Friday, January 10, 2014

Know Your Fish

Know Your Fish !!!  

I must start this blog with thanking all of you who read my previous blogs and encouraged me with your feedback and comments. Thank your readers. Though i may not have replied to your queries but i am trying to spend more time on here to make sure i reply at the earliest.
So this blog is going to help you to understand your fish more better in terms of the biological needs as well as their behavior and lifestyle. One thing that i found common among all my customers, is they wanted to know their pets in real and give them what they want. This encourages me to write more and more to provide information about them. I am not too sure whether I will be able to write about all the fishes in your aquarium but I am going to try doing that to my best. This may not be a one time job and this blog will be keep updating as and when i come across new varieties..
Lets begin here then....

1. Swordtail Fish

Swordtails are beautiful, easy to maintain and commonly available. I would recommend  these for the beginners in aquarium keeping. They resemble the Mollies yet they are quite different from them. The most striking feature of this fish is the magnificent Sword like tail (extension formed by the lower rays of caudal fin) in the males. Now here comes the surprise,,Don't think that this Sword is used by the fish as a weapon, its purely for mating purpose.

Species Detail
Common Name : Swordtail Fish.
Scientific Name : Xiphophorus helleri, helleri.
Family Name : Poeciliidae.
Origin : Central America.
Distribution : All over the world now
Length of the Fish : Male upto 4.5 inches length & female upto 3.5 inches.
Meaning of Name : xiphophorus - Sword Carrier Helleri - After the collector Carl Heller.

Sexual Dimorphism
The male has a Gonopodium in his caudal fin is extended into a sword. Female are deeper bodies with fan shaped anal fin.

Sex ratio : 1 male:5 female.
Breeding method : Livebearer.
Water : Medium Hard 20-25C
Temperature : 79-89C
PH : 7.0 - 7.5
Tank : Community Tank
Swimming levels : All Levels.
Food Type : Live worms, artificial and plant food and dried food.

Red Swordtail, Green Swordtail, Albino Swordtail, Wagtail Swordtail, Tuxedo Swordtail, Simpson Hi-fin Swordtail, Red Wagtail Swordtail, Green wagtail, Lyre tail, Sunset Swordtail...

2. Mollies

One of the most elegant looking fishes with the bright white colour. Though there are different colours, white is the most commonly found colour. Any aquarium looks bright because of these guys. The common name molly comes from the genus mollienesia, which no longer used. The various species are now included in the genus poecilia, it is largest of mollies and dorsal fin which is unrivalled by any other fish of the same size.

Species Details
Common Name : White Sail-fin Molly
Scientific Name : Poecilia velifera or Mollienisia vinifera
Family Name : Poeciliidae
Meaning of the Name : Mollienisia - Named from mollen velifera, sail bearer.
Length of Fish : Male upto 10-15cm & Female upto 10-18cm 
Origin : Central America
Distribution : Distributed all over the world now

Sexual Dimorphism
The male is more colourful and has a gonopodium and dorsal fin that is generally high in the male, the dorsal fin has 14 rays, the pale spots at the base of dorsal fin are round. The Pale spots are shining. The females are not as brightly coloured but they have varying number of dots.

Sex Ratio : 1 male:5 female
Breeding Method : Livebearer
Water : Medium hard. 25-28C
Temperature : 79-92C
Food Type : Live worms, dried food and plant food.
Tank Type : Community Tank
Swimming levels : All levels
pH : 7.9 - 8.2

White Sailfin Molly, Yellow Sailfin Molly, Marbled Sailfin Molly, Lyre tail sailfin Molly.

3. Black Molly

I believe most of us must have started our first aquarium with black mollies. They are cost effective and good survivors. Black Mollie easy to rear and breed, the common variety is olive to green. Blacks make advantages contrasts with brighter head aquarium fishes.

Species Details
Common Name : Black Molly
Scientific Name : Mollienesia sphenops
Family Name : Poeciliidae
Meaning of the Name : Mollienisia face m. mollen Sphenops: wedge face
Origin : central America
Distribution : Distributed all over the world
Length of the Fish : Male upto 3 inches and Female upto 3.5 inches.

