Aquarium Guide

The Complete

© 1995, ATP - Chamalieres - France
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Original title: Le Grand Guide de I'Aquarium
© 2000 for the English edition:
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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.
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Printed in Italy by STIGE - Turin
ISBN 3-8290-1736-7
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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



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 .

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

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



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

Plants also provide oxy­ gen. although this process occurs only by day. aquatic life can exist only between pH 5 and 9. and bacteria.8. providing the recom­ mendations for stirring the water are followed.7 9. PH VALUES The pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of water. as they absorb it by day through photosynthesis to extract the carbon they need to grow. plants.5 and 7. carbon dioxide. and usually lies between 6. and its control is quite a complicated matter.3 9. Carbon dioxide is also one of the main fac­ tors affecting the pH.3 8.9 9. and passing it into the atmosphere. currents. The latter transform the organic matter emitted from living beings (excreta and various other residues). Stirring the water enhances its oxygenation. water contains 8-10 mg/liter. or non-functioning of equip­ ment due to forgetfulness.7 8. a process enhanced by movements in the water pro­ duced by wind. The maximum amount of oxygen that water can contain is deter­ mined by its temperature: the higher this is. Below this level the water is acid. and fish. These extreme values are rarely found in an aquarium.5 9. and these chemical reactions similarly require oxygen. or downward flow.5. The oxygen in water comes from the dis­ solution of the oxygen in the air. The most turbulent.4 8. the term acid water corresponds to a pH between 6 and 6. to some extent. plants. In aquariums. thereby reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the water. The more water is stirred. The rare problems which do occur are the result of negligence as regards the overall balance of the aquar­ ium (overpopulation of fish. although this bal­ ance changes at night. and this can. Categorizing water as acid does not mean that it contains dangerous acids.1 7. the less oxygen the water can contain (at 25°C there is 18% less oxygen than at 15°C). while the most deficient water sometimes has less than 2 mg/liter.1 27 28 9. when plants stop producing oxygen. Generally speaking. 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. Carbon dioxide derives from the respira­ tion of fish.8 13 . the more it is oxygenated. or a power cut. where the pH ranges from 6 to 8 accord­ ing to the type of water. which they produce through photo­ synthesis. and above it the water is alkaline (or basic).9 7. producing an amber yellow color.9 8. Carbon dioxide is quite rare in an aquarium. with the value 7 representing neutrality. breakdown. prove prejudicial to plants.6 8. It is therefore vital to establish a perma­ nent equilibrium between oxygen. Oxygen is measured in mg/liter. small number of plants).FRESH WATER ten: the bacteria. In forest streams and rivers the water accumulates with acid organic fluid (humic acid) derived from the decomposi­ tion of plants (humus). and therefore the most oxygenated. The oxygen content in an aquarium is usu­ ally at its maximum.1 8.

. . Adjusting the pH The pH of domestic water may not always be particularly suited to the fish you have chosen. 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.the water from the aquarium can be fil­ tered over peat. The pH is a good indica­ tor of an aquarium's equilibrium. A colored marker dipped into a sample of water is used to compare the color obtained with the scale provided.the water can be diluted with another more acid water.the stirring of the water can be reduced. Elec­ tronic meters are also now available for testing pH values. There are some aquar­ ium products on the market that enable adjustments to be made to the pH. which will release certain acids. 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. 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. Be careful. because decreasing the stirring also lowers the oxygenation. Although slight variations are therefore normal. Once the carbon dioxide has been absorbed by the plants during the day the pH goes up again. T refers to one between 7. but there are other ways of modifying it. more extreme changes can be a warning signal. • If the pH is too high . Furthermore. and it should therefore be measured regularly. slowly but very regularly.8 and 7.WATER. The amount of peat needed to 14 .2 and 8.2 is considered neutral. and a pH between 6.

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

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


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

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

Dissolved NH3 ammonia gas is the most dangerous. A HAVEN FOR LIFE Bacteria in the nitrogen cycle Rarely found in open water (around 1% of the total count). Nitrates. • 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 0.4 mg/liter. and so it is advisable not to intro­ duce the selected fish until 2 or 3 weeks have elapsed. bacteria colonize essen­ tially the floor and the decor.When an aquarium is brought into use. They feed on nitrogenous compounds in the water. bacterial colonization of the environment is a slow process. the final products in the nitrogen cycle. although it only appears above a pH of 7 and rarely exceeds 10% of the total ammo­ 20 . Ammonia is found in two different forms in water. are used as mineral salts by the plants. extracting the oxygen from them. and there are some limits which must not be exceeded (see table above).WATER.

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

Beyond 11. with little turbidity.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. often exceeded in farming areas. pH close to neutral. Sometimes water containing organic matter has a characteristic smell of humus. Zero or very low hardness. Dilution of hard water. Variable according to land bored. Not to be used. This is the drinking water threshold. It should preferably be between 6. Total or partial filling of an aquarium. down-river water . This is the threshold for drinking water. Variable. Variable according to region. This is the case with springs and streams. or first mixed.1 mg/liter Under 50 mg/liter Observations Yellow-colored water contains organic matter. Volvic is one of the softest. The water must be limpid and crystal-clear. mixture with other water. mixture with other water.2°GH.5.8°GH Under 0. but often turbid. It is advisable to collect water with a temperature between 5 and 15°C. for certain fish). This value is rarely attained in balanced water. Dilution of hard and alkaline water. Its use to be avoided in an urban or industrialized area. fresh. Only to be collected if it is very clean. Defrosting water from refrigerator Distilled/demineralized water Bottled water Natural water Rainwater Fresh and acid (or neutral). Dilution of hard and alkaline water. Stagnant and still water is not suitable. generally with little turbidity. There are several brands of mineral water soft enough for this purpose.5 and 7. Variable. Dilution of hard water. Use in aquariums Untreated. often a little hard and alkaline in major urban areas. Barely mineralized and close to neutrality. Total or partial filling of an aquarium. microbiological risk. Water from melted snow Spring or stream water Well water Ponds. Neutral. often containing pollutants. Total or partial filling of an aquarium. WATER USABLE IN AQUARIUMS Type of water Domestic water Characteristics Variable according to region. it must be mixed with fresh water (except in rare cases.4 mg/liter Under 0. Dilution of hard and alkaline water.

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

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

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

and there are only slight variations in pH in a natural setting.if it is under 7.2°CH. and so the nitrates. In a marine aquarium the vegetation is often less abundant than in fresh water. a restricted habitat operating as a closed cycle.Near the coasts. This situation is. which has a tendency to lower the pH. carbonate hardness (CH) is used in sea water. espe­ cially corals. The pH must not fall below 8. beyond these values. A HAVEN FOR LIFE water. fairly rare in an aquarium without corals. 26 . the end products of the nitrogen cycle. TH E NITROGEN CYCLE PH VALUES As sea water is salty. where it serves to measure the quantity of calcium and magnesium car­ bonates and bicarbonates present. its pH is therefore higher than that of fresh water. add calcium or replace some of the water. This is crucial for maintaining the pH. . Why? The water in an aquarium sometimes contains too much carbon dioxide.if it is over 7. will have a tendency to accumulate. and for growing corals.WATER.3. This occurs in the same way in sea water and fresh water. At high doses these pose little danger to fish but are toxic for invertebrates. but regular. as its dilution with fresh water lowers the salt content. however. Stirring of the water must therefore be increased by using diffusers or an electric pump.5. but a slow and regular decrease in this parame­ ter may be seen. animals will experience certain physiologi­ cal problems. It is therefore important to eliminate them by partial. there is an excess of carbon dioxide. Pure sea water in the middle of the ocean has a pH of 8. which have skeletons made of calcium carbonate. The pH of sea water in an aquarium must vary between 8 and 8. It is a different matter in an aquarium. Variations in pH in a marine aquarium Sea water contains a great deal of calcium car­ bonate and bicarbonate.2°CH. What can you do? The first step is to mea­ sure the CH: . water changes. solely occupied by fish. this drops to about 8 or a little less.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are mainly inhabited by fish from the Cichlid family. although they have been in decline since the deliberate introduction of a carnivorous predator. Lake Tanganyika. but not as deep (700 m). is one of the biggest (31. This lake is also exploited by the locals as a source of food. The clear. three quarters of which are only found in this region. Only the first couple of hundred meters contain fish. Some species of Cichlids found there are nowadays known as Mbunas. West Africa is lined with rivers and streams with an acid pH. the main vegetation being the carpet of algae covering the rocky areas. which stretches over nearly 7. Lake Victoria. and temperatures of up to 27°C.2. 36 . Its fish represent a substantial source of nutrition locally.000 km2 almost as large as Tanganyika. only with unsalted water. and Lake Malawi. but the Cichlids are actively bred and exported all over the world. The lake most familiar to aquarists.5 and 9. The species living there sometimes form different population groups. Lake Victoria.400 m!). which can mainly be distinguished by their color. A HAVEN FOR LIFE AFRICA • Aquarium with a collection of several species from Lake Malawi. quite close to each other. East Africa is characterized by the presence of large lakes. a pH between 7. with a maximum depth of 80 m. at 26. The most important of these are. well-oxygenated surface waters house few plants. such as the killies. and temperatures of up to 27°C. which are accustomed to its extremely hard water. lay eggs which are able to resist drought.900 km2. The swampy areas disappear in the dry season.WATER. from north to south. Lake Tanganyika. the second largest in the world) and the deepest (a maximum of 1. the Nile perch.000 km2. contains very hard water which can reach a temperature of 26-27°C. Some fishes take refuge in the empty shells of Gastropods on the sandy shores. but the fish which frequent them have devised various strategies to overcome this difficulty: some species. Its water is slightly less calcareous and its temperatures range from 24 to 26°C. veritable inland seas. This is also the case with Lake Malawi.

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

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

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

Fish There are more than 30.000 species of fish. more or less evenly distributed between fresh water and sea water.500 are of interest to the aquarist. and of these some 1. and this can be clearly seen in aquariums. Fish embody a great anatomical and biological diversity and richness. .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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? •



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

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. •


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.



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.




