Lion Fish

Lion Fish

Lion fish is a type of fish that belongs to the family of Scorpaenidae and are referred to as “voracious predators” alongside with Pterios miles and P. volitans which are innate to the indo-pacific area. This kind of fish is also classified as an invasive species because they don’t have natural predators and also fill out and strive for food.

Lion fish don’t have natural predators because of their poisonous spines that bulge out of the topmost part of their bodies which leads to serious and fatal pain for any animal that is trapped by them.

Lion fish also makes use of their spines for active defense but basically depend on their camouflage as a defense. Though, the poison that does secrete from the top of their body are not poisonous to a human being but can cause fatal uneasiness if inserted into the skin tissue.

They can grow up to an average weight of about three pounds and feed on smaller organisms such as crustaceans and krills, and smaller fishes up to 8.5g per day and about 230kg per year living in the ocean.

It is also said that the lionfish was introduced into the Florida coastal waters in the mid-early 1990s, though the researchers and scientists are not sure of how the spread of lionfish started, and it has been discovered that the warm region of the Gulf stream is really helping in their distribution.

Negative effects of lion fish

The negative effects of lion fish are really much and their presence has really awakened much alarm for coastal regions. Though the ecological havoc that is produced by the lionfish categorized as offensive may be known, and the similar species of lionfish may also provide or supply ornamental welfares, recreational benefits, food and other ecological products. This vagueness muddles the use of the influence measure, with its harmful connotation, in categorizing lionfish species as aggressive. Therefore, observations and mindsets of species as either “good” or “bad” could modify through the period and across stakeholder groups of researchers and scientists, with insinuations for the administration conclusions and decisions. The aggressive and invasive nature of lionfish has become an imminent threat to the inborn fish groups, fisheries resources and human health.

Lion fish are predacious and diminish the recruitment of innate and young fishes, which has the ability to disorder the diversity of plant and animal life within the region and tend to the disorder of the marine environment process.

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Angel Fish

Angel Fish

Angel fish are some of the most beautiful fish that you can include in your aquarium to make it more interesting. The fins are normally very long and flowy making them fascinating creatures to observe. They are very easy to maintain and hence their popularity among beginner fish keepers.

Fish tank set up for angel fish

Angel fish can grow to a very large size in its adult life. Choosing a large enough tank to support such growth can help in supporting them as they increase in size. Research shows that angelfish that are placed in small fish tanks are often very unhealthy and even aggressive. You should go a large tank that can support at least 30 gallons of water to ensure that your fish thrive in a spacious environment.

If you are planning to keep more than just one angel fish then the larger the better. Though they are great at living as a community, they can become territorial due to their background of being in the cichlidae family. Angel fish are heavy eaters and this means that they produce a lot of waste in the aquarium. You can control the waste by investing in a proper filtration system that will efficiently clean the water regularly to avoid toxic build up.

Finding the right substrate for your angel fish is a major decision that will benefit your fish. You can decide on a basic option of using gravel substrate which is easy to clean and maintain. It is also cheaper compared to other available substrates. You can also add sand to the gravel if you are more experienced with fish keeping. Since angelfish originate from the amazon basin which has sandy bottom, your fish will feel more comfortable in a familiar environment.

Decorating your angel fish tank can be very simple and you can include vegetation. The vegetation can be plastic or live like depending on your preference. You can also add rocks and even hiding places which will make it easier for your fish to create territories. You can include rocks which can be a perfect place for the fish to lay eggs.

Feeding your angel fish

Angel fish are known aggressive feeders and always look forward to meal times. A balanced diet is recommended to ensure that your fish are healthy and comfortable in the fish tank. You can include flakes, frozen food and even pellets to provide them with the required nutritional content. You can feed them 3 to 4 times in a day by giving them small quantities rather than one large meal.

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African Cichlids

African Cichlids

If you are interested in adding some color to your aquarium then the African cichlids are the best fish to have. These fish are very diverse with each species having its own colorful pattern and color variety. These cichlids are usually difficult to take care of compared to other types of tropical fish. This is because they are more aggressive and should be kept by a more experienced aquarist.

These types of cichlids belong to the biological family of cichlidae which includes other types of cichlids like those from south America and Asia. Almost all African cichlids come from three popular lakes in East Africa. The lakes include Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania and Lake Victoria.

Typical behavior of African cichlids

Cichlids are very active and they will follow any movement outside the tank with hopes of being fed. They are always in search of food and this might make you think that they are hungry therefore ending up overfeeding them. They are very good swimmers and can sometimes even jump out of the fish tank. Their aggressive nature makes them a bit territorial when it comes to mating. The weaker fish might get seriously injured or even die in the tank.

You will have to add manufactured decorations or pile pebbles in form of a cave to provide a hide out. This will greatly reduce aggression making your fish last longer in the aquarium. You can include many hiding spots to provide places for territorial claim. The African cichlids love digging up into the substrate and even other decorations in the aquarium.

Tank size and water requirements

Always go for a larger tank size for African cichlids because they are very aggressive and small swimming space may result into fights. A spacious environment will ensure that your fish get along with reduced aggression. Since cichlids are active swimmers it is better to go for a 30 gallons tank or more to ensure that they move freely in the water.
African cichlids do well in hard water with a range of 8 to 8.6 alkaline conditions. You can maintain the water hardness by adding buffers and corals. These items also increase the mineral concentration of the water giving your fish a healthy environment to thrive in. The temperature of the water should range between 74 to about 78 degrees because cichlids love warm water.
The feeding requirements for African cichlids involves getting their nutrition content from cichlid fish food pellets which are readily available in local pet stores. Since they are omnivorous you should feed them food specifically made for cichlids.

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Fish Food

Fish Food – The Ultimate Guide

The amount of fish food that you choose to provide for your fish is very important because you should not overfeed or underfeed them. Overfeeding will contaminate the tank water making it unhealthy for the fish to survive. Also, excess fish food can clog up the filtration system making the water more toxic. In the wild fish have the advantage of eating their favorite food as much as necessary but in an aquarium, you are responsible for your fish having a balanced diet.

How do you know the right amount of fish food to feed your fish?

The right quantity fully depends on the type and size of fish in your fish tank. There are certain fish food that are best suited for a particular species only. You can begin by sprinkling a tiny amount of fish food in the tank and observe. It is better to feed your fish little amounts at first as you increase with time.

Most breeds only require feeding once a day, though you can decide to split the food into two smaller potions and feed the fish twice a day. There are some fish that can feed even when they are not hungry so that means that feeding them once a day is recommended to avoid overfeeding.

Types of fish food

There are different types of fish food that serve a specific purpose. Being able to identify the right type of food for your fish can sometimes be overwhelming especially if you lack information on the best food types. The following are some types of fish food available in local pet stores.

Freeze Dried food
This is the most popular fish food available because they are cheap and readily available. Dried food comes in different recipes to suit all kinds of breeds from herbivores to carnivores. This type of fish food can last for years if properly kept so you won’t have to spend a lot on food.

Flakes
This food type is best suited for surface feeding fish and those that usually feed in the middle of the fish tank. The flakes quickly dissolve in water losing its nutrients. This makes it unsuited for fish that swim at the bottom of the aquarium.

Crisps and Pellets
These are a denser type of the flakes and the extra thickness makes it float longer and dissolve at a slower rate.

Frozen Foods

There are many frozen foods on the market. Here are the most popular:

Blood Worms
Frozen blood worms are very easy to find in just about every pet store. Blood worms are suitable for all types of fish and are very popular among discus keepers. You must be careful not to feed your discus fish frozen blood worms as their primary diet. Blood worms tend to cause bloat in discus fish which can lead to death if not treated quickly. Therefore, it is recommended that you only feed frozen blood worms 2 to 3 times a week at most.

Mysis Shrimp
Frozen mysis shrimp are also very popular for all types of fish both fresh and saltwater. Mysis shrimp resemble brine shrimp but are larger in size. They don’t have too much protein but work well as a treat for your fish once in a while.

Beef Heart
Frozen beef heart is very popular with discus keepers. Beef heart is available in pet stores but many discus keepers make their own beef heart at home. There is a lot of controversy on the benefits of beef heart with discus fish. Many discus keepers swear by the fact that beef heart has a lot of protein and helps the discus grow fast. While others argue that discus do not eat any type of beef in the wild. The digestive system of discus fish is not designed to process beef and ends up getting your discus sick. Also discus will take time before they will even consider eating beef heart. I personally have had better success feeding beef heart to wild discus that domestic discus. Also, the beef heart sold in stores is known to have more fillers than beef which is another reason discus do not like it. My advice on beef heart is that its ok to feed once in a while as a special treat but not as the primary diet.

Live Foods

Live foods are also very popular among aquarium keeps.

Black Worms
Live black worms are the most popular type of live food in the aquarium hobby. Black worms are good for fish as long as they are rinsed thoroughly before feeding. When feeding black worms on a regular basis you need to make sure you have a proper black worm holding container that helps keep your black worms fresh for extended periods of time.

Brine Shrimp
Brine shrimp is also very popular among discus keepers. Most hobbyists hatch their own brine shrimp. Brine shrimp are good for baby fish and to get bigger fish excited about new food. however brine shrimp does not have much nutritional value so cannot be used as the only type of food for fish.

So what is the best type of food for fish then? The answer is a combination of all of the foods mentioned above. make sure you feed your fish a variety of foods throughout the week. Fish will get tired of the same foods over and over just like humans so switch it up. Plan on feeding different types of foods daily and you will see good results.

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Brine Shrimp Flakes

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Discus Flakes

Beef Heart Flakes

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Turtle Tank

Turtle Tank- How to Set One Up

I get many questions from customers asking if they can keep turtles with fish. I get this question so often that I decided to write a specific article for it.

For all of you wondering – it is NOT a good idea to keep discus fish in a Turtle Tank!

Pet turtles are interesting pets to own because they make fascinating little companions who are gentle and very shy. They can be very interactive once they are comfortable in their new turtle tank. If you want to have a quiet pet the turtles can be a great addition to your home. They are very quiet animals making them perfect for people who live in apartments. Another great benefit of keeping turtles is that they have a long lifespan of up to 30 years.

Choosing the right turtle tank

Turtles need water and dry land to survive meaning that they will need a lot of space to swim freely and move around without difficulty. They also require a dry area where they can warm up away from the water. this dry place is known as the basking area and it is very important to include such an area in the turtle tank.

For turtles which are about 6 inches and below, a 30-gallon tank is recommended. While for medium sized pet turtles the 50-gallon tank is more suitable. Large turtles of more than 8 inches are more suited for the 75-gallon tank to ensure that the turtle has adequate room for swimming and basking.

When choosing a turtle tank, you should avoid going for the reptile tank which is designed for terrestrial reptiles. This is because the glass is usually very thin and might not be able to support the water pressure required to hold the water in the tank.

A good tank should be 0.4 inches at the minimum.
The turtle tank should be deeper in height than it is wide. This is because your turtle will require more room to flip correctly if by accident it turns upside down.
Add necessary equipment

You can choose to have a lamp that can easily be hooked on to the turtle tank or simply find one that can be placed separately but directed to the tank. The light is important to the turtle when it is basking and so the light should always face the basking area. UVB light is mostly recommended because it helps stimulate vitamin D3 that will make the turtle healthy and with a strong shell.

Other equipment to add can include a water heater for species that prefer warm water. you can decide to invest in a good turtle tank filter which will clean the water and ensure that your turtle is in a safe environment. You will also have to change the tank water every week to prevent waste accumulation in the tank.

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Cichlids

Cichlids – How to set up a tank for them

The African cichlids are popularly known for their vibrant colors that add beauty to the aquarium. Cichlids are a variety of freshwater fish that come from the family of cichlidae. These types of fish are split in to two groups. The first group is the central and south American while the second group is the Africans.

Tank Size

Cichlids can sometimes be easy to maintain and take care of even though they are different from the other types of fresh water fish when it comes to behavior and the water requirements. The minimum tank size should be 48 gallons for the larger species and 33 gallons for the smaller species. These types of fish usually need a lot of swimming space so a large fish tank is always advised.

Decorating the tank

Adding rockery to the fish tank is important to a cichlids aquarium because they love to find spaces to hide in. this in turn reduces aggression and enables the fish to create its territory. You can carefully pile the rocks together to form caves which will act as great hide outs for the fish. Once they come out of their hiding places, cichlids love swimming in open spaces and so you should create enough room for them to swim in.

You can use clay flowerpots as a decoration and also a hiding place and shelter for the fish. Most cichlids dig the gravel at the base of the tank and can even up root plants. You can add java fern to the tank because they are sturdy and do well under the water conditions for required for cichlids.

Water Requirements

Maintaining the right pH levels to support the cichlids requires that you use coral gravel as a substrate. You can use salt additives and buffers to maintain a high pH level. The buffers also add extra minerals to the tank water to keep the fish healthy. The fish tank water temperature for African cichlids should range between 70 degrees to 84 degrees. Water temperatures higher than the recommended range can greatly increase the fish metabolism which might end up affecting the immune system and increase aggression in African cichlids.
Proper filtration is essential for an aquarium that hosts the cichlids. This is because these fish produce a lot of waste which need to be filtered. Water changes should be done regularly on a weekly basis to maintain healthy fish.

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Arowana Fish

Arowana Fish – Tank Set Up

The silver arowana is sometimes called the dragon fish or the monkey fish. This is a type of freshwater fish which originates from south America. It Popularly known for its large size and hunting prowess making it a valuable possession for any aquarist. Though the arowana fish is not recommended for beginners, it is a great addition to an aquarium of an experienced keeper.

The arowana are known to be powerful swimmers that can sometimes be aggressive due to their predatory nature. They can grow to be 4-foot-long in size and weigh over 6kg. those raised in captivity have a long lifespan of up to 15 years. They are great hunters that make them hunt small animals in the lower branches. This type of fish has the ability to withstand short periods out of water due to its swim bladder.

General behavior for arowanas in a fish tank

Arowana fish is surprisingly skittish. It can get easily scared from unexpected sudden movements like for instance when you approach the fish tank quickly. This can be controlled by keeping the tank in a quiet place with low foot traffic to avoid them getting scared each time someone walks past the tank.

Dragon fish love swimming close to the water surface and you will notice that most of the time they will be near the surface of the water. The silver arowana is a notorious jumper and can jump up to 3 meters high. This type of behavior is usually common when the arowana is in a new aquarium or in a small tank.

A small tank can be very dangerous because the arowana will try jumping its way to freedom regardless of whether the tank is covered or not. These fish should be placed in a large tank that is suitable to accommodate the large size.
Tank requirements for the arowana fish.

The silver arowana fish will quickly outgrow beginner tanks and usually require a tank that can accommodate at least 250 gallons of water.

A Juvenile arowana can be kept in a smaller aquarium of 60 gallons but will eventually require to be moved to a bigger tank once they increase in size.

The substrate can consist of small gravel which can be fine or coarse. The fish tank should have a lot of space to allow free movement of the arowana. You can decorate the tank with sturdy plants and rockwork. Plants with weak roots can be easily dislodged by the fish.

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10 Gallon Fish Tank

10 Gallon Fish Tank – All You Need to Know About It

The most common type of aquarium used by fish lovers is the 10-gallon fish tank. Its small size makes it a popular choice for most households because it occupies less space while making the room look artistic and beautiful. This beginner tank is commonly preferring because it is cheap and easy to set up compared to the other sizes.

The 10 gallon fish tank equipment include the common things needed to make an aquarium efficient. A filter is one of the most important components in a fish tank. It ensures that the water in the tank is clean and healthy for the fish.

The other key equipment is the heater which maintains optimum temperature for the fish. The type of heater depends on the size of the tank so the 10 gallon fish tank will have a small heater compared to a large tank.

Stocking ideas for a 10 gallon fish tank

There are several types of fish that can thrive in a 10-gallon fish tank if the aquarium is kept clean and under optimum conditions. Some popular fresh fish you can keep in your tank include:
• Danios and barbs: the two types of fish are a great choice for beginner tanks because they are more tolerant to unpredictable water changes therefore might last longer compared to other species.
• Tetras. These species of fish are very popular and their bright colors make them a great addition to a water tank if you want it to have a more vibrant look.
• Guppies. They are mostly known for their vibrant tails which make the 10-gallon fish tank light up as they swim from one end to another.
• Dwarf Corydoras. They are easy to maintain and care for especially if you have limited time to take care of the tank.
In order for your fish to co-exist well together then you should choose fish in the that are less than or equals to 2 inches. Also find out about the adult size of the fish you want to put in the tank to avoid having them grow to a point where they are too big.

2 types of 10-gallon fish tank

The 10-gallon fish tank comes in two types, acrylic and glass. Glass aquariums usually have the best quality because they are durable and much harder to get scratches. Cleaning an acrylic tank involves using acrylic safe equipment to avoid scratching the tank. This size of fish tank will is a common choice if you are just getting started in having an aquarium.

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Health Benefits of Aqauriums

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Fish Bowl

Fish Bowl – How to Provide the Best Care for it

Fish bowls are cheap to maintain and do not occupy much space. This is probably the reason why many pet lovers who have limited space to accommodate fish tanks usually prefer to have a fish bowl. There are various choices that you can choose from when it comes to decorating your fish’s home. You can go for the bright decorations or a more laid-back look.

Setting up a fish bowl

A fish bowl, unlike a fish tank has no filtration, heat or an aeration system. The size of a fish bowl depends on what will be more convenient to you and your fish. You will require a water conditioner which will assist in the removal of chlorine and other water contaminants from the bowl water. Finding the best water conditioner in your area will depend on the level of chlorine found in the water you use.

You can cover the bottom of your bowl with gravel or marbles to provide a base for your fish bowl. You can add decorative plastics to give the bowl a more interesting look, this is because live plants are not recommended for fish bowls.

Cleaning the bowl involves washing it with warm water and salt that is non iodized. You should not use any soap or bleach because they may leave harmful residue which might affect the fish. You can also wash the marbles and gravel by getting rid of all the excess dust and color. You can now place the marbles or gravel at the bottom of the fish bowl then add room temperature water containing the correct amount of conditioner. It is advised that you let the water sit for at least one hour before putting in the fish.

Taking care of the fish bowl

A fish bowl has no heater so the water temperature is usually that of the room. This means that you should not put the bowl near a window with direct sunlight because the water might heat up very quickly and be harmful to the fish. Always choose fish the right size of fish that will not be too big for the bowl. You want your fish to swim freely without having to struggle to get enough water for air.

Fish bowl water should be changed regularly at least once a week because the fish waste is not processed like that in an aquarium. The water should always appear crystal clear and should be changed when you notice waste accumulating at the base of the bowl.

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Betta Fish

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Fish Tank Decorations

Fish Tank Decorations- Why they are important!

Decorating your fish tank is usually the best way of adding color to your tank. You can choose an exciting theme and then get the necessary items that will make the entire look pleasing not only to you but also to the fish in your aquarium. There are lots of aquarium decorations with varying colors and sizes both artificial and natural that you can find online or in stores.

Factors to consider when choosing fish tank decorations

1. Choosing the right substrate
Fish tank sands come in many colors giving you a variety to choose from. Pick your favorite color although you can consider choosing light colors which become glittery and brighten up the entire aquarium. Another interesting option can be a pale tan type of sand which will make your fish tank appear like an ocean.

2. Manufactured additions
Choose plastic plants that appear live like to make your aquarium look like the bottom of the ocean. Plastic plants can be used to hide the infiltration machine making your fish tank more aesthetically pleasing.

Consider adding novelty items such as treasure chests, bottles and mermaids to create an ocean theme that will make the tank more interesting to observe. You can also include a pirate ship to add some sense of adventure. Creating an underwater fantasy with small fake squids and octopus can be a great way to decorate your aquarium.

Ceramic pieces are also great fish tank decorations to add to your fish tank. Choose pieces with variety of bright patterns to set a mood which you want your tank to have. You can include piece that have nautical themes and that are safe for an aquarium.

3. Decorating around the aquarium
Creating the right background for your fish tank can bring out a specific mood. You can choose a solid color that is similar to the ocean or a particular sand type. There are several backgrounds that you can choose from at the pet store and even on online stores.

You can add items that match your theme by placing them outside the tank. Such items can include a shell bra, bowl of gold, coins and pirate’s hat among others. You can put fake flowers and brightly colored gravel around the tank to support your chosen theme.

Decorating a fish tank is simple
Finding the right fish tank decorations means coming up with a particular theme which you would want your tank to have. Always consider working your way up as you start with the base then the gravel and stones as you decide on live or fake plants.

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Saltwater Fish Tank

Saltwater Fish Tank

Have you always wanted to have a saltwater fish tank and just didn’t know how to get started? Well having your own saltwater tank can be a great source of relaxation in your home or office. Beautiful fish tanks light up the room by making it more aesthetically pleasing. You can now have your own saltwater aquarium without having to stretch your wallet trying to find the best fish tank. The following are some of the things you need to consider when choosing the right saltwater aquarium.

Things to consider when choosing your saltwater fish tank

• Type of ecosystem
You will have to decide on the kind of fish you want to include in your tank. For instance, do you want to have beautiful fish with bright colors or would you prefer to go for a basic saltwater fish tank with different types of fish altogether?

• What is the size of the fish tank?
Do you want a small tank that will occupy less space in your home or do you prefer a large tank that will be the main focus of the room? The larger the size of the aquarium then the more responsibility you will have of setting up the tank. A Nano aquarium is usually cheaper to start with compared to the larger size.

• Choose the right filtration system
You will now have to choose the best filtration system that suits your saltwater fish tank. This is because you always have to ensure that the tank water is clear and clean by removing water pollutants like waste from fish and uneaten food. There are different types of filtration systems which you can choose from depending on the size of the aquarium and your budget.

• Type of fish
Different fish have varying requirements in order to survive under optimum conditions. You should consider the environment under which the fish you want to have will thrive. Consider proper lighting and right sand texture and rocks.

Setting up a saltwater fish tank

The entire process of putting together a saltwater fish tank can seem to be overwhelming but knowing exactly what to look out for can ensure you get the best tank. You can conduct research to find out the type of livestock you are interested in having as well as the food that you are willing to purchase regularly without feeling like you are spending too much.

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Fish Tank Stand

Fish Tank Stand

If you own an aquarium or a fish tank. A fish tank stand will become furniture and part of the interior design or décor of your home or office. Therefore, it must fit right in like ying and yang, bonny and Clyde; you get the idea.

Fish tank stands designs are created to accommodate fish tanks from 10 to 90 gallons of water. It is not just a thing to put your fish tank or aquarium on but a tool to display your masterpiece. After all, you selected the aquarium and the decorations and decided which fish would live there. So now is the time to show it off. The right fish tank should be a showcase designed for efficiency.

Top Selling Fish Tank Stands

1. Imagitarium Newport Wooden Tank Stand – for 20 Gallon Aquariums, 24.75 in” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Imagitarian Newport Wooden tank stand sells for $47.99. It has a modern design that is fresh and clean. It also has protective leveling feet that is easily assembled and adjusted. It has an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

2. Sauder 416443, Select Aquarium Stand, 48″ x 12″ – 33/40 Long, 55 Gallon, Jamocha Wood Finish” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Sauder 416443 Select Aquarium Stand 48” x 12”. Sells for $149.99. It has a Jamocha Wood finish and it is water resistant. Comes with adjustable shelves and double doors for hidden storage. It has an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

3. Aquatic Fundamentals 16751, 75/90 Gallon Upright Aquarium Stand” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Aquatic fundamentals Silver Vein Scroll Aquarium Stand, 20 gallons. Sells for $38.89 and has an overall rating of 5 stars out of 5. Its dimensions are: 24.3″L x 27.8″H x 12.5″. With a classic scroll design it comes ready to assemble. It has a resistance to moisture and has a powder coated finish.

4. Ameriwood Home Harbor 50 – 75 Gallon Aquarium Stand, Black” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Ameriwood Home Aquarium Stand. Has an Overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars and sells for $160.76. It can hold 50-75 gallon aquarium. It is made of laminated particle board and MDF. There are also other furniture items that you can buy to go with this accessory. Customer reviews revealed issues with the package and shipping procedures. Other reviews said that the product looked great once it was assembled.

5. Imagitarium Brushed Steel Look Fish Tank Stand, Up to 55 Gal, 14.25 in” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Imagitarian Brushed Steel hook fish tank stand holds an aquarium with up to 55 gallons of water. It sells for $161.99. it appears sturdy and durable with adjustable shelves. Its simple contemporary design allows it to blend with the décor of your space. It has an overall rating of 4 ½ stars out of 5.

6. Ameriwood Home Cove 20 Gallon Aquarium Stand, Rustic Oak” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Ameriwood Home Cove 20 gallon Aquarium Stand. It is made with laminated particles and MDF. It has a medium brown colour, 4 open cubbies and 2 doors to provide both open and concealed storage space. It sells for $98.98.

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Gold Fish

Gold Fish

The Gold Fish is the most commonly kept aquarium pet. Its origins can be traced back to East Asia and is a fresh water fish. Most people when thinking of getting a pet, select a Gold Fish. This is mostly because of its popularity, it’s not expensive and is very easy to acquire and care for.

Feeding
Make sure to select the fish food that is specifically designed for the Gold fish. You cannot just purchase any old fish food. The fish food that the fish from the tropics eat has different nutrients. Fish food that is designed for the Gold Fish is less concentrated on protein and more concentrated on carbohydrates. If you want to treat your gold fish very special; then you can go ahead and prepare boiled vegetables. For example: Zucchini, peas and carrots. Make sure to chop them first into tiny pieces before feeding them to your fish.

Do not feed your fish too much! Food passes through the body of the gold fish very quickly as they do not have stomachs. Too much food can cause them to have problems such as swimming properly and even constipation.

The Tank / Aquarium
Inside the tank of a Gold Fish enthusiast should be at a temperature of about 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. An immersive heater is recommended to gauge and monitor the temperature of the tank, especially at nights. Refrain from putting untreated tap water in your tank. Untreated tank water contains many pollutants that can kill your fish. Also, do not fill your tanks to the top because Gold fishes have been known to jump from the aquarium, most times to their deaths.

The recommended water for your tank, is the tap water that has been treated with some kind of de-chlorinator; or you could just purchase Beta Water from your pet store.

Gold fish produce a lot of ammonia. This ammonia can pollute your aquarium. Therefore, you should also cycle your tank to help keep a balance between good and bad bacteria. Make sure to buy a filter that is large enough for your aquarium. The recommended tank size for a single Gold fish is 40 to 50 gallons of water.

Try not to have too many fishes in your tank. However, if new fishes are added to your population, make sure to quarantine them first. New fishes may be carrying diseases that can infect your healthy population. One other important point to remember is that not many species of fish can co-exist with the Gold fish; so you might not want to mix them with other species. Especially not with discus fish!

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Sucker Fish

Sucker Fish

The Sucker Fish, also known as Plecostomus; got its name by its tendency to feed by sucking up plants and invertebrates. Its mouth is on the bottom of its head, allowing its lips to perform a sucking action. Suckers are freshwater fishes that live on the floors of slow moving streams and lakes. They are close relatives of the carp and Minnow. There are approximately 100 species of Sucker Fishes. They can live for 10 to 15 years in captivity and may grow to be 12 to 18 inches long.

The Sucker Fish can be considered to be a wise choice for addition to any fish tank or aquarium. Why you might ask? They serve as a built in clean up system as they eat algae found on tank surfaces and also food particles from the bottom of the tank. Their mild personalities makes them compatible with almost any tank mate.

How to care for a Sucker Fish
You can provide a suitable home for your Sucker Fish by having a beautifully decorated tank, with just enough exposure to sunlight. The tank should be situated in an area that promotes the growth of algae to provide for the need of your Sucker Fish, who feeds on this algae. Add some driftwood and make certain there are lots of places to hide in the tank. Even though the sucker Fish likes to feed on algae; regular treats of fresh food are always a good idea.

To adequately care for a Sucker Fish, you might have to give them special considerations, such as: leaving a small space at the top of the tank. They often swallow air in order to help them float better. However, remember to keep the tank lid closed. Sucker Fishes have been known to escape their tanks. They can survive short periods without water. So if you discover one outside of the tank; just put it back and chances are it will be fine. You will also be happy to know that sucker fish are good tank mates with discus fish. They will help keep the algae under control.

Interesting Facts about the Sucker Fish

• It does not breed successfully in captivity even though it’s possible.

• A superstition surrounds its name: that saying its name or writing its name will cause the fish to die. Therefore, some pet owners refrain from doing so.

• It can survive adverse conditions, such as being out of water for up to 30 hours because of its ability to store large amounts of air in its intestines.

• It is considered an invasive species because it lives wild in several states of the United States of America; outside of its native territories.

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Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish

The Scientific name for the Parrot Fish is Scaridae and is prevalently found in the shallows of tropical oceans worldwide. The Parrot Fish got its name because of its beak-like structure, which is in resemblance to the beak of a Parrot. They are considered to be a vital component of a marine ecosystem. There are approximately nine known species of Parrot Fish. Often described as having a thick mass and large scales; they appear in a variety of colors, which may change based on their sex or maturity.

Weird and Interesting facts

• It spins a cocoon of mucous around itself at night. This cocoon is a defense mechanism against predators such as eels and sharks. The cocoon allows the Parrot Fish to be alerted whenever a predator tries to penetrate it.

• The Parrot Fish is credited for the production of sand. It does so by consuming algae, which is digested and then excreted as sand. It is said that one Parrot fish is able to turn one ton of coral into sand per year.

• The Parrot Fish thrives in schools of about 40, led by a dominant male. They are also known to change sex numerous times throughout their lives.

• They have two sets of teeth which are made of a substance considered to be of the hardest bio-minerals in the world; making it harder than gold, silver and copper. One set of teeth allows it to scrape off corals by the bit, the other set allows it to crush the pieces.

Most popular types of Parrot Fish
• Blue Parrot: as the name suggests are blue, with a yellow spot on its head, which fades as the fish matures. They can grow to be 12 to 30 inches long.

