner to remove the offcuts. The product released rapidly increases in volume and solidifies in a few minutes. pieces of dead coral. Model the clay in accordance with the decor you want: . If you have made the tank yourself. The aquarium needs minor preparations beforehand to receive the polyurethane: . . at intervals of a few centimeters. All the elements must be dried in the open air and then fired in an oven at 800-900°C. it is also more practical to put the decor in place before adding the front glass pane. For a medium-sized decor. Then pour on the polyurethane in small doses. A final option is the application of resin and sand on the surfaces of the decor. Terracotta Terracotta decors. in the places that will hold the decor. or cavities for plants. are commercially available from specialist suppliers. but it is also available in aerosols that are more practical. The polyurethane dries very quickly and can be sculpted with a knife or small saw.rocks of varying sizes. which is neutral and malleable. largely as a result of aquarium clubs and associa­ tions that offer guidance to beginners in these techniques. polystyrene and polyurethane are more common. 268 . . Although some hobbyists make their own terracotta decor. In this case the decor must be created inside the aquarium. . but only practice or the advice of more experienced aquarists will offer you more precise indications. it is advisable to watch somebody else per­ form the same operation first. to avoid making mistakes. as this makes the process a lot easier. • Making a terracotta decor Contact a tile or flowerpot factory to obtain the raw material and to get it fired. it is also possible to incorporate rocks. Use clay. It can then be sculpted with sharp instruments. do not forget the passageways for the water com­ ing in and going out. arches. Before taking the plunge into the con­ struction of polyurethane decor.grottoes. to give it a finish that is more natural than its original smooth surface. made from clay to imi­ tate the form of rocks. these can be molded on plastic pipes. • Polyurethane decor Decor made of polystyrene sheets: the entire sheet can be placed vertically against the back of the aquarium.TECHNIQUES Polyurethane Polyurethane foam can be made from two components mixed together.another option is to make a mixture of sand and silicone glue and deposit this mixture at regular intervals in the areas to be decorated.stick small offcuts of glass. The end results should have a natural look. Here it is combined with cork bark.

• Polyurethane decor Follow the same process with the polyurethane set in the aquarium. should be put on those parts of the decor that will be touching the glass panes of the aquarium. and do not forget to apply resin and sand to the joins between the decor and the glass panes. EXTERNAL DECOR At first sight. • Polystyrene or terracotta decor The resin and sand are added outside the aquarium. Only resin. Colored backgrounds • Resin applied to polyurethane can be dyed with food colorings. depending on the sand's grain size. They are attached to the outer face of the rear pane. it may seem surprising to talk of external decor. The sand used must be in keeping with the type of aquarium . in this case a mixture of red and black. epoxy resin. such as blue. 269 . most hobbyists prefer to give it a natural appearance by incor­ porating a range of materials: sediments of varying textures. An alternative to posters is sheets in a sin­ gle color. representing freshwater vegetation or seabeds. there is noth­ ing more unsightly than the sight of the wall behind the aquarium covered with cables and pipes! The primary role of external decor therefore consists of masking these elements. is used. firstly with a large paintbrush. To make these adjustments. you will need to apply several layers. but many aquarists remain unimpressed by their visual effect. Leave to dry (24 hours for the layer of resin) and repeat the oper­ ation 1-3 times. and it can be col­ ored to look more natural. 48 hours after drying. The fin­ ished decor is stuck to the aquarium with silicone glue. It is made up of two components which harden when they are mixed together. pale FINISHING ARTIFICIAL DECOR: RESIN AND SAND Resin and sand completely insulate the decor from the water and give it a natural look. gray. gravel. as it has no influence on the water. crevices. can be found in aquarium stores. Any leftover sand is removed with a vacuum cleaner.freshwater or marine . However. It is possible just to use artificial decor without treating it and wait until it acquires a patina after being in the tank for a few months. without neglecting any small reliefs. Posters Posters with various designs. green. A coat of resin is applied with a paintbrush and sand is then sprinkled on top. coralline sand. a so-called food resin. or grottoes. such as sand. If you use fine sand. or pieces of rock or coral. It is important to apply the resin carefully over all the decor. However.DECOR AND BACKGROUND Resin This allows you to polish the decor. and then with a vacuum cleaner. but it can also serve to highlight the plants and fish. Remove any leftover sand. without any sand.and match the sedi­ ment.

Photos and sketches will help you to translate your ideas into reality. several sources of inspiration: ..TECHNIQUES brown. and roots. You want to create your own decor. Another option is to paint directly onto the back of the rear pane.. particularly as to how reliefs can be harmonized. because of the refraction of light in the water. Black highlights fish and plants particularly effectively.. to produce a striking effect. these give the impression that the tank is twice its initial size. but your mind goes blank! There are. or held down with adhe­ sive clay. Mirrors Always placed behind the rear pane. • The rear pane in this tank has been replaced by a mirror. the only disadvantage being that it accumulates dust.and above all! .nature. 270 . or black. clubs. in front of a black cardboard backdrop. The overall effect is to increase the depth of field. A few aquarists paint a color scale themselves. . • There are countless sources of inspiration if you want to create a decor but find that your imagination has failed you. . These elements can be simply wedged together. Finally. STIMULATING THE IMAGINATION The imagination is a capricious spirit that can some­ times desert you.but also . you have been dreaming about it . public aquariums. you can consider putting natural decorative material. This type of decor can easily be changed. but also that is has double the number of plants and fish! Other possibilities A polystyrene sheet with a coat of resin and sand can be placed against the out­ side of the rear pane. however. pale at the top of the aquarium and darker at the bottom. glued. to simulate the penetration of the light.books and specialist magazines. branches. such as rocks. needs no prior treatment and very little maintenance. friends.. behind the aquarium. for when an aquarium is full it seems one third smaller.other aquariums.

DECOR AND BACKGROUND 271 .

Take your time and experiment until you are happy with the overall aesthetic effect. • common. At this stage. 5. Cleaning the tank. Half the sediment is placed directly on the bottom of the tank. It is then put on top of the first layer. and this must be respected. bed. Fitting the external decor (see page 264). Remember that the support must be absolutely horizontal and covered with a flexible material that will compensate for any possible unevenness. and it must be near the diffuser. although this can only be detected about 24 hours after putting in the water. without any prior washing. The heating system must not come into direct contact with any plastic elements. Putting the decor in place. to make sure it is water­ tight. The water exit must be positioned in one of the aquarium's rear corners. 2. Make sure that the elements of the decor are firmly wedged into the bed. If you are using an external filter. as you may end up spoiling the final results. Leaks are rare occurrences. The aquarium will not be moved again after this point. taking into account both the visual and practical aspects and making sure to hide the accessories. It is useless to rush. a slight seep­ age is more Putting the under-gravel filter in place. position it so that the air-lift is in one of the tank's rear corners. Putting in the bed. 272 . Introduce the rocks or corals. Make sure that this is put firmly in place. especially if you are using sea water. patience is called for! HOW TO PROCEED The steps to be taken when setting up an aquarium have a logical order. Fill the tank. Installation. 4. siphon out the water. and the necessary technical equip­ ment are in place. ready to receive the sediment. but the under­ lying principle is the same: water is not poured into the aquarium until the decor. 3. step by step The order is as follows: 1. make sure that you leave sufficient space behind the tank to allow you easily to open the gallery and the entrance that gives access to the pipes and cables. Note that the aquarium will not be ready to receive fish as soon as it is put into operation. Mounting the aquarium on its sup­ port. Use a brand new sponge and warm water. 6. Installing the accessories. Place these directly into the tank or in the boxes of the box filter. So. do not forget the connecting pipes.FINAL PREPARATIONS Installing an aquarium requires cool nerves and good organization. These steps vary slightly according to whether fresh water or sea water is being used. When you are sure your aquar­ ium is watertight. Once you have filled the aquarium. otherwise it will be difficult to fix later on. It is best to avoid detergents. The sec­ ond half is rinsed in warm water until the latter is transparent. Some of them can be used to create raised sandy terraces at this point. 7. If you are using an under-gravel filter. you are unlikely to get another chance to make adjustments to the decor 8.

then turn on the heating and regulate the temperature to 25°C. Weigh the amount you require. do not forget 273 . Wherever they come from. The time-honored trick is to pour the water into a bowl or concave plate. The process is identical up to stage 6. Put the decor in place and then add the bed. The latter must all be washed before­ hand and then placed on a thin layer of sediment. Wait for another 24 hours. This is when you must install the aerator and the UV sterilization system. with a temperature around 25°C. Plants can be obtained from aquarium stores and clubs. a piece of wood starts to float. with microparticles on the surface that can be eliminated with a very fine-meshed land­ ing net. It is sometimes necessary to make slight adjustments to the regulation of the thermostat to obtain the desired temperature. Then move to stage 10. Whatever method you use .break the fall of the water to avoid dislodging part of the sediment. First check that the heating element is totally submerged.a pipe connected to a faucet or buckets . Introducing plants • Source of plants and transportation The vegetation can be planted by hand. then recheck that the equipment is work­ ing. Leave the salts to dissolve for 48 hours. to avoid knocking over any decor. Switching on the equipment. The water must now be clear.FINAL PREPARATIONS For aesthetic reasons. only switch on the aeration. 10. fill the aquarium with the freshest water possible. 11. Operations specific to marine aquariums. You can also put in your plants now. and make the necessary adjustments. The water will be slightly cloudy. A quick glance will be enough to check that everything is working and after a few hours the water should have heated up and be clearer. or through siphoning. or they can be a present from a friend. before continuing to stage 11. before putting them into the aquarium. as you may need to make corrections in the decor if. The sediment covers the under­ gravel filter. Plug the aeration and filtration systems into the mains. on the basis of the real volume of the water. • A tank must be filled with care. check the density. without switching on the aerator or UV system. the sediment should slope downwards slightly from the back to the front of the aquarium: this gives the impression of a greater depth of field. for example. The aquarium must not be filled to its maximum height. and the heating and aeration equip­ ment must be camouflaged. 9. or with specially designed pincers. After that. Now is the time to dissolve the salts. Filling the tank. You can now add any other vegetation.