Sexual Dimorphism
Male have gonopodium and may have large dorsal fin and female is an intense black colour. Female is larger than male, in female the dorsal in small. 
Sex Ratio : 1 male : 5 female
Breeding method : live bearer
Water : medium hard 22-24C
pH : 7.0 - 7.5
Temperature : 75 - 84 F
Food Type : Live worms, dried food
Tank Type : Community Tank
Swimming Level : All Levels

Black Molly, Black moon tail molly, dotted molly, Black and white dotted molly, black and orange dotted molly.

Red Platy Fish

Platy is almost looks like molly. You really need to take a special look to  differentiate  between all of them. It is previously known as Platy poccolus maculatus and commonly called platys. This species forms one of the most colourful and pleasant livebearers known to Aquarist. In the upper parts of the fish are dark olive and the underparts are white. In comparison with red swordtail, the fish is shorter in body, thick set slightly flattened uto 5 cms (2 inch) long. Platy is peaceful and hardy in a community tank.

Species Detail
Common Name : Platy
Scientific Name : Xiphophorus maculatus or Platy poecilus maculatus
Family Name : Poeciliidae
Meaning of Name : Xiphophorus - Sword Carrier, Maculatus - Spotted all moon fish
Origin : Mexico
Distribution : Distributed all over world now.
Length of Fish :  Male upto 2 inch length and female upto 2.5 inch length.

Sexual Dimorphism
The male is slimmer, smaller and has a gonopodium. Females have fan shaped anal fin and duller.
Sex Ratio : 1 male : 3 female
Breeding Method : Livebearer
Water : Medium hard 20 - 25C
pH : 7.0 - 7.5
Temperature : 68 - 77 F
Food Type : Live worms, dried food and plant food.
Tank Type : Community Tank
Swimming Level : All levels

Red Platy, Blue Platy, Black Platy, Golden Platy, Wagtail Platy, Hi fin Platy, Spotted Platy, Sunset Platy, Sunrise Platy, Coral Platy, Simpson Platy, Albinotic Platy, Tuxedo Platy, Gold Tuxedo Platy, etc.


You would have never started Aquarium Keeping hobby without Guppies in your collection. Every starter choose this varieties because it have stand in any kind of foul water. It can take any kind of food. It is the Playboy of the aquarium. These are very common and inexpensive. Infact, Guppies are known throughout the world by everyone irrespective of whether an aquarium keeper or not.

Species Details

Common Name : Guppy
Scientific Name : Lebistes Reticulatus
Family Name : Poeciliidae
Meaning Of Name : Lebistes, Probably from Lebias (Cyprinondon and istia sail) Reticulatus - net marked or mottled
Origin : Trinidad
Distribution : All over the world
Length of the fish : male upto 1.25 inch length & Female upto 1.75 inch length.

Sexual Dimorphism
Males though smaller in size but very much bright coloured and constantly chasing females. Females are bigger than males in size but mostly dull colouration and their colour is seen only in anal tail.

Sex Ratio : 1 male:3 female
Breeding Method : Livebearer
Water Conditions : Hard 2 - 28C
Temperature : 72 - 78 C
pH : 6.9 - 7.4
Tank Type : Community
Food Type : Live worms, dried food and plant food
Swimming Level : All level

Veiltail Guppy, Black tailed Guppy, Cobra Guppy

Alright,, now we got to understand something technically about the reproduction types of the fishes to help you understand the difference between them..We are gonna talk about the crazy methods of reproduction of the fishes in the next few paragraphs ...

Egg Laying fishes (Oviparous Fishes)

The majority of the aquarium fishes are egg-laying species, the egg being laid by the female and fertilized by male during spawning. 
The egg laying fishes spawn in variety of ways. Egg-Scattering, Egg-burying, Egg-depositing, nest building or egg-anchors and mouth brooding. Lets see each one of them as what it is all about..

Egg Scattering
The eggs are released or dropped disorderly and adhere to plants or other objects or fall to the bottom, egg-scattering fishes are not protective towards their eggs and will eat them if given a chance. To protect from the parents, separate the eggs and adult fishes as soon as possible after the eggs are released and fertilized. For protection of eggs we need heavy planting or pebbles are laid at the bottom of the aquarium. Some of the best examples are Barbs, Characins, Minnows and Cat fishes.

Egg Buriers
These species deposit eggs in the deep layer of peat of the aquarium floor. After Spawning, the Peat (completed with the fertilization of eggs) can be removed and stored almost dry for few months. The hatching process is activated by immersing the peat in the aquarium water again for incubation. Examples are cynolebias and pterolebias species.