• Rainbow Parrot: Scientifically called Scarus Guacamaia is multicolored, usually with green, brown and faint orange. This type is dwindling in population, causing it to become rare and putting them on the near threatened list. They can grow to be 47 inches long, weighing as much as 40 pounds.

• Stop Light Parrot: Scientifically called Spansoma Vindie normally grows 12 to 18 inches long. They usually have a yellow spot which only becomes visible when they are mature.

The Parrot Fish is not recommended to populate aquariums, as they do not adapt well to captivity. They are quite delicate as they are prone to stress which can shorten their life span. They are also very important to the Ocean’s eco-system. Without them the coral reefs will die.

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Oscar Fish

Oscar Fish

In tropical South America originates a species of fish called the Oscar Fish. The Oscar Fish is from the Cichlid family. It is also known by a variety of other names, such as: Tiger Oscar, Velvet Cichlid, and Marble Cichlid. The Oscar Fish has an uncanny likeliness to the piranha, but is not related in any way. It is a fresh water fish and has a life span of 10 – 20 years.

Do not get fooled by Oscars though. Even though they are cichlids they should only be kept with other Oscars and no other types of fish nor other cichlids. They definitely cannot be kept with discus fish nor neon tetras!!

Looks can be deceiving when it comes to the Oscar fish. They are truly fascinating because of the unpredictability of their social habits; which can be mesmerizing and captivating for a home audience. They are extremely popular for their effervescent beauty and gracefulness when swimming; but can be very aggressive. Never the less, they have found favor with human-kind.

Three reasons why Oscar Fishes make Great Pets

Oscar Fishes can be considered to be great pets because:
• They are highly domesticated; they often interact with owners and can even be trained to eat from their hand. They are considered to be highly intelligent and very sociable.
• They are playful in nature, often moving around items in their aquarium and have been known to shake their head or tail – these characteristics have earned them the name river dog, which makes them ideal pets.
• Pet owners easily fall in love with them because of their beautiful and vibrant colors which makes the aquarium come alive and adds to the décor of any room

How to care for your Oscar Fish
• Aquarium should be set up to mimic their natural habitat. Therefore, one must consider the temperature of the fresh water rivers of the Amazon, which is warm.
• Install a filter to clean the tank and a heater to ensure that the appropriate temperature is always maintained to cater to the comfort of your little friend or friends.
• Use an appropriate size aquarium depending on the number of Oscar fishes you plan to accommodate in your tank. 50 gallons of water per Oscar is ideal. They require a lot of space as they are considered to be very territorial. They will attack each other if there is not enough space. Approximately 30 gallons of water should be enough for each Oscar Fish that is added to the tank.

• Furnish your fish tank with things such as: sand, small rocks and logwood. You can even design sturdy caves. Make sure that the decorations are fixed and not easily dislodged. Real plants are not ideal so use decorative ones. They can add a little flair to the overall design and appearance of your aquarium.

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Clown Fish

Clown Fish- How to Care for them

Finding Nemo is the movie that mainly led people to have their own aquariums at home. This Nemo was an ocellaris clown fish which has become a common pet fish preferred by many households today. Clown Fish are saltwater fish. Below are a few hints of taking care of these beautiful fish that you should use on a regular basis.

• These clown fish are typically marine fish and thus they thrive in salty waters. One should, therefore, provide a salty water environment so that the fish can thrive well. These fish is quite easy to keep as long as you maintain a specific salt level. They do not require too many fancy equipment so that they live well.

• They are very beautiful fish and come in different patterns which include; white orange, the Davinci clown which has black patches, the naked ocellaris which is purely orange and the black ocellaris. They do well in the wild and thus they are a hardy fish meaning; they can adapt to different environments. Over the years they have adapted to being breed by humans and have come to become such worthy pets.

• For a full grown adult, it tends to grow to about 3 inches long. So for a pair of clown fish, it would be necessary to have a tank that contains about 20 gallons of water. It should also be noted that these fish act aggressively when they are more than a pair in the same tank.

• These fish are not picky about decor as they move about the water with gracefulness. One can add artificial ornaments or natural live rock to make the tank have a more natural look. The fish will not mind at all.

• One should also ensure they maintain the required water parameters for the clown fish. These parameters include; temperatures of about 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and with a salinity of 1.020-1.026sg. The standard pH should be kept between 8.1-8.4.

• As these fish are omnivorous, they can eat anything you give them from marine formulae, flakes, and pellets to frozen meaty foods. You can opt to feed the fish once per day or break the feeding cycle into two smaller parts spread throughout the day.

• These fish also tend to be very sensitive to nitrates, the level should be maintained at 20ppm or less. To do this one can implement the usage of a filter that filters out the nitrates.

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Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish – How to Care For Them

Guppies are a good type of fish to keep as pets as they come in a range of colors, each giving more life to your aquarium and making it look more appealing. Below are a few pointers you should keep note if so as to have the healthiest guppy fish.

• These fish tend to thrive better in a higher pH of about 7-8 so put this into consideration when filling the water. The best choice of water would be hard water with a range of minerals like calcium and magnesium.

• The water should also be maintained at warm temperatures of about 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you have an adequate water heater to maintain this temperature during the cold seasons. You should also ensure you constantly change the water so as to reduce the toxicity. When changing the water, do not stress the fish by removing too much water. Only cycle out a substantial amount. This also helps in adding new nutrients to the water which is highly beneficial for your fish.

• Guppy fish are livebearers meaning they give birth to live babies. You should consider this factor when choosing the tank to put the fish in as they tend to produce a lot. Give away any excess fish to your friends and family so that you can be able to maintain the few that remain. You can also opt to buy more tanks for your fish, that is, If you have money.

• You should maintain a proper feeding diet that enables your fish to grow and be healthy. Healthy fish are always the best as they bring more life to the fish tank making it a pleasant view. Guppy fish can be fed a variety of food including; flake foods, frozen marine foods, and even pellets. As you feed your fish, make sure you do not overfeed them as the excess food may increase the toxicity in the water.

• Guppy fish are fun and peaceful and hence can flourish well with other fish species. Aggressive fish like red-tailed sharks, on the other hand, should not be placed anywhere near your guppy fish, as they might fight to the death.

• The male guppy fish tend to have more color than the female ones. It is, however, advisable to keep more females than males so that there will not be too much reproduction that will overcrowd your fish tank.

If you have any questions about Guppy Fish feel free to Contact Us

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Tetra Fish

Tetra Fish Care

The Tetra are small fish that mainly originate from around the Amazon river. It’s important to keep your fish in a clean environment that keeps them healthy and happy. Below are just a few tips on how to achieve this.

• The Neon Tetra is a good fish for any beginner and is cheaper than the cardinal tetra. It can live alone in a 5-gallon tank as it is not that huge. This makes it more convenient as it becomes easy to manage. The bare minimum should be 10 gallons if you would wish to go for at least 8 to 10 fish. They are not really great when it comes to schooling and thus they are kept in low numbers.

• A well-planted tank is preferred as it makes the environment more natural. Live plants also help in the nitrogen cycle and this helps to filter out the toxic ammonia from the water making it conducive for the fish.

• On the negative side, these fish are not that hardy meaning they do not deal well with new environments. It is, therefore, necessary to cycle the water you use from already established aquariums so that the fish can be able to cope.

• The pH for the fish’s water should be maintained between 5 to 7.5. The temperature of the water should also be checked regularly and should range from 69 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The water hardness should be maintained at around 1 -10 DH. Failure of meeting these parameters will result in your fish having a lower life span. They are also susceptible to low temperatures as infections grow which can be fatal to the Neon Tetra fish. So make sure that the water for the fish is kept in has the right parameters for the fish to thrive.

• Make sure you feed your neon tetra either 2 to 3 times a day. Do not overfeed the fish as it may lead to the buildup of toxic waste in the aquarium. These fish are omnivorous when in the wild, they mainly ravage on live insects so make sure that you provide a variety of food to your fish. This may include; blood worms, wingless fruit flies and even algae. A proper diet will make the color have brighter colors, it will also make the fish move about more often as it has energy.

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Koi Fish

Koi Fish – Different Types

Koi fish are fish that are mainly breed in Japan. They are part of the carp family but due to decades of breeding by the Japanese, they have mainly adopted the orange and white color which symbolizes tranquility in Japan. The Japanese have developed shows for this fish which showcase their immense beauty. It was only in 2017 when a breeder in Japan sold his koi fish for around 1.8 million dollars making it the most expensive pet fish in the world.

The best koi fish are distinguished by their good pattern in color. The Japanese have used selective breeding to exploit the fish’s color to make it look quite beautiful.
The koi fish come in a variety of breeds including;

• The Kohaku; this fish has a solid white base with patterns of red overlaid on top of the white. To know that it is of top quality, make sure that the fish displays a bright blemish free white combined with deep vibrant red tones. The variations for this type include; the Doitsu Kohaku, the Gin Rin Kohaku, and the Tancho Kohaku.

• The Showa Sanshoku; This is a koi fish with a white red or orange patterns over the top of a black base color. It usually has black patterns on the head. To know that the fish is of high quality, ensure that the red white and black are balanced evenly about the body with evenly crisp clean edges between each color. The variations include; The Tancho Showa, the Maruten Showa the Gin Rin Showa and the Kin Showa.

• The Tancho; this koi fish has only one red pattern which is a single red dot on the top of its head. The symmetry and placement of the Tancho mark are the main factors when determining its quality. The Tancho make can also appear on other varieties of the koi fish.

• The Taisho Sanke; These are another popular koi fish that have a solid white base overlaid by patterns of both black and red. The high-quality Sanke begins with a great Kohaku pattern to which the black is a welcomed compliment. Their variations include; Doitsu Sanke, Maruten Sanke, and the Tancho Sanke.

• The Shiro Utsuri is a koi with a black base overlain by white areas. A high-quality one will combine clean white patterns with a deep lacquer-like black. A split head of both black and white is also a show of top quality variations include; Gin Rin Shiro Utsuri, Gin Shiro Utsuri, and Doitsu Shiro Utsuri.

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Freshwater Fish

Freshwater Fish – Best fish for Beginners

1. Guppy; This is a great fish for beginners. It is a tropical fish that produces every 30 days. They come in a variety of colors and are quite easy to manage and feed. They are great with live plants and love to move around in the water showing their spectacular colors.

2. Sword Tails and Platy; These are also popular freshwater fish that are easy to keep for beginners. They come in different shapes and colors. There are also those with low fins and those with high ones. One can choose as per their liking. They keep the plant life in the tank clean as they tend to nibble at algae. They are fairly big and thus require tanks ranging from 30 to 50 gallons.

3. Betta fish; These are also quite popular in the majority of households that have aquariums. They are quite cheap and come in a variety of colors. They also have these amazing fins that they like to display as they swim about peacefully in the water. If you get this fish, make sure that you change the water regularly to reduce its toxicity. This will make the fish have a longer lifespan and also the colors will come out more beautifully when the fish is healthy.

4. Neon Tetra; these are another bunch of amazing schooling fish. They are small and thus would not require one to invest in a very large aquarium. The fact that they are small also makes them quite an easy fish to handle. They are peaceful and do not disturb any other fish that may be introduced into the tank. These are freshwater fish that are great for a planted tank as they blend in quite well with all the green vegetation.

5. Corey Fish; These are a large group of freshwater fish and thus will require a bigger tank. They come in a variety of species and they are generally very pleasant to look at. They are a peaceful breed and thus will not disturb other fish in the tank. They also tend to rummage at the bottom of the fish tank. This acts as an advantage as it helps in the filtration of the water by picking up the debris. They should be kept in minimum size groups of maybe 3 to 4 per tank. As they tend to rummage on the substrate a lot, it is best to use a substrate that is fine and smooth.

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Betta Fish

Betta Fish Care

Betta fish has become one of the most popular fishes bred by human beings. They are popular mostly because for one, they are amazing fish to have and two, they come in a variety of colors hence making your aquarium quite beautiful to look at.

Caring tips
• Make sure you give your fish adequate space to move around. The common misconception is that a Betta fish can do well in a small vase or bowl. This is not the case as it requires more space so that it can be more active which in the long run increases its life span.

• Subtle lighting is good for Betta fish. Too much light may be harmful and not conducive to the fish.

• Make sure the pH for the water is approximately 6.4 to 7. Although these fish can do well in hard water, try to soften the water a bit so that they may thrive. Betta fish do well in temperatures of about 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit so make sure that you have an adequate thermometer to keep the temperature in check and also a water heater to warm the water during cold days.

• You can condition the water by adding almond leaves that produce a lot of natural acids which are beneficial to the fish.

• Use live aquatic plants mostly the floating plants. These floating plants help them to build bubble nests necessary for their breathing. These plants also offer shade to the fish and reduce the general toxicity of the water making the fish to enjoy a very conducive environment.

• Make sure you do regular water changes so as to reduce the toxicity levels due to the build-up of nitrates.

• Make sure also to feed to Betta fish with the correct amount of food that will help in its growth. Betta fish can eat a wide variety of food for example bloodworms, frozen marine foods, white worms, and even pellets. Two small feeds in a day are recommended. Make sure you do not overfeed the fish as wasted food accumulates at the bottom making the tank dirty and also increases the toxicity levels by producing nitrates. This is not healthy for your fish and thus should be handled with care.

• Last but not least, give your fish love, look for any signs of diseases and treat them before they become worse. Loving your fish will surely make it have a longer lifespan.

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Saltwater Fish

Saltwater Fish for Beginners

If you are a beginner reef or saltwater fanatic, this is definitely the article for you. Below I give some of the easiest and popular saltwater fish, to begin within your aquarium.

1. Chromis
These are an awesome schooling fish to choose and they come in a variety of colors. Blue and green for example look amazing mostly in saltwater aquariums as they have a nice torque body that gives sort of a shimmering effect. These fish are also hardy meaning they can adapt to new environments quickly. They are easy to keep and also come cheap which is an advantage to any beginner.

2. Dwarf Angel
Dwarf Angels are really amazing saltwater fish as they come with an open personality and usually swim around the water with grace and pomp. They also come in a variety of beautiful colors to choose from. They grow around 4-5 inches and thus do not require a huge aquarium. They are a very peaceful fish and love grazing on the algae. They are however pricey as their price ranges from $40 to $70. They are also very hardy and super easy to take care of for beginners.

3. Blennies
There is a variety of these saltwater fish in the market and they include; starry blennies, bicolor blennies, algae blennies, and tail spot blennies. These fish have excellent coloration with unique color patterns that no other fish seems to have. They are a hardy fish meaning they can survive even in tough conditions and are usually sold at a cheap price.

4. Royal Gramma
As the name suggests, these are royal saltwater fish, they tend to be a bit shy when introduced to new environments but with time, they learn to come out. They are very colorful fish and would look amazing in any aquarium.

5. Saltwater Guppies
These are also great beginner saltwater fish. The species vary mostly in terms of color. They are mostly divided into; the yellow prawn, the neon blue, the orange strike, and the diamond watchmen. These are a cool fish to have as they are easy to maintain so long as you feed them well. They are quite hardy and thus can acclimatize to different environments easily. They are not that expensive to buy and keep. The diamond watchmen tend to be more expensive as they sift the sand in your aquarium making it cleaner.

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Aquatic Plants

Aquatic Plants for your aquarium – Tips for Beginners

• Live aquatic plants in a fish tank make it look more appealing to the eye and also serve as a good environment for your fish. You should, therefore, choose the best plants in relation to you and your fish’s needs. For beginners, I would recommend plants like Crypts, Anubias and the Java fern that are easy to grow, come in different shapes and sizes and are relatively low light plants. These aquatic plants are mainly sold in pet stores at a very affordable price. These plants do not require a lot of high tech equipment in order to grow and thus this makes them very cost effective.

• What is its purpose? As I have mentioned earlier, live plants give a natural look to your fish tank and ensure they have a nice environment. They also provide a surface area for bacteria to grow, this bacteria help in the nitrogen cycle where the excess ammonia in the water is sort of filtered out by these plants. Fish also tend to interact with live aquatic plants in a more realistic fashion than plastic decoration plants.

• The aquatic plants I have mentioned above are quite handy as they do not require that much maintenance as compared to other complex plants. Make sure you have proper lighting for your plants as this helps them in their growth. Keep the temperature of the water in the mid-’70s to ’80s which is a good temperature for aquatic plants to grow. Also, make sure that you keep the pH of the water in check. Typically these plants grow well in a neutral pH of about 6 and up to a high of 8.

• The substrate for these beginner aquatic plants is really not a big factor to consider. You can use either gravel or sand. Don’t go with big size gravel as the roots will find it difficult to grow. Standard gravel you buy from the pet store can do the job well.

• Avoid large water changes as this can be very stressful for your fish. Small water changes done over a period of time is beneficial as it introduces new nutrients to the plants and fish contributing to their healthy growth.

• These plants also need more sources of nutrients, they do get nutrients from the fish waste that settles on the substrate but this is not enough, you can add fertilizer bought once more from your local pet store and this will give you nice green plants in which the fish feels right at home. Make sure you read the instructions for the fertilizer well so that you do not end up hurting the fish by applying too much.

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Betta Fish Tank

Betta Fish Tank

Aquariums make your home look more appealing and more natural when setup correctly. They also give a sense of peace and calmness in any home setting. Betta fish are beautiful fish that come with lots of different colors. When most of the people buy Bella fish in a pet store, they tend to shove them in a small vase or bowl and add just a small plant for the natural taste. This is not ideal to keep the fish living for a long period of time.

It is better to keep these fish in a Betta Fish tank that is much bigger than a mere vase and thus the fish is able to move around quite fluently. The other disadvantage of keeping these fish in a bowl is that the temperature will not be suitable for the fish. Betta fish tend to do well in temperatures of about 78 degrees and this cannot be well maintained in a small bowl. If the temperature is not set correctly, your fish will not move about as it should and will also tend to eat less. This, in the long run, reduces the lifespan of the fish.

The Actual setup

As this is just a simple setup for one fish, it will not need a lot of requirements. So the first thing you should do is get the materials. The materials required are;
• A thermometer
• A 2.5 or preferably 5 Gallon aquarium.
• A submersible heater
• Gravel or sand for your substrate
• A filter
• Water
• Moss balls or an aquatic plant

Most of these items you can find at a pet store near you. Make sure you get the right materials that will be able to suit your fishes needs.
Add sand or gravel to the bottom of the Aquarium, just enough is required to act as a base for any aquatic plant you may want to introduce. This base also gives the fish tank a natural look.

• Attach the submersible heater to the Betta Fish tank. Make sure that the heater keeps the water at the perfect temperature for the fish which is about 78 degrees. You can test this by using the thermometer.
• Place the water filter strategically in the aquarium preferably on the upper parts so that the currents from the filtering does not disturb the fish. The filter acts as a huge advantage as you will not have to regularly change the water as the ammonia will be filtered out.
• After setting up the filter, you can then add the aquatic plant or moss balls to make the fish tank look more natural. Live aquatic plants and the moss balls also help to filter out the excess ammonia in the water and this contributes to the well being of the fish.
• Once done with the above steps, add a little bit of water and transfer your fish from the bowl or vase to the Betta fish tank. Enjoy.

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Discus Laid Eggs Now What

[amnr src=’https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BJQ50HC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=discusguy0e-20′] Discus Laid Eggs Now What

The most exciting moment for any discus keeper is the day that their discus fish lay eggs. This is an amazing feeling an accomplishment. To know that your discus keeping skills have come to a point where your water parameters, maintenance and feeding is perfect.

The excitement is then quickly interrupted when worry and concern takes over. A million thoughts start running through your mind. What do I do now? Where am i going to put over 100 discus babies? I need to buy some more tanks and filters and maybe even a new house to be able to store all of these additional tanks!

If you discus laid eggs- no need to worry. just remain calm and follow these simple steps.

1. Determine if the eggs were fertilized.
If the eggs were fertilized they will be a goldish color. If the eggs were not fertilized they will be a white cotton like color. The white eggs will not hatch and usually the discus pair will eat the white eggs.

2. Separate the pair with the eggs from the rest of the fish in the tank.
This can be accomplished in 2 ways:
A. Remove all the other fish in the tank and place them in a different tank. That way you only have the pair and the eggs left in the tank.
B. Place a tank divider in the tank so the parents and the eggs are by themselves on one side of the tank.

A quick and cheap tank divider can be made by going to Home Depot and buying a milk create light filter for drop ceilings. This will cost you less than $15. Then cut it to size and place it in the tank.

3. Do not do any water changes until the eggs hatch. The eggs will usually hatch in about 4-5 days.

4. Once the eggs hatch the babies will attach to the sides of the parents. They will eat the slime/mucus off the sides of the parents. After 3 days of the babies eating off the parents, start feeding rotifers to the babies. Rotifers look almost like saw dust. it is very small fine grade food.

5. Once the babies are no longer eating off the parents and are eating only rotifers, then prepare a 20 gallon fish tank using the same aquarium water from your main tank. Insert a sponge filter and keep the water temp the same as your main tank. Get a turkey baster and suck up all the babies and put them in the new tank by themselves.

6. Feed the babies several times per day minimum of 3 to 5 times per day! Do a partial water change after each feeding.

The babies will grow fast. It is critical that partial water changes are performed after every feeding!

Do not be discouraged if the pair eats all the eggs the first few spawns. This is very common when the pair is young.

Once they start to spawn they will spawn every few days for the next 5 weeks!

The process involves some work but it is very exciting! I hope this helps you the next time your discus laid eggs!

Enjoy the experience and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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How to Ship Live Fish

How to Ship Live Fish

 

How to ship live fish is not as difficult as it may seem as long as you have all the necessary tools needed for the job.

There are many different methods of shipping live fish online.  In this article I will explain what works best for me in my many years of shipping live fish.

Tools Needed:

Fish bags – minimum 2 mil thick

Heavy Duty rubber bands

Cardboard box

Styrofoam

Packaging tape

Oxygen Tank

Heat Packs

Newspaper

Fish Sedative (optional)

 

Do not feed the fish at least 24 hours before shipping!

 

Step 1 – Double the bags so you have 2 bags in 1.

Step 2- Add aquarium water to bag.  You only want to add enough water to cover the entire height of the fish.  The fish must be completely under water.  ( OPTIONAL – Add fish sedative at this time )

Step 3 – Add oxygen from an oxygen tank to the bag.  It must be either medical oxygen or commercial oxygen.  Any other type of air will not work!  DO NOT blow air into the bag using an air pump or with your mouth.  That is actually carbon dioxide that will kill the fish.

Step 4 – Twist the to of the bag and fold the top of the bag over.  Tightly wrap a rubber band around it to seal it tightly.  Make sure you do not twist it too much.  The bag must be somewhat soft.  If you inflate the bag too much it will burst with the air pressure during transit on the airplane.

Step 5 – Put the bag with the fish in a  3rd bag for extra protection and tie the bag with a rubber band.

Step 6 – Measure the inside dimensions of your cardboard box and cut Styrofoam sheets to create a Styrofoam box inside the cardboard box.  This will serve as a cooler for insulation and protection. (You can skip this step if you are using an already made fish shipping box)

Step 7 – Tape all the corners of the Styrofoam box with duct tape to seal it and prevent air form getting in or out. (You can skip this step if you are using an already made fish shipping box)

Step 8- Tape a heat pack to the bottom of your Styrofoam box.  Only tape the edges to hold it in place.  Do not place tape across the top center of the heat pack or it will not work.

Step 9- Line the inside of the Styrofoam box with plenty of newspaper.  This will serve as insulation and will also absorb water if the bags leak.

Step 10- Place the fish bags inside the box standing upright.

Step 11 – Place crumbled newspapers around the fish bags tightly to prevent the bags from tilting over.

Step 12- Place the Styrofoam lid on top.

Step 13- Close the cardboard box and seal it with tape only using one or two strips of tape.  DO NOT seal the entire top of the box with tape.  Air needs to get in and out for the heat packs to work otherwise the heat packs will not produce heat!

Step 14 – On all sides of the box use a marker to write: Live Fish- Fragile Liquids – Keep Warm.  Also draw arrows pointing to the top of the box on all sides.

Step 15- Tape your shipping label to the top of the box with clear tape.  Cover the entire shipping label with clear tape to prevent it from ripping off.

How to ship live fish is not complicated.  I hope this article gives you a pretty good idea on how to do it.

If you have any questions on how to ship live fish, feel free to email me and I will be happy to help.

Here are some useful resources for shipping live fish:

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Discus Fish PH

Discus Fish PH

Discus fish PH is a very common question I receive from many discus enthusiasts on a daily basis. What is the best ph for discus? Is my ph too high for discus? Is my ph too low for discus? Can you tell me what your water parameters are so that I can adjust mine to make them identical to yours before you send me my new fish? This article will address the discus fish ph mystery.
In today’s age of technology people want to be well informed before making a purchase. The same thing applies to discus fish. Before anyone buys discus fish they want to be well informed to ensure that their fish are happy and healthy. So the first thing they do is a Google Search for “Discus Fish PH” or Best PH for Discus fish”. Sounds pretty easy right? In a few seconds you will have all the answers needed correct? Unfortunately that is not the case. As soon as you do the search it yields millions of results. You are probably thinking this is great because all the results are the same! Once again, unfortunately this is not the case. One website will tell you to keep the ph at 6.4. Another will tell you to keep it at 6.8. Another one says keep it below 7. Another one says 5.8-7.9. Some people even go on to say you need to check your water parameters daily and make sure you have ph up or ph down chemicals handy at all times! The sad reality is that most of these results are just opinions from inexperienced discus keepers. It’s the power of the internet. Freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. That is great but it just drives people crazy with all the conflicting information. Which is correct and which isn’t?

In my early years of keeping discus I too was spending countless hours researching the perfect water parameters. What I thought was great advice just ended up killing all of my discus in the early years of my discus keeping hobby.

So what is the best ph for discus fish? Here is the one and only answer you will ever need to know to be successful at keeping discus. The best ph for discus fish is whatever ph you water currently has! Discus will adjust to any ph over time as long as it remains constant. Never try to adjust your ph with chemicals. That will just end up causing a spike in your ph and killing your fish almost instantly!

So forget about stressing out over the perfect ph. I never understood why discus keepers obsess over water parameters especially ph. Discus keepers think they need to become chemists in order to keep healthy discus which is not the case at all.

Take it from me, I have been raising discus for over 30 years and have seen and tried it all! Don’t worry about being a chemist and just enjoy your discus fish!

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Benefits of Fish Tanks for Children

Benefits of Fish Tanks for Children

Having an adorable pet at home is one of the easiest ways to relax after working all day. Also, owning a pet shows that you are responsible enough to keep another living creature safe. However, having a furry pet at home for some people is not a bad idea because of certain health conditions like asthma and allergies. Having a fish and some other aquatic animals as a pet can be a nice alternative to the furry animals. There are several benefits and great opportunities for you and your children can get if you buy a fish tank for your home.

The following are the three major benefits of fish tanks for children:

1. It encourages learning. It motivates the kids to explore and know more about the world.
There are two major educational benefits of an aquarium:

• Enhances Vocabulary

For kids, there will be a wide visual stimulation which is really beneficial for the cognitive development of the little ones. Talk about what they see and make them recognize different animals. An aquarium is a great opportunity to further develop the vocabulary of toddlers through identification.
Read out loud for them because it is an easy way for them to learn new words and you might also learn new things as well. Reading out loud is good modeling that encourages your kids to appreciate reading. Go beyond identifying the animals in the aquarium and discuss the similarities and differences of the animals.

• Hands-on learning

Touch tank in one of the special features made for the inquisitive ones. The eyes of humans certainly have several visual stimulations, but we can also get information through touch. For children, it is a great way to understand nature. Some aquariums can have varieties of aquatic animals like starfish, shrimp, hermit crabs etc. The physical presence of these animals provides an easy learning experience for children.

2. It improves imagination and creativity. Kids look at aquariums and they visualize a completely new different world.
Aquariums sparks imagination, there are different life forms in the sea and having a fish tank is a great way to spark your kid’s imagination. The diverse colors, movement, and shapes can trigger the imagination of children. Owning or visiting an aquarium will help you and your children redefine what type of living creatures are in the sea.

3. It creates a sense of responsibility. Having pets and ensuring the well-being of the pets can have an influence on how children develop their social skills.

If you have a child that love fish and other aquatic creatures, buying one for your child is a great starter to introduce a fish tank in your home. This will definitely make a great difference in the lives of your kids. The fish tank for children is specifically designed for their satisfaction. Get any of the kid-friendly fish tanks available in the market and you will be making a loving home for your children. As you can see there are many benefits of fish tanks for children!

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Health Benefits of Aquariums

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Health Benefits of Aquariums

Have you ever noticed a relaxed or peaceful feeling when you are close to an aquarium? Perhaps the sound from the bubbly aquarium water drives you to a relaxing mood or helps eliminate the stressful thoughts that run through your mind. The health benefits of an aquarium much more than that.
A research done by Plymouth University proves that individuals who spend a significant duration of time close to an aquarium get an improvement of their mental and physical health. In addition to improving moods, an aquarium can lower heart rates, high blood pressure, and other conditions.

Reduces Stress

The wide competition and contemporary day living have caused the increase of everyday stress. This stress later leads to physical and mental disorders in the body. Since stress is inevitable, you can minimize it to lowest or healthy levels.

A great way to achieve this would be to put an aquarium in your living room. When you watch fishes make their swift and slow movements in the aquarium, you will instantly experience a soothing effect, which is helpful for calming your mind.

Also, the movements of fishes are hypnotic. This is important because it puts your mind at ease and it makes you overlook your everyday problems. If you have been experiencing regular stress and diseases associated with stress, then you should get a Nano aquarium and appreciate the health benefits of aquariums.