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
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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copper sulfate. 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. sometimes difficult to treat. The disease's development is favored by wounds. con­ tagious. Salt.this disease is very contagious. malachite green. Increase the aeration.IN AN AQUARIUM Treatment Increase in temperature. fish can expe­ rience breathing difficulties.Act immediately. commercial medication). Fresh food alternated with live prey. appears if there is any significant drop in temperature.the parents. Salt. check and adjust the parameters of the water. It is not unusual for a few of the fry in a batch to be affected. Easy to detect . or a quarantine aquarium. Copper sulfate. If a lot of fry are affected. Sometimes difficult to treat. Observations Contagious. Not very easy to detect. Treatment must be given as soon as the disease appears.Take care of the fish in a hospital/quarantine aquarium. WHAT YOU MUST DO FOR A SICK FISH . i. Copper sulfate.Administer the appropriate treat­ ment. Copper sulfate. pH). Increase the quantity of oxygen. It is sometimes associated with small bloody spots. when you see the first symptoms. • Fish afflicted by white spot disease (ichthyophthyriasis). commercial medication. commercial medication. cnange one third of the water. Sometimes difficult to detect at first. • A fish's swollen abdomen is often the sign of dropsy. copper sulfate. . and you must act quickly. . . there is a genetic problem . Gasping for air can also be a symptom of an infectious disease. malachite green or methylene blue (except in sea water: copper sulfate.e. Possibility of incorporating commercial vitamin solutions into the food. check its quality (nitrites. common in sea water.the body is covered with white spots . It is therefore preferable to use a hospital aquarium. The symptoms can also correspond to an infectious disease. commercial medication. and they must therefore be separated. Contagious. formol. commercial medication. commercial medication. a bacterial disease.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the striped or zebra danio (Brachydanio rerio) has given countless hobbyists their first real thrill of excitement. The hardness level must be low. easy breeders. raised and bred in Europe since the early 1800s. this fish has not given rise to other selective forms. suspend a layer of fine netting halfway down. Its hardiness and its readiness to spawn have been put to use by scientists to test the tox­ icity of certain substances. A DANIO FOR THE BEGINNER Known. 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. • Brachydanio frankei This species. though. allowing the eggs through but not the parent fish. To prevent the parent fish devouring the eggs. Size: 8 cm. continuously active. Brachydanio albolineatus The pearl danio is a shoal­ swimming. The fish currently sold commercially originate from localized breeding centers in South-East Asia. unfussy eaters. Size: 5-6 cm. with markedly elongated fins. indicating that she is ripe.remove the parent fish.which seems to be stimulated by the first rays of the morning sun . For a set-up like this. Size: 5-6 cm. keep the depth of water between 10 and 15 cm. Recently they managed to pro­ duce a line of clones: genetically identical fish. voracious feeder. use two males to one female. The eggs will then sink quickly: a layer of mar­ bles prepositioned on the bed will provide safe lodging places. choos­ ing a female with a plump belly. Twenty years or so ago. lives in shoals near the surface and acclimatizes easily. It can survive temperatures below 20°C. and therefore with the same reactions to a given phenomenon. It is vital to feed them small. and the optimum temperature is around 26-27°C. as it is commonly known. thus erad­ icating the influence of genetic variability on experiments. After laying . danios have the ideal qualities for a starter fish. pH neutral. Alternatively. The leopard danio. a veil form appeared. Size: 6 cm. Incubation of the eggs (up to 200 or 300) lasts 2-3 days. curiously. Danio aequipinnatus Larger than its cousins. with the fry swimming between the 6th and 7th days.infusoria or rotifers if you can get them. they are extremely gregarious. which they will do with gusto. live prey . the giant danio is just as hardy and easy to spawn.FRESHWATER FISH Danios Hardy. A veil form exists. possibly deriving from isolated laboratory stock. • 84 . which resembles a tiny trout. appears not to exist in the wild. Like barbs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and even easier if you raise the temperature a few degrees. and the fins are of normal size. and Goodeidae. The guppy prefers hard. TRUE OR FALSE LIVEBEARERS? The term "livebearer" or "viviparous" is applied to fish of the following families: Poeciliidae. but aquarists commonly lump all three families together under this heading. • basic variety pointed-tail spadetail lyretail top sword 100 . as its red eyes imply. Only the Goodeidae can be classed as true livebearers. 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. • Varieties of guppy. a phenomenon rare among fish. Poecilia reticulata Half-black red. • Poecilia reticulata Even those who have never kept an aquarium will have heard of the guppy! Discovered in the middle of the 19th century. Size: 15 cm. since it is practically an albino. but it is less common than the "gold". • Poecilia reticulata Feral guppy Size: 5 cm. alkaline conditions. Size: 5 cm. Breeding is straightforward. A female can produce up to 100 fry every 4 weeks if the temperature is raised to 27-28°C. Size : 5 cm.FRESHWATER FISH •Poecilia velifera The Yucatan sailfin molly has an overdeveloped dorsal fin. but it is extremely tolerant. A black variety exists. the latter is rather incongruously named. In actual fact. Hemirhamphidae. with sometimes one or two black patches. The females can produce up to 100 fry. Feral guppies are unspectacular in color. 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. Their fry are born live (already hatched). classified by dorsal fins Poecilia reticulata Size: 5 cm.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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.



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. •





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
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.





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.


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.



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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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.


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


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.

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.



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.


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

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

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

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.

"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. •



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.

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.


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.




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.

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

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.

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. •


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

and the calcium forms a fine layer on leafy plants and "suffocates" them. the bed and the water contain mineral salts. Plants' needs vary according to the sub­ stance: some are only required in tiny amounts (metals. sometimes even up to 8. This name covers all the substances needed for the growth of aquarium plants. 3. Satisfy their needs. You must also bear in mind that aeration and stirring of the water. Choose plants suited to aquarium water. from your aquarium store owner or from clubs and associations. even in a tank that is profusely planted and well lit. This means that excessive stir­ ring can sometimes have dire consequences for plants. the water and the bed con­ tain mineral salts that will gradually run out. in fresh water. especially as regards special lighting. Choose hardy species. at water level. This is particularly useful when 197 . .regularly change part of the water (gen­ erally 10% of the volume per week). which con­ tribute to its oxygena­ tion. . to obtain "new" water containing salts. 5. Those regions lacking these vital elements are characterized by sparse veg­ etation. or none at all.add solid fertilizers. Some aquarists provide. which is only really visible in heavily planted and densely populated aquariums. for example) but they must be constantly available.CARING FOR PLANTS This phenomenon. an enriched soil that will gradually release these mineral salts. These gradually run out and the plants are therefore in danger of mineral deficiency.add liquid fertilizers specially designed for aquatic plants. Check the supply of nutrients. which is a self-contained environment. at a rate determined by the quantity of the vegetation. Placed at the base of plants. Carbon dioxide diffusers are available in the aquarium trade to rem­ edy this problem. then have them soak up liquid fer­ tilizer. Mineral salts are absorbed by the roots and leaves in truly aquatic plants. some aquatic areas are considered fertile. Mineral salts A LACK OF C O 2 There is usually enough carbon dioxide in the water. and by the roots in amphibian plants. Faced with this situation. When an aquarium is put into operation. rarely entails any problems for fish. Deposits can also be seen on the glass panes. You must therefore make plans to reinforce the mineral salt level on a regular basis. • house plants. as you would for Nowadays specialist aquarium stores stock equipment designed to supply plants with the CO2 they need. some rapid growers and other slower. You can also make a solid fertilizer at home. based on clay. an aquarist has three options: . Do not hesitate to ask for advice. from the very beginning. the carbon dioxide that has been trapped by the bicarbonates is used in its turn: the pH often rises above 7.5. 2. In the natural environment. but it can sometimes be deficient. help expel the CO2 dissolved in the water into the atmosphere. Knead it. these balls gradually release their nutrients. or for house plants. form small balls. as the renewal of the water and the equilibrium of the natural cycles provide sufficient amounts of mineral salts for plants to prosper. 4. They are in fact the equivalent of the fer­ tilizers that are used in agriculture. Fertilizers A FEW RULES FOR A NOVICE "AQUATIC GARDENER" 1. If this occurs. In an aquarium. in the form of sustained-release mineral salt capsules placed at the base of the plants.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

so you must ensure that there is an adequate supply. Echinodorus maior The giant echinodorus reaches the same height as its Amazonian cousin and. The water spruce can be cultivated in a tropical aquarium. cosmopolitan) These plants are found in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. One of the latter types can adjust to tropical aquariums. Lobelia cardinalis This amphibious plant can resist temperatures of 10-20°C in moderately hard. are either terrestrial or paludal. Size: under 50 cm submerged. North America) Echinodorus sp. These plants turn yellow when they lack iron. but they can also survive underwater. Hippurus vulgaris Its aerial leaves differ in shape from those underwater. acid water. It multiplies by means of cuttings. the Amazon grows to 40 cm. South America) Most echinodorus are paludal plants. Size: 30 cm. Echinodorus tenellus The pygmy Amazon. Adventitious roots on the knots of the stem make it easy to take cuttings. It is highly attractive when planted in groups. though it requires intense light in a tropical tank. the smallest of the genus. They are most common in garden ponds. and so they can resist water temperatures down to 15°C.PLANTS FOR THE MORE EXPERIENCED Echinodorus (Alismataceae. The cardinal flower is appropriate for temperate or tropical aquariums. 209 . approximately neutral water. It prefers a moderately rich soil. native to tropical regions. Hippurus (Hippuridaceae. Lobelia cardinalis Hottonia inflata A totally aquatic plant with finely serrated leaves. Hottonia (Primulaceae. prefers soft water. Echinodorus quadricostatus The dwarf Amazon serves to decorate the foreground of an aquarium. Size: 10 cm. which can range from slightly acid to neutral water. is worth highlighting in a large aquarium if it is the only r epresentative of its species. 10-15 cm above water. 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. and low to moderate hardness. the featherfoil likes soft. Echinodorus amazonicus Under good conditions (moderate to strong lighting). The plants in this genus. although it grows very slowly. 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. Echinodorus tenellus Echinodorus amazonicus Lobelia (Lobeliaceae. The shape of the leaves depends on the conditions under which they are cultivated. The shape of the leaves varies according to the lighting. If the water is too hard it is markedly smaller and appears to stop growing. Size: 20-30 cm. and tolerates temperatures under 20°C. Size: 30-40 cm. like it. Size: 10 cm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Techniques Creating an aquarium and putting it into operation do not demand any great expertise. 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. .


It can sometimes be fitted with a filtration unit.5-2. There are other models with an integral hood and minimal external decoration. a strip. but they are impos­ sible after that. or panoramic aquariums. These materials are suitable for water vol­ umes of around 500 liters . except in built-in tanks. The supporting furniture often has shelves or closets that serve to hide the pumps and other equip­ ment. but these days it is also possible to find cubes. Materials Commercial aquariums are almost always made of glued glass. Small plastic tanks are also available for use as rearing or quarantine tanks. 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. there are aquariums built into a piece of furniture. For bigger volumes. most tanks take the form of a horizontal rectangle. It is not advisable to use very narrow aquar­ iums. Finally. Narrow tanks can be attractive. The basic model . It is also pos­ sible to equip it with a lighting hood. of varying widths. These are the materials found in public aquariums. all spe­ cially adapted to a specific setting. normally containing a filtration 218 . how­ ever. as the height must never exceed 0.5. This requires only patience and precision: the most important thing is to follow the sequence of operations. 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. unit and lighting hood. vertical rect­ angles. THE AQUARIUM Different models Aquariums come in various shapes and sizes so that they can fit into the interior design of any home. with only the front part of the tank made of glass. such as a mantelpiece or a divid­ • An aquarium can only be fully appreciated when it is integrated into its environment.e. with silicone joints. hiding the surface of the water.ASSEMBLING A TANK If an aquarist is unimpressed by the range of aquariums on the market. polyester resin or cement are used.5 m. that goes round both the base and the top. Traditionally. This type of aquarium can be sold on its own or with a support. and the aquarium is framed by dec­ orative elements that leave it visible from three sides. which is light but also scratches easily. These proportions can be adhered to up to a length of 1. Plexiglas. where the contrary is the case. if they are put on narrow pieces of furniture. in the top range. i.volumes rarely exceeded in the aquarium trade. The height will be slightly greater than the width. as a trick of the eye means that a tank seems one-third narrower when it is filled with water.and the cheapest ­ consists of a tank with a lid.5 m (see table). Dimensions The most harmonious form is obtained when the length is equal to the height mul­ tiplied by 1. producing an unfortunate visual effect. is used for the rarer round forms. then there is always the alternative of constructing a home-made tank.

