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Clown Loach
5 likes Loaches
(Chromobotia macracanthus) Moderate Peaceful 16" 75 gallons 76-86° F, KH 8-12, pH 6.0-7.5 Omnivore Indonesia, Borneo, Sumatra Cobitidae Loaches Large-Bottom-Dweller The Clown Loach is common within the aquarium trade, as it is available from most all local fish stores and online retailers. However, the Clown Loach is also a commonly misunderstood species as many hobbyists do not realize the size it attains or the natural environment that it comes from. Clown Loaches get big, easily exceeding 12 inches in length and commonly reaching upwards of 16 inches. They also prefer to live in groups both in the wild and in the aquarium, thus an aquarium with a group of 12 to 16 inch fish needs to be quite large. Secondly, Clown Loaches come from fast flowing streams and rivers that have abundant current and excellent water conditions. Many aquarium hobbyists add Clown Loaches to aquariums that do not contain much water current and with water conditions that are good, but not great. It is because of this lack of understanding of the needs of the Clown Loach that many do not do well in aquarium environments that are not well suited for their needs. However, if you have a very large aquarium with strong water flow and an efficient filtration system capable of keeping the aquarium water low in nitrate and dissolved nutrients, Clown Loaches do make an excellent aquarium species that can be kept with a wide variety of community, semi-aggressive and even most of the aggressive fish species. This species will require a larger aquarium that can accommodate their large adult size and provide them ample swimming room. Strong filtration is needed to process the large bio-loads produced by a larger fish species and to keep the water quality as pristine as possible. The substrate should ideally consist of softer material like sand or small pebbles in order not to scratch or irritate the Clown Loaches stomach as it moves about the bottom of the tank. Ideally the lighting should be somewhat subdued or at least not extremely bright as Clown Loaches are typically more active at night in the wild and often inhabit dimly lit underwater caves. Aquariums housing Clown Loaches should ideally contain some driftwood, rocky caves or low light plants to provide a natural setting and provide a sense of security for the fish if they feel threatened. Clown Loaches are sensitive to poor water conditions, very bright lighting, cooler water temperatures and large fluctuations in water temperature, all of which can cause them to become stressed and more prone to diseases like ich or other parasites. Clown Loaches will eat a wide variety of foods including scavenged meals from the aquarium substrate. However, it is best to feed younger specimens multiple smaller meals throughout the day consisting of quality foods designed for freshwater fish species or made up of items that the Clown Loach would feed on in their native habitat. Some good options commonly available to most hobbyists include: freeze-dried, flake and pellet foods made from meaty foods or plant matter, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, etc; manufactured sinking wafers (algae, carnivore wafers...), fresh or blanched vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini or lightly boiled peas. Larger Clown Loaches can be slightly more picky in their eating habits and will appreciate chopped prawns or similar large meaty items fed a couple of times per day.
Florida Gar
4 likes Gar
(Lepisosteus platyrhincus) Moderate Semi-aggressive 34" 180 gallons 68-84° F, KH 8-20, pH 6.5-7.8 Carnivore USA, Florida, Georgia Lepisosteidae Gar Ancient-Fish Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) are found in both Georgia and Florida in the southeastern United States. Their natural habitat consists of streams, river drainage ditches, lowland streams, canals and lakes. They prefer calmer waters with plenty of vegetation and floating sticks and other debris. Florida Gar are typically found in areas with shallow calm water, dense vegetation and sandy or muddy substrates, as this environment is ideal for ambushing prey. Florida Gar are often confused with Spotted Gars, but are distinguishable from each other primarily by their snout length. The distance from the front of the eye to the back of the gill cover is less than 2/3 the length of the snout in the Florida Gar, while it is more than 2/3 of the length in the Spotted Gar. Also the Florida gar lacks bony scales on the throat area. The elongated snout with the nostrils located at the tip is an ideal adaption for the Florida Gar as it allows them to float motionless at the waters surface to mimic a stick floating in the water. Since they can breath with either their gills or a special lung like air bladder the gar can survive in hot, stagnant waters that might not have sufficient oxygen for most other species of fish. Florida Gar will appreciate an aquarium with a habitat similar to their native habitat. Ideally the aquarium should have low to medium water currents, plenty of vegetation and a sand or mixed sand and gravel substrate. Lighting is not critical, but they will appreciate areas of the aquarium with filtered lighting either by floating plants or tree root. Young Florida Gar can be raised up in smaller tanks like a 