Visiting a Planetarium can be an educational and an enjoyable experience.  As an amateur astronomer, getting to know the motion of the stars and planets will help you track the celestial objects over a time period.

A Planetarium can also help the amateur astronomer understand the location of the stars and planet with respect to other objects in the night sky.

The International Planetarium Society

Fish become sick due to a variety of reasons.  The reasons for fish becoming sick can be poor water quality, fungal and bacterial infections of the skin, disease of the internal organs such as tuberculosis, kidney failure,etc

Fish that are sick will exhibit a number of symptoms.  Some of these symptoms are change in behaviour such as rubbing against rocks, unnatural swimming movements, loss of balance.

Other diseases such as parasite infestation can cause the parasites such as lice and worms to get attached to fish skin.

It is easy to identify the disease based on the symptoms.  There are several online charts and tools which will help you narrow down on the disease based on the symptoms.  

Sick fish need to be separated from the other healthy fish in the tank.  This gives the sick fish a safe place to rest and recuperate.  It also helps quarantine the sick fish and prevents the disease from spreading.

A hospital tank is a small tank in which sick fish can be kept.  It is easy to provide medication to fish.  The water in the tank should have the same temperature as that of the main tank.  

Put in some plants in the hospital tank so that the fish gets some privacy and feels secure.  Once the fish is completely cured, it can be reintroduced into the main tank.

The water, filter and other accessories should be thoroughly cleaned before reuse.

If there is a general infestation in the tank, medication can be administered directly into the tank.  If activated carbon filters are used in the tank, they will have  to be removed as the activated carbon can remove the medication from the water making the treatment ineffective.  

Chlorine is a element with the Chemical Symbol Cl.  It is added to water at your water supply utility to purify the water.  It can harm your fish.

Chlorine can be removed by dechlorinators which are available in the market.  Get a good dechlorinator. The dechlorinators convert the chlorine into harmless chloride ions.

Chlorine is volatile so leaving your water in a bucket overnight can also remove it.   Put the water in a bucket or container with a large water-to-air surface.
Some water utilities have switched from to Chloramine.   Chloramine is a compound containing chlorine and ammonia.  Chloramine stays in the water for longer periods.  It cannot be removed naturally  by keeping water overnight.  Hence, ensure that your dechlorinator can also remove chloramine.

Having a garden can be a very rewarding experience.

A garden brings a piece of nature right into your home.Gardens come in a variety of types and sizes.  Large botanical Gardens are several acres in size while small kitchen gardens can be contained in a small shelf.  Studies have revealed that the green color of plants has a soothing effect on the eyes.  Working on the garden can be an effective stress buster after a hectic day.

So start your garden matter how smal l your home is. You will be amazed at the color and life a garden can bring to your home .

Anyone can have a garden.  Whether you are in an apartment or in a big house.  You can have a garden which suits you.

Feeder Fish are fish which are raised a food for other fish.  Some Aquarists feed live food to the fish.  Fish such as guppies, platies and gold fish which reproduce quickly and can be kept in small areas are generally used as live food. Tadpoles are also used as live food. Other fish which are not considered desirable such as female bettas are also used as live feed.

Many people consider the use of feeder fish as cruel.  Besides, they point out that fish which are raised for food are usually kept in crowded conditions and underfed.

With compromised immune systems, these fish can be carriers of disease and parasites.  They also say that almost all kinds of live food can be matched with processed food available at petstores.

Proponents of live food feel that live food brings out the natural hunting instincts in fish.  This is countered by those who say that dropping a live fish into a tank from which it has no chance of escape does not simulate the natural environment where every prey has a means of escape.

The use of live feed is thus hotly debated in hobby circles.

Flaked Food is fish food which has been made into flakes.  The food is mixed and then extruded or heated which produces the layers known as flakes.  Flakes are very popular among hobbyists.  Virtually all types of fish food can be made into flakes.

The flakes are small in size and usually float in the water.  This gives time for the fish to eat them.  Flake foods are usually fortified with minerals.

The size of the flake should be suitable for the fish.  Small fish may not be able to eat large flakes.

Flake Foods usually come in sealed containers.  They usually have a best-before date.

