PlanetXingu Project, A win for Catfish and the Xingu River

February 7, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Catfish Varieties: Royal Plecostomus, Panaque nigrolineatusRoyal Plecostomus or Black Lined Panaque, Panaque nigrolineatus. Color forms of this species are found in the Rio Xingu. Photo © Animal-World.com, Courtesy Ken Childs.

Two Thumbs Up! To Planet Catfish and the PlanetXingu Project

Planet Catfish and founder Julian Dignall truly deserve our praise and recognition for their successful fundraising project, PlanetXingu. Julian conceived PlanetXingu almost a year ago to help research into the Rio Xingu in Brazil.

PlanetXingu has been a great success. Big kudos to these guys in the UK for stepping up to the plate. Hundreds of aquarists and fish lovers became engaged and donated both money and time to the project. They not only reached, but exceeded their $11,000 goal!

Julian will be hosting an exciting event this coming Sunday, Feb 9th, 2014, where you can meet two of the major players on the project, Mark Sabaj Perez and Nathan Lujan. There will be two online sessions , one at 1900 GMT and the other at 1900 EST. Sign in at: http://tinychat.com/planetcatfish

The project evolved due to the plight of the endemic and migratory species of the Xingu River in Brazil. The Brazilian Government is currently constructing the Belo Monte Dam on one of the Amazon’s major tributaries, the Xingu River. It is estimated by Amazon Watch in their article, Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam, Sacrificing the Amazon and its Peoples for Dirty Energy, that this will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam.

This project brought to light many concerns over the impacts this will have on communities, rivers, and forests throughout the Xingu basin. Amazon Watch says it is designed to divert 80% of the river’s flow, “devastating an area of over 1,500 square kilometers of Brazilian rainforest”.

Dignall envisioned bringing together a communty of fish lovers and scientist to the aid of Rio Xingu. His inspiration was to help assist both researchers in the field as well as those that keep and breed Xingu basin species in captivity. Thus the launch of the PlanetXingu fundraising project in March 2013. The aim of the project was to raise $11,000 by January 1, 2014 to purchase equipment for studying the river before, during, and after the dam’s construction. You can learn more about PlanetXingu on Planet Catfish’s An Introduction to the project.

We are proud of the efforts of Julian Dignall and Planet Catfish, not only on the PlanetXingu project, but for their years of online information. Their website originated in 1997/98, at about the same time as Animal-World. With well over 2400 catfish varieties, it is a great resource for pictures and taxonomical information on catfish species, and one of our premium references. In fact one of our super team members, Ken Childs, who has over 2 decades of fish experience in the wholesale arena, provided numerous catfish pictures to their database.

Learn about the history and background of catfish on Animal-World, along with aquarium guides for the different kinds of catfish: Catfish Varieties, Fish Guides for All Types of Catfish

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Vivariums, Perfect Homes for Exotic Pets

Tetrafauna ViquariumCan’t decide whether to get a pet fish or reptile? How about a vivarium that offers the best of both worlds! The Tetrafauna Viquarium provides both a land and water environment. It’s great for a small to medium sized habitat and it’s really fun to setup too! First decide on your favorite inhabitants. Mollies or guppys, even bettas can work well in the water habitat. Small lizards like anoles, or amphibians like tree frogs, do well on in the terrestrial side. Next choose your interior decor, gravel, plants, mosses, and woods that are best suited to your pets. Put it all together and then add your pets. It’s fun, beautiful, and a great exotic pet environment!

Housing your pet will never be as fun or rewarding as when you create its perfect home.

Each animal has its particular habitat needs and a vivarium setup is a re-creation of its natural home. There are as many unique virarium arrangements as there are exotic pets.

A vivarium is an enclosure where selected plants and animal species are kept or raised. The concept of vivariums started initially as a medium to study and research selected flora and fauna. Literally, vivarium means “a place of life”.

The ecosystem inside a vivarium is created to simulate, on a smaller scale, the environment conditions, which are favorable to the species. Vivariums can range from small enclosures that can sit on a table to a very large structure that houses bigger animals and are placed outdoors.

