Friday, December 29, 2006

Tropical Fish

Is the Gulping Rate of a Tropical Fish Affected by the Change in Water Temperature?


The question I am researching this year for Science Fair falls under the category of Zoology. I am using Tropical Fish to investigate and research my big question #Is the gulping rate of a Tropical Fish affected by the change in water temperature?# What I am hoping to determine with this project is if the gulping rate of the Tropical Fish will be affected by the different changes in water temperature.


In my experiment I will need to follow a series of procedures to complete it. To begin I must buy the proper equipment. Then I will created a stable environment for the tropical fish. After the day of placing the fish in the aquarium tank and completing the procedures stated above I will then do nothing but care for them and observe them for two weeks so that the fish can get used to my presence. Every week I will clean the tank and follow basically the same procedures as above, but this time I must wash the tank and only put the fish in the tank after an hour. After two weeks, I will need a new filter for the filter. After two weeks of becoming familiar with the fish and observing them I will start my experiment. First, I will begin by turning on the heaters in two of the tanks and leave one at regular room (76ºF) temperature. One tanks temperature, I will change to 78ºF and the other tank will be changed to 77ºF. Then after two weeks I will count the gulps each individual pair fish have taken and then I record all my data and do the same with the other tanks and fish. Then I will change the temperature once again in the tanks. The same process as above will be conducted two more times at varying temperatures. Then I will record the results and come

up with a conclusion. These are the steps that I will need to complete my experiment and answer my big question #Is the gulping rate of a Tropical Fish affected by the change in water temperature?


My Hypothesis was correct based on the recorded data and results. The change in gulping rate from

temperature to temperature was insignificant.


I have done all my research and based on that and my observations I think that the gulping rate is not affected by water temperature, but can be affected by how clean the water is and how well kept the equipment and fish are cared for. Tropical Fish should be able to adjust to any temperature ranging for 76ºF-78ºF and their gulping rate still not be affected by the change in water temperature.

Tropical Fish

Epidemiologic Tropical Fish Notes and Reports Aquarium-Associated Plesiomonas shigelloides Infection -- Missouri

In July 1988, a community hospital in southeastern Missouri reported isolating Plesiomonas shigelloides from the stool of a 14-month-old girl with watery diarrhea (no blood or mucus) and fever. Her highest recorded rectal temperature was 102 F (38.9 C). Her stool was negative for Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Aeromonas, and rotavirus. The child was treated with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and her illness resolved after 5 days.

The child had consumed no shellfish and had never traveled more than 80 miles from her home. She had consumed water only from the municipal system and recently had waded in two area lakes. She attended a day-care center, but no other children in her age group were reported ill. The child did not have an aquarium or other close association with animals. However, 1 evening each week, the child stayed in the home of a babysitter who kept piranhas in an aquarium. When the aquarium was cleaned, the water was poured into the bathtub. The child routinely was bathed in the bathtub before going home. The babysitter reported that the child could have been bathed immediately after the aquarium water had been poured into the bathtub.

P. shigelloides was isolated from samples of aquarium water submitted to the State Public Health Laboratory. However, plasmid studies were not performed, and it was not determined whether the bacterial strain isolated from the child's stool was identical to that isolated from the babysitter's aquarium.

To estimate the prevalence of P. shigelloides in tropical fish tanks, investigators from the Missouri Department of Health (MDH) surveyed aquarium water samples from several sites in Missouri (Table 1). Samples were taken from 18 aquariums, including at least two tanks from each of Missouri's six regional health districts. P. shigelloides was isolated from four (22%) of the 18 tanks. The four tanks were located in three different aquarium fish shops: two in central Missouri and one in eastern Missouri. Employees of the three aquarium fish shops reported no health problems in the tropical fish in the culture-positive tanks.

