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Byron Hosking

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Viewing 13 posts - 136 through 148 (of 148 total)
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  • in reply to: Plant Book #314074

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    QUOTE (Fishwife @ Jun 3 2009, 11:12 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Thanks for the advice, I’ve had some dealings with Peter Hiscock on his website and he’s a very nice man. Also his Community Creator is superb
    in reply to: Plant Book #313951

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    Yes, I strongly second bluedave on the Hiscock book. I recently bought (through Amazon in Canada) a couple of his books, and though I’ve got some 15+ years of experience with planted tanks I found a lot of information in the “Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants” that I either didn’t know or hadn’t seen expressed in such an excellent manner previously. The “Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants” should be on every planted tank enthusiast’s shelf. The second half presents details and good identifiable photos of a hundred (I think) plant species, and I have never found it so easy to identify the Echinodorus species–and accurate. The questions you ask, Fishwife, are well covered in this book.

    in reply to: Is It Worth The Risk…? #313645

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    QUOTE (dunc @ May 5 2009, 11:01 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
    The JD tank I have in the conservatory is endlessly problematic. Because there’s so much light, it’s impossible to keep the tank free from algae. Three days or so from a “complete cleanout” and there’s algae in the gravel again.

    I was wondering if it’d be worth trying a planted tank in there instead. Would that be a better counter for the algae, or would the natural light be a hindrance to the plants?

    I have zero knowledge of plants or planted tanks so any advice is appreciated.

    To live and multiply, algae needs light and nutrients. In a tank with fish but without live plants, there will be abundant nutrients and probably more than enough light for algae to thrive. Having live plants would provide competition for the algae, but there must be a balance between light, nutrients and CO2 (technically CO2 is a nutrient but for ease of discussion I’ll separate it) in a planted aquarium to keep algae from becoming rampant. Too little light and plants will fail to thrive and grow; too much light and the plants will use all the available CO2 and algae will flourish because it is better able than plants to get carbon from bicarbonate. Natural light would not be a hindrance, it would be a blessing to the plants in any aquarium. But from your description, there may be too much light to balance the nutrients and CO2.

    Adding CO2 would help balance the available light, but bear in mind that there is a limit that would be reached when the plants were simply not numerous enough to utilize all the light in balance and algae would grab it. Light should always be the limiting factor in the equation; when it is, algae simply cannot outpace the plants. But I doubt you could safely add the large amount of CO2 and nutrients to balance the light.

    With or without CO2 addition, some means of reducing the available light will be required if you want to keep the algae in check. Plants would help in either case, as they would use the nutrients before the algae could, making it harder for the algae to multiply. But the light has to be the limiting factor.

    in reply to: A Plant Newbie In Need Of Help #313644

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I’d like to offer a comment or two on this issue of clown loaches in aquaria or more directly the whole issue of maintaining large fish in aquaria that are too small.

    All the reference authors say clown loaches grow to 12 inches, and some mention 18 inches, but seldom more than 6-7 inches in home aquaria. I am not a biologist, but I suspect there is a biological reason for this. I recently read an article somewhere about stunted fish growth. I can’t seem to track it down so it may have been one of the forums to which I belong, but as best I can remember, the point was that the fact that a particular fish doesn’t grow to its normal size in an aquarium (and therefore must be “OK” in that aquarium) doesn’t solve the real problem behind the keeping of “large” fish in small quarters. The author maintained that the internal organs in fish grow as they mature, and if the external body of the fish can’t grow due to the environment the fish will in time experience internal problems that will severely affect its wellbeing if not outright kill it. I remember specific reference to issues with the fish’s immune system, not developing properly in stunted fish, with the result that the fish continually experience health problems that would not occur if it had not been stunted. An analogy to premature human babies that do not develop properly caught my attention.

