วันจันทร์ที่ 1 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2555

Fish Data : ฺBlue Neon Cichlid

    The Blue Neon a is possibly the least aggressive cichlid on the planet. Endemic to Lake Tanganyika, Blue Neons are extremely peaceful and prefer to school together in groups of 8-10 (without any problems); they completely tolerate conspecifics and actually seem to be friendly with each other; the same can also be said in regards to heterospecific tank mates. Blue Neons have a brick-red to bright red base color with several, spaced neon-blue horizontal lines down the length of the body (from the face all the way to the caudal fin); they also have neon-blue tipped fins with neon-blue markings throughout; this is how they received their well deserved nickname.

    The Blue Neon, thought of as a 'sardine' cichlids and sometimes called a 'Herring cichlid', was classified with them in the Cyprichromis genus. However it has a very different nature and mild temper. This along with a different arrangement and number of vertebrae has earned this cichlid it's own genus, Paracyprichromis. Years ago it was thought that these fish were hard to keep, but following simple procedures will result in an easy fish to keep.

Distribution:    The Blue Neon was described by Boulenger in 1901. These fish are endemic to Lake Tanganyika, Africa. They are found in several parts of lake where they will school in groups of hundreds, though they prefer the security of rock structures and caves. They feed on zooplankton in the open water above the rocks. They are typically collected at Chituta Bay in Zambia, Msambu, and Kigoma in Tanzania.

Status:    This species is listed on the IUCN Red List with the status of 'LC', meaning 'Least Concern'.

Description:    The Blue Neon is a small beautiful cichlid. They have a slender elongated body with a slightly lyre tail. Males have a creamy orange to orange body, with neon blue to purple stippled lines that run vertically through their body. Their fins are a clearish yellow to lighter neon blue and outlined in the same neon blue to purple coloring as the stippled body lines. Females are a bit duller version of the males, but still very pretty. Juveniles are gray when born and cream by two months.

    All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have and that is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.

    Cichlids have one nostril on each side while other fish have 2 sets. To sense "smells" in the water, they suck water in and expel the water right back out after being "sampled" for a short or longer time, depending on how much the cichlid needs to "smell" the water. This feature is shared by saltwater damselfish and cichlids are thought to be closely related.

Size - Weight:    The male grows to a length of just over 4" (10.2 cm). Females are smaller, reaching just over 3" (7.6 cm).

Care and feeding:    The Blue Neon is a planktivore. In the wild they feed on drifting zooplankton in open water above the rocks. In the aquarium they can be be fed flakes including a high quality spirulina and frozen foods such as brine shrimp. Use foods with carotene to bring out their color. Feeding cyclops or artemia that will bring out their best colors, but once they get a taste for these they will usually ignore the flake. It is suggested that you do not feed live foods and tubifex worms due to possible diseases and pathogens that may be transferred to your fish. Feed 2 to 5 small pinches of food a day in smaller amounts instead of a large quantity once a day.  A one-day-a-week 'fast' can also be beneficial. All fish benefit from vitamins and supplements added to their foods.

    A minimum of 65 to 80 gallons is suggested. They do fine in either freshwater or brackish freshwater but need good water movement along with efficient filtration. For freshwater an optional practice is to add 1 heaping teaspoon of salt per 11 gallons of water. This is considered to be a simple and natural remedy for wounds, minor fungal infections and film over the eyes of fish in transit. Using a marine salt (used for salt water fish) will add some trace elements.

    Provide a sand substrate and have several dark colored rocks formed into caves that reach to the top of the tank. They must have peaceful tank mates, rocks and cave formations, and plants. The dark colored rocks help to bring out their colors, and if denied rock stuctures the males will fade to a bland beige color. Lower light levels are preferred, so keep this in mind when using plants. Some good plant arrangements include Cryptocoryne in the foreground, in the middle ground use swordplants that are the larger variety, and the very back can have water ferns. Float plants for brooding females will help to darken the tank a little and increase their feeling of security. Using Aqua-glo lights will bring out their colors as well.

    Do normal water changes of about 15 - 20% weekly, depending on stocking numbers. The Lake Tanganyika cichlids cannot handle large water changes very well unless the new water chemistry closely matches the water they are in. If a large water change is needed, changing 15% every couple of days should bring water back to normal. This inability to tolerate large water changes is due to Lake Tanganyika being very deep and the water tends to stay stable.

    These fish are susceptible to typical fish ailments, especially if water is stale and of poor quality and oxygenation. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Water changes, not overfeeding or overcrowding, and observation along with feeding your fish the proper foods (thawing frozen food and adding vitamins) will keep them in optimum health.

    One common problem is Ich. It can be treated with the elevation of the tank temperature to 86° F (30° C) for 3 days. If that does not cure the Ich, then the fish needs to be treated with copper (remove any water conditioners). Several copper based fish medications are available for Ich. Copper use must be kept within the proper levels, so be sure to follow the manufacturers suggestions. You can also combine increasing the temperature with an Ich medication treatment. A copper test also can be used to keep the proper levels.    
Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom:    These fish will swim in the middle areas of the aquarium.
Acceptable Water Conditions:    Hardness: 12 - 30 dH
   Ph: 8.0 - 8.5
   Temp: 77 - 81° F (25 - 27° C)
Lake Tanganyika is the second to largest lake in the world, thus contributing to a low fluctuation in Ph and temperature. Several things all Lake Tanganyika cichlids need are:
  1. Stable temperatures kept within acceptable limits.
  2. Lots of oxygen to survive. Lake Tanganyika is a very oxygen rich lake. Bubblers need to be going day and night, even if there are plants.
  3. Avoid overfeeding and overstocking.
  4. Do a 10-15% water change weekly.
  5. Regularly check nitrates (no more than 25 ppm), Ph (less than 7 is not tolerated), total hardness and carbonate hardness.
Social Behaviors:    The Blue Neon is a peaceful community cichlid. They are very peaceful toward other fish and their gregarious nature allows them to be housed with non-cichlids. They will work with Featherfins or sand dwelling Lake Tanganyikan fish. Some have kept them with Xenotilapia sp. and Ochrogenys ndole since they occupy different parts of the water column and do not bother each other. Do not house with Cyprichromis, Tropheus or other large or aggressive fish. Besides dietary differences, they will out compete with the Blue Neon for food.

    Having aggressive fish or other fish from the same genus will result in stress and the males not attaining their true gorgeous coloring. As they are a schooling fish, they need to be kept in groups of at least 10 to fair well. Several males can be kept in the same tank.

Sexual Differences:    Males are larger and brighter in color, while the females are smaller and a bit duller.

    Paracyprichromis nigripinnis will often choose to deposit their eggs on the side of rocks or a piece of slate that had been leant against the tank glass. The female will mouth brood the eggs which are quite large. Normally they will lay a batch of 10-12 at a time. The fry will also be large when they have been released and will accept crushed flake or newly hatched brine shrimp immediately.

The expected life span for Paracyprichromis nigripinnis is 5-8 years.


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