MDH advised managers of all surveyed tropical fishshops to have employees wash hands after contact with aquarium water or tropical fish. No special precautions were recommended to managers of shops from which P. shigelloides was isolated. In addition, the baby sitter was advised to clean the tub thoroughly using chlorine bleach after discarding the aquarium water and before using the tub for bathing. Reported by: PS Tippen, A Meyer, EC Blank, DrPH, State Public Health Laboratory, HD Donnell, Jr, MD, State Epidemiologist, Missouri Dept of Health. Div of Field Svcs, Epidemiology Program Office, CDC.
Editorial Note: P. shigelloides, a gram-negative bacterial rod, is an opportunistic pathogen in the immunocompromised host and has been suspected to cause diarrheal illness in normal hosts (1,2). However, the organism failed to produce illness in volunteer feeding studies, and its role as an enteric pathogen remains unproven (1). Persons with P. shigelloides infection typically describe a self-limited diarrhea, sometimes with blood and mucus in the stool; appropriate antibiotic therapy appears to shorten the duration of illness (3,4). P. shigelloides can also cause cellulitis and septicemia.

This organism has been isolated from surface water, the gut of freshwater tropical fish, and many animals (including dogs and cats) and is particularly common in tropical and subtropical habitats (5). In humans, most isolates have been from stools of patients with diarrhea who live in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia; isolations from Europe and the United States have been rare and usually associated with foreign travel or consumption of raw oysters (3,6).

Although no other P. shigelloides gastrointestinal infections associated with aquarium water have been reported, the frequency of P. shigelloides in pet shop aquariums reported here suggests this could be a source of this rarely recognized infection. Basic precautions, such as handwashing after contact with aquarium water and preventing the contamination of potable or bathing water by aquarium water, should decrease transmission of potentially pathogenic microorganisms from aquarium water.


  1. Herrington DA, Tzipori S, Robins-Browne RM, Tall BD, Levine MM. In vitro and in vivo pathogenicity of Plesiomonas shigelloides. Infect Immun 1987;55:979-85.
  2. Nolte FS, Poole RM, Murphy GW, Clark C, Panner BJ. Proctitis and fatal septicemia caused by Plesiomonas shigelloides in a bisexual man. J Clin Microbiol 1988;26:388-91.
  3. Holmberg SD, Wachsmuth IK, Hickman-Brenner FW, Blake PA, Farmer JJ III. Plesiomonas enteric infections in the United States. Ann Intern Med 1986;105:690-4.
  4. Kain KC, Kelly MT. Clinical features, epidemiology, and treatment of Plesiomonas shigel loides diarrhea. J Clin Microbiol 1989;27:998-1001.
  5. von Graevenitz A. Aeromonas and Plesiomonas. In: Lennette EH, Balows A, Hausler WJ Jr, Shadomy HJ, eds. Manual of clinical microbiology. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Society for Microbiology, 1985:278-81.
  6. Reinhardt JF, George WL. Plesiomonas shigelloides-associated diarrhea. JAMA 1985;253: 3294-5.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Common name(s):
Niger Triggerfish, Red-toothed Trigger tropical fish, Black Trigger.

Scientific name: Odonus niger

Family: Balistidae

Origin: Fiji/Tahiti - Pacific Ocean

Maximum size: 12 inches+ in the wild, 10 inches in captivity.

Care: The Niger Trigger tropical fish is a hardy peaceful marine fish great for beginners that can afford/sustain a large watertank. A 75 gallon tank minimum is recommended and perhaps upgrade as the fish grows. The fish's maximum size is approximately 10 inches in a home aquarium. Specific gravity is best around 1.020 and 1.028. Recommended pH levels can be between pH 8 to 8.5 and hardness of dKH 8-12. They do best in temperatures ranging from 72F-78F (22C-28C). This species is one of the most compatible triggerfish available at tropical fish stores.

Feeding: This triggerfish is not fussy and will accept most foods such as mysis, krill, brine, pellets and flakes. As they mature, larger pieces of clam, krill, squid or prawns will be accepted.

Sexing and Breeding: Not much is known on breeding however they are egg-scatterers and males tend to have longer tail streams.

