maintenance, care, compatibility
It often happens that an experienced aquarist, who has been engaged in breeding various underwater inhabitants for many years, suddenly feels the need to acquire a completely new, hitherto unknown to him creature to replenish his collection and expand his knowledge.
It also happens that a person who has never had an aquarium decides to install it, but he does not accept platitudes and wants to settle someone completely unusual in it. Such wishes can be satisfied by acquiring and breeding amazing creatures of nature called muddy jumpers.
Did you know that some fish can climb trees? Yes Yes! Silty jumpers (lat.
Periophthalmus) not only feel great on the ground, but also jump with pleasure, and at high tide they can even climb the lower branches of trees and rocks. They do it not at all to practice climbing.
They just do not want the ebb to take them far into the sea.
You say: “What kind of fish are these, ordinary amphibians …” And here and no! These members of the family gobies breathe gills, and therefore are considered fish. A special septum protects their gill slit from drying out, and a small supply of water is in the enlarged jaw cavity.
A sort of fish in scuba! In addition, while the jumper remains moist, it is able to breathe through the skin, mouth, and esophagus.
Since the 17th century, these fishes have stirred the mind of scientists in view of their extraordinary adaptation to the amphibian way of life. Scientists were particularly impressed with their large and mobile eyes, and many types of jumpers (there are about 35 in total) have scientific names that refer to these organs.
For example, the name, Oxudercinae comes from the Greek word okyderkes, which translates as “keen”. The genus Periophthalmus got its name from the frog-like position of the eyes, which allows this fish to have excellent all-round vision, and consists of two words, Peri, meaning “around” and ophtalmos, translated as “eyes”
In the world there are only about 35 species of silty jumpers belonging to the genus Periophthalmus. Silt jumpers are fairly widespread in the world.
They can be found in various parts of the world, ranging from West Africa from the Red Sea coast, through the whole of South and Southeast Asia, Malaysia and to northeast Australia.
Outwardly, silty jumpers resemble amphibians more than fish. Growing up to 15 centimeters, they have an oblong cone-shaped body.
The coloring of the upper body can be from olive to gray, with spots and stripes of different colors, while the belly is usually silver.
Silt jumpers are mainly tropical and subtropical animals, and are distributed from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the eastern Pacific islands of Samoa and Tonga. The most widely distributed is the genus Periophthalmus, which currently has 18 species. Most jumpers inhabit swamps of wet mangrove forests and tidal mud flats, some species live in rivers and ponds.
They mainly settle in the intertidal zone, and in addition to the ability to move on the ground, all jumpers have the ability to adapt to rapid changes in salinity.
Because these fish spend a lot of time on the ground, they must be able to breathe air. Like frogs and salamanders, they have a rich network of capillaries located under the skin, which allows oxygen to enter the bloodstream and release carbon dioxide.
This type of breathing is known as skin breathing. Special mucus protects the skin and minimizes water loss.
Another important device that helps breathing on land is enlarged gill chambers, in which silt jumpers retain an air bubble. These gill chambers, pierced with capillaries, are tightly closed with gill covers when the fish is above water, and a sip of water helps to protect the gills from drying out.
Surprisingly, the adaptation of jumpers for breathing on land is not as difficult as that of some other fish, such as larynx or gourami. Apparently, the ability to breathe on land did not play an important role in the evolution of jumpers for successful landing on the ground.
Some studies show that other physiological and anatomical devices, including osmoregulation, excretion and movement on the ground, were much more important.
Adaptation to semi-terrestrial conditions is so great that they have lost some of the abilities typical of ordinary fish. For example, some types of silt jumpers are unable to absorb oxygen for a long time while under water.
In other words, they hold their breath when they are under water and are forced to slow down the heartbeat and metabolic activity, like diving breathing animals (seals, dolphins).
Jumpers see well above the water, but become short-sighted when diving. When they are on the ground, they retract, and thus moisten, their eyes in fluid-filled eye sockets.
This makes them the only type of fish on Earth that can blink. Silt jumpers also have the ability to hear sounds transmitted through the air, and can react to things like the buzzing of a fly, but it is not yet known what organ jumpers use to detect sounds.
But one of their most striking adaptations to life on earth are behavioral. Since they are very mobile and constantly moving between land and water, jumpers need to cope with sudden changes in temperature, humidity and salinity. But at the same time, mudskippers are different from other fish living in the intertidal zone, in their ability to move from an unfavorable area to a zone where conditions are more favorable.
For example, some species of fish cope with an increase in water temperature, regulating the metabolism, but in such a situation a mudskipper will come out of the water and allow its body to cool due to evaporation. If he loses too much moisture, he will dive into the water to get wet again.
If there is no liquid, then this fish just simply wound in the mud.
Mud Jumpers has several kinds of movements that allow them to move in the water and on the ground. In addition to the usual swimming, they can move just below the waterline, while only the eyes will stick out above the water, or even glide over the surface. But on the ground, these fish can move in several ways.
They can crawl, leaning on the front fins, jump up to a height of 60 cm and even climb stones and trees. Suckers located on the belly and on the fins help them to stick on the tree or on the stone.
Here you have a fish crawling through the trees!
