Species Spotlight: The Axolotl
Written by Katherine Barrington Updated September 06, 2016
If you are looking for a unique species around which to center your next tank, consider the axolotl.
If you are thinking about starting up a new aquarium, you have probably already considered a variety of options for stocking your tank. You could go with the large, brightly colored discus fish or, if you prefer something a little more low-maintenance, a community tank full of colorful platies and swordtails. But if you really want something unique and you are amenable to taking on a new challenge, you should consider something entirely different – the axolotl.

What is an Axolotl?

The Axolotl is not a type of aquarium fish but it is an aquatic animal. Technically, it is a type of neotenic salamander that goes by the scientific name, Ambystoma mexicanum. This beautiful creature is native to the Lakes Chalco and Xochimilco in Mexico where their natural habitat is rapidly shrinking due to urbanization. The good news is that these creatures reproduce easily in captivity and their unique regenerative abilities makes them scientifically valuable. The Axolotl has been the subject of a great deal of research and selective breeding has led to the development of a wide variety of color morphs. These creatures can reach a length of 12 inches or more and they have the typical salamander-like body with a dorsal crest that extends into the tail.

Things to Think About

While the Axolotl is an amazing and beautiful creature, it is not the best choice for all aquarium hobbyists. The captive care for these creatures is relatively simply, but there are certain considerations you need to make for their long-term...


Aquascaping Tips to Reduce Aggression in Fish
Written by Katherine Barrington Updated September 06, 2016
Keeping the peace in a tank full of aggressive fish can be tricky but smart aquascaping can help to diffuse the tension.
When it comes to stocking your aquarium, you have a wide selection of different fish to choose from. Before you rush out and buy any fish, however, you should take the time to learn the basics about tropical fish compatibility. In addition to being divided by their native habitat and their feeding habits, tropical fish can also be sorted by their level of aggression. Community fish are generally peaceful and docile species that get along in large groups with other fish. Semi-aggressive fish can sometimes be kept in community tanks or with other semi-aggressive species as long as the tank is large enough and there is only one male per species.

Aggressive fish are a whole separate matter – many of them need to be kept in single-species tanks or they cannot be kept with other fish at all. If you have your heart set on cultivating an aggressive fish tank, think carefully about how you are going to stock and arrange your tank to minimize problems. You may be surprised to see how big a difference something as simple as decorating your tank thoughtfully can make when keeping aggressive fish.

Identifying the Signs of Aggression in Fish

If you see one of your fish chasing another fish around the tank, it is an obvious sign of aggression but not all signs of aggression are quite so obvious. In most cases, fights among aquarium fish happen when you are not looking – you just discover the damage after the fight is over. This...


Tips for Stocking Your Aquarium by Color
Written by Katherine Barrington Updated August 05, 2016
If you want a thriving, brightly colored aquarium then consider picking your freshwater fish by color.
When choosing the fish for your aquarium there are variety of different things to think about. Many aquarium hobbyists design their aquarium around a certain type of environment or they choose a specific grouping of fish. For example, you can an Amazon biotope tank using species native to the Amazon River and cater your tank to the water parameters naturally found in this environment. One thing that many aquarists do not think about when stocking their tank is color. If you want the brightest, most colorful freshwater tank possible, consider choosing your fish by color.
Popular Aquarium Fish Species by Color

Freshwater aquarium fish are typically not as brightly colored as tropical saltwater fish, but there are still some beautiful specimens out there. Below you will find a brief overview of some of the most colorful freshwater fish species divided by color:

Blue – Blue is a very common color in saltwater tropical fish but there are also many freshwater fish that exhibit bold and brilliant blue hues. Many betta fish, for example, exhibit deep blue colorations and there are several blue cichlid species as well. For example, the German blue ram, a smaller cichlid species, has bright blue spots on its body. These fish grow up to 3 inches in length and they can be kept with most community species in a lushly planted tank. Peacock cichlids are also blue in color, particularly Aulonocara nyassae, sometimes known as the blue peacock cichlid.

Another species that is known...

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