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

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

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

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

set square and tape measure. Note that the box filter is slightly lower than the main tank. for clean­ ing the panes before gluing. cut from 3 mm thick glass: . you must add the following parts. Sticking the various elements together (see panel overleaf). 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. The filtration sys­ tem can be planned at the gluing stage or added afterwards. It is advisable to get somebody to help you by holding the panes.clean rags or absorbent paper. for the moment. apart from installing a box filter. They must not be more than 8 cm apart. When you have assembled all the neces­ sary materials. • • To work efficiently. 48 cm long for the 200 liter tank). . with the glass strips in pairs facing each other. It can be placed on the right or on the left and must be hidden by exterior trim.four strips of glass intended to hold the filter­ ing material (3 cm wide and 38 cm long for the 96 liter tank.ASSEMBLING YOUR TANK • Supplementary materials You will require the following materials for the gluing process: . the dimensions of this panel would be: • 28. .small receptacle for water. Front view of aquarium. . Prepare a work surface large enough to allow you to spread out the panes and move around freely. 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). . Going back to the example of the two tanks which served to illustrate the gluing of an aquarium. left for you to do. to allow the water to circulate.3 x 48 cm for the 200 liter tank. with a perforation to allow the water to flow through. such as a wooden facing that matches the aquarium and its support.methylated spirits or acetone.a glass panel separating the filter from the rest of the aquarium.sticky tape. . • Panel dividing off the box filter. you are ready to go on to the construction.cutter with a fine blade. Its 223 .7 x 38 cm for the 96 liter tank • 38. Inside the tank. you must be able to spread the panes out on a sufficiently large work surface. Installing the box filter There is very little volume must not be less than 1/10 of the total volume of the aquarium. .

Even if the glass panes were sanded when they were cut. Put one of the two large panels in place. 3. 5. run a piece of fine sand paper along the edges. then the two small ones (diagrams D and E). Lay the panes flat. Note the position of the hands on the top edge of the panels. Then allow to dry (it dries quickly). so the panes must only be handled by their future top edge.STICKING THE VARIOUS ELEMENTS TOGETHER The sequence for the operation is as follows: 1. 4. These areas must not come in contact with your hands. Apply the glue paral­ lel to the edge of the pane (diagram C). then wipe them clean. 2. . Clean the parts to be glued with the acetone or methylated spirits. as in diagram B. may make a mistake in the mounting. It is quite normal for the glue to squeeze out on both the inside and outside. Carefully trim any excess glue on the outside and any smudges on the inside. clean. espe­ cially with the small sides. Clean the defective area and reapply the glue on the inside. Of the possible problems that may emerge during this procedure. finish off the gluing of the tank. 11. indicate the source with a felt pen or sticky tape.a pane may break when you are handling it. and then mount the tank again. 10. . wedge them. Stick the pegs on the lids. The result must be concave. Leave to dry for 48 hours. Apply pressure to the areas which have been glued. so that you can add it in greater comfort. If you are planning to use decoration made of synthetic materials.this is extremely important. if their length and breadth are almost the same. Finish off by putting the second large panel in place (diagram F).the pieces may not fit together properly. then empty the tank and leave it to dry.6. Place the aquarium on an absolutely flat surface and pour in water. to check whether it is watertight. Once you are through. 7. 13. If the aquarium leaks. leave to dry. scrape off the glue with a cutter. Make sure you do not damage the parts you previously smoothed down. unstick. . but there is no point in rushing: bad gluing can have disastrous consequences for the stability and watertightness of the tank. 8. do not put the front pane in place straight-away. and smooth down the glue (diagram H). making sure to extend beyond both edges of the source of the leak. . Moisten a finger in the receptacle containing water. 9. to eliminate any air bubbles . then smooth down the glue on the inside of the aquarium. the three main ones are: . Use the sticky tape on the outer side to keep the four vertical panes upright (diagram G). Glue the reinforcements. The whole gluing process must be finished in 3 min­ utes. In the latter two cases.

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

.EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES Intensity of the light The total intensity provided by the light­ ing is an extremely important factor. As a general rule. Light is recognized as being important for plants.the water. Loss of light The further away the light source. and a final part is diffused by suspended sedi­ ment. the greater the loss in: . Part of the light is reflected by the surface of the water. however. that some light is lost.keep the aquarium lid spotless.the lighting hood. It is inevitable. you must: . another part is absorbed (the deeper the aquarium. and as a result many aquariums are under-lit. as plants must be provided the amount of light they need to grow in this artificial environment. and also for marine invertebrates. . particularly if the beams have to travel long distances. 227 . which can be detrimental to the growth of small plants. It is estimated that the bed only receives 20-30% of the total light.recover as much as you can in the hood through reflection.the glass lid covering the aquarium. In order to reduce the loss of light. the use of fluorescent tubes is generally recommended for water up to a height of 0.5 m. . It is unusual to find cases of overlighting. It must be sufficiently strong to reach the bottom of the aquarium. The tables on the following pages give the indications required for obtaining an opti­ mum amount of light for your aquarium. The importance of the intensity of light (expressed. for the sake of simplicity. in watts) is often under­ estimated. the greater the importance of the absorbed light).

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


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

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

then there is a space on both sides. The use of programmed electrical clocks facilitates this operation. which is far too much. regional East African tank Sparsely planted freshwater tank. making sure that they are arranged to cover the whole surface of the tank and that their total intensity is sufficient. according to some standard dimensions. Here are some indications for water of a maximum depth of 0.TECHNIQUES GOOD LIGHTING REQUIRES GOOD INSTALLATION The positioning of fluorescent tubes in a hood The fluorescent tubes must be distributed with. 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. sea water without invertebrates or plants Sea water with Anthozoans (corals. How many fluorescent tubes are needed for good illumination? • The number of tubes required depends on their intensity and the size of the aquarium. It does not especially harm the fish. the length of the tubes matches that of the aquarium. A partial solution to this problem is alternating the position of the tubes along the sides (diagram 2). and is particu­ larly conducive to the development of algae. the aquarium will receive the light of the new . but it nevertheless changes the balance of the aquarium. Another option is the use of tubes of different lengths. which can be harmful to some fish in the aquarium. for example). and particularly avoids any abrupt and unnatural transition from dark to light. optimally. 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. marine tank with plants Densely planted freshwater tank (Dutch aquarium. although it is notice­ able that the sides of the aquarium receive a little less light than the center or the front and back. which can occur in commercial aquariums with unusual dimensions. 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. If the tubes are all centered.5 m: Normally planted freshwater tank. Problems arise when the tubes are markedly shorter than the tank. In the fitted aquariums that are commercially available. a distance of 8-10 cm between them (diagram 1). In this way. which may disadvantage plants on the sides of the tank. or in homemade ones.

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

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

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

if it happens to get jammed. . a single diffuser with a moderate out­ put is sufficient. H O W MANY DIFFUSERS IN AN AQUARIUM? This depends on the volume and type of aquarium.For a tank of 100-150 liters. or the pump away from the tank. They have the disadvantage of floating. to allow a slight controlled escape of air (this solution is effective only in some pumps). for example. or algae after they have been in use for a while. normally planted. as an aquarium is generally appre­ ciated for the impression of silence and serenity that it creates. and this can sometimes be irri­ tating when the aquarium is situated in a bedroom or other inhab­ ited room. . Y. or also a filter­ plate. use one diffuser for every 75-100 liters. shaped in the form of a T. There are several ways of reducing this noise: . There are several types of air distribu­ tion pipes. with a sufficiently long aera­ tion pipe (an air pump often goes unnoticed in a sea water. to avoid any unpleasant surprises.make a support for the pump. which may seem a nuisance. . it will not be completely flattened and will still allow a lit­ tle air to pass through.if the output of the pump cannot be regulated. in natural or artificial materi­ als. if the tank is sparsely planted. at top intensity. The most practical ones are made of REDUCING THE NOISE OF THE AIR PUMP Some pumps are noisier than others. microporous or ceramic materials. • Small accessories There is a wide range of diffusers on the market: rectangular or cylindrical. • 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. It is best to choose one that is fairly stiff. in fresh water. so they must be held down. through the use of shunts. for example. of which the most com­ mon diameters are 4-6 mm. or not planted at all).beyond that. making it possible to increase or decrease the volume of air produced. 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. 236 . . as. Always buy a piece of tube longer than you need. .TECHNIQUES amount of noise. The output of some pumps can be regulated. . make it possible for a single pump to supply several diffusers. • The air distribution pipe • A single pump can feed several diffusers. where its noise blends in with other household appliances). in a cupboard. salt. These produce very fine bubbles and can be cleaned easily when they get clogged up. Connectors. Various small accessories complement the main items. using a small wooden board on a block of foam. Do not forget that diffusers will become encrusted with calcium. make a shunt with a faucet on the end. of varying degrees of rigidity. with a stone. in the same tank or in different ones.enclose the pump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


In the case of marine aquariums. THE REAL POWER OF A PUMP Here is an example based on a 1. before being pumped back into the aquarium. 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. Some manufacturers market small internal wet-dry filters. 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. they are sometimes used merely to circulate the water. which corresponds to a flow reversal height of 0.the maximum flow. . a very slight curve should be visible. • 245 . capable of reversing the flow to a height of 1 m: In fact. Manufacturers supply two figures for every pump: .EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES PRINCIPLE OF WET-DRY FILTER PLACED UNDER THE AQUARIUM filtering medium. or simply surrounded by a block of foam. which are intended for aquariums of a maximum volume of around 200 liters.the maximum water height to which the pump can take the water. • A pump's power There are several brands of pump and various levels of power. The real power of a pump actually depends on the height of the water. corresponding to a flow close to 0. PUMPS Pumps are used for box or wet-dry filters.000 liters/hour pump model.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• The lighting can be controlled automatically with a small electric timer. Likewise. then you must prepare daily doses of dry food and leave him or her some instruc­ tions. on the other hand. tem­ perature. . This only applies to adults. .switch on the automatic lighting system and. as it avoids any excessive increase in the tempera­ ture. If your friend is not a hobbyist. (However. nitrites. . any leaves that are start­ ing to rot. Plants can go with­ out lighting for one week. in order to avoid any overfeeding. but marine fish.prefer­ ably another aquarist who will monitor the feeding and the aquarium just as you would.check the pH. . especially for vacations. and certain precautions must be taken. 257 . which can only be used with dry food. an automatic food distributor. Vacations •Before leaving: .clean the filtering media and panes.A BALANCED AQUARIUM Maintaining the vegetation When you are siphoning on the bed. • When you get back: . as the fry must always be fed on a regular basis. generally sufficient).give the fish smaller portions of food than normal . or density.slightly overfeed the fish for a few days before your departure. one or two visits a week being The use of batteries makes some food distributors automatic and very practical. hardness. . .the first consists of using an automatic food distributor controlled by a timer. you must remove any dead leaves that may have fallen.change 5-10% of the water every day for a few days. do the siphoning. if you are using it. This is particularly relevant in summer. vegeta­ tion). Freshwater fish can go without food for two weeks. When the plants need a new lease of life.and gradually increase these amounts until they reach the usual level. It is therefore advisable to install an automatic timer that will switch the aquarium lighting on and off at spe­ cific times. with a razor blade or scissors. you can take cuttings or use another means of vegetative multiplication.switch off the auto­ matic devices and gener­ ally put the tank in order (siphoning. 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 . or even three in the most robust species. .if possible including live prey or fresh food . Short absences do not represent a prob­ lem. cannot endure fasting for more than a week. .put the vegetation in order by trimming the plants and taking cuttings. 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.check the equipment. A long absence There are two options for a long absence: . panes. which will have repercussions on the aquarium. the instructions on the pack will tell you how often and at what rate each product needs to be added.increase the frequency (but not the quantity) of water changes. filtering media. You can also add plants with fine leaves for her­ bivorous fish. • Automatic food distributor with a mains connection. this friend will not be obliged to drop by your home every day. . but after any longer period they turn yellow and grad­ ually wither. Liquid or solid fertilizer should be added regularly.make a final check the night or morning before you leave. if they are not going to receive any other food. cut off. .

