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FAQs on Australian Biotopes, Organisms

Related Articles: Biotopes - Part 1 by Alesia Benedict, Biotopic Set-Ups, Aquascaping for Beginners; Twenty Tips for Realistic Aquaria by Neale Monks, Aquascaping Adventures in Aquascaping by Timothy S. Gross pH, alkalinity, acidityTreating Tap Water, Freshwater Aquarium Water Quality, Freshwater Maintenance

Related FAQs:  African Biotopes, N. American Natives, Amazon Biotopes, S.E. Asian Biotopes, Planted River Biotopes, Small System Biotopes & Treating Tap Water for Aquarium Use, pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Freshwater Algae Control, Algae Control, Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Disease


Would 1 Australian bass, 2 spangled perch and 2 silver perch go together in a 4 foot aquarium with plenty of cover?    1/26/10
<Wouldn't bank on it. Almost none of the large Australian perciforms are good community fish once sexually mature. The Australian Bass (by which I assume you mean Macquaria novemaculeata) for example is a good aquarium resident in terms of being hardy and not especially active, adults are notoriously intolerant of tankmates. Bidyanus bidyanus, as I think we've discussed before, are too aggressive to keep with tankmates. Spangled Perch
(Leiopotherapon unicolor) is, like most of the large Teraponids, a schooling fish but prone to being a bully and aggressive towards other fish; keep either single or in groups of 6+ specimens, and don't mix with other fish. For a tank as small as 120 cm/4 feet, your best bets for native Australian species would be among the Ambassidae, Eleotridae, and perhaps some of the smaller catfish families Ariidae and Plotosidae. Cheers, Neale.>

... more mixed Australian FW comp....  1/26/10
Would jade perch juveniles and Australian bass juveniles live together until they mature then I can just get rid of them (give to a pet shop)
<For a while perhaps. Depends how small they are, and how big the tank is.
But why bother? Why not review the needs of a particular fish, and set a tank up that works long term, or else choose fish species that will coexist. If you haven't already got in touch with them, I cannot recommend too strongly those nice guys over at ANGFA. As well as collecting trips, they also help share information on Australian fresh and brackish water fish species, with a particular focus on aquarium husbandry. They even have a forum! At least two members contributed chapters to my Brackish Water Fishes book. Cheers, Neale.>

Australian native fish (compatibility, feeding)  05/27/09
hi my name is jack
<My name is Neale and I don't have a phobia of capitalized letters... seriously, we do ask people write to us using standard English so it's easier to read and publish their e-mails on our web site.>
and I have a 122cm long, 46cm wide, 46cm high, fish tank with an under gravel filter and a canister filter and my question is, can I keep Australian bass and silver perch
<Only juveniles will fit into this tank. Silver Bass, Bidyanus bidyanus, get to around 30-40 cm, and although primarily herbivorous in the wild, they can, will eat meaty foods including shrimps and earthworms. As such, they'll need a tank with sufficient filtration capacity to deal with both high levels of ammonia (from the meat) and solid waste (from the plant foods you'll be giving them). Like most herbivores, they're very hard on aquatic plants! The Australian Bass, Macquaria novemaculeata, normally gets to about 20-30 cm under aquarium conditions, but wild specimens can be twice that size, so you obviously want to provide this fish with lots of space and lots of filtration. They are migratory fish that move into brackish or saltwater to spawn, and while they seem to do fine (other than breeding) when permanently maintained in freshwater, they do need a strong current so they can "stretch their fins" and swim about the aquarium. Neither species is sociable once mature, and adults are normally kept alone.>
in the same tank with various small loaches and small gudgeons and will bass eat flake or will I have to buy different food (maybe pellets) or will I have to feed them frozen or live food?
<I wouldn't mix them with small loaches or sleeper gobies (gudgeons) simply because you'll have trouble getting food past these two very active perciform fish! Even assuming your loaches and gobies were big enough not to be viewed as food, I'd fear they'd starve. Does rather depend on the size of the tank and how big the perciforms were you were keeping though, so you might experiment. Still, do understand the needs of these perciform fish, and act accordingly. As for foods, live foods will be favoured, so would use a variety of such, earthworms and river shrimps being the ideal staples. Augment with wet frozen foods, including mosquito larvae, bloodworms, krill, etc. As always, take care to minimize the use of thiaminase-rich foods, and don't use live feeder fish at all. Silver Bass are herbivores, so their diet should contain Sushi Nori, cooked peas, soft aquatic plants, etc.>
thanks a lot
<Cheers, Neale.>

