Quite an impressive Fahaka Puffer community tank at the River Safari (River Wonders) Singapore.
The Fahaka Puffer is the centerpiece fish, living together with other community fish such as Rainbowfish, tetras, and even Discus. The tank is heavily planted, with rocks and driftwood. It is interesting to see that the Fahaka Pufferfish can live peacefully with a wide variety of fish, in a sufficiently large aquarium.
What Fish Can Go With Fahaka Puffer?
Based on the above real-life video, the following fish can go together with Fahaka Puffer (in a large aquarium):
Snails and shrimp should be incompatible with Fahaka Puffers, since puffers are known to feed on snails, shrimp, and shellfish.
A short video guide on how to feed bamboo shrimp. Bamboo shrimp are native to Southeast Asia and are filter feeders. They catch small particles in the water using their fans. Due to this unique mode of feeding, some special care is needed when feeding bamboo shrimp.
We showcase 3 fish that won’t eat shrimp, tried and tested in our very own 5 gallon nano planted tank.
1) Phoenix Rasbora
2) Neon Tetra
3) Lambchop Rasbora
These 3 fish are shrimp safe, in our experience.
There are many baby shrimp, juvenile shrimp, as well as adult blue shrimp (blue version of cherry shrimp) living happily alongside those fish. As well as 1 Amano shrimp.
From what we observe, the fish don’t disturb or bother the shrimp as well. Music is “Foo the Flowerhorn” style peaceful music, aka the Gymnopedie No. 3.
Usually, aggressive or predatory fish like the betta tend to eat or hunt shrimp.
It is relatively easy to breed shrimp, especially cherry shrimp and its color variants. There need to be enough calcium source in the tank, what we did is put some coral chips (crushed corals) which has calcium carbonate. The most common way for shrimp to die is due to unsuccessful molting.
Recently, we had to dose Praziquantel (EIHO Prazi Gold) in the 5 gallon aquarium due to suspected internal parasites.
Basically, we discovered that one or two of our Phoenix Rasboras were pale, skinny and looking sick.
Is Praziquantel Snail Safe?
We do have a variety of snails in the tank:
2 Horned Nerite Snails (Bumblebee snails)
Mini Ramshorn Snails (Pest snails)
Freshwater Limpets (not exactly snails, but similar)
We were most worried about the 2 nerite snails, since the other snails were considered pest snails that we wanted to remove anyway.
The online research results were mixed. We did web searches on API General Cure, and Hikari PraziPro, both of which contained praziquantel as the active ingredient. Most reviews said that they were safe for snails, but there were a few that mentioned that their nerite snails were affected by the treatment (either climbing out of the water, or even dying).
Since the negative reviews were in the minority, we decided to dose praziquantel in our 5 gallon tank, and monitor closely. If any signs of distress were observed, we have a separate tank to place the nerite snails.
Result after one day: No signs of distress, for nerite snails, ramshorn snails, and limpets. The horned nerite snails are still crawling about rather actively doing their thing. They did not attempt to climb out of the water.
Conclusion: Praziquantel seems to be safe for snails (including nerite snails).
The brand of praziquantel I used is called “EIHO Prazi Gold“. It is in liquid form, but there is quite a lot of suspended undissolved white powder in the liquid. The white powder will eventually dissolve when you put it into the aquarium. Praziquantel is notorious for being difficult to dissolve.
Overall, I think it is effective, as I can sometimes even see the dead worms that are expelled by the praziquantel. Also, the affected fish always seem to behave in a weird way, for example becoming more inactive and gasping a little (possibly the parasites are dying inside their body and causing a reaction). Other non-affected fish behave normally as usual.
“How much to feed betta” or “how much to feed a betta fish” is a question that has puzzled me for a long time. I did not find any definitive answer online. I believe the rule “feed the size of the fish’s eyeball” leads to underfeeding, based on my experience. Also, it does not quite make sense to me that “a fish’s stomach is the size of its eyeball”, which is another commonly quoted guideline.
Hence, I create my own modified rule:
#1) Feed twice the size of the fish’s eyeball (eyeball includes the entire “sphere”, not just the exposed part).
#2) Adjust accordingly based on the size of the fish’s stomach. A healthy betta should have a round belly (especially after feeding) and a streamlined look at the same time. This is a bit subjective and requires experience of looking at hundreds of betta photos online to get a sense of what is a normal betta shape.
Following the above rule, I am currently feeding 3 to 4 pellets of Hikari Betta Bio-gold daily. That is a Hikari fish food specially formulated for bettas. Betta are carnivorous and require more protein.
How much do you feed your betta? Do you think I am underfeeding or overfeeding? Please comment below!
I put it in my 2 gallon planted tank, with Java Ferns and Anubias. I chose female betta as I wanted a short fin betta, and there were no “Plakat” male bettas available. The colors of a female betta are more pale and muted compared to male bettas.
The name of the female betta: Charlotte.
In the store, there was a pair of wild bettas (Betta Mahachai) which were very beautiful. However, they were quite expensive so I did not buy them in the end.
Just some relaxing video of Rasbora fish (Phoenix rasbora) schooling together in a group of 8.