that has been inflated and sealed. Handling the plants with great care. it is a question of satisfying both aesthetic and technical criteria. taking into account the species available. . Distribute the plants that grow quickest along the sides and back of the tank. They will quickly take on a normal appear­ ance when the lighting is switched on. There are three main reasons for this: . above all. wait.ARRANGING YOUR PLANTS When you plant your first aquarium. on the contrary. Generally speaking. plants of the same type should be grouped together.. setting off any isolated specimens. and pile soil around the base of the plant at the end of the operation. before introducing the fish. remove any dam­ aged leaves at the base of the stem then bury them to a depth of 4 or 5 cm.. as the attraction of the light will make them straighten up. do not let your desire for a lush setting lead you to pack the plants too tightly together. because the aquarium has yet to acquire a perfect equilibrium: the plants must take root and bacteria must develop for the nitrogen cycle. it is best to space them out. Do not be surprised if the plants look limp. with the smallest in the foreground. even if the resulting vegetation looks sparse.. Plants like moss and ferns must be placed on the supports to which they are going to attach themselves. . A small ground plan of the aquarium can be useful in achieving a successful layout. but also respect their ecology. Put floating plants on the surface of the water. only the roots and the lowest (often white) part of the stem should be covered by the sediment. start at the back of the aquarium and. The best way of transporting them without any deterioration is to put them into an air­ tight plastic bag.. • Live rocks and the organisms they carry enhance the functioning of a marine aquarium. • that they are very fragile when handled outside water. When planting cuttings.finally. This arrangement leaves space free in the center of the aquarium and gives a good impres­ sion of depth of field. All that remains is to raise the water level to its final position and . the aquarium must be lit in accordance with the recommendations that are given on pages 226-233. you must allow the light to pene­ trate to the base of the plants.the roots must have sufficient space in which to expand. This is easier if you dig a small hole first with your hand or an appropriate tool. like those used for fish. put those that grow at a moderate rate directly in front of them. • A gradual introduction The minimum waiting period for a freshwa­ ter tank is 1 week. Do not cut the already existing roots. They will stay in place more easily if they are wedged or tied with a short length of nylon thread. From this point on. • Planting Yet again. You should not bury clumps of plants very deep. The arrangement of your plants must be visually pleasing. but 2 weeks is prefer­ 274 . or bunch them together. it is advisable to stick to a classical style and opt for an amphitheater layout. spread them out as much as possible in the sediment.you must also in bear in mind that the plants will grow and maybe spread out their leaves. Summon up your patience one last time. Preparing the welcome for your fish The only thing your aquarium now lacks to be complete is the arrival of its residents .

and no fish must be put into the tank until these levels have been stable at zero for 275 . so you can speed up this development artificially. In the case of a seawater tank. feeding them on organic matter that they would not otherwise obtain in a tank that has been newly put into operation. cut into small pieces and placed in the aquarium.FINAL PREPARATIONS • Patience is required to achieve results as beautiful as this in a marine aquarium. the nitrite levels must always be measured regularly. this last solution is not recom­ mended. with any leftovers being siphoned off a few days later. which can be bought in specialist stores. This can be achieved by adding sediment or filtering material from another marine aquarium. the aim of this waiting period is to allow bacteria to develop and to avoid the presence of any toxic nitrogenous substances. Another alternative is to become a breeder of bacteria. sand. able. However. there are several ways of reducing this period. Such measures can reduce the waiting period to 8-10 days. the wait can sometimes be as long as 4 weeks. If you really cannot hold out that long. The best menu comprises one or two cooked mussels. live rocks. As we have already stated. The first short cut is good oxygenation ­ the bacteria need oxy­ gen to respire and to transform the nitroge­ nous compounds ­ the second is the introduction of bacteria. as it sometimes proves ineffective. However. or lyophilized bacteria.

however. Acquisition and transport Obviously. However. aggressive species that usually live alone must obviously be kept as single specimens. as this increases the probability of eventual reproduction. or a friend. There are some rules. and your budget. as some fish are carriers of diseases that only come into the open once they are put into an aquarium. The table above presents some more precise calcu­ lations. especially novices. is 1 cm of fish per liter of fresh water and 1 cm per 5 liters of sea water. regional. Only then can you switch on the aerator and UV sterilization (in marine tanks only). The general rule. and there are certain signs that indicate this. This is why you must 276 . Whether a fish comes from a store. It is best to choose a few species and keep them in groups ­ this is possible for a great many species.TECHNIQUES around 1 week. it must always be scrutinized carefully before acquiring it. or spe­ cialist). a fish must have a clean bill of health when it is introduced into an aquarium. overpopulated with a motley collection of species. for small species. • Choice of fish Specialist stores offer a wide range of fish species. your tastes. The number of species available on the market is more than sufficient for most fishkeep­ ers. a club. You can take advantage of all the different levels of the tank by combining free swimmers with bottom.and surface­ dwellers that can live in harmony. The choice of residents depends on the type of tank (community. including those suitable for novices. There is still a risk of an unpleasant surprise. that must be respected if you are to avoid results that are too often found: a "hold-all" aquarium. Respect their natural behavior. however. A quick inspection of a few stores will give you a broad overview and enable you to make a welljudged selection. There remains the problem of living space. but you must bear in mind the maximum length that each species can attain in an aquarium.

If the fish is healthy and you take all the necessary precau­ tions. Then open the bag and put a little water from the aquarium inside. Repeat this operation several times at regular intervals until the bag is full. This system is effective for a short trip. It will soon grow accustomed to its new environment and the feeding schedule. you must take two extra precautions to increase the chances of the newcomers being accepted: distract the attention of the other occupants by giving them food. the new fish is likely to hide for a while. it is best to start with smaller species and allow them to get accustomed to their environment. Some may take longer to acclimatize. is perceived as an undesirable alien. they will not be so alarmed by the subsequent arrival of bigger species. by definition. to ensure that its temperature is the same as that of the tank. but it sometimes reappears after barely an hour. you must adopt a particular strategy: . and introduce the new arrivals in the morning. or at most in two. When it reemerges will depend on its nature. which can give rise to conflicts that sometimes result in its death. heat starts to be lost.If you are obliged to stagger the intro­ duction of the fish over a period of time. You can then carefully transfer the fish into its new environment. mishaps are very rare and the ecol­ ogy of the aquarium will not be upset. to look and learn. although this effect can be reduced by surrounding the plastic bag with material or paper and putting it in a polystyrene bag. you must never introduce a fish directly into a tank. 277 . Fish must be transported in airtight bags containing more air than water. When you do finally introduce fish into the aquarium. and will become completely integrated into the aquarium. Transferring your fish into an aquarium The fish will be stressed when it is intro­ duced into its new home. and the difference in water quality.not be in too much of a rush and should get to know a storekeeper or join a club. . Just put a small group into a closed plastic bag containing one third water and two thirds atmo­ spheric air. just let the bag con­ taining the fish float in the aquarium to make sure that the temperature is the same in both cases. To alleviate this stress. After that. you can add a sec­ ond plastic bag for protection. rather than introduce the fish one by one. with a short interval between. allowing a minimum of 1-2 hours for the whole operation. in this way. depend­ ing on the external temperature. Fish are quite easy to transport.It is best to populate the tank in one go. before lighting up the tank. In the case of species with spiny spokes. of one or two hours. If there are already fish in the aquarium. the radical change of environment. In any case. The bag used for transporting fish must be left to float for a while. A newcomer. The bags used for transport must be insulated for long trips to avoid any loss of heat. however. For the first 30 minutes. on account of the transportation. and this is a completely nor­ mal attitude. Proceed in stages.

You can then move on to the true livebearers coming from the same geographical region: Anieca splendens and Xenotoca eiseni. The fish living in it (the Poeciliid family) will soon reproduce if the conditions are right. The plants shown here grow fairly quickly and it is easy to take cuttings from them.CUSTOMIZING CENTRAL AMERICAN FRESHWATER TANK T his type of aquarium. . they are therefore a good means for taking your first steps in plant decor. It is advisable to provide yourself with a rearing tank. which is sometimes neglected by beginners at the expense of fish until they realise the importance of vegetation. to help the fry develop. particularly suitable for beginners. reconstitutes a freshwater Central American environment.

YOUR TANK SOUTH-EAST ASIAN TANK T his tank must be well planted. You can add a touch of originality by introducing some transparent species: the glass perch (Chanda ranga) or the glass Silurid (Kryptopterus bicirrhis). such as Barclaya longifolia or a species from the Nymphaea genus available from specialist nurseries. but with enough room for the fish to move around. . A small shrimp (Atya or Macrobrachium) and gastropods (Ampullaria) can complete the population: the visual effect of the plant decor will be highlighted by the addition of a single specimen of a spectacular specimen.