55 or 75 gallon and then transferred to a larger aquarium as they grow. Adult specimens living in an aquarium will reach somewhere between 24 to 36 inches in length, which means that a 180 gallon aquarium should be considered an absolute minimum tank size for this species. Ideally they should be kept in an aquarium somewhere between 300 to 450 gallons with a wide long foot print and shallow depth. The Florida Gar is not aggressive towards other large fish that it does not see as food, thus their tank mates should consist of other large fish species with a peaceful to semi-aggressive temperament. Florida Gar will most often not fair well in aquariums with very large aggressive Cichlid species like Peacock Bass, Flowerhorns or Managuense as they cannot compete with these ultra aggressive fast swimming species. In the wild young Florida Gar feed mostly on insect larvae and small fish, while adults prey on fish, crustaceans and larger insects. Florida Gar are ambush predators that will float silently near the water surface disguised as a stick or log waiting for unsuspecting prey to get too close and then they snap their head sideways and grab the prey with their sharp teeth. They will need to be fed a variety of meaty foods like fish, prawn, shrimp or crickets in the home aquarium. Hobbyists may find that it takes some time before this ambush predator will adjust to aquarium feedings, but they have strong appetites and with a little persistence should be able to adjust to aquarium life. Florida Gar have strong appetites and grow quickly; therefore, their growth rate and food intake should be monitored closely at first in order to determine the ideal amount of food and feeding frequency to keep them healthy and control their growth. A good starting point would be to feed them 2 to 3 small meals 6 days a week, while monitoring their overall girth until a feeding regime can be established. Florida gar spawn mostly during the months of April and May, but spawning occasionally lasts into the late summer months. The female spawns by distributing her adhesive eggs in shallow pools, weedy backwaters, or shallow areas near the bank river bank. The eggs are greenish-colored and are fertilized by two or more attending males. The newly hatched larva has an adhesive disc on the front of the blunt snout, which it uses to attach itself to gravel or vegetation. The larva remains attached until reaching an approximate length of about 1 inch. As a juvenile, the gar has a fragile fin that extends along the upper edge of the tail and vibrates constantly. The fin is lost during the first year of life. The young grow rapidly feeding on zooplankton and tiny crustaceans that they find in the substrate near the waters edge.
Golden Sailfin Molly
3 likes Mollies
(Poecilia latipinna) Moderate Peaceful 4" 20 gallons 70-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.5 Omnivore North America Poeciliidae Mollies Community The Golden Sailfin Molly is a peaceful and flexible fish species that originates from coastal areas of North America. They are generally found in brackish environments including coastal marshes, streams, swamps and ponds. Golden Sailfin Mollies are somewhat unique in their ability to live in both freshwater and saltwater if acclimated slowly over time. Their coastal brackish home waters have very hard water, so they should be provided with a teaspoon of salt per gallon added to their freshwater environment to provide them optimal conditions. Golden Sailfin Mollies are known for both their brilliant orange coloration and their prolific breeding habits that have mated pairs spawning roughly every 45 to 60 days. Overall a great fish for beginning hobbyists and more advanced hobbyists who are looking for an active swimming fish with a striking orange coloration. Golden Sailfin Mollies should be kept in a tropical community aquarium setup with warm water temperatures (78 to 82) and plenty of live plants. While they are a very hardy species that can adapt to a range of environments, Golden Sailfin Mollies prefer hard water with lots of vegetation. A teaspoon of salt per gallon is recommended for community aquariums housing Mollies and is beneficial to other community species as it helps to prevent ich and some other common diseases. Overall Golden Sailfin Mollyies are very peaceful and can easily coexist with just about any freshwater community species. To prevent unwanted babies many aquarists keep either males or females in their aquarium. Male Mollies can be distinguished by their larger top fins and more narrow elongated anal fins, while the females have finnage which is more rounded and blunt. However, if a mix of females and males are kept together in a community aquarium environment most of the babies will be eaten by the Molly parents and other tankmates which will keep their numbers in check. The Golden Sailfin Molly is very easy to feed, as it will readily accept a wide variety of meaty and plant based foods. It is best to provide them with both vegetable matter, algae and meaty items. Despite being an omnivore, the Mollies diet should consist of more plant material than meaty foods. This will more closely replicate their natural diet and allow for a longer lifespan. A varied diet will help maintain both the immune system and the overall health of the fish. Golden Sailfin Mollies will accept