Monday, July 31, 2006

Aquarium Lore Voted Best Hobby Blog in Best of Blogs Award Jul 2006

In the best of Singaporean blog contest organized by Sg friends, Aquarium lore was voted the best hobby blog for month of Jul 2006. Thank you all of you for making this possible.

These few months, I was buried in tons of work, as my projects dateline neared, and I could not research and blog about what I found as often as I would have like. Also, I seem to have a lot of negative emails and feedbacks about my work, and is feeling a bit discouraged. Therefore, winning this award is a bonus for me. The winning of this award and that my blog traffic continued to climb past the 15,000 unique hits mark (in less than 6 months), never creased to amazed me. When I first start this blog, all I want is to write about my love for my fish. I did not ever expect so many people will read my blog and grow to love it and visit it often with every posting.

To celebrate our win, we will be coming up with new fish datasheets such as glowlight tetra, mollies, and others fishes. As always, requests are welcomed - although I must confessed that the request list is getting longer and longer, and I now takes about 2-3 weeks to accomodate request.

This month will see Jinjin and Sasa continue their adventures in Singapore with a visit to Underwater world, Singapore, Pasir Ris Fish farm and more.

For those who love turtles and tortoises, this month will also feature a new turtle : the yellow mud turtle.

Finally, out of curiousity and amazement at the crustacean empire, I will do some research and write up on some crabs and lobsters...

Once again, thank you for voting for aqaurium lore and making it your favourite fish blog. It would not be possible without you.

Stay tuned with me as I move on in research for more fishes...


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Jinjin and Sasa Adventure in Sydney Aquarium

This section list the adventures of Jinjin and Sasa as they embarked a visit to Sydney Aquarium In Australia.

With the close location of the great barrier reef, this is one of a kind experience for viewing the rich heritage and sea life surrounding Australia. And indeed, we were not disappointed. The experience is wonderful and in our opinion, worth very cent of the admission ticket.

Sydney Aquarium Exterior

Platypus - a creature with beak
like a duck, fur like an otter, and poison in its crawls.

An alligator or a crocodile?

Blue Lobster

Another truly off-world experience in the great barrier reef showcase.

Sea Dragon

At the entrance, the jaws of a big shark greets me.. As we enter the dark aquarium, a sense of wonder and astonishment greets us.

One of the first exhibits we see is a platypus - a strange creature with the bill of a duck, body covered with hair like an otter, and a flat tail that allows it to swim and catch fish. An eye-opener indeed.

Enter the Jaws of Sydney Aquarium..

Snapping Turtle

It allows us to get up close and personal with a 20 feet crocodile/alligator (I could not tell which is it). I feel so strange being separated by a thin sheet of glass from the huge animal which could easily have me for supper.

Water Dragons

lion fish

Things that are worth a special mention to me is the snapping turtle with a lonnggg neck, water dragons - lizards that live near water and can swim to catch fish for food, blue lobsters, lion fish etc.

Great Barrier Reef Mock Up

The view of the fish swimming happily takes jinjin's breath away.

As I walk further, my attention was captured by the slight and the beauty of a mock up the great barrier reef. The splendor of the reef and the slight of fishes swimming happy or playing in the tank is a truly a sight to behold and something that makes me feel privileged to have seen.

The fearsome great white shark

Giant Stingray

The shark tunnel is another surreal experience. While it includes the traditional tiger sharks, nurse sharks and hammerheads, my attention and breath was captured by the slight of the great white shark. The teeth looks really wicked and I can believe how this creature could be responsible for so many deaths in sea. The white stingray is a huge contrast to what I expect from string rays- most string rays are the color of the sand or gravel. Perhaps this one is an albino ?

The sea dragon also captured my imagination, and although I though it is a sea horse, I can see from its tails and 'hands' that this is totally different species altogether.

