WHAT’S DOWN UNDER?
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Missing Info
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Dear Big Al’s - I currently have a 45 gallon tank containing 3 freshwater Barracudas; a red tail, a yellow tail and a saber tooth. The problem is that I can’t seem to find any information about them anywhere. either from books or the internet...not even a picture!! I would like to learn a little bit more about them, like their habitat, species and where they come from. - Rory, Markham, Ontario

Dear Rory
All 3 of these species are related to the large family of Charcins and range throughout South America, the yellow tail and red tail Barracuda wile both reach an average length of 10 inches in a large aquarium. They like a Ph of 6.7 to 7.3 and moderately soft water. They make good tank mates with other South and Central American Cichlids. Their diet consists of small fish. The Saber tooth also is not usually aggressive towards other tank mates. The Saber tooth is also known as the payara which likes the same water make-up as the other 2 barracudas.

DO I HAVE A CHANCE!
Dear Big Al’s - I have five - 7 inch Red Breasted Piranhas in a 130 gallon tank. I have more than half the tank empty for swimming room and in the last two feet of the tank, I have made a big cave covered with plants in hope of a well established breeding ground. I read on the internet if my mating pair point their noses to the bottom of the tank and blow at the gravel while gyrating their bodies together, it means they want to breed. Two of mine are doing this. My question is, do I have a chance of them breeding? Lorne, Newmarket, Ontario

Dear Lorne
I think you have a very good chance of breeding your Piranhas. It sounds like your Piranhas are preparing a area to lay their eggs. It will probably help to keep your water on the soft and acidic side and not to have to much commotion in and around the aquarium. Good Luck!

MISSING IN ACTION!
Dear Big Al’s - I have been having a great difficulty locating an African Cicihlid called Neolamprolgus Marunguensis. Nobody seems to be able to find any information upon this matter. Any information would be greatly appreciated. - Claudette Welland, Ontario

Dear Claudette
Well Claudette the fish that you are looking for goes by the trade name of “white tail brichardi”. This fish originates from Kapampa Zaire and reaches a medium growth of 7 - 8 cm. Unfortunately this fish is not being commercially bred and has not shown up on any of our stock lists. If we find out any more info we will be sure to drop you a letter.

FRYED GREEN EGGS AND SHRIMP!!
Dear Big Al’s - My ghost shrimp has currently has funny, little round green things on its stomach, but my other shrimp doesn’t. Are they eggs? How will I take care of the babies? And would they survive in my 63 gallon aquarium with 3 guppies, 3 platies, 1 pearl gourami, 1 australian rainbow, 2 harlequin rasboras and 2 black neon tetras? Should I separate the shrimps? - Christine, Toronto, Ontario

Dear Christine
Well Christine those funny little green things are eggs!! If the eggs hatch, the young will stay up underneath the mother an can be separated by gently shaking her. In that size of an aquarium, the babies should do fine and grow rapidly. They make for very good scavengers and greedily eat up any excess food.

FEEDER DILEMMA
Dear Big Al’s - I have an 86 gallon aquarium with a half dozen 5 inch Red Breasted Piranhas in it. I usually feed them 50 small feeder goldfish once per week. It takes them about four days to eat all the feeders. I have been told that it’s not a good idea to put all 50 in at one time, but I haven’t had any problems yet. Why is it such a bad idea to add all the feeder goldfish at once? - Liam, Oshawa, Ontario

Dear Liam
It is true that adding so many feeders on the same day can lead to problems for your Piranhas. Adding all 50 at once can jeopardize your water quality and affect the health of your fish. That many feeders will produce quite alot of waste, and any dead or partly eaten fish will add to the problem. The resulting increase in ammonia and nitrite could harm your fish. I recommend that you add only as many feeders as your Piranha will consume in one feeding. You may need to set up a small filtered aquarium to keep a steady supply of feeders. The extra effort will be appreciated by your fish, and they will be healthier

WHATS GOING ON!
Dear Big Al’s - I’m having some trouble and I’m hoping that you can help me. I’ve raised 8 cichlids in my 35 gallon aquarium. They include 2 Jack Dempseys, 2 Red Devils, 2 Jewel Cichlids, and 2 Black-Belt Cichlids. I’ve had them all for about six months and now they seem to be fighting a lot. The bigger Red Devil seems to be eating on the smaller Red Devil and both of the Jack Dempseys, who hide constantly. Also, our Black Belt Cichlids has already killed his partner. What’s going on? - Dianne, Brampton, Ontario

Dear Dianne
Your cichlids are growing up! Central American Cichlids are fish that need large aquariums with many hiding places. The fish that you have mentioned, range in adult size from 4 to 12 inches and will make room for themselves by removing their tankmates. We urge you to make room before they do.

WHO’S WHO
Dear Big Al’s - I currently have a 20 gallon community tank housing 4 Fancy Guppies, 2 Skunk Corys and a small Plecostomus. I would like to add a small school of fish, possibly Neon Tetras or Cardinal tetras. They look alot alike, but are there any differences that makes one a better choice for me? - Ryan, Keswick, Ontario

Dear Ryan
Both species are part of the characin family from South America. Both are excellent schooling fish which do well in groups of five or more. The red coloration of the Cardinal (Paracheirodon Axelrodi) is more extensive, covering the body from the base of the tail to the gill cover, both below and above the bright blue-green stripe. The red of the Neon (Paracheiroden Innsei) is limited to the rear and lower parts of the body, but the silvery sides of the Neon and iridescent blue stripe makes it a beautiful fish. Both of these small tetras thrive in well filtered tropical tanks with a neutral to acidic PH level. They are easy to feed and greedily accept broken Big Al’s staple food, Big Al’s frozen bloodworms and a variety of Big Al’s freeze dried foods. I hope this information will help you in your who’s who decision.

HELP! HELP!
Dear Big Al’s - I have an 86 gallon aquarium with a half dozen 5 inch Red Breasted Piranhas in it. I usually feed them 50 small feeder goldfish once per week. It takes them about four days to eat all the feeders. I have been told that it’s not a good idea to put all 50 in at one time, but I haven’t had any problems yet. Why is it such a bad idea to add all the feeder goldfish at once? - Liam, Oshawa, Ontario

Dear Liam
It is true that adding so many feeders on the same day can lead to problems for your Piranhas. Adding all 50 at once can jeopardize your water quality and affect the health of your fish. That many feeders will produce quite alot of waste, and any dead or partly eaten fish will add to the problem. The resulting increase in ammonia and nitrite could harm your fish. I recommend that you add only as many feeders as your Piranha will consume in one feeding. You may need to set up a small filtered aquarium to keep a steady supply of feeders. The extra effort will be appreciated by your fish, and they will be healthier.

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