Caring For Your False Clownfish

Clown Fish, Public Domain

Clown Fish, Public Domain

False Clownfish Quick Care Facts:

Environment: Tropical 75 – 81°F (24 — 27°C)
pH: 8 to 8.4
KH: 8.0-11.0
Diet: Omnivorous
Breeding: Egg layers

The common clownfish, otherwise known as the false clownfish, the false percula clownfish,  anemonefish, and the ocellaris clownfish, is a very popular breed of saltwater fish. They are beloved for their distinctive colors and vivacious nature.

Aquarium Conditions

In order to feature an enticing environment for your clownfish, it is important to equip the aquarium with a wide variety of caves and corners for the fish to explore. They enjoy the comfort of being able to hide when they feel threatened. This species of fish also works well with reef aquariums, though general rock arrangements are recommended for beginners.

Feeding Recommendations

This species is recommended for new fish owners because they are very easy to feed. The false clownfish is omnivorous and can easily subsist on a wide variety of different foods, including most types of marine flakes. In order to promote the fish’s health, it is recommended to feed it a diet of algae and vegetable based matter along with protein rich food. Keeping algae in the tank can allow them to graze between meals.

Breeding Information

Unlike most saltwater fish, common clownfish are much easier to breed. Initially, all clownfish that are born are male. When paired with other fish, the larger and more dominant fish becomes the female. After matings, eggs are typically laid on a steady and flat surface, like a rock. When the fry hatch, they are much more sensitive to feeding needs than adult clownfish. They should be fed regularly every two to three hours but only very small amounts of food in order to prepare their bodies. They can usually be seperated from their parents after five to six weeks.

Possible Diseases

Much like any other type of fish, keeping the aquarium clean and carefully maintained can cut down on the risk of a lot of diseases. Clownfish are particularly susceptible to several different parasitic infections and fin rot. Symptoms are usually readily apparent and infected clownfish must be quarantined immediately in order to ensure that infections do not spread to other fish.

The Lionfish Care Guide

LionfishLionfish Quick Care Facts:

Environment: Tropical 72-82°F (22-28°C)
pH: 8.1 to 8.4
KH: 1.020 – 1.025
Diet: Carnivorous
Breeding: Egg layers

Lionfish are some of the most impressive aquarium fish around, growing up to 15 inches in length. They also carry an element of danger, as many of their spines are poisonous.

The Lionfish Environment

Large tanks are required for this tropical fish. They need plenty of space and are likely to eat other, smaller fish, even of the same species. The tanks should be at least 30 gallons, but much larger if you have a larger species. The dwarf fish will be fine in 30 gallons.

While lighting can be standard, lions do appreciate caves and lots of overhangs in the tank. They like to “perch” sometimes and will frequently hang out with their heads in crevices. Give them a nice substrate bottom to enjoy, as well.

The tank must be covered, as lions will jump out. Also, you should be aware that they produce a lot of waste, so require a heavy duty filtration system.

Feeding Your Lionfish

These are hunting fish and they prefer to feed at night. Adult fish only require feeding two or three times a week, while babies will need more regular food. You can give them small fish, shrimp and small pieces of frozen tuna or other fish. Only feed until you see a little bulge in the lion’s belly.

Breeding Lionfish

In the wild, these fish only group together when they are about to spawn. In both tank and sea, the males will become very aggressive and turn dark in color. The females become a lighter color.

The mating dance will occur if you leave the fish alone. The female will lay tubes of eggs which will hatch out into larvae in around 36 hours if they are fertilized by a male.

Common Lionfish Diseases

These fish are not likely to get sick, but they can be prone to bloat if they are fed large pieces of food. The food can putrefy in their gut, causing a buildup of gases.

The other disease that may find its way into your tank is Saltwater Fish Disease.

Guide To Keeping Betta Fish

BettaBetta Quick Care Facts

Environment: Warm Tropical (77-86°)
pH: 6.0 to 7.8
KH: 1.0 to 2.0
Diet: Primarily carnivorous but can eat some vegetables
Breeding: Egg layers

Home Aquarium Environment for Betta

Betta, or Siamese fighting fish are freshwater creatures so the water in a home aquarium must be replaced on a regular basis with clean water to prevent the salinity from rising. The water temperatures in the aquarium should be maintained at 25-30°C. Water pH and carbonate harness KH needs to be maintained at 6.0-8.0 and 1.0-2.0 respectively. You cannot keep more than one male betta in the same tank.