These reproduce through mouth brooding. Rocks . For Lake Malawi.CUSTOMIZING AFRICAN CICHLID TANK T he absence of plants in an African Cichlid tank can be compensated by a rocky decor that provides the fish with shelters and hiding places. For Lake Tanganyika. you can add species of the Haplochromis genus. you can introduce the Cyprinodontid Lamprichthys tanganicanus or a species of Lamprologus. polyurethane and polystyrene can also prove very effective for fulfilling the same purpose. ensuring that the hobbyist can look forward to a fascinating spectacle once he or she has spotted a female with her mouth swollen by eggs. which takes refuge in a gastropod shell.

particularly the clownfish in their anemone. which may be able to reproduce. which will contain small invertebrates. This type of aquarium requires impeccable water quality to guarantee its equilibrium. The species proposed are robust. you can add a shrimp or a hermit crab. and their behavior provides a fascinating show. To diversify the animal population.YOUR TANK MARINE TANK T his marine tank represents a basic model for a beginner in sea water. . An artificial decor that includes coralline sand and even small pieces of coral is pleasing to the eye. and can be colonized by caulerpas. It is also advisable to put in live rocks.

com Invertebrates: www. CONVERSIONS Capacity: 1 L = Weight: 1 mg = 1g = 1 kg = Length: 1 mm = 1 cm = 1m = 1 km = 0. Willow Press.6 55. Indianapolis.actwin. England. Nebraska. Salamander Books.6 82. The Optimum Aquarium. West Yorkshire HX5 OSJ.co. netvet.8 62. Federation of British Aquatic Societies.org Florida Aquarium. 64th Street. The Book of the Marine Aquarium. PO Box 2304. Kaspar Horst and Horst Kipper. North American Native Fishes Association.8 80. MD 20891.2 68. Sala­ mander Books. Elland. The Reef Aquarium. England. Thresher. E-mail: akaq@ngpc. Charles Delbeek. Ricordea Publishing. Bartholomew. E-mail: srichardson@flaquarium.state. and Jerry G. USEFUL ADDRESSES Resources Catalog of Fish Species: www. USA. E-mail: aquarium@calacademy. Aquatic Gardeners' Association.uk London Aquarium. Fife. International Marine Aquarist Association. Federation of American Aquarium Societies. PO Box 67. 2 Cedar Avenue. Salamander Books.0 To convert Celsius into Fahrenheit: (9/5 x °C) + 32 282 . Lansing. USA.org Plants: www. Boston. Silver Spring.39 in 3 3 ft or 1. Suite 710.04 in 0. Massachussets.26 US gal 0. PO Box 7.4 75. A Popular Guide to Tropical Aquarium Fishes. Chris Andrews. Chris Andrews. USA.04 oz 2.04 x 10 . Maine. International Aquarium Society. Axelrod. Herbert R. American Aquarist Society. 4816 E.6 64.8 71. San Francisco. E-mail: webmaster@neaq. Collecting and Keeping Them.0 51. England.calacademy. Burgess. Warren. PO Box 373. London.USEFUL INFORMATION BIBLIOGRAPHY Dr. Public Aquariums Steinhart Aquarium.22 UK gal/0.8 53.cgi Aquarian Advisory Society. E. A Fishkeeper's Guide to Aquarium Plants. F. Somerset TA19 9BY. IN 46220-4728. England. The Hobbyist's Guide to the Natural Aquarium. Hampshire. Darcy and Robert Folzenlogen. Sala­ mander Books. London. Tetra Press. 8403 Colesville Road. MD. 83 Cathcart Street.4 57.6 73. A Guide to American Zoos and Aquariums.0 78. H. 2 Telephone Road. England.4 66.uk Associations American Zoo and Aquarium Association. NY 13802-0373. Axelrod's Atlas of Aquarium Fishes. Neal Pronek. Crystal Graphics.us Deep-Sea World.en. Wickford. Michigan 48910.1 yd 0. Julian Sprung and J. Reef Fish: Behaviour and Ecology on the Reef and in the Aquarium. Volumes One and Two. Essex SS12 9DT.2 77.petswarehouse.2 86. USA. Dick Mills. tropica. 905 Alden. Ilmins­ ter. Salamander Books. Tampa.4 84. Quinn. Scotland E-mail: deepsea@sol. Portsmouth.2 lb 0. 3901 Hatch Boulevard. USA. Nick Dakin. USA. Kensington.0 69. Our Native Fishes: The Aquarium Hobbyist's Guide to Obser­ ving.0 60. Barry James. North American Fish Breeders' Guild. Alabama.wustl.2 59. T. The Association of Aquarists. Dick Mills.co. Ronald E. Walls. A Practical Guide to Corals for the Reef Aquarium. The Countryman Press.org Aksarben Aquarium and Nature Center.3 oz 0.org New England Aquarium. Louisville.com www.com/fish/index. California. The Practical Encyclopedia of the Marine Aquarium. Dean Puterbaugh and Eric Borneman. Florida. Sheffield. Aqua Documenta. A Fishkeeper's Guide to Fish Breeding. North American Fresh­ water and Marine Fishes. John R. E-mail: info@londonaquarium.6 m Temperature: °C 10 II 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 °F 50.edu General Information: www.

140 eiblii. 33 Amphiprion. 83. 208 Anubias. 56. 21. 262. 84 Brachygobius xanthozona. 64. 166. 279 Basalt. 279 horae. 169. 72 schuberti. Amphibian. 138 Raccoon. 254. 15. 49. 83 schwanenfeldi. 125 Arothron citrinellus. 220 final preparations of. 173. 82. 26 Bubble-eyes. 132 Banded. 98 marmoratum. 133 Red Sea. 38. 260. 33. 247. 136 Blueface. 136 African. Chinese. 159. 72. 185 Alcyoniidae. 213 Amazon. 135 Black back. 259. 105. 169.72. 138 Gray poma. 178. 233. 133 Longnose. 150.280 Bacopa caroliniana. 171. 61 Scalefin. 182 Actinia equina. 72. 236 Air-lift. 87 Carnegiella strigata. 281 associated with clownfish. 37. 208. 32. 153 Balistes vetula. 215 Mediterranean. 44. 151 Acara Blue. 139 Japanese swallow. 192. 180. 183 Air distribution pipe. 200. 139 Lamarck angel.82. 214 crispus. 93 Glass. 141 Flame back. 141 loriculus. 194 Algae-eater. 110 ramirezi see Papiliochromis r. 83 Golden. 157 Arrowhead. 92 Three-striped glass. 184 Caulerpa. 89 macracantha. 103 Ammonia. 197. 263. 208 heterophylla. 96 walkeri. 278 aquatica. 46. 240. 235. 141 French. 192. 98 Apogonidae. 202 temperate water. 212 Madagascar laceleaf. 209 Ambulia aquatic. 203 Calcium. 134 Lemon. strains.26. 159. 231.53. 208 Dwarf. 84 frankei. 120 Biotope. 133 Red-tailed. 93 Leopard. 212 Aquarium filling of. 193. 211. 19. 203 Cabombaceae. 206. 265 Callichthyidae. 133 Copperband.254. 121 Betta splendens. 15. 89 lohachata. 148 Anampses. 89 modesta. 142 frenatus. 83 Rosy.20. 180 Anabantidae. 164. 69. 80. 47. 212. 153 Balistidae. 155 Talking. 143 Ampullaria. 153. 54.. 137 Deep.20. 72. 140 Singapore. 82 Cherry. 175. 259. 240. 252. 92 Bromide. 207 Amaranthaceae. 164. 213. 116 Annelida. 206.A Absence of aquarist. 195. 18.21. 214 reineckii. 141 Indian ocean. 96 australe. 148 Bolbitis. 165.226. 143 perideraion. 83 Checker.22. 42. 89 Spotted. 92 Carbon dioxide. 156 valentini. 148 rufus. 17. 272 Algae. 96 Two-striped. 214 calamus. 265 Bass Dwarf. 184 Active carbon. 35. 91 Ghost. 178 Blockhead. 135 Black and white. 83 tetrazona. 133 Pennant. 210. 212 ulva. 86. 279 Black ruby. 93 Bronze. 177. 76 Anostomidae. 68 Anubias Barter's. 92 Skunk. 203 water. 119 Bloodfin. 153 Bamboo. 57. 91 Shovel-nose. 161. 14.91. 89 myersi. 247. 83 pentazona. 203. 175. 56 proliferation of. 88 kuhli kuhli.26. 141 Animal-flower. 76 Glass.251. 24. 128 Aequidens. 93 Twig. 134 Cabomba. 199. 279 Carassius auratus. 89 striata. 207. 45. 196.67. 92 Acanthophthalmus. 156 Canthigasteridae. 33. 105 burtoni. 156. 257 Abudefduf saxatilis. 205 Ameca splendens. 214 Aquaterrarium.68. 265. 135 Four-spot. 250 cornutus. 35. 247.214 barter!. 86. 205 heterophyllous. 202. 148 Anatomy. 140 Eibl's. 13. 212 Archer fish. 87 Common. 92. 214 Araceae. 135. 202. 150 japonicus. 178. 12. 249. 89 semicinctus. 73. 144 colonial. 183 clarkii.70. 258. 92 Alcyonaria. 209 Pygmy. 178 Balistoides conspicillum. 281 taxi folia. 132 Spot fin. 175 Bristlenose. 118 Acidity. 210 Botia. 202 Bacteria. Red tail. 97 lineatus. 47. 193 Anemone.260 introduction of fish into. 169. 183 sea. 139 Aspidontus taeniatus. 34. 13 Acorus. 65 Bumblebee fish. 128 spinifer. 124 Branchiae. 65.229. 142 bicinctus. 143 sebae. 120. 105. 137 Annularis. 73 Brine shrimp. 46 Ancanthuridae. 182 Angelfish. 46.265 Bivalves. 120 Anampses chrysocephalus. 243. 166. 178 Acanthurus achilles. 33. 141 heraldi. 81 Cardinals. 130 Antibiotics. 136 coloring of juveniles. 132. 89 Acanthopsis choirorhyncus. 157 meleagris. 29. 262 Barbodes everetti. 212 ulvaceus. 108. 145. 209 Alternanthera. 45. 215 Caulerpaceae. 184 Acroporids. 138 Rock beauty. 161 Blenniidae. 212 fenestralis. 91 Bandit. 175 Anoptichthys jordani. 110 maroni. 13 Alismataceae. 55. 30. 221. 209 Dwarf. 150 leucosternon. 202 Acropora sp. 158 Canthigaster margaritatus. 264. 211 Aiptasia. 88 Balistapus undulatus. 150 lineatus.27. 178 Apolemichthys trimaculatus. 84 rerio. 155 Yellow. 204 Acanthodoras spinosissimus. 134 Vagabond. 178 Capoeta. 142 akallopisos. 50. 192. 73. 177. 215. 83 Clown. 105. 83 semifasciolatus.82 Barclaya. 105. 264 Anthia. 199. 135 Raccoon. 169. 159. 170. 178 Carp. 166. 260. 242. 158 Batfish. 70. 275 Balantiocheilus melanopterus. 159 Bed. 110 Aeration. 230. 138 Queen. 83 titteya. 251 114. 83 Green. 170. 273 Aglaonema. 169. 105 curviceps. 181 Aulonocara nyassae. 110 Red. 175. 178 Calloplesiops altivelis. 207 Amaryllidaceae. 209 Giant. 82 Schwanenfeld's. 55. 202 monnieri. 71 regional. 198 Mediterranean.. 246. 81 Anthozoa. 83 Half-striped. 202. 171. 232. 176. 212 henkelianus. 96 Gery's. 183. 82 Barbel. 143 percula. 82. 157 hispidus. 38. 164 Anisotremus virginicus. 138 Gray. 146 Acanthaceae. 110 pulcher. 186 Blennie. 49. 143. 130 Anthilidae. 91 Black-bellied upside-down. 193 Ancistrus sp. 237. 236. 48. 235. 176. 182.200. 141 Majestic. 249. 105. 169. 238. 192.279 moluccensis.46. 64. 202 Green. 82. 140 ferrugatus. 281 Feathery. 137 Potter's. 214 micro-. 215 prolifera. 172. 277 quarantine. 207 Narrow leaf. 118 Astronotus ocellatus. 145. 155 Brachydanio albolineatus. 90 Callionymidae. 193. 150 soha/. 143 ephippium. 195 undesirable. 35. 79 Bodianus mesothorax. 82 Spanner. 96 sjoestedti. 206 Artemia salina. 15. 139 Flame. 122. 94 Atya. 199. 135 Masked. 89 kuhli. 139 xanthurus. Asfur. 56 Arusetta asfur. 142. 184 Auriga. 87 Bubble nest. 154 Annectens. 138 Flagfin. Aplocheilus. 66. 140 flavissimus.. 136 Yellow. 213. 139 Bicolor.215. 89 kuhli sumatranus. 183 discus. 184 glass. 208. 16. 83 T-barb. 90. 76 Aphyosemion. 157 nigropunctatus. 281 sertularoides. 134 Dot-dash. 43. 165. and varieties. 184 Actinia. 13. 181. 258. 266 Breeds. 251.83 Tinfoil.250. 137 Rusty. 274. 45. 37. 171. 208 Congo. 265 Caryophylliidae. 171. 263. 215. 167. 137. 83 Five-banded. 110 Atherinidae. 98 panchax. 90 Striped. 170. 33. 208 Aphyocharax anisitsi. 165.71. 62. 168. 94 Belontiidae.232. 141 potteri. 48. 214. 214 longifolia. 166. 193. 142. 82 pentazona. 140 Emperor. 141 Purple moon. 83 Barbus oligolepis. 139 Half-black. 124 Butterfly fish. 18. 155. 123 Centropyge acanthops. 96 bivattatum. 105. 262 Bedotiageayi. 272 enriched. 170 planktonic. 172. 56. 207 sessilis. 147 Astatotilapia.236. 141 vroliki. 42. 155 Spotted. 143 ocellaris. 72. 83. 212 Aponogetonaceae. 144 Actinodiscus sp. 134 Meyer's. 212 madagascariensis. 174. 139 Lemonpeel. 87 Catfish. 33 Koi. 239. 202 Dwarf. 263. 108 Dwarf. 141 Cephalopholis 283 . 168. 139 Aponogeton. 36. 192. 232. 140 bicolor. 158 True. African.28. 58. 96 Walker's. 96 gardneri. 83 Tiger. 19. 140 Black velvet. 185 Alkalinity. 266 Barb. 133 Pakistani. 264 filamentous. 155 Aeneus. 279 fir/gas. 202 gramineus. 72. 109 agassizi. 215 Centropomidae. 89 Acanthuridae. 183. 96 Apistogramma. 38. 72. 89 Boxfish. 214 heudelotii.264. 110 cacatuoides. 272 hospital.

