Cichlidiot (cich·lid·i·ot)

Fishkeeping for the masses

  • cich·lid : Any of various tropical and subtropical freshwater fishes of the family Cichlidae, many of which are popular as aquarium fish
  • id·i·ot : A foolish or stupid person
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Archive for January, 2007

PALHS 2007 Fish Show

Posted by cichlidiot on January 19, 2007

The Philippine Arowana and Luo Han Society (PALHS), one of the more active clubs in the aquarium scene in the Philippines, has announced that they will be holding their 2007 show from April 30 to May 6 at Tiendesitas, a high traffic bazaar-type establishment that is very popular among pet owners.

While the details have yet to be finalized, I’m optimistic that the event will help generate interest in the fishkeeping hobby, given the high profile nature of the location and the increasing quality of the fishes being shown.


Posted in Shows and Events | Leave a Comment »

GloFish®: No Dyes

Posted by cichlidiot on January 16, 2007

As a fishkeeping hobbyist, one of the comments I often hear when friends come by to visit my house is “Why don’t you have a saltwater aquarium?”  This question inevitably pops up because some of the fish I keep, especially the cichlids, are rather drab in color.  While there are some exceptions, such as the variations of Symphysodon aequifasciatus(Discus), most freshwater fish (especially cichlids) tend to have less intense coloration than their saltwater cousins.  In the not-so-distant past, the only way to achieve the intense coloration of saltwater fish in a freshwater environment was to buy dyed fish, which would surely bring the ire of animal rights advocates.  Apparently, this isn’t the case today.

The company behind GloFish®, which is essentially a bio-engineered fluorescent Zebra Danio (Danio rerio), have developed the technology that allows these rather ordinary-looking fish to fluoresce through a process that involves the injection of a particular gene in fish eggs.  Furthermore, since the injected gene now becomes part of the genetic makeup of the fish, offspring from GloFish® will also possess this fluorescence.  Originally, these genetically-altered fish were supposed to be used in detecting pollutants in the water, but have now made inroads in the aquarium hobby as well.

I am certain that a great number of young budding aquarists will be attracted to these fish® as an alternative to keeping saltwater fish because of their similarly intense coloration.  Personally, I’m not so keen on the idea of keeping such fish.  While I’m sure my family would appreciate more color in our fish tanks, there are a lot of naturally-occurring freshwater fish species that have nice colors.  Besides, I believe there is a lot more to fishkeeping than having a number of brightly-colored fish swimming around in one tank.  Based on conversations I’ve had with some friends in the hobby, I think the natural progression of interest in this hobby moves from having colorful fish to being able to observe their natural behavior, hence the interest in maintaining specific biotopes to promote, among other things, breeding for intermediate fishkeepers.

Nonetheless, I would say that this development is generally good for the aquarium hobby, since, at the very least, it will get more people interested in fishkeeping.  I’m also all for cleaning up the environment, and since a portion of every purchase of GloFish® goes to the laboratory developing these fish for their intended use, I wouldn’t mind if these bio-engineered fish become highly popular.

Posted in General Fishkeeping | 1 Comment »

Aquarium Lab

Posted by cichlidiot on January 10, 2007

In keeping with my resolution to regularly monitor the water parameters of my various tanks, I’ve been looking around for some free aquarium management software.  While it isn’t free, the kind folks at SeaApple Software are offering a 30-day trial version of Aquarium Lab, a “complete aquarium tracking software package” that can be downloaded here.  At first glance, it looks like it’s geared towards saltwater aquariums.  Nevertheless, I’ll be giving Aquarium Lab a spin in the next few days, and hopefully have a short write-up on it sometime this weekend.

Posted in Real Life™ | Leave a Comment »

Got Fry?

Posted by cichlidiot on January 5, 2007


When I was looking to get started with African cichlids from Lake Tanganyika, one of the most recommended species by other hobbyists was Neolamprologus brichardi, the so-called “Princess of Burundi”, so I got six juveniles and placed them in a 50 gallon specie tank. Based on my recent experiences, I’d say that this specie is a really good choice for anyone interested in keeping Tanganyikan cichlids.

Last October, around 4 months after I actually purchased them, I noticed that two of the six I originally got had paired up and spawned. Being a beginner, I decided not to remove the fry and just tried to feed them with some crushed pellets. Unsurprisingly, for the lack of effort, I ended up with four survivors.

While the four remaining Neolamprologus brichardi fry housed in a 50 gallon specie tank with 6 adults have yet to reach half an inch, their parents apparently decided it was about time to increase their numbers again. As of early this morning, I counted around 15 miniscule free swimming fry. I just hope more survive from this second spawn compared to the first. This is the first cichlid specie I’ve had that bred in the aquarium, and, from the looks of it, I have a lot more spawns to look forward to.

Posted in Spawn Log | 1 Comment »

New Year Resolutions

Posted by cichlidiot on January 1, 2007

Similar to everyone else, I’ve taken some time off today to look back at the year that was and to make my resolutions for 2007. While I do have a lot of personal resolutions, I’ve decided to make a few resolutions that pertain specifically to fishkeeping. It’s quite embarrassing to admit, but I sometimes find myself ignoring the very advice I give other people interested in fishkeeping as a hobby. So, without further ado, here are my resolutions for the new year.

Quarantine new fish: One of the most important and basic practices in fishkeeping, I haven’t really quarantined a new fish in a really long time. While I haven’t had any fatalities as a result of my non-existent quarantine procedures, I’m pretty sure I would feel really dumb if I lose some fish by not isolating newly purchased fish. As they say, better safe than sorry.

Spend at least 10 minutes daily observing my fish: Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of everyday life takes over and I end up just asking someone else to feed my fish. The downside with this is that feeding time is, in almost every case, the time when a fishkeeper finds out that something significant, such as a malfunctioning filter or a disease outbreak, has occurred. Just last October, I failed to recognize that two of my six Neolamprologus brichardi paired up and spawned. As a result, the fry count was only four, probably because the others died due to hunger, as I wasn’t able to hatch enough baby brine shrimp (BBS) in time to feed all of them.

Purchase test kits and monitor water parameters regularly: It’s quite comical, really, how I have 8 aquariums of various sizes, and not a single test kit for any of the major water parameters. I used to have some before, but I never bought more once I ran out. It must be the cheapskate in me, considering the price of such kits. Then again, every hobby ends up being more expensive than anticipated, once taken seriously. That being the case, I’m off to look for test kits for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate this weekend and probably test my water parameters weekly.

Hopefully, I have more success keeping these resolutions than I did in trying to keep the ones I made last year…

Posted in General Fishkeeping, Real Life™ | 2 Comments »