Some rare footage of my Boraras Merah (close relative of Chili Rasbora) schooling in a tight formation. They don’t do this very often. Most of the time they school loosely, or even do their separate stuff. In the middle of my filming, Charlie the poodle is curious and watches as well!
Some Trivia: 7 of the Rasbora were bought in the same store, but 1 of them was from another batch. It took a few months for the 1 sole rasbora to familiarize and join the 7 other rasbora as a team. Quite interesting!
I have been there personally once. Had a good impression as they had exotic fish not commonly found elsewhere. (For example, Gertrude Rainbowfish (Pseudomugil gertrudae), Celestial Pearl Danio, etc.) They are also specialized in shrimp and plants. It was my first time seeing the Gertrude Rainbowfish, and I was absolutely fascinated.
The guy (not sure of his name) there was clearly knowledgeable about fish (much more knowledgeable than me). Taught me a bit about how to keep Celestial Pearl Danio. The owner was friendly, and can see that he is passionate about the fish and aquarium hobby.
Also, ordered plants online from them. Their plants are of good quality, and labelled correctly. For example, my Ludwigia Super Red was bought from them. It was grown submersed (underwater), and was of good quality (had roots, leaves are bright red color).
For comparison, many other aquarium shops in Singapore don’t label their plants, as well as sell non-aquatic plants. (I as a beginner was “scammed” twice, once with Malayan Aqua Fern, and another time with Alternanthera Sessilis.) Had they been labeled, a simple Google check would suffice to know that they are non-aquatic.
Currently, they do have a free delivery promotion (no minimum purchase), so do check them out on their Facebook or online store.
Overall, I would say that they are more of a premium aquarium store, they have great quality and range of rare exotic fish and plants.
There is one negative review of them in a blog online (dated 2014), that was certainly not my experience in 2019. In 2019/2020, my review of Aquatic Avenue is definitely positive.
Overall Review of Aquatic Avenue:
Exotic and rare fish
Exotic and rare plants (properly labeled and grown)
Quality fish and plants
Premium high-end aquarium shop, prices are still affordable
Friendly and knowledgeable staff
If you decide to visit them (after the virus situation stabilizes), do check out the nearby Redhill coffeeshop as well. There are many vintage hawker food there which are of good quality, and at very affordable prices.
This plant Salvinia (to be precise Salvinia Molesta or Giant Salvinia) is a super easy floating plant. It has 3 forms: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Forms. I started with Tertiary Form Salvinia, and now have a lot of Primary Form Salvinia, as well as a few Secondary Form Salvinia.
I find that Salvinia is an easy floating plant because:
1) It only requires medium light
2) It has 3 forms and will evolve to the form that is most suited for your tank. The Tertiary Form is usually for outdoor ponds.
3) It is ok with getting a bit wet. Many other floating plants must be completely dry or else they may rot.
4) It has short roots. Hence, there is no need to trim its roots.
5) Easy to remove if you don’t want it. Most of its leaves are linked together. Hence you can remove all the leaves in a few grabs. This is in contrast to duckweed, which is notorious for being hard to remove.
I find that the Primary Form of Giant Salvinia is quite similar to Salvinia Minima, and the Secondary Form of Giant Salvinia is quite similar to Salvinia Natans! Could they be the same species?
Ludwigia Super Red, also known as Ludwigia Palustris or Ludwigia sp. red (mini) is one of the easiest low tech (No CO2) red plants. Due to its small size, it is suitable for nano tanks (with trimming).
It is rated “easy” by Tropica. In comparison, most other red plants are rated “Medium” or “Advanced”.
I am trying out this low tech easy red plant without CO2. Future updates will be posted on this page as well.
Day 1 (May 22, 2020):
This is the second day of growing Ludwigia Palustris, also known as Ludwigia Super Red (sp. red mini). I think new growth has already appeared at the top of the stems! The new growth seems not so red though, maybe my light is not strong enough.
Currently, it is day 4 of growing it. I dose basic fertilizers like Tropica Premium, Seachem Potassium (weekly) and also Seachem Root Tabs (once every few months). I think the plant is adapting to the new environment, I did notice a bit of melting going on.
Still surviving on Day 8! The new leaves are quite cool, they are mixed red and green in coloration, with red mostly at the tips. I wonder if they will turn red completely eventually.
We continue with Day 13 of growing Ludwigia Palustris (aka Ludwigia Super Red) in low tech without CO2. Seems to be surviving! There is a bit of “fungus” problem after feeding Hikari frozen brine shrimp, hopefully it clears after the water change.
Stay tuned for future updates. If you have any experience on growing Ludwigia in low tech tanks, please comment below!
Xiaozhuang Wong, also known as Dennis Wong (an expert aquascaper), has demonstrated that Ludwigia sp. red is actually the same plant as Ludwigia mini super red. It is the same plant, except that it grows smaller adult forms under lean fertilization regimes. This is similar for many plants. The below image shows Ludwigia plant taken from same cutting, grown under 2 different tank nutrient regimes. (Source: Xiaozhuang Wong Facebook)
Recently upgraded my air pump to the Eheim Air Pump 200, with dual output. My previous air pump was not strong enough to power 2 sponge filters simultaneously.