Types of Vivariums

There are several types of vivarium depending on the habitat that you wish to simulate and the accompanying flora and fauna that will be used. These include:

  • Aquarium: These are water habitats that can house freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and coral reef inhabitants.
  • Insectarium: These habitats are for housing insects and arachnids.
  • Terrarium: This is generally a dry habitat for housing reptiles
  • Paludarium: The paludarium simulates a semi-aquatic habitat such as in rainforests or swamps. Other setups of a paludarium combine a terrarium and an aquarium, sometimes known as a viquarium
  • Riparium. A riparium recreates the wet habitats near lakes, rivers, and ponds. The setup is suitable for marginal plants that thrive best in the water-saturated soil along the water’s edge.
  • Penguinarium: A unique habitat for housing penguins

Materials for a vivarium

Vivariums are commonly made of clear plastic or glass containers. Wood or metal can also be used as long as there’s a side, which is transparent. There are also vivariums made from plywood with built-in sliding glass doors.

The material that you will use depends on what flora and fauna you plan to put in, the desired size, height and weight, cost, desired quality, as well as the ability of the materials to simulate the natural environment and provide protection against extreme environment conditions.

Coated plywood can retain heat better compared to glass or plastic vivariums. These types of enclosures can also withstand high humidity. When making a vivarium, it is recommended to place a high-drainage substrate on top of a layer of stones to help retain humidity without the substrate surface being saturated.

Substrates

The type of substrate will depend on several factors including what is favorable for the plants and/or animals, the benefits, and the aesthetic value. The most common substrates used include soil, wood chips, pebbles, peat, sand, coconut coir, and wood mulch. There are also vivariums that use tissue paper and newspaper.

Humidity

These are the recommended methods to effectively regulate humidity inside the vivarium:

  • Regular pulverization of water
  • Enhanced water evaporation by placing a basin inside
  • Use of humidifiers and automated pulverization systems

Lighting

The lighting system is always designed to meet the requirements of the animal and plant species. Various types of bulbs are needed to simulate specific natural environments. There are also certain flora and fauna that require a good source of ultraviolet rays for vitamin D synthesis and assimilation of calcium. Specialized bulbs are available which can emit a more natural sunlight effect.

You may also need to put in a day/night regulator to mimic the change between light and dark periods. The regulator is set depending on the natural habitat of the species including the season that you desire to achieve.

Temperature

Heat inside a vivarium can be provided in several ways:

  • Heat rocks
  • Infrared lamps
  • Heating lamps
  • Hot plates
  • Heat mats
  • Heating cords
  • Equipment that can generate hot air inside the vivarium

The heat inside the enclosure is controlled by a thermostat. Thermo-control systems are often employed to regulate not only heat but also light cycles and humidity.

Ventilation

Aside from promoting proper air circulation, ventilation can also prevent the growth and development of pathogenic molds and bacteria. This is particularly true in vivariums that maintain a warm and humid environment.

About the Author: Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a company based in Melbourne, Australia that provides a wide selection of live aquatic plants and aquarium decorations.

Who’s hungry? A Human Smorgasbord for Flesh-eating Piranha!

Swarm of carnivorous piranha attacked hundreds of bathers!

Photo © Animal-World.com, Courtesy Ken Childs

Christmas was a very warm day along the Parana River near Rosario, Argentina. Hundreds of city dwellers were trying to escape the 100-degree weather in the cooler waters of a popular beach about 300 kilometers north of Buenos Aires. But then, they began to notice bite marks on their hands and feet.

A swarm of carnivorous fish attacked hundreds of bathers, sending around 70 people to local clinics and emergency rooms for treatment.

The local Director of lifeguards, Federico Cornier, told reporters from BBC and other broadcasters in the area “it’s normal for there to be an isolated bite or injury, but the magnitude in this case was great… This is an exceptional event.”

A man is treated at a clinic in Rosario, Argentina, after a school of flesh-eating palometas, a type of piranha, attacked swimmers cooling off in the Parana River on Christmas Day. As per LA Times “Flesh-eating fish attack swimmers in Argentine river; 70 injured” (Silvina Salinas / Associated Press Photo/ December 25, 2013)

Cornier said that the fish responsible for the attacks were “palometas”, a type of piranha with large sharp teeth. Dozens of people had their extremities attacked. Paramedic Alberto Manino, speaking with the Associated Press, said that some children he had treated had lost entire digits!

