Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Livebearers are tropical fish such as guppies, mollies, platies and swordtails


Sailfin Molly (source Wikipedia) 

The Guppy is a very commonly kept tropical fish, as is the Platy, the Swordtail and the Molly. All of these fish are livebearers which means that the females give birth to baby fish unlike most types of fish that lay eggs.
This makes the live-bearing tropical fish easier to breed and keep. many fancy varieties have been selectively bred and you can get Veiltail Guppies, Red Swordtails and Black Mollies. In the following hub I take a look at all the different types and some of the more unusual livebearers too, such as the Halfbeaks.

As a boy and in my teens, I used to have a lot of tropical fish tanks, and keeping livebearers was a very important part of my hobby as well as keeping the egg-layers. I think that, like many people, I started out keeping Guppies and Platies and the other easier types of fish to keep and breed. It wasn't just that they were so easy to breed because I found them fascinating to watch too.  And, of course, many of the livebearers, such as the fancy guppies, have spectacular colours and fins too. Some types, such as the already mentioned, Halfbeaks, certainly wouldn't win any fish beauty contests, but their very unusual appearance guaranteed them a place in my tank.

It was exciting watching the pregnant females of my livebearer tropical fish get bigger every day because you knew that soon they would have their babies. Taking precautions so that the tiny fry didn't get eaten was another important part of it all.

Livebearers are tropical fish such as guppies, mollies, platies and swordtails

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Gouramis are interesting popular tropical fish to keep


Giant Gourami

There are many species of Gourami. Gouramis are tropical fish from Asia that are often kept by tropical fish enthusiasts. Most species are bubble-nest breeders, meaning that the male gourami blows a nest of bubbles into which the female's eggs are laid or are placed. The male will then guard them.
The largest species of Gourami is aptly named the Giant Gourami and can grow to over 2 ft.

I used to be fascinated by the various gourami types because of their unusual breeding habits in which the males build floating nests of bubbles and also because of their unusual appearance. I like to watch how these fish use their 'feelers' and also how they rise to the surface to gulp air from time to time. All gouramis are Anabantid or Labyrinth fish, and have the ability to survive in water that is low in oxygen because they can also make use of atmospheric air to breathe. This ability is linked with the bubble-nest huilding of the male gouramis too.

I never had any Giant Gouramis in my collection because I knew they would grow too big. I used to like to see them in the show tanks at the local aquarium shop though. I used to dream of one day, when I was grown up, of having big enough tanks to keep these massive fish in, and all the other very large species of tropical fish that you can get. Not having the space meant that I had to be content with keeping Dwarf, Thicklip and Blue Gouramis, the species that could be housed and bred in aquariums that I could afford to have and that my mother would allow in my bedroom.

The Gouramis are interesting popular tropical fish to keep


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Poinsettia is a flower for Christmas and a member of the Spurge family


Pretty Poinsettias

Poinsettias can be seen in full bloom now in many parts of Tenerife where they are grown in gardens, parks and along roadsides. They form large bushes and small trees and are ablaze with their bright red bracts that have made the plant become associated with Christmas. The Poinsettia is actually a member of the large and varied Spurge family and is known to botanists as Euphorbia pulcherrima.

The Poinsettia is a very popular ornamental shrub or pot-plant in many other parts of the world too. In America and the UK, for example, these plants are just as important at Christmas time because of their festive colour.  In Tenerife Poinsettias are planted out in flower borders in parks and public places to make large colourful displays. They are also grown in pots to help beautify the house or to place on a terrace or balcony perhaps.

The Spurge family, to which the Poinsettia belongs, is a very interesting and very large group of plants. There are Euphorbia species that grow as small trees, others that look more like cacti and other types that look like ordinary plants with green leaves and stems. Some types are covered in thorns, some grow as succulents, and yet others are common weeds of gardens and fields. The one thing they all have in common is the toxic white juice or latex which will quickly ooze out if the plants are broken.

Many species of Euphorbia thrive on the island of Tenerife, both endemic species and exotic ornamental types like the Poinsettia that have been brought there. The warm climate suits these unusual plants very well.

Poinsettia is a flower for Christmas and a member of the Spurge family

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Live food for tropical fish to get them in good condition for breeding


Culex mosquito larva

When I was a boy I used to love to keep tropical fish and quickly learned that if I wanted to keep them healthy and to breed them then live foods were essential. Bloodworms, tubifex, mosquito larvae and daphnia were all excellent foods but my favourite was the humble earthworm and the fish liked them a lot too! I used to spend a lot of time finding food for my pets.

Water butts were a great source of mosquito larvae and blood-worms. Tubifex I collected in the black stinking mud of the River Taff and daphnia could be netted in local ponds as well as being quite easy to breed in containers of stagnant water.  Earthworms, of course, came out of the ground.

There were techniques you had to learn or come up with in order to get enough of the live foods your fish needed. I remember leaving large dollops of mud containing tubifex worms to dry out. The worms would form into large masses underneath in an effort to conserve moisture and were easy to pick out and then to swill under clean water before feeding to my fish.

Mosquito larvae present a challenge because they will quickly swim down into the depths of any water they are in if they are disturbed. The trick is not to disturb them and to quickly skim or net the wrigglers from the surface.  Bloodworms can be harvested like Tubifex or can be carefully picked out of the tubes of mud and muck they make.  Daphnia can be netted using a fine gauze mesh in the net you are using.

Newly-hatched brine shrimp nauplii were the best food for tropical fish fry. 

Live food for tropical fish to get them in good condition for breeding

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Better Betta Splendens - the Siamese Fighting Fish has been selectively bred

The Siamese Fighting Fish is known to science as Betta splendens and many people simply call them Bettas. They are very colourful tropical fish that are a popular species to be kept by hobbyists and have been selectively bred to create amazing variations in colour and the shape and size of their fins.

Male Bettas will fight viciously, hence their common name, and have to be kept away from other males. They can be kept in community tanks though.

Siamese Fighting Fish are actually members of the Anabantidae or "Labyrinth Fish" which are all able to breathe atmospheric air as well as oxygen dissolved in the water and absorbed via their gills in the normal way. They rise to the surface to gulp air. They are also "bubble nest breeders" because the male fish build nests of floating bubbles that the eggs are laid in. The males keep guard over them until the baby fish hatch.

Female Bettas are far more drab than the males and have much shorter fins too. Over the years their colouration has also been greatly improved by selective breeding as well.

You can read much more information about Siamese Fighting Fish at the following article at Hubpages.com:

Better Betta Splendens - the Siamese Fighting Fish has been selectively bred

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.