How to hand feed your fish!

Teaching your (gold)fish to eat from your hand is not only possible; it’s also a fun experience and it can be very helpful for your fish to be used to your hands, for example when you need to examine possible injuries. It just takes some patience! Hand feeding is most popular among goldfish keepers, but there are other species that will also happily eat from your hand, like bettas.

Before you start attempting to hand feed your fish, make sure your hands are absolutely clean. There should be no traces of soap/cosmetic products. If you have unhealed cuts/lesions on your hands or fingers, stop hand feeding your fish or wear gloves! When dealing with more aggressive fish like bigger puffer species, consider feeding with plant tweezers instead of your fingers (just to be sure!).

Or try to eat your hand altogether! Photo by Goldfishdoctor.

You never know what could happen.
Photo by Goldfishdoctor.

To teach your fish to eat from your hand, patience is key. If the fish are already aware that you are the one that feeds them (for example, when they beg for food when you approach the tank), that’s one step in the right direction! They already associate you with a positive event. If this is not already the case, it’s a good idea to stay by the aquarium while the fish eat for a while.

To get the fish to also associate your hand with something positive, start off by feeding them and leaving your hand in the water while they eat. If they’re shy at first, just remove your hand after a while and try again later until they will happily feed with your hand near them. This way the fish will usually lose fear of your hands quite quickly! Once they do, you can start actually trying to hand feed them. Leave some food in your hands or between your fingers and be patient again while the fish adapt. The bravest fish will quickly realize they will be able to eat more if they eat from your hand, and do so happily. If you also want to be able to handle your fish, for example if you need to examine an illness, hand feeding is a great way to make them less scared of your hands. Just be sure not to touch your fish unless it’s absolutely necessary!

Note: You can now buy New Era goldfish food online here! My goldfish dealer recommended this food to me; he actually fed it to all his goldfish. It’s great to hand feed with because you can knead the pellets into bigger balls.

It’s as simple as that! If you keep hand feeding your fish regularly they will eventually get 100% used to your hands.

If you have any more questions about hand feeding or want to share a tip, leave a comment below! Happy fishkeeping!

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9 Peaceful community fish!

Setting up and stocking a tropical community aquarium can be a challenge. All fish have different temperaments, and combining the wrong ones can be quite disastrous! If you want to prevent fin nipping, chasing behavior and even fish deaths, it can be a great idea to go for a 100% peaceful community. Luckily, peaceful doesn’t mean boring – there are many suitable species for a peaceful community, many of which are also beautiful and interesting to keep. Keep reading for a list of peaceful community fish for all aquarium sizes and every water layer!


Twig catfish (Farlowella vittata) - If you’re interested in keeping plecos but want an even more calm, peaceful species, whiptail catfish are a great choice. These herbivorous catfish are easily outcompeted for food and should therefore be kept with only the most peaceful tankmates. They grow to a size of around 6 inches (15) cm, which makes them unsuitable for the smallest setups: 30 gallons (115 L) or more is preferable. Water quality should be pristine, as whiptail catfish are very sensitive!

Panda Corydoras (Corydoras panda) – Panda cories are one of the smaller Corydoras varieties and can be kept in aquariums of 15 gal (58 L) and up. Because Corydoras are bottom feeders, a longer (rectangular) aquarium with a sand substrate is preferred. Like other cories, they should be kept in groups of at least 5-6 fish to help them feel safe. When provided with this, they will be very interesting to keep and really cheer up an aquarium with their friendly, hyperactive behavior!
If you’re looking for an even smaller but just as peaceful Corydoras variety, check out the Pygmy Corydoras caresheet! Continue reading

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Caresheet: Red-chinned Panchax

If you’ve never kept killifish before but are still looking for an interesting group fish for a community- or species only aquarium, you’ve found it! These fish are a great place to start: they’re suitable for most communities and easy to breed, and their behavior towards their own species is very fun to watch.

Tank size 15 gal (55L)
Temperament Agressive to own species
Diet Carnivore
Temperature 68-80.6°F/20-27°C
pH 6-7

Epiplatys dageti, Epiplatys dageti monroviae, Red-chin(ned) Panchax, Daget’s Panchax. Monroviae variety has 6 vertical stripes instead of 5.

