Something Fishy: Freshwater Sharks

Freshwater "sharks"Choosing creatures called freshwater sharks may seem strangely fascinating to a fish-keeping beginner. Many people who are beginners in keeping aquariums choose tropical freshwater fish for the occupants of their first aquarium. When a beginner isn’t familiar with many of the species available, certain names have appeal. “Freshwater sharks” has an attraction for many. These fish are also distinctive looking and a wonderful addition to any aquarium.

Cyprinidae, Not Sharks

Learning the scientific names of fish may be part of setting up freshwater aquariums. The fish that are popularly called “freshwater sharks” are actually of the family Cyprinidae, and are totally unrelated to ocean sharks. The popular name was given these fish because the shape of their bodies resembles that of the marine predators. Among the types of fish that belong to this group are Bala Shark, Tricolor Shark, Silver Shark, Labeos, Roseline Shark, and the Rainbow Shark.

Aquarium Residents

Owners of custom aquariums like to have interesting looking fish inhabiting the tank. The rainbow shark is a popular choice for aquariums. It is also called the red-fin shark, the rainbow sharkminnow, the ruby shark or the whitefin shark. These fish tend to dwell at the bottom of the tank, where they eat up leftover fish food. They also clean surfaces, eating the algae that might grow on various surfaces. This quality makes them a useful addition to the population of the aquarium.

Freshwater Sharks Compatibility with Other Fish

The trick about selecting aquarium fish for your tank is choosing animals that will live well together. Although a solitary rainbow shark may live mildly with other types of fish in the aquarium, it is not a wise idea to have two in the same tank. Although they get along well with their own kind out in the wild, they tend to be aggressive if they share the same tank. They exhibit fighting behavior which can include threat displays and head-and-tail butting and biting. A larger rainbow shark would also chase a smaller one all around the aquarium. So if the novice fish-keeper wants to include a rainbow shark in their tank population, they should stick to only one at a time.

Selecting fish for a new tank may be a challenge to the novice, so it would be a good idea to find an aquarium service that will be happy to give advice. Experts can help the new aquarium owner choose the ideal residents for the tank. Many comfortable hours can be spent enjoying the movements of an aquarium population.

Something Fishy: Damselfish

A yellow DamselfishFor those who are interested in saltwater aquariums one of the crucial aspects is choosing which fish to keep.  A saltwater or marine aquarium is one that holds an environment for fish that need saltwater to live in. The tropical fish known from ocean waters require such a habitat. One of the most popular species of tropical saltwater fish for aquariums is the Damselfish.

Habitat: Nature and Aquarium

Many popular marine aquarium Damselfish species inhabit coral reefs out in nature. They generally get along with other individual fish belonging to the same species.  If several individuals are kept together, they actually move about in schools. They are a hardy species in the tank, adapting well to the presence of a filtration system and accommodating occasional sub-par water quality. The ease in taking care of them is part of why they are popular as aquarium fish.

Feeding Damselfish

In nature, Damselfish diet upon algae, plankton, and small crustaceans.  For those fish that live in aquariums, they may eat almost any fish food that you provide.  The various things that you can find would be fine particles of other fish, squid, or clams. You could feed them blood worms, brine shrimp or even flake fish food.

The Good and Bad

The Good aspects of choosing Damselfish for your saltwater aquarium are many. They are colorful species for the most part, and some even seem to take on a neon glow in blue-colored lighting. Even the black and white types are considered attractive. Their relatively small size also make them an appealing choice for aquariums. Their hardiness also is a benefit for the aquarium owner.

The downside in selecting Damselfish begins with the fact that many are highly territorial in their habitats. They do not like to share space with others, and will be aggressive and bullying toward other fish in their territory, even toward larger fish. They might also snack on some of the small crustaceans and tiny worms in some tanks, even though they are beneficial to the habitat.

All in all, Damselfish are probably the best choice to make if you are stepping into the realm of keeping a saltwater aquarium. An expert will help you make the best selections for your first marine aquarium.

