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      05.04.2009 16:19
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      Everything in the World has something to teach us...

      "Leaping! We come... Slicing joyously through each battling wave... Armored, Flashing and Bright, like Knights of Olde... Braving hungry teeth and wicked claws. Press on! Be Bold! We are so many stories waiting to be told... When we've returned at last to our humble homes... Quests fulfilled... Treasures hidden along the Shore... Toasty at the hearthside, Content to feed the new generations with epic tales. Content.. No more to roam the wandering waters and restless Seas of Life! Some have waited a lifetime beside their fires for a single taste of the Wisdom I bring. Who has heard me sing?" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ for those new to this series, each poem is inspired by a Nature Teacher followed by an article discussing how that Teacher has been viewed around the world. Can you guess who is singing here? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust "The gods do not deduct from man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing." ~Babylonian Proverb "We learn a lot of lessons from watching animals. The salmon are one of our best teachers. We learn from them that we have to do certain things by the seasons. We watch the salmon as smolts going to the ocean and observe them returning home. We see them fulfill the circle of life, just as we must do. If the salmon aren't here, the circle becomes broken and we all suffer. " ~Leroy Seth of the Nez Perce "We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us." ~ Proust There are two groups of Salmon, Atlantic and Pacific, and eight species of Pacific salmon alone: chinook, coho, chum, sockeye, pink, steelhead trout, masu and amago salmon (two Asian species). I will be talking about fish in general and the King or Chinook Salmon specifically here. The King Salmon is blue-green on the back and top of its head, silver along it's sides, with a white belly, black spots on the upper half of its body and gray/black mouth coloration, which is why they are sometimes called Blackmouth Salmon. While spawning, their coloration changes, indicating their mating readiness, and their colors range from red to copper to almost black, depending on location and degree of maturation. Males are more deeply colored than the females, and are distinguished by their "ridgeback", hooked nose or upper jaw. King Salmon can grow up to a whopping 58 inches in length and weigh up to 129 pounds, although they are more often found weighing around 30 pounds and around 38 inches in length. Chinook spawn from late summer to early fall, and they utilize waterways that are deeper and larger than other salmon. The tremendous effort and energy put forth in spawning results in death for the King Salmon. Each female lays between 3,000 and 14,000 eggs during spawning. She excavates several nests (redds) in the deeper waters within the gravel bed where she was spawned in which to lay her eggs. The eggs will need cool water with good water flow to supply oxygen if they are to survive. They are highly sensitive to movement and disruption at this stage. The newly hatched salmon, called alevins, live in the gravel for several weeks until they gradually absorb the food in the attached yolk sac. Juveniles, called fry, wiggle up through the gravel by early spring. Fry feed primarily upon plankton and then insects as they grow. In Alaska, most juvenile salmon remain in fresh water until the following spring when they will migrate out to the ocean. At this point in their development they are referred to as smolts. Chinooks spend anywhere from 1 to 8 years at sea before returning to their birth streams to spawn. They are found from Alaska (where they are the state fish) to California with significant runs in the Columbia River, Rogue River, and Puget Sound. On the Asian coast, Chinook can be found from the Anadyr River area of Siberia all the way to Hokkaido, Japan. In the freshwater streams and estuaries they feed on terrestrial and aquatic insects, amphipods, and other crustaceans while young. Once out in the ocean, they feed primarily on smaller fish like herring, pilchard, sandlance, anchovy, sardine, krill, or even squid, crabs, and crustaceans. Salmon grow rapidly in the wide waters of the ocean and often double their weight during a single summer season! Eggs are laid in deeper water with larger gravel, and will need cool water with good water flow to supply oxygen if they are to survive. "Family life is full of major and minor crises -- the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce -- and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It's difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul." ~ Thomas Moore "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after." ~Henry David Thoreau "Ideas are like fish.If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deeper.Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They're huge and abstract. And they're very beautiful." ~David Lynch Salmon typically have a high mortality rate due to predation, and changes in habitat due to the human influence; such as pollution, siltation, high water temperatures, low oxygen conditions, loss of stream cover and reductions in river flow. Natural predators of juveniles include snakes, frogs, otters, raccoons, fish like larger salmon, whiting and mackerel, and various birds like kingfishers. Predators of adults include birds like eagle and osprey, bear, orca, whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions. Those called by this Teacher will progress through stages, and will need to examine these different predators at various points in their life as potential balancing energies. They are a key species in the food chain, and their rapidly disintegrating numbers really should be cause for more concern from society than is currently apparent to me. "The time will soon be here when my grandchild will long for the cry of a loon, the flash of a salmon, the whisper of spruce needles, or the screech of an eagle. But he will not make friends with any of these creatures and when his heart aches with longing he will curse me. Have I done all to keep the air fresh? Have I cared enough about the water? Have I left the eagle to soar in freedom? Have I done everything I could to earn my grandchild's fondness?" ~ Chief Dan George 2006 was one of the worst fishing seasons on record. According to Dan Bacher at www.fishsniffer.com "A retired DFG captain, H.A. Carling, is convinced that the operation of Coleman Fish Hatchery is to blame for the low return of fish on the main Sacramento." Carling is quoted here, "The Coleman hatchery was constructed to mitigate for miles of prime spawning grounds blocked when Shasta Dam was constructed. An estimated half million adult salmon were affected. Instead of doing this, it appears that the management policy is to destroy a large part of what few adults now return. Salmon counts over the Red Bluff Diversion Dam have gone from about 30,000 fish to 4,909. Last year to date, the count was 10,634 salmon. What is happening?" What indeed! It is not just Salmon that have been disappearing either. The fish that have infamously fed the masses since time immemorial, symbols of Abundance, Wealth, Wisdom, Spirituality, Nourishment, Luck and Prosperity are vanishing... and we barely seem to bat an eye. As a key species, equal with Bear and Eagle in the sacred Cycle of Life, sensitive life-giving Salmon asks us to give up our disrespectful and wasteful ways, swim with Creativity, Passion, Strength and Wisdom into the future. Salmon is one of many Teachers that would likes us to begin our lives as loving custodians of this World, and here are just five sources among many that are spelling out the bleak future for all marine life. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article /2006/11/02/AR2006110200913.html http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom /MediaAlerts/2006/2006110223538.html http://www.stanford.edu/dept/ news/pr/00/fishfarms628.html http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ news/2006/11/061102-seafood-threat.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/ hi/science/nature/3028251.stm "The loss of the food and the salmon is monumental- and it's all tied together. Food is a really big part of the Yakama culture, as it is elsewhere. Anywhere you look in the world, food carries culture. So if you lose your foods, you lose part of your culture- and it has a devastating effect on the psyche. You also lose the social interaction. When you fish, you spend time together- you share all the things that impact your life-and you plan together for next year. Salmon is more important than just food... There's a huge connection between salmon and tribal health. Restoring salmon restores a way of life. It restores physical activity. It restores mental health. It improves nutrition and this restores physical health. It restores a traditional food source, which we know isn't everything- but it is a big deal. It allows families to share time together and builds connections between family members. It passes on traditions that are being lost. If the salmon come back, these positive changes would start." ~ Chris Walsh, Yakama "We are in massive denial and continue to bicker over the last shrinking numbers of survivors." Dr. Ransom Myers, Dalhousie University speaking about the loss in marine life numbers "Spirituality is a domain of awareness." Deepak Chopra "I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." ~Frederick Douglass, escaped slave "Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Harold Whitman Salmon, and many other fish, have been linked with Spirituality in countless ways from cultures across the World. In Buddhist symbolism there is a pair of golden fish known as Suvarnamatsya. These two stand vertically with heads turned inward, and symbolize happiness as they have complete freedom in water. They are utterly adapted and at ease in the turbulent waters that represent Life, and they are the emblem of anyone seeking rescue from the ocean of misery that dominates earthly existence. For another example, the tradition of eating fish on Fridays and during lent is debatable in origin, but ultimately this concept revolves around the spiritual need for fasting. Fasting (going without food or drink for a certain period) and abstaining (going without specific foods like meat, or denying one's self other physical comforts like smoking or sex) are ancient methods of cleansing one's body, seeking clarity or divine vision, shedding karma, experiencing the hunger of the needy, and conquering bodily needs in favor of refining one's spirit. Some form of fasting can be found in just about every religion around the world, and the meal shared after the period of fasting is usually a tradition of unity, celebration, and gratitude. Salmon do not feed once they have begun spawning, directing all of their energy into the drive for Creation. Jesus, like many other spiritual Teachers, recommended fasting not as a formality to be observed and not as a burden imposed upon the poor who eat when they can, even if it violates tradition. Jesus advised us to fast when we fail to sense that God is near. Christ and Buddha have both been referred to as a "fisher of men" as they rescue men from the ocean of earthly existence, and this is one of many tools that they gave to those of us seeking to refine our souls. Salmon speaks of the constant motion and change found in Life, the our place within the circle of life, and especially the fluid give and take, the motions of sacrifice and reception, that are required for spiritual growth. Fish have been considered sacred by a variety of cultures, have represented sacred trinity, religion in general, and most recently the Christian community. People have looked forward to the salmon migrations for ages as a time of plenty, a welcome delicacy that broke the fast of winter, a signal that the fertility of spring is in action and the world is moving in harmony as well as an outward sign of Creator providing. "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." ~William Shakespeare, As You Like It Fish swim through the water, feed countless creatures, and live in harmony with their environment as an example to us. We too should move fluidly with the many changes of Life, live in harmony, and be willing to sacrifice something of our selves for the benefit of others. Salmon teaches us that everything has a proper season. All stages of life are sacred and must support each other; youth must respect elder just as surely as the elder must pass their wisdom to the next generation. Prayer and spirituality are vital in a balanced life, but action is equally necessary. To truly become the caretakers of our world we must understand, balance and utilize both Spirituality and Action. Prayer alone, however powerful, will not right the imbalance we have created, and all the spiritual beliefs in the world will not save a single drowning child if action is not also taken. Passionate and creative Salmon encourages us to be bold and take action. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. " ~ Edmund Burke "A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors." ~ Edmund Burke "The kind of spirituality I value is one in which you get great joy out of contributing to life, not just sitting & meditating, although meditation is certainly valuable. But from the meditation, from the resulting consciousness, I would like to see people in action creating the world that they want to live in." ~Marshall Rosenberg Salmon, like other cold-water fish, are low in calories and saturated fats, yet high in protein and the essential omega 3 fatty acids so beneficial to our health. They are also an excellent source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, and a good source of phosphorous, magnesium and vitamin B6. Omega 3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation throughout the body, prevent excessive blood clotting, maintain the fluidity of cell membranes, lower the amount of lipids (such as cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood, decrease platelet aggregation, inhibit thickening of