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10:23 p.m. - 2006-01-10
Wendell's Own Pets!
Wow guys,

It's been seventeen days since I've updated! I'm so sorry. The last few weeks have been great though; it was a fantastic holiday season. For New Year's Eve R, AB and DV and I checked out "Wu Year's Eve", a concert featuring "The Big Wu", "God Johnson", "White Iron Band" and OUR SUPER FAVORITE DULUTH BLUEGRASS BAND,Trampled by Turtles! Check 'em out!

K and AB, in addition to their super cat, "Pepe", now have a yellow lab fluffy puppy, whom I'll call "Chanel". K, Chanel and I took a fabulous walk last week; the dog is very strong and pulled us around! But we all enjoyed the walk. As usual in Richfield, a muskrat was present in the mini-wetland!

I have 100 creature photos to upload. This includes the results of a Christmas trapping excursion! Also a zoo visit, and romantic squirrel pictures R took for me up in the Boundary Waters.

Speaking of squirrels, have you noticed increased activity in their ranks? At my house I've been startling skwerls from inside of my garbage cans! Then, I stopped over at R's sis AB and her sweetie DV's on Sunday, where a squirrel guiltily emerged from THEIR garbage can. Then DV said that a stranger had rapped on his car window and warned him of the "big nest the squirrels were building on the roof of their house!"

Hmmm. Also on New Year's, we got to see our San Diego friends, J and JS. The creature subject of this entry is partially inspired from them. As J and J moved away this summer, I was honored with the addition of their fish to my humble aquarium.

These are the magnificent and feisty Buenos Aires tetra! (Hemigrammus candovittatus.) Here is a picture from

Anyway, this entry is about my SUPER AQUARIUM!

My life as an aquarist began way back in 1997. I was a junior in college and was living with my budster (and current Mlps resident) CH! We decided to get the fish tank, and then regaled our choir with stories of our fishes' breeding habits!

I still have the same aquarium today! Obviously I need to take some pictures of it. BUT, here are some photos of my little friends! (Not shown actual size, ahem!) First, the neon tetra, taken from

Now, my current "breeders", the golden platy, photo taken from


All of my fishies originally are from Central and South America.

Side note: Let's go down to South America to look for beautiful fish!

R and I were discussing fish and their habit of schooling. It turns out that most species of fish school at some time in their life cycle. There is no leader in a school of fish. Instead, each individual responds to the movements of the others. The school also responds to pheromones, scents and sounds in the water. Not only is there safety in numbers, but a school of fish is more threatening than a single fish. By schooling, fish reduce water friction, which conserves their energy. A group of fish can also spot more food. Schools will produce an enormous amount of eggs, which will increase the survival rates of fry.

Fun Fact: Fry = baby fish! Isn't that cute!

Here is a picture of platy fry taken by Mikael Gullberg:

So I just purchased some neon tetras, which are about 3/4 inches long and a schooling fish. There was a solo one in my tank, but it seems that the neons don't really school together! The red stripe on the side of the fish is pretty, but its real purpose can be found when the neons are schooling: All of the red stripes prevent predators from singling out a single fish!

Tetras are egg-laying fish, and I don't know if they commonly breed in aquariums. An interesting feature of tetras is their adipose fin, the large fin behind their smaller anal fin. Scientists cannot figure out its function!

Now onto hot fish love! Mollies, platys and guppies are common livebearers. The former two can be identified as male and female by their anal fins (the ones behind their anus). On females the fin is thicker; the males fin is narrow and close to the body. (The platy shown above is a male.) And here's something I didn't know: The male fish inserts this fin, called a gonopodium, into the female and deposits sperm! These sperm packets are called spermatozeugmata, which are stored internally, and with which the female can become pregnant three to four times!

The gestation period for platys is four to six weeks, and apparently the warmer the water, the faster the pregnancy. Twenty to 50 babies are born, tiny and cute!

In my opinion, this number seems a bit high. I believe CH and I perhaps experienced batches of more like ten fry. Currently in my tank there is a menage a trois! This includes a white platy female that was born in my tank! There is also a male/female pair of golden platys. I was expecting this orgy to produce lots of fry, but none have appeared! Don't worry, I will keep you updated.

Well, I hope you've learned a little about freshwater aquarium fish. I find them to be great pets, and mostly low maintenance and inexpensive. If you're richer, you could get a saltwater tank, which is more beautiful. The higher costs lie in the necessity of a larger tank, more expensive salt and minerals, and fish that are ten to twenty times more expensive than the species shown above.

Have a good week, everyone! Hugs and fishlip kisses,


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