Tag Archives: swordtails

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.

Pics and a video of my aquariums

26 Aug

Let’s start with this 30 gallon tank filled with very active fish. Zebra Danios, Odessa Barbs, Tiger Barbs, an Opaline Gourami, Harlequin Rasboras and 3 Kuhli Loaches hiding under the rocks.

Here’s a little 10-gallon tank with young Red Swordtails and a Betta. Since I took this picture I have added 3 Marigold Variatus Platies and some more plants.

Here’s another 10-gallon tank with Silver Mollies and Endler’s Livebearers. Lots of baby fish are starting to show up.

I moved my 3 Pictus catfish into this 29-gallon tank with 3 green Swordtails and my Firemouth Cichlids. In real life this tank looks very nice and I get to see the Pictus Cats a lot more than I did in their previous tank.

When I found the 6-inch Bullhead in the turtle pond I had intended to release him in a nearby creek but instead I put him in the tank with the “bad boys”, the African Cichlid and big Red-tail Shark. The Bullhead just goes about his business, big mouth gulping and gaping as he cruises along. The Cichlid and Shark ignore him. Now the Bullhead has found a place to sleep during the day and I don’t expect to see him too often. This tank is crowded with rocks, wood, and plants (Java Moss).

The Bullhead is in here but he’s hiding.

Here’s the 55-gallon community tank with mostly large Tetras, Angelfish, and Corydoras.

What happens when aquarium keepers go fishing

22 Jun

A friend of mine is just as crazy as I am about fish tanks and other exotic pets. I called him this morning and asked if he would go up to the Wapsi River with me for some canoeing, exploring, and fishing.
As we were unloading our gear we saw a Northern Water Snake hanging along the edge of the boat dock. Across the river I could see a big Softshell Turtle basking on a log.

We canoed into the backwaters of the river and saw several Western Painted Turtles. When we got WAY back into the backwaters the water was still and clear. Frogs were jumping everywhere, and under water we could see huge Bullfrog tadpoles. We noticed two varieties of aquatic plants, Hornwort and Anacharis, and collected a little for our home tanks.
One of my main goals for the day was to find some interesting driftwood to use in my 55 gallon aquarium that will house the baby Red-eared Sliders.
It was fun to canoe in the backwaters. We had to duck under branches and maneuver the canoe around big tree trunks. We saw a Great Blue Heron and some small ducks. Big Carp would swirl in the shallow flats, stirring up the mud.
We went back out to the main channel and, along the way, saw a baby Map Turtle basking on a small log. My friend leaned out of the front of the canoe with a big dip net, holding it underwater, while I paddled quietly and inched him closer and closer. He bumped the log and the little turtle dove right into the net. My friend wants to keep him for awhile and release him later this Summer.

We made our way up to a large sandbar and I picked up some interesting driftwood pieces.

There were thousands of minnows schooling in the shallows.

We found ourselves wandering. We went into the woods and found a little pond filled with hundreds of small frogs. They appeared to be juvenile Bullfrogs, but I think there were some other species as well.
My friend would be searching in one direction and I would be off in the other direction. We had brought our fishing poles but hadn’t touched them.

Off in the distance, my friend is walking along the sandbar, looking for….who knows!

I ended up standing in the water and enjoying it so much that I swam across the river to another sandbar. Not very far at all, but the feel of the current and the cool water really put me in touch with reality. Then I came back to to where my canoe was. My friend had started fishing and had caught a young Largemouth Bass, maybe 6 or 7 inches long. As usual, the fishing looked better on the other side of the river, so I grabbed my fishing pole and swam toward an area of large downed trees. I stood up on a huge tree and watched a big Softshell Turtle come up for a breath. I made a few casts into the shaded areas against the shore and along the tree trunks. No luck, and I got snagged after a few minutes. I pulled on the line and the lure broke off. I watched a Watersnake swim right below me. Reluctantly, I climbed off the log and and went back to the sandbar.

Out on the river, you can barely see me standing on a log where I was fishing…but not catching.

We left the sandbar and I acted as a human trolling motor for my friend as he fished along the driftwood, then the rocks, and finally along the boat docks as we returned to our starting point. He fished like a pro, putting the lure in some very fishy-looking locations but he didn’t catch any.
I dropped him off at his house. He had a very over-populated tank of Mollies. I don’t have any Black Mollies so he gave me some.

I washed off the aquatic plants and put them into a tank with some baby Swordtails. I’ll have to watch closely. There is a good chance some predatory aquatic insect larvae are in those plants.

Baby Green Swordtails that were born a few days ago.

All in all, we fished about an hour and explored for three hours. We had seen frogs, tadpoles, clams, crayfish, ducks,a heron, lots of little fish, snakes and turtles. On the way home both us were chattering about going back as soon as possible.
I think I will give him one or two of my baby Red-ear Sliders and we can take that Map Turtle back to the river where he belongs.

