A Practical Fishkeeping Blog

26 Nov

My 29 gallon tank with Angels, Neons, Glowlights and others.

Hello everyone.  I’d like to tell you about the fish species and the fish tanks I have.  MY experiences with them.
My plan is to post a new article every week or two. I’ll pick a fish and try to give you some interesting and helpful information about that fish.  Maybe a page, maybe a paragraph, we’ll see. The fish I choose are fish that I have experience keeping.
Also, I’ll talk about aquatic plants and other topics.

I have one salt-water tank that I set up four years ago, and I have, let’s see, TEN freshwater tanks, some are just 10 gallons but it keeps me busy. So the topics will lean toward freshwater fishkeeping.

And if you like reptiles and amphibians, there will surely be some posts about my turtles and tortoises, salamanders, frogs, and one snake. BUT, I will mainly talk about fish. I named this A Practical Fishkeeping Blog so I had better try to stick to it.

 

Herbie the baby Angelfish

11 Mar

Herbie is not a healthy Angelfish. The poor little guy is a runt. He was born 2 months ago. His brothers and sisters are big and healthy. He is not.

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Herbie should be culled. Which means, he should be “disposed” of. Fed to the Oscar.

But, my wife spotted Herbie. He was not Herbie yet. He was just pathetic.

She asks me How is Herbie? And I say he’s hanging in there. He scrambles around and lives another day.

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See little Herbie?

What can I do. I’ll let poor Herbie live as long as he can.

Hay pellets for Russian Tortoises

11 Mar

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Russian Tortoises are grass and weed eaters. In the Wintertime I feed them fresh greens from the grocery store and also these Timothy Hay pellets.

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I bought this 40 pound bag at Theisen’s, a farm supply store.

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I spray water on the pellets to soften them.

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They eat a lot of Collard Greens and Kale.

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Occasionally sprinkle Calcium powder on the tortoise food. Once a week is good.

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I found a good use for these thin limestone pieces. They make a nice dinner plate for the tortoises.

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These Redfoots can eat the greens and pellets, but they also get fruits and some protein (cat food).

This 40 pound bag of pellets will last me 10 years. Now I need to get a rabbit.

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Annnnd one more tortoise picture because we love tortoises!

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Annnd, one more picture of my turtles eating Collard Greens. A Red-eared Slider and a Northern Red-bellied Cooter.

Water sprayer for indoor tortoises

10 Mar

It’s too dry for the tortoises indoors in the Winter so here’s a fast way to spray their shells and habitat.

Peggy the Central American Wood Turtle. 29 years and counting.

Buy a brand new garden sprayer. Here’s mine. It only holds a gallon of water. I don’t want something too heavy.

Here’s the most important thing. Buy a new sprayer. DO NOT use one that might have had pesticides in it.

Costs about $15 at Walmart.

My Yellow-Bellied Slider is not.

10 Mar

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The big turtle I got a couple years ago has baffled me. She’s so dark. She disappears in the pond and then rises out of the depths. I call her The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

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I thought she was a Yellow Belly because she had a yellow belly, sorta.

This winter I have noticed the colors in her shell are changing. She has gotten lighter and I see red edges on the shell. The plastron (bottom) has become more orange or pink.

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I wondered. Is she really a Yellow Belly? I posted that question online and got my answer in a matter of minutes. My Yellow-Bellied Slider is a Northern Red-Bellied River Cooter.

She is mainly vegetarian. Her favorite food is Guppy Grass (Naja guadalupensis). She is peaceful, graceful and still growing.

It makes me wonder…how did a Northern Red-Bellied River Cooter end up in an animal shelter in Eastern Iowa?

This picture of wild Red-bellied Cooters confirms the identification of my turtle.

Turtle food grown in an aquarium

10 Mar

A ten-gallon tank can provide a great source of food for aquatic turtles.

My turtles will eat Water Lettuce, Duckweed, and other plants. They LOVE Guppy Grass (Naja guadalupensis).

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I occasionally collect snails for the turtles. That would be great for Puffers and various Cichlids, too.

The snail bait is a slice of cucumber.

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If you have guppies in the tank the excess can be fed to other fish and turtles.

All this can come from one aquarium.

Baby Angelfish in the kitchen

8 Mar

Angelfish from egg to dime-size. Thanks to my wife for helping feed them live brine shrimp several times a day.

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One of the parents.

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Brine shrimp hatchery, old school style, complete with wooden clothes pin.

