This is one of the largest groups, which includes the most popular aquarium fish, such as barbs, rasborov, danios, loachs, labo and goldfish. Ichthyologists number more than 2000 species, although this is a very approximate number, taxonomists have a lot to work on. Carps are common in the waters of Africa, Europe, Asia and the southern part of North America. A number of species have been acclimatized around the world for sport fishing and fishing.
In carps, the swim bladder is connected to the inner ear through the pitting system. Thanks to this so-called Weber machine, their ears are extremely acute, which is also characteristic of characters (Silifformes) and cataclysms (Siluriformes). In addition, in fish of this group, bumps may develop on the head and other parts of the body, especially for species living in reservoirs with a strong current. Hillocks perform a hydrodynamic function, reducing the inhibition of water on the body of the fish. In some species, tubercles appear on the head of sexually mature males during the breeding season — probably as belonging to the mating dress.
In a part of carps, spawning is preceded by significant movements (migrations), and the hillocks appearing in them at this time can carry either one or another function, or both. Many smaller species are ideal for a tropical or cold-water aquarium. That is why it is more convenient to divide carps like this principle and consider each group separately.
For many years, barbs from Africa and Asia have been on sale. The number of some species in nature, say a cherry barbus (Barbus titteya) living in Sri Lanka, is very low, but thanks to captive breeding they are available to aquarists. Most of the small barbs are bred by the thousands in fish farms in Indochina, South Africa, Western Europe and Florida.
Captive bred fish are easier to transport, they are not as sensitive to changes in the composition of water as wild individuals, they are easier to acclimatize. Barbusses are schooling fish inhabiting various reservoirs – from streams and rivers to lakes.
Having decided to get barbs, get, if the volume of the aquarium allows, from six to ten copies. They are perfect aquarium, where not too many plants and enough space for swimming in the middle and lower layers of water. With the exception of the Sumatran barbus (Barbus tetrazona), most of the smaller barbs get along well with other fish of similar size. Sumatran barbs are rather pugnacious, but even this can be overcome if you keep them with a flock of eight or more fish in a large aquarium. They will be so busy chasing each other, that they will leave the rest of the population alone. If they are few, other fish may be in trouble.
An aquarium with medium-sized species should be tightly closed, as they are capable of jumping, especially during feeding.
For small aquariums (up to 60 cm in length) we recommend a cherry bar (B. titteya), a sun bar (B. gelius), Cuming bar (V. cumingi), a small bar (B. oligolepis), a fire bar (V. conchonius ), a striped barb (B. fasciatus), a scarlet Odessa barb (B. "odessa"), a barb Schubert (V. schuberti) and a barbus Stolichki (V. ticto stoliczkae). Their maximum sizes do not exceed 7.5 cm, and they perfectly get along with small tetras, danios and petillia.
If you want to keep a whimsical view, Barbus barilioides will probably suit you. The maximum size of these fish is 5 cm. Compared to other barbs, they are more demanding in terms of conditions, they need mature, soft, slightly acidic water. In the presence of such an aquarium, the rest of the population of which is peaceful and has small sizes, it is better to purchase 6-7 barbs. In smaller quantities, they feel uncomfortable, stop eating and hide.
The favorite inhabitants of larger aquariums (up to 1 m) are the barbus-arulyus (B. arulius), the barbus Everett (V. everetti), the filamentous barbus (B. filamentosus) and B. orphoides. Juveniles of these species are more brightly colored than adults. For example, in young B. filamentosus, the body is copper-colored with dark vertical stripes, shiny red dorsal fin and bright red ends of the caudal fin. The adults are silvery with a pink tinge, and they have a black spot in front of the tail stem. In some compensation of such inconspicuousness in adult males B. arulius and B. filamentosus, dorsal fins increase in size.
If the aquarium is over 1 m, the barbus Schwanenfeld (Barbus schwanenfeldi) is an excellent choice. These elegant fish grow to 30 cm, and if you can’t give them a spacious aquarium, it’s best to admire them at trade shows. To feed the barbs is very simple. They are omnivorous, but, if there is a choice, they prefer vegetable food and can pluck plants. In the corners of the mouth they have a pair of antennae, with which the fish are looking for food on the ground surface. They crush food with pharyngeal teeth, and they don’t have teeth in the mouth cavity.
It is quite simple to determine the sex of some species, for example, island barbel (B. oligolepis): males are, as a rule, more elegant than females and more brightly colored; for people like B. schwanenfeldi, this is difficult to do, since there are no external signs.