Australian bass 05/29/09
can Australian bass eat flake or pellets?
<They are not reported to do so, no. Wild-caught fish obviously won't recognize pellets or flake as being edible. The usual thing with wild-caught fish is to give them live foods to begin with, and once the fish learns that what you offer is edible, they usually take frozen foods and often take pellets. But rarely will they take pellets or flake from Day 1.>
because I'm just a kid and really don't have enough money for frozen or live food.
<Earthworms are free, and if you have a garden that isn't sprayed with chemicals, they're safe to use. Most fish love them!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Macquaria ambigua (Australian natives; housing, diet) 5-30-3009
<Hello again,>
will golden perch live in a 4 foot tank, 1 and a 1/2 foot high and wide with silver perch and small native gudgeons and will they eat flake or pellets?
<Macquaria ambigua are good aquarium fish, but like all Macquaria species they are aggressive, predatory, and rather large; adults of this species may be up to 75 cm long! So they need an aquarium sufficiently large for such a fish. Typical aquarium specimens are around the 30 cm mark, and you'd need a tank measuring some 750 l/200 US gallons. They are an aquacultured species, and readily take appropriate pellet foods (good quality carnivore pellets, for example).>
P.S. I love wet web media
<Good oh!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More Australian natives 5/30/2009
<Hello again. I have asked a couple times that you use capital letters when writing to us. Please do so, or next time, your message will simply be bounced back to you unanswered. We rely on properly formatted questions to make the FAQ pages, and only properly formatted questions attract hits from Google and other search engines, and it's that which pays to keep the site running. I know some folks find it incredibly painful to hit the Shift key now and again when typing, but please, make the effort.>
can purple spotted gudgeons, silver perch, small gudgeons and freshwater sole live together in a 4 foot long by 1 and a 1/2 foot high and wide
<Not a chance.>
without eating each other and will the freshwater sole and purple spotted gudgeons eat flake
<Freshwater Soles are extremely difficult to maintain. Even assuming you have collected one of the genuinely freshwater species from Australia, such as Brachinus salinarum, these fish are slow, night-time feeders that consume only live foods (worms, insect larvae). Most of the traded species
are brackish water species that simply die in freshwater aquaria. In either case, Soles are best kept on their own, at least to begin with. Mogurnda species are fairly adaptable, and some specimens will accept pellets, but mostly they need wet frozen or live foods: earthworms, shrimps, bloodworms, etc.>
and are the purple spotted gudgeon really aggressive?
<Yes, Mogurnda species are territorial and can be fairly aggressive. You wouldn't keep them with Soles. They are also predatory towards whatever they can swallow, and since Mogurnda mogurnda is up to 17 cm long, that's a fish that can eat small fish and shrimps. But they are also partly herbivorous, so you do need to give them plant-based foods, such as cooked peas or algae pellets. On the whole Mogurnda species are best kept alone or with other robust fish.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More Australian natives 5/30/2009
Is it possible to breed silver perch in an aquarium 4 foot long by 1 and a 1/2 wide and high.
<No. Bidyanus bidyanus is a gregarious species in the wild that breeds in large groups (dozens of individuals) but under aquarium conditions adults are prone to being very aggressive towards their own kind. Furthermore, sexually mature animals are going to be something like 30 cm in length, far too big for your aquarium. Has been bred in fish farms though, so you can obtain details via the aquaculture literature.> What are the differences in the gender and what is required in the breeding?.
<Males and females are identical, except that "ripe" females (i.e., females containing eggs) are distinctly rounded.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Yet more Australian natives 6/1/2009
and Im planning to start up a worm farm and Im planning to feed a few worms a day to my Australian bass. I am yet to get the worm farm or the bass but I have had my tank running for at least a year and I was wondering if this would be a good idea and would the bass live healthily on this diet?.
<Earthworms are good, especially if you vary what the worms eat before they're given to the fish. But you wouldn't want to use them exclusively, any more than it wouldn't be a good idea for humans to live off avocado pears, no matter how healthy they are. So by all means use them as a staple, but augment the diet with other foods. Macquaria spp can usually be trained to accept chunky frozen foods; try things like small pieces of white fish (tilapia, for example), squid, and even occasional bits of beef heart might work. Mealworms and other insects would be taken as well. Like most Groupers, Macquaria novemaculeata can be trained to be hand-fed, but use tongs to avoid being bitten!>
I also have some small gudgeons and if I put a small amount of fish flake in for the gudgeons and a few worms in for the bass would this all turn out ok?
<Wouldn't bank on it. Macquaria spp. are boisterous at feeding time and distinctly predatory. I'd expect the poor Gudgeons to simply end up either bullied or eaten (probably in that order, as the Macquaria mature).>
Is there any significant thing I should know about keeping Australian bass ( e.g.. water temp, hiding places, anything.)
<They're much like any other member of the Serranidae, so much written about Groupers as marine fish applies to these freshwater relatives. Your main problem is their size: Macquaria novemaculeata get to around 30 cm in captivity. Admittedly, they aren't especially active when mature, but still, don't overcrowd them, and plan on heavy duty filtration and lots of water changes. Best kept slightly on the cool side (18-20 C) and in water that isn't too soft/acidic.>
Thanks a bunch.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More of the same questions about Australian Natives 6/5/2009
could you suggest some good Australian native tank mates to go with my silver perch and gudgeons in a 4 foot by 1 and a half foot high and wide tank and any food requirements and tank condition as well
<Jack, if I could humbly suggest you contact the experts on Australian fish, over at ANGFA:
You'll find people there who work with nothing other than Australian natives. They have a forum: introduce yourself, and enjoy! As I've stated several times to you already, your Silver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus) will
eventually get far too large for this tank, easily 40 cm, and potentially 60 cm in length once mature. They're not sociable fish, and mature adults are very aggressive towards each other. Older specimens will need to be kept alone. You might possibly find some species of native catfish that would do okay with, one of the "Cobblers" for example (family Plotosidae) but I wouldn't bank on it. Your Gudgeons (what the rest of the world calls Sleeper Gobies, family Eleotridae) will certainly have a very rough time.
Few Australian fish enthusiastically take dried food, so more than likely you'll be using either live foods (earthworms, shrimps, etc.) or their frozen equivalents. As I say, ANGFA are the people to speak to about
Australian freshwater fish. Finally, for the love of God, use capital letters next time you write. I've asked this of you several times, and better men than I would simply bounce back incorrectly written messages
unanswered! Cheers, Neale.> <<Am not better, but I know I would. RMF>>

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