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Fish

Coldwater Fish

 

Introduction

Coldwater fish, in the context of aquariums, refers to fish species that prefer cooler water temperatures than tropical fish, typically below 20 °C (68 °F). Some examples are koi and goldfish. These species tend to grow more slowly and live longer than fish that live in warmer waters, and are generally felt to be easier to keep.

Coldwater fish are fish such as goldfish, koi, and other members of the carp family that are able to survive in cold water temperatures. When kept in a household aquarium, they do not require a heater and are quite comfortable at around 60°F (15°C). These fish are also desirable choices for outdoor ponds and can stand temperatures down to 10°C.

 

History

The earliest known aquariums were artificial fish ponds constructed by the ancient Sumerians over 4500 years ago. The ancient Assyrians, Egyptians, and Romans also kept fish in ponds for food and entertainment purposes. The ancient Chinese were the first culture to breed fish with any degree of success. They raised carp for food around 2000 B.C., and developed ornamental goldfish by selective breeding. Goldfish were introduced to Europe during the 18th century.

In the later 18th century, widespread public interest in the study of nature was awakening, and fish were kept in glass jars, porcelain containers, wooden tubs, and small artificial ponds. It was during this time that zoologist and botanist, Johann Matthaeus Bechstein, kept a large number of fishes and amphibians and laid down the foundation for aquarium and terrarium science. The concepts of the proper aquarium and terrarium were developed later by Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward in 1829.

During the 19th century the idea of the "balanced aquarium" was developed. This approach was an attempt to mimic a balanced ecosystem in nature. According to this method, fish waste could be consumed by plants, and plants along with the air surface of the water could supply oxygen for the fish. In 1869, the first tropical fish (the Paradise Fish) was imported from Asia. In these days, tropical tanks were kept warm by an open flame. Because early filters were noisy and expensive, fishkeeping was a hobby reserved for wealthy, scientifically inclined individuals.

In 1878, Rear-Admiral Daniel Ammon brought the first tropical fish from the Far East to the United States which lead to a decline in the popularity of goldfish. In the early 20th century, aeration, as well as particulate and charcoal filtration was introduced. The undergravel filter was introduced in the 1950s.By this time, the old idea of the balanced aquarium was viewed as unattainable and unnecessary by many people in the aquarium hobby, but it made a comeback at the end of the 20th Century with the rising popularity of the planted tank.

Today fishkeeping has become a popular hobby that almost anyone can do. Aquarium fish are both wild-caught and bred in Asia and Florida. Captive-bred species are inexpensive and widely available, and are less likely to be infected with diseases or parasites. Unfortunately, successive generations of inbred fish frequently have less color and sport smaller fins than their wild counterparts.

 

Fundamentals

A typical household freshwater aquarium set-up, apart from its aquatic tenants, consists of furnishings such as a gravel substrate, live or plastic plants, rocks, driftwood, a backcloth or background, and other decorations. Other equipment includes a canopy or hood as an aquarium cover, an aquarium stand or base, lighting accessories, a heater, a thermometer, air pumps, filtration apparatus, airstones, fish food, a fish net, water conditioner, water quality testing kits, a siphon hose or gravel cleaner, and a bucket for water changes.

Surface area and height are important in the set-up and maintenance of a living biotope. The surface area contributes to providing superior in-tank oxygenation and it also facilitates the creation of attractive aquatic themes. Freshwater environments benefit more from short and wide aquariums, due to the larger surface area they present to the air; this allows more oxygen to dissolve in the water, and the more oxygen there is, the more fish you can keep. In general, a larger-sized aquarium provides a more stable water-world and the hobbyist can also acquire a greater number of fish. A large aquarium can also enhance aesthetic value. With regards to material, an all-glass aquarium is preferable due to its reasonable cost and its superior ability to resist scratches and discoloration. Indoor aquariums are normally placed far from windows, heating and cooling ducts of the house because direct sunlight and temperature changes can negatively affect the aquatic environment. Overexposure to sunlight leads to rapid algae growth inside and outside the tank. Sudden temperature variations are harmful to fish.