166. 90 julii. 184 Density see Specific gravity Dermogenys pusillus. 72. 143 Ocellaris. 258. 115 Copper. 135 chrysurus. 19. 61. 147 Corydoras. 56. 214 Codium bursa. 105 fact and fiction concerning. 64 fertilizing of. 248. 214 Felt. Banded. 168. 136 Chaetodontidae. 169. 234. 64. 47 Exophthalmus. 108. 60. 174. 84.200. 200. 253. 72. 185 True. 67. 108 Salvin's. 168 Leather. 119 Malawi blue. 248 interior fed by air. 249. 194 Cynolebias. 263. 21 sulfate. 63. 48 Eye-biter. 238. 279 aequipinnatus. 88 siamensis 88. 63. 144. 239. 105 breeding. 270 Coloring. 194. 146 Daylight. 65. 177. 42. 122 Farlowella sp. see Thorichthys m. 261. 118 Festive. see C. 259. 274 artificial. 250 bacterial. Spiny. 49. 105 maculatus. 135 Chaetodonplus melanosoma. 111 Keyhole. 218 Deflector. 252. 113 Flag (Aequidens curvi­ ceps). 192. 60. 239. 214 Felt ball. 268. 88. 145 Black-tailed. 191. 274 Congo. 68. 231 Decor.223. 193 kallopterus. 184 Favidae. 123. 208 Cryptodendrum adhesivum. 16. 105. 68. 19. 98 Equipment. 147 True.. 91. 106 crassum. 205 Feeding. 246 flow of. 111 Ramirez's dwarf. 43. 108 Cichlid Agassiz's dwarf. 119 Chromis caerulea. 208 Ciliated. 157 Dollar. 171 Cobitidae. 235. 181 Louisiana. 94. 164. 44. 215 Chlorophytum. 120 fasciata. 107 salvini. 35. 186 geographical. 56 under-. 108. 280 marine. 177. 84 Pearl. 107 maculicauda. 268. 108 octofasciatum. 70 Eye. 35. 68 non-infectious. 63. 245. 214 azurea. 80. 160. 240 reverse-flow under-gravel. 26. 184 crushed. 213 Eigenmannia virescens. 250. 26 Chlorophyceae. 121 sofa. 210 Fertilizer. 166. 171. 194 Diffuser. 120. 208 ciliata. 229. 203 Cheirodon axelrodi. 144 Clark's. 50. 214 densa. 147 Cleaning of glass panes. 185 sand of. 174. 65. 62 of African Cichlids. 232. 194. 45. 240. 106 Lionhead. 76 Chelmon rostratus. 92 Favia. 67. 168 power of. 165. 185 Colisa chuna. 184 Feather Foil. 116 Golden dwarf. dead. 72 Cyprinodontidae. 106 Chameleon. 90 metae. 247. 211 Dragonette. 104 Cirrhitidae. 241 under-gravel. with electric motor. Parrot's. 67 treatment of. octofas­ ciatum citrinellum. 183. 214 vermilara. 214 canadensis.242. 257 of fry.66. 240. 209 Giant. 264. 93 Euxiphipops navarchus. 165. 43. 120 labiosa. 133. 178 Echinodorus. 249. 64. 115 107 Fuelleborn's. 238. 110 Redheaded. 44 Community tank. 63. 194. 106 synspilum. 169 Enometoplus sp. 273 284 . 116 Midas. 235. 272 Digestive system. 90. 246.218. 178 Discus. 272. 238 biological. 265. 97 bellottii. 249 mechanical. 279 crispatula Siamese. 186 mappa. 148 Echinoderms. 278 South-East Asia. 146 Echidna nebulosa. 272 box. 143 Skunk. 156. 146 formosa. 204. 152 Dendrophylliidae. 91 melanistius. 146 Red. 159 Drip. 36. 76. 174. 194. 186 Cyprinidae. 209 maior. 261. 109 aeneus arcuatus. 133 melannotus. 178. 133 fasciatus. 90 Black-sail. 241 gutter. 244 in sea water. 62. 109. 233 Eleocharis. 49. 256. 173. 134 punctatofasciatus. 52 Codiaceae. 267. 213 crassipes. 276 bacterial. 66. 153 Crustaceans. 134 vagabundus. 176 Lobster. 281 associated with anemone.281 exterior. 211 Chromide. 208 Balansa's beckettii. 214 demersum. 195. 89 Cockle. 88 Cypriniformes. 71 Duboisi. 210 Cerianthus sp. 185 Coris angulata. 84 Zebra. 255. 269 Decoration. 266 Coral. 146 Electric blue. 117 Malawi golden. 142. 185 Red. 82. 203 Eggs. 253 of tank. 107 Cichlidae. 272 emergency foam. 235. nicaraguense. 219. 28. 264. 14 Colored background. 243. 69. 209 Ecsenius sp. 145 Cichlasoma. 248. 73. 61. 204 vivapara. 279 Condylactis gigantea.. 110 Lemon. 176. 65 scattered. 134 quadrimaculatus. 281 rearing. 175. 192 South American. 65. 203 Dense. 178. 244 color varieties of. 116 Endosymbiosis. 60. Jack. 214 Coelenterates. 145 Domino. 248 external. 183. 250. 132 aur/ga. 109. 210 Elodea. 213. 213 Cromileptes altivelis. 136 mesoleucus. 62. 146 trimaculatus. 69. 183 Chaetodermis penicilligerus. 143 Pink skunk. 256 Dropsy. 142 Seba's. 63. 208. 106 Texas. 114 jacksoni. 84 Daphnia. 161 Eel. 45. 209 tenellus. 155 Crab. 199. 132 collare. 177 Crawfish. 133 ocellatus. 237. 133 lunula. 213. 110 Flag (Mesonauta festivus). 103 Devil. 84 Leopard. 177. 173. 146 Blue. 34. chuna Color scale. 82. 165. 214 natans. 269. 242. 266. 166. 91 Peppered.68. 107 Firemouth. 209 Feather. 90. 177 Entacmaea quadricolor. 120. 160 Filtration. 142 Red saddle. 117 Cockatoo dwarf. 166. 26. 47 grid for protection of. 109 Heckel. 133 meyeri. 181 Crinum. 115 Danio. 137 xanthometopon. aquatic. 171. 236. 164. Siamese. 144 Ctenaria. Red. 196 Javan. 263 bimaculatum. 106 Asian species. 250.. 167. 90 Black-spotted. 91 Three-line. 257 Fighting fish. 193 Chanda ranga. 176. 200 Cyanophyceae.272. 49. 208 cordata. 214 cornuta. 214 minima. 193. 84 Giant. 175. 97 nigripinnis. 244. 203 densa. 35. 90 Schwartz's. 228. 178 Classification of living beings. 111 Two-spot. 182.71. 143 Tomato. 230. 213 Crinum. 72 Clay. 184 Corallimorpharia.267 Cryptocaryon disease. 136 Excretory system. 111 American species. 210 Sumatran. 248. 90. 194. 107 festivum. with electric motor. 135. 115 Diodon hystrix. 90 trilineatus. 143 Maroon. 208 Beckett's. 171 Cuttings. 116 Triangle. 123 Egeria. Blue-faced. 145 Chrysiptera paresema. 130 miniatus. 119 Eutropiellus debauwi. 66. 111 Cypraea. 70. 254 Clownfish 61. 273. 106 cyanoguttatum. 174. 110 Convict. 119 behavior of. 204 Elephant-nose. 281 capistratus. 108 Crown jewel. 107 Trewavas Malawi. 249 external. Silver. 108. 106 Cobalt blue. 238. 47 Dimidiochromis compressi­ ceps. 182. 133 miliaris. longhorn. 120 lalia. 228.argus. 63 laying of. 156 Diodontidae. 203 Ceratopteris. Corallium rubrum. 181. 209 quadricostatus. 170. 97 annulatus. 144 Copadichromis boadzulu. 105. 88. 159. 271. 203. checking of. 107 Five-barred. 62. 203. 146 gaimard. 241. 105. 70 Cryptocoryne balansae. 247 Cleaner False. 192. 119 Orange. 204 Cyphotilapia frontosa. 246. 130 Ceratophyll. 280 Cyrtocara moorii. 134 Chlorine. 91 schwartzi. 210 thalictroides. 177. 67 Dogface. 142 Cnidaria. 63 Eichhornia. 105. 244. 170.225. 130 urodelus. 238. 257 solid. 234 electric heating. 134 semilarvatus. 50. 122 Element. 246. 107 Dendrochirus zebra. 132. 104. 260. 28. 200. 195 Ephippidae. 38. 237. 280. 178 Epiplatys. 243. 272 with scraper. 160 Chaetodon. 214 amazonicus. 249 Filter. 60. 114 Duckweed. 253 Etroplus. 117 Chocolate. 215 Epalzeorhyncus. 67 Fern. 164. 168. see C. 238. 90 Cowfish.. 91 punctatus. 262. 203 Empress. Malawian. 130 Crossbowman. 168 Soft. 209. 44. 105. 145 Three-stripe. 107 Diatom. 35. 42. 108 Blackbelt. 160 Orange-spotted. 132. 107 nigrofasciatum. 183 Enteromorphs. 95. 107 biocellatum. 67. 243 interior. 186 tigris. 91 paleatus. 35. 84 Striped. 200 floating. 73. 113 Damsel Azure. 109 Diseases. 44. 160 Tassled. 97 Cyperaceae. 195 Dempsey. 121 File fish. 186. 240 interior. 197 liquid. 119 suratensis. 143 Two-banded. 252. 110 Banded. Peters's. 203. 203 Ceratophyllum. 106 Pearl. 73 adhesive. 272. 264 African species. 145 Blue-green. 90. see Mesonauta festivus labiatum. 249 submerged with electric motor. 178. 221. 167. 167. 208 Undulated.57. 24. 92 Dracaena. 281 Bubble. 71. 64. 197. 106 mee/c/. 279 Characidae. 172. 53 Dascyllus aruanus. 67. 81 Doradidae.

