Black-Throated Eartheater (Geophagus Brachybranchus)

Black-Throated Eartheater-Best Cichlid Care Guide

Black-Throated Eartheater (Geophagus Brachybranchus)

Black-Throated Eartheater (Geophagus Brachybranchus)

Quick Stats:

  1. Origin: Venezuela, Suriname, Brazil
  2. Size: About 13cm in nature (5 inches) but up to 20cm in fish tanks (8 inches)
  3. Temperature: They like it around 27°C/ 80°F
  4. Tank Size: 70 Gallons or Greater
  5. Nature: Non-aggressive

Brief Introduction:

Eartheaters are a group of fish you should definitely consider keeping if you have a tank of 70 gallons/ 265 liters or bigger. The colors on both the males and females are beautiful in most species and, not only that, they are not aggressive cichlids unless they are spawning, and you can even keep them with your neon tetras— they have no interest in eating them (unless they are baby neons. All cichlids like them!).

But they are another one of those fish that are never fully colored up in a fish store. I included a picture of a juvenile Black-throated Eartheater so you can compare it with the adult. While the green youngsters have an attractive shape, it would be hard to imagine the beautiful fish they turn into and I am sure many are passed over in favor of more colorful varieties like parrot cichlids.

That’s too bad because Eartheaters have much more to offer. For one thing, they have individual personalities that goes so far as to have an effect on how they behave while breeding. They also are entertaining as they sift through the substrate of their tank searching for bits of food. Despite their size, they have very small, specialized mouths and do well on flake food. And in the right conditions, they take to aquarium life well, growing much larger than they do in the wild!

Black-Throated Eartheater (Geophagus Brachybranchus) 1

Black-Throated Eartheater (Geophagus Brachybranchus) 1

Feeding Diet:

Eartheaters should be fed small meals 3 or 4 times per day. They will rise off the bottom to eat the food as it falls but then return to their favorite past time, sifting sand. Feed them flakes, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and sometimes spirulina wafers.

Habitat:

The most important thing to have in their tank is sand…deep soft sand. Do not use gravel. They feed by passing the sand through their gills. Gravel will become lodged in their gills. Plants are only possible to grow on their tanks if you tie them to a large piece of driftwood. You may also want to provide them with a flat stone or slate which they will use when breeding.

Breeding:

The parents lay eggs on a flat service. As soon as they hatch, the mother takes the babies into her mouth. The father may help her, taking turns holding the brood. Or he will just guard the territory. Or he will drive the new mother away with the kids in her mouth. It depends on his character. Incidentally, males and females look exactly the same (to us) so if you want to breed them, you should buy a group to ensure you get a pair.

You may Love To Read more About other Cichlids:

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MONO (Monodactylus Argenteus)

MONO Fish -Best Moon Fish Care Guide For Your Silver Moony

MONO (Monodactylus Argenteus)

MONO (Monodactylus Argenteus)

For many decades, when people spoke of keeping brackish aquaria, generally four types of fish were mentioned;

  1. Monos,
  2. Scats,
  3. Gobies,
  4. and Mollies.

(Puffers were not available with much regularity until the 80s). Of them, Monos were considered to be the most attractive, but also the most difficult to keep. We now know much more about how to keep the Angelfish lookalikes and they can live 7 to 10 years in a properly maintained aquarium.

Important note: One thing we know that our forefathers did not is that Monos need increasing amounts of salinity as they grow. While they can live a short time in freshwater, if you want to keep your monos healthy and alive, they should not be in water less than 1.005 salinity.

And that is only while they are small. As they grow they should be gradually adapted to full marine conditions in which they will always display their best colors.

Tank setup according to nature:

Monos should never be kept singly..or in pairs…or in trios. They can be aggressive with each other and should be kept in groups of 5 or more to spread that out. Of course, this means that a large tank is needed. A group of small juveniles can be kept in a 55 gallon/ 200 liter. But they can’t be in a tank that small for long and you will need a tank at least triple that size.

Origin:

They are found in the

  1. Red Sea,
  2. East Africa,
  3. Southern Asia,
  4. Australia.

Size:

Tank specimens rarely exceed 13cm/6inches. They are larger in nature.

Temperature Bearing Capacity:

They are able to tolerate the 24-28°C / 75-82°F temperature.

Diet:

They will eat everything…including small tankmates. They can eat all the things that fit into their mouth either it is fish food or a small fish tank mates.

