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Kelly last won the day on May 7 2016

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  1. Kelly

    Koi Carp

    Koi Carp Cyprinus carpio Koi carp are an ornamental strain of the common carp native to Asia and Europe. They were introduced to New Zealand accidentally in the 1960’s as part of a goldfish consignment. They contribute to water quality deterioration and are a serious problem in Australia, as well as New Zealand. Description and Life History: Koi carp resemble goldfish except that they have two pairs of barbels (feelers) at the corners of their mouth. They are highly variable in colour, often with irregular blotching of black, red, gold, orange or pearly white. Koi carp are long-lived fish and grow to about 750 mm in length. What damage do they do? The way that Koi carp feed stirs up the bottom of ponds, lakes, rivers muddying the water and destroying native plant and fish habitat. Koi carp are opportunistic feeder, eating insects, spawn, juvenile fish of other species and diverse range of plants and organic matter. They feed like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up everything and blowing out what isn’t wanted. Aquatic plants are dislodged in the process and unable to re-establish. Koi carp cause habitat loss for plants, native fish and waterfowl. Where are they found in NZ? Koi carp prefer still waters in lakes, or backwaters in rivers. They are very tolerant of poor water quality, contributing to water quality decline. Koi carp are widespread in Auckland and Waikato. They are spreading into Northland and they have been found in isolated places in Wanganui, Hawkes Bay and Wellington. Koi carp are not thought to be in the South Island. To help stop their spread a containment area between Auckland and Hamilton was created. In the containment area, recreational fishing is permitted, but all Koi must be killed when caught. Koi carp outside of the containment area are considered a serious incursion and control options will be investigated. Legal Designation: Unwanted organism. Further information can be found here
  2. Kings and Queens – Hypancistrus Authors: Darren Stevens, Firenzenz and Geoff Haglund First published in Aquarium World August 2010 The genus Hypancistrus contains some of the most stunning plecos in the hobby, including the iconic zebra pleco (Hypancistrus zebra), the king tiger pleco (Hypancistrus sp. L066), and the Queen Arabesque pleco (Hypancistrus sp. L260). There are 9 scientifically described Hypancistrus species, and many other varieties awaiting scientific names. Hypo means “less than” in reference to Hypancistrus having fewer teeth than Ancistrus. Hypans look similar to Panaqolus (the genus for the smaller species formerly placed in Panaque e.g. clown plecos and flash plecos) and Peckoltia but can be separated based on their teeth. Panaqolus and Peckoltia have similar numbers of teeth on the upper and lower jaws while Hypancistrus have fewer and much larger teeth on the lower jaw giving them a ‘buck-toothed’ look. Hypans are generally found in slow to moderately flowing water, often in the vicinity of rapids in the Rio Negro, Rio Orinoco and southern Amazonian tributaries. They generally live among rocks or in the crevices between them in waters up to 15 metres deep. Many Brazilian Hypancistrus are banned from export by Brazil’s environmental protection agency, IBAMA, to protect wild populations. Luckily many species have been bred a number of times in captivity, so are likely to remain in the hobby. As with many plecos, hypans are cavespawners. The male guards a cave, entices the female into it, and then traps her until they spawn. Once they’ve spawned the male guards the eggs in the cave until they hatch in 7–10 days. Egg size and numbers vary greatly between species. Hypans live in colonies and a successful breeding setup will often have multiple females. Breeding in captivity is generally triggered by simulating seasonal changes: dropping and raising water temps, increasing water flow, and water changes. Hypans readily interbreed so unless you favour hybrids don’t keep more than one species in the same tank. Hypans are omnivores with most species having a tendency towards meaty foods. As juveniles some species eat more plant material, but as adults they are mainly carnivorous. Feed your hypans on live, frozen, and commercially prepared foods with a good protein content (e.g. NovoTab, carnivore tablets, shrimp pellets, Repashy Bottom Scratcher, shrimps, blackworms, bloodworms, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, etc.) and try them on a few greens (algal wafers, Repashy Soilent Green, courgettes, etc.) The following Hypancistrus are found in New Zealand although some species are rarely available and expensive. Zebra pleco (Hypancistrus zebra L046) The zebra pleco is one of the most recognisable and iconic plecos in the hobby with its striking broad black and white banding. The white banding has a blue hue to it and they have blue eyes which are rare in plecos. There is a very rare variety, L098, which has black spots in the place of some of the black stripes. A further form, L173, closely resembles H. zebra but has wavy lines, and its status is unresolved. Both varieties are not thought to have been imported into New Zealand. Zebra plecos are a small pleco (to 8 cm SL) suited to medium sized tanks with pH’s of 6.0–7.5 and