Comments: The Niger Trigger is one of the most peaceful triggerfish available and provided are well fed and given enough space, will get along with most fish. Invertebrates however are still considered food to them as they are their natural food in the wild. Some reports claim these fish can even be reef safe, however it is to be done with caution.

Note: This trigger, also called the “Red-Toothed Trigger” tropical fish, stands up to its name as when it matures as an adult it grows bright red teeth. It should be well fed on hard things such as krill, shrimp and similar molluscs. This is to wear down their ever-growing teeth that are rare with such tropical fish.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Tropical Fish

Some of the most colourful and tropical fish to swim the tropical seas may be threatened by the aquarium trade, the United Nations believes.

It says over 20 million tropical fish and about half as many other forms of marine life are caught every year for the trade.

There is also a persistent demand for some forms of coral, the UN believes.

But it says the aquarium trade, if it is properly managed, can help coastal communities to climb out of poverty.

The report, From Ocean To Aquarium: The Global Trade In Marine Ornamentals, is launched by the UN Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (Unep-WCMC), which is based in Cambridge, UK.

Tropical Fish warning

The report is timed to coincide with the launch of the Disney movie Finding Nemo, the story of a clown anemonefish separated from his dad on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, who ends up in a dentist's surgery.

Together with the blue-green damselfish, the clown fish heads the list of the most traded tropical fish.

The report says the annual catch from tropical seas for the marine aquarium trade in Europe and the US totals more than 20 million tropical fish from 1,471 species, ranging from the sapphire devil to the copperhead butterflyfish.

Another 9-10 million creatures from about 500 species, including molluscs, shrimps and anemones, are caught as well, with up to 12 million stony corals taken from the wild each year.

Banggai cardinalfish   Colette Wabnitz

Hope for the poor

The report says the annual value of the trade, which is concentrated in south-east Asia, is $2-300m. In the Maldives, one kilogramme of aquarium fish was valued at almost $500, while the same weight of tropical fish for food was worth only $6.

The live coral trade is worth about $7,000 per tonne, against $60 for a tonne of coral used for making limestone.

The UN says the aquarium trade is worth about $5.6m a year to Sri Lanka, providing 50,000 people in low-income areas with jobs - and, it says, with a strong incentive to conserve the fish and the reefs.

The executive director of the UN Environment Programme, Dr Klaus Toepfer, said: "Collecting tropical fish brings pleasure to millions.

Barbaric and short-sighted

"The global trade in marine species poses a significant risk to valuable ecosystems like coral reefs, but it has great potential as a source of desperately-needed income for local fishing communities."

Although the trade is mainly legitimate, the report details some methods which are certainly not sustainable.

One of the authors, Colette Wabnitz, said: "A minority of fishermen, in countries such as Indonesia, use sodium cyanide to capture tropical fish. An almost lethal dose of the poison is squirted into the reef where the tropical fish shelter.

"It stuns them to allow capture and export, but can also kill coral and other species. The tropical fish may survive the export process but usually die of liver failure soon after being purchased."

Giant clam   Cedric Genevois

Gold standard

The report relies heavily on data from the Global Marine Aquarium Database, compiled by Unep-WCMC, the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC), and members of different trade associations.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tropical Fish

Common names/s: Red-finned Shark, Rainbow Shark, Ruby Shark tropical fish.

Scientific name: Epalzeorhynchus frenatus.

Family: Cyprinidae.

Origin: S.E. Asia (Thailand)

Maximum size: 6" (15cm)

Care: Planted tank with plenty of rocks, wood and caves. At least 36" in length. Keep the water clean, well filtrated and airated.

Feeding: Omnivorous, some vegetable matter is required in their diet as well as more meatier foods like bloodworms. They will except most foods ranging from commercailly prepared flakes to live foods. Sometimes they will also graze on algae.

Sexing and Breeding: Males can sometimes be distinguished by a slimmer body and black lines/markings on the anal fin. Breeding has occasionally happened in the aquaria but it is rare and hard due to their aggression towards their own species.