52 planktonic. 224 Gnathonemus petersii.116 fuelleborni. 70 Ichtyophthyriasis. 111. 103 Gorgonia. 77 erythrozonus. 257. 77 ocellifer. 131 Hypostomus. 88 Siamese. 118 Kryptopterus bicirrhis. 131 indigo.57. Blue. 105 bimaculatus. 89 Pakistani. 186 Lythraceae. 158 Royal. 154 Halfbeak. 162. 149 Infusorian. 193 aymonieri. 157 Hybrid. 21. 248 Filtering media. 198 Maintenance. 251. 182 Hippocampus kuda. 58. Blue. 76 Gyrinocheilidae. 233. 211 Sea. 184 Lettuce Water. 152 Radiata. 53. 99 Spotted. 176. 181 Macropodus opercularis. 251 Hydrozoa. 111 steindachneri. 98. 116 Labridae. 192 Invertebrates. 152 sting of. 252. 17. 89 Zebra. 255. 122 Clown. 195. 42. 183 aurora. 21 Marble. 69. glass. 51. 209 Hog. 166. 99. 81 Gastropods. 88. 214 vulgaris. 237. 184 Fungidae. 112 Striped. 161 Goldfish. 240. Blue. 205 repens. 96.51. 105. 184 Gambusia affinis. Flying. 112 Masked. 17. 221. African. 43. 238. 204 Hexacorals. 253 of the bed. 105 moorii. 148 Light. 81 Hawk. 168 incandescent. 16 French degrees of. 146. 171. 198. 186 grabhami. 205 Ludwigia. 50. 246. 42. 172. 129 sebae. 165. 50. 244. 105. 210 Longevity. 249 Fin. 279 bicolor. 160 Julidochromis. 17. 210 Lemnaceae. 81 Gasteropelecus sternicla. 49. 42. 149 Frontosa. 214 Haloragaceae. Coral. 78 erythrostigma. 184 Gonopodum. 60 Fundulus. 120 Lactoria cornuta. 192. 127 for beginners. 251. 158 Red-spotted. 53. 42. 18. 119 Lamp discharge. 279 Half-banded. 17. 78. 15. 78 Hypnaceae. 182. 178. 257 distribution of. 174. 103 Red-tailed. 77 rhodostomus. 48. 103. 55 rations of. 18. 116 trewavasae. 230 Lighting. 77 hyanuary. 25. 42 paired. 99 Haemulidae. 240. 204 Hygrophila. 166. 135 intermedius. 205 Lionfish Antenna. 81 Silver. 16. 73. 161 Celestial. 228 UV. 154 Gularis. 67. 160 Head. 274 Grunt. 205 Large-petaled. 18. 42 pelvic. 105. 233. 112 Ornate. 42. 185 Gourami Blue. 96 Lysmata amboinensis. 100 varieties of. 214 inflata. 204 zosterifolia. 152 Volitan. 131 gummigutta. 56 Forcipiger flavissimus. 30. 111 Gill. 158 Loreto. 194. 226. 249. 204 Hyphessobrycon bentosi. 131 guttavarius. 36. 254. 121 Pearl. 89 Jawfish. 206 Lythrypnus dalli. 182 Heteranthera. 117 Killie/Killifish. 249. 168. 226 loss of. 59 automatic distributor of. 214 aquatica. 45. 25 Clark's degrees of. 209. 257 Holocentridae. 228 HQI. 176 Goby. 191. 49 Loricariidae. silicone. 78 callistus. 241.55. 199. 121 Sunset variety. 88. 204. 45. 105. 128 Lyretail. 105. 278 feral. 148 Hasemania nana 77 Hatchetfish Marbled. 245. Lake. 101 Gymnocorymbus ternetzi. 280 Lamprologus.. 120 Three-spot. 279 corymbosa. 16 parts per million. 77 caudovittatus. 265 carbonate. 260 Grass Eel. 155 Lake Malawi. 58. Lyretail. 157. 86. 70 Head-and tail-light fish. 243. 131 Hap. 100. 80 Striped. 251 Leporinus striatus. 120 Kissing. 207 Fish. 111 Redhump. 30. 89 Lomaropsidaceae. 170. 177. 222 Gluing. 72. 111 Fry. 114 Lake Victoria. 202. 87 Japanese veiltail. 183. 105 Linn's. 80. 69. 78 Health. 226. 36. 86. 62. 135 Hermaphrodism. 158 Grammidae. 205 Rampant. 202 Ichthyophthirius. 205 Lumphead. 196. 161. 205 heterophylla. 72.258 Lamprichthys tanganicanus. 148 Holacanthus ciliaris. 16 general. 105. 121 Helostomatidae 121 Hemichromis. 105 annectens. 56. 53. 64. 62. 98 Walker's. 228 halogen. 158. 205. 167. 215 Hippuhdaceae. 280 ahli. 192. 210 minor. 96 Knifefish. 144. 144 magnifica. 159 Manganese. 261 Clown. 205 brevipes. 246. 131 Golden. 24. 166. 65. 15. 213 Purple. 115 Lusimakhos (False). 263. 204 salicifolia. 105. 121 Gramma. 114 Mandarin. Deepwater. 38. 235. Spanish.61. 211 Hypoplectrus gemma. 71 Malawi. 63 Marine fish cohabitation between. 60. 42. 105 electra. 210. 230 Limnophila. 67. 123 Glass pane. 78 herbertaxelrodi. 210 Macrobrachium. 246 Grouper Black. 176.. 78 pulcher. 48 Hydrometer. 93. 112 Dickfeld's. 61. 139 lamarck. 273 Helostoma temmincki. 100. 16. 87 Kribensis. 279 Kuhli. 103 Heniochus diphreutes. 112. 42.55. 112 marlieri. 128. 103 Halimeda tuna. 64 caudal. 228. 193 plecostomus. 192 feeding of. 55. 254 of the vegetation. 264 Iron. 43. pearly. 227. 174 flakes. 281 Magnesium. 247.230. 100. 118 Lava. 240. 204 Willow leaf. 209 Hippurus . 257 Glossadelphus zollingeri. 253. 117 Lake Tanganiyka. 178 Granule size. 198. 211 Glyphidodontops cyaneus. 96 Guppy. 86 Labeotropheus. 100. 147 Goniopora sp. Sweet. 208. 87 varieties of. 178 Longnose. 45 Glass. 103 Goodeidae. 87 Telescope-eyed. 130 Marine beta. 131 Blue. 280 ornatus. 89 Horse-faced. 248. 61 Hems severus. 87 Lionhead. 51. 200 Leaf fish. 124 Flag. 279 Labeo. 161 fire. 23. 139 Geophagus brasiliensis. 89 Orange-finned. 105 Haplochromis. 90. 43 anal. 274 Lo vulpinus. 278 dubia. 213 Gasteropelecidae. 86 frenatus. 64. 209. 26. 178 Hottonia. 124. 175. 42 pectoral. 118 Hemigrammus bleheri. 71 Fox. 128. 122 Gobiidae. 257 hood. 205 Lutjanidae. 98 Marbled. 190 Hydrocharitaceae. 227. 202 Food. 52. 145 hemicyaneus. 105 Hardness. 277 Healthy carrier. 234. 78 serpae. 87 Shubunkin. 250. 88. 89 Hora's. 25. 112 Coolie. 52 of natural origin. 78 peruvianus. 52 frozen. 57. 135 varius. 92 Gyrinocheilus. 16. 48 dorsal. 77 Hemirhamphidae. 222 Glassfish. 247. 232. 89 Clown. 51 freeze-dried. 16. 251. 209 HQI. 205. 177. 105. 214. 171 Hygro Giant. 214 gibba. 278 alternifolia. 113. 164. 257 Malachite green. 130 White line. 127 285 . 42 unpaired. 105. 21 Maerl. 279 Live prey. 96 Steel-blue. 152 Livebearer.wet/dry. 92 Lotus. 129 sanguineus. 181. African. 248. 105 linni. 16 Harpfish. 145 Glue. 112 regani. 161 Catalina. 59 "Live rock". 50. 148 Hogfish. 120 Honey. 96 Tanganyika pearl. 205 ascendens. 204. 66 Heater-thermostat. 195. 130 Growth. 121 Giant. 144 crispa. 177. 70 adipose. 196.251 German degrees of. 33. 257. Cape Lopez. 87 Goodeid Butterfly.59. Moorish. 279 Genicanthus caudovittatus. 152 Dwarf. 44 Kennyi. 26. 173. 37. 203 Star. 180. 99 Garden pond. 131 Shy. 100. 214. 122 Koi. 16. 149 Loach. 122 Green. 131 Indigo. 122 Indian. 230 Hush puppy. 147 Labyrinthidae. 105 boadzulu. 80 Leptosammia. 16. 135 Formol. 184 pruvoti. 195. 207 Hydrodynamics. 87 Bubble-eye. 69. 259. 279 lanchasteri. 60. 67 artificial. 95. 202 Water. 112 Julie Convict. 181 rosenbergii. 234.69. 92 Hyssop Snowflake. 42 Fingerfish. successive. 89 Long-nosed. 114. Malayan. 178 Lutjanus kasmira. 265 Layering. 63. 49 Lates niloticus. 197. 259. 213 Ludwig Alternate leaf. 46. 121 Dwarf. 186. 22. 214. 241. 105 compressiceps. 258 cleaning of. 280 dickfeldi. 178 Labroides dimidiatus. 108 Heteractis. 204 difformis. 112 Marlier's. 114. 233. 56 maturing of. 112 Lateral line. 92. 204 Yellow-leaved. 169. 81 Lemna. 70. 204 Gravel. 33. 176. 71 Idol. 204 guianensis. 80. 112 transcriptus. 88 Foxface. 196. 121 Thick-lipped. 215 Lienardella fasciata. 123 Lebiasinidae. 231. 280 Lamprologus. 86 Gomphosus coerulus. 205 Hamlet. 197. 137 Holidays of aquarist. 195 Gyrodactyliasis. 97 Fungia sp. 235 Heating.

