What's in Store- May 2019Posted on the 1st May 2019
It’s the pond season and what better way to celebrate it than with some of the many high grade Japanese koi (Cyprinus carpio)at our Wenvoe store. All carp are capable of becoming charismatic, responsive pets when give the huge ponds and hefty filtration that makes their home resemble a giant outdoor aquarium more than a traditional garden pond, but it’s these hand-selected fish in a million that gave rise to the myth of koi being valuable and expensive. As these fishes are graded regularly as they grow, the investment by their breeders is huge and the facilities required to produce them means that the cost of care isn’t spread across a large number of fish. Contrast this with breeds such as Ghost koi, where every fish is potentially saleable and you’ll see why they vary so massively in price. As they can live for decades, dividing their price by their lifespan makes them excellent value!
They may be a very different shape to their ancestors but fancy goldfish such as this Red and white telescope eye(Carassius auratus) at Swindon North still feel the urges of spring and develop the same ‘spawning rash’ on the gill covers as seen in outdoor types. If your indoor goldfish are chasing each other around, this male characteristic might reveal the reason why - yet another good reason to keep these fish in far larger tanks than you might expect. In fact, once the weather warms up there’s no reason why you can’t move fancy goldfish outside for the summer and many of the raised feature ponds available can be adapted as long as you’re prepared to house your pets indoors away from the cold as autumn comes.
Pond plants are one of the things to gladden the heart whatever the weather at this time of year and are full of lush, green promise. Free of most of the pitfalls of transplanting shock thanks to their love of water, watch that water lilies aren’t placed too deeply in the pond at first, as the plant needs to have dry leaves on the surface in order to breathe. Lowering the plant gradually as the leaves develop takes care of this. This was just part of the offering at our Cwmbran store.
A recent visit to Bold Heath was a chance to see one of the most parasite-prone marine fishes in the hobby testing the skills of the staff there. Powder blue tangs (Acanthurus leucosternon)demand strong water-movement and high oxygen levels to thrive and remain free of white spot, as well as good feeding and husbandry. Not a fish for small aquaria or novice marine keepers but a very rewarding pet in the right hands. Bearing in mind those tail ‘scalpels’ that give surgeonfish their alternative name, it’s probably best to keep your hands clear of this group of fish.
Some fishes are so familiar that they’re overlooked and I often think that some of the species that are approaching the century mark would cause a real stir if newly discovered. It doesn’t help if these species tend to lack colour in stock tanks and looking at these Lemon tetras (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis) in a display tank recently, you can see why the fish keepers of the 1930s coined the common name (you can also see why taxonomists christened it ‘pretty-finned’ but that’s a different story). So old are the roots of the aquarium stock, that nobody’s entirely sure where they originate but it seems that the Rio Tapajos is a strong contender. Given the conditions of a soft, acidic Discus tank with some natural tannins, these long-domesticated fish soon shine like their wild cousins.
I’ve talked about Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis) before and probably will again. They’re the original ‘tropical fish’ having made their way to the UK centuries ago aboard ships carrying exotic cargo from the orient, helped by a hardy constitution and good looks. As inhabitants of subtropical regions, now is a great time to try keeping them outdoors in predator-proof planted water features that provide a sanitised version of the plant-choked swamps that provide them with abundant cover and mosquito larvae. As temperatures fall In September they can be brought back inside for the winter, where their requirements are similar to their gourami cousins, aside from being happy in an unheated tank. These wild-type males were looking promising at the Leicester branch and will blossom after a few weeks of sunshine and live foods.