the arteries, increase the activity which causes arteries to relax and dilate, reduce the production of messenger chemicals which are involved in inflammatory response associated with atherosclerosis, improve the body's ability to respond to insulin, and reduce the risk of obesity. Studies indicate that our bodies absorb Omega 3's much more efficiently through food (cold-water fish, walnuts, flax seeds, etc) than supplements, and that Omega 3's are useful in combating: depression, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, fatigue, dry or itchy skin, eczema, brittle hair and nails, joint pain, inability to concentrate, memory loss, Alzheimer's, asthma, ADHD, bipolar disorder, cancer, high blood pressure, Huntington's disease, lupus, migraines, obesity, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The ultimate brain food, just three servings a month can significantly reduce the risk of stroke or help combat any of these ailments! Salmon roe can be eaten the caviar which comes from Sturgeon. Their roe is a rich source of vitamins A and D, very long-chain fatty acids, and zinc. Revered as a delicacy and especially prized as a healthy food for pregnant women, salmon roe can help to prevent birth defects! "But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint." ~Edmund Burke "Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys." Richard R. Niebuhr "You cannot travel the path until you have become the path." Gautam Buddha "It is not the road ahead that wears you out- it is the grain of sand in your shoe." Arabian proverb Salmon's coloring indicates peace/balance and healing (blue-green), passionate living (red), wisdom (black), the soul and spirituality (silver) and purity (white). This color combination is a potent yet subtle message that these qualities together will bring a satisfying existence beneficial to all. Their dramatic color change while spawning reminds us of their connections to Creation, creativity, and Kundalini. A salmon lives and journeys, ultimately, to reproduce and it will expend the last energy of its life to do so. Salmon reminds us that not only is the desire to create a strong motivation, but that sex itself is a potent drive and powerful source of energy whether one is abstaining or releasing that energy. Salmon says that Spirituality should be equal with Sexuality in importance and treated with equal respect. Not the most charismatic or musical of creatures, nonetheless, creative Salmon makes me think of Bardic wisdom. The cycle of respect and support between all ages of human beings (youth, adult and elder) that passes lore, wisdom, and tradition through the years, hopefully, to the benefit of all makes this Teacher spring instantly to mind when discussing the Bards of ancient Ireland. Oghma, the Celtic god of Wisdom, has been likened to both Ogmios, Thor, and Hercules. He was the hero god of communication, particularly the written word, and ogham is the ancient Celtic script that this deity was said to have created and handed down to mortals so that we might remember our history. Oghma was also the patron of the Bards who kept the histories and traditions. Oghma had two nicknames that we know of; Cermait which means "the honey-mouthed" (a testament to his eloquence and persuasive skills) and Grianainech, "the sunny-faced" which most believe relates to his illuminating wisdom. The salmon is associated with this deity, and often represents inspiration in the Celtic traditions as the infamous Salmon of Wisdom ate from Oghma's sacred Hazel tree (a Tree of Life) nine nuts containing all poetic wisdom. Having absorbed this wisdom, the salmon swam the river Boyne until caught by an ancient druid who had spent his life in pursuit of this repository of knowledge. Aged and weary the Druid called upon his apprentice, the hero Fionn MacCumhail to cook the salmon for him, warning him not to take so much as a taste. Fionn burned his thumb upon the cooked salmon and put it immediately in his mouth without a thought. The Druid declared that the Salmon's wisdom was meant for him and gave up his life's goal by giving it to Fionn. Salmon features largely in Celtic lore as a symbol of wisdom, prophecy, healing (as they are often said to be living in sacred wells of healing), and rebirth. "Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement." ~ Alfred Adler "To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." ~ George MacDonald "A good marriage is at least 80 percent good luck in finding the right person at the right time. The rest is trust." ~ Nanette Newman "When I'm trusting and being myself... everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously."~ Shakti Gawain Fish can also represent fertility and abundance as they multiply very rapidly. Considering that fish of all kinds are rapidly disappearing from our waters, this seems a dramatic warning to change our wasteful ways! While the Salmon's amazing ability to accurately, and against much opposition, find their original birth waters is still largely a mystery to science, it is believed that pheromones in the water, and the Salmon's keen sense of smell may be the key to their unerring direction. As a Totem, this ability denotes a strong sense of instinctual intuition and Salmon people should pay heed to their hunches and impressions in all situations, even if they cannot find a "solid and rational" explanation for these impressions. Salmon people may also have an inexplicably keen sense of direction, and often have a powerful drive to Create, frequently expressing themselves through some form of art. Salmon people have a strong desire to leave a lasting and positive impression upon the world. Whether this means inspiring others by being living examples and guiding lights to those around them, or utilizing their skills and talents to bring them recognition and reward makes little difference, although they can do the greatest good when using their skills for the benefit of all. These powerful and often ill-understood instinctive and intuitive forces may cause quiet Salmon people to plague themselves with doubt. Trust is a key word for Salmon people. Knowing when to trust themselves, who and when to trust in others, and the tremendous leaps of Faith required when trusting Creator will be important lessons along their life's path. Salmon people, like salmon, will grow spiritually in stages and each stage will involve some important lesson about Trust. Those who hold positions as religious leaders should be especially careful of choosing tradition and dogma over the needs of the people who look to them. Intolerance is an easy path for Salmon people to start down, and they should beware feeding this sort of destructive behavior. "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." ~Pascal, Pensees, 1670 "Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." ~Author Unknown Borage, also known as the herb of gladness or starflower, and the stone Lepidolite are both associated with Trust and can be found in the same area of the Medicine Wheel as Salmon. Borage has been used for many years as a treatment for depression, and helps to reduce stress as an excellent tonic for the