Store Flake foods in a cool dry place.  Moisture and light should not be allowed to reach the flake foods.

Color Enhancers are natural compounds which are added to fish food so that fish can develop their natural colors.  Color Enhancers are not artificial agents.  They are substances which the fish get when they are in their natural ecosystem.

Red Algae Pigment, predigested Plankton and Krill are examples of color enhancers.  Carotenoid is another color enhancer.

Some people believe that color enhancers are artificial and are harmful.  They are not.  Fish get these color enhancers in the natural environment.

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Trace Elements are elements which are found in small traces in the aquatic, particularly ocean ecosystem.  These elements are required for the health and growth of aquatic creatures.

Below are some of the Trace elements and their function

Magnesium plays a role in the formation of the skeleton.  It also regulates the pH.  It also prevent calcium precipitation

Calcium is an extremely important components of skeletal structures. It helps in the formation of shells for aquatic creatures such as crabs, clams, bivalves.  As animals grow, they extract the calcium from the surrounding environment.  This will deplete the calcium from the water and over time, the aquarium inhabitants will suffer deficiency.  Calcium can be supplemented by adding additives to the water.

Carbonate serves as a pH buffer.  It also regulates the hardness of the water, a critical parameter.  Carbonate can be added in the liquid or in the powder form.

Magnesium is another element which has a role in the formation of skeletal structures.  The levels of Magnesium also affects the calcium levels in the aquarium.

Hence, the magnesium levels in the aquarium should be within proper limits.  Magnesium supplements are also available in the water.

Iodine and Iodide are important for the growth of corals and their health.  Iodine is depleted by protein skimmers, by ozone and by oxidation. It also helps prevent damage to corals from excessive light.

Iron is consumed by fishes.  Iron helps in the growth of macro algae.  Excess Iron causes an increase in micro algae and may cause an algae bloom.  Hence, iron may be needed to be removed from the water.  Iron is present in tap water. Hence, the check the iron content in the tap water before using it in your aquarium.

Snails can be delightful additions to your tank.  But sometimes, unwanted snails or an increase in the snail population can wreak havoc on the tank system particularly the plants.

There are chemicals which can control the snail population.  However, they destroy the good nitrifying bacteria as well, damaging the biological filtration.  Hence, these should be used only as a last resort.

Snails reproduce very fast and hence their population needs to be monitored and kept in check.  When the snail population explodes, they may have to be removed.  One easy way is to boil a lettuce leaf and immerse it in the substrate and leave it overnight.  The next morning, you will find that the snails have climbed on to the leaf to eat it.  Remove the lettuce leaf and the sails and throw it away.  Repeat this for many days till the problem is under control.

Another method is the introduction of fish which eat snails.  Several Loach species eat snails.  These will help you keep the population in check.

There are chemicals which can control the snail population.  However, they destroy the good nitrifying bacteria as well, damaging the biological filtration.

Social fish are fish which like to be in a group.  Neon Tetras, Clown loaches are examples of such fish.  Many social fish display schooling fish which is a sight to watch.  Social fish find security and assurance when they are with other fish of their species.

Putting social fish alone in a tank will make them nervous.  This causes stress and opens the door to disease and death.

Hence, when you buy fish, try to find about the social behaviour of the fish.  Social fish should have a minimum of 4 members of the species in the tank.

A Wavemaker is a pump which simulates the wave action in a freshwater body or in the sea.  Wavemakers come in various capacities, sizes.  They can also simulate the wave action in different environments such as a freshwater stream or an ocean reef

Wavemakers are usually fitted in marine aquariums where they simulate the natural wave action or the sea.

Organism such as corals and anemones  are fixed.

Plecos are peaceful fish which live in the bottom of the tank.  Plecos can live with goldfish, provided proper precautions are taken.  Both the fishes are peaceful in general.

Goldfish tend to dirty the water quite fast as they have a higher bioload.  Any tank with goldfish should have partial water changes more frequently  The Pleco is a tropical fish which may require higher temperatures while the goldfish is a cold water fish. 

