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.
The world's smallest aquarium (and smallest aquarium net). Photograph by Anatoly Konenko http://www.crookedbrains.net/2011/05/worlds-smallest-aquarium.html
By David E. Boruchowitz
How do you do a water change on an aquarium that holds only 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of water? With a syringe!
That’s how micro-miniature artist Anatoly Konenko of Omsk, Russia fills his inch-long planted tank so as not to disturb the aquascape. This is certainly taking the nano tank craze to its extreme. The tank is so small that the meniscus (the U-shape of the water surface in a vessel caused by the water climbing the sides by capillary action) is clearly visible. The aquarium is populated with recently-free-swimming zebra danio fry, though not on a permanent basis. Here’s a video of the tank:
And if you want to see some similar ideas, check out our article from a couple of years ago:
A thunder-line royal pleco. Photograph by Leighton Lum.
Royal plecos are somewhat rare plecos that are highly sought after by catfish enthusiasts. Unlike many of the plecos seen for sale, royal plecos have bold colors and patterns that make them stand out in any tank.
This green pleco has a great home for itself. It has peaceful tankmates such as Congo tetras, rainbowfish, and roseline barbs. It has driftwood to feed on and hiding places to dart into. You can also see that there is substantial current in the aquarium.
Freshwater shrimp are one of the hottest newcomers to the aquarium hobby, and selectively bred red ones are extremely popular. One of the amazing things you can observe in your pet shrimp is the way they feed. Seeming to stare off into the distance, they sample detritus completely by touch and scent, moving their feeding appendages in apparent fast forward, transferring edible finds to their mouthparts at the same pace. Here’s a close-up video that shows the process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWL2XUU8PJw