This is a relatively small and attractive tropical fish. However, although less of a nuisance than E.bicolor they can still show aggression towards tropical fish of a similar shape and size so they do not make good community tropical fish in all cases. Do not keep more than one of this genus to a tank. Captive breeding has now produced an albino form but it is still a equally aggressive tropical fish.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tropical Fish

When you start talking with beginner tropical fish hobbyist about breeding guppies the first thing you hear is, “That’s not hard to do. Just get a small tank and add water, and insert guppies. Wait a few days and you have them breed.” Well for the most part this is a simplified version of what I intend to talk about in this article. But, there is more.

A five-gallon tank will work for a trio of one male and two females, but if you want more, than I would say use a ten-gallon tank so that you can have two males and up to ten females. The latter of the two is what people that raise show quality guppies do to increase their chances of seeing all the traits in just a single tropical fish that they are looking for. Make sure the water is cycled to avoid any ammonia or nitrite spikes. One tablespoon of aquarium salt should be added for each ten-gallons of water. Guppies do much better in water that has a little salt added to it. Floating fake plants are used quite often, but another thing I like to use is a weighted spawning mop made from a dark green or dark blue colored yarn. These mops give great refuge for the fry, so that the other adult fish do not eat them before you have a chance to move the adults to another tank. And yes, I said move the adults. It’s much easier to catch up to twelve adult fish that are at least an inch long or larger, than it is to catch up to one hundred very tiny guppy fry.

As far as what to feed the guppies to condition them for breeding, I suggest black worms, half a cube of frozen bloodworms, half a cube of frozen brine shrimp, and/or a few good quality flake foods such as foods made for guppies, or plankton/krill/spirulina flakes, and some occasional liver flakes, etc. The best advice I can give about feeding your fish is to vary the diet, and do not feed them the same thing each and every day. Your tropical fish will thank you for doing this by growing faster, looking better, and being healthier in the long run.

There is much more to breeding guppies, some of which not everyone will decide to follow. A lot of people see a nice Cobra Delta-tailed Guppy at the store and decide that’s the fish they wish to breed, so in that process that same person either buys a female or two at the same store or they visit a different store to purchase the female or males, which ever the case may be. Meanwhile, there are other tropical fish hobbyist that do some researching and locate a specific color and/or fin strain that they wish to breed. These strains may cost up to, if not more than $85 for a trio (one male and two females). But, keep in mind that the breeder that has these fish for sale has been working on this strain for quite some time using a process of “line-breeding” to keep the strain as nice looking and pure as possible. These are the potential breeders of a show quality guppy. Don’t get me wrong, some breeders have taken the average guppy from a local shop and through line breeding have developed some very beautiful show guppies. Neither of the two ways that you get your guppies will produce a show quality guppy rightaway; this generally takes a bit of time, sometimes over 5 years. It all depends on what you are looking for in the guppies, and how devoted to the objective you are.

Currently I am working with some store bought guppies, one of my males has a green colored body with a snake skin pattern that starts right behind the gill plates and carries on back to the beginning of the tail, hence its name “green snake skin”. The fins of this fish are what’s called a “delta-tail.” This is a tail fin that is about three times as tall from top to bottom as the fish’s body is from bottom of belly to the top of its back. And the dorsal fin is long and floats through the water like the tail of a common Crowntail Betta. Both the tail fin and the dorsal fin have matching yellow/green/black dotted patterns. This male is being bred to similar looking females. And since these tropical fish are not related genetically (at least not to my knowledge) this is known as selective breeding. Selective breeding is when you buy your fish and you look for the traits you wish to have in the offspring in the breeding stock you are planning to purchase. Line breeding is when you take the offspring from this group of breeders and mate them back to the original breeding group. For example, you would take the female offspring and mate them back to the male of the original group (father to daughter), or you take a pair of males and breed them back to the original female that they came from (very accurate record keeping is needed for this method of breeding sons back to mother). But, many of the top guppy breeders in the world will tell you, it is much better to breed the daughters back to the father than it is to breed the mother back to the sons.

