Saturday, December 26, 2009

Red Cherry Shrimp Q&A

Will cherry shrimp leave the water?

RCS are not strong enough to move when not supported by water. They will leave the water only under two circumstances. 1) when pursued by a predator or under extremely toxic water conditions cherry shrimp my flip themselves out of the water. 2) They may leave the water accidentally such as during a spill--the shrimp pictured to the right was pushed out of the water by bubbles from an airstone. Once out of the water the shrimp will bet trapped even by the weak forces of water surface tension. To rescue a shrimp wash it back into the tank with a splash of water. Avoid handling shrimp directly as they are very fragile.

* Index

Acquiring Livestock
The Problem with "Extras"
Tank Options
Water Linking
Care and Husbandry
Humane killing (euthanasia) of aquatic pets (under construction)

Aquarium Snail Species (under construction)
Apple Snails
Apple Snails
Ramshorn Egg Watch
Colored Ramshorn Primer
Albino Ramshorn
Spixi Egg Watch
Do spixi snails eat plants

Best Aquarium Shrimp
Red Cherry
Why Aren't my Red Cherry Shrimp Red?
Three things you can do to make your Red Cherry Shrimp redder
Tank Profile: One Gallon with Yellow Shrimp

Betta Fish
2 Gallon tank profile: Betta tank
Mosquito Fish
Pygmy Cory (Corydorus pygmaeus)
Cory eggs and fry

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gambusia sexing

The main difference between male and female gambusia is the same as for many livebearers, the shape of the pelvic fin. In the male the fin is longer and pointed, in the female it is shorter and more rounded. The male pelvic fin is referred to as the gonopodium and is used to tranfer sperm to the female.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Approaches to Ammonia (in progress)

Small tanks need to be watched rather carefully for accumulation of ammonia. A smaller water volume will tend to be more unstable and you can get a very rapid ammonia spike, which can be fatal to fish and other livestock. There are three basic approaches to testing for ammonia.

Approach 1: liquid Test Kits
Some people hold that only fresh liquid test kits give a reliable measure of ammonia.

Approach 2: Strip Tests
Others feel a strip test is close enough, and when you have a cycling tank you can even use a "sensor" that you clip on the inside of the tank to keep an eye on ammonia level and make sure they didn't get into the danger level for you stock (which will vary depending on how hardy they are.

Approach 3: Low Tech
Some people think: test-schemst, it isn't that hard to tell when you have an ammonia spike.
1) When you stir the water it has an unpleasant smell, and
2) bubbles on the surface of the water do not pop immediately. In fact bubbles may accumulate on the surface around the glass.

In any case, if you ammonia levels are high the steps you need to take are the same:
* Minimise rotting material in the tank by ensuring you remove dead livestock, excess food and other organic debris.
* Regularly replace 10-20% of the water with clean, dechlorinated water.
* Transfer bacteria sources from a stable, established tank to the spiking or cycling tank to make sure there is a population of ammonia-converting bacteria.

Ramshorn Snail Q & A (in progress)

What the hell is this?

Ramshorns have loose folds of skin that may sometimes protrude from the left side of the shell. It is thought to act like a primitive gill.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Apple Snails

Apple Snail
Pomacea Bridgesii a.k.a. Pomacea diffusa

Apple snails enjoy extra space but can be content in a smaller aquarium. The should be provided with cover in the form of rocks or plants. Apple snails will need access to the surface as they intermittently extend their "siphon" to breath air. They enjoy access to areas of water current or bubble streams. It is advisable to have a lid on your aquarium as they are capable of leaving the water for short periods.

Apple snails eat mainly algae and in a small tank they will probably required supplemental feeding with algae flakes or wafers. They will eat algae from the glass but not leave it entirely clean. It is important to provide a source of calcium, such as coral sand, for good shell growth.

Apple snails do not need to be housed with other snails; they are just as happy on their own. But you can keep them with other apple snails and most other snail species. Snails should not be housed with aggressive fish or animals. The do well with smaller fish such as livebearers (endlers, guppies etc) and most small catfish species.

Apple snails come in many different plain and striped colors including magenta, gold, ivory, and blue. They may be shipped when they become about the size of a pea and commonly grow to the size of a golf ball or larger. They should live for several years, or longer.

Apple snails require a male and female to reproduce and eggs are laid above the water snail, making effective population control easier than for many other freshwater snail species.

Be aware that these snail can and will get out of the water from time to time, so you will need a lip or lid to keep them in!

For More Info:

Thursday, December 3, 2009


The Macrotocinclus affinis a.k.a. Otocinclus affinis or "oto" is a small catfish species from the Amazon. They like to have cover such as from wood or dense plants and are happiest in small groups. Opinions differ as to the minimum advisable tanks size. I would suggest that 5 gallons can be sufficient but 10 is better.

Aquarium News

New 'Ich" Discovery
"There are currently no drugs or chemicals that kill Ich while it resides in the fish skin or gills; they can only kill Ich when the parasite is in the water, and therefore all current therapies require a cyclical re-treatment program ... "Work to sequence the genome of this parasitic protozoan unexpectedly revealed that bacterial DNA sequences were also present," noted Craig Findly, one of the College's researchers on the project. "Following up this discovery led to our demonstration that two new species of intracellular bacteria use Ich as their host. We now need to determine if these intracellular bacteria play a role in infection."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Colored Ramshorn Primer

The following is from my own experience only. If you have corrections or additions, please comment. Photographs appreciated and linkbacks and credit provided.

So, anyway, ramshorn snails (Planorbarius corneus) come in different colors, but the way they actually differ is sometimes hard to tell from photographs. So here is my descriptions of the main color morphs.

1) Brown/Leopard
What it says, the snail has a brown foot and brown shell. When young, these snails have darker brown spots or dapples, but these usually fade away as the snail grows.

2) Blue
From a distance these look very similar to leopards. The snail has a brown foot. Under strong light the shell shows a blue-grey color with dark blue-black spots.

3) Red
The snail lacks darker pigments. The foot is red and the shell is semi-transparent brown or bronze.

4) Pink
Broadly similar to the red snail, the "pink" has a red foot but a completely clear shell. Pink ramshorns were described in a wild population in a report by William Nelson in the May 1879 issue of the Journal of Conchology. They were described as "...of a bright flesh or pink color, the animals being mostly protruding from the shell and very conspicuous" (p. 150). But by the following year the brightly color variant could no longer be found. It seems likely that the color morphs now available are selectively bred from this kind of naturally occuring mutation.

I am told that white ramshorns also occur, however ramshorns without normal red blood are unlikely to thrive. It is more likely that they are yellow ramshorns, which have a yellow foot and clear shell.

False Reds
Sometimes you will get a ramshorn with a red shell but a brown foot. These are not a "true" red and the shell will tend to become brown as it grows. Even true reds will tend to become browner as the grow, but any snail with a red foot is a red ram.

* Nelson, W. (1879). A variation in the color of the animals of Plamorbis corneus. The Journal of Conchology 2, 150.