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Tiger Shovelnose Catfish
(Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) Moderate Aggressive 40" 180 gallons 75-82° F, KH 6-20, pH 6.0-8.0 Omnivore South America Pimelodidae Large Catfish Large-Bottom-Dweller Tiger Shovelnose Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) or as they are often affectionately known as TSN's are found throughout the larger rivers and tributaries of South America. As adults they typically stay in the larger deeper rivers where they spend much of their time along the river bottom looking for meaty foods to consume. Their attractive appearance, large size and overall interesting personality have made the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish a very popular aquarium species with hobbyist who keep larger (monster) fish species. The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is a large catfish species that can attain a length of over 3 feet within the aquarium environment, thus require a very large aquarium as an adult. They have a long and slender body with a beautiful silver coloration along with black stripes and spots covering the entirety of the body, which gives them a tiger-like appearance. Their mouth is adorned with very long whiskers in order to seek out prey in dark or dimly lit areas, along with a long, large, flat shaped mouth which they use to inhale unsuspecting prey. While the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is readily available within the aquarium hobby, it is not suitable for the beginner or casual aquarium hobbyist. This species gets very large and aggressive and will require a very large aquarium as an adult in order to properly housed and cared for. Therefore, the Tiger Shovelnose is only recommended for intermediate to advanced aquarium hobbyists who have larger aquariums and powerful filtration systems rated to handle larger (monster) fish species like the Tiger Shovelnose. Along with a very large aquarium and solid filtration, the Tiger Shovelnose will appreciate plenty of water flow along with some driftwood or rock formations to provide it some cover within the aquarium. The aquarium should be tightly covered with a strong weighted top, as the Tiger Shovelnose is a powerful jumper that can easily escape from an uncovered or poorly covered aquarium. Lastly, the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish needs to be kept with other large aggressive fish species that are not small enough to fit in the mouth of the TSN and have a strong enough personality to not be bullied by an adult Tiger Shovelnose Catfish. Like most larger catfish species, the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is an opportunistic feeder that will consume a wide variety of meaty items including both fish and invertebrates. In the wild the TSN is a nocturnal hunter that preys on a variety of native fish species found throughout South America, along with any crustacean that will fit in their mouths. In the aquarium environment the Tiger Shovelnose will readily accept a wide variety of foods including: worms, catfish pellets, pellet, frozen or freeze-dried meaty food preparations, fish that will fit in their mouths and a variety of shrimp, crab or other crustaceans found in fresh water aquariums. It is best to feed them a variety of meaty foods so that they receive a wide ranging diet which helps insure that they receive a range of nutrients to promote a healthy immune system. Hobbyists should feed them daily and adjust the amount of food and frequency of feedings based on the girth of the fish and the desired growth rate.
Jaguar Ray
(Potamotrygon Otorongo) Moderate Semi-Aggressive 24" 180 gallons 74-82° F, KH 8-12, pH 6.0-7.5 Carnivore South America Potamotrygonidae Stingrays Large-Bottom-Dweller Jaguar Rays (Potamotrygon Otorongo) inhabit the many river basins of South America and the Amazon. They are a bottom dwelling species that spend much of their time hunting along the riverbed for worms, crustaceans and small fish on which to prey. When not searching for food, Jaguar Rays will often partially bury themselves in the sandy substrate of the riverbed to provide them camouflage and provide a sense of protection from potential predators. As with other species of freshwater stingrays, it is often difficult to make positive identifications based on pattern and coloration alone. When attempting to positively identify a Jaguar Ray it is important to look for a powerfully built tail which is noticeably longer than the body. The upper surface of the tail should have either irregularly light spots or a dark background covered in dark lines on a lighter background. The lower half of the tail appears striped or barred when viewed laterally. The body disc has a fine light edge which is not always noticeable. Jaguar Rays are fairly common within the aquarium hobby, especially with specialized dealers that deal in the more exotic rays and cichlids of South America. Jaguar Rays are considered moderately difficult to keep; however, if some standard rules for caring for rays are adhered to, the Jaguar Ray should be reasonably easy to keep. Aquariums containing rays need to have very clean water that 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 or some form of nitrate/nutrient export, in order to keep nitrate levels consistently low. Rays eat quite a bit and are a large bodied fish that will put out a sizable 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. Jaguar Rays can sometimes be difficult feeders when first 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, Jaguar Rays are known to be very aggressive feeders that will consume a large variety of meaty offerings. Jaguar Rays can be fed a wide variety of different meaty foods including: beef heart, fish flesh, earth worms, krill, blood worms, table shrimp, clams and small fish like minnows, silversides or similar feeder fish. Earthworms black worms and invertebrates rank up very high on the Jaguar's favorite foods list and is a good food choice to get them eating when first introduced to the aquarium. They can then be fed a more varied diet as they become settled within the aquarium and become more accustomed to accepting food from their owner. Any crustaceans present in the aquarium will be treated as a prey item and should only be present within a ray aquarium if intended as a food source. They are aggressive feeders once they become fully acclimated to the aquarium environment and have begun accepting foods.