adrenal glands. Lepidolite will accept no negative energy of any kind and is a tremendously useful stone for those seeking peace, healing, stress reduction, serenity and positive energy. Borage and Lepidolite are reminders that life and spiritual growth are stressful things, but we progress best when we make all efforts to reduce the negative on these paths. Intuition, wisdom, and trust all flow best when we are healthy, serene and in a positive frame of mind. Raspberry and Carnelian are also associated with Salmon and should be examined. Other potential balancing energies: eagle, bear, otter, fly, earthworm, dolphin, water, whale, cat, hazelnut tree, and raven. "The problem with fundamentalists insisting on a literal interpretation of the Bible is that the meaning of words change. A prime example is 'Spare the rod, spoil the child.' A rod was a stick used by shepherds to guide their sheep to go in the desired direction. Shepherds did not use it to beat their sheep. The proper translation of the saying is 'Give your child guidance, or they will go astray.' It does not mean 'Beat the sh*t out of your child or he will become rotten' as many fundamentalist parents seem to believe." ~Author Unknown "Not all religion is to be found in the church, any more than all knowledge is found in the classroom." ~Author Unknown "It is with our passions as it is with fire and water; they are good servants, but bad masters. ~Roger L'Estrange, Aesop's Fables, 1692 Salmon people, like other fish, can be very spiritual individuals, and are often deeply interested in religious and spiritual paths. Salmon people can also be: Passionate livers, enthusiastic, quick to anger and quick to appease, emotional, intensely feeling, intuitive, fickle, cold, ardent, sensual, motivated, restless/movement oriented, homebodies, generous, proud, frank, and above all changeable. They can be excellent leaders, especially in the capacity of spiritual and religious guides (priests, nuns, shamans, etc.) Salmon goes through many stages and changes. It begins in the fresh or "sweet" waters of life, journeys, and battles the deep, dangerous, salty seas of the world's tears. Only after many trials does Salmon return to the sweet waters of her birth to spend her last breath on ensuring future generations. All of the Salmon's life experiences are focused on making a successful pilgrimage, and this powerful drive often marks Salmon people with a need to leave a favorable mark upon society. Excessive pride, doubt, indecision especially that brought about by a difference of opinion between heart and head, stubborn or domineering behavior, intolerance and impulsive behavior are common downfalls for Salmon people. Those born between July 22nd and August 21st have Salmon as their Birth Totem, and they should cultivate emotional stability, tolerance, open minds and hearts that bring sound judgment. Fish have symbolized the unconscious, love, fertility, victory over death/rebirth, healing, prophesy, harmony, regeneration, feminine energy, children, childbirth, pregnancy, the arrival of love, the cycle of life, emotion, subconscious, thought, hazelnut trees, and the zodiac symbol Pisces. They have been connected to the Moon, the element Water, Ishtar, Isis, Aphrodite, Freya, Venus, Poseidon, Dagon, Kwan Yin, Hermes, Vishnu, Jesus, Christianity, Fionn, Cerridwen, Oghma, Lugh Lamfada, and Gwion, Ku-ula, Sharks symbolize survival and adaptability, and Jellyfish were sacred to Medusa. Nile carp were sacred to Set, the Egyptian god of storms, desert and chaos.Angelfish alert us to the prescience of angels and angelic energy in our lives. Koi represent strength, endurance, perseverance in the face of adversity, peace, and fortune. Siamese fighting fish teach us how to protect our boundaries within relationships. The most commonly quoted estimate says that there are 20,000 different species of fish in the waters of the world. Each carries their own messages and associations. Those called by a Fish Totem will need to look at which specific fish is calling, their nearest relations, and the balancing energies of prey and predator. Salmon is often the patron of healers and Salmon people can be far more resilient and hardy than they appear. This Teacher encourages us to be sensitive to others, to trust our instincts, to stop fighting the currents of our life when we have not developed ourselves enough for the spiritual/life challenges ahead of us, to remember that everything has a proper time and season, to respect the cycle of Life, honor our heritage, to decide wisely, to leap over obstacles and see them as opportunities for growth, act with determination, to trust in self and Creator, and live passionately. How does Salmon appear in your life? "Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime." ~ Chinese Proverb "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." ~ Albert Einstein "Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love." ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky "The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass speaks to me. The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky, The rhythm of the sea, speaks to me. The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning, the dewdrop on the flower, speaks to me. The strength of the fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun, and the life that never goes away, they speak to me And my heart soars." - Chief Dan George

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        01.02.2008 14:09
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        who ever said fish only had a short memory was not telling the truth

        We have a tiger oscar, he is part of the ciclid family and originates from southern america. These fish can grow to 18 inches long and weigh 3.5lb. They are sometimes sold as food on american markets. My oscar ozzy is black with red spotty patches on both sides and his tummy. They are sold in pet shops as tropical fish needing a heated tank but surprisingly can tolerate temperatures as low as 13'c. In the wild there main food source is insects so i have given mine crickets which he seems to enjoy but having said that he will try to eat anything that goes in his tank even my hand. The main foods i use with him are crab sticks, prawns, cockles, plankton and blood worm. We tried putting some live plants and ornaments in with ozzy but he just uprooted them and threw them around so i would not recomend plants or ornaments if you plan on keeping an oscar. Ozzy is a very messy eater tearing at his food as it floats around but unwilling to pick up any bits on the bottom of his tank so you definatley need a good filter. Oscars are supposed to live quite happily in large groups but fight if there is just a couple of them and because of there size i have decided to stick to just the one. We payed £15 for ozzy as a baby about 3 inches long. He is very easy to look after and the most interesting fish i have ever owned. He is quite clever, i put a bell in the top of his water and he rings it when he wants feeding, this does get realy annoying as oscars are very gready fish so ozzy rings his constantly.