Caviar, anyone? (Danios, Angels, Turtles)

4 Jun

I’ve got some Zebra Danio eggs that are hatching. My plan is to wait a few days, until they are free swimming , then transfer them slowly into my 30 gallon pond and forget about them for a month.
Look closely at this photo to see a Zebra Danio still in the egg but curved into a little “C” shape.

Last week I put some Silver Mollies and Endler’s Livebearers into the turtle pond. Not for food, the turtles are too lazy to chase them.
We had a little cold snap, nights in the upper 40’s F, but I can see a number of baby fish in the pond now. Not sure if they are Endler’s or Mollies. Well, duh, must be both.

Also, right now, my Silver Angelfish have spawned, again, on the filter intake in the 55 gallon aquarium. So I am puzzling over this. Should I try to save this batch? I LOVE Silver Angelfish.

And in a 10 gallon tank my female Red Swordtail is filling up with babies. I think I missed her last birthing.

I need to toss in a handful of hornwort (floating plant) for the babies to hide in.

The five babies from her first pregnancy are doing great, getting fat and turning nicely red, although they look orange in my photos.

Note how perfectly I focused on the rock.


Note how perfectly I focused on the wood.

And what have we all been waiting for? Yes, it’s turtle time again. Turtle baby Number Two has hatched. He is still sitting in the eggshell.

#2 turtle baby breaking out.

The first baby still has the yolk sac attached to his belly, but he is crawling around a bit.

#1 baby, born Friday night, with egg yolk sac attached.

Baby Red Swordtails

22 Apr

A few weeks ago I had a female Red Swordtail in a 10 gallon tank where she could have her first brood of babies. She is a young fish and I was not expecting very many little ones. Well, then came the “toad rescue” and the toad eggs, and I left the momma Swordtail with the toad eggs.  This tank of a gazillion tadpoles now has some baby Swordtails in it. I have only counted four but you can get a colony of Swordtails going from just a few fish. I’m thrilled to see these four and hope to move them outdoors after it warms to the point where my little pond stays above 70F degrees.

"Are we gonna turn into frogs, too?"

Try again with the Red Velvet Swordtails

18 Feb

After having my last “female” Red Velvet Swordtail  turn out to be a male I had to wait for them to be in stock again at our Local Fish Shop.

There were only a few in the tank and they cost $3.17 each. Their health was a little dicey, they were carrying their fins awfully close to their bodies but I couldn’t see any fungus or Ich.

I looked around for awhile and picked out two active, healthy females. Then I went back to selecting my fish. (a little joke there)

Here are the two new Swordtails with the male I had bought before. Hopefully by Spring they will be making babies and I can raise them in my 30 gallon pond outside. They grow tremendously fast and have great color when reared outdoors.

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.

Female Swordtail is a male

14 Jan

Swordtails do some interesting things regarding what sex they are. In a group of young Swordtails some will develop their male traits (Sword and gonopodium) very early, and look very streamlined and fast. Some develop months later, and are bigger and stockier.

Also, in older Swordtails, some females will turn into males, usually if there are no other males around.

Weeks ago I bought two Red Velvet Swords and hoped to be telling you about the babies they were making. Well, guess what, the “female” I bought started showing male traits. “She” has faintest hint of a Sword, plus the anal fin now looks like a gonopodium. Darn it, there won’t be any babies from these two. I’ll have to keep an eye out for a real female Red Velvet Swordtail.

Note the gonopodium is becoming pointed, and the sword is just barely there.

Red Velvet Swordtails

29 Dec

I haven’t seen many Red Velvet Swordtails for sale in the past few years. I have read that the population was reduced by hurricanes that hit the fish farms in the Southern USA.

I found a tank of Red Velvet  Swords at our local Tropical Fish Shop a few weeks ago. I bought a pair for $4.19 each. The fish had just arrived, had a little white fungus, and were marked “quarantine”, which also meant NOT FOR SALE.  I explained that I was going to put the fish into a quarantine tank also, and if I had any problems I would not complain or bring back their dead bodies. So they sold me a pair and so far, so good. I hope to have some baby Red Velvet Swordtails in a month or so. I’ll keep you posted!

See the little spot of fungus on the tail?

A Platy Post, not a Platypus

25 Dec

Platies are a mainstay of the tropical fish hobby. There are so many colors to choose from. Usually at the fish store they have the different variations in separate tanks. Last year I saw a tank full of nothing but Platies of all different colors and it was awesome!

White sand, green plants and Red Wag Platies. A real eye-catcher created by my nephew.

If you are looking at Platies and Swordtails and Mollies and can’t decide which one to get for your tank, take this into consideration. The Mollies will be disease prone if you have a completely freshwater tank, they prefer brackish water. The Swordtails can be a little feisty sometimes and are definitely jumpers. Every aquarist who owns Swordtails will find a dried-up Swordtail laying on the carpet someday.

The Platies are peaceful, active and breed readily. If you have some places for the babies to hide some may survive. If you decide to get Platies, the recommendation is always to get 2 or 3 females for every male. One male will chase a single female all day. The person at the Petstore should know how to tell the difference. If not, good grief what is the world coming to.