Something Fishy: 5 Unique Fish for Freshwater Tanks

collage of five unique fish for freshwater aquariumsDreaming of a cool design for your aquarium is fun! Once you have completed your unique aquarium design  you may want to consider some unique fish for your freshwater aquarium. We have some suggestions that would be fun and intriguing for you!

Five Unique Fish for Awesome Choices


Knifefis require a large aquarium because when properly cared for they can reach over a foot in length. Knifefis are perennial exotic favorites for home aquariums. Cool fact-Knifefis have a well-developed weak electrical organ that assists them in maneuvering dark waters of their South American homeland.


Bichir should be housed with large, peaceful fish because they are opportunistic feeders. Bichir are primitive ray-finned fishes collected from Africa. They can breathe air and travel on land for short periods of time using their strong pelvic fins. You will want to include a tight fitting lid when setting up your aquarium and allow adequate bottom space.

Freshwater “Sharks”

Freshwater “Sharks” require hiding places, driftwood, and larger leaved plants. They have no relations to marine sharks, they are curious fish and would make an excellent addition to aquariums of the semi-aggressive type nature.


Fresh water eels reach up to approximately 24 inches or more! They adjust well to living their lives in captivity because they feed mostly on fish and crustaceans and they have a reputation in becoming very hardy inhabitants. You need to include plenty of space and hiding places for your eels and also you will need a large well-sealed lid.

Ageneiosus Atronasus

They are a species of the catfish family Auchenipterid. They are known to be found in the Amazonas Rivers. When considering Aquarium Design, ideally a soft, sandy substrate would be idea but not essential. Popular setups tend to feature dim lighting, driftwood, and scattered tree roots/branches. However, you decide to set up your aquarium be sure to allow for adequate swimming space.

Aquarium service is key and you will need to have an efficient filtration system.  Efficient filtration is essential this is primarily due to the predatory nature of this fish. Predatory fish leave large amounts of debris in the aquarium. Installation of one or more external canister filters and/or a sump system, organizing the return in such a way that it ultimately creates some surface movement and a degree of flow is created. Large catfish will provide you with a fresh water fish that are unique and interesting.

The fish as listed above are bound to be something that can make anyone’s tank unique and interesting. Remember to do your research before purchasing these fish and you will be set for a great adventure in your next project.

Something Fishy: Freshwater Fish For Beginners

Goldfish in an freshwater fish aquariumWhen a beginner decides to enter the world of fish-keeping, one of the biggest questions involves the choice of what type of fish to keep. There are the obvious questions about the size of the first tank, if it will be freshwater or salt water, and whether or not it will be a cold water or heated water tank. Even that matter might surprise a beginner, for most people do not think about the salinity and temperature of a water environment.

Choosing Freshwater Fish

Choosing a heated aquarium would allow the beginner to select from more varieties of fish. But one of the most familiar types of freshwater fish for beginners is a cold water fish: the Gold Fish. So selecting the animal you want to be spending time with will affect the temperature of the habitat the fish will live in, as well as determine any additional residents you might choose to add.

Warm Water Fish

There are several options for the beginner who chooses to have a warm water aquarium. A broad selection of such fish could include Danios, Black Mollies, Black Skirt Tetras, Kuhli Loaches, Platies, and Swordtails.

Swordtails are a popular choice for beginners both for their dramatic appearance and because they are very hardy and do well in community aquariums, where they share the space with other types of fish. The name of this fish comes from the shape of the lower lobe of the male’s tailfin, which is elongated. The females tend to be larger than the males and lack the same length of “sword”. Although the wild form of the fish is an olive green, captive breeding has developed many colors and patterns. It is an omnivorous eater, meaning it will dine on anything, both plants and small crustaceans and insects.

Mollies are also easy to keep. For the beginning fish-keeper who wants a home-grown population, Mollies are prolific breeders. Although Mollies are generally compatible tankmates with some other fish, because of their energetic nature, they can be mildly aggressive and chase the other fish. They would certainly not be a boring choice for the aquarium of a novice.

