Employee blogs written by Dibyarka C

Exotic Loricariids: Otherwise Knows As Fancy Plecos

»Posted by on Jun 26, 2015 in Blog, Conservation, Dibyarka, Education, Freshwater Fish | Comments Off on Exotic Loricariids: Otherwise Knows As Fancy Plecos

Tropical Fish for Sale NJ   Exotic Loricariids: Otherwise Knows As Fancy Plecos   By Dibyarka Chatterjee   If you are an aquarium hobbyist, chances are you started with a freshwater tank, and in that tank you had a pleco. There's a reason that the common varieties of this fish are found in every local aquarium store across the country. They are generally inexpensive, unique looking, and serve a valuable purpose: eating unwanted algae. But those of us who stay faithful to our freshwater tanks (resisting the lure of saltwater), even as our knowledge and experience grows, are bound to discover there are many varieties of plecos which are anything but common. In fact, new exotic species are constantly being discovered and their demand and popularity is clearly evident in the world of advanced freshwater aquaria. The main challenge in acquiring one of these exotic varieties is of course availability. The species listed below cannot be found at your average local fish store, but here at Absolutely Fish they are so regularly available that you may have walked past them without even realizing their unique identity and significance. I hope that will change after you've read more about them. The ‘fancy’ varieties of plecos are classified using ‘L’ number system. This came into existence at the beginning of the ‘pleco boom’ when the demand for the rarer varieties first skyrocketed. Exporters were constantly discovering, catching, and shipping new species, and scientific taxonomy simply could not keep up with the volume. Eventually the L–number system was devised (‘L’ standing for Loricariidae, the family of armored catfish that plecos belong to) to avoid confusion as best as possible. The numbers started from 001; more than 400 have been classified so far with new species being discovered constantly. The adult size for most species listed below is 4–6″ which would seem to make them ideal for small aquariums. But in reality they require good amount of experience and care; many require high waterflow, driftwood, rocky hiding places, and generally thrive in bigger aquariums with stable ecosystems. Many are territorial, and to house more than one requires enough space for them establish individual territories. Most of them are omnivores (some are actually purely carnivorous) unlike their common variety cousins, so a specialized diet is needed depending on species. L–015 Candy Striped; also known as Xingu or Peckoltia vittata As the number suggests, this is one of the first fancy plecos to be classified, and it has remained popular ever since because of its striking pattern. It originates from Rio (river) Xingu in Brazil near the town of Altamira. Vittata means ‘decorated with a ribbon’ referring to the bands of color on its body. It is not to be confused (as it has been in the past) with the Clown Pleco (Panaque maccus). L–018 / L–085 Yellow Seamed or Gold Nugget This is one of the most popular and frequently imported species. It also originates from Rio Xingu near Altamira. A second variety of the pleco L–081 was later discovered, and is found a little further south, while a third variety L–177 is found even further south. All three are fairly similar in appearance with some differences in the size of their ‘gold’ spots. Certain sections of the river Xingu have a rocky bed covered with an algae biofilm which these fish feed on. They are nocturnal feeders (like most fancy plecos) and are hard to spot during the day when they hid in the rock crevices. Surprisingly this fish thrives in whitewater rapids. L–066 King Tiger It originates from whitewater sections of the Rio Xingu near the town of Belo Monte. In captivity it requires a good amount of well–oxygenated waterflow. Unfortunately due to the ongoing construction of the Belo Monte Dam this fish is likely to experience habitat degradation in the near future. The King Tiger has paler base coloration than L–133 the Yellow King Tiger; both are carnivorous. L–091 Triactis or Three Beacon This is a stunningly beautiful species which gets its common name ‘Three Beacon’ from the bright orange coloration on the first rays of its dorsal, caudal and adipose fins. It originates from the Orinoco River Basin in Venezuela, specifically sections with whitewater or rapids. Well–oxygenated and high waterflow is required, and the pH should definitely be on the softer (acidic) side. It is not purely vegetarian and requires a mix diet. L–114 Flametail Gibbiceps or Leopard Cactus This fish originates from Rio Demini (Brazil) which drains into Rio Negro. The tomato red coloration on the dorsal and caudal fins is the reason behind its popularity. In fact it is sometimes called the Redtail...

