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Zebra Shovelnose
(Brachyplatystoma tigrinum) Moderate Semi-aggressive 24" 180 gallons 75-82° F, KH 5-12, pH 6.8-7.8 Omnivore South America, Peru, Colombia, Brazil Pimelodidae Large Catfish Large-Bottom-Dweller Zebra Shovelnose (Brachyplatystoma tigrinum) inhabit the fast flowing rivers found in the northern mountainous regions of South America, primarily in Colombia, Peru and Brazil. The Zebra Shovelnose has a flat nose and stream lined body, both of which are advantageous the fast flowing river habitats in which they live. Their native river habitat has very pristine water conditions and high levels of dissolved oxygen due to the fast flowing mountain waters. It is important to provide high levels of dissolved oxygen and brisk water currents in the aquarium in order to simulate this species natural habitat. Like most river species, Zebra Shovelnose Catfish are less tolerant of poor water conditions than fish species originating from lakes, ponds or flood plains. The Zebra Shovelnose is best suited for hobbyists with at least a few years experience keeping larger tropical fish species. A proper aquarium setup for housing Zebra Shovelnose should be based around a large aquarium of 180 gallons or more with plenty of open swimming area, some submerged root, smooth river rocks and a sand, fine gravel or mixed substrate. Water flow is also important as the Zebra Shovelnose (Brachyplatystoma tigrinum) is a native river species. In order to maintain the high water quality required by the Zebra Shovelnose, hobbyists should employ excellent mechanical and biological filtration along with frequent partial water changes. These partial water changes will export nitrates and other chemical buildups that occur in closed loop aquarium systems. Zebra Shovelnose are not overly aggressive, but will consume anything that will fit in their mouths. They do best when housed with mid to top level swimming fish species that will not compete with the Zebra Shovelnose for territory along the aquarium bottom. Lastly they should generally not be housed with other large Catfish due to the inevitable territorial battles that will occur. However, they can be kept with other catfish in very large aquariums (300 gallons or more) that are capable of providing enough territory for multiple catfish specimens. In the wild the Zebra Shovelnose feeds mostly on insects and amphibians that it takes from the river surface or near areas of overhanging or submerged tree roots. They are not picky eaters and will quickly adjust to feeding on a variety of commercial or prepared food sources. Hobbyists should feed a varied diet that consists of foods like commercial pellets/sticks, earthworms, lancefish, prawns, cockle, mussels, crickets and other similar meaty foods. It is best to feed a variety of foods in order to provide the fish a complete diet in terms of vitamins and minerals. A varied diet also helps to keep the Catfish from becoming too attached to a single food source and being reluctant to feed on other items. This of course leads to nutritional deficiencies which can lead to a weakened immune system and disease. Feed your specimens daily and as they mature begin to decrease their feedings to a few times per week based on the overall girth of the fish. Many Catfish kept in home aquariums overfeed and develop health problems due to their obesity.
