KEEP­ING H. AIMARAS

Animal Scene - - FISH IN YOUR TANK -

H. aimaras are very hardy and tough fishes. They are tol­er­ant of poor wa­ter con­di­tions, as long as ex­tremes are avoided. One will not en­counter dif­fi­culty in keep­ing them. A ph range of 6.5 to 8 should be com­fort­able for them. Trop­i­cal tem­per­a­tures of 23°C to 30°C are rec­om­mended. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, the H. ai­mara of­ten hurts it­self, and it does so in many ways: they get cuts and bruises when they crash into driftwood when chas­ing prey; tear their fins when they hit the brace or glass cover; or bust their lip when they hit the glass panel. They are in­jury-prone in cap­tiv­ity be­cause of their reck­less and vi­o­lent be­hav­ior. How­ever they are also tough, so they easily re­cover from these in­juries in few days, even with­out treat­ment. The aquar­ium for H. ai­mara will have to be large since it is a very large fish. Re­mem­ber, it grows to over a me­ter in length in the wild. In cap­tiv­ity, the H. ai­mara can easily reach 50 cen­time­ters (cm). This should be con­sid­ered av­er­age sized. It is highly prob­a­ble that larger spec­i­mens will at­tain sizes of 80 cm. and up if the tank is large enough. I have a friend, Joely Cer­vantes who saw a huge H. ai­mara in Malaysia. This was from a pri­vate col­lec­tor and it mea­sured 34 inches in length! Joely claims its head was big­ger than his own, and its body girth was al­most the same size. The aquar­ium will also need to have a good fil­ter be­cause the H. ai­mara can be a messy eater. It is not a choosy or picky eater as it will gladly eat any live or fresh meaty food. How­ever, with its mas­sive jaws and sharp teeth, it will surely mess up what it is eat­ing. Scales and bits of meat will be scat­tered ev­ery­where; thus, strong fil­tra­tion is es­sen­tial. Also bear in mind that com­mer­cially avail­able fil­ters will not work. H. aimaras are known to at­tack any­thing in the tank, whether alive or inan­i­mate. Thus, it can easily dis­lodge fil­ters, tubes, air­stones, etc if these are not fully se­cured. The tank for H. ai­mara will have to be well planned. Noth­ing must come loose, be­cause if any­thing does, you are not go­ing to re­cover it with­out get­ting bit­ten.

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