Sunday, October 17, 2010


I think I may finally have the basis for a breeding group of yellow ramshorn snails.  Which is to say i have at least two of them, possibly three.  I think I can safely assume that the lack of red body pigment is a recessive gene.  But on the up side ramshorns are hermaphrodites so any two can start the true-breeding line, although I am leaving a brown ramshorn in with them so I can select out the yellow ones and avoid massive inbreeding.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alby junior?

After the passing of Alby, the white ramshorn snail, it seemed that he hadn;t managed to leave any little Alby's--or at least none that shared his color.  However now, quite a few months later, a couple of recent snails look like they might take after him/her! I'll be keeping an eye on them :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Humane killing (euthanasia) of aquatic pets (under construction)

Aquatic animals, like other pets sometimes need to be killed humanely to prevent them for suffering unnecessarily. 

At all times pet euthanasia methods used must comply with local laws such as those regulating the use and disposal of toxic substances. The summary below is not an endorsement of the safety or legality of any method--it is an easy-reference summary of various other sources of information (listed at the end). You are encouraged to consult with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate method to use.

Aquarium animals and plants should never be released into the natural environment. It is the responsibility of the owner to rehome or euthanise any animal they no longer wish to own.


With any animal a chemical that first sedates, and then kills, the fish is considered the most humane non-physical option. Commercial fish sedatives such a FinQuel (also called Tricaine or MS-222) will cause a humane death at high enough dose and exposure--double the dose required for sedation is commonly recommended. As the need to euthanise may arise unexpectedly, it would be wise to keep a bottle of FinQuel available. FinQuel should be stored in a tightly sealed container at room temperature--and never used on fish that will be eaten. Avoid inhaling Finquel or having it in contact with your eyes--use of a face mask and gloves is recommended.

To euthanise a small fish with Finquel place the fish in a 1 gallon container with water from the aquarium, or similar dechlorinated water. Add one half teapoon of Finquel powder and one half teaspoon of baking soda a small amount of water and add to the contain.

Clove Oil
A viable alternative to FinQuel is the use of clove oil which is less expensive and requires fewer precautions. However clove oil is better introduced gradually, a few drops at a time.

Baking Soda
Alternatively baking soda added to water increases carbon dioxide which causes narcosis.  This will only be effective in water below PH 7, and so you may need to pre-treat the water with a pH decreaser.  Add one tablespoon of baking soda per cup of water and fully dissolve.  Add the fish to the solution using a net.

Regardless of the method, wait at least 15 minute and until the fish has ceased all movement including gill movement and is prone in its side. Due to the potential for recovery from any sedative, death should then be completed assured by a physical method or freezing before disposal.

Dombrowski (2007) recommends the following methods for veterinary euthanaisa of aquatic invertebrates such as snails:
* tricaine methanesulfonate (1-4 g/L)
* magnesium chloride (10%)
* dilute ethanol (10%)
followed by immersion in ethanol (70%) or freezing. But concentrate ethanol or freezing should not be used as the primary form of euthanasia for humane reasons.

See also:
Pharyngula: How to euthanize a fish
UltimateBettas: Euthanasia Techniques

Finquel Suppliers:
Argent Labs (small order charge of $15)
Drs Foster & Smith

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Aspidoras Egg Watch

These guys are aspirdoras, a but like a corydoars that's been stretched. One of my females was looking a little frisky today, and sure enough--I have some eggs. Not many, but I thought I would try raising them.

Here they are in the handy-dandy egg hatcher. The shot glass keeps them comtained, the air stone keeps them agitated to stop fungus.  The temperature now should be fine for them even without a heater.

Edited to Add: No luck with the egs but I see I have a baby Aspidoras in the tank, so it seems like they do better if I just leave them to it :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Unscheduled 95% Water Change

At 3am my filter was sounding off so I got up. I turned on the light and found my ten gallon tank had only in inch of water in it and the HOB was churning air.

It turns out the air tube had come of the air pum, then somehow suction had been created and the water had drain out of the tank through the airstone onto the carpet.

WTF? Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Human Health and Aquarium Keeping

Warm aquarium waters is able to incubate a number of potentially harmful bacteria including species of Salmonella (Hay & Seal, 1994). This bacteria can travel internationally in "carriage" water. Such bacteria have the potential to cause stomach disorders, septicemia and meningitis. Water from domestc sources is a relatively low risk but aquarium keepers should wash their hands after being in contact with aquarium water.


  • Dombrowski, D. (2007). Emergency care of invertebrates. Vet Clin Exot Anim 10, 621-645.
  • Hey, J & Seal, D.V. (1994) Tropical aquaria water and diarrhoea. The Journal of Infection 30, 84-5.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Xebo on arrival.

Xebo all grown up.

Other betta fish posts of interest:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010


A few of these turned up in my office tank today. Hydra a tiny little predator, but harmless to any snail or fish. they might be risky with shrimp. But any tank with fish in it has a built in 'hydra-elimination' force. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New snail eggs

I am going to start this post with my latest eggs. The best prediction I have received online is that these are from a pond snail, a.k.a. Physa. I think otherwise, but we shall see.

Okay, I have to concede that they were Physa (a.k.a. pond or bladder snail) eggs [see left]. Physas are quite cute little snails but on a 10 gallon they are far too likely to over-populate and become a problem--so they had to go.

I seem to have a few survivors, including this rather interesting color variant.

White physa has a stay of execution...

Monday, January 18, 2010


I was surprised how big endlers get before they start showing color. Her is one of my hybrid "blendler" (black bar endler) fry just about to start smarten up. I'll post updates showing how he matures into his full "colors".

Here is a bit of the orange color coming in....

Now with a racing stripe.

Then almost done:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Drs Foster & Smith

I generally find Drs Foster & Smith a good store to order from, although I do wish they would stock plant sinkers. But the last package arrived in a excessively sized box held closed, or rather not held closed, by a single piece of tape.... Hmmm.

Cory Eggs

I am not too terribly optimistic about their chances, but I have some cory eggs. I isolated them because the other fish eat them. So this way they may have a bit of a chance.

Two of the eggs have hatched into tiny wigglers.

Today both wigglers have two distinct vertical bands on their bodies.

I guess I have about a dozen fry now. I am going to try releasing two of the larger ones into my smaller tank. The only fish that could possibly swallow them is the biggest gambusia, and I doubt that she would. The picture on the left is the larger of the two being transferred and the one below is of him (or her) in the tank.

It seems that the cories have stopped laying eggs. The eggs and small fry I have a lot more robust than I expected. So I am going to unclutter my main tank by taking them out of the breeder net and putting them in their own 1 gallon with a heater and airstone. The don't seem to ming much where they are and the tank looks nicer without the breeder net in it.

4 fry went in the 5 gallon tank and I thought they hadn't made it--but I saw this guy today so there is still at least one left. Two went into the 10 gallon and I think one of those is still going too.

Junior is out and free swimming out in the open--a full graduate of the Puddle Buddies creche :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fathead Minnow (in progress)

The fathead minnow needs at least 10 gallons due to its size and activity level. The male has a somewhat rounded head, especially when in mating condition, hence the name. A color morph of the the fathead minnow is known as the Rosy Red Minnow.

Fathead minnows like to have a cave or plant to use as their home base, and once they feel secure you will see them patrolling the tank. They can be kept in groups, although they may fight a little over favored den areas in the tank.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mystery... thing.

A planted community tank tends to generate some spontaneous inhabitants. I have recently seen a couple of little crawlers apparently living inside leaves. It seems like it might be caddis-fly larva--which a detritus eaters that are harmless to fish and plants.