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The panda cuirass appears regularly in domestic tanks since the beginning of the 1970s. Currently, only captive born specimens can be purchased. The wild ones are almost inaccessible. Check what is worth knowing about these interesting fish.
Kiryski panda – where do they occur?
Fish of this species in their natural environment can be found in South America, and more precisely in Peru. They live in the upper parts of the Amazon basin – most often in tributaries of rivers. Kiryski are found in both white and black waters.
These fish are quite resistant to low temperatures. Periodically, cool water from the melted ice of the upper Andes Mountains flows into the waters in which they live. The panda cuirass is therefore able to survive even in water that is at a temperature lower than 20 degrees.
What does the panda cuirass look like?
Kiryski are small fish which, when mature, reach about 5 cm in length. The body is usually white or light orange (sometimes the color is pink). This variety of cuirass owes its name to the black matzah on its face. It is located in front of the eyes and runs towards the abdomen. Young specimens have more flashy colors.
Interestingly, the cuiras do not have scales – instead, their body is covered with bone plates. That is why they are very delicate and susceptible to damage. A characteristic feature of the cuirass is its mouth. Right next to it, there are 3 pairs of mustache.
The panda cuirass has a special labyrinth organ that allows it to breathe atmospheric air.
These fish usually live at the bottom of the aquarium, right next to the bottom. You will quickly notice that they swim towards the water from time to time.
Cuirass fish – disposition
Kiryski pandas are considered to be very peaceful fish that can be kept in an aquarium with various species. In nature, they live in groups, so it is good to have at least 5–6 individuals in the aquarium.
They can be a bit shy in smaller herds. The more cuiras, the more open they seem. They generally spend time at the bottom of the aquarium and do not come into conflict with other fish.
It is worth noting that despite its small size, the panda is a long-lived fish. It can live even for several years in good conditions.
Cuirass fish – in which aquarium?
For 5-6 pandas, the best solution is an aquarium with a capacity of at least 54 liters. These fish come from the Amazon basin, so they will be a fantastic element of the biotope aquarium of these waters. They are especially appreciated by enthusiasts of the so-called black water.
The black water aquarium is distinguished by water tinted with a tea color. This is due to the admixture of peat present at the bottom of the reservoir. Additional decorations are dry leaves, roots and sticks floating in the water.
Panda cuirass – water parameters
Kiryski pandas can also live in a social aquarium. However, you must remember that these fish are quite sensitive to water pollution. The parameters that are best provided for them in the aquarium are:
- temperature: from 22 to 25 degrees;
- pH: 6.5 to 7;
- hardness: 2 to 12 degrees dGH.
In the case of temperature, make sure that it is lower rather than higher. The temperature of 25 degrees is acceptable, but the cuiras will move much slower already there. This, in turn, shortens their lives.
Ornaments in the aquarium with cuirass
Panda is a more delicate fish than other cuiras. This is why you need to be very careful when choosing accessories for your aquarium. Avoid items with sharp edges. The panda cuirass has not only a very delicate body. Its whiskers are also very easy to damage, leading to serious health consequences and even death of the fish.
Kiryski are very fond of all kinds of hiding places. Provide them with plenty of places to sleep and hide from danger. The following will be perfect for this role:
- hollow rocks (no sharp edges);
- coconut halves;
- the roots.
Substrate in an aquarium with cuirasses
The panda tuft spends most of its time at the bottom of the aquarium. For this reason, you should make every effort to make it a safe environment for him. Choose soft sand where the fish can swim. An active substrate will also work well. If you choose litter, choose the one that has a rounded shape.
You will also need to clean the bottom of the tank. