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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

May 27, 2011

Good things in Small Packages

By Patrick Donston


Do you like these nano-planted set-ups? I love them. They’re easy to maintain, educational, artistically stunning and affordable. There are so many possibilities it becomes endless for consumers to mix and match their ecosystem.

What I also love about them is the new age of shrimp. When added to the flora, they will color, clean and balance the system. The best part is they breed easily. Customers, especially “newbies,” love when their pets have babies.

I love to add small cyprinids to the set-ups. The micro-rasboras, mountain minnows, rasboras and micro-danios are florid little schoolers. Although a lot of them are newer to the hobby, some of their kaleidoscopic designs just amaze me. They really set apart your biosphere from the norm and present a true work of art. That’s what gets adults as much as children interested in the hobby.

The cyprinids I’m talking about are very adaptable to smaller aquariums (10 gallons or less) and prefer soft water similar to RO or filtered water. The mountain minnows of the genus Tanichthys (white clouds) and micro-danios, such as C. margaritatus (Galaxy rasboras) and D. choprai, are endemic to southeast Asia through the Malaysian peninsula. They tend to prefer cooler temperatures, although are very adaptable to 78- to 80-degree situations. Micro-rasbora types and Boraras species—such as B. urophthalmoides, B. brigittae and B. maculatus—are generally found in similar geographic areas, but in slower moving-ponded water. Their adaptability to the smaller planted aquarium is ideal. An interesting fact about the micro-rasbora genus: Boraras is actually an anagram to Rasbora with the “ras” in the back of the name instead of the front. The reason for this was when they redefined the smaller group they found more vertebrae near the front of the body, whereas Boraras have more in the back.

A clever twist to the name was imposed signifying the shorter part of the name “ras” is where their vertebrae count differs.

I love the rasboras and micro-danios, and all they offer. You can’t beat their prismatic patterns, small size and naturalization to the nano-set-ups. They are what our hobby is about today.

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