This Eheim Air Pump is very strong. In fact, it is almost too strong, I had to lower to the lowest setting for my 2 gallon nano tank. For the 5 gallon tank, I select the medium setting, and angle the output towards the wall. The sponge filter output was made to be above the water level (there is less turbulence this way).
Overall, this air pump is very good and quiet. Do expect some noise though, it is not totally silent. I would say it has the same noise level as a fan, which is totally acceptable. Also, I find that the 2 adjustable valves are not totally independent, when I adjust one valve it will affect the other output as well.
Review: The Eheim Air Pump is a highly recommended air pump for fish keepers with 2 aquariums.
The Eheim 200 Air Pump is also labelled as Eheim PHL207184. There is a more powerful Eheim 400 (twice the output), but based on my review most aquariums under 50 gallons should not require such a powerful pump (maybe 50 gallons and above may need it).
I have never seen this fish before in Singapore. In China, it seems common. It is called “Pang Pi” fish, or Rhodeus /bitterling fish. Although it is not very colorful, it is quite unique due to its relationship to the clam.
As you can see from the video, it likes to hang around the clam/mussel, and it will even lay its eggs inside. Apparently, the clam also deposits its eggs on the “Pang Pi” fish.
Clams are hard to keep, and can be quite tricky for beginners. It is hard to tell if the clam has died or not. (Even an alive clam does not move much. You can see how it moves in the video.) Once the clam has died, it will start decomposing and producing toxins which may harm the entire tank. Also, it is quite common for clams to have parasites and worms in them.
In addition, many sources recommend a level of around 20 ppm of Potassium for planted tanks (see for instance this site). That is 20 times the amount found in tap water! Other sources push it further, there are sites that recommend up to 50 ppm of potassium.
How to feed Chili Rasbora / Phoenix Rasbora in Community Tank
Chili Rasbora / Phoenix Rasbora and other small Rasboras like dwarf Rasboras have the following characteristics:
Very small mouths
They are micropredators (require “animal” / high protein food)
How I feed them is actually to take Betta food (Hikari Betta Biogold), and crush them with a mortar and pestle. Betta is also a predator hence their dietary requirements are kind of the same (high protein rather than high vegetable content). Then, together with the Neon Tetra pellets, pour it into the tank. There is bound to be food stuck to the container, which we use tank water to soak it and pour it out.
Repeat until all food is dispensed. Due to the numerous powder food in the water, the Neon Tetras are unable to snatch all the food, and the small Rasboras (Boraras Merah) are able to sneak in a few bites. At the end, all Rasboras are well fed as shown by their round bellies.
If the food is not crushed to powder, the Rasboras would not be able to swallow the food easily, and the end result is that most of the food is eaten by the Tetras. It took me quite a few months to figure the above procedure out (I was and still am quite new to fish keeping).
Just added 1 Seachem Flourish Tab next to my Alternanthera Reineckii Mini (AR Mini). Some “fizzing” or bubbling is observed. Not sure if that is due to the root tab, or maybe I disturbed some gas pockets in the substrate.
The below review video is rather convincing proof that Seachem Flourish tabs are one of the best root tabs in the market, despite having low macro nutrients (nitrogen and phosphate). The purpose of having low macro nutrients is for preventing algae.
PM Lee Hsien Loong on the COVID-19 pandemic: “I am in this for a very long time to come. To sustain this, I need everybody’s cooperation – safe distancing, personal hygiene, cooperation when we are contact tracing and discipline when people come back, stay home notification, stay home.” (Video: PMO)
Something interesting in this speech is that PM Lee mentions the plight of a tropical fish shop owner in Singapore.
Time around 5.22:
PM Lee chats with a Tropical Fish shop owner in Teck Ghee, who has been there for “donkey’s years”. She says her supplies come from Malaysia, and Malaysia has locked down. Tropical fish is not an essential item, how does she get her business going?
Very low tech 5 gallon tank for my Phoenix Rasboras (Boraras Merah) and Neon Tetras. I just let the plants grow naturally without CO2, with occasional trimmings. If you look carefully, you can see the Horned Nerite Snail eggs (they look like sesame seeds)!
I find that shrimp are just as interesting as fish to keep in an aquarium. Shrimp are very good at tidying/cleaning up the aquarium; it is a great idea to keep some shrimp whenever possible.
The easiest shrimp to keep are cherry shrimp (and its color variants), and also the Amano shrimp. The biggest cause of shrimp deaths is due to molting problems. Below are some videos of the shrimp I have personally kept.
Easy to keep shrimp: Amano shrimp, cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi).
More difficult shrimp: Bamboo shrimp (aka Wood shrimp), Bee shrimp (I have not tried these yet), Sulawesi Shrimp (not tried yet either).
Day 50 (12 March 2020): The aquarium light was upgraded around 10 days ago on 2 March 2020. It has helped the AR Mini in my opinion, making it slightly redder. The AR Mini is very much alive in the low tech tank! I think this dispels the myth that Alternanthera Reineckii Mini requires CO2 to live.
