Many hobbyists have favorite species that have been in their tanks for years—evendecades. But
once in a while, a fish that we haven’t kept
for some time becomes appealing again.
It provides an awakening, a rebirth when
we keep it anew. I recently set up a new
75-gallon planted aquarium with two
large hunks of driftwood, which I started
to populate with rasboras Trigonostigma
heteromorpha and some wild Corydoras
nanus. Every time I looked at the tank,
Robert C. Boruchowitz
I thought how great some discus would
look in it, even though the last time I kept discus was more than 45
years ago. The notion never crystallized into action until I noticed some
very nice wild green Tefé discus on the stock list of one of my favorite
distributors, and I ordered eight of them. Now I am rediscovering these
beautiful and majestic fish, and it’s really quite exciting. There’s always
something new in this hobby, even if it’s something old!
This month’s lineup is full of ideas for great fish to keep, whether for
the first time or to revisit a past favorite. For example, the tiny, peaceful
Lake Tanganyika cichlid Neolamprologus multifasciatus has been a favorite
of diehard cichlid hobbyists for many years, but it also makes a great
beginner’s cichlid (p. 74). And the blind cave tetra, another once-staple fish
that is much less often seen today, is the subject of our “Aquarium Science”
report on some fascinating studies that reveal pigmentation and vision are
at least partly restored in their offspring when fish from different caves are
bred together (p. 78).
Sometimes a group of animals gets new attention because previously
unavailable species become more widely distributed in the hobby. For a
long time, the only freshwater crustaceans (other than live foods) found
in home aquariums were ghost shrimp, fiddler crabs, and plain, drab
crayfish. Our two-part series on freshwater crustaceans finishes up this
month with a look at some crabs and crayfish that make interesting and
colorful specimens for hobbyists looking for something a little different in
their tanks (p. 82).
Of course, marine aquarists have long had many choices of invertebrates,
especially those who keep reef tanks, and this month we shine a spotlight
on the marine side of the hobby as the Official Magazine of the Marine
Aquarium Expo (MAX) 2011, held this year in Costa Mesa, California.
As part of this special coverage, aquarium guru and MAX 2011 presenter
Bob Fenner covers the pros and cons of Pseudocheilinus wrasses for
reef systems (p. 94); Jeremy Gosnell addresses the important topic of
providing appropriate habitats for marine fish, especially those sold as tiny
juveniles but which require enormous systems at adult size (p. 98); and
Bill Rosser assesses marine fishes’ natural diets and explains how best to
meet their nutritional needs in captivity (p. 86).
And as always, this only scratches the surface of our coverage of all
things aquarium—read on and enjoy!
In the May–August 2010 “Adventures in Aquascaping” columns,
Mark Denaro discusses different fish species he considers and
ultimately chooses for his tank, but he doesn’t actually list how
many of each species. Is that information available? I would also be
interested in how that tank has progressed in the last six months.
Deciding how many fish to add to a planted aquarium can be a bit
tricky. Most books and articles about planted tanks recommend lightly
stocking the tank with fish. A low fish population decreases both the
excess food and the fish waste that can serve as a nutrient source for
algae. Particularly for those relatively new to the hobby, this provides
a safety margin. Fish in a well-planted aquarium do not need to be
fed as heavily as those in an unplanted tank because the microfauna
and plants provide a supplemental food source. In addition, the plants
serve as a living filter.
A good stocking level for a heavily planted 65-gallon tank like this
one would be 15 cardinal tetras, 5 lemon tetras, 5 marble hatchets, 9
lambchop rasboras, 5 otos, 5 dwarf botias, 5 Crossocheilus sp., and
10 Amano shrimp. Now, I must confess that I stock my tanks more
heavily than I would recommend for the average hobbyist. The fish
population in this particular tank actually included approximately
25 cardinal tetras, 9 lemon tetras, 5 marble hatchets, 15 lamb chop
rasboras, 5 otos, 5 dwarf botias, and 5 Crossocheilus sp., along
with 15 Amano shrimp. Those numbers work because I am extremely
careful not to overfeed, and I stay on top of water conditions and clean
the filters on a regular basis.
I find that planted tanks improve with age and generally like to keep
them running for several years while they mature. But in this case,
after six months, I needed the aquarium because I obtained a group
of an undescribed Aequidens sp. from Colombia that I am calling
orange-line acaras. The acaras have bred successfully, and I hope to
distribute the fry and get this fish established in the hobby.
6 www.tfhmagazine.com May 2011
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