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Spawning Drape Fin Barbs

By Nicholas P. Kalodimos, MESM, MS

In the March 2012 issue of TFH, an unique barb was described in the article “The Unusual Drape Fin Barb.” These are strange barbs that break the typical barb mold. They are somewhat similar to the sailfin tetra (Crenuchus spilurus) with their calmer activity levels, their overall visual pattern, and the large, robust head and mouth of the male. At the same time, the drape fin barb’s display and combat behavior (and, oddly enough, the sailfin tetra’s reproductive behavior) have been described as cichlid-like—how odd a fish!

The author took a video of his barbs exhibiting their interesting spawning behavior in the aquarium.

Photograph by Nicholas P. Kalodimos.

Posted February 10th, 2012.

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Snails Consume Fish

The deadly cone snail is never added to an aquarium by choice, and it should never be handled. It has a powerful venom that, in larger specimens, can even kill a human. In fact, the harpoon that delivers the venom is so powerful that, in some cases, it can penetrate a wetsuit.

Although they very, very rarely make their way into the aquarium hobby, some cone snails have been found in tanks after hitchiking on live rock. If you find one, you should attempt to remove it as soon as possible without touching it, for example, by using a baited trap.

If you wind up with one of the largest species of cone snails in your tank, here’s what can happen. This is a video from the BBC taken on the Great Barrier Reef of a cone snail attacking a fish.


Posted January 13th, 2012.

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Electrifying Reef Growth

A reef in Bunaken, Indonesia. Photograph by James Fatherree.

The overwhelming number of threats facing coral reefs today require quick, effective action before the reefs are wiped out entirely. A main concern is how to regrow corals following a traumatic event, such as bleaching or storm damage.

One method to grow corals in situ that is being used in Bali is known as Biorock. Basically a domed structure made out of metal is placed on the area where the corals are supposed to grow, and a low-level electric current is run through it. As German marine architect Wolf Hibertz discovered, the electricity causes dissolved minerals to crystallize  on the metal. Marine Biologist and President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, Thomas J. Goreau, found the result is encrusting white limestone for corals to settle on and that the corals grow much faster on Biorock than they would if the reef was left as is. Below is a video of the reef grown on Biorock.



Posted December 28th, 2011.

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A Fishy Christmas Tree

Photograph by Aaron Norman.

There are many ways to involve your hobby in the upcoming holidays: you can give a fish tank as a gift or decorate your tank for the holiday, but did you ever think of having a fish-powered Christmas tree?

The Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City, Utah did just that by connecting the electric eel display to a Christmas tree with four strands of colored lights that flash whenever the eel moves (thereby discharging electricity). Of course, electric eels are completely inappropriate for the home aquarium, and can deliver quite a shock to any unsuspecting individual in the water with them, but they do their job well in the aquarium.


Posted December 22nd, 2011.

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Planted Ripariums

A 50-gallon planted riparium. Photograph by Devin Biggs.

For people who are fascinated by the intersection of land and water, and still want the ability to make changes to their setup, a riparium might be the perfect option. Ripariums are open-top aquariums or aquariums with a section that is not underwater (but still has a cover to keep the humidity high). They allow for plants to grow above and below the water’s surface, although they do not have a specific land section for animals.

Jake Jung offers his advice for creating a beautiful riparium in “An Introduction to Planted Ripariums” in the December 2011 issue of TFH. Here is a look at Jake’s 40-gallon setup.

And to view more of Jake’s work, check out his website



Posted October 28th, 2011.

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