flake, freeze dried and frozen foods along with live foods and small pellets and wafers. In the case of the Golden Sailfin Molly, it is not about what conditions are needed for breeding or how to get them to breed as it how to get them to stop. Mollies in general (with the Golden Sailfin Molly being no exception) are very prolific breeders that if a male and female are present will breed in time. Distinguishing between male and female specimens is straight forward and can be done by sight. The males have genitalia in front of their anal fin and have a distinctly larger dorsal fin. Once breeding, a male/female pair of Golden Sailfin Mollies will birth young every 2 months or so. The babies should be promptly removed from the aquarium or provided a baby trap, as the parents will eat the young if they are left unprotected. Should the hobbyist aspire to breeding Mollies, and ideal breeding conditions for Mollies include a 30 gallon or larger aquarium, live plants including floating plants and an established algae growth.
Red Tapajos Pike
(Crenicichla sp. Tapajos Red) Moderate Semi-aggressive 14" 180 gallons 76-84° F; pH 5.5-7.0; dH 3-20 Carnivore Rio Tapajos, Brazil, Amazon Cichlidae Pikes Cichlid-New-World Red Tapajos Pike (Crenicichla sp. Tapajos Red) are fairly new to the aquarium hobby and are not fully described at this time. They are currently categorized scientifically as , but are often sold within the hobby as Tapajos Red Pike, Red Tapajos Pike or Tapajos I Pike. They are often confused with the Cobra Pike Crenicichla sp. Tapajos II, which while similar and originating from the same region, varies in coloration and pattern. They originate from the Rio Tapajos and surrounding tributaries of the northern Brazilian Amazon. The Tapajos river runs roughly 1200 miles from the mountainous interior of the continent through the humid and hot valleys and then into the Amazon River. The large volume of the river and the deep tropical valleys that it runs through both contribute to make the water temperature of the river very stable and warm all year round. Red Tapajos Pike have become accustomed to very warm waters with excellent water quality and stable water parameters. Hobbyists looking to keep this or other Amazonian river fish species need to maintain high quality water conditions in the aquarium with low levels of nitrates and high levels of dissolved oxygen. Ideally hobbyists should house the Red Tapajos Pike in an aquarium setup that emulates their natural river habitat. Despite growing a modest 12 to 14 inches in length, the Red Tapajos Pike is a fast swimmer that requires a large aquarium that will allow them room to swim. An aquarium that is at least 6 feet long and 2 feet in width or larger is ideal, as this will give the fish room to swim and allow for enough territory for the Pike and other fish species. If housed in a smaller aquarium, the Pike is much more likely to become overly territorial and aggressive towards any tank mates. When kept in a properly sized aquarium, the Red Tapajos Pike is not considered to be overly aggressive and can be housed with other large Cichlid species that will not fit into their mouths. However, they are often aggressive towards conspecifics or other similar Pike species. Larger Cichlid species, Rays, Plecos and large Catfish make good tank mates for Red Tapajos Pike in large aquariums (180 gallons or more). Provide a sandy, small gravel or mixed sand & gravel substrate, at least one large piece of driftwood (preferably with some sort of natural cave) along with several smaller pieces, possibly some rock structure, and a decent amount of live plants ranging in size from micro to large Amazon swords. Red Tapajos Pike Cichlids can tolerate the light intensity needed for the larger plants (around 3 watts per gallon), but does prefer to have shaded areas via floating vegetation or cave-like structures of driftwood or rock. They also require excellent water conditions and tend to thrive in the higher end of their temperature threshold near 84°F; they also tend to prefer a lower pH of approximately 5.5 to 6.0. Because they are large, fast, and powerful, they require adequate open space for hunting and swimming; because of this a 125 gallon minimum tank size is recommended for a single male or one male and one female. Provide plenty of water flow via power heads or filtration returns, along with excellent biological and mechanical filtration through the use of large canister filters or wet/dry sumps. Red Tapajos Pike Cichlids will often prefer to eat only live prey when first introduced into the aquarium environment. Fish are their main food source in their natural habitat, but once in the aquarium, they learn quickly and they also learn from other fish; they can be trained to accept a few other live foods (e.g., ghost shrimp and earthworms) and may eventually be trained to accept frozen or fresh, prepared meaty foods such as chopped krill, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, and chopped pieces of fish. Some specimens may eventually be trained to accept freeze-dried or other prepared food items, but it does not always work out. That is not too much of a problem as ghost shrimp and some of the other food items mentioned can be "gut-loaded" and vitamin-enriched in order to provide the Red Tapajos Pike with a varied and well balanced diet.