Like many gobies, mudskippers are experienced excavators. They dig deep, up to 50 cm long, holes in soft, silty soil, which are a refuge from predators and protection from adverse environmental conditions, for example, during cooling.
Their burrows are also important for breeding, as silty jumpers lay eggs in these dwellings, and the male will actively protect the clutch.
Given that silt jumpers do not breathe well underwater, for many years it remained a mystery how they could remain in their water-filled burrows for long periods, and how their eggs survived during high tide. In the end, it was found that fish build their caverns, in which they equip special chambers or bags for air.
To replenish the oxygen supply at low tide, jumpers swallow air in a big breath, carry it to their dwelling, and release it into this chamber. This behavior is especially important for proper development of the eggs, as they are usually laid on the ceiling of the same chamber. Thus, in addition to protecting the eggs, male mudskipper also provides developing eggs with a moist, oxygen-rich environment.
Recently, Japanese researchers have found that the male muddy jumper also specifically floods this camera when the larvae are ready for hatching, thus allowing the offspring to leave the nest at high tide.
When the breeding season comes, the males flaunt in front of the female, bouncing in the air, straightening their colored dorsal fins. If the female considers such acrobatic numbers to be worthy of her attention, she approaches the male, and the latter in turn takes her partner to a pre-dug mink, where reproduction occurs.
After mating, some gentlemen expel the female from the nest, and all care about the future offspring rests on the shoulders of the male. Other species jointly care for laying. Not much is known about the development of silt jumper larvae.
According to some data, after hatching, the youngsters drift in marine plankton until they have grown enough and settled in tidal zones.
These fishes feed on small insects, snails, crustaceans. Thanks to the sharp teeth, the silty jumpers seize the prey without any problems, while the modified mouthful of the mouth pushes it down into the esophagus.
Herbivores, such as Boleophthalmus, feed differently. They clean the algae from the water film and dirt, using funny head-to-side motions.
When they collect enough of this material, they move to the water to sift the mixture in the wide pharyngeal jaw, as if they were washing gold. But in general, food to these fish will serve all that they can catch and swallow.
The silty jumper got its name for the peculiar behavior of the males during the breeding season. Each of them jumps high to attract a female. Here is how one of the researchers describes this ritual: “Sharply straightening the curved body, the male jumps to a height of about 20 cm.
At the top of his jump, he straightens the brightly colored dorsal fin. In less than a minute of such acrobatic exercises, a female ready for breeding is attracted.
In the period preceding reproduction, each male vigorously gouges a mink depth of 30-50 cm in the mud, where the female then deposits eggs. Time after time, the male dives into a mink filled with water, bites off pieces of silt with his tiny teeth and puts it 12-15 cm to the side.
The male fearlessly protects the nest with caviar from numerous coastal crabs, meeting face to face with an armored enemy. Crab’s powerful claws give it superior weaponry, but the muddy jumper never retreats. Raising the dorsal fin like a battle flag, he stands on the pectoral fins and inflates the gill chambers in order to significantly increase his own size.
A few quick attacks and tweaks of the crab’s limbs often force the armored invader to retreat. During the breeding season, the males of silty jumpers protect their burrows from the males of their own species. “
The aquarium for these fish should be wide and shallow. I wish that the size of the aquarium were about a meter in length and 30 cm in width. The height of the aquarium is about 50 cm.
In captivity, they live in a large area of aquaterrariums, as the fish love to frolic, as if confirming their name. Since most of the time jumpers spend on land, it should be done for them “shore”. It should be gentle, occupying about half of the aquarium.
The depth of the water in the deepest part should not exceed 7-10 cm. It makes no sense to do deeper.
The shore is made of rounded pebbles or sand. Do not use stones or sharp-edged ornaments, as jumping can cause injury by jumping.
On the shore are placed large stones, snags, etc. – jumpers love to sit on them. You can also make “islands”, for example, from foam, where it is convenient to feed the fish.
Another important condition is temperature and humidity. The temperature of the water (and the air in the aquarium!) Should be 26-30oC. Inside the aquarium should be wet, this can be achieved using the “flute-rain” under which they will be happy to sit.
The heater should be installed so that the fish do not climb on it, for example, use underwater or disguise it with decorations. The aquarium should be closed from above to maintain a humid atmosphere inside and in order to prevent jumpers from walking around the apartment.
They easily climb on the aquarium wall and hang there for a long time. Jumpers are rather quarrelsome and aggressive fishes, therefore it is difficult to choose neighbors for them.
Anything that fits his mouth, sooner or later get there.
They grow up to 10-15 cm and become aggressive towards each other. Periodically, they depict “tough guys” picking up a mouthful of yummy and “spreading” fins make the rest understand: “you will get in the nose if you try to take it away.” They, in general, try to grab a piece and jump into the corner of the aquarium, so that there, slowly, to chew on it.
In this way, they sit by the front glass and silently observe everything that happens around. or slowly “walk” from one corner to another.
As a result, it can be said that the maintenance of these entertaining fish is very simple, although some claim the opposite. This fish is very interesting to those aquarists who prefer to keep something outlandish.
And also it can be the first step to the sea aquarium (the water is salty). Dare – in the world nothing is impossible.