Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cherry Barb

Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Barbus Titteya
Family: Cyprinidae
Origin: Sri Lanka
Adult Size: 2 inch (5 cm)
Social: Friendly fish that get along well with other peaceful fish
Lifespan: 5 years
Tank Level: All over

Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
Breeding: Egglayer
Care: Easy
Ideal pH: 6.8-7.5
Temperature: 72-79 F (22-26 C)
Tank setup:

Planted Tank with plenty of cover and some open swimming space.

The male is a bright red color when mating. Females tends to be pink-brown color.


The Cherry Barb (Barbus titteya Deraniyagala, 1929) is a tropical fish belonging to the Barb family (Cyprinidae). Originating in Sri Lanka, this peaceful cherry-red fish is mostly found in community tanks by fish keeping hobbyists. It will grow in length up to 2 inches (5 centimetres). The Cherry Barb is less of a schooling fish than other Barbs and should best be kept in pairs.


Cherry Barbs prefer a well planted environment with rocks and driftwood but still need plenty of space to school. Its native environment is one of heavily shaded, shallow, and calm waters. Their native substrate is one of silt with leaf cover.

Cherry Barbs are an easy fish to care for. They do not need special attention, and are rather hardy. They should be kept in water with a temperature range form 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH level of the water should be neutral, with a range from 6.6 to 7.2.

Mixing with other fishes:

Cherry Barbs are peaceful fish that can be mixed with most other peaceful fish of similar size.


Cherry Barbs are omnivores, and can be fed the standard fish foods, worms (glass, blood and tubifex), brine shrimp, plankton, flake and freeze dried foods. They should also be fed various green vegetables, such as spinach, zucchini, peas and lettuce.


When spawning, the male will grow a little larger and become more full bodied. The male Cherry Barb will also be a brighter red when breeding. Cherry Barbs will scatter their eggs, which will number at around 300. After spawning, the parents should be removed from the tank as the parents will eat any eggs they found . The eggs should hatch after about two days, and the fry should be fed prepared fry food, strained boiled egg yolks, baby brine, or microworms.

Photo Galley

Got a photo? Contact me.

References Cited:

1. Cherry Barb
2 Cherry Barb
3. Cherry Barb Profile

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Jinjin and Sasa Great Fish Hunt in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

This section list the adventures of Jinjin and Sasa as they embarked on the quest of finding fishes in their natural habitat in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Having a tip off from books that there are abundant fish in the streams in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Jinjin set off to verify the claims and to spot fishes in their natural habitat. This will hopefully allow Jinjin to create an atmosphere in his aquarium that is similar to the natural habitat of several Singaporean fishes such as the Harlequin Rasbora.

Singapore is only one of two cities in the world to have a significant area of primary rainforest within its boundaries – the other being Rio de Janeiro. As part of the government's efforts to conserve our rainforest, the land around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a conservation zone. This means that hunting, catching or harassing any animals or picking any plants here could hurt you a lot in your pockets - in the form of a steep fine under the National Park Act. Bukit means hill in the Malay language, while Timah means tin, although tin deposits are not found in the area. The hill served as a granite quarry for many years, but since the mid-1900s, all operations of which has since been abandoned and converted into recreational areas

A map of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
(Click to get larger picture).

After climbing 999 steps, you are
not even near the submit (Pant, Pant!)

Can you spot the chipmunk?
(Click on the photo for a larger photo)

Can you spot the chipmunk?
(Click on the photo for a larger photo)

A small stream of water at foot of hill

On the road into the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, a sight of several monkeys greets me. These monkeys are wild, but they are not afraid of humans, and often sit near humans in the hope of getting scraps of food. Passer-bys should not feed them, as there is a $10,000 fine for feeding the monkeys.

This monkey was sitting 1 m of me

$10,00 fine for feeding monkeys!

A sight of amazement greets me near the entrance to the reserve... all around me was trees, trees and more trees. In a narrow path, the forest opens before me. All around me, I could the chirping of birds, the frogs call, and other noise of the forest. Yet to my amazement, despite keeping my eyes peels, I did not see a single frog or bird.

The forest opens before me

The path was long, narrow, and as you would expect from trekking a hill, consists of endless flights of stairs, up and down the hill. It was extremely tiring as poor Jinjin is not used to all the stairs.