Pictus Catfish
3 likes Catfish
(Pimelodus pictus) Easy Peaceful 10" 75 gallons 75-81° F, pH 7.0-7.5 Omnivore South America Pimelodidae Catfish Community The Pictus cat is a most popular member of the large Pimelodidae family of catfish that originate from the warm waters throughout South America. They have been present within the aquarium hobby for decades and proven themselves to build both a very interesting species to keep, but one that does very well within the aquarium environment. They have become quite popular due to their bright silver coloration on their bodies combined with black spots and reticulations on their head, body and fins. Pictus Cats are best kept in small groups of 3 or more specimens in large soft water community aquariums with medium to large sized tank mates or with in New World Cichlid aquariums. Pictus Cats are considered a community species, as they are very peaceful towards other fish species as long as they are not too small in size (Ex. Neon Tetra). While the Pictus Cat will not show aggression towards other fish species, it will eat very small fishes like the Neon Tetra. Pictus Cats are active at night scavenging for food on or near the substrate and will readily consume very small fishes like Neon Tetra while they sleep. Therefore it is important to consider the adult size of 10" and keep this species with other suitably sized fish species. Pictus Cats are also very active swimmers that should be provided plenty of swimming room within the aquarium, along with some shaded areas like plants, driftwood or rock caves in which to escape the bright aquarium lighting. The ideal setup for the Pictus Cat would be a heavily planted soft water aquarium with filtered light creating shaded areas of the aquarium, along with natural caves formed by driftwood or rocks. In the wild they prefer to stay in small groups and would due very well in an aquarium of 125 gallons or more in size that could support a small group of 3 or 4 specimens. Pictus Cats also prefer a sandy substrate and moderate water currents that closely simulate their natural living conditions in forest covered streams throughout South America. Like most tropical catfish species, the Pictus Catfish is not a picky eater and will readily consume a wide variety of meaty foods. They will forage about the lower areas of the aquarium looking for any foodstuffs that have made their way to the aquarium substrate. Pictus Cats will also feed directly from the water column on a variety of foodstuffs including flake, frozen, pellets and small live foods. While they make good scavengers, the Pictus Cat should also be fed some sinking pellet type foods to make sure that they receive a complete nutritional diet. Pictus Catfish are an egg-laying species in which under suitable conditions the female will lay eggs that are then fertilized by the male. Breeders have found that obtaining the correct environment and conditions to induce breeding in the Pictus Catfish has been very difficult to reproduce, thus this species is considered very difficult to breed in an aquarium setting.