Some aquarium keepers have mentioned incidents where plecos have clasped the goldfish and have sucked at the slime coat.  This, however, is very rare.  Feed your Plecos and gold fish properly.  Plecos can be given vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini,etc. 

Also provide plenty of hiding places for the pleco to rest during the day.  They are nocturnal fish.  This reduces stress and minimizes conflict.  Another important factor you should look at is space.  Both Plecos and Goldfish can grow very big.  Housing both in a small tank creates the ground for conflict.

Ensure that both the fish have their own individual space and are well fed if you decide to keep them together. 

Yes, Plecos can be kept with angelfish.  They are both tropical fish.  They take up different layers of the environment. 

Ensure that there is plenty of space in the aquarium.  The aquarium should be about 60 gallons.
Provide plenty of hiding places such as overhangs, cages and plant growth for your pleco to rest during the day time. 

Arowana can bite your fingers.  They may mistake your finger for food.  Some arowana may think of your hand as an intrusion into their territory.  They are highly territorial fish in the wild.

While most bites may not result in injury, there are reports of bleeding after bites.  In rare occasions, when the fish is large, the bite can result in serious damage to the fingers.  Arowana have powerful jaws which are designed to catch amphibians and even birds.

Hence, keep a safe distance from the mouth. If you have to remove or adjust anything in the tank, it is better to use tongs or similar tools.  Move the tool gently so as to not startle the fish.

Angelfish are Omnivorous, that is, they eat both plant and animal food. Common foods which can be given are shrimps, blood worms. Small pellets and granules are also eagerly consumed.

 You can feed your Angelfish once a day. Put food in small amounts. Ensure that all foods are consumed in about five minutes. Remove any unconsumed food.

As angelfish grow, the quantity of food should be increased. Angelfish are voracious eater with big appetites in the healthy condition. When Angelfish are young, they are almost exclusive fed on blood worms and baby brine shrimp.

Angelfish live in groups in the wild.  Hence, it is advisable to have a minimum of six fishes in a tank. A male and female angelfish will usually form a pair.  Angelfish are also highly territorial and can become aggressive with other Angelfish.  Hence, the tank should be spacious so that each angelfish pair can have their own area. 

Angelfish are also very sensitive to water conditions.  Hence, the water should be as clean as possible.  Do weekly changes of about 50%.

The general aquarium conditions should be
Temperature: 76 to 82 °F (24 to 28  ° C)
pH: 6.5 to 7.5 °F
Tank Size: 30 gallons

Angelfish are community fish.  They can be kept with other fish.  They are a semi-aggressive species which means that they get aggressive only rarely.  Common causes for aggression are inadequate space in the tank.

Angelfish need their own space.  In large tanks, they can be kept in groups.  In relatively smaller tanks, they can be kept in pairs.  A minimum space of 30 gallons is required to accommodate angelfish.

Angelfish can get aggressive during breeding, especially when they have laid eggs. 

It is better to add angelfish to tanks when they are young and small.  They get acclimatized better. 
Angelfish have long and elaborate fins.  These fins can be attractive to fin-nipping fish such as tiger barbs.  Fighter fish (Betta) should also not be housed with Angelfish.  Both fish may get aggressive resulting in injuries. 

Angelfish and Goldfish have different Temperature requirements.  Angelfish are tropical fish which require warmer water.  Goldfish are coldwater fish.  Many hobbyists successfully have both species in the same aquarium.

Goldfish generate large amounts of waste.  The water can get dirty quickly.  Angelfish, being very sensitive about water quality, can be affected. 

If the angelfish and the goldfish are to be kept together, ensure that the water is clean by performing frequent water changes. 

Provide adequate space in the aquarium.  Angelfish can get aggressive if they do not get adequate space. 

Marine Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) are colorful fish found in the sea.  They are extremely popular in the Marine Aquarium hobby.  They are prized for their bright colors.

They are not related to freshwater angelfish.  They are a different species altogether. 
These fish adapt well in a captive environment.  Marine Angelfish eat microalgae, macroalgae and zooplankton.  Marine angelfish will also eat brine shrimps.  They also eat frozen foods such as scallops and krill.

  Marine angelfish are quite hardy and can live for many years once they are acclimatized to their new surroundings. 