141. 263 Octocorals. 176. 192. 137 imperator. 129 orientalis. 269. 117 socolofi. 181 Protein. 99 Sphenops. 105. 139 Rabbitfish. 277. 226. 123 Nannacara anomala. 196. 257. 178 Monocirrhus. 70 Ophiuroid. 279 lotus. 120 elongatus. 81 Microgeophagus ramirezi. Canadian. 210 Milfoil. 19. 250. 97 Peat. 47. 98 Notopterldae. 82 lateristriga. 196. 117 tropheops. 168.71. 80 Brown-tailed. 13. 26. 253. 154 Poritidae. 17 Ostracion cublcus. 55. 30. 204 Nomenclature. 101. 278 Pollution. 70 Operculum. 144 paumotensis. 246. 138 semicirculatus.27. 251. 36. 47 Resin. 248. 214 pteropus. 210 Peacock. 197. 245. 271. 122 notopterus. 65. 169. 108 Puffer Figure-eight. 26. 79 Paradise fish. 149 Race. 128 Name common. 97 guentheri. 269 polyester. 174 Myersi. 19. 247 Premnas biaculeatus. 113 brichardi. 251. 108 scalare. 102 varieties of. see Papiliochromis r. 178 Plectorhynchus chaetodontoides. 119 Pseudotropheus. 56. 184 Plesiopidae. 148 Murenidae. 251. 130 Pseudobalistes fuscus. 269. 192 Leiden's. 124 Butterfly. 124 Mormyridae. 99 reticulata. 125..66. 280 zebra. 190. 110 Pagurid. 17. 27. 192. 66. 45 Notho. 114. 51.279 Mouth. 168. 59 Shell. 48. 111. 259. 172. 178 Pomacanthus annularis.22. 117 johnanni. 81 Three-lined. 42. 121 Parapetenia salvini. 75. 68. 103 latipinna. 235. 66. 260. 246. 192. 253 Origin of fish. 218 Plotosidae.. 67 286 .259.254 Physa. 85 trilineata. 228. 110 Rasbora. 164. 144 ritteri. Parasite.251. 174. 19. 70. 82. 205. 205 Water. 33. 15. 168.20. 170. 205 Minnow. 99 velifera. 58. 247 Reproductive organ. 137 chrysurus. 68 Primulaceae. 148 Snowflake. 268. 193. Micronutrients. 92 Oxycirrhites typus. 42 Pelvicachromis pulcher. 113 multifasciatus. 124 moorii. 71. 168. 37. 43.36. 210 Polystigma. 105. 118 niloticus. 18. coral. 52. 35. 81 Red-bellied. 158.238. 175. 72 Nandldae. 63. 116. 52. 16. 152 radiata. 127 Mastacembelidae.for experienced aquarists. 53. 198 Photosynthesis. 22. 94 Madagascar. 241. 186 Muskrat root. 267 bivalves. 115 livingstonii.21. 240. 105. 182. 69 Metynnis. 72 of genus. 245 Puntius conchonius. 81 Hockey-stick. 171. 68. 110 Paracanthurus hepatus. 55. 128 Reef. 76 Pheophyceae. 64. 34. branchial. 212 natural. 154 Onagraceae. 53. Golden. 15. 44 Megalamphodus megalopterus. 160 Opistognathus aurifrons. 94 herbertaxelrodi. 156 Yellow. 183 Parkoriaceae. 166. 181 Panaque. Nyassa. 94 Dwarf Australian. 111 Nannobrycon eques. 262. 20. 151 Paracheirodon innesi. 280 Pomacanthidae. 85 Scissortail. 50. 138 paw. 166. 116 Plankton. 205 Myripristis jacobus. 116 Livingstone's. 263. 265. 250 power of. 235 Oxymonacanthus longirostns. 115 venustus. 250. 155 Plotosus lineatus. 213 Porcupine. 152 Pterophyllum. 203 Pontederiaceae. 205 Oodinium. spicatum. 12. 165. 125 Stars and stripes. 198 Pre-filtration. 273 Nitrate. 186. 21. 45. 125 Meleagris.200. 80 argenteus. 85 Magnificent. 255. 58 of brine shrimp. 180 Physa sp. 38. 173. 211. 105 mossambicus. 194. 118 Mouth brooding. 151 Nauplius. 20. 93 Piranha. 155. 100. 22 Potassium.275 choppy made of. 280 auratus. 273. 61. 96 Striped. 21. 158 Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor. 93 Pantodon buchholzi. 164. 98 Lyretail. 92. 172. 246. 94 maccullochi. 174. 122 Papiliochromis. 117 Melanoides tuberculata. 192 root of. 259 Reproduction. 85. 174. 14. 105 ramirezi. 115 polystigma. 93 Pangasius sutchi. 21. 70 sexfasciatus. 257. 183 gelam. 101 Platygira. 236. 13. 77 pH. 210. Angelicus. 105. 26. 124 Perlon. 81 Pistia. 73 Radianthus. 95. 180 Physobrachia douglasi.235. 47. 97 Black-finned. 105. 88 Mirror. 119 Mozambique. 262. 113 Nimbochromis linni. 267. 175 Poecilia. 191. 170 Polypordiaceae. 178 Otocinclus. 248. Boehlke's. 214. 247. 249. 148. 112 leleupi. 20. 64. 16. 213 Osmoser. 170. 193. 160. 144 Rainbowfish Boeseman's. 193. 14. 105. 275 Oxygenation. 274 Nomaphila corymbosa. 252 electric injection. 72 Nostril. 113 tetracanthus. 270 Mochokidae. 99 Black lyretail. 115 Elephant-nose. 161 Nematobrycon palmeri. 118 Dwarf Egyptian. 50. 32. 22. 117 Medusa. 247. 89 Myriophyllum. 43 Mudskipper Blotched. 113 Neothauma. 105. 274 Bogor's. 27. 65. 263. 113 tretocephalus. 21. 166. 152 volitans. 178 Polycentropsis abbreviata. 178. 71. 159 Platy. 211 Javan. 193 Panchax. 178 Murex. 94 Ramirezi. 55. 247.. 103. 180 Plants. 29. 247. 143 Prevention. 43. 85 elegans. 124 Monodactylus argenteus. 21. 280 box. 175. 267. 129. 196.. 118 Organic substance. 157 Valentini. 69 Parazoanthus sp. 191. 185 Ocyurus chrysurus. 165. 172. landing. 92 Plectorhynchidae. 193 vittatus. 122 Pantodontidae. 160 Oxygen. 176. 158. 167 Remounting an aquarium. 205. 107 Methylene blue. 155 Ostraciontidae. 93 Pimelodus. 129 gaterinus. 23. 122 Notopterus chitala. 215 Poster. 138 Pomacentridae. 17. 16. 117 Pterois antennata. caudal. 263 Pheasant. 213. 26. 155 meleagris. 144 Phytoplankton. 100 Poeciliidae. 246. 101.20. 278 Variegated. 103. 21. 202 Mussels. 278 aquaticum.22. 54 Protein skimmer. 118 Nile. 174 Nemateleoths magnifica. 79 Yellow-banded. 165. 81 Nannostomus trifasciatus. 198. 247. 246. 177 Opistognathidae. 61. 99 Black. 214. 64. 44. 45 Mouthbrooder Burton's. 144 simplex. 242. 157 Peacock. 105. 276 Oscar. 250 Pygoplites diacanthus.62. 81 Naso brevirostris. 35. 146.23. 80 Perch. 82 PVC. 138 maculosus. 99 Short finned. 160 Oyster. 129 Odonus niger. 258 Peduncule. 176. 170. 58. 249. 117 lombardoi. 171 Meeki. 204. 211 Placidochromis electra. 122 Nympheaea. 200. 122 Mosquito fish. 176 Planorbis. 154 Net. 279 borapetensis. 85 Harlequin.68. 60. 194 Pimelodidae. 254. 65. 253.273.29. 62. 166. 80. 116 crabo. 62. 266 Planting pincers. 249 air. 280 brevis. 79 Neolamprologus.254. 58. 115 Nemipteridae. 205 Spiked. 156 Reticulated. 98 Phenacogrammus interruptus. 160 Oreochromis. 123 Monodactylidae. 63. 280 Mucus. 98 Pangasiidae. 94 Celebes. 254. 152 sphex. 99. 178. 51. 178 Plexiglas. 46. 115 Slender. 129 Plerogyra sp. 269 epoxy. 105. 238. 81 Penguin. 79 Pristella maxillaris. 259. 44. 243. 123 Mastacembelus sp. 258. 144 malu. 16. 100 sphenops. 13. 252 Platax pinnatus.252. 248 Petitella georgiae. 114 Pearl fish Argentinian. crosses and varieties of. 99 Yucatan sailfin. 157 Pump. 255 Nitrite. 93 Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae. 26. 85 heteromorpha. Blue. 218 Respiration. 211. 125 Round-spotted.. 28. 192. 19. 184 Pleco. 165 Monacanthidae. 99 Sailfin. 246. English and Latin. 209 Prionobrama filigera. 49. 99 Pointed-mouth. 21.240. 98 Nothobranchius. 176. 94 Lake Tebera. 94 McCulloch's. 94 Melanotaeniidae. 180 Melanotaenia boesemani. 178 diadema. 264. 123 Mbuna. 117. 166. 19. 47. 79 Melanochromis. 184 Posidonia oceanica. 29. 46. 154 Pseudochromis. Nile. 164. 194 Phosphor. 116 Pseudanthias squamipinnis. 42.254. 124 papilio. 67.251. 124 Murena. 123 Polyp. 15. 199. 45. 114 sebae. 214 stratoites. Gunther's. 237. 99 Moss. 190. 198. 79 Molly. 116 similis. 85 Red-tailed. 274 artificial. 196. 67.253. 142. White cloud mountain. 118 Periopthalmus. 56. 83 nigrofasciatus. 242. 93 pictus. 37. 57. 192. 128 murjdan.68. 13. 105. 178 Pond weed. Common 156 Pork fish. 105 altum. 116. 28. 175. 15. 57. 118 Pencilfish. 136. 115 Polystyrene. 276 Protomelas annectens. 16. 250. 196. 85 Elegant. 170. 44. 19. 72 of species. 192. 80 Procamburus ciarkii. 180 Planorbis sp. 94 Mesonauta festivus. 246. 249. 52. see Cichlasoma s. 151 lituratus. 270 Potability. 275 Nitrogen. 271. 155 Plume. 213 rubra. 177 Palaemonidae. 197. 250. 30 Microsorium. 277 Polyurethane. 69. 199. 61. 169 Molt. 100 Mollusks. 85 Red soldier fish. 124 barbatus. Slimy.