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Tire Track Eel
1 like Eels
(Mastacembelus armatus) Moderate Semi-Aggressive 30" 75 gallons 72-82° F, KH 10-16, pH 6.8-7.2 Carnivore Southeast Asia Mastacembelidae Eels Large-Bottom-Dweller The Tire Track Eel (Mastacembelus armatus) is a species of ray-finned spiny eel that is native to many parts of Southeast Asia ranging from India and Pakistan to Thailand and Vietnam. Like many other fish species the Tire Track Eel goes by a variety of common names including: spiny eel, Zigzag Eel, White-spotted Spiny Eel and Leopard Eel. Like many freshwater eel species the Tire Track Eel is not a true "Eel" but rather a species of elongated freshwater fish that closely resemble the appearance of a true eel. Many freshwater aquarium hobbyists prize this species for their size, coloration and snake like appearance that many find very interesting. Their appearance includes anal and dorsal fins that are elongated and connected to the caudal fin. Their eyes have brown stripes running laterally through them, with their backs having a dark tan color and a head that is a light beige color. Their body color is a dull brown with the brown coloration fading to a tan on their belly. The body also has one to three darker longitudinal zigzag lines that connect to form a distinct reticulated pattern that is restricted to the rear two-thirds of the body. Due to their large adult size of nearly 30 inches in length, Tire Track Eels need a larger aquarium to be housed properly. While smaller tanks can be used during the grow out phase, the Tire Track Eel will eventually need a 75 gallon or preferably larger aquarium to comfortably house an adult specimen. Tire Track Eels also need an aquarium setup with a deep soft substrate consisting of sand or a sand gravel mix that will allow them to burrow and forage in the substrate. As this species is known to both forage in the substrate and bury itself within the substrate, the aquarium decor should be designed with this in mind. Tire Track Eels should be housed with medium to large semi-aggressive species like large loaches, Gouramis, Knifefish, Geophagus, Acara or similar species that will both not harm the Eel or be seen as food to the Eel. They will see smaller fish species as prey items, thus are not suitable for aquariums with small tropical community fish like barbs and tetras. They are territorial towards their own kind, thus should not be kept with other Tire Track Eels unless within a very large aquarium capable of supporting multiple territories within the tank. Being a substrate dweller, the Tire Track Eel should have plenty of space to roam about the bottom of the aquarium and should be provided with caves, tunnels, rock crevices or similar aquarium decor to provide them shelter. Tire Track Eels do well in both freshwater and brackish water conditions; therefore, 2 teaspoons of sea salt can be added per 3 gallons of water to create brackish conditions if desired. Tire Track Eels are nocturnal carnivores in nature, where they forage for insects, insect larvae, various species of worms and other similar meaty fare. In the aquarium the Tire Track Eel will adjust to eating during periods with full aquarium lighting or in partial lighting conditions after some acclimation to the aquarium environment. They should be fed a varied diet of foods ranging from live earthworms or black worms to frozen or pellet foods ranging from krill, plankton, tubifex worms, brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, cyclopeeze or krill. They are also likely to forage in the substrate for plant roots or in search of insect larvae, so this should be taken into consideration when designing an appropriate aquarium setup. Ideally you will want to feed the Tire Track Eel at least once a day as much as they will consume within a few minutes or multiple times if an increased growth rate is desired. They can easily go a few days without eating from time to time if necessary.
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Redtail Catfish
(Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) Moderate Aggressive 48" 300 gallons 70-78° F, KH 9-10, pH 5.5-6.8 Omnivore South America Pimelodidae Large Catfish Large-Bottom-Dweller The Redtail Catfish is arguably one of the most popular and recognizable species of large freshwater bottom dwelling species found within the aquarium trade. Despite their very large adult size, Redtail Cats have been imported from South America into the aquarium trade for some time and have reached an almost iconic position among "monster fish keeping" aquarists. The overall popularity of the Redtail Catfish is due to a combination of its unique appearance and active disposition within the aquarium. Redtail Catfish have a broad head that gracefully tapers back towards its brightly colored red tail. Their body is a dark gray / black coloration with a white underbelly and white stripe on the middle and rear portions of its body. Redtail Catfish also buck the trend of many aquarium catfish species in that they are active swimmers that will patrol the aquarium looking for a meal or just investigating their surroundings. The first thing to consider when keeping a Redtail Catfish in an aquarium is the ultimate size of the fish. That cute little catfish is going to grow into a monster 4 foot long catfish that is both an active swimmer and feeder. Secondly, the Redtail Catfish is an aggressive species and it is important to keep it with appropriate tank mates. Redtail Cats should be kept with other large (1 foot or more) fish species that can hold their own sharing a tank with a large aggressive catfish. Keep in mind that Redtail Catfish see other fish that can fit into their mouth as food and not a tank mate. It is also important to remember that Redtail Catfish are active swimmers and will need a very large aquarium with plenty of swimming room. While a 300 gallon aquarium is an absolute minimum for this species, they will do much better in an aquarium that has a 4 foot width and 8 foot plus length, usually around 450+ gallons. Redtail Cats will appreciate the presence of some driftwood, some rock formations and a few plants within the aquarium decor in order to provide them with an aquarium setup that is similar to their native environment. Lastly, Redtail Catfish should always be housed in tightly covered aquariums as they are well known for their ability to escape an open top aquarium or an aquarium with a loose or partial cover. Redtail Catfish are not picky eaters and 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 the Redtail Cat a balanced diet of nutritional foods. Redtail Catfish living in the wild will make up the vast majority of their diet from eating fish and crustaceans. In the home aquarium they can be 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.