Barbusy are among the easiest to breed fish. Inexperienced lovers recommend starting with fiery (V. conchonius), island (V. oligolepis) barbus and barb Schubert (V. schuberti). Some species lay their eggs on the ground, others hide them among plants. The pair is separated from the flock and, scattering clouds of caviar and sperm, dancing in the water column or among plants with narrow leaves. They do not care about the offspring, and the eggs are left to themselves.
In the general aquarium, the appearance of such a source of food causes fuss among the inhabitants, and even the parents themselves take part in the meal. Success in reproduction can be achieved by arranging for this a special aquarium, where the fish cast eggs on plants or scatter it over the marble chips with a stretched net. Parents should be transplanted before they begin to eat their fry.
For the cultivation of young fish you will need a lot of space and a huge amount of live food, as one pair lays several hundred eggs.
Danios are very similar to barbs, but have a more elegant body. These Asian fish live in large schools in fast-flowing reservoirs. In the aquarium prefer the upper layer of water, where they swim all day. Often, aquarists acquire only a pair of danios, depriving themselves of beauty that cannot be replaced by other inhabitants of the aquarium. These friendly fishes get along well in the company of other species.
Danio is insectivorous, their mouth is perfectly adapted for catching insects from the surface of the water. Fortunately, they are picky about food, eagerly eat frozen and flaky food. The breeding of species with elongated fins and albino danio-rerio (Brachydanio rerio) and pink danios (Brachydanio albolineatus) is well established in special farms. These fish are less hardy than their wild relatives, they need warm water. The fishes of both species do not differ in large size: the zebrafish do not exceed 5 cm, the pink ones – 6 cm.
The large danios (Danio aequipinnatus) are larger, grows up to 10 cm. This is a great fish for a large multi-species aquarium. With abundant live food feeding, for example, mosquito larvae and bloodworms, golden yellow spots and stripes appear on the blue-green background of the body.
Danio is very prolific and easy to breed. Males are more graceful than females and more brightly colored. Often it is enough just to separate the pair but, since the male actively pursues the female, many prefer to breed them in the cage. Equipping the aquarium, place on the bottom or marble chips, or a little Javanese moss: fish after spawning will not be able to get to the eggs, which means that they will not eat them either. Parents do not care about offspring. As is the case with barbs, a lot of live food should be cooked for fry. At first, it is necessary to give an infusoria and just hatched artemia. Close the aquarium tightly: these fish are so active that they can jump out of the water.
Often, along with danios, they keep small fish of cardinals (Tanichthys albonubes) living in mountain streams of China. They have similar requirements for conditions of detention. Most of them are well-established small species that can tolerate rather low temperatures (only 16 ° С).
Some fans release them in the summer in outdoor pools. Individuals living there acquire a brighter color, which is probably due to the appearance in their diet of a large amount of natural food – algae, insect larvae.
Reproduction of cardinals (Tanichthys albonubes) is the same as in danios, the only difference is that they do not touch their eggs. For offspring, it is preferable to leave a couple in a densely planted aquarium or pool. Cardinals are among the species that breed well in captivity, so you can safely recommend them to inexperienced aquarists.
In general, this is one of the groups of fish that aquarists have turned their attention to, although there are quite a few species on offer. Rasbor live in reservoirs with both stagnant and flowing water, huge flocks keep near the surface. They are common in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Australian archipelago. In most cases, rasbor insectivorous, but can eat flaky food.
These fish, especially if you plan to breed them, need a variety of food: small live food, frozen or other invertebrates of similar size. According to external signs, the rassbor can be divided into two groups: some have a narrow, elongated, torpedo-shaped body, others have a higher and wider body.
Representatives of the second group are better known: the rasbor-heteromorph (R. heteromorpha), the razbor of Hengel (R. henqeli) and the pearl rasbor (R. vaterifloris). The first group includes borapeptena rasbor (R. borapetensis>, red-striped rasbor (R. pauciperforata), spotted rasbor (R. maculata) and trilinear rasbor (R. trilineata). Most of these fish get along well with other inhabitants of the aquarium, although for some special water quality is required, and sometimes a separate tank. An example of the latter is tiny R. maculata, usually only 2.5 cm wide. If you want these fish to live with you longer, or if you hope to multiply them, you should provide soft, acidic water and in abundance give them small second live feed.
Other species that are sensitive to water quality, especially during the breeding season, include R. pauciperforata and R. heteromorpha. They need soft, sour water.
During the breeding season, rasboros, with the exception of species R. heteromorhpa and R. hengeli, chase each other among plants with thin leaves until they spawn. Eggs at the same time firmly glued to the plants. Then the parents can be deposited. In about thirty hours, tiny fry hatch out that hang on aquatic plants. To feed them you need very small food and only after they begin to swim.
