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Friday, September 23, 2016

Breeding Convict Cichlids in Bulk in a Single Tank


Convict Cichlids are very aggressive fish and cannot be kept together. Especially when they begin to form pairs and raise young. This causes huge amount of stress to the tankmates. Here is a solution to your problem if you house many of these cichlids.

Place containers facing upwards inside your aquarium. They should be big enough for an adult pair of convicts to move around in. Its as simple as that. The pair will not take much time in finding it and making home there. You can use a glass bowl which will give you the privilage to view them spawn and raise their fry.

Benifits of doing this:-
  1. The other tankmates are safe from the aggressive convict cichlid pair.
  2. The babies are safely confined in the bowl and safe from other fish. This makes the protecting job easier for the parents.
  3. The babies wont get swept away by sudden currents in the tank and get lost.
  4. You can introduce many containers facing upward in your tank based on the number of pairs you got in there. This protects them from eachother and gives them the benifit of nesting in closer proximity to rival pairs. This way you make the most out of the least space in your aquarium.
  5. Greater mortality of the off spring.
  6. Here is the best part --- You an also easily transport an entire family to another tank by simply lifting the container gently and slowly without them knowing. This gives you much more control over your Convict Cichlid Pairs.
Try this out and enjoy the results. Do post comments.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Do fish need space?

All living things need some space from one another. The more space, the better. I have observed that fish grow much faster if they are provided their own space. I have keep a single convict Cichlid baby in its own aquarium and it out grew all the others that were stocked together.

In my opinion, all living things have an energy field around them. With competitive species especially, the presence of a dominating companion will inhibit it's progress. Even though the fish may seem fine, at some level of its consciousness, it feels fear and stress in the presence of its competition. The results eventually show in its growth and health.

I raise convict Cichlid fry in a single tank together. But I won't be able to house them together for long. As they grow they need to spread out. Their requirement for personal space expands as they grow.

However this rule may not apply for schooling fish like Danios, tiger barbs, neons etc. These fish need to be in groups to function properly.

What aquarium plants are easy to grow?

To my personal experience, hydrilla verticillata and duck weed are great plants that spread very quickly in your aquarium with reasonable light.

I have tried other types of plants but was never successful. I have always tried amazon sword but failed at all attempts. Whenever I got myself an amazon sword, it would get covered by algae and die.

Sometimes plants may compete with other varieties by releasing chemicals in the water which inhibit the growth of their competition.

If the water is too rich in nutrients, especially ammonia, although plants utilize ammonia as food, they will not grow if there's too much of it.

You need to balance things out with water changes. If you are dealing with too many fish and do not find much time to do water changes, you can use aggressive plants like duck weed or hydrilla. In fact, if you got fish that do not consume duck weed, then it would be a better choice to hydrilla. Even though hydrilla is an aggressive plant, I have witnessed it losing the battle against algae at times. Duck weed floats at the top. It's leaves float on the surface of water, so algae cannot cover that. Duck weed divides quickly and will soon cover your entire aquarium and deprive algae of light and nutrition.

So from personal experience, I would say duck weed and hydrilla are best for good water quality.

If you are keeping an aquarium for show, then these are not the plants for you. They are not pretty looking plants. If you are trying to keep some pretty looking plants in your aquarium, try out these few steps:


  • Start your aquarium with the plant of your choice. Not fish.
  • Taking into account, the number of fish you are going to stock in there, get the right amount of that plant.
  • Due to competitive nature of plants, as a beginner, stick with just one variety of plant. Don't mix.
  • Start with small amount of fish.
  • Fish should not disturb the plants.
  • Plant mass should be roughly 15 to 20 times the fish mass, so that it can handle the bio load. The plant should dominate the tank.
  • Invest in good lighting. Go for special grow led lights.
  • Light should be bright enough to reach your plants.
  • If one type of light don't work after a month, get another type.
  • Metal halide lighting is expensive, give heat but is known to be best.
  • Turn on light for at least 8 hours daily.
  • Best and cheapest option would be to place tank near window where there is natural light. Gives best results.
  • Provide good type of substrate soil for your plants. Many aquariums sell that.
If you got convict cichlids, you might need to put some heavy stones to secure the plants. These fish mostly destroy everything. Sometimes they may leave the plants alone. Depends on their personality and mindset. ;)

Hope all this info helps.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

How do Apple Snails Lay Eggs?

Apple snails lay eggs in clusters above the water. The eggs need to be in a humid environment to survive and hatch. They have a specialized way of delivering the eggs. Below is a little video that demonstrates the process.


What to feed Convict Cichlid Fry

Well you got a pair of Convict Cichlids that have spawned and now yu will be wondering what to feed them. Most experts talk about feeding live feed like brine shrimp, micro worms, daphnia magna etc. to baby fish. So you would then be wondering as to where will you get all this stuff.

Here's the thing. If you are dealing with Convict Cichlid Fry, you need not bother yourself with all that hassle. You can simplify the whole thing by feeding them pellets. Yes! I did say pellets. The most common food people feed their fish. The same thing that most people feed the adult convict cichlids.

But theres one small difference here. Its the size of the pellet. I have visited many aquarium shops in search of readymade powdered food for fry, but its very scarce in supply. Now keeping in mind the size of the fry, you need to reduce the size of the pellet to fit in the fry's mouth. So I use a blender.

