Archive for the Freshwater category

The Humble, Helpful Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)


Native to North and Central America, the mosquitofish isn’t exactly the belle of the aquatic ball. A plain relative of the guppy, the mosquitofish has little use for the indoor aquarist other than as live food for larger, more interesting tank residents.

Outside, however, the mosquitofish is an essential resident of pools and water features. The voracious little fish targets and eats pesky aquatic insect larvae before they mature, including the mosquito (hence the name).

Mosquitoes and North America

Mosquitoes are usually thought of as an annoying summertime pest, but the little bloodsuckers are capable of transmitting virulent diseases. North American mosquitoes have long carried St. Louis encephalitis, western equine encephalitis and eastern equine encephalitis.

With climate changes and invasive mosquito populations, the United States is seeing an increase in mosquito-borne disease. West Nile Virus is now well-established on the continent. Texas now sees outbreaks of Dengue fever, a disease also found in Hawaii. Controlling mosquitoes is no longer just about avoiding itchy bites; now it’s about health and well-being.

Outdoor Ponds and Mosquitofish

The need for mosquito control brings us back to the mosquitofish, which may qualify as nature’s best mosquito trap. Like guppies, mosquitofish are live breeders. A brood can include as many as 100 quarter-inch fry, all of which are capable of eating mosquito larvae from birth.

Mosquitofish are used to control insects in outdoor pools, unused swimming pools and even animal drinking troughs. The 3-inch adults are hardy little fish, but they’re peaceful enough to be kept with other pond fish. In addition to mosquito larvae, they eat other water-based insect larvae and help control algae.

Physically, the mosquitofish isn’t much to look at. Males are smaller than females, with narrow bodies and a pointed anal fin. Females are larger, with deeper bodies and a rounded anal fin. Both sexes are a plain grayish-white in both the body and the tail.

Mosquitofish Habitat

If you choose to add mosquitofish to your pond, give them some vegetation to hide in. Fry benefit from floating plants or a breeding patch, as adults will cannibalize fry unless you provide newborns a safe hiding place. If the pond doesn’t produce enough wild food, you can feed mosquitofish with a standard flake food.

In colder climates, mosquitofish are capable of surviving winter in the pond, assuming the pond doesn’t freeze to the bottom. Aerating the water during winter helps the fish survive.

Invasive Possibilities

Like any aquarium or pond fish, mosquitofish should not be released into the wild, where they can damage local ecosystems. In California, for instance, released mosquitofish have been linked to declines in several amphibian species.

When used as mosquito control in home ponds, however, the mosquitofish is a highly effective pest controller.

Adrienne Erin is a prolific writer who loves animals, writing, and speaking French. Catch up with her recent projects by following her on Twitter: @adrienneerin

Image credit: Wikipedia

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
Temperature: 24-28’C


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.

Good Choices for Your First Freshwater Tank

Setting up your first freshwater fish tank can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, it also can be challenging, especially if you start off with fish that are difficult to maintain. Luckily, there is not a shortage of hardy, inexpensive freshwater fish species. Finding good starter fish for your first aquarium is relatively easy.

If you’ve never had fish before, you may want to start with guppies. These fish can sometimes be found as juveniles in feeder fish tanks, which means you can buy six to ten fish for as little as a dollar. Of course, they are quite boring to look at until they mature, but raising them is certainly a great way to get the experience you need.

Some feeder guppies grow into lovely adult fish. Of course, if you don’t want to wait, you can simply buy adult guppies. Guppies are very social fish and get along well with others. They are easy to feed and care for. In fact, guppies are so hardy and laid back that it isn’t unusual for new fish owners to find that their fish have produced several dozen offspring.

If guppies aren’t quite your thing, you may want to consider tetras. Tetras do well in a small school. Most of these fish species are on the small side and aren’t very colorful to look at unless there are several of them darting about together. They are happiest in groups of six or more. These fish are good community fish and rarely act aggressive.

If you want a larger fish, the gourami is a good choice. These fish do best as pairs, since some males are aggressive towards other males. Gouramis are easy to care for and rarely act aggressively towards other species.

Most loaches are fairly easy to care for and get along well with other fish. With the exception of the yoyo loach, these fish enjoy having a buddy of the same species to hang out with. Loaches need a place to hang out during the day to stay happy, so be sure to provide a rock or pipe for your fish to hide in.

Barbs are extremely easy to keep, but not a good choice for tanks that also have fish with long fins, such as angelfish or guppies, since they tend to shred fins. Barbs do best in large groups, so you should keep at least four of these fish in your tank.

It seems like everyone wants to add an angelfish or two to their tanks. However, these fish can really be troublesome in the tank. They tend to be bullies and will eat smaller fish, such as tetras. At the same time, you will have to be sure that any fish that are too large for the angelfish to eat do not attack the angelfish and shred their fins. If you do decide that you want angelfish, you may be better off having a tank just for them. Angelfish are happiest in groups of two to four.

Starting a Freshwater Aquarium

Starting a Freshwater Aquarium

By D Green

So you have decided to start an aquarium fish hobby, but now you need to know how to set up all that equipment. Does it matter what order things get done? Yes it does, and it matter how it is done too. If you get your new aquarium off to a proper start, you will have a successful, relaxing hobby. If you start off on the wrong foot, you will run into problems for a while down the road, wasted money, dying fish, smelly water… you may even give up! It is very important to follow proper steps, here are some guidelines that you should follow:

Step 1: Make sure the aquarium stand is level. This is very important for even weight distribution so that your aquarium does not crack.

Step 2: Clean out your new aquarium with cool clear water and a cloth. Do not use any soaps or cleaners. Make sure to use a commercial aquarium cleaner product if you are cleaning out a used fish tank.

Step 3: Attach the background to the aquarium with clear packing tape.

Step 4: Rinse the gravel or sand with cool water. Hot water can cause the epoxy on colored gravel to peel off.

Step 5: If you are using an air pump with an air stone, run the airline and connect them together.

Step 6: Add the gravel or sand. One pound of gravel per gallon of water is all you need.

Step 7: Fill your aquarium up ¾ with water.

Step 8: Install your filter system.

Step 9: Put the heater in place and let it sit in the water in the tank for at least ½ an hour before plugging it in. This prevents the glass cracking due to thermal differences.

Step 10: Decorate the aquarium.

Step 11: Fill the aquarium up the rest of the way, up to the black trim to hide the water level.

Step 12: Add water conditioner and other additives.

After you are finished setting up the aquarium let it run for 24 hours before you add fish. As long as the aquarium equipment works properly and the temperature is stable and all of the, you are ready to add some fish.

By following the professional advice from, your hobby will get off to a good start and you will learn how to properly take care of your fish and have a beautiful, gleaming fish tank that is sure to be the centerpiece of any room. Be sure to consult for free professional advice and useful information for all your freshwater and saltwater aquarium needs.

D Green is a professional aquarium hobbyist with + 15 years experience. For more advice and aquarium maintenance tips, go to

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