The term ‘palometa’ is a common name used for several types of fish. This includes the Piranha, but it is also used for a Caribbean gamefish Trachinotus goodie and a Western Atlantic fish, the Maracaibo Leatherjacket Oligoplites palometa.

The Piranhas belong to a sub-family called the Serrasalminae, or the ‘serrated salmon family’ consisting of around 60 species. The unmistakable trademark features of the Piranha are their triangular, razor sharp teeth. As described in Piranha: Story of the Piranha Fish from Predator to Prey, these teeth enable them to ‘slice off pieces of meat, fins or scales, literally taking apart their prey piece by piece.’

The palometa that attacked these bathers is most likely the Red Piranha Pygocentrus nattereri, also called the Red-bellied Piranha. This is a very widespread species, occurring in several river basins of South American. Although it typically grows between about 3 to 9 1/2 inches (8-24 cm) in length, one specimen was reported at a whooping 19 1/2 inches (50 cm).

Keeping the Red Piranha in the aquarium is truly a fascination. In the wild the Red Piranha lives in large schools. This type of school is not usually possible in an aquarium, but with the proper environment these fish will show some traits of their wild behavior. In nature the largest fish is the ‘alpha’ animal and in the aquarium it is the most aggressive and bold. The alpha fish will dominate the best spaces in the tank and will basically own the feeding ritual. All other members are subordinate and will take on the traits of servants. Any unwilling ‘servants’ will be quickly and aggressively put in their place by the alpha fish!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and animal species write-ups.

Choosing an Aquarium Filter

September 20, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Which Aquarium Filter is Right for Me?

Guest Post by Michael David

Installing a fish tank can be a great way to add some color and life to your home or workspace. It can even provide a sense of peace in the midst of a stressful day. However, keeping your fish happy and healthy goes beyond the daily sprinkle of fish food. Proper aquarium setup and adequate water filtration is crucial to the survival of all aquarium life.

Why Do I Need a Filter?

Let me answer this question with an example from the news. A few months ago, Carnival Cruise Line’s Triumph experienced a power failure during a four-day excursion to the Caribbean. This power failure also disabled the ship’s septic system, resulting in backed-up toilets and human excrement littering every floor. These unsanitary conditions caused many of the passengers to become sick. Had they been out there any longer, the consequences could have been much worse.

Much like a cruise ship, your fish tank is an enclosed environment with a high-density population. In nature, fish do not normally need to share such a small space. However, the higher concentration of fish leads to a larger amount of fish waste. If left unchecked, fish waste releases ammonia, which is harmful to fish. Without some kind of filtration system in place, your fish will get sick and eventually die.

How is the Water Filtered?

Biological Filtration

In nature, this ammonia is removed from the water through biological filtration. Naturally-occurring bacteria will oxidize and break down the ammonia into a less toxic form which can then be absorbed by plant life.

Installing a biological filter is one way to replicate this break-down process. In addition to installing a biological filter, it’s also wise to plant some underwater plants to absorb any additional toxins not initially broken down by the bacteria. Biological filters require very little maintenance, however, the bacterial colonies will take some time (six weeks minimum) to develop, so avoid adding too many fish too quickly to your new aquarium.

If you’re looking for something very low-maintenance, you might consider an under-gravel filter. As the name suggests, these filters are placed beneath the aquarium’s gravel, moving water through the gravel and creating ideal conditions for the bacteria to grow. Wet-dry filters are another good choice, particularly if you want to install a saltwater aquarium. These filters are exposed to both the water and the air, which allows for the maximum number of bacterial colonies to spawn.

Mechanical Filtration

Unlike biological filtration, which breaks down waste products, mechanical filtration simply removes undissolved waste materials (excrement, uneaten food, and other debris) from the water. Mechanical filters usually involve a water pump as well as a mesh material that catches debris. And while this is a great way to remove waste from the aquarium before any ammonia is released, mechanical filters do require more frequent maintenance and thorough cleaning before placing them back in the water.

