Aquarium Fish Species Profile-Part 1

African Jewelfish

The jewelfishes from Africa are some of the most beautiful, and most bellicose, of the cichlids. While bimaculatus was the original jewelfish introduced into the hobby many years ago, there are now a number of other species available. They all behave the same and require the same conditions. Being from western Africa, they need softer, more acidic water than the cichlids of the rift lakes in eastern Africa.

This is definitely not a community fish. In fact, when it matures, and most especially when it is breeding, there is virtually no other fish that can be in the tank with it. But its beauty and behavior make it worthwhile to consider keeping a tank just for it.

The jewelfish breeds in the typical cichlid manner, laying a large mass of eggs on a flat surface on the bottom of the tank, and defending the spawn and the babies against all comers. When it is in breeding color, the jewelfish is absolutely stunning — the reds become incredibly intense and the spangles of other colors give it an almost psychedelic appearance.

Breeding begins with these colors appearing, and with the fish tearing up the entire tank with its digging. Because this is part of its breeding behavior, give it plenty of sand and some large flat rocks — it will arrange things to its liking. Forget about plants. The pair will go through a repertoire of spawning behavior consisting of jaw-locking, wrestling and other tests of each other. When they settle down to breed they will allow nothing in the tank with them.

Feeding is easy:

it will accept most flake or frozen foods. It does best on meaty foods, so try to offer it some pieces of shrimp or fish. Its tank should have a good power filter on it because it eats a lot, is quite messy and needs good water conditions. Not a fish for everyone, but with one tank dedicated to it, it can be very pleasing.

Angelfish

 

Long a favorite among aquarists, the angelfish is a tall fish that can be kept in a community setting, as long as its tankmates are not overly aggressive or habitual fin nippers. Fast-swimming fish may also make an angelfish nervous and may out-compete it for food. Gouramis in the genera Colisa and Trichogaster make ideal tankmates, as do many of the cichlids, such as the festivum and most of the South American and West African dwarf species. Small tetras like neons should not be housed with angelfish unless they are intended as food.

Because it is a tall fish, an angelfish should be housed in a relatively tall tank. It is particularly sensitive to poor water quality, so efficient filtration (a hang-on-the-back power filter coupled with a sponge filter is ideal), along with 30 percent biweekly water changes are a must. It prefers water that is soft and slightly acidic (pH 5.8 to 6.2). It is a shy cichlid that should be provided with adequate cover in its tank.

Driftwood and bogwood can be used to decorate their tank. Plants, live or artificial, can be included on the sides and back of the tank as long as there is ample swimming room in the center of the aquarium, and a layer of floating plants will provide it with an extra sense of security.

The angelfish is not particularly difficult to feed. It will accept a wide variety of commercial flake and freeze-dried foods. Supplement its diet with small live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp and Daphnia. Although meaty foods make up the bulk of its diet, it should also be provided with some vegetable material — parboiled romaine lettuce, zucchini and peas or foods that contain Spirulina.

The angelfish is relatively easy to breed in the home aquarium. Because there are no recognizable differences between the sexes, it is best to purchase a group of three to six individuals and let them pair up. No more than one pair should be housed in a 20- to 30-gallon high aquarium. They spawn on any vertical site or plant leaf and both parents will tend the young.

 

Arowana

The Arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) is a long and beautiful fish known for its voracious appetite and constant surface skimming, looking for things to fit into its mouth. It is native to waterways of the Amazon River and other areas in South America as well as Southeast Asia and Australia. It is a very popular fish for intermediate to expert aquarists as it swims fairly gracefully and with purpose and has a nice and powerful jaw.