Habitat:

Their habitat is sand or live gravel if kept in a fully marine environment. You can decorate the tank as you want, they are not picky. The only thing you need is strong filtration and an airstone or two. They are messy fish when eating and expel a lot of waste.

Breeding:

There have been accidental spawnings in captivity, but no details are known.

Tank Mates & Companions:

The best tank mates and companions are

  1. Archer Fish,
  2. GlassFish,
  3. Platys,
  4. Guppies,
  5. Scats
  6. Silver Dollars

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Jerdon's Baril (Barilius Canarensis)

Freshwater Jerdon’s Baril – Fish Care Guide & Facts

Jerdon's Baril (Barilius Canarensis)

Jerdon’s Baril (Barilius Canarensis)

Quick Stats:

  • Origin: India
  • Size: 110-130cm/ 4.5 -5 inches
  • Temperature: 18-26°C/ 65-76°F
  • Diet: Eats from the surface. Flake foods work well, but feedings of bloodworms, mosquito larvae, insects, and pellets are all taken

Overview:

The Barils are a relatively new genus to the aquarium world. Most are greenish with various patterns of stripes or lines. They all like fast moving water and make excellent additions to a hillstream style setup.

Jerdon’s Baril doesn’t NEED to be in a hillstream tank but it will require a powerhead to simulate a natural current. However, in a hillstream tank, they fill an important niche. They inhabit the surface area which is often empty in such tanks.

They are fast-moving and relatively large, so do not keep them with slow moving fish or with fish that are much smaller like White Clouds.

Habitat:

They need a long tank. The quantity of water is less important than the length of the tank. The tank should be at least 150cm/69inches long for a group of this active fish.

They are not a schooling species but they do shoal, so you should probably consider buying at least 4. The substrate should be a mixture of various sized stones and gravel. Plants do not live in the fast-moving streams they inhabit in the wild but they can be kept in the aquarium with the fish provided they do not take up too much of the swimming space. Emergent plants overhanging the water would be better. Use a powerhead and airstones.

Breeding:

Egg-scatterers. Spawning is triggered by a water change using cooler water. Males are slimmer and more brightly colored.

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Redtail Splitfin (Xenotoca Eiseni)

Definitive Redtail Splitfin Smart Guide

Redtail Splitfin (Xenotoca Eiseni)

Redtail Splitfin (Xenotoca Eiseni)

Quick Guide:

  1. Scientific Name: Xenotoca Eiseni
  2. Origin: Mexico
  3. Size: Males 6cm/ 2.5 inches. Females are slightly larger.
  4. Diet: Anything. They are not picky.
  5. Tank Size: 15 Gallons
  6. Temperature: between 15 and 30 °C

Outer Appearance:

They are called “redfin,” as you can see in the picture, the color of this fish is extremely variable. Some have reddish-orange tails, while others have yellow. There are strains that have been bred to have a coppery red throughout their body, while other breeders have concentrated on bringing out the blue coloration.

Several decades ago, this was a popular livebearer and breeders took an interest in it but it has all but disappeared from fish stores.

Why? Well, despite being very hardy and easy to breed, these fish have a reputation for being aggressive.

However, it is only partially justified. Individuals can demonstrate a range of aggression from none at all too mildly nippy to outright killers.

Most sources seem to agree that they can be especially aggressive towards catfish, attacking their eyes and fins. Corydoras are particularly vulnerable to attack.

Tank Setup:

Most people who keep them prefer to raise them in a species rank to avoid potential problems. They do not need a large tank. A 15 gallon of a 55-liter tank will suffice for a small group.

Temperature:

Very hardy. Any temperature between 15 and 30 °C will suffice. (59-86°F). Because of the temperature range, they are excellent candidates for summering outside.

Habitat:

They look best in thickly planted tanks but in nature, they can be found in many habitats, from fairly rapid streams to stagnant polluted roadside ditches.

Breeding:

Livebearers, but they differ from the more common livebearers in many ways. First, the females have no gravid spot indicating they are pregnant. The females cannot store milt like guppies but must mate for each pregnancy. It takes 7 to 8 weeks for the babies to develop. Between five and fifty large babies are born each time. Redtail Splitfins do not eat their own kind. The common name, Splitfin, refers to the males anal fin of which the first rays are modified for reproduction.

You may also interested to read about jerdons Baril.