Both power and internal power filters are the most popular and effective mechanical filter models on the market. Power filters hang off the back of your tank while internal power filters are placed inside the aquarium itself. Many have replaceable cartridges, which makes for fast and easy maintenance.

Chemical Filtration

Another popular method for filtering waste from your fish tank is through chemical or active carbon filtration. Activated carbon contains numerous microscopic pores, which allow it to absorb any dissolved chemicals in your aquarium. This is a fairly low-maintenance method to keeping your tank water clean, but you will need to replace your carbon every couple months or so.

While canister filters can be adjusted to provide both biological and mechanical filtration, they are most often used for chemical filtration. The advantage to using a canister filter for active carbon filtration is that they are significantly larger than most other aquarium filters, meaning you won’t have to replace your carbon as often as you would with smaller filters.

Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics, and suggests you look into aquarium filters.

The Firemouth Cichlid

September 2, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Featured Pets, Freshwater fish

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Firemouth Cichlid!

Are you a cichlid person? Some people like these fish so much that all they keep are cichlids. They may even keep several “cichlid tanks” around their home! Given that cichlids are so diverse in color, size, and temperament, this is completely understandable. The Firemouth Cichlid, in particular, is a popular one. Many people like them because of their beautiful colors and how easy they are to keep.

The Firemouth Cichlid Thorichthys meeki, is a great beginner cichlid. It is one of the easiest cichlids to care for and anyone can start out keeping them. A big reason these guys are easy to keep is because they readily adapting to most environments. Their major draw is the bright red coloring, which occurs on their underside and up through their throat area. Other attributes of these attractive fish are being small (for cichlids) and having relatively fun personalities. They often do well in community aquariums as long as they are kept with other Firemouth Cichlids and fish of the same size and temperament as themselves. You only have to worry about them becoming more aggressive than usual during breeding times.

The Firemouth Cichlid

About the Firemouth Cichlid

Central America is the native country of these cichlids. More specifically, they inhabit the countries of Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. In the wild, the Firemouth Cichlid thrives in slow moving rivers and ponds. They usually stay closer to the bottom of the water where it is muddy and vegetation is easily accessible.

Feeding these cichlids is easy. They will eat almost any type of food offered to them! This includes, flakes, pellets, live foods, and fresh foods. Offering a variety of foods weekly is a good way to make sure they are receiving optimum nutrition. You will want to give them pellets or flakes every day and then add in some fresh cucumber and spinach as well. Live blood worms and brine shrimp are excellent treats but should be offered more sparingly.

Aquarium Care for the Firemouth Cichlid

Caring for the aquarium is no more difficult than for a typical tropical aquarium. As I mentioned earlier, Firemouth Cichlids are hardy fish and can adapt to wide range of aquarium conditions. However, regular maintenance is still needed to ensure their health! Most importantly, regular water changes are needed. About 20% of the water should be replaced every week. The gravel should also be siphoned out. These two cleaning activities get rid of decomposing organic matter and help limit the build-up of nitrates and phosphates.

A 30 gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for two Firemouth Cichlids. If you want a community cichlid tank though, you will need a much larger aquarium. A general rule is one inch of fish for every gallon of water. Equip the aquarium with a good filter and water movement. Cichlids appreciate plenty of rocks, plants and wood to hide amongst. Fine sand is a good substrate for the bottom because these fish love to burrow! They don’t need any special lighting requirements and the temperature can range from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diseases to Watch Out for With the Firemouth Cichlid

A common problem among tropical fish, including the Firemouth Cichlid, is ich. Many fish become infected with ich, usually when feeling stressed. The good thing is that ich can’t tolerate higher temperatures, but these cichlids can! So it can be easier to treat the Firemouth Cichlid for ich by simply increasing the aquarium temperature up to around 86 degrees for a few days. Other tropical fish diseases can also plague these cichlids. These include fungal infections, bacterial infections, and parasitic infections. If your cichlid has a disease check this Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments guide for a thorough description of most illnesses and their cures!

Do you keep a community cichlid tank? What is your favorite thing about keeping cichlids?

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Chinese Algae Eater!

