Three fish for your fresh water aquarium are described here. Scientific names, preferred conditions, colors description, sex differences and breeding advice are given for the Upside down Catfish, the Variatus Platy and the White Cloud Mountain Minnow.
Upside Down Catfish – Synodontis nigriventris (Family: Mochokidae)
As its name describes this fish exhibits different postures than most other fish do. Its main position is upside down as it eats from underneath the leaves. Its upside nature continues on into its color as its back has the lighter colors and the belly the darker colors.
They can be kept in a community tank but the lighting really needs to be dim so select your choice of occupants carefully to meet this particular criteria. A water temperature range of 22 to 26 degrees centigrade is adequate. These fish are scavengers but their food diet must be varied and consist of a high proportion of vegetable matter.
A special feature of this fish is the presence of long barbels that might irritate the other fish now and again. The eye is particularly large, the back is a light gray to cream color with dark brown to black irregular shaped spotting. The belly of the fish is almost black. It can grow to about 10 cms.
The large caudal fin is split with spots and colored tints on it. The dorsal fin has the same tints. Breeding wise there is no recommended techniques to pass on although it has been bred on rare occasions.
Variatus Platy – Xiphophorus variatus (Family: Poeciliidae)
Due to lots of breeding there are a wide range of colored varieties. This is an extremely popular fish with beginners. It is not difficult to maintain in a fresh water aquarium and will even breed in it. Platys are not fussy eaters, are sturdy and temperatures between 20 and 27 degrees centigrade will be fine.
The male is smaller then the female which is a bit dull color wise being greenish or silvery. A males color will depend on its type. For breeding the pair should be kept apart prior to it and a breeding tank used. Moving an egg carrying female is dangerous, unless in the early stages, as the brood and the mother can be lost.
It can take two months to give birth to over one hundred fry and most should survive as these fish are not particularly cannibalistic. Infusoria can be fed for a short time before you move on to fine dry food and brine shrimp.
White Cloud Mountain Minnow – Tanichthys albonubes (Family: Cyprinidae)
Another good peaceful community fish for your fresh water aquarium and the beginner. There are no feeding problems and it likes to eat little and frequently. Too much heat will hurt this fish so a water temperature range of between 18 and 20 degrees centigrade is best. The water should also be a bit hard and there needs to be lots of space for it to swim around in.
The main color is often silver (with purple blue tints) along the flanks and green on the back. Adults will reach a size of about 4 cms. In the young fish there is a blue green stripe on it that appears to change color as the angle of view changes. This runs from the caudal peduncle to behind the eye but gradually fades and cannot be seen in older fish.
Both the caudal fin and the dorsal fin have a red area on them. The anal fin is a bit longer than the dorsal fin. It has a small mouth that faces upwards slightly. The female is more full bodied than the male. The male has a longer dorsal fin.
Breeding the white cloud mountain minnow is not difficult. To start with you need to separate the selected pair and condition them as this will help the breeding success rate. The breeding tank should be planted with thick bunches of fine leaved plants and have shallow water; about 15 cms.
After getting together the eggs will be laid among the plants. The eggs are not sticky. Although there is no reputation for eating their eggs or fry it is best practice to remove the parents after spawning. Three days later and fry should appear. Rear as normal.
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