Misc Frogs II
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Pet World Visit
You know you like all these big lunkers. Note the hexamita (hole in head) scars. Harmless.
Bruisers, Specimens, and Pets
Okay, now we’re talking fish that turn into real pets. These are the guys you give names to, the ones that eat out of your hand, the ones that convince your neighbors that you’re a real fish nut not just a poseur.
Treat Them Right. Think of cichlids as south of the border versions of our bass that come in a spectrum of attractive colors. Adult cichlids sport dynamite colors on two conditions;
Tough Guys. In addition to pushing most other fish around, big cichlids will survive a tremendous amount of abuse. Instead of kicking the bucket like a sensible fish would, they usually just lose their colors. If yours are colorful, you’re treating them right. If yours are pale, washed out, or hugging the bottom, get with the program. Just because big cichlids will survive abusive conditions doesn’t give you a license to mistreat them.
Large Cichlids Need Room. Each full-grown adult will need 20 to 30 gallons of elbow room. If you don’t mind them growing to only 70-80% of their potential, feel free to crowd them. However, if you try to move full-grown specimens to smaller quarters, it’s hard for them to adjust. Big ones usually argue over who’s in charge. The smaller the tank, the lower the survival rate. Some will kill their tank mates until they have enough room. Basic Message? The bigger the tank, the better.
Equipment. You can never have too much filtration. Make sure you protect your heater with suction cups. Large cichlids like to break heaters. Put plastic plants at the end of your tank to prevent unexpected “breakouts.” Use darker gravels to bring out their colorful highlights. And use more than you would with small fish. Cichlids like to bulldoze your gravel. Expect them to move all your décor around. Use plastic plants, driftwood, and rocks without sharp edges. Keep a net between your algae-wiping hand and your big bruisers. Don’t let kids dangle their fingers in the water. And don’t forget a good stout cover. Sometimes large cichlids think they can fly.
Preferred Foods. Most of the big bruisers prefer “feeder goldfish.” If that’s a problem, get over it. BIG cichlids are predators. They eat fish. Any number of prepared and frozen foods will also bring out their colors. Always try to give them a variety. Cichlids consider crayfish, earthworms, and mealworms a real treat. They also eat most snails.
Several manufacturers have weighed into the big cichlid food arena.
Naturally, certain ones make better foods than others.
Let’s face it, cichlids prefer live goldfish but they also need
variety. O.S.I. makes some of
the best cichlid foods I’ve come across.
I also like the Hikari pelleted and frozen foods from
Natural Food Info. Growing cichlids love frozen brine shrimp. Half-grown ones love plankton – frozen or freeze dried. Full-grown cichlids prefer Krill (the food of whales). They love these larger ocean-going cousins of the brine shrimp. Plankton and krill both contain certain tasty fats that bring out their colors and also help trigger their spawning urges. They like nightcrawlers also.
Bait Minnow Alert. Some people prefer to quarantine bait minnows before feeding them to their big cichlids. Actually, disease is not the biggest problem when feeding minnows. The problem is what they do to the color of your cichlids. They make them a very dull color. You get poor colored fish when you feed minnows – especially poor reds on oscars, but also weak blues and greens on the other cichlids. Big cichlids love minnows, but big cichlid owners soon learn to dislike them. If you can’t get anything else, feed minnows. If you can get anything else, forget minnows. Pellets and frozen foods will color your fishes better. At the very least, feed color foods to your minnows.
Cloudy Eyes. If you forget to change their water regularly, cichlids often develop cloudy eyes, cloudy fins, and slime covered bodies. Use a gravel vacuum cleaner to change part of their water. Cichlids absolutely need frequent -- let’s say weekly -- water changes. Don’t use deadly medications and antibiotics as shortcuts. Get rid of the cause.
Worms in the Water. Put down that poison you almost put in there and re-read the preceding paragraph. Change part of the water. Those little worms and bugs are your friends. When an oscar chows a goldfish, blood and scales go flying. Those little worms and bugs eat up the scraps. When you overfeed, the little worms, bugs, and gravel-dwelling snails burrow through your gravel particles devouring the extra food before the nasty bacteria eat it and overrun your tank. Bacteria cause cloudy water. They also give your fish cloudy eyes, cloudy fins, and slimy bodies.
Special Cleaner Crew. Use Philippine live-bearing snails to help eat up the extra food, clean your gravel, and unclog your filter system. These cornucopia-shaped snails burrow under the gravel and come out at night to dine in leisure.
The Breeding Process
The Basics: Large American cichlids spawn in pairs. They need a great deal of room because the spawning pair often wrestles to make sure both parents are tough enough to continue the species. Adding a “dither fish” to distract them from beating on each other unites the parents against a common foe.
Preparation: Refer to Small American Cichlids for spawning tips. Refer to convicts or severums to see typical cichlid pre-spawning activity. Most large cichlids dig a pit to spawn in. Put a large piece of slate on the bottom. Otherwise the eggs and fry get sucked into your under gravel filter. The fish do all the work. You take all the credit. But they couldn’t spawn without you. LA.
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