The Green-cheeked Conure

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Chinese Algae Eater!

The Chinese Algae Eater may not be at the top of the “perfect” pet list, but they serve a very important function in many people’s home aquariums! Most people at some point in time run into an algae problem with their tanks. And their first thought is usually to go buy a sucker fish! The pet store I worked at had Chinese Algae Eaters being ordered in and departing with customers on a weekly basis. They are one of the most popular fish because of their useful function and therefore one of the most wanted!

The Chinese Algae Eater Gyrinocheilus aymonieri usually does an outstanding job at clearing algae from an aquarium while it is young. This is the primary reason people purchase them. However as they age, they can no longer sustain themselves on algae and plants alone and begin needing additional food sources to keep them healthy. This includes more meat sources. You will want to acquire algae eaters when they are young and small (less than 2 inches) to maximize the benefit you reap from their algae eating capabilities. Do realize that they can reach over 5 inches in length when full grown so make sure to take that into account when purchasing one. They should not be kept in an aquarium smaller than 30 gallons. These algae eaters can come in a variety of colors and have a stripe along their length from the nose to the tail. One of the most popular varieties is the Golden Chinese Algae Eater (check the video for a beautiful example of one). Belonging to the Carp (Cyprinidae) family, their mouth is in the shape of a disk which is used to suck and stick to surfaces. This is perfect for sticking to the sides of an aquarium.

Chinese Algae Eaters are found naturally in lakes and rivers in Southeast Asia and southern China. They usually stay in more shallow areas where there is plenty of sun and rocks where biofilm grows. They were first described in 1883 by Tirant. In it’s native countries, these fish are actually part of people’s diets! In 1956 people started exporting these fish to Germany specifically for use in the aquarium trade. They are on the IUCN Red List with their state being marked as Least Concern. This is because the populations have diminished in some areas (especially Thailand), but they have not declined enough in general to warrant mass concern.

As I mentioned earlier, you won’t want to keep one of these algae eaters in anything less than a 30 gallon tank to begin with. Because they grow rather large, you will want to eventually provide them with at least a 55 gallon aquarium. In general, they are easy to care for. The main concerns are to keep their environments clean with well-oxygenated water. Plan on performing regular water changes once or twice a month which replace a quarter to half of the aquariums water. Another fact to keep in mind is that as Chinese Algae Eaters grow into adults, they often become territorial. To keep them from picking on other fish, try to make sure there are at least 5 tank-mates. These tank-mates should ideally be fast swimmers who can hold their own.

Feeding these fish while they are young is generally quite simple. They are herbivorous as youngsters and can thrive off of the plant growth around the tank. You should still provide them with supplemented flake food and algae wafers. As they grow older they become omnivorous and should be fed a variety of flake, frozen, and live foods. These can include blood worms and brine shrimp.

If you are having problems keeping your algae down, or if you just think this happens to be an interesting fish, you should have no problem finding one at a pet store or online. They are very popular and readily available. Read more about the Chinese Algae Eater on Animal-World; including more details on breeding them and common ailments!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Siamese Fighting Fish!

The Siamese Fighting Fish

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Siamese Fighting Fish!

Did you ever have a fish as a child? If so what kind did you start out with? My guess is either a Goldfish or a Siamese Fighting Fish! These two types of fish are very popular, mostly because their care requirements are not highly specialized. We had many Siamese Fighting Fish when I was a child. My dad even bred them on a few occasions. We had several little tanks set up in a row! My favorite memory of these guys was when my brother and I would argue over who’s fish was prettier; my blue fish or his red one! Of course they were both beautiful!

The Siamese Fighting Fish Betta splendens, commonly called just the Betta, is a popular fish for several reasons. First, Bettas do not require a lot of space. They can be kept in relatively small aquariums and do not grow very large. Second, they are very hardy fish and don’t require specific water conditions. Third, they do not require a lot of time or maintenance. Because of these reasons, they make great pet fish for children and beginners! In captivity the males have been selectively bred to have long beautiful fins. In the wild the males do have longer fins than the females, but they are not as long as in captive bred fish.

