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Category Archives: Fish and Aquaria

Some Q&A about Aquatics (Quora #4)


A couple of Saturdays ago I started a series which was intended to reproduce my inputs on Quora over here on this blog, as a repurposing and collating of them as well as a way of making sure I don’t lose my own content. Once again I recently had a warning from Quora just for letting another Englishman know thatt in saying no Englishman likes Donald Trump he took rather too much on himself as there are those of us who do. This was enough to have a second warning from Quora and so now I need to accelerate the copying over of my own work from that site in case I lose all those hours of work and creativity. Where there is moderation, there is limited trust.

At first I did one article per post, but there are quite a lot of briefer answers and it makes little sense to copy these over in that format, so now I have in mind to produce more answers in a single post, based around onne theme, and I have been preparing lists that analyse these articles into common themes. Last time in #3 we took a few articles I had written about Betta splendens, the Siamese fighting fish. These answers gave rise to more questions for me to answer (Quora has A2A, or Ask to Answer where people get invited to answer, either because the person asking knows them or they are suggested by the software. Alternatively you can jump in and give an answer on whatever appears on your screen. If you have opted to receive emails, you get a feed from Quora or items that may interest you) and these questions started to be about fishkeeping or aquatics in more general terms, and even (to be looked at later on) about ichthyology. Inevitably I also started to receive questions about sport fishing and I have zero time for that. I am ready to talk about fishery as part of the food industry, but not about angling, fly fishing or any of these sadistic pseudosports.

Please remember that my answers vary a lot from facetious to informative usually depending on my mood, the time available and what I think about the question. Be prepared for a rather broad range of approaches to questions. Quora goes from highly intellectual Q&A to the dumbest things a human being can write or read. I try to vary my own tone to match the quality of the question.

If you want to discuss or ask anything else around these themes, please get a discussion going in the comments. It’s what the comment facility is there for. I hope it is not onerous to log on and make some kind of utterance.

My own Heros severus.

As mentioned in the title, the theme for today is aquatics, and these answers were given by me all in 2015-2016.

1. Can you overfeed fish? How do you avoid doing so?

You can always add more food but it is harder to take it out. Give enough for everything to be eaten in a few minutes and feed morning and evening. You can leave raw carrot pieces or washed lettuce leaves – not much – or the skins of fresh cucumbers in there for them to eat more gradually.

Feeding too much will cause a nitrate hike, it has a demand on oxygen and will generally poison the fish as well as cause bacterial blooms and too much growth of algae.

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Some Q&A about Betta splendens or Siamese fighting fishes (Quora #3)


A couple of Saturdays ago I started a series which was intended to reproduce my inputs on Quora over here on this blog, as a repurposing and collating of them as well as a way of making sure I don’t lose my own content.

As explained last time to group answers around themes and I have a little sheet where I am preparing them for these Group posts, based on the format I’ll be doing today.

Please remember that my answers vary a lot from facetious to informative usually depending on my mood, the time available and what I think about the question. Be prepared for a rather broad range of approaches to questions.

Male Crowntail Betta by Wikipedia User Anandrajkumar

If you want to discuss or ask anything else around these themes, please get a discussion going in the comments. It’s what the comment facility is there for. I hope it is not onerous to log on and make some kind of utterance.

As mentioned in the title, the theme for today is Betta splendens, and these answers were given by me all in late 2015 or the first half of 2016.  It seems very random that I emerged as an expert on this species in Quora as I haven’t had an awful lot of them myself but I do know a thing or two about them.

1. What’s a good way to keep the temperature constant in a small fish bowl for a Betta?

Personally I would not keep him in a bowl at all. Just because an aquarium fish is hardy and will accept unnatural temperatures without dying and can breath air so that it is not affected by poor oxygenation it does not mean that the quality of life of a fish will be pleasant in a bowl.

A person needs to deserve to be looking after animals, you know, and the basis of that deserving is giving the animal a pleasant life. I would give a Betta a heater/stat and filter, gravel and plants and decent lighting and regular water changes and good food just like any other aquarium fish.