Some interesting encounters include an unknown plant I have not seen before, a blue dragonfly darting in front of me, a chipmunk on a tree on top of me, a cobweb full of spiders and spiderlings (Near invisible).

A blue dragonfly on the plant

An unknown species of plant

Very fine spider web, with spiderlings and food :)

At the foot of the hill, I chanced across a small stream.. and traced the water back to a huge quarry.

Quarry with terrapins and fishes.

While I was not able to examine how the fishes live in the wild streams, it was neverless an exciting and enriching experience for Jinjin. Jinjin hopes to bring Sasa there soon.

Jinjin and Sasa Aquarium Adventure

Join Jinjin (me) and Sasa (my lovely girlfriend), as we set off in search of adventure and lookout for fish. Below find a list of our quests to find fishes.

If you know of any place with a concentration of good aquariums in Singapore or Hong Kong, please let me know, I be glad to visit it and record what I found there.

In Singapore

In Hong Kong

In Australia

tomato town

Jinjin and Sasa Aquarium Adventure in Seletar West Farmway

This section list the adventures of Jinjin and Sasa as they embarked on the quest of finding good quality aquariums all over Singapore.

In this post, it details their treasure hunt in Seletar West Farmway. There are many areas that allocated to fish farming in Singapore, and Seletar West Farmway is one of them. This place is famous among locals for its high quality koi and goldfish. Regardless of whatever fish you are looking for, there is always something here for everyone. Always bargain for a lower price here - the prices are usually flexible except for very small fish (about 20-80 cents).

Map of Seletar Farmway

Atlas Aquarium

Sea View Aquarium

A huge number of signboards to direct
visitors to visit their aquarium

Our hunt begins at C & B Aquarium, located at the extreme left of the map. This aquarium stock good quality koi, and specialize in koi only. Koi lovers will find the quality of koi here to be excellent, and many high graded koi is available here at vastly reduced prices.

Walking a bit further up is Atlas Aquarium. This aquarium stock all kind of fish, and also import koi. A warning to those who try to purchase fish here: the lady boss is a bit pushy, and will try to make you buy her fishes. Of interest to rare fish collectors is the butterfly fish. It is on sale here at SG$5/= each (after bargaining). The small elephant nose fish, another rare find in Singapore, is available here at SG$8/= each (after bargaining of course).

Butterfly fish available at Atlas Aquarium

Elephant Nose (small) available at Atlas Aquarium

At the corner of Seletar Farmway 2 and Seletar Farmway 1 is Sea View Aquarium. This aquarium got my vote for one of best aquarium in Singapore. It stocks an excellent collection of plants, Goldfish, Cichlids, a variety of rare fish (e.g. Black Ghost Knife Fish, Kissing Gourami), small fishes such as tetras, swordtails, guppy etc, as well as other equipments that fish owners (or aspiring fish owners) could possibility need (e.g. filters, lights, food, medicine, decorations, gravel, bigger tanks etc). The staff here are friendly and knowledgeable. All this made me a frequent visitor here.

Wide Collection of everything ever need at Sea View Aquarium

Huge variety of discus available at Asia Breeders Channel

Slightly further up is Mollie Aquarium. This aquarium just specialize in Gold Fish. Several larger, high quality gold fish can be found here.

A walk among the shade would lead you to Golden Tropical Fish. Of interest to the traveller is the huge variety of discus fish. Discus Fish of all colors and size are available here from SG$5/= for baby discus to SG$1,500 for a really beautiful medium discus. Also for those who like beautiful betta fish, there are quite a number in stock.

While I initially do not intend to purchase anything, the quality of the excellent fish made me purchase two clown loaches, some black neon tetra, and some penguin fish. Aiya, I just could not resist purchasing more fishy for my aquarium! :P

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rummy Nose Tetra

Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Hemigrammus rhodostomus, Petitella georgia, Hemigrammus bleheri
Other Name:Red-nose tetra, Firehead tetra, True rummbynose Tetra, False Rummynost Tetra, Brilliant Rummynose Tetra
Family: Characidae
Origin:South America
Adult Size:2.2 inch (5.5cm)
Social:Peaceful schooling fish
Lifespan:5 years
Tank Level: Mid-Dweller

Minimum Tank Size:10 Gallons
Breeding:Egg layer
Care:Easy - after it settled down (1 to 2 weeks). Medium to hard - when first introduced to aquarium.
Ideal pH: 6.0-7
Temperature: 72-79 F (22-26 C)
Tank setup:

Planted tank with some swimming space for this active shoaler.