The Betta is quite possibly one of the oldest fish kept in captivity. They were first described in 1910 by Regan. They hail from Thailand and the Malayan Peninsula. Their natural habitat there is in slow moving waters with lots of vegetation. They are listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable. This is because their natural habitat is being degraded, which could lead to an endangered status. Siamese Fighting Fish received their name for a reason. The “fighting” part came from the fact that these fish fight! Males will not tolerate each other and will fight to the death if they are kept in the same tank. For this reason, only one male can be kept in a tank. Usually more than one female can be kept peacefully together though.

Siamese Fighting Fish only live 2 to 3 years and are therefore not a long-term commitment. As I stated before, they require minimal care and maintenance. They only reach up to 2.5 inches and do not need a large aquarium space. Belonging to the Labyrinth Fish family, they have a special “labyrinth organ.” This organ allows them to live in waters with less oxygen for short periods of time. Another Labyrinth Fish is the Dwarf Gourami which I recently wrote about in December. Because of this Bettas can live in as small as a 3 gallon tank, but would appreciate more room if you can spare it! Also, if you plan to keep more than one fish you should provide a larger aquarium. They don’t need any special lighting or water movement and can be kept in comfortable room temperature water. Bettas are carnivores and should be fed a typical fish flake or pellet. Feel free to give them small amounts of food several times a day.

The Siamese Fighting Fish is a good social fish under most circumstances. You will only want to keep one male per tank, but can keep several females together if you wish and the tank is large enough. They generally get along well with most other community type fish, although you will want to make sure nobody is getting picked on and that everybody has plenty of hiding places.

Breeding Siamese Fighting Fish is both simple and difficult. By putting a male and a female together, you will almost certainly have mating going on. They male builds a “bubble nest” like most other Labyrinth Fish. The eggs are spawned in the bubble nest and the fry will hatch there. Once the eggs are hatched, keeping them alive becomes much more difficult. Males will often attack the young and infection in the babies is high. For more information on how to breed successfully, read here on Breeding Labyrinth Fish.

Most of you have probably owned a Betta or two in your lifetime. If not, and you are interested in an easy fish to keep, definitely think about keeping the Siamese Fighting Fish!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

A New Arrival on Animal-World: The Daffodil Cichlid

March 6, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Daffodil CichlidDaffodil Cichlid
“So you need a reliable algae cleaner? Look no further than me! I can get the job done!”

The Daffodil Cichlid is a hardy and awesome looking Tanganyika Cichlids!

The Daffodil Cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher (previously Lamprologus pulcher) has many good qualities that people look for when keeping fish. They are African Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika and are very hardy fish. They are beautiful and graceful looking. Their coloring includes a light tan body and a yellowish fins with blue tips. The tail is lyre shaped and all the fins extend into flowing long filaments. They have blue eyes with two crescent shapes right behind them. Other names this cichlid are known by are the Daffodil Princess, the Daffodil II, and the Princess of Zambia.

The Daffodil Cichlid looks extremely similar to the Fairy Cichlid Neolamprologus brichardi, which is a close relative. The main difference is that the Fairy Cichlid has a black stripe running between its eye and gill with a yellow spot above it. The Fairy Cichlid fins are also more gray than the Daffodil Cichlid. The Daffodil Cichlid has more yellowish fins and has the crescent shapes mentioned above.

These cichlids often swim in schools and it is quite beautiful when you see a school moving through the water. Aside from it’s beautiful appearance, these are great cichlids for both beginners and advanced keepers. They adapt readily to new environments and are somewhat easy to care for. The most important consideration is to make sure they have a large enough aquarium and have appropriate companions. Daffodil cichlids eat many different kinds of foods and aren’t too picky about their water conditions. They do like to hide and so providing plenty of rocks with a sand substrate is a good idea… Read More

More on The Daffodil Cichlid!

A New Fish On Animal-World: The Bristlenose Catfish

February 13, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Bristlenose CatfishBristlenose Catfish
“So you need a reliable algae cleaner? Look no further than me! I can get the job done!”

If you want an interesting looking catfish, the Bristlenose Catfish is the way to go!

