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Author Archives: Andy Rapson

Stress in Fish

stress in fish

What is Stress Stress in fish should be taken seriously because it is real and it has many causes most of which may go unnoticed by aquarist especially when new to the hobby. When a fish encounters an unfavourable stimulus which are likely to adversely affect the fish it reacts in a to protect itself. Such unfavourable stimuli are referred ...

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The Genus Steatocranus


Introduction Steatocranus are an interesting group of fishes from a small genus comprising of nine species of rheophilic (living in flowing water) African cichlids. This genus is a personal favourite of mine ever since seeing my first photo of Steatocranus casuarius many years ago. All Steatocranus have reduced swim bladders which helps them to sink to the bottom and shelter ...

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My Experience with Aponogeton madagascariensis, The Lace Leaf Plant


Introduction I had recently ventured in to the world of planted aquariums using the Dennerle system. Basically the system comprised of a heater cable laid on the floor of the tank and covered with a mixture of silica sand and compost which had been mixed half and half by volume, this layer was about 2.5cm deep. Then there was a ...

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Breeding Aquarium Fishes, Part 1 Livebearers

female guppy livebearer

Introduction Some of the more popular Livebearers which we are all very familiar with and which most of us kept in our first community aquarium are without doubt the easiest of fishes to breed in captivity. Many of the people reading this will have switched the light of their aquarium on in the morning and found a brood of tiny ...

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Binomial nomenclature

Melanochromis auratus

Introduction What is Binomial nomenclature? Everyone will be familiar with scientific names which are used for all living things. Every species is given two names, the first name is the Genus and the second name is the species. The genus name is written first and begins with a capital letter, all the other letters are lower case. The species name ...

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Stocking an aquarium

stocking an aquarium

Introduction There are many ‘rules’ when it comes to stocking an aquarium but none of them fit all cases. This leads to poor stocking and problems, so why is it such a problem and why isn’t there a more helpful and accurate rule when it comes to stocking an aquarium? Unfortunately there can never be such a rule because there ...

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Why Make Partial Water Changes?

aquarium water change

It is often stressed that making regular partial water changes is absolutely essential for the well being of the fish and plants. At its most basic level water changes will freshen up the environment for the fish and plants – imagine living in a small room with no ventilation and having to live there 24 hrs per day. This includes ...

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Tips for selecting fish

selecting aquarium fish

Introduction How do you know that the fish you are about to buy are good healthy fish. Have you done a little basic research about the fish other than asking the vendor for some information and are you certain that you can meet all its needs even when it has become an adult. Too many times we see on various ...

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pH and the Fresh Water Aquarium

aquarium ph

Introduction The pH scale goes from 0 to 14. When the pH is 7 the water is neutral which means it is neither acidic nor alkaline. If the pH drops below 7 then the water is acidic and the lower the pH the more acidic the water. If the pH is above 7 then the water is alkaline and the ...

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Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate in Detail


Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate Ammonia: (NH3) is found in two forms, the very toxic ammonia – NH3 and the far less toxic ammonium NH4. They will both be present at the same time but the ratio depends on the pH of the aquarium water. Low pH means that there will be less ammonia and more ammonium and a high pH ...

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