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Mosquito Fish

(Gambusia sp. aff. Affinis)
Mosquito Fish
Quick Stats
Minimum Pond Size: 20 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Tank Conditions: 65-75F; pH 6.5-7.5; KH 4-20
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 3"
Color Form: Pale
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Farm Raised
Family: Poeciliidae

The Mosquito Fish originates in the backwaters and freshwater ponds of North and Central America. It is an excellent controller of mosquitoes for your outdoor pond. It is in the same family as the common guppy and is very similar in characteristics. The body is long and slender and is pale in color. The tail is moderate in size and does not contain any coloration.

The Mosquito Fish requires a pond of at least 20 gallons with plenty of plants for hiding. These fish are natural to North America as far north as Central Illinois, and will tolerate winter conditions as long as the pond is deep enough and is aerated through the winter.

You can differentiate the male and females easily. The males are smaller in size, have a pointed anal fin and are much thinner than the female. The females are larger in size, have a rounded anal fin, as well as a pregnancy patch on the lower portion of the body. Ideally, the environment should have a covering of floating ferns and a breeding box to protect the fry. Adults may eat the fry if left to fend for themselves without the breeding box.

The Mosquito Fish feeds upon the larvae of mosquitoes and other insects. If insufficient natural foods are present, supplement their diet with a quality flake food.

Bitterling - Assorted

(Rhodeus sp.)
 Bitterling - Assorted
Quick Stats
Minimum Pond Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Tank Conditions: 65-78F; pH 7.0-8.0; KH 8-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 4"
Color Form: Pink, Red
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Farm Raised
Family: Cyprinidae

Bitterlings are carp-like in appearance, and are a great addition to either a backyard pond, or aquarium. Their bodies are generally silver to gold in color, and their dorsal and anal fins are highlighted in white. When mature, they will develope either a pink or blue hue at the base of their caudal fin.

The ideal aquarium is at least 30 gallons with many plants (either real or plastic), rocks with plenty of hiding places, gravel or sand is acceptable for a substrate.

Bitterlings are popular additions for ponds with large koi. They will feed upon parasites that infect the koi, especially anchor worms. They are very active fish that will also feed upon insect larvae and will help in controlling mosquitos in the water garden.

The Bitterlings will spawn into the mantle of a freshwater clam, where they will incubate. Provide a number of Bitterlings in the same aquarium to allow them to pair off. After the fry become waterborne, feed them newly hatched brine shrimp until large enough to accept other foods.

The Bitterling needs to be fed a variety of foods including vegetables as well as meaty foods. Feed a quality flake food as well as freeze dried, live, and frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Black Ghost Knifefish

(Apteronotus albifrons)
  Click here for a larger image
Black Ghost Knifefish
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 73-80F; pH 6.5-7.0; KH 0-10
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 1' 6"
Color Form: Black
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Farm Raised, Thailand
Family: Apteronotidae

The Black Ghost Knifefish is a member of the Apteronotidae family and the speckled knifefish group. It is considered a true bony fish. When properly cared for, the Black Ghost Knifefish can reach well over one foot in length. It possesses a weak electrical organ at the caudal peduncles which is used to locate food.

It requires a minimum of a 50 gallon tank with excellent filtration. It is generally timid and reclusive, preferring a fine-gravel-bottom aquarium with plenty of roots and rocks for hiding places, as well as subdued to dark lighting. To better appreciate this fish, many hobbyists will purchase a "ghost tube," a clear plastic tube that facilitates viewing during the day. Once accustomed to its surroundings, the Black Ghost Knifefish can become incredibly tame and trusting to the point of being hand-held. It does well with other, larger species of a peaceful nature, but may be aggressive towards those of similar or smaller size.

Omnivorous, the Black Ghost Knifefish will eat all types of live foods including meat, chopped earthworms, as well as frozen and flaked foods.

Badis

(Badis badis)
Badis
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 73-79F; pH 6.5-7.5; KH 10-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 3"
Color Form: Brown
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: India
Family: Badidae

The Badis, also known as the Dwarf Chameleon Fish, originates from India, and is one fish in which color changes are considerable. Predominantly brown with patterned black or red bars, males will change to a bluish-black pattern with iridescent blue showing in the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins during breeding times.

This fish will do well in an established planted aquarium with caves, rocks, and driftwood. The Badis is a territorial fish in a species tank, but is more peaceful in a community tank. Family groups are formed and are headed by the male.

Badis badis will breed in caves scattering the eggs which become attached to cave walls and the substrate. The male guards and defends the eggs, and, after about three days the fry hatch. The fry should be fed a diet of infusoria.

Carnivores, the Badis will consume live and frozen food, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, and small pieces of meat.