    I do have the article “Fish Growth vs. Tank Size” in the then-regular TFH column “The Skeptical Fishkeeper” by Laura Muha. This was in the December 2006 issue of TFH, and this is one of those articles on which I place considerable trust because it is scientifically researched and expresses the views of ichthyologists and animal scientists and veterinarians in several US universities and institutions. To cite one paragraph:

    “All the experts I consulted pretty much do agree that there’s a grain of truth to the conventional wisdom that keeping a potentially large fish in a small tank often does somewhat negatively affect its growth. But, they say–and this is a real important “but”–it’s not a benign process that results in the creation of a perfect minature version of the species in question. Rather, they describe it as “stunting,” with all of the negative implications for the fish’s health that go along with that. Dr. Julius Tepper, a Long Island veterinarian who specializes in koi, says that in his clinical practice he’s observed that koi housed in small ponds (which he defines as a stocking density of more that three adult koi per 1000 gallons of water) are often abnormally small, and they tend to have health problems as well.” Ms. Muha mentions that many individuals advocate that it is the water volume/quality in the small tank and not the size itself that causes the problems. Experiments by many including Jack Whattley (discus) show that of the fry kept in identical size tanks, those in the tank that received a 90% water change eight times a day were at the end of one month double the size of those in the other tank that received only a 40% water change once a day. I suspect few of us have the inclination to change 90% of our tank water 8 times each and every day just so we can maintain “large” fish that probably shouldn’t otherwise be in the tank for the good of their health.

    in reply to: Dechlorinator #313274

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I know this thread is old (last September was the last post), but as a fairly new member of the forum I have only now got round to checking this folder’s postings, and felt I should share some thoughts on this topic of whether or not to use a water conditioner when making partial water changes.

    From glancing down the list of members who responded, almost all are from the UK. That is significant, because if an aquarist in most parts of North America (Canada or USA) changed 30-50% of the water in an aquarium with untreated tap water, he would have dead fish within minutes.

    In the 1980’s I lived in Victoria BC, on the southern end of Vancouver Island. I was a member of the local aquarium society, and none of us used conditioner. The water from the tap was very soft and slightly acidic, and while there was probably some chlorine it was miniscule. No one ever had problems. Then one summer there was a sudden bloom of some bacteria in the water supply reservoir, and the water board dosed the water with chlorine without (as far as we knew) advance notice. All of the members who routinely did weekly partial water changes lost fish. From then on, we used conditioner.

    I moved to Vancouver in 1988, and the water here was (and still is) soft and slightly acidic, but chlorine and flouride (and perhaps other stuff) have always been added to the water. Some days you can smell it if the tap is running. This topic came up in another forum I belong to, again most members are from the UK, and the responses were similar to those here. Except from one aquarist who mentioned that during a trip to the US the previous summer, he had noticed the terrible amount of chlorine in the water; he said he had skin rashes after showering from the chlorine, and couldn’t bear to drink the water. I must say many over here do buy bottled water regularly. Anyway, the point is, that NA water is generally heavily treated.

    One day when doing the weekly 40% water changes on my 115g, 90g and 70g tanks, I sat in front of them to observe things afterwards, as I usually do just to make sure everything is still OK (haven’t forgotten to turn the filter or heater back on, etc.). I noticed that almost all the fish in the 70g were at the surface, with very red and expanded gills, gasping and gulping air; nothing was amiss in the other two tanks. Immediately I instinctively knew that I had forgotten to squirt the Kordon conditioner into the 70 tank when starting the refill. I dosed the tank with more than enough, and in a few minutes the fish were beginning to swim around again, although still obviously in shock. I lost only a few luckily. This experiences does not support the idea someone mentioned that chlorine added to “mature” water is safe. I doubt it.

    I think the issue is first knowing what is in your water, and second knowing how much you can trust the water board to be consistent or provide sufficient advance warning. I suspect the latter is somewhat academic, because in an “emergency” they are not going to risk people’s lives just to provide some fish keepers with advance notice.

    Another significant point though is what substances may be in the water besides chlorine. Some water supplies have heavy metals. If one replaces the water pipes in their home, using copper pipes (standard in NA), there will be considerable amounts of copper in the water for months; I know of people who have lost fish due solely to this. I heard (in another forum) only yesterday of an area in NA where ammonia in the tap water reads 1.6 which is significant. If any of these problems are present, a good water conditioner is mandatory to prevent stress on the fish at the very least.

