How Easy (or Hard) Are These Fish to Keep?

              Most of the fish sold here are as easy to keep as any regular tropical fish that you would buy at a local fish store. Some are even
              easier, in that they are not far removed from the wild, and do not carry the effects of poor breeding or weak past lineage. The
              brilliant colors on some of these fish, such as the Xiphophorus alvarezi and Xiphophorus mayae have not been selectively bred
              to look the way they do- that is actually how they appear in the wild- most are from Mexico, which is part of what makes these
              fish so fascinating.

              Some species are definitely easier to keep than others, reproduce at different rates, or take longer to mature- information that
              generally does not appear in the basic husbandry information. The difficulty with some fish may not be their maintenance, but the
              culling that should be done to maintain the line's appearance, such as with the I. furcidens.

              Hopefully with the material below you can determine which species are best for you, and links will take you to more information
              provided at this site. Unfortunately, my experiences at fishkeeping may not duplicate yours, as our water differs, etc., but I have
              tried to list them roughly in the order of difficulty I find them to be, from the easiest to keep to those where you need to be
              consistent with their care as they may be less forgiving during lapses. You can tour the fishroom and see how all of the fish are
              kept and bred here.

              Those that reproduce regularly, and in larger numbers, can tolerate some deterioration of water quality, will eat most any quality
              dry commercial tropical fish food, and behave well with one another and other species were considered easiest. Those who were
              sensitive to circumstances that wouldn't bother most fish, or require selective breeding to maintain the strain, breed infrequently or
              in low numbers, or need special care or circumstances to breed were considered to be more difficult.

              If you see a fish you would like but that is not currently available, simply email, with the species you'd
              like, and I'll contact you when they are ready to ship and ask if you are still interested.

              Greg Sage, Owner, Select Aquatics.





                 Any fish considered easy:

                                - Can be kept in a normal community aquarium
                                   None are aggressive or prone to being picked on

                                - Except for I. furcidens, all can be kept 70-78 degrees
                                  I. furcidens should be kept 67-75 degrees

                                - Standard filtration, moderate- high light, and aeration

                                - Kept with live plants

                                - Water changes of at least 20% weekly

                                - Will eat standard commercial dry foods

                                - Will breed year around, but can be seasonal with strong cues
                                  (Natural light, cooler in winter, etc.)

                                - Will breed fairly easily, though young should always
                                  be raised separately.

                                - Except for I. furcidens, all will breed true with little
                                  need to cull. I. furcidens can be culled to maintain



                                     Neocaridina Shrimp            Xiphophorus mayae           Xiphophorus alvarezi               Alfaro cultratus
                                            Ilyodon furcidens         Puntius padfamya "Odessa"    Pleco "Green Dragon"        Synodonis lucipinnis

      Neocaridina shrimp- Care Page- Video Page- Very easy, prolific. Do not tolerate temps above 78 well, may be eaten by fish.

      Xiphophorus mayae- Swordtails - Care Page- Video Page- Large swordtail, 20+ gallon tank, prolific, generally does not eat young.
                            Peaceful, shy.

      Xiphophorus alvarezi- Swordtails - Care Page- Video Page- 15+ gallon tank, prolific, will eat young, active, not shy

      Alfaro cultratus- Care Page- Video Page-  Active, peaceful, small fry, does not like temps below 70, feeds at surface-
                            likes fruit flies

      Ilyodon furcidens- Goodeid- Care Page- Video Page-  Active, non aggressive, very large fry, temps below 75/76, 3-4 inches

      Puntius padamya- "Odessa"- Care Page- Video Page-  Active, needs aeration, likes low light for best color. needs plants to hide in

      Plecostomus longfin "Green Dragon"- Care Guide - Video Page - Eats algea entire life, peaceful, will eat green beans, zucchini,
                             will breed at about 3 inches. Male guards eggs. 50-200 eggs. Extreme flowing fins may be picked on by other fish.

