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Page 55
Comments & Replies
This page contains Customer Comments and our Replies about various interesting topics. Click here to see the index list of all the pages of Customer Comments.
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Customer Comments

Hello, I received three Pearl Gouramis from you about a week ago. They arrived in absolutely perfect condition. I opened the box with my blinds drawn and lights off, so not to stress them as their eyes take longer to adjust to light changes than our eyes. They were sitting very quietly in their bags, not darting around or anything like that.
The water was very clear. I released them into the tank, left the lights off till the following morning and they pretty much behaved like they've been there all their life. They are just great.
When I was living in Russia, I had 9 aquariums. Due to a deficit of everything, including equipment they ran on balance basis: many plants, few fish, everything by trial and error. Food was usually caught under the nearest log or rain ditch.
It's a lot easier here. I read your section on filters, I would add AquaClear filters to that list. I swear by those things, especially when you run one with two sponges instead of activated carbon+sponge, which is its standard media pack. You rinse the sponges in aquarium water about once a month to clean off the debris. They are very quiet, very efficient. They don't have the Bio-Wheel, but that doesn't seem to take away from them. 
At home I have a 20-gallon long tank with two very evil chocolate standard-fin angelfish, a school of neon tetras and a couple of cory catfish. They get along just fine, except the two angelfish that turned out to be both male and have a divider with a gap so the small fish can get through. Now I don't know if anybody else had this happen, but angelfish can be quite a creative fish.
How creative? Well, when the divider went up, one of the males started finding most creative ways of getting through it. He would fold all his fins, lay on his side and swim under the divider, only to start a fight with the other. When I put rocks under the screen, he learned to push them aside with his nose. When I added more sand underneath, he started digging, would dig a hole for himself and get through.
After a particularly bad fight (they are now over 3" long) I took a bunch of filed down slate and leaned the pieces on the screen on the pesky male's side, so he'd have to grow arms to move those rocks out of the way. Well, he spends a lot of time on the bottom now swimming along that divider, carefully examining the rocks and you can almost see the thought moving in those orange eyes. 
The other angelfish? Well, he figured out that the big male can't get him now and any time the digger comes by to examine the rock wall, he stands at the screen, opens his mouth, flares his gills and fins and shakes in place, basically taunts. They are very friendly with people though, eat out of your hands and even let you touch them.
No fear. The school of neons can match the angelfish creativity though. I got a can of dried bloodworms to give as treats. The digger angelfish would stand around and hoard the worms floating at the surface in his half of the tank. The neons organized an angelfish distraction scheme: two of them would annoy the angelfish, swimming so close, they would bump into the big fish. When sufficiently annoyed the male would chase the tetras. Meanwhile the rest of the tetra school would steal the worms.
When the angelfish would come back, two other neons would act as bait and the ones the fish just chased would join the worm-stealing crew.
An awesome idea that I got from the National Aquarium in Baltimore is using Scindapsus aureus, better known as Golden Pothos or Devil's Ivy as a living filter, hiding place and whatever else it happens to work as. If one cuts several branches of that ubiquitous plant that seems to proliferate in every house, school and office, and floats them in an aquarium, very quickly the branches convert their little bumps of air roots into a tangled mass of water roots and start growing like crazy.
Fish love it: the pesky digger angelfish spends the night sitting in the roots. I have the branches dangling over the edge of the tank. In just about three weeks, the branches added almost a foot to their length and the roots have reached the sand on the bottom and are in the process of digging in.
I don't use gravel, but use a good layer of sand for substrate. That keeps the cory cats extremely happy (they spend their whole time sifting) and the plants root very well in it. Sand doesn't need cleaning unlike gravel, uneaten food or any debris stays on the surface of the sand, eventually collects around the plant stems where it is easily picked up by a siphon, if one so desires, but usually a catfish gets to it first. I would always advocate having some substrate on the bottom.
Fish do need it, light reflection from the bare tank bottom annoys them. They have an instinctive desire to match the color of the bottom to the (usually dark brown in wild fish) color of the top of their head, so they are invisible to that bird looking down into the water.
Many aquarium fish were bred not to have a brown head, but in their brains their head is still brown. So I find a good layer of darkish river sand a must. This is just my two cents :-) I've been in this hobby since I was a kid, and it never ceases to be fun.
Again, thank you for the wonderful fish.
Gala W.
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Reply. Hello Gala. Thank you very much for your very interesting first-hand account of your fish and your ideas about keeping them.

We find that almost all aquarists have better success using a filter with a bio-wheel, and sand almost always creates problems as it loads up with waste.
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This page was updated on May 11, 2015.