Steps - Preparing Powder dry feed for Convict Cichlid Fry
  1. Use the powder making blade and container that comes with your blender set.
  2. Make sure the powder maker container is dry.
  3. Pour in a fair amount of regular pellets into the container. Make sure its not too much or too less, as that will make it difficult for the blender to powderize. Normally fill around half the container.
  4. Turn it on and wait a couple of minutes. Observe if its become powder. If you find some pellets intact, shake up the container and blend it again. Repeat till you get the desired result.
  5. Pour the powdered content into an empty and dry container.
Thats all there is to it. Feed a reasonable amount of this power to your fry on a daily basis and watch them grow.

This method has worked for me and I witnessed amazing results. Below are some images to help.

Power makers normally look like this. They are small in size.

There are specialized blades in this which are efficient at grinding dry stuff into powder.

Heres the commercial pellets I use to feed my adult fish.

A more clearer view of the commercial pellets that I will make into powder.

This is the result after grinding the pellets to powder in the blender. The Convict Cichlid Fry love it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What to do if a tiny fish jumps out of your aquarium?

Many a times you may witness you little fish jump out of the aquarium and lands on the ground. In most cases, people might try to pick it up with their bare hands. But this is likely to fatally injure the animal due to its small size.

What to do?
  1. Sprinkle a little water over the fish's entire body to keep it moist.
  2. Take a piece of paper (printer or notebook paper is best) and place it flat on the ground, next to the fish.
  3. Take another piece of paper and gently divert the fish onto the other piece of paper.
  4. Once the fish lands on the piece of paper, carefully lift it up and quickly put it back into the aquarium.
This method will insure minimum to zero damage to your little fish.

If you are a beginner, be as patient as possible. Do not freek out in this situation. If its taking you some time to get this right, keep sprinkling water on the fish's body to buy more time. By all means, do not let the fish dry.

Money Plant Indicates Water Quality

I would like to share one observation about the money plant. Many people keep money plants in water filled bottles. In the presence of good indirect sunlight, money plants will take roots.

Now I have tried establishing money plants atop my aquariums but they do not seem to take root even though there is good sunlight.

There could be many reasons for this like fish who damage the roots as they grow or in most cases, the water quality is too bad.

In general, plants do not like too much of nutrients. Excess of nutrients damage the roots.

Now here is what I observed. I had a money plant hanging over my aquariums in a pot. As they grew longer, one of them decided to send out roots into my discuss tank. I would say that the water quality of the discuss tank would be exceptionally good due to the heavy plantation in there. The majority of plants in there are duck weed. Aquatic plants purify aquarium water. The roots of the money plant went all the way down to the bottom.

Then one day I decided to do a bit of over feeding. I introduced a large amount of live tubifex worms. Now worms tend to reduce water quality to a large scale. So after introducing the large amount of worms, I noticed the roots turned upwards like as of they do not like the water anymore and want to get out. So the next day I did a 50% water change. I them observed the roots turned back down to the bottom. I repeated this again and the same thing happened.

So i drew a conclusion that the roots respond to the water quality. They will go freely all the way down if the water is good and they will bend upwards towards the surface if the water quality is bad. This is a great indicator.

This is the money plant that found its way into the aquarium

Notice the roots turning upwards. I have not done a water change here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Apple Snail Hatchery

I am sharing an idea that I'm using to hatch the eggs of my apple snails. It's monsoon time and all my snails are on full egg laying mode. The snails climb right out of the tank and lay their eggs anywhere on the walls of my house. So when I find the egg clusters I place them in my mini hatchery. Here are a few pictures that are self explanatory. They should give you a clear idea of my setup.

An egg cluster on the outside of my aquarium.

The snail ventured all the way out of the aquarium to lay eggs here.

Plastic funnel

I placed the egg clusters in the funnel in such a way making sure there is place for the babies to pass down the hole.

Side view

A closeup. If you notice, one of the clusters has already hatched.

Placing the funnel over the container. The container is filled with water and I have also introduced an air stone for little bit aeration.

As the snails hatch, they will crawl down the hole in the funnel and drop into the water filled container where they will grow.

An important thing to keep in mind, is that these clusters need to be in a humid environment. They will dry out in a dry environment. So I'm covering them with a lid to keep them most. I sprinkled a little water over them before covering them.

Covered with a little gap for air to come in. Even eggs need oxygen.

Just placed a little weight on top of the lid to prevent it from getting blown off by the strong winds.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Feeding a bunch of young Convict Cichlids





Convict Cichlid fry are highly competitive fish. Notice in the video the size differences.



Now it is this size difference that is the problem especially when it comes to feeding tubifex worms. Tubifex worms comes in blocks which many attach on the glass of the aquarium. The anchorage does make it easy for the fish to tear at it. But if you notice, the big fish are the ones who get the most of it. The smaller fish get pushed away. Its very important to make sure that all your little fish are well fed in a raising tank. Hence when feeding dried tubifex worms, I will split the block in 2 or sometimes 3 pieces and spread it out, so that all get to eat.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Attached Money Plant on top of Aquarium

Using a clip I have attached a cutting off a money plant on top of my aquarium to see how well it does. Many people keep money plant cuttings in water filled containers and this plant roots well in plain water. Hopefully this one should do the same here and grow.

Upon placing it in on my aquarium, I noticed that the snails were a bit hooked onto it but later on they lost interest.

I got a Clarias, Sucker and Rainbow Shark with tons of Apple Snails in this setup.

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