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Giant Raphael Catfish
(Megalodoras uranoscopus) Moderate Semi-aggressive 18" 180 gallons 72-79° F, KH 0-25, pH 5.8-7.5 Omnivore Amazon, South America Doradidae Large Catfish Large-Bottom-Dweller Giant Raphael Catfish (Megalodoras uranoscopus) are a popular northern Amazonian catfish species that are found in a variety of slow moving streams and tributaries throughout Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. They are found within the aquarium hobby under a variety of common names including: Giant Raphael Catfish, Mother of Snails, Giant Talking Catfish, Megalodoras Catfish and Megalodoras uranoscopus. The Giant Raphael Catfish is also known for its ability to produce sounds by locking its spiny pectoral fins into their sockets and grinding them against the inner portion of the socket; as well as, resonating their swim bladder through the use of a muscle attached to the back of their skull which produces a deep clicking tone. Giant Raphael Catfish are well suited for hobbyists with large aquariums, as their docile nature makes them a good tank mate for a wide variety of larger tropical fish species and Cichlid species. As with other large Catfish and Cichlid species a large aquarium is needed to properly house Giant Raphael Catfish. With an adult size of around 18 inches and a preference for schooling with other Giant Raphael Catfish, a hobbyist will need an aquarium with at least an 8 foot length and 2 foot width in order to properly house adult fish of this size. Larger fish eat larger meals and produce more waste, which means that excellent biological and mechanical filtration is required to maintain good water quality. High end canister filters or wet/dry filters are recommended for aquariums housing large Catfish and Cichlid specimens. Due to the large size and strength of the Giant Raphael Catfish, aquarium decor like plants, driftwood and root structures should be well rooted or secured to prevent them from being moved or disturbed as the Giant Raphael Cat moves about the aquarium. A sand or mix sand/gravel substrate is recommended for this species; however, an all gravel substrate or no substrate at will work as well. With its large size and protective suit of armor the Giant Raphael Catfish is capable of being housed with even the most aggressive Cichlid species. Despite this fact, the Giant Raphael Catfish is actually a very peaceful species that will not bother tank mates unless they are extremely small and seen as a food item. They prefer to live in groups and prefer an aquarium habitat with a mix of submerged root and hardy plants. Dimly lit and moderate to low water currents will further replicate their native jungle stream habitat. Overall, they are a great addition to most any tropical Amazon aquarium setup whether with Cichlids, Rays, Cichla or even larger community fish species. The Giant Raphael Catfish is both an interesting looking specimen and provides a functional addition to the aquarium environment as a substrate scavenger. An omnivorous species, the Giant Raphael Catfish requires both meaty and plant based foods in its diet in order to maintain a healthy immune system. In their natural habitat they eat mostly snails and palm fruits that fall into the water ways in which they live. However, they will quickly and easily adjust to eating a wide variety of commercial aquarium foods and foods commonly fed to other aquarium fish. It is best to provide them a mix of sinking commercial pellet foods, worms, prawns, snails, blanched vegetables and vegetable wafer foods. They will scavenge the aquarium substrate and will take food directly during feedings. Hobbyists should watch the overall girth of the fish and feed accordingly. Begin by providing direct feedings 2 to 4 times per week, then adjust the frequency of feedings based on the growth rate and girth of the fish.
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Large Spot Stingray
(Potamotrygon falkneri) Moderate Semi-aggressive 18" 180 gallons 75 - 84° F, pH 6.0-7.0, KH 2-10 Carnivore Amazon, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina Potamotrygonidae Stingrays Large-Bottom-Dweller The Large Spot Stingray (Potamotrygon falkneri) is a very attractive species of South American Stingray that is found in the Rio Parana and Rio Paraguay basins and surrounding flood plains. Their territory stretches from Paraguay and Brazil in the north down to Argentina in the south. Their habitat is similar to that of other Potamotrygonidae as it inhabits the sand and mud river banks, shallows, slower moving river tributaries and nearby forest flood plains during the annual wet season. It is not uncommon for the Large Spot Stingray to end up in lakes and ponds that are formed by the receding flood waters. The Large Spot Stingray is considered a peaceful species towards other large predatory fish; however, they are top level predators in their native ecosystems who will prey on any fish, invertebrate or crustacean that is small enough to be consumed as food. Large Spot Stingray are moderately difficult to keep in the home aquarium; however, if some standard rules for caring for rays are closely adhered to the Large Spot Stingray should be reasonably easy to keep. Aquariums containing rays need to have very clean water that is low in dissolved solids and allows for consistent stable water parameters with minimal fluctuations in pH & nitrates, along with ammonia and nitrite that are kept at non-detectable levels. Strong mechanical, biological and chemical filtration will need to be supplemented by regular water changes