Aquarium Fish Species Profile-Part 3

Bronze Cory

Scientific Name:  Corydoras aeneus
Family: Callichthyidae
Size: 3 inches
Temperature: 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit; for spawning, temperatures of 75 to 79 degrees are preferred
Alkalinity: not particular
Origin: South America

Melini Fish

In the wild, most Corydoras swim in schools of several dozen or more, and similar conditions should be duplicated in the home aquarium. The Corydoras aeneus should be kept in a group of six or more with other community tank fish, such as small characins, livebearers, and rasboras. Kept as a single specimen, it is shy and easily frightening, while keeping it in groups will give it a sense of security and allow the aquarist the opportunity to observe their comical behaviors. Avoid large, aggressive fish, such as cichlids and large barbs, as tankmates.

This fish should be housed in a tank with a substrate of dark-colored fine gravel or coarse sand to protect its barbels. A shallow tank is preferred because the fish will occasionally come to the surface for a gulp of air. The tank should be heavily planted with bunch plants (live or artificial), such as Elodea and Cabomba, as well as root plants like sword plants and Vallisneria, which will also act as hiding places. Decorate with driftwood and smooth rocks, leaving plenty of room in the center for swimming.

The cory will accept a wide variety of live, frozen and freeze-dried meaty foods. Live foods, such as Tubifexworms, earthworms, bloodworms, glass worms, and brine shrimp are especially preferred. Supplement its diet with vegetable-based flake and pelleted foods.

Although it is possible to differentiate between the sexes, to ensure spawning success it is best to purchase a group. Condition on small feedings of a high-protein diet that consists of small live foods, several times per day.

Spawning is preceded by a long courtship ritual consisting of chasing bouts interrupted by cleaning of potential spawning sites. Once courtship is finished, the cories lock together in the “T” position — the female with her head nudged into the side of the male near his vent, the male clasping her barbels to his sides with his pectoral spines. The eggs are fertilized, the pair unclasps and the female deposits the eggs. The Corydoras aeneus often uses the sides of the aquarium, the plastic filter box, the sponge media of an inside or sponge or individual plant leaves, on which to deposit clusters of eggs. Most other species of Corydorasdeposit only two to four eggs per leaf, repeating the process for an hour or two until 100 or more eggs have been deposited.

The spawning bouts are repeated over and over until the female is depleted of eggs. Once spawning is completed, the eggs should be transferred to another tank where they will hatch in two to 10 days.

 

Brichardi Cichlid

Scientific Name: Neolamprologus brichardi
Family: Cichlidae
Size: 3.5 to 5 inches
Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
Alkalinity: Hard, alkaline water
pH: 7.5 to 8.0
Origin: East Africa from the rocky shores of Lake Tanganyika

Brichardi Cichlid

Neolamprologus brichardi is called brichardi cichlid, princess of Burundi and fairy cichlid. This moderately aggressive pale brown cichlid is elongate and has clearly defined scales. A yellow spot and a patch follow the gill cover, and this species has small yellow scales on the caudal peduncle. The lyre tail and some of the extended fins have blue and white edges. Males have more extensive fins than females.

Neolamprologus brichardi occupies the lower level of the aquarium and shoals when not breeding. Keep your brichard cichlids in a small group in a 20-gallon aquarium or larger. Dominant males will claim their territories, and submissive males will try to stay out of their way. As long submissive males do not challenge dominant males, the aquarium will stay relatively peaceful. Provide rocks that form caves and crevices so that there is at least one retreat for each fish. Secure all rocks with an aquarium-safe sealant so that they don’t topple over. The Neolamprologus brichardi aquarium should also have open swimming areas.

Feed your brichardi cichlids a carnivorous diet that consists of any type of commercial flake or pellet, as well as small live foods, such as Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp or krill. In the wild, they eat insect larvae, plankton, and small crustaceans.

Breeding: While Neolamprologus brichardi is one of the easiest cichlids to breed in captivity, many individuals are still wild-caught. To breed them in captivity, purchase a group of juvenile brichardi cichlids and let them pair up as they become sexually mature. Breeders will lay and fertilize about 100 eggs inside of a crevice or cave. Feed the fry microworms and finely crushed flake food once they become free-swimming. Multiple females can care for the eggs – not just the mother, and older fry can help protect new batches of fry. When it comes to other tankmate species, however, brichardi cichlid parents will aggressively defend their fry, terrorizing tankmates until they cower in the aquarium corners. Therefore, it is best to keep them in a species aquarium, a breeding aquarium or to keep them with large fish that won’t be bullied.

