A cichlid fish strikes a bottom-weighted thermometer that would immediately right itself. It was often struck repeatedly in bouts. Photo by Ann Hawthorne
Chalk another one up for researchers discovering what aquarists already know: A fish's behavior is not always predicated on basic survival tactics; Fish play for the sheer pleasure of the activity. If your fish is doing something inexplicably silly, don't just assume it's a derivative of survival behavior (e.g. feeding, mating, territorial, et al.). It's possible your fish is goofing around.
Flowerhorns are a man-made hybrid cichlid. To some people, they are beauties. To others, abominations. One thing is indisputable: they are aggressive, big-personality animals. Here's a video of a newly introduced flowerhorn being "initiated" by the resident beastly male.
The owner of these flowerhorns claims both are alive and well despite the initial aggressive he captured on video. Flowerhorns are known as very aggressive fish, so it's generally not advisable to keep more than one per tank, and certainly not the best idea in a tank this small. There are a scary number of videos showing flowerhorns fighting with other flowerhorns, arrowanas, jack dempseys, oscars, red devils, etc.
A curious red blood parrot cichlid might be the best part of the whole video. When it's not photobombing with its cute puffy face, it watches the whole awkward Flowerhorn kiss with keen interest. Blood parrots are another man-made hybrid but with a much more docile personality.
A quick genealogical rundown for Flowerhorns (and for those who have a bone to pick with fancy goldfish and designer clownfish, you may want to skip the next two paragraphs): They are a relatively new hybridized cichlid that does not occur in the wild. Originating in the early 1990s, it is believed Asian breeders crossed trimac cichlids (Amphilophus trimaculatus) with red devil cichlids (e.g. Amphilophus labiatus) with who-knows-what-other-cichlids. The truth is no good documentation exists on the origins of Flowerhorns so their genealogy is murky at best. They are a mish-mash Frankenstein of whichever cichlid could yield desirable traits.
Breeders in Malaysia and Taiwan coveted fish with protruding heads. Through selective breeding, they were able to create Flowerhorns with highly exaggerated forehead humps. These protrusions are fat stores called "koks" and were first developed in males, although lesser koks are developing in females of certain strains as well. The bigger a male's kok, the more desirable the fish. <snicker> Spectacular specimens can command prices in the thousands of dollars. Successive generations have created bigger and bigger koks.
This summer, we reported on three newly described Trimma gobies: T. pajama, T. meranyx, and T. zurae. Unfortunately, we only found photos of the first two at the time, and boy were those gobies spectacular. We now have photos of T.zurae.
Lego is the new duct tape. There's nothing you can't build out of them. Osamu Mizuno assembled this auto fish feeder out of mechanized Lego parts. Admittedly, the system is not practical and probably not all that reliable, but it's just plain ol' cool.
Lego isn't what I remembered them to be when I was a kid. Nowadays, there are servo motors, gear, articulating parts, and power supplies for Lego that elevate them from simple building blocks to something that almost requires an engineering degree to assemble. With some 3rd party parts and mods, you can create amazingly complex, functional builds ... like this automated multi-tank fish feeder on (Lego) tracks.
There isn't any accompanying information with the video, so we don't know the details of the build or why Mizuno even built this contraption. Sure, a commercial fish feeder would be a lot more reliable, practical, and affordable. But if that's all Mizuno did, I wouldn't be blogging about it, would I?
Matt Barnes has a problem. A good problem. The corals in his 90 gallon have grown so large they make his 90 gallon reef look tiny. A new 180 gallon system is now in the works.
A Japanese man has started a crowd-sourcing project to help launch and promote his new look-down aquariums. The Bird's Eye Aquarium is designed for the water level to reach all the way up to the top glass thus eliminating visual distortion looking down into the tank.
We're suckers for reef footage combined with cinematic soundtrack. If you add the Red Sea into the mix, you don't have to twist our arm to share your video. This nine minute video features Red Sea fish and aquascape galore.
Apistogramma is a genus consisting of 84 species of gorgeous tropical South American dwarf cichlids. Make that 85 species now. Meet A.ortegai.
Boulder brain corals, for example, were found in abundance under the mangroves and were healthy, while many of those in unshaded areas a short distance away were bleaching. Photo Credit: Caroline Rogers, USGS
Certain types of corals, invertebrates of the sea that have been on Earth for millions of years, appear to have found a way to survive some of their most destructive threats by attaching to and growing under mangrove roots.
3reef.com member High Five already had an unique 3,000 gallon saltwater pond, but his "grouper started complaining about his 3k pond not being 'good enough'." What his fish wants his fish gets. High Five constructed a 15,000 gallon tropical marine pond to appease his diva fish.
Researchers collecting zoanthids from the Indo-Pacific realized that we haven't even come close to discovering all the zoa species. At least 9 of the 24 species they collected are undescribed. Even more remarkable, when they reviewed 600+ zoanthids collected as far back as the 1930s, they discovered many have yet to be formally examined.
From curious aquarium inhabitant to intriguing biological model. Clownfish continue to inspire science. These charismatic fish have attracted attention for their vast diversity across the Indo-Pacific reefs. Understanding how so many species that span such a variety of shapes and colors have materialized has been an intriguing question worth exploring and understanding.
The Japanese are experts at serving up novel fish dishes. Kyoto Aquarium is bringing back its ayu dog, a whole (head to tail) sweetfish served in a soft hot dog bun.
The IM Nuvo Fusion Nano aquariums are some of the sleekest, most functional, and most reasonably priced nano all-in-one (AIO) aquariums on the market, but there was one problem: there was no light specifically designed for this otherwise plug-n-play system ... until now.
When praziquantel reportedly failed to cure fish of flukes in their Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit, the staff at Albuquerque's BioPark Aquarium inadvertently killed about 100 fish - in front of patrons during operating hours - by using a more toxic and risky treatment, Dylox.
What is Dylox and praziquantel?
Dylox is the organophosphate, trichlorfon. Trichlorfon is one of the active ingredients in many over-the-counter fluke/worm medications. While it has been shown effective against monogenetic trematodes (flukes), some monogeneans have developed resistance to this organophosphate. Dylox is also a neurotoxin that can cause serious harm to animals including humans. Fish exposed to high levels of Dylox (or old batches of Dylox) can exhibit nervous system and respiratory problems leading to death. Even low dosages of Dylox can visibly stress fish. For these reasons, it has fallen out of favor as a first-option fluke treatment.
On the other hand, praziquantel is extremely gentle on fish and rarely causes significant distress or death. Overdosing with praziquantel almost requires willful intent because very large dosages are required to harm fish. It's also proven to be a highly effective anti-trematode treatment for both freshwater and saltwater fish, although BioPark Aquarium staff reported praziquantel failed to cure their fish of flukes.
Learning from Tragedy
This unfortunate event reminds aquarists that when improperly administered, the cure can sometimes be worse than the disease.
- Research your medication. Know what medication is useful for what ailment, and just as importantly, which medication is best suited for the species of fish you intend to treat. Some medications do not work well with specific fish (e.g. praziquantel and some loaches, copper and some angelfish).
- Carefully calculate dosage. Double and triple check your decimal points and conversions!
- Have emergency water-change water on hand.
- Do not mix medications unless you are absolutely certain there are no contraindication.
- Never use old or expired medication. For example, old Dylox can be particular harmful to fish.
- It is advisable to start treatment with the most proven, gentle medication first before advancing to more aggressive treatments as necessary.
- Weigh the risks versus reward when using any harsh chemical treatments.