Betta fish need a lot of maintenance, even though they can breath surface air on their own using their labyrinth. Poor maintenance may increase the toxicity level of the water and make it uninhabitable.

Bettas grow to an average length of 7 centimeters, the fins included. They have large, brightly colored flowing fins. However, wild bettas have a dull green color while others are grayish. This is largely due to selective breeding of domesticated bettas.

Feeding Bettas

Bettas are largely carnivores. However, they can still eat vegetable matter. For a balanced diet, feed your fish with betta fish pellets, fish flakes, live bloodworms, brine shrimp and frozen dried foods among other types of foods. Be sure to feed them on a daily basis.

Breeding Bettas

Male bettas are usually responsible for building bubble nests. When interested in a female, the males usually twist their bodies, flare their grills and spread their fins. In response, the females usually curve their bodies back and forth, and darken their color. During spawning, the female can release 10 to 40 eggs each time. Fertilization takes place externally as the male releases milt into the water. Incubation takes two to three days, after which fish larvae are produced. They usually spend up to three days in the nest before they can start swimming freely in the water. Sexual maturity is attained after four months.

Betta Diseases

In addition to physical injury, there are many diseases that can affect your bettas. They include fin rot, popeye, gill hyperplasia, constipation and parasite irritation among others. Be sure to replace the water regularly to deal with some of these problems. Also have an appropriate fish antibiotic and anti-parasitic medium around the house at all times.

Caring For Your Discus

Junge DiskusfischeDiscus Quick Care Facts:

Environment: Tropical 80 – 86°F (27 – 30°C)
pH: 7.0
KH: 8.0
Diet: Omnivorous
Breeding: Egg layers
Discus are a breed of fish from the cichlid genus. They are native to the Amazon River basin and are widely known for their bright, flashy colors and easy to recognize shape.

Proper aquarium environment for the discus

When properly taken care of, discus fish can live between ten and eighteen years. It is important to keep the temperature inside of the aquarium above twenty seven degrees Celsius, with soft water, as the fish may become weak and frail in acidic water. This means that checking the pH level daily is crucial to the survival of these fish. While many owners enjoy decorating aquariums, discus are one of the few type of fish that fare best in an open environment, with few additions set in the aquarium.

Feeding your discus

Discus fish are an omnivorous breed, though they require higher amounts of protein than other breeds in order to effectively promote their health. Different breeders may swear by different diets, including single source foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp. In order to make sure that the fish are getting the appropriate amounts of nutrition, it is recommended for owners to feed them a combination of dry and frozen foods.

Discus breeding

Discus fish need to be kept in a spacious aquarium in order to encourage them to breed. Keep the water temperature and acidity at optimal levels and keep your eyes open for activity, because once laid, eggs will typically hatch in two days. Once the fry are born, keep them in the same tank as their parents. After three weeks, feed them brine shrimp, and after six weeks, it is safe to separate them from their parents.

Diseases to look out for in your discus

As with any breed of fish, it is important to keep the aquarium safe and clean. Discus are susceptible to diseases such as flagellates, tapeworms, general skin and gill parasites, and eye problems such as cloudiness and popeye (exophthalmial). Additionally, they may be susceptible to fin rot and abnormal swimming if the appropriate temperature and acidity conditions in the water are not met and maintained regularly.

Neon Tetras Care Guide

Neon Tetra Quick Care Facts:
Environment: Tropical 70-81°F (21–27°C)
pH:  6.0 to 7.8
KH:  1.0-2.0
Diet: Omnivorous
Breeding: Egg layers

Ah the neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi). My first fish. Who doesn’t like seeing a cloud of these little silver and red fish swimming slowly around the tank… until feeding time of course, then it’s every fish for himself.

General neon tetras environment

They can live up to five years or so in the home aquarium. Speaking of a home aquarium it’s best if the tank is 24 inches (60 cm) long or more. As a tropical fish you want to keep the temperature of the aquarium between 70-81°F (21–27°C) and a pH range of 6.0 to 7.8. If you test for KH then you want to keep it around 1.0-2.0.

Neons are a timid fish and best not kept with more aggressive fish, or large fish that will eat them. Also they are a schooling fish and do best in groups of six or more. They feed mainly around the mid-tank level so you want to keep that in mind when feeding them with top tank feeders.