in order to keep nitrate levels consistently low. Rays eat quite a bit and are a large bodied fish that will put out a size able amount of waste for the filtration system to keep up with. Therefore, a properly running filtration system will generate a good amount of nitrates in response to the heavy bio-load. Typically frequent water changes are used to keep nitrates low, but other methods like nitrate removing aquatic vegetation within a sump can also be used in conjunction with water changes to keep nitrates low. The aquarium decor should be designed with the ray in mind, which means a soft sandy substrate and a large amount of swimming room with minimal rock, wood and plant decor. Large Spot Stingrays can sometimes be difficult to begin eating when introduced into the aquarium. In this case it is best to substantial dim or turnoff the aquarium lights, then offer earthworms or black worms to help stimulate feeding. Once feeding, Large Spot Stingrays are known to be very aggressive feeders that will consume a large variety of meaty offerings. Part of successful ray husbandry is to house them with compatible tank mates that will not harm the ray or become an unwanted food source. Any fish species small enough to be consumed by the ray will at some point be eaten. Rays generally prey on fish while they sleep, enveloping and swallowing them while they are in a semi-conscious state. Good tank mates for Rays include larger Cichlid and Central/South American fish species that are semi-aggressive in nature and large enough to not become food for the Ray. Top water fish species like Arowana and Cichla are a natural fit to be housed with Rays as they inhabit a different area of the aquarium. In their native habitat Large Spot Stingray feed mostly on small fish, worms, crustaceans and aquatic invertebrates. They are adept at rooting prey out of the substrate and at using their large oval disc to capture small fish and crustaceans. The Large Spot Stingray has a very active metabolic rate that requires they be fed multiple times per day. It is especially important to get newly added aquariums specimens eating right away to ensure that they do not suffer from lack of nutrition. Live foods work best to get newly added or picky specimens eating right away. Live worms and feeder shrimp work best to stimulate the Rays appetite. Once they are settled into the aquarium environment and feeding on earth worms and feeder shrimp, they can then be weaned onto a diet of fresh or frozen dead alternatives. Hobbyists should ideally feed Large Spot Stingray 2 to 3 small meals per day, comprised of a variety of meaty foods including: earth worms, blood worms, glass shrimp, krill, mussels, cockles, prawns, squid, chopped fresh fish and other similar items. Rays should not be fed mammal flesh like chicken livers or beef heart as they have a difficult time metabolizing these types of food and they will develop unhealthy fat buildup and possible organ degeneration.
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Mottled Bichir
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(Polypterus weeksii) Moderate Semi-aggressive 22" 90 gallons 76-84° F, KH 1-12, pH 6.5-7.5 Carnivore West Africa Polypteridae Bichirs Large-Bottom-Dweller The Mottled Bichir (Polypterus weeksii) is a popular western African Bichir species known for its mild temperament and large head. While they are not aggressive towards other large fish species, their large head and corresponding mouth make them capable of eating surprising large fish. Tank mates should be carefully selected to make sure that they are large enough to not fit into the Mottled Bichirs mouth. Within the aquarium trade the Mottled Bichir is often sold under a variety of names including: Weeks Bichir, Fat-headed Bichir, Fathead Bichir and of course Mottled Bichir. They exhibit a distinctive color pattern of dark grey bands over a light grey body, with a whitish under belly. In the wild the Mottled Bichir can be found living in the rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes of western Africa, where they forage amongst the substrate for small fish, worms, crustaceans and similar meaty foods. They can grow upwards of 2 feet in length in the wild, but generally only grow to about 16 inches in the home aquarium. They are considered a semi-aggressive species since they will eat fish small enough to fit in their large mouths, but will not bother larger fish species. The majority of Mottled Bichirs available within the aquarium hobby are wild caught specimens; however, they do very well in the aquarium environment when provided proper water conditions and aquarium size. An ideal aquarium setup for an adult Mottled Bichir will have a foot print of 6 x 2 feet or larger, a soft sandy substrate and a mixture of smooth rocks, plants and driftwood. Due to the shape of the Mottled Bichir and its swimming habits it is important to provide an aquarium with plenty of depth and length; however, the height of the aquarium can vary quite a bit as it is less important. Being a nocturnal species, the Mottled Bichir will appreciate areas of the aquarium that are either not brightly lit or are shaded by vegetation or driftwood. Proper tank mates for the Mottled Bichir should be large enough to not be considered food (anything small enough to fit in their mouth), but not so aggressive that they will harass the Bichir. Most larger semi-aggressive African Cichlids and New World Cichlids to quite well with Bichir, along with large Knife fish, other Bichir species, Synodontis and Datnoides species. Moderate to advanced hobbyists should have no trouble