Reduces High Blood Pressure

Research by the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health proves that the introduction of a fish tank in the home can reduce the blood pressure of the inhabitants. Certain people choose an empty, but extremely decorated aquarium to get the health benefits of aquariums.
Nevertheless, aquariums with beautiful and active fish yield better outcomes than the empty ones. If the expenses of introducing an aquarium to your home are greater than your budget, you can also watch video clips of swimming fish to enjoy the blood reduction benefits.

Reduces Pain

This is one of the major health benefits of aquariums which is not popular. Fishes can minimize body pain. Perhaps you’re wondering why most physician’s chambers and dental clinics have an aquarium.

In addition to making the place look attractive and stunning; many patients have experienced reduced pain after staring at the aquarium for some minutes.
Plymouth University also discovered that if an individual is suffering from anxiety, or even general colic pain, an aquarium with fishes will have an impact in reducing these conditions.

Provides a Good Sleep at Night

An aquarium can induce a calming effect on the whole body, which is particularly true in infants. It helps babies sleep better at night. It is well known that getting quality and adequate sleep at night can make a grownup, or even infants, to wake up feeling better.
This means the productivity of such adults will be improved during the day. Also, if you had a good sleep, your body can restore damaged tissues and get the body ready for the next day.

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Fish Bullying

Fish Bullying

Being a fish owner is not always an easy process especially when your fish are not always able to act peacefully in your tank. Fish bullying is a phenomenon that can commonly occur between your fish pets. This bullying is not necessarily caused by the size of fish in the tank, or the typical temperament of your fish either.

In order to prevent Fish bullying it’s important to think about some of these top factors.

Bullying Factors

1. Research species before you integrate: integrating a brand-new species into your tank can often require research. Certain species do not do particularly well when they live with other fish. Tetras for example thrive when they live with other species in schools. Beta fish on the other hand are best kept by themselves. Cichlids are some of the most aggressive fish that you could integrate into a tank to live with other fish however you need to be careful which types of cichlids you mix together. For example, african cichlids cannot be kept with south american cichlids. Discus should not be kept with any other types of cichlids other than discus.

2. Check for signs of nests/eggs: a common reason for Fish bullying comes with the chance your fish could have bred. Many fish can get very territorial in order to protect their babies. Keep separate tanks available if this occurs.

3. Check your water parameters often: if ammonia levels are high inside the tank, fish can get stressed out and often take their aggression out on others inside the tank. Checking your ammonia levels can be important to preventing tragic Fish bullying inside the tank.

4. Give extra food to your bottom feeders: when bottom feeders don’t get access to the food that they need, they can often start to attack other fish for the slime coating on them. Make sure that your bottom dwellers are getting well fed by forcing food to the bottom if you have to.

5. Discus fish need to be kept in groups of 6 or more. Discus are schooling fish and feel safe together in schools. If you have less than six discus chances are they will fight to determine the pecking order.

Keep these ideas in mind on Fish bullying and remember that is completely preventable. By recognizing the signs and doing research early on you can prevent injuries to your fish and maintain a peaceful aquarium.

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Breeding Discus for Profit

BREEDING DISCUS FOR PROFIT – THINGS TO CONSIDER

Breeding animals – fishes, dogs and so on – can be tough, and so is breeding discus for profit. However, breeding is a passion people love, which makes its challenges even more thrilling.

Breeding discus, especially when it’s for profit comes with its fair share of problems. You can’t put a school of discus in a tank, go to sleep and expect money to flood in. However, when it’s done the right way, breeding discus for profit can fulfill both your passion and financial needs.

To successfully breed discus for profit, you have to put some things into consideration. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the factors to help you start a successful discus breeding business.

Select Healthy Discus Fishes
If you are breeding discus for profit, then it’s always best to select healthy ones. Also, pay attention to discus fishes that have been genetically modified. When choosing discus fishes, consider their shapes and ensure they are round.

Also, there should be a healthy protrusion of fins from their body. Also make sure their eyes aren’t chipped, as discus with chipped eyes may have been genetically engineered.

When breeding discus for profit, also ensure to select good breeding pairs. You can begin producing with 10 or 15 young pairs of the same strain and let them pair off.

Don’t compromise on Equipment
You can’t afford to compromise on equipment when breeding discus for profit as you’ll run at a loss. For the discus tank, choosing one depends on the number of fishes you intend starting with. A tank of about 60 gallons is ideal when you are keeping 7 to 10 discus fishes. You don’t want to overcrowd your tank. Also, an aqua clear 500 filter and water heater are required. For aeration, use a check valve and airstone. If you intend using tap water, you should keep chlorine level low using Seachem Prime.

Ensure High Quality of Water
Poor quality of water is often the root cause of most failures at breeding. Hence, to successfully breed discus for profit, water quality must be high at all times.

High nitrogen level is dangerous to the health of discus fishes, and must, therefore, be kept low. The PH level is also very important and should be slightly alkaline at a range between 6.0 and 6.5. The water temperature must also be suitable at around 90o F.
Therefore, if you intend breeding discus for profit, PH meter, aquatic water heater, and aquarium thermometer are a must-have.

Protect from Gill Flukes
A significant disease of discus is the gill fluke. Young discus fishes sometimes develop gill flukes, which should be treated immediately. You can treat the tank water with Prazipro – an active, ready to use liquid concentrate. Formalin is also effective in protecting young fries from flukes. Wiping the inside of the tank down is another method.

With these suggestions, you can be successful at breeding discus for profit. Who says you can’t live off what you love doing?
You’d love to breed discus fishes for profit but don’t know what to do? Contact us.

Make sure to check our recommended discus breeding supplies.

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Planted Aquarium

Planted Aquarium – How to Set One Up

It can be a bit confusing to set up a planted aquarium, more so for beginners. If it were a simple gallon tank, then it is fairly easy putting it together. All you need is gravel and cheap decoration.

Planted tanks, on the other hand, are a bit more complicated. They have a unique set of requirements that must be met with precision. Some can be tricky but doable.

The beauty of an aquarium filled with luscious green plants is indeed something to behold. It is like having a tranquil running river right in your living area.

So how can you set up the aquarium to such a standard? Read on to find out.

What you need
 LED light
 Substrate
 Heater
 Filtration system
 Test kit

After collecting everything, it is time to start the process.

Step 1: Choose the substrate
This is a natural step for non-planted tanks. But for planted tanks, not just anything will work. The reason is, plants need nutrients to survive, which gravel cannot hold very well. Plain gravel is not the best idea for in this situation.
However, there are a number substrates that can help facilitate the plant needs in a planted tank. Use:
 Fluorite and
 All-in-one Substrate
Now, before you use any of these choices, make sure to rinse the substrate. You can use a five-gallon bucket and rinse until the water is clear.

Step 2: Light choices
Getting your hands on a good light fixture is vital. You can use LED or fluorescent bulbs. Most fish tanks come with these. Some of the recommended fixtures include:
 Beamswork EA timer
 Finnex FugeRay
 Finnex Planted+24/7

No two tanks are the same when fitting the lights. Some may require up to 10 hours of light while others may need less.

Step 3: Picking the filtration
This might be the most tiring part of the process yet very important. But you don’t have to over-think filtration.
Consider the following options.
 For smaller tanks under 50 gallons. These are perfect for hanging on back filtration units. They may not be as powerful, but HBO is convenient all the same.
 Bigger tanks 50+ gallons. Canister filters are better for such tanks. They can process much more water.
Before using the filtration, be sure to get rid of any activated carbon.

Step 4: Plants
Live plants are important for speeding up the cycling process. But you have to choose wisely. Start with easy-to-keep plants. Consider plants like:
 Java moss (carpet)
 Anubias Nana (Foreground)
 Cryptocoryne (mid-ground)
 Amazon sword (background).

You will need:-
 Carpeting plants
 Foreground plants
 Mid-ground plants
 Background plants

Take good care of the plants with stable temperatures, and trimming. Make sure that you check the preferred temperature of the plants before you buy them. Some plants are meant for warm water discus tanks while others are meant for cooler water.

Step 5: Now the fish
This is always a big milestone whether planted aquarium or not. Once the tanks are cycled completely, you need to add the fish. Some of the most popular fish choices include:
 Discus
 Tetras
 Corydoras
 Gouramis
 Swordtails
 Angelfish

Now you have your planted aquarium going. It may sound hard, yet it is quite doable and rewarding.

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Comet Goldfish

Comet Goldfish

The Comet Goldfish is an elongated, flat-bodied variety of goldfish. It has a wide but short head, and its body tapers smoothly from its back and belly to the base of its caudal fin (tail fin). Its caudal fin is long and deeply forked and generally stands fully erect. They live up to 14 years or more, depending on how well it is kept and the prevailing conditions. In terms of size, it is slightly smaller than the common goldfish, but this depends also on the prevailing conditions. They can grow up to 12 inches (30+ cm) depending on the size of the tank and the other conditions.

They are primarily a reddish orange color, but they are also available in yellow, orange, white, and red. Some however have a bi-color red/white combination, and occasionally they are available with nacreous (pearly) scales, giving them a variegated color.
Comet Goldfish are some of the hardier species of goldfish. They are very undemanding of water quality and temperature. They can do well in a goldfish aquarium or even a pond as long as the environment is safe and their tankmates are not competitive. Many people will keep goldfish in an aquarium with no heater or filtration, but for the best success, provide them the same filtration, especially biological filtration, that other aquarium residents enjoy.

Comet Goldfish Diet

Since they are omnivorous, the Comet Goldfish will generally eat all kinds of fresh, frozen, and flake foods. To keep a good balance, give them a high quality flake food every day. To care for your goldfish, feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen), blood worms, Daphnia, or tubifex worms as a treat. It is usually better to feed freeze-dried foods as opposed to live foods to avoid parasites and bacterial infections that could be present in live foods.

Fish tank

These goldfish are hardy and easy to keep in a well maintained tank. Minimum tank size is 15 gallons. Snails can be added as they reduce the algae in the tank, helping to keep it clean. Water change should be done weekly. This is because Comet goldfish produce more waste than most other freshwater fish and benefit greatly from more frequent water changes. Good filtration, especially biological filtration, is very helpful in maintaining the water quality of the aquarium. A filtration system will remove much of the detritus, excess foods, and waste, which keeps the tank clean and maintains the general health of the goldfish.

Comet Goldfish Diseases

1. Ich. This is a protozoan disease which is easy to identify because it makes the fish look like it is sprinkled with salt. Though Ich is easily treated, like other protozoan diseases, it can be fatal if not caught quickly. Some other protozoan diseases are Costia, which causes a cloudiness of the skin, and Chilodonella, which will cause a blue-white cloudiness on the skin.

2. External parasites. These are common but are easy to treat and are normally not fatal when treated. They include flukes, which infest the gills or body of the fish, fish lice (Argulus) that attach themselves to the body of the goldfish and finally anchor worms which resemble threads coming out of the fish.

3. Bacterial infections. They include Dropsy, an infection in the kidneys that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Fish Tuberculosis is indicated by the fish becoming emaciated (having a hollow belly). For this illness, there is no absolute treatment, and it can be fatal. Tail/Fin Rot may also be bacterial, though the reduced tail or fins can be caused by a number of factors as well. There is also fungus, a fungal infection, and Black Spot or Black Ich, which is a parasitic infection.

4. Swim Bladder Disease. This is an ailment indicated by fish swimming in abnormal patterns and having difficulty maintaining their balance. This can be caused by a number of things: constipation, poor nutrition, a physical deformity, or a parasitic infection. Feeding frozen peas (defrosted) has been noted to help alleviate the symptoms and correct the problem in some cases.

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Seahorse Tanks

Seahorse Tanks

Introduction

There are approximately 36 species of seahorses all belonging to the Sygnathid family (Genus Hippocampus). Pipe fishes and seadragons are also included in the Sygnathid family.

Characteristics

1. Unlike most fishes seahorses swim upright using only their dorsal and opercular (modified pectoral) fins for propulsion.

2. They do not have a caudal fin, in its place they have a long muscular prehensile tail.

3. They also lack any scales; instead their bone structure is modified into a series of plates that act as bony armor.

4. They have a horse-like head (giving it the name seahorse) with a bent neck and a long snout. This adaptation allows the seahorse to probe into nooks and crannies for prey, that they then suck up with a “snick” of the snout that causes a vacuum like suction.

Seahorse Fish tank

Although seahorses live in a diverse array of habitats, in a domestic setup they need the same basic care and water quality as other fishes. The main difference however with seahorses is their sensitivity to changes in water quality, temperature and light.

Factors to consider when setting up seahorse tanks include:

1. The filter. There should be no air bubbles and a low flow rate (this does not necessarily mean low gph). Seahorses like a fairly turbulence free tank, and air bubbles can lead to the dreaded Gas Bubble Disease (to be discussed later in the article).

2. The next most important thing is to get a tank that is tall, seahorses are known for their intricate courtship rituals that take up a lot of vertical space. Substrate can vary by what decor you are looking for. Just remember that whatever substrate you chose, it should not have too many sharp edges for the seahorse to get cuts from. I prefer to use a small crushed coral or sand substrate.

3. The hitching posts; rocks, plants, and corals (faux and real) should be chosen by their ability to be used as a hitching spot. Depending on species of seahorse, the size and maximum diameter of the hitching posts will vary.

Seahorse Tanks – Feeding and Diet

Seahorses should be fed on frozen, enriched foods. Live foods should therefore, only be used as an enrichment item. Frozen food should always be enriched with a vitamin supplement as well as something such as selcon that is high in fatty acids.

Seahorse Tanks – Diseases

1. Mycobacterium. This is very common and is fatal. Symptoms inclide: lethargy, loss of appetite, an abdomen that is very pinched or swollen, and eventually muted color/loss of vibrance. Treatment include Kanamyacin and Maracyn which should be administered orally.

2. Vibrio. This is difficult to detect early and is fatal. Symptoms include; lethargy, loss of appetite, and white or red spots on the skin indicating an open necrotic wound. Often when tail rot or snout rot is seen it is vibrio. Treatment is a multiple antibiotic especially when detected early.

3. Gas Bubble Disease (GBD). There are three main types of GBD, internal GBD (IGBD), external GBD (EGBD) and pouch emphysema. All GBD is caused either by gas supersaturation in the water column, or an internal bacterial infection. EGBD symptoms include gas bubbles forming under the skin. While IGBD symptoms include body bloat causing buoyancy problems. Pouch emphysema is only found in male seahorses, and is noticeable by the inflamed, reddened pouch (looks different from a pregnant seahorse). Treatment typically consists of 3 things: making sure there are no air bubbles getting into the system, treating with an antibiotic, and if available (only by prescription) treating with diamox. The actual bubbles under the skin may be popped, and with pouch emphysema the pouch should be evacuated.

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Blue Crawfish

Blue Crawfish

BLue crawfish can live in almost any freshwater aquarium and are among the toughest freshwater tank inhabitants available in the market. They are very active and they love exploring and do not spend all of their time hiding under rocks. They are well known for keeping tanks clean and free of waste, and are especially useful in large aquariums of 30 gallons or more. Due to their maximum potential size, they should not be kept in aquariums any smaller than 20 gallons. They can grow to achieve lengths of up to 15 centimeters. They can live up to 5 or 6 years old with the proper care.

In order to keep Blue crawfish with other crawfish or other large types of fish and invertebrates, is important to keep them in a tank with plenty of hiding places. This is because they are vulnerable when they are shedding their exoskeleton, so landscaping the tank with live plants, driftwood, rocks, and/or caves is vital to their survival. Also, it is normal for a crayfish to eat his/her exoskeleton after molting.

Tank requirements

It is recommended that the tank should have  some fine sand or gravel, and allow a cave or place for hiding when they  are stressed. Plants are highly recommended as they provide a source of food and hiding places. As long as the tank contains enough water, they should be able to bury themselves.

Because they require a large tank, blue crawfish should be kept in a tank of at least 20 gallons. They are excellent escape artists, and the tank should have a tight lid. Temperatures should be between 10-22 degrees Celsius. They normally require pH values of above 7.0. It has been reported that the addition of freshwater salt greatly enhances the health of this species.

Usually, Blue Crawfish get along well with other fast, medium size fishes. However, small and slower fishes will be eaten, and larger but slower fishes may be injured by the Blue Crawfish. Larger, carnivorous fishes view Blue Crawfish as prey. Blue Crawfish are highly territorial and should therefore NOT be kept with others of their kind, or they may fight and gravely injure one another, unless there are lots of hiding places and the tank is large enough for all of them.

Blue Crawfish continuously moult (they will drop off their shell) during their growth. The moulting however reduces in degree as they grow up.

Blue Crawfish Diet

Blue Crawfish are not good eaters and they should not be overfed. They should be fed on fish flakes when they are young and shrimp pellets when they are grown up.

Two large crushed flakes a day are plenty for babies, one in the morning and another in the evening. For adults, a large pellet for breakfast and then another for dinner should do it. You can also try feeding them water lettuce, water hyacinth, water cress and romaine lettuce.

How Blue Crawfish Breed

During the mating act, the male initiates copulation, and the Blue Crawfish will clean each other as part of the mating ritual. After mating, the eggs are carried in the female pleopods. The eggs normally hatch in about 4 weeks. They emerge as miniature versions of adults, though lacking reproductive organs. In the first 24 hours of life, the fry must molt, and many may not survive this first molt. You should begin changing the water regularly and maintaining the best water conditions possible to aid the fry in surviving. They can be fed freshly hatched brine shrimp, microworms, or liquefied foods. After about two weeks, the young Blue Crawfish would have generally become much more hardy. They will still however be rather transparent, but by the time they reach sexual maturity they will have gained adult coloration.

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Freshwater Snails

FRESHWATER SNAILS

Introduction

Freshwater Snails is indeed a site to behold in a fish tank. They are usually added to a fish tank  as tank cleaners with the intention that they will be eat algae and also free the tank from uneaten food, dead plant matter and debris. However, freshwater snails can be much more than that. They do several stunning  things in the tank and exhibit a number of interesting behaviors to watch. They can however be seen as pests when they are introduced to the tank by accident.

Food and water requirements

When it comes to freshwater snails, it’s critical to avoid causing sudden changes in water parameters. This is because the freshwater snails are very sensitive to sudden water parameters changes and it may be fatal.

In the case of food,freshwater snails should be fed a diet rich of calcium. They need calcium for growth as well as for healthy shells.

Types of Freshwater Snails

  1. Assassin Snails: this is the type that is kept for taming the populations of other snail types in the tank as they feed on them. They feed on other snail types such as Malaysian Trumpet Snails, Pond Snails, and Ramshorn Snails.
  2. Gold Inca Snails: these are very good tank cleaners and they are very popular. They can also greatly improve the beauty of the tank, thanks to their bright yellow shells. popular type of freshwater snails in pet store display tanks are Gold Inca Snails. They can however be ferocious eaters and are always on the prowl for a bite to eat and are very interested in soft algae buildup on hard surfaces. The main setback for this type of freshwater snails is that some of them feed on live aquarium plants.
  3. Ivory Snails: these are freshwater snails with creamy white colored shells and they blend well in a community. This type of freshwater snails, just like Gold Inca Snails, like scavenging the tank for uneaten food, dead or decaying plant matter and soft algae on hard surfaces. They feed on fish flakes, algae wafers, tablets, pellets and even some blanched green and leafy vegetables.
  4. Japanese Trapdoor Snail: this freshwater snail type is calm, peaceful and non-aggressive in temperament and it can spend hours at the bottom of the tank scouring for uneaten food, debris and soft algae. They derive their name from their operculum that serves as the “trap door” that seals their shell aperture should danger suddenly arise.
  5. Mystery Snails: These have shells that are generally on the dark side, with light brown and dark brown accent colors and stripes. Others may have ivory white shells. Their color patterns are unique and nearly limitless. They make great tank cleaners, feeding on a diet of uneaten food, and dead or decaying plant matter but they also like supplements of bottom feeder tablets, pellets, algae wafers and fish flakes.

These freshwater snails are notorious escape artists, so it’s very important to keep tanks covered to the extent possible. If there is a way out of the tank, the odds are Mystery Snails will eventually find it.

  1. Nerite Snails: this is the best algae eating freshwater snail type. They spend a lot of time methodically travelling across aquarium glass and other hard surfaces searching for soft algae buildup that they eat in small bites. Their popularity is due to the fact that they do not reproduce in freshwater aquariums and overrun a tank like the rest.
  2. Pond Snails: these end up in tanks by accident. They can be pets or pests, depending on the keeper.
  3. Rabbit Snails: this is a peaceful, non-aggressive slow moving freshwater snail type that can help keep tanks free of uneaten food and debris. They have very intriguing look, and they can reproduce in fresh water.
  4. Ramshorn Snails: these lay eggs, reproduce in freshwater, and can quickly overrun a tank. They can be considered as a pet or a pest.

Conclusion

Freshwater snails are the best fish tank cleaners.

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Tropheus

Tropheus

Introduction

The Tropheus species are originally from Lake Tanganyika, Africa and are widely distributed throughout the lake. They are a moderately deep bodied fish that seems to have a larger head in proportion to the body. The body narrows as it forms the tail and the caudal fin is fan shaped. They vary in size depending upon the species. The Black “Bemba/Pemba” species is perhaps the smallest reaching about 4 to 4.75″ (10 – 12 cm) in length while the “mpimbwe” species may be the largest, and it reaches up to about 6” (15 cm). They can live for up to 10 years or even more depending on how well they are taken care of.

Tropheus Characteristics

1. The Tropheus will often have an overall dark body and fins with a bold contrasting band around their middle or large color blotches on the sides or head. The blotches are often bright yellow or red in color.

2. This variety can have a red body with a black head, black along the upper surface of the body and dorsal fin, and on the tail fin. They can also have a yellowish or dark golden body with reds in the dorsal fin and sometimes on the pectoral or anal fin. Some varieties have striping.

3. This species has an overall black body and fins with a bold wide yellow band in the center of the body.

4. This species has a dark golden to brown body color with thin yellow stripes and there can be a yellow or reddish color to the cheeks or chin area of the head. Sometimes the striping may be absent.
Tropheus fish are suitable for more experienced aquarium keepers since they very demanding when it comes to keeping. This can be attributed to their susceptibility to certain infections of the intestinal tract such as “bloat”, therefore they require more stringent requirements with diet and habitat. They are also highly aggressive. They can be moderately easy to keep if they are properly fed and the water quality is kept up, but difficult if not. They do best in a species tank, and only with other herbivorous types of cichlids included if the tank is large. The aquarists must be willing to do frequent water changes and provide appropriate tank mates.

Tropheus Diet

The Tropheus species are omnivores. You should feed them on a spirulina based flake and pellet. If you use pellets, hold them underwater for a few moments before the fish eat them. That may prevent air released from the pellet from getting trapped in the belly of the fish. They should have spinach or romaine at least once a day. Only include foods that are high in fiber. Avoid soft or slimy foods as well as Tubifex, brine shrimp, beef heart, and mosquito larvae.

Aquarium Care

Do water changes regularly, this is very important. Water changes of 15% twice a week or 30% weekly, depending on stocking numbers and removing uneaten food will help prevent disease. They cannot handle large water changes very well unless the new water chemistry closely matches the water they are in. If a large water change is needed, changing 15% every couple of days should bring water back to normal. This inability to tolerate large water changes is due to Lake Tanganyika being very deep and the water tends to stay stable.

Tropheus Diseases

1. Wounds, minor fungal infections and film over the eyes of fish. This happens mainly during transit. Treatment is done by use of marine salt (used for salt water fish) which will add some trace elements. However, avoid addition of too much salt.

2. Ich. Treatment is usually by raising tank temperature to 86° F (30° C) for a period of 3 days. Another alternative method is use of copper, to remove any water conditioners.

3. Skin flukes and other parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), fungal infections, and bacterial infections.

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Salvini Cichlids

Salvini Cichlids

Introduction

The Salvini Cichlids are also referred to as Salvin’s Cichlids, Yellow-Belly Cichlids, or Tricolor Cichlids. They originally live in moderate and fast moving waters of rivers and lagoons. They feed on macro-invertebrates and small fishes. It spends most of its time hunting in the central open areas of rivers and tributaries rather than lurking among roots and caves on the sides like the other fish. When it comes to keeping, they should be either alone, in pairs or kept in a large fish tank together with other cichlids.

Salvini Cichlid has an elongated oval shape body and its snout is pointy. They reach up to 8 1/2 inches (22 cm) long when mature. They can live up to 13 years when kept well. Its body is generally yellow in color, with a series of blotches running mid-body all the way from the eye to the tail fin. The yellow color however vary with their geographic location.
It is recommended that Salvini Cichlids should be kept by the more experienced cichlid keeper and not beginners. Salvini Cichlids are very hardy and can do well in relatively small fish tanks. They show aggression towards other fish. They are messy and hence need strict and frequent maintenance including water changes.

Diet

Salvini Cichlids are primarily a carnivore in nature, feeding on small fish and small aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, even though they are omnivorous. They can therefore be fed on all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods.

Maintenance

Since Salvini Cichlids are very messy, the fish tank needs frequent and comprehensive water changes. You will need to carry out water changes of 20 – 25% at least once a week, but it should be more frequent if your tank is highly populated. The process should include the following:-
• Before starting the water change it is best to clean the side panes of algae, using an algae magnet or sponge.
• Thoroughly vacuum the substrate and remove all fish waste and biolgical material (including food) from the tank during the water change.

In order to be guaranteed success, you need to set up a strict maintenance routine for them and you will definitely end up with healthy Salvini Cichlid with a long and happy life which is the joy of every aquarium keeper.

Fish tank requirements

A single Salvini Cichlid needs a minimum of 50 gallon fish tank. For two you will need a 100 gallons tank and so on. Apart from the size, they also need great flowing water and a perfect working filtration system. For filtration, a canister filter is recommende and powerheads are recommended to enhance the movement of water.
You will need to provide them with hiding places which can be rocks as well as wood. You can opt to plant your fish tank to enhance the beauty of the aquarium. However, ensure the plants are along the inside perimeter of the fish tank so that the fish will have room for swimming in the middle.

Salvini Cichlid Diseases

1. Ich. It can be treated with the elevation of the tank temperature to 86° F (30° C) for 3 days. If that does not cure the Ich, then the fish needs to be treated with copper (remove any water conditioners). Several copper based fish medications are available for Ich. Copper use must be kept within the proper levels, so be sure to follow the manufacturers suggestions. A copper test also can be used to keep the proper levels. You can also combine increasing the temperature with an Ich medication treatment.

2. Skin flukes and other parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), fungal infections, and bacterial infections.

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Ryukin Goldfish

Ryukin Goldfish

The Ryukin Goldfish is a type of a goldfish that is egg-shaped. It has a short body which is stubby. They grow to a length of about 6 inches (15cm) although lengths of up to 10 inches (25 cm) have been reported in some cases. They can live for 20 years or more when well maintained, although most live for 10-15 years on average. There are two types of Ryukin Goldfish, namely:-

• Calico Ryukin Goldfish
• Tri-color Ryukin Goldfish

The Ryukin is a Japanese version of the Fantail Goldfish. Both of these goldfish will generally reach about 6 inches (15 cm), though some hobbyists report their Ryukins reaching up to a whopping 10″ (25 cm). The average goldfish lifespan is 10 – 15 years, though living 20 years or more is not uncommon in well-maintained goldfish aquariums and ponds.
Ryukin Goldfish are one of the hardiest species. This means that they are not prone to effect of water changes and the other tank conditions like temperature. For this reason, even a beginner can comfortably keep them without any fatalities. Apart from that, they can do well with the other species as long as they are not competitive. Also, they can survive in most environment such as a pond as long as safety is assured.

Ryukin Goldfish Diet

Ryukin Goldfish are omnivorous and hence they will feed on most kinds of food whether fresh, frozen or even flake foods. Ensure that you however strike a balance on the foods. Frozen food is recommended as opposed to live foods as this ensures that parasites are frozen to death before the food is fed to the Ryukin Goldfish. Ensure you also feed them with well despite the type of food even though they are not too demanding on the number of times in a day.

Fish tank

Ryukin Goldfish are hardy and easy to keep in a well-maintained tank. Minimum tank size is 10 gallons, so make sure water changes are frequent in such a small tank. Regular weekly water changes of 1/4 to 1/3 are strongly recommended to keep these fish healthy. Snails can be added as they reduce the algae in the tank, helping to keep it clean.
Ryukin Goldfish Diseases

If the fish tank is well maintained any disease that can affect the Ryukin Goldfish can easily be contained. However, in a scenario where any illness occur, it should be treated in a timely manner. Moreso, Ryukin Goldfish are hardy and most times they don’t end up dying if they are treated after an illness as long it is done in a timely manner. Another critical thing is that you should ensure sick fish should always be isolated for treatment and care. The quarantine tank should have no gravel or plants.

1. Ich. This is a protozoan disease that affect most fish and Ryukin Goldfish is not an exception. It makes the fish look like salt has been sprinkled on it. If not identified and treated quickly, it can be fatal.

2. External parasites. These are fairly common but very easy to treat and are normally not fatal when treated. They include flukes, which are flatworms that infest the gills or body of the fish, fish lice (Argulus) that attach themselves to the body of the goldfish and anchor worms that resemble threads protruding from the fish.

3. Dropsy. This is a bacterial infection in the kidneys that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Other common bacterial infections include Fish Tuberculosis whose symptom is an emaciated (having a hollow belly) fish, Tail/Fin Rot and so on.

4. Swim Bladder Disease. This is a disease whose symptom is Ryukin Goldfish swimming in abnormal patterns and having difficulty maintaining their balance. Causes may include: constipation, poor nutrition, a physical deformity, or a parasitic infection. Treatment used has been feeding them with frozen peas.
There are other minor diseases like Cloudy Eye, Constipation, wounds and ulcers. All these have individual treatments.

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Butterfly Koi

BUTTERFLY KOI

Introduction

This is a brown and grey fish with long fins. It originated from Indonesia where it was found in canals and ditches. Initially, most people found this particular type of fish ugly considering its looks, but that has since changed over time after long periods of breeding. They have characteristic long fins. They could also be bred back into color as well as many colorful lines similar to the orginal long fin koi.