German Gold Ram
3 likes Rams
(Microgeophagus ramirezi) Expert Peaceful 3" 20 Gallons 76-84° F, KH 1-8, pH 5.0-6.8 Omnivore Farm raised, selective breeding Cichlidae Rams New World Cichlid Aquarium The German Gold Ram is a selectively bred variant of the common Wild Ram, in which breeders have accentuated the natural gold coloration. While Wild Rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) are endemic to the Orinoco River basin, in the savannas of Venezuela and Colombia in South America, the selectively bred German Gold Ram is raised in fish farms in Germany, Southeast Asia, Israel and North America. Their natural habitat is warm (25.5-29.5 °C, 78-85 °F), acidic (pH 4.5-6.8) with slow flowing waters, containing very few dissolved minerals, and ranging in color from clear to darkly stained with tannins. Wild Rams are typically found where cover from the heavily vegetated shoreline or fallen or submerged trees and tree roots provide them with shelter from larger predatory species, while offering plenty of feeding opportunities with micro-crustaceans and insect larvae. Juvenile specimens tend to be a little bit dull or transparent in color, but will quickly "color up" as they mature into adults. Since Rams have a relatively short natural life span of about 2 years, they mature from juveniles to adults rather quickly. The short lifespan of this species is also a factor when selecting individuals for purchase as the larger more colorful specimens tend to be older individuals. Older specimens also go through a form of menopause where they no will no longer spawn, thus hobbyists looking to breed need to select young specimens. German Gold Rams are generally considered to be an expert level only fish species due to their rather specific water parameter requirements. Wild Rams require soft acidic water with very stable pH and water temperatures; however, selectively bred farm raised species like the German Gold Ram are more flexible on water parameters. While farmed raised specimens are more tolerant of water parameters, they do require excellent water conditions. While their small size makes them suitable for smaller aquariums (20 gallons), it is generally easier to maintain more consistent water parameters in larger aquariums. They do best in groups of 5 to 10 individuals as opposed to a single specimen or a pair; however, an established or mated pair will also do well together. Keeping a group of Rams requires a reasonably sized aquarium (30 gallon plus) to properly support the group. Rams require excellent water quality with a low TDS (total dissolved solids), along with solid biological, mechanical and chemical filtration. High quality water conditions are usually achieved by using a canister filter, sump filter or high-end power filter that is sized for the next larger aquarium than the one being used to house the Rams. Weekly partial water changes are also good at keeping TDS low and overall water quality high. Rams are best housed in groups of 5 or more individuals, as they would live in social groups in the wild. While they are peaceful towards other tank mates, they fight amongst themselves to establish a group hierarchy. Larger groups of fish help to spread out their in-fighting, which makes it easier on the group as a whole. They prefer aquariums with a sand, gravel or mixed substrate, plenty of plants and driftwood. Rocks, live plants and driftwood also work to create territory within the aquarium so that individuals can establish their own space within the tank. As the German Gold Ram is a selectively bred farm raised species, they are very used to consuming commercially processed flake and pellet foods. They are generally considered aggressive feeders, who will eagerly swim to the aquarium glass as the hobbyist approaches in anticipation of being fed. As with most fish species, it is best to feed them a variety of food items in order to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system. Meaty flakes, mini-pellets, freeze-dried worms and frozen brine and mysis shrimp are ideal for German Blue Rams. They should be fed a couple times per day and amount that they will consume within five minutes. German Gold Rams once they are sexually mature will form monogamous pairs prior to any spawning activity. Generally the first signs of spawning activity is that the male Ram will aggressively keep any other male Rams away from his female and their preferred spawning location. In general the mated pair will become very intolerant of other Rams or similarly sized and shaped fish species in their desired spawning location. Typically Rams will spawn on flat rock surfaces, smooth flat wood surfaces or in small depressions that they will dig in the substrate. Like many Cichlids, Ram Cichlids practice bi-parental brood care, with both the male and the female playing roles in caring for the eggs and defending their spawning territory. They will typically produce a clutch of between 125 to 325 eggs, though larger clutches have been reported. The parents will watch over the eggs, defend against fish trying to eat the eggs and fan the eggs with their fins if they determine there is insufficient water flow or improper temperature near the nest. After about 40 to 48 hours, the eggs will hatch into larvae, who will not be free-swimming for approximately 5 days. After which the parents will escort the dense school of babies to areas of the aquarium to forage on micro fauna, insect larvae or other micro foods.
