www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk
March-April 2014
THE UK’S
TOP TEN
FishKEEPING
angelsangelsangelsangelsangels
Elegant
Fish
Popu...
NEWNEW
OLD
SAME GREAT PRODUCT
BRAND NEW NAME
Nutrafin Aqua Plus tap water conditioner and Nutrafin Cycle biological supple...
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AND SAVE A WHOPPING 50%!
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W
elcome to the latest issu...
THANKSTOWWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COMFORPHOTOGRAPHY
News
The UK’s top ten most popular
freshwater fish.................................
Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk
Meet the clean-up crew! ......................72
If you have been into an...
The UK’s top
ten most
popular
freshwater
fishHave you ever wondered what are the country’s
top-selling freshwater fish, an...
TURN OVER TO SEE THE TOP FOUR 
8Zebra danios
The homeland of these fish is in the Himalayas, and they are
so-called beca...
8 Popular Fish Keeping / Summer 2013
Acknowledgements
*With particular thanks to Pets
at Home for making the data
availabl...
March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 9Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk
Byprovidingpersonallyidentifiable...
CONTINUES ON
THE PAGE 12 
ON THE
SHOP FLOOR
10 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014
I
f you’re wondering
how to set u...
See the set-ups
yourself
l Pets at Home,
80 Bushy Road,
Raynes Park,
SW20 0JQ.
l Pets at Home,
Unit 1, Didsbury Road,
Stoc...
March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 13Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk
WIN A
FISH TANK
Competition tim...
I
f you are seeking to set up
or add to a community
aquarium, you need to
be aware of the behaviour
of your fish. You do n...
the head, rather on the side
here. This allows the fish
to conceal itself, whilst still
having a good view of its
surround...
capable of moving at great
speed, as may be necessary
to avoid predators, as well as
maintaining their position in
waters ...
Indeed, it can extend beyond
the eye and may be opened
to 90 degrees or more. This
allows the fish to swallow
relatively l...
trend, given that a few years
ago, many general fish keeping
shops had not even seriously
considered the idea of stocking
...
March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 19
or visit our shop at
20 The Strand, Bromsgrove
Worcester, B61 8AB
01527 879207
...
SHRIMPS
20 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014
“There is also no need to
worry about a heater.
Provided that your home...
world, acting as great stress-
relievers as well. Bear in mind
though that there are a few
species of shrimp, such as the
...
22 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014
PUZZLE IT OUT
Solve the crossword in
the usual way except
that where a clue
is ...
March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 27
AquapetsAll Domestic Pets, Tropical  Coldwater Fish, Reptiles  Accessories
Our ...
O
ver the past two
decades, he’s kept some
of the new fish that have
become available, and also has
some of his own long-s...
that the fish tank had
developed a crack in one of the
seals and water was leaking all
over the floor. The filter was
maki...
that might be poisonous to the
fish. If you try doing things
like that, you’re likely to get
very disappointing results.
A...
makes a huge difference, and
now the plants are growing
so vigorously that they need
trimming every week.
Even today, I ca...
Tackling the health problems that you want answered.
Why not email us with yours to pf.ed@kelsey.co.uk?
properly.
Modern f...
greyish or whitish spots, but
before long, they develop
a haloed appearance. On
closer scrutiny, this is rather
similar to...
Asia and even parts of Europe.
These non-annual killifish
are often easier to keep and
breed than the annual species,
beca...
AQUARIUM
FAVOURITE
Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 31Subscribe n...
came from specific collection
location in the country
numbered as 33.
It is largely because of the
way that strains are na...
soaked, should be provided for
this purpose, being frequently
used by many killifish breeders
for this species and others
...
Other species
The species mentioned
above are just some
of the more popular
and easily maintained
examples of this
group t...
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  1. 1. www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk March-April 2014 THE UK’S TOP TEN FishKEEPING angelsangelsangelsangelsangels Elegant Fish Popular Your practical guide to freshwater aquarium care COLOURFUL KILLIFISH Beautiful & exotic Our most popular aquarium fish WIN AN AMAZING AQUARIUM! Meet the clean-up crew Discover how they can help you PACKED WITH EXPERT ADVICE TWO COMPETITIONS TO DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES CHOOSING THE RIGHT FISH FOR YOUR TANK angelsangelsFind out more about these remarkable fish KEEPING Elegant ONLY £3.95
  2. 2. NEWNEW OLD SAME GREAT PRODUCT BRAND NEW NAME Nutrafin Aqua Plus tap water conditioner and Nutrafin Cycle biological supplement have been used and trusted by fishkeepers around the world for over 15 years. Now these same powerful, effective liquids are available from Fluval. Look for the Aqua Plus and Cycle logos for your guarantee of quality, purity and exceptional performance. The full range of Fluval water treatments also include Plant Micro Nutrients for astounding live plant growth and Biological Aquarium Cleaner to make aquarium cleaning easy. Take a tour of our aquarium liquids factory, Hagen Industries! Scan the QR code with your mobile’s QR code reader ©2013 Fluval is a registered trademark of Rolf C. Hagen Inc. fluvalaquatics.com
  3. 3. FANTASTIC OFFER! SIGN UP FOR 12 MONTHS AND SAVE A WHOPPING 50%! Subscribe todaySubscribe today W elcome to the latest issue of Popular Fish Keeping! There are a couple of great competitions in this issue, offering different styles of aquarium, with associated equipment such as heaters, filters and lighting. Do enter – after all, someone has to win each of the tanks on offer, and it could be you! Both the Fluval aquarium set and the biOrb LIFE represent the latest technology in the hobby. Our thanks to manufacturers Hagen and Reef One for their support. For newcomers to fish keeping, it is quite difficult to appreciate just how much easier things are these days, both in terms of setting up and maintaining an aquarium successfully, compared with the situation just 10 or 20 years ago. Yet it is not just technology that is advancing rapidly, but our understanding of fish and their behaviour too, as Dr Victoria Neblik reveals in this issue. It is never easy to decide as to which fish to keep, but here again, technology can assist, with a greater range of tank sizes now on offer, so it may well be possible to have more than one tank in the home, brightening up what can be dark corners. But difficult decisions still need to be made about selecting the tank occupants! You’ll find some interesting selections in the following pages, not to mention a top ten listing of the country’s most popular freshwater aquarium fish, in terms of sales. The choice is also growing wider too, with invertebrates such as shrimps and snails now becoming increasingly popular inhabitants of home aquariums as well. Whether you’ve been keeping fish for many years, or are a newcomer to the hobby, you can discover more about these latest trends in this issue. Enjoy! È hello SEE PAGE XXXX David has kept fish for many years, and his books include the Encyclopaedia of Aquarium & Pond Fish (Dorling Kindersley, £16.99) - a comprehensive guide to the care of over 800 species. His website can be found at www.petinfoclub.com David Alderton, Editor pf.ed@kelsey.co.uk W elcome to the latest issue of hello
  4. 4. THANKSTOWWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COMFORPHOTOGRAPHY News The UK’s top ten most popular freshwater fish..................................... 6 Have you ever wondered what are the country’s top-selling freshwater fish, and what makes these particular fish so popular? Discover the answers in this article. The Pets at Home Big Tank event.........10 Learn about remarkable transformations that have recently taken place at two huge in-store aquariums, and see the results for yourself. Be inspired Colourful killifish ................................30 Steve White of the British Killifish Association continues his series about these stunningly beautiful small fish and their care. Having an axe to grind........................40 An unusual group of small South American fish is the subject of Christian Castille’s column in this issue. Hatchetfish, he argues, deserve to be far more popular, as they are both interesting and relatively easy to keep, either on their own or as part of a community aquarium. Discovering more about the angel of the aquarium............................................52 If you have kept angelfish, you will already know what fascinating aquarium occupants they prove to be, but now scientists have been observing them too, and their findings are remarkable. Dr Victoria Neblik reports. Do it now! Fluval competition. .............................. 9 Here’s your opportunity to win a fantastic aquarium set worth over £425 that will look stunning in any home, courtesy of Hagen. Don’t delay, enter today! BiOrb competition............................... 13 Stylish, sleek and ideal for small fish or shrimp, the biOrb LIFE 15 is a fantastic small, high performance aquarium, and we have two to give away as prizes here! Puzzles................................................22 Test your fish keeping knowledge with our selection of puzzles. Subscriptions......................................36 Don’t miss the opportunity to get a fantastic deal today! There is a massive saving to be made! Expert help Become a fish detective.......................14 Paul Donovan reveals how to interpret the likely lifestyle and behaviour of aquarium fish based on their appearance, and how you can use this information when choosing occupants for a community aquarium. Fish doctor..........................................28 Providing expert advice helping you to ensure that your fish stay healthy. Understanding fungal disease is the subject covered in this issue. A balancing act................................... 48 You may not have heard of OATA – the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association, but the hobby would be very different without it. Pauline Davey talks with OATA’s Chief Executive, Keith Davenport to discover more. 4 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 ContentsMar-Apr 2014 48 A balancing act. p6 p72 p30 p14 p52 p9 &13 14 Become a fish detective. Did you know? You can buy Popular Fish Keeping in a digital form – and get our back issues too – through Pocketmags.com with the digital version being available on Apple iOS, Android, Playbook and Windows 8. Go to http://sub.sc/wEJRN for full details.
  5. 5. Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk Meet the clean-up crew! ......................72 If you have been into an aquatic store recently, you will almost certainly have noticed a wide range of different, often colourful aquarium snails on offer. What do these molluscs bring to a tank? David Alderton finds out. Technology When tanks take over......................... 66 What do you do if there is simply not enough space in your home for all your tanks? The answer is simple – build a fish room, as Steve Davidson did. Here he shares his experiences and passes on tips for others tempted to take the same path. Regulars Freshwater aquarium shrimp take the UK by storm ........................................18 Small is definitely beautiful in this case. Shrimp expert Lucas Witte-Vermeulen discusses just why these crustaceans are becoming so popular in the hobby, and provides advice about how you can set up your own shrimp tank, even if you have just a small amount of space available. Me & my fish....................................... 24 Steve Rothwell has been a fish keeper for much of his life, and here he talks about the up-and-downs that he has experienced in the hobby, and why he still enjoys it so much. Fish focus........................................... 38 Our poster spread in this issue features an unusual elongated fish that can move over land and is to be found in parts of West Africa. Talking fish ..............................58 Susie Kearley talks with two experienced fish keepers, to find out what attracted them to the hobby and passes on their tips. Fish mysteries................. 62 Reports of lake monsters are quite common in North America. Expert Dr Karl Shuker examines the evidence for an unexplained series of sightings from lakes in Alaska, including some information previously unpublished, and comes up with the likely identity of a large fish to explain these eyewitness accounts. Next month.........................................74 Discover what’s planned for our next issue, and also, how to contact us. IN THIS ISSUE March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 5 66 When tanks take over. 52 Angel of the aquarium. 40 Having an axe to grind. 62 Fish mysteries.