263. 250. 97 Rock.71. 37. 205 Sea urchin. 88 Rainbow. 105. 77 Rummy-nose.. 38. 199 Venustus. 105. 86 Red-finned. 150 Sweetlips. 53. 257 osmosis. 212. 54 Siganidae. Even-spotted. 98 occidentalis. 34. 211 Saprolegnia. 222. 260. 93 Siluriformes. 168. 28. 113 Shellfish. 36. 93 petricola.269. 246 Roloffia. 214 Salinity. 198 Vitellin sack.Fthamphichthyidae. 148 Lunar.66. 211. 246. 230. 35. 68. 176. 180 biocellatus. 266 petrified. 231 Vacuum cleaner. 153 assasi. 114 Tropical fishes. 211. 67. 251 Thermostat. 149 Zanclus canescens. 254. 154 Blue line. 263 fine. 215 petiolata. 108 Shale. 254. 185 glaucum. 125 Tetraodontidae. 128 Yellowtail. 255. 70 Water hyacinth. 93 Tang. 33. 175. 151 Yellow. 246. 174. 180 Snapper. 264. 117 Tropheus. 227. 46 Vesicularia. 74 Tube. 214. 214 dubyana. 233 Toxicity. 105. 186 Stichodactyla. 164. 186. 183 Stoichactus. 246. 13. 227. 260 coarse. 174. 273. 212 Scalare. 77 Glowlight. 153 rectangulus. 52. 178. 119 Vitamin. 168. 149 cornutus. 21. 125 palembangensis. 268 Tetra Black. 168. 80. 220. 211. 105. 177. 12. 94 Telmatherinidae. 214 cernuus. 111 UCA. 198. 214 auriculata. 153 Undulated. 235. 79 Garnet. 58. 186 Trigger. 276 Xiphophorus. 153 Royal. 157. 24. 119 January. 72 Specific gravity. 17. 77 Callistus. 265 Shark Bala.31. 151 Clown. 183 Zooxanthellae. 70 Sarcophyton. 215 Ulvaceae. 37. 151 Tanganyika. 55. 94 Telmatochromis. 109 discus discus. 168. 77 Jewel. 196. 281 dune. 186 Cleaner. 129 Spotted. 274. 249. 228 Telmat. 30. 261 Sagittaria. 257 Slate. 194 fl/cc/a. 182. 149 Siluridae. 174 Rush. 213 Azure. 234. 119 mariae. 151 UV sterilization. 181. 174. 105 casuarius. 77 Rosy. 196. 113 Temperature. 175. 253 brackish. 111 Tanichthys albonubes. 180 Malaysian. 178 Scrofulariaceae. 76 Bleeding heart. 129 Sodium. 76 Tetracanthus.. 273. 129 Blue and gold longfin. 251 external liquid crystal. 150 Achilles.45 parasite. 209 Water wisteria. 125 reticulatus. 195. 52. 157 Golden. 125 Thalassoma lunare. 93 nigriventris. 119 buttikoferi. 253. 25. 229. 145 Serranidae. 56. 159 Syngnathidae.261. 276 Trichogaster leeri. 129 Zebra. 144 mertensii. 128 Starfish. 125 Scatophagus argus. 70 Tubifex. 125 rubifrons. 214 Ulva. 240. 78. 278 maculatus. spiked. 125 Trace elements. 273. 240. 125 Scatophagidae.279 Barber. 197. 149 Siganus. 58. 211 minima. Lake. 183. 171. Dwarf. 93 Tricolor.262. 235. 206 Rotifer. 57. 57. 164. 26. 78 Neon. 185 trocheliophorum. 204 Synodontis. 221 lid Of. 279 asiatica. 78 Blind cave. 177 Steatocranus. 255 Salt marsh. 174. analysis of. 265 calcareous. 183 Squirrel fish. 77 Hornet. 185 Mud-. 203 Water spruce. 79 Red-nose. 246. 78 Loreto. 26 Sorubim lima. 98 Rotala. 26. 146 Harlequin tusk. 144 Sturisoma rostratum. 260. 202. 186 River. 146 Formosa. harvesting of. 220. Striped.101. 54. 90. 102 variatus. 185 Saururaceae. 171. 97 Cuban.233 Tubipora. 109 Synchiropus splendidus. 277 Terracotta. 130 Red emperor. 212 wallisii. 200. 259. 160 Blue. 260. 113 Telmatherina ladigesi. 35. 173. 30. 73. 88 Shell-dweller. 46. 185 Sand. 153 Rhodophyceae. 157 Sediment..251. 204 Sabellastarte sp. 107 Sponge. 114 moorii. 154 Symphysodon. 178. 113 brichardi. 77 Zaire. 76 Black neon. 178 Serrasalmidae. 244 Scale. 78 Lemon. 266. 170. 79 Black widow. 175. 73. 265 Shrimp. 169.207. 168. 128 Blood red. 51. 252. 119 Stenopus hispidus. 150 Sailfin.255 Salt. 92 Sulfur. 105. 166. 147 Coris clown. 234. 121 Tridacna sp. 125. 255. 97 cylindraceus. 72. 78 Black phantom. 38. 130. 102. 58 Wrasse Birdmouth. 184 Scorpenidae. 193 kitchen. 103. 159 orbicularis. 151 Powder blue. 178. 232. 265 Snail Apple. 149 Zebrasoma flavescens. 105 duboisi. 273 Sphaeramia nematoptera. 204 Wood peat-bog. 147 Cleaner. 206. 183 giganteum. 102 X-ray fish.264. 88 Tank freshwater Central American. 238. 144 haddoni. 101 montezumae. 219. 17. 152. 26 Spathiphyllum. 212 Spathy. 174. 102 Symphorichthys spilurus. Lake. 86 Siamese. 54. 206 sagittifolia. 76 Buenos Aires. 97 geryi. 211 Salviniaceae. 261 coralline. 47. 153 verrucosus. 76 Congo. 54. 123 fluviatilis. 251 mercury. 233. 69. 108. 19. 151 Smooth-headed. 275 Sergeant-major. 154 Xenomystus nigri. 102 Red veiltail. 214 graminea. 50. 22. 78 Serpae. 233. 55. 254. 262 Substrate. 44. 125 Schilbidae. 151 Zoantharia. 261 live. 29. 70. 251. 278 hospital. 129 Panther. 211 Victoria. 165. 125 Toxotidae. 148 Thayeria boehlkei. 169. 80 Thermometer.272. 24. 151 veliferum. 166. 103. 182. 108 Scalarias. 153. 101. 215 Unicom fish Longnose. 168. 119 Tiger. 144. 150 Hippo. 81 Serrasalmus nattered. 211 flufans. 247 volcanic. 43. 207 gigantea. 122 Xenotoca eiseni. 192 Common. 26. 206. 175. 178. distribution and classification of. 170. 206 macranda Round leaf. 200. 22. 109. 125 Tiger. 154 Eight-stripe. 117 Tetraodon. 147 Xanthichthys auromarginatus. 265 Worm. 115 Scleractinaria. 69. 228. 212 Saururus. 207 spiraled. 93 Sciaenochromis ahli. 213 Water sprite. 129 Swim bladder. 273 Thorichthys meeki. 121 trichopterus. 53 Shingle.231. 129 Black-spotted. 124. 220 Surgeonfish. 57. 18 quality of. 144 Stoichactus sp. 68 mineral. 207 giant. 207 spiralis. 252 Vallisneria. 105 aequifasciatus. 43. 246. 206. 103 Montezuma. 124 changing. 165. 257. 177 Seahorse. 56 Salvinia. 24. 151 Sohal. 256. 148 Red coris. 122 Rhinecanthus aculeatus. 255 Transport. 64. 154 Clown. 50. 25.70.118. 178 Synnema triflorum. 166. 276 Zanclidae. 153 Tropheops.214 Floating. 159 Spilotum. 211 Rivulus. 115 Vertebrate. 177. 103 helleri. 144 kenti. 165. False. 107 Tilapia. 77 Rummy-nose. 150 Powder brown. 78 Cardinal. 102 varieties of. 253. 183 gigantea. 24. 267 Turbidity. 39 Udotea. 257 electric programmable. 54 287 . 154 Blue throat. 34. 38. 32. 61 Water. fluorescent. 90 Uaru amphiacanthoides. 60. 78 Silver-tipped. 52. 259. 230. 90 Siphoning. 76 Emperor. 67 Scat Spotted. 263 Loire. 56. 214 Udoteaceae.260. 119 Timer electric. 25. 20 Toxotes jaculator. 86 Red-tailed black. 184. 167. 51. 81 Severum. 261 quartz. 266. 58. 214 Giant red. 207 Vegetative multiplication. 153 Picasso. 105 bifrenatus.271. 164. 206 rotundifolia.262 Support. 212 Species. 234. 254. 220. 257. 154 Swordtail.

