The Amateur Aquarist

Just as Busch beer says: “Brewed for America’s Heartland,” so the Paradise Gourami took the heart land by storm also. Yesterday the topic was the Paradise Gourami and the man that brought it to America 1876, Adolphus Busch maker of Busch beer. The fish was bred quickly and within ten years became a staple in aquarium literature.

Adolphus Busch

The Following is an excerpt from one such work “The Amateur Aquarist” 1894 by Mark Samuel

The Amateur Aquarist.

The Amateur Aquarist

By

Mark Samuel

The Baker & Taylor Company,
Publishers
5 & 7 East 16th Street, New York

Original copyright, 1894

NEST-BUILDERS.
Paradise-fish of India (Macropodus venustus)
(Large (foot) fin. Beautiful.)

This picture represents the male fish building, The nest being on the surface of the water the whole process from its first formation to the hatching of the eggs is clearly visible. When the weather becomes warm the male paradise-fish assumes the most brilliant colors, and then begins to construct its nest. Taking a postion about an inch below the surface of the water, it frequently comes to the top and takes a mouthful of air, which it ejects forcibly in the shape of little bubbles covered with a glutinous subatance obtained from a sac in the roof of its mouth. This is continued until it has a floating platform about six inches in circumference and one quarter of an inch thick.
The female being very found of light colors, their mates every now and then pass in review before them, distending their fins and tails to the utmost, at the same time radiating bright colors over their bodies.

Just before the spawning season arrives the female fish becomes quite pale, almost white. When the nest is ready the eggs are deposited therein with the assistance of the male fish in quite a different manner from that employed by any American fish that I know of. From one hundred to five hundred eggs are placed in the nest, where they hatch in about thirty-six hours ; and by the aid of a magnifying-glass the fry can be seen as they emerge from the egg.
Each tiny fish has a yolk-sac attached to its body, and as the nourishment it contains is absorbed the sac diminishes, until at the end of ten to fifteen days it disappears and the little fish is ready to seek its own food.

The male fish, which up to now has devoted all its time, day and night, to keeping the small ones together in the nest of bubbles, pushes its nose up in their midst and blows it to pieces, distributing them all over the surface of the water. If a weak one sinks here or there, it swims swiftly down, takes it gently in its mouth, and carries it to the top where it can get more air.

One pair of fish will build several times during the summer. Adult Paradise-fish should be fed once a day on fish-food and raw beef alternately ; during the breeding-season, on earth-worms or beef exclusively. The young fish require the animalcules found in
Pg. 97
pond-water, which can readily be raised for them in a small jar. They also require plenty of warmth and sunshine if they are to develop quickly. Paradise-fish can stand a temperature of ninety degrees Fahrenheit in the water, but will die if it goes below forty degrees Fahrenheit. They are great jumpers, and so impatient at feeding-time that I have known them to jump right out of the aquarium in their eagerness to reach the beef they saw in my hand. On account of the long delicate spines on the pectoral fins of the paradise-fish, it must not be taken in a net lest they should become entangled and injured. It should alwase be removed in the hand firmly yet carefully closed to prevent the little prisoner from escaping. When, however, it is desired to transfer a paradise-fish from a small vessel, such as a fish-can, it may be turned out, water and all, into the aquarium.
The adult male fish measures five inches in length, and is much more brilliant than the female. Being surface-breathers, these fish are not dependent upon oxygenating plants.
They are especially suitable for a conservatory, where they become very prolific

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