  1. Freshwater Jerdon’s Baril – Fish Care Guide & Facts
Golden Mandarin Fish/ Leopard Mandarin Fish (Siniperca Scherzeri)

Golden / Leopard Mandarin Fish- Coldwater Fish Guide

Golden Mandarin Fish/ Leopard Mandarin Fish (Siniperca Scherzeri)

Golden Mandarin Fish/ Leopard Mandarin Fish (Siniperca Scherzeri)

Here is a fish for those among us who love Peacock Cichlids, Largemouth Bass, and other beautifully colored predatory fish. The more frequently seen form is the variety with leopard spots, which is also quite attractive and very reminiscent of the pattern found on a Jaguar Cichlid. Wild varieties occurring in nature are protected here in Korea, but those that are farmed are readily available for sale.

Quick Overview:

  1. Origin: Korea, China, Vietnam
  2. Size: 33cm/ 13 inches
  3. Temperature: Room temperature is fine but can withstand higher and lower.
  4. Diet: Chopped Fish

Background

The fish farms producing these fish started because they are a popular food item. In China, they have successfully crossed S. scherzeri with a related species, S. chuatsi.

The latter grows much larger than the Leopard Mandarin fish, but will only eat live food. The Leopard Mandarin will accept chopped fish making it much easier to raise in captivity. The result is a hybrid that has a rapid growth rate and eats chopped fish.

Tank Setup:

In nature, they are quite solitary although they are raised together on fish farms in floating nets. If you set up these fish in a bare aquarium, you can keep more than one however that is not a natural or ideal situation.

If you provide them with a natural looking tank, they establish large territories and attempt to drive all other fish away. They do this primarily through frightening, wide-mouth displays that rarely, if ever, result in actual damage to their target.

I have read online of people keeping them with large South American cichlids and knife fish, but this seems like quite a risk to me…at the very least, it will not be a very peaceful environment until everyone learns to avoid the Mandarin’s territory.

Diet:

Wild specimens will only take live at first and need to be trained to take dead or chopped fish. They do not eat prawns or shrimp. Even newly hatched fry refuse brine shrimp and must be fed the fry of other fish.

Habitat:

Set the tank up with a sand or gravel bottom and add stones of various sizes. Create stable caves if possible as you would in an African cichlid tank, taking into account the ultimate size of this fish. 80 gallons/280 liters should be the minimum size for a single specimen. They like a good water flow so include a powerhead and extra aeration in their setup.

Breeding:

Eggs are laid on stones or in caves in the male’s territory. The male protects the spawn. Eggs hatch in 5 days and the young begin feeding before the yolk sac is absorbed starting on the second or third day after hatching. If you wait until the yolk is gone before feeding them, it results in deformities of organs, stunted growth, and/or death.
Imp Note: These fish apparently come to recognize their caregiver and will attempt to interact with their human.

The bright orange-lemon color morph is a naturally occurring mutation that is now being selectively bred for the aquarium trade.

Leopard Mandarin Fish (Siniperca Scherzeri)

Leopard Mandarin Fish (Siniperca Scherzeri)

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Sunset Variatus (Xiphophorus Variatus)

Sunset Variatus : Best Freshwater Aquarium fish

Sunset Variatus (Xiphophorus Variatus)

Sunset Variatus (Xiphophorus Variatus)

Sunset Variatus (Xiphophorus Variatus)

For Easy Fish Monday, I chose one of my favorite livebearers, the Sunset Variatus.

Please don’t call this fish a Platy.

Yes, they are related at the genus level, but they are no more a platy than a swordtail is which is also a member of Xiphophorus.

Variatus fall right between swordtails and platies in size and in the absence of members of their own species, both swordtails and platies are capable of interbreeding with Variatus.
It is recommended not to keep them together unless the hybrids are for your personal ranks and not to be sold or given away.

The wild form of the Variatus is never seen in fish shops anymore. It is the same color scheme as the tank bred varieties, but much paler yellow and the red color confined primarily to the tail fin.

They can be housed like Platies. A small tank of 20 gallons is fine for a trio or quartet. Always keep more females than males because the males can be unrelenting in their pursuit of the females and a one to one ratio will lead the female to become exhausted and ultimately die.

Origin:

  1. Mexico

Size:

The normal Females can reach up to 7 cm(3inches) but males are smaller than female

Temperature:

They can bear the temperature range from 20 to 26°C/ 68-79°F

Diet:

They are easily fed and accept a wide variety of food.