Platinum Angelfish
3 likes Anglefish
(Pterophyllum sp.) Easy Semi-aggressive 6" 30 gallons 75-82° F, KH 1-5, pH 5.8-7.0 Omnivore Amazon, South America Cichlidae Angelfish Community Platinum Angelfish (Pterophyllum sp.) were originally derived from wild Golden Angelfish both containing a particular recessive gene. Since the result of this was an extremely beautiful platinum Angelfish, breeders were quick to identify the suitable parent fish to begin to mass produce Platinum Angelfish for the aquarium trade. Platinum Angelfish exhibit a brilliant silver/white sheen with just the slightest hint of blue or green on their fins. Specimens available within the aquarium hobby trade will almost always be farm raised and selectively bred for the aquarium hobby. Wild Platinum Angelfish hail from the warm temperate waters of the Amazon basin in South America, where they are found in calm waterways and flood plains. Platinum Angels are found living in areas with losts of plants or tree roots, which they use for protection against larger fish species and as a place to hunt insect larvae and other foodstuffs. These days this species is more commonly tank bred in the United States and parts of Southern Asia, than collected from the wild. They have long been sought after in the aquarium hobby because of their brilliant coloration and long flowing fins. Their long fins mean that they should not be kept with fish species that will nip or tear their fins. In a small or medium sized aquarium the Platinum Angel is best kept in a mated pair, in larger aquariums they can be kept in groups of 6 or more individuals. Platinum Angelfish will do well in aquariums that are 30 gallons or larger and have plenty of plants and/or driftwood. As a group freshwater Angelfish are territorial and will squabble with one another until a dominant male is established. They can be kept singularly, in mated pairs or in medium sized groups of 6 or more. Contrary to popular belief, long finned species like the Platinum Angelfish can be kept with barbs and other "fin nipping" species. The key here is that the fin nipping species be kept in proper sized groups, so that they nip at each other instead of nipping at the Angelfish or other species that are not equipped for this type of behavior. Barbs and other fin nippers prefer to be kept in groups and their nipping at each other is normal behavior that will not hurt them at all; however, this behavior is too boisterous for many other fish species and damaging to long finned fish species. Angelfish in general require fairly constant water parameters and are less forgiving than many other freshwater community species towards fluctuations in pH or temperature. Like with most South American cichlid species, the Platinum Angelfish prefers soft, slightly acidic water with temperatures that stay between 79 and 83 degrees. Platinum Angelfish are omnivores and should be fed a variety of foods including meaty and vegetable based foods. They have a particular love for blood worms, tubifex worms and similar food items, but will readily consume flake, pellet and frozen foods. They should be fed about twice per day the amount of food that they will consume within 5 minutes. When housed in aquariums with many faster swimming fish species, it may be necessary to increase feedings to 3 times per day to make sure that the Angel is properly fed. Full grown Platinum Angels will prey on small fish species like small Neon Tetras, Mosquito Danios or pretty much any small species that will fit into their mouth. They generally wait until the aquarium lights are off for the night and hunt the small fish while they sleep, which makes them easy prey. Because they grow to be a fairly large fish, adult Platinum Angels are capable of eating small fish up to 1 inch in length.
Red Belly Pacu
3 likes Pacu
(Piaractus Brachypomus) Easy Semi-aggressive 42" 500 gallons 75-85° F, pH 5.0-7.0, dH 4-10 Omnivore Amazon Basin, South America Characidae Pacu Cichlid-New-World The Red Belly Pacu is one of the largest freshwater species that can be kept in a home aquarium. Originating in the Amazon Basin of South America, this huge cousin of the Piranha grows quickly and can weigh over 50 pounds. As juveniles the Red Belly Pacu almost perfectly mimics a Red Belly Piranha for defense, but once they are large enough, not many fish species will ever bother them. Although they have special requirements (a massive aquarium with strong filtration), if those requirements are met they are easy to care for and are a very hardy and long lived (20+ years) species that is readily available from both local and online retailers. Red Belly Pacus require and aquarium of 500 gallons (preferably much larger) as they will grow large and will do it quickly; they also need to be able to turn around and are much happier in groups (and anything less than 500 gallons would unlikely support more than one specimen). They prefer a sand to fine gravel substrate with several large pieces of driftwood and rock structures for shelter as well as soft, acidic, blackwater conditions. Live plants are usually out of the question because the Red Belly Pacus will generally devour them as the main part of their diet; although it has been said that they tend to stay away from Java Moss... perhaps floating Anacharis could be a tasty treat now and then. Strong and efficient filtration is a necessity to ensure good health and clean water due to the extremely large biological load this species will have on their environment; high-end (possibly custom), external biological and mechanical filtration (e.g., a sump-style wet/dry filter) will be needed and quality chemical filtration is also recommended. Red Belly Pacus are generally a gentle, peaceful species, but they can become territorial once they are older and much larger. They can be mixed with large cichlids, South American catfish, and various large Pleco species; some compatible tank mates could be Oscars, Arowana, Lima Shovelnose Catfish, Redtail Catfish, Tiger Shovelnose Catfish, L-234 Plecos, Polka Dot Lyre Tail Plecos, Sailfin Plecos, Geophagus altifrons, and Parrot Cichlids. Ultimately, tank mates will need to be chosen wisely and should at least be over 10"-12" as adults. Red Belly Pacus are omnivorous and will pretty much eat anything, but in their natural environment they mainly eat surface and aquatic insects as well as large amounts of vegetable matter. The main part of their diet focuses on vegetable matter as well as some small fruits (aquatic plants, broccoli, romaine lettuce, strawberries, etc.), but they will also eat meaty food items such as crickets, earthworms, bloodworms, and brine shrimp; they should also be fed quality pellet foods for both carnivores and herbivores alike. A variety of the foods mentioned will keep them happy and healthy.