African Butterflyfish

(Pantodon buchholzi)
African Butterflyfish
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 75-86F; pH 6.9-7.1; KH 1-10
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 4"
Color Form: Brown, Camouflage
Temperament: Aggressive
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Africa
Family: Pantodontidae

The African Butterflyfish is common to many lakes across Africa and is an interesting fish. It spends most of its time hanging at the surface of the water, waiting for prey. The body is dark brown to black and is speckled with lighter colorations. The fins resemble the wings of a bird, giving this fish a look like no other. It does remain relatively small, but caution needs to be exercised, as this fish will swallow anything it can fit into its mouth.

The ideal set-up for the African Butterfly is an aquarium of at least 30 gallons with plenty of plants that reach near the surface that this fish can use for cover. They can handle a wide range of temperatures up into the mid 80's. These fish can jump out of the water, and can even glide short distances. It is therefore very important to have a tight fitting top on the aquarium to stop the fish from jumping out.

In order to breed the African Butterfly, lower the water in the aquarium to just a few inches for a few weeks. When refilling the aquarium, use soft acidic water. The male will then climb on top of the female at the water's surface. After about a day, the eggs will turn dark and will float to the surface. Remove these eggs to a separate aquarium with similar water conditions. The eggs will hatch in approximately two days and the fry demand the smallest live foods, such as baby brine shrimp and daphnia.

Feed the African Butterfly a steady diet of small fish, brine shrimp, insects and suitable freeze-dried foods.

Assorted Pencilfish

(Nannostomus sp.)
  Click here for a larger image
Assorted Pencilfish
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-83F; pH 5.5-7.0; KH 2-5
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 2"
Color Form: Black, Gold, Red, Silver
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Brazil
Family: Lebiasinidae

The Pencilfish originates within the tributaries of South America. They are bullet shaped and are mostly gold in color. Red and black horizontal lines cover the entire length of the fish and the red line extends into the tail. The upper half of the caudal fin is clear while the rest of the fin is red in coloration. They are a peaceful fish that will make a wonderful addition to any freshwater community aquarium.

The Pencilfish can be housed in an aquarium with other peaceful soft water fish. It is best to keep these fish with fish that are not overly active. Live plants, rocks and driftwood help to enhance its natural habitat and provide hiding spaces. They are sensitive to high nitrate levels, so frequent water changes may be necessary.

It is best when trying to breed the Pencilfish to remove the pair from the community aquarium to a separate breeding aquarium. Quickly remove parents after spawning, as they will frequently consume the eggs. The eggs will hatch within a few days. Feed the newborn newly hatched brine shrimp or rotifers.

The Pencilfish will typically inhabit the upper third of the aquarium where they will search for food. Frozen and freeze dried daphnia, baby brine shrimp and tubifex worms are an ideal food. In time, they will also adapt to accepting crushed flake foods.

Annostomus Cigar Fish

(Annostomus anostomus)
Annostomus Cigar Fish
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-83F; pH 6.5-7.2; KH 5-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 7"
Color Form: Black, Brown
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Amazon, South America
Family: Anostomidae

The Annostomus Cigar Fish, also known as the Striped Cigar Fish or the Striped Headstander, is native to South America, inhabiting rivers in Venezuela, Guyana, and Columbia. This unusual looking species gets its name from its cigar-shaped body, and upward turned mouth. Horizontal brown/black stripes with alternating yellow stripes, along with a red tail and dorsal fin differentiate this fish from other species in this family. This species will make a very unusual addition to the semi-aggressive community aquarium.

Roots, rocks, and driftwood make the best decorations for aquariums containing this species. The Annostomus Cigar Fish may eat tender plants. An avid jumper, this fish will require a hood on the aquarium. Although the Cigar Fish may be somewhat aggressive towards its own species, they are usually quite peaceful with other species.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the Annostomus Cigar Fish have not been documented.

An omnivore, Annostomus annostomus is not a finicky eater. Flake foods, pellet food, frozen foods, and freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp will be accepted.

Elephant Nose

(Gnathonemus petersii)
Elephant Nose
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 73-80F; pH 6.5-7.0; KH 0-10
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 9"
Color Form: Black
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Africa
Family: Mormyridae

The Elephant Nose is an interesting fish that originates from the Niger River and its tributaries in Western Africa. Its body is mostly black and is irregularly shaped with a long narrow tail and nose in which it uses to forage for food. It possesses a weak electrical organ at the caudal peduncles which is used to locate food.

It requires a minimum of a 50 gallon aquarium with good water conditions. It is generally timid and reclusive, preferring a fine-gravel-bottom aquarium with plenty of plants and rocks for hiding places where it can find refuge from the light. To better appreciate this fish, many hobbyists will purchase a "ghost tube," a clear plastic tube that facilitates viewing during the day. Once accustomed to its surroundings, the Elephant Nose can become incredibly tame and trusting to the point of being hand-held. It does well with other, larger species of a peaceful nature, but may be aggressive towards those of similar or smaller size.