Habitat:

They will thrive in a planted tank. Be careful they do not overpopulate!

Breeding:

They are livebearers who produce fry every 4 to 7 weeks. Because they are larger than platies, the number of young they have is larger too. Unlike many other livebearers, they do not hunt and eat their young.

Wanna you read more freshwater fish profiles?

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Leaf Goblin fish

Leaf Goblin fish – Complete Guide, Facts & Miss-understandings

Leaf Goblin fish

Leaf Goblin fish

I haven’t highlighted a purely brackish water fish in a while, so I picked this interesting little fish. You might also know it as the Freshwater Waspfish, but that is neither an accurate name nor as much fun as Goblinfish.

Quick Guide

  1. Origin: Philipines to New Guinea
  2. Size: 10cm/ 4in.
  3. Temperature: 24-28°C/ 75-82
  4. Tank: as small as 30 gallons/100 liters.
  5. Breeding: There are no reports of breeding.

Important Facts you need to know

The Leaf Goblinfish may temporarily enter freshwater or be exposed to it during periods of heavy rain, but it will not survive for more than a few months without the addition of salt.

They do best when kept in water with a relative salinity of 1.010-1.025. While they are predators, they are not aggressive.

They cannot be mixed with puffers because the Goblinfish’s extended dorsal fin is too tempting a target.

Puffers tend to be on the nippy side. Either the Goblinfish or the puffer will wind up dead.

How? Well, the Leaf Goblinfish has venom in some of its spines on their dorsal fins and gill covers.

They do not use this for hunting or in bouts of aggression. They are only for defense. Of course, this means you have to take extra precautions if you are forced to net the fish.

Dead goblin fish can still sting, so be careful. The poison is not fatal to humans but it is painful and people with allergies to insect/ spider bites will likely have a stronger reaction. While it might sound unpleasant, the fish will never go out of its way to attack you.

It would really prefer to just walk around the bottom of the tank pretending to be a leaf and hunting for food.

You can easily keep it with brackish fish of similar size like large mollies without incident and multiple Leaf Goblinfish can be kept together.

They won’t fight but tend to actively avoid each other. Tankmates half the Goblinfish’s size will be viewed as food. Unlike many of the marine forms of the fish, the Leaf Goblinfish is active during the day.

Diet:

Live or frozen shrimp, bloodworms, or shrimp. They will also take chopped shrimp, mussels, and prawns. Small live fish will be eaten as well.

Habitat:

The goblin fish may be kept in a tank as small as 30 gallons/100 liters. They like a substrate of soft sand, fine gravel, or mud. You can add driftwood or stones without sharp edges for them to perch on.

Note: They are also sold as Butterfly Gobies but they are not related to gobies at all.

Leaf Goblinfish (Neoveaspicula Depressiformis)

Leaf Goblinfish (Neoveaspicula Depressiformis)

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  1. Brackish Water Fish Profiles & Guides
Freshwater Dolphin Fish (Mormyrus Kannume)

Freshwater Dolphin Fish – Fish Only For Experts

Freshwater Dolphin Fish (Mormyrus Kannume)

Freshwater Dolphin Fish (Mormyrus Kannume)

Freshwater Dolphin Fish is a fish for experts only! The freshwater dolphin is related to the popular elephant-nosed mormyrids but lacks the prominent proboscis of their relatives.

Facts About Dolphin

It is fairly obvious why the common name was given to these fish, but it is also applied to 3 other species of mormyrids that are nearly indistinguishable from each other. The ones marked as “baby whales” in fish shops are from a different genus and are generally smaller.

Like the elephant nose fishes, the freshwater dolphin hunts by electricity. This is not enough to shock a person or either other fish. It is only used like radar and to sense the electrical fields of other living things.

What dolphin can do and how people use it?

These fish are considered to be quite playful and curious. They will interact well with their aquarist, often swimming into your open hand if you put it into the water. They are also relatively intelligent and need “toys” to play with to keep themselves from becoming bored.

Moss balls work fine for this but some fish keepers but plastic bath toys into their tank for stimulation. Even though they get along quite well with their owner, they do not get along well with others of their own kind in the aquarium even though they are found in large shoals in nature.

The reason is that the electrical fields they generate get disrupted by other mormyrids and other electrical fish in general like knife fish. This causes confusion and aggression.