One of their most selling point is the fact that they are robust and are also very resistant to almost all diseases. The name ‘butterfly’ was due to their looks as they resemble a butterfly.

Butterfly koi Size

Butterfly koi displays a great growing pattern. The signature fins keep growing as the butterfly koi grows, making it look more and more impressive in the process. At some point however, the blood vessels can no longer sustain the fins growth and that is where they stop. When fully grown, butterfly koi resembles a long, slinky dragon swimming in your aquarium fish tank. They can grow up to 36-40 inches, depending on the food amounts. They however can not compare to the regular koi in size.

Types of Butterfly Koi

  1. Sorogoi fish

This type of butterly koi when fully grown as adults are incredible. It has a characteristic grey or black fish net pattern over its body. They grow huge as they are robust and they are mysterious.

  1. Black butterfly koi

Another type of butterfly koi is black butterflies, which are considered by some people as being better and even coolest. They are not easily found and hence the effect is rare making it special to say the least when it happens. They can have scales but sometimes they don’t. Among this type, the rarest and most valuable is the doitsu, karasu butterfly. This fish is black, has no scales, and has long fins.

They grow up and become very large because their genes are not as strained as some of the brighter colored fish. And if they have no scales, the body is a glistening jet-black. The fins keep growing until the entire fish is broad, and streams long black robes behind it. They look like a jet-black dragon.

Butterfly Koi Fins

In a striking resemblance to any other koi, the fins of the butterfly koi are made up of dozens of rays of cartilage that radiate outward and support the fin. These rays generally grow very straight, but past the point of normal length they can grow wavy. The fish that grow straight rays even into the lengthier parts of the tail are more impressive looking and would be more valuable.

Caution when handling butterfly koi

One problem with butterfly koi is that they are often handled the same way as regular koi. Broken fins and tails are common when they are fully grown. This means that it’s  normal to see bends and waves in the fins and tail of butterfly koi partly because of growing that way, but also because of netting-damage as a juvenile. As an adult, a split tail or fin often does not heal well and remains split. All of the above is irrelevant to the casual observer, the impact of the fish is exactly the same, but you might notice variations in fin quality and you may care enough to choose one fish over the other based on that.

Conclusion

As to whether it is a true koi or not, the butterfly koi is a true koi. The butterfly koi is very unique and satisfying to look at and you will be fascinated by there characteristic long fins and the beautiful colors. It is a great addition to your fish tank.

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Freshwater Puffer Fish

Freshwater Puffer fish

Freshwater puffer fish are actually great aquarium fish as they are wonderful specialist fish. Moreso, they are rewarding to keep in an aquarium as pets as long as their you adhere to their requirements and needs.

Mixing with other species

Freshwater puffer fish do not mix well with other aquarium species in most cases. The main reasons for this are; they may end up eating the other aquarium fish, nip at their fins or starve since they are slow and can’t compete favorably when feeding.

Fish tank requirements

Freshwater puffer fish tend to excrete a lot of Ammonia in their waste. The main reason for this is that the puffers are known to eat a high protein diet and are extremely messy at eating for that matter. This means therefore that they need big fish tank to minimize such effects. For example, the smaller species should have a 30 gallons tank as the bare minimum. The larger ones should have way bigger tanks even up to 1000 gallons.
Another thing about freshwater puffer tank requirements is the filtration. It should have double filtration because of the mess.
Also, your freshwater fish tank should be fully cycled. This means that the fish tank should be safe for the puffer fish. For this reason, you need the level of ammonia to be under control. You should change your water periodically. Ammonia is more toxic to puffer fish as they do not have scales.

Feed requirements

Most freshwater puffers require feeding twice or thrice a week unlike other aquarium fish. The other aquarium fish usually graze often the entire day. Not all freshwater puffers however are like this, for example dwarf puffer require frequent feeding. This calls for care and research.
Freshwater puffers need a constant diet of hard-shelled foods to curb their “beaks” from overgrowing which would lead to starvation due to not being able to eat.
The most common freshwater puffers food is snails, shrimp and frozen fish food like blood worms, among others. It is important to note that you should quarantine all live foods like snails when it comes to feeding of freshwater puffer fish. Failure to do this will lead to your puffers feeling very sick.

Types of freshwater puffer fish

1. Amazonian Puffer
This type of freshwater puffer fish have very distinct stripes. They grow to a length of about three inches. They are considered to be more peaceful compared to the other types of freshwater puffers. They are alternatively called Amazon, Brazilian, Bee puffers or South American.

2. Fahaka Puffer
This is a much larger type of freshwater puffer fish as it grows up to 18 inches long at maturity. This means therefore that it requires a larger fish tank to accomodate it. It has a characteristic set of stripes and is therefore sometimes referred to as a lined, stripped or band puffer.

3. Avocado Puffer
The color of this type of freshwater puffer fish makes them to be referred to as golden or bronze puffers. They are small (4 inches long) and are not as doglike as the other puffer types. They are quick swimmers.

4. Dwarf Puffer/Indian Malabar puffer
This is the smallest type of puffer (one inch long). They feed more frequently unlike the other types of puffers. They are known to kill other larger fish despite their small size.

5. Pignose/ Mekong/ arrowhead puffer
This type of freshwater puffer fish prefers to be still or stay burrowed and ambushes its meal when it passes by hece it is a hunter and not a good community fish. When mature, it measures up to six inches long.

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Freshwater Stingrays

Freshwater Stingrays

Introduction

Freshwater stingrays originated from the Amazon River system just like most of the other aquarium fish. Even though they are considered to be a docile species, they are known to be the cause of injuries to people more than any other animal in the system.

Appearance
Their appearance is essentially flat and their eyes appear to be on top of their bodies with their mouths as well as their gill slits being on their sides but on the lower side. Compared to their disc shape of the body, their tails are way longer. They use saw-like spine(s) for self-defense as they are tipped with barbs that can easily tear into flesh when withdrawn.
Freshwater stingrays are also know to be colorful as they have different spots of different sizes and colors such as gray, brown or black.

Fish size
Freshwater stingrays can grow to maturity and have a disc width of roughly 18 inches. The tails on the other hand can be up to 1 foot long and 1 inch wide. Given these measurements, freshwater stingrays are not as large as such and therefore would not need a very big fish tank.

Feeding habits
Freshwater stingrays are omnivores in nature. They feed on crustaceans as well as other invertebrates in their natural habitat. They occasionally eat small fish. In an aquarium, they can feed on shrimp, earthworms, smelt and the like.

Reproduction
Freshwater stingrays like some of the other fish reproduce through internal fertilization. This happens after a male makes the female pregnant by use of a modified pelvic fin as he bites the female’s back. The unborn freshwater stingrays are ovoviviparous in nature, meaning they are nourished by egg yolk inside the mother’s body. After a gestation period of three months, the female produces eggs that hatch internally before birth. The developing embryos receive additional nutrition from a milky, rich substance produced in the mother’s uterus. About one litter of two to six pups is produced yearly. When it is born, a ray’s disc is about 3 inches wide.
Freshwater stingrays are known to live for a period of between five and ten years when they are taken good care of.

Points to Consider Before Purchasing Freshwater Stingrays

The following are some factors to consider before buying your first freshwater stingray. Getting to know these things before you purchase the freshwater stingray will icrease your chances of achieving success.

I) Medical Precautions
Stingrays are venomous animals. While no freshwater species are known to have caused human fatalities, we know very little about the nature of the toxins they produce, and individual sensitivities may be a concern. You should therefore speak with your doctor and arrange for medical care in the event of an emergency before purchasing a stingray.

II) Selecting a freshwater stingray to buy
The small stingrays that appear in the pet trade are not adults but rather are babies of a variety of large species. Adults of several trade species approach 3 feet in diameter.

III) Furnishing the Aquarium
Freshwater stingray skin is easily damaged by ornaments that are safe for other fishes; they do best in a sparsely-furnished aquarium. Even small specimens will quickly uproot plants and dislodge filter tubes, aerators and heaters.

Use smooth stones as a substrate. Typical aquarium gravel is too rough and may cause skin lesions. Substrates designed for marine aquariums raise the pH to dangerously high levels and sand, while acceptable, poses water quality problems (please write in for further details).

Stingrays usually land on aquarium heaters, but seem not to respond to the high temperatures generated. Therefore you should shield the heaters with OVC sheath or heavy rocks.

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Freshwater Sharks

Freshwater Sharks

Sharks have over time been found by more and more people to be fascinating to look at and learn about. A visit to museum for aquatic animals attest to this. Also, there has been numerous documentaries about sharks due to that fact.

But it is known that sharks live in the oceans and seas, which are mainly salty water bodies. The possibility of then keeping sharks in freshwater seemed impossible and far-fetched for aquatic fish keepers. This is where freshwater sharks come in. Freshwater sharks are however not real sharks as such, but they are called sharks because of their appearance. They can have teeth or not and they are large in size. This means therefore that if you plan to keep it, you will need a large tank.
The freshwater sharks resemble real sharks not only in looks but also in behavior as they can swim in a similar manner to actual sharks even when they kept in a fish tank. This means that aquarium lovers will find the freshwater sharks a site to behold.

Fish tank requirements
As mentioned earlier, you will definately need a very large tank to accommodate the sharks. The freshwater sharks can be very large when they are mature. This means your aquarium tank should have a capacity of at least 55 gallons all the way to 150 gallons or even more depending on other factors.

Feeding habits
Freshwater sharks are omnivorous in nature but they can also be carnivorous. This means that they are not good community fish as they can feed on other fish in the aquarium. This therefore means they should be kept alone in the fish tank. They however mainly feed on smaller fish as they see them as live food. This happens especially when they have grown big.
It is good to note however that not all freshwater sharks are predators of small fish. However they all happen to be aggressive towards any other fish present in the aquarium. This therefore calls for keeping them alone in the fish tank. And you must keep them with other fish types, kindly find out which ones are prone to aggressiveness from the freshwater sharks first.

Types of freshwater sharks
I) Silver/Bala shark
This is the type of freshwater shark that resembles the actual shark by its shape of the body, color which is silver and its fins. It is sometimes called tricolor shark or shark minnow. When they are young, they are largely peaceful but this changes when they grow as they become semi-aggressive or predatory to the smaller fish in the tank. They live in shoals in order to socialize and they swim most often in schools.
On feeding, they are omnivorous in nature as they eat live food like bloodworms, tubifex, flake food, with proteins, fibers, supplements and vitamins.

II) Iridescent shark/Siamese shark
It resembles the actual shark due to its shape, color and swimming design. It also grows to become very large and it is a member of the catfish shark. You should therefore have a very large fish tank to keep it.

III) Mekong giant catfish
This is the biggest member of catfish sharks. They can grow up to 3 metres in length which is huge.

IV) Giant Pangasius/Paroon shark
This is another member of catfish shark and has a striking resemblance to Iridescent shark due to its looks.

V) Red tail shark/Bicolor shark
It is a smaller type of freshwater shark and is less aggressive and territorial. It has two colors which are a black body and an orange tail and hence its other name. The orange tail plays a crucial role as it indicates something is wrong when it starts to fade.

VI) Columbian Shark
This is a very peaceful freshwater shark type and it can grow big.

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Wood Aquariums

Wood Aquariums

In the past, one wouldn’t imagine an aquarium made of wood. This is basically because of the common knowledge that water destroys wood, but then again, so is steel yet it has been in use for making aquariums. But now things are changing as people have explored and found out that wood is indeed a very good material for making wood aquariums.

Factors to consider with wood aquariums:

1. Wood coating
When making an aquarium using wood however, just like most of the other commonly used materials, we need a coating between the wood and the water making the aquarium water tight.

2. Stiffness
Aside from that, stiffness is another important factor. To achieve this, thickness of the structure is inevitable to ensure the structure doesn’t bulge as well as bend due to the pressure. This factor is indeed a major advantage for wood compared to the other commonly used materials like steel. This is because wood is usually available cheaply and in good thickness. Steel on the other hand are usually thin and would usually bend under the pressure of the water. This is the main reason you will not find an aquarium made of purely steel, because thick steel come with a huge cost which is not bearable. In cases where the wood isn’t strong and stiff enough one can use either horizontal or vertical beams to reinforce.

3. Use of beams for strength
As mentioned above, either horizontal and/or vertical beams are used to reinforce plywood whenever there is risk of bending of the aquarium structure. To achieve this, there is need for calculation of thickness of the beams to achieve the desired strength. There may not be need to go into the tedious calculations however.

4. Gaps between the wood plates
One of the challenges of using wood as an aquarium construction material is sealing the gaps between the wood plates. This can be solved by either plugging or even gluing. Do not however make a commonly made mistake of simply painting hoping the gaps will be sealed, as this would lead to leakage. Note that painting is not an option even if the gaps appear small.

Importance of silicone
Silicone is a very important material in the construction of an aquarium using wood. One of its main advantages is the fact that it is non toxic and hence it will not cause any harm to your fish. Secondly it is very elastic coming in handy. Also, it is very strong hence can endure pressure to a great extent.

Use of glass
For visibility of the fish in the aquarium, a glass is used on the sides and even on top or bottom as desired, to replace the wood. The thickness should be just enough to sustained the pressure of the water.

Construction process
Construction involves a step by step process but it is recommended that you make the stand first. Then after that, make the side walls, back wall and finally the bottom wall. After that, you can assemble the parts into the whole structure.
Ensure you do a proper coating of the inside of the structure to ensure no leakage. Also ensure you use rust free screws in joining all the parts. When done with the assembly, do a proper outer coating by using thin sheets of plywood.

Conclusion
Constructing an aquarium using wood is indeed a noble thing and it reduces the construction costs considerably. The advantages of using wood far outweigh the disadvantages and wood are very fast becoming a material of choice. When everything is done right, wood is one of the best options.

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How To Transport Live Fish

How To Transport Live Fish

Introduction

When it comes to keeping fish in an aquarium, movement from one point to another will eventually turn out to be inevitable. Whether it is moving the fish for a short or long distance, great care must be taken. This is because fish are very delicate and if they are handled carelessly, especially during transportation, they may die. In this article, we are going to discus how to transport live fish in four phases.

Phase one
This phase capitalizes on making sure the fish is safe before the journey. It involves the following steps:-
• Making a good plan of how to transport the fish. Ensure you don’t just rush to transporting your aquarium fish without a proper plan of how to precisely do it. This means you need to know your means of transport in advance so that you prepare accordingly. Ensure you don’t leave your fish unattended whenever you make a stop over. Note that most fish can only withstand a travelling of 48 hours, this means you should make your plan with this in mind.

• Ensure you change the water in the aquarium a number of days before the transportation day. The main purpose of this is to make sure the water in the aquarium is clean. This does not however mean that you change the water all at once. You should rather do so gradually running into a number of days, say 20% for five days.

• Never feed the fish a day or two to the transporting day. This will ensure the fish do not mess up and dirtify the water during the journey. Just to note is that fish can survive without food for upto a week.

• Do not pack the fish until it is time to start the journey.

• Only travel with your when it is absolutely necessary.

Phase two

This involves choosing a container that will be used for transportation. It entails:-
• Put the fish in transporting plastic bags. Ensure each fish has its own plastic bag to avoid crowding.

• Ensure the fish is transported in five-gallon buckets. This is because this is the simplest way of transporting a number of fish in the same container. The bucket should be new and free of any chemicals and it should be covered.

• If the aquarium is small, you can transport it as it is.

• Transport the plants separately in a container inside plastic bags.

How To Transport Live Fish – Phase Three

This phase is about keeping the fish safe during the journey. It involves:-
• First step is to fill the containers to be used for transportation with water from the top of the aquarium.

• There should be no foreign objects in the container with fish.

• Keep the temperature under control.

• Keep your fish in a dark place.

• Do not feed the fish during the journey.

• Introduce the fish to the aquarium once again on reaching your destination.

Phase four

This final stage is about caring for the aquarium. It involves the following:-
• The water in the fish tank should be emptied into a container that is safe for fish. The water should be from the top of the aquarium.

• Decorate the tank as desired. This can be done using beautiful rocks as well as other ornaments.

• Ensure correct and safe packing of the filter media. If travelling for short distances, don’t clean the filters but rather keep them in a sealed and clean container free of any chemicals. In case of long travel, ensure you clean the filter.

• Finally, assemble your aquarium at your destination. The water should be the one you emptied from the old aquarium.

After reading this article you should be better versed on How To Transport Fish.

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How to Reseal an Aquarium

How to Reseal an Aquarium

Did you ever come home one day and find your aquarium leaking? Did you find a great deal on a used aquarium because it leaks? Do you have an old tank sitting in storage that leaks? Or just one that you don’t think will hold water? This article will guide you in fixing this problem. I will go through the steps you must follow to reline a tank and show you how to do it. This whole process of relining will take roughly about 3 hours but then again it depends on your speeds. This article will strive to take a look at how easy resealing your aquarium really is (or can be). It may look like a daunting task at first but once you break it down, it’s quite simple really. In this guide, we break it down to you step-by-step on how to reseal an old aquarium tank.

How to Reseal an Aquarium – The Tank

A good sample to use for this guide is a 25 gallon tank resealed in several places with various materials including Mono caulking, and is definitely poorly done to say the least.
The Equipment
Here are the things you will need.
1. Razor knife or utility knife blades,
2. Windex
3. paper towel,
4. plastic scotch rite pad/sponge,
5. and depending on the size of the project either a squeeze tube or a caulking gun and a tube of aquarium safe silicone
6. And a vacuum for removing the debris.

How to reseal an aquarium – The Steps

1. First of all, you will want to clean the glass and remove any dirt etc. from the tank. After that you are ready to start removing the old silicone or whatever it is that was used. Place the edge of the blade against the glass at an angle and slide it under the silicone cutting toward the face that is butted against first. This will take several passes before you will reach the opposing glass.

2. Next, cut into the silicone from the other face; be careful not to cut into the joint between the two panels. When you have cut deep enough the silicone should come out in large lengths or pieces. If you make diagonal cuts in the bottom corners it is easier to clean them out. At this point, you should vacuum out the debris, clean the glass with glass cleaner (not the foaming spray as it leaves a residue), and you are ready to start taping.

3. Starting with the bottom, place pull tabs in each corner. Then place your tape approximately one quarter inch back from the joints all the way around. Note that the pull tabs in the corners should be made of masking tape.

4. Next, tape the sides. Start with the vertical runs first so that when you pull the tape it will lift the bottom run as you go.

5. After this is done trim out your corners. The tank is now ready for re-sealing

6. Now you are ready for the new silicone. Cut the tip of the nozzle at approximately forty five degrees with a quarter inch opening. I apologize that is hard to see in this photo.

7. Press it in and smooth it with your finger – working everything in until it is fairly even and smooth.

Note: It is very important to remove the tape immediately after smoothing. Otherwise you will have silicone taped to your glass and have difficulty removing it.
After you are done with the steps above, your aquarium is set and you must wait at least forty eight hours before filling.
One final note – if you accidently get silicone on the glass, leave it to cure for twenty four hours and it will peel off easily by use of a razor blade.

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Aquarium Buying Guide

Aquarium Buying Guide

Buying an aquarium is a commitment which should be approached with careful thought and consideration. While aquarium keeping is considered to be an enjoyable hobby by many, it is always best to purchase the largest tank you can afford when you first begin. This will help you to avoid the need to upgrade later on; after your fish have already been established. Keep in mind, when purchasing an aquarium that you will also need the correct equipment to go along with the actual tank including a heater, filter and lighting to correspond with the size tank you purchase. A sufficiently large tank is necessary as your fish will be happier and healthier when they have adequate room to exercise.

Aquarium Buying Guide – Size and shape of the aquarium

Today, many different shape and height of tanks are available, so some thought will need to be given to this as well. Ideally, it is best not to purchase a tank that is deeper than your arm length or you could face difficult maintenance issues. Generally speaking, standard rectangle and bow-fronted aquariums are more suitable as these types of tanks provide the largest surface area in relation to their volume. As a result they provide maximum length for your fish to swim and exercise in. While tall column tanks can be visually interesting, they do make maintenance difficult. In addition, due to the small surface area, in the event of a power shortage, your fish can suffocate. Other options include cylindrical and spherical tanks; however, these types of tanks tend to distort the fish for viewing.

Aquarium Buying Guide – Types of aquariums

There are three basic types of aquariums available;-
i) basic glass tanks
ii) complete set-up tanks
iii) Systemized aquariums.

Each has advantages and disadvantages.

i. A basic glass tank is an all-glass tank that is in a word-basic. When purchasing this type of tank you must keep in mind that you will need to purchase everything else needed to complete a fully functioning aquarium separate. This means purchasing the filtration, lighting, thermometer, hood, stand, test kits, heater and more separate. Purchasing these items separately can be more expensive than purchasing a complete set-up; however, it does allow you to purchase exactly what you want.

ii. With a complete set up aquarium, the tank comes with a hood and some equipment and accessories. When purchased this way, you usually get a break on the individual prices. This can be a good option if you are unsure about what you will need when you first start out. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that because the items come together you will not be able to purchase exactly what you want, regardless of manufacturer. In addition, do not allow the term ‘complete set-up’ fool you. You may still need other items such as cleaning equipment, background paper and test kits; which must be purchased separately.

iii. A systemized aquarium has the lighting and filtration already fitted into the tank by the manufacturer. This can take the hassle out of selecting and fitting the equipment; however, if you want to use different equipment or even if you want to upgrade in the future, the process is not that simple. Therefore, you should make sure that the system you choose is appropriate for the type of fish you want to keep when you purchase it. For example, some systemized aquariums are better suited for planted tanks and tropical fish.

Tank position
Regardless of which type of aquarium you choose to purchase, it is important to position your tank where it will be easy to view as well as maintain. It should also be positioned in a location that is near an electric outlet. Try to avoid locations near natural sunlight as this can increase the water temperature as well as doors, which may be loud and distress your fish. Finally, avoid placing your tank near areas close to radiators and fireplaces as this can result in excess heat as well.

Aquarium Buying Guide – Conclusion
By giving proper thought and consideration to the type of tank that will best suit your needs and the needs of your fish for some time to come you can be sure you and your fish will enjoy your new aquarium for a long time.

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Aquarium Maintenance

Aquarium Maintenance

Good aquarium maintenance practices will lead to a healthy aquatic environment and thriving fish. Expensive and time-consuming problems can be prevented by spending thirty minutes on maintenance every other week. The biggest factor for maintenance is tank stability. As long as everything is running properly and your fish are healthy, there is no need for any major change, even if the pH or hardness seems to be slightly out of range; only increases or decreases of the major aquarium water parameters will need your careful but immediate attention.

Water Changes
A key part of aquarium maintenance is the water change, which should be performed about every two weeks. In most cases, 10-15% of the tank volume is sufficient. A good method is to replace the water extracted while vacuuming the gravel, which will eliminate uneaten foods and other residues that settle on the substrate. It is highly recommended to check the water parameters of both the tank and replacement water. Most tap water (city water) contains either chlorine or chloramine. Chlorine will air out rather quickly (kept in an aerated bucked for twenty-four hours); chloramine (chloramine = chlorine + ammonia) will not. Using a water conditioner will neutralize the chlorine in both cases, but ammonia will still be present in the latter. It has to be broken down by the nitrifying bacteria present in the aquarium. This may take longer than your fish can tolerate.

Other elements of municipal water may be phosphates, iron, and other heavy metals. To find out about your tap water chemistry, call your local water company.

Filtered water should also be checked on a regular basis and should be considered part of your aquarium maintenance routine. The filter membranes could be damaged or may require replacement prior to the expiration date.

Testing the Aquarium Water
Water chemistry is not visible; therefore, it is vital to check it on a regular basis. The best way to make this a routine is to check on the tank chemistry while changing the water. The vital parameters are pH, nitrates, nitrites, and carbonate hardness (salinity for marine tanks).

Stability is the main factor with pH. pH in the range of 6.5 – 7.5 is suitable for most species, but they can adjust if slightly out of range.

KH (carbonate hardness) is the indicator of pH stability. It should be kept under close observation if it comes close to 4.5 dH (degree hardness) or 80 ppm.

Nitrites should be undetectable at all times (except during cycling). If you detect nitrites make sure you check on ammonia as well.

Nitrates should be kept below 10 ppm in freshwater and 5 ppm in marine and reef (preferably 0 ppm).

Filtration of the Aquarium
The proper function of the filter is essential. Filter inserts should be changed at least every four weeks. A high fish load may require shorter periods. Trapped particles will decompose in the filter as they would in the tank. The filter should also be cleaned once a month (do not touch the bio-wheels, if present) by using the water extracted from the tank during the water change.

Recommended Aquarium Maintenance Routine

Daily
• Make sure the equipment is running properly.
• Watch your fish during feeding. Behavioral changes are a good indicator of a potential problem.

Weekly
• Count your fish. In case of fish death, smaller species can decompose quickly, resulting in ammonia and nitrite spikes, and eventually high nitrate levels.

Every Other Week
• Test your water for the vital parameters: pH, carbonate hardness, nitrite and nitrate.
• Change 10-15% of the water.
• Vacuum the gravel.
• Clean the aquarium walls. Filter floss is fairly cheap and very efficient. Start from the bottom upward and rinse out often.
• Rinse filter inserts (cartridges) with the extracted water.

Monthly
• Replace filter inserts.
• Inspect tubing, connections, airstones, skimmers and other parts for proper operation.
• Clean aquarium top to assure your lighting is not affected.
• Check the expiration dates printed on the boxes and bottles of the aquarium supplies you use. Do not use after the imprinted date.

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Fish Fungus

Fish Fungus

Fungus consists of fine white threads known as hyphae that pass through organic material. These hyphae form distinctive patches on fish that resemble cotton wool.

Pathology

The fungi involved include species of Achyla and Saprolegia, often referred to collectively as water molds. These are likely present in most aquaria, breaking down organic material, such as feces, leaf litter and uneaten fish food.

Triggering Factors
Fungus spores are opportunistic and given the chance will invade most types of organic material, including living tissue. Fungus do not harm healthy aquarium fish because the mucus layer on the skin of a fish prevents the spores from infecting its living tissues. However, if the fish’s mucus layer is damaged, fungus can quickly develop, particularly if the fish is living in dirty/unhealthy conditions. Rough handling is a common cause of fungus, but other common causes include fin nipping and fighting among fish. Any diseases that produce open wounds, such as ich, ulcers and hole-in-the-head disease, can lead to fungus.
Fungus is also associated with environmental stress, presumably because fish exhibit a weaker immune response when they are not properly taken care of. Chilling, poor water quality and inappropriate water chemistry are all common reasons why aquarium fish develop fungus. Keeping brackish water fish in freshwater conditions can also lead to fungal infections.

Fish Fungus Treatments:

i. Organic Dyes
Fungus needs to be treated promptly because it spreads rapidly, making the fish more vulnerable to secondary infections, such as fin rot. Even by itself, fungus will kill a fish if not remedied.

There are various proprietary medications available for treating fungus, usually based on organic dyes, such as malachite green. These medications are safe when used to treat most community fish, but they cannot be used in tanks containing certain delicate species, such as mormyrids and stingrays, and they are also toxic to snails, shrimps and other invertebrates.
Because fungus is not contagious, infected fish can be moved to a quarantine tank for treatment away from other livestock. This is the recommended approach for systems where some of the livestock are intolerant of antifungal medications.

ii. Tea-Tree Oil and Salt
Tea-tree oil is sometimes promoted as a less toxic antifungal medication. While it can work up to a point, tea-tree oil medication is inconsistent in effectiveness and may not be strong enough to treat severe fungal infections. Tea-tree oil is best considered as a preventative or precautionary measure -something to be used in situations where the fish are not yet sick, but they could be physically damaged because of fin nipping, fighting or handling.
Salt is not a reliable antifungal medication at the doses suitable for use with most community fish, though raising the salinity will help keep fungal infections at bay in tanks with livebearers and brackish fish. Even so, this therapeutic effect should be viewed within the context of providing these fish with better environmental conditions, in particular their needs for a basic pH, moderate to high levels of hardness and a level of salinity appropriate to the species in question.

iii. Treating Fish Fungus, Fin Rot and Mouth Fungus Simultaneously
Fungus, fin rot and mouth fungus are all opportunistic infections that can occur when fish are stressed or injured. In some situations, fish may contract more than one of these diseases, and distinguishing between them is often difficult.
Fortunately, there are numerous medications available that will treat all three maladies equally well. Combinations of formalin and malachite green will treat a range of fungal and bacterial pathogens, but as stated earlier, such medications can be harmful to certain types of livestock, so they should always be used with care.

Fish Fungus on Fish Eggs

Besides fish, fungus will readily infect fish eggs, as well. Unfertilized eggs are usually infected first, with the hyphae gradually spreading onto healthy eggs, eventually killing the developing embryo. You should keep the aquarium as clean as possible so that fungus cannot become established.
Prevention
• Avoid injuries to your fish by minimizing handling
• Maintain cleanliness.

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Cloudy Aquarium Water

Cloudy Aquarium Water

The issue of cloudy water can be a baffling phenomenon for many aquarium owners. Unfortunately, there is no single answer as to why your aquarium water is cloudy because there is no single cause. However, based on the color and circumstances under which cloudy water appears, it usually can be pinpointed to a couple of basic causes.

The cloudy aquarium water can be subdivided into two; white or grayish water and green water.

1. White or Grayish Water
• Gravel Residue: If the water is cloudy immediately or within an hour or two of filling the tank, it’s probably due to insufficiently washed gravel. Drain the tank and rinse the gravel until the water runs clear. That should resolve the problem.
• Dissolved Constituents: If washing the gravel doesn’t solve the problem, the next most likely cause of cloudy water in a newly filled tank is a high level of dissolved constituents, such as phosphates, silicates, or heavy metals. If you test the water, you’ll likely find that the pH is high (alkaline). In these cases, treating the water with conditioners will often resolve the problem.

Another option, that has many benefits beyond resolving cloudy aquarium water, is to use RO (Reverse Osmosis) water. Your local fish shop may sell it or sell units capable of making RO water.