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          16.12.2001 04:38
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          It’s been a while since I’ve written a fishy op so I thought I would rectify the situation. The title refers to the fact that very few people that I know have ever heard of this fish, let alone kept or bred it. The aim of this opinion is to enlighten people of its existence and just how easy it can be to keep and breed. As you will know if you have read my previous ops, I have kept tropical fish for about ten years. Of all the fish that I have kept, the most unusual (and in my opinion the most interesting) of those species has to be the Farlowella Catfish. There are several types of Farlowella and you can never be sure which type you will find, as they are quite rare in the trade. I would guess that the scientific name of the majority of Farlowellas available in my area is Farlowella Acus, but I may have one or two called Farlowella Gracilis. ---Appearance--- Farlowellas are sucker mouth catfish and are long, thin fish (like leg-less stick insects). In the wild, they grow to about seven and a half inches in length but ones that I keep grow to ten inches or more. I put this down to the ready availability of food and the lack of predators. The other reason that the fish in the wild do not grow to a great length is that they generally only live for one or two seasons. Despite the length, they only grow to about a quarter of an inch wide. Even the females are thin but can develop a bulge as eggs are produced and they come into breeding condition. Don't worry about the lifespan of the fish in captivity. My favourite Farlowella is as old as the aquarium, which is more than ten years. They have a pronounced “snout”, which can be around half an inch to an inch in length. A feature of the snout that aids in sexing the fish is that males in most of the farlowella species have fine bristles on the snout while the females have a smooth snout. Some people bundle Farlowellas into the same f amily as whiptail catfish. This is wrong, as they are different in a number of ways. A big difference is that whiptail catfish are wider with very flat bodies. The extra width and wide pectoral fins of the whiptail allows it to create “down-force” by facing into the high current where they live, whichholds them down on the bottom, rather than getting swept away. This brings me onto… ---Habitat--- Farlowellas by comparison live in tributaries of the Amazon. There is little water movement in these areas and so the fins are very small. I am not sure of the predators in the area, but by having small fins, they look even more like twigs and this is a natural camouflage. As for most catfish, they try to evade predators mainly by staying completely still and relying on camouflage to protect them. They like long leaf plants that can support the weight of their long bodies. The leaf of the plant also needs to be fairly broad so the fish can graze the algae from it. Fine plants or mosses are of no use to the fish. ---Social Behaviour--- Farlowella catfish are very peaceful and can be shy if they are kept with boisterous fish. Try to keep these fish in a quiet area because sudden movements or knocks on the tank can frighten them and make them bolt. This can lead to them damaging their snouts by crashing into things. I have around fifteen Farlowellas in one of my tanks and on the whole, the just trundle round the tank looking for food. I have three large males though and they tend to get territorial when a female is in breeding condition. They do not hurt each other but stick to the glass beside each other and try to push their opponent along the glass, away from the breeding spot. As one gets worn out, he will swim away in submission and the winner will move back to the chosen breeding site to await the female. I said that the fish “trundle” round the tank. This is the best word that I can think of to describe the way that they move. Farlowellas move by bouncing sideways across the gravel by flicking their fins just enough to move an inch or so at a time. If they take fright, they will give one large swish of the tail, which generates enough power to propel them the length of my three-foot tank in less than a second. This is generally enough in the wild, as they would only need to swim a few feet in dense vegetation to evade a predator. ---Tank Conditions--- Farlowella catfish don’t like fluctuating water conditions. They are comfortable in quite a broad range of conditions, but if they change often, the fish will become ill and may even die. If you use a pH tester, they prefer to live in a pH of 6.0-7.0. I don’t keep track of the hardness of the water in my tank but Farlowellas live in water with a hardness of between 3-8 dGh in the wild. As I said in the habitat part, Farlowellas live in slow moving (if it moves at all) water. There should at least, be an area of the tank with little water movement. You can achieve this by using an internal powerhead to provide water circulation but fit a nozzle to the outflow to direct it in a direction that leaves an area of slow water. The tank should have a temperature of 24-26 degrees C (75-79 degrees F). It is recommended that the tank not be smaller than three feet in length due to that tail flick. In a smaller tank, it is likely that it will crash into the glass if frightened. ---Breeding--- Without wishing to sound smug, I found it quite easy to breed my Farlowellas. As far as my experiences go, my tips for successfully boil down to three simple things. 1. Buy a number of fish. These fish are rare in the trade, so when you see good condition specimens, buy them. After all, they live peacefully together and by having fish that were bought at different times, you reduce the risk of inbreeding. 2. Feed go od quality food. If you want the fish to breed, you will have to condition them with top quality foods. I feed my fish with a number of foods. Firstly, I feed sliced cucumber that I sink to the bottom of the tank with a stainless steel weight and attach fishing line to lift the skin out with. If you keep an eye on things, you can recover the remains before they gnaw through the edge of the cucumber. This is also a good way of fishing out snails, as they like cucumber too. Secondly, I feed Tetra Prima and Algae Wafers. These are the dry staple foods that I feed the most. Finally, I feed frozen bloodworm. Although Farlowellas are veggies, they still seem to like these and it certainly conditions them well. 3. Do a water change. I don’t mean the usual partial water changes, but to wait until you have a warm, muggy day that is turning thundery. If you wait for the rain to start and then do a one third water change. This triggers an instinct in the fish that the rainy season has begun and they go into breeding mode. Within an hour you should see the dominant male and any conditioned females grouped in the breeding spot. I have mentioned “breeding spot” a couple of times, so I had better explain what I mean. In every tank, the dominant male will explore the tank looking for the best place for the eggs to be sited. I have found that he picks the tank glass in the flow of the water filter. This is because there is a good flow of oxygenated water over the eggs that will keep them healthy and will help fight against fungus. If you have an interest in seeing how Farlowellas breed, then direct the flow of water towards the front glass. I found this out by the complete fluke that my powerhead was directed at the front glass anyway. When they breed, the female and male will be very close together. The male would have spent the best part of an hour cleaning the spot so the eggs will be clean and will adhere to the surface easil y. The female will deposit the eggs in clumps of four. When she puts a group of eggs down, the male will barge her aside and will fertilise them. Then he will shuffle back and the process will be repeated many times, depending on how many eggs the female has. To avoid knocking the eggs off, they are laid in a diagonal line and they start at the bottom and go upwards. When they process is complete, the male will push the female away and will become very protective. He will stay with the eggs until they have all hatched. He cleans them meticulously all the time and he will eat any infertile eggs to sustain himself instead of leaving the eggs to feed. It is vital not to frighten the male while he is there. If he thinks that there is a direct threat to the eggs that he cannot defend, he will eat the eggs rather than lose them. Feel free to walk near the tank and examine the fish, but don’t make any sudden movements and definitely do not knock the tank. While eggs are there, I wouldn’t suggest making a water change and try to put food for the other fish away from the eggs at the other end. ---Conclusion--- The experts who write books on fish say that this fish is quite hard to keep and is boring. I say that I disagree completely with this. Anyone who looks after their aquarium well and carries out the regular water changes can keep this fish. I also find them interesting due to their strange bouncy movement around the tank and the way they breed. Farlowellas are different to most other catfish in that they will remain active throughout the day as long as there are not any big, boisterous fish and the room is fairly quiet. I have enjoyed typing this opinion on a fairly rare and unusual fish. If you enjoy keeping suckermouth catfish, you should give these a try. I hope this opinion is helpful to fishkeepers and interesting to everyone else. As usual, feedback is always appreciated. (I just wish I knew how to do that copyright sign that everyone seems to have at the end of their ops, LOL). A quick run down of the extra info section. Expense: At £7.50 a fish, they are expensive, but I think it is good value. Care: Very High because You shouldn't give anything less for your fish. Exercise: Hmm, <<<Insert own comment here>>>, LOL. Recommend to Friends: Probably, because I would only fully recommend a prospective pet if I felt the individual could cope with it. All the best.