  6. 6. The UK’s top ten most popular freshwater fishHave you ever wondered what are the country’s top-selling freshwater fish, and why that could be the case? Well, here’s a list, produced courtesy of Pets at Home, which has more outlets than any other group of pet stores across the country. David Alderton looks at the figures. 10Small goldfish Well, there was certain to be a goldfish on the list of course, but this may be something of a surprise. The ordinary common goldfish – small size – only just makes it into the chart, in tenth position. Could this be a reflection of the fact that many people are looking for some more exotic these days, and that aquarium packages on the market are supplied with heaterstats, so that you might be instinctively more inclined to lean towards tropical rather than coldwater fish? Maybe, but only up to a point, as will be revealed later in this article. What has to be said here, though, is that goldfish still remain unsurpassed in providing an introduction to the fish keeping hobby, and they are great fish for young or old like. They’re colourful and attractive, and can be tamed surprisingly easily, particularly to feed from the hand, as well as being easy to keep. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that they can grow relatively large, frequently to 15cm (6in) or more, so it will pay to start out with a relatively large tank at the outset. BELOW The goldfish has now been kept in Britain for some 400 years. A golden white cloud mountain minnow. PHOTO © PHOTOMAX AT THE GOLDFISH BOWL, OXFORD. 6 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 9White cloud mountain minnow This species is truly unique out of those on this list, having come back from the dead. Also known as Tan’s fish, being named after the Chinese scout who first discovered it, the white cloud mountain minnow was believed to have become extinct in the wild, because of water pollution. During 1980 however, a new population was discovered elsewhere in China. The species is, however, bred commercially on a very large scale on fish farms in many countries, to the extent that there is now even a well-established and more colourful golden form, as well as a variety that has longer fins. These cyprinids can be kept at slightly cooler surroundings than tropical species, with a temperature range of 8–26 °C (64–79 °F) being suitable for them. This means that it will be possible to keep them in an aquarium with little if any heating being necessary. White cloud mountain minnows should always be kept in shoals, comprised of a minimum of three individuals. These small fish are rather nervous by nature, so provide reasonably dense planting at the back and sides of the aquarium.
  7. 7. TURN OVER TO SEE THE TOP FOUR  8Zebra danios The homeland of these fish is in the Himalayas, and they are so-called because of their striped patterning. There are now very many different variations though, that have been established by breeders. The leopard danio is spotted rather than striped, while some strains have longer fins, and others may display golden colouration. These danios are relatively hardy and easy to keep, and they will thrive as part of a mixed aquarium. Once again though, buy a group rather than an individual, as they live in shoals. They’re fascinating fish, as we revealed in our detailed profile in last month’s issue, and have also attracted a lot of interest from the scientific community, being used for research into aspects of heart disease and blindness. Adaptable by nature, zebra danios will thrive in a mixed aquarium, with suitable non-aggressive companions. They are relatively small in size, often growing no larger than 5cm (2in), and frequent the upper reaches of the tank. Flaked food supplemented with items such as freeze-dried tubifex will suit them well. 5Molly The wild ancestors of the molly are to be found in areas of central America, but today’s domestic strains are derived from hybrids between different species. In the past, it was the black molly, recognisable by its colouration, that used to be seen almost exclusively, but now the situation has altered significantly, and there are mollies available in bright colours too, such as shades of orange, with speckled individuals being common. Mollies are livebearers, in terms of their breeding habits, and they can be sexed easily, as females grow to a bigger size than males. It is often recommended to add a little aquarium salt to their aquarium, so as to create slightly brackish water conditions for them. Feeding is straightforward, as they will thrive on prepared foods. 7Female guppy These fish may not be as striking as their mates, but they can represent a bargain! This is because female guppies only need to mate once, and they can the produce as many as eight broods of young in succession. Being livebearers, Guppies are amongst the easiest aquarium fish to breed, but be prepared for disappointment if you simply introduce them to an ordinary aquarium with little cover. Any young that do result are likely to be eaten by larger fish – and even members of their species. Provide plenty of retreats, by including plants such as Java moss, which creates a fairly dense covering in which the young fish can hide, or set up a special tank where the female can give birth and then the young can be reared separately in safety. A longfin leopard danio. PHOTO © PHOTOMAX AT THE GOLDFISH BOWL, OXFORD. Certain strains of molly, such as this red sailfin, are very colourful. BELOW Some moors have more prominent or ‘telescope’ eyes and elaborate fins than others. The characteristic size difference in Guppies is shown here, with the larger female at the front. This variety is described as the blue grass. TOP 10 FISH March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 7Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk 6Black moor Beating its better-known common brethren, the popularity of the black moor is easy to appreciate. It may not be colourful, but it displays a stunning matt black sheen over its body, which actually contrasts well with the orange appearance of common goldfish. Many people choose to keep these different varieties of goldfish together, but bear in mind that the black moor is not as hardy, and cannot be kept in ponds throughout the year. In any event, it would be inconspicuous in these surroundings, as a result of its colouration. If you want a cutting-edge, contemporary design of tank, black moors are well-worth considering. They can look impressive swimming above white gravel for example.
  8. 8. 8 Popular Fish Keeping / Summer 2013 Acknowledgements *With particular thanks to Pets at Home for making the data available for this article. To find your nearest Pets at Home Store, visit www.petsathome. com/shop/en/pets/store- locations It is perhaps strange that no catfish – and particularly Corydoras species – made it on to this best-selling list. They are ideal for mixed aquariums, being very suitable companions for neon tetras for example, and thrive in small groups, occupying the lower levels of the aquarium. In a likely sign of how things are changing in the hobby, it was interesting to see that the southern sales chart now includes Yamato shrimp, in the number seven position, and this species just makes it into the northern chart, at tenth position. It is clear though that Scottish fish keepers have yet to be seduced by these shrimp to the same extent though, with this regional sales chart being comprised entirely of fish. È 4Small oranda The highest-ranking of the three goldfish varieties on the list, orandas are bred in various colours, such as chocolate or blue (a steely-grey shade), but the red-capped tends to be most widely available and popular. It has a silvery-white body, with a prominent area of red, forming the swollen area of the so-called ‘hood’ on the top of the head. This will become more impressive as the fish grows older, taking five or six years to develop to its maximum extent. Orandas are described as fancy goldfish, having a relatively short body, but bear in mind that they can grow to quite a large size, with some reaching 20cm (8in) or more in spacious surroundings. Once again, it pays to buy a larger tank at the outset, if you want to keep these fish. Effective filtration is required too, as they produce a lot of waste, particularly as they grow bigger. 2Male Guppy These highly popular fish are named after Robert Guppy. He is credited with sending the first specimens back to the Natural History Museum in London during 1866, having discovered them on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. As with other livebearers, they have since been bred in a huge varieties of different colours, and particularly tail variations in this instance. Male guppies look spectacular in a group, tending to be more colourful than females, but they are not especially long-lived fish, with a maximum life expectancy of just two years. They have a very fast breeding cycle though, with males maturing at just seven weeks of age. 1Neon tetra Stunningly attractive, the neon tetra has always been popular with fish keepers, going right back to the days when it was first introduced to the hobby in 1936. The difference then was that it was a great rarity, and a single individual would sell for a sum equivalent to the average monthly wage! Now however, thanks to commercial breeding, neon tetras are available for pocket money prices, and a shoal of these Amazonian fish will look stunning, whether on their own or as a centrepiece of a tropical set-up. Neons can be distinguished from the similar cardinal tetra by their bluer colouration, and also by the fact that their red stripe does not extend down the entire length of the body. The position of the neon tetra in the number one slot seems unassailable, as they are almost twice as popular as guppies, which rank next in line. Regionally too, they are also in greatest demand. What surprises? A young red-capped oranda. Goldfish are potentially long-lived, with a life expectancy measured in decades. The stunning neon tetra - Britain’s most popular freshwater aquarium fish. Different ornamental strains of Guppies have now been developed. 8 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 TOP 10 FISH 3Platy Another livebearer on the list, reflecting not just the ease of maintenance of these fish, but also their bright colouration, achieved as the result of domestication. Wild platies in contrast would appear very dull in appearance, and those kept in aquariums are actually hybrids, created by cross-breeding between species in the past. Variation in size between the sexes is less apparent in the case of these livebearers though, compared with Guppies, but the difference in structure of the anal fin provides an easy way to distinguish the sexes. As in other livebearers, this has been transformed into a narrow, stick-like copulatory organ in the case of males, known as the gonopodium. Platies make an impressive display if housed in an aquarium on their own, but equally, they can be included without problems as part of a mixed community tank, living well in the company of other non-aggressive fish. They should be kept in groups though, rather than individually.
