Monday, April 21, 2008

Tiger Barbs

Data Sheet A green tiger barb
Scientific Name:Puntius tetrazona
Other Name:Sumatra Barb, Green Barb, Albino Bard, Partbelt Barb, Tiger Barb, Five stripe Tiger Barb, Moss-banded barb, Moss barb, Gold Tiger Barb
Origin:Indonesia, Sumatra, Borneo
Adult Size:5 cm
Social:Antisocial except in groups. See below.
Minimum Tank Size:25 gallons
Diet:Omnivorous - readily accept flake food and worms.
LifeSpan:5 years
Ideal pH: 6-8
Temperature:20 – 26°C / 68 – 79°F
Tank setup: Provide plenty of broad leave plants for them to lay eggs on

a pair of tiger barbs.

A 'green' tiger barb
An Albino Tiger Barb


Tiger Barbs has large stocky body. It gets it name from the black bands that run vertically on its bright orange or silver body, much like a tiger's stripes. There are many varients of this fish, including the Abino version, which is more light gold in color with white bands, and the Green version, in which the body is does not have any stripes and is almost totally green. The Green tiger barb looks green because of the so called Tindall effect.


Tiger barbs originate from South-East Asia and are native to Indonesia and Malaysia. They live on the Malay Peninsula, on the island of Sumatra and on the island of Borneo.

The Tiger barb is frequently found in clear or turbid water. The typical Tiger barb habitat is a shallow and medium fast stream in the tropics where the water temperature is high. Freshwater Tiger barbs have also been found in swampy lakes where the water level fluctuates a lot. This type of fluctuations is commonly associated with fluctuating water quality as well, and the wild Tiger barb might therefore be more tolerant to changing water quality than what was previously assumed.

Mixing with other fishes:

Most literature suggests that Tiger Barbs are not good community fish, especially when purchased in less than 6 fishes - Tiger Barbs have a mean streak and tend to be nip at the fins of other fishes.

Surprisingly, most literature also found that if purchased in groups of 6 or more, tiger barbs somehow create among themselves a pecking order (which may or may not include the other fishes in the community tank), and generally leaves the other inhibitats alone. This suggests that Tiger Barbs are best purchases in shoals of at least 6.

Despite this, it is recommended to avoid keeping them with tropical fish that are long-finned and slow moving, as tiger barbs may nip at the fins of these fishes.

Diet and Care:

Tiger Barbs are hardly, omnivorous fishes that readily accept a diet of flake food. They are unfussy eaters, and cheerfully nip at most freeze dried worms or live worms. This fish is a hardy fish that can survive in most water conditions, but does require warm water.

In very cold water, these fishes are prone to white spots.


To try to breed tiger barbs, the males should be separated from the females. The male tiger barbs will show bright red noses, and their dorsal fins will have a red line about the mainly black fin. In addition, the ventral fins will turn bright red. The female Tiger Barbs tend to be small, and have plumpest bodies. After separating the Tiger barbs based on their gender, feed the Tigers barbs well: Well fed Tiger barbs are more likely to spawn. Some literature suggested that certain protein rich diet such as freeze dried tubifex or live food are excellent choices. The water temperature should be relatively warm, around 25-26 C (75-80 F) and broad leaves plants are required so that the Tiger barbs has somewhere to scatter their eggs. After separating them for a few days, you may reintroduce the females and males tiger barbs together again.

Spawning will usually begin very soon when the Tiger Barbs have been brought together again. During this courting period, the male will chase the females. When a female Tiger Barb starts scattering her eggs at the spawning site, the male will attempt to follow the female to fertilise the eggs.
After spawning, adult tiger barbs should be removed from the aquarium, since Tiger Barbs are known to eat their own offspring. Free swimming fries will be hatch after approximately five days.

Photo Galley

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Tiger barbs with silvery body

Several Albino Tiger Barbs

References Cited:

1. Tiger Barb, [Online] Available,
Accessed on 22 Apr 2008,
2. Tiger Barb - Puntius tetrazona, [Online], Available, Accessed on 22
Apr 2008,

3. Breeding Tiger Barbs - [Online], Available, Accessed on 25 Apr 2008,
4. Moss Barbs [Online], Available, Accessed on 25 Apr 2008,

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Golden Algae Eater

Data Sheet

Siamese Algae Eater (a distinct different

Scientific Name:Crossocheilus aymonieri
Other Name:golden algae eater, Chinese algae eater, Indian Algae eater
Origin:India and Thailand
Adult Size:Up to 25 cm has been reported
Social:See Mixing with other fishes.

Tank Level: bottom, but good jumpers

Chinese Algae Eater can cling to rocks in fast moving waters
Minimum Tank Size:25 gallons
Diet:primary algae, but will eat other fish food and smaller fish as it grows bigger
LifeSpan:8-10 years
Ideal pH: 6-7
Temperature:23 - 28 C,(72-83 F)
Tank setup: Preferably with logs / caves and other hiding place

Males develop breeding “horns” on their heads.Females get heftier.

Aglae Eaters are excellent glass
cleaners when young

a siamese algae golden algae eater color is a nice contrast against the plants.

a golden algae eater


Golden Algae Eaters tend to have an slender body and a disc-shaped mouth, which enables them to hang to slippery surface in fast moving water. Golden Algae Eaters come in a wide variety of colors, from being golden yellow, and some of them have a notable black stripe from the tip of its "nose" to its tail. The stripe is often broken, and there can be black spotting along the back and at the base of the dorsal and caudal fin.