I think one of my Anubias rhizomes died (rotted) due to it being tied too tightly. The Anubias rhizome is supposed to be hard and green, if it is soft or brown, something is wrong.
For Anubias, the rhizome is the most important part of the plant, if it is dead, the whole plant will die.
Another reason for the Anubias rhizome rotting is the dreaded Anubias disease, but I don’t think it is the case here because another rhizome just next to the rotted rhizome is perfectly healthy.
Hence, the conclusion is that the Anubias rhizome most likely died from being tied too tightly by the string. It was at the back of my tank so I didn’t really notice it at first. I only noticed it when I saw a new leaf sprout out from the rotting rhizome, but the new leaf melted soon after. Usually, when new leaves melt, it is a sign of something wrong. Upon taking the entire Anubias plant out, I then realized that the rhizome had turned mushy.
The original Anubias was tied (by the seller) with thick string. I don’t really blame them for tying too tight because it is not easy at all to tie Anubias (too loose and it will not stay in place). I cut off the old string, threw away the rotted rhizome, and re-tied the healthy Anubias lightly with sewing thread.
Probably the same problem can occur for Java Fern, Bucephalandra, the rhizome may rot if tied too tightly.
This depends on how many shrimp you have, and also your tank setup. Ideally, shrimp such as cherry shrimp or Amano shrimp can survive on algae and biofilm. Hence, if your tank is well planted, you only need to feed lightly. Personally, I only feed the shrimps once a week, at around 2 Hikari Shrimp pellets per shrimp.
If your tank is bare (no plants), you need to feed more, maybe once every day or once every two days.
Supplementing with Hikari Shrimp food is good because it contains essential minerals like copper (shrimp need small amounts of copper) and other minerals that can help shrimp molt.
Mosquito Rasbora (Boraras Merah / Phoenix Rasbora) can live peacefully together with neon tetras!
The neon tetras mostly ignore the smaller mosquito rasboras, except maybe during feeding time where they try to snatch the food. There has been zero aggression between the mosquito rasboras and the neon tetras.
Mosquito Rasbora are surprisingly clever and have distinct personalities. One of my mosquito rasbora prefer to hangout near the top of the water together with the neon tetras, while another prefers to swim low near the roots of plants.
Many aquarium hobbyists propose fasting their fish once a week (i.e. not feeding the fish one day every week). The benefits of doing so include:
lower chance of constipation / bloating which may lead to swim bladder disease
clear the digestive system
better water quality (this is not the main point, but a side benefit)
I think in part people fast fish because in nature, if the fish was living it’s natural life, it would never be able to count on finding food every day, so fasting now and then is seen to be more in keeping with a natural life. Living in a glass box is so far from nature I’m not sure how valid that reasoning is, but it does no harm.
Man made foods are also filled with things the fish would never, ever eat in the wild, so fasting may be a break from some of that. Might be better to alternate man made with frozen or live though, the fish will be healthier for it.
If a fish has been constipated, fasting may well give the bowel a needed rest. Man made foods have many things like flour and other binding or bulking agents, and they are, I think, one of the prime reasons some fish become constipated. It’s not what they evolved to eat.
Just for an example, feeding living daphnia in quantity to fish is almost like giving them a laxative, they shoot through so fast, but fish eating living daphnia have amazing colour and vitality too. Great for conditioning to breed. In the wild daphnia are rather ephemeral, having huge numbers in spring and far fewer later. So fish and other critters that eat them, eat them much like we do some of the more perishable fruits.. when they’re available ! They eat all they can ’til they’re gone.
There is also a scientific research article on fasting tilapia fish. Basically the study found that “Overall, results suggest that fasting one day a week does not affect growth efficiency and that tilapia adjust well to relative changes in feeding frequency.”
One of my neon tetras is bloated/constipated. It has trouble sinking, it is swimming heads down and tails up. Hopefully it does not progress to the dreaded swim bladder disease or dropsy. Possible reasons is that it could have eaten the lion’s share of the TetraMin flake food the day before. I tried dosing Melafix (do not have any other suitable medication). I find that flake food tends to make neon tetras bloated (they may swallow air at the surface), but usually it subsides within a few hours. This tetra has been bloated for one full day, which is quite abnormal according to my experience.
Neon Tetra Bloated Recovery
Good news! The neon tetra recovered from bloat! Its stomach is noticeably more normal sized (previously there was a small lump). I am not sure if it was due to the Melafix or not. It is swimming normally now.
Update: I found out that one way to prevent neon tetra from getting bloated, without pre-soaking pellets and flakes, is to scatter the floating pellets in a wide area around the tank. This allows more time for the pellets to absorb water while the neon tetras are searching around. I found that this is much better than feeding through the “feeding slot” area at the top of my tank lid.
Another advantage is that slower fish can also get a better chance at eating the pellets while the fast neons are swimming around searching for their food. If I drop the pellets in a small area, it is likely that a few neon tetras will gobble up all the food, leaving none for the rest (and those neon tetras will end up bloated).