If you have a heavily planted aquarium with subdued lighting then you have neon tetra heaven… or something like that. Other compatible fish companions are other tetras and guppies. Nothing too big, nothing too small… though I’m curious to see what you’d come up with for smaller than a neon. 🙂 In reality they can grow up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) but it’s always the smaller ones that are the cutest… for a fish anyhow.

Feeding your neons

Neon tetras are omnivores and will eat flake foods, but make sure the flakes are small enough, so crunch them up with your fingers if not. Also to supplement their diet consider adding things like brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms (freeze-dried or frozen), tubifex worms or even tropical sinking pellets. Rumor has it that the tropical sinking pellets have natural color enhancers that will bring out the color in neon tetras, however I do not have confirmation on that.

Breeding your neons

Males tend to be more slender and their blue line is straighter than the females. Females are rounder which produces a bent blue line. It is possible that some roundness can be from overeating, so don’t feed them too much.

I personally have never tried to breed neon tetras, however what I am told is that you typically put them in a breeding tank with no light and gradually increase the lighting until spawning occurs. Mosquito larvae makes for a nice romantic dinner and keep the hardness of the water to less than 4 dGH. The adults can breed every two weeks or so, provided the environment is right.

Some people have recommended letting the nitrates rise then doing an 50% water change to simulate the fresh rain tetras get in the wild. I don’t know if that matters to tank raised neons or not. Remove the eggs as soon as they are laid otherwise the parents will be having sushi for dinner when the fry hatch. The eggs will hatch within 24 hours and are sensitive to light. Feed the fry infusoria such as rotifers and egg yolk for one to four weeks and then switch to brine shrimp nauplii, shaved cattle liver and formulated diets.

The fry should get their colors in about a month or so.

Neon Tetra diseases

There is a disease called Neon Tetra Disease (NTD) which is caused by Pleistophora hyphessobryconis. Though a well known condition it is not curable and is fatal. Neons can get it by eating microsporidian parasite spores from live foods such as tubifex, or from infected material such as dead fish.

Symptoms include restlessness, loss of coloration (which can also be caused by stress), lumps on the body as cysts develope, trouble swimming, curved spines and secondary infections like fin rot and bloating.

There is also a false neon disease which is a bacterial infection that shows similar symptoms. It’s impossible for the home aquarist to tell the difference from the symptoms. This disease has also been confused with columnaris which is better known as mouth rot or mouth fungus.

There is no known cure, as I said, so really the only thing you can do is remove the poor little neon before it infects others. Also try to find a tank filter that will reduce the amount of free parasites in the water, such as a diatom filter.

Ready For Fish

Ready for Fish

Or so I thought

  • Editors Note: This post was updated 04/16/2012 and added a picture of the author’s own 10 gallon tank instead of the stock picture that was there.
  • Whether I was actually ready for fish sort of depends on your particular definition of “ready”. A lot of stuff has happened since I last wrote, I went through many ‘changed my mind’ moments, rethought through things, spent money I needed to, wasted money I shouldn’t have because I was in too much of a rush, and had a couple of humbling moments where I had to stop and admit that I don’t remember as much as I used to know and that I needed to take the time to “relearn”.

    Because relearning things is not beneath me, except in my own selfish pride/ego/whatever.

    My Christmas gift

    One of the things that’s changed is that on Christmas, I was given a 2 Gallon Fluval SPEC Desktop Glass Aquarium

    2 Gallon Fluval Spec Desktop Aquarium

    2 Gallon Fluval Spec Desktop Aquarium

    A closer look at what was inside it at the time:

    Closer look at the Fluval Spec

    Closer look at the Fluval Spec

    The nice thing about the Fluval is that it (like many others) is all built in (minus a heater) and it uses LEDs for lighting.

    I keep mine about 76 degrees Fahrenheit so evaporation happens quickly.

    My mistake

    I replaced both the betta bowl and the fish bowl with a Aqueon 17755 10 Deluxe Kit Aquarium.

    Or at least I would have if I had exercised one iota of sense. No, instead I bought just a tank, then added everything else little by little.

    My 10 Gallon Tank

    My 10 Gallon Tank

    This is what was in my tank.

