Sunday March 9, 2014
Ever wonder if gravel is absolutely needed? To an 'old-timer' like me, it seems like a no-brainer. Every tank needs substrate. Then I thought about it, and realized that's not always true. In some cases, it may be economic, as the cost of gravel will dent your wallet a bit. For others, the frustration of keeping it clean
, drives them to wonder if they should even bother with gravel. While those reasons may seem a little unwarranted, there are times when choosing a bare tank may be a good idea.
For instance, when rearing young fry, substrate may be difficult to keep clean enough to ensure the well being of the young fish. Another case is the set up of a hospital or a quarantine tank, which also needs to be kept very clean. These situations beg the question, is gravel needed? This article talks about why you may or may not need gravel
Can I Replace My Aquarium Gravel?
Discussion - Substrate or no Substrate?
Substrate For Planted Tanks
Using Outdoor Gravel And Rock
Photo © Daniel Ahlqvist
Saturday March 8, 2014
This morning a reader left this comment about her Dojo Loach
, after having lost two in a row.
"I need help. I am in love with these sweet creatures but I am having very bad luck with keeping them. I got one around Christmas time and it got to about 3 months old and started floating and losing his equilibrium before dying. I then got another one about a month ago and came home to him dead today. I was surprised because he wasn't showing the same signs as the other one yesterday. I have a 50 gallon with a Clown Pleco, regular Pleco, Dwarf Gourami, Dwarf Drog, Rainbow Shark and as of 2 days ago a Silver Hatchetfish. There is a filter, driftwood, plenty of hiding places etc. The tank is always around 72. I made sure of that after I lost the last dojo. I thought the temperature was too high (76). For a while I would turn the filter off at night because I was scared the frog wouldn't have the energy to fight the current to get air. I feed them API mini tropical pellets for small community fish (which both Dojos went for), freeze dried bloodworms, Marineland Color Enhancing trop."
Although the loss of fish is sad news, what really grabbed me about her comment was the fact that she sometimes turns her filter off at night. Filters are host to many beneficial bacteria, and should never be shut off for any appreciable length of time. Doing so is likely to kill off some, if not all, of those biological colonies. It is laudable that she considered the well-being of the frog
, as all too many owners overlook the need for frogs to reach the surface regularly for air. However, in this case, turning off the filter may very well have caused a spike of ammonia and/or nitrite, both of which could have been the culprit behind the death of her Dojo Loaches. The best solution is to use a more gentle filtration method
, or direct the outflow in such a way as to leave a calm surface area in at least one portion of the tank.
Photo © Jeff Schut
Friday March 7, 2014
Knowing how to tell a boy fish from a girl fish is not always a simple task. In fact, in some species, it is all but impossible to determine the sex of the fish. In those cases, you may never know the sex of your fish, unless two of them pair off and spawn. On the other hand, fish such as the livebearing speices
have differences that are fairly easy to discern.
Maybe you are thinking, why is it important to know the sex of your fish? For some situations, it doesn't matter all that much. If you don't wish to breed fish, and keep species that are peaceful, there usually is no need to sort out the sexes. But in some species, sexual differences can result in fighting, such as in the case of male Bettas who will not tolerate another male in the same tank. Perhaps the most compelling reason for knowing the sex of your fish
is if you wish to breed them. However, it's often wise to know the sex of your fish, even when you don't want to breed them. Otherwise, you may end up with a lot of unwanted fry on your hands.
How Do I Sex a Gourami?
How To Determine Betta Gender
Sex Changing Platies
Sexing Silver Dollars
Photo © Choy Heng Wah
Thursday March 6, 2014
Who hasn't pondered how long their aquarium fish will live? With no hair to go gray, it's hard to tell if that fish you brought home is a youngster or an old-timer. For that matter, even if you did know their true age, you probably have no idea what their normal lifespan should be. Although there isn't a definitive listing of lifespans for every species of fish, they've been studied long enough for us to know a bit about their natural lifespan. Interestingly enough, there is quite a range in average fish lifespan from one species to the next. For instance, Bettas
live only a few years, while Goldfish
can live for decades.
However, just like people, individual fish will vary from the average. Even though the average human lifespan isn't 90, most of us know someone who is still going strong at that age. And just like people, keep in mind that fish are more likely to live longer if they are given a good diet and healthy living conditions. Wondering how long will your fish live? This fish lifespan reference
will give you a general idea of how long your fish may live.