Traditionally, Alternanthera reineckii ‘Mini’ (AR Mini) is grown in high tech, high light tanks where it will grow into a deep red purplish color. In low tech, lower light tanks, I am trying to see if it can still grow, albeit less red. Maybe a lighter red or olive / bronze color like its cousin Alternanthera Roseafolia (below), would be a good enough result.
Lighting schedule: I am using an electronic timer with 12 hour photoperiod: 10am-4pm, 5pm-11pm. In between 4-5pm is a siesta (rest/blackout) period (to build up some CO2 if possible).
Day 1 (23 Jan 2020): This is the first day of planting. Still quite purplish undertones. To plant the Tropica tissue culture, I plucked off some of the leaves on the lower stem, and then inserted it into the substrate. No trimming of roots were done (the roots were not long anyway).
Day 3: The next video below is the 3rd day. The pinkish red colors on the underside are mostly gone (quite worrying), but the plants is clearly alive and it has oriented its leaves to face upwards! It is now a olive color with hints of red/pink.
Day 4: Video below. Not much different from Day 3. I realized that there is a Dwarf Sag small plantlet with runner amongst the AR Mini. The Dwarf Sag is one plant that is thriving in the tank. It started with 2 mother plants and now there are at least 8 plants propagated naturally via runners. If necessary, I may remove the dwarf sag (just the one amongst the AR Mini).
Day 5: Melting and shedding of leaves. This is day 5 of planting the AR Mini in the low tech tank. A total of 3 leaves were shed today. I think it is either (a) transitioning from emersed to submersed growth or (b) dying. Hopefully it is the former!
Day 6: Just one leaf melt today. One entire stem got uprooted, maybe it was the snail or the shrimp that disturbed it. There is a little frenzy among the neon tetras and Amano shrimp trying to grab the shrimp pellet. I removed a dwarf sag plantlet among the AR Mini, and replanted the uprooted stem there.
Day 7: No shedding of leaves today, which is good news. I spotted something that looks like hair algae, it could well be a disintegrated Marimo moss ball from “Secret Shrimp Society”. Water change was done, as well as dosing of Tropica Premium Nutrition liquid fertilizer. I ended up trimming the Cryptocoryne Wendtii as its leaves were almost reaching the water surface. I also removed the disintegrated Marimo moss balls from “Secret Shrimp Society” as it was starting to look like hair algae.
Day 10: This is day 10 of growing Alternanthera Reineckii Mini in a low tech tank. The leaves seem to have “perked up” and are slightly pinkish. Overall it looks better than on day 7, I think. The contrast between day 3 is also quite clear. No CO2 in this tank.
Day 13: The AR Mini has changed to a nice orangey-red. There has been shedding of around one leaf per day. The plant still looks alive overall, and in fact has grown taller than the Dwarf Sag beside it. There has been some trimming of the taller plants in the tank (crypts and Anubias).
Day 16: It has passed the 2 week mark. The AR Mini is still alive in the low tech tank. I do observe some new leaves growing.
Day 20: The AR Mini plants are getting more bronze color and less red. The undersides are still a little pinkish red though. Overall quite surprised at the result in my low tech tank. (I was half expecting the plants to die.)
Day 50 (12 March 2020): The aquarium light was upgraded around 10 days ago on 2 March 2020. It has helped the AR Mini in my opinion, making it slightly redder. The AR Mini is very much alive in the low tech tank! I think this dispels the myth that Alternanthera Reineckii Mini requires CO2 to live.
Just bought this red plant at a local fish store at just $2. I am thinking it is Ludwigia repens (or possibly other type of Ludwigia).
Red plant (Ludwigia repens?) in low tech 5 gallon tank. No CO2. I bought this red stem plant for my fish to celebrate Chinese New Year. Hope it can survive in my tank!
Update: Unfortunately, upon further research, the above red plant may actually be Alternanthera sessilis which is not aquatic! The stems and leaves of the above said plant are quite hard and stiff, which is characteristic of a terrestrial plant.
I have tried to ask experts on the Planted Tank Forum, they have confirmed that it is not Ludwigia arcuata (which I originally thought it was).
Just wanted to give a positive review for the Tetra Vacation “Slow Release Feeder” Holiday fish food, which feeds up to 14 days.
I went for a vacation for around 12 days, and came back to zero fish/snail/shrimp deaths, and perfectly healthy fish!
The fish I had were:
5 neon tetras
2 lambchop rasboras
2 Rili Shrimp
1 Amano Shrimp
2 Horned Nerite Snails
All were surviving well after the vacation. It was quite clear that the shrimp and snails were able to eat the food as well (I saw them eating the food, as well as their poop on the feeding dish).
Tips for using the Tetra Vacation fish food
I think the key is not to put too much. If you only have a few tetras, estimated of 1/8 of the entire block will be more than enough. The entire block is overkill and may increase the chances of polluting the water.
The air pump I am using currently is the Ocean Free Zero Noise Z-1000. It is actually already quite quiet (around 4o-45 decibels measured on a free iPhone app “dBMeter”).