      Synodontis lucipinnis - Catfish - Care Guide - Video Page - Currently being bred out, not yet available. Peaceful, 3-4 inches

                                                                       Care Guides available Here.






        Any fish considered Medium:

     - Can be kept with other species in a community setting, but do much better in a species only or colony tank,
        in part due to their rarity, but also due other issues, such as shyness, lower tolerance for stress and/or
        their vulnerability to being picked on. With the case of the Xenotoca eiseni and Ameca splendens, they can
        be slightly nippy with the right tankmates.

     - Standard or above average filtration, lighting and aeration.

     - Most can be kept at 72-78 degrees (except the goodeids), but tolerance for incorrect temperature may be
       much lower than the easier species.

    - Some species may be sensitive to ammonia, nitrates, or other chemicals or substances (see Tiger Limia)

    - All can be kept with live plants, but because of higher water quality levels strived for with these species,
      the plants may be kept in lower quantities so they do not hold debris.

    - Water changes of at least 20% weekly. 20% twice a week is better for these slightly more challenging species.

    - Will eat standard commercial dry foods, but live or frozen foods should be fed routinely for breeding success
       and overall health of some of these species.

    - Will breed year around, but can be seasonal with strong cues (Natural light, cooler in winter, etc.)

    - Some of these species have very few young at a time, may breed inconsistently, routinely eat their fry or
       produce young that can be difficult to raise.

   - Some species may have a special need for them to do their best.

    - Some require routine culling of inferior fish to maintain or develop further the desired appearance of the fish.

    - These fish generally require a tank of at least 20 or 29 gallons to do their best.


         Xiphophorus montezumae   Zoogoneticus tequila             Poecilia velifera                    Ameca splendens            Skiffia multipunctata
                          Limia "Tiger"              Characodon lateralis           Limia nigrofasciata           Xenotoca eiseni             Xiph. helleri Rio Otapa

    Xiphophorus montezumae- Swordtails - Care page - Video Page- Planted tank, 29 gals. and up, generally does not eat fry, can be shy
                                      best bred in trios

   Zoogoneticus tequila- Goodeid - Care page- Video Page- 20 gal and up, will eat fry, peaceful, near extinction, best bred young

   Poecilia velifera- Molly - Care Page - Care Essay - Video Page -Larger tank, multiple daily feedings, heavy filtration, does not
                                      eat young, active, hardy, males will reach 5.5 inches, 8.0 pH, harder water, prolific.

   Ameca splendens- Goodeid - Care Page- Video page- Very hardy and prolific. Does not eat young, may eat duckweed and
                                     algea. Do not move females to have fry. Can tolerate temps to 78-80 degrees. Planted tank. Eats duckweed.

   Skiffia multipunctata- Goodeid - Care Page- Video Page- Planted tank, aeration and water quality, may eat young, prefers cooler
                                     temps. Can be prolific, every male is distinctively marked.

   Limia "Tiger"- Care Page- Video Page- Still formally unidentified, hardy but sensitive to foreign chemicals and abrupt water quality
                                     changes. Like L. nigrofasciata, males sex out later and are best bought in fry groups. May eat fry.

   Characodon lateralis- Goodeid - Care Page- Video Page- Small broods of 2-10 fry with 60 day gestation. Requires that bottom be
                                     siphoned every couple days of mulm and debris. Water quality and aeration are important. Temps must
                                     stay below 74 degrees. May eat fry. Poorly colored males should be separated. 

   Limia nigrofasciata- Care Page- Video Page- Males sex out later, so young males will look like large females until they
                                     mature. So best bought as groups of unsexed 2-4 month old fish. Water quality and aeration are important, 
                                     but must have a strong biological component in the filtration- some gravel on bottom of tank, for
                                     example. May eat fry. Some older males become almost entirely round!

