User Registration

or Cancel

Know your freshwater Aquarium fish

15 August 2014 Comments::DISQUS_COMMENTS

By S. R. Sane, the Chairman, of SANJEEVAN Association is an qualified Zoologiest and experience of over 50 years of Keeping & Breading in fishes, reptiles & amphibians.

The aquarium fish keeping hobby is growing in India, by leaps and bounds. Two decades back there were hardly twenty five to thirty shops in Mumbai and now there are over three hundred. Every suburban station has a few small shops. I was told by some of my friends that pencil fish are available at a certain fish shop. When I visited this shop, the owner showed me about one and half inch long ie. half grown Rasbora probably daniconius, a very common Indian fish. The South American Nannostomus or Poecilobrycon species are known as pencil fish all over the world. One small breeder wanted some male Pencil Fish as he had several females. So I told him to bring some females in exchange for the males. When he arrived with the females I was shocked to see female Cherry Barb - Puntius titteya.

Oranda, Redcap, Lion head, Calico, Bubble eyes, Bulldogs, etc are mutations or variety of Goldfish - Carassius auratus. If some one comes to me stating the water in his tank is turbid / murky, then I ask him, “do you have any goldfish in the aquarium”. Normally the reply is no but, “ I have some Bulldogs or Oranda or Red caps”.

The so called Blue morphs in the fish shops are not the morphs of Pseudotropheus zebra but a totally different species P.lombardi. There are several examples like these. Hence it is also necessary to know the scientific names. This pinpoints the exact fish you want to buy. There are over one thousand two hundred species introduced in the hobby and few more are introduced every year. I have yet to come across any book, published in India, giving descriptions of around two hundred and fifty species of the exotic / ornamental / aquarium fish. There are several books published in Europe, America, Japan ie. affluent world. For fishes of Indian continent there are some very good books.

So I have decided to present in a series of articles on Indian and exotic aquarium / ornamental fish. I will start with some of the tetras. Belonging to the Genus - Hemigrammus.Tetras or Characins is one of the largest families of the fishes of the world. They are found in Tropical America and Africa. Most of the tetras have an adipose fin and teeth in their jaws. Most of them lay non adhesive or semi adhesive eggs scatered over fine leafed plants. There are some exceptions like Pyrrhulina which lay eggs on some substrate like the cichlids and the male guards the eggs till they hatch.

Hemigrammus caudovittatus :- Buenos Aires Tetra.
This is one of the very old favorites probably introduced to the aquarium hobby around 1922. Found in the S.American River Plate system. Commonly bred in India say from early fifties. It nips at the border or edges of the plants especially when starved. Good for bigger community tanks, growing to over 7 cms. There are at least two mutants the yellow fin form, not very popular. The albino is attractive and very popular here.

Hemigrammus erythrozonus :- Glowlight Tetra.

This was introduced as H.gracillus and in the older books one will find it under this name. A dainty looking and peaceful fish growing to 4 cms. Ideal, for mixed collection, looks very attractive in well illuminated planted tanks. Generally remains in the lower third of the aquarium. Bred regularly in India for several decades. Albino is the only mutation known and also available. Comes from Guyana, S.America.

Hemigrammus hyanuaryi :- Green Neon Tetra, January Tetra.
An attractive small, peaceful tetra growing to 4 cms. Good for planted aquariums. Generally remains in the upper half of the tank. Infrequently bred in India. Comes mainly from Lake Hyanuary in Upper Amazon, S.America.

Hemigrammus ocellifer :- Head and Tail light Tetra or Beacon Fish.
This is a small tetra growing to about 4.5 cms. The head and tail spots shine out in a planted tank with top lighting. Remains in the upper third of the aquarium. Peaceful in the community aquariums. Regularly bred in India. Albino mutation is more popular. Comes from Guyana, Amazon basin.

Hemigrammus pulcher :- Pulcher Tetra, Black Wedge or Garnet Tetra.
A broad fish in comparison to the others of this genus. Peaceful attractive fish generally remains in the upper half of the aquarium, grows to 5 cms. Ideal for planted aquariums. Infrequent breeder in India. Comes from the Peruvian parts of the Amazon.

Hemigrammus rhodostomus :- Red Nose Tetra, Rummy - nosed Tetra.
It is one of the most beautiful, stream lined fish rather difficult to acclimatize in the beginning when newly introduced in the aquarium. Shows its best in a well planted aquarium. Peaceful community fish growing to 5.5 cms. From the aquarist point there is hardly any difference between H.rhodostomus and Petitella georgiae, which is also known as Red nose or Rummy nosed Tetra. Both grow to nearly the same size. Rhodostomus comes from Lower Amazon while Georgiae comes from Upper Amazon. Red nosed tetra has been bred infrequently in India. There are several other species of Hemigrammus but they have hardly ever been imported in India

Last modified on Monday, 18 August 2014 11:24