Thursday, August 27, 2009

2 Gallon tank profile: Betta tank

A Betta (a.k.a. Siamese fighting fish) might do best in 5 gallons of more, but my white female Betta seems happy in my two gallon glass bowl with a submersible filter and mini heater (gravel, rocks and various plants). She shares the tank with an unknown number of Malaysian trumpet snails.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do spixi snails eat plants

The short answer is: it depends.

The long answer is that it isn't entirely clear what it depends upon. Some people find that some spixis eat some plants.

Younger spixis (see right) seem to be most likely to chow down in plants. Older spixis may be tempted by a particularly luxious broadleaf plant like a red tiger lotus.

Some people think that purebred spixis will not eat plants and those that do are hybrids--however there is really no way to test this hypothesis.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aquarium Snail Species (under construction)

Sulawesi Snail a.k.a. rabbit snail, tower snail, elephant snail
Breeding rate: low
These guys come in a range of colors. They can be a little pricey, $10 or more online with rarer species being more expensive. The most common variety sold is probably the species pictures which has a black shell and black body with yellow spots. The Sulawesi snail a relatively easy to look after. It is slow growing and appreciates fast moving water and rocks or wood to hide in. These snails breed slowly if at all, they are live-bearers producing 2-3 young at a time.

Brigs Snail a.k.a. apple snail, mystery snail, diffusa
Pomacea diffuse, formerly Pomacea bridgesii
Breeding rate: low

Spixi a.k.a zebra apple snail
Asolene spixi
Breeding rate: moderate
Similar to the brigs snail, the spixi tends to stay rather smaller at an inch or so long. It comes only on one color form, but the stripes vary between individuals. A single spixi will not breed. A male and female pair can breed quite prolifically for a large snail species. The female lays gelatinous clusters of several dozen pink-ish eggs, normally just below the water surface. These need to be removed and destroyed to avoid a population explosion. Spixi snails may not be traded over state borders.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Why Aren't my Red Cherry Shrimp Red?

Red Cherry Shrimp are very attractive dwarf shrimp. But often people who buy them are somewhat disappointed by the color of their new arrivals. If you didn't get the bright red shrimp you expected, consider the following:

Are your shrimp young?
Most shrimp do not get their full color until they are nearly adult. And most breeders prefer to ship juveniles to their customers. Juvenile shrimp cope much better with shipping and they adapt better to new water parameters.

Did your shrimp just arrive?
Stress with cause shrimp to lose color, just as it does with fish.

Did you see the parent stock?
Not all sellers show pictures of their shrimp, but a generic stock shot. It may be that you bought from a less vividly colored line.

Did you get a lot of males?
Remember that males are typically clear with just a few bands or speckles of red. So be sure not to cull out all your poorly colored specimens, you need to leave some males!

Are your expectations realistic?
What you will see online are peoples "show off" pictures. I have one female shrimp who is all red, but she is just one of twenty. Keep in mind that pictures you see online are not usually of "typical" specimens. The reddest shrimp are adult females with eggs, and even these will usually be 'mostly' red rather than entirely red all over--like my gals shown below hanging out on top of the filter. The yellow areas are the eggs they are holding with their swimmerettes.

But if you really want to turn up the saturation on your shrimp, there are some things you can do, see this post.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Water Linking

One way to expand the possibilities of small tanks is to connect tanks together. You can make two kinds of connection.

Below Surface
Some tanks include the connection in the body of the tank. However this can introduce challenges went to comes to cleaning the tank, and add to the cost of the tank.

Above Surface
Any closed tube can be emptied of air using a small tupe--and water pressure will keep air from re-entering. It is still wise to ensure the tube can fully empty without causing the tanks to overflow (in case of accidents). One option for above surface linking is the "Aquabridge" pictured below.

Water links can help stabilise water parameters by creating a larger continuous body of water. They can also offer more activities option for many species. However you may find many fish unwilling to use above surface tubes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ramshorn Egg Watch

Here is a new one. I have added two nice leopard (brown spotted) ramshorm snails to my betta tank. They are said to be rapid reproducing snails so lets see how things go and whether alpha the betta fish causes them any trouble.

It also seems as good a time as any to provide some pictures of what ramshorn eggs look like and how they develop. Here they are on day one. The top picture shows the ramshorn snail egg clutch on the leaf surface, the second picture shows one on the glass.

Day 1:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Red Cherry Shrimp F1

My red cherry shrimp are living up to their reputation as being easy to breed. I have a dozen or more young juveniles in the tank now. This is despite a high pH of around 7.6 and several species of small fish (rasboras, boraras and corydoras) as tank mates.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Problem with "Extras"

Online vendors like to give their customers little extras, added to their order. But owners of small tanks should take the time to politely request "no extras please". These are the reasons:

* They may send as extras a species of fish that cannot live in a small tank.

* They may send extras of the same species that you ordered, but lead to an over-stocking situation.

* If you order one specimen animal it can't breed, if they add another you may end up with a breeding pair providing unwanted eggs or fry and a population that quickly booms out of control.

With a small tank, less is more. So when you have worked out exactly what you want, and if you decide to order online, be sure to specify "no extras please"!