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

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

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

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

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

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

However. it must not modify the characteristics of the water. 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). laying their eggs on ver­ tical or horizontal rocks. Caulerpae. The material used. • Decor based on plant material: peat-bog roots and willow branches. i. the decor gives them physical ref­ erence points. do not for­ get that the decor must be put in place before the bed is laid. except in rare cases. The decor also provides a support for certain types of vegetation: ferns and moss in fresh water.and the pleasure derived from a beautiful scene is surely one of the main satisfactions of fishkeeping. It must be attached to elements in the decor. Even if the residents do not make use of the shel­ ter provided. in freshwater tanks that are densely planted. thereby providing a backdrop and bringing harmony to the aquarium overall. must be neutral. Main characteristics of decor Apart from the search for a visual effect and a natural look. which like to re­ arrange the furniture. which allow some species to mark out their territory. • 264 .DECOR AND BACKGROUND The decor is extremely important. Of course. for example . Shy fish look for permanent hideaways in it. and easy to maintain.e. The same method can also be used to test sand. which is caused by the release of car­ bon dioxide. and in marine tanks. as it exerts a decisive influence on the visual impact of the aquarium . although it will be a great deal less if you are using artifi­ cial materials. 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. In sea water. and make sure that the overall effect still has a natural look. These observations are equally applicable to invertebrates. 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. If a slight efferves­ cence does occur. do not get carried away. Once again. and cut off the rear corners. Finally. while others find the refuge they need to reproduce. When an anemone is first introduced into an aquarium. DECOR: A VITAL ELEMENT IN AN AQUARIUM The role of decor Decor is necessary for some animals and plants to feel at home. accessible. Calculate for an average of 60 kg per square meter.Anthozoans. It must also be solid enough to resist fish like Cichlids. this means that the rock contains calcium. mask the glass panes. the decor increases the weight of the aquarium. some rules must be respected when you are designing your decor. the decor allows you to hide equipment. and other algae in sea water. the decor can sometimes serve as a support for the invertebrates that live attached to it. it is not unusual to see it move around before establishing itself in the spot best suited to it. some of which . Dutch aquarium style.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The fish living in it (the Poeciliid family) will soon reproduce if the conditions are right. reconstitutes a freshwater Central American environment. You can then move on to the true livebearers coming from the same geographical region: Anieca splendens and Xenotoca eiseni. 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. 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.

YOUR TANK SOUTH-EAST ASIAN TANK T his tank must be well planted. 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. You can add a touch of originality by introducing some transparent species: the glass perch (Chanda ranga) or the glass Silurid (Kryptopterus bicirrhis). 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. .

For Lake Malawi. These reproduce through mouth brooding. Rocks . you can introduce the Cyprinodontid Lamprichthys tanganicanus or a species of Lamprologus. 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. you can add species of the Haplochromis genus. For Lake Tanganyika.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. which takes refuge in a gastropod shell. polyurethane and polystyrene can also prove very effective for fulfilling the same purpose.

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

MD 20891.en. American Aquarist Society. The Hobbyist's Guide to the Natural Aquarium.39 in 3 3 ft or 1. Federation of American Aquarium Societies. PO Box Plants: www.2 59. NY 13802-0373. 2 Telephone Road. PO Box Darcy and Robert Folzenlogen. Dick Mills. Sala­ mander Books. The Practical Encyclopedia of the Marine Aquarium. Massachussets. F. netvet. Axelrod. England. Reef Fish: Behaviour and Ecology on the Reef and in the Aquarium.04 x 10 . A Guide to American Zoos and Aquariums. T. E-mail: aquarium@calacademy. Aqua Documenta. Silver Spring. Willow Press. The Association of Aquarists. Burgess. MD.6 55. PO Box 67. Suite General Information: www. Scotland E-mail: deepsea@sol. Sala­ mander Books.6 73. USA.04 oz 2.6 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. Volumes One and Michigan 48910.4 57. Warren. 64th Street. Dick Mills. Florida. E-mail: info@londonaquarium. Sheffield. IN 46220-4728. USA. Julian Sprung and J. Walls. A Fishkeeper's Guide to Fish Breeding. Kensington. Dean Puterbaugh and Eric Borneman.actwin. Federation of British Aquatic Societies. International Marine Aquarist Invertebrates: www.6 64. and Jerry G. Tampa. Hampshire.calacademy.0 78. Wickford. Nick Dakin. International Aquarium Society. Somerset TA19 9BY. Deep-Sea World. USA. tropica. Our Native Fishes: The Aquarium Hobbyist's Guide to Obser­ ving. 2 Cedar Avenue. North American Fish Breeders' Guild.cgi Aquarian Advisory Society. Public Aquariums Steinhart Aquarium. Chris Andrews. Salamander Books. The Reef Aquarium. E-mail: akaq@ngpc. Maine.8 53.22 UK gal/0. PO Box 2304.2 68. North American Fresh­ water and Marine Fishes. 3901 Hatch Boulevard. Neal Pronek. A Popular Guide to Tropical Aquarium Fishes. North American Native Fishes Association. 4816 E. West Yorkshire HX5 OSJ. USA.3 oz 0. Salamander Books. Portsmouth. Elland. www.26 US gal 0.petswarehouse. Nebraska.0 69. A Fishkeeper's Guide to Aquarium Plants. Bartholomew. Axelrod's Atlas of Aquarium Fishes. Aquatic Gardeners' Association. Fife. Lansing. Essex SS12 9DT. London. Charles Delbeek.6 Associations American Zoo and Aquarium Florida New England INFORMATION BIBLIOGRAPHY Dr.4 84. Indianapolis. USA.4 75.1 yd 0.wustl. E-mail: Aksarben Aquarium and Nature Center. England. E-mail: webmaster@neaq. London Aquarium.state.2 77. Collecting and Keeping Them. CONVERSIONS Capacity: 1 L = Weight: 1 mg = 1g = 1 kg = Length: 1 mm = 1 cm = 1m = 1 km = 0. H. E. The Countryman Press. Thresher. San Francisco. England. Herbert R.8 80. John R. The Optimum Aquarium. Barry James. England. 83 Cathcart Street.2 86.8 62.0 51. Salamander Books. USEFUL ADDRESSES Resources Catalog of Fish Species: www. England.0 60. Ronald E. Alabama. Boston. Crystal Graphics.2 lb 0. Kaspar Horst and Horst Kipper. California.8 71. Ilmins­ ter. Ricordea Publishing.0 To convert Celsius into Fahrenheit: (9/5 x °C) + 32 282 . Chris Andrews. 905 Alden.04 in 0. London. 8403 Colesville Road. A Practical Guide to Corals for the Reef Aquarium.4 66. The Book of the Marine Aquarium. Tetra Press.