Males slightly slimmer

Hemigrammus bleheri


The Rummynose has a distinctive bright red area around its “nose” and over its eyes. The rest of the body is a silver/gold color. The caudal fin has horizontal black and white stripes. The red nose will disappear when the fish is stressed.

It was noted that there are three different species of Rummynose tetra. Here I reproduced the chart by Randy Carey in comparing the differences between the three Rummynose Tetra. Click on the image for a larger pic.

SpeciesLower caudal peduncle spotMid-body lineRed reaches well past gillBlack edging on anal finBands on caudal fin
Hemigrammus rhodostomusPresentPresentNoLightNarrow, least amount of white
Hemigrammus bleheri (most commonly available)PresentAbsentYes, when in favorable water conditionsAbsentNarrow
Petitella georgiaeAbsentPresentNoDarkBroad


It should be noted that Rummynose Tetra takes some time to settle down when are first introduced to an aquarium. There are reports of high morality rates for new fish. However, once they settled down (after 1-2 weeks) they tend to survive well, and are easier fish to keep.

Where possible, plants, rocks, and driftwood should be included in the aquarium to help to enhance its natural habitat and provide hiding spaces.

A bright red nose is a very good indicator of this species’ well-being. If Red-Nose does not feel itself comfortable or if it is just introduced to the aquarium and not yet adjusted to its new environment and school mates, the bright red will fade into a dull pink barely distinguishable from its white-gray body color. The checkerboard markings of the tail will fade too. You may have to wait several weeks to see the real potential of this beautiful fish.

Mixing with other fishes:

Rummynose tetra can be mixed with other peaceful fish of similar size (such as neon tetra, cardinal tetra, guppies, swordtails etc). For best results, Rummynose tetra should be kept with at least 5 others of its kind, as it is a shoaling fish.


The Rummy-Nose Tetra will accept many small foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, micro pellet food, and high quality flake food.


There are few cases of successful breeding of this fish, and I assumed that this fish is quite hard to breed. Despite this, I found two published articles on people having successful breed Rummynose Tetra.

In Randy's article, it was noted that Rummynose tends to hang their eggs just below the surface of aquatic plants. In an experiment, Jiri Palicka set the water temperature to 62-68 F, and the ph to 6.6-6.7. Spawning takes place at night, and the female produce less than 5 adhesive eggs each time. Jiri Palicka noted that the eggs will hatch in 18 hours. I am unable to determine which species of Rummynose Tetra Jiri Palikca breeded.

In a separate experiment by Charles Drew to breed Hemigrammus bleheri, he set the ph of the water to about 6.0, and increased the temperature to 80 F. There were 2 males and 1 female in the tank. After spawning, the eggs took about 36 hours to hatch, and the fry took about 4 days to become free swimming.

Photo Galley

Got a photo? Contact me.

References Cited:

1. David Goodwin (2001), The Aquarium Fish Handbook, D & S books, England.
2. Rummy Nose Tetra, [Online], Available
3. True Rummynose Tetra, [Online], Available
4. Rummynose Tetra, [Online], Available
5. Randy Carey, (??) Three Rummynose Tetra, [Online], Available
6. Rummynose Tetra Information, [Online], Available
7. Red-nose, Rummynose Tetra [Online], Available
8. Charles Drew, (2003), Spawning Rummynose Tetra, [Online], Available

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


This post is specially dedicated to my regular blog reader: Sank
Thanks for all your comments. Hope you like this post!

Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Pelvicachromis pulcher
Family: Cichlids
Adult Size:3-4 inches (8-10 cm)
8 cm (female), 10 cm (male)
Social:Good with same size or larger fish.
Lifespan:5 years
Tank Level: Bottom Dweller

Minimum Tank Size:20 Gallons
Diet:Omnivore, eats most food
Care:Easy, hardy fish
Ideal pH: 6.8-7.5
Temperature: 72-79 F (22-26 C)
Tank setup:

Some caves and plants in the aquarium.