• Bacterial Blossom: Often, cloudy water doesn’t appear the instant an aquarium is set up. Instead, it appears days, weeks, or even months later. The cause is usually due to bacterial bloom. As the new aquarium goes through the initial break-in cycle, it is not unusual for the water to become cloudy or at least a little hazy. It will take several weeks to several months to establish bacterial colonies that are able to clear waste from the water. Over time, that cloudiness will resolve itself.
• Decaying plants or excess food that remains uneaten can also cause the milky water seen in bacterial bloom. Keeping the aquarium very clean by removing debris such as decaying plants and uneaten food, vacuuming the gravel regularly, and performing partial water changes will quickly resolve most cases of bacterial bloom. Cut back feeding to every second or third day, which will reduce excess food decay.

2. Green Water
Green water is a no-brainer. It’s due to algae growth. Getting rid of it is the hard part, but if you know the cause, it’s easier to cure. Here are the primary causes of green water:
• Too Much Light: Placing the aquarium in direct sunlight or leaving the lights on too long will result in algae growth. Reduce the amount of time the lights are on, and move the aquarium to a location out of direct sunlight.
• Excess Nutrients: Nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates also support the algae growth and must also be reduced to successfully battle algae. A water change will give some immediate relief but probably won’t resolve the problem completely. It’s important to deal with phosphates and nitrates at their source to rid of them.
• Phosphates: Phosphates come from two sources – decaying matter such as fish food, and from the water source itself. Testing your tap water for phosphates will let you know if you have a problem with your water source. If your water naturally has a high level of phosphate, you will need to use RO water or a phosphate remover to treat the water.
• Nitrates: Nitrates rise in the aquarium over time is due to fish wastes. The only way to remove them is to perform a water change.

Conclusion
A vast majority of cases of cloudy aquarium water can be resolved by weekly 10 to 15% water changes, keeping the gravel very clean, and using good quality food.

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How to Clean Aquarium Gravel

How to Clean Aquarium Gravel

Aquarium gravel forms a critical part of your fish tank. It serves not only as a decoration, but also as a filter. Because of this, it tends to harbor a lot of debris and waste. Cleaning gravel involves the process of removing some aquarium water. Because of this, most aquarium hobbyists will plan their gravel cleaning day alongside their weekly partial water changes.

How to clean aquarium gravel involves the following four stages with each stage having several steps:
1. Initial Preparation
2. Vacuuming the gravel
3. Finishing up
4. Cleaning the gravel bought from the store

How to clean aquarium gravel-Initial Preparation

i. Unplug the heater, filter, and pump. Don’t worry, the cleaning process is quick, so your fish will be fine. Do not remove your fish, decorations, or plants from the tank.
ii. Get out your aquarium vacuum.
iii. Place a bucket below the aquarium. This will hold the old water.
iv. Start the vacuum by submerging it.
v. Start the vacuum with a priming ball. Some aquarium vacuums come with a rubber ball attached to the end of the siphon.
vi. Know how to start up a Phython, and other similar types of vacuums, if you are using one.
2. Vacuuming the Gravel
i. Place the end of the vacuum into the gravel.
ii. Let go of the tube.
• If you are using a Phython, or a similar type, simply turn the water on the begin siphoning.
iii. Cover the end of the tube once the water starts to run clear.
• If the gravel starts to go too far up the vacuum, just cover the end of the tube and let the gravel settle. Then, uncover the tube and let the water flow again.
• If you are using a Phython, or a similar type, simply turn the water off the stop siphoning.
iv. Remove the vacuum from the gravel, but not out of the water. Try to keep it as straight as possible, so that you don’t dislodge the adjacent debris.
v. Move the vacuum to the next patch of dirty gravel and repeat the process.
vi. Do not clean all of the gravel. Keep vacuuming until the water level is two-thirds of the way full. Aquarium gravel hosts a lot of good, helpful bacteria that is important for the health of your tank.

3. How to clean aquarium gravel- Finishing Up

i. Take the temperature of the tank’s water.
ii. Fill a clean bucket with water that is the same temperature as your tank’s water.
iii. Treat the water, if necessary. Most tap water is not aquarium safe.
iv. Place the bucket above the water level of the aquarium.
v. Stick the entire rubber tube into the tank, and plug on end up with your finger. If you are using a gravel vacuum with a plastic siphon, see if you can pop the flexible tube off.
vi. Leave the uncovered end in the bucket, and place the covered end in the tank. Slowly let go of the tube. The water should start flowing back into the tank.
vii. Remove the tube from the tank when the water level is about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) away from the top edge.
viii. Re-plug the heater, filter, and pump.
4. Cleaning the Gravel bought from the store
i. Only clean gravel before putting it into your tank for the first time.
ii. Open up the bag that your gravel came in.
iii. Get a colander or mesh strainer.
iv. Fill the colander or strainer with gravel.
v. Place the colander/strainer into a sink and turn on the water.
vi. Move the gravel about until the water runs clear.
vii. Transfer the gravel to your aquarium.

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Best Aquarium Water Test Kits

Best Aquarium Water Test Kits

Testing aquarium water is a key component of maintaining a healthy environment for fish. Below are a list of aquarium water test kits and some information about them.

Best Aquarium Water Test Kits – Master Test Kits
Combination, or Master, test kits are touted as the perfect way to have all the tests you need on hand. Their advantages include lower cost per test, everything has the same expiration dates, and it’s a quick and easy way to purchase and keep the basic tests all at once. The disadvantage is that one can’t customize tests; the kits are fixed to what’s in the kit. Also, the kits tend to run out of one item long before the others. It is recommended that keeping a master kit on hand with pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, preferably a liquid variety instead of strips is best.

Best Aquarium Water Test Kits – Ammonia Test Kits
An ammonia test kit is one of the must haves for every aquarium owner. However, not all ammonia tests are created equal. The primary issue at hand is the fact that ammonia can be present in a non-ionized form (NH3), or the ionized form (NH4) known as ammonium. NH3 is what hobbyists are concerned about, but most tests give results for the total of NH3 and NH4.

Nitrite Test Kit
Nitrite is another test that is important during the start-up of a new aquarium, as well as on an ongoing basis. It is advisable to test for nitrite monthly and any time a fish is sick or dies.

Nitrate Test Kits
Nitrate is not as dangerous for fish, but at high levels it stresses them, leaving them more susceptible to disease and ultimately shortening their lifespan. Nitrate tests are often included in a master test kit, or paired with a Nitrite test kit, but they can also be purchased separately as well.

pH Test Kits
pH is a key parameter for all aquariums, and should be tested and recorded in a log regularly. Sudden changes in pH are often the invisible cause of fish disease and death. Gradual pH changes are less serious in the short term, but ultimately can be just as dangerous to the health of fish. If using strips instead of liquid test kits take care to seal the strips well and don’t touch the pads on the strips with dirty fingers.

Hardness Test Kits
Two types of hardness tests are available, KH or carbonate hardness, and GH or general hardness.
KH, often referred to as alkalinity or carbonate hardness, is the measure of carbonate and bicarbonate in the water. The higher the KH, the more stable pH will be. GH measures the levels of dissolved magnesium and calcium, which is what we refer to when using the terms hard or soft water. GH should be matched to the species of fish being kept.

Phosphate Test Kits
Generally this test is most often used in saltwater aquariums. Phosphate is not a commonly used test in freshwater aquariums, as elevated levels will not harm fish. However, phosphate is a key factor in algae growth. If battling algae problems, knowing the phosphate level can help determine if the steps being taken to lower the phosphate levels are having the desired effect.

Oxygen Test Kit
Oxygen is rarely tested in aquariums, but there are specialty situations where it is useful. Densely populated tanks, such as those that breeders might have, or densely planted tanks are two situations in which oxygen levels may require closer examination. Both salinity and temperature impact the amount of oxygen that can be dissolved in the water. Warm water holds less oxygen than cold water, and freshwater holds more oxygen than saltwater.

Iron Test Kits
Iron is present in trace amounts in aquarium water and generally does not require testing. However, plants require iron to thrive, and those who keep heavily planted tanks, or breed plants, may test for iron levels.

Copper Test Kits
Copper tests are only used in situations where copper is used to treat sick fish. Because it is used only during treatment, this is not a test kit that is normally kept on hand. Instead copper test kits are usually purchased when giving copper treatments.

So which is the Best Aquarium Water Test Kits?
I have been using the Freshwater Master Test Kit for many years. It covers your most critical parameters all in one box.

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How to Hatch Brine Shrimp

How to Hatch Brine Shrimp

Storing Brine Shrimp Eggs

First of all, you need to start with healthy, properly stored eggs. All brine shrimp eggs need to be stored as follows:
• in a tightly sealed container;
• free from moisture; and
• in a cool environment at or below 50°F. (Refrigeration is ideal for short term storage, i.e., less than three to four weeks; for longer term storage, eggs are best kept at or below freezing.)
The above storage guidelines apply to all brine shrimp eggs, whether in opened or unopened tins.

How to Hatch Brine Shrimp – Hatching Environment

Here are the recommended conditions on How to hatch brine shrimp:
• Salinity:
25 parts per thousand (ppt) salt solution, or approximately 1 and 2/3 tablespoons of salt per quart (or liter) of water. Be sure to use marine salt or solar salt.
• pH:
Proper pH is important in hatching brine shrimp. A starting pH of 8.0 or higher is recommended. In areas where the water pH is below 7, Epson salt or magnesium sulfate can be added at the rate of 1/2 teaspoon per quart of solution to buffer the hatching solution.
• Temperature:
Optimum water temperature for a 24-hour complete hatch is 80-82°F or 26-28°C. Lowering the temperature would result in a longer hatching time. Do not exceed 30°C.
• Light:
Illumination is necessary to trigger the hatching mechanism within the embryo during the first few hours of incubation. Maintaining a light source during the entire incubation period is recommended to obtain optimum hatch results and for temperature control.
• Aeration:
Constant aeration is necessary to keep cysts in suspension and to provide sufficient oxygen levels for the cysts to hatch. A minimum of 3 parts per million dissolved oxygen during the incubation is recommended. Strong aeration should not damage or hurt the brine shrimp cysts or nauplii.
• Stocking Density:
1 gram per liter or quart or approximately 1/2 level teaspoon of cysts per quart is recommended. A higher stocking density will result in a lower hatch percentage.
• Hatching Cone:
Flat-bottom hatching vessels should be avoided. Cone or “V” bottomed containers are best to insure that the cysts remain in suspension during hatching. Be sure to thoroughly wash the hatching cone with a light chlorine solution, rinse, and allow to air-dry between uses. Avoid soap. Soap will leave a slight residue which will foam from aeration during hatching and leave cysts stranded above the water level.
• Incubation Period:
Generally, the optimum incubation time is 24 hours. Egg which has been properly stored for more than 2-3 months may require additional incubation time — up to 30-36 hours. Oftentimes, eggs will hatch in as few as 18 hours. If a smaller size nauplii (Instar I) is desired, a harvest time of 18 hours is recommended.

How to Hatch brine Shrimp – Hatching Procedure
i. Set Up: Place hatching cone or similarly shaped vessel in well-lit area. Cone should be semi-translucent for ease of harvesting and light transmission.
ii. Add Water: Fill cone with water and adjust salinity to 25 ppt (parts per thousand). Optimum hatching temperature is 82°F (28°C).
iii. Add Cysts: Add cysts at the rate of 1 gram per liter.
iv. Aerate: Provide adequate aeration to keep cysts in suspension.
v. Hatch: Depending upon water temperature, cysts should hatch in approximately 18-36 hours.
vi. Harvest: After hatching brine shrimp, turn off or remove aeration and wait several minutes for the shells and baby brine shrimp (or nauplii) to separate. Newly hatched nauplii will settle to the bottom of the cone or move towards a light source; the shells will float to the surface. Once separated, the nauplii can be siphoned from the bottom with a length of air tubing or gently drained through the bottom of the cone through a valve, if so equipped.
vii. Rinse: The warm incubation temperatures and metabolites from the hatching medium create ideal conditions for a bacteria bloom. Rinsing of the baby brine shrimp in a fine mesh net or sieve using clean fresh or salt water is important before feeding them to your fish.
viii. Clean Equipment: Tanks and brine shrimp hatching equipment should be cleaned and disinfected routinely.

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How to Move an Aquarium

How to move an aquarium

You may need to move your fish tank/aquarium in some situations, say when relocating. Moving your aquarium can be a tedious task, but with a little planning, the correct handling, and the proper supplies, your fish should make it to their new home with minimal upset. The following guidelines enable you to walk through the process mentally, alerting you to any precautions you need to take to help ensure a smooth transition.

Moving Fish
In a case where you are relocating within your home, net your fish into a clean, 5-gallon bucket with plenty of aquarium water. Carefully scoop out invertebrates in a small, clean plastic container before placing them in the bucket.
On the other hand, when moving less than one hour from your home, bag your specimens individually the same way your pet store does. Once bagged, keep the fish in the dark to reduce stress.
Finally, if moving a distance of 1-6 hours away, again bag the fish individually. But this time, you’ll need to add pure oxygen to the bags, supplied by your local fish store. Always ensure you call ahead of time to check for availability, and agree upon a time. Live plants can be transported in bags, too, with some of the original aquarium water. Wrap leaves in wet newspaper to prevent drying out, or make sure plants are completely submerged. Maintain water temperature for your fish and other specimens by placing them, in their sealed bags, within a sealed cooler.

How to Move an Aquarium – Preparation
• Discontinue feeding your fish two days before the move
• Establish a checklist of items you’ll need at your new destination, such as pre-mixed saltwater or an ammonia-removing product
• Acquire several clean 5-gallon buckets that have not housed chemicals or detergents
• Designate a space in the moving truck closest to a door for easy access to your aquarium and equipment
• Your aquarium should be the last thing you pack, and the first thing you take out and set up
• Move your fish separately from the aquarium

Moving the Aquarium
When taking down the aquarium, save as much of the water as you can. Use 5-gallon buckets with lids to transport water. Reusing your water cuts the cycling time considerably once you restart the system, and decreases the likelihood of a toxic ammonia spike. Pack your pumps, heaters, and other equipment the way you would pack fragile appliances.
Remove the gravel and water and place in 5-gallon buckets to alleviate the stress on the aquarium seams resulting from the bumps and bouncing during transport. Keep your filter media and sponges immersed in some of your aquarium water, as well, to minimize disruption of the bacteria colonies within them. This, too, helps reduce cycling time.

For moves further than 6 hours, take out your gravel or substrate and bag it with some aquarium water. Either clean or discard your filter media, but if you do this please remember that your system will have to be treated as new when starting it up again. This necessitates a complete cycling, and only a few hardy species of fish will be able to withstand the cycling process. You should make temporary arrangements for your other fish until the aquarium has been properly cycled.

When moving the aquarium within your home, use the buckets as mentioned above. Leave enough water in the aquarium to fully cover the gravel. There’s no need to pack your pumps and other equipment, but it is a good idea to keep submersible filters in a container with some aquarium water.

How To move an Aquarium- On Arrival
Whether your new destination is within your existing home, or a new location altogether, you’ll need to work quickly to get your aquarium operating again. Fill it with as much of the old water as you were able to save. Top off with fresh water or premixed saltwater, get your filters, heaters, and other equipment running, and then add a bacterial additive to accelerate cycling. Add your plants and decorations and test your water parameters. If acceptable, add your livestock after proper acclimation.

Hopefully you have a better understanding of how to move an aquarium.

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Discus Food Recipes

Discus Food Recipes

Discus fish thrive greatly on a number of food types. These include beef, veal, turkey heart, fish fillets, shrimp and liver of beef/ turkey. Below are some of the common recipes for making these food types for the discus fish.

Discus Food Recipes 1: Beef Heart and Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of ground beef heart. (Remove the blood vessels and fat)
  • 4 tablespoons of yellow cornmeal or cooked wheat germ.
  • 1 cup ground raw shrimp (without the shell).
  • 3 tablespoons of ground garlic.
  • ½ cup cooked spinach puree.
  • Yolk of 3 eggs.
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika.
  • 6 crushed calcium citrate and Vitamin D supplements.
  • 4 multivitamins (washed and soaked in water to form a soup).
  • 2 cups of meat lover’s flakes and 1 cup discus and angel flake.
  • 2 ounces of Formula One Marine
  • 7 small boxes of unflavored gelatin.

Preparation Procedure

Mix all the above ingredients and heat them. Do not boil. Stir in the gelatin and mix again. Pour the mixture out and allow it to cool. Once it cools, cut it into small pieces and freeze it in zip-lock bags. You can add 3 tablespoons of spirulina powder/krill/plankton.

Discus Food Recipes 2: Veal Heart

Ingredients

  • Veal heart (should be rinsed well in cold water and cleaned of blood vessels and fat).
  • One 10 ounce packet of frozen spinach; thaw and squeeze out the water.
  • 6 cloves of garlic.
  • 3 large handfuls of any type of dry flake food.
  • 1 cup Quaker oats.
  • 1 small box of unflavored gelatin.
  • 6 multivitamins washed off the protective coating and dunked in a small cup of water.

Preparation Procedure

Blend all these ingredients into a food processor and store the paste in freezer bags. The mixture should be around ¼ inch thick in the bags, when placed it in the freezer. At the time of feeding, just break off a piece, place it on a paper towel and allow it to thaw. Then feed the fish!

Discus Food Recipes 3: Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Shrimp, and Fish Fillets

Ingredients

  • 350 pounds turkey heart, washed and trimmed of all blood vessels and fat.
  • 150 pounds turkey liver.
  • 50 pounds non-oily fish fillets.
  • 100 pounds peeled shrimp.
  • 32 pounds green peas.
  • 20 pounds fish flakes.
  • 10 pounds oatmeal

Preparation Procedure

After allowing the hearts, livers, fish fillets and shrimp to thaw, cook them separately. Grind each of them and then mix them together. Grind this mixture once again and dollop the final mixture into plastic bags. Flatten the mixture in the plastic bag, so as to remove the air. Store in the freezer and thaw before feeding this discus fish food to the fish.

Discus Food Recipes 4: Beef Heart, Shrimp, Beef Liver and White Fish

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds beef heart.
  • 1 pound beef liver (trimmed, rinsed well and soaked for 3 minutes in hot water).
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled.
  • White fish – 1 pound.
  • 2 pounds frozen plankton.
  • 2 packets of lightly steamed spinach.
  • 1 box of lightly steamed peas.
  • Yolk of 6 eggs.
  • ⅓ cup Kelp seaweed powder.
  • ¼ cup brewer’s yeast.
  • ½ cup cooked wheat germ.
  • Spirulina powder – 1 tablespoon.
  • Vitamin C powder – 1 tablespoon.

Preparation Procedure

Blend the beef heart, liver, shrimp, white fish, plankton, peas and spinach in a food processor. Dollop out the paste in a large bowl and add to it the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Place the mixture into freezing bags and freeze them until needed. At feeding time, take a piece and allow it to thaw. Feed it to the discus in the fish tank.

 

 

Conclusion
Besides the above mentioned recipes, these fish also feed on frozen blood worms, mosquito larvae, white worms, Mysis shrimp, glass worms, red worms (chopped up) and dried or frozen adult brine shrimp. One can make some modification to the recipe as one desire. The above mentioned discus fish food recipes are suitable for discus fish of all ages.

 

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How Many Discus

How Many Discus

How many discus can I safely keep together is a very common question I receive from many discus keepers.

If you search online you will see many conflicting responses.

How many discus you can keep together is not a one number answer. There are many factors to consider before being able to answer the question.

In this article I will explain all the different factors involved to help you decide how many discus is bet for your aquarium.

Consideration 1:
The rule of thumb for how many discus you can keep together doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone but is 1 discus for every gallons of water. Therefore if you follow that rule you can only keep 10 full size discus in a 100 gallon tank. I have been keeping discus for well over 25 years and have never followed this rule. My personal opinion is that 10 fish in a 100 gallon tank will make the tank look empty unless you plan on having a lot of plants and decorations.

Consideration 2:
What size is your tank? Obviously the bigger the tank the more discus you can keep. However make sure you take into consideration the amount of plants and decorations you have in your tank. Remember that they take up space therefore reducing the total water volume.

Consideration 3:
How much filtration do you have? Discus require very clean water conditions. The more filtration you have the better. Keep in mind that every fish produces waste. The more fish you add the more waste that will be produced. Therefore you must make sure that you have sufficient filtration.

Consideration 4:
What kind of substrate will you have at the bottom of your tank? There are many options to choose from such as gravel, sand, or even nothing at all just a bare bottom. If you use gravel uneaten food and fish waste can get trapped between the pebbles. Your filter will not be able to pick it up so that will require you to perform more frequent water changes.

Consideration 5:
Are you keeping other fish with the discus? if so what kind are they? How big will they grow?

At this point you are probably thinking “so how many discus can I keep? I’m still confused”

Here is my personal opinion which has worked well for me for over 25 years:
Allow 7 gallons of water for every discus fish. This will give the fish enough room to grow, swim and be happy. Do not crowd your tank with many decorations. Live plants are good if you want to go that route. Live plants actually help keep the water extremely clean. However plastic plants are fine also. Just make sure you clean then in warm water when they get dirty. It is extremely important that you keep up with your water changes (at least 30% per week of water changed weekly). The more water changes you do the faster your discus will grow.

I hope that you now have a better understanding of how many discus you can keep.

Feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

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Catching Wild Discus

Catching wild discus

Introduction
Discus fish are found in Southeast Asia and South America around the Amazon. Discus can’t survive in most of the Amazon, where the water often flows too quickly or is not clean enough. However, they are found swimming in very clean water and in small, Blackwater rivers and lakes, deep pools, shallow streams, creeks, and small lakes off the Amazon River. In the Amazon, discus fish are found around areas that have immense tropical forests and long periods of rain. Discus fish thrive when they receive continuous flows of freshwater.
They live in small groups among submerged tree roots, decayed wood, vegetation, and aquatic grasses, which they often hide behind. The wild discus’ stripes help camouflage them for safety from predators. The natural substrate typically includes sand-like gravel and decomposed tree leaves. Plants, including the Amazon Sword that is shown below, not only provide a protective hiding place, but also serve as natural breeding grounds.

Catching wild discus – Suppliers and dealers
There are several suppliers and dealers that are responsible for catching the wild discus fish and availing them to the discus keepers and hobbyists. They are responsible for all the processes involved.

Catching discus in the wild
To catch wild discus, people use a bright light at night to attract the fish. Then they slowly draw a net around them. The collection is usually carefully designed and scheduled in advance through maps. There are several fishing processes conducted both in daylight as well as during the night. Usually, the process involves use of some fundamental tools. When the fishing is done by night, an underwater flashlight is used as well as a “Pulsar” that we know as a small net used to catch fishes in aquariums, but in this case, is made by fishermen with an iron hoop and a thick wire, allowing catching the fishes from the front and the water to pass easily. Thus, the fishes remain in the “Pulsar”, but the water doesn’t. In addition to these tools, a small canoe and several plastic containers are essential. If the fishing is done during the day, they use the same tools but without the flashlight. Use of gill net and cast net is greatly discouraged and avoided as they end up hurting the discus fish. A major disadvantage of fishing for discus fish at night is that it is impossible to collect any fish when there is full moon; this is due to the presence of too much light.

An important thing to do when collecting the wild discus fish is to measure the pH of the water where they have been collected. This will help in achieving a more perfect adaptation and hence avoiding causing stress to the wild discus fish which may lead to death. This will greatly help in adapting the wild discus fish to their new environment. This will be achieved easily by trying to have similar conditions, both water and food, to their natural habitat.

Catching wild discus – Transportation and storage
Another great challenge is transportation. If it is not done carefully and precautions taken, the discus fish may end up dying. One of the key factors that prevent discus from dying during transportation is the fishes repose. This is the process of allowing the fish after they are collected to rest for at least 3 days in a box, usually on the bank of the river or stream. Also, the fish should not be mixed when being carried in the plastic containers, but they should rather be transported individually in oxygenated plastic bags.

Catching wild discus – Conclusion
Wild discus fish have to be caught in their natural habitat and be acclimatized in order to be kept safely by the discus keepers.

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Discus Natural Habitat

Discus Natural Habitat

Introduction

Discus fish are widely recognized as some of the most colorful freshwater aquarium fish, which makes them incredibly popular among hobbyists. If you hope to keep discus fish successfully in a captive environment, it’s important you understand their basic needs and tank requirements. This includes understanding where discus fish can be found in the wild and what type of diet they typically eat.

Discus Natural habitat

Location

Discus fish are found in Southeast Asia and South America around the Amazon. Discus can’t survive in most of the Amazon, where the water often flows too quickly or is not clean enough. However, they are found swimming in very clean water and in small, Blackwater rivers and lakes, deep pools, shallow streams, creeks, and small lakes off the Amazon River. In the Amazon, discus fish are found around areas that have immense tropical forests and long periods of rain. Discus fish thrive when they receive continuous flows of freshwater.
They live in small groups among submerged tree roots, decayed wood, vegetation, and aquatic grasses, which they often hide behind. The wild discus’ stripes help camouflage them for safety from predators. The natural substrate typically includes sand-like gravel and decomposed tree leaves. Plants, including the Amazon Sword that is shown below, not only provide a protective hiding place, but also serve as natural breeding grounds.

Discus Natural habitat

Lighting
Preferring subdued lighting, discus tend to stay in shaded areas during the day, and the low lighting conditions help keep the discus safe from predators. Keep this detail in mind, since putting a discus in a tank with bright overhead lights and crystal clear water may cause it to feel vulnerable and frightened.

Discus Natural habitat

Water conditions
Discus fish appreciate Blackwater areas, which result from tannins and organics that are found in the water, primarily from falling leaves. While you can find tonics on the market that will help create a Blackwater environment, unless you are setting up a biotope with wild discus caught in Blackwater areas (not recommended for a hobbyist), you do not need this additive for proper discus fish care.

The Amazon hosts three main water types. In upper Amazon, you’ll find the “loam-yellow” or “white” water region. In the central region near Rio Negro, the “Blackwater” is found. In the lower region, you’ll see “green-yellow” or “clear water.” Different water types feature different colors of wild discus.
The Amazon’s immense rain forests and copious amounts of rain cause the water to be soft (0-3 dH). Soft water means that very few dissolved solids are found in it. The water’s softness is measured with the total dissolved solids (TDS), the minerals found in the water in parts per million. This means, the lower the TDS, the lower the conductivity of the water. Although discus will breed in several different water conditions, softer water helps with fertilizing the discus eggs and increasing fry sizes. Discus breeders often replicate the low TDS water by using reverse osmosis (RO) systems or buying RO-filtered water from water stores.
In the Amazon, discus water has a pH of around 6.0 to 6.5. In some places, its pH is as low as 4! Its temperature is within the range of 77 – 84º F (25 – 29 º C). In Southeast Asia, discus are found in soft to medium-hard, alkaline water (3-8 dH, pH 7.0 – 8.0) that has temperatures around 81 – 91º F (27 – 33º C).

Types of Food and Feeding habits
In the wild, discus fish feed primarily on zooplankton and other small aquatic organisms like insects and invertebrates. Wild discus fish tend to forage for food throughout the day rather than eating large portions at any one time. Due to the laterally compressed structure of their bodies, these fish cannot tolerate large portions of food, thus overfeeding can be a significant concern with captive discus fish. Wild discus may occasionally feed on plant matter, but they are unlikely to damage live aquarium plants in captivity.

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Discus Water Changes

Discus Water Changes

Introduction

Clean water is a key to discus fish health. A clean tank with a constant exchange of new, fresh water will work wonders for your discus’ health. In this article, we will explain how to keep your water clean without requiring fancy equipment like reverse osmosis filters.

A frequent water change is one of the most important factors for discus growth. It has been proven through an experiment that where one tank’s water is changed multiple times daily, and in another tank, the water is changed only once daily. The discus in the water that was changed more often grew twice as large as the discus in the water changed less often. Since discus fish naturally produce substances that are detrimental to their health, water changes are important to removing these impurities. When nothing is hindering discus’ growth, they can reach their full potential and flourish.

In this article, we’ll explain why you should change your discus’ water, how much you should change, how often you should change it, and what equipment you can use.
Amount of aquarium water to change and frequency

Although all tropical fish aquariums require regular water changes, discus aquariums in specific need frequent water changes. For this reason, you should change your discus’ aquarium water at least once a week. Some people change 20 to 25% of their aquarium’s water two to three times a week. If your discus look and behave healthier after water changes, change their water more frequently. Remember: The more you change your discus’ water, the more that harmful substances will be removed, and the more that your discus will flourish!

One myth is that you need to change discus water constantly. The truth is that successful breeders vary widely in the amount of their discus’ water that they change. Some breeders change their discus’ water 100% only once a week. Others change their discus’ water 25% three times a week. Others change 50% of their discus water twice a week. So you don’t need to worry about following a strict, set regimen. Instead, just keep in mind that changing your discus’ water removes harmful toxins and other impurities. Change your discus’ water frequently if you can. But if you can’t change it frequently, just make sure you change it at least once a week.

In special cases you may need to change the tank’s water daily. Examples include when rearing young fry or when medicating your discus.
You don’t need to change your entire aquarium’s water at once. Many people only change a percentage at a time, making the job much easier.

Discus Water changes- what’s the best time to do them?

The timing of the water change is just as important as the frequency. Discus, like all creatures, accustom themselves to you and your patterns. If you maintain a steady pattern, your discus will look forward to and be prepared for its water change. But if you provide an unstable pattern, your discus may become skittish during water changes.
A useful method is to time water changes after a major feeding period. This helps to remove any built up waste and left over food.

Discus Water Changes – How much water to change?

This is ultimately up to you and your abilities to carry out the water changes. Make sure to change your discus’ water frequently, and then decide on what percentage is best for your discus.
Equipment used for water change
To make it easier to change your aquarium’s water, you may want to use no spill drain and refill systems, which you can find at many pet shops. However, these systems are not necessary. If you want, you can simply use buckets.