A definitely most enjoyable and memorable experience!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Heros Severum, Cicilasoma Severum
Other Name:Band Cichlid
Family: Cichlidae
Origin:South America
Adult Size:10 inches (26-27 cm)
Social:Shy fish (for cichlids)
Lifespan:10 years
Tank Level: middle and bottom levels

Minimum Tank Size:55 gallons
Diet:Omnivore / Vegetarians
Breeding:Egg layer
Ideal pH: 6.0-6.5
Temperature: 73-80 F (23-27 C)
Tank setup: Places with rocks for hiding.
Sexing: Adult males have longer, more pointed fins. The female has a dark patch on the dorsal fin above the second-last band. Females are also generally paler in colour and don't tend to have the blue squiggles on the head.


Severums have an oval-shaped, laterally compressed body, similar though stockier and more elongated than a Discus. They have large red eyes and a small, pointed mouth. The body colour starts off as golden olive green, which darkens to a deep teal green when breeding. Maroon and electric blue squiggles can often be found in the cheeks and face.

One of the most distinctive features of this fish is that the forehead forms a smooth curve from the snout into the body to the dorsal fin, mirrored ventrally along the chin and belly. But the most striking feature of this fish is the seven to eight faint vertical black bands mark the body.


Severums are widespread throughout the northern Amazon Basin and Guyana. In their natural habitat, they can be found in sections of deep, calm water with submerged trees or in close contact with the island-like rafts of vegetation that are found in some rivers.

The tank should contain rocks and other hiding places, as this is a shy fish and appreciate places to hide. Clean water is essential for good health and growth, and as like all cichlids, good filtration is important. Severums do like to have cover in their tanks which can pose a bit of a problem as they will tend to munch on any live plants in the tank. A cave of some kind is also appreciated, as Severums like to have somewhere to retreat to when the mood strikes them.

Mixing with other fishes:

Despite its size, this is a fairly peaceful, shy and inoffensive cichlid. They could be kept with other fishes of similar size, habits and temperament. Severums can usually hold their own in a rowdy cichlid tank as long as shelter is provided.

Nippy, boisterous and overly aggressive tank mates should be avoided - as should very small fish. Severums have been known to prey on smaller fishes.

During breeding time, Severums tends to be highly territorial but as long as there is sufficient space there is rarely serious damage inflicted.


Severums have strong vegetarian tendencies, but are not fussy about what they eat. Severums natural food is much like any other cichlid their size from South American. It mainly consists of insects, small crustaceans and some vegetable matter. They do well on a varied diet, including crickets, earthworms, mealworms, good quality pellets and home-made food. They will readily accept frozen foods (bloodworm), flake foods or small pellets. They relish live black worms and will also eat vegetables such as shelled green peas and blanched lettuce.


Severums form strong pair bonds and are an open substrate spawner, although they do not seem to pair as readily as other South American cichlids. This is because Severums can be choosy about their partner, often engaging in lip-locking activities to see if their mate is "worthy". Even at a young age, juveniles have been known spar. Severums prefer to lay their eggs on a pre-cleaned vertical or diagonally sloping surface. During breeding the pair will become highly territorial and chase tank mates away from the spawning site.

Breeding pairs are best developed through the raising of six or eight young together. Even at relatively young, small size Severums may be sexed by the absence of markings on the gill covers and smaller body size of females. Pairs should be either housed with other Severums (in a large enough system for two or more territories) or isolated.

The female may lay up to 1000 adhesive eggs. Like all Cichlids, both parents guard the eggs and the fries. When the fries hatched, they are moved to a pit that has been dug in the gravel. It is not uncommon for young pairs to have several failures before their fries are successfully raised.

Photo Galley

Got a photo? Contact me.

References Cited:

1. Heros Severum (Heckel, 1840), [Online], Available
2. Tracy, Severum [Online], Available
3. The poor man's discus - Cichlasoma Severum [Online], Available,%20Severums.htm

Monday, July 10, 2006

Blood Parrots

This post is specially dedicated to my colleague Keng Soon,whose love for this speices of fish prompted me to find out more.

