Family: Characteristic (Characidae).
Habitats Central Brazil, the basin of the river Rio Guaporé forest forests with stagnant and slowly flowing water.
The black phantom is one of the few aquarium fish that has received our own Russian, name that is not derived from the Latin phrase.
The body of the phantom of black is high and flattened from the sides. Dorsal fin high, tail – two-bladed. There is a fat fin.
The main background of the torso of the male is dark gray to black, lighter on the abdomen. On the sides are black spots of irregular shape, surrounded by a luminous purple edging.
All fins, except for the pectorals, are black. The male’s dorsal fin is high and curved back; in the female it is noticeably lower and shorter.
The female has a body with a brownish-red tint, fins are reddish.
In juveniles, reddish tones predominate, and sex determination is very difficult.
In length, the phantom black grows to 4-5 cm.
When you see fish in the twilight of the aquarium, immediately appreciate the accuracy of the name “black phantom”: in low light, the fish seem to disappear, only one mother-of-pearl sickles shine on the sides.
Phantom black gregarious and peace-loving fish. In the aquarium, it is desirable to contain a group of fish from 7-10 individuals. It gets along well with all small fish.
Keeps in the middle layer of water. Lifespan 3 years.
It is possible to contain a black phantom in the general aquarium with a volume of 50 liters. Well kept in mixed aquariums from 80 cm in length with good vegetation, shelters and ample swimming space.
It is desirable to add peat extract or preparations to create “black” water. The soil is desirable dark, subdued illumination. They like shady places.
Reluctantly take food from the ground.
Water must be old: hardness up to 10 °, pH 6.0-7.0, temperature 23-26 ° C. Filtration, aeration and weekly substitution up to 20% of the volume of water is necessary.
Black phantom quite strong fish, which is relatively easy to tolerate various diseases. Susceptible to ichthyophthyriosis and oodiniosis.
It is believed that the parasites that cause these diseases, as a rule, enter the aquarium together with live food caught from the reservoirs where the fish live. Invasion contributes, in particular, a sharp decrease in temperature. Due to the dark coloration of the body and fins, the defeat by the ichthyophthyriosis of the black phantom is easily detected at an early stage.
This allows timely action to be taken. For the period of treatment of the black phantom (it lasts about 1 week) it is necessary to raise the water temperature in the aquarium by 2-3 ° C.
Phantom prefers small live food, in the first place – Cyclops. If young animals are not fed from an early age (after the first month), the color of the fish will be pale.
Phantom is also happy to eat daphnia, small moths, do not give up on the corret and dry combined feed.
It reaches sexual maturity at the age of 6-7 months.
For breeding a phantom, a spawning volume of 5–7 liters is necessary, but the spawning takes place more actively and more fully in 10–15 liter capacity for a couple of fish. A separator grid with a bundle of small-leaved plants (for example, Javanese moss) is installed at the bottom.
Spawning at the phantom black doubles. Parameters of water for cultivation: water settled for 10-14 days with a hardness of 1-3 °, pH 6.0-6.5, temperature 27-28 ° С and water level up to 15-20 cm.
The lighting is weak, diffused.
Before planting for spawning, the female and the male are kept separately for a week and are abundantly fed with live food (by anyone other than a pipe worker). Manufacturers are planted in the evening, but they usually spawn 2-3 days after planting, and only in very rare cases the next day.
The color of the males during the mating season becomes the brightest. Having spread his fins, the male shows all the magnificence of his coloring and attracts the female.
That, for a moment, having pressed to it a body, throws out 7-12 eggs. Then the cycle repeats.
Young producers in one litter give 30-50 eggs, adults – up to 100-150. The eggs are rather large and have a light amber color.
After spawning, the producers are sifted, clean the separator net and most of the plants, shaking off their eggs, turn on weak aeration, shade the aquarium. With good feeding, the female is ready to re-spawn in 10-15 days. It is believed that close breeding weakens the protective properties of caviar, and after a few hours it can almost completely die.
To avoid this, it is advisable to use erythromycin at the rate of 0.5 tablets per 15 liters of water (crush the tablet, put the dose in a bag of nylon and hang it in a stream of water created by the sprayer). After 2-3 hours, unfertilized caviar turns white and must be removed.
The incubation period lasts from 24 to 36 hours. Fry begin to swim and eat in another 3-5 days.
Starter feed: ciliates, rotifers, the smallest cyclop nauplii. The presence of floating plants in the aquarium, where the food organisms are concentrated, will attract fry there and facilitate their feeding. Fry completely do not resist diseases.
Therefore, cleanliness in the aquarium and timely removal of all food residues from the bottom is very important.
Periodically in the spawn it is necessary to replace the water. It is better to do this little by little, but more often.
From about 10 days of age, the fry can be fed with Artemia nauplii. Until one month of age, the fry do not tolerate bright light.
After the disappearance of the net pattern on the body of the fry, they can be brought to daylight, and from about a month and a half they should be placed in an aquarium densely planted with plants, where the sun’s rays partially fall.
At an early age Black phantom anal and pelvic fins are red, and by 5 months they grow black in males.