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Then back downstairs into a planted tank.20190129_203609.jpg20190208_180354.jpg

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That’s it! Live baby brine shrimp. Daily water changes. Water temperature 80 degrees F (27C)

 

 

 

 

Starve mollies to get rid of hair algae

8 Mar

I’ve got hair algae in some tanks.  It’s hard to get rid of. I had heard that Mollies will eat it, if they are hungry enough.

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So, I gave it a try. A pair of  Black Mollies in a planted tank. No food. After a few days I saw the Mollies eating algae. I got my hopes up. I saw piles of green poo at the bottom of the tank. But, after a few weeks the algae was looking as strong as ever. I started feeding the Mollies just out of sympathy. I fed them a small quantity  and only once a day.

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See the green squiggly stuff below the fish?

I pulled the algae out by hand. The aquatic plants (Ludwegia and Rotala) began to take over and now the plants dominate. The algae is still there, but not much.

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Much better!

My conclusion is that the Mollies won’t solve a hair algae problem, but they can help, in combination with hand removal and other live plants that use up the nutrients.

Oscars and Classical Music. Or, How to lower your blood pressure.

25 Jan

I have two big Oscars in a 75 gallon tank. What surprises me is how graceful they are. They just float through the water, moving effortlessly, in total command of their world.

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I play the radio while working on my fish tanks.I don’t know anything about classical music but it fits so well with fish-watching. Try it!

Especially with the Oscars. I think mine are a pair. They always stay in close contact, barely twitching a fin to feel the others presence.

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There are 2 Jack Dempsey’s, a Red Devil, and a large Plecostomus in the Oscar tank.

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You’ll find Oscars sleeping on their sides in the morning.

As serene and graceful as the Oscar’s appear, I make sure to keep them well-fed so they don’t turn into murdering maniacs.

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The Red Devil. Do not adjust your eyes, this fish is yellow.

 

Used flowerpot WARNING

25 Jan

A Spring ritual is putting aquatic plants in clay flowerpots and placing them in my small outdoor pond.

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A few years ago this killed some of my fish.

I start with flowerpots plus some clean sand and gravel.

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Gravel goes on the bottom.

Then the plant, maybe a little soil, then sand on top.

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As I mentioned,  a few years ago there was a problem. I had fancy goldfish, platies and swordtails in the pond. Everything seemed fine but after a week the goldfish were dying and the small fish had quit eating and were sitting at the bottom.

I captured the remaining fish, then completely cleaned the pond. I still had no idea what had happened.

It was a year later that the president of the local fish club (Mr. LVH) said something about pesticides in used flowerpots. It became clear as a bell.

I had bought some used flowerpots at a garage sale. My first use of them was in the pond. Things were fine for a week but then the poison began leaching out.

Another week went by and I had dead fish. The ones that were brought inside were thin and disfigured but, if they could be induced to eat, recovered quickly.

So if you buy used clay flowerpots soak them for several days in a bucket of water. Pour out the water and do it at least 3 times over a week.

Also in Springtime I put Water Lettuce outdoors that has been growing in an aquarium.

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First, I put the plants in a plastic container and tuck it in a shady spot to avoid sunburn.

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If I move it into sunshine too soon it looks like this.

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Water Lettuce can recover and eventually gets accustomed to bright sun, but I think it does best in partial shade.

Partway through summer I have to remove handfuls of Water Lettuce from the pond.

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I also have flowerpots in several of my aquariums.

Amazon Swords do best growing in soil.

The only problem growing aquatic plants in pots is that the plants grow too fast.  The tank becomes a jungle. Not a bad problem  to have.

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baby turtles in 2016

17 Jan

I found two nests from my Red-eared Slider in 2016. Each clutch had six eggs.

See the eggs! The Mom always picks a nice warm, rainy day to go digging.

I incubated the eggs in a plastic tub. I put a layer of sand on the bottom with a heat source, then a smaller plastic tub with moist coir (coconut fiber), and that small tub loosely enclosed in a clear plastic bag to hold humidity. I set the temperature where the eggs were  to about 80-82 F. (27 C)

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The first group of eggs never developed at all. From the second group of eggs I had 5 hatchlings. They took 70-80 days to hatch.

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After hatching, the babies sit for a few days absorbing their yolk sac. Then I place them in shallow water with smooth rocks to crawl up on.

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I have a UV light over them but I also put them outside whenever possible. Their shells harden up and they eat like mad. Mostly bloodworms, shrimp, and earthworms. High protein for fast growth.

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They are so cute but I can’t keep them. I advertise them and give them away to good homes. I ask a few questions. It’s easy to tell who knows what they are doing. I don’t expect miracles, just an honest effort to give the babies a good home.

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