  9. 9. March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 9Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk Byprovidingpersonallyidentifiableinformationwhenenteringthisfreeprizedraw,KelseyMediamayuseittoprovideyouwithon-goinginformationabouttheirproductsandservices..KelseyMediausesaMultiLayeredPrivacyNoticeoutlininghowtheyuseyourpersonalinformation. Forfulldetailsvisitwww.kelseymedia.co.ukIfyouhaveanyquestionspleaseaskassubmittingyourdataindicatesyourconsent,untilyouchooseotherwise,thatweandourpartnersmaycontactyouaboutproductsandservicesthatwillbeofrelevancetoyou. WIN A FISH TANK This is your opportunity to win one of the best aquarium units on the market today, courtesy of Hagen. WIN A TOP OF THE RANGE AQUARIUM SET The Fluval Fresh F-60 Aquarium set comprises an 85l (18.7 gal) tank and an integral cabinet. This set normally retails for £429.99 but all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this superb prize is to answer the question below and send in your entry! The attention to detail with this unit is impressive, as is the styling, which delivers clean lines, with a contemporary finish. The top of the tank has been acid-etched, and this creates an attractive frosty appearance that conceals the water level, allowing your eyes to concentrate on the fish instead. The Fluval Aqualife & Plant LED System provides full spectrum coverage and key spectral reinforcement provides a balanced combination for optimal photosynthetic activity. This means that it is ideal for plant growth, as well as highlighting the natural colouration of the tank occupants, so you can see them at their very best, as nature intended! The light itself is adjustable, with locking thumbscrews on the brackets, The cabinet on which the tank rests is styled to match, in a contemporary two -tone design. A key feature here is the integrated filtration system, There are no trailing hoses out the cabinet, nor is this a plumbing nightmare waiting to happen. In fact, it is very easy to service and reconnect the filter as necessary. The Fluval canister filter unit gives an ultra-quiet performance, and is highly effective, ensuring water quality is easily maintained. Tank filters can be very ugly – but not in this case! Dimensions (Imperial conversions are approx.) ● Aquarium: (W x D x H) 60x35x45cm ● Cabinet: 60x35x85cm Includes ● Fluval LED Light Strip ● Lamp Valance ● Fluval External Filter ● Fluval M Heater WANT TO KNOW MORE? Want to know more about the Fluval range? Then visit www.fluvalaquatics.com/uk/home Last date for the receipt of entries is Friday, April 18th 2014. ENTRY FORM Note: The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence can be entered into. The names of winners and their respective prizes will be published in a future edition of Popular Fish Keeping. I do not wish to receive information from ■ Kelsey Media and ■ Hagen. Question: What is the the volume of the Fluval Fresh F-60 Aquarium in litres? Answer: __________________________________________________________________ SEND THIS COMPLETED ENTRY FORM TO:- Post this completed entry form to:- Popular Fish Keeping, Fluval Competition, Kelsey Publishing Group, Cudham Tithe Barn, Berry’s Hill, Cudham, Kent, TN16 3AG. Or simply complete the form online at www.popularfishkeeping.com/comp Name:______________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Address:___________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Email: _____________________________________________________________________ Telephone: ______________________________________________________________ WORTH £429.99 Fluval Fresh F-60 Aquarium set Please help us to shape the magazine to what you want to read, by answering the following questions: I keep the following – please tick applicable box(es) ■ Goldfish ■ Cichlids ■ Livebearers ■ Catfish ■ Labyrinth fish (eg Siamese fighting fish) ■ Characins (eg tetras) ■ Tropical cyprinids (eg barbs, danios, rasboras). ■ Killifish I have the following number of fish in total: _________ I have been keeping fish for: _________ years My favourite article in this issue is: ________________________________________________________ ■ I also keep pond fish ■ I also keep a marine aquarium
  10. 10. CONTINUES ON THE PAGE 12  ON THE SHOP FLOOR 10 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 I f you’re wondering how to set up your tank and what plants to include, spare a thought for those recently involved in designing and decorating the massive aquarium displays at two Pets at Home stores – in New Malden, southwest London, and Stockport near Manchester. These stores are regarded as flagship aquatic outlets, although fish keeping is well-represented across the group’s stores in general. Over two weekends, experts from leading plant suppliers Tropica and teams of enthusiastic volunteers, including many from the UK Aquatic Plant Society, transformed the former marine tanks into stunning freshwater habitats, which are now home to a wide range of ABOVE The start of the build, with the hard landscaping completed. ABOVE The finished set-up at New Malden. The cloudiness in the water would soon disperse. ABOVE Workers inside the tank, giving a clear impression of its size. ABOVE It was important to work quickly, once the plants were being put in place. ABOVE Tropica staff and UK APS members sort out the plants into groups. ABOVE The plants were sprayed to prevent them drying out, until the tank was filled. ABOVE With everything complete, it was then only a question of adding water! The Big Tank Events NEW MALDEN
  11. 11. See the set-ups yourself l Pets at Home, 80 Bushy Road, Raynes Park, SW20 0JQ. l Pets at Home, Unit 1, Didsbury Road, Stockport, SK4 2BE. l Find your nearest Pets at Home store, visit www. petsathome.com/shop/en/ pets/store-locations tropical species. When it comes to the cultivation of tropical aquarium plants, you may be surprised to learn that all of Tropica’s aquarium plants are not grown in a warm, sunny climate, but instead, they are cultivated in Denmark! At its 11,000 sq m (120,000sq ft) purpose-built facility located near the city of Aarhus, more than 130 different varieties are propagated, with millions of Tropica’s aquarium plants being shipped from here to countries around the world, including those used in the New Malden and Stockport displays, where they are thriving.È Interested in aquatic plants? Find out more through the UK Aquatic Plant Society at www.ukaps.org ON THE SHOP FLOOR 12 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 ABOVE Careful planning in advance was vital for the success of the project. ABOVE Checking and preparing the plants to fit in different areas of the tank. ABOVE Planting up a tank of this size is not an everyday opportunity for the UK APS. ABOVE Adding the gravel and rockwork to the tank. ABOVE Adding the plants to create an attractive underwater landscape in the tank. ABOVE The completed tank makes a stunning centrepiece in the store. STOCKPORT The completed aquarium in the Stockport store, after being filled.
  12. 12. March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 13Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk WIN A FISH TANK Competition time If you’re keen to become involved in some of the latest aspects of the aquarium hobby, in terms of keeping shrimps or smaller fish, the biOrb LIFE15 offers the ideal set-up. It is very suitable if you only have limited space available in your home for an aquarium, and it can even be used to decorate a desk, so you can watch the aquarium occupants while you work! Like all biOrbs, the biOrb LIFE 15 uses special ceramic media to provide biological filtration, which offers a surface area equivalent to the size of a football pitch. Any excess waste is collected and held in a filter cartridge at the base of the biOrb. To maintain your biOrb LIFE, all you need to do is simply replace the filter cartridge every four weeks and change a third of the water. One of the most recent additions to the biOrb range, the LIFE 15 holds 15l (3.2gal) of water, weighing approximately 18kg (40lb) when full. It is supplied with a standard long-life LED light. For peace of mind, the lights and pump are low voltage and are backed by a 12 month guarantee. The aquarium itself is made from acrylic which is ten times stronger than glass, and is available in a colour choice of black or white. What’s in the box? ● biOrb LIFE 15 Aquarium ● 12v LED light with 6500K colour output ● 900g of ceramic media ● Air stone ● Filter Cartridge ● 12v transformer, with connections to the light and air pump ● Low voltage air pump with ● Water conditioner and beneficial bacteria liquid ● Fish food ● Instructions Dimensions (Imperial conversions are approximate) ● Height: 40cm (15.7in) ● Width: 29cm (11.4in) ● Depth: 19cm (7.5in) WIN A STYLISH AQUARIUM WANT TO KNOW MORE? You can find the entire biOrb range on Reef One’s website at www.biorb.co.uk Last date for the receipt of entries is Friday, April 18th 2014. ENTRY FORM Question: What is the volume of the biOrb LIFE 15 in litres? Answer: __________________________________________________________________ ● My preference would be for a black OR white model (please circle your choice). SEND THIS COMPLETED ENTRY FORM TO:- Post this completed entry form to:- Popular Fish Keeping, biOrb Competition, Kelsey Publishing Group, Cudham Tithe Barn, Berry’s Hill, Cudham, Kent, TN16 3AG. Or simply complete the form online at www.popularfishkeeping.com/comp Name:______________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Address:___________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Email: _____________________________________________________________________ Telephone: ______________________________________________________________ Please help us to shape the magazine to what you want to read, by answering the following questions: I keep the following – please tick applicable box(es) ■ Goldfish ■ Cichlids ■ Livebearers ■ Catfish ■ Labyrinth fish (eg Siamese fighting fish) ■ Characins (eg tetras) ■ Tropical cyprinids (eg barbs, danios, rasboras) ■ Killifish I have the following number of fish in total: _________ I have been keeping fish for: _________ years My favourite article in this issue is: ________________________________________________________ ■ I also keep pond fish ■ I also keep a marine aquarium We have TWO of these strikingly modern aquariums to give away, courtesy of biOrb, which will enhance any home. If you’re looking for a small, high performance aquarium, then the biOrb LIFE 15 will be an ideal choice. Note: The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence can be entered into. The names of winners and their respective prizes will be published in a future edition of Popular Fish Keeping. I do not wish to receive information from ■ Kelsey Media and ■ Reef One. Byprovidingpersonallyidentifiableinformationwhenenteringthisfreeprizedraw,KelseyMediamayuseittoprovideyouwithon-goinginformationabouttheirproductsandservices..KelseyMediausesaMultiLayeredPrivacyNoticeoutlininghowtheyuseyourpersonalinformation. Forfulldetailsvisitwww.kelseymedia.co.ukIfyouhaveanyquestionspleaseaskassubmittingyourdataindicatesyourconsent,untilyouchooseotherwise,thatweandourpartnersmaycontactyouaboutproductsandservicesthatwillbeofrelevancetoyou.
  13. 13. I f you are seeking to set up or add to a community aquarium, you need to be aware of the behaviour of your fish. You do not just want to select fish that will congregate in the middle of the tank, where, apart from anything else, it could become overcrowded. You should also be looking to include fish that will occupy both the bottom level in the aquarium, as well as the upper part, close to the water surface. This will serve to add interest, and replicates the way in which fish communities exist in the wild. A fish’s overall body shape can provide initial clues. There are other key areas to look at though, relating to the position and shape of the mouth, plus the presence of any sensory feelers, called barbels, evident here, and even the size and positioning of the eyes. Bottom dwellers Many bottom-dwelling fish are characterised by their flattened body appearance. Extreme examples of this can be seen in members of the skate and ray group, with their bodies having become so compressed that the fish essentially appears as if it has been run over by a steamroller! But of course, this is not to say that all bottom-dwellers have such an extreme profile. Many others display a more typical fish shape, but can be identified by their flattened bellies. This essentially allows the fish to rest comfortably on the substrate at the bottom of the tank. They can blend in well against theiressentially appears as if it has been run over by a steamroller! But of course, this is not to say that all blend in well against their 14 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 Different fish swim at different levels in the aquarium. Dwarf gourami. This species frequents the mid and upper areas in an aquarium. Become a fish detective! If you look carefully at the different aquarium fish that are available, then you should be able to detect clues from their appearance that reveal key aspects of their lifestyle, explains Paul Donovan. This is more than a matter of academic curiosity though. Stingrays, whether occurring in fresh water or the marine environment, have a very distinctive flattened, disc shape and often burrow into the substrate, blending in here.
