Thursday, December 15, 2011

Utriculata gibba

This plant is a pest I try to avoid at all costs from enentering my tanks. Well it has recently infested my pond, I've been trying to remove it but I'm afraid to say it has one, I will never be able to remove it now. Since I don't really see the unatractive bladders and only the flowers I guess I can live with it. I took this photo of it yesterday.
To ensure this doesn't enter my tanks I don't get plants from tanks I can see it in and I go over all new arrivals to ensure it isn't hiding in there. I have had a number of scares with this plant but it has only ever been a strand ot two.
I find the flowers highly atractive though, I am considering starting a collection of these guys. Utriculata gramiflora is a highly desired relative of U. gibba, it makes a lush foreground plant with the traps remaining under the substrate.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Update on my CRS tank

I finally got the chiller I had been wanting, works a charm, keeps the tank below 24 even on days when the temperature is in the high 30's. I accidently unplugged it for a day though and lost around half my stock. A was given 5 more A/S grades though to keep my population going. I have an A grade female pregnant and I can't wait for the babies to be born. I also rescaped their tank, it still has lots of growing in to do.

Species profile- Betta sp. Mahachai

Betta sp. Mahachai is a member of the splendens complex, it is yet to be scientifically described. It gets to around 5-6cm with the female being slightly smaller than the male and being less colourful she still can colour up quite nicely. The male will often also have slightly longer fins.
A pair will do fine in a tank off around 40 liters but for a group a tank of around 120 liters would be good.  The tank should have plenty of hiding spots, plants and driftwood are good, as are broken pots and pipes. Irrigation piping can be zip tied together and floated at the top of the tank, this gives fish a place to shelter if they are being harassed. Generally they get on very well together, they are much like splendens but without the aggression, they are very sociable.
When they first arrive they can be extremely shy and hide whenever you approach the tank. Live black worms are a good feed for them as they will still eat them even if they have been in the tank a long time, leaving the tank while they feed will also encourage them to feed.  I added a small group of endlers to act as dithers and provide them with some live food in the form of fry. They also encourage the bettas to eat prepared food from the surface.
Mahachai are very tolerant of their water conditions, they will thrive in almost any water provided it is free from ammonia and nitrites and not too excessive nitrates. I have had mine in tap water, rain water and a mix off the too. Their native habitat is a brackish swamp so I add around a handful of salt to my 60 liter tank. I also add shell grit to my substrate to buffer the ph.
Breeding is usually initiated by the male, they are a bubble nester like all of the splendens complex. A storm moving through the area and a water change or top up with water that is a few degrees colder than the tank water can help induce the pair to spawn. Their breeding differs from the rest of the complex however in that the female holds the eggs in her pelvic fins. The fry can usually be left in with the parents.