The Black Ghost Knifefish is an unusual freshwater aquarium fish that originates from South America near the Amazonian Basin. It belongs to the Ghost Knife Fish family and is capable of both producing and sensing electric signals in the water.
They are very popular in the aquarium hobby due to their strange shape and movement. The Black Ghost Knifefish navigates itself by rippling its head to tail underside fin in a constant rhythm. Aside from the two white strings on its tail and a white stripe on its nose, the Black Ghost Knife is jet black without scales. Unknown to most beginner hobbyists the Black Ghost Knife Fish demands a very large aquarium and can continue to grow in size until it reaches its maximum length of 20”.
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The swordtail is a very popular species of aquarium fish and it’s a great choice for the beginner aquarist. This is because it is tolerant to a range of conditions and has a very peaceful temperament. As the name suggests swordtails have a long, thin, elongated lower tail. Swordtails are livebearers, meaning they will give birth to live fry instead of eggs. Swordtails readily breed when kept in an aquarium of mixed sex, requiring little intervention. The young are very easy to rear and can be raised in the same aquarium as the adults.
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Clown Loach, scientifically named as Botia Macracantha, is one of the must-have species among freshwater fish. The Clown Loach is good at attacking nuisance snails and intruders that could otherwise cause widespread damage. This friendly but shy species of fish is also known as scale-less fish – the extra small scales embedded on its skin are difficult to see with the human eye. Clown Loaches are meek and are generally a great community fish. It should be noted that they can be a little aggressive when provoked and should be monitored for the first few days upon addition to their new home.
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The Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlid (Appistogramma cacatuoides) originates from South American streams and pools. In local fish stores it is often called the Big Mouth Apistogramma, the Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlid or a number of other colloquial names. This breed has a beautiful elongated body with radiant red and black dorsal fins. It is commonly available from LFS or other hobbyists as of 2017.
The double full red cockatoo cichlid is very active and can be somewhat aggressive to other, smaller species. When housed with other similarly sized cichlids they are generally more placid and gentle. Aside from this, its beautiful coloration makes it a target from fin nippers and aggressive fish. It is a good idea to keep them separated from larger more threatening species.
Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlid Parameters
Temperature – 72 – 86 F
pH – 5.0 – 7.0
Hardness – 7GH
Max Size – 3 1/2″
Min tank size – 30 gallons
Care Level – moderate
Temperament – semi-aggressive
Cost – ~$10 (2017)
Other Notes & Facts
Due to it’s maximum size, a tall and wide aquarium is necessary if you plan on housing a Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlid. Due to their South American origin, they are readily compatible with plants and do well in planted aquariums and aquascapes. When kept in groups the Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlids will establish ownership over tank space and can become territorial. It is recommended the aquarium is at least 30 gallons in size with 55 gallons being a good benchmark for most cichlids.
It is also advisable to put a fine gravel or sand in the aquarium. Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlids are not readily suited to bare bottom aquariums. Fine gravel will satisfy the fish’s need to conceal themselves as well as play an integral role in courting and mating (the male will often excavate ‘sand caves’ to attract the opposite sex). Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlids are playful and will enjoy soft, sand based substrates. Seachem ‘Cichlid Sand’ or any fine aragonite substrate are a great choice.
Courting from the males will take place a number of weeks before eggs are visible in the aquarium. Males use their brilliant color and ready made dens to attract female counterparts. Once the Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlid Female lays its eggs in caves its male counterpart will then fertilize the eggs and leave. At this point the female cockatoo cichlid is left to take care of the eggs and raise the young. Double Full Red Cockatoo Cichlids are an extremely fast growing species. Amazingly the fry will be capable to swim freely on their own in just seven to ten days and at this time, feed the fry with brine shrimp. Newly hatched baby brine shrimp are a suitable size for the fry. Sexual maturity will take place in about five months from this date.
The Double Full Red Cockatoo is a carnivore and its diet consists of a variety of food ranging from frozen to live shrimps and worms. Flake food is also excellent for cichlids because they are packed with necessary vitamins. A broad mix of foods will ensure continued health for your cichlid and the best coloration.
LED Lighting Overview
LED Lighting has become very popular in the marine aquarium. The best LED lights for growing coral have higher wattage and improved functionality over cheaper LED fixtures. LED technology improved significantly over the last decade, 2017 has some great LED options for the coral hobbyist.
Gone are the days of hot and expensive Halide lighting that required frequent bulb changes. Spectrum and intensity are often adjusted via a remote control. LED’s have won the marine coral lighting war for three main reasons:
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