 

Themes

Fish come in a large variety of species, from several different geographical regions. Most aquarium fish originated in Central America, South America, Africa, or Asia. Fish can be kept in different combinations of species and in different kinds of aquatic environments. Four common themes include the community aquarium, the goldfish aquarium, the African cichlid aquarium, and the planted aquarium.

A community aquarium refers to the mixing of fish and plants from different geographical areas with an emphasisis on the color and hardiness of the specimens. An example would be the combination of gouramis, tetras, and rasboras with a selection of hardy plants such as Hygrophila difformis, Hygrophila polysperma, and Vallisneria spiralis. Choosing fish that are peaceful and compatible with each other is important in a community tank.

A goldfish aquarium can be set up as an unfurnished and bare-bottom tank to emphasize the bright coloration of the fish. A combination of different varieties of goldfish and decorations that contrast with the vivid colors of the fish would make an attractive display. Live plants are not usually grown with goldfish, except for hardy, oxygenating plants like Egeria, because goldfish regularly disturb the substrate. They may also feed on softer-leaved plants. Plastic plants can be used instead.

An African cichlid aquarium commonly consists of Lake Tanganyika or Lake Malawi cichlid varieties, and generally requires a large number of rocks combined with a substrate of fine gravel or sand. The rocky environment should provide numerous caves and hiding places. Because cichlids, like goldfish, disturb the substrate by digging, plastic plants should be used as a substitute for live plants. However, real plants like Vallisneria or Anubias can be tried in a cichlid tank.

A planted aquarium emphasizes living plants as much as, or even more than fish. Large groupings of plant species such as Hygrophila, Limnophila, Rotala, Vallisneria, Echinodorus, and Cryptocorynes with a limited number of fish is a good example of a planted tank. It is important to select fish that will not damage the plants, such as small tetras, dwarf gouramis, cherry barbs, zebra danios, and White Clouds. Planted tanks may include CO2 injection and a substrate fortified with laterite or, in the case of a low tech aquarium, a layer of potting soil under the gravel to provide nutrients for the plants.

 

A biotope aquarium is an aquarium that is designed to simulate a natural habitat, with the fish, plants, and furnishings all representative of a particular place in nature. Because only species that are found together in nature are allowed in a true biotope aquarium, these tanks are more challenging and less common than the other themes.

Tropical/Freshwater Fish

 

History

The earliest known aquariums were artificial fish ponds constructed by the ancient Sumerians over 4500 years ago. The ancient Assyrians, Egyptians, and Romans also kept fish in ponds for food and entertainment purposes. The ancient Chinese were the first culture to breed fish with any degree of success. They raised carp for food around 2000 B.C., and developed ornamental goldfish by selective breeding. Goldfish were introduced to Europe during the 18th century.

In the later 18th century, widespread public interest in the study of nature was awakening, and fish were kept in glass jars, porcelain containers, wooden tubs, and small artificial ponds. It was during this time that zoologist and botanist, Johann Matthaeus Bechstein, kept a large number of fishes and amphibians and laid down the foundation for aquarium and terrarium science. The concepts of the proper aquarium and terrarium were developed later by Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward in 1829.

During the 19th century the idea of the "balanced aquarium" was developed. This approach was an attempt to mimic a balanced ecosystem in nature. According to this method, fish waste could be consumed by plants, and plants along with the air surface of the water could supply oxygen for the fish. In 1869, the first tropical fish (the Paradise Fish) was imported from Asia. In these days, tropical tanks were kept warm by an open flame. Because early filters were noisy and expensive, fishkeeping was a hobby reserved for wealthy, scientifically inclined individuals.

