Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Cockroach Crayfish (Aegla platensis)

In Cockroach Crayfish on September 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Now these guys are one of the coolest little freshwater inverts you can’t get! Actually they are imported from time to time, but usually only by places like Belowwater. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these in any of the LFS’s around here.

They’re very inquisitive by nature, not really shy, although they do like shelter. They eat anything and are readily sexable. I have read that they have been successfully bred in captivity.

I don’t have these anymore, but now that I’m looking at them, I want them again! Some of mine were baby blue! Please excuse the dirty glass and the small size of the pix… Took these pix a long time ago..

Aegla platensis - "Cockroach Crayfish"

Aegla front view - they have pretty thick claws.

Loved these guys! They had so much character!

Here's what they look like from underneath. Their tail wraps right up to cover the abdomen.

Very active little critters. Not really aggressive, and fun to watch!

A bucket of Aegla!


Shrimp Garden

In Shrimp Garden on September 30, 2010 at 2:34 am

This was my best ever planted tank. A really nice 90 bow that I called the Shrimp Garden. It was fully planted, CO2, equivalent of 2 watts per gallon, and regular dosing with ferts and Flourish Excel.

Had literally hundreds of shrimp breeding in there… Super Red Cherries, Tigers, Bees, Red Nose, and several unidentified Caridina species that came in as contaminants.. Had a bunch of Aeglids (cockroach crayfish from Venezuala) roaming around in there but once they were in, I rarely saw them.

Also housed zebra otos, Epactionotus aky (actually I think they’ve been reclassified as Hisonotus aky), and Corydoras habrosus, and many species of snails including the new Tylomelanias from Sulawesi. I was fortunate enough to have the aky breed for me in that tank. I think it was one of the first recorded spawnings in captivity (according to Julian Dignall, PlanetCatfish).

Here are some pix:

My old 90 gallon Bowfront.. Shrimp Garden.

Super Red Cherry Shrimp

Tiger Shrimp female carrying eggs (berried).

Cherries, Tigers and Bee Shrimp fighting with the snails over shrimp pellets.

Male Tiger Shrimp

Bee Shrimp taking a walk through the Pellia.

Unknown Caridina sp "Banded" male.

Unknown Caridina sp. "Banded" female.

Another unidentified Caridina species, this one carrying eggs.

An odd little Macrobrachium species from Peru.

I think this Palaemonetes species came from Brazil.

Cockroach Crayfish from Venezuala!

Zebra Oto munching on some floating food.

Female Hisonotus aky... Incredibly ELECTRIC GREEN little oto cats!

Female Hisonotus aky chilling on a Madagascar Lace Plant.

Hisonotus aky male on a Jungle Val. Males don't have the iridescent green on the body like the females.

One of the Hisonotus aky fry. Tiny replicas of the parents!

Red Parrot x H. Carpinte

In Red Parrot x H. Carpinte on September 29, 2010 at 9:17 pm

This cross was the starting point in my quest to get a Red Texas Cichlid 2 years ago. Cherry-picked the nicest Red Parrot female from a tank full of adults. And paired her with an outstanding male Green Texas (H. carpinte). It took about 6 months before they started liking each other (sorry about the algae and water spots on the glass).

This female's red colour was intense and all natural. No colour foods.

Carpinte male. Really nice blue markings all over. Ended up selling this guy to another breeder.

The progeny of this cross showed a range of phenotypes from “Vieja-like” bodies to Texas-like to Midas/Devil-like body types. Markings on the bodies ranged from no blue spots (gray/brown base with black spots/bars) to completely covered in blue spots. Only 2 of the 30 or so fry I kept changed colour. The best one is below:

Red Texas Cichlid posing.

A couple others I kept and grew out cuz they were covered in blue.

Red Parrot x H. carpinte - this guy has a Vieja body AND appetite. Eats all greenery and plants like salad. I call him "Mr Teeth" cuz his mouth is filled with more rows of teeth than normal.

This guy turned out super blue! His head changes from iridescent green to blood red depending on the angle of the light.

Here's a close-up that captures some of the red in his face. His name is Kris (Kringle) cuz he has Christmas colours on his face!

And finally, these are a couple of curious runts. The first is a sibling to the ones above, and the second is from unrelated parents (a different Red Parrot x Texas pairing).

This fat-bodied little girl only got to 2" long and has already laid eggs.

This little guy came from a tankful of siblings at Whitby Big Al's. He was the smallest by far (2") but has changed colour (faded) and has lots of blue dots.