46. 183 discus. 171. 263. 233. 212 ulvaceus. 15. 118 Astronotus ocellatus. 138 Gray poma. 170. 212 henkelianus. 134 Meyer's. 21. 166. 167. 133 Longnose. 139 Lamarck angel. 178 Balistoides conspicillum. 136 African. 148 rufus.28. 137 Deep. 143 Ampullaria. 242. 202 gramineus. 266 Breeds. 215 Caulerpaceae. 81 Anthozoa.53. 19. 173. 247. 84 rerio. 279 Black ruby.91. 157 meleagris. 202. 89 semicinctus. 178.260 introduction of fish into. 143 ocellaris. 83. 12. 86. 96 gardneri. 48. 91 Bandit.26. 139 Flame. 65 Bumblebee fish. 165. 262 Barbodes everetti. Red tail. 94 Belontiidae. 130 Anthilidae. 139 Japanese swallow. strains. 161 Blenniidae. 46 Ancanthuridae.82. 150 lineatus. 110 ramirezi see Papiliochromis r. 88 kuhli kuhli. 138 Gray. 105 burtoni. 281 taxi folia. 165. 169.67. 265 Bass Dwarf. 170. 98 marmoratum. 184 Actinia. 105. 135 Raccoon. 232. 183 sea. 169. 243. 92 Bromide. 207. 202 Dwarf. 236 Air-lift. 83 Barbus oligolepis. 130 Antibiotics. 169. 64. 84 frankei. 116 Annelida. 141 Cephalopholis 283 . 174. 213. 46. 83. 214. 183 clarkii. 211 Aiptasia. 161. 57. 134 Cabomba. 96 australe. 155 Spotted. 207 Amaryllidaceae. 281 sertularoides. 96 Walker's. 54. 159. 120. 166. 76 Anostomidae. 178 Apolemichthys trimaculatus. 135 Four-spot. 171. 170. 71 regional. 165. 110 Atherinidae. 91 Ghost. 150 soha/. 48. 62. 140 ferrugatus. 250 cornutus.. 181. 132 Banded. 186 Blennie. 184 Caulerpa. 137 Potter's. 155 Yellow. 136 Blueface. 72. 206. 93 Leopard. 82. 89 modesta. 150 japonicus. 208 heterophylla. 32.70. 205 Ameca splendens.280 Bacopa caroliniana. 272 hospital. 70. 26 Bubble-eyes. 44. 236. 215. 206 Artemia salina. 157 hispidus. 142 akallopisos. Chinese. 215.. 184 glass. 212 Aquarium filling of. 156 Canthigasteridae. 277 quarantine. 172. 120 Anampses chrysocephalus. 139 Bicolor. 158 True. 214 reineckii. 141 French. 73. 108 Dwarf.279 moluccensis. 141 Purple moon. 135 Black and white. 80. 193. 83 Checker. 208 Congo. 76 Glass. 155 Brachydanio albolineatus. 38. 139 Lemonpeel. 265 Caryophylliidae. 144 colonial. 202. African. 89 lohachata. 198 Mediterranean. 49. 210. 181 Aulonocara nyassae. 82. 202 Bacteria. 212 fenestralis. 132. 143 perideraion. 213 Amazon. 260. 92 Skunk. 135 Masked. 93 Bronze. 251 114. 279 Carassius auratus. 83 T-barb. 247. 33 Koi. 61 Scalefin. 91 Black-bellied upside-down. 153 Balistes vetula. 164. 83 tetrazona. 137 Annularis. 184 Auriga. 37. 18. 140 bicolor. 251. 158 Canthigaster margaritatus. 214 crispus. 96 sjoestedti. 169. 87 Bubble nest. 200. 79 Bodianus mesothorax.226. 175. 192.215.46. 180 Anabantidae. 45. 192. 14. 199. 137. 202 monnieri. 65. 141 potteri. 105. 220 final preparations of. 264. Asfur. 278 aquatica. 133 Pennant. 138 Queen. 183 Air distribution pipe. 92. 156. 73 Brine shrimp. 215 Centropomidae. 184 Acroporids.250. 263. 212 ulva. 231. 260. 103 Ammonia. 157 Arrowhead. 142 bicinctus. 214 longifolia. 148 Anatomy. 105. 24. 142. 83 titteya. 110 Aeration. 281 Feathery. 108. 98 panchax. 252. 151 Acara Blue. 125 Arothron citrinellus. 96 bivattatum. 140 Black velvet. 35. 150. 265. 83 Half-striped. 83 schwanenfeldi. 209 Giant. 211. 182 Angelfish. 133 Red-tailed. 56. 168. 16. 215 Mediterranean. 35. 180. 178 Calloplesiops altivelis. 237. 212. 178 Carp. 240. 87 Common. 56 Arusetta asfur. 58. 240. 82 Barbel. 89 kuhli.22. 92 Three-striped glass. 212 Archer fish. 178 Blockhead.. 89 kuhli sumatranus. 83 semifasciolatus. 177. 38. 158 Batfish. 89 Acanthopsis choirorhyncus. 169. 18. 45. 153. 84 Brachygobius xanthozona. 133 Red Sea. 193. 92 Acanthophthalmus. 87 Catfish. 82 pentazona. 264 Anthia. 209 Pygmy. 105 curviceps. 273 Aglaonema. 208 Anubias.200. 109 agassizi. 128 Aequidens. 38.236. 140 Eibl's. 249. 262 Bedotiageayi. 83 Rosy. 210 Botia. 105.82 Barclaya. 56. 208. 72.68. 89 striata. 141 Flame back. 212 Madagascar laceleaf. 139 Half-black. 89 macracantha.20. 182. 164. 141 heraldi. 195. 82 Spanner. 138 Rock beauty. 208 Dwarf. 144 Actinodiscus sp. 266 Barb. 139 Aspidontus taeniatus. 134 Vagabond. 118 Acidity. 133 Copperband. 110 maroni. 83 pentazona. 94 Atya. 230. 206. 140 Singapore. 262. 159 Bed. 214 Aquaterrarium. 196. 134 Dot-dash. 264 filamentous. 124 Butterfly fish. 207 Amaranthaceae. 193 Ancistrus sp. 96 Two-striped. 155 Talking. 257 Abudefduf saxatilis.27. 83 Clown.21. 214 calamus. 96 Apistogramma. 69.83 Tinfoil. 171. 89 Boxfish. 13 Alismataceae. 89 Acanthuridae. 136 Yellow. 193. 171. 185 Alkalinity. 183. 87 Carnegiella strigata.265 Bivalves. 13. 15. 141 loriculus. 274. 202 temperate water. 143 sebae. 47. 33. 82 Schwanenfeld's. 139 Aponogeton. 83 Green. 172. 93 Twig. 110 Red. 134 Lemon. 195 undesirable. 145. 279 fir/gas. 33. 175 Bristlenose. 72. 55. 178. 110 pulcher. 239. 68 Anubias Barter's. 13. 88 Balistapus undulatus. 29. 147 Astatotilapia. 157 nigropunctatus. 150 leucosternon. 203 water. 169. 182 Actinia equina. 208 Aphyocharax anisitsi. 166.20. 42. 153 Balistidae. 141 vroliki. 178 Acanthurus achilles. 148 Bolbitis. 259. 19. 192. 194 Algae-eater. 73.72. 212 Aponogetonaceae. 142. 122. 170 planktonic. 235. 212 madagascariensis. 176. 199. 36. 215 prolifera. 91 Shovel-nose. 119 Bloodfin. 159.A Absence of aquarist. 121 Betta splendens.71. 139 xanthurus. 155. 214 micro-. 140 flavissimus. 143 percula. 214 heudelotii. 110 cacatuoides. 209 Alternanthera. 258. 166. 232. 35. 64. 143 ephippium. 153 Bamboo. 207 Narrow leaf. 203. 13 Acorus. 30. 138 Raccoon.26. 156 valentini. 141 Animal-flower. 213. 154 Annectens. 92 Carbon dioxide. 177. 246. 192. 82 Cherry. 175. 138 Flagfin. 148 Anampses. 249. 272 Algae. 235. 247. 197. 89 Spotted. 142 frenatus. 96 walkeri. 55. 49. 47. 105. 45. 146 Acanthaceae. and varieties. 133 Pakistani. 207 sessilis. Amphibian. 209 Ambulia aquatic. 176.214 barter!. 184 Active carbon. 214 Araceae. 37. 83 Five-banded. 81 Cardinals. 43. 140 eiblii. 92 Alcyonaria. 203 Cabombaceae. 193 Anemone. 205 heterophyllous. 97 lineatus. 89 myersi. 93 Glass. 143. 203 Calcium. 155 Aeneus. 175.254. 272 enriched. 34. 185 Alcyoniidae. 178 Capoeta. 17. 82. 202 Acropora sp. 86. 83 Golden. 164 Anisotremus virginicus. 50. 123 Centropyge acanthops. 72 schuberti. 192. 202. 33 Amphiprion. 72. 238. 254. 140 Emperor. 120 Biotope. 141 Indian ocean. 175 Anoptichthys jordani.232. 263. 258. 159. 199. 105. 76 Aphyosemion. 141 Majestic. 265 Callichthyidae. 145. 204 Acanthodoras spinosissimus. 90 Striped.251. 208. 66. 83 Tiger. 275 Balantiocheilus melanopterus. 72. 135. 15. 90. 135 Black back. Aplocheilus. 209 Dwarf. 42. 132 Spot fin. 183. 137 Rusty. 136 coloring of juveniles.264. 72. 33.229. 128 spinifer. 221. 96 Gery's. 281 associated with clownfish. 259. 90 Callionymidae. 202 Green. 279 Basalt. 33. 56 proliferation of. 124 Branchiae. 168. 279 horae. 98 Apogonidae.

36. 130 urodelus. 116 Triangle. 252. with electric motor. 156. 210 Elodea. 105 breeding.218. 247. 214 natans. 108 Crown jewel. 56. 240 reverse-flow under-gravel. 268. 146 trimaculatus. 160 Orange-spotted. 281 Bubble. 257 solid. Corallium rubrum. 248. 44. 116 Endosymbiosis. 261. 84 Zebra. 42. 249 Filter. 67. 67 treatment of. 171. 70 Cryptocoryne balansae. 72. 272 emergency foam. 238. 168 Soft. 200 Cyanophyceae. 200. 145 Three-stripe. 88. Siamese. 172. 144. 63. 249 submerged with electric motor. 165. 117 Malawi golden. 130 miniatus. 238 biological. 65 scattered. 137 xanthometopon. 132. 91. 166. 155 Crab. 105. Spiny. 193 Chanda ranga. 209 maior. 181 Crinum. 210 thalictroides. 106 Chameleon. 177. 208 Balansa's beckettii. 228. 181. 195 Ephippidae. 53 Dascyllus aruanus. 49. 199. 261. 203. 84 Pearl. 116 Midas. 175. 133 fasciatus. 143 Pink skunk. 63 laying of. 195. 178 Classification of living beings. 107 Dendrochirus zebra. 145 Blue-green. 97 annulatus. 90 Black-sail. 177 Crawfish. 271. 120. 214 Codium bursa. 26. 156 Diodontidae. 254 Clownfish 61. 67 Fern. 147 True. 210 Fertilizer. 61. 35. 91 Peppered. 165. 153 Crustaceans.200. 244 in sea water. 196 Javan. 194. 250 bacterial. Blue-faced. 279 crispatula Siamese. 26. 250. 28. 176. 69. 253. 62 of African Cichlids. 274 Congo. 108 Blackbelt. 73 adhesive. 204 Elephant-nose. 105 fact and fiction concerning. 278 South-East Asia. 109. 63. 89 Cockle.57. 115 Copper. 177. 48 Eye-biter. 160. 60. 157 Dollar. 197. 228. 185 Red. 64 fertilizing of. 164. 105. 185 sand of. 134 quadrimaculatus. 70 Eye. 235. 208 Cryptodendrum adhesivum. 90.223. 49. 146 Blue. 71 Duboisi. 267. 177. 107 Cichlidae. 250. 106 mee/c/. 204. 21 sulfate. 107 festivum. 84 Leopard. 109 aeneus arcuatus.242. 272 with scraper. 203 Empress. 246. 209 Feather. 119 Malawi blue. 213 Cromileptes altivelis. 135 chrysurus. 136 Excretory system. see Mesonauta festivus labiatum. 183 Chaetodermis penicilligerus. 134 semilarvatus. 145 Chrysiptera paresema. 146 Echidna nebulosa. aquatic. 142 Seba's. 130 Crossbowman. 134 Chlorine. 178 Echinodorus. 91 Three-line. 186 mappa. 186 Cyprinidae. 106 cyanoguttatum. 114 jacksoni. 50. 111 Keyhole.267 Cryptocaryon disease. 68. 110 Banded. 106 Texas. 174. 241 under-gravel. 213. 91 punctatus. 93 Euxiphipops navarchus. 253 Etroplus. 145 Cichlasoma. 246 flow of. 91 paleatus. 90. 171. 122 Element. 105. 194. 28. 270 Coloring. 62. 236. 45. 209. 106 Pearl. 192.281 exterior. 80. 263. nicaraguense. 264 African species.. 16. 123 Egeria. 107 Firemouth. 94. 49. 203. 281 capistratus. 113 Flag (Aequidens curvi­ ceps). 175. 119 Chromis caerulea. 91 schwartzi. 68. 148 Echinoderms. 97 Cyperaceae. 44 Community tank. 178 Discus. 272. 84 Giant. 108. 192. 203. 108. 185 True. 209 Giant. 244. 167. 35. 161 Eel. chuna Color scale. 84 Daphnia. 62. 146 Daylight. 232. Red. 205 Feeding. 203 densa. 119 Orange. 143 Ocellaris. 237. 265. 234. 90 trilineatus. 88 siamensis 88. 248 interior fed by air. Peters's. 203 Ceratophyllum. 164. 214 cornuta. 97 bellottii. 280 marine. 183 Enteromorphs. 111 Ramirez's dwarf. 214 densa. 281 rearing. 246. 272 Digestive system. 184 Favidae. 243. 266 Coral. 171 Cuttings. 229. 117 Cockatoo dwarf. 136 mesoleucus. 208 ciliata. 185 Colisa chuna. Malawian. 61. 63. 67. 52 Codiaceae. 143 Tomato. 276 bacterial. 44. 19. 35. 235. 233 Eleocharis. 169. 169 Enometoplus sp. Parrot's. 143 Maroon. 107 biocellatum. 166. 168 Leather. 44. 171 Cobitidae. 237. octofas­ ciatum citrinellum. 194. 184 Density see Specific gravity Dermogenys pusillus. 71. 67. 142 Cnidaria. 118 Festive. 92 Favia. 64. 144 Copadichromis boadzulu. 90 Cowfish. 239. 208 cordata. 203 Eggs. 264. 63. 62. 84. 250. 173. 67. 203 Cheirodon axelrodi. 178. 119 Eutropiellus debauwi. 90 metae. 168 power of. 72 Clay. 184 crushed. 111 Two-spot. 243. 60. 214 demersum. 132. 174. 241 gutter. 73. 193. 281 associated with anemone. 43. 72. 273 284 . 186. 274 artificial. 66. 103 Devil. 142. 66. 111 American species. see C. see Thorichthys m. 105 maculatus. 208 Undulated. 214 minima. 240 interior. 106 synspilum. 264.argus. 209 Ecsenius sp. 67 Dogface. 34. 133 melannotus. 257 of fry. 269. 213. 108 Salvin's. 248. 111 Cypraea. 247 Cleaner False. 109 Heckel. 194. 133 lunula. dead. 90. 123. 105. 119 suratensis. 214 azurea. 174. 256 Dropsy. 145 Black-tailed. 208 Beckett's. 107 salvini.225. 120 lalia. 177 Entacmaea quadricolor. 142 Red saddle. 208. 183. 213 Eigenmannia virescens. 165. 117 Chocolate. 63 Eichhornia. 211 Dragonette. 168. 35. 107 Five-barred. 215 Chlorophytum. 203 Dense. 108. 234 electric heating. 230. 249 external. 279 Condylactis gigantea. 106 Asian species. 88 Cypriniformes. 208 Ciliated. 144 Clark's. 82.. 166. 200 floating. 64. 98 Equipment. 257 Fighting fish. 210 Sumatran. 170. 147 Corydoras. 146 formosa. 280 Cyrtocara moorii. 133 meyeri. 249. 63. 152 Dendrophylliidae. 272. 60. 239. 177. 45. 82. 279 aequipinnatus. 214 Felt ball. 176 Lobster. 106 crassum. 214 Coelenterates. 88. 238. 255. 104 Cirrhitidae. 47 Dimidiochromis compressi­ ceps. 90. 256. 186 tigris. 42. 91 melanistius. 120 labiosa. 213 Crinum. 260. 214 amazonicus. 115 Danio. 84 Striped. 213 crassipes. 238. longhorn. 248. 184 Feather Foil. 95. 105. 248 external. 263 bimaculatum. 160 Filtration. 24. 214 vermilara. 19. 204 vivapara. 107 Diatom. 132 collare. 134 punctatofasciatus. 174. 240. 184 Corallimorpharia. 47 Exophthalmus. 90 julii. 194. checking of. 26 Chlorophyceae. 159 Drip. 106 Cobalt blue. 178. 167. 214 canadensis. 182. 242. 266. 204 Cyphotilapia frontosa. 186 geographical. 238. 241. 160 Tassled. 135 Chaetodonplus melanosoma.272. 108 Cichlid Agassiz's dwarf. 68 non-infectious. 145 Domino. 104. 244 color varieties of. 109 Diseases. 209 tenellus. 146 gaimard. 38. 14 Colored background. 200. 214 Felt. 143 Two-banded. 65.71. 120 fasciata. 143 Skunk. 219. 135. 244. 167. 114 Duckweed. 146 Red. 69. Jack. 116 Golden dwarf. 249 mechanical. with electric motor. 238. 107 Trewavas Malawi. 113 Damsel Azure. 108 octofasciatum. 109. 43. 110 Convict. 60. 185 Coris angulata. 35. 144 Ctenaria. 211 Chromide. 191. 178 Epiplatys. 273. 209 quadricostatus. 97 nigripinnis. 194 Diffuser. 122 Farlowella sp. 90 Schwartz's. 182. 269 Decoration. 210 Cerianthus sp. 81 Doradidae. 73. 245. 168. 133 ocellatus. 262. 249. Silver. 203 Ceratopteris. 107 nigrofasciatum. 279 Characidae. 70. 272 box. 64. 259. 221. see C. 173. 130 Ceratophyll. 164.66. 280. 65. 215 Epalzeorhyncus. 92 Dracaena. 197 liquid. 115 Diodon hystrix. 192 South American. 72 Cyprinodontidae. 121 File fish. 258. 193 kallopterus. 160 Chaetodon. 181 Louisiana. 195 Dempsey. 170.68. 147 Cleaning of glass panes. 252. 65. 240. 235. 106 Lionhead. 110 Lemon. Banded. 178. 253 of tank. 56 under-. 119 behavior of. 176. 136 Chaetodontidae. 231 Decor.. 132 aur/ga. 134 vagabundus. 90 Black-spotted. 159. 107 maculicauda. 50. 133. 183. 115 107 Fuelleborn's. 76 Chelmon rostratus. 133 miliaris. 218 Deflector. 166. 121 sofa. 76. 120. 110 Redheaded. 268. 110 Flag (Mesonauta festivus). 47 grid for protection of. 146 Electric blue. 246.. 194 Cynolebias. 243 interior.