In 1878, Rear-Admiral Daniel Ammon brought the first tropical fish from the Far East to the United States which lead to a decline in the popularity of goldfish. In the early 20th century, aeration, as well as particulate and charcoal filtration was introduced. The undergravel filter was introduced in the 1950s.By this time, the old idea of the balanced aquarium was viewed as unattainable and unnecessary by many people in the aquarium hobby, but it made a comeback at the end of the 20th Century with the rising popularity of the planted tank.

Today fishkeeping has become a popular hobby that almost anyone can do. Aquarium fish are both wild-caught and bred in Asia and Florida. Captive-bred species are inexpensive and widely available, and are less likely to be infected with diseases or parasites. Unfortunately, successive generations of inbred fish frequently have less color and sport smaller fins than their wild counterparts.

 

Fundamentals

A typical household freshwater aquarium set-up, apart from its aquatic tenants, consists of furnishings such as a gravel substrate, live or plastic plants, rocks, driftwood, a backcloth or background, and other decorations. Other equipment includes a canopy or hood as an aquarium cover, an aquarium stand or base, lighting accessories, a heater, a thermometer, air pumps, filtration apparatus, airstones, fish food, a fish net, water conditioner, water quality testing kits, a siphon hose or gravel cleaner, and a bucket for water changes.

Surface area and height are important in the set-up and maintenance of a living biotope. The surface area contributes to providing superior in-tank oxygenation and it also facilitates the creation of attractive aquatic themes. Freshwater environments benefit more from short and wide aquariums, due to the larger surface area they present to the air; this allows more oxygen to dissolve in the water, and the more oxygen there is, the more fish you can keep. In general, a larger-sized aquarium provides a more stable water-world and the hobbyist can also acquire a greater number of fish. A large aquarium can also enhance aesthetic value. With regards to material, an all-glass aquarium is preferable due to its reasonable cost and its superior ability to resist scratches and discoloration. Indoor aquariums are normally placed far from windows, heating and cooling ducts of the house because direct sunlight and temperature changes can negatively affect the aquatic environment. Overexposure to sunlight leads to rapid algae growth inside and outside the tank. Sudden temperature variations are harmful to fish.

 

Themes

Fish come in a large variety of species, from several different geographical regions. Most aquarium fish originated in Central America, South America, Africa, or Asia. Fish can be kept in different combinations of species and in different kinds of aquatic environments. Four common themes include the community aquarium, the goldfish aquarium, the African cichlid aquarium, and the planted aquarium.

A community aquarium refers to the mixing of fish and plants from different geographical areas with an emphasisis on the color and hardiness of the specimens. An example would be the combination of gouramis, tetras, and rasboras with a selection of hardy plants such as Hygrophila difformis, Hygrophila polysperma, and Vallisneria spiralis. Choosing fish that are peaceful and compatible with each other is important in a community tank.

A goldfish aquarium can be set up as an unfurnished and bare-bottom tank to emphasize the bright coloration of the fish. A combination of different varieties of goldfish and decorations that contrast with the vivid colors of the fish would make an attractive display. Live plants are not usually grown with goldfish, except for hardy, oxygenating plants like Egeria, because goldfish regularly disturb the substrate. They may also feed on softer-leaved plants. Plastic plants can be used instead.

An African cichlid aquarium commonly consists of Lake Tanganyika or Lake Malawi cichlid varieties, and generally requires a large number of rocks combined with a substrate of fine gravel or sand. The rocky environment should provide numerous caves and hiding places. Because cichlids, like goldfish, disturb the substrate by digging, plastic plants should be used as a substitute for live plants. However, real plants like Vallisneria or Anubias can be tried in a cichlid tank.

A planted aquarium emphasizes living plants as much as, or even more than fish. Large groupings of plant species such as Hygrophila, Limnophila, Rotala, Vallisneria, Echinodorus, and Cryptocorynes with a limited number of fish is a good example of a planted tank. It is important to select fish that will not damage the plants, such as small tetras, dwarf gouramis, cherry barbs, zebra danios, and White Clouds. Planted tanks may include CO2 injection and a substrate fortified with laterite or, in the case of a low tech aquarium, a layer of potting soil under the gravel to provide nutrients for the plants.