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            29.10.2001 04:10
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            After watching the program Deep trouble on BBC 2 on Sunday the 28th October it inspired me to write this . Whilst this program was covering many subjects about man and fish trade it made my stomach turn when it got to the point of Maine fish and corals as a hobby as such they called it done for luxury. I admit myself i have had a marine set up which was fairly successful but after seeing this i would only buy fish not caught in such a way no matter how beautiful any other fish is. To see how some of the fish are caught by the way of using cyanide which makes it easier for the fish to be caught and know by the time that fish reaches our shops that the damage to the fishes inside are already done,and they are only going to last a few weeks or so it makes me wonder why we part with our money so easily. Also whilst this fish are being caught with cyanide the actual damage to the coral reef thats happening to point it kills it which then leaves no habitat for fishes to return to. So it does make me wonder why we let this happen , retailers and wholesalers need to know whether fish are caught this way or is it just a case they don't let on or they don't know or does come back to being a way of making money easily as the hobbyist is willing to pay the price whether it lives or dies and if it dies they replace it not knowing for what reason that fish died . So surly if people in all parts of the hobby stopped buying stock which is caught this way it may prevent the illegal trade in the countries that these fish are caught and preserve the coral reef in these areas or is it the case its classed as the luxury part of the fish keeping hobby. I hope this might encourage some of you readers to see the cruel parts of this hobby and give novices a small insight of what reason their fish might of died

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            28.07.2001 11:03
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            **** In a DVD fashion, my 100th opinion will feature extra cut-paragraphs and a collection of hilarious deleted titles. Keep scrolling at the bottom for each ***** - Why fish? - Why not? - Well, it’s stupid. You’re just picking some obscure subject so you can waffle on for 2000 words and bore everybody. It’s not going to help anyone make any decisions and you know it. - Sure it will. It’ll help then decide if I like fish or not. - Oh that’s just great. Real great. Now you’re just being childish. - Am not. - Am too! - Am not. - Am t… You see!? See what you’re doing here? It’s not even original for Christ’s sake – dialogue opinions are so last year. Face it – you’ve got nothing to say about fish that’s useful at all. Extra DVD features and fictitious conversations with yourself are just feeble attempts to bulk it out a bit so that people over-look how unuseful you’ve been. Admit it. So there’s me, no more then twelve or thirteen years old. You remember the age. The opposing forces of immaturity and angst, pulling violently at your coat-tails. Still secretly fond of your transformer toys, yet utterly convinced of your future as a world leader/philosopher/hero . The early formation of believes you would later label agonistic. The realization that girls are pretty, and the eagerness to do something with your penis, though you’re not sure what exactly. You remember. Twelve or thirteen. Y’know, the best years. It was at that golden age, that I had my first experience with fish, or at least the first I feel prepared to share with you all. Standard class trip to an aquarium centre. Rained in the morning, brightened up by lunch. Three hours on the bus. 300 sing-a-longs of Johnny had a pigeon (complete with swearing), 200 shouts t o ‘sit down’ from the bus-driver, 13 incidents of GBH, 4 sweet-packets thrown, 2 pants wetted and 1, single tear, rolling down the cheek of our teacher Mrs. Wilson, which we all noted yet never mentioned ever again. I was at the back of the group with Jackie Ping-Pong and Buttons Scholfield, talking cynically about the size of the centres ‘sharks’, in-between exaggerated brags about my pog collection. That’s when we reached the feeding room. A man with a red shirt and devastating acne-scars informed of the house rules – no shouting, no throwing anything in except the food-provided, and, most importantly, no leaning over the edge or, more stupidly, jumping in the pool. Anyone who did any of those things stood to be either severely scolded by our teachers, or subjected to the dangers of the tank. And so to my experience. I wish I could say that I did something straight out of Denis The Menace, like disorientate the supervisors with a homemade smoke-bomb before scuba-diving into the tank just to cause mischief, but I didn’t. I fell in. Don’t ask me how, because I don’t know. All I know is that one minute I was trying to hit Jimmy Murray with my expandable ruler, and the next I was feeling the icy invasion of pool water in all my body cavities, coupled with the vague (probably imagined) nipping of fish at my toes. The pool was deep, and dark, and frightening. For at least 10 seconds, I was at the complete mercy of my own fear. Jerking and revolting in an unholy spasm, swallowing water, struggling hard to keep away from the fish. There could have been eels in there, or piranhas. I could be eaten, or attacked. In seconds I felt the drain of my energy, and, in the closest thing to a clear thought possible at the time, I felt sure I would die. Then, after opening my eyes for the briefest of moments, the panic stopped. I found peace. A few inches from my face, was a medium-siz ed fish. Her fins were golden brown, and the light from outside cast rainbows across her face. And the eyes. As huge as base-balls, in an honest shade of charcoal black. She just floated there, right in front of me. Not afraid, not intimidating, barely even curious. Just calm. It’s hard to be sure of course, with fish, but to me it seemed that she wore a smile. Just a small one, rising slightly at the sides. It was as I peered at this fish, the crowds of people above me, shouting and screaming in equal part worry and excitement, that I realised I had nothing to fear. Nothing. Not from fish, or from the world, or from anything else until the day I died. She spoke to me, that fish. Not literally of course, that would be horrific, but in another way. She spoke to my soul, in just a whisper. “Sam”, she