272. p. 81 (ml). 245. p.Pecolatto/Nature: p. p. p. 199 ft). p. 164 (tl). 187 (tl-c-b). p. p. 30 (t). 20. p. 55 (b). p. 81 (tr) Houtmann/Aquapress: 182 (b) . p. p. p. 223. p. p. 5. 176 (b). 92 (tr). 243. p. 246. 54 ft). 148 (ml). p. 145 (tr-bl). p. 35 (1). p. 173 (t). p. 30. p. 190. 158 (t). p. p. p. 264. 135 (tr). 235 (b). 171 (t). p. p. p. 38. 31. 169 (b) . p. p.4. p. p. p. 134 (b) . p. p. 233 . p. p. 103 (bl). 238. p. p. p. p. p.Sauer/Nature : p. 89 (tr-ml-bl). p. 277 . p. 185 (mr) . p. . 9. 185 ft-ml-br). 205. p. 183 (t-b). p. 154 ft). 258 . p.Francour/Aquapress: p. 146 (br). 118/119: p. p. 278. 179. 78 (mr). p. p. p. 51 (1). 228. p. p. 265 . 157 (b). p. p. 169 ft). p. 176 (t-c). p. p. p. p. p. p. p. 242 (1). p. p. 51 ft . 210 (ml) . 59 (0. 181 (c) . p. p. 170. 164 (b). 100 (mtr-b). 52 (tl). 152 (tr). 113 (c-br). p. 175 . p. 138 (mb-bl) . 33 (t). 210/211. p. 118 (bl): p. 187 (tr). 248 (t). p. p. p. 198. p. p. p. P. p. 230. 28 Genetiaux/Aquapress: p. 36. 274. 70: p. p. 201 (b). p. 103 (t-c). p. 168 (b). 235 (t). 32. 33 (b). 8. p. p. 25 (b) . 211 ft-br). 213 (tl-mr-b) . p. 275.Etcheverry: p. 74. 194 (b). 101 (c). 192 (b). 203 (br).All the photographs are the property of Yves LANCEAU and Herve CHAUMETON/agence Nature. p. p. 75 (b). 220. 155 (tr). p. 53 (t). p. p. p.Biehler/Aqua press: p. 168 (t). 161 (t). p. 146 (ml). p. p. p. p. 264/265.Guerrier/Nature: p. 177 (tr-b). 97.La Tourette/Nature: p. 23 (b). 131. p. 143 (tr) . 251. 112 (t-mt). 40. 64. p. 133 (tr-bl). 216/217: p. 139 (mbr). p. p. p.Londiveau/Aquapress: p. 182 ft). p. 174 ft). 266. 115 (b). 59 (b). p.Roulland/Aquapress: p. p. p. 240. p. p. p. 132 ft) . p. 71. p. p. 281 (t) . 234. p. p. 133 (tl). 236. 191 (bl): p. p. 197. 147 (b). p. 210 (br). 145 (mr).Louisy: p. 194 (t). p. 25 (t). 109 (tr). p. p. 263 (b). 150 (c) . 128 (mr-bl). p. p. p. p. p. 279. 104 (c). 35 (r) . 161 (c-b). p. 114/115. p. 153 (br). p. 94 (br). 56 ft) . p.Tramasset & Etcheverry: p. 213 (ml) . 105 (tl-bm). p. 215 (tr) . p. p. p. p. p. p. 267 . p. p. p. 273. p. 250. 116 (ml). p. p. 116/117. 138 (mtl). 102 ft). 144. 188/189. 102 (ml-bl). p. p. p. p. 43 (mr). p. 39 (b). p. 280. 114 (ml). 62. 43 (ml). p. 222. 15.Maitre-Allain : p. p. p. 166 (1). p. 54 (b). p. p. 150 (br).Piednoir/Aquapress: p. 166 (r). p. p. p. 122/123. 48/49. p. p. 252. p. p. p. p. 262. p. 244 . 41.Corel: p. 221 (b). 214. 259. 263 ft) . 249. 58 (1). 184 (t-b). p.Lamaison/Nature: p. 271. 10/11. p. 130/131 (b). 254.JM/ Bour/UW/Cameraman photographer: p. p. 260. 172. 107 (tr). 130 (bl). p. 167 . p. 206 (ml). p. p. p. 203 (bl). p. p. 37 . p. p. 120 (ml) . p. p. p. p. 112 (b). 165 (tr). p. 214/215. 231 . 87 (tr-b). p. 106/107 (b). 204 (t) . p. p. p. 98 (tr-ml-bl). 257. 52. p. 29. 229. p. p. p. 47. p. p. p. p. 162/163. 34. 77 (tl). 186 (t-b). 241: p. p. 151 (mr). 12 . p. 180 (c-b). p. p. p. 181 (t-b). p. p. p. p. 21. 82 (t). 137 (t-b). p. p. 61 (t) .Quinn/Nature : p. 80/81. 142 (tr). 96. p. 173 (b). p. p. p. 56 (b). p. 177 (tl). p. 23 (t) . 77 (mr). 53 (b). p. p. p. 50 : p. 117 (mtr-mbl-bl). 5~ (t). p. p. p. p. 107 (tl). p. 174 (b). 154 (bl).Heather Angel: p. 39 ft) Aquarium de Tours. 113 (tr-mbl). 63. p. 93 (mbl). 269: p. p. 180 (t).Bretenstein: p. 156 (bl). 140 (br) . p. p. 72 (b). 189 (t-b). p. 221 (t) . 58 (r). p. 247 (b) . p. p. 255. 270. p. 182 (c). p. p. p. 247 ft). 76 (c). 65. p. 266/267. p. 153 (bl). 219. p. 183 (c). 61 (b). 136 (tl).Chambfort: p. p. p. p. 204/205. p. p.c). p. 163 (b) . p. p. p. p. p. p. 94 (bl) . 68. 148 (tr). 149 (c). 288 . 185 (ml). 42 (1). p. p. p. p. p. pll2/113 (0 . p. p. 56/57. p. p. p. 137 (mr). 215 (c) . 208/209. with the exception of the following: Aquapress: p. p. p. p. p. p. 193. p. p. 248 (b). p. 236/237 . 108 (ml). 91 (ml). 129 (tr). p 160 (t-bl). 87 (tl-c): p. p. I l l (mr). 281 . 24. p. p. p. 207 (tr-b). 242 (r). 217 (t-b).Prevot/Nature: p. 14. 261. p. 200: p. 60. 165 (tl-b). p. 268. 104 (b). 209 (tr-ml-br). 226/227. p. p. p. 218. p. 135 (tl). 44 (b). 276. p. 73. 106 (t-bl). p. 148 (b).Berthoule/Nature : p. p. 164 (tr).253.

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