    Someone mentioned that chlorine will be removed from water with vigorous agitation, or letting it stand for 24 hours. That is true; the Vancouver water board has stations along the pipeways to add additional chlorine to the water, since the chlorine added at the source (the reservoir stations) dissipates from the water or at any rate loses much of its strength by the time it has travelled the 50 or more km to residents in the area. But if there is significant chlorine how much agitation is “vigorous”? And letting the water stand for 24 hours would require vast tubs of water for those of us with 100+ gallon aquaria. And obviously neither of these methods answers the problem of chloramine, ammonia, heavy metals, etc.

    Another poster wondered about the chlorine killing the bacteria. Yes, it does; aquarists regularly advise newbies to rinse filter media in water from the tank to avoid the chlorine in the tap water killing more of the good bacteria. And the only reason chlorine is added to municipal water in NA is to kill everything bacteria-wise.

    Byron.

    in reply to: New Tetra? #313155

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    QUOTE (Matt @ Mar 29 2009, 03:49 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Beautiful, healthy-looking characins in your tank Byron and glad the mystery is finally solved. What else is in the tank? I see P. simulans, C. strigata, N. eques and H. loretoensis in those pics…

    Thanks Matt. This is the 70g that has Carnegiella marthae marthae, C. myersi, C. strigata strigata and C. strigata fasciata, Nannobrycon eques, Poecilocharax weitzmani, Paracheirodon simulans, Hyphessobrycon loretoensis and H. metae, Hemigrammus coeruleus, Farlowella acus, Aspidoras pauciradiatus, Corydoras pygmaeus, C. duplicareus, C. similis and C. panda. I refer to this as the “quiet” group; the 90g is also SA but is just a bit more boisterous. There is a photo with a list of inhabitants in my folder (kermit58) in the gallery.

    Cheers, Byron.

    in reply to: New Tetra? #313139

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    The mystery is solved. In a personal communication, Heiko Bleher has identified this fish as Hemigrammus coeruleus Durbin 1908, which he has collected in the lower Rio Negro through to Peru and believes it to have a wider distribution in the Amazon basin. I had also provided Heiko with photos of the fish in my aquarium (see attachments), and although they are lousy photos he is certain this is the fish. The darker fish in the photos I had thought were Hyphessobrycon peruvianus but Heiko says they are H. metae and I agree.

    Byron.

    Attached files

    in reply to: Tetras And Ph #313051

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    QUOTE (Fishwife @ Mar 19 2009, 12:16 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Thanks Byron, that is a lovely tank
    in reply to: Tetras And Ph #313028

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    QUOTE (Fishwife @ Mar 18 2009, 05:25 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Thanks for the replies. Now I know why I’ve never bothered much with Tetras /unsure.gif” style=”vertical-align:middle” emoid=”:unsure:” border=”0″ alt=”unsure.gif” />

    Oh, the reason I said the tank was a 50 litre was that’s what Classica say it is.

    Tetras are characins, as are pencilfish. No characin likes salt, and they are very sensitive to any chemical. [I’m only guessing, but it may have something to do with their built in chemical warning system, unique to the characidae.] I’ve noted that several manufacturers of remedies especially those containing any copper (as most ick remedies do for instance) warn that they should be used in half dose if there are tetras in the tank. Beckfordi pencils (Nanostommas beckfordi) are the hardiest and livliest species of the genus, and I’ve kept them for many years and they are always spawning, but they do not like stuff added to the water. And in my experience this applies to all of the characins.

    Keeping the tank “south american” is right down my street; I thought I’d posted photos of my tank, but I can’t find them, so maybe I haven’t yet. Anyway, I’m adding a photo of my 70g and 90g aquaria which are both South American. If this is the type of tank you’re after, I suggest lowering your pH to around 6.8 with peat. The apistos will (if done gradually) not have a problem with this, and it will allow you your choice of characin. That could be a lovely display. You could even go biotope by finding out what characins inhabit the river where the apistos come from; there are websites about this, and books. Matt is very knowledgeable on these fish, as undoubtedly are others on this forum, and I certainly enjoy talking about characins. Keep us posted on what you’re planning, and I’m sure there will be good guidance and suggestions.

    Byron.

    Attached files

    in reply to: Tetras And Ph #313017

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    Hi Fishwife,

    A tank measuring 24x12x16 inches is a 20 gallon which is approximately 75 litres. You mentioned a 50 litre tank in your first post, which would be approximately 13 gallons (I still think in imperial measurement!). I’m assuming your new tank will be a 20 gallon, given the measurements in your latest post.

