Keeping Select Aquatics Fish


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     Before Your New Fish Arrive:
    Before receiving any Select Aquatics fish, read through "Fishkeeping Tips- Receiving Shipped Fish", as well as the small
    section on "New Tank Syndrome". Then prepare a tank with filtration for the new fish to acclimate and begin eating again
    following the trip. Be sure your filtration provides adequate aeration and some water movement. You must provide some
    plants for shelter and security, but still be able to keep an eye on them, with low to moderate light. Bright light in a new
    environment will stress them, especially shyer fish. Temp. should ideally be about 73-78 degrees, pH neutral or slightly
    above (my water is 7.4), and soft to moderate hardness (my water is at 90 ppm). All of my tanks are bare bottom with
    potted plants, see Fishkeeping Tips 1, though you can certainly use gravel as long as it is cleaned regularly of
    accumulated waste. Feed lightly 1-2 times a day at first with a quality tropical fish food or live food. Siphon away uneaten
    or excess food. Lastly, do water changes of at least 20% weekly. None of the fish sold at this site are "jumpers", but it is
    always a good idea to provide a cover on the tank the first few days in their new environment, as some will jump,
    especially the swords, until they become acclimated. A one pebble thick layer of pea gravel over 13 - 1/2 of the
    tank bottom will also maintain water quality, and is easy to keep clean of accumulating debris.
    Because of the rarity of some of these fish, I recommend keeping them in a tank of their own so that they are not
    threatened or picked on by other fish, though most of the fish here do well when kept with other species. If you have
    concerns regarding fish you are considering keeping them with, please email me at,
    and I will let you know what my experience has been, as some of the fish sold here are better with some tankmates
    than others.
    When they arrive:
    You MUST slowly acclimate them to your water. Simply empty the water and fish together from the bag/container they
    were shipped in into an empty small tub or container, keeping different species in separate containers. Tilt container if
    necessary so that the bag water still covers the fish. It is best to "drip acclimate", see Receiving Shipped Fish on how to
    do this. If drip acclimating is not an option, you may also slowly add your dechlorinated water (or better yet, established,
    clean tank water from another aquarium) so that it does not exceed about a 1/4 cup every 10 minutes at first. Only
    add new water when they are looking good. When you have added at least as much of your own water as they arrived in,
    begin adding your water in gradually larger quantities. Then, after approx. 1-3 hours, add to a prepared tank after ensuring
    water temperatures are equal.
    Recommended Care:
    Once acclimated and comfortable all of these fish should be fairly hardy and easy to keep. Like any specialty fish, none
    of these fish will do well without proper filtration, a fairly clean tank and at least weekly 20-30% water changes. But unlike
    fish you may have purchased from pet shops, these are wild fish- watching their behavior can be particularly interesting.
    (Some can be far more adept at avoiding being net caught than the pet store guppies and swords you may have been
    used to.) Most of these fish breed year around, but being still wild there are some species that may slow down their
    reproduction from about October until about April, possibly depending on their exposure to outdoor light cycles,
    temperature changes etc.

    Once established in a tank, I try not to move them, and keep dramatic disruptions to a minimum. Providing places to
    hide, adequate swimming room and non-aggressive tank mates are essential for overall health, while helping to avoid
    disease. Avoid temperature extremes or swings, and feed live or frozen food occasionally. A few of these wild fish may
    stress easily, and generally require plants to hide in. Be sure to provide room to swim and grow. Though they are fed
    here lightly many times a day on a rotation of dry and live foods, they will do fine on a dry food diet fed at least once a

    How they will do initially and over generations is discussed in the article "Fish Adjustment" contained HERE.
    Raise young together in a separate tank whenever possible. Even if the adults of their own species don't bother or 
    eat them, they will certainly be eaten by other tankmates. Watch for "gravid" females. Many of the livebearer females, 
    such as the swords, will show a pronounced "gravid spot"- a darkened area of the back half of the abdomen that
    becomes larger and darker as she is about to drop. The goodeids do not show a gravid spot in the same way- they
    simply become very large (see the females at "goodeids").

    The gestation for livebearers (except the goodeids) is generally 25-40 days, depending on the temperature of the water 
    they are kept in. The warmer the water, the shorter the gestation. The gestation period for the goodeids is twice as  
    long, at around 60 days. Most of the non goodeid livebearers will drop up to about 40 young as they mature, their first  
    drop often being at around 10-15 young. The goodeids will drop 5-20 young, also depending on their age and overall 
    size. The size of broods can be increased by generously feeding the gravid female live foods, particularly chopped
    earthworms, with substantial, regular water changes. I once had an X. nezahualcoyotl drop 102 fry by doing that.
    Most livebearers generally drop their fry between sunup and noon, and with a new fish still acclimating to a new
    environment,  I will sometimes leave the female in the new primary tank when she drops (assuming there are not more
    than a couple other fish in the tank that will immediately eat them), and then make every effort to catch as many young
    as I can before they do get eaten. I may not save all of them, but I will save enough to increase my population, without
    having taken the risk of losing the new female by moving her into a smaller container that may cause stress. If I do
    move her to a small container of her own (at least a 2 gallon "Critter Keeper' or equivalent), I will pull her as soon as
    she has her young, then raise the young on baby brine shrimp and finely crushed dry food (fry should be fed lightly at
    least twice a day), changing the water in the fry tank about 50% every day for the first 10 days or so, or until they
    are big enough to be put into a small filtered tank of their own, or a hung on the side of a larger tank in a net breeder,
    or released into the primary tank with the adults (after about a month). See the section on raising fry and fry eating.
    When tank space is at a premium, I will sometimes put a gravid female in with young just old enough not to be eaten
    by the gravid female but too small to want to eat the new fry themselves. The older young are enough of a distraction
    (essentially functioning as dither fish) that they keep the female from eating her own young, and provide enough cover
    for the new young to escape into the plants before being eaten. Then as soon as she drops, I put her back in with the
    adults. Many of the livebearers here are bred that way.
    If tank space is available, it is generally best to keep a female by herself for a couple days to get her strength back
    after having dropped. Particularly if you are working with only a pair or two, a female released in with a male that
    hasn't seen her in a week or two (because she had been in the breeding tank) could be chased and harassed at a
    point where she cannot defend herself, possibly causing harm.

    To further assist the successful keeping and breeding of all of these species, there is a Care Guide written for each
    species, linked from each species page. These address the problems some fishkeepers encounter, as well as
    most aspects of basic husbandry specific to the keeping and breeding of each fish. In the Fishkeeping Tips,
    a Breeding Page also gives careful instruction on breeding the fish found at this site.

    When a problem does occur, or things do not seem quite right, you may identify the problem and consider actions to
    address and resolve it, including making changes to your basic setup to prevent the problem from ever happening again,
    through information contained in the "Fixit Guide" where most problems you will ever commonly encounter are discussed,
    organized by issues that may occur within first your Tank, then The Fish, and lastly, Diseases that may appear and how
    we address and treat them here.
    Unlike some fish sellers, I genuinely care that the fish you receive from Select Aquatics do well and breed for you,
    and every effort is made here to ship fish that are best prepared for acclimation to a new tank. If ever
    the information provided here at the site does not answer a question you may have, do not hesitate to email
    me at  and I will respond to any questions within 24-48 hours.

    Greg Sage





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