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Silver Dollar
3 likes Tetras
(Metynnis sp.) Easy Peaceful 6" 30 gallons 75-82° F, KH 4-8, pH 5.0-7.0 Herbivore South America, Amazon, Captive bred Characidae Tetras Community The Silver Dollar (Metynnis sp.) fish is a South American species closely related to both Piranha and Pacu, and are native to same South American rivers, streams and tributaries. There a number of subspecies of Metynnis who vary in coloration and pattern based on their origins, some common species of Silver Dollar include: Silver dollar (Metynnis argenteus), Striped silver dollar (Metynnis fasciatus), Spotted silver dollar (Metynnis lippincottianus), Red-spot silver dollar (Metynnis luna), Speckled silver dollar (Metynnis maculatus), Black-barred silver dollar (Myleus schomburgkii) and Red hook silver dollar (Myloplus rubripinnis). They have been available within the aquarium hobby since the origins of the hobby, but have remained very popular due to their bright silver coloration, unique rounded body shape and their active schooling swim style. Silver Dollars prefer to swim in medium to large schools and are generally found in the middle to upper regions of the water column within the aquarium. Ideally they should be kept with a minimum of six individuals, which will allow them to school and provide them a sense of security. In their native habitat Silver Dollars congregate in large schools of fish, where they swim throughout the heavily vegetated shorelines of the numerous streams and river tributaries of the Amazon basin and northern portions of South America in search of aquatic plant life and algae on which to feed. The slender disc like body of the Silver Dollar allows them to move easily throughout both the dense vegetation of the river shoreline and the stronger water currents found in deeper rivers and tributaries. While in nature their brilliant silver coloration and schooling are used as defense mechanism that helps them to avoid being eaten by predators, hobbyists covet Silver Dollars for the brilliant coloration and active swimming style, which looks amazing in aquarium environments ranging from Amazon biotope aquariums to tropical community aquariums. Like other South American fish species whom originate from river habitats, the Silver Dollar prefers warm, soft acidic to neutral water conditions, plenty of moderate or laminar water flow and low to moderate levels of nitrate. As an active swimming and schooling species, Silver Dollars will do best in aquariums that provide plenty of horizontal swimming space. They will also greatly appreciate aquarium decor that mimics their native environment, thus a tank with plenty of plants, either live or fake, combined with driftwood or wood root and open swimming areas will go a long way toward giving the Silver Dollar a comfortable and secure feeling aquarium environment. Additionally, hobbyists should really keep this species in groups of at least 5 individuals, as schooling species like the Silver Dollar do much better in groups as opposed to single individuals or pairs. Hobbyists looking to keep live plants with Silver Dollar fish will need to do some research on which plant species can be kept safely with this species without being consumed. Silver Dollars are known to readily consume many varieties of aquatic plant life and make short work of plants that they find appetizing. Their larger size allows them to be housed with a wide variety of tank mates including other peaceful community species, semi-aggressive community species and even many species of Cichlids as well. At an adult size of around six inches, the Silver Dollar will consume very small fish species like Ember Tetra or smaller Neon Tetra; however, they are not aggressive towards tank mates larger than these very small Tetra species. They can also be kept as dither fish in community Cichlid aquariums containing peaceful to semi-aggressive Cichlid species. The Silver Dollar is a herbivore as the majority of its diet in nature consists of plant material and algae. However, they will consume a variety of meaty items, insects and small crustaceans should the opportunity arise. Hobbyists should make sure that the majority of their diet is plant based in order to provide them with correct vitamins and minerals that they require