temperatures of 26–30°C. They originate from the Rio Xingú in Brazil where they were captured in deep water (up to 20 metres) by divers with air supplies. This is risky and has likely resulted in fatalities. Zebra plecos were the first Hypancistrus to be scientifically described and the first species to be banned from export on 1 December 2004. Unfortunately due to illegal collecting they have become very rare in the wild and they are also threatened by the Belo Monte dam which is now complete. Luckily they are regularly bred in captivity so they are likely to remain in the hobby. In New Zealand, zebra plecos were bred in the 1990’s and then numbers dwindled and they became very rare. They were imported relatively recently and bred, although at about $400–500 each they are likely to remain out of the price range of most aquarists. Chocolate zebra pleco (Hypancistrus sp. L270, L307, LDA76) The chocolate zebra pleco is a beautiful small (to about 15 cm SL) caramel coloured pleco covered with broad irregular chocolate bands. They originate from the Rio Curuná, a small river between the Rio Tapajós and the Rio Xingú, in Brazil. They are suited to most community tanks with pH’s of 6.5–7.0 and temperatures of 26–30°C. Chocolate zebras have been bred several times in New Zealand and they are reasonably priced and relatively freely available. Colombian zebra pleco (Hypancistrus debilittera L129) The Colombian zebra pleco is a striking small (to about 7 cm SL) chocolate coloured pleco covered with narrow irregular caramel bands. They originate from the Rio Bita, a tributary of the Rio Orinoco in Colombia. They are suited to most community tanks with pH’s of 6.4–7.6 and temperatures of 24–28°C. Colombian zebras look similar to chocolate zebras, but they are smaller and generally have narrower, more tightly defined, and less wavy caramel bands than chocolate zebras. A second Colombian hypan, the mega clown pleco (Hypancistrus sp. L340, LDA19) may also have been imported. Mega clown plecos are very similar to Colombian zebras but they are more orange coloured and apparently have fewer teeth. Colombian zebras have been bred several times in New Zealand and they are reasonably priced and relatively freely available. King tiger pleco (Hypancistrus sp. L066) The king tiger is a stunning small (males grow to about 15 cm SL, females grow to about 10 cm SL) pale grey to off-white, sometimes yellowish pleco covered with a network of fine dark grey to black scribbles. They originate from the lower Rio Xingú and Rio Tocantins in Brazil. They are suited to most community tanks with pH’s of 5.8–7.0 and temperatures of 26–30°C. King tigers are similar to other co-occurring black scribbled Hypans (L236, L333, L399/L400, etc.) and genetic data suggests they may all belong to a single species complex (Camargo et al., 2013). The L399/L400 variety has also been imported in the past and possibly also the L333 variety. King tigers have been bred several times in New Zealand and they are reasonably priced and relatively freely available. Queen Arabesque pleco (Hypancistrus sp. L260) The Queen Arabesque pleco is a lovely small (to about 12 cm SL) white pleco covered with a network of very fine black scribbles. They originate from the Rio Tapajós in Brazil. Queen Arabs are suited to most community tanks with pH’s of 6.4–7.6 and temperatures of 26–30°C. Queen Arabs are regularly imported but expensive in New Zealand. Queen Arabs are very similar to Hypancistrus sp. L411 ‘Monte Dourado’ which may have been imported in the past. They have been bred a few times in New Zealand. If it isn’t squiggly then it is going to be spotty. The other body patterning among hypans is spots – usually light spots on a dark body. Orinoco angel pleco (Hypancistrus sp. L201) The Orinoco angel pleco is a stunning small (to 12 cm SL) dark brown to black pleco covered with large white or yellowish spots. They originate from the upper Rio Orinoco and are suited to most community tanks with pH’s of 6.5–7.5 and temperatures of 26–30°C. Orinoco angels are often confused with another Orinoco hypan, the Orinoco polka-dot-pleco (Hypancistrus contradens), and they were once thought to be the same species. Hypancistrus contradens generally has larger spots and it is a larger and more robust species than H. sp. L201. Orinoco angels have been bred a few times in New Zealand and are occasionally imported but are relatively rare. Demini pleco (Hypancistrus sp. L136a-c, LDA05, LDA06) The Demini pleco is a beautiful small (to 11 cm SL) brown pleco covered with very fine to larger off white spots. In body shape and size it is very close to L046, as opposed to the bigger L066, L260, and L270. They originate from the Rio Demini in northern Brazil. They are suited to most community tanks with pH’s of 6.5–7.0 and temperatures of 25–29°C. Demini plecos were bred once several years ago in New Zealand and have since become very rare. There are other Hypancistrus that are occasionally imported in small numbers including H. furunculus which looks similar to L270, Hypancistrus sp. L262 which looks like a finely spotted Queen Arabesque pleco (L260), and the snowball pleco (H. inspector, L102). Snowball plecos (L102) are similar to Orinoco angel plecos (L201) but they have finer spots on the head, often a black edge to the dorsal and caudal fins, and the spots on the upper lobe of the tail combine to form bands. The common name ‘Snowball’ is often confused with ‘Snowflake’, which is common name for Baryancistrus sp. L142 – a good example where the use of common names without corresponding scientific names can lead to confusion, or worse as these two “snows” wouldn’t make good tank mates. A further variety, the black phantasm, Hypancistrus sp. L501, is very similar to the snowball pleco (L102) and may also have been imported. Compared to many fancy plecos, hypans are relatively easy to breed, and combined with their good looks and small size they are a popular choice for fish keepers. However, some hypans are very rare in New Zealand, and unless they are bred or more species are added to the approved import list, some species will die out in New Zealand. Recently the zebra pleco, Colombian zebra pleco, and the Queen Arabesque pleco were added to the approved import list. References: Planet catfish (www.planetcatfish.com) Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org) Jonathan Armbrusters Loricariidae website (http://www.auburn.edu/academic/science math/res_area/ loricariid/fish_key/lorhome/index.html) Armbruster, J.W. (2002). Hypancistrus inspector: A New Species of Suckermouth Armoured Catfish (Loricariidae: Ancistrinae). Copeia 2002(1): 86–92. Armbruster, J.W.; Lujan, N.K.; Taphorn, D.C. (2007). Four New Hypancistrus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from Amazonas, Venezuela. Copeia 2007(1): 62–79. Camargo, M.; Gimenes, H. Jnr.; Melo De Sousa, L.; Rapp Py-Daniel, L. (2013). Loricariids of the Middle Rio Xingu – Loricariiden des mittleren Rio Xingu. Panta Rhei, Hannover, Germany. 288 p. Seidel, I. (2008). Back to nature guide to L-Catfishes. Fohrman Aquaristik AB, Sweden. 208 p. © This item may not be reproduced without written permission
  3. Going native opens up a whole new range of species, communities and aquarium styles to the fish keeper. Some of the fish may seem familiar – anyone who knows gobies or triplefins will instantly recognise the native bullies – while other species are totally unique. The different habitats that these fish occur in leads to entirely new aquascapes or biotope options. Furthermore, the aquarium keeper can actually visit the streams that these fish live in, catch the fish themselves and even model their aquarium on distinct areas of specific streams. The most immediate difference from the usual aquarium is that a native aquarium has no plants. For a biotope aquarium, plants are not used simply because native aquatic plants are absent from most waterways. The heavy forest shading or high flows of New Zealand waterways prevents the plants from establishing. Those that do attempt to use plants soon discover that there aren’t any native algae-eaters to keep them clean and crayfish will uproot or eat most plants. Wood, leaves and ponga fronds can be used instead of plants to provide textural variation. The best tank shape for a native aquarium is long, low and wide. Water depth is not important as most species are found in shallow streams and the edges of rivers. However, ground area is very important for those that spend most of their time on the substrate, while aquarium length is important for larger species and the flighty schooling fish. The aquarium should also be constructed so that the fish cannot jump or climb out (yes, some can climb!). A well-fitting hood, tight lids or European bracing is a must. Most of our native species are somewhat secretive and need hiding places. Others use the caves as territories, while those that rarely hide appreciate having the caves available for when they do. It goes against what you would expect, but the more hiding places available, the more the fish will be seen, since they feel secure and able easily to dart to safety from any point in the aquarium. Similarly, lower lighting levels help the fish to feel more secure, and also looks far more natural. One feature which is not so visible but it absolutely critical to the success of a native freshwater aquarium is keeping the water cold. This is usually not such a problem over winter, but it can be a big problem in summer. Most fish start to stress in water above 18°C, and the aquarist should become stressed if the aquarium gets above 20°C. Short term temperature spikes can kill by lowering the oxygen, while long term elevated temperatures or fluctuations can affect the fishes’ immune system, leading to disease outbreaks. Stopping the aquarium from becoming warm in the first place is far more effective than trying to remove the heat from it. Ensure the aquarium is in a cool and well-ventilated room to begin with, and insulate the non-viewing sides with polystyrene. Use cool, low-wattage lights (preferably LED) and remember that every pump will be adding heat directly to the water, so choose filtration and flow equipment carefully. A much larger volume of water will have a more stable temperature and water quality than a small aquarium, which can be achieved by expanding the total volume of water, by plumbing in a plastic drum or water tank. For actually cooling the water, a fan aimed at the water surface can help through evaporative cooling, and frozen bottles are handy but laborious, while a chiller is the most effective but also the most expensive. Basic Requirements Cold water – not just room temperature, these fish like it cold. Clean water – weekly partial water changes are a must. Healthy water means healthy fish. Lids – all native