onsdag den 16. januar 2013

Easy way of harvesting Scuds (Hyalella azteca)

Hello all,
I've been asked how I actually collect or harvest the little Scuds (Hyalella azteca) when I need some to feed my fish. Well, there is a really easy and simple way of doing this - and you definately shouldn't try and catch them with a fishing net or similar as the little buggers are much too devious for such an approach.
This video shows how I do it:

By dropping a tasty piece of cucumber into the tank and waiting half an hour, the scuds will have found it and swarmed it.
And they really love cucumber:

You can then simply lift the cucumber out of the tank and let the scuds drip into whatever container you have available.

or feed them to your fish, who loves Scuds:

Now trying to count how many you've collected is a complete different problem, one that is close to impossible. I regularly sell portions of ca. 25 and its a hit and miss, so I generally collect far too many, just to avoid having to recount the amount.

All the best,

tirsdag den 15. januar 2013

Fish spotlight: Chromaphyosemion bitaeniatum 'Ijebu Ode' (Killi fish, AKA Aphyosemion bitaeniatum))

Hello all,
if there is any one fish type that I really love then it would have to be the Killifish. Almost all of these (and there are thousands of different types) are beautiful, intriguing, and entertaining. One species I've really enjoyed having in my aquarium was the Chromaphyosemion bitaeniatum.

An unfussy eater, beautiful swimmer and very pleasing to the eye: 

Male Chromaphyosemion bitaeniatum

I bought my original trio at a Danish Killi-auction (ca. 3$) and instantly fell in love with them. Well, the entire family did, and the youngest even named them 'Dragon-fish'. They were from the region of Ijebu Ode.
I contacted the seller and it turned out that she had decided not to continue breeding the line and I got her remaining males for free. Wonderful lady!

Here the new Chromaphyosemion bitaeniatum males arrive - very curious.

Their larger brother goes closer to show them who is the boss!

Nothing beats Chromaphyosemion bitaeniatum males showing of against each other.

Chromaphyosemion bitaeniatum and a Aphysemion Australe

In general this is a very easy fish - eats anything and is very peaceful even with rivalling males sparring no injury will occur. The only downside is that you cannot expect mor than 1½ years out of them. But in that span of time they will charm anyone :-).

All the best,

Mystery eggs

Hello all,
So there was a surprise waiting for me in the fishtank. Unfortunately I screwed up and destroyed it. *Insert sad face here*
Apparently someone has been busy and deposited a large patch of eggs at the back of the fishtank, on the root system of a small Pistia stratiotes. Sadly, I didn't notice until the plant had been out of the water for some time. At first I thought they might be from my Pterophyllum scalare, but now I think they might be snail eggs - as I havnt seen so much goo around fish eggs before.

There is a small colony of Marisa cornuarietis at large int he fish tank, they might be responsible.

Hmm, what might they be? Stay tuned as I investigate the case of the Mystery Eggs!
Anyways, I put the plant back again, but the eggs were soon eaten by hungry fish, now that they were not hidden in the background anymore.

EDIT: Well the case was solved a few days later - read the solution here...

All the best,

Aquaponics 19: Making simple things complicated

Hello all,
So, the Aquaponic system had worked so far, i.e. no more water spilling all over the place and some growth. Not a lot, and the smaller sprouts seem to just give up hope, but others (peas and tomatoes) are growing nicely.
Seeing as I had nothing to do one Saturday morning I decided to try and make things complicated. A lot more complicated! So I bought three cheapo buckets (1$ each) and some pvc pipes and elbows (20$ worth) and set out to have some fun.
And so I've made the following 'hanging gardens of Copenhagen' - which for some reason amde my wife shake her head multiple times. In silence. Not sure if that was a good sign?
I'll be adding a new long hose that will transport the water from the fishtank, up the wooden stick and into the pvc pipe at the top. From there it should spill (in a controlled manner) into the buckets, and then progress into the growbed. I hope. So many things can go wrong with this. It is so much fun!

Aquaponic system - I'll use the entire windowsill yet!
 I've got to silicone the connections, wash more medium, and install the hose (8$), but apart from that it should be ready soon. Stay tuned for disaster updates :-).
Drilling holes is fun, when it works!
 I was a bit nervous that the flimsy sides of the cheap buckets would crack, but the hole-saw-thing made the job very easy.
Is it an elephant? No its a cheap growbed!
 And the entire pvc-experience was very fun - so easy to work with.
Cheap Standpipes
 I also needed some cheap standpipes for the buckets and decided these bottles would do the trick.

A DIY 'Das Boot'!
Meanwhile my son was up to no good - going "boooiiiiiing ..... boooooiiiiiing" for some reason :-).

Total costs skyrocketed this week, from 11$ to 42$! :-/.

For those not yet privy to the fascinating world of Aquaponics here is what information Wikipedia provides:

Aquaponicsis a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the animals. The term aquaponics is a portmanteau of the terms aquaculture and hydroponic.
Aquaponic systems vary in size from small indoor or outdoor units to large commercial units, using the same technology. The systems usually contain fresh water, but salt water systems are plausible depending on the type of aquatic animal and which plants. Aquaponic science may still be considered to be at an early stage, relative to other sciences.

Basicly, this translates into let the fish shit, let the plants grow on the shit and clean the water, and then eat all the plants yourself... more or less.... 

All the best,

mandag den 14. januar 2013

Fish spotlight: Sturisoma aureum (Giant Whiptail, Golden Whiptail)

Hello all,
Roughly a year ago I got the chance to acquire three young catfish of the species Sturisoma aureum (AKA Giant Whiptail).Although we lost one fairly quickly, the remaining two have proven quite sturdy and have grown fast. This beautiful catfish, originally from Columbia but mine were bred locally (just a few kilometers from where I live by a talented lady), is a constant enjoyment. It almost never hides and I really wouldn't call it nocturnal as one often reads on the internet, instead it often rests on a leaf or on a treeroot in full view so we can always appreciate it. It is an excellent community fish, and a very elegant one, with its fancy elongated dorsal fin.
A beautiful Sturisoma aureum
This is a video from when they were still fairly small - the largest is now more than 15 cm:

All in all a very pretty fish, and one that I really recommend!

A young Sturisoma aureum

From experience I can relate that they eat a fair bit of algae, but prefers catfish pellets and vegetables (peas, cucumber, etc).

Wikipedia adds the following:
Sturisoma aureum is a species of armored catfish endemic to Colombia where it is found in the Magdalena, San Jorge and Cesar River basins. This species grows to a length of 20 centimetres (7.9 in) SL. This species can be found in the aquarium trade.

All the best,
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