The specifics for Betta males is you can’t keep two of them together and you should avoid keeping them with fish that are likely to nip their lovely flowing fins. But you can keep them with small catfishes like Corydoras or Ancistrus no problem. I think it is nicer for them to have that kind of tank mate than be stuck on their own.

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Some Q&A about culinary matters (Quora #2)


A couple of Saturdays ago I started a series which was intended to reproduce my inputs on Quora over here on this blog, as a repurposing and collating of them as well as a way of making sure I don’t lose my own content.

Having given more thought to the way of doing this, I have decided to do these Quora Q&As on Saturdays but to change the approach slightly, namely instead of having one answer per post to only have one answer if it is a nice big essay but often (as in the case of the first one) it is too short to deserve being a whole week’s portion. Not only will these posts look funny but also they won’t be very useful and I’ll never get through the whole corpus of my answers on Quora.

So I decided to group answers around themes and I have a little sheet where I am preparing them for these Group posts, based on the format I’ll be doing today.

Cymothoa exigua – the fish louse mentioned below – in action.

Please remember that my answers vary a lot from facetious to informative usually depending on my mood, the time available and what I think about the question. Be prepared for a rather broad range of approaches to questions.

If you want to discuss or ask anything else around these themes, please get a discussion going in the comments. It’s what the comment facility is there for. I hope it is not onerous to log on and make some kind of utterance.

As mentioned in the title, the theme for today is Culinary, and these answers were given by me all in late 2015 or the first half of 2016.  I’ve got three Q&As for you today in this topic.

1. Why are people okay with consuming raw fish or rare steak when it may contain parasites?

Well, it’s not a good idea eating raw river fish and you won’t actually find that much by way of river fish in sushi bars.
With two exception, the Candiru and other people themselves, all parasites on man are invertebrates. They don’t have kidneys, they cannot osmoregulate. The ability to do this happened in the notional common ancestor between us and lampreys and anything “higher” than that has kidneys, anything “lower” doesn’t.

So those invertebrates that live in the sea want a salinity for their plasma of nearer 27 ppm while those from freshwater want lower than 9 ppm, which is what vertebrate plasma has.

So fish lice and other parasites in marine fishes can’t survive the change form a marine to a non-marine environment. You don’t have to worry about them breeding in you. There is one illness from one louse but extremely rare and limited to a few species. But these days marine fish have other risks, namely contamination from plastics and metals that they have absorbed from the sea.

That’s now a bigger worry than parasites by far if we’re talking about marine fish, and brings us back to the urgent and much larger issue of how we can reduce new marine pollution with plastics and heavy metals as well as clean up what is already floating around out there.

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Are some animals more viable for exploitation than others?


Christopher Lewis asked me on Facebook:

I am interesting on understanding your scale for judging an animal’s suffering. How do we know killing one animal is fine, another is wrong. Torturing one animal ok, hunting another to extinction not.

Here’s my answer:

Christopher Lewis It’s an excellent question.

I would formulate my thoughts this way:

  1. Vulnerability to extinction.
    First, we have to protect species against extinction. I believe it is a massive sin to cause any extinction of species, a total blasphemy against the Creator as we cannot create a single species. And also the loss of the genetic material robs future human generations of the opportunity to experience this life form. So I make the same point here for animals, plants, fungi and without regard to size or complexity. We cannot replace them, and don’t destroy what you cannot create is an excellent maxim for life.
  2. Controllability of habitat and numbers
    Second, given the first point, we need to take more care with regard to animals or plants where the slide to extinction is less controllable by us. So at the moment marine life has a bigger call on protection because we have certainly placed plastics into the oceans at measurable amounts and this is completely and guaranteedly anthropogenic and there is no debate about it, unlike the debates that can be made in the case of greenhouse gases and global warming. I am in two minds about GW but I am not in two minds at all about the plastic issue, to the degree where I jumped up and down and got everyone in a small chain of stores I do things with to abandon plastic bags entirely. I have been talking about the plastic issue for fifteen years in fact, and finally people are starting to take the issue seriously and hopefully not too late, but we still don’t know how good the clean up can be and how fast. So I put animals in the line of threat from plastics into a degree of priority.
  3. Strength of links to others of the species
    It does appear that certain animals, even from their behaviour, have empathy to each other and interact with each other and some have interactions with their offspring which are related to love and tenderness in the human. For animals where the loss of one causes distress to others, I give more consideration than for the ones which do not have such a case. There are many species of bird, for example, that could be domesticated but humans have not chosen for the farmyard those which have lifelong pairbonds and which pine away when their loved one is taken. Take a chicken from the rooster and he happily carries on with his existing harem and the other chickens also don’t tend to look around for the missing hen. Do this to penguins, storks, swans and many other birds and mammals and you have a node of suffering. So I give priority not to eat the animals which show tenderness to one another and which demonstrate meaning to one another. In “The Time Machine”, for example, H.G.Wells Morlocks have taken the trouble to breed out of the Eloi race of humans they are farming any kind of empathy for each other. As indeed the powers that be do to us today, replacing Christ’s call to love our neighbour with the empty husk of political “correctness”.
  4. Intelligence regardless of sociability
    Fourthly, the above point doesn’t mean that vertebrates are always preferred over invertebrates. It appears that shrimp which people eat in great numbers are social and that the octopus, which is pretty anti-social really, is a startling intelligence and deserves a bit more respect than your typical invertebrate. All of this is subordinate to the first and second point, anyway.
  5. Deaths per kilogramme of useable protein
    This leads on to the fifth and this is an important point. If we are turning a living, sentient animal into amino acids for our own digestion, it seems to me to be more moral to take one animal that will feed many families over many meals than to take an animal which it takes many of to feed one person one meal. This is one of the reasons why I try to avoid shrimps. It takes maybe 10 shrimps to make a meal for one person, whereas a cow might make a hundred meals so the relationship of shrimps to cattle to give you a tonne of protein is at least a thousand (maybe closer to ten thousand) shrimps to one cow. This is an extreme example. Now if we placed the intelligence and value of the life of the shrimp at only one thousandth of that of the cow, maybe that would be justifiable. But if you look at shrimps in an aquarium for any length of time you’ll see probably just as much different activity and expression going on as you’ll see on a cow’s face as it stands around chewing cud, and maybe even more. So for me it’s disturbing to think that we could be making a virtual holocaust of these crustaceans just to produce the kilos of a single slaughtered cow. Likewise when it comes to fish is it not a bit disturbing to take a thousand capelin to give us the equivalent flesh of one tuna? Worth a thought.
  6. Naturally predated
    And then we have the sixth issue. Prey animals. Animals are by nature divided into hunter and hunted. The hunted tend to be thise which are naturally in the niche of proviing meat to other species and to a degree they evolved into it. It is part of being a sheep that you get eaten by a tiger, it is part of being a tiger that you don’t get eaten by anything. Human agriculture fit into this natural division in that we usually don’t eat tigers (some do) and usually do eat sheep (some don’t).
  7. Substitutability.
    If an animal or plant can be substituted with another in order to give the necessary thing we are looking for (example tortoiseshell now largely replaced by plastics) then it is best to take the version of the product with the least offences against these other points. If there is no substitute then all the more we need to take care that the species is protected from extinction. Usually this involves careful cultivation over a number of different sites.
  8. Farmability
    Given the last point, an animal or plant which can actually be farmed is a better candidate for use than a wild species that cannot be kept and cultivated under human control. Those which can be kept ought to be kept in a proper way, with regard to diet, housing and enrichment. The use of battery farms and similar is becoming thankfully a thing of the past, and this trend should continue. We are making a one way trade with these animals, they feed us and give us food and fibres, plants render to us all their nutrients and chemicals and of course it is not a deal any of them signed up to. The least we can do is give them a reasonable time of quality life with as low suffering as possible prior to sacrificing that life, again with the minimum possible suffering. Not all species lend themselves to farming, on the other hand those species which do also seem to lend themselves to adaptation into numerous breeds with varying characteristics.
  9. Multiple products.
    It is maybe good in view of the above to use synthetic fur rather than real fur, however if synthetic fur becomes unviable for any reason, it is better to farm fur animals which are also edible, such as rabbits, rather than mink which are only there to provide fur and which by the way require the sacrifice of numerous other animals to nourish them, although they can of course be fed on foods made from spent hens and dairy cows not usually sold for human cuisine. If we are going to sacrifice an animal, we should at least waste as little of it as possible. It is good to keep sheep as they provide milk and wool in addition to the produce of their carcase. Cattle produce leather in addition to their milk and blood products taken during their lives but this, like their meat and unlike wool, is a one off event at their death.
  10. Utilisation of inedible food. Humans cannot eat grass which is the easy crop. Cattle, sheep and camels do eat these as they are cellulose metabolised, thanks to their microbiota hosted in special chambers of their alimentary canal. Pigs can eat acorns and scraps which humans cannot eat. Via these animals, oak forests and grasslands have a use to us which might make the difference between keeping them going with their additional biodiversity, which you wouldn’t find in say a wheatfield. Hence farming them has advantages which vegetarians tend to overlook.