keeping Bichir in their home aquarium, as they are a very hardy species that has been successful in nature for millions of years. The Mottled Bichir is a carnivorous species that will consume a variety of meaty foods both in the wild and the aquarium environment. Essentially the Mottled Bichir will see any other fish or invertebrate species in the aquarium that are small enough to fit in its mouth as food. However, in order to provide them the vitamins and minerals that they need to support a healthy immune system they should not be fed a diet solely of feeder fish. A good diet for the Mottled Bichir will have a variety of meaty foods including: earthworms, prawns, mussels, raw shrimp and various types of feeder fish like silver sides and lance fish. Some Bichir have been known to accept commercial meaty pellets and wafers, but generally they do best with live or frozen foods. They should generally be fed 1 to 2 times per day an amount of food that they will consume within 5 minutes. When first added to the aquarium, Bichir are more likely to feed with the aquarium lights off or dimmed as they are a nocturnal species. Being a nocturnal species with poor vision, the Mottled Bichir has developed an excellent sense of smell which they use to locate food in low lighting conditions. Feeding them with the aquarium lights off gives them an advantage over tank mates who use eyesight as a primary method of detecting food.
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Albino Senegal Bichir
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(Polypterus senegalus) Easy Semi-aggressive 18" 90 gallons 75-82° F, KH 5-12, pH 6.5-7.5 Carnivore Africa Polypteridae Bichirs Large-Bottom-Dweller Albino Senegal Bichir are selectively bred variants of the common Senegal Bichir. Senegal Bichir are widely distributed across Africa, where they can be found living in a variety of slow moving shallow waters including: swamps, marshes, lakes, estuaries and small tributaries. They can grow upwards of 18 inches in length in the wild, but generally only grow to about 12 inches in the home aquarium. They are considered a semi-aggressive species since they will eat fish small enough to fit in their mouths, but will not bother larger fish species. Albino Senegal Bichir are available within the aquarium hobby as farm raised specimens that do very well in the aquarium environment when provided proper water conditions and aquarium size. Bichir have several interesting adaptations, which include a divided swim bladder and primitive lung. These adaptations the fish to take in oxygen from the air, allowing it to survive out of water for some time, provided it is kept moist. Like other Ananbantoid species, they will actually drown if it is denied access to atmospheric air. Young bichirs even have amphibian-like external gills which are lost as the fish matures into adulthood. These adaptations along with their amphibian like behaviors of hiding during the day and hunting at night, exhibit a clear link between the modern bichir and amphibians. An ideal aquarium setup for an adult Albino Senegal Bichir will have a foot print of 6 x 2 feet or larger, a soft sandy substrate and a mixture of smooth rocks, plants and driftwood. Due to the shape of the Albino Senegal Bichir and its swimming habits it is important to provide an aquarium with plenty of depth and length, with the height of the aquarium being less important. As a nocturnal species, the Albino Senegal Bichir will appreciate areas of the aquarium that are either not brightly lit or are shaded by vegetation or driftwood. Proper tank mates for the Albino Senegal Bichir should be large enough to not be considered food (anything small enough to fit in their mouth), but not so aggressive that they will harass the Bichir. Albino Senegal Bichir are adept at finding their way out of aquariums and onto the floor, thus a tight-fitting aquarium cover is needed. They do well with other large semi-aggressive tank mates including larger South American and African Cichlids. They will not do well with aggressive Cichlids or Cichlid large enough to view the Bichir as a food item. In general, hobbyists should have no trouble keeping Bichir in their home aquarium, as they are a very hardy species that has been successful in nature for millions of years. The Albino Senegal Bichir is a carnivorous species that will consume a variety of meaty foods both in the wild and the aquarium environment. Essentially the it will see any other fish or invertebrate species in the aquarium that are small enough to fit in its mouth as food. However, in order to provide them the vitamins and minerals that they need to support a healthy immune system they should not be fed a diet solely of feeder fish. A good diet for the Albino Senegal Bichir will have a variety of meaty foods including: earthworms, prawns, mussels, raw shrimp and various types of feeder fish like silver sides and lance fish. Some Bichir have been known to accept commercial meaty pellets and wafers, but generally they do best with live or frozen foods. They should generally be fed 1 to 2 times per day an amount of food that they will consume within 5 minutes. When first added to the aquarium, Bichir are more likely to feed with the aquarium lights off or dimmed as they are a nocturnal species. Being a nocturnal species with poor vision, the Albino Senegal Bichir has developed an excellent sense of smell which they use to locate food in low lighting conditions. Feeding them with the aquarium lights off gives them an advantage over tank mates who use eyesight as a primary method of detecting food.