I decided to create a DIY box to further absorb the sounds. Materials used are:
Phone box (iPhone box cover used here, but probably any similar sized box works)
Scissors (to cut holes for the air tubing and power cord to pass through)
Corrugated plastic board (black). Initially I wanted to make a cover, but the pump was too tall to cover it. Hence, I added some corrugated plastic boards to raise the height of the box.
Some black foam (I think it was part of the aquarium packaging) to line the inside of the box, for sound absorption.
Corrogated plastic board and black foam was also used to make a “base” for the phone box. (I am not entirely sure if this helps or not, just thinking in the line of reducing physical vibrations.)
Cloth from old shirt (blue) to line the inside of the corrugated plastic board, again to absorb sound.
In the end, I decided not to have a cover, to prevent overheating. Currently, there should be ample air flow as the box is essentially open top.
Results are quite ok, noticeably softer sound. Approximately around 5 decibels reduction in sound from the “dBMeter” app, to around 35-40 decibels. Probably it is quite hard to go lower than that since even a relatively quiet room is around 20-30 decibels.
Melafix is quite a popular medication in the aquarium hobby, by the company API. Chances are most people have at least heard about it. However, there is remarkably little information on this medication online, and whatever information is scattered and not centralized.
The active ingredient in Melafix is Melaleuca oil at 1.0% concentration. We can easily then see how Melafix got its name. Melaleuca oil comes from the a tree in the Melaleuca genus, which includes the popular “tea tree” from which “tea tree oil” is derived. Note that there is a technicality where “contrary to popular opinion it is not made from the common Tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, but from Melaleuca leucadendra, also known as the Cajeput Tree” (Wikipedia).
There seems to be not much research done on Melafix. One of the few research papers is the following:
The use of Melafix on goldfish and clownfish appears to be safe as no adverse effects were noted during the experimental period. The results also showed that Melafix has no effect on the water-quality parameters tested. In vitro efficacy studies were conducted by determining the minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration of Melafix on various pathogens. The study revealed that Melafix had no significant bactericidal or inhibitory effect on any of the pathogens tested. This observation suggests that anecdotal benefits of Melafix are not owing to antibacterial activity.
The above paper seems to show negative results (no antibacterial activity of Melafix), but at least there is no harmful effects on the fish nor water parameters. The effect of Melafix may not be due to the antibacterial activity per se, but possibly the healing and regenerative aspects of it, or boosting the fish’s immune system and regrowth of tissue.
A paper showing positive effects of Melafix is the following:
In particular, a combination treatment of Melafix® and Pimafix® was highly effective at reducing in vitro survival of parasites from 15 to 2 h and eradicating 95% of gyrodactylids in vivo. The unexpected high efficacy of this combination treatment is likely explained by the high content of terpenes and phenol propanoids in the cajuput and West Indian bay oils, as well as the anti-helminthic properties of the emulsifier Crovol PK 70. Hence, Melafix® and Pimafix® effectively reduce gyrodactylid burdens on fish, increasing the chances of efficient disease control in ornamental fish.
Yet another paper is not on Melafix, but on its active constituent Cajeput oil:
Main antibacterially active agents obtained from plants-Cajeput essential oil–1,8 cineol, linalool, alpha-terpineol and terpinen-4-ol, for example from Melalleuce leucadendron (Myrtaceae) as well as essential oil from Ocimum gratissimum (Labiatae) were combined in tests in vitro with selected antibiotics. Above mentioned plant products were found to be effective medicaments for local application in modern medical practice. Combinations with antibiotics potentiated their therapeutical action. On the basis of tests in vitro the synergistic action of these two kinds of medicaments, i.e., preparations traditionally used for a few last decades–antibiotics–might be well applied for therapeutical needs.
Hence, the above link supports the view that Cajeput oil (active ingredient of Melafix) does have antibacterial properties!
Anecdotal Evidence of Melafix
Judging by Amazon reviews (https://amzn.to/34G4Ubr), many people do claim that Melafix works in curing their fish of fin rot, popeye, and various other ailments.
The biggest advantages of Melafix are as follows:
Does not kill beneficial filter bacteria
Does not stain water (colorless)
The most “powerful” medication is of course fish antibiotics, but that is the last resort as there are many side effects of antibiotics, including possible wiping out all filter bacteria, and development of resistant bacteria.
An example of fish antibiotics is API General Cure, which is a very powerful fish medication that can treat very serious diseases such as “hole in the head”.
The below is an amazing case of recovery from popeye (eye dangling out) treated by Melafix.
It was absolutely the worst case of Popeye I have ever see with the eye protruding almost 3/8 of an inch and hanging down.. It was so nasty looking that the wife & kids wouldn’t go near the tank as the sight made them feel sick.. I was nearly to the point of putting it down as I figured it would surely get worse and if there was some type of infection involved, I didn’t want to contaminate the tank.
I decided to treat the tank with a product made by API called Melafix. This is an antibacterial made from the extract of Tea Trees. I only used 1/2 the recommended dose as to not create any major impact to the rest of my tank and system.