    What a mistake that was. I should have not been in a rush and just saved up the cash. I still need a hood

    Now the hood I showed you up there is a nice little florescent hood, but I’m thinking about maybe just a glass or plastic cover and a LED light strip like the Marineland LED Aquarium Light

    Anyway, my apologies for making this look more like a sales catalog than a post, but if you need any of that stuff, those are the links that will take you there.

    Like I said, I changed a bunch of stuff around and I’ll tell you about that next time.

    – Jeffery

    It’s a small, small world

    It’s a small, small world

    Or so the song goes, but for my fish tank, it’s gonna be a small world.   “How small?”, you might ask.

    This small

    A 2 gallon fish bowl.  Maybe 2.5 if I fill it all the way to the top.

    This is the bowl that was at the house. Remember, I don’t have an aquarium, stand, test chemicals, etc.  So I’m looking to do an entire setup on very little money.  This fish bowl was generously(?) donated to the cause.  Well okay, I was told I could use it when I asked if I could have it.  That’s pretty close, right?

    What do you keep in a drop of water?

    Crushed dreams mainly.  On a serious note, I started to think of all what I could do with it.  The majority of what I would normally keep pretty much went out the window.  Not daunted by the task, I started giving it some serious thought.

    If you’re new to the hobby, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.  Well, when it comes to fish tanks, smaller is not better, bigger is.  Often people want to start out small, see how they like it first and then take the plunge.  That’s a great theory, and works for a lot of things, but not fish.

    A bigger tank takes less work and is more forgiving of errors.  Think of it this way: if you put two drops of food coloring in a typical mug of water (about 12 ounces) and two drops of the same food coloring in a 5 gallon bucket of water, which one would you notice the color change in?

    The mug of course.

    For contaminates, or adding too much of a chemical, or temperature change (like in winter when you may lose heat), the small tanks will be affected first, while the larger tanks are buffered against the changes for an extended period of time (in a temperature change) or a much smaller, less costly loss of fish (with contaminates or chemicals).

    Yes, bigger tanks are much more costly to set up and sometimes maintain (depending on what you have in them), but compared to the amount of money you could lose to a mistake, carelessness, or ignorance, the extra buffering power is well worth it.

    That being said, nano reefs (very small reef setups) are fairly popular.  I had one in a 10 gallon tank for a while.  But really, unless you are experienced, you’re better off going as big as you can (within reason of course).

    Not quite what I meant by a ‘nano reef’

    It looks bigger than it is.

    So one of the first things I thought of was, Sea Moneys.  Seriously.  If you’ve never heard of them they are a hybrid brine shrimp that can still be found in some stores with fanciful creatures drawn on the packages that look nothing like brine shrimp, hybrid or not.

    Sparing you the math, for a two gallon aquarium it would take 21.3333 packets of water conditioner (included in the kit).  That’s a whole lot of money for brine shrimp.  They supposedly are larger and live longer than plain old brine shrimp, however….

    In my next post, I’ll see if I can finish catching you up to where I’m actually at in my thoughts.


    – Jeffery

    Fish Breeding: My Ultimate Goal

    Fish Breeding: My Ultimate Goal

    Something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time is to get into fish breeding.  Well fish, invertebrate, and the favorite invertebrate: corals.

    Why fish breeding?

    Although there is the possibility of making a little extra cash (for a lot of work), mainly it’s because of the advantages of tank raised, farm bred animals.

    They are used to being in an aquarium environment, generally healthier, eat more of a variety of foods, disease and parasite free, and stress less because they never went from big ocean to little bitty tank (relatively speaking).

    Oh sure, depending on the aquarium keeper some of those things could not apply.  A careless, or inexperienced, person could do something to introduce a parasite or disease, or an aquarium pest that eats the livestock during the night.  But the careful person, who takes the proper time, steps, and educates themselves can avoid most if not all of that.

    The other thing that drives me in this is just in the devastation in the oceans.  Coral reefs are dying, collection methods can be harmful to either the reef or the fish they are capturing.  Tank raised may not only be a great way to reduce the environmental impact, but the day may come when tank raised may very well be all we have left.

    My personal feeling is that wild-caught should only happen on rare occasion to help keep the genetic diversity going in the captive bred system.  Every once in a while adding to the gene pool can be a good thing, but overall that shouldn’t be the norm.

    Feeding them

    Anyway, one of the biggest problems is feeding the little buggers.  They are SO picky.  I hadn’t quite decided what to start breeding first, but I thought about what to feed them.  Obviously live foods would be good (mandatory) and brine shrimp (Artemia) (newly hatched nauplii of course) is often what is fed.

