Archive | November, 2012

The latest fishy pictures and videos

24 Nov

The momma Marble Angel.

The Silver Molly male and the tank full of baby Endler’s and Mollies

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Mr. Bird Brain

24 Nov

This male Cardinal has spent the Summer and Fall fighting with his reflection. I mean, he has NEVER figured it out! He bangs into our sliding glass door, he tangles with the mirrors on our cars, and now he even sees the enemy reflected on our charcoal grill!

We love him. My wife named him Birdbrain 4 or 5 months ago.  Mrs. Brain lives in the arborvitae next door, and she must be proud to watch her husband defend her so valiantly.

Water Lilies in the aquarium

24 Nov

For the past several years I have brought in a tropical Water Lily into my 55 gallon aquarium. I put it into a clay flowerpot, add some soil and cover the surface with sand or gravel. The lily does well for awhile, dies back for awhile,   and I put it back outside in the Spring.

I was just given a few tubers from some native Water Lilies (thanks, CG) and I haven’t put them into pots yet.  Within a day of being dropped into the water, the young reddish leaves came springing out. SPRING!

They look so natural in an aquarium but I know that they are too big for the small tank I have them in now.

Water Lilies look fantastic in an indoor aquarium but I suspect that they require intense lighting and a nutrient -rich substrate. When I see them on a lake or river they are growing in the stinkiest, most fertile ooze you can imagine.

These native lilies are probably “programmed” to rest at this time of year . These were outside for a few cold weeks and maybe they have been fooled into thinking (the wrong word for a plant) that it is Springtime, and will do OK in the aquarium. We’ll find out.

The Temple Plant

24 Nov

Here’s another good plant for a tank with moderate light. The Temple plant. There are various species of this plant but it looks like I have  Hygrophila corymbosa.

I bought a bunch a few months ago and it has already stretched to the top of a 55-gallon tank so I broke off the tallest pieces and re-planted them. Those small pieces rooted into the gravel in a matter of days.

The plant has a light, bright, green color. My Silver Angelfish have laid a few batches of eggs on the leaves, too.

A good report about Hatchetfish

24 Nov

I got my very first Hatchetfish just a few months ago. I bought only two of them. I was afraid that they wouldn’t eat, or would get sick, or get picked on, or some disaster, but they have been great!
These are the Silver Hatchetfish species, Gasteropelecus sternicla, and I did worry  for a few weeks. They were tentative about eating. Now, they zoom right over to the food and get their share.

Hatchets look like they can fly,  so it’s important to keep a tight lid on the tank.  I use glass tops on most of my tanks. The glass tops keep water evaporation to a minimum but also make a tight fit to keep fish from jumping out. Another fish that gets found all dried-up on the carpet is the Swordtail.

I cut the plastic strip on the glass top to fit snug around this filter.

It should be tighter around this heater.

Native (to Iowa, USA) fish in my tanks

24 Nov

Here is a Bullhead Catfish. Look at those whiskers!
Here is the life of a Bullhead:
Smell food. Swim to the food. Open mouth. GULP!

These little minnows are called the Black-Striped Topminnow. Surprisingly, they have a black stripe and they swim at the top of the tank.

Saltwater fish are 5 years old.

24 Nov

My Royal Gramma and two Ocellaris Clownfish are about 5 years old now. I set this tank up 4 years and 11 months ago so the fish must have already been born at that time.
We had carpet cleaners come recently (pre-Thanksgiving!) so I moved the tank and took the opportunity to empty it, rinse out the sand, hose off the rocks and dead corals and make a big water change.
The water was slightly cloudy for a few days but you can see the plants (Caleurpa and Chaetomorpha) are coming back and keeping everything in balance.
Rules for a healthy tank:
1. Not too many fish
2. Occasional water changes
3. Live plants
4. Don’t overfeed
The same rules for freshwater apply to saltwater. The only difference is that I use, and highly recommend, a protein skimmer for the saltwater tank.