Data Sheet

Scientific Name: None
Family: Cichlidae
Origin:Crossbred, not available naturally
Adult Size:8 (20cm)
Social:Peaceful fish, but territorial
Lifespan:10 years
Tank Level: All levels

Minimum Tank Size:20 gallons (young) -50 gallons (adult)
Breeding:Egg Layer
Ideal pH: 6.5-7.0
Temperature: 72-82 F (22 - 28 C)
Tank setup:

Some rocks and places to hide is preferred
Sexing:Not Known. Sorry


The Blood Parrot is a brightly colored, odd shaped Cichlid. As its name suggests, the fish has a red body and a mouth that resembles a beak. These fish somewhat resemble fancy goldfish and appear to swim awkwardly due to their deformed swim bladders.


Blood Parrots like an aquarium with lots of rock formations and caves for retreating and hiding. Their habitat should be roomy and provide plenty of hiding places, so they can set up their own territory. Rocks, driftwood, and clay pots on their sides are good options. Like other cichlids they will dig in the gravel, so choose a substrate that is not too rough. Plants are not essential though they do not harm them.

Mixing with other fishes:

The blood parrot is a cross-bred from cichlids parents, and you would expect these fish to be highly territorial and aggressive. However, these fish are surprisingly shy and peaceful - and many owners have successfully kept them in a community tank with other mid-size fish such as danios, angelfish, and catfishes. However, true to their parents' heritage, these fishes can be highly territorial and may fight with their tank mates if kept in a community tank.

If these fishes are kept with other cichlids, care should be taken to ensure that their tank mates are not overly-aggressive.


Since they are omnivorous, the Blood Parrot will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. Flake food or pellets are recommended as these food usually contains a mixture of vegetables and meat. Brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or Blood worms can be given to them as a treat.

When the parrots are bigger, they begin to prey on smaller fish, such as guppies, neon tetras etc.


The Blood Parrot, Bloody Parrot, or Blood Parrotfish have been known to breed but most often their eggs are infertile unless they are paired with a non-hybrid fish. I am unable to find out more about breeding blood parrots at the moment, but will endeavor to do so.

Photo Galley

Got a photo? Contact me.

Reader's Pet

Here is a contribution from a reader name Levah Lightfoot.

I've read many comments on this website about blood parrots. I've laughed with what was said about some of them and the things they do. Well here I am writing about our blood parrot, "Angelina", she is so much fun to watch and boy! does she have character plus!!! We have 9 grandchildren, when they come they go to see "Angelina", she seems to know them or at least she always comes to the front of the tank and watches them. She will follow their finger accross the front of the tank. If anyone is in the room she is always at the front of the tank looking at them. When we watch T.V. at night, her feeding time she won't stop looking at us until she gets her food. Now she is the leader of the tank, she lives with four Silver Dollars, two Ballah Sharks, one small catfish and a very large algea fish. When she eats she gets what she wants and they all get the rest, they chase each other for food BUT no one chases "Angelina". It's so much fun to watch her and she seems to like it when you put your hands or arm in the tank, she will rub your hand or arm as if to say, "Hello!". We have a large German Shephard, if you ask her , "where is Angelina?" she will run to the tank and look and "Angelina" will come to the front of the tank and look at the dog. Crazy yes!

Angelina in a PotAngelina outside pot
Angelina with Ballah SharkAngelina with Silver Dollars

References Cited:

1. Shirile Sharpe, [Online], Available
2. Shirile Sharpe, [Online], Available
David Brough, [Online], Available
4. Micheal McWin [Online], Available

Monday, July 03, 2006


Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Xiphophorus Maculatus.
Family: Poecilidae
Origin:Central America, South America
Adult Size:2.4" (6 cm)
Social:Peaceful fish
Lifespan:up to 5 years
Tank Level: Mid Dweller

Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons
Breeding:Live bearer
Ideal pH: 7.0-8.2
Temperature: 64-77F (18-25 C)
Tank setup:

Some plants and space for open swimming
Sexing: Females tends to be fairly larger than the males. The males are also more colorful than the females. Males have a Gonopodium.