Koi Angelfish are special type of angelfish which has been bred.  Koi Angelfish is known for its black and white coloration.  Some types have a golden color in the head region. 

Koil Angelfish are not present in the wild.  They have been developed by selective breeding.

Methylene Blue is an medicine used in aquariums for fungal and bacterial infections.  It is also used for parasite infestations.

Methylene Blue is also effective in treating fishes which have been exposed to nitrite poisoning.  Nitrite is a poisonous product produce by decomposing waste in the aquarium.  It is broken down into harmless nitrate compounds. 

However, if the water is not replaced at regular intervals or if the biological filter is not working, the nitrite levels can spike.  And fish can become sick.  Such fish can be kept in a bath of methylene blue.  Methylene blue increases the level of haemoglobin the blood of fishes, increasing the ability of blood to carry oxygen. 

Methylene Blue usually comes in a liquid form or in the form of a powder.  Follow the instructions in the bottle. 

General Dosage
Bath: 12 mg per litre.  Keep the fish in the solution for 10 minutes

Dip: 50 mg per litre.  Keep the fish in the solution for 10 seconds

It is better to add the medication to a separate quarantine tank and introduce the sick fish into it.  This is because methylene blue is indiscriminate.  It also destroys the beneficial nitrifying bacteria which can result in ammonia spikes.  Methylene blue will also result in a blue stain on the aquarium. 
Methylene Blue is also toxic to plants.   Do not add methylene blue to the aquarium, if you have live plants.

If you want to add the methylene blue to the entire aquarium, consult your veterinarian.
In some situations, methylene blue may not totally the infection or the parasite infestation.  In such cases more specific medication may be required. 

Methylene Blue while Breeding
Methylene blue is also used when breeding fishes.  Fish eggs are particularly prone to fungal infection.  Keep the breeding pair in a separate tank. Add methylene blue to the water.  this protects the eggs from the fungus.

Malachite Green is used to treat fungal infections.  Malachite Green is directly applied to the fish body as a 1% solution (1g in 100ml of water).  For smaller fish, a 0.5% solution can be used.

Malachite Green also protects eggs of fish from fungal infections.  However, there are controversies surrounding this drug.  Some research suggests a link between malachite green and cancer symptoms in rats. 

This has led to this drug being banned in the aquaculture industry.

Angelfish have very long lives.   In well maintained aquariums, they can live for 10 to 12 years.  15 year angelfish have also been recorded.

 Provide your angelfish with foods rich in proteins.  Perform periodic water changes.

Water Hardness is an important parameter in water chemistry of an aquarium.  By water hardness we mean that the water contains dissolved minerals such as calcium carbonate and magnesium sulphate.
The hardness of the water depends on the source of the water.  For instance, water from sources near limestone rocks will have high hardness levels.

Water hardness will not soap easily.  In Aquariums, each species has a specific water hardness it can tolerate.  It is necessary to learn about a unique water hardness requirement of each species.
Fish which are put in water that is too hard for them will die.

Hard water can be transformed into Soft Water by special process such as osmosis.  Passing hard water through materials such as zeolite will also make them soft.  Try to learn about the hardness of the water in your locality when setting up your aquarium.  Most common tropical species will adapt to common water hardness levels.

Water hardness can affect the pH.  The reverse, however, is not true.  As hardness increases, the water becomes alkaline. 

Hardness is dependent on the total amount of minerals such as calcium carbonate and magnesium sulphate dissolved in the water.

KH is the term used to describe temporary hardness. KH comes from Karbon Hardness (Karbon is German for, well, carbon).  This is the amount of dissolved Carbonate and bicarbonate anions.  Temporary hardness can be softened by boiling. 

GH stands for General Hardness.  General Hardness refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium cations.  Temporary Hardness is also known as Carbonate Hardness.  This is also referred to as the buffering capacity of the water.

Buffering capacity refers to the ability of the water to resist changes in pH.  It is not possible to adjust the pH without adjusting the Carbonate Hardness of the water.
Most tropical fish species tend to tolerate common values of hardness.  For exotic species such as discus, check your hardness before purchasing the fish.