R. heteromorhpa and R. hengeli place their eggs on the underside of deciduous plants – cryptocorynes (Cryptocorynes) are their favorite. The fry also hatch in about thirty hours, and they should be grown on small live food.
Some species have a pair compatibility problem. If the fish do not breed, try to replace partners. Some couples need to spend several days together before breeding. R. maculata is a classic example of such a case.
Labeo are very popular among aquarists. The most famous Epalzeorhynchus bicolor, still incorrectly called two-color Labeo (Labeo bicolor); his picturesque color – a velvety black body and a scarlet tail – guarantees demand. Epalzeorhynchus frenatus – the former Thai Labeo (Labeo frenatus) – with its red fins and dark brown body is just as common.
In the English literature of these fish are called sharks for the shape of the body and manner of swimming in the aquarium. Despite their popularity, they are not at all the ideal inhabitants of a multi-species aquarium.
Both species are quite belligerent and bother the rest of the fish – just like their relatives, biting off their fins. Having reached the maximum size (about 12 cm), they can cause a lot of trouble, therefore, it is better to keep with them only relatively large fish that can stand up for themselves, such as medium-sized barbs or catfish. Both species are omnivores.
Less worrying, although their size is much more impressive, the following labo: shark bola (Balantiocheilus melanopterus), reaching 35 cm, mourning labobarbus (Labeobarbus festivus) (20 cm) and Hostiol Hasselt (Osteochilus hasselti) (30 cm). These large fish are very friendly.
Many lovers often keep small individuals in the general aquarium, and when they grow, they acquire a large capacity for them. When there is enough space, fish growth is not disturbed. These water Labo prefer pure, transparent, with a small flow, which is provided by the filter. Feeding is not difficult, because the fish are omnivorous – it is true, especially they love green food and will eat algae and pluck plants. Osteochilus hasselti have a weakness for Javanese moss and grows very well on it. If there are not too many plants in your tank or the fish eat too much of them, they will help out the salad. The free-floating leaves of the fish are ignored, but they are happy to eat if you stick the salad in the ground.
The small (up to 30 cm) African Labeo harlequin (Labeo variegatus) is highly regarded among aquarists. Young specimens are calmer and more attractive: on a light cream or beige background – dark brown spots, and on the fins – orange-red strokes. With age, this color disappears, the fish become gray. Juveniles get along well with other species, but when they grow, they become aggressive. It is advisable to grow them in the general aquarium, not trying to plant on them other fish of medium and large size. There are no problems with feeding – these fish are omnivores.
Sumatran khramulya (Epalzeorhynchus kallopterus) is an ideal inhabitant of a rather large multi-species aquarium with abundant vegetation. Although it is a single species, several specimens may coexist peacefully, dividing the aquarium’s territory. The advantages of these fish are hard to overestimate: they are tolerant of other species, feed on algae, but do not touch the plants, undemanding to the quality of water. Sometimes their sudden movements disturb other fish.
Gyrinocheilus aymonieri is known by various names. Small specimens are suitable for a multi-species aquarium, but in general they are large, fast-growing fish (up to 25 cm), which over time become more and more uneasy, dig digs in the ground, and in a fit of irritation they even pounce on larger fish.
Damage to the mucus layer on the body of the victim (some garinhokes attracts its taste) can cause inflammation.
Young individuals hang from the walls of the aquarium, with their mouth stuck to them, just like little thermometers.
Staying in this position, fish can breathe, as well as eat algae overgrowths due to a small hole in the head through which water enters the mouth, then passing through the gills. G. aymonieri along with algae eats small invertebrates, flaky and frozen food.
Carp like coldwater
Continuing the conversation on the loach, it should be said that the common loach (Nemacheilus barbatulus), the common loach (Misgurnus fossilis) and the common spike (Cobitis taenia) are ideal inhabitants of the cold-water aquarium. The conditions of their maintenance are the same as those of tropical representatives, with the exception of the water temperature, which should be below 20 ° C.
For many centuries, goldfish are bred in ponds, they are considered, perhaps, the most famous aquarium inhabitants. Wild forms have a dull green and brown color, it is difficult to imagine them in an aquarium, but thanks to the mutation, individuals with wonderful golden scales appeared. In Europe, their captive breeding was first recorded in 1728 in Holland. In their homeland, in China, they were domesticated much earlier (from about 800 AD), and many bizarre forms were derived.