    I agree with ndc that a trio of apistogramma might be pushing things in a 20g, but I would try one female to keep the male company. Many years ago I had a pair of Apistogramma bitaeniata [they were then known as A. kleei] in a 15g and they spawned and I sold most of the fry in pairs at the local club’s auction. A few characins (tetras) would add to this display, but finding some that will live comfortably in a pH of 7.4 will not be easy. The A. cacatuoides come from Peru, namely the Rio Ucayali, and according to Staeck & Linke [American Cichlids I, Dwarf Cichlids; Tetra Press] the water at collecting sites had a pH of 7.6 so you should have no difficulty maintaining this fish in your water.

    Ember tetras remain small, and a shoal of 6 will do nicely in your proposed tank with the apistos. The Ember Tetra, Hyphessobrycon amandae, comes from the Rio Aruguaia basin in Brazil which has an acidic pH. Some authors report that when kept in alkaline water (above pH 7) the fish becomes pale and not at its best. In my experience, most of the tetras will not fare well above ph 7 because they originate from acidic waters (in some cases extremely so, down to pH 4-5) and even tank raised fish still carry their evolutionary blueprint, so to speak, and “prefer” water closer to their biological needs. Managing to live in unsuitable (to them) water is different from living at their best. However, this is not to say that they may not do well, and another option is to lower the pH slightly through peat filtration; by slightly I mean down to neutral as this wouldn’t bother the apistos so long as the change was gradual. Don’t use chemicals to lower the pH as this is only temporary and the pH will rise again with the next water change or on its own, and a fluctuating pH is worse that keeping it a bit high but constant.

    Before I finished this post, I noticed that Matt has suggested the dwarf pencilfish, so there’s another option. The sources say this fish can tolerate alkaline water, although the fish’s natural waters have a pH of 5.6-6.0 which is vastly different.

    Byron.

    in reply to: New Tetra? #312996

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    Thanks vintagetankgirl and Matt. Yes, VTG, I use FishBase quite a bit but this fish wasn’t there when I looked. The photo I posted was the only one I could find when I did a Google image search of “Hyphessobrycon” and viewed all the photos that came up (that took some time, I can tell you!). I also went through a listing of all H. species described in the last ten years (can’t remember where I found this, it turned up in one of my other searches) but as the vast majority have no photos and the descriptions are usually of internal things like the number of teeth or bones, it was impossible to know whether one of them might be this fish.

    I have this question posed on the three forums I belong to but so far no one has identified it. Of course, it may very well be one of the now hundreds of new characins awaiting identification. The Peru Aquarium (exporter) site has a lengthy list of such species that have been found but not yet described by science. Reminds me of Sir David Attenborough’s comment in one of his Amazon programs that there are more than 3000 known species of fish within the Amazon system, more than in the entire Atlantic Ocean; and at the rate the rainforest is disappearing, hundreds of unknown species will become extinct without our ever knowing of their existence.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Mystery Nannostomus #312856

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I would think this is a form of N. beckfordi. I have a photo in a late 1990’s Aqualog update that is very close to your fish, and it is labelled as N. aripirangensis [Meinken 1931] a probable synonym for N. beckfordi. Gery [1977] says that N. aripirangensis may be a sibling species or subspecies of N. beckfordi. Weitzman & Cobb did a revision of the Nannostomini in 1975 that I have never come across; if anyone has access to it, it might have more information.

    I have a small shoal of N. beckfordi and there is no indication of a red line on the females but there is on the males, although the brown above the black lateral stripe is so dark the red is quite difficult to see on a couple of them.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Black Hair Algae #312754

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I’ve always had some of this in my aquaria, but so far only once did it really get bad. I simply removed bits of it when I did the weekly water changes; tedious, I know. But I would never add chemicals to a tank for this, or anything else frankly except parasitic problems like ick or similar.

    Replacing the plants isn’t likely to solve the problem, as the algae will return since it’s in the water and on the tank, substrate, wood, rocks, etc.

    I’m looking forward to any suggestions if others have been able to eradicate this by safe means. They say it is caused by water conditions, but if they are OK it should dissipate if enough of it is regularly removed; this was my experience in the mid-1990’s when it was rampant.

    Byron.

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