Goldfish do not have a stomach.  The function of the stomach such as digestion and absorption of nutrients is carried out by different parts of the digestive tract.

Goldfish can thus keep eating continually.  This can generate a lot of waste which can overload the filtration system.

Goldfish need to be fed small amounts 3 or 4 times a day. Since Goldfish do not have powerful digestive capability in the absence of the stomach, Goldfish should be fed only soft foods rich in fibre.  Goldfish are very susceptible to constipation.

Tumors are not uncommon in Goldfish.  Tumours usually occur in the head region and in the body. 
Most tumors are benign (non-cancerous) while, in rare cases, they can be cancerous.  Some tumors are external.  They occur on the surface.  These can be surgically removed by a veterinarian.

Unfortunately, internal tumours cannot be operated.  These tumors can grow and press against internal organs.  The fish mostly die if they are affected by these tumors.

Tumors in the Gills can be caused by a thyroid malfunction.  These can be cured by treating the goldfish with iodine.

Goldfish have good memory lasting many months.  Many people wrongly believe that they have a memory lasting only a few seconds.

Experiments conducted by researchers have shown that Goldfish can be trained to press a lever to get food.  In other experiments, goldfish had been trained to respond to a sound.  The fish were fed food whenever the sound was played.

The goldfish were able to remember the relation between the sound and food many months later.
Goldfish are very intelligent among aquarium fish.  They can also be trained to perform tricks such as passing through a hoop by rewarding them with food.

Goldfish are omnivorous fish.  They are descended from the Carp.  These fish live in ponds and streams.  They are bottom feeders and live on small insects and crustaceans which live beneath the stones on the bottom of the pond and the river bed.  They also eat plants in the wild.

In the aquarium, goldfish need a varied diet.  You can feed them fibre rich plant based food.  Blood worms and frozen shrimp can be provided for protein.

Many pet foods are available specially for Goldfish.  These food contain a balanced mix of all ingredients required for the Gold Fish.

Feed your fish small amounts of food 3 or 4 times a day.  Do not overfeed your fish as this can contaminate the water. 

Goldfish love the company of other fish.  It is, therefore, not advisable to keep them alone.  Goldfish, however, do not move in schools.

In the wild, they move in groups when feeding. There should be a minimum of two goldfish in a tank.  This encourages the fish to interact and provides company.  Happy fish are healthy fish.

Goldfish can be kept with other peaceful fish such as zebra danios and rosy barbs.

A thermometer is a very basic equipment for an aquarium.  However, it often overlooked.  A thermometer measures the temperature of the water in the aquarium.  The temperature is a very important parameter in an aquarium.

Fish are cold blooded animals which means that they cannot regulate their core temperature. Fish can die if they cannot tolerate the temperature. 

There are many different types of aquarium thermometers available.  Some models can be clamped to the aquarium walls.  Others are of the floating type.  There are models which measure the temperature and display them in an LCD screen. 

More advanced models can measure the temperature and generate an alarm if the temperature increases or falls below specific limits.

In climates where there is seasonal changes in temperature, the temperature in the aquarium should be regulated.  The Temperature can be regulated by means of aquarium heaters or coolers. 

Common Name: Rosy Barb

Scientific Name: Puntius conchonius

Native Range: The Indian Subcontinent ( India, Bangladesh, Nepal)

Appearance: Rosy Barbs are identified by a distinctive black spot in the caudal peduncle (Where the tail is attached to the body)Both males and females have a shiny orange color.  Females have a duller color when compared to the male.  The male turns a deep rosy red during the breeding season. 

Size: can grow up to six inches

Food: Rosy Barbs are omnivores.  Can eat conventional flakes.  They also relish freeze dried worms.

Life Expectance: 2 to 3 years

Temperament: Peaceful.  Some individual have been known to be mildly aggressive.

pH: 6.0 to 7.0

Temperature : The recommended temperature range is 17 to 22 degrees Celsius.

Reproduction: Oviparous (Egg layers)

Sexing: Golden colored with a black spot in the caudal peduncle (place where the tail is attached to the body). Males are brighter compared to females which are dull colored. 