Senegal Bichir
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(Polypterus senegalus) Easy Semi-aggressive 18" 90 gallons 75-82° F, KH 5-12, pH 6.5-7.5 Carnivore Africa Polypteridae Bichirs Large-Bottom-Dweller Senegal Bichir are widely distributed across Africa, where they can be found living in a variety of slow moving shallow waters including: swamps, marshes, lakes, estuaries and small tributaries. They can grow upwards of 18 inches in length in the wild, but generally only grow to about 12 inches in the home aquarium. They are considered a semi-aggressive species since they will eat fish small enough to fit in their mouths, but will not bother larger fish species. The majority of Senegal Bichir available within the aquarium hobby are farm raised specimens that do very well in the aquarium environment when provided proper water conditions and aquarium size. Bichir have several interesting adaptations, which include a divided swim bladder and primitive lung. These adaptations the fish to take in oxygen from the air, allowing it to survive out of water for some time, provided it is kept moist. Like Ananbantoid species, they will actually drown if denied access to atmospheric air. Young bichirs even have amphibian-like external gills which are lost as the fish matures into adulthood. These adaptations along with their amphibian like behaviors of hiding during the day and hunting at night, exhibit a clear link between the modern bichir and amphibians. An ideal aquarium setup for an adult Senegal Bichir will have a foot print of 6 x 2 feet or larger, a soft sandy substrate and a mixture of smooth rocks, plants and driftwood. Due to the shape of the Senegal Bichir and its swimming habits it is important to provide an aquarium with plenty of depth and length, with the height of the aquarium being less important. As a nocturnal species, the Senegal Bichir will appreciate areas of the aquarium that are either not brightly lit or are shaded by vegetation or driftwood. Proper tank mates for the Senegal Bichir should be large enough to not be considered food (anything small enough to fit in their mouth), but not so aggressive that they will harass the Bichir. Senegal Bichir are adept at finding their way out of aquariums and onto the floor, thus a tight-fitting aquarium cover is needed. Senegal Bichir do well with other large semi-aggressive tank mates including larger South American and African Cichlids. They do not do well with aggressive Cichlids or Cichlid large enough to view the Bichir as a food item. In general, hobbyists should have no trouble keeping Bichir in their home aquarium, as they are a very hardy species that has been successful in nature for millions of years. The Senegal Bichir is a carnivorous species that will consume a variety of meaty foods both in the wild and the aquarium environment. Essentially the Senegal Bichir will see any other fish or invertebrate species in the aquarium that are small enough to fit in its mouth as food. However, in order to provide them the vitamins and minerals that they need to support a healthy immune system they should not be fed a diet solely of feeder fish. A good diet for the Senegal Bichir will have a variety of meaty foods including: earthworms, prawns, mussels, raw shrimp and various types of feeder fish like silver sides and lance fish. Some Bichir have been known to accept commercial meaty pellets and wafers, but generally they do best with live or frozen foods. They should generally be fed 1 to 2 times per day an amount of food that they will consume within 5 minutes. When first added to the aquarium, Bichir are more likely to feed with the aquarium lights off or dimmed as they are a nocturnal species. Being a nocturnal species with poor vision, the Senegal Bichir has developed an excellent sense of smell which they use to locate food in low lighting conditions. Feeding them with the aquarium lights off gives them an advantage over tank mates who use eyesight as a primary method of detecting food.