Ameca Splendens

In Ameca Splendens on September 24, 2010 at 1:13 am

A very cool Mexican livebearer that is considered extinct in the wild. Very colourful, and slightly aggressive. They have chewed the fins of the following tankmates: pearl gouramis, irian red rainbows, mollies, platies, various tetras including some large congo tetras.

They are fantastic algae eaters. I used to have a problem with slime algae, but since they’ve been in this tank, the slime algae has disappeared.

Males have iridescent blue/green sides and yellow-edged fins.

Ameca are particularly good at eradicating algae (hair and slime)

Females get significantly larger than the males.

New Red Texas Cichlid

In New Red Texas Cichlid on September 21, 2010 at 12:54 am

It seems like more and more people are trying to produce Red Texas Cichlids around here. Red Texas are hybrids that have red bodies with iridescent blue speckles (called blue “pearls” by collectors). The initial step involves crossing a male Herichthys carpinte with a female Red Parrot Cichlid. The progeny from this cross are “first” generation Red Texas Cichlids, however, most breeders consider themselves lucky if they get one or two high grade fish out of the several hundred fry they may raise. Most of the fry will stay brown/gray with some blue pearls (low grade).

I happened to be in the LFS the other day and noticed a forlorn group of hybrid cichlids in a bottom tank. Looking closer, you could tell they were definitely first generation Red Texas, probably traded in by a local breeder who was tired of growing them out.

One of them was tiny and had already faded (changed from brown/gray to white, and hopefully orange or red in future), and another had bright orange lips and looked like it was starting to fade.

Here are some pix:

Little fader. About 2" long.

Hopefully this little guy gets more orange/red as he matures. Already has a lot of pearls.

This is the orange lips guy. Was hard not to notice those lips!

More orange starting to appear behind the gills on his right side...

And in various spots on his left side.

Getting orange under the throat too...

He's only been in the tank a day, but Mr. Lips has some personality!

Little Fader pix taken with a Panasonic FZ-50 with external flash, shutter priority. Mr. Lips pix taken with Panasonic FZ-50 in natural daylight, “sports” scene mode.

Nanoluteus x HRP

In Nanoluteus x HRP on September 6, 2010 at 12:52 am

What do you get when you cross a male Cryptoheros nanoluteus and a female Amatitlania siquia “Honduran Red Point”?

Mother Honduran Red Point

Father Cryptoheros nanoluteus

The progeny of this pair, which I’m calling NHRP, are finally starting to get adult colours. Lots of iridescence in the fins. All pix taken with a Panasonic FZ-50, with external flash, shutter priority. They have NOT been post-processed at all (other than being cropped down to size). It’s WYSIWYG, but remember the flash does tend to bring out more of the iridescence then one would see under regular aquarium lighting. Apologies for the dirty glass!

Nanolutes X HRP female. This one has paired up with another male from the same batch. Body colour looks like it's mostly HRP.

Pretty colourful little NHRP pair, female in front.

NHRP male - This one is the biggest of the batch. Cheeks showing some influence of the nanoluteus. The gold, green and blue fins show influences from both parents.

Here's the parents together. She's a runt, but he's really into her.

Super Red Tiger Motaguense

In Super Red Tiger Motaguense on September 2, 2010 at 1:25 am

Been looking for some nice RT Motaguense for a while. There are a few different strains out there from various different locations, but none compare to the ones that I just picked up last week. Unfortunately they’ve passed through a few hands, so I have no source information on this pair.

They’re still awesome, and it’s easy to see why so many cichlid nuts consider them to be one of the most desireable Central American cichlids around.

Female in the bag

Male in the bag

Kept them divided for a week before I let the male into the female's side today.

Tons of iridescent blue/white under the chin and actually all over. The pix really don't do these guys justice.

What a nice pair of fish!

All pix taken with a Panasonic FZ50, external manual flash, shutter priority, with minimal post-processing in Photoshop.

It's fairly easy to differentiate between the sexes. Aside from the size difference, females lack a lot of the iridescence that mark the males. Females also look more "solidly" coloured.

Male RT Motaguense have almost a "lattice" type look as opposed to the solid colour of the females.

As they get older, the differences in colour and pattern will increase.

Getting to know each other again.

She's pretty feisty, and is holding her own so far.

They may look like a nice compatible pair in this pic, but Central American cichlid pairs often have violent moments, so it's a good idea to have an exit strategy for the female. The bricks are perfect for her cuz he can't fit in them.