Females are smaller, and stubbier and brighter


The Latin translation of "Pelva" meaning 'belly,' "chromis" meaning 'color,' and "pulcher" meaning 'beautiful', describes the fish quite well. During spawning season the female sports a brilliant cherry red colored belly.

Males and females can generally be separated by their body size, shape, colors, and fins. Males are typically longer than the females, while the females have larger stomachs, which are purple/red. Females have rounded dorsal fins, whereas the male’s dorsal fin ends in a point.


Kribensis is an undemanding fish when it comes to water conditions, which is another reason it's so popular. It originates from the drainage area at the mouth of the Ethiop River, Niger delta, where a variety of water conditions can be seen. The water of the low lying black-water streams is acidic and very soft, while the delta waters are slightly brackish, more alkaline, and far harder than the streams that feed it.

It is ideal to provide caves to your kribensis as they like some space where they can retreat to (small pots placed on the sides would do). It provides them with more security, and create an environment that mimics the streams they come from.

The tank itself should be well planted with real or artificial plants. Because they like to burrow they may uproot plants. However, they are generally not destructive to the vegetation.

In addition to caves and plants to provide cover, an area for open swimming should be available. Characteristic of other cichlids, Kribensis are fast swimmers who can change direction in an instant and stop on a dime. They are territorial and if cramped may become aggressive, so take care to avoid overstocking the tank.

Mixing with other fishes:

Kribensis is often kept in a community tank, however care should be taken in choosing tank-mates. Although they are a peaceful fish, they may nip the fins of slow moving fish such as Angel fish. If other cichlids will be in the community tank, choose a species that is not bottom dwelling. That way they will not compete for the same territory. Avoid keeping them with another cave dwelling species, as Kribensis love their caves.


Kribensis are omnivorous, and will eat most aquarium foods, including granular, flake, live or frozen foods.


Kribensis will form monogamous pairs in the aquarium. What this means is that you only need one male and one female to have several successful breedings.

To breed these fish, they should have at least 20 gallons of water in an aquarium to themselves because they will vigorously defend their eggs and fry and any other tank occupants would have quite a torrid time. Set the tank up with a mature sponge filter and a couple of caves and the temp set to 77 to 80°F. Include lots of live food in their diet and freeze dried Tubifex.

When the Kribensis decides to breed, it will usually select a flower pot or other small cave to breed in. If there are multiple females in a tank, and a pair hasn’t formed yet, the females will lower their pelvic fins slightly so that they look fatter! Perhaps a larger belly is a sign of fertility in the fish, and that this helps to inform the male which is to the best possible mate. Almost without fail, the male Kribensis will always choose the female that has the largest stomach. If there are multiple males in the tank, you will see the females displaying for all of them, but the largest males will attract the largest amount of interest from the largest females.

The pair will almost always spawn inside one of the caves and usually on the roof. Both parents will guard the eggs and fry but not always perfectly at first and they may even eat their first couple of broods, this is normal for Cichlids, they quite often need a few attempts before they get it right.

A sign that the pair have bred is that disappearance of the female for a week. Also the male will skittishly swim all around the tank. After the week (5-10 days) are up, the female will emerge with a ton of little swimming blobs. The blobs will follow the female very closely and eat anything they can find.

Each night, the fry will return to the cave that is used as their home. This may not always be the cave where they were spawned, but usually will be if you have left the fish alone for the most part. Each morning, the female will leave the cave first and scout the tank. Once she is sure that the coast is clear, she will return to the cave and the fry will begin moving out in their strange swarm-like shape again.

They are relatively easy to feed and will eat newly hatched brine shrimps, powdered flake and liquid fry food. They grow quite quickly and after about a couple of weeks the fry will spread out away from the parents. The parents should now be removed and the fry left on their own. With a varied diet and plenty of water changes the fry will be almost mature and can take care of themselves after 8 to 12 weeks. Then you have to figure out what to do with 80-120 Kribensis! :)

Photo Galley

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A Kribensis mother and the fry

Female Kribensis

Pair with fry

Pair of Kribs

References Cited:

1. David Goodwin (2001), The Aquarium Fish Handbook, D & S books, England.
2. Kribensis, [Online], Available
Pelvicachromis pulcher, [Online], Available
4. The Krib (Pelvicachromis pulcher), [Online], Available