Ornate Bichir
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(Polypterus ornatipinnis) Moderate Semi-aggressive 24" 90 gallons 75-84° F, KH 1-12, pH 6.5-7.5 Carnivore Central Africa Polypteridae Bichirs Large-Bottom-Dweller Ornate Bichirs are arguable one of the most attractive species of Bichir available within the aquarium hobby. An adult specimen with its unique color pattern and large size can become the center piece of the aquarium. In the wild the Ornate Bichir can be found living in the rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes of Central Africa, where they forage amongst the substrate for small fish, worms, crustaceans and similar meaty foods. They can grow upwards of 2 feet in length in the wild, but generally only grow to about 18 inches in the home aquarium. They are considered a semi-aggressive species since they will eat fish small enough to fit in their mouths, but will not bother larger fish species. The majority of Ornate Bichirs available within the aquarium hobby are wild caught specimens; however, they do very well in the aquarium environment when provided proper water conditions and aquarium size. An ideal aquarium setup for an adult Ornate Bichir will have a foot print of 6 x 2 feet or larger, a soft sandy substrate and a mixture of smooth rocks, plants and driftwood. Due to the shape of the Ornate Bichir and its swimming habits it is important to provide an aquarium with plenty of depth and length; however, the height of the aquarium can vary quite a bit as it is less important. Being a nocturnal species, the Ornate Bichir will appreciate areas of the aquarium that are either not brightly lit or are shaded by vegetation or driftwood. Proper tank mates for the Ornate Bichir should be large enough to not be considered food (anything small enough to fit in their mouth), but not so aggressive that they will harass the Bichir. Most larger semi-aggressive African Cichlids and New World Cichlids to quite well with Bichir, along with large Knife fish, other Bichir species, Synodontis and Datnoides species. Moderate to advanced hobbyists should have no trouble keeping Bichir in their home aquarium, as they are a very hardy species that has been successful in nature for millions of years. The Ornate Bichir is a carnivorous species that will consume a variety of meaty foods both in the wild and the aquarium environment. Essentially the Ornate Bichir will see any other fish or invertebrate species in the aquarium that are small enough to fit in its mouth as food. However, in order to provide them the vitamins and minerals that they need to support a healthy immune system they should not be fed a diet solely of feeder fish. A good diet for the Ornate Bichir will have a variety of meaty foods including: earthworms, prawns, mussels, raw shrimp and various types of feeder fish like silver sides and lance fish. Some Bichir have been known to accept commercial meaty pellets and wafers, but generally they do best with live or frozen foods. They should generally be fed one or two times per day an amount of food that they will consume within 5 minutes. When first added to the aquarium, Bichir are more likely to feed with the aquarium lights off or dimmed as they are a nocturnal species. Being a nocturnal species with poor vision, the Ornate Bichir has developed an excellent sense of smell which they use to locate food in low lighting conditions. Feeding them with the aquarium lights off gives them an advantage over tank mates who use eyesight as a primary method of detecting food.