The Elephant Nose is carnivorous and will eat many types of meaty foods including; blood worms, chopped earthworms, brine shrimp, flake and pellet foods as well as an array of frozen meaty foods.

Leopard Ctenopoma

(Ctenopoma acutirostre)
Leopard Ctenopoma
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 73-82F; pH 6.5-7.5; KH 6-20
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 6"
Color Form: Brown, Tan
Temperament: Aggressive
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Zaire
Family: Anabantidae

The Leopard Ctenopoma, also known as the Spotted Climbing Perch, is part of the Bush Fish group of the family Anabantidae. These "climbing fish" are patient predators often remaining still among plants waiting for food to pass by. The Leopard Ctenopoma is one of the more colorful species of the Ctenopoma genus.

The Leopard Ctenopoma requires a densely planted aquarium with roots and driftwood in which to hide. Somewhat aggressive, this fish should be kept with other fish of similar size.

Ctenopoma acutirostre is a bubble-nest builder. Slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7.0), very soft (dH 2-4), and warm water (79-82F) is necessary for breeding. The fry should be fed live food such as brine shrimp.

Carnivores, Leopard Ctenopomas will eat live, frozen, and prepared foods such as krill or ocean plankton, as well as floating pellet food.

Celebes Half Beak

(Nomorphamphus liemi)
Celebes Half Beak
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Difficult
Tank Conditions: 75-79F; pH 6.8-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 3"
Color Form: Amber, Neon Blue, Orange, Yellow
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Sulawesi
Family: Hemirhamphidae

The Celebes Half Beak is a very active schooling fish belonging to the Hemirhamphidae family. Males of this species have very colorful fins and a black lobe on the lower jaw. Females have less color in the fins and have a red or uncolored lobe.

A community aquarium with plants, rocks, caves, and driftwood is well-suited for this fish. A small school should be kept with other peaceful fish of similar size. The tank should be covered since this fish tends to jump.

Nomorhamphus liemi breeds in shallow, soft, slightly acidic water. After a gestation period of about six to eight weeks, roughly ten, 3/4-inch fry are born. Small pieces of live food or infusoria should be fed to the fry.

A carnivore, the Celebes Half Beak should be fed live foods or frozen foods, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as high quality flake foods.

Red Tail Barracuda

(Acestrorhynchus falcatus)
Red Tail Barracuda
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Care Level: Difficult
Tank Conditions: 76-82F; pH 6.8-7.4; KH 8-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 1' 3"
Color Form: Silver
Temperament: Aggressive
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: South America
Family: Acestrorhynchidae

The Red Tail Barracuda is an ominous looking fish with a long, slender, silver body with a bright red tail. The most distinguishing characteristic of this fish is the large sharp teeth that are easily seen. Often referred to as the Dog Characin, Freshwater Barracuda, Spotted Cachorro, or the Amazon Cachorro, this fish is a Characin related to both tetras and the piranha.

A 70 gallon or larger aquarium that is well established is ideal for this species. Provide the Red Tail Barracuda with driftwood in order to maintain a neutral to slightly acidic pH and soft water. There should be plenty of open swimming areas. A vicious predator, the Red Tail Barracuda should only be housed with other more aggressive predacious fish of similar size. Ideally, it is best to not place this species with territorial species of Cichlids.

The breeding habits of this species are unknown, and the Red Tail Barracuda has yet to be spawned in the home aquarium.

The Red Tail Barracuda is a carnivore and should be fed a variety of live foods such as small fish and crustaceans.

Needle Nose Gar

(Xenentodon cancila)
Needle Nose Gar
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 76-82F; pH 6.8-7.4; KH 8-15
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 1' 3"
Color Form: Silver
Temperament: Aggressive
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Asia
Family: Belonidae

The Needle Nose Gar originates from the rivers, slack waters and ponds of Asia. They are a very long and slender fish that is mostly silver in color. Because of their body shape, they are able to produce very quick bursts of speed when in pursuit of prey. They have a very slender mouth that is filled with numerous small razor-like teeth.

A 70-gallon or larger aquarium that is well established is ideal for this species. Provide the Needle Nose Gar with a gravel substrate and plenty of rock for structure. There should be plenty of open swimming areas. A vicious predator, the Needle Nose Gar should only be housed with other more aggressive predacious fish of similar size. A tight fitting canopy is a must for this species, as they can generate great speeds and easily jump out of the aquarium.

The breeding habits of this species are unknown, as the Needle Nose Gar has yet to be spawned in the home aquarium.