Golden Aglae Eaters comes from fast flowing rivers in Thailand and India, so a tank with a small current will suit golden algae eaters just fine. Like most bottom feeders, Golden Aglae Eaters favour places where they can hid, so ensure plenty of caves or hiding places for these fishes.

Mixing with other fishes:

When small, golden algae eaters make good tank mates with most other fishes, as they feed primary on algae and leaves other fish alone. However, it has been noted that even small golden algea eaters has a tendency to nip at slower moving fishes such as goldfishes, or flat sized fishes such as discus and angel fishes. As such, it is recommended to keep small, fast moving fishes such as danios


There are very few articles I could find about getting golden algae eater to spawn, but an article from William Berg shows some success. Below is an extract from his article. To read the full article, please click here.

.. When I found the fry their parents had been in the holding tank for about 2-3 months. Before that I had kept them in a 50 gallon tank which was heavily circulated and contained very few plants. Temperature was 25°C/ 77°F. I’ve been wondering if the fact that they were kept in a heavily circulated aquarium and then moved to an aquarium with close to no circulation and warmer water (28°C/ 82°F) may have simulated a natural change in conditions that precedes spawning.

The breeding tank was as I said before, heavily planted, and had little or no circulation at all, due to the vegetation. The water was old and clean. I can’t say the exact water conditions as I don’t know exactly when the spawning took place. However the water conditions had been relatively stable and it is reasonably safe to assume that the stated water conditions are correct.

The Chinese algae-eaters had been fed a varied diet which consisted mainly of boiled lettuce and broccoli, Hikari sinking algae wafers, and shrimps. They also ate the leftovers from the food I gave the barbs and loaches, which consisted mainly of different frozen foods.

The author believes that getting the fish into spawning condition seems to be quite simple if they are fed a good diet.

Photo Galley

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Grown near mouth of male algae eater > Hiding places for Chinese Algea Eater

References Cited:

1. Algea-Eater / Sucking Loaches [Online] Available, Accessed on 12 Apr 2008,
2. The Legend of Chinese Algea eater - where did they get that name, [Online], Available, Accessed on 12 Apr 2008,,%20Chinese%20Algae%20Eater.htm
3. Chinese Algea eater [Online], Available, Accessed on 12 Apr 2008,
4. Spawning the Algea Eater [Online], Available, Accessed on 12 Apr 2008,
5. Chinese Algea Eaters: An Undeserved Reputation? [Online]. Available, Accessed on 12 Apr 2008,

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sexing the Clown Loaches

Mitchell McKenzie from Pintius has discovered a new and novel way to sex the clown loaches. Below is the some of the information as provided by him. Many thanks to Mictchell for sharing this exciting development with the community.

Many species, mainly cyprinids, display not only colour changes (sexual dichromatism) during the breeding season but also physical (sexual dimorphism) or anatomical changes. Clown loaches seems to exhibits breeding tubercles during the breeding season. The males form little lumps on their head which are normally only visible when you take a picture of the specimen and zoom in. This was the case for the following male clown loach -

A casual observer might think - ''its ich', but if you look closely, the little dots are on the head only. These are breeding tubercles, found only in males, never females.

Scientific Experiment:

The specimen shown is a relatively small chap, who was given levomidizole because of the transportation trip. It is now approximately 7 inches. Normally, this size does not mean sexual maturity. However this little chap most definitely is mature based on the following findings*.

1. Extraction of tubercle from male using ELIZA will reveal moderate levels of testosterone. This is an obvious male hormone which will only be present in males

2. The specimen has an adequate levels of testosterone. Since testosterone is a hormone which is present largest in males rather than females and male sexual maturity is a measure of testosterone levels, a fish that secrete any measurable levels of testosterone into the surrounding waters would be sufficient to indicate maturity. #

As a test, a sample was taken from one of the tubercles to prove that the testosterone was coming from the specific individual. Taking a sample from the water would be just as good.
To conclude that the specimen in question is a male, any of the male hormones*, not just testosterone would has to be present. A false positive would be given if there are other males of different species present. So ideally for the test, specimen should be isolated in water. Similarly, progesterone and estrogen would be present in female subjects.

* Collectively known as androgens, the male hormones also include dihydrotestosterone, and interstitial cell stimulating hormone, both would also be present in samples containing males.

Based on the test results, the author concluded that the presence of tubercles is good enough evidence that the specimen in question is a male.

All photos are copyright and given permission to republish by Mitchell McKenzie (Pintius). Please contact him at
should you desire to reproduce the image at your site.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Aquarama Plant Layout Design Competition 2007

These are some of the entries in the Aquarama Plant Layout Design Competition. You can see the pics at

This design looks like a huge majestic tree in the middle of the forest

I really like the short plants - it provides a nice contrast against the longer grass and rocks at the back right corner.

This design won the first prize in the competition

This design won the second prize in the competition

This design sort of reminds me of stonehedges. It won the 3rd place in the competition

This design did not win, but I love this design for the sheer open swimming places and hiding places that the plants provide.

The platies provide a nice addition to this heavily planted aquarium.