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Bronze Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus)

Bronze Corydoras

Species Details

Adult size: 3″
Origin: South America
Sexing: Females are plumper
Care level: Easy
Diet: Omnivore
Breeding method: Egg-depositor
Breeding potential: Moderately easy

Tank conditions

Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
pH:
6.0-8.0
Temperature: 24-28’C

Description

Bronze Corydoras catfish are the most common Corydoras species in the aquarium trade. They have a brown/grey colored body with a white underbelly with bronze /green iridescent coloring along their flanks. Their down facing mouths have barbels to help them detect food as they swim along the bottom. Corys can live up to ten years if well cared for. One interesting characteristic of corys is their amusing ability of rolling their eyes seeming to wink at you!

Corys are well protected from predators. Instead of scales, they have two rows of scutes along their flanks. Scutes are bony external plates similar to scales. It acts like armour giving corys extra protection from predators. Corydoras are quite capable of defending themselves and actually have sharp barbs on their dorsal and pectoral fins, which can sting other fish if they try to attack.

Corydoras are ideal inhabitants of a community tank. They have a very peaceful temperament and will not bother your other fish. In the wild, they will move in large schools searching the river bed for food and they also need their own kind as company in home aquarium. They should be kept in groups of at least six.

They will get along with all other community fish but it is best that you avoid keeping them with too many other bottom feeding species to prevent competition over food. They will mix best with fish that swim in the middle and upper levels of the aquarium. Rainbowfish, tetras and angelfish are just a few examples of suitable Corydoras tank mates.

Corydoras are a bottom dwelling species. They will root around the bottom burying their barbels into the substrate as they scavenge for leftover food. They must be kept in an aquarium with rounded gravel or sand to prevent their barbels becoming damaged. They should be provided with plenty of natural retreats including planted areas and caves.

They require a well balanced diet and should be fed on sinking foods to enable the food to reach the bottom before being consumed by other fish. Corys will naturally enjoy live and frozen foods like bloodworm but will also appreciate sinking tablet foods and pellets.

Female Corydoras are identified as being plumber than the males, which is more noticeable when looking from above. When kept in relatively large shoals in the aquarium corys will begin to pair off when they are ready to breed. The pairs can then be separated into breeding aquariums ready for spawning. Breeding pairs should be fed on a good diet.

In nature, corys will breed during the rainy season. This can be simulated by making a fifty percent water change using cool water, which can often induce spawning. During spawning the pair will adopt the “T-position”. The pair will lay around one hundred or more eggs and attach them to a submerged surface such as a clay pot cave or plants. When the fry hatch, they should be removed from their parents and fed on baby brine shrimp until they are large enough to accept regular foods.

Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Neon Tetra

Species Details

Adult size: 1″
Origin: South America
Sexing: Females are plumper
Care level: Easy
Diet: Omnivore
Breeding method: Egg-scatterer
Breeding potential: Moderately difficult

Tank conditions

Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
pH:
5.0-7.0
Temperature: 22-26’C

Description

Neon Tetras are a very popular small shoaling fish with a bright coloration. They are silver bodied with a bright neon blue horizontal stripe from its nose stretching the length of its body and bright red coloration half way along the side of the fish. Neons stay small throughout their life and will reach little more than one inch in adulthood. They can live up to ten years. They are found in the blackwater or clearwater stream tributaries of South America.

Neon tetras are a very peaceful fish and are suitable for a community tank. When mixing neon tetras it is important to consider their size as they can easily appear as prey to many larger species. In their natural environment, neon tetras can be found in large shoals and they should be kept in a group of at least five to exhibit shoaling behaviour in the aquarium. Neon tetras are much happier when kept in groups and will behave in a more natural manner.

Neon tetras are happy in a community tank and should be kept with other small non-aggressive fish. Ideal tank mates include other tetras, discus and other non-predatory, peaceful species that require similar aquarium conditions.

