The hobbyist is best served by learning about the specific
needs of any fish they buy, and by maintaining them within
those parameters. Even within a species, care can differ. In my
experience, for example, red velvet platies and swordtails are
touchier and do better at higher temperatures near 80°F than the
super-hardy gold platies or green swordtails that do just fine in the
high 60s once acclimated.
Other than the power of good husbandry information, maintaining
good water quality is your best defense against ill health with any
fish. You veterans know the three big tips: water changes, water
changes, and water changes.
For newer hobbyists, I would add light feeding with a diversity of
foods (as explained in my June 2008 column). This is rarely done
early on in our hobby.
Combining water changes and proper feeding, along with
diverse filtration—vegetative, biological, and occasional chemical
(carbon)—to absorb all other nitrogenous and dissolved organics
will create a healthy environment and fish that will resist nearly all
maladies and pathogens they encounter. If more new hobbyists did
this, there would be far fewer empty aquariums gathering dust in
garages around the country.
Even the most dedicated and careful hobbyist encounters a
sick fish every now and then. It is amazing how rare this event
can be among seasoned hobbyists, but it does occur. Next month,
we’ll discuss livebearer-specific ailments, along with some new
and proven ways to deal with them.
A new book on livebearers has been written by yours truly.
Aquarium Care of Livebearers is making its debut this month
from T.F.H. Publications, under the Animal Planet brand.
Written for hobbyists of all ages, the book is unique in
several aspects in which I am most thankful for the indulgence
from my editor, the very competent Craig Sernotti. We have
included sections on building fishrooms, species maintenance,
and outdoor tubbing; there is even an entire chapter on the
organized hobby, which I think is a first. The fish section
gives a nice smattering of species, with new, solid information
based on my own and other hobbyists’ experiences in recent
years (something long overdue). There are also sections on
evolution, diet, equipment, breeding, and healthcare. It is
an excellent read that I hope shares my enthusiasm for this
fascinating group of fishes.
It is also the first general livebearer book written by a North
American livebearer hobbyist ever, which I think will provide
a different perspective than the new and used livebearer books
currently on the market. Better yet, this latest series of T.F.H.’s
Animal Planet books are softcover, and priced very affordably.
I am not promoting the book for financial gain, but purely to
introduce you, my fellow readers (who have been so gracious
over the years), to what I think will be helpful for you as you
move forward in keeping and breeding livebearers.
• Vote for your favorite fish photo
• Visit and post your club's meeting
and events in our calendar
• Special pixel discounts for small
businesses, breeders and pet shops
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