 

A biotope aquarium is an aquarium that is designed to simulate a natural habitat, with the fish, plants, and furnishings all representative of a particular place in nature. Because only species that are found together in nature are allowed in a true biotope aquarium, these tanks are more challenging and less common than the other themes.

Fish Info

 

Introduction

Tropical fish are generally those fish found in aquatic tropical environments around the world, including both freshwater and salt water species. In the artificial environment of an aquarium, a variety of other organisms are also collectively included within the term "tropical fish" including molluscs such as cuttlefish, Crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters.

 

Aquarium fish

Tropical fish are popular as aquarium fish, due to their often bright coloration. This coloration typically derives from both pigmented cells and iridescent cells.

Tropical fish may include wild-caught specimens, individuals born in captivity including lines selectively bred for special physical features, such as long fins, or particular colorations, such as albino. Some fish may be hybrids of more than one species.

Some Recreational SCUBA divers keep lists of fish species they have observed while diving, especially in tropical marine environments.

 

Coral reef fish

Many marine tropical fish, particularly those of interest to fish-keepers, are the fish which live amongst or in close relation to coral reefs. Coral reefs form complex ecosystems with tremendous biodiversity. Among the myriad ocean inhabitants, the fish stand out as particularly colourful and interesting to watch. Hundreds of species can exist in a small area of a healthy reef, many of them hidden or well camouflaged. Reef fish have developed many ingenious specialisations adapted to survival on the reefs.

Coral reefs occupy less than one percent of the surface area of the world oceans,[2] yet they provide a home for 25 percent of all marine fish species. Reef habitats are a sharp contrast to the open water habitats that make up the other 99% of the world's oceans.

However, loss and degradation of coral reef habitat, increasing pollution, and overfishing including the use of destructive fishing practices, are threatening the survival of the coral reefs and the associated reef fish.

 

Aquarium

An aquarium (plural aquariums or aquaria) is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants. The term combines the Latin root aqua, meaning water, with the suffix -arium, meaning "a place for relating to".

An aquarist owns fish or maintains an aquarium, typically constructed of glass or high-strength acrylic plastic. Cuboid aquaria are also known as fish tanks or simply tanks, while bowl-shaped aquaria are also known as fish bowls. Size can range from a small glass bowl to immense public aquaria. Specialized equipment maintains appropriate water quality and other characteristics suitable for the aquarium's residents.

 

Care

Decide whether you want Tropical or Coldwater fish. Coldwater fish include goldfish and minnows. There are many types of tropical fish, from angelfish to corydoras catfish. Coldwater fish are usually a little hardier, and will survive those first few mistakes, but they need more room. Start off with inexpensive fish, even if you can afford expensive ones. Inexpensive ones are inexpensive because they are very successful in their natural environments or so comfortable in captivity that they even breed regularly and, in either case, do not die easily on their way to and in pet stores. Do not start out with saltwater fish. They require techniques and understanding that are much more complex. Plus, the water you'll have to work with and that may leak is messy, slowly corrosive to metal, and conductive. If you believe you want a saltwater tank, get a medium sized tropical fish tank with some plants and see if you can keep that in perfect order first for a year or so.

Decide what kind and how many fish you want. Research before putting species together. Some fish are compatible, others aren't. One might speculate that fish would enjoy some activity in their lives, so don't get just one. (The fish need not be the same species; for some territorial fish, it is best that it isn't. An armored catfish can be a good "companion" for such a beast.)Make sure you can provide any specialized care the fish need. For example, different fish need different foods, and some fish require more frequent maintenance than others. Owning fish is a big responsibility. Some fish are perfectly happy with flakes and can be fed with an automatic feeder, which makes it possible to leave the tank unattended for a week or two (assuming the fish are small so the water doesn't need very frequent changing).