Neons will often swim out in open water but appreciate some natural cover to retreat into as they are naturally a timid species. A planted aquarium is a suitable habitat for them and they will do best in a heavily planted tank with dark substrate and dull lighting. They swim at all level of the tank and can look very attractive with their iridescent colors flashing throughout the aquarium.

In the wild, neon tetras have a very varied diet and will eat any small insects, crustaceans and vegetable matter that they come across. In the aquarium you need to ensure that you provide them with suitable food. They need small food items such as crushed flake, micro pellets and meaty foods like daphnia or small bloodworm. Color enhancing flake food is also available for brightly colored species such as neon tetras to ensure that they maintain their coloring in the aquarium environment.

It can often be difficult to notice the difference between male and female Neon tetras although the easiest way to tell from appearance is that females are generally deeper-bodied and there is often a noticeable bend in their blue stripe. Neon tetras are not the easiest fish to breed as they require very specific water conditions and they are not a prolific spawner. To breed neons, a pair should be separated into a breeding tank and fed a good diet of live food to encourage spawning activity. After the eggs are fertilized, the parents should be removed. The fry are very tiny and should be fed on very small food items such as liquid foods and rotifers until they are old enough to accept larger foods.

Due to commercial over breeding, neon tetras have become a delicate breed and extra care should be taken to reduce stress when introducing them to the aquarium. Another thing to look out for when keeping neons is neon tetra disease (Plistophora), which can be identified by fading of color, ulcers, fin rot and difficulty swimming. This disease is fatal and there is no known cure. If a fish is found with this condition it should be removed from the aquarium immediately to prevent further fish loss.

Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona)

Tiger Barb

Species Details

Adult size: 3″
Origin: Sumatra and Borneo
Sexing: Females are larger and plumper while males show brighter colors
Care level: Easy
Diet: Omnivore
Breeding method: Egg-scatterer
Breeding potential: Moderately easy

Tank conditions and care

Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
pH:
6.0-8.0
Temperature: 22-26’C

Description

Tiger barbs are very attractive fish and are often recommended to beginners as they are easy to care for. They have a distinctive appearance with four dark stripes running vertically along their body and bright red fins and snout. Breeders have produced hybridized specimens making new color forms available including albino tiger barbs green tiger barbs, which have both become popular in the hobby. They will grow to an adult size of approximately three inches and will live to be around five years old.

Tiger barbs have developed a reputation of being fin-nippers and may be considered semi-aggressive. The way to avoid agressive behaviour is to keep them in groups of at least five and they will squabble amongst themselves without bothering the other fish. They are not suitable in all community aquariums and you should also avoid placing them with any vulnerable tank mates that are slow moving and peaceful or have long fins such as Siamese fighting fish or guppies. Tiger barbs enjoy the company of their own species and if kept in a large group they will shoal together, which can give a great effect in a large tank.

Clown loaches make ideal tank mates for tiger barbs as they are found near to each other in the wild. In the aquarium you will find that tiger barbs will often shoal with clown loaches and adopt a similar behaviour. Other suitable tank mates include other barbs, danios and catfish.

They will swim at all levels throughout the water column but will mainly prefer the middle and bottom thirds of the tank. Provide plenty of natural cover and hiding places such as plants, rocks and caves to make your tiger barbs feel less timid swimming in open water.

Tiger barbs will accept most foods in the aquarium environment. You should feed them a varied diet offering a combination of dry foods such as flake and pellets and live or frozen food like bloodworm and daphnia. A good diet will bring out the strong markings and colors of your tiger barbs.

In the community tank, sexually mature tiger barbs will spawn frequently if provided with suitable aquarium conditions. Tiger barbs will lay several hundred eggs each time they spawn but these will be eaten by the parents and other tank members if not removed from the tank. To breed tiger barbs successfully, they should be seperated and kept in a specified breeding tank with plenty of spawning sites such as plant or spawning mops. Tiger barbs do not raise their own young so the parents should be seperated from the eggs shortly after spawning and the fry can be reared on baby brine shrimp and powdered fry formula until they are large enough to be fed normal aquarium foods.



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