Long story short, within 2 days of the treatment I thought I noticed a change and saw the fish actually eat. I treated the tank again after 3 days and the eye definitely improved.. After the second treatment I just watch with amazement as the fish made a complete recovery within two week with no sign what so ever the initial problem.
15 ml of salt for a 20 liter tank (5 US gallon tank)
5 ml of salt for a 7 liter tank (2 US gallon tank)
There are various arguments whether cooking salt can be used in place of aquarium salt. Personally, I use normal cooking salt (non-iodized) and so far it works fine (no fish nor shrimp nor snails have died).
Update: We have created a YouTube video on Aquarium Salt (Dosage, Benefits and Tips!)
It is well known that the Java Fern has different “varieties” — such as “trident”, “Windelov”, “Narrow Leaf” and “Needle Leaf”.
I kept normal Java Fern, as well as “Narrow Leaf” Java Fern in Singapore, at a temperature of around 29 to 30 degrees Celsius (85-86 Fahrenheit).
I found that the Normal Java Fern does well (nice green color, and grows baby plantlets), but the “Narrow Leaf” Java Fern does not do well (becomes browner and even blacker by the day).
I checked online and at least four other people have experienced this:
I think cooler temperatures might be the answer. My narrow leaf in syd are lush green and pearling like mad in temps of 25 celsius. In KL, 28-29 celsius, they grow a little, turn brown sometimes and are a bit of a hassle to keep. My normal java fern does well in any temps/conditions, just the narrow leaf, more demanding. Has anyone grew nice long narrow leaf in warm temps? Those in LFS have them in air conditioned rooms.
Narrow Leaf Java Fern does better in cooler temperatures (around 25 degrees Celsius)
Other anecdotal evidence that Narrow Leaf Java Fern may do better in cooler waters:
I’ve had a lot of success with Java Ferns and Narrow Leaf Java Ferns (NLJF) in my tank.
My tank is high-light (288Watts for 80gallon) and has lots of CO2 (3bps). I dose it with TMG almost every week. I tie the JF on driftwood and also bury them in my substrate, either way it grows well. Kwek Leong did share with me that growing them in substrate will produce longer leaves for NLJF and that holds true in my tank. I place them very new my water outlet as I read somewhere that the JF thrives in that environment. Also, I have a chiller that keeps my water temp at around 24.5-25.0C.
Hope this helps!
I knew of a tank that grow Narrow Leaf Java Fern very well and the conditions are like what Roger has too. Under these conditions, they grow very rapidly and the leafs are jade green and very clean (no spots at all).
Yet another post:
I used to have prolific growth of Narrow Leaf Java Ferns in my tank. I don’t think CO2 injection is necessary but the ferns probably do better under low light and cold water.
Something else interesting that I found out is that methylene blue seems to affect narrow leaf Java Fern negatively, but not normal Java Fern. Basically, the Methylene blue seems to stain the narrow leaf Java Fern, and lead to its demise. I tried this out inadvertently while dosing my fish tanks with methylene blue to cure ich.
The Narrow Leaf Java Fern is on the right of my fish tank in the video below (it was still in an ok state at that time):
I think the conclusion is that Narrow Leaf Java Fern is a slightly more demanding plant when it comes to temperature (does not do well above 27-28 Celsius). Due to global warming, many countries in the tropics are now stuck with 30 degrees Celsius temperature almost all year round, hence the normal Java Fern may be a better choice.
It also sort of makes sense in terms of plant biology. Usually plants with “thin” leaves tend to be those that live in colder/cooler weather such as pine trees. While plants with big wide leaves are those that live in hot tropical weather (such as banana tree). Using this “logic”, I would suppose that needle leaf Java Fern also does better in cooler waters.
There are many blogs focusing on Taiwan tourism, this blog focuses on the aspect of fish you can see/eat in Taiwan.
Koi at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
If you visit the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall in Taipei, do check out the pond just nearby. There are many koi in the pond, and also a vending machine with fish food for sale (around NT$10 for a tube of fish food). There are various colors of koi, ranging from dull gray to colorful red, white or gold colors.
Marimo Moss Ball Exhibition at National Taiwan Museum
The National Taiwan Museum is not as famous as the other museum, National Palace Museum (aka Gu Gong), but nonetheless it holds some interesting specimens related to Taiwan. When I went there, there was a small Marimo Moss ball exhibition. The Marimo Moss ball were of exceptional high quality (better than any moss ball I saw in Singapore). They were dark green, dense, and almost perfectly spherical.
Water Lettuce Bowl with Guppy
Very healthy looking Water Lettuce specimens in a large porcelain bowl. The leaves were almost perfect, with no holes. There is also a female guppy (camouflaged in the second picture), together with guppy fry living in the bowl. This was seen on Shifen Old Street towards the waterfall.
Koi Pond en route to Shifen Waterfall
On the way to the famous waterfall at Shifen, there is yet another Koi pond with the option to purchase fish food (this time at NT$20). Interestingly, I did spot fishes in the river adjoining the waterfall, but it is quite hard to photograph them due to their color (dull black) and the distance. I wonder what happens if they fall down the waterfall.
