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.
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.
Ted Judy’s 75-gallon tank featuring cichlids and swordtails. Photograph by Ted Judy.
Many Mexican and Central American cichlids share their habitats with various species of swordtails. Many hobbyists think the combination is either difficult or impossible to replicate in captivity—and it certainly doesn’t help that many cichlid fans see swordtails as live food!
In the November issue’s “Cichlid World” column, Ted Judy showcases his aquarium that proves the combination can not only work, but work well http://www.tfhdigital.com/tfh/201111/#pg29. He makes several key points that are critical to success, including that the cichlid species must not be overly aggressive, large, or a known piscivore. It is also wise to include only adult swords that are not much smaller than the cichlids. Providing plenty of room and hiding places is also a must.
In this particular tank, the swift current is also a critical feature that is easily noticed due to the sideswept substrate and blowing plants. The current was added because the fish come from a well-oxygenated riverine habitat, but it provides the added bonus of allowing the fish to exercise naturally and to expend extra energy. On the downside, the female swordtails must be rotated out of the tank to give birth both because of the fast current and so the fry can escape hungry cichlids.
So the next time you are considering what to put in with your cichlids, try thinking about swordtails—they are not simply feeder fish!
Tomato clownfish in an anemone. Photograph by Hristo Hristov.
By David E. Boruchowitz
The Indian research team that developed successful protocols for captive production of tomato clownfish at a commercial level http://www.tfhdigital.com/tfh/201111#pg83 has provided us with a video of a pair of clowns with their spawn, which is placed on a clay flowerpot saucer. (The eggs are orange.) The smaller of the fish is the male, and he is seen tending the eggs at one point in the video. After they hatch, the fry are raised in special vessels to maximize survival.
One of the exciting things about this article is that although developed for commercial interests and to provide broodstock to hatcheries, the methods described can easily be adapted by hobbyist breeders who want to produce clownfish at home.