  14. 14. the head, rather on the side here. This allows the fish to conceal itself, whilst still having a good view of its surroundings and in a position to detect possible threats from above. Colouration is also important, with most bottom- dwelling fish being varying subdued shades of brown or grey, which helps to conceal their presence. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, and some loaches (Botia species) can be quite colourful. Generally, fish living in this part of the aquarium are quite secretive too, hiding amongst the assortment of rocks and other décor present here. They may also be nocturnal as well, which reduces the risk of predation, particularly as bottom-dwelling species are often not very fast when swimming. Mid-water Migrating up a level in the aquarium, this is the area occupied by typically streamlined fish, with a torpedo body shape that minimises drag when they are swimming. Many have well- developed fin structures and are brightly coloured, usually associating together in shoals of various sizes, with tetras being a typical example of this type. Living together in this way provides security in numbers. Large flashes of bright colours the fish to find potential prey as it swims around in the main body of water. A number of bottom-dwelling fish even have short barbels under the jaw, in contact with the substrate here. Barbels are sensory structures richly supplied with taste buds. They have a tactile function too, allowing the fish to grub around in the substrate in search of food, detecting it through touch and taste rather than having to rely on finding it by sight, in what are often murky conditions. The barbels also have a physical significance, stirring up food particles and disturbing small creatures that the fish can then consume. The eyes of bottom-dwellers tend to be smaller than those of most other fish, and in the majority of species, these are placed more towards the top of can be quite primitive. It often forms part of a so-called disc that allows them to anchor themselves to rocks for example, and avoid being swept away in a current, or having to spend energy swimming in order to maintain their position. They tend not to be particularly powerful swimmers in any case. Another feature that can help to identify bottom-dwelling fish is that many have accompanying projections called barbels around the mouth. In bottom-dwelling species, these barbels are short and quite stubby, while in more active predatory catfish for example, they are much longer and decidedly whisker-like, helping surroundings, with their upperparts tending to be quite subdued in colouration. Prime examples in this case are a number of catfish and loaches. In line with the more flattened body profile displayed by bottom-dwellers, a further adaption that has taken place relates to the location of the mouth. When a fish is relying on camouflage to conceal itself from predators, it would clearly be counterproductive if it then revealed its position whenever it needed to feed. As a result therefore, the mouth of a fish of this type is located on the underside of the body, allowing it to feed efficiently by rasping algae from the rocks or hunting bottom-dwelling creatures such as worms without losing the benefit of its camouflage. The structure of the mouth is described as being sub- terminal, being formed by an increase in the length of the upper jaw, so that this is longer than the lower jaw. In the case of many such bottom-dwellers, the mouth maintain their position. They tend not to be particularly powerful swimmers in any case. Another feature that can help to identify bottom-dwelling fish is that many have accompanying projections called minimises drag when they are swimming. Many have well- FISH I.D. March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 15Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk The mouth of a suckermouth catfish, with a short barbel visible on each side. ABOVE Fish living near the substrate tend to display subdued colouration, and they often have quite small eyes, indicating they are likely to become more active after dusk. LEFT The barbels are clearly evident around the mouth of this corydoras catfish – a popular species for a community aquarium. ABOVE It is hard to keep track of an individual in a shoal, and this brings survival advantages to fish such as these cardinal tetras. They should always be kept in groups of five or more in aquarium surroundings. CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE
  15. 15. capable of moving at great speed, as may be necessary to avoid predators, as well as maintaining their position in waters where the current is powerful. Their streamlined profile creates little water resistance and so permits rapid, efficient movement. The propulsive force comes from the powerful caudal (tail) fin, with other fins helping to allow the fish to change direction easily. The fins can serve a number of other functions too, especially in this group of fish. They can be used for communication with other members of the shoal, and may also be important for initiating courtship. Fins may also have a defensive role, making fish appear larger when they are raised, as well as sometimes incorporating venomous spines. At the surface Surface-dwelling fish are typified by an elongated body profile. They also have a straight back, plus a narrow dorsal fin. An example of these features can be seen in the arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum). The position of the mouth also helps to identify fish of this type. It is directed upwards (being described as ‘supraterminal’) and is formed by an elongation of the lower jaw in this case. In many species, the mouth is quite small, and yet in others, it can be very large. of these fish may sometimes go into a feeding frenzy, ripping flesh off the bones of animals and people alike. Mid-water dwelling fish are strong, agile swimmers, This is a truly versatile arrangement. Although a number have small, rudimentary barbels, these sensory feelers are absent in the vast majority of species. Instead, food is generally detected through movement. The eyes of these fish are placed on either side of the head, and they are relatively large in relation to its size. This of course helps them to locate prey and also detect the approach of would-be predators from some distance away. The mouth is remarkable, although this will only be apparent when these fish are feeding. The lips can be protruded, enabling prey to be sucked into the mouth from a distance away; it is rather like the way that a vacuum cleaner works! Another characteristic is the evolution of well-developed jaws bearing advanced teeth, to facilitate feeding on the move. This has led to some formidable predatory species evolving in this case, the most notorious of which are undoubtedly the piranhas. There are many gruesome tales of how shoals moving swiftly through the water serve to create confusion in the mind of a predator, as does a shoal that suddenly breaks up and disperses. It is much harder for a predator to keep a focus on a single individual if it is part of a larger shoal. There are a few exceptions, such as the popular angelfish (Pterophyllum species) that are highly compressed laterally, in terms of body shape. This, however, is a reflection of their environment. They live in stretches of water where there is a lot of tall aquatic vegetation, and thanks to their body shape, they can weave rapidly away from danger through these plants. Their narrow shape minimises water resistance as they do so. A further adaptation to living in mid-water is the placement of the mouth. In this group of fish, it is directed in a forward-facing position, with both the lower and upper jaws being of equal size. This arrangement, known as ‘terminal’, allows these fish to feed from a number of positions. They can take food directly in front of them, or adopt a ‘head-standing’ position, feeding from the substrate, or eat at the surface. when they are raised, as well as sometimes incorporating venomous spines. At the surface Surface-dwelling fish are typified by an elongated body profile. They also have a straight back, plus a narrow dorsal fin. An example of these features can be seen in the arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum The position of the mouth also helps to identify fish of this type. It is directed upwards (being described as ‘supraterminal’) and is formed by anof these fish may sometimes go This is a truly versatile The eyes of these fish are placed on either side of the head, and they are relatively large in relation to its size. This of course helps them to locate prey and also detect “They live in stretches of water where there is a lot of tall aquatic vegetation, and thanks to their body shape, they can weave rapidly away from danger” 16 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 The body shape of angelfish is specialised, helping these fish to weave easily through aquatic vegetation. The typical profile of a mid- water fish, as exemplified by these silver-tipped tetras (Hasemania nana) that originate from Brazil. The fearsome teeth of a piranha. PHOTO COURTESY ANDREWSELF AT EN.WIKIPEDIA.
  16. 16. Indeed, it can extend beyond the eye and may be opened to 90 degrees or more. This allows the fish to swallow relatively large prey such as spiders and insects that may have dropped into the water from an overhanging branch, and snap up smaller surface- dwelling fish. This type of feeding strategy is typified by the butterfly fish (Pantodon buchhololzi). It lives amongst floating vegetation, where its flowing fins resemble the roots of plants and provide excellent camouflage. Surface-dwellers also encompass some highly specialised species when it comes to feeding behaviour. One of the most sophisticated is the archer fish (Toxotes jaculatrix). This fish is able to spit a powerful jet of water almost a metre (39in) from the water’s surface to knock an invertebrate off a branch. It achieves this by pressing its tongue against a groove in the upper jaw that forms a tube. The jet of water is then forcibly ejected by contraction of the gill covers, in the direction of its prey. This may sound quite simple, but the fish also has to take into account the refraction of light in order to hit its target, because it will not be located exactly where it appears, when viewed from underwater. Another group of highly evolved surface-dwellers are the hatchetfish, which are covered in more detail on pages 40-46 in this issue. These fish have a deep, laterally compressed body, said to resemble a hatchet in shape. With the aid of powerful muscles attached to their pectoral fins, hatchetfish can lift themselves partially out of the water and ‘fly’ along the surface for several metres by flapping these fins. They must always be housed in a covered aquarium for this reason. Making a choice Unless you decide to specialise in one particular group of fish, you should be striving towards having a aquarium where the fish are quite evenly distributed in the aquarium through the depth of the water column. Avoid buying fish that all swim at the same level, and do not forget that bottom-dwellers can help to consume uneaten food that sinks down in the water, and could otherwise end up clogging the filter unnecessarily. Of course, when setting up a community tank, you must also take care to choose species that are compatible, not just in terms of water chemistry and size, but also temperament. Boisterous fish are likely to stress more peaceful species to the point where they spend all of their time in hiding and do not feed, thus endangering their health. Bear in mind also that during feeding times, many fish become more lively, and this disturbance can be detrimental to other species, in particular surface dwellers. Consideration should also be taken into account if you hope to breed the fish, as the eggs and/or fry will be more liable to being eaten by the other inhabitants, and particularly bottom-dwelling fish that mull over the substrate in search for food. One of the ways in which you can prevent problems occurring is to ensure that the aquarium is well planted with plenty of cover, so that the occupants are not continually exposed to one another, and feel vulnerable. Rockwork and bogwood can help in this respect too, proving natural retreats in the tank. Surface dwellers will benefit greatly from some floating plants. They would naturally seek out the security of cover here in the wild, so as to avoid being caught by birds skimming over the surface. And finally... As you browse the display tanks at an aquatic shop while considering which species to buy, watch where in the tank the fish are congregating. Think about how they may fit in with the fish you already have. Do you need to make adjustments to the design of your existing aquarium so the fish will feel at home? Are the water parameters the same? Will feeding be a problem? Should you be in any doubt and want further advice, ask the retailer; if your chosen species is not suitable for your set-up, there will almost certainly be one that is! È metres by flapping these fins. They must always be housed in a covered aquarium for this group of fish, you should be aquarium where the fish are quite evenly distributed in the aquarium through the depth community tank, you must also take care to choose species that are compatible, not just in problems occurring is to FISH I.D. March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 17Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk The butterfly fish conceals itself amongst aquatic plants growing at the water’s surface. PHOTO COURTESY TONIBER. RIGHT The arowana is a surface-dwelling species, as revealed by the upturned mouth of this super red individual, with prominent barbels directed almost vertically, helping these fish to find food at the surface, without revealing their presence. BELOW The archer fish is a highly specialised hunter that lives near the water’s surface. The pectoral fins of a hatchetfish can propel it out of the water if it is in danger. PHOTO COPYRIGHT HRISTO HRISTOV.
