Which living plants can match goldfish?

Biotope aquarium or species aquarium?

Ball glasses and animal welfare

The round containers made of glass or plastic may appeal to some viewers, but not to the residents and are therefore out of the question as species-appropriate accommodation. The round shape confuses the animals and the common idea of ​​a goldfish in a small glass is simply unacceptable. If only because goldfish are schooling fish. In Asian countries, on the other hand, these glasses are unfortunately even bizarre, whereas in Italy it has recently been banned to accommodate fish in this way.

Unfortunately, such "aquariums" still haunt our advertising occasionally or act as "decorative" accessories on other occasions. For the reasons described, you should not be a role model.

Some things are still in a bad way when it comes to dealing with pets, but fortunately, in recent years there has been an increasing rethinking of the issues and responsibility for one's own protégés. Just because we can't hear fish doesn't mean they are mute, as the saying goes. On the contrary - they communicate with sounds that we can only hear with an underwater microphone. This otherness also makes aquaristics so exciting: namely to get answers to the question of how other living beings master all of our challenges of existence - such as food procurement, energy supply, reproduction and communication.

Aquarium types

The following selection of aquarium types can of course only be used as a guide, because the boundaries are often fluid. For example, a species aquarium can also be a natural and plant aquarium. A lot ultimately depends on the perspective and creativity of the carer. The definitions can be very diverse, especially when it comes to community aquariums.