Aquarium Shops in Taipei
The most famous aquarium street in Taipei is the one at Section 5, Minquan East Road. Unfortunately, it is not very accessible via train. Despite sounding similar, the Minquan West Road Metro station is very far from Minquan East Road.
I went to a nearby aquarium in Shilin district instead. To my surprise, there was an alligator snapping turtle in the aquarium (together with various interesting species of aquatic tortoises). Just beside the aquarium was a local Taiwanese restaurant popular with locals, with free flow rice and ice-cream. In the restaurant, there are a few live fish and crabs for eating, and there was a moray eel inside!
One thing to note is that Cod Fish (Snow Fish or Xue Yu) is quite cheap in Taiwan, in the restaurant one slab of Cod Fish the size of my hand is just NT$180 or SGD$8. In Singapore, the price is at least double or triple that.
Recently, my mosquito rasbora (Boraras merah) was acting weirdly by hiding in a corner and sleeping more than usual.
Upon closer examination, I found “specks” on it. At first I thought it was velvet. However, this was an old tank and there has not been any introduced fish for more than 2 months. Then I realized it was probably dropsy and the specks were actually pineconing of the scales, which looks like specks of dust because of the smallness of the scales (this mosquito rasbora is one of the smallest fish in the freshwater aquarium, measuring less than 2 cm when fully grown). In conclusion, I think dropsy in tiny fish can probably look like velvet.
I think the reason is that the dwarf hairgrass (and Japanese hairgrass) planted in the sand substrate has failed to grow, and in fact has started to die and rot, releasing ammonia, nitrites and/or nitrates into the water. I do have a Seachem Ammonia Alert badge that did not show any readings.
Hence, I suspect it is probably nitrates. I added Methylene blue (full dose) after 50% water change, and then continued 50% water change on the second day, topping up the Methylene blue (half dose). On the third day, another 50% water change. (For all days during the water change, I removed the rotting hairgrass as well as any pond snails pests that I find, and wiped off algae).
After the third day, the mosquito rasbora began to behave normally again, swimming around and schooling together with the lambchop rasbora. I hope it will survive.
The lambchop rasbora seem unaffected and seem more hardy than the mosquito rasbora. I think the mosquito rasbora may be more sensitive to water parameters.
You can also see the shrimp in my YouTube video (around 2m 43s mark):
Despite it being an “imposter”, it behaved quite similar to Amano shrimp, eating algae and cleaning up the tank. According to some online sources, it could be Malayan shrimp which is also quite probable due to the locality (Malaysia is just next to Singapore). Malayan shrimp have different colors, and the clear colored ones look very much like Amano or Yamato shrimp.
Disappearing / Missing Shrimp
What is interesting about this shrimp (fake Amano) is that it totally disappeared from my fish tanks — twice. The first time, it disappeared from an open tank with just neon tetras in them. The second time (another shrimp of the same type), it totally disappeared from a close lid tank with just a honey gourami and 2 horned nerite snails. I did not find their body anywhere inside or outside the tank.
What I suspect is that they died soon after molting (I did see them molt), and then got totally eaten up by the small fish as shrimp sashimi. Or possibly they have a very fast rate of decomposition and can essentially “dissolve” into the water overnight.
Betta fish are quite intelligent and curious. I trained my Betta fish to do some simple tricks.
I bought my 5 Gallon tank on Qoo10: Betta Fish Tank. The modern viewpoint is that Betta should not be kept in small bowls or vases (though they might still survive). A 2.5 gallon tank is considered the absolute minimum, with 5 gallon and above being a better choice.
Amazing “teamwork” between a goby fish and a shrimp! Basically, the shrimp is in charge of digging the burrow, but it is almost blind. The goby fish acts as the sentry to alert the shrimp in case of danger.
This video may be useful for GEP science, it may be tested as an example of “symbiotic relationships” in animals. GEP Science syllabus includes a brief introduction to different types of symbiosis (Mutualism, Commensalism and parasitism).
It is also very entertaining and can promote interest in science for children.
This “Malayan Aqua Fern” is a very mysterious plant, there is very little information on Google about it.
There are two views on it, based on online writings.
First viewpoint on Malayan Aqua Fern:
The “Malayan Aqua Fern” is none other than Peacock Fern, or Selaginella willdenowii. It is NOT an aquatic plant, and will die if fully submerged under water. This is quite reasonable, based on the pictures of Peacock Fern online, it does look like the pictures of the “Malayan Aqua Fern”. Nonetheless, it can be planted in a crab/terrapin tank where it is not fully submerged under water.
The “Malayan Aqua Fern” may give the illusion of surviving under water when it may be slowly dying (takes around a month to die).
The “Malayan Aqua Fern” is an amphibious plant, able to live both submerged or in moist conditions. If this is true, then “Malayan Aqua Fern” would be an incredible aquarium plant as it looks very good in a fish tank.
My betta in a 5 Gallon tank, together with 2 Amano shrimp (I think that’s the breed though I am not 100% sure) and 1 Zebra Snail. Anyone knows the names of the aquatic plants? I know one of them is “guppy grass”, the other two I have no idea. Please comment below if you know!