Tag Archives: fish

Experiences in setting up a home aquarium

My aquarium experiences started off as something of an accident. My partner and I were given a 5-gallon fish tank with a simple over the side fiberglass filter. The tank also included a few guppies and mollies.

We set up the tank on a small aquarium stand near our eating area. It turned out that the tank became our mealtime TV. We could watch the fish swim and eat while we ate our evening meal. The slow movement through the water was accented by the mating chase and the territorial disputes. It was exciting the first time we saw a baby fish being born. It was just as moving to see that same baby fish become fish food.

Knowing very little about having an aquarium we also knew very little about how to best keep our newborn fish alive. One store suggested we use a breeding cage. The idea of the breeding cage is to place the mother inside a mesh cage or trap that would permit her to give birth. The babies would fall through the cage openings and the mother would not consume them. As you can easily imagine, this only protected the fry from the birthing mother and not from the other fish. In order for that method to be effective it would require that each mother have a tank of her own until she was finished giving birth. That did not sound like a workable idea for us.

Similar to the cage is a breeding plate. This is a mesh plate that is inserted into a tank slightly above the aquarium gravel. The idea is that the fry can fall below the plate and have a protected area to start their life. We did not like the appearance of the plate and it made cleaning the gravel impossible. For a breeder who wanted to collect young fish and didn’t care how the tank looked this might be a good method of separating newborns from adults.

Another suggestion was to have lots of plants for the fry to be dropped in or near. They could then hide and avoid being eaten by all the bigger fish. This idea at least was workable. In our ignorance we planted the whole bottom of the aquarium in plants. The plants were not properly anchored down and soon we had one of the biggest floating gardens I have ever seen. All we could see was the floating garden, no fish. With a little practice, observation and a bit of advice from knowledgeable shop owners we learned the proper balance of plants to fish and other aquarium ornaments.

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Keep Your Cichlids Healthy – It’s Easy

Guest Post

The hobby of keeping cichlids can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. Most people just getting started in keeping these very intelligent aquarium fish have lots of questions. Even as an experienced aquarist, I seem to learn something new everyday. Here are some tips to get you started.

The first thing that you need to do when keeping cichlids is to consider what size that your cichlids will be when they are fully mature. If you have gotten bitten by the Oscar bug and have fallen in love with these very personable fish, you are simply going to need a large tank.

Most people will recommend at least a 55 gallon aquarium to keep a pair of Oscar fish. That is simply the bare minimum for these big guys. If you have a smaller variety, you just need a smaller tank. Simple, right?

Second, ph level and water salinity, among other water chemistry levels, can be very different between the different types of cichlids. Just consider African Cichlids. They are found in different lakes in Africa. Each of these lakes have their own unique water chemistry, so if you are keeping Africans, it is very important to do your research if you are going to replicate their native habitat.

If your cichlids are going to thrive, whether they are African or New World Cichlids, temperature and water chemistry must be monitored.

Plants and cichlids sometimes just do not match well. Many cichlids are very intelligent, but they love to make lettuce out aquarim plants. Its a challenge, but it can be done.

American varieties of cichlids seem to be able to tolerate plants in their aquarium better that Africans do. But having made that point, Oscars love to destroy plant life. Angel fish, on the other hand, seem to tolerate plants very well.

Angel fish can be some of the most enjoyable cichlids in my opinion. They even do very well in community tanks because they are generally docile and tolerate plants very well.

Visit cichlid care to learn how to keep cichlids healthy, colorful and happy. And visit keeping cichlids to learn how to keep your cichlids stress free.

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Give Yourself An Edge With This Carp Fishing Gear

Guest Post

When it comes to fishing, the biggest draw to freshwater fishing right now has to be carp fishing. This is the same throughout America as much as Europe. People just can’t seem to get enough. There might not be a considerable difference between fishing for carp over fishing (rod and reel) for anything else, but there are some differences to be presented. One of which is carp fishing gear. If you are serious about catching carp, you ought to educate yourself on the necessities.

When you think about carp fishing gear, you should be thinking a few things specifically. These being: the rods, bait, and line.

Getting a rod to specifically go carp fishing is a possibility for the serious carp angler. The difference in these rod and reels over the competition of other fishing types is generally the length of the rod. Carp rods get to be about 12′ long and with very good reason. If you are pulling in a 45 lb. Monster carp, you don’t want to lose your rod to the tension and pull of the fish. A longer rod simply gives you more leverage. They start around $25 for a low-end rod, but the best rods will run you around $150. The difference is the makeup of materials, which greatly affects the rods endurance and overall durability in clutch situations.

Perhaps the most important part of fishing for carp exclusively is getting bait that carp exclusively enjoy. Granted, this is not to say that some other fish isn’t going to be enticed by what you have dangling in the water, but you will land more carp by getting the right baits. Some of the companies that make some great bait to land big carp are K-1 and Kryston. They both claim to have some great concoctions of proteins and enticing elements that carp simply cannot ignore.

