In the hobby of keeping fish, many pet owners strive to make their aquariums mimic the natural environment of their fish as closely as possible. In nature, lakes, rivers, and oceans are able to support huge populations of fish, invertebrates, and aquatic plants in varied volumes of water. Because of their enormous surface area, oxygen producing plankton, and many plants, these natural environments can easily recycle the oxygen needed for large numbers of fish.
In the aquarium, aeration works quite differently. There are usually small surface area to volume ratios which makes the balance of oxygen different. In most cases, the majority of oxygen in the fish tank is thanks to the steps the tank owner takes to keep the fish alive and thriving. Aquarium aeration is the process we take to keep a healthy supply of oxygen in the tanks for our fish!
In many fish tanks, the oxygen/air is provided by a combination of a filter and air pumps. Most filters cause at least some of the surface water to flow and be disturbed. Some even cause bubbles of air to be sucked down into the aquarium. Either way, this disruption of the water surface improves the exchange of oxygen between the air and water. If you have seen those well known aquarium decorations that have bubblers built in (like divers, sunken treasure chests and others) they serve two purposes. Besides keeping fish and owners entertained, they also directly inject air into the water column, sometimes through diffusers which break up air bubbles into dozens of smaller bubbles. As the air rises in the water, oxygen diffuses into the water while carbon dioxide fills up the bubble.
Overall, many steps must be taken to ensure an adequate balance of water in the fish tank. Aquarium aeration is perhaps one of the most vital steps in keeping tropical and marine fish healthy.
If you keep tropical fish, you will definitely want to learn more about tropical fish diseases.
When tropical fish are in the wild, they usually have very clean water with low hardness that is highly oxygenated. They have a large area to swim around and eat. and of course, leave their droppings. The chances of contaminating their water is not very high.
On the other hand, when fish are in an aquarium, they are confined to a much smaller space, and the water can become contaminated quickly. When the water becomes polluted enough, microorganisms and dangerous toxins can easily harm the fish. There are many diseases that tropical fish are prone to, but there are preventative measures that can help keep diseases at bay.
When purchasing a fish, there are simple signs that can tip you off to an existing problem. Watch to see if the fish are active, whether they have any open wounds or sores, and whether their gills and fins are healthy and functioning properly.
A big factor in fish health is the water quality. Keeping the water clean and clear is the first step in preventing diseases in your tropical fish. Make sure to also monitor the pH of the water and also watch the levels of certain elements such as nitrites, nitrates, dissolved oxygen and ammonia. A fish who seems sluggish or inactive, or is gasping for air towards the top of the tank may be suffering from poor water quality.
Another problem area can be stress. Fish can become stressed out in overcrowded environments. When introducing new fish to a tank, it is advisable to introduce a few at a time, quite slowly. Adding too many fish at once can actually cause the fish to have lowered immune systems and this makes them more prone to disease.
There is another reason to introduce fish slowly: some of the new fish may actually be unhealthy. By adding fish a few at a time, the healthy fish can sometimes adapt.
Finrot is a well-known tropical fish disease. It can be either fungal or bacterial. The fungal version looks like cotton on the fins. First, add about one teaspoon per gallon of water to the tank. This will start the healing process. Then you can swab the area with malachite green directly. Or, if you are not able to get hold of the fish to do this, there are store-bought preparations which can be used.
The bacterial version of finrot can be contagious and should be treated with antibiotics. It is important to place the fish in a separate tank while treatment takes place.
Another common tropical fish disease is dropsy. Fish with dropsy swell up and their eyes bulge out. This can be caused by infection or high nitrate content in the water. Dropsy can be treated with antibiotics.
Although there are several tropical fish diseases, most can be avoided through prevention and by examining fish carefully before purchasing them.
The Black Neon Tetra, also known as Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi, is a native of Peru. This species is distinguished by its adjacent horizontal stripes, always a white stripe above a black stripe. Although they have a similar name as the Black Tetra, they are actually different species!
Rather small, it grows to about 1.5 inches (4 cm). Even though smallish in size and can be kept in a smaller aquarium, the Black Neon Tetra do better in schools of 6 or more fish, so having a larger tank is advisable.
The Black Neon Tetras are great community fish to have, as they ae quite peaceful and get on nicely with other fish. Other small, peaceful fish such as Glowlight Tetras and Corys make good tankmates.
Black Neon Tetras prefer soft, acidic water with an ideal pH of 5.5 to 7.5. They are hardy enough however to adapt to hard, neutral water if necessary. To bring out the maximum coloration, peat filtering is suggested. This advice also holds when breeding.
Ominivores, the Black Neon Tetras will eat a variety of food. A combination of quality flake food, frozen and fresh can be offered. They also do well with brine shrimp and bloodworms. This species is quite undemanding and will eat most things offered to them.
Telling the males from females are quite easy. The males are more long and slender, as opposed to the more rounded nature of the female body. The Black Neon Tetra is fairly easy to breed at home, so it’s good beginner fish if you are just breeding for the first time.
To breed, choose a pair of healthy fish, at least a year old. While younger fish can breed, it’s best to get a mature pair. prime the couple beforehand by feeding them high-quality flake food, along with live brine shrimp and mosquito larvae. This will get them into the breeding mode.
Prepare a separate breeding tank, with dim lighting. If low lighting is not available, place cardboard along the sides of the tank to darken it. Additionally, provide some dense plant cover as well.
When the breeding tank is ready, place the male and female in the tank. You will notice that spawning will take place earlier in the day. The female will then lay her sticky eggs along the plants. Once the eggs have been laid, promptly remove the pair of fish from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating their eggs and fry.
Fry, once hatched, can be fed regular fry food, along with finely crushed flake food and freshly hatched brine shrimp. If you are looking for a good starter, community fish, then the Black Neon Tetra is a fantastic choice.