    Brine shrimp trivia

    Did you know that brine shrimp do not live in the ocean?  I didn’t know that until I started researching live foods.  So how do those baby seahorses get all that nutritious brine shrimp in the wild?  Do they saddle up, grab the covered wagon and make the perilous journey from the ocean to the salt lakes where the shrimp are?  Then after giving birth and letting the young eat until they are old enough, they pack up camp and wagon train back to the ocean to live until the next mating season?

    I don’t think so.

    Though that would be awesome to watch.

    What they really eat

    So I started researching copepods, rotifers, and others.  These are more along the lines of the nutritious fare they’d get in the wild.  Of course I can’t afford to buy a steady supply of these critters at this point in time.  So what’s the alternative?  Give up you say?  HA!  No.  No my friends, I’m not that smart.

    What fish food eats

    I looked into raising my own.  Some of them eat other critters, many of them eat algae.  Yep, the very scourge of fish keepers everywhere is now what I would have to deliberately grow in order to raise the feedstock for my livestock.  Sounds more like fish ranching than fish breeding.

    So I looked into raising my own algae, to feed my own copepods, rotifers, and the other foods that aren’t coming to mind at the moment.  Not only are there several different types of algae, and each one of these little living fish snacks eat only certain kinds of algae (in the wild), but each algae has it’s own different requirements.

    So now I’m looking at several different tanks of algae for several different tanks of live foods for several different tanks of fish and invertebrate.  Oh my aching head.

    Why go to all the trouble?

    It’s not that I’m a control freak, but I want quality control.  After all, making sure that I have the foods they need, when they need it, regardless of how much cash I have in my pocket is beyond important, it will mean the difference between life or death for whatever I’m raising.

    And having the most nutritious foods makes for healthy livestock.  And it’s important that they not just survive, but thrive.

    So I’ve bounced around with various ideas, modified versions of ideas, thrown away and revived ideas, etc.  I need to start on the best possible path, not just the one that gives the fastest-yet-poorest results.

    I have other issues to overcome as well.  Like it’s been several years since I’ve been in an environment where I’ve been able to have an aquarium, so I no longer have any of my stuff from my reef-keeping days.

    I miss my 85 gallon tank.

    But those issues are for another post.

    – Jeffery

    So what’s going on here?

    What a crazy couple of years. I went back to school, got a divorce (not related to school), set this blog and a few others on autopilot.

    I don’t like autopilot for this blog.

    School is…er…somewhat done.

    And I’m taking back my blog.

    I don’t guarantee that this blog will be updated frequently, but that most of the posts will be mine.

    Ultimately I want to breed marine fish, corals, and invertabret.

    At the moment I don’t have anything set up, but my next post will cover what I do have (equipment) and what I’m thinking of doing.

    – Jeffery

    Setting Up Your Aquarium ~ Tank Selection

    There’s only so many ways to set up an aquarium. Some ways are very hard, if not life threatening, for the fish and other ways are much more gentle with greater chances of success.

    One of the first things that must be decided is how big of fish tank someone is going to have. Many people want to start with a small tank and see if they can learn how to do it right before purchasing a large tank.

    Though this sounds reasonable, it is actually a bad idea. A smaller tank has less water volume than a larger tank does and though that may seem obvious, a person often is not thinking about how a large volume of water is a good thing.

    If a person set up a glass of water and a bucket of water and added three drops of food coloring to each, the water in the cup will change colors, but you won’t notice any difference in the bucket of water. It’s the same way for the fish tanks. Any kind of change will be very noticeable in a small tank but may not show up at all in a large tank.

    A change in temperature affects a small tank very quickly whereas a larger tank will barely notice. Adding the necessary chemicals to adjust the pH of the water in a small tank can be disastrous if a mistake is made, but a larger tank will lessen the damage.

    A person needs to get the largest aquarium they can comfortably fit. Another thing that needs to be considered as part of that fit is making sure you have enough room on the sides and back of the tank for the cords and accessories. There needs to be enough room to get in and clean it as well.

    The choice of stands is not quite as critical and the style is more open to a person’s taste and budget. The stand needs to be made for that sized aquarium, but whether it comes as a cabinet with doors to hide the supplies and equipment, or is in the classic frame style is up to the purchaser.