Currently, there are goldfish with a simple and forked tail of the most diverse colors. Varieties with a simple tail, which include ordinary goldfish, comets and shubunkin, feel great in the pond. Small copies are suitable for an aquarium where they can live up to 20 years. The tailfish are more pampered (they will not be able to spend the winter in the pond when the temperature drops to 10-15 ° C); This species is only suitable for warm water aquariums.
Do not overcrowd aquarium – it is a stressful factor for its inhabitants. Under such conditions, the water overheats, the level of dissolved oxygen and the fish fall, accumulating at the surface, widely open the mouth and press the fins to the body; the base of the fins is poured with blood. Partially replacing the water and thus lowering the temperature, as well as checking the filtration system, you are likely to cope with the troubles, but in the future you should eliminate the cause.
Breeding goldfish is quite simple. In the ponds of gardens and parks, they breed naturally, and some fry live to adulthood. When breeding in captivity, the chosen pair should be very well fed live food. By the beginning of reproduction, bumps appear on the male on the head, gill covers and pectoral fins, and the female is noticeably rounded.
Prepare an aquarium with a size of 100x30x30 cm and place artificial soil in it so that the fish can lay eggs on it. After spawning is completed, plant a couple and wait for hatching of the fry. To feed them should be plenty of live food. For the normal growth of juveniles, a lot of space is needed, with its shortage it is better to reject some of the individuals, avoiding overcrowding.
Breeding goldfish led to, in our opinion, several strange forms. So, some (the so-called telescopes) appeared huge, strongly protruding eyes; they need special care – in the aquarium should not be sharp objects, which the fish could get hurt. Others were selected on the basis of an increase in special growths on the head (lionheads). Keep these fish or not – you decide.
Some of you may want to have carp (koi) (Cyprinus carpio) in your tank, but we do not advise doing this. Carps are very large fish, and it is much better to equip for them a special pond with a good water purification system.
Various subspecies of common gorchaka (Rhodeus sericeus) are quite accessible during the summer months and are ideal for an aquarium, since they are easy to maintain and feed with various small foods. Gorchaks breed very peculiarly, laying eggs in the mantle cavity of the bivalve mollusk, which in itself makes these fish very attractive.
By the beginning of reproduction, the head and back of males acquire an olive-green color, and their sides shimmer with shades of blue, pink and purple. Females become more yellow, and their egg-laying grows. Propagation is stimulated by increasing the water temperature to 22 ° C.
In the aquarium there should be sandy soil and thickets of plants, in addition, several live bivalve mollusks should be placed there (Anodonta sp.). The male pushes the toothless mouth, prompting her to open the shell flaps, and the female enters the egg sludge into the mollusk siphon and lays the eggs. Then the male, shuddering with the whole body, releases a cloud of sperm over the clam, and the eggs are fertilized. After 30 days, the fry leave the mollusk. They should be grown on very small live food.
A few years ago, at the disposal of aquarists appeared a few unusual fish from the East. Among them is a very large species of the family Catostomidae – Myxocyprinus asiaticus from China, known as Chinese myxocyprin. Young specimens are well-colored and quite attractive: they have a brown marble pattern on a light cream or beige background, and the high dorsal fin gives them a special charm. The problem is that these beloved fish, 15-20 cm long, grow to 60 cm or more, therefore, in the absence of suitable conditions, it is better to admire them in huge aquariums at exhibitions.
In case you still risk having myxociprines, keep them in cool water and provide a good filtration system. Feeding is not particularly difficult, as these fish eat flaky, frozen and live food.
North America is also a source of unusual species, including red notropis (Notropis lutrensis) and the red-bellied minnow (Phoxinus erythrogaster). Both species live in streams and quickly adapt to the conditions of an aquarium with a small population.
They need well aerated water with a high oxygen content and a fairly strong flow; keep a close eye on the filtration system: water deterioration will cause fish to die. Gravel and sand can be used as a soil in an aquarium, and to create shelters, place stones there and plant plants. These fish are omnivorous, feed on flaky, live and frozen food, but do not give them too much food, otherwise uneaten leftovers will pollute the water.
Males N. lutrensis compared with females painted more brightly. During the breeding season, bumps grow on the head. Spawning occurs in the sand, care for the offspring is missing.
Phoxinus erythrogaster – very brightly colored fish that look great in a flock. In males, the coloring is more colorful than in females. Their sides and abdomen become red, sometimes yellow. These fish breed in the spring over the open sandy areas.
In order to achieve the breeding of both species, in winter it is necessary to keep them at rather low temperatures: P. erythrogaster at 10 ° С, and N. lutrensis at 14-15 ° С. Increasing the temperature of the water in spring is, apparently, one of the factors that stimulate reproduction.