Thursday, August 28, 2008

Discus fry update - 2 weeks old

Proud parents
2 week old Discus Fry

The fry have taken on the Discus shape
2 week old Discus Fry

Friday, August 22, 2008

Updated pictures of the big tanks

The 240g Discus tank

Close ups:




The 150g Rainbow tank after replanting this past weekend

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Esquire House Aquarium Build

I wrote about this aquarium some time ago. It's a really amazing installation on the scale of a tank I dream of owning some day. I found a thread on another forum that discusses the building of it including pictures of the process and wanted to share it. Here are some photos that a local club member took of the tank during the build.

6ft long anacharis plants!

6ft long anacharis plants!
Originally uploaded by mcr25823

These have been growing mostly floating in our 20g cherry shrimp tank for months. I didn't realize how long they had grown!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Discus Fry

Some time ago, a pair of our Discus paired up and started spawning in the 240. They kept eating the eggs once they reached wiggler stage ( not unexpected ), but they were persistent so finally, we decided to set up a spawning tank for them. In order to make transferring them back and forth as simple as possible, and minimize stress on the fish, we set up a 20 gallon tank next to the 240 with a siphon to fill the 20, and a small pump running back into the main tank so the tank turned over 3-4 times an hour. This gave them identical water conditions, and almost identical lighting conditions, as well as making maintenance simpler, and giving us a huge buffer against unexpected changes in water conditions ( 260 gallons instead of 20 ).

For those of you who aren't familiar with them, Discus are great parents who have evolved a very unique means of rearing their young. They are usually found in stretches of water that have little in the way of infusorians and the other micro foods fry need to survive their first several weeks of life. In order to assure that their spawn don't starve in those early weeks, they have evolved to produce an unusually thick slime coat on their sides that the fry can feed on instead.

This works very well in the wild, and it makes for a great experience to witness as an aquarist, but in the close confines of a tank it can lead to undue stress. In an aquarium, survival rates are much higher and the parents can not easily escape the fry when they get too old and too big. As a result, the fry can begin to strip away the slime coat faster than the parents can produce it, leading to fin and scale damage seriously high stress levels. In order to avoid this, it is often necessary to separate the parents and the fry after 2-3 weeks.

Transferring the parents was difficult. You can see the layout of the 240 in an earlier post - it is not conducive to catching fish that do not want to be caught. After the move, they didn't seem inclined to spawn for the first couple of weeks. Then, about 3 weeks ago they had a small spawn, but apparently still felt nervous enough to eat the eggs.

However, last week, there was another spawn that went to wigglers, and now we have a small school of fry following the parents around. Many 'serious' breeders will probably laugh at the fact that the spawning tank has a substrate and is heavily planted. However, since we aren't commercial breeders, and maximum yield from each spawn was not really a major priority for us, and we have entirely too many plants anyway, we saw no reason to needlessly subject them to the stress of a bare tank.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Clown loach!

Near perfect Clown loach shot from the 150g tank.

Why not saltwater?

People regularly ask why we don't have any saltwater tanks. For as complicated as we make our freshwater tanks, saltwater is many times beyond that. If it were merely that, I would be up for the challenge, but it comes at tremendous cost as well. One mistake and you might kill everything in your tank. While such mistakes can be made in freshwater, it is generally more forgiving and even if it does happen, your losses are a fraction of what they would be in a marine tank. Saltwater fish generally start at the high end of what we pay for freshwater fish, and corals average twice that and up up steeply from there. Different fish and corals require different minerals and chemical parameters to be dosed/monitored. As with anything, you can make it as complicated as you want, and allot depends on the specific fish and corals you wish to keep, but the photos below are an example of what it takes to do it right:

(photo source)

Here is another one, it's clearly a high-end tank, but it has great pictures of its equipment room.

Saltwater is cool, and someday I will probably have a marine tank, but not until I can afford to do it right, and possibly hire someone to do the maintenance.