Conclusion

One option is that you can have a bare tank without gravel. A tank without gravels provides the most pristine environment for the discus. Remove gravel that would normally hide waste and uneaten food.

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Discus Acclimation Methods

Discus Acclimation Methods

Introduction

Acclimation is critical for discus fish. The water that your new discus fish are packaged in has different temperature and pH parameters than your fish tank. Due to the fact that discus fish are very sensitive to even minor changes in temperature and pH, proper acclimation is the key to ensuring their successful relocation.

Points to note:
• The acclimation process should never be rushed
• Keep aquarium lights off for at least four hours after the discus are introduced to help them further adjust
• Do not feed your new fish for at least 24 hours after receiving them

There are two acclimation methods namely, Floating Method and the Drip Method.

1) Discus Acclimation Methods – 1: Floating Method

i) Turn off aquarium lights.
ii) Dim the lights in the room where the shipping box will be opened to avoid stress/trauma.
iii) Float the sealed bag in the aquarium for 15 minutes to allow the water in the shipping bag to adjust slowly to the temperature in the aquarium, while maintaining a high level of dissolved oxygen.
iv) Cut open the bag just under knot or rubber band and roll the top edge of the bag down one inch to create an air pocket within the lip of the bag. This will enable the bag to float on the surface of the water.
v) Add 1/4 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag.
vi) Repeat step (v) every four minutes until the shipping bag is full.
vii) Lift the shipping bag from the aquarium and discard half the water from the bag
viii) Float the shipping bag in the aquarium again and proceed to add 1/4 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag every four minutes until the bag is full.
ix) Use a very soft net to gently catch the discus from the bag and release them into your aquarium.
x) Remove the filled shipping bag from the aquarium and discard the water.

2) Discus Acclimation Methods – 2: Drip Method

This method is considered more advanced. You will need airline tubing and must be willing to monitor the entire process. Gather a clean 1 gallon bucket designated for aquarium use only that has never been used with any kind of cleaning agent or chemicals of any kind.
i) Start with Steps i)-iii) of the floating method to acclimate water temperature.
ii) Carefully empty the contents of the bags (including the water) into the buckets. Depending on the amount of water in each bag, this may require tilting the bucket at a 45 degree angle to make sure the animals are fully submerged.
iii) Using airline tubing, set up and run a siphon drip line from the main aquarium to each bucket. You’ll need separate airline tubing for each bucket used. Tie several loose knots in the airline tubing, or use a plastic or other non-metal airline control valve, to regulate flow from the aquarium.
iv) Begin a siphon by sucking on the end of the airline tubing you’ll be placing into each of the buckets. When water begins flowing through the tubing, adjust the drip (by tightening one of the knots or adjusting the control valve) to a rate of about 2-4 drips per second.
v) When the water volume in the bucket doubles, discard half and begin the drip again until the volume doubles once more in about one hour.
vi) At this point, the discus can be transferred to the aquarium. Gently scoop them out of the drip bucket with the specimen bag, making sure they’re fully covered in water. Submerge the bag underwater in the aquarium and gently remove the specimen from the bag. Next, seal off the bag underwater by twisting the opening, and remove it from the aquarium. Discard both the bag and the enclosed water. A tiny amount of the diluted water will escape into the aquarium; this is harmless.

Conclusion
Among the two discus acclimation methods above, drip method is the most recommended but both methods work equally well.

NEVER add water from the fish bag to your aquarium!

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Best Food for Discus

Best food for Discus Fish

Introduction

Discus fish can feed on basically anything which can include fish flakes, pellets, and frozen or even live food. The best food for your discus fish would be a variety of foods in order for them to get all the nutrients necessary for their growth.

The types of discus fish food

One type of good discus fish food is dry food. This type of food contains many essential nutrients for the discus fish. This type includes fish flakes and fish pellets. Care should be taken though when you feed your discus fish with dry foods. For example, ensure you supplement fish flakes with live food in order to attain optimum health for your discus fish as far as essential nutrients are concerned. Also, ensure you soak fish pellets before feeding them to the discus to avoid bloating of the discus fish. We highly recommend the DiscusGuy high protein flake foods and high protein beef heart flakes

Another best food for discus live food which includes bloodworms, black worms and also white worms. All these happen to be one of the best foods for discus fish in terms of nutrient content. More so, they can be easily acquired in almost all the local pet stores and can be stored in preparation for feeding them to the discus fish.
Brine shrimps make another best food for discus fish and a good substitute for that matter for worms. This is because they are rich in vitamins as well as minerals. They can either be frozen or live brine shrimp. Be careful to rinse them to remove any salt that may be on them though before giving it to the discus fish and incase it was frozen, ensure you defrost them first. This is the best food for strengthening the discus fish colors as it contains beta carotene. We highly recommend you stay away from live worms and only feed frozen worms as live worms can have parasites and get your fish sick!

Apart from the above main food types, some discus fish keepers opt for homemade food for their fish and they use cow hearts to make them. One major setback for this however is that they dirty your discus fish tank and hence it would require more regular cleaning. All in all, discus fish generally and naturally prefer live foods and those are the best foods you can give them.

Discus fish feeding habits

When discus fish are still young, they require constant feeding. Baby discus will eat 10 to 12 times per day. Young fish will eat up to 5 times per day. Adult discus fish on the other hand eat 2 to 3 times per day. Be careful to not overfeed them. Overfeeding your discus could cause health problems and water pollution. Discus fish are sensitive fish who appreciate pristine water conditions.

Regardless of the time you feed your discus fish, always try to be consistent with your feeding routine. In the morning, wait for your discus to wake up a bit before you feed them. Turn on their lights and then give them some time to move around for a few minutes. After they eat their last meal of the day, give them time to forage and clean your tank. Don’t turn off their light until at least an hour after their final meal of the day.

Challenges when feeding discus

One possible difficulty is that sometimes, the fish won’t immediately swim and eat the food. As a result, the food will sink to the bottom of the aquarium. Any food that remains there will rot after two days, which will lead to bacteria. To solve this, you choose to include a bottom feeder in the fish tank, or you will have to manually vacuum the leftover food out of the aquarium before it begins to decompose and contaminate the fish tank.

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Mixing Domestic and Wild Discus

Mixing Domestic and Wild Discus – can it be done?

Mixing Domestic and Wild Discus

Introduction

Mixing Domestic and Wild Discus can be challenging. Discus fish can either be wild or domestic. Normally, these two types would have two almost totally different requirements in terms of food, water temperature and so on. So before we talk of the how to keep the two types together in a single fish tank, we should talk about the differences between the two.

We begin with wild caught discus fish. Wild caught discus come from what we may refer to as ‘harsher’ environment with murky and muddy water condition as opposed to the clean, fresh fish tanks that domestic discus come from. Hence it is reasonable to assume that wild discus are more hardy and can take a lot than captive bred ones.

Domestic discus fish, on the other hand may be healthier since they were farmed in a clean, controlled environment. However, if you look at it from another angle, it may just mean that their immunity is not as strong and hence its self-defense mechanism against diseases may not be as strong as a result.

For these huge differences and reason some aquarium keepers have suggested that wild caught discus should not be mixed with domestic fish. However, some discus fish keepers have mixed wilds and domestics and have completely enjoyed the beauties which both have to offer with no adverse effects. This has a good explanation which is the fact that at one time all discuses came from the Amazon and later when they were bred in captivity, they morphed into the beautiful varieties we have today. This therefore means that you can keep the wild discus and the domestic discus fish together and you will not see any erratic behavior between the two. You should however be careful when you first mix the two. Below is a recommended way of how to go about it, especially for the newcomers.

Mixing Domestic and Wild Discus Properly

Before setting new fish free in your aquarium, always quarantine them and make sure you know where your discus are coming from, because wild discus and domestic discus have different immune systems as mentioned earlier. The wild discus fish have been exposed to many different bacteria and parasites than the domestic discus. It is therefore possible and highly likely that some parasites that may not be harmful to one may be fatal to the other.

Another way to take advantage of your existing tank is to add a sponge filter. After a few weeks you will have an established bacteria colony and the sponge can be transferred to your quarantine tank, introducing your wild discus to the new environment they will soon be living in. Quarantining is a basic common practice that should help you achieve a healthy and thriving environment when your fish are introduced.
After the quarantine, your fish will be able to get along quite well, both the wild discus fish and the domestic fish in the same fish tank. After introduction of the wild discus into the fish tank, always monitor them closely at all times to ensure there isn’t any unusual behavior.

Mixing Domestic and Wild Discus Conclusion
We have seen that as much as the wild discus fish differ quite significantly from the domestic discus fish, they can get along well in the same fish tank provided you take the necessary precautions before introducing the wild discus fish into the fish tank. You should be on the lookout as well for any unusual behavior of the fish in the fish tank. This is however a common practice for all the aquariums and hence isn’t something you can worry about.

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Why discus fish are expensive

Why Discus fish are expensive

Introduction
Discus fish are very interesting fish to keep for aquarium keepers and they have gained popularity over time because of their unique beauty as they are very colorful. Despite their appearance among other benefits of keeping discus fish, there are other shortcomings and the most notable among them is the price. Discus fish are relatively expensive even to buy compared to other aquarium fish available in the market. There are several reasons why discus fish are expensive and they are discussed below.
Reasons why Discus fish are expensive

i) They require warmer temperature compared to other tropical fish
For those discus fish keepers in the colder climate, this is a big cost. This is why imported discus from Asia is much cheaper when they leave the breeding facilities. It cost less to grow them out there. For this reason, retail for discus fish is expensive because the seller has to make enough to account for loses and stay in business.

ii) Food and water quality
Regardless whether you go with homemade food or off the shelf food, discus fish food is relatively expensive. Making your own beef heart or seafood mix isn’t cheap either. They have very strict water requirements as well and most of the breeders have to work very hard to meet these. These strict requirements make them very expensive.

iii) Time to grow
There is a lot of time involved in growing discus from fry to adult. The higher quality adults are also a lot more because it has probably been through a culling process. So basically discus fish expense comes down to how much time breeders put into the fish. Time is money and to raise good high quality discus you will need lots of time.

iv) Demand
Another reason discus fish are so expensive is a simple supply and demand situation. There are not many breeders in the U.S. for example. For this reason, they are not producing anywhere near the demand for particular strains. Another option would be imported discus fish, but they come with lots of expensive and risk that have to be covered. The trans-shipper has to house them, treat any problems, absorb any losses due to carrier negligence and give some kind of guarantee to the buyer. These factors make the cost of imported discus even higher.
Aside from the lower supply, people really like the discus fish and so the demand is huge as well. For this reason, shops can charge more, and people will pay. There is also a huge demand for these fish as they are gaining in popularity for their stunning appearance.

v) Breeding brand
Discus fish have name brands, so it depends on who bred the fish. Some people prefer a certain brand of breeder of the discus fish and will pay any price as long as it is from the brand. The breeder will take advantage of this and set a high price making the discus expensive.

vi) Labor
Discus fish are so expensive because breeding and keeping them requires some of the most labor intensive fish keep practices known. A lot of effort is put into keeping and breeding the fish in order to produce big and better specimens with the best colors. For most of the common fish, you can just throw them in a pond in a tropical area, feed them and come back in 6 months with a net and scoop out hundreds of small fish. So they are super cheap to breed. Breeding discus, however, requires more care, very good water conditions, less fish in the tank and the expensive bigger ones are probably a year or so old. They had to be kept in very good conditions and fed good food to get them to grow. All these labor intensive tasks make discus fish more expensive.

Conclusion
Discus fish are sometimes loosely referred to as the king of the aquarium. I guess this is because, on a light note, you almost have to be royalty to afford some of them. All in all, despite all the expenses, discus fish keeping is worth it when all is said and done. Hopefully this article will help you understand why discus fish are expensive.

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Discus Quarantine Process

Discus Quarantine Process

Discus fish care should be taken seriously. For this reason therefore, there are different scenarios that will require a quarantine period.

Discus Quarantine Process – Scenario #1- Purchase of New Discus Fish
Whenever you get new discus fish you should quarantine them before putting them in your main discus tank. The purpose of this is to observe the new fish to ensure that they are not sick and prevent them from getting your healthy discus sick. This quarantine process is fairly simple. You set up a small fish tank filling it up using water from your main aquarium. You will need to make sure that the quarantine tank has proper filtration and heat. You need to replicate your main tank as far as water temperature and water quality. When you new fish arrives acclimate them in the quarantine tank. It is highly recommended that you keep them in the quarantine tank for at least 3 weeks. Make sure that you keep the quarantine tank clean and perform regaular water changes just like you do on your main tank. Keep close observation. Make sure they are eating and acting normal. After 3 weeks simply scoop them up in a net and place them in your main tank.

Discus Quarantine Process – Scenario #2- Treating Sick Fish
Another cause cause for a quarantine is usually an infection whether disease or bacteria on the discus fish. The exercise is usually carried out to prevent further spread to the other discus fish and hence prevent further damage. Therefore when carrying out the exercise, it’s important to understand and follow standard quarantine procedures. The reason we quarantine discus fish because they are living creatures. All living creatures have the ability to carry pathogens like bacteria or protozoan of one sort or another. Bacteria are frequently carried externally on discus.

When new discus fish are introduced into the same fish tank which already has other discus, the bacteria mixes and one or more of the discus may become sick as a result. Apart from that, when two independently healthy discus are mixed together, one may become sick in the process. Oftentimes discus will have a resistance to the bacteria they carry in small amounts and it may not make them sick unless they become stressed. At such a scenario, they may be overcome with the bacteria they carry.

It is recommended that when carrying out quarantine to first of all have their own tank, nets and hoses, filling devices, airlines, filters and buckets for a minimum time of 5 weeks. New discus should be kept in a separate room if possible from all your existing tanks. You have to remember even 1 drop of water from your old tank to the QT tank is cross contamination and vice versa. So it is very important to remember this when feeding and doing water changes. You should clean the quarantine tank either first or last and ensure you wash your hands and arms between the process of cleaning the quarantine tank and your other existing tanks.

There are several methods you can adopt for the discus quarantine process. One of the effective one is as follows:-
1. Isolate the fish for a minimum of six weeks. All equipment should be dedicated to the quarantine setup.
2. When you first receive the fish they should be dipped in methylene blue and placed in a tank that has salt at concentration of 1 – 2 tablespoons /10 gallons. This helps them deal with stress.
3. If there are any signs of bacteria or fungus, they get an increase in the salt to 1 tablespoon/1 gallon water plus Furan 2 until the problem clears.
4. Deworm with a tape worm specific medicine (Praziquantel)

Once the discus start eating:
1. Feed them with medicated gel food containing ‘panacur’ for a period of one week or longer in case you suspect presence of worms.
2. Feed them with medicated food with Metronidazole to deal with internal protozoans
3. External parasites are dealt with using formalin, Fluke tabs, Clout, or potassium permanganate.

You should be careful also as some medications may be harmful as they don’t mix well with discus. Ensure you do at least a 30% water change daily in all your tanks or even more. This should however be only when no treatment recommends otherwise. This particular method of quarantine is one in which you anticipate for likely problems and try to deal with them before they spread into all your tanks.

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Discus Tank Mates

Discus Tank Mates

Discus Tank Mates make up an essential part of your discus fish aquarium. Discus fish are naturally not meant to exist alone. Discus fish are the type of fish that are slow moving schooling fish. This therefore means that you should always look for mates for your discus fish in your aquarium. When looking for discus fish tank mates you want to make sure that you select fish that are essentially like the discus fish in terms of behavior, that is, slow moving and ensure they will not compete with the discus for food.

Types of Discus Tank Mates:

i) Tetras
The most common discus tank mates you see in a discus aquarium are tetras. There are several types of tetras which include; neon tetras, cardinal tetras, blood eye tetras, and penguin tetras. Tetras happen to be slow moving schooling fish as well so that makes them tank mates for discus fish.

ii) Cory cats
Another set of common discus fish tank mates are cory cats. There are many different colors of cory cats to choose from, hence most people find them interesting to keep. Cory cats prefer to stay at the bottom of the tank looking for uneaten food. Apart from that, cory cats and discus fish get along very well which makes them a great addition to any discus aquarium.

iii) Angelfish
Other discus fish keepers are also known to keep angelfish with their discus fish. This should however be done with extreme caution. This is due to the fact that both discus fish and angel fish are very territorial especially during spawning. During the spawning process, angelfish and discus fish become very aggressive in an effort to protect their spawning site. They can get so overprotective to high levels such that they will start fighting with and chasing after other fish in the tank. This means therefore that you must keep a close eye when keeping angelfish and discus together. As long as neither of the fish are spawning however, they can get along pretty well in the same aquarium.

iv) Plecos
Plecos are also a common fish found in discus aquariums. They go around eating algae and uneaten food and debris from the aquarium. They do a great job in helping you to keep your discus fish tank clean. However this does not mean that they are not a substitute for water changes. You also need to keep a close eye on plecos when they grow larger as they suck up to glass and objects in the aquarium. At times they may even have the tendency to suck up to the side of your discus fish due to the shape of the discus fish body. This means therefore that you need to keep a close eye on plecos as they mature.

v) Stingrays
Other very experienced discus fish keepers keep stingrays in their discus fish aquariums. Stingrays stay at the bottom of the aquarium and do not interfere with the discus fish. However, the diet of a stingray is completely different from the diet of a discus fish. Therefore if you have sting rays in your tank you must cater to both the eating habits of the sting ray and the discus fish. Many people do not like keeping sting rays in their discus aquariums due to the fact that sting rays grow quickly and require fairly large aquariums.

Conclusion
In conclusion, you should choose carefully the type of discus fish tank mates that best serves your aquarium needs without you going out of your norms in maintaining them. This will depend on your preferences most of the times.

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Aquarium Circulation Pumps

Aquarium Circulation Pumps
Circulation pumps are responsible for circulation of water in the aquarium. Without circulation of water in the aquarium there would be disastrous effects such as lack of sufficient oxygen for the fish or even plants in the aquarium. Most aquariums can actually survive without other requirements such as light, but none can survive without water movement, that is water circulation. Creating water movement in the aquarium is one of the simplest tasks you can do, yet it’s also one of the most critical. When water is circulated it brings about several benefits. First, it brings oxygen and new algae and washes away any waste in the aquarium tank. More so, when an aquarium circulation pump is installed, it reduces the need for frequent cleanings by moving the water around and providing the necessary catalyst for most filters to function.

Types of Aquarium Circulation Pumps
Different kinds of aquariums require different types of pumps. There are generally two main types of aquarium circulation pumps, including:
• Air pumps
• Water pumps

i) Air pumps
Air pumps work to push air into the water of the aquarium and are often found outside the tank. Air pumps are great for adding pressurized air to the tank to keep filters working.

ii) Water pumps
Water pumps are classified into two main types namely submersible water pump and in-line water pump. Each of the two has its own advantages and the filter used for personal preference often determines whether to opt for a submersible or inline water pump.
A submersible water pump operates entirely underwater by drawing water from the filter and sending it back through the aquarium, often in conjunction with one or more types of aquarium filtration systems. Easy to install, water pumps are considered the quietest style of pump.

In-line water pumps on the other hand are connected to an inlet hose used to filter aquarium water, typically located externally. These pumps are extremely powerful and are capable of moving many more gallons per hour than the average submersible pump.

Both pumps, that is air pumps and water pumps, aerate stagnant water, which creates currents and as a result causes water to move through accessories within the aquarium tank such as sumps, filters and skimmers. It is good to note however that each of the accessories will serve the different needs of any given tank.

Choosing Aquarium Circulation Pumps
i) Capacity
It would be critical that the aquarium circulation pump needs to have the capacity to manage any peripherals of the aquarium tank that may require it for proper functioning. The pump must also be the right kind for the type of water managed in the aquarium.
ii) Other peripherals

If you are running a filter, skimmer or something similar in conjunction with a pump, you will need to consider a pump capable of processing a compatible volume of water, at a given speed. This speed depends on the demands of the additional devices. Most filtration devices require a turnover of around 6 gallons of water per hour and it is best to have a pump that is capable of moving water at that speed. For example, a pump for a 30 gallon tank should be graded to move at least 180 gallons per hour.

iii) Material
Saltwater aquariums are highly corrosive and all pump parts used in these aquariums must be made with anti-corrosive material. However, a pump graded for saltwater can be used effectively in freshwater.

Conclusion
An aquarium pump is an aeration device to keep water circulating in tanks. The aquarium circulation pump creates a happy and healthy environment for fish by mimicking the currents and waves of a natural habitat as closely as possible. A circulation pump also keeps the environment clean and productive for fish.

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Best Aquarium Lighting

Best Aquarium Lighting

The best aquarium lighting is usually LEDs which will illuminate your fish tank leading to enhancement of the colors of your fish and in the process creating depth, and highlighting your aqua- scaping in the fish tank.

If you have an aquarium or planning to have one, best aquarium lighting is a critical part of it. The fish in the aquarium heavily rely on receiving the right spectrum of light and intensity so they can grow and remain healthy. This means if you install the wrong lighting you’ll put the health of your fish at risk.

What You Need To Consider:
1. The Size of Your Aquarium
LED lighting for an aquarium comes in a range of different of sizes. The bigger your aquarium is, the more light it will need to light it up. You’ll need to look for one with a lot of coverage and widespread intensity.Consequently for smaller aquariums, you’ll need less light and less coverage.

2. Life Length and Build Quality
How long the lighting will last is critical. It is common sense to go for one that lasts as long as possible. Also, it’s best that you choose your aquarium lighting with quality in mind. You should ensure the materials used to make the lighting are strong and durable. Quality may come with a higher cost but it is worth it in the long run. You should choose LED lights that aren’t likely to break, loose output, or change color spectrum in the future.

3. Interior Effects
Interior effects brought about by the lighting are another thing you should consider. This is purely based on your preferences and the following questions will help you come to a decision:
• What colors would you like to see in your tank?
• Would you like to enhance the colors of your fish or corals?
The best LED lighting will create nice color blends with no visual hotspots. If the colors don’t blend well, you’re likely end up with a disco ball effect in your tank.

4. External Effects
Equally as important as the internal effect, you’ll want to make sure that your aquarium still looks good from the outside.I recommend using LED lighting that doesn’t use big bulky equipment, it tends to take away from the aesthetic appeal of your tank.
You should also consider where you’re aquarium is located i.e. is it at work, your bedroom, living room, hallway, or basement? Make sure your lighting suits its location.

5. How Easy is it to Use?
Most LED lighting will come with software and programming options. These will allow you to control the lights.Some will be more advanced; requiring the use of a computer. These come with a vast array of customizations such as, options for adjusting timing, light intensity, scheduling, custom color display, weather effects, and more.On some, you’ll even get the option to mimic times of the day: sunrise, midday, afternoon, evening, and night. These can be great options if you’re housing fish that like to stick to a schedule.

6. What Fish and Plants Are in Your Tank?
Some LEDs will provide more PAR output than others. So you’ll need to identify which fish and plants are in your aquarium, and how much light they need to flourish.Also, consider what growth stage they’re at as they have different lighting requirements at different stages. This is why it’s always good to be able to adjust your lighting. If you’re unable to adjust your light intensity, you’ll have to keep purchasing different types of lighting.

7. Your Budget
This is another critical consideration. You should check the cost of the lighting and also the cost of running it.

Conclusion
In concluding, always go for lighting that best fits your aquarium considering the factors above.

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RO Water for Discus

RO Water for Discus

Reverse Osmosis
While Reverse Osmosis (RO) water is not required to successfully keep discus, for many (not all) discus fish keepers it is an absolute necessity to breed them. Many people are intimidated by the thought of setting one up, but they are really quite easy, and quite inexpensive. A good unit that produces up to 100 gallons a day (under ideal conditions) will suffice for one or two breeding tanks. You will need this and a storage container to store and pre-heat the water it makes. When shopping for an RO unit you should be aware that you will only need a three stage unit (sediment filter-carbon block-and RO membrane). RO water for discus is not as complicated as it sounds.

Installation of Reverse Osmosis
The way in which you install your RO unit will depend on where you intend to draw your water from. The most common, and easiest, is to get a garden hose bib adapter. This will screw on to a garden hose spigot and reduce to ¼ inch tubing commonly used in most RO units. Another is a saddle valve that clamps onto a water pipe and when tightened pierces the pipe and draws it water from the inserted tap.

Once you have the supply to your RO unit hooked up, you will notice that there is two lines coming out of the Unit. One of these lines is for product water, while the other is for waste water. The waste water line should have a flow restrictor attached to it, and some will have the restrictor and a small valve combined.

How it works
In many aspects, an RO membrane is not a lot different than a sediment filter. The primary difference is that while your sediment filter might filter down the 5, 1 or even ½ micron, the RO membrane filters down to the molecular level. They are comprised of a wound thin polyamide membrane that only lets molecules the size of water (or smaller) through and prevent larger molecules (i.e. mineral compounds found in water) from passing. The problem with filtering down to such a small level is that without a means of continually flushing the membrane, the membrane would become clogged or destroyed within a matter of minutes. This is why we have the waste water line, and the restrictor valve. As water enters the membrane, it has two options, to pass through the membrane and out the product water line, or out the waste water line. Due to the resistance of the membrane itself, all the water would flow out the waste water line if not for the restrictor valve. What the restrictor valve does, as its name implies, is to insure that the membrane is kept under pressure, yet at the same time allows water to escape. This allows purified water to move through the membrane, while allowing an escape route for water carrying the larger mineral heavy water.

RO Water for Discus – Maintenance and trouble shooting the RO Filter
After you have fired up your RO unit by turning the water supply on, you should let the system run for a few hours and discard the water made. This is to insure any foreign materials or substances that might have been introduced in the manufacturing process are flushed from the system.

Periodically “flush” the membrane to prolong its life, say weekly. This is easily accomplished by units with an automatic flush valve. This will help loosen mineral deposits that have built up across the membrane and flush them out the waste water line.

Once every three months or so, you will want to change the sediment cartridge. The life expectancy of the membrane itself will depend on several factors, from the amount of contaminates that is in your source water, to the amount of pressure to your system, to how frequently you flush the membrane. Periodic checks with your TDS meter will tell you how well your membrane is functioning. When it gets to a level that is no longer suitable for breeding, it is time to change the membrane.

I hope this article gives you a better understanding of RO water for discus.

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Discus Fish Origins

Discus Fish Origins

It goes without saying that discus fish are the incontrovertible kings of the freshwater aquarium. This eponym can be attributed to their regal, slow movements, beauty and appearance, as well as their history. Discus Fish Origins are traced back an imperial marriage.

History
Discus fish origins can be traced back to the early 1800s. It came about after a royal entourage who were naturalists sent by the Emperor of Austria, Franz I, to propose to Leopoldine, the daughter of State Chancellor and Foreign Minister Clemens Wenzeslas-Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg (1773 to 1859). They were accompanied by a team of scientists, painters, researchers and academics. They ended up exploring the nature in Brazil.

Later on, most of the entourage went back to Austria but one Natterer remained to explore more. He was later faced with a lot of challenges as he lost his companion and he himself almost died apart from losing many important documents, animals and plants. He however survived and later managed to reach Barcelos on the Amazon.

Discovering Discus
Between the years 1831-1834, a discus fish was by chance caught in one of his nets. He returned to Austria and arrived on August 13, 1835. His collection trip hadlasted 18 years. During this time, he acquired 1,671 species of fishes, 1,146 mammals, 1,024 types of mussels and many others. In all, Natterer returned to Austria with more than 50,000 well preserved specimens, many totally new to science. Natterer was also the first European to hold a discus fish in his hands.

Discus Fish Origins – Heckel Discus
The Heckel, named after a scientist who worked on Natterer’s collection, is the most unique discus fish. The other species are not as difficult to breed; even wild discus fish will breed in water conditions far removed from those in the wild. The Heckel, however, requires acidic and soft water. In the wild, the pH of the water it is found in can be as low as 3.2 and never above 5.0.

The Heckel will thrive in an aquarium with a higher pH but a pair simply will not breed. Indeed, the few that have achieved success have done so by replicating water conditions similar to the wild. Hybrids with other discus fish species have been produced, but invariably involve a male Heckel who is literally forced to spawn by a female discus fish of another species.
The lack of demand for the Heckel — aquarists want spectacularly colored strains and not wild fish — has contributed to the Heckel not being domesticated, which would have resulted in easier to breed fish generation after generation. The common angelfish was at one time as difficult to breed as the Heckel, but persistence and demand resulted in continued breeding. Today tank-raised angelfish are so easily spawned that even a novice can achieve success. Tank-raised angelfish are not demanding in terms of fish food, water conditions or even water temperature. We see a very changed situation when we compare domesticated angelfish to their wild counterparts, which like Heckel discus, are bred by pairing a wild male with a tank-raised female, who also forces the male to spawn.

This difficulty in breeding the Heckel and lack of interest from a commercial perspective is unfortunate, for the Heckel has the most perfect round body of all the discus fish, the desired shape in a discus. Their striations are near horizontal, which adds to their beauty. The dark first, fifth and ninth vertical bars are considered by some unattractive. It is also more regal in its movements. It is beautiful in its own right. Perhaps one day, when interest in discus fish focuses again on wild fish, as it has in the past, someone will look at breeding the Heckel commercially. Until then, discus keepers will have access to wild Heckels that each year are exported by the hundreds from Manaus in Brazil.

Shortly after the discovery of discus fish in Brazil, the presence of discus fish in Asia started to become popular. Fish keeps in Asia then attempted to breed the different strains of discus imported from Brazil to create the different strains strains of discus available today. As of today, Brazil is the primary source of wild caught discus. Asia is the primary source of domestically bred discus. Many domestic discus are also bred in the USA but not as much compared to Asia. Asia has many world known discus breeders more than the USA.