said, “It doesn’t mean a thing”. Beneath that water, with hair and clothes beyond repair, and people above ready to shout at me perhaps forever, I looked that little fish in straight in the eyes, and I gave a nod. With that she turned, with effortless grace, and swam out of sight, waving me good-bye with her tail. The people at the centre pulled me out of course, and the teachers began asking me why I jumped in the pool. I had nothing to say though. The next day I returned to the centre, this time alone, desperate to meet once more with my old pal. I never jumped into the pool, it was impossible - too many of the centres employees remembered me from the day before and kept a close eye on my every move. I didn’t want to be banned from the tank altogether. However, I did find a spot by the floor of the tank, with a solid glass window allowing visitors to peer into the depths of the water. It was here that I would sit, waiting to see her again. I sat there every day, of every week, for the remaining year. I never saw my brown fish again, until many weeks later. I arrived late one day, an d some of the attendants were scooping fish out of the tank with a giant net, dropping them into bags. They let me take a look, since I was a regular by now and knew my name. Inside their net, with her eyes closed and her body scabbed and unclean, lay my fish. They told me she had began to deteriorate with old age. They said the other fish probably began picking at her body, before she died. - Right, well, that’s still not particularly useful is it? Vaguely moving perhaps, to some people, but not useful to anyone. Not at all. - Oh. Well. What would be useful then? - Well that’s obvious! I mean, y’know. Something about where to buy them. - Pet-shop. - Ok, ok – how to look after them then. - Provide spacious tank, clean regularly, don’t over-crowd and feed with fish-food according to packet details. - Right fine! Just do another one of your sucky stories then, see if I care… When I was eighteen, I moved into my own place for the first time. Sharing a three-bedroom flat with my old friend Luke and an artist from out-of-town, who insisted we called him Indigo and requested egg-white when we asked if he wanted a coffee. One kitchen, small, and one toilet, broken. Ah, but I was in heaven. Complete freedom. No more hiding bongs and hash-pipes in my closet – let’s have them sitting proudly beside my bed. No more restrictions on music volume, meal-times, no more washing rules… freedom to be as much as an incompetent and lazy human-being as I so wished. On the rare occasion when I managed to convince a girl to sleep over, there was no sneaking out before nine, and no embarrassing excuses in the morning - only a victorious lie-in and ten minutes exchanging notes with the others. I painted my room as black as the thoughts in my head, filled it with lava lamps and candles, then found I was lacking something. So mething with style. Something with class. Something trippy. Man. Something fishy. A fish-tank. Tropical fish. And so it was arranged. Standing half-way up my wall, between my television and my CD player, twelve fish of varying colours and sizes swam in a tacky world of fake palm trees and ceramic castles. It was the dope. Although I didn’t name them all, I feed them and cleaned their tank with all the dedication and obligation of a parent, making sure my fish never wanted for a thing. My favourite fish, since having a favourite is fairly unavoidable, was a small fellow I named Eric. Eric, my favourite fish. Even though everyone else who looked considered him bland, in comparison, and quite ugly, all considered, it wasn’t like that to me. Eric had a pebble-dash coat of subtle dark-blues and greys. He wasn’t particularly big, or particularly small, but still he stood out from the others. He had peculiar swimming patterns. He zigzagged. He zigzagged left to right every time he swam, and he kept low, right at the bottom. Eric was interesting, if you took half a second to watch, Eric was special, and he was my favourite. All the others seemed garish, and would swim up close to grab the food and show to you their dazzling colours and shades. Eric didn’t care for any of that at all. The fish remained in my room for as long as I did, just as happy and content. They were entertainment, though in only the most honourable fashion possible. We simply watched them, my friends and I. Sometimes to laugh, and collectively observe their various adventures and peculiar actions with the bowl, then sometimes quietly, privately, without a word spoken to each other all night. Either way, they were hypnotising. Watching the fish was like watching a mini-world. We sat outside the rat-race, instead of in it. From something so simple, came pleasures so deep. Though it didn’t last. Indigo left our flat one ni ght in a frightful rage, arguing loudly with his girlfriend – an incident which we over-heard in silence, within my bedroom, too afraid to walk outside or speak-up. We heard them exclaim their mutual disgust and desire to terminate the relationship, then we heard Her leave loudly and Him stomp upstairs, apparently to pack his things. We heard swearing, we heard phone-calls, and we heard the calling of our names. It seemed Indigo was leaving. He told us he was to return to France, to move back with his parents. He told us we were animals, and he hated the pit in which we lived anyway, and that he regretted the day he landed upon our ugly shores. Then he left, tripping on the stairs as he did, landing on his back beneath bags of roughly packed painting equipment. Our laughter soon faded though – myself and Luke could not pay the rent alone. Within the month, having failed to replace Indigo, we were forced to admit defeat. Luke would return to his parents, and I would do the same. And it was on that day, as we packed our stuff with heavy hearts and left for home, that Eric died. It was the journey that did it. Twelve miles, packed tightly in the back of my Mini. We checked at the second-from-last service station, just to see if everything was ok, and at first glance it was – the bright fish still swam keenly at the top of the tank, penetrating the water with the same fluent strokes as they did back in the flat. When I looked closer though, towards the bottom, there lay Eric, perfectly still, with his mouth open and his tail still flinching softly. Oh, but if only he hadn’t zigzagged. If only he’d done the same as the other fish, and fought his way to the food. Right there, in the