    Now let’s apply all the above to the issue of whales. They for sure let themselves down on the size issue – one whale will feed more than one of almost anything else, and given that we cannot eat plankton they let themselves down in the acorn argument too, but on the other arguments we shouldn’t be taking them.

Aquarium in Warsaw Airport


Original YT playout date: 10 May 2008
Duration: 7:23

This is a new aquarium in the “Business Shark” bar in the departures area of the new terminal at Warsaw airport.

They have a snail problem – nothing a few clown loaches couldn’t solve, but then they might have to kiss their shrimps goodbye too…

Statistics and Credits
Views at the time added to HTV: 1,416
Likes at the time added to HTV: 4
Dislikes at time added to HTV: 1
Popularity % ” ” ” =L/(L+D): 80.0%
Comments at time added: 0
Total interactions at time added: 5
Total interactions to views 0.4%
Location: Warsaw Chopin Airport – Business shark café.
Other people featured: None
Genre: Aquarium
Music used: 出水清蓮 – 王珣
Languages used: English
Animals/plants featured: Numerous species of aquarium fishes, notably cardinal tetras and rummy nose tetras.

Uncle Davey’s Herts Content, #5 “On fish and watercress”


Original playout date: 26 February 2008
Duration: 11:22

“On this spot, 40 years ago, I got clawed by a tiger. Happy memories!

This is a walk along the Grand Union Canal and a discussion of how species get their names and some of the things that we can see along the canal.”
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Aquarium in Krakow Radisson


Original playout date: 27 January 2008
Duration: 2:18

Here is a quick shorty showing the lovely tank at the Krakow Radisson, and revealing the biological timebomb already inherent in the set up.
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Over the Top Fish Tank


Original playout date: 30 October 2007
Duration: 1:30

We are looking at one of my fishtanks from the top as the fish get fed. It’s actually a nice angle to watch fish from.
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Amecas feeding/Karmiące się Ameki


Friday, February 9, 2018

Original playout date: 28 July 2007
Duration: 2:14

The tankful of Ameca splendens or the butterfly goodeid, which has often been in the background of my videos is the central focus in this film in which I explain the project.
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That’s all the tanks you get!


Playout date: 11 February 2007
Duration: 3:26
Views at the time added to HTV: 11,012
Likes at the time added to HTV: 5
Dislikes at time added to HTV: 10
Popularity % ” ” ” =L/(L+D): 33.3%
Comments at time added: 8
Total interactions at time added: 23
Total interactions to views 0.2%
Camera: Panasonic DMZ -FZ30
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Home
Other people featured: George
Genre: Fish
Music used: “Ashes to Ashes” Bowie
Languages used: English
Animals/plants featured: Various aquarium fishes, Labeo bicolor, Pimelodus pictus, and others
Other remarks:

A nice reminder for me of fishes from times gone by. Of these fishes none are alive today, 11 years later. The pim catfish is the only one you could expect that for, but it had an accident and caught a fin in a net.

This is a discussion following on from someone saying that my tanks were too small in a comment to earlier video “Convicts in Love”.

Quote of the clip: “Small tanks, indeed! Enough of that.”

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