Tank mates

In general, they don’t care to be kept with other species of fish but it seems dolphins demonstrate individual personalities and some tolerate peaceful tankmates.

Tank Setup

As a scaleless fish, they are prone to getting ill if their skin is damaged, water quality falls, or if tankmates are introduced without a quarantine period. If they do become sick, do not use copper based medicines. Those will kill most scaleless fish. Also, do not use plant fertilizers in the tank that contain iron. The tank size should be about 130 gallons/ 500 liters.

Dolphin fish Quick Stats:

  1. Origin: Nile River, northern Africa, and Lake Victoria
  2. Size: usually 30cm/ 10 in, but may grow larger.
  3. Temperature: 25-30°C/ 77-81°F

Diet:

They love worms, live or frozen. Bloodworms, blackworms, aquatic insect larva, and earthworms are all accepted. Make sure the earthworms are not too big because their mouths are very small. A well-fed dolphin fish often makes a game out of eating, hunting the food several times even after finding it.

Habitat:

They need low light and soft water. They like hiding spots so thickets of plants are appreciated. Avoid using logs or stones that may have sharp edges. Provide them with a good amount of oxygen, especially if you are keeping them at the warmer end of their temperature range.

Breeding:

Impossible in captivity. The way their electricity works in the confines of an aquarium, it prevents them from recognizing potential mates.

Read more Freshwater Profiles:

  1. Black Diamond Cichlid (Paratilapia Polleni)
  2. Sunset Variatus: Best Freshwater Aquarium fish

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Eurasian Ruffe (Gymnocephalus Cernua)

Coldwater Eurasian Ruffe Fish (Care,Feed,Breed Guide)

Eurasian Ruffe (Gymnocephalus Cernua)

Eurasian Ruffe (Gymnocephalus Cernua)

Eurasian Ruffe Fish has been introduced accidentally into many areas outside its native range including the Great Lakes of North America and Southern Europe. In both those areas, the presence of these fish is cause for concern, especially as their population moves south.

Quick Guide:

  1. Origin:
    • England
    • Northern Europe in rivers and estuaries along the North Sea.
  2. Size:
    • in brackish water, they can grow to 8 inches/ 30cm.
    • but in freshwater, they stay around 4.5 inches/ 12cm
  3. Temperature: Room temperature is fine.

Usually, I choose to fish for these coldwater casefile posts that have bright flashy colors. But just because a fish isn’t glowing with all the colors of the rainbow, doesn’t mean that it is a poor choice for a home aquarium. The Ruffe is a perfect example of this.

Physical Appearance:

While its body color, though variable, will never win any beauty prizes, the body has that amazing dorsal fin and the general body shape is different from many other cold water fishes that are suitable for aquarium life.

Fish Care

It is also very easy to care for. If you want a better color than the fish pictured, try keeping them over a light colored substrate. That often results in a light green/brown fish with many dark speckles on the body.

Tank Setup and size:

They can inhabit and breed in both fresh and brackish water. For aquarium purposes, pure fresh water may be better as the fish tend ti stay smaller and easier to house. A pair raised in freshwater could be housed in a 100liter/ 30-gallon tank.

Diet:

In nature, they feed near the bottom on aquatic insects and other invertebrates. The can adapt to prepared foods, but it is best to give them regular feedings of live or frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae and even small or chopped earthworms.

Habitat:

Variable, but they never occur in places with rapid water movement. They can be kept in brackish water as high as 1.010 salinity. You can decorate as you wish, but consider adding some dried tree leaves to sink to the bottom. The fish often lounge among these. Their extended dorsal fin looks a lot like a leaf in these conditions and the fish will feel more secure.

Breeding:

They tend to gather in large numbers for breeding. The females lay long strings of eggs that stick to anything they touch. Fry are very small upon hatching and should be fed green water or infusoria. They can breed in both fresh and brackish water

In their native range, the fish mature after 2 or 3 years and each female produces 1000-6000 annually when spawning.

But in warmer climates, they can breed from their first year of life and multiple times per year.

Wikipedia states that each female can lay up to 200,000 eggs per year, but I wonder if they mean over the course of the fish’s life which is 7 to 11 years.

The more modest numbers I gave are from a book called Britain’s Freshwater Fishes by Mark Everard.

If you choose to keep these fish, you likely have to catch them yourself, so check with local laws first. If you do keep them, be careful of the dorsal! Those spines are not just for decoration!

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