Being very good tank cleaners, Bristlenose Catfish Ancistrus cirrhosus are very good at disguising themselves in the aquarium. They often blend in completely and can sit still without moving for hours at a time. It has often led fish owners to wondering if their catfish is even still alive! It can be very difficult to find and see them. Bristlenose Catfish are unique in their appearance, with bristles on their noses (hence their name), which is part of their fish appeal for fish enthusiasts. Other names they are called include the Bristlenose Pleco, the Jumbie teta, and the Bushynose Catfish.

The Bristlenose Catfish is also a great addition to an aquarium because of their great ability to help keep the algae down. They suck along glass, cleaning any algae that has grown there. They have a good reputation of actually getting the job done! They are herbivores and algae is a good food for them. They also like eating off of wood, such as driftwood, bogwood, and mopani. This is because these are the types of surfaces they eat off of in the wild and are more natural for them. So keep some type of wood in their environment for their happiness and well-being as well as for decorative purposes! Algae will continue to replenish on the wood surfaces and will be a good source of on-going food for them.

The Bristlenose Catfish Ancistrus cirrhosus is one of the two most readily available catfish within the Ancistrini tribe of catfish. The other commonly available one is the Temminck’s Bristlenose A. temminckii. These catfish are good for smaller aquariums because they are much smaller than the popular Pleco or Plecostomus Hypostomus plecostomusRead More

More on The Bristlenose Catfish!

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Dwarf Gourami!

The Dwarf Gourami

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Dwarf Gourami!

You will often see Dwarf Gourami fish displayed at pet stores! They have brilliant colored bodies and stand out from many other fish. They are extremely popular among freshwater fish enthusiasts. The Dwarf Gourami Trichogaster lalius is also known as the Dwarf Banded Gourami because of their stripes or ‘bands’. Males are especially pretty – having very vibrant colors as well as a pointed dorsal fin.

There are several reasons why it is appealing to keep Dwarf Gouramis. Other than their beautiful neon colors, they also stay small once full-grown. They reach a maximum size of 2 inches and can be kept in smaller aquariums. They are quite hardy fish as well as a peaceful fish. They are good for beginner aquarists. They can be an ideal community fish and are more shy than aggressive. Many hybrid types of Dwarf Gourami’s have been developed as well. They come in many colors and varieties and are generally readily available. You can choose from any one of these types! A couple of these are the Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami and the Flame Dwarf Gourami.

Here is a cool fact about these guys! They are one of several labyrinth fish. The labyrinth fish have an organ which allows them to absorb oxygen directly into their bloodstreams They also create “bubble” nests during breeding. Dwarf Gouramis will go al out with their nests. They bring in plants, fibers, twigs, and other debris to help fill out their nests. Their eggs and fry are both lighter than water and the whole nest will float up to the surface of the water!

The Dwarf Gourami was first characterized in 1822 by a man named Hamilton. It has gone through several names. It was first described as Colisa lalia. In 1999 it was treated as part of the Polyacanthus genus. In 2009 it was changed to the current Trichogaster lalius. It’s homelands include the Far East, Assam, Bangladesh, west Bengal, and India. They tend to live in tropical areas with lots of vegetation. Some of the common rivers it inhabits are the Ganges River and the Baram River in Borneo.

Caring for Dwarf Gouramis is easy. They can be fed any number of flake foods, pellets foods, live foods, and fresh foods. Provide a flake or pellet food as the bulk of their nutrients and then offer small amounts of live bloodworms or brine shrimp. This will keep them healthy, happy, and thriving!

Set up an aquarium which provides a minimum of 5 gallons per gourami. That is a minimum however and they will do better with larger aquariums. They love lots of plants and hiding places, so this gives you the go-ahead to decorate as much as you want! There is a common misconception that gourami’s don’t need water changes due to their labyrinth organ. This is FALSE. They can and will develop toxin build-up and tissue degradation if they are not kept in a clean environment. You should change approximately 25% of their water on a weekly basis.

If you are a beginning fish owner, I highly recommend trying out the beautiful Dwarf Gourami! They should provide a good experience as your first fish! Not only are they beautiful and easy to care for, but there is such a wide range of hybrid dwarf gouramis to choose from! Have fun and good luck!

Read more on Animal-World’s Red Factor Canary page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

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