for good health. It is best to feed a variety of flake, small pellet, freeze-dried or frozen food designed for freshwater herbivores, a couple times a day. Be careful when keeping Silver Dollars with live plants or very small fish like young Neon Tetra, as they will consume certain plants and fish small enough to fit in their mouths. Hobbyists interested in breeding Silver Dollars generally begin with a small group of juvenile fish, roughly 6 to 8 individuals. As the fish mature a male will generally establish himself as the dominant fish within the group and exhibit mating behavior towards a chosen female. This established pair can then be separated from the group and kept in a separate aquarium that is maintained with ideal breeding conditions, which include: warm 80 to 82° temperature, soft slightly acidic water (KH 4-8), dim or diffused lighting, vegetation (real or fake) and lastly a smooth rock, slate or submerged wood on which to lay eggs. Females will lay upwards of 1500 to 2000 eggs somewhere on the bottom of the tank or on piece of hard scape. They fry will hatch within three days and after approximately a week they will be free swimming and able to eat fine foods such as commercially prepared fry food, finely-crushed flake food or freshly-hatched brine shrimp. Silver Dollars are good about not eating their own eggs or fry, but can be removed once the eggs hatch as well, which should generally make it easier to raise the fry without having to also contend with larger adult fish.
Peppered Cory Cat
3 likes Cory Cats
(Corydoras paleatus) Easy Peaceful 3" 20 gallons 72-80° F, KH 2-12, pH 6.0-7.0 Omnivore South America, Amazon Callichthyidae Cory Cats Community Peppered Cory Cat's are native to the streams and tributaries of South America, where they can be found living along river banks and river beds. They spend the vast majority of their time dwelling about the river bottom looking for both meaty of plant foods that have made their way to the river bottom. The Peppered Cory Cat's coloration and pattern help it blend into the substrate, which helps the cory cat avoid larger predators. Peppered Cory Cat live in large social groups in the wild and prefer to live in groups within the aquarium environment as well. It is recommended to keep at least a small group of 4 or more cory cats in the aquarium to satisfy their social requirements. As is the case with all species in the genus, Cory Cats will regularly swim quickly to the surface for a gulp of air. The fish swallows the air, which blood vessels in the hind gut extract oxygen from; it is then expelled through the vent the next time the fish breaks the surface for another gulp of air. This adaptation is believed to have evolved so that the fish can survive in poorly-oxygenated water such as stagnant pools during the dry season. It is however essential to the fish's well-being that it regularly swallows air. Aquariums housing Peppered Cory Cat's should contain plenty of vegetation, areas of diffused lighting and a sandy or smooth gravel substrate. It is important to provide plenty areas within the aquarium that are shaded from the bright aquarium lights. They will absolutely appreciate the presence of lush vegetation, driftwood and rocky caves in order to provide them a tank that resembles their native habitat. Like all cory cat species, the Peppered Cory Cat will do much better when kept in social groups of at least 4 individuals of their own species or mixed with other cory cat species. While the Peppered Cory Cat will gladly scavenge the aquarium substrate for leftover foodstuffs and decaying plant material, they should also be provided sinking foods designed for bottom dwelling fish species. Peppered Cory Cat's are scavengers that need to eat a wide variety of foods that include both plant and meaty foods. In the aquarium environment the Peppered Cory Cat will readily accept a variety of meaty and vegetable matter foodstuffs including: flake, freeze-dried, frozen, live foods and pellets. This species is an excellent scavenger that will work to keep the aquarium substrate clean of excess foodstuffs and some decaying plant matter. While this species is an excellent scavenger, supplemental foods such as bloodworms, tubifex, flake food, or sinking carnivore pellets should be offered to ensure proper nutrition.