Get an appropriately sized tank. Look up the minimum tank size for each fish.For goldfish, buy a tank with 20 gallons for the first goldfish, and 10 gallons for each additional goldfish.

For freshwater fish, forget about one gallon per inch of adult fish. Would you keep a 50 inch fish in a 50 gallon tank?

Bigger is better. Even if the fish looks small, it will thrive in a bigger tank.

Only add a few fish to start with, and slowly build up the population. Adding too many fish at once can overload your filtration system.

Perform partial water changes weekly. 20-30% is a good amount. To do a water change, get a gravel vacuum and siphon out any waste in the substrate. This will pull out water at the same time. Replace the water with water from your tap, but remember to treat it with a water conditioner.

Test the water regularly. Make sure you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and under 40 nitrate. Feed your fish two or three times a day. Monitor your fish. While they eat, sit and observe them. Check for anything strange: changing color, falling off fins, damaged tails, etc. Also, make sure all your fish are getting along.

Try not to stress out your fish. This includes putting your hand in the tank when you don't need to, touching them, or jumping near the tank.

Try to remember to clean your tank once a week to keep your fish healthy and your tank looking presentable.

Live plants can improve water quality and make your tank look more natural.

Never jump near your tank or try to touch your fish as it will stress them and they might not eat for a few days. Fish are cool

Always remove stray algae floating around the tank as it may cause the fish tank to be cloudy.

Buy a liquid test kit, as opposed to the strips. Liquid kits are much more precise and less likely to make error than kits that use strips.

Don't change out the filter cartridge. The filter is where most of the beneficial bacteria lives and replacing the cartridge creates a buildup of ammonia that can kill your tank. Only replace it when it’s falling apart, even then, keep a small piece in the tank until the new filter cartridge has developed beneficial bacteria, about a month.

If your tank holds less than 2.5 gallons, do NOT use a heater. If you do, you'll be slowly boiling your fish. Get a larger tank, so you can have room for all your fish.

Air fresheners can also be highly toxic.

Never clean anything which will be associated with your tank with soap, detergent, or washing powder. These will immediately kill off fish.

Don't leave out the changing water bit. If you don't do it, toxins build up, making your tank unhealthy and promoting nuisance algae growth.

Don't mix clownfish or Siamese fighting fish (betta) with other species.

 

Feeding

In their natural environment most fish consume a wide variety of foods, such as algae, plants, crustaceans, insects, and other fish. This ensures they receive a balanced diet, which needs to be replicated in captivity to keep them healthy. As a general rule of thumb it is always best to think about feeding your tropical fish in the same way they would naturally feed. As with us, we normally eat 3 sizable meals per day and get in to a routine of doing so. If we try eating one large meal per day then we’d end up being hungry a lot of the time and our stomachs and body wouldn’t like it. If we try eating say 5 smaller meals in a day then this is essentially good for us but we would have to be careful about portion size in order to not gain weight.

The same principals about frequency and quantity of food can be applied to feeding our tropical fish. In the wild fish will not have a regular routine and feeding time and will eat as and when food in available to them so they may go for days without eating anything. This is one reason it is harder to keep wild caught fish. If you go further down the scale from wild caught fish to F1, F2 and so on then they are more used to a feeding routine. This is not to say you cannot get wild caught fish on a regular feeding routine, it is just slightly trickier to do so and will take longer introduce them to the routine.

It is best to feed smaller amounts more regularly to tropical fish so as to replicate their natural feeding habits. The main issue with this is over feeding them. Of course, the amount all depends on the type and size of fish but as a general rule around 3 flakes of food per fish is enough per feeding time. Another way to evaluate the quantity of food you are giving them is to be sure that all food has been consumed within 1-5 minutes (dependant on fish type). If we take a look at rift valley cichlids from lake Malawi, Tanganyika or Victoria then you would be over feeding if all food isn’t gone within 1-2 minutes.