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish

Scientific Name: Melanotaenia boesemani
Family: Melanotaeniidae
Size: 3.5 to 5 inches
Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
Alkalinity: Moderately hard, alkaline water
pH: 6.5 to 8
Origin: From the Vogelkop Peninsula (aka Bird’s Head Peninsula) from the Ajamaru Lakes region of Papua New Guinea

boeseman's rainbowfish

The front half of Melanotaenia boesemani’s body is blue, and the back half is yellow-orange. In some specimens, you may also see a stripe or two of silver-black scales. Boeseman’s rainbowfish have the typical large eyes, pointed snout, and two separate dorsal fins as most other rainbowfish species. This species was originally collected by Marinus Boeseman, Ph.D., in 1954 while on a Dutch expedition, but this species was not kept in aquariums until Heiko Bleher sent live specimens to Europe in 1982. These fish were bred in captivity and created our current aquarium Boeseman’s rainbowfish strains.

Provide your school of Boeseman’s rainbowfish with a 55-gallon aquarium or larger with a lot of plants and plenty of swimming room. Include tall aquatic plants to give them a place to rest and hide, and keep dark gravel to help their colors stand out. These fish inhabit the middle waters of the aquarium. Males may spar with each other.

Feed your omnivorous Boeseman’s rainbowfish a commercial flake food and small live foods, including bloodworms, Tubifex worms, glass worms, and Daphnia, as occasional treats.

Breeding: It is tricky to determine the sex of Boeseman rainbowfish, but males are brighter and have longer dorsal fins than females. Set up a 15-gallon breeding aquarium with a slowly bubbling sponge filter, as well as mossy plants or spawning mops to serve as spawning sites (including Java moss). Females lay 100 to 200 eggs, and the eggs hatch about a week later. The breeders will spawn continuously for two or three days at a time about once a month. The fry hatch after six or seven days and need infusoria, liquid fry food, and small live foods.

 

Buenos Aires Tetra

Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon anisitsi, formerly Hemigrammus caudovittatus
Family: Characidae
Size: 3½inches;
Temperature: 65 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
Alkalinity: neutral to slightly alkaline with moderate hardness
pH: 6.8 to 7.4
Origin: Argentina

Buenos Aires Tetra

The Buenos Aires Tetra is now provided to the hobby almost exclusively from fish farms in Florida, which means it usually has been raised in alkaline, hard water. It will, however, adapt back to its original conditions of neutral soft water. In fact, the Buenos Aires Tetra is one of the most adaptable fish in the hobby. It does well in almost any water conditions in terms of pH, hardness, and temperature.

Two things to be noted about the Buenos Aires tetra are that when it gets large and older it tends to be somewhat aggressive and is a fin nipper. It will eat plants with a vengeance. Other than this, it is a fine community tank fish. It will eat any and all kinds of fish food with great gusto.

Breeding the Buenos Aires tetra is very easy. It spawns in typical tetra fashion, dropping somewhat adhesive eggs into thickets of plants or artificial spawning mops. It is very active when spawning, so it should be given as large a tank as possible for this purpose.

Cardinal Tetra

Scientific Name: Paracheirodon axelrodi
Family: Characidae
Size: 1½ inches
Temperature: 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
Alkalinity: as soft and acid as possible
pH: 6.0 to 6.8
Origin: Upper Rio Negro and Amazon basins

Cardinal Tetra

The cardinal tetra is probably the world’s favorite tropical fish in terms of numbers kept. Many hobbyists have at some point in time, kept cardinal tetras. And, while they have been bred, they have never been bred in commercial quantities. Therefore, millions of cardinals are caught wild and exported from Brazil every year. Dr. Labbish Chao has started a program called Project Piaba (piaba is the native name for little fish that swim with cardinals) to help educate collectors/exporters and improve the conditions under which the fish from Brazil are caught, conditioned and shipped to the world. Even though millions of cardinal tetras are caught every year, the fishery is managed very well. The fish are not allowed to be caught during the breeding season or shortly thereafter, and the Amazon/Rio Negro area is so vast that fishermen do not go back to the same site for years, thus allowing the cardinals to replenish.

Keeping a cardinal in the home aquarium is very easy as long as two conditions are met. First, do not keep it with larger fish (such as angelfish or other large cichlids) that quite naturally look upon the cardinal as food. And second, the cardinal needs soft, acid water. Water may be adjusted by using reverse osmosis or deionized water or putting a peat pillow into the filter. Once the pH starts getting above 6.8 and/or the hardness above 12 DH, the cardinal doesn’t do well.

When given the water conditions it likes and kept in a tank without any predators, the cardinal will do spectacularly well. It will eat absolutely any food: flake, frozen, freeze-dried or live. It does not bother its tankmates. Like all schooling fish, the cardinal is best kept in groups of at least six or eight, and more if possible.