Rosy Barbs are easy to breed.  They attain sexual maturity when they are about 6 cms in length. 
Rosy barbs scatter their eggs.  The eggs are sticky and they fall to the bottom of the tank.  The ideal breeding Temperature will be 22 to 25 degrees C. 

Identify a female which is ready to breed.  Females with eggs have a bulge.  Males which are ready to breed usually turn bright red.  Shift the male and the female to the breeding tank.

It is better to have a coarse substrate in the breeding tank.  This permits the eggs to fall through the substrate into the tiny spaces between the substrate material.  The eggs stay protected as rosy barbs will eat their own eggs if they can access them.

Once the breeding is over (this can be seen from the female’s belly which would have become slim by now), shift the male and the female to the home tank.

The eggs hatch in about 30 hours.  The fry will be free swimming by day 5.    You can feed them infusoria or newly hatched brine shrimp.

Rosy Barbs are easy to feed.  They are omnivores and accept all types of food. You can feed them flakes, granulated food.  They also enjoy eating freeze dried worms.

Feed the fish 3 to 4 times a day in small quantities.  Only feed what the fish can consume in five minutes.  Remove uneaten food.

Rosy Barbs are generally peaceful fish.  They do best when they are placed with a minimum of 5 to 6 fish together. 

Some individuals have been reported to attack other fish and nip the fins.  This is mostly the exception rather than the rule.

One common reason for aggression is the tank size.  Ensure that your tank is not overstocked. Rosy Barbs need their own space. 

Rosy Barbs get stressed easily.  Provide plenty of hiding spaces for the fish.

Rosy Barbs are social fish. They should be kept in groups of 5 to 6 fish.  They exhibit schooling behavior which is pleasing to look at.

Rosy Barbs which are kept alone can become stressed and insecure.  This can manifest in the form of aggressive behaviour.  Stressed fish are also more vulnerable to diseases.

Tinfoil Barbs are a popular fish species.  They are housed in large freshwater aquariums. The Tinfoil aquarium is a peaceful fish.  The fish, however, requires a large aquarium (minimum 70 gallons).  They have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years.

Tinfoil Barbs are easy to raise.  They are omnivorous and can feed on a wide variety of foods. 
Tinfoils are jumpers.  They can jump from tanks which do not a cover.  This can result in injury or death of the fish.  Provide a cover to your tanks. 

Tinfoil barbs live in fast flowing streams in the wild.  The aquarium should simulate the natural conditions as far as possible.  Make sure that the Aquarium has a good filtration system.  There should be a good flow in the aquarium. 

Tinfoil Fish Breed by scattering their eggs in the wild.  However, it is extremely difficult to breed these fish in captivity. 

These fishes require large tanks for breeding.  Some breeders have managed to breed this fish in ponds.

Many times, aquarium lovers are shocked to see their pet fish lying dead on the floor near the aquarium.  This can be prevented by having a proper cover or a hood over the aquarium tank.
In the aquarium, fish jump due to the following reasons

Poor Water Quality.
Ensure that the water in the tank is periodically changed and that the tank has an efficient filter system. 
Poor oxygenation
Adequate oxygen levels need to be maintained by means of proper aeration. 
Chased by bully fish.
Fish can jump in order to escape from a bully fish.  Ensure that all fish are of a peaceful temperament.  See Article Handling Bully Fish

Jumping out of the tank is one of the many dangers for aquarium fish.  In the wild, fish jump to catch foods such as insects resting on overhanging branches.

Fish also jump to move to a nearby water body if the water they are living in becomes inhospitable due to low oxygen content or dries up.

An Aquarium Siphon is a very useful maintenance tool.  Any hobbyist needs to have an aquarium siphon.  The siphon is useful in changing water in the aquarium.   The Aquarium siphon is similar to ordinary siphons which are found in hardware and home improvement stores.

However, there are certain differences in its design.  The suction point has a filter which prevents the entry of substrate such as gravel.  It has a large mouth which distributes the suction pressure evenly and cleans with minimum agitation of the water.

The siphon can be firmly held and directed in any specific direction.  This helps in easy clean up of detritus which would have fallen to the bottom.