The Needle Nose Gar is a carnivore and should be fed a variety of live foods such as small fish and crustaceans. Caution needs to be exercised when feeding these fish, as they will readily bite the hand that feeds it.

Redfin Prochilodus

(Semaprochilodus taeniurus)
Redfin Prochilodus
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Tank Conditions: 72-77F; pH 6.0-7.0; KH 3-8
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 1'
Color Form: Black, Red, Silver, Yellow
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Herbivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: South America
Family: Prochilodontidae

The Redfin Prochilodus, also known as the Silver Prochilodus, originates in the Amazon basin in South America. This species is bright silver in color with very large eyes. The caudal fin is striped in black and yellow alternating bands, and the pectoral fins are red. These are great fish for an oddball aquarium that will add a variety of color, and will aid in algae control.

The Redfin Prochilodus requires an aquarium of 70 gallons or larger with a sandy bottom and plenty of hiding places provided by driftwood and rocks. They are generally peaceful, but may become territorial. Provide tank mates that are of similar size. Only incorporate plants of the hardy nature, as the Redfin Prochilodus is an herbivore and may eat any of the more delicate species.

The Redfin Prochilodus is a substrate spawner, and little is known about their breeding habits.

The Redfin Prochilodus is herbivorous and requires foods that are rich in vegetable matter. Feed freeze-dried algae, lettuce and herbivorous flake and pellet foods.

African Tiger Fish

(Hydrocynus vittatus)
African Tiger Fish
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 500 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 73-82F; pH 6.5-7.8; KH 6-25
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 3'
Color Form: Metalic Silver
Temperament: Aggressive
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: African River Systems
Family: Alestiidae

The African Tiger Fish, also known as the Tiger Characin, is a predatory Characin from the river systems of Africa. This unusual looking species is silver in color with very large sharp teeth that can be easily seen.

The African Tiger Fish prefers a densely planted aquarium with roots and driftwood in which to hide. Aggressive towards other smaller fish, this species should only be maintained in a species tank, or with other similar sized non-territorial species.

This is a very active fish and may harm itself or others in the aquarium when startled. It is best kept in a wide aquarium and an almost square tank would be ideal.

The reproductive habits of this species are not known.

A carnivore, the African Tiger Fish will eat live foods, but after adjusting to its new surroundings, frozen, and prepared foods such as krill or ocean plankton as well as floating pellet food will usually be accepted.

Arapaima Gigas

(Arapaima gigas)
Arapaima Gigas
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 1000 gallons
Care Level: Difficult
Tank Conditions: 75-82F; pH 6.0-7.0; KH 1-8
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 5'
Color Form: Black, Gold, Silver
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Farm Raised
Family: Arapaimidae

The Arapaima Gigas is also known as the Pirarucu, and inhabits the waters of the Amazon Basin, South America. They are known for being the largest freshwater fish on the planet, achieving an amazing length of up to 15 feet in the wild. These fish were valued for both sport and the commercial fishing industry in the past until they were nearly fished to extinction. They are now being raised in captivity with a percentage of the fry being introduced back to the wild. They are a beautiful fish with tones of black, silver and gold colorations and a tail that resembles an eel.

The Arapaima Gigas requires a 1,000-gallon or larger aquarium with a fine gravel bottom, and plenty of swimming room. They are excellent jumpers and a canopy is a must. However, the Arapaima breaths through its blood vessel lined swim bladder, and must surface in order to breathe. Therefore, it is imperative that there is enough room at the surface of the water and a vented canopy for these fish to breathe. They are best kept in a wide aquarium and an almost square tank would be ideal.

A carnivore, the Arapaima will eat other smaller fish, crustaceans, chopped meaty foods, as well as freeze-dried ocean plankton, krill and pellet foods.

Banded Leporinus

(Leporinus fasciatus)
Banded Leporinus
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Tank Conditions: 72-81F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 3-10
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 1'
Color Form: Black, Yellow
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Venezuela
Family: Anostomidae

The Banded Leporinus, also known as the Black-Banded Leporinus, has an exceptional ability to jump great heights making it one of the more unique aquarium species. An interesting feature of this fish is its striking color bands of alternating light yellow and black. Young Banded Leporinus' have five bands while adults have ten.

Roots, rocks, and driftwood make the best decorations for aquariums containing this species. The Banded Leporinus may eat tender plants. An avid jumper, this fish will require a hood on the aquarium. Although the Banded Leporinus may be somewhat aggressive towards its own species, it is usually quite peaceful with other species, though it may nip fins. Avoid smaller species of fish with the Banded Leporinus, as it may eat its tank mates.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the Banded Leporinus have not been documented.

As an omnivore, Leporinus fasciatus is not a particular eater. Feed a variety of meaty foods including; brine shrimp, blood worms, beef heart, and include some vegetable matter in flake or sheet form.