Saturday, April 23, 2011

Super Blue spawn at 6 weeks

Photos of my super blue spawn at 6 weeks old. Looks like super blue behaves just like royal blue. There look to be turquoise and steel fry. These fry are quite a lot smaller than they should be at this age. This is largely my fault for keeping them in overcrowded conditions for too long. Hopefully they'll catch up now that I've rectified the issue.
Turquoise fry
And this I guess is steel

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Old Posts

If you've been following this blog recently you will have noticed a number of old posts appearing. What's happening? Well, after many months of neglect I've finally decided to do something about resurrecting the articles in my old website which crashed over a year ago. Over the next few weeks (and possibly months) you'll see a few old articles appearing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Biosecurity Threatens Aquarium Industry

Australian aquarium hobbyists are outraged by recommendations made by Biosecurity Australia in its report on biosecurity risks related to the importation of ornamental fish.

The report recommends that all species of cichlid, all gouramis, all livebearer species (eg. guppies, mollies, swordtails and platies), all betta species (including siamese fighting fish and wild type bettas) and paradise fish must be batch tested on arrival in Australia. The batch testing methods employed will kill thousands of healthy fish needlessly. Fin clippings would yield sufficient cell material to complete the test, however most labs would not be set up to keep so many animals alive.

There are presently no commercial labs able to conduct this testing. It is anticipated that the cost of batch testing will be extremely high. A cost that will be borne by the importer (and ultimately the consumer) and will more than likely force all small importers out of business. This will decimate the aquarium industry and the fishkeeping hobby.

Aquarium hobbyists have always been strong advocates of responsible pet ownership and generally have a well-developed environmental and social conscience. Contrary to popular belief, Australian aquarium hobbyists are not entirely responsible for the release of non-native fish into native habitats. In the main these introductions have been carried out by the very government departments that one would expect to be more protective of local eco-systems. The introduction of trout, gambusia and the cane toad are all cases in point. Besides, these measures will do nothing (nor are they intended to) towards environmental protection. The purpose of these recommendations is to protect against the gourami iridovirus and related viruses. Viruses which may already be present in Australia.

Hobbyists would be all in favour of tighter quarantine controls if the scientific basis for those measures stood up to scrutiny. This report however is full of flawed assumptions and scientific inconsistencies, such as:
  • control fish testing positive to the virus, as well as the test sample
  • the unknown origin of the fish being tested ie whether or not they had been imported or locally bred
  • fish having lesions similar to the virus rather than the virus being positively identified
  • the lack of evidence that the virus is absent locally
  • the lack of research on the susceptibility of native fish to the virus
Further infuriating industry and community stakeholders is that the Import Risk Analysis Appeals Panel (IRAAP) has rejected all appeals which draw attention to the flawed science because it "does not consider matters relating to the scientific merits of the IRA or the merits of the recommendations made or the conclusions reached by Biosecurity Australia."

You can read more of the reactions from hobbyists in these forum threads:
AusAqua forum thread
AquariumLife forum thread

Please sign the online petition and help save the aquarium industry.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

How to hatch brine shrimp

Newly hatched baby brine shrimp are an extremely important food for betta fry. This is the food that will get your fry growing strongly and quickly. I start feeding baby brine shrimp from about the 3rd or 4th day after free-swimming alongside microworms and vinegar eels. Then I gradually stop feeding the smaller food as soon as I am confident that most of the fry are taking the brine shrimp. The most nutritious part of baby brine shrimp is the yolk sac and it is important that you feed the brine shrimp to your fry before this yolk sac is used up. This means using the brine shrimp within about 12 hours of hatching.

To get brine shrimp eggs to hatch successfully you need the following conditions:
  • Salinity of approx 15 ppt which is equivalent to a specific gravity of 1.011
  • Temperature 28 deg C
  • pH 8.2 - 8.6
  • Sufficient aeration to keep the eggs in constant motion
  • Good quality, fresh eggs. If the eggs you buy aren't in a completely sealed package at least make sure your supplier has a reasonably high turnover to ensure the eggs are fresh.
This is how I hatch bs eggs. You need the following bits and pieces:
  • 2 x 1.5 ltr plastic drink bottles (start one about 12-18 hours after the other)
  • Small airpump
  • Some airline (no airstone)
  • Airline splitter/manifold (you need 3, one for each bottle and one to keep water circulating around the heater)
  • Heater
  • A container that will hold the two bottles plus the heater
  • Rock salt (no additives or caking agents)
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
  • Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts)
  • Plastic funnel (makes it easier to fill the bottle)
Here's what you do:
  1. Make a hole in one of the dimples at the bottom of the bottle large enough for the funnel to go through.
  2. Put the bottle upside down, resting on it’s cap in the container with the heater
  3. Fill the container with water so it covers the heater and comes part way up the bottle. The bottles don't have to be completely submerged. An inch or two is sufficient to keep the bottle warm.
  4. Put 6 tsp salt, quarter tsp sodium bicarbonate (or the required amount to raise the pH to 8.2), quarter tsp Epsom salts, about a quarter tsp bs eggs, and 1 ltr water in the bottle
  5. Put in the airline and turn on the pump
  6. Wait 24 hours
  7. Turn off the air and check to see if the eggs have hatched, if not wait another 6 hours approx
  8. Once the eggs have hatched leave it standing for about 10 minutes for the egg shells to float to the top
  9. If you shine a light at the bottle the brine shrimp will congregate there
  10. use airline to siphon out the bs and strain it through two layers of a hanky

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Betta Anatomy Guide

It’s important to familiarise yourself with the different parts of your betta. Many hobbyists use these terms and it avoids confusion during discussions if standard terminology is used.

The image is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll make a few comments anyway.

Anal fin – the fin which hangs down and spans from the anal opening to the caudal peduncle.
Caudal fin – what most people call the tail.
Caudal peduncle – the area where the tail meets the body. Look for a strong and thick caudal peduncle to ensure that your betta can hold his tail up. This is particularly important for choosing a good fish for showing.
Dorsal fin – the fin which is on the betta’s back.
Pectoral fins – the two fins that come out the side just behind the gills.
Ventral fins – the two fins that hang down just in front of the anal opening (the vent).
Operculum – also known as gill covers
Gill membrane – properly called the branchiostegal membrane. Sometimes referred to as the bettas beard.

A few other terms which refer to betta anatomy that you will often hear are:

Standard length – measures a betta from mouth to caudal peduncle and is so much easier to explain with a picture.
Total length – measures a betta from mouth to the tip of its tail. Not very useful since tail lengths can vary a great deal with bettas.
Paired fins – the pectoral and ventral fins are referred to in this way when talking about them as a group, for example, "the butterfly pattern appears very clearly on the paired fins".
Unpaired fins – used when referring to the anal, caudal and dorsal fins as a group.

I won’t insult your intelligence by pointing out the mouth and eyes.