  17. 17. trend, given that a few years ago, many general fish keeping shops had not even seriously considered the idea of stocking aquariums housing just freshwater shrimp, and yet now many forward-thinking outlets have started to embrace this fascinating branch of the aquatic hobby with enthusiasm. A new development in aquarium keeping is growing rapidly in popularity – small-scale planted set-ups for freshwater shrimp. This is the ideal option if you only have limited space available, or are keen to have a smaller, second tank in your home. Expert Lucas Witte-Vermeulen of Sharnbrook Shrimp explains more. A quarium shrimp keeping is already established as a massive hobby in Asia where it originated. In fact, it is so popular that governments regularly sponsor shrimp shows and only recently, Taiwan’s President visited one of the leading shrimp farms there. This interest is now spreading to Europe, where on the mainland, there are already several “shrimp only” shops and now a specialist outlet has recently opened in the UK as well. This represents a remarkable 18 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 Freshwater aquarium shrimp take the UK by storm! planted set-ups for freshwater shrimp. This is the ideal option if you only have limited space available, or are keen to have a smaller, second Lucas Witte-Vermeulen shrimp take Black taiwan bee shrimp in a feeding frenzy. Eye to eye with a fire red shrimp. Crystal red bee shrimp. CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE
  18. 18. March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 19 or visit our shop at 20 The Strand, Bromsgrove Worcester, B61 8AB 01527 879207 For all you aquatic needs use Midlandwaterlife.com
  19. 19. SHRIMPS 20 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 “There is also no need to worry about a heater. Provided that your home stays at about room temperature, the shrimps will be quite happy in these surroundings.” The appeal of shrimp keeping Why keep shrimp, you may ask? There are many reasons, and so here I’ll concentrate on the major ones. Firstly, shrimp are typically colourful, and they are fascinating to watch, constantly moving around their quarters searching for food, algae and anything else that may be edible. On the other hand, they can move very fast and unexpectedly on occasions. Sometimes they shoot off and propel themselves through the water when they sense food, and males often react in this way as well when a female shrimp starts to moult. Freshwater shrimp are very low maintenance creatures, making them an ideal choice if you have a busy lifestyle. They create a fraction of the amount of waste produced by fish. In most cases, they actually clean up after themselves by constantly recycling their waste. A number of species are voracious algae eaters, like the amano shrimp and of a worry as well: get a timer for your lights and just ask a friend or neighbour to top up the tank if the water level starts to get a bit low. As long as your tank is mature and you have added a couple of Indian almond (also known as catappa) leaves to the water, your shrimp will be fine without other sources of food for as long as a couple of weeks. The leaves slowly rot in the water and the shrimp graze on the resulting bio-film that forms on the surface. The almond leaf will be eaten away until just the skeleton remains, which can take some weeks. Constituents in the leaf also serve as an anti-fungal agent, helping to maintain water quality at the same time. Variations on a theme No other aquatic animal has so many varied colours present within a single species. New varieties can emerge that are totally different in appearance from their parents, which means that breeding these shrimps is a definite and dirty filter changes, simplifying their care. There is also no need to worry about a heater. Provided that your home stays at about room temperature, the shrimps will be quite happy in these surroundings. Nor as mentioned do you need a large area to accommodate a shrimp tank, increasing the possibilities as to where this can be located. Simplified holiday care Going on holiday is also less the lesser long nose shrimp, and this helps to keep their surroundings clean too. There is not only very little waste to deal with, but feeding the shrimp is less likely to pollute the tank as well, so water quality issues should not prove to be such a significant problem as in the case of fish. Shrimp only require feeding every 2-3 days, and even less frequently if your tank is mature and planted with lots of mosses and other greenery. This combines to mean fewer This shrimp is resting on the remains of an Indian almond leaf. Many shrimp do not really need heaters.
  20. 20. world, acting as great stress- relievers as well. Bear in mind though that there are a few species of shrimp, such as the bamboo fan shrimp and the related Cameroon fan shrimp that really do need a larger 60l (13gal)set-up though. There are a couple of other things to bear in mind too. Firstly, shrimps love plants, so live plants are essential in their set-up, and serve to create a living aquatic world in miniature. Also, do not forget that fish will generally eat anything that they can fit into their mouths, and this will usually include shrimp, so these invertebrates tend not to be suitable occupants for larger, fish-orientated set-ups. shrimp, will hatch in around 30 days. Short hatching periods provide the shrimp keeper with the opportunity to experiment with selective breeding. Since shrimp have a relatively short lifespan of 2-3 years, breeding becomes an important aspect of shrimp keeping. It is fascinating to observe this process at first hand, and do not fear, because it is quite easy and happens naturally, with minimal involvement required on your part. As long as your water parameters are stable, you should have some young shrimp within a few short months. Basic requirements The rising popularity of small nano tanks, with volumes of 7-15l (1.5- 3.3gal), reflects that of shrimp, which will thrive in these compact surroundings, unlike fish. These tiny aquariums are ideal to decorate an office desk, providing an attractive microcosm of the natural It is best to keep shrimp in a tank on their own, with their tank mates being chosen very carefully. They can be kept with freshwater aquatic snails though, as a general rule. More outlets are now stocking shrimp and necessary accessories such as their food. Look out for them when you next visit an aquatic outlet. The best species to start with are cherry shrimp or crystal red shrimp, and in due course, if you are interested in obtaining more specialised species, you may need to go on-line. The great thing is that as your interest expands, so increasing the number of tanks will not require a house move or any reinforcement of the floor area to take the extra weight, as may be the case when it comes to keeping fish! È fascinating lottery! The eggs of Caridina and Neocaridina shrimp, which are the most common and popular of the dwarf freshwater Planyourvisit The only specialist shrimp outlet in the UK is:- Sharnbrook Shrimp 3 West Street Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0RT. Tel. 01933 317107. Website: www. sharnbrookshrimp.co.uk, with opening times listed here. “Since shrimp have a relatively short lifespan of 2-3 years, breeding becomes an important aspect of shrimp keeping” SHRIMPS Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 21Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk ABOVE 15 litre nano tanks are great for shrimp. easy and happens naturally, with minimal involvement required on your part. As long as your water parameters are stable, you should have some young shrimp within a few short months. Basic requirements The rising popularity of small nano tanks, with volumes of 7-15l (1.5- 3.3gal), reflects that of shrimp, which will thrive in these compact surroundings, unlike fish. These tiny aquariums are ideal to decorate an office desk, providing an attractive microcosm of the natural Lucas’s series of articles about setting up a shrimp tank feature in our four back issues, which can be ordered online in printed form at www.kelseyshop.co.uk/ magazine-back-issues or as digital versions from www.pocketmags.com WANT TO KNOW MORE? These three shrimp are all the same species, in spite of their colour differences. Shrimp love live plants.
  21. 21. 22 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 PUZZLE IT OUT Solve the crossword in the usual way except that where a clue is represented by asterisks, you must enter a word that has some connection with the solution already given - GOLDFISH. ACROSS 1 Lower limbs (4) 3 GOLDFISH 9 Largely marine region of Australasia (7) 10 * * * * * (5) 11 Fitted joint allowing door to pivot (5) 12 Sandy waste such as the Sahara (6) 1 2 3 9 4 5 6 7 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 20 13 11 10 8 c 2013 Christine Ansell G O L D F I S H 14 Concurred, saw eye to eye (6) 16 Pal (6) 19 * * * * * * (6) 21 Male relative (5) 24 Still breathing (5) 25 Small cup protecting needleworker’s fingertip (7) 26 Boxers or warriors (8) 27 The Red Planet (4) DOWN 1 * * * * * * * * (8) 2 Colour of emeralds (5) 4 * * * * * * (6) 5 Mallards or eiders (5) 6 Dip, submerge in liquid (7) 7 Loathe (4) 8 Involuntary expulsion of air down nostrils (6) 13 Sloth, laziness (8) 15 Largest town in Berkshire (7) 17 * * * * * * (6) 18 Instrument of Eric Clapton (6) 20 Upper frontal part of torso (5) 22 Hooded snake (5) 23 50% (4) THINK TANK See if you can solve the puzzles here! You can find all the answers on page 74. Puzzle page T M Y E R R A C M A D O N N A R U L B I H S N U M E A O I M U S L O V O R O K B A R E H C M T E R R Y I W U W T R N O L P O N L A S X L T I S H T R E V N A M W J L I C V I O I I A Y E R A C O J O H A N S S O N X P K H C G N G E M A A H Y N W T V K L P F K R I F K G A R O O O C A E L A Y D E I E O E A N D E R S O N E O T J L I H D T Y B F H E G W E S T F N GSolution: The missing name is HENRY StarFish Nineteen of the listed celebrity fishkeepers (surnames where appropriate) have been hidden - up,down, diagonally,back and forth - in our wordsearch grid. Which name is missing? (Pamela) ANDERSON, (David) BECKHAM, (Sandra) BULLOCK,,(Mariah) CAREY, (Jim) CARREY, CHER, (Thierry) HENRY, (Hulk) HOGAN,(Wyclef) JEAN, (Scarlett) JOHANSSON, (Nick) KNOWLES, (Ashton) KUTCHER, MADONNA, (Chris) MARTIN, (Andrea) MCLEAN, NELLY, (Gwen) STEFANI, (John) TERRY, (Ivana) TRUMP, (Kanye) WEST. STAR FISH Nineteen of the listed celebrity fishkeepers (surnames where appropriate) have been hidden - up, down, diagonally, back and forth - in our wordsearch grid. Which name is missing? HEADS UP Pictured below are close-ups of five different fish. Can you tell what they are? ID PARADE Can you identify this fish? COPYRIGHT 2013 CHRISTINE ANSELL (Pamela) ANDERSON, (David) BECKHAM, (Sandra) BULLOCK,, (Mariah) CAREY, (Jim) CARREY, CHER, (Thierry) HENRY, (Hulk) HOGAN, (Wyclef) JEAN,(Scarlett) JOHANSSON, (Nick) KNOWLES, (Ashton) KUTCHER, MADONNA, (Chris) MARTIN, (Andrea) MCLEAN, NELLY, (Gwen) STEFANI, (John) TERRY, (Ivana) TRUMP, (Kanye) WEST. 1 2 3 4 5