   Xenotoca eiseni- Goodeid - Care page- Video Page- 10 gallon tank up, Very hardy, prolific, will eat fry, wide temperature tolerance 
                                     for a goodeid- up to 78 - 80 degrees, but best at goodeid temperatures of up to 74 degrees. Can handle cooler
                                     temperatures into the mid 50s F. Can be nippy with other fish, endangered in the wild.

   Xiph. helleri "Rio Otapa" - Swordtails - Care Page- Video Page- 29 gal tank and up. Very large swordtail, prolific. Young must
                                      be fed well the first 2-3 months to avoid issues later on. Slower to mature, some males will eventually
                                      surpass 6 inches. Some males will also be spotted. Generally does not eat fry.   


                                                                 Care Guides as download available .pdfs with pictures available Here. 




       Any fish Considered Harder to Keep:

          - Can be kept with other species in a community setting, but do much better in a species only or
            colony tank.

          - Standard or above average filtration, lighting and aeration.

          - These two, both being Goodeids, must be kept between 64 and 74 degrees.

          - Difficult species often breed inconsistently, seasonally only or have small batches of young
            that may also be difficult to raise. Parents may also eat fry.

         - Can be kept with live plants, higher water quality levels require occasional cleaning.

         - Water changes of 20% at least twice a week is better for these slightly more challenging species.

         - Will eat standard commercial dry foods, but live or frozen foods should be fed routinely for breeding success
           and overall health of some of these species.

        - Will breed year around, but can be seasonal with strong cues (Natural light, cooler in winter, etc.)

        - These fish generally require a tank of at least 20 or 29 gallons to do their best.

        - May not be tolerant of a brief change in temperature or water quality.



                                                                                             Skiffia "Black Beauty"                       

    Skiffia "Black Beauty"* - Goodeid - Care Page - Video Page - Actually a hybrid of Skiffia francescae x Skiffia multipunctata,
                       developed in the early 1970's. Extremely rare in hobby, does not exist in wild. Males turn nearly entirely
                       black with yellow finnage. Breeds inconsistently with small broods. Also recently acquired and won't
                       be offered for sale for awhile.




                                                                         How they are kept here:

              All of the species sold by Select Aquatics were chosen over time for their ability to do well in this fishroom. The tanks are kept
              consistent in that all are bare bottom with box filters- generally one 4" round filter for each 10 gallon tank, 2 filters for 20, 30 and
              40 gallon, 3 for 50 and 4 for the 100 gallon tanks. They provide adequate filtration when the floss is changed at least monthly,
              while providing moderate to heavy aeration with some water movement, required for the optimum health of most of the species
              offered here. The air is provided from a central 1/4hp blower.  A single layer of 1/4" pea gravel is spread over 1/2 of tank bottom.

              Most of the tanks contain generous amounts of Java Fern, Java Moss, Bolbitis Fern and a variety of potted Amazon
             swords, Crypts. and Anubias. All tanks are covered with twin wall polycarbonate and all receive moderate light from standard
             13W CFL bulbs 10-14 hours per day. I do not use CO2, but do treat with the Rapid Grow fertilizer available at this site.
             Water is changed daily 15% on an automatic system, but if you are doing weekly 20% changes or bi-monthly 50% changes,  
             you should be fine if the filtration is good and the tank is not overstocked.
             Adequate aeration and some water movement is provided from in-tank box filters in every tank, and the floss is changed monthly.
             The fishroom temperature fluctuates seasonally from 68-78 degrees. Some tanks have heaters, and the swords are generally kept
             around 72-76 degrees. The goodeids are kept a little cooler, and fry of the swords are raised slightly warmer. Livebearers
             generally prefer harder water, but my water is soft at 90ppm. You may find that with slightly harder water these fish will do even
             better than they do here. The pH is 7.4.
             Each of these are hardy, peaceful with their own species and reproduce well, but a few require more attention than others, or are
             prone to die-offs when water conditions are allowed to deteriorate. This information can help you make the best choices for your





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