Egg Depositors
The egg depositors are very protective towards their eggs and young  fry for breeding. Aquarium should be furnished with suitable rocks or caves or flowerpot to provide a choice of spawning sites for these fishes. Perfect examples are Rasboras.

Bubble - Nest builders
Some species create nests. The air bubbles held together with a saliva glue, some with additional vegetable matter and plant debris. The eggs are laid in these funnel like nests which float to the surface and are fertilized there. Nest builders lay their eggs in nests which they build very much as birds do. The male builds a mucous coating to give durability. I the nest is built of plant matter, mucous is used as cement. These nests are usually funnel shaped and just long enough to cover half the body of the fish so that their head and tail protrude. The female takes the hint, or is soon pushed into the nest and fills it with the male beside her. After much quivering, several hundred eggs are laid, the male then assumes guard duty. Some of the examples are Gouramis, Sticklebacks, Cat fishes and anabantidae.

The egg anchors lay the egg on a firm object such as a rock or a plant leaf or stem and are subsequently attended by one or both parents. Best Examples are cichlid family, angel fish, Discus, Oscar, etc.

Mouth Brooders
The Incubation takes place with-in the mouth and buccal cavity of the female fish. Mouth brooders pick up their eggs (either right after even during spawning) and their larvae in their mouth. The parents eats nothing during the hatching period in fear of swallowing the young. This Group is called Ovophile (egg loving) mouth brooders.
Other mouth brooders deposit their eggs on a substrate where they look after them until the larvae hatch. Then they pick the larvae up and keep them in their mouth until they are able to swim free. This group is called Laruophile (Lauvo - loving) mouth brooders. 
In many species, parental care stops when the young are first release from the mouth but in some cases it continues, till the young being able to swim back into the protective parental mouth when danger appears.
Some of the examples are Tilapia, American Sunfishes, Cichlids such as Geophagus, Auratus.

The Cichlid Family.

There is a specific reason to mention this as a family because there are many varieties on this which we commonly keep in our home aquarium. Let`s look at the zoological details to begin with.

Family : Cichlidae
Sub order : Percoidei
Order : Perciformes
Super Order : Acanthopterygii

This is a large family of spiny rayed fishes or Oviparous fishes that inhabit the sluggish waters. The Family is intelligent mating, breeding, caring for their young in a more advanced manner. Both parents (or at least one) have a strong parental instinct that is they care for the eggs.
Their body structure varies greatly in this species because the fish had to adopt to varied environment during the course of evolution. The hard-ray and soft-rayed parts of the dorsal fin are used together. The anal and dorsal fins are often greatly elongated in the males. The lateral line usually stops in the middle of the  body. Most species of cichlids are predatory but some species will eat vegetable food in addition.

Angel Fish

The Elongated dorsal and anal fins of the graceful fish have earned its popular name Angel Fish. Because of its exotic appearance, every aquarist like to have atleast one in his collection. Their silvery body reflecting tints of blue, has many speckles not unlike freckles. Evenly spaced black vertical bars stripes the body from the eye to the caudal peduncle. One of the body stripes continues into the fins. 

Species Details
Common Name : Angel Fish
Scientific Name : Pterophyllum Scalare
Meaning Of Name : Pterophyllum - winged leaf
                               Scalare - like a fleet of stairs, referring to the dorsal fin.
Family Name : Cichlidae
Origin : South America
Distribution : All over the world
Size of the fish : Male upto 5 inch & female upto 5 inch length.

Sexual Dimorphism
The ventral fins of the male are deeper to the margin, the upper snout is reddish, the dorsal fins aged with vivid. Older males have larger head with small pad of fat. Females have fatter breeding tube.

Sex Ratio : 1 male : 1 female
Breeding Method : Egg Depositor
pH : 6.9 - 7.4
Water Conditions : Very soft, acid 26 - 28 C
Temperature : 68 - 75 C
Food Type : Live worms & dried food.
Tank Type : Community Tank
Swimming Level : All Levels

Black Angel, Ghost Angel, Veiltail Angel, Diamond Angel, Silver Angel, Etc.

