Tropical Fish Sketchbook

Tropical Fish Sketchbook: Angelfish!

Angelfish Notes.© 2015 Liz Vitale

Angelfish Notes.© 2015 Liz Vitale

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in keeping an aquarium is getting two or three good-sized angelfish, then putting in a bunch of teeny neon tetras or some other small fish, then wondering what happened to the small fish. Angelfish may look peaceful, but they are still members of the cichlid family, and cichlids are carnivores. Angelfish are voracious carnivores, and they are notorious for eating smaller aquarium fish. Care should be taken to not keep angelfish with fish that can fit in their mouths, for these smaller fish will soon disappear. An aquarium, where small fish have no chance of escaping from a large predator, is not the place to take “survival of the fittest” into consideration; that’s just being cruel to the smaller fish. Otherwise angels can get along quite well with other fish their own size. Research your fish before purchasing!

Tropical Fish Sketchbook: Paradise Fish!

Paradise Fish, © 2015 Liz Vitale

Paradise Fish, © 2015 Liz Vitale

The paradise fish, or paradise gourami, is a species of gourami found in most types of fresh water in East Asia. Paradise gouramis were one of the first ornamental fish available to western aquarium enthusiasts, having been imported 1869 to France by the French aquarium fish importer Pierre Carbonnier in Paris.

I’ve had two females of this kind of fish, and I enjoyed them immensely; having many of the same qualities as bettas, they are a bit like a “betta deluxe”.

Tropical Fish Sketchbook: Betta Splendens!

Betta Splendens, © 205 Liz Vitale

Betta Splendens, © 205 Liz Vitale

Possibly my most favorite type of fish in aquarium stores. I used to have well over 50, each in individual tanks. I tended to buy sick and messed-up ones from stores that didn’t take care of them. On occasion the managers would just let me have a fish for free, they were so embarrassed over the fish’s condition. I would nurse the bettas back to health, and I lost only a few that were simply too far gone to be helped. I not only learned a ton about them in the process, but also gained quite a collection.  But whew, “Water Change Wednesday” was an Olympic event.
I had many fin types and an absolute rainbow of colors. Some of them I did buy simply because I liked them; I even had a black one,Sirius; and a chocolate brown one,Ghirardelli. My favorite one was one I called Fang. Fang was an amazing red,white and blue male who I witnessed being dropped on the floor by an employee and picked up without much care or aftercare.
I think Fang remembered being dropped; he hated people and would charge the side of his tank all the time.
You can see the remnants of my little website I built around my bettas over a decade ago here.
I have noticed that many of the stores I frequent, as a result, possibly of my continued reports and complaints on shoddy care of their animals, seem to have better fish care. Wishful thinking? Not sure, but it sure feels like it.