Giraffe Nosed Catfish
(Auchenoglanis occidentalis) Easy Peaceful 28" 220 gallons 72-80° F, KH 5-15, pH 6.0-7.8 Omnivore Africa Bagridae Large Catfish Large-Bottom-Dweller The Giraffe Nosed Catfish is a large African catfish species that is known as a "gentle giant" because of its peaceful disposition. While their peaceful nature makes them suitable tank mates for a wide variety of other fish, their large size means they are better suited to be housed with other large peaceful to semi-aggressive tank mates. They can grow upwards of 36 inches long in the wild, but tend to reach sizes between 20 to 28 inches in length within the aquarium environment. Their natural habitat extends throughout a massive range that includes much of Africa, which means that they have learned to adapt to a variety of water conditions. This adaptability also makes the Giraffe Nosed Catfish a good aquarium species for hobbyists with very large aquariums. At over 2 feet in length and with a large body mass, the Giraffe Nosed Catfish is still a very large fish that produces a lot of bio-load for aquarium filters to process. In the wild they are found living in very large rift lakes and large river systems whose large volume of water is able to properly support large fish species. In the home aquarium it is vitally important to provide a strong filter system capable of processing both the mechanical and biological filtration needs of such a large fish. Simply put the Giraffe Nosed Catfish is a very large fish that has all of the same needs as other large bottom dwelling species. First off they need to be housed in a large aquarium that will provide them with adequate swimming areas, places to seek cover when threatened and with a sufficiently large water volume to support their filtration needs. Giraffe Nosed Catfish prefers aquarium decors with a soft sandy substrate, areas with rock piles, large pieces of drift or bog wood and plenty of open swimming areas. Their large size makes plants and tall pieces of wood or other similar aquarium decor items impractical, as the Giraffe Nosed Catfish will knock them down or move them about the aquarium with its sheer bulk. Their natural habitat tends to be in murky waters that do not have bright lighting, thus they prefer similar conditions in the home aquarium with medium to low lighting conditions and moderate to low water flow. Filtration needs to be excellent in order to keep up with the bio-load produced by such a large specimen. The aquarium should be turned over approximately 6 to 10 times per hour with a filter containing excellent mechanical and biological performance. Large canister, bead, sand or wet/dry filters are ideal filtration options as they are well suited for breaking down large amounts of fish waste. While canister, sand and wet/dry filters are efficient biological filters, they produce large amounts of nitrates that will need to be removed from the closed aquarium system. The easiest way to lower nitrate levels is to perform partial water changes, where between 20 to 30 percent of the water is changed every 2 to 4 weeks depending on the overall biological load on the aquarium. The Giraffe Nosed Catfish is not a fussy eater and will readily consume a wide variety of meaty and vegetable based foods. They should be offered a varied diet to ensure that they receive a balanced diet of vitamins and minerals needed to support a healthy immune system. They can be fed a variety of commercial foods designed for large freshwater fish species, bottom dwellers and catfish, which typically include large pellets, wafers and frozen or freeze-dried pieces. Meaty foods like shrimp, krill, feeder fish and small crustaceans will also make ideal foodstuffs for this and other large bottom dwellers. The Giraffe Nosed Catfish should typically be fed twice a day an amount that they will consume within a few minutes. While they will accept many more feedings per day, this will cause them to grow rapidly and may also adversely effect the aquarium water quality unless the filtration system is up to the task.
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Crystal Eyed Catfish
(Hemibagrus wyckii) Moderate Aggressive 28" 350 gallons 72-79° F, KH 5-20, pH 6.0-7.5 Omnivore South East Asia, Indonesia & Thailand Bagridae Large Catfish Large-Bottom-Dweller Crystal Eyed Catfish (Hemibagrus wyckii) originate from the rivers and streams of South East Asia, ranging from Thailand to Indonesia. They are both an admired and feared species of catfish due to their attractive appearance and ferocious demeanor. Crystal Eyed Catfish are well known for their aggressive behavior which includes attacking and eating fish similar in size to themselves and their lack of fear towards larger predators and even human beings. Currently, Crystal Eyed Catfish are being aqua-cultured in South East Asia for both the food and aquarium markets. While they are certainly both rare and exotic within the aquarium hobby, they are available from time to time and are popular with who enjoy keeping truly "monster" fish. They are a truly beautiful species of large catfish, with their sleek stream-lined bodies and dark charcoal and white coloration. However, it can not be stated enough that this species is incredibly aggressive toward other fish species and even their owners. This species is not recommended for beginning hobbyists and should usually