middle of the gas-station, I fell to my knees and cried. After a while, someone from inside came out to ask if I was ok. I just cried some more. - It’s been over 2000 words now Sam, and it’s 3:20 in the morning. Chances are people haven’t read this far anyway. - I know. - Time to give it a rest then? I mean I know you wanted to do something special what with it being your 100th opinion and all, but I really think you’ve bleed the subject dry. - Think it’ll get locked? - Excuse me? - The opinion. Think it’ll be locked? - Who the fluck cares. Besides, if it is, then it’ll teach you a valuable lesson. - Which is? - No one wants to hear your fish stories. Now finish up already. As has been mentioned, this opinion is my 100th, and today does indeed mark an entire year for me at Dooyoo. To you, precious reader, I know this means little. To me, a little more. Dooyoo lets me be try to be the person I think I would like me to be if I were you. Dooyoo lets me say the things to the world that, if I tried to speak out-loud, would crumble beneath my verbal inadequacies and short-comings. I would stumble, I would stutter, I would lisp. My voice, however feeble, is stronger on this tiny website then it will ever be in the reality that is my humble life. For that, for a year, for the hundredth time, I am truly grateful. Thank you, and take care. Oh, and keep scrolling for the DVD extras, if you’re interested. DELETED INTROS: #1 (this was dropped because it alienated of other areas of audience) So I’m thinking – what do tree-houses, playstation memory cards, foam machines and Cheju Island all have in common? Quite simply – none of them are as good as fish. I would like to take this moment to thank Keith and Jilly for their suggestions, all of which were good, just as I say - not as good as fish. Sorry guys. The thing about fish is…. #2 (this was dropped through not being very good) Call it fate, but chance is a funny thing, am I right? Chance can win you a million pound. Chance can bring you love, and spiritual well-being. Chance can impale you on an electric fence and have birds pull at your eye-lids. My experience of chance is somewhat less exciting, to you anyway, and certainly would not make it as a feature in a woman’s magazine (unless I made up a sub-plot of bad husbandry), though I am rather fond of it. My 100th Dooyoo opinion was due around the same time as my one year anniversary since joining that site. Nope, I didn’t plan it – not because I’m not sad enough (I am – though save that sympathy vote for when I need it later), but because I’m not alert enough. I didn’t notice till last week, and that’s the truth. Anyway, the thing about fish is…. HIALLRIOUS DELETED TITLES: There’s Something Fishy Going On A Fish Called Peakly Window To My Sole: Part 100 Op & Chips My Opinion On Fish 100 Fishmations Fillet Op Fish The Old Man & The Opinion The Old Man & The Fish The Old Man & The Fish Opinion Fishing For Very Usefuls A Time & Plaice That’s it, hope you enjoyed what ever bits you read. - P

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              05.02.2001 08:58
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              The Siamese Fighting Fish, or betta, is a fish that comes in a wide variety of colours. It`s colour varieties are as diverse as the guppy. Originally from Thailand, the domesticated variety is a far cry from it`s short-finned, dull olive coloured, wild cousin. Through selective breeding, the longer fins and amazing colour varieties were developed. As it`s name states, the males of the species will fight each other. In Thailand they were used, much like cockfights. Bets are made on the outcome, and people have been known to wager their family into slavery! The males flare up with their fins extended, and their beutiful colours in full intensity. Throat fans are extended and the bettas circle each other in a serpentine fashion. At first a few nips of the fins, then a full scale battle. Fighting stops when one needs to surface for air. Eventually one will try to run, this is thje loser. The advantage to these fish is that they breath air from the surface. They are Anabantids, which are fish with an air breathing organ called a labyrinth. Other Anabantids include Gouramis and Paradise Fish. These fish do fine in a jar. Although they live peacefully with other fish, it is not reccomended that they be put in a community tank, as they are the target of nippers due to their long fins. Bettas prefer live food, but their are commercial betta foods that will meet their nutritional needs. Water should be aged a day, before introducing the fish in any container. The smaller the container, the more often it should be cleaned. The temps of both the containers(where it is and where it`s going) should be allowed to equalise. To keep your betta flaring its colours, simply buy another male or put a mirror, near its container. Females lack both the color and the fin legnth. Several can be housed together, providing they are the same size. Skirmishes do occasionally break out. Breeding bettas is easy, and fascinating. It`s raising the young that people run into difficulty. The male builds a bubblenest, and embraces the female under it. The eggs and sperm are released and each egg is placed in a single bubble. Spawns number from 250-500 eggs. The male stands guard until the fry are free swimming(within 36-48 hours of hatching). There is a lot more involved to this, if you have questions write in comments.

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                05.07.2000 21:29
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                Probably the easiest pet. Can't understand why they are called water monkeys though. You may not have heard of them but they come in a packet (rather like seeds) and you get a little tank, add some water, drop 'em in and wait. Eventually these little fellas hatch out into funny see-through flea like things and mesmerize you with their graceful movements (well, if you've got a good imagination they do) You feed them now and again and that's it. They don't even need cleaning out. Watch out where you place the tank though, because if you knock it over, as we did, they are lost forever. Just try finding 200 see-through fleas in your shag-pile! So when the kids have nagged for weeks for a dog (too big), cat (still too big) etc. why not suggest water monkeys - they'll just be grateful you've allowed them to have anything they can call a pet.

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