Orange Tuxedo Platy

Red Wag Platy


Some specimens are elongated with both Dorsal and Ventral profiles slightly curved out or convex, but mostly they are thick-bodied with a high back. The Dorsal fin has nine or ten fin rays, except for the high-fin varieties.


An aquarium best suited to the platys is well lit with plants. Like all livebearers, they do like a bit of salt though it is not necessary. The plants should be loosely arranged for the Platy and densely planted with open swimming areas.

Mixing with other fishes:

These peaceful fish can be safety mixed with most other small, peaceful fishes, such as guppies, neon tetras and swordtails.


Platys are omnivorous and eats almost anything, from flake food, tubifex or bloodworms or frozen food. But they have a very high herbivorous requirement, and their diet needs to include lots of algae and other vegetation. Brine shrimp (either live or frozen), tubifex, or blood worms are a treat for Platies. They will enjoy the proteins but they must also have a vegetation diet.


In captivity, they reach maturity in 3–4 months. As the male matures, the anal fin develops into a structure for reproduction called the Gonopodium. The Gonopodium stores the sperm in packs. Once the sperm is inserted into the female, it fertilizers her eggs and the rest is stored in the Oviduct walls for later use. The eggs are very rich in yolk and the young will grow by consuming the yolk stores. In light colored females platys, it is easy to recognized that the female is pregent by the growing dark body marking in front of the Anal fin. The females giving birth to about 40–50 young a time.

Young Live-bearers are fairly large at birth and their development is very advanced. They can swim right away and usually swim for the cover of plans. The fry grow very rapidly and will eagerly accept fine flake food.

Photo Galley

Got a photo? Contact me.

neon green tuxedo platy

sunshine platy

female sunshine platy

pageant female white platy

Spotted platy (blue)

Red Coral Platy

References Cited:

1. Shirile Sharpe, [Online], Available
2. Shirile Sharpe, [Online], Available
3. Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia [Online], Available
4. Bad Man's Tropical Fish - Platy Profile [Online], Available
5. Green Park Tropical Fish Farm - [Online], Available

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Jinjin and Sasa Adventure in Ocean Park

This section list the adventures of Jinjin and Sasa as they embarked a visit to Ocean Park in Hong Kong.

Ocean Park is a theme park in Hong Kong. Before Disneyland was opened in Hong Kong, Ocean Park is the only theme park in Hong Kong. Few people know this, but ocean park is also one of the best aquatic conservation and observation center in the world. The study of jellyfish is among the world's best, and Ocean Park boast of a wide variety of ocean life forms.

Jinjin being eaten by
great white shark in shark tunnel

A T-Rex eyes Jinjin
hungrily in the dinosaur

view of rides

you gonna love life
as a panda bear!

Ocean Park is too big for me to describe in words. I am just going to showcase some aquatic (and non-aquatic) highlights. Aquatic highlights includes the goldfish pavilion, where there are goldfish of all shapes and size. From the black molly to the celestial eye goldfish, this pavilion offers a pleasing walk among the various variety of goldfish and the koi.

Dolphin pool

Goldfish Pavilion

The Shark Tunnel is another notable mention, and it showcases several sharks species. But what really capture our imagination and wonder is the showcase of jellyfish. There are so many species and they all look so different - and left me flabbergasted. Of interest to others in also the dolphin pool. These porpoises are very friendly, and they sportingly made many jumps in the air for us.

amazing jelly fish

shark tunnel

In addition to catering to the ocean lovers, there are many things of interest to other parties. Some of these include the dinosaur park, where the dinosaurs look superb real, and the panda bear enclave. This is the first time Jinjin see a real panda bear.

ouch! What is that poking
my ass?

real pandas

Of course, no visit to ocean park is completed with the rides. While the rides are mild (by Jinjin's standards), Sasa was screaming and scared stiff. We left Ocean Park tired but happy.