  22. 22. March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 27 AquapetsAll Domestic Pets, Tropical Coldwater Fish, Reptiles Accessories Our team is waiting to help you so please give us a call 0845 527 1883 50b Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, CM2 0HY Essex www.petsatmoulshamstreet.com Over 10 year’s premium service by our dedicated team We have over 85 fish tanks with over 200 varieties of Coldwater and Tropical fish. We stock everything you need to set-up a fish tank and support your fish tank throughout its life. Friendly and professional advice on our fish and products To advertise in Popular Fishkeeping Call Kara on 01959 543586 Gateshead Store 383R Jedburgh Court, Team Valley Trading Estate, NE11 0BQ 0191 487 7766 Sunderland Store - 82 Hylton Road, Sunderland, SR4 7BB 0191 514 2556 www.teamreptiles.co.uk Tel: 0191 487 7766 91 WE CAN DELIVER TO ANY WHERE IN THE UK. Add Team Reptiles on facebook for monthly photo competitions, special offers and updates on our breeding projects. 10% discount online with this add Code PFK10 valid until 30 April 2014 LIVEFOOD £2 a box, 4 for £7.50 6 for £10 † Full range of reptile equipment, decor and food available online and in store. † Varied range of reptiles, amphibs and inverts for the beginner and experienced keeper. † Full set up deals available for all reptiles † Loyalty scheme in store only on live and frozen food earning you free food for your reptiles
  23. 23. O ver the past two decades, he’s kept some of the new fish that have become available, and also has some of his own long-standing personal favourites. He explains to Susie Kearley why fish keeping has kept him fascinated for more than 20 years. The early days SK: How did you first become involved in fish keeping? RG: I got my first fish in my mid-20s, starting with zebra danios. I had a shoal of six in a tropical tank. I was fascinated by them, and they soon gave me the fish keeping bug! Since then, I’ve upgraded to increasingly bigger tanks, up to a maximum of a 1.2m (4ft) tank, in which I kept some large angelfish. They grew to about 15cm (6in) in length. Today, due to lack of space at home, I’ve got a smaller tank measuring 0.6x0.3x0.45m (2x1x1.5ft). I’ve been keeping fish for over 20 years now, but a lot has changed in that time. Back in the 1970s, my dad used to keep fish and he had his own unique ‘do-it-yourself’ filters. Dad’s fish tank had charcoal in the bottom, and it was Alifelong hobbyIn each issue, we talk with a fish keeper to discover what their hobby means to them. Steve Rothwell from Buckinghamshire is a keen enthusiast, with many years of experience caring for tropical fish. to the local aquatic shop the following day. I returned with a 0.6m (2ft) tank and set it up in my new home. On another occasion, at about 3am, I was woken up by my wife. She said “Your fish tank is making a strange noise…..”. Being fast asleep at that stage, I hadn’t heard quite ugly, with a filter on the outside. Today I enjoy the benefits of modern technology in my tank. I’ve got a Fluval 3+ filter that has a bigger surface area than most conventional filters, meaning it can filter out more particles, maintaining the water quality. Aquatic technology has moved on in leaps and bounds, so today’s filters are much better than they were in the 1970s, or indeed, when I started keeping fish myself, back in the 1990s. I’ve always done my fish keeping by the textbook and allowed my tank to mature slowly, building up my fish population gradually. Whenever I have a problem, or I want to buy more fish, I get all the books out and check compatibility with those already living in my tank. Disasters can strike! SK: Can you tell me about any mishaps you’ve had over the years? RG: One day when I was moving house, I had my 1.2m (4ft) fish tank in the removals van. The glass broke in transit, but fortunately, the fish were safely secured in another container. It did, however, mean that I had to make an emergency visit SUSIE KEARLEY Aquarium writer ME AND MY FISH 24 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 A zebra loach (Botia histronica) – Steve’s favourite. The patterning of these snail-eating fish is very variable. “I’ve learnt to develop my tank slowly, one stage at a time” Steve’s Top fish keeping tip
  24. 24. that the fish tank had developed a crack in one of the seals and water was leaking all over the floor. The filter was making a horrible noise, and had slipped over, pumping more of the water over the side of the tank too, so I switched it off at the wall. The tank may have been losing water for several hours, while we slept upstairs in blissful ignorance. By the time I got down there, the tank had just 5cm (2in) of water left in the bottom, and all the fish were flapping around here. With a great sense of urgency, I filled a bucket with some of the remaining water to maintain the temperature, and moved the heater into it, then carefully netted the fish out and lifted them into the bucket. I added some ‘stress coat’ into the water in the bucket as well. This product helps to maintain the essentially invisible layer of mucus that coats a fish’s body and protects them against infections. Then we started mopping the floor, and clearing up my sodden fish keeping magazines that were in the cupboard under the tank. It was a very stressful night! I had another emergency visit to the local aquatics shop first thing the following an uneven surface, or too little sealant was applied during manufacturing, it can split. I now always check this when buying a tank. If you are worried, you can add more sealant yourself, but buy a special aquarium silicone product, rather than a general purpose bathroom or kitchen one. These contain fungicides or similar ingredients that are likely to be toxic to fish. Standing the tank on a bed of polystyrene is also important, so it is not on an uneven surface, which will put stress on the joints. One of our more recent challenges has been power cuts. Short power cuts have become a frequent event recently and if the filter doesn’t switch itself on afterwards, it stops working until you reset it. The last of these power cuts happened only yesterday, and the filter started by itself, but that doesn’t always happen, and if we’re not here to re-set it, this could compromise the health of the fish. Fish and compatibility issues SK: Which are your favourite fish? RG: Zebra loaches are my favourites. They are particularly good snail predators. I’ve been having CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE it. I didn’t know what the noise was, and it didn’t sound too bad to me, but thankfully, she persuaded me to go down and take a look. That’s when I discovered Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 25 Sheets of glass are held together by a special silicone sealant that can absorb the pressure of water, so normally glass aquariums of this type do not leak. Steve Rothwell, seen here in front of his aquarium. “Zebra loaches are my favourites. They are particularly good snail predators” morning and set up a new tank straightaway, so the fish didn’t have to spend too long in the bucket. It’s remarkable that we didn’t lose any fish that night! Imagine if we’d been away on holiday and the whole tank had just emptied, leaving the entire fish stock dead at the bottom of the tank! It’s good that we were there to prevent an imminent disaster. This experience brought home to me how important it is to arrange for someone to check your aquarium when you are away. Disasters of this type are very rare, but they can have serious consequences if not detected at an early stage. The aquarium silicone sealant that holds the glass together is normally very reliable, but if the tank is on Zebra danios (Danio rerio) were the first fish that Steve kept.
  25. 25. that might be poisonous to the fish. If you try doing things like that, you’re likely to get very disappointing results. A number of the aquatic shops do thorough checks to find out what other fish you’ve got before letting you buy new fish for your tank. This is good because they are acting in the best interests of both you and your fish. Checking that new types of fish will live in harmony with your existing fish, and that the environment is suitable for them, is very important as well. I’ve learnt to develop my tank slowly, one stage at a time. The filter can’t cope if you do it too quickly, and this then impacts adversely on the health of the fish. You have to do things properly or you’ll probably fail. Someone I knew bought a new fish tank and put gravel from their dad’s drive on the bottom of the tank. They wouldn’t listen. Then they filled the tank with water and put the fish inside – it killed the fish. You can’t just use any old gravel – it has to be lime- free, and free from other contaminants SK: So what’s in your tank today? RG: I have lots of modern mollies and they’re breeding at the moment. It helps to have real plants in the tank when they’re breeding because it provides a hiding place for the babies. We also have neon tetras, rummy nose tetras, and zebra danios, which remain a favourite of mine. The zebra danios were on the news last year because they repair their own hearts – scientists are interested in understanding how they do it, because they’d like to be able to replicate the effect in humans. Our children are interested in the fish too - they feed them and show them to their friends, but they also know to stop their friends from banging on the tank. This can be a bad habit among visiting youngsters - and those not so young! Learning from experience SK: What have you learnt in over 20 years of fish keeping? RG: I’ve learned to have patience when I’m growing plants and a ‘war on snails’ in recent months, because of the damage they do to the plants. I’ve tried various chemical snail treatments that are supposed to knock them out so that you can remove them. But when I introduced the zebra loaches, they cleared the snails in a week. If they’re happy to eat the snails and keep their numbers in check, that suits me fine! I have kept a single Siamese fighting fish in my tank a few times and they’re beautiful, but I’ve have a never had much joy with them - perhaps because some lines may be too inbred? I always tried hard to keep them fit and healthy, and I fed them on bloodworm to ensure they got well fed, but they just never seemed to survive for very long. One of my Siamese fighting fish met a particularly unpleasant end. We had an anostomus fish that was a bit of a rogue. He kept attacking the other fish. I tried housing him on his own for a time, and then put him back in the main tank, which usually sorts out aggressive fish, but every time I did this, he continued to attack the other fish. This rogue anostomus attacked my lovely blue Siamese fighting fish, damaging its fins and it sadly died. After that, I took this particular individual back to the shop, explaining what had happened. We’ve had other anostomus fish that have been fine. What’s in Roger’s tank?What’s in Roger’s tank? important as well.free, and free from other contaminants understanding how they do it, because they’d like to be able to replicate the effect in Our children are interested in the fish too - they feed them and show them to their friends, but they also know to stop their friends tank. This can be a bad I’m growing plants and 26 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 Rummynose tetras (Hemigrammus bleheri) are one of Steve’s favourite fish, being ideal for a community aquarium. There are now many new colourful varieties of mollies that have been developed. This one is known as a red sailfin. They are quite easy to breed, with females giving birth to live young. One of Steve’s golden zebra danios. PHOTO COURTESY SUSIE KEARLEY.