fish can climb or jump out, even through tiny gaps. Large ground area – horizontal space is far more important to these fish over vertical depth. Hiding places – it seems counter-intuitive, but the more hiding places available the safer they feel, so they come out more. Carnivorous diet – live invertebrate foods are best, though ox heart with the fat removed is a convenient option. Ethical collection – they are wild animals, native to New Zealand, and most are in decline. This must be borne in mind at all times. Knowledge – really, this is the most important bit. The more you know the more successful you will be at fish-keeping. Don’t stop reading, searching and asking. There are many books, websites and forums out there on general aquarium keeping, and Stella McQueen and R. M. McDowall’s books and articles are essential reading for anyone interested in native fish. Native fish species for the Aquarium Bullies are really easy to keep and are endlessly entertaining with their territorial behaviours and ability to spawn in the aquarium. These remain my favourite native aquarium fish. They live on and around the substrate, buzzing in and out of rocky crevices and chasing away intruders. They readily spawn in the aquarium. Most grow to around 9 to 10 cm on average, with the smallest species only attaining around 6 cm and the largest capable of reaching over 20 cm. Inanga are the most common whitebait species. They grow up to be a slender 8-12cm translucent fish with a silver abdomen, spotted back and occasional flashes of iridescence. They are a very fast-swimming, mid-water shoaling fish, so are best kept in a long tank and in groups. Banded kōkopu are another whitebait species, only these grow up to be a fat 20cm fish, and are earthy brown with thin amber stripes. They like a darker, slow-flowing aquarium with large crevices behind rocks or wood to sleep in or lurk behind. They can be a very active and sometimes aggressive fish, with feeding time being a splashy frenzy and often becoming aggressive during the testosterone-fuelled teenage years (2-3 years old). Small kōkopu play well with others but larger ones may need to be separated. Kōaro are another whitebait species. Kōaro live in clear, cold and fast-flowing upland or mountain streams and are expert at climbing waterfalls to access these habitats. They are large like the banded kōkopu, typically growing to 16-18 cm, and are a speckled silver-grey. Torrentfish live in very fast flowing, shallow water, hiding under the stones and moving into the quieter areas at night to feed. They are a beautiful although shy aquarium fish and are very sensitive to raised temperatures or poor quality water. They grow to around 13cm and are not aggressive with other fish. An effective cooling system is critical for this species. Eels are secretive nocturnal predators. In an aquarium they may hide most of the time (especially when small), or sit very still out in the open. They are escape artists. Smelt are a silvery, schooling fish with a very distinctive cucumber smell. In the early stages of capture and acclimation they are unfortunately very prone death through stress. Usually those that survive the initial period will live for several years in the aquarium. Keeping them very cool during this period is helpful. Mudfish are a specialist wetland species, able to survive the wetlands drying out over summer by finding damp places under logs and simply waiting for the water to return. They can spend several months out of water as long as they remain damp. Mudfish are under threat due to the extensive and ongoing destruction of their wetland habitats. Only the brown and black mudfish should be considered as they are less threatened. A mudfish aquarium is very easy to look after and is an excellent public educational tool. Brown mudfish - This mudfish aquarium has a thick peat substrate overlaid with dense leaf litter, hiding large pieces of wood which the mudfish burrow under. This is the easiest aquarium to maintain. Filters cannot be used as the peat would clog them, but the natural bacterial colonies in the peat ensure excellent water quality. Gravel vacuums cannot be used, so water changes are simple drain-and-fill operations. Periodically the leaf litter needs to be replaced and the peat probed to release gas pockets. Crayfish/koura are not a fish but they are a fascinating addition to the native aquarium or make a good pet on their own. They can be very aggressive and should not be kept with other crayfish or fish smaller than themselves, particularly the ground-dwelling bullies. They need plenty of hiding places and a varied diet of vegetables and insects or ox-heart. They grow by shedding their shells – the first time you see a recently shed shell you will probably think your cray has died. They will eat the shell over the following week to recycle the calcium. Freshwater mussels/kākahi are frequently sold in pet shops as a living filter, as they feed on particles and microorganisms that they filter from the water. However, it is extremely difficult to provide enough food in an aquarium for them and most will slowly starve to death over a period of months. Mussels are also in severe decline in the wild due to a combination of declining water quality and lack of recruitment of juvenile mussels. As such, mussels should be avoided. There are many more species of native fish beyond those listed here. Some have