Natural habitat:
West Africa. They are mostly found along the coast in swamps and rivers. Their habitats are dark and overgrown; the water is usually very slow flowing and calm.

Red-chinned Panchax are a non-seasonal killifish that grow to a maximum size of around 4,5 cm (1,8 inch). They are similar in appearance to other killies, with an upturned mouth, light brown body and dark brown vertical stripes. Although they have less vibrant colors than their cousins, clown killies, they are beautiful fish that can really brighten up an aquarium. Males can be told apart from females by the iridescent colors on their fins (yellow and blue) and their bigger size. The most obvious difference, though, is the bright orange chin, which explains their common name!

red chinned panchaxRequirements:
Epiplatys dageti is not a difficult fish to keep and it can do well in some community setups. When they’re young they’re usually quite peaceful, although this changes when they age, so be sure not to combine them with very peaceful fish that need calm tankmates or very small fish! In smaller and medium sized setups it’s also a good idea to let the killies have the top water layer to themselves. Suitable tankmates would be larger tetra and corydoras species or dwarf cichlids.

Because Red-chinned Panchax should be kept in groups of at least around 6 fish, an aquarium of 15 gallons (55L) or more is a good idea. The surface should Continue reading

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The Shrimp Farm Marimo ball giveaway!

This giveaway has ended. Thanks so much for participating everyone!
Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss any future giveaways.

Because the Aquariadise article on Marimo balls has been so popular ever since I posted it, I teamed up with the lovely people over at The Shrimp Farm to give away not one, but three of these moss balls!

So what is a Marimo ball? Marimo balls or moss balls are actually a type of algae that grows in a round shape. They are becoming increasingly popular in the aquarium hobby because they look adorable and can be kept in almost all types of aquarium setups. They also do very well in a vase or bowl with just tap water and some light, so if you don’t have an aquarium (yet) you can still participate in the giveaway.
And if you’re bad with aquarium plants, don’t worry – Marimo is super easy to keep and needs very little care!
For more information on Marimo balls, check out the Marimo caresheet!

marimo moss ball

Giveaway rules:
The Marimo balls will be given away to Aquariadise subscribers. To have a chance of winning, just enter your e-mail address in the box below! If you’re already an Aquariadise subscriber, you are automatically entered :)

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6 easy coldwater aquarium plants

When it comes to unheated or coldwater aquariums, most aquarists only think of goldfish setups. However, there are actually many options for low-tech tanks that don’t even require a heater! Popular dwarf shrimp like cherry shrimp can actually be kept in unheated aquariums, and the same goes for most crayfish species and even some popular fish species like White Cloud Mountain Minnows. Plenty of choices when it comes to stocking these simple setups, but are there also plants that can withstand lower temperatures? Of course! Keep reading for a list of plants that are easy to grow and can be kept in unheated aquariums.


Marimo by nuwandalice on Flickr.

Marimo balls (Aegagropila linnaei)
The algae that form the popular Marimo ball naturally occur in cooler areas like Iceland, which means they are perfect for unheated and coldwater aquariums. They actually prefer colder water!

Marimo balls are very undemanding; they can be kept by themselves in a vase or bowl, but will also do well in regular aquariums. Just don’t house your Marimo balls with destructive ‘tankmates’ like goldfish or bigger crayfish species, as these will have no problem with destroying or eating them.
For more info on Marimo balls, check out the Marimo caresheet!
You can buy Marimo balls online!

Java moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri, sometimes Vescicularia dubyana)
Java moss is popular mostly because it’s so easy to grow in the aquarium, but what a lot of aquarists aren’t aware of is that it’s also a great choice for subtropical and coldwater setups! In fact, it can be kept in temperatures anywhere between 15-30 °C/59-86 °F. It’s especially appreciated by smaller fish and (dwarf) shrimp, which will use it for cover. Because food particles often get stuck in the moss, it also makes excellent foraging ground for shrimp.
Java moss is mentioned in the Aquariadise article on the 8 easiest aquarium plants, and with good reason! It doesn’t need extra Co2, fertilizer and special lighting and can be left free-floating or tied to driftwood, rock and shrimp caves. Just trim it once in a while to prevent the middle parts from turning brown and it will thrive.
You can buy Java moss online!