By breeding the daughters back to the father you have a much higher chance of seeing the desired traits. From this point on you will be doing some very heavy culling of the unwanted offspring to keep just the traits you are looking for. When I say culling the offspring I am talking about pulling the slower growing or less colorful males and females from the group and keeping only the best looking fish. You also pull out any deformed fish as well since these would not make for good breeding stock in the future. There are a few different ways to get rid of the culled fish, but please, never just flush them down a toilet. The fish do not die right away and end up suffering from breathing in toxins that no one should have to breathe in, or swim in for that matter. Instead either feed them to a larger fish (not everyone likes this method either), or place them in a small bag with water and place them in the freezer. By freezing them they just slowly start to hibernate like they would during a winter season and finally just stop living altogether. This is said to be the most humane way to do this. And of course there are people that do not agree that the previously mentioned method is actually humane either. So, you are left picking and choosing your battle so to speak.

Once you are happy with some of the guppies you have been able to produce throughout all this time, you can now consider locating an International Fancy Guppy Association sanctioned fish show and enter your tropical fish in the show. At this point I would suggest competition in the Novice category since it can be really disappointing to be in competition against some of the breeders that have been entering shows for many years and then not place well, or you may hear some remarks about how your fish should not be in that category. I have been to a few of the shows and heard a lot of bad talking about other hobbyist fish, and sometimes its not pretty language either. Or you could even start by showing your fish in your local club’s “Bowl Show” (just a gentle hint to the members of the club I am a member of). It’s always a good feeling to enter your fish and take the chance of winning some form of an award, such as but not limited to, a first, second, or third place ribbon. The prize is not as important as how the hobbyist feels when he/she sees their tropical fish on display with one of those ribbons near it.

And there is always a chance that you will be able to produce a new color variant or strain and it will be seen at a local or larger tropical fish show. You too will be able to sell some of your quality offspring to other hobbyists that have chosen to follow in the same direction as you have for tropical fish.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Tropical Fish - Pleco

Common name:
Royal Panaque, Royal Plec Tropical Fish

L-Numbers: L027a, L027b, L027c, possibly others

Scientific name: Panaque nigrolineatus

Family: Loricariidae

Origin: South America (Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela)

Water chemistry: Ideally around neutral, but adaptable

Maximum size: Potentially up to 40 cm, but usually much smaller

Minimum Tank Size: Adults will need at least a 90 cm tank

Care: Royal plecs are not quite as tough as common plecs, but they are still relatively hardy and adaptable tropical fish fish. The critical stage is buying and acclimating a new specimen to your aquarium. Newly imported specimens are often significantly underweight, and some specimens fail to recover and eventually die, regardless of the care lavished on them by the aquarist. Specimens likely beyond hope will have sunken eyes and hollow bellies. Most however will quickly regain condition if kept in a quiet aquarium (preferably a quarantine tank) and fed plenty of vegetables, wood, and occasionally supplements of meaty foods such as bloodworms. (Note that royal plecs should not be regularly fed meaty foods; see Comments below.)

Royal plecs can be kept in a range of water conditions from soft and acidic through to hard and alkaline. My specimen lived for seven years in a mbuna tank where pH and hardness were both very high, and is currently in a soft water aquarium where the pH is around 6 and there is very little hardness at all. I have seen a specimen in a tropical store kept in slightly brackish water (SG 1.002) along with scats and monos, but personally wouldn't recommend it; but this does show how adaptable these fish can be, once they are healthy and feeding well.

These fish are nocturnal, and adults are often even more retiring that juveniles. It may take months for a fish to settle in sufficiently that it will come out by day. My specimen will feed during the day, particularly if offered a few catfish pellets or a slice of courgette.

Social Behaviour: Like most of the larger plecs, these fish are territorial. They will sometimes coexist happily enough with smaller loricariids, such as Ancistrus, provided there is plenty of room and the fish do not need to fight over resting sites. Otherwise these fish are completely peaceful and will ignore any fish that leaves them alone. They are perfectly capable of looking after themselves, and will respond to bullying by cichlids in kind, but in such aquaria are likely to become very shy and retiring.