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MMXIV: With Respect to Hawaii and Conservation

»Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 in Blog, Conservation, Dibyarka, Education | Comments Off on MMXIV: With Respect to Hawaii and Conservation

Tropical Fish and Invertebrates to buy-NJ:   MM: XIV With Respect to Hawaii and Conservation:   By Dibyarka Chatterjee    Issue: Much of Earth’s climate is controlled by large systems of oceanic currents called gyres which flow in circular patterns in between the continents. They also collect and push all floating debris from their outer edges (continentals coasts) towards their centers. Since the Industrial Revolution human civilization has created (and continues to create) a huge variety and quantity of non-biodegradable materials like plastic, rubber, fiberglass etc., which are picked up by rivers and streams and inevitably find their way to the oceans. In the Pacific Ocean this debris is picked up along the western coast of US, as well as the eastern coast of Russia, China and Japan. These are some of the biggest industrial nations in the world (and also the biggest polluters), so we can imagine the debris that has been accumulating in the center of the Pacific Ocean. The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is actually made up of three different patches of debris floating just under the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Estimations of the total area affected range from 7×105 to 15×106 square miles (too many zeros to count). At 11.2 lbs of plastic debris per square mile (which is a modest estimate), we are talking about tens of thousands of metric tons of garbage. We can hardly imagine that much garbage accumulating on land without attracting a lot of media attention, and yet since this glaring example of marine pollution (biggest in the world) floats just below the ocean’s surface, it went ignored/unnoticed for decades. Ecological Impact: Part of what finally brought some media attention to this ecological disaster are the Hawaiian islands, which (along with Midway) have the misfortune of being located near one of the three garbage patches. Non-biodegradable debris are washed ashore and cover huge expanses of Hawaiian shoreline; one of the most visible examples being Kamilo Beach on the main island. Until recently, when the local community began their cleanup efforts, the 3-mile stretch of beach was covered by debris piled 8-10 feet high. As can be imagined, there have been massive ecological impacts on the Hawaiian wildlife. Seafaring birds such as the Black-footed Albatross, Laysan Albatross, Midway Atoll are in great danger because of plastic ingestion. Recent estimates show that one-third of all chicks die because of plastic mistakenly being fed to them by parents. The same is the case for sea turtles; for example the Loggerheads often mistake floating plastic bags for jellyfish, their main diet. Marine fish and mammals become trapped by floating nets, plastic rings used to hold six-packs, etc. Marine debris fields block sunlight from reaching plankton and algae (foundations of the marine food chain) below the surface, causing…. total marine ecosystem failure for huge expanses of Hawaiian coastal waters. “What can I do to help (aside from recycling)?” A whole lot actually, and it is time sensitive! As it often happens in human history, the solutions to the greatest challenges come from the most unassuming sources. While studying oceanic garbage patches for a high school project Boyan Slat, a Dutch teenager, was shocked to discover how the scientific community at large had caved to the ‘impossibility factor’ of any large-scale cleanup effort. He began researching the issue in depth and eventually came up with a design for the Ocean Cleanup Array. It was picked up by the international media in 2013 after gaining recognition from TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) and the Dutch government. Boyan spent a year working with leading scientists and engineers around the world to prove the feasibility of his idea. On June 3rd, 2014, he gave a TED talk in NYC sharing the findings of this research and technical trials, proving beyond doubt that it was indeed feasible and cost-effective.     – Watch the “TED talk” on Youtube. Whereas others cleanup ideas conceived all involve trolling the oceans with nets (which would take billions of dollars and hundreds of years), Boyan came up with a design that would: a) use wind and natural ocean currents to confine and congregate debris from one large area (millions of square miles) at a time, and then b) use a system of floating barriers to enable a small platform to extract the debris without any damage to marine life. The Ocean Cleanup Project (founded by Boyan) has started a 100-day crowd-funding campaign to raise money for the first large-scale units. This drive will end early September, and so time is of the essence. We all strive to change the world for the better, but seldom are we presented with such a tangible and...

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