Kevin & Gregg's Fishtank 2212

Albino Corydoras foraging on Java moss Kevin & Gregg’s Fishtank 2212 by pkmousie on Flickr.

Water cabbage (Samolus parviflorus/valerandi)
Water cabbage is a small foreground plant that naturally occurs in marshes but also Continue reading

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Caresheet: Kuhli loach

Kuhli loaches are one of my personal favorite tropical aquarium fish species, and for a good reason! They are peaceful, fun to watch and easy to keep, which means they’re a great choice for beginners and experienced aquarists.

Tank size 15 gal (54L)
Temperament Peaceful
Diet Carnivore
Temperature 74-79°F/23-26°C
pH 5.5-7

Pangio kuhlii, Kuhli loach, Coolie loach (also sometimes referred to as Pangio acanthophthalmus)

Natural habitat:
Slow moving forest streams and swamps in Indonesia. The water is often quite acidic and stained with tannins. The substrate consists of sand and/or leaves. The loaches live in larger groups and use the leaf litter to hide in.

Kuhli loaches have an eel- or snake-like appearance with a yellow body and dark brown vertical stripes. Like other loaches, they have barbels around the mouth, which are used to find food in the substrate. With a maximum length of 10 cm (4 inches) they are one of the smaller loach species. Males and females are very difficult to tell apart, although when the females are carrying eggs they usually grow a bit larger and broader than the males.

Because they stay relatively small, kuhli loaches don’t need a very big aquarium. Floor space is more important than the amount of water, as loaches mostly stay on the bottom of the tank. This means it’s a good idea to go for a longer, rectangular aquarium than a higher one. A 54 L (15 gal) long aquarium is a good place to start! Sand substrate is preferred, as these fish like to use their barbels to sift through the substrate, which isn’t possible with gravel.

Me equivoqué de salida

A kuhli loach showing off its barbels. Me equivoqué de salida by sergio89 on Flickr.

In the wild, Continue reading

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Removing snails from your aquarium

Like many other aquarists, I’m a big fan of some species of aquarium snails. They can make a helpful cleaning crew and some are very interesting to watch!
However, this unfortunately does not go for all aquarium snail varieties. We all know the scenario; it starts with a single tiny snail that hitchhiked into your tank somehow, and suddenly there are hundreds of them! Oops.

How did that happen, and more importantly, how do you get rid of them? A snail infestation can be difficult to deal with, but there are definitely things you can do to prevent and end them!

Malaysian trumpet snails are one of the species that can completely overrun an aquarium.

Malaysian trumpet snails are one of the species that can completely overrun an aquarium.

Controlling a snail problem

Once you start noticing snails in your aquarium that you do not want there, it’s usually already too late. ‘Pest’ snails like Malaysian trumpet snails, pond snails and ramshorn snails multiply incredibly quickly and the tank is likely already covered in more eggs that will hatch soon. So what can you do?

  • Feed less. One of the reasons the snails can multiply so quickly in your aquarium is that there is plenty of food for them. Cutting back feedings can reduce the number of snails to something that is manageable.
  • Trap the snails. There are multiple ways to do this. The simplest is to put some food, like lettuce or cucumber, in the tank, preferably when the light is off. The snails will flock to the food in huge numbers, and after waiting a while you’ll be able to simply lift the food (with snails attached!) out of the water. If you do this every once in a while, you’ll be able to keep the snail population under control. You won’t be able to wipe out all of them, but that’s not necessary! Snails eat algae and detritus and are actually helpful in smaller numbers.
  • Assassin snails. These do exactly what the name suggests; they find other snails and literally assassinate them! A small group can really help keeping your snail population under control without harming their other tankmates. This is the only living animal I would suggest to keep your snail problem under control. You can buy assassin snails (Clea helena, also sometimes still referred to as Anentome helena) online here!

How to prevent a snail infestation Continue reading

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