be maintained in an aquarium by themselves unless kept by an advanced hobbyist with a very large aquarium and suitably large and aggressive tank mates. Crystal Eyed Catfish are very interesting, have strong personalities and have a definite "cool" factor to them, but with that said they are only suitable for a very select group of hobbyists with both the experience and resources to house a large hyper aggressive species as this. Hobbyists looking to keep a Crystal Eyed Catfish need to have experience dealing with large aggressive species, with this particular fish being truly the domain of the "monster" fish keeper. Best kept in a single specimen aquarium, the Crystal Eyed Catfish can reach sizes over 2 feet in length, and will need and aquarium that measures at least 8 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet or larger for an adult specimen. They prefer aquariums that are more dimly lit than the standard aquarium, with a few shaded areas of driftwood, vegetation or rocky tunnel like areas to retreat to when not swimming about the aquarium. Crystal Eyed Cats are very difficult to keep with other tank mates as smaller species will be eaten, similar sized species will be attacked and most likely eaten and even larger fish species can be attacked and killed depending on the particular specimen and aquarium setup. Advanced hobbyists with very large aquariums have succeeded in housing this species with other very large aggressive species by raising them up with larger tank mates in a very large aquarium that provides plenty of territory for all species housed. It should also be noted that Crystal Eyed Catfish (Hemibagrus wyckii) have shown aggression towards their owners and need to be watched carefully while performing tank maintenance or other times when hands and arms are placed inside the aquarium. Without a doubt, Crystal Eyed Catfish are aggressive eaters that will essentially consume any meaty food that fits in their mouths. However, not all foods contain the same level of nutrition, thus it is important to feed them a balanced diet of nutritional foods. Crystal Eyed Catfish living in the wild will make up the vast majority of their diet from eating insects, prawns, crustaceans and fish. In the home aquarium they can be fed live fish, crustaceans, worms, meaty based frozen or pellet foods ranging from krill and fish flesh to pellets specifically made for large Catfish and other large freshwater carnivores. They will also readily accept uncooked table foods like market shrimp, clams, mussels, fish fillets, chicken livers and similar meaty items.
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Lima Shovelnose Catfish
(Sorubim lima) Moderate Aggressive 18" 180 gallons 73-84° F, KH 10-12, pH 6.2-7.3 Omnivore Amazon, South America Pimelodidae Large Catfish Large-Bottom-Dweller The Lima shovelnose catfish (Sorubim lima) is a species of shovelnose catfish that is common throughout the Amazon and parts of South America. Their name originates from their flat rounded heads, which they use like a shovel to dig in the substrate for various food items. In the wild, the Lima shovelnose catfish spends much of its time moving about the bottom of rivers and tributaries looking for small crustaceans and fish species to consume. Lima shovelnose also position themselves vertically near tree roots and similar structures waiting for unsuspecting fish to swim nearby. While they are an aggressive predatory species, the Lima shovelnose is one of the smaller Pimelodidae family species reaching between 14 to 18 inches within the aquarium environment. While this is still a large sized fish, it is much smaller than the 36 to 48 inches of length that other members of the Pimelodidae family reach. Hobbyists looking to keep Lima shovelnose Catfish will need to have a large aquarium of 180 gallons or more, as an adult specimen can reach up to 18 inches in length; however, juveniles can be raised in smaller aquariums ranging from 55 to 125 gallons. They are an active fish species that is known to jump out of uncovered aquariums, thus well covered aquariums are highly recommended. Lima shovelnose will do best in aquariums that resemble their natural surroundings as close as possible, thus a sand/gravel mix substrate, driftwood or tree root and Amazonian plant species will all be highly desirable additions to a Lima shovelnose tank. While not overly sensitive to overall water quality the Lima shovelnose does put out a large bio-load, which means aquariums housing this species should have strong biological filtration and good water movement in order to keep high quality water conditions. Lastly the Lima shovelnose should be housed with other large aggressive fish species that it cannot fit in its mouth, as smaller fish species, shrimp, crayfish, etc. will all be seen as food items. In their native habitat, Lima shovelnose catfish consume a wide variety of small crustaceans, fish, insects and worms. They will readily accept these same foods within the aquarium environment, or they can be fairly easily weaned from these foods to more economical pellet foods, crickets and earthworms. An added benefit of pellet foods, crickets, earthworms and similar foods is that they do not spread diseases like feeder fish can and provide a more nutritious and balanced diet for the Lima shovelnose.
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