Getting appropriate line is pretty crucial to your cause as well. If you have insufficient line, then you might not have the carp either. Some carp can get over 50 pounds, and so you have to have a line that can withstand the thrashing and evasiveness of a 50 pound fish. Most often carp range in the 10-20 pound range, yet you don’t want to plan for this being your maximum. Planning ahead can be the difference between the big carp and the big story about the big carp.

The most important aspect of carp fishing is technique and practice. No amount of great gear will live up to real experience and knowledge. Raw skill comes from practice, and no carp can resist the bait of an angler like that.

So if you are confident in your abilities and just want to get an edge, you should definitely check out some of this incredible carp fishing gear.

If you would like to know more about used cheap carp fishing gear, please feel free to visit that page or have a look at this carp fishing blog.

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Niobrara Chalk

One of the most famous formations is the Niobrara Chalk. This formation is exposed in northwest Kansas and southern Nebraska. Formations are sometimes divided into members, subsections of the formation based upon its rock type. The Niobrara Chalk has two members: the lower Fort Hays Limestone and the upper Smoky Hill Chalk. It is the Smoky Hill Chalk which is best known for its fossils.

The sediments that comprise the Niobrara Chalk were deposited in the Western Interior basin during the Late Cretaceous. At that time sea levels rose and the interior of North America was inundated by a shallow sea, the Western Interior Sea. The sea cut North America in half by spreading from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Arctic. Volcanoes to the west, in what is now Utah and Nevada, spewed ash into the sea and sediments eroded from mountains along the western coast were washed into the sea by rivers. What is today Kansas was much closer to the eastern shore of the sea, a low alluvial plain, also gently washing sediment into the sea basin.

Block diagram of the Western Interior Sea

Image from Hattin, 1982.

The upper member, the Smoky Hill, was deposited from 87 to 82 million years ago, so it preserves a five million year window into the past. Elsewhere we discussed that the Cretaceous sea had a wealth of planktonic organisms. Many of those organisms had calcium carbonate-based shells and body parts, which furnished a steady supply of material to sink to the sea floor. The consistent supply of sediment, both from land and sea, and conditions at the sea floor allowed for the excellent preservation of animals. Those that died and sank to the bottom were rapidly covered by the rain of sediment and entombed until today.

And the diversity of organisms preserved is amazing. In almost every museum with fossils that I have been in, I recognize fossils from Kansas. Giant marine reptiles (mosasaurs and plesiosaurs), flying reptiles (pterosaurs), great toothy fishes, large turtles, and toothed diving birds have all been found. Each of these groups has a very interesting story to share, and we will explore many of them here. An extensive website on fossils from the Niobrara Chalk can be found at OceansofKansas.com.

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New species are still being uncovered at the Gray Fossil Site

Dr. Steven Wallace holds the beaver tooth recently discovered at the Gray fossil site. (Brian Bishop / Johnson City Press)

The Gray Fossil Site near Johnson City, Tennessee is full of surprises. The site dates to the late Miocene in age, and preserves a diverse fauna of critters. It is highly unusual to have deposits of this age preserved in the Appalachian region as most of the sediments have been stripped away from the underlying crystalline bedrock. But in this unusual setting, sediments that filled a sinkhole were preserved, along with a lot of evidence of past life from the region.

Researchers have not yet “scratched the surface” of the deposit despite several years of excavation. Core samples indicate that the deposit covers several acres and is over 100 feet thick (Wallace et al., 2002). Many species have been identified from the site including: fish; alligator; snakes; turtles; amphibians; a proboscidean; the world’s largest single collection of tapirs; rhinos; a short-faced bear; ground sloth; a saber-toothed cat; and a red panda.

They have recently added beaver to the list.

Steven Wallace and his team have identified the specimen as Dipoides, a member of an extinct line of beavers which includes the giant beaver Castoroides. Dipoides has a stratigraphic range extending from the Hemphillian to the late Blancan (Kurten and Anderson, 1980), or approximately 9 million to 3 million years ago (Prothero, 1998).

Today, you can visit a large interpretive center at the site, and watch summer excavations. It is expected that an annex will be started soon to provide even more space for visitor activities. Check it out on line at www.grayfossilmuseum.com, and watch for continued news coming from Johnson City, Tennessee in paleontology.


KURTEN, B., AND E. ANDERSON. 1980. Pleistocene Mammals of North America. Columbia University Press, New York, 443 p.

PROTHERO, D. R. 1998. The chronological, climatic, and paleogeographic background to North American mammalian evolution, p. 9-36. In C. M. Janis, K. M. Scott, and L. L. Jacobs (eds.), Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America. Cambridge University Press, New York.

WALLACE, S. C., J. NAVE, AND K. BURDICK. 2002. Preliminary report on the recently discovered Gray Fossil Site (Miocene), Washington Co., Tennessee: with comments on observed paleopathologies and the advantages of a large sample. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 22(Supplement to Number 3):117A.

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