  26. 26. makes a huge difference, and now the plants are growing so vigorously that they need trimming every week. Even today, I can’t get all plants to grow, but some of my successes are growing really well. Red plants apparently need more light that green ones - I did have a red plant once, but it died. Perhaps I’ll have another go! Today, I’ve also got catfish from Brazil. When I bought them, I had to be really careful introducing them, to be sure they settled in without problems. I read through all my books and conditioned the water carefully to make the environment perfect for them, and I’m pleased to report that they have settled in happily. There’s just so much scope in fish keeping. I guess that is why it is such a popular hobby – there is something to appeal to everyone. È different colour light bulbs in the tank - a Power glow and an Aqua glow. They produce slightly different spectrums of light and you need both spectrums to make the plants grow successfully. When I first started trying to grow plants in the tank, the fish ate all the leaves before they could really get established. But once I got the lighting right and started feeding the plants with a handful of nutrients every day, they started to grow quite fast. Getting the light and gravel right in an established tank had in the tank, but I’ve given up on that these days. I’m less of a nerd! I do enjoy creating themed tanks from time to time. I had an Amazon themed tank once. It seemed like a great idea, but all the fish were grey or brown, so the end result was quite disappointing. I’ve opted for colourful fish at the moment. One day, I aim to keep marine fish. For decoration, I just use bogwood and real plants in my aquarium and have a self- adhesive rocky background stuck onto the outside, to give a natural effect when you look into the tank. I have two SK: Can you tell me about your feeding, planting, and how often you restock? RG: I feed my fish once a day with aquarium flakes and pellets for the catfish and bottom feeders. I also give them treats from time to time, which include dried bloodworm, live mosquito larvae, and cooked peas. The mollies do seem to enjoy having some vegetables in their diet - they suck on the peas, spit them out, and then suck them back in again. It’s like they’re playing ball with them! I tend to restock six fish at a time, and I buy new fish two or three times a year. I used to have a notebook to keep a check on exactly what fish I Would you like to feature in Me and My Fish? If looking after your coldwater or tropical fish means a lot to you, we’d love to hear from you! Perhaps caring for your fish has helped you through a stressful event? Or maybe you particularly value the friends you’ve made through your hobby, either on the forums or through a club? Perhaps you show your fish or you might help to re-home unwanted fish? Do you suffer from a disability and how do you overcome the resulting challenges when looking after your tank? Whatever your story you can email us at pf.ed@ kelsey.co.uk or write to us at our address on page 74. Share your experiences BELOW The correct lighting is essential for healthy plant growth in the aquarium, but Steve has struggled to grow red-leaved plants successfully. ME AND MY FISH March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 27Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk Steve has found that the temperament of some fish, like anostomus (Anostomus anostomus) can vary greatly. BELOW Flake food floats, making it idea for surface- feeding fish, whereas corydoras and other bottom-feeding fish require pellets that sink.
  27. 27. Tackling the health problems that you want answered. Why not email us with yours to pf.ed@kelsey.co.uk? properly. Modern foods for aquarium fish are carefully formulated to meet their nutritional needs. The vitamins and minerals in particular will help to boost the fish’s immune system again, if it has recently been under stress, following a move. This reduces the risk of fungal disease, and means that when the fish are transferred to the main aquarium, they will be fitter and less vulnerable to infections of this type. Once the fish are introduced to the aquarium, it is important to check that all is going well. If there is conflict, leading to fin or body injuries, then again, a fungal infection may develop, which can prove fatal if untreated, even if the underlying injury itself was not that serious. QWhat are the signs of fungal disease? AIn the early stages, affected areas may simply show up as localised QCan you give me some information and advice about fungal infections in fish please? AFirstly, remember that the chances of illness striking are always greatest when you first acquire fish. Although it may be tempting to blame the retailer, it is more than likely that there could be something wrong with your tank setup. It is really important to allow the tank to mature, so that the water quality is suitable. But although that can be assessed with test kits, there is another potential killer that cannot be detected in this way. Bear in mind that just because a sample of water appears clean, this does not mean that it is free from pathogens – disease-causing microbes. In any sample, you are likely to find fungal spores for example, although they generally cause no harm. However, newly-acquired fish are more vulnerable to this type of infection than those that have been living in the aquarium for some time, for a variety of reasons. All fish have a protective barrier around their body that protects them from injury. Firstly, there is an outer, essentially invisible slime covering of mucus that plays an important role in this regard. That is why you should never attempt to handle a fish with dry hands, as it will damage this protective shield. When attempting to catch a fish in a tank, always aim to do so as cleanly as possible, scooping it out of the water rather than trapping it so that it rubs up against a rock or other ornamentation. By minimising the risk of injury in this way, so you are reducing the opportunity for a fungal infection to take hold as well. The other barrier is more evident, being provided by the fish’s scales. These can also be lost in some cases as the result of trauma, resulting from conflicts between individual fish. The fins are particularly vulnerable to fungal infections too, with fish that have long trailing fins being at greatest risk. Again, injuries to this part of the body caused by rough handling or fighting may lead on to fungal infections here, often in association with bacterial disease as well. Always bear in mind that fungal disease tends to be what is known as an ‘opportunistic infection’. As mentioned, well-established fish are relatively immune to this type of illness, compared with new acquisitions. This is why an acclimatisation tank can be so useful. Apart from anything else, this will allow recently acquired fish to settle down in a relatively stress- free environment, and feed If your fish suffer from the parasitic disease called white spot or ich, then once the parasitic cysts on the sides of their bodies rupture, so these areas are very likely to be attacked by fungus. Beware, because although the white spot may not kill the fish initially, a secondary fungal infection may well do so soon afterwards if not spotted in time. DID YOU KNOW? A fish’s scales normally provide a very effective barrier against infection. These are the scales of a blue Siamese fighting fish, seen in close-up. 28 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 Fish Doctor
  28. 28. greyish or whitish spots, but before long, they develop a haloed appearance. On closer scrutiny, this is rather similar to cotton wool, effectively confirming an attack by Saprolegnia fungus. Rapid treatment is important, not just to help the affected fish, but also, to protect others in the tank. The fungal spores will otherwise multiply rapidly in number in the aquarium water, with the increasing concentration putting the health of other fish as well. It is worth remembering that when you carry out partial water changes to maintain water chemistry, this also has the beneficial effect of lowering the concentration of fungal spores in the tank as well. QWhat treatments are available? AA number of different proprietary treatments are available at aquatic shops. These are traditionally based on various dyes, which need to be diluted in water. It is not a good idea to treat an affected individual in the main aquarium. It is much better to transfer the fish to a smaller treatment tank. This is partly because dyes can stain the silicone sealant, detracting from the appearance of the aquarium as a result. Read the instructions for use carefully, as some treatments of this type can be applied directly to the affected area, whereas other may need to be used as baths. In the case of larger fish, such as cichlids, various anti-fungal ointments may be obtained from your vet, although it helps if you are in the fortunate position of having a fish vet near you, as most vets see few if any fish in the majority of small animal practices. QWhat else can I do? Are the chances of recovery good? AEarly treatment as soon as symptoms are spotted gives the best hope for a successful outcome, as always. Raising the water temperature slightly in the treatment tank should also help, as the fish’s immune system will function more effectively, hopefully helping it to overcome the fungus. Offer your fish food during treatment, but take care not to overfeed, as this will pollute the water, potentially worsening the situation. A fish’s powers of regeneration are quite remarkable. Fins that have been badly affected by fungus will usually grow back when the fish is being kept under more favourable conditions, leaving no sign of past problems. Body scales that may have been lost through injury, allowing the fungus access to the fish’s body, can regenerate and create an effective barrier in the future as well. There may be slight differences in colouration though, compared with surrounding scales, revealing the original site of the injury. In some cases though, typically with old fish – bearing in mind that many in aquarium surroundings will live much longer than their wild relatives – they will not respond to treatment. This is simply a reflection of the aging process, and may be linked with other, less conspicuous underlying ailments. È ABOVE A black neon tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi) with injuries caused by fighting that will be vulnerable to fungal infections. EXPERT HELP March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 29Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk A fish badly affected by fungus. PHOTO © PHOTOMAX AT THE GOLDFISH BOWL, OXFORD. ABOVE Provided that the infection is caught in time, with appropriate treatment being given, then a full recovery is possible. Any damage to the fins will heal completely, even in the case of those with elaborate fins, such as the angelfish seen here.
  29. 29. Asia and even parts of Europe. These non-annual killifish are often easier to keep and breed than the annual species, because their eggs rarely need a dry period and normally hatch within a matter of weeks rather than months. The countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and the Central African Republic in West Africa are home to many non- annual killifish and include some of the most colourful species. A large number of these fish are very popular in the killifish hobby, with many Geographical considerations Before considering the needs of these fish, it is worthwhile looking at the environment and range of conditions that exist in the countries where they occur. For example, along the West African coast there is a forest and some areas of them providing an ideal introduction to the group, even if you have not kept killifish before. This article will concentrate on some of the more common species of the genera Fundulopanchax and Aphyosemion, which are the two main killifish groups found in West Africa. Killifish are often stunningly beautiful, only grow to a small size, and yet you are unlikely to find them for sale in most aquatic shops. But don’t let this put you off! They’re generally quite easy to keep, and you even can obtain their eggs to hatch yourself. Steve White of the British Killifish Association continues his series of articles about these fish. Annual or not? As I outlined last time in my introduction to the group, killifish species in general can be divided into one of two categories. There are the so- called ‘annual fish’ that have a very short lifecycle in the wild, living in temporary pools and puddles that will soon evaporate and dry up, while the ‘non-annuals’ are found in permanent bodies of water. This article focuses on this latter group, whose members are more widely distributed, with representatives being found in Africa, the Americas, 30 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 Colourful killifish This stunning killifish is Fundulopachax scheeli. PHOTO © HRISTO HRISTOV Asia and even parts of Europe. These non-annual killifish are often easier to keep and breed than the annual species, because their eggs rarely need a dry period and normally hatch within a matter of weeks The countries of Nigeria, Geographicalof them providing an ideal and you even can obtain their eggs to hatch of the British Killifish Colourful Killifish species are abundant in West Africa.