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Fire Eel
1 like Eels
(Mastacembelus erythrotaenia) Moderate Semi-Aggressive 24" 55 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 6.8-7.2 Carnivore Southeast Asia Mastacembelidae Eels Large-Bottom-Dweller The Fire Eel is a larger freshwater eel species that originates from warm flood plains and streams of southeast Asia including: Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos. Throughout their evolution, Fire Eels have developed very long laterally compressed bodies that have enabled them to better survive in their native habitat. Fire Eels are often found in streams with lots of vegetation and deep sediment filled riverbeds. The long slender snout and elongated body that particularly the rear third of which flattens into a broad caudal fin. Their shape allows them to easily bury themselves in the substrate and maneuver amongst thick vegetation while searching for food items. While Fire Eels spend much of their time on and buried in the substrate, they will swim at any water level if they detect food. In fact Fire Eels are often sought after by aquarium enthusiasts as they are easily trained to hand feed and will actively interact with the aquarium keeper once they have settled into the aquarium environment. The Fire Eel is actually a large freshwater fish and not a true eel, its name is a common name that references the fishes body shape and overall appearance. Fire Eels should be housed in larger aquariums that are capable of comfortably supporting their adult size of approximately 2 feet in length. This species can be kept in smaller aquariums as a juvenile and moved to larger enclosures as they grow and mature. It is best to keep this species in an aquarium with a fine sandy substrate, as the Fire Eel prefers to burrow into the substrate. Fire Eels will also prone to scratches and abrasions on their underside with course or rough substrate, which can cause infections and threaten the overall health of the fish. The aquarium should also contain plants or driftwood in order to provide the Fire Eel with places to seek shelter and provide them with a comfortable habitat. Fire Eels are not overly aggressive, but they should be kept with similarly sized semi-aggressive fish species as they will consume smaller fish species that will fit into their mouths. Lastly, it is very important for an aquarium housing a Fire Eel to have a fully covered and secured top as the Fire Eel is very prone to escaping from an uncovered aquarium. In the wild the Fire Eel consumes mostly insect larvae, insects, worms, small fish and some plant material. In the aquarium it is best to feed them bloodworms, tubifex worms and chopped fish or mussel as a juvenile. Adult specimens will need larger meaty food consisting of large worms, tablet foods, krill and other large fresh, freeze-dried or frozen meaty preparations.
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Motoro Stingray
(Potamotrygon Motoro) Moderate Semi-aggressive 36" 180 Gallons 75-82° F, KH 8-14, pH 5.0-6.5 Carnivore South America, Amazon River basins Potamotrygonidae Stingrays New World Cichlid Aquarium Motoro Stingray's are found living throughout South America including Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guyana, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Paran-Paraguay, Orinoco, and Amazon River basins. In the wild they spend the majority of their time along the river beds in search of worms or invertebrates on which to prey. As they spend much of their time on the river or pond bottom, they have adjusted to lower light levels and will prefer lower lighting levels in their aquarium home as well. Motoro Stingray's like other rays will bury themselves within the substrate of their environment as a form of protection when they feel threatened. Therefore a substantial soft substrate should be provided to them in the aquarium in order to simulate their wild habitat. Like other stingrays, the Motoro is a high-metabolic fish that is in near constant movement and feeds many times throughout the day. This high metabolism also means that they produce a lot of waste, which requires a strong biological and chemical filtration system in order to provide them the very high quality water they need to survive and thrive within the aquarium environment. Motoro Stingray's are considered moderately difficult to keep; however, if some standard rules for caring for rays are closely adhered to the Motoro Stingray should be reasonably easy to keep. Aquariums containing rays need to have very clean water that 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 sizable 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. Motoro Stingray's can be feed a variety of different meaty foods including: beef heart, fish flesh, earth worms, krill, blood worms, table shrimp, clams and small fish like minnows, silversides or similar feeder fish. Earthworms and invertebrates rank up very high on the Motoro's favorite foods list and is a good food choice to get them eating when first introduced to the aquarium. They can then be fed a more varied diet as they become settled within the aquarium. Any crustaceans present in the aquarium will be treated as a prey item and should only be present within a ray aquarium if intended as a food source.
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