naturally very narrow geographical ranges making them less practical for most people to find. Others are much harder to find as they are sparse in many regions or the species is nationally threatened. Some have only been identified as separate species in recent years and little is known about the population status or habits. As always, please research your area before you go hunting and avoid taking any species from the wild that may be nationally or locally threatened, or if you are uncertain of their requirements. adult length (average) position hiding places aggression aquarium type bullies 9-10 cm ground important spawning season mainly any (excl. wetland) inanga 8-11 cm mid-water occasional none lake, forest, coastal banded kōkopu 20 cm all important age 2-3 years and older forest kōaro 16-18 cm ground important a few can be really nasty riffle torrentfish 10-13 cm ground important none riffle eels up to 2m all important sometimes any (excl. wetland) smelt 9-11 cm mid-water occasional none lake, forest, coastal mudfish 10 cm ground important none wetland koura 7-10 cm ground important keep singly any (excl. wetland) Types of Aquaria The most successful aquaria are built around a particular theme. It will look more cohesive and will be easier to look after as all the fish species have similar requirements. You may wish to showcase your favourite fish species or a particular habitat type, such as that found in your favourite stream. From that foundation, explore the habitat characteristics of that species or stream and associated fish species. Below are some examples of habitat-based aquaria and the species and construction elements typical of them. Forest stream Banded kōkopu, bullies, inanga, smelt, eels, crayfish, Rock/gravel/sand substrate, wood, ponga fronds, leaf litter Tannined water Current is not important Floating plants Forest Stream - Natural environments are rarely pristine, and allowing algae to build up on interior surfaces helps to give the aquarium an aged and earthy feel, especially relevant when trying to replicate a forest stream. The algae looks entirely on purpose when the viewing panes are kept clean. Forest Stream - The textures of wood, rock and pong a gives variety and depth to this forest stream aquarium. The ponga has the added effect of making the aquarium immediately appearing native, even to those who wouldn’t recognise the fish. Fresh ponga leaves take a few months to turn brown when submerged, and will remain intact for around six months, depending on how gently they are treated during tank maintenance. Riffle Torrentfish, kōaro, bluegill bullies Rock/gravel substrate Clear water Strong current No plants or wood, very clean rocks Riffle - This riffle aquarium contains an astonishing amount of rocks and gravel. Wood and plants would be washed away in the fast-flowing habitat it is replicating. It looks still but the water is being blasted around by two 3200L/hr pumps, providing variable currents around the aquarium allowing the different riffle species to divide their time between surfing the waves and sheltering from the storm Lake Smelt, non-migratory bullies, eels, crayfish Fine pebble and sandy substrate Minimal current Emergent reeds, nitella, floating plants Native aquatic plants (if there are no crayfish) Coastal stream Specifically giant bullies. Also other bullies, inanga, smelt, eels, crayfish, shrimp Sand and pebbles, driftwood Current is not important Aquatic plants and emergent reeds (if there are no crayfish) Lowland - This simple aquarium evoking a coastal stream and featuring a sandy substrate, few scattered pebbles, plastic ‘rushes’ and a collection of kawakawa branches acting as submerged tree roots, was home to several bullies and a small school of inanga. Wetland Mudfish only Peat, dense leaf litter, wood No water flow Nitella and floating plants Conservation and Ethics Conservation must always be of utmost importance when taking native animals from their natural environment, especially when the wild populations may be threatened or undergoing gradual human-induced decline. Many of these fish are threatened by habitat destruction and degradation. This includes not only the direct piped pollution of rivers, but also the loss of bankside vegetation and forest cover, drainage of wetlands, agricultural nutrient run-off, stock grazing at the water's edge and the construction of dams, weirs or culverts. Introduced species, such as trout (Salmonidae spp.) and mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), not only compete with native fish for habitat but are known to eat them. It is important to know not only the national threat classification of a species, but also its local population status. A species that is fairly widespread and nationally common, may also be locally rare or threatened. It is preferable that only juveniles are taken. Young fish not only adapt much easier to the aquarium, but also their disappearance generally has less of an impact on the remaining population. While it is great fun catching the biggest fish in a stream, be impressed at their survival and then leave them behind to help ensure the continuation of the species. It is important not to take more fish than you can comfortably house and have the dedication to care for. Take care when considering the release of fish that have had an exclusively non-live or commercial diet, or that have been in captivity for most