Cold Water Fish

Another option for someone starting out with aquarium fish is to choose cold water freshwater fish. This choice would mean a little less work in paying attention to the temperature of the water, so if limited time for maintenance care is an issue, these fish are worth considering. Popular choices are White Clouds, Bloodfin Tetras, and the very familiar Gold Fish.

The hardy Bloodfin Tetras are usually kept in groups, most typically a school of five or more fish. They’re very sociable creatures and prefer the upper reaches of the aquarium. Their silvery bodies with their tailfins splashed with red make them very decorative in a tank. They do, however, like to nibble on the longer flowing fins of other fish.

And of course, how could anyone not consider Gold Fish? It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, so there is a long history of keeping Gold Fish. The history alone would be a source of enrichment to the novice who chooses to keep Gold Fish. This small carp has been bred into a variety of sizes, shapes colors and skin patterns. It would never be a boring choice. The one thing to be careful about with Gold Fish is that they are opportunistic feeders and will easily over-eat. But with a little care and planning this need not be a problem.

Keeping fish can be a soothing and relaxing hobby. If you consider adding an aquarium to your home, especially if you have never kept fish before, seek the advice of experts who can help you with the selection of size of tank and type of fish. Consult the team at Aquatech Aquariums and begin to enjoy the presence of an aquarium in your life.

Something Fishy: The Beauty of Koi

outdoor koi pondMany people are fascinated by watching koi. The large decorative fish were bred from ordinary carp in Japan in the 1800s. The name “koi” comes from a Japanese term, nishikigoi, which literally means “brocaded carp.” The koi fanciers cultivated mutations in the fish for color, making the animals collectibles. The arrangement of ponds suitable for keeping the fish developed into an art of its own, for there are many considerations to be taken into account in building a suitable koi pond. The addition of a koi pond to a property adds a tranquil beauty to the setting.

The Fascination of Koi

Part of the fascination with these decorative carp comes from the size these fish can grow to. In ideal conditions in Japan, it is possible for koi to grow to a length of 37 inches. In the United States, with a more variable climate, they often grow to 27 inches. Age also contributes to the popularity of these fish, for the ordinary life expectancy can be around 50 years. That means that providing the fish is properly cared for and protected from predators, it could live for quite a long time. A famous koi named “Hanako” reportedly lived to be over 200 years old. It was, of course, owned by several people in the course of its life.

colorful koi fishOne thing that many people are not aware of is that these carp do not breed true for coloration and patterns.  If left to breed on their own, in a few short generations, the offspring will have reverted back to ordinary carp. This difficulty in fixing coloration contributes to the mystique of koi.  Koi fanciers look for certain combinations of color and markings. The usual colors are red, black, yellow, brown, blue, silver, gold, pine cone pattern, orange, gray, and white. The metallic colors tend to be solid, all over, while the other colors have a variety of marking combinations.

In addition to color, koi also have different types of scales. They are even given names, in order to help describe a particular fish. Scaled are the most common type, and they possess typical carp scales. Then there are Doitsu, which have scales only along the dorsal and lateral lines. Leather describes a fish that has no visible scales, except for the occasional presence of very small scales along the dorsal line alone. The last type of “scaling” is the Gin Rin, which refers to a normally scaled fish that has a mirror-like quality to the scales, and the scales are usually of a gold or silvery appearance.

The size and coloration of these carp are what fascinate people. We like to watch them swimming amongst the water plants in an appealingly designed pond. For the more ambitious owner, there might be the opportunity for competitive display. But for most, it is the pleasure of watching the sizable fish circulate in the clear water of the koi pond, giving hours of quiet pleasure.

Maintaining a koi pond’s pristine beauty is not an easy task, and is best left to experts who know how to clean and service the pond without disturbing the fish.  At Aquatech Aquarium Services (in Los Angeles), we have over 25 years of experience caring for aquarium and pond fish.  One of our specialized services is koi pond maintenance.  Give us a call at (310) 993-2183 – we would love to help you continue to enjoy your koi pond for years to come