  • Community aquarium This very broad aquarium shape has basically no special topic in the sense of z. B. a biotope aquarium. It is irrelevant which part of the world the animals and plants come from, the main thing is that they tolerate the selected environmental conditions such as temperature. Tropical community aquariums with a water temperature of 22 - 24 ° C are quite popular and should make up a very large part of all aquariums, especially among newcomers. The pH value of the water is usually close to 7, and the degrees of hardness are also in the medium range. Under these conditions there are a multitude of fish and invertebrates that feel comfortable here. Even the most common aquatic plants can cope and, with good care, can sometimes thrive splendidly.
  • Natural or plant aquarium Many aquarists see this very attractive and increasingly popular aquarium design as a living work of art, and that is how it is intended. The Asian aquarium enthusiasts in particular present themselves as true masters. According to this model, (international) competitions are already taking place, which always offer new inspiration. Another reason for the increasing popularity is the recognition that aquatic plants are important for a healthy water quality and are therefore given more consideration in the aquarium hobby. Individual aquariums are designed according to themes, such as "Listening to the sound of the river" or "Old tree", which almost reminds the viewer of a cutout of the forest. Central design elements are roots, sand and plants, which are also imaginatively put together according to certain aesthetic rules. Small schooling fish and / or shrimp often populate the scene.
  • Biotope aquarium Here an entire habitat with the animals and plants that live here is reproduced in extracts. A slowly flowing river course can be represented in an Asian biotope aquarium, for example. Many of the fish living there can use the atmospheric air on the surface of the water due to the lack of oxygen that occurs here in the sometimes murky waters. These include the labyrinth fish, whose name refers to their special breathing system. Pygmy Gourmets (Colisa lalia) are also attractive members of this family. Many types of shrimp are also native here. Plants suitable for biotopes come from the family of water goblets (Cryptocoryne). Live-bearing toothcarps such as the red & white platy (Xiphophorus) and the popular swordtail (Xiphophorus) and guppies prefer clear and fast-flowing waters such as those found in Central America. They harmonize well with the armored catfish (Corydoras), which predominantly live near the ground. Aquarium fish no. 1, the neon tetra (Pracheirodon innesi), is just as much an American tetra as the slightly more sensitive blue neon (P. simulans). Typical plants in this area are dwarf pear leaves (Anubias) and sword plants (Echinodorus.) But here too, of course, the more plant species the better.
  • Art aquarium In contrast to the biotope aquariums, which focus on the entire habitat, the animals are in the foreground here. Several species of the same genus can also be represented. The aquarium is set up according to your needs, but plants - if available - do not have to come from the same habitats. It is important that they can cope with the animals' conditions and grow well. This type of aquarium is often recommended for housing crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. Most shrimp species only reproduce successfully when there are no fish. When it comes to fish, species aquariums are useful for Malawi cichlids (Cichlidae), among others. They need exclusive water conditions such as a higher pH and an elevated water temperature.
  • Cold water aquarium Cold water here means unheated, i.e. a temperature of approx. 14 - 21 ° C, which is also sufficient for some of our aquarium fish. This applies to some killifish (viviparous toothcarps), sunfish and fish from higher regions in tropical areas. Goldfish aquariums and aquariums with local small fish and other creatures such as snails can also be very attractive and offer interesting insights into the way of life and behavior of pond inhabitants. Incidentally, unheated aquariums are often seen in connection with their own garden pond in order to safely overwinter young or not (yet) hardy fish.
  • Goldfish aquarium This carp species is one of the oldest and most popular ornamental fish. The resulting breeds include the majestic Koi as well as numerous somewhat smaller cultivated forms that better fit into a living room aquarium. These smaller goldfish species usually also need somewhat warmer living conditions around 22 degrees. The popularity of the carp is, however, occasionally doomed, because some of the smaller cultivated forms are controversial as so-called torture breeds, as soon as the fish's external functions are impaired. Due to their size of approx. 30 cm, adult goldfish are better off in a garden pond, but for smaller ones, an edge length of at least 1 m should be planned; after all, there are also schooling fish that have to be housed at least six people. As carp fish, goldfish like to dig, plants should therefore be well anchored and stand in groups in order to provide the fish with sufficient floor space. Goldfish are extremely robust and can withstand a lot, but clean and spacious conditions should be the top priority in order to, among other things, To minimize susceptibility to illness.
  • Bitterling aquarium with pond clams The European bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus amarus) and the pond mussel (Anodonta cygnea) represent a particularly exciting animal community. The small, peaceful carp uses the live pond mussel as protection for its spawn without harming the mollusc. Since the mussels dig in, the substrate should be correspondingly high. However, large pond clams (up to 20cm) cannot survive long in aquariums, as they have to filter around 40 liters per hour in order to feed on the plankton. However, smaller mussels are an excellent biological filter in aquariums. They can also be fed fine dry or frozen food. After a cool winter (below 10 ° C) and abundant feed intake, the bitterlings soon get into a mating mood. The female uses a laying tube to insert her up to 40 eggs into the mussel, where they are also fertilized. The little ones develop under the protection of the hard mussel shell until they leave their living nursery after about 40 days.
  • The koi pond A pond with the majestic koi carp is a maintenance-intensive and therefore quite costly affair. In contrast to the ecological garden pond, an aquarium for outside, so to speak. Anyone who can carry out this technical effort will find Kois uncomplicated and even quite trusting. The big carp are now bred quite robustly, but ultimately unfavorable care conditions are always a risk of disease. In an ecologically designed garden pond, many small and large helpers such as snails, insect larvae and plants ensure a functioning balance that requires little intervention. This can hardly be a pond with koi, because the colorful fin bearers are omnivores and devour everything from algae to snails with a regal appetite. And, despite their appetite and the corresponding amount of excretions, they need clean and clear water. Appropriate filtering and active ventilation are therefore advisable. The beautiful Koi are extremely sociable and can reach a great age, so their pond must be deep and spacious. The edges are better vertical, because confidence can be fatal for some Koi if a curious cat or a hungry heron approaches. This is especially true for young fish. If your pond is deep enough, i.e. at least 1.50 meters, it does not freeze through in winter and the animals can hibernate outside. Younger fish do not yet have enough body mass, i.e. enough reserves, and should be housed in frost-free rooms during the cold season.

The garden pond

What must be considered with regard to wintering with Koi also applies to other fish, such as fish. B. Goldfish. If the pond is covered with ice, it should not be entered in order not to put the resting fish under stress from the sound, which leads to a higher energy requirement.

If the fish spend the winter in the pond, leaves must be removed from the pond in autumn, because the rotting process is oxygen-consuming. The supply under the ice could therefore become scarce, because a resting fish also needs oxygen. If you find frogs in the pond during the cleaning in autumn, some leaves should be left as hiding places for the winter-dormant amphibians.

Technical systems such as filters must also be made winter-proof, i.e. freed from water so that they do not freeze and the ice bursts the pipes.

In spring, depending on the heat requirements of the fish in April or May, the fin bearers can leave their winter quarters again. Now is also the best time to replant plants. In order to keep the pollution of the water and thus the growth of algae as low as possible, shaded locations for ponds are useful. For the same reason, aquatic plants should be potted or limited to certain areas in the pond. For this purpose, small areas can be walled, where the plants can be weighted down with stones if necessary. The same applies here as in the aquarium: Many plants improve the water quality.

In contrast to Koi ponds, ecological garden ponds should not be walled up high. Flat bank zones and bordering swamp areas or streams offer the surrounding fauna an attractive water and food supply, as well as the habitat that has become rare for native amphibians.(Annette Berkelmann)

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