of their life, as they may struggle to readjust. A diseased fish must never be released into the wild, even if the disease is present in wild populations. Legalities As these are native animals there are laws restricting what you may and may not do with them. Unfortunately these laws were developed in a very ad hoc manner over time. Different aspects are covered by different laws and government departments, sometimes several in conjunction. In some instances old laws were not repealed when a new one was enacted. Advice received from the Department of Conservation (DOC) suggests these general guidelines: A permit is not required to keep native fish and crayfish in aquaria. There are restrictions on taking aquatic life from conservation lands (national parks and reserves etc) and this requires a permit from DOC. Whitebait may only be taken in accordance with whitebaiting regulations (pamphlets outlining these are readily available from DOC offices or on their website). Anyone may take eels for non-commercial purposes, within the daily bag limit of 6. Anyone may take freshwater crayfish for non-commercial purposes, within the daily bag limit of 50. Black flounder are part of the managed commercial and recreational flatfish fishery and there are regulations which apply to anyone taking these fish for any reason, including the home aquarist. Both the minimum legal size and the cost of a permit to take undersized fish basically excludes this species from aquaria. Only the local iwi may take crayfish or native fish from the Lake Taupo or Lake Rotoaria catchments. A permit is required to release a native fish into a waterway, even if it came from there originally. This is partly to prevent the introduction or spread of disease. This permit can be obtained from the fisheries division of the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). A permit is required to transfer aquatic life (fish, plants, invertebrates etc) from one natural waterway to another. If the species does not exist in the recipient waterway DOC permission is required. If it does already exist there, approval is required from MPI. Moving aquatic life between the North and South Islands requires approval from both the MPI and DOC. Licenses are required for the farming or sale of native fish and crayfish, for food or the pet trade. However any person may sell legally-caught whitebait. This is a very basic and generalised guideline and should not be considered as legal advice. For further information please contact your local DOC office. Remember the laws are not there purely to restrict private ownership and commercial activity, but to ensure the survival of the species and their natural distribution and local genetic variations. They should be adhered to for conservation concerns as much as, if not more so, than simply not breaking the law. While some of the laws sound minor or picky, they are enforced. Recommended Reading Books Coffey, B.T. & Clayton, J.S. (1988). New Zealand Waterplants: A Guide to Plants Found in New Zealand. Hamilton, Ruakura Agriculture Centre. Jones, J. (2005). New Zealand Wild: Freshwater Eels. Auckland, Reed. 40pp (this is a children's book but an excellent introduction to native eels) McDowall, R.M. (1990). New Zealand Freshwater Fishes; A Natural History and Guide. Auckland, Heineman Reed. 553pp. McDowall, R.M. (2000). The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Freshwater Fishes. Auckland, Reed. 224pp. McQueen, S.L. (2010). The New Zealand Native Aquarium. Palmerston North, Wet Sock Publications. 126pp. McQueen, S. & Morris, R. (2013). A Photographic Guide To Freshwater Fishes of New Zealand. Auckland, New Holland. 143pp Websites New Zealand Native Fish – Facebook page www.facebook.com/nznativefish A Facebook page devoted to sharing articles and research relating to native fish, and the fishy photos and experiences of Stella McQueen working in the field. Te Ara: Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, Freshwater Fish Section http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/freshwater-fish Some good basic introductions for many native fish. The photographs are amazing and there are also some incredible short videos. NIWA Fish Atlas http://www.niwa.co.nz/freshwater-and-estuaries/nzffd/NIWA-fish-atlas Very useful overviews of all New Zealand freshwater fish, including introduced species. The distribution maps are invaluable. NIWA Quick-Guides to Freshwater Flora and Fauna http://www.niwa.co.nz/freshwater-and-estuaries/management-tools/identification-guides-and-fact-sheets A fascinating set of flow-charts for identifying different aquatic organisms, including invertebrates, fish, plants and algae. More aimed at the scientist than the layman, and the fish are based on dead specimens, but fascinating nonetheless Crayfish World www.crayfishworld.com/contents.htm An Australian site and therefore focused on Australian species, but it does contain some interesting information and photographs, particularly the pages about moulting, sexing and reproduction. There is quite a trade in crayfish species for the aquarium market in different parts of the world. While these sites tend not to include our native crayfish, much useful information may be gleaned about crayfish in general. Waitakere Regional Council www.waitakere.govt.nz/abtcit/ei/ecowtr/frshwtrfsh/frshwater-fish.asp The usual brief descriptions of the common species, but also