Those pages are created to share my wonderful experience with a fresh water aquarium I got from my son, Peter.
I'm an absolute beginner in aquaristics, so please forget me if I make mistakes describing my experiences.
I started with a small aquarium - 10 liters - with a couple of blue
gourami (trichogaster trichopterus) and a red tailed black shark (labeo
bicolor). I had a small plant in it and a simple bubble filter.
The gouramis were relatively small - about 3 cm long each. As they
started to grow I was thinking to install some heater into it, so I
made a small 15W heater.
The female gourami's belly started to be visible but nothing else
happened. They were pretty crowded in the small tank, so I decided to
go for a larger one and bought a 50 liter aquariums with built in
heater, lighting and 3 stage power filtering. As a good beginner - I
filled with water, put lots of plant into it, waited 2 days and I
thought it is ready for the fishes. Well - the rainbow shark did not
survive the unsettled aquarium and soon some strange algae started to
grow everywhere. The water looked like skim milk too:(
I replaced %95 of the water in the tank at once! That took care of the
dull water and it is nice and clear now but the white algae reached 1
cm length on every stone, shells and snail shells.
So I headed to a well established pet shop to get some company for my
gouramis. I bought 6 Harlequin Rasboras (Rasbora heteromopha), 2
Siamese Algae Eater and a red Betta male.
The SAE did some miracle! The aquarium was cleaned with 3 days from ALL
algae you can find in it and the ystill keeping it nice and clean.
Finally the water settled in the aquarium and the gouramis started to
change their colour to all possible tone of blue. The male started to
chase the female away, so I decided it is time to try to breed them.
I bought another tank a swallow, 20l one with some plants for it. We
set it up and after 2 days - we transferred the gourami couple into it.
The male immediatelly started to build bubble nest and chased the
female to the hiding behind a plant. 4 days later the water surface was
literally covered with the bubblenest. The female started to dart out
from hiding and started to nip the side of the male.
Since I have the computer next to my aquariums I hooked up my cameras to
the computer and was waiting impatiently what will happen. Finally it
started! I was watching them with amazment how beautiful they were!
After about 5 hours thogh the female still had a big belly, the male
chased her away to hiding again and he took care of the eggs in the
bubble nest. I removed the female and moved back to the big tank and
let the male do his duty. He was working day and night for 30 hours and
did not eat the life food I provided to him. After the eggs are hatched
and the frys were floating happily, I removed the male too back to the
big tank. Strangely enough the female started to chase the male trying
to mate again but they settled down after about 3 days.
Two weeks passed and the small tank is still full with gourami fry.
Looks like I managed to get some snails with the palnts, so I have a
tons of small snails all around. After a week - I started to clean the
bottom of the tank. Than was full of rotten moss and probably uneaten
fry food. The tank's bottom is covered with microscopic white worms - I
don't know yet what will happen with them. I saw once a fry tried to
bite it with no luck :)
It is hard to estimate the amount of fri I have - it is somewhere
between 300 and 1500. The water is crowded with them. The size
difference is wisible now between them - from the smalles beeing about
4-5 mm long to the largest ones beeing around 8-10 mm. The larger
ones have now tail fins too.
When the eggs are hatched - the water had plenty of tiny insuforias but
their number declined to almost zero. It is either due to the snails or
the fry ate it - I have no idea.
I keep the temperature around 27-28 C which looks like OK for them,
while I changed some water the first time after 2 weeks of hatching.
The water smells awful but .... they look happy!!
Several weeks passed (actually 3) while I left my fish to my son's
care. Coming home was exciting to see that the breeding tank is full
with fish! They are still alive and happy. The temperature is down to
26 C. They eat literally ANYTHING I give them and they grew a lot.
Interesting observations is that the tank now has a large number of big
species (around 4-5 cm) , another set of medium sized ones (1.5-3 cm)
and some very small ones (barely larger than 5-6 mm).
They live happily together, though the number of the small ones are
decreasing. I'm changing water regularly now to keep it clean but I had
no success. It is either full with algae (green) or looks like someone
spilled a cup of milk into the water. I guess it is time for them to go
some other place - the breeding tank is just too small for 100+ fish!
I tried several pet shop to offer the breed for barter but nobody wanted
them. I'm now in the thinking to put them into my outdoor pond. The
only problem is the temperature. The pond is 14 C at this moment. I was
able to put a few ones into a bucket and let the water cool down to 16C
but not to 14C yet. Maybe it is a good opportunity to "teach" them to
live in a cold area?
Well,,, the outdoor pond's temperature is rising ! I cant wait till it
reaches 18-20 C, so I can populate the pond with gouramis. The breeding
tank temp set down to 21C but the fish did not loose their appetite.
Their favorit food is the "tubifex" (I don't know if it has an english
version or it is the same). It is a small white worm comes frozen dried
in small cubes. I used a grater to loosen it up and pour on top of the
water. They can east 5 cubes (1x1 cm) within 3 minutes - just amazing!
The temperature finally risen to 18C in the pond, so I transferred some
20+ gouramis there. The batch has fully matured and very small species
in it. They are still alive after a week but not too happy. Mostly
hiding under some black plastic fold of the pond. They eat
regularly and seems they are growing too. They share the pond with
goldfish and some hungarian fresh water fish I don't know the name of
them. None of those fish are carnivores so I guess the gouramis just
afraid of their sizes :) Here is a picture of the pond (warning - it is a huge picture!).