63. 184 pruvoti. 42 pectoral. 204 Hygrophila. 100. 105. 205 Lumphead. 65. 61. 111 steindachneri. 26. 43 anal. 86 Labeotropheus. 118 Hemigrammus bleheri. 204 difformis. 103 Gorgonia. 169. 78. 16. 175. 112 Dickfeld's. 131 Shy. 147 Goniopora sp. 89 Orange-finned. 152 sting of. 130 White line. 148 Light. Malayan. 257 Malachite green. 245. 173. 121 Helostomatidae 121 Hemichromis. 177. 77 ocellifer. 119 Lamp discharge. 98 Walker's. 152 Livebearer. 87 Goodeid Butterfly. 42. 37. 158 Royal. 244. 114 Mandarin. 205. Lyretail. 214. 196. 96 Guppy. 145 Glue. 121 Gramma. 265 carbonate. Blue. 178 Granule size. silicone. 89 Hora's. 157. 52 planktonic. 196. 161 Goldfish. 16. 127 for beginners. 52 frozen. 251 Leporinus striatus.230. 204 zosterifolia. 71 Fox. 44 Kennyi. Blue. 81 Silver. 207 Fish. pearly. 70 Ichtyophthyriasis. 89 Jawfish. 161 fire. 100. 88. 87 Kribensis. 233. 167. 186 Lythraceae. Blue. 252. 182 Hippocampus kuda.. 56. 257. 105. 62. 69. 131 gummigutta. 42. 105 Hardness. 67 artificial. 87 Japanese veiltail. 278 alternifolia. 171 Hygro Giant. 198. 154 Halfbeak. 112 Striped. 22. 221. Spanish. 128. 100. 100. 178 Labroides dimidiatus. 95. 168. 76 Gyrinocheilidae. 116 Labridae. 265 Layering. 123 Lebiasinidae. 261 Clown. 211 Hypoplectrus gemma. 64 caudal. 247. 42. 204 Gravel. 246. 166. 105 moorii. 116 trewavasae. 145 hemicyaneus. 222 Gluing. 67. 154 Gularis. 230 Lighting. 88 Foxface. 278 dubia. 15. 159 Manganese. 86 Gomphosus coerulus. 174. 257 Holocentridae. 240. 42.69. 193 plecostomus. 121 Sunset variety. 70 adipose. 202 Ichthyophthirius. 210 Lemnaceae. 209 HQI. 166. 251. 45 Glass. 42 paired. 99 Spotted. 203 Star. 246. 46. 238. successive. African. 152 Radiata. 103. 241. 105 boadzulu. 178 Hottonia. 86 frenatus. 181 rosenbergii. 197. 53. 96. 71 Idol. 240. 260 Grass Eel. 96 Knifefish. 254. 215 Hippuhdaceae. 205 Lionfish Antenna. 87 Telescope-eyed. 131 Indigo. 99 Haemulidae. 214 vulgaris. 174 flakes. 87 varieties of. 183. 77 erythrozonus. 16. 248 Filtering media.wet/dry. 105. 114. 280 ahli. 149 Loach. 121 Dwarf. 228 halogen. 42. 279 bicolor. 48 Hydrometer. 58. 16 French degrees of. 199. 210 minor. 36. 274 Lo vulpinus. 25 Clark's degrees of. 112 Lateral line. 103 Halimeda tuna. 183 aurora. 55. 258 cleaning of. 205 Lutjanidae. 230 Hush puppy. 105 Haplochromis. 21 Maerl. 114 Lake Victoria. 59 "Live rock". 103 Heniochus diphreutes. 93. 51 freeze-dried. 148 Holacanthus ciliaris. 273 Helostoma temmincki. 122 Gobiidae. 178 Lutjanus kasmira. 264 Iron. 115 Lusimakhos (False). Sweet. 56 maturing of. 144. 160 Head. 213 Purple. 18. 113. 18. 112 transcriptus. 157 Hybrid. 192. 193 aymonieri. 105 annectens. 226. 251 Hydrozoa. 250. 81 Hawk. 105. 280 Lamprologus. 190 Hydrocharitaceae. 105. 204 Hyphessobrycon bentosi. 228 UV. 78 callistus. 58. 259. 182 Heteranthera. 222 Glassfish. 70. 16 general. 192 feeding of. 184 Gambusia affinis. 69. 279 corymbosa. 78 serpae. 121 Giant. 25. 87 Shubunkin. 209. 108 Heteractis. 73. Lake.258 Lamprichthys tanganicanus. 103 Red-tailed. 128 Lyretail. 97 Fungia sp. 277 Healthy carrier. 112 Masked. 168 incandescent. 70 Head-and tail-light fish. 100 varieties of. 62. 49 Loricariidae. 279 Half-banded. 213 Ludwig Alternate leaf. 139 lamarck. 112. 33. 112 regani. 64.59. 78 Health. 209 Hippurus . 21. 78 Hypnaceae. 204. 281 Magnesium. 53. 122 Green. 98. 198 Maintenance.251 German degrees of. 129 sanguineus. 165. 49. 177. 135 intermedius. 255. 148 Hasemania nana 77 Hatchetfish Marbled. 120 Lactoria cornuta. 135 Hermaphrodism. 120 Honey. 211 Sea. 26. 101 Gymnocorymbus ternetzi. 103 Goodeidae. 121 Pearl. 112 Marlier's. 214 gibba. 251.55. 137 Holidays of aquarist. Flying. 112 Julie Convict. 178. 185 Gourami Blue. 111 Redhump. Moorish. 38. 139 Geophagus brasiliensis. 172. 257 Glossadelphus zollingeri. 122 Indian. 158. 224 Gnathonemus petersii. 148 Hogfish. 111. 195.57. 181. 197. 43. 144 crispa. 226. 111 Fry. 206 Lythrypnus dalli. 96 Lysmata amboinensis. 78 peruvianus. 130 Growth. 247. 210 Macrobrachium. 253. 112 Coolie. 202 Food. 17. 161 Catalina. 228. 120 Three-spot. 48 dorsal. 16. 51. 16. 78 pulcher. 117 Killie/Killifish. 72. 105. 117 Lake Tanganiyka. African. 80 Striped. 60 Fundulus. 48. 237. 131 Golden. 112 marlieri. 135 Formol. 227. 144 magnifica. 122 Koi. 87 Bubble-eye. 278 feral. 184 Lettuce Water. 251. 280 dickfeldi.51. 259. 42. 215 Lienardella fasciata. 96 Tanganyika pearl. 77 Hemirhamphidae. 129 sebae. 51.55. 192 Invertebrates. 249. 280 Lamprologus. 279 Labeo. 192. 111 Gill. 177. 209. 66 Heater-thermostat. 78 herbertaxelrodi. 100. 16 parts per million. 280 ornatus. 135 varius. 60. 88. 214 inflata. 105 bimaculatus. 99 Garden pond. 127 285 . 204 guianensis. 45. 230 Limnophila. 198. 208. 180. 279 Live prey. 42. 81 Lemna. 205 Ludwigia. 89 Pakistani. 60. 204 Willow leaf. 160 Julidochromis. 42 pelvic. 205 brevipes. 249. 49 Lates niloticus. 114. 186. 30. 88 Siamese. 25. 88. 204. 234. 227. 184 Fungidae. 182. 42 Fingerfish. 128. 105. 204 Yellow-leaved. 205. 89 Zebra. 253 of the bed. 257 distribution of. 241. Cape Lopez. 131 Hypostomus. 158 Grammidae. 99. 112 Ornate. 191. 52 of natural origin. 210 Longevity. 33. 202 Water. 279 lanchasteri. 176. 52. 202. 89 Clown. 246 Grouper Black. 158 Red-spotted. 226 loss of.116 fuelleborni. 50. 211 Glyphidodontops cyaneus. 205 ascendens. 36. 233. 235 Heating. 164. 248. 149 Infusorian. 50. 254 of the vegetation. 279 Kuhli. 105 linni. 118 Lava. 90. 166. 81 Gasteropelecus sternicla. 57. 16. 92. 81 Gastropods. 181 Macropodus opercularis. 105 compressiceps. 214 aquatica. 53. 176 Goby. glass. 158 Loreto. 235. 43. 155 Lake Malawi. 77 rhodostomus. 263. 80 Leptosammia. 72. 124. 205 heterophylla. 162. 232. 176. 21 Marble. 200 Leaf fish. 61 Hems severus. 205 Rampant. 105 Linn's. 249 Fin. 131 indigo. 92 Lotus. 213 Gasteropelecidae. 248. 89 Long-nosed. 80. 170. 205 Large-petaled. 214 Haloragaceae. 59 automatic distributor of. 71 Malawi. 55 rations of. 64. 176. Coral. 67. 195 Gyrodactyliasis. 171. 146. 210. 178 Longnose. 228 HQI. 194. 45. 24. 205 Hamlet. 214. 105 electra. 152 Volitan. 123 Glass pane. 17. 86. 78 erythrostigma. 77 caudovittatus. 130 Marine beta. 30. 23. 152 Dwarf. 42 unpaired. 204 salicifolia. 233. 16 Harpfish. 161 Celestial. 56 Forcipiger flavissimus. 118 Kryptopterus bicirrhis. 184 Gonopodum. 234. 240. 186 grabhami. 204 Hexacorals.. 92 Gyrinocheilus. 209 Hog. 131 Hap. 98 Marbled. 69. 89 Lomaropsidaceae. 15. 131 Blue. 257. 195. 50.61. 214. 122 Clown. 161. 131 guttavarius. 196. 92 Hyssop Snowflake. 124 Flag. 147 Labyrinthidae. 121 Thick-lipped. 18. 77 hyanuary. 205 repens. 89 Horse-faced. 195. 87 Lionhead. 17. 274 Grunt. 243. 96 Steel-blue. 120 Kissing. 105. 80. 105. 257 hood. Deepwater. 279 Genicanthus caudovittatus. 207 Hydrodynamics. 86. 231. 149 Frontosa. 17. 63 Marine fish cohabitation between.