Feeding: These tropical fish need to be fed primarily on vegetables, algae, and bogwood. Among the vegetables readily accepted are carrot, courgette (zucchini), cucumber, lettuce leaves (blanched), peas (cooked), and spinach. Standard plec algae wafers and pellets will be taken as well. Bogwood is a critical component of the diet of these tropical fish. These fish eat the wood and actually digest it (most other plecs simply need the wood as a source of dietary fibre).

Planted Aquaria: Strangely, Royal plecs generally ignore soft-leaved plants but can, and probably will, damage plants with stiff stems or hard leaves. In my aquaria, my royal plec does not damage (except accidentally uprooting) Cabomba, water lilies, Hydrocotyle, and Vallisneria, for example. On the other hand, the stems of Hygrophila stricta, Rotala indica, and Bacopa monnieri are sometimes nibbled on, and the leaves of various Echinodorus species are simply grazed down to the stem. Isolated stems of hairgrass are swum through, breaking them in two, but bunches of hairgrass seem to survive.

Sexing: Both male and female fish develop bristles (odontodes) on the cheeks and pectoral fins, so these are an unreliable character for sex determination. It is believed that sexually mature males have longer bristles. Otherwise, males and females are identical.

Breeding: In the wild, the females lay their eggs in nests underneath nocks in fast-flowing streams. Fishermen in their native habitat recognise that royal plecs tropical fish move to streams with rocks substrates. Females produce around 600 relatively large (2-3 mm), bright yellow eggs. These fish have spawned only very rarely in aquaria, and details are lacking.

Growth is slow. Scientists have optimised growth rate by carrying out large water changes every few days. These fish are long-lived; my specimen is around 11 years old and still only half grown, being around 15 cm long.

Comments: A common mistake made with these fish is to feed them mussels, prawns, and other meaty foods. They do not need them. The basis of the diet must be wood and vegetables, which is what they eat in the wild. Moreover, meaty foods were believed to cause fat deposits around the internal organs found by a scientist working on Panaque catfish. Vegetable proteins (soy, algae, etc.) are a much safer option. Meaty foods like bloodworms can make useful treats or to fatten up newly imported specimens, but should not otherwise be an important part of the diet of these tropical fish.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tropical Fish

Common Name: Bronze Cory, Albino Cory (for the albino variety)

Scientific Name: Corydoras aeneus, previously Hoplosternum aeneum

Origin: Trinidad (from Planet Catfish)

Family: Callichthyidae

Average size: 3 inches

Care: These cute critters couldn't be easier to look after. All they really need is good water (as with any fish), somewhere to hide and food. Oh yes, and other cories, as they like to be in groups of 6+. Bronze cories also come in albino, and are one of the few readily available albinos on the market. They are very peaceful fish, and will never nip any other fish. They can also be kept in cooler water, providing they are properly accimaltised (as most you find are kept in tropical conditions). Not to fussy about water params, and are a fairly hardy begginers fish.

Feeding: As with most cories, anything. Suggested foods include- flakes, algae pellets/wafers, bloodworm, cucumber, courgette. Just make sure the food actually reaches the bottom.

Sexing and Breeding: Sexing- Females are larger than the males, and grow larger as they bacome full of eggs. There is also a difference in the fins, but this is less reliable as you cannot always see the fins.

Breeding- Generally easy to breed
1. Condition the cories for about a week with live food until the females are laden with eggs.
2. Do a 20 ish percent water change on the tank with cooler water.
3. Leave them.

The cories *should* go into spawning behaviour, which involves the T position. The eggs are laid on the sides of the tank, the floor... Anywhere really. After the fry hatch, feed on MW, BBS, Liquifry, or whatever, until big enough to take flake. Viola! Your own baby cories. For a ore detailed account, check the profile on other cories.

- Tropical Fish