  30. 30. AQUARIUM FAVOURITE Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 31Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk “A large number of these fish are very popular in the killifish hobby, with many of them providing an ideal introduction to the group, even if you have not kept killifish before.” One of the less common species seen in collections today is Fundulopanchax avichang. PHOTO © HRISTO HRISTOV One of the less common species seen in collections today is Fundulopanchax avichang. here have an annual rainfall of up to 4000mm (13ft) whilst inland, the figure can still be as high as 750–1000mm (2.5-3.3ft) per annum. There is a great variation in temperature in the region as well. This figure is higher on the coast, with an average of 25°C (77°F), whereas inland, where the land is much higher, the temperature is lower and is typically around 20°C (68°F). The distribution of the individual species seems to be governed by these conditions. Those living in the coastal forest areas are not found inland at higher, cooler altitudes and vice versa. There are a large number of Aphyosemion and Fundulopanchax species described from this part of the world – more than 100 in the case of Aphyosemion and 25 different Fundulopanchax. They range from Aphyosemion striatum and A. australe to extremely difficult today. Many fish in the killifish hobby represent species that were first collected years ago, with these strains having been bred and maintained over decades by devoted enthusiasts. We know this from the location and collection codes given to species when they were originally collected, as explained in my article in the previous issue. As an example, Aphyosemion louessense RPC 78/33 indicates this particular strain was collected by an expedition to the then People’s Republic of the Congo (Republique Populaire du Congo) in 1978, and together, as it can become confusing. Opportunities for further study Most collecting expeditions in this part of world have been along the main routes for transport, near to existing roads and rivers, with much of the land further away from these areas being comprised of thick jungle, which makes it difficult to explore. A number of locations are dangerous and unsafe to travel in, because of civil unrest. Taking these factors into account, it is likely that there may very well be a number of other undiscovered killifish species, which have yet to be described. Collection of new species and field research is often the large number of variants of Fundulopanchax gardneri that have been documented. Both Fundulopanchax scheeli and F. sjoestedti are fairly common in the killifish hobby, and others including the beautiful Chromaphyosemion species and some of the rarely seen species such as Fundulopanchax avichang can be encountered occasionally. One point to emphasise is that it is the male fish that are colourful; in general, females of most species tend to be a sandy brown colour with little in the way of markings. This makes it difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to identify females of some species, so care needs to be taken if more than one species of same group are being kept CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE ABOVE Fundulopanchax gardneri is a very variable species, in terms of its appearance.
  31. 31. came from specific collection location in the country numbered as 33. It is largely because of the way that strains are named on this basis that common names are not typically used for killifish, certainly among enthusiasts. This actually helps to preserve the lineages accurately. In fact, there can be quite significant variations in the appearance of killifish of the same species from different localities. Aphyosemion striatum First described in 1911, this species has become a firm favourite in the killifish hobby. It lives in streams and pools within the coastal rainforest of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The presence of red stripes consisting of coloured dots along the length of its body accounts for its specific name of ‘striatum’. The common name usually given to this species is the red-lined or red- striped killifish. Reaching 5cm (2in) in length, Aphyosemion striatum is a streamlined, sleek fish and maintained at a temperature of 22-23°C (71.5-73.5°F) will often spawn successfully, leading in due course to the appearance of fry in the tank. Java moss (Vesicularia dubyana) and Java ferns are popular with aquarists and used extensively by many in the hobby for killifish aquaria. Java moss in particular provides a good medium where plant-spawning species like Aphyosemion striatum can lay their eggs. In addition, both these plants provide shelter is a good subject for the novice killifish keeper. A pair of these fish housed in a well-planted aquarium, provided with the right water conditions and and security for these fish, particularly the females. As an alternative to plants though, acrylic wool mops can also be used in a breeding tank. There are several ways in which the eggs of these killifish can be incubated, resulting in the appearance of fry. Eggs can be collected from the mops and incubated in small containers of water, or the mop complete with eggs can be transferred into a suitable hatching tank or container. The water here needs to be maintained at the typical aquarium temperature of 22-23°C (71.5-73.5°F) or thereabouts. Fertile eggs normally hatch after 14-16 days. Alternatively, provided the aquarium is densely planted, you can just leave things alone and let nature take its course. A few fry will then hatch and thrive if their parents are kept well-fed, although do not overfeed the adult fish, as this will impact adversely on the water quality in the tank. The fry themselves are very small and care needs to be taken when rearing them, as again, any excess needs to be maintained at the typical aquarium temperature of 22-23°C thereabouts. Fertile eggs normally hatch after 14-16 days. Alternatively, provided the aquarium is densely planted, you can just leave things alone and let nature take its course. A few fry will then hatch and thrive if their parents are kept well-fed, although do not overfeed the adult fish, as this will impact adversely on the water quality in the tank. The fry themselves are very small and care needs to be taken when rearing them, as again, any excess 32 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 Aphyosemion louessense, displaying a purplish mauve background colour on its body. PHOTO © HRISTO HRISTOV Java moss serves as an ideal spawning medium for killifish. PHOTO COURTESY BUCHLING AT THE GERMAN LANGUAGE WIKIPEDIA. An example of Aphyosemion striatum. PHOTO © HRISTO HRISTOV Java fern – another plant often incorporated in killifish tanks. It should be grown on bogwood or rocks, rather than planted in the substrate. PHOTO COURTESY TSUNAMICARLOS. Killifish names tend to describe themarkings of the fish, its environment, thelocation where it is to be found or, morecommonly in recent times, the name of the first collector or member of the expeditionwhich discovered it. As an example,Fundulopanchaxscheeli, as shown atthe start of this article, was namedafter Jorgen Scheel. DID YOU KNOW?
  32. 32. soaked, should be provided for this purpose, being frequently used by many killifish breeders for this species and others displaying similar breeding behaviour. Fundulopanchax sjoestedti will, however, also lay its eggs on spawning mops and plants placed at the bottom of the tank. Collected eggs can be incubated in one of two ways, depending on the spawning medium. In the case of those laid in a peat substrate, this can be dried until slightly damp and stored at around 21°C (70°F) for between 6-8 weeks. Eggs laid on a spawning mop can be collected and either incubated in water, in which case they will normally hatch after 5-6 weeks, or stored in peat and hatched later. This takes slightly longer but hatching can then be carried out at a time of your choosing, which is useful if you have a holiday planned for example. Fry are relatively large when they hatch, reflecting their ultimate adult size, and they are able to eat newly hatched brine shrimp at this early stage. Young in this case grow very fast, but it can take up to nine months before females are able to produce eggs in reasonable numbers. These are stunning killifish, but unfortunately, because of their size, they are not suitable for a community tank alongside other killies. very well-established, plus a couple of newer and much rarer colours, referred to as the ‘red/orange’ and the ‘orange spotless’. Fundulopanchax sjoestedti Growing up to 14cm (5.5in) in length, this is the largest of the killifish species yet discovered on the African continent, and it first became known to science during 1895. It is often referred to as the blue gularis, because of the predominately blue body colour of many of the killifish collected from several locations in Nigeria and the Cameroon. Currently in the hobby, there are strains of these killifish originating from the Niger River (Nigeria), as well as Funge, Warri and Loe, together with a number of aquarium strains of indeterminate origins. There is also a smaller variant of this species known as the ‘dwarf orange’, which has been popular mainly due to the intense orange colouration in its tail and its smaller size. It only reaches around 8cm (3in) in length when fully grown. As a result of its size, the blue gularis requires a large tank with a minimum volume of 45l (10gal), which will be suitable for a pair of fish. It should be furnished with plenty of plants, so as to provide cover for the female. This species is described as a soil or substrate spawner, which means that the eggs are laid in the floor covering of the tank. Specially prepared peat moss, which has been boiled and normally at around the stage of 8-10 weeks, but this does vary, depending on the species, being much longer in some cases. Aphyosemion australe These killifish can look stunning in a planted aquarium, particularly when adult. Thanks to the extensions on their fins, they are often described as lyretail killifish. This is one of the most widely kept and long- established species in the killifish hobby, always being popular at auctions. It was first described back in 1921. Aphyosemion australe is relatively easy to keep and breed if water conditions are good. It is another species that will not thrive at high temperatures though. The figures should correspond to those recommended for the previous species, and breeding details for Aphyosemion australe are similar too. There have been collections of wild stock made in recent years and their offspring are sometimes available. It is the colour variations of fish that have been selectively bred for many generations, however, which remain most popular in the hobby. In addition to the natural or ‘chocolate’ form, there is the ‘gold’, which is of food will quickly foul the water, resulting in the death of fry. Interpet’s Liquifry No 1 can be used sparingly every couple of days as their initial food, with microworms and newly hatched brine shrimp, if available, subsequently being introduced to their diet as they grow bigger. Some powdered food can also be useful at this stage. The fry resemble the females at first, and it is not until they are a number of weeks old before the males will start to show any trace of their adult colouration. In the case of Aphyosemion striatum, this is are laid in the floor covering of the tank. Specially prepared peat moss, which has been boiled and AQUARIUM FAVOURITE Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk March-April 2014 / Popular Fish Keeping 33Subscribe now! Visit www.popularfishkeeping.co.uk The chocolate form of Aphyosemion australe. PHOTO © HRISTO HRISTOV A gold variant of Aphyosemion australe. This strain of Fundulopanchax sjoestedti originates from the Niger Delta. PHOTO © HRISTO HRISTOV CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE
  33. 33. Other species The species mentioned above are just some of the more popular and easily maintained examples of this group that are currently available. In marked colour variations between populations of the same species found at different locations. Within the hobby, these are never mixed, with the aim always being to try and maintain the individual, distinctive populations. Fundulopanchax gardneri This is a species that you may occasionally see in aquatic retailers. It reaches about 6cm (2.4in) in length and makes a good introduction to the group, being easy to maintain. It can be bred employing the same methods as for its relative, Fundulopanchax sjoestedti, although the incubation period for its eggs tends to be shorter, averaging around 4-5 weeks. Over the years, Fundulopanchax gardneri has been discovered in many different locations and currently, there are over 20 described populations. The basic underlying ground colour is blue, but the extent of the body markings and the fin colours vary significantly between different populations. What has happened is that in the wild, as these killifish have become isolated in various locations in the past, this has led to the development of what are in effect the distinctive strains that now exist today. Within the hobby as well, attractive gold forms have been bred and established from two specific populations. Similar traits have been recognised in other species in the wild, giving rise to Order back issues at www.kelseyshop.co.uk/popular-fish-keeping-magazine-subscriptionor telephone 0845 872 7385 Missed lastmonth’s article? 34 Popular Fish Keeping / March-April 2014 A pair of Fundulopanchax gardneri.PHOTO © HRISTO HRISTOV “It reaches about 6cm (2.4in) in length and makes a good introduction to the group, being easy to maintain.”

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