246. see Cichlasoma s. 154 Net. 15.254. 81 Nannostomus trifasciatus. 118 niloticus. Boehlke's. 269. 144 Rainbowfish Boeseman's. 47. 175 Poecilia. 262. 21. 183 gelam. 277. 194 Pimelodidae. 246. 44 Megalamphodus megalopterus. 16. 85 Red-tailed. 61. 92 Oxycirrhites typus. 37. 178 Monocirrhus. 92 Plectorhynchidae. 265. 19. 57. 116 crabo. 99 Sailfin. 196. 258. 97 guentheri. 80 argenteus. 117 tropheops.252. 113 multifasciatus. 51. 128 murjdan. 67. 246. 213. 226. 19. 68. 178 Pond weed. 213 Osmoser. 253. 17. 205 Myripristis jacobus. 253 Origin of fish. 137 imperator. 70 Operculum. 170 Polypordiaceae. 116 Livingstone's. 247. 69 Parazoanthus sp. 101. 80 Procamburus ciarkii. 81 Pistia. 45. 19. branchial. 259. 214 stratoites. 81 Three-lined. 238. 99 reticulata. 122 notopterus. 193. 122 Mosquito fish. 58 of brine shrimp. 198 Photosynthesis. 158. 30. 94 Lake Tebera. 98 Nothobranchius. crosses and varieties of. 46. 214 pteropus. 94 maccullochi. 158. 263 Octocorals. 157 Peacock. 70. 80 Brown-tailed. 246. 168. 240. 103. 99 Black lyretail. 249. 180 Physa sp. 53. 169 Molt. 52. 51. 192 root of. 55. 121 Parapetenia salvini. 110 Pagurid. 97 Black-finned. 92. 177 Opistognathidae. Slimy. caudal. 194 Phosphor. 191. 138 semicirculatus. 129 Plerogyra sp. 167 Remounting an aquarium. coral. 156 Reticulated. 26. 165.62. 269 epoxy. 174. 105. Canadian. 165. 113 tetracanthus.27. 178 Plexiglas. 118 Pencilfish. 210 Peacock. 128 Name common. 248 Petitella georgiae. 110 Rasbora. 13. 124 papilio. 21. 144 ritteri. 152 Pterophyllum. 202 Mussels. 79 Pristella maxillaris.238. 29. 124 Perlon. 16. 144 simplex. 250. 94 Celebes. 259. 79 Melanochromis. 174. 159 Platy. 237. 20. 99 velifera. 164. 191.36. 251. 65. 183 Parkoriaceae. 178 Polycentropsis abbreviata. 61. 26. 164. 14. 85 trilineata. 50. 94 Ramirezi. 46. 268. 122 Papiliochromis. 99. 105 mossambicus. 63. 79 Yellow-banded. 124 moorii. 16. 152 volitans. 190. English and Latin. 88 Mirror. 76 Pheophyceae. 192. 186. 267 bivalves. 123 Monodactylidae. 151 lituratus. 184 Posidonia oceanica. 172. 122 Notopterus chitala. 65. 115 Slender. 15. 144 paumotensis. 118 Dwarf Egyptian. 45 Mouthbrooder Burton's. 48. 114. 72 of genus. 124 Butterfly. 173. 21. 77 pH. 94 herbertaxelrodi. 81 Hockey-stick. 166. 115 Nemipteridae. 247. 166. 125 Stars and stripes. 214.66. 105. 118 Organic substance. 214. 192. 177 Palaemonidae. 192.254. 112 leleupi. 176. 113 Neothauma. 152 sphex. 193 vittatus. 139 Rabbitfish. 57. 212 natural. 21. 157 Pump. 129 gaterinus. 172. 98 Phenacogrammus interruptus. 166. 275 Nitrogen. 184 Pleco. 99 Yucatan sailfin. 277 Polyurethane. 19. 171. 175. 124 Murena. 118 Periopthalmus. 85 Harlequin. 63. 193. 38. 72 Nandldae. 81 Penguin. 273. 205. 168. 113 tretocephalus. 196. 80 Perch. 123 Mbuna. 200. 156 Yellow. 44. 32. 138 maculosus. 130 Pseudobalistes fuscus. 97 Peat. 165. 168. 246. 35. 247 Reproductive organ. 257. 155 Plume. 105. 264. 70 sexfasciatus.. 192. 192. 271. 27. 115 polystigma. 155 Ostraciontidae. 155 meleagris. 12. 210 Polystigma. 204. 193. 107 Methylene blue. 254. 37. 176.240. 205 Water. 178 Pomacanthus annularis. 49. 14. 144 malu. 199. 258 Peduncule. 209 Prionobrama filigera. 274 artificial. 251. 93 Piranha. 171 Meeki. 280 brevis. 204 Nomenclature. 280 auratus. 105. 196. 180 Physobrachia douglasi. 69 Metynnis. 103. 247. 148. 105. 280 zebra. 246. 141. 95.20. 276 Oscar. 81 Red-bellied. 26. 100 Poeciliidae. 160. 255. 67 286 . 160 Oxygen. 17 Ostracion cublcus. 154 Pseudochromis. 166.68. 42.71. 155. 263. 193 Panchax. 100. 252 electric injection. 168. 151 Paracheirodon innesi. 99 Short finned. 21. 270 Potability. 250 power of. 149 Race. 170. 105. 26. 111 Nannobrycon eques. 242. 253. 27. 170. 269. 75. 73 Radianthus. 114 Pearl fish Argentinian. 267. 100 Mollusks. White cloud mountain. 251. 117 socolofi. 278 Pollution. 56. 245 Puntius conchonius. 174. 101 Platygira.251. 178 Otocinclus. 85. 43. 30 Microsorium. 50. 250. 13. 117 johnanni. 115 livingstonii. 157 Valentini. 85 heteromorpha. 241. 82 PVC. 108 Puffer Figure-eight.. 58. 13. 172. 99 Pointed-mouth. 113 brichardi. 249 air..22. 28. 105. Angelicus. 47. 93 pictus. 249. 267. 280 Pomacanthidae. 280 Mucus. 55. 194. 115 Elephant-nose. 36. 21. 198. 151 Nauplius. 105 ramirezi. 186 Muskrat root. 263. 125. 184 Plesiopidae. 247 Premnas biaculeatus. 58. 125 Meleagris. 196. Nile. 178. 211 Javan. 176. 67. 128 Reef. 158 Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor. 117. 205. 85 elegans. 165 Monacanthidae. 120 elongatus. 228. 203 Pontederiaceae. 144 Phytoplankton. 34. 17. 28. 68 Primulaceae. 185 Ocyurus chrysurus. 94 Dwarf Australian. 205 Oodinium. 250 Pygoplites diacanthus. 154 Poritidae. 124 barbatus. see Papiliochromis r. 235 Oxymonacanthus longirostns. 93 Pimelodus. 124 Mormyridae. 52. 122 Nympheaea. 263 Pheasant. 98 Pangasiidae. 213 Porcupine. 252 Platax pinnatus.254 Physa.29. 94 Madagascar. 117 lombardoi. 117 Melanoides tuberculata. 114 sebae. 271.279 Mouth. 210 Milfoil. 175. 101. 164. 142. 148 Snowflake. 266 Planting pincers. 82. 19. 20. 96 Striped. 250. 29. 254. 178. 105. 111. 198. 71. 198 Pre-filtration. 103 latipinna. 21. 85 Magnificent. 15. 181 Protein. 123 Polyp.for experienced aquarists. 119 Pseudotropheus. 205 Minnow. 248.. 176 Planorbis.235. 138 paw. 20. 94 Melanotaeniidae. 66. landing. 35. 105 altum. 129 orientalis. 59 Shell.273. 100 sphenops. 56. 79 Paradise fish. 129. 61.23. 44. 116 Plankton. 53. 143 Prevention. 43 Mudskipper Blotched. 42.. Nyassa. 85 Red soldier fish. 116. 250. 180 Planorbis sp. 70 Ophiuroid. 242. 116. 118 Mouth brooding. 169. 58. 16. 64. 211. 81 Microgeophagus ramirezi. 180 Plants. 93 Pantodon buchholzi. 83 nigrofasciatus. 127 Mastacembelidae.20. 45.68. 170. 180 Melanotaenia boesemani. 93 Pangasius sutchi. 247. 65. 218 Plotosidae. 16. 235. 274 Nomaphila corymbosa. 124 Monodactylus argenteus. 118 Nile. 99 Sphenops. 117 Pterois antennata. 178 Plectorhynchus chaetodontoides. 160 Oyster. Parasite. 80. 19. 52. 55. 68. 79 Neolamprologus. 243.251. Common 156 Pork fish. 196. 213 rubra. 98 Lyretail. 279 lotus. 94 Mesonauta festivus. 79 Molly. 43. 260. 13. 218 Respiration. 22 Potassium. 22. 199. Blue. 278 aquaticum. 93 Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae. 69. 205 Spiked. 117 Medusa. 22. 211 Placidochromis electra. 275 Oxygenation. 273 Nitrate. 108 scalare. 18. 113 Nimbochromis linni. 146. 278 Variegated. 102 varieties of. 197. 123 Mastacembelus sp. 190. 116 Pseudanthias squamipinnis.253. 23. 152 radiata. 115 Polystyrene.275 choppy made of. Golden. 42 Pelvicachromis pulcher. 125 Round-spotted. 137 chrysurus. 170. 116 similis. 72 of species.22. 274 Bogor's. 210. 123 Nannacara anomala. 98 Notopterldae. 181 Panaque. 105. 110 Paracanthurus hepatus. spicatum. 197. 62. 105. 178 diadema. 174 Nemateleoths magnifica. 82 lateristriga. 115 venustus. 161 Nematobrycon palmeri. 154 Onagraceae. 99 Moss. 246. 249. 129 Odonus niger. 175. 85 Elegant. 176. 81 Naso brevirostris. 47 Resin. 148 Murenidae. 47. 60.259. 71. 160 Opistognathus aurifrons. Gunther's. 66. 136. 270 Mochokidae. 64. 62. 174 Myersi. 182. 276 Protomelas annectens. 85 Scissortail. 257. Micronutrients. 178 Murex. 280 box. 259 Reproduction.21. 33. 94 McCulloch's. 44. 89 Myriophyllum. 166. 236. 122 Pantodontidae.200. 160 Oreochromis. 255 Nitrite. 155 Plotosus lineatus. 211. 215 Poster. 192. 245. 64. 192 Leiden's. 99 Black. 45 Notho. 119 Mozambique. 269 polyester. 248. 15. 138 Pomacentridae. 262. 279 borapetensis. 54 Protein skimmer. 247. 26. 72 Nostril.