Well,, the summer is almost over. The gouramis are the best looking
fish in the pond! They are deep blue with orange and gold spots on
their fins. I should state that this was the BEST experiment I ever
made (and I think the gouramis think the same :)
The pond is 7500 liters (about 2000 gallons). I home made the filter
for it from a plastic barrel ppl usually use for canoeing . That was
the cheapest but the best filter you can get. I had some pipe pieces in
it on the bottom and I used a special geotextile which used for
construction to filter out the unwanted debrees from the water (mostly
the tiny ones). The pond has a 15W UV filter to keep the green algae
growth in order but I had nothing against the string algae till about 3
weeks ago when I got 2 little Barley Strow barrel. Looks like it needs
more time to have an effect.
The temperature is dropping as fall aproaches. The pond now down to 14C
(58F) which is very low for the gouramis though they don't seem to be
bothered. They move with the same speed, only their appetite is
decreasing. We decided it is time to get them out from the pond and
back to the auquarium for the winter. Not the easiest project! My
doughter turned out the best fisherman:) She managed to catch 8
gouramis and if time permits, she'll get the rest. If not - we'll see
what happens if they are overwintering in the pond.
The rest of the gouramis are disappeared but the ponds temperature is
up to 16 C again. I covered the pond with a net to prevent the falling
leafs to enter the water and soon we have to trim the plants (when the
water cools down much more) for the winter. We still feed the fish so
they can gain some weight for the cold winter. They eat with much less
The winter is over here. My pond had about 10 inches of ice on it
during the winter but I kept a little breathing hole on it constantly
with warming a little spot. The water temperature is up to 12 C and all
the fish are happily running and feeding inside. Almost all survived
the winter, I lost only 2 goldfish. I discovered a little school of
small fish (about 12 fish) most likely the last years batch of my
freshwater natural fish which I got from a fisherman friend.
I tried another breeding with the gouramis but it was a total disaster.
I got some infection in the breeding tank and all the eggs immediately
covered by smal white strings like algae, so the gourami couple is back
in my aquarium and I sterilized the breeding tank and now I'm
waiting the tank to settle before I do another try.
I got a strange looking fish from a pet store:) It is an algae eater but
nobody knows it's name. The last picture on this page shows it.
Finally I got the name - Farlowella Acus or Twig Catfish. Turned out
the store clerk who sold it to me did not know that this species was
set aside for the store owner who was not really happy when he learned
the sales :)
He does an excellent job on algae - I don't have to scrape it off any longer from anything!
It is a long time I wrote anything though several interesting event occured during this time.
The summer went with no significant events. I had a batch of gouramis
breeded in early April. They ended up in the pond somewhere during the
early summer. As usual they were beautiful dark blue colored and
wisibly enjoyed the pond life. I got some natural fresh water fryes in
the pond - some actually survived the hars winter. I lost 3 goldfishes
during the winter but the majority (approximately 50 fish) survived and
habitated the pond happily. This summer I did not change any water in
the pond. The filter I made last year performed well so did the UV
filter. I had to add Barley Straw to control the string Algae (my dog
loved to pull them to the side: the algae AND the barley straw :) ) .
Sidenote: the secret of the clear pond is: UV filter and Barley Straw (and a good biological filter of course).
Winter came again and I forgot to remove the gouramis from the pond.
We'll see if anyone survives (I doubt!) together with the rest of the
fish who breeded again producing zillions of small fish (they will I
I had my old male and female gouramis die with no apparent reason, so I
kept one home-breed female in my aquarium. I got a male from the store
and he immediately started to push the female to breed. Well,, what
could I do - I revitalized my breeding tank and moved them over there.
Within a day WITHOUT any bubblenest - I had the whole tank surface
covered with eggs! I was afraid to get the same problem with fungii but
this time those eggs are hatched and now I'm here with about 500 frys
(some sizes are up to 1/2 inches ). We used the smaller ones to feed my
Interesting fact what can a gourami survive:
One time when cleaning the breeding tank (replacing some water in it) a
fry accidentally went through the tube and ended up in my "Umbrella
Plant" pot (Those plants are living in water and I have a big pot for
them). I just recognized - two weeks later - that this fry survived in
the pot! Not only that but it is now 1/2 inch long, so it was able to
eat and grow!! I decided I let the little fellow stay in the pot to
My aquarium got a few accidents: the Betta died, so did one of my
Siameese Algae Eater (probably hit the glass too hard once). One
Harlequin Rasbora got some infection, so it died too. Overall
this aquarium is still very healthy and living one (I can't stop
pruning the plants - they grow like weed!). My Black Molly (now its
size is about 4 inches!) decided to chase the Clow Fish (about 3.5
inches now) but they'll survive it.
The Clown Fish's favourite place is within a huge shell I put into the
tank from Arruba. He drives me nuts when he decides to go to sleep on
his side :)
Here I put a bunch of pictures I made/make about my fishtanks:
The full aquarium at 2/4/2005:
Someone with a good eyes can discover a small gourami in the center -
she is one of the results of my early breeding of the two bigger
gouramis in 2.4.2005). Farlowella Acus is enjoying the algae on the
right left corner. meanwhile the Clown Loach refused to take the
Siamese Algae Eater:
My fighting Betta:
The gourami couple in the breeding tank:
I bought this strange creature - even the store clerk did not know it's
name. It is an algae eater and does an excellent job on the rock
surfaces (and on the plants too).Farlowella Acus from Brazil,Venezuela. Common name is Twig Catfish.