Archive | January, 2012

Cardinal Tetras, or “You want to see a grown man cry?”

31 Jan

If you really don’t know or care about tropical fish stop reading now. Go away, please, while I talk to the  fish lovers of the world.

All  species of fish are special. Some are…unique….singular.


Chocolate Gouramis.

Altum Angelfish.

I’ve never kept Cardinal Tetras. Damn, over 30 years of keeping fish and NEVER had Cardinals.

I bought 4 of them tonight. Would have bought more, but they were the last 4 in the tank. They look like hell, pale and sick, but I am hoping only stressed.

Paracheirodon axelrodi, I say it over and over, Paracheirodon axelrodi

I bring them home, I take an hour to acclimatize them to their 10 gallon tank.  After releasing them I watch them scatter, then eventually group together.

I stare in wonder. Where have you been? Brazil? And if not, your ancestors certainly were from the tannin stained waters of the Amazon tributaries. I’ve never looked at any fish and felt such a direct connection to the beginnings of the Tropical Fishkeeping hobby. Thank you, William Iness, thank you, Herbert Axelrod.  I will stop writing now so I can go look at them again. The colors, the genetics, the lineage, direct from the Amazon, here they are…the Cardinal Tetras.

They are still pale in this video, and the reflection in the glass makes it appear that there are more than four tetras, but there are only four.

Pictus Cats like their log cave

28 Jan

After a few weeks of hiding under dead oak leaves my Pictus Catfish have all gotten very fat and happy. The tank has gotten a little “grungy” looking.  I decided to net out the decaying tree leaves and put a very fake tree root into their tank. After a few days the Pictus have realized what a great hide-out they have.

Silver Angels spawning tonight

25 Jan

My pair of Silver Angelfish is spawning on a Water Lily leaf in the 55 gallon community tank.

What wuz What is dat?

24 Jan

As Carla figured out, the fish was a Bleeding Heart Tetra. Thanks to all who played!


The pretty fish in the middle, with the reddish spot on the side, is a Bleeding Heart Tetra.

Stay tuned for more contest photos with even bigger prizes!  (I can’t believe I wrote that, can you?)

The Lion is a Chameleon (It’s about a fish!)

23 Jan

You’ve seen my Dwarf Lionfish.  Beautiful colors. Deep oranges and browns, bright blue eyes, white flecks all over, fins spread out wide.

He is a camouflage artist! Sometimes I can’t spot him right away. I have to get very close to the tank to see him, he nestles up against a piece of coral and doesn’t move.

Tonight he just amazed me.

I had given away a lot of the plants that are growing in my salt tank, it was just getting too thick in there. The tank is more open now, it is brighter. The dead corals that were under the plants are exposed, and they are quite pale. Tonight the Lionfish snuggled up against a piece of that off-white coral, and you can see from this picture what he did. His color is very faded and he has his fins clamped in a strange way. I swear, I would think he was sick but I am convinced this is something that is natural, like a chameleon.

I’ll just let the picture show you what I mean.

What the heck is dat?

23 Jan

Wanna guess what kind of fish this is?

Read the “comments” below to see the guesses.

Chinese Algae-Eater is a sucker

16 Jan

Could also be called The Chinese Scale-Sucking Fish

I bought my very first Chinese Algae-Eater a few months ago. I had moved a bunch of fish into a 30 gallon tank, all of them from Southeast Asia. It’s not really a biotope aquarium but it was just fun and convenient for me to split up my fish populations in this manner. My 55 is all South American , the 30 is all Asian.

Anyway, I wanted an algae-eater of some kind, from Asia, and I saw a Golden Chinese Algae -Eater on sale for $1.99.

I clearly remember my first job in our local Tropical Fish Store, and my boss always warned customers, “Don’t put a Chinese Algae Eater in with large, slower moving fish like Angelfish or Goldfish.”  The Algae-eater was known to get aggressive and attack these fish by sucking on their sides, I assume to eat a few of their scales.

My boss was absolutely right with her advice, but it still surprised me when I saw my little 3 inch-long Chinese Algae-eater attacking my Tiger Barbs. Believe me, there is plenty of algae in the tank for this fish to eat, and plenty of other food for him, but when the Barbs came near the bottom, I watched him “leap” at them. Not nice, and I will have to watch him as he gets older.  If this continues and he injures his tankmates I will have to do something about it.

The Chinese Algae-eater gets large, about 10 inches long,  so I would have to say that it was probably a mistake to purchase this fish.

Green Swordtails

16 Jan

The Green Swordtail is the original wild Swordtail from Mexico and Central America.  Breeders have created many types of Swordtails from that original species, and some of that was done by cross-breeding them with Platies.

When I look at a Green Swordtail  I picture them swimming in the backwaters of Central America, wild and untouched by Man. Unfortunately, they are considered an invasive species now. There are  areas of the Southern United States where they are doing just fine.

I put him in a plastic container to slow him down for this photo.

For mostly nostalgic reasons, I bought a fat female in the Spring of 2011, and when she had babies I raised them in an outdoor 30 gallon pond. A Swordtail can have over 50 babies but I saved only 15 of them. I have them indoors now, and for a long time just one developed a Sword. He is a beautiful fish! The rest appeared to be females. They stayed that way for many months and now several of them are growing a Swordtail. So what you have with Swordtails are early-developing males and later-developing males. If you read my second post about Red Velvet Swordtails I mention that topic.

Veggies for the fishies

15 Jan

Other bloggers on WordPress have posted about feeding their fish fresh vegetables. I rarely do it, though it sounds easy and sensible. I always feed a variety of foods, but they are prepared foods like flake food and shrimp pellets, etc.

I am going to try to feed my fish more fresh food, like cucumber slices, corn and peas. Now I have a zip-lock bag in the freezer with peas in it, just for my fish. I will feed them some at least twice a week.

If you buy the smallest container of flake food it can cost over 70 dollars per pound! ($4.50 for an ounce) Compare that to a bag of frozen peas.

Here is a post about feeding cucumber:

and this post mentions peas and corn (this Aquarist also feeds cucumber to his Plecos):

Yesterday I noticed my largest Albino Corydoras was having trouble staying on the bottom of the tank.  She could get there but it took some effort. This is likely a Swim Bladder problem and there are several possible causes for it. The solution might be to raise the tank temperature, feed fresh vegetables, and make water changes.  I have been behind on the water changes so I changed 20% of the water this morning, then fed them some frozen peas. After thawing I popped the shell off, then squished the pea so all the fish could eat some.

Al Green?

15 Jan

I found a blog yesterday that is mainly about Soul Music, but also talks about Aquariums.

Here is the blog address:

Since I am a big Al Green fan I want to shout out to Mr. Funkysoulvinyls that I love your blog.

Al Green.  Aquariums. Perfect! Now if Al would come out with a song about Tropical Fish.

Here is my Al Green collection:

It is a well-known fact that putting on an Al Green CD and giving your fish some privacy will induce them to spawn. Marvin Gaye and Barry White records also work.