183 Squirrel fish. 151 veliferum. 151 Sohal. 78 Lemon. 149 Zebrasoma flavescens.272. 255 Transport. 249. 24. 251 mercury. 211 minima. 121 trichopterus. 122 Xenotoca eiseni. 254. 175. Lake. 214 auriculata. 151 Smooth-headed. 154 Eight-stripe. 57. 103. 77 Rummy-nose. 169. 34. 209 Water wisteria. 178. 17. 153 Picasso. 211. 102 Symphorichthys spilurus. 257. 125 reticulatus. 214 Udoteaceae. 182. 148 Red coris.. 26 Spathiphyllum.207.Fthamphichthyidae.231. 47. 266. 175.260. 168. 58 Wrasse Birdmouth.66. 234. 146 Formosa. 211 Rivulus. 56 Salvinia.101. 250. distribution and classification of. 195. 35. 128 Starfish. 147 Coris clown. 219. 213 Water sprite. 174. 108. 178 Serrasalmidae. 30. 68. 265 Shrimp. 102. 37. 97 Cuban. Lake. 196. 228. 101. 277 Terracotta. 119 mariae. 93 petricola. 148 Thayeria boehlkei. 214 Giant red. 105. 203 Water spruce. 81 Severum. 164. 166. 168. 39 Udotea. 150 Powder brown. 200. 54 287 . 77 Glowlight. 55. 25. 94 Telmatherinidae. 273. 220 Surgeonfish. 240. 152. 154 Symphysodon. 164. 183. 265 Worm. 251 external liquid crystal. 125 Schilbidae. 266 petrified. 119 Vitamin. 240. 165. 178. 50. 13. 198 Vitellin sack. 186 Trigger. 206 Rotifer. 78 Silver-tipped. 93 nigriventris. 111 UCA. 108 Shale. 175. 215 Unicom fish Longnose. 278 hospital. 151 UV sterilization. 229. 86 Red-tailed black. 72 Specific gravity. 67. 73. 77 Callistus. 22. 51. 79 Garnet. 97 cylindraceus. 90. 130. 102 varieties of. 128 Blood red. 204 Sabellastarte sp. 107 Sponge. 93 Tricolor. 276 Trichogaster leeri. 70 Water hyacinth. 170. 151 Clown. 194 fl/cc/a. 265 calcareous. 25. 90 Siphoning. 169. 28. 207 gigantea. 113 Telmatherina ladigesi. 147 Cleaner. 77 Hornet. 196. 281 dune. 115 Scleractinaria. 103 helleri. 177. 212 Species. 86 Red-finned. 105 casuarius. 38. 46 Vesicularia. 76 Tetracanthus. 185 Saururaceae. 247 volcanic. 177 Seahorse. 103. 69. 153 Rhodophyceae. 186 Stichodactyla. 175. 78 Neon. 88 Shell-dweller. 114 moorii. 263 fine. 147 Xanthichthys auromarginatus. 165. 79 Red-nose. 119 Timer electric. Even-spotted. 235. 50. 234. 125 Toxotidae. 159 Syngnathidae. 97 Rock. 202. 206. 119 Stenopus hispidus. 78 Black phantom. 129 Spotted. 263. 259. 24. 257. 233. 200. 207 Vegetative multiplication. 125 rubifrons. 205 Sea urchin. 153 Undulated. 212 Spathy. 246. 185 Sand. 183 Stoichactus.. 88 Rainbow. 115 Vertebrate. 105 aequifasciatus. Dwarf. 211. 273 Thorichthys meeki. harvesting of. 233 Toxicity. 148 Lunar. 255. 263 Loire. 80 Thermometer. 221 lid Of. 26. 19. 257 electric programmable. 119 Tiger. 184. 21. 211 Saprolegnia. 52. 260 coarse. 80. 265 Snail Apple. 154 Blue line. 233. 117 Tropheus. 144 mertensii. 149 Zanclus canescens. 93 Siluriformes. 214 Salinity. 256. 113 brichardi. 125 Trace elements. 235. 182. 150 Sweetlips. 185 Mud-. 166. 231 Vacuum cleaner. 192 Common. 184 Scorpenidae. 26. 77 Rosy. 165. 254. 259. 174. 267 Turbidity. 73. 215 Ulvaceae. 246 Roloffia. False. 204 Synodontis. 57. 129 Blue and gold longfin. 212. 54. 144 kenti. 92 Sulfur. 145 Serranidae. 275 Sergeant-major. 174 Rush. 153 Royal. 76 Buenos Aires. 174. 38. 265 Shark Bala. 227. 149 Siluridae. 76 Congo. 186. 262 Substrate. 29. 125 Scatophagus argus. 24. analysis of. 56. 276 Zanclidae. 70 Tubifex. 102 Red veiltail. 214 graminea. 153 verrucosus. 273. 279 asiatica. Striped. 171. 72. 206 sagittifolia. 129 Black-spotted. 125 Tiger. 105. 174. 25. 246. 52. 78 Cardinal. 35. 123 fluviatilis. 150 Hippo. 105. 246. 105. 178. 60. 98 occidentalis. 183 Zooxanthellae. 273. 43. 108 Scalarias. 128 Yellowtail. 129 Swim bladder. 109 Synchiropus splendidus. 36. 220. 159 Spilotum. 206 rotundifolia. 20 Toxotes jaculator.45 parasite. 58. 199 Venustus.31. 273 Sphaeramia nematoptera. 276 Xiphophorus. 53. 124 changing. 183 giganteum. 278 maculatus. 125 palembangensis. 86 Siamese. 214 dubyana. 257 Slate. 58. 186 Cleaner. 102 variatus. 207 spiralis. 56. 57. 234. 207 spiraled. 178 Scrofulariaceae. 251 Thermostat. 55. 144 Stoichactus sp. 107 Tilapia. 220. 255 Salt marsh. 151 Tanganyika. 101 montezumae.255 Salt. 32. 68 mineral. 94 Telmatochromis. 121 Tridacna sp. 168.118. 251. 124. 54 Siganidae. 173. 260. 213 Azure. 153 rectangulus. 211 flufans. 211. 17.262 Support. 238. 177 Steatocranus.70. 77 Rummy-nose. 44. 154 Xenomystus nigri. 214 Ulva. 183 gigantea. 255. 76 Bleeding heart. 78 Blind cave. 30.251. 157 Sediment. 90 Uaru amphiacanthoides. 151 Yellow. 113 Shellfish. 150 Achilles. 154 Clown. 193 kitchen. 52. 244 Scale. 150 Sailfin. 144 Sturisoma rostratum. 261 live.264. 93 Tang. 157. 153 assasi. 180 Malaysian. 129 Panther. 144 haddoni. 166. 78 Loreto. 105 duboisi. 130 Red emperor. 220. 37. 64. 54. spiked. 264. 153 Tropheops. 43. 260. 67 Scat Spotted. 102 X-ray fish. 105 bifrenatus. 204 Wood peat-bog. 58. 167. 211 Salviniaceae. 26. 125 Tetraodontidae. 61 Water. 113 Temperature. 34. 22. 18 quality of. 252 Vallisneria. 76 Emperor. 212 wallisii. 174. 149 Siganus. 24. 211 Victoria. 125. 274. 77 Zaire. 79 Black widow. 227.261.. fluorescent. 170. 70 Sarcophyton. 257 osmosis. 46. 246. 268 Tetra Black. 149 cornutus. 253 brackish. 78. 109 discus discus. 230. 119 buttikoferi.71. 261 Sagittaria. 93 Sciaenochromis ahli. 168.269. 109. 125 Thalassoma lunare. 26 Sorubim lima. 254. 206. 180 Snapper.233 Tubipora. 168. 122 Rhinecanthus aculeatus. 154 Swordtail.279 Barber. 185 trocheliophorum. 215 petiolata. 33. 160 Blue. 261 coralline. 230. 98 Rotala. 185 glaucum. 228 Telmat. 77 Jewel. 180 biocellatus. 222. 151 Zoantharia. 119 January. 212 Saururus. 171. 206. 117 Tetraodon. 81 Serrasalmus nattered. 88 Tank freshwater Central American. 157 Golden. 252. 159 orbicularis. 246. 125 Scatophagidae. 151 Powder blue. 232. 214 cernuus. 181.262. 38. 207 giant. 53 Shingle. 253. 154 Blue throat. 97 geryi. 144. 54. 103 Montezuma.214 Floating. 206 macranda Round leaf. 70. 69. 197. 186 River. 105. 129 Zebra. 51. 261 quartz. 153. 12. 260. 177. 178. 111 Tanichthys albonubes. 254. 76 Black neon. 214. 74 Tube. 168. 78 Serpae. 178 Synnema triflorum. 164. 146 Harlequin tusk. 266. 253. 212 Scalare. 129 Sodium.271. 114 Tropical fishes. 198. 176.

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

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