includes several short videos and unique photographs of a few species. YouTube Videos www.youtube.com/nznativefish Some of my videos of native fish in the wild and in aquaria. Useful Scientific Papers Online Observations on Growth and Behaviour of Galaxiidae in Aquaria www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Bio17Tuat01-t1-body-d6.html A very interesting article by freshwater fish scientist G.A. Eldon detailing his experiences keeping various galaxiids. Taking the fish to the people https://www.academia.edu/1421445/Taking_the_Fish_to_the_People_-_a_guide_to_creating_successful_public_native_aquaria A guide to designing a successful native aquarium for public display and education. Written as an adjunct to the book The New Zealand Native Freshwater Aquarium by Stella McQueen. Conservation status of New Zealand freshwater fish, 2013. http://doc.govt.nz/Documents/science-and-technical/nztcs7entire.pdf The latest threat classification of freshwater fishes in New Zealand. S L McQueen
  4. Red spots and gold spots – Pterygoplichthys Author: Darren Stevens First published in Aquarium World February 2010 Red spots, gold spots, and common plecos are some of the most popular in the hobby. They are often called sailfin plecos due to their very large dorsal fins. Sailfin plecos are all species of Pterygoplichthys, and not Hypostomus as many people believe. This is because the original ‘common’ plecos imported in the 1960’s were species of Hypostomus, probably including Hypostomus plecostomus (the origin of the term pleco). From the 1980’s sailfins were the commonly imported plecos: in particular what is now known as the common pleco, Pterygoplichthys pardalis. Hypostomus species are now relatively rarely imported. These two groups are easy to tell apart. Sailfin plecos have a broad-based, high dorsal fin with 10–14 fin rays (+1 hard spine at the front), while Hypostomus species have a shorter dorsal fin base and 7–8 fin rays (+1 spine). There are 14 scientifically described sailfin plecos, and at least one awaiting a scientific name. In the early 1990’s a review of sailfins suggested that they should be split into three groups: the originalPterygoplichthys, and two new ones: Glyptoperichthys, and Liposarcus. However, these new groups have not been widely adopted. Researchers still refer to them by calling them the ‘P. gibbiceps group’ (formerly Glyptoperichthys) and the ‘P. multiradiatus group’ (formerly Liposarcus). Red spots, gold spots, and ‘yellow sailfin plecos’ (the P. gibbiceps group) can be separated from common plecos (the P.multiradiatus group) by their more robust build and a pronounced hump in front of the dorsal fin (obvious in large specimens). Sailfin plecos are widespread in South America and found in the Amazon, Magdalena, Maracaibo, Orinoco, Paraná, and São Francisco river systems, where they are often found in slow flowing streams, floodplain lakes, and marshes. These plecos are hardy, adaptable, and generally peaceful when small. They are attractive and well priced but will eventually grow too big for most aquaria. Larger specimens can be territorial and aggressive towards other plecos, and need good filtration as they produce a large amount of waste. They are more active during daylight hours if plenty of cover is provided. Sailfin plecos are largely vegetarian but will eat most prepared fish foods. Feed them on pleco algae wafers, veggies (courgettes, cucumber, silverbeet, shelled peas, etc.), and smaller quantities of high protein foods (shrimp pellets, shrimps, fish, blood worms, etc.). Most species have not been bred in aquaria. This would be very difficult to achieve as in the wild males of many species are known to burrow into muddy riverbanks to lay and brood their eggs. However common plecos, red spots and gold spots are all bred in large numbers in ponds in commercial fish farms in Asia and North America. The following sailfin plecos are likely to be found in New Zealand. Common pleco (Pterygoplichthys pardalis, L021, L023) The common pleco is a large (to 42 cm standard length, SL) light grey to brown pleco with dark spots on the body that often fuse together to form irregular twisted lines, and dark spots on the belly. Albino and chocolate varieties are available. The chocolate or chocolate albino variety is an amelanistic form, i.e. it lacks melanin (black pigment). Common plecos originate from the Amazon River system and have been established in the wild in parts of North America and Asia, presumably from aquarium releases. They are suited to larger tanks with pH’s of 6.0–7.5 and temperatures of 21–26oC. It is likely that other sailfin plecos have been imported as common plecos; the most likely being the vermiculated sailfin pleco, P. disjunctivus, and possibly the Orinoco sailfin pleco, P. multiradiatus. When normally coloured (i.e. not albino or chocolate) they can be separated on patterning. Common plecos and vermiculated sailfin plecos have dark spots that often fuse together to form irregular twisted lines (vermiculated patterning) on the body and head. However, common plecos have mostly discrete (separate, not fused) dark spots on the belly whereas vermiculated sailfins have mostly dark vermiculated patterning on the belly. Orinoco sailfins have discrete dark spots over the back half of the body. Red spot pleco (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps, L083, L165) The red spot pleco or gibby is