Oscar Fish or Peacock Cichlid

This is one of the largest of all aquarium fishes to be kept by home aquarium keepers. It measures up to almost one foot in length. Basic colour of their body and fins are of chocolate brown with irregular lighter mottled markings on the sides. There is a black spot on the tail base which is winged with gold. Fins are dark at the outside and polar at the base. Their eyes are relatively small. Oscars are great diggers so plants are not advised.

Species Details

Common Name : Oscar or Peacock Cichlid
Scientific Name : Astronotus Ocellatus
Meaning of Name : Astronotus - Marked with stars, Ocellatus - with eye spot on tail
Family Name : Cichlids
Origin : South America
Distribution : All over the world
Size of the Fish : Male upto 14 inch & Female upto 14 inch

Sexual Dimorphism

The male has some bright red markings on the gill covers and near the belly region on the sides. Female is drably coloured. Colours vary greatly in intensity, depending on the of the fish. 

Sex ratio : 1 male : 1 female
Breeding Method : Egg Anchors
Water condition : Medium soft or hard 22 to 26 C
Temperature : 72 to 79 C
Food : Live worms, dried food, insects and chopped meat
Tank Type : Monospecies tank
Swimming level : All level.


Red Oscar, Albino red Oscar, Tiger Oscar, Coppor Oscar, Lemon Oscar

Fire Mouth Cichlid

Fire mouth cichlid is an outstandingly beautiful fish when in breeding colour. The blue green body is patterned irregularly with pale purple and it is marked with a broken blotchy line running from just behind the gill plate to the tail. The most outstanding feature is the fire red or deep orange belly. This colour runs along the belly to right into its mouth. Another outstanding feature is the bright green edged spot found on the base of the gill plate. Various shades of red are found in the fins.

This is a peaceful cichlid except toward smaller members of its own species. It requires a tank with a substrate of clean sand, rocks and a few robust plants. These plants will not be attacked except possibly during breeding, spawning takes place on the bottom and both the sexes protect their eggs and subsequently fry. Fire mouth cichlids are also found in subterranean water.

Species Details

Common Name : Fire Mouth Cichlid
Scientific Name : Cichlasoma Meeki
Meaning of Name : Cichlasoma - Thrus like body, Meeki - after Seth Meek.
Origin : Central America
Distribution : All over the World
Length of the Fish : Male upto 6 inches & Female upto 6 inches

Sexual Dimorphism

Males have reder throat, more pointed anal fin and has a similar pointed tip. In females, the fin lips are noticeably shorter.

Sex Ratio : 1 male : 1 female
Breeding Method : Egg Depositor
pH : 7.5 - 8.6
Water Condition : Soft, medium hard, 20 to 25C
Temperature : 68 - 77 C
Food Type : Live worms, dried food and plant
Tank Type : Community tank for smaller sized fishes
Swimming level : Mid water and lower levels

Auratus Cichlid

This is a wild and an attractive cichlid, lives in the rocky areas of lake Malawi because of which it is also called as Malawi Golden Cichlid. It is golden yellow in colour with two black stripes bordered blue from head to caudal peduncle. Their fins are in yellow and the upper lobe of the caudal with black spots. It is rather aggressive, should be kept in a tank with gravel substrate, a few tough plants and rocks.

Species Details

Common Name : Auratus or Golden Malawi Cichlid
Scientific Name : Pseudotropheus auratus
Family Name : Cichlidae
Origin : Malawi
Distribution : All over the world
Size : Male upto 4.3 inch & female upto 3.5 inch

Sexual Dimorphism

Its quite easy to distinguish the males and females. Dichromatism, the male is velvety black white longitudinal bands. Female is yellow with dark bands.

Sex ratio : 1 male : 3-4 females
Breeding method : Mouth Breeders
Water Conditions : Soft medium hard (22 to 25C)
Temperature : 72 - 77 C
Food Type : Live worms, dried food and plant food
Tank type : Mono Species Tank
Swimming Level : all levels


Blue morph, malawi blue cichlid, auratus, blue zebra

... to be continued...


  1. Amazing Good To Know stuff. I wasn't aware of 80% of the things listed...Thanks

    1. Thank you for taking time to leave a comment. If this article could have helped you to keep your fishes good, I guess it`s worth writing this.

  2. Thanks for the info I would like to know more about golden fish and I am sure most if them r having it. Thanks in advance.

  3. Thanks for the info. Really awesome info about the fish.

  4. I would like to know about tetra fishes it will be very helpful for planted tanks