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Stunted Discus

Stunted Discus

Discus fish can be a challenge to keep. Keeping them in favorable conditions will make them achieve their desired maturity size depending on the type of discus fish. These favorable conditions are water temperature, hygiene, proper feeding, fish tank water pH and other elements levels and so on. Not all discus fish however are able to grow to their maturity size. These discus fish are what we refer to as stunted discus. This article will discuss this type of discus fish in detail.

Causes of stunted discus and their solutions
The most obvious cause of stunted discus is failure to stick to the favorable conditions for the fish tank.
One of the conditions under concern is on the feeding of the discus fish. Failure to feed the discus fish properly may lead to stunted discus. On this, the “cleanest” food to give the discus fish in order to avoid stunted growth is high protein flake food. This provides good proteins to the discus fish.
Heating of the fish tank water is also of concern. If you find the weather is just fine there is no need to turn the heater on. If however your fish tank is in an air-conditioned room please turn your heater on in order to keep the temperatures favorable.
Also, another possible cause is failure of the small discus fish to adapt to the new environment. It is therefore advisable if possible not to buy small fish when you have a planted fish tank with discus. It is better to buy adult size discus from the start. Finally, the most common cause of stunted discus is overcrowding of the fish tank. Discus fish require a minimum of 5 gallons of water per fish. 10 gallons of water per discus is the ideal situation.

Stunted discus fish may also result due to lack of sufficient air in the fish tank. To solve this, do make sure the air pump is working well as high temp has lower oxygen.
Another possible cause of stunted discus outside of the favorable conditions is the medications used. There have been some instances where small fish growth suffers from medications. Medication seems to stress the small fish more resulting to inhibition of their growth leading to stunted discus. To solve this, as much as possible be careful not to use any form of medication whenever it is not necessary on small discus fish.

Signs of Stunted Discus
There are several ways to determine if a discus is stunted:
1. The shape of the fish resembles a football or a bullet.
2. The eyes of the fish are very large in comparison to the size of the body.
3. The eyes of the fish are different sizes one being larger than the other.
4. The eyes of the fish are not properly aligned one being higher on the face than the other.
5. The fish remains the same size while others in the tank are growing.

Can stunted discus fish grow to their full potential?
Once the discus is stunted, it cannot be grown to the fullest potential; however, some stunted discus can still grow to an average shape and size. Now, I said fullest potential because different breed of discus have different genetic potential that allows them to grow into a certain size and shape. A stunted discus A with a potential to be 8″ can still grow to a 6″ fish, while a stunted discus B with a potential to be 6.5″ can only grow to 5″. There is also a varying degree of “stuntness”, and how big a stunted discus can grow depends on how long and how badly the environment it was living in was.

Just because you have a stunted discus doesn’t mean it won’t grow. The best you can do is ensure they get good food and good water as discussed above and see how they turn out. Just because it’s stunted, doesn’t mean it isn’t otherwise healthy though. I believe a stunted discus is beyond any hope of growth in size. They can however still continue to live and maybe reproduce too (if the sexual reproduction devices were not damaged).

Conclusion
Stunted discus has more intense colors if it’s any consolation. They just cannot grow big anymore to their fullest potential. Otherwise, they are just like their sibling and able to reproduce. Stunted fish pass on their genes and not their poor growth. Try not to breed them however as it will bring forth lesser fish into the gene pool.

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Discus Ich

Discus “ich”

Discus Ich is a parasitic infection of fresh water fish caused by ciliate. It can be ichthyology which is a branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish. “Ich” is the small, white and clear spots on the bodies of discus and several on the fins. The spots are a bit smaller than the typical salt granule-like spots. Temp changes are one of the most frequent cases of ich outbreaks.

Causes
Parasites which cause this disease include oodinium, costia and ich. This is another of the most deadly discus fish diseases is white spot disease. This disease is caused by the protozoan and it open body ulcers on side of the fish. The disease is highly contagious and spreads rapidly from one fish to another. It can be severe when fish are crowded. This disease is major problem to aquarists and commercial fish producers worldwide. This organism is an obligate parasite which means that it cannot survive unless live fish are present and even capable of causing massive mortality within a short time. An outbreak of ich is an emergency situation which requires immediate treatment. If untreated, this disease may result in one hundred percent mortality.

Disease signs
The main sign of discus ich infection is presence of small white spots on the skin or gills. These lesions look like small blisters on the skin or fins of the fish. It looks as if the fish has salt on it. Prior to the appearance fish may show signs of irritation, flashing, weakness, loss of appetite and decreased activity. If the parasites are only present on the gills white spots will not be seen hence fish will die in large numbers. In these fish, gills will be pale and very swollen. White spots should not be used as the only means of diagnosis because other diseases may have similar appearance. Gill and scrapings should be taken when the first signs of illness are observed. If the “Ich” organism is seen, fish should be medicated immediately because fish which are severely infected may not survive.

Treatment for discus Ich

“Ich” is common problem in aquariums and different aquarists adhere to different regimes when it comes to curing “Ich”. One mode of treatment can be the control of “Ich” outbreaks which is usually very difficult due to the parasites’ unusual life cycle as well as the effect of water temperature on its life cycle. Of the life stages in the life cycle of L. multifiliis, only the free-swimming tomites are susceptible to chemical treatment. The application of a single treatment will therefore only kill tomites which have emerged from cysts and have not yet burrowed into the skin of host fish. The treatment will hence not affect organisms which emerge after the chemical has broken down or been flushed from the system. On the contrary, repeated treatments will continually kill the juvenile tomites, leading to discontinuation of the infection. The epizootic will be controlled as more adult parasites drop off the sick fish, encyst, and produce young which cannot survive because of the repeated application of chemicals. This process will be greatly accelerated if organic debris can be removed from the tank or vat following treatment. This will remove many cysts from the environment, decreasing the number of emergent tomites.

Water temperature has a tremendous influence on how fast the life cycle for discus Ich is completed. At warm temperatures (75-79°F), the life cycle is completed in about 48 hours, which means that chemical treatments should be applied every other day. At cooler temperatures the life cycle is prolonged and treatments should be spaced further apart. Treatments should never be discontinued until all mortality from “Ich” has stopped. Fish should be closely watched during recovery; the weakened fish may be susceptible to a secondary bacterial infection. The choice of chemical used to treat “Ich” will be based upon water quality conditions, species of fish to be treated, and the type of system fish are housed in. In general, copper sulfate, formalin and potassium permanganate have all proved to be effective against “Ich” when applied at the correct concentration in a repetitive manner as described above. Make sure that you quarantine the ich infested fish immediately upon first signs to prevent it from spreading to other fish. Also ensure that you raise the water temperature to 90 degrees in your quarantine tank to help kill the infection. Perform daily water changes of 50% in the quarantine tank as well.

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Wild Discus Care

Wild Discus Care

Wild discus fish are a bit harder and demanding to keep compared to the domestic discus fish. However, the basic requirements for both are all the same. These requirements are like warm, clean, fresh water as well as a varied diet. Wild discus care therefore would be easier for one who has experience in keeping domestic discus fish.
Wild Discus fish require more attention and adherence to the basics of general Discus fish care. There are actually three distinct species of wild Discus fish one can choose from when you want to consider keeping them. Each of the species happens to have a unique and different water conditions with some of the conditions being shared among them. Apart from water conditions, there is also the concern of parasites that are common to most of the fish caught in the wild and the others that are particularly of more concern among wild Discus than say, wild caught Cardinal Tetras.

Wild Discus Care – Types of Wild Discus

A big factor in wild discus care is the preferred water conditions for each of the three wild Discus species. In my opinion, I would recommend S. haraldi as your first wild Discus, which is the blue/brown Discus fish. Compared to the other two species, S. haraldi happens to have highest adaptation ability to the extreme water conditions.

S. haraldi in most cases may be easily kept in a fish tank containing just your tap water. The species can easily adapt to and thrive in water with a pH of 7.4 and 400 ppm TDS. Further, when it comes to the chemicals which constitute the total dissolved solids, wild Discus prefer if the water KH is below or equal to 6* and GH should be below 8*dGH. Having a KH of 4 to 6* will help stabilize pH of their aquarium water. The KH should not be 3* or below though as it would make the pH drop quickly under the influence of any build up in organic wastes in the water ( pH crash).

Another important thing to consider is your source of wild Discus. You should choose a supplier that treats his/her newly imported wild Discus fish for the common parasites and does a proper acclimatization of the fish to environment as well as feeding habits. This however has nothing to do with the price and you therefore base the quality of the wild Discus fish you are buying with the price you get them at. The bottom-line is that the source/supplier should be trustworthy.

Having discussed S. haraldi as the most adaptable and hardiest wild Discus fish species, there are also the Heckels and Greens. Both of these species are very particular about the chemistry of water compared to any variety of S. haraldi. This makes them less adaptable to new environments and water conditions. More so, you can get affordable S. haraldi in the USA depending on the color form as well as behavior of the buyers. At times when a demand for a particular type is high, the price may rise as well.

In Conclusion

Finally, after acquiring your preferred type you should pay great attention to acclimatization. This can be done after you have decided on your supplier as well as your budget. You should hve a quarantine and acclimation tank ready for the new wild Discus. You will use the water conditions recommended by your supplier to make things easy. Do so for a period of 30 days but in a gradual manner in order to make your wild Discus acclimatize to the condition of your fish tank water which you will eventually manage without straining. This process is easier as mentioned earlier for S. haraldi compared to Greens or Heckels and hence are recommended for a first timer.

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Best Aquarium Air Pumps for Discus Fish

Best Aquarium Air Pump for Discus fish

Water circulation in your Discus fish tank is very important. The main purpose for the water circulation in the fish tank is to enable the Discus fish has enough supply of oxygen. There are two ways one can ensure water circulation in a fish tank, namely; by use of power heads and by use of air pumps. The best aquarium air pump tend to be a little more pricey but worth the money.

Powerheads

A powerhead is a water pump that is submersible and its main purpose is to ensure there is water circulation in the fish tank. The powerheads are normally attached to the “lift tubes” associated with under gravel filters. They usually pull the water in the fish tank through the lift tubes. The outlet of the powerhead can be directed anywhere as long as the water circulates well throughout the fish tank as well as the surface is always stirred. Powerheads normally tend to be used more than air pumps in larger fish tanks.

Air pumps

An air pump is a device that is responsible for bubbling air through your fish tank. It serves two main purposes:

i. The air pump maintains the oxygen concentration. This is a critical role which is necessary for Discus fish in the fish tank. If however your fish tank has regular water movement on its surface agitation when an air pump isn’t fitted then you can do without it. An example of this situation is when external filters are fitted in the fish tank.
ii. The air pump forces water through the filter in the fish tank. If you have fitted your fish tank with an under gravel filter then an air pump produces bubbles that will force the water into the uplift tubes. This will in turn leads to pulling of the water through the filter. This however functions when you have a small fish tank; otherwise you will need a powerhead in case of a larger fish tank.

Choosing the best aquarium air pump for your Discus fish tank depends on what you need an air pump for. As discussed above, there are situations when you don’t need an air pump in your fish tank. Below are factors to consider when deciding on the best air pump:

1. Decoration or oxygenation
A medium-pressure air pump, such as the Whisper Air Pump, and an air-stone or bubble wand, will help you add a decorative bubble backdrop in your Discus fish tank and then at the same time helps you remove unwanted gases in the fish tank. More so, the surface movement or water agitation caused by the air bubbles caused by the air pump also adds oxygen to your Discus fish tank. In order to obtain the best results, always go for an air pump that is rated one tank size larger than your Discus fish tank.

2. Under-gravel filters.
When you have fitted your fish tank with under-gravel filters, there are air pumps with medium to high pressure that are designed to work at a substantial depth which you can buy. This means therefore that the kind of filter you have fitted in your fish tank determines the air pump that is best for you.

3. Foam and corner filters or “action” ornaments
When you have form and corner filters as well as some ornaments fitted in your Discus fish tank then you need a small, low-pressure air pump. An example of such a pump is Azoo model 2500.

4. Wood air-stones
If your air pump is fitted with wood air-stones which are more often used with protein skimmers, then you require a high-pressure air pump. Examples of such air pumps are Tetratec Air Pumps and Lift Pump.

My recommendations for the best aquarium air pump:

1. Penn Plax Air Pod with Battery Back Up – this is my personal favorite. I have it on all of my discus tanks. It uses 4 D cell batteries in the event that you lose power the pump continues to run. This pump costs about $60-$70. The only downside it tends to be a little loud at times so you need to place it on top of foam to filter the noise a bit. I have been using these for years with great results.

2. Whisper Air Pumps – these are the best if you are looking for quiet air pumps. You can’t even hear them running!

In conclusion, the best aquarium air pump for your Discus fish tank depends on a number of factors and therefore may be different from one fish tank to another.

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Best Aquarium Heaters For Discus Fish

Best Aquarium Heaters for Discus fish

Temperature is one of the very critical factors when it comes to keeping Discus fish. This is because the warmer your Discus fish tank is the more it will stimulate appetite in your Discus fish; this means your Discus fish will eat more and by so doing they grow faster and healthier. It is recommended that in an un-planted fish tank the temperature should be kept between 85 and 86 degrees whereas for a planted fish tank the temperature should be kept between 83 and 84 degrees. These are the optimum temperatures that will enable the plants to thrive in the Discus fish tank and also enable the Discus fish to maintain a healthy appetite. In this article we will discuss the best aquarium heaters for discus fish.

Having discussed the importance of keeping the necessary temperature for Discus fish, we now look at how to do so. The temperatures in the Discus fish tank are kept by use of heaters. But there are a variety of heaters available in the market which can be confusing for some Discus keepers. The discussion below solves this.

There are three main factors to consider when choosing the best heater for your Discus fish tank. First, you consider the size of the heater. Your heater should be able to fit well into your fish tank, so always buy a heater as per your fish tank size. Secondly, you consider the quantity or number of the heaters. In this case, if you are purchasing less expensive heaters it is recommended that you use a number of small heaters, say two, instead of a large one with the same rating. The main purpose for this is redundancy such that when one heater stops working, the other does the work. Also, many smaller heaters are more effective than a single big one even though they may have the same cumulative rating.

Types of Best Aquarium Heaters

There are a variety of heaters of a wide range from budget models to more expensive models available in the market. The types of heaters available depending on your custom needs include hang-on heaters, submersible heaters and substrate heaters.

1. Hang-on aquarium heater
This is the fish tank heater which is the cheapest and the most popular option in the market. The only set back this heater has is that they stick out on the back of the Discus fish tank. This is mainly on the aesthetic value point of view, so Discus keepers refrain from using it. Hang on heaters are okay if you are keeping cheap fish. I wouldn’t recommend them for discus as they cannot reach high temperatures.

2. Submersible aquarium heater
These heaters provide a middle ground between the cheapest model and the more costly heaters. Since they are submersible as the name suggests, they have a higher aesthetic value than hang-on heater. These are the best heaters in my experience.

3. Substrate aquarium heater
This particular heater heats your tank evenly. The heating cables are laid below your gravel and substrate and hence these heaters are hardly visible in tanks. They further provide an excellent heat source for plants. The only setback for this heater is that if it fails you have to dig below your tank’s gravel and substrate to replace the cable. Their prices are also higher compared to hang-on and submersible heaters. These heaters are good for smaller tanks with cheap fish. They will not work well in large aquariums with discus fish.

My recommendations for the best aquarium heaters for discus fish

    1. Finnex titanium heater with external thermostat

      – This heater will never crack or shatter. I have had situation sin the past where a discus gets scared and crashes into a glass heater cracking it. The titanium heater will never break. It has an external thermostat which you must purchase separately. the thermostat has alarms that will notify you when the temperature goes higher or below a certain level. These heaters are the best at keeping the temperature constant and can heat the water more than your average heater. Many heaters can heat the water more than 82 degrees. The finnex heater is a bit more expensive but it will last a long time. This is the best heater based on my experience. You only need one of them unlike the less expensive heaters.

      2. Eheim Jaeger

    – This heater is one of the best glass heaters. It lasts a long time. They are fairly reasonable in price.

    3. Marineland Visitherm

      – These heaters are also glass but come in a rubberized shell. I have used them for many years. They are good quality.

      In conclusion, take caution when purchasing an aquarium heater that has a built in thermostat. Built in thermostats are known to fail resulting in your water becoming too hot because the heater will never shut off. I have had many of them fail. I highly recommend spending a little more money and going with the Finnex Titanium heater. You won’t regret it. Your Discus will like it and you will thank me in the long run!

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Filter For Fish Tanks

Filter for Fish Tanks

Filtration is very crucial and its importance cannot be brushed off in any fish tank or aquarium. The fact of the matter is that the higher the level filtration in the fish tank the better it is for the fish. Discus fish require one of the highest levels filtration because of their messy nature. It is recommended that you always have a level of filtration which is way higher than the size of your fish tank. This clearly means that if your fish tank is say 50 gals, then your need a larger filter of up to 100 gals or even more or chooses to have more than one filter of 50 gals. Here we will discus the best filter for fish tanks.

The best filter for fish tanks come in a variety of types, namely; under-gravel (UG), hang on the back (HOB), internal and canister. The most preferred Discus fish filters are mainly internal and HOB (hang on back) filters even though canister filters are also preferred for larger fish tanks. The main reason why internal and HOB filters are preferred for Discus fish is because Discus fish are very messy when they eat. This means their rate of making the water in the tank dirty is way higher compared to some other species. The reason attributed to Discus fish messiness is their feeding habits as well as their straight intestinal tract. This means therefore that the filtration system should in this case have a higher rate of filtration than in a normal condition. This is what internal and HOD filters do exactly. The rule of thumb for filtration is 10x per hour per tank turnover. This allows good water movement, but of course is the bare minimum when it comes to Discus fish tank.

Apart from the effectiveness of a filter in doing the filtration, its price is also paramount. When you choose the best filters for discus fish you must compare both efficiency and the price. Also, the noise levels of the filters are considered. Aqua clear which is HOB filter is among one of the very quiet ones. Do not use an under gravel filter in a discus tank. Under gravel filters are intended to trap the waste under the gravel. Eventually the waste will become bacteria and foul your water. Under gravel filters are fine for other fish but not for discus.

Most of the varieties of filters above come complete with filter media which is actually what goes inside the filter. The filter media can be ceramic rings, sponges, pads, etc. however, some of the filters also come with charcoal. The importance of charcoal in the fish tank is debatable and is mainly used to remove medications from the water after treating for an illness but generally but aside from that, charcoal isn’t really necessary in the discus fish tank. This does not mean however that charcoal can be harmful when kept in the fish tank filter but you may choose to replace the carbon (which is the component of charcoal) with another form of filter insert such as a sponge or ceramic rings.

The filter should be cleaned every 6 months. When cleaning your filter only replace the sponge/cotton material and do not rinse out or change any of the other media in the filter. It very important that the beneficial bacteria in your filter is not disturbed. Therefore, it is recommended that you only replace the filter cotton/sponge media when it is critically necessary.

Here is my list of the best filter for fish tanks:

Canister Filters:
1. Hydor Canister Filters
2. Fluval FX series
3. Fluval canister filters
4. Eheim canister filters

HOB Filters:
1. Marineland Penguin Series
2. Aqua Clear
3. Whisper

Sponge Filters (primarily used for discus breeding):
1. Deep Blue Sponge Series
2. Hydor Series

In conclusion, when choosing the best filter for Discus fish, look for the one with the highest filtration rate. Discus fish are not cheap fish so you want to ensure that you have the proper filtration to maintain healthy fish.

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Discus Fish Care

DISCUS FISH CARE

Introduction
Discus fish are a very unique kind of fish.  They do well under a higher level of care compared to other kinds of aquarium fish. They need a larger space in terms of the size of the fish tank as well as stable supply of clean water. Bearing all that in mind, it would be a challenge for a first timer but it is possible with some extra effort. Once you understand the basics discus fish care is easy. In this article I will explain the basics involved in discus fish care.

Discus fish are friendly and can be kept with most of the other kinds of fish as long as they share the same requirements when it comes to conditions of the water.  Do not keep discus with aggressive fish. They are slow moving peaceful freshwater fish. They need to be with slow moving fish. Discus do not do well with fast moving fish. The reason being is that the fast moving fish will compete with the discus for food. That is why it is best to keep discus fish with slow moving fish.

Discus fish care involves several parts: water conditions (temperature, pH, minerals, amount, and changing cycle), fish tank, acclimation, feeding and breeding.  We will discuss them below.

Water Conditions

Water is a crucial part of keeping discus fish in an aquarium. Care must be taken in terms of all the conditions as far as water is concerned. First, the temperature should be between 840F – 860F. The main reason for this is to ensure maximum oxygen content in the water. The pH of the water should be between 6 and 7. If your ph is higher or lower than the recommended do not attempt to try to adjust it with chemicals. Discus will adjust to any water conditions as long as they remain constant. I have many customers who lost all of their discus due to the fact that they were trying to adjust their ph with chemicals which resulted in a ph spike killing all the discus instantly.
Next, the minerals in the water should be as follows; nitrite and ammonia should be 0 ppm whereas nitrate should below 20ppm.  Adhere to water mineral levels.  Discus are vulnerable to any changes in them.   At least 50% of the water in the aquarium should be changed every week. This will ensure the minerals, especially nitrates, does not build up in the aquarium. Keep in mind that discus will adjust to any water conditions. therefore your main concern when it comes to water should only be the water temperature. Everything else is not so important and the discus will adjust.

Discus fish tank

Another critical component in the care of discus fish is the fish tank. Discus fish generally love a lot of space so they require the right size fish tank. Also, they are compatible with live planted aquariums. Be sure to keep probably a mixture of lower foreground plants and long stem plants. The plants will ensure that there is a lower pH of ~6.8 which is ideal for discus fish.

Discus fish can be kept in a tank without plants. This is preferred by some keepers as it easy to clean despite the lack of aesthetic value. Also, the bare bottomed tank is ideal for breeding discus fish. It acts as a safe environment for the young ones and ensures that your water quality remains constant.

Discus Fish Care – Acclimation

Discus fish are very sensitive to changes in their environment. Acclimate them with care. You should quarantine all of your new discus fish for at least 1-2 weeks before adding them to your main tank. This will ensure the discus are free from parasites and are healthy preventing your other fish from getting sick. It is also a good idea to treat your quarantine tank with Prazipro when you first introduce new discus fish.

Feeding

Another component of discus fish care, and a very important one, is feeding them. Discus are usually not selective on the foods they take. They are however carnivorous in nature and hence they prefer high protein foods such as beef heart and blood worms. They require high protein pellets and flakes as well which are good sources of vitamins and minerals. A varied high protein diet gives the discus the best coloration.

Breeding

Discus breeding is a very crucial stage in the care of discus fish. There has been little success in this area for most individuals keeping discus due to the dedication it requires. Among the key things to note is that discus only spawn in an aquarium that is at least 15 inches deep owing to their tall shape. Also, the temperature should be warm at 86 F for them to mate. Next, the pH should be very stable at 6.5. On feeding, protein would be a good food for breeding discus fish. Finally, placing an inverted cone or an upside down terra cotta flower pot in the fish tank will give the discus a place to lay eggs on.

Discus Fish Care Conclusion
Taking care of discus fish requires some level of dedication. Their beauty is however makes the whole process worthwhile. Once you have the process down discus fish care is not complicated as other make it out to be. It is a very enjoyable and highly addicting hobby.

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Planted Aquariums

Planted Aquariums

Planted Aquariums Introduction

Discus fish can be kept in aquariums with plants or without. An aquarium without plants may be easier to maintain but it lacks aesthetic value among other great benefits that come with planted aquariums. Planted aquariums are spectacular. This article is about plants for discus aquarium that can be planted inside a discus fish tank.

Advantages of planted aquariums

The first and most obvious advantage of aquarium plants in a discus fish tank is the aesthetic value displayed by the unmatched beauty of the two. Discus fish are known to be beautiful and they move around slowly and plants on the other are natural greens and reds. This is scenic.
Secondly, aquarium plants act as chemical filters that are responsible for the removal of toxic substances from the water in the fish tank. Bearing in mind the fact that discuses are very sensitive to presence of toxic substances, these plants would be very helpful. The plants would also get rid of several diseases such as “hole-in-the-head” and the like.
Thirdly, aquarium plants are a perfect hiding place for the usually shy discus fish. Whenever discuses are bothered by whatever is outside the tank, they can easily find refuge within the plants. Unlike other improvised tank decorations like rocks or driftwood, the aquarium plants don’t hurt the discus. All these will keep the discus healthy.
Finally, aquarium plants with broad leaves are a perfect natural breeding ground for discus fish as they spawn on the plants. This is in comparison to the other options like an inverted cone which are not natural.

Examples of Aquarium Plants

An important aspect to consider when it comes to choice of aquarium plants is its maintenance. Plants with the lowest maintenance are preferable. Maintenance means disturbance to the discus fish and hence the lesser the number of times it is carried out the better. Maintenance also has to do with rate of growth of the plants, which should be as slow as possible. Below are examples of some of the most common aquarium plants.

1. Echinodorus family
This is one of the most common aquarium plants that can be planted in a discus fish tank. The main reason could be that the Echinodorus family is natives to the Amazon basin which happens to be the same for discus fish. They usually come in different shapes and sizes and hence one can choose either of them depending on his/her preferences.
Some of the members of this family are Echinodorus bleheri (commonly known as Amazon Sword), E. amazonicus, E. major, E. cordifolius, E. tenellus which looks like grass and are simple to grow and several others.

2. Anubias family
These are larger in size and they are from Africa. They play a great role as background as well as accent plants despite the fact that they aren’t indigenous to the discus biotope. Most people blend it with Echinodorus because of their color which is dark green and their different shape of their leaves. They are good for spawning of the discus fish.
Examples of plants in this family are Anubias barteri which have horizontal leaves, nana which is usually smaller and A. coffeeafolia which has unique leaves which are deeply incised. The other members of the family are A. afzelli and A. congensis. These two are larger and hence can only fit in tall fish tanks.

3. Crytocoryne family
These are tall and thin aquarium plants and they are dark in color. Some of the members of this family are C. wendtii and C. blassi. C. wendtii have a wide range of varieties and so one can have several choices as per their leaf shapes.

Other families of aquarium plants include Ammania family, Bacopa family, Java Fern, Microsorum pteropus, Micranthemum family and Hydrocotyle family, among others.

Aquarium plants to avoid

Not all plants are recommended for an aquarium meant for discus fish. These are the plants that do not do well in warm water as they are adapted to cooler water. Some of these plants are Samolus parviflorus, Amoracia aquatic and Bacopa caroliniana.

Apart from suitability to temperature of the water in the fish tank, there are other plants that are not recommended as they are hard to maintain due to their fast growth. These include Hygrophila family, Ludwigia family, Rotala family and Large Vallisneria family (unless they are controlled).

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Discus Fish Tank Basics

DISCUS FISH TANK BASICS

Fish keeping is a rewarding and enjoyable venture. Discus fish belong to unique class of fishes which are the shy breeds. They are adapted to soft acidic water. You will need to set up a discus fish tank that resembles a discus natural environment.

A discus fish tank can be set up by following several basic guidelines. You can use de-chlorinated tap water or Reverse Osmosis (RO) purified water. Also the amount of light you have will depend on if you want to use live plants or not.

Discus Fish Tank Specifications

Discus fish thrive best in water PH level ranging from 5.0-7.0. Water temperatures ranging from 82-86 F. You will need to provide them with a high and wide tank to facilitate movement. You can go for an 18inch to 24 inch high tank. At least 3 feet tank is ideal for a for 4-6 discus fish which can hold close to 50-60 gallons of water. This kind of a tank will provide enough space for their movement hence much space for their growth. They also require the space for easy breeding.

Discus Fish Tank Quality of Water

Discus fish are sensitive to the quality of water. For this reason there is need for a filter that will turn the tank over for a minimum of 5 times in an hour. This is however the minimum and hence the higher the number of times per hour the better. You can be able to tell the number of times the water is turned by the filter by simply dividing the GPH of the filter by your tank size.

Another thing is on the water changing schedule. This is a critical part of maintaining the fish tank. There should be regular water changes. Precisely, water in the fish tank should be siphoned at least twice a week or more as it is deemed necessary. The water can either be dechlorinated tap water or deionized or Reverse Osmosis (RO) purified water. This will help in getting rid of wastes therefore promoting water quality. The water being changed should be around 10% to 15% of the total amount of water in the fish tank.
To further enhance the quality of water, I suggest the use of canister filtration system. This has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that they can be filled with a wide range of media that can implement optimal water conditions.

Discus Fish Tank Water Temperature

You will need to monitor water temperature using an accurate thermometer. Discus fish are very sensitive to temperatures and thrive best in warm waters. As a result, it is not a good idea to place your discus fish tank next to a window as the water temperature will tend to fluctuate. As said earlier, the optimum temperature should be ranging from 82-86F. If your discus fish tank is rather long you may want to consider placing 2 heaters in the tank one at each end set to the same temperature. This way the water will heat evenly.

Discus Fish Tank Safety

Discus fish tend to be very skittish at times and are known to jump. For this reason, there is a need for a secure top for the discus fish tank to ensure that doesn’t happen. Glass is a good choice as it allows more lighting. This is especially beneficial if keeping live plants.

Finally, I would suggest the use of sand or large gravel as the substrate for a discus fish tank. This can preferably be very large rocks which are placed in a loosely manner making it easy to clean debris and uneaten food. Also, the best background color for a discus fish tank is blue which will make the colors of the fish look very bright and sharp. The blue background with LED lighting will make your discus fish tank a real eye catching experience.

I hope that you find this article helpful.

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Discus Fish Facts

Discus Fish Facts

Aquariums enhance the look and feel of a home. They provide a vibrant touch to home décor and it can be the center of attraction in any home. Some people consider aquariums as a conversational piece in homes. Now, making the aquarium striking, interesting, colorful and decorative is no easy job. Among others, one suggestion every fish lover has up his sleeve is the addition of colorful fish and what better than a Discus Fish. Here are discus fish facts that should help you.

Features

    Discus Fish Facts 1

    The Discus fish derives its name from the shape which is round and laterally flat just like a Discus. The Discus fish come in a variety of colors, shades and variations. Colors include green, red, brown, and blue. The unique shape, unique patterns and color contrast make this a very popular fish in the aquarium. Think about a Discuss Fish tank of instance. The popularity of the fish has also made it prone to some artificial breeding, giving out more and more color variations and making it a must have fish in your aquarium. The size of the Discus Fish is also an advantage for all types of aquariums as they grow just up to 15.2 cm in length and weigh up to 250 grams. Like in most of the animal kingdom, the male fish are generally larger in size than the female ones. The Discus Fish is generally known as being native to South America is found in the floodplain lakes and rivers in the lowland Amazon River.

    Taxanomy

Discus Fish Facts 2

The Discus Fish belongs to the Cichlidae family and Symphysodon Genus. Infact the Discus is also known as the Symphysodon or the pompadour fish. There are mainly three Discus Fish types, the Blue or brown colour one is known as the Symphysodon aequifasciatus Pellegrin generally found largely in blackwater habitats. The red colour ones are known as Symphysodon discus Heckel are generally found in black and white water habitats, and the green ones are known as Symphysodontarzoo which are found in black and white water habitats and Clearwater.

Food and breeding

    Discus Fish Facts 3

    The Discus are generally found in large schools. They are very social in their behavior. They get along with other fishes very well. This also is another feature that makes them a must want fish in your aquarium. The Discus fish generally eats algae, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and worms that live in water. In aquariums discus fish eat high quality flake food, pellets, blood worms, black worms and beef heart. Discus fish require a high protein diet.

    Discus Fish breeding happens away from the school and take care of their young ones for about 2 weeks. Not very uncommon, but the Discuss feeds its young ones from a secretion that comes out through the skin. The parent discus will darken in color a develop a white mucus film over it’s skin that the fry will eat. During this stage it is very critical that you keep a close eye on the fish. Start introducing baby brine shrimp to wean the fry off the parents before they start scarring the parents skin. Once the fry are eating on their own and no longer attached to the parents then you can move the fry to their own grown out tank.

    Maintenance

Discus Fish Facts 4

Discus have the reputation of being very difficult to keep. That is far from the truth. While discus are not for beginners that are fairly easy to keep as long as you have the proper elements and routine in place.

Discus require very clean water. Therefore it is critical that you have the proper filtration. In addition you must be able to dedicate time to performing water changes. The frequency and amount of water that you will need to change will depend on many factors including size of the aquarium, type of substrate being used, the amount of discus fish in the aquarium and the amount of plants and decorations in the aquarium. Unlike many rumors you will read online, it is not necessary to do water changes daily unless you are breeding discus. When you breed discus you have to do a least one water change per day at the minimum.

Discus fish are very compatible with other fish. They are slow moving fish so they like to be with other slow moving fish. Discus fish are also schooling fish. They feel safer in large numbers. Therefore it is highly recommended that you keep discus in groups of 6 or more. If you are hoping to get a breeding pair of discus then it is recommended that you get at least 12 discus fish. The odds of two of them pairing up is very likely.

Discus Water

Unlike your regular freshwater fish discus prefer warmer water. The best temperature to keep your discus in is 86F degrees. A safe temperature range is 84F to 86F degrees. Therefore you need to take caution what other fish you put in your discus aquarium being that your typical freshwater fish cannot survive in warmer waters. Discus can survive in temperatures up to 90F degrees. However it is not recommended that you keep the water temperature above 86F degrees.

I hope you found these discus fish facts useful. If you have any questions about these discus fish facts please feel free to contact me.

Thanks- Rob

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How to get a Great deal on a discus fish aquarium

How to get a great deal on a discus fish aquarium

I get a lot of emails from customers stating that their discus are getting big and they need to upgrade their discus fish aquarium. So they ask where they can get a great deal on a discus aquarium. So I figured I would write a quick article with some tips on getting a great deal for your new discus fish aquarium.
You can get the best deals on  used/pre-owned tanks. You can find good pre-owned tanks in local yard sales, craigslist and ebay. When buying a used discus fish aquarium you can easily get a complete discus fish aquarium with all equipment for less than 50% of the original cost.

How much should you pay?

The next question that comes to mind is: “How much should I pay for a used discus fish aquarium?”
My personal rule of thumb is you should not pay more than $1.50 per gallon. That includes the complete discus fish aquarium with all accessories. So if you are looking at a 55 gallon discus fish aquarium you shouldn’t pay more than $82.50. However- $1.50 per gallon should not be your starting price because the seller will always come back with a counter offer. Your starting price on any used aquarium should be $1.00 per gallon. Then the max you would go up is $1.50 per gallon. So on the 55 gallon tank your initial offer should be $55. Then you have room to negotiate between $55 and $82.50. In this case most likely the seller will take $75 which means you pay $1.36 per gallon. Now that’s a GREAT deal!
You are probably thinking that no one in their right mind would take that little for their complete aquarium setup. My words of advice based on experience is: YES THEY WILL!  People tend to buy aquariums brand new spending hundreds of dollars on equipment. A few years later they lose interest in the hobby and the tank just sits dirty or empty collecting dust taking up space. So the owner is motivated to move it quickly. Keep in mind that any item for sale is worth more to the seller than it is to the buyer. The value of the item is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it!

Some of My Success Stories

I have purchased many aquariums for my discus breeding using the exact method I described above. Here are a few of my bargains:

110 gallon complete aquarium. Reef ready. Drilled with corner overflow. Custom wood canopy. 3 different light fixtures. Wood cabinet stand. Driftwood and a box full of cleaning supplies and filter media. Saw the ad on Craigslist. Seller was asking Best Offer. I offered $100 for everything.  Ended up paying $120! (I priced the tank out brand new at a local pet store and they wanted $1200 just for the tank and stand alone! They wanted and additional $450 for the wood canopy. And another $120 for the lights.)

44 gallon corner pentagon aquarium with full hood, wood stand and light. Seller was asking $100 or best offer. I offered $40. Seller accepted!

44 gallon corner pentagon aquarium with full hood, wood stand, light, canister filter and 2 boxes of cleaning supplies and filter media. Seller was asking best offer. I offered $40. Seller accepted.

15 gallon hexagon aquarium with full hood, light, stand, 4 large African cichlids and filter. Seller was asking $50. I offered $20. We agreed on $25!

I have gotten many great deals.  You can do the same following my technique!

Negotiating tips

Never let the seller know that you are very excited about the tank because they will be less likely to negotiate. So if they say, no your offer is way too low. You say ok. Well if you change your mind then give me a call. There is a very high chance that you will hear back from them! Stay away from any ads listing an aquarium for a FIRM price. They are not motivated sellers and are just trying to recover some of their initial investment from when they purchased the tank new. If you see the same ad up for a really long time then obviously it’s not selling and you can make an offer using my method just for the heck of it. The seller you want is the seller that just wants the tank out of their house, has no interest in the hobby or is moving and cannot take the tank with them. Those are motivated sellers!

When you go see the tank for the first time in person make sure it’s filled with water to ensure it does not leak. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. If the tank is empty ask the seller if you can fill it with water then you empty it after you have confirmed it doesn’t leak.

What if the tank has a slight leak? Should you still buy it? How much should you offer? Well, resealing an aquarium is not a difficult job. If the leak is in one of the seams then it’s an easy fix.   Stay away from cracked glass!  If you decide to take on the project make sure you do not pay more than 50 cents per gallon for the complete setup. You can easily reseal the tank for under $20 regardless of size.

Deal on tank with leak

Here is a great deal I got on a tank that had a small leak:

35 gallon flat back hexagon tank. Full hood, light, wooden stand, filter, gravel, cleaning supplies and filter media. Seller was asking $75 or best offer. Seller also mentioned in the ad that the tank had a small leak. I offered $20 for the entire setup. At first seller was offended with my offer. I explained how it leaks and resealing will take a lot of time and money. One week later the seller contacted me and agreed to the $20. I spent 3 hours resealing it. All the supplies cost me $11. Tank was good as new when completed!

I hope this article helps you in finding your next great deal on a discus tank.
Feel free to contact me any time if you have any questions on purchasing a new aquarium or if you need some advice on how much you should offer for a used tank.

I am always available for any questions you may have.
Thanks
Rob

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Caring for discus fish while on vacation.

This article is all about caring for discus fish while on vacation.

Many customers ask me what they should do with their discus when they are going away on vacation.

Being the true discus fish enthusiast that you are you are probably thinking that your discus fish need the high protein discus food that you normally feed them while you are away.

The first solution that probably comes to mind is to go to your local pet store and see what they have. At the pet store you will “time released” food blocks. You will also find automatic fish feeders. STAY AWAY FROM ALL OF THESE. Why you may ask? Time released food blocks are primarily intended for guppies and small tropical fish. They will not work for discus regardless of what the packaging says. Automatic fish feeders have the tendency to malfunction and release too much food at once which will mess up your water parameters which if not treated immediately will kill your discus. So, based on my many years of experience- STAY AWAY FROM BOTH OF THESE OPTIONS!

The next option that probably pops up in your mind is to get a relative, friend or neighbor to come in daily and feed your fish. DO NOT DO THIS! Why you may ask? If the person caring for your discus does not know anything about them they may overfeed them. Also, if they will be feeding them on a daily basis then they must keep up with the water changes. Failure to perform water changes especially after overfeeding will cause your discus to get sick and possibly die. Once again, based on my many years of experience with discus- STAY AWAY FROM THIS OPTION ALSO!

Caring for discus fish while on vacation may sound like a hassle but it really isn’t. It is extremely easy!

So what should you do then if you are going on vacation? My answer will surprise you but it is the best proven method to maintain discus while you are away on vacation.
1. Stop feeding your discus 24 hours before you leave.
2. Do a water change at least 35%-50% before leaving.
3. Leave your aquarium lights off or put them on a timer. You do not want too much light otherwise algae will form.
4. When you return from your trip turn the aquarium lights on for 30 minutes and leave the room. After 30 minutes feed them the normal portion as you would.

THAT’S IT!

Discus will survive up to 4 weeks without eating. In the wild discus actually stop eating for up to several weeks which helps them clean out their system. The discus will not be affected in any way. If you plan on being away for more than 1 month then you need to find someone who you can train on how to feed and do water changes.

I hope this information helps you as you prepare for your next trip.

Caring for discus fish while on vacation should no longer be an issue for you!

Feel free to contact me with any questions. I am always available to help.

Thanks- Rob

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Black peppering on discus fish

Black Peppering on Discus Fish

A common question I get from customers is “What causes the black peppering on Discus fish? Is it something I should be worried about or need to treat?”

The black peppering on discus fish is normal. usually discus fish that have a pigeon blood gene in them are prone to black peppering spots.

Black peppering spots are a natural way for discus to adapt and camouflage themselves into their environment. If your aquarium has a dark colored background with dark colored gravel your discus fish will adapt to the colors. Any discus with a pigeon blood gene will start to develop back peppering spots. Any discus fish that does not have a pigeon blood gene will just darken in color.

How do you treat or get rid of the black peppering spots?

In order to reduce the amount of black peppering on discus fish you need to change the colors inside your aquarium. With discus the best color gravel or sand should be bright white. Stay away from dark gravel and dark backgrounds. Usually white gravel with light blue background is the best colors to make your fish look really bright and reduces the black peppering.

Will the black peppering eventually go away as the discus get older?

It all depends on the colors of your aquarium. If you have dark colors in the aquarium the peppering will only increase with time. If you have bright colors in the aquarium eventually the peppering will fade away.

Depending on the environment that the fish were raised will determine if the black peppering on discus fish will eventually fade away or not. In my personal experience I have never seen the black peppering disappear completely but I have seen it fade drastically. Also feeding your discus a high quality food will help to reduce the black peppering.

Feel free to post your comments and contact me with any questions.

I am always available to help.

Thanks – Rob

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How to Buy Discus Fish Online

 

How to Buy Discus Fish Online

 

Buy discus fish online is common nowadays. I have been breeding and raising discus fish for over 20 years. With the tremendous increase and domination of the internet we are seeing more brick and mortar stores closing and more online stores opening up. This includes pet shops – especially fish stores. Today you can find more discus fish for sale online that you can find local pet stores that sell them. This article will reveal all the myths to buy discus fish online.

How to buy discus fish online Myth #1 – You should buy discus fish ONLY from online sellers that offer FREE shipping.

FALSE – When you come across an online discus store that offers free shipping you really need to think carefully before making a purchase. You will think- if i knew how to buy discus fish online this would be easy. Regardless of how big or small an online fish store is shipping is never free for anyone! UPS and FEDEX will NEVER ship anything for free! So how do discus sellers offer free shipping? It’s all in the quality of the fish they are selling. Many discus sellers sell fish that are imported from Asia. When you buy fish from Asia you must order them in large quantities minimum of 100 or more at a time. Many of the Asian discus sellers offer discounts on fish that are not top quality. While not all Asian discus fish are bad quality, in my experience the majority of them are low quality and come with internal parasites. Once you receive these fish you must quarantine them for several weeks and de-worm them on a regular basis so they won’t kill your other fish. So while you may be saving money on shipping It may cost you a lot more money and headaches in the long run. You will also notice that sellers that offer free shipping just increase the cost of each fish to cover the shipping. The amount of time, materials and water weight required to ship fish properly makes it impossible to ship fish for free. Remember- shipping is never free! Continue reading more tips on how to buy discus fish online.

Myth #2

– Before you ask yourself how to buy discus fish online you must make sure that your water parameters are exactly the same as the water parameters of the person you are buying them from.

FALSE – Discus fish will adjust to just about any water parameters as long as they remain constant. You NEVER want to adjust your water parameters using any chemicals. In my 20+ years of experience with discus fish I never used any chemicals in my water aside from PRIME when doing water changes. Using chemicals to adjust water parameters will just cause your water parameters to spike and kill all of your fish. Don’t worry about water parameters just make sure you acclimate the discus properly. Remember- we are fish keepers not chemists!

Myth #3

– Only expensive discus fish are good quality.

FALSE – Some online discus sellers just increase the cost of their fish to be make a large profit and to make up for the cost of free shipping. Some discus fish are more expensive if they come from well- known suppliers. However you can also get good quality reasonably priced discus fish if you do your homework.

Myth #4

– When thinking about How to buy discus fish online you may think that only expensive discus fish sellers are reliable.

FALSE – Just because someone is selling expensive discus fish doesn’t mean that the fish are good quality and they offer a good service. The best way to find out if a discus sellers is good is to check their customer feedback and customer ratings. Does the seller have a Customer Testimonials page where you can read some of their customers reviews?Does the seller have an Ebay store where you can see their customer feedback? If you come across an online discus store that you are not familiar with make sure to do a google search and find customer reviews. Also- how good are these discus sellers at responding to customer inquiries? Test them out before you purchase. Ask them some questions about discus to see how quick they are to respond and what kind of answers they give you. Some online discus sellers will never answer customer emails. So if you place an order and have an issue chances are they won’t answer either. You want to try to avoid purchasing discus from sellers who just do it to make a profit. The best discus come from sellers who are passionate about the hobby. Those who are passionate about the hobby will be able to provide you with the most information, tips and tricks about successful discus keeping.

Myth #5 – Only reputable discus sellers will send you pictures of the actual fish they are sending you.

FALSE– If you are buying discus from someone who breeds discus out of their house and only has 1 or 2 breeding pairs then it is possible for them to send you pictures of the actual fish they will be sending you.  However, if you are buying discus from a breeder who has many breeding pairs and thousands of discus frye then it will be very difficult for them to send you pictures of the exact fish because they just have too many.  Many breeders who breed in large quantities may send you pictures of what the fish will look like when they are full grown which is fine. The main thing is once again- check their customer testimonials and feedback. Those people purchased fish already and can tell you what to expect.

Myth #6 – You shouldn’t mix discus purchased from different sellers.

FALSE

– As long as you do your homework and take caution- there is no reason why you can’t keep discus from different sellers together.

    Discus require the same water parameters regardless of which seller they come from.

I hope that this information is helpful to you. Feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions.
I’m always available to help.
Thanks
Rob

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Sexing Discus Fish

Sexing Discus Fish

Sexing discus fish is not an easy task. There are a lot of different opinions online about sexing discus fish.

When discus fish are small under 4 inches in size their dorsal (back) fin are always rounded. Therefore it is impossible to tell if a young discus under 4 inches in size is male or female! If anyone that is selling discus claims to know male versus female and the fish is under 4 inches in size- they are probably lying to make a quick sale!

When a discus reaches 4 inches of size or larger the shape of the dorsal fin changes.

If dorsal fin is rounded on the corners = FEMALE
If dorsal fine is pointed on the corners – MALE

Also- a male discus is always larger than the female.

The shape of the dorsal fin is a good indicator of sex but not always 100% accurate.

sexing discus

<h2>Sexing discus correctly 1005 of the time</h2>

The only true 100% accurate way to know determine sex of a discus fish is to actually witness them spawning.
The fish that lays eggs is obviously the female.
The male then swims over the eggs to fertilize them.

If you have a discus lay eggs but the eggs never hatch there is a good chance that you have 2 female discus.

At Discusguy.com we never guarantee the sex of a discus regardless of their size unless we actually witness them spawning.

<h3>Purchasing proven discus pairs</h3>

If you are looking to purchase a discus breeding pair be extremely careful and ask yourself and the sellers these questions:
1- If the pair is successfully spawning and producing fry why would they be selling them?
2- How old is the pair? The older the pair the less likely they will spawn.
3- How often to they spawn? If a pair spawns on a regular basis to produce fry to sell, the female may get burnt out and her health may be at risk. Reputable breeders make sure to give breeding pairs a break in between spawns in an effort not to jeopardize the health of the fish.
4- Where did the discus come from? Were they imported? Local breeder?
5- How many successful spawns have the pair had?
6- Why do they want to sell them in the first place?
7- Are they a PROVEN pair? If so, ask to see pictures of them spawning and pictures of the fry.

A less expensive alternative to getting a discus pair is to purchase 12 or more of the same discus strain/color when they are young. The odds of getting a breeding pair are usually pretty good. Many Discusguy.com customers have obtained breeding pairs in this manner.

I hope this information is helpful.

Feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions. I am always available to help.

Thanks
Rob

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Feeding Discus Fish

Feeding Discus Fish

A very common question I get from customers is What are you feeding discus fish? How often should I be feeding discus fish? How much should I be feeding discus fish?

There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about feeding discus. However, I want to make this very simple for my customers.

Here is what I have been doing with my discus for many years with great success. All about feeding discus fish.

First of all,

How Often Should I Feed My Discus?

    Under 3 months of age – feed ten to twelve times per day.

    3 to 12 months of age
    – feed up to five times per day.

    Over 12 months of age – feed two to three times per day.

    Be careful to not overfeed them. Overfeeding your discus could cause health problems and water pollution. In addition discus are sensitive fish who appreciate pristine water conditions.

    How much should I feed them?

Feed them only the amount of food that they can actively eat in about five minutes. Because discus have grinders in their jaws instead of teeth, they eat with this process: They mouth the food, spit it out, and then recapture it before swallowing. This process causes food particles to fall to the bottom of the tank, but the discus isn’t done yet! The discus can dispel water at foods resting on the bottom of the tank and then pick it up as it float upwards. After their main feeding, they will search for leftovers at the bottom of the tank and clean up the leftovers for up to an hour. Therefore keep a close eye on the food quantity.

What should I feed them?

    Almost all discus enjoy food that is floating around, while others prefer the food that is at the bottom. Some discus will even eat food out of your hand! Due to the great personalities of discus fish, each fish may like a particular food more than others! Therefore, you must feed them a variety of foods.

    All of the fish at Discusguy.com are fed the following:

High Protein Flake Food
– Frozen Blood Worms – ONLY frozen! Not Live! Live worms can cause parasite issues! Therefore stay away from live worms.
Beef Heart Flakes

What other foods can I feed Discus?

    – Tetra Bits – available online and in pet stores. Since these are hard in texture small discus may not like it at first.
    – Home Made Beef Heart mix – many recipes available online. Most noteworthy- take extreme caution when feeding home made beef heart since it can foul your water quickly.
    – Live Brine Shrimp – doesn’t have much nutritional value but is okay as an occasional treat. Therefore use on special occasions only.

    In conclusion, your discus fish diet is especially relevant in keeping healthy discus. So make sure you feed them a variety of foods while keeping a close eye on the quantity you feed them.

    Finally, I hope that this article helps and that you are better educated on All About Feeding Discus. Feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions.

    Thanks
    Rob
    Discusguy.com

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Discus Tank Substrate

Discus Tank Substrate

    How much substrate Discus Tank Substrate (gravel or sand) is needed for a discus tank?

This is a very common and important question when setting up a discus aquarium.

Discus tank substrate will depend on the size and shape of your tank as well as the depth of the substrate that you want to have. Another factor to consider is the size of the substrate you are planning to get.

This may all sound complicated but in my many years of experience I have been able to make this very easy. Here is my magic formula for rectangle aquariums:

If you want a 1 inch deep base – For every 1 gallon of water use 1 pound of substrate.
If you want a 2 inch deep base – For every 1 gallon of water use 2 pounds of substrate.

    Which kind of substrate is best for discus tanks?

This is completely a personal preference. Here is my advice though: Discus require very clean water. Uneaten food will fall to the bottom of the tank and eventually will start to turn into bacteria and fowl the water. The uneaten food will easily fall in between pieces of large rock and will make it hard to clean. The easiest substrate to maintain in a discus tank is sand. Uneaten food will just lay on top of the sand which will be easily visible and easy to remove. Many discus hobbyists prefer bare bottom tanks as they are the easiest to clean but are not necessarily the most eye catching. If you are breeding discus you must go with a bare bottom tank. Small gravel substrate is fine as long as you do regular vacuuming of the gravel. For the least work and maintenance I recommend a sand bottom!

    What color substrate is best for discus tanks?

This is a very good and important question.
Discus in the wild camouflage themselves to their environment as a form of protection. Therefore if you have a dark colored substrate then your fish colors will be dark so they can try to blend in with the environment. If your substrate is bright then the discus colors will also be bright to blend in. While black substrate is very popular with discus it will cause the discus to become darker in color and will start to show a lot of peppering marks with time. My personal preference is bright white sand. It makes the tank look bright and makes the discus colors really stand out with the proper lighting.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

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How to Breed Discus Fish

How to Breed Discus Fish

Customers always ask me how to breed discus fish.
Breeding of Discus fish is quite difficult in terms of taking care of them and it may be difficult to succeed in having a high survival rate when you first start out. This is why the price of discus is higher that your typical aquarium fish. However the beauty it brings about in terms of aesthetic value as well as keeping them as pets overrules all the challenges. The unique thing about them is their ability, meaning young ones, to feed from their parents’ skin. This means therefore they either have to be together with their parents or if they are alone you will have to feed them with a specialized replacement for the nutrients they get from their parents’ skin. Either way, the two methods must provide an environment that encourages breeding. In this article I will describe how to breed discus in two different methods. The two methods are discussed below.

1.

Natural Forming of Breeding Pairs

How to breed discus fish by the natural forming of breeding pairs is your most economical way of breeding discus. This method involves making an environment that enables the young Discus to pair off on their own and form a breeding pair. The process involves a number of measures:-
i) Ensure you keep a large number of discus fish in order to have a higher probability of having both males and females. The minimum number to give you the best odds of a breeding pair is at least 12 discus fish. This is mainly because it is impossible to visibly tell the gender when they are young. Females reach maturity and start mating at about 9 months of age but males take up to 13 months. The discus must form pairs on their own. it is almost impossible to get a proven male and female and have them breed successfully.
ii) Ensure they have a spacious room. The Discus fish will not breed effectively if the aquarium is small. The discus tank should be at least 38cm deep. This height will ensure the fish tank holds enough water needed by the discus in it. Ensure nitrites, nitrates and ammonia is of the right measurement. If that is not the case, there is need for adjustment. This can be done by use of a test kit. Both nitrites and ammonia should be below 0 ppm whereas on the other hand nitrates should be below 20 ppm.

Breeding Continued

iii) Aquarium water conditions should be accurately tested. The water pH should be stable at 6.5 pH whereas temperature should be 86F degrees. Also, mineral content should be 100-200 microsiemens. These conditions should always be adjusted when they fluctuate in order to achieve stability which the discus fish need for survival and breeding.
iv) Change 10% of the water daily. This will ensure the breeding of discus happens as the tank will be clean. This should be accompanied by removal of dirt at the bottom of the tank as well as cleaning of the tank walls when necessary.
v) Ensure they feed on animal protein. These come in different forms like black worms, live brine shrimp, and beef heart flakes. These will provide the discus with nutrition necessary for breeding. Additional vitamin supplements may help sometimes as well.
vi) Put various spawning sites in the tank for spawning. You can use a variety of things for this including flower pots turned upside down. However, it shouldn’t be an issue if they choose to lay their eggs next to the ground.
vii) Look out for pairs that have mated. You can tell this by observing their behavior. They may hang together in a corner. Once you have confirmed a breeding pair you must move the pair into their own aquarium with a bare bottom. Do not use any substrate that way the water remains very clean. The ideal breeding aquarium should be a minimum of 10 gallons but preferably a 20 gallon long aquarium.

2.

Breeding discus with proven discus pairs

    After successful breeding, you will need to know how to raise the discus with their parents. This involves the following:
    i) Keep an eye on hatching eggs. This usually happens after 2-3 days after which the young ones may stay there for longer. Ensure the parents don’t eat the eggs after they hatch. You may want to put a mesh or screen around the eggs to prevent the parents from eating them. If the eggs turn white that means they were not fertilized and have developed fungus. Fertilized eggs will have a golden/brownish color.
    ii) Reduce water levels right before fry detach.
    iii) Feeding the young fish. For the first 5 days the fry will attach to the sides of the parents and will eat the white mucus that forms on the parents body. Keep a close eye on this because as the days go on they can start biting the skin of the parents which will cause skin infections. Introduce baby brine shrimp around 4 times a day. This should be done 4-5 days after the fry have been swimming. Once the fry are completely eating on their own and are no longer attached to the parents you must separate the fry from the parents. As the fry get larger start feeding them premium discus flakes as well as beef heart flakes and start introducing them to frozen blood worms once they reach one inch in size.

    If everyone knew how to breed discus fish successfully, the price of discus fish would be much lower. Once you learn how to breed discus fish successfully it is very rewarding.

    Feel free to contact me with any questions.
    Thanks- Rob

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Discus Water Parameters

Discus Water Parameters

If you do a Google search for Discus water parameters you will see a lot of conflicting information. Many Discus owners become obsessed with water parameters to a point where they take the fun out of the hobby. We as Discus owners ARE NOT chemists! So- don’t worry too much about the water parameters. The main thing to keep in mind is the water temperature. Discus will do well in just about any water parameters as long as they remain constant. Discus DO NOT like frequent change!

Here are the ideal water parameters for keeping healthy discus.

PH- between 5.5 and 7. Your best bet would be PH of 6. PH up to 7.8 is fine as long as it does not fluctuate. Anything above 7.8 is not good as it will stress out the discus. NEVER add any chemicals to raise or lower your PH!

Temperature- Between 82F and 88F degrees

Water Hardness- Doesn’t really matter. Don’t even worry about it.

Water Changes- How often you do water changes and how much water you change is completely up to you. Some people online claim that you must do 100% water change daily- This is 100% FALSE!! Even if I own the water company I wouldn’t replace all my water daily! You need to decide how often you will do water changes and how much water you replace. I personally do 50% water change once per month on my show tank! If you are trying to breed discus then get ready to do small water changes daily!

Water quality is a key element in maintaining and raising healthy discus. It is not as complicated as it sounds!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding Discus Water Parameters or any other discus fish related questions.

Thanks- Rob

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Discus Pop Eye

Discus Pop Eye

Discus Pop Eye

Symptoms: Eyeball looks cloudy and swollen and is protruding.  If not treated quickly it can cause blindness and death.

pop-eye

Cause: Bacterial infection usually caused by poor water quality.

Is it contagious to other fish:  No

Treatment:  Large water changes- minimum 50% –  for 3 to 5 consecutive days.  If you do not see any improvement within 3 days of consecutive water changes you can purchase fish antibiotics: Neomycin, Kanamycin, or Erythromycin and use as directed.

Summary
Discus pop eye can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. The discus will have one or both eyes protruding from the head. You may notice that the eyes have a white bubble underneath them. Consequently the entire eye will have a white film over it. The most successful and quickest treatment for this is daily water changes of 50% for 5 consecutive days. As the days go on you will notice less cloudiness in the eyes. I would try to stay away from any kinds of medications with discus fish.

Hence, If pop-eye goes untreated it can eventually kill your fish. It’s a bacterial infection that will grow and strengthen if not treated quickly. In my 20+ years of keeping discus I never had a discus die on me as a result of pop-eye. I treated all of them with the daily water change method without any medications.

The primary cause of discus pop-eye is poor water quality. Poor water quality contains high levels of nitrogen which is not good for discus fish. As a result consecutive water changes is a sure-fire cure. If you are performing daily water changes and don’t see much improvement it means that you aren’t changing enough of the water. Therefore 50% of the water must be changed daily to treat the infection.

 

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Discus Cloudy Eye

DISCUS CLOUDY EYE

Symptom: White film on discus eyes.

cloudy-eye

Cause: Poor Water Quality

Is it Contagious to other fish: No

Treatment: Perform large water changes for 3-4 consecutive days until white film is gone.

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Summary
Cloudy eye on discus is a common fungus that is caused by poor water quality. You will notice that one or both of the eyes have a white cloudy film over them. Cloudy eye is often mistaken with discus pop eye. When a fish has discus cloudy eye there eyes only become cloudy but they do not seem to protrude from the head like pop-eye.
The treatment for discus cloudy eye is very simple. Perform large water changes at least 50% for 3-4 consecutive days until the white film is gone.