a large (to 45 cm SL) pale brown/yellowish pleco covered with irregular large brown spots separated by a thin margin giving a honeycombed appearance. Albino varieties are also available. They originate from the middle and upper Amazon and Orinoco basin. They are suited to larger tanks with pH’s of 6.5–7.8 and temperatures of 23–27oC. Gold spot pleco (Pterygoplichthys joselimaianus, L001, L022) The gold spot pleco is a large (to 30 cm SL) dark brown pleco covered with golden spots, which often merge on the body to form irregular lines. They originate from the Rio Tocantins basin in Brazil and are suited to larger tanks with pH’s of 6.5–7.3 and temperatures of 24–29oC. This species was the first pleco to be given an L-number. ‘Yellow sailfin pleco’ (Pterygoplichthys weberi) Pterygoplichthys weberi is a large (to about 25 cm SL) pale brown/yellowish pleco covered with relatively large dark brown to black spots. These plecos have been sold as ‘yellow sailfin plecos’, although there is no accepted common name for this species. They originate from the Rio Marañon, Rio Ucayali, and upper Rio Amazonas drainages of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. They are suited to larger tanks with pH’s of about 6.0–7.0 and temperatures of 22–26oC. They are rarely available in New Zealand. I would like to thank Firenzenz and Krazy Geoff for their comments and improvements on earlier versions of this article, and the Pet Centre, Lower Hutt, for allowing me to photograph their sailfins. References: Planet catfish (www.planetcatfish.com) ScotCat (www.scotcat.com) Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org) Jonathan Armbrusters Loricariidae website (http://www.auburn.edu/academic/science_math/res_area/loricariid/fish_key/lorhome/ index.html) Seidel, I. (2008). Back to nature guide to L-Catfishes. Fohrman Aquaristik AB, Sweden. 208 p. Armbruster, J. W.; Page, L.M. (2006). Redescription of Pterygoplichthys punctatus and description of a new species of Pterygoplichthys (Siluriformes: Loricariidae). Neotropical Ichthyology 4: 401–409. Chavezi, J.M.; De La Pazi, R. M.; Manohari, S. K.; Pagulayan2, R. C.; Carandang VII, J. R. (2006). New Philippine record of south american sailfin catfishes (Pisces: Loricariidae). Zootaxa 1109: 57–68. © This item may not be reproduced without written permission
  5. President: Paul Willard. Secretary: Nicole Breen Email contact - waikatoaquariumsociety@gmail.com About Us: Meetings are usually on the first Thursday of the month at the Waikato Commerce Club, 197 Collingwood Street, Hamilton. Event information is posted on our Facebook page 'Waikato Aquarium Society'. Meetings can include guest speakers, sales tables and fishkeeping subjects. We also have organised weekend events. Subscriptions: Family: $40 Individual: $30 Students & Seniors $15.00 Which includes the $10.00 FNZAS Capitation fee. The capitation fee does not apply to junior memberships.
  6. President: Darren Stevens Secretary: Maxine Lynch uhaquariumsociety@gmail.com Postal Address: 32 McHardie St Trentham Upper Hutt 5018 About Us: Our meetings are on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Kelson community center 5A Timaru Grove, Kelson, Lower Hutt 5010 Meeting times are 7.30 PM to 9:30 PM Family friendly environment, all ages are welcome at meetings There is parking available on site. We enjoy all parts of the hobby, and our meetings cover topics requested by members, guest speakers, and projects. Subscriptions: $30.00 Plus $10.00 FNZAS Capitation fee. The capitation fee does not apply to junior memberships.
  7. Web page www.hbas.org.nz President: Gary Parkins, email: President@hbas.org.nz Treasurer: Cameron Ratcliffe email: Treasurer@hbas.org.nz Secretary: Chris Drake secretary@hbas.org.nz Meet 3rd Wednesday of the month @ the National Aquarium of NZ Marine Parade Napier 7:00 pm Fees Single $30.00 Family $40.00 Junior $15.00 Senior $15.00
  8. Kelly


    As has already been said the storage of the cysts affects the hatch rate. I use sea water and about a quarter teaspoon of cysts in a litre of sea water. Airate with vigourous but not fine bubbles. After about 24 hrs (depends a bit on temp) I let the container stand for 10 minutes and the empty shells float to the top and the live brine shrimp can be seen in the jar. I siphon off the seawater and brine shrimp leaving the shells on the edge and the unhatched eggs on the bottom. Just stop siphoning before the dregs are being sucked up. I wash the collected shimp in fresh water and feed. Should be only brine shrimp.Sea water can be reused if necessary
  9. Kelly


    I have an infestation of small snail in my fishroom. John Guilland WAPS suggested that I use a battery and copper wires into the tank.I assume that the battery deposits a copper salt into the water. My question is what is the dosage required 2nd Question has anyone a better suggestion for wiping out the snails without harming the fish
  10. my personal recommendation would be the Gold lineatus (Aplocheilus lineatus) They are a beautiful fish and will live quite happily in a 30 litre tank. They are fast and do jump well so they need a lid. They can be fed on a oxheart mix such as is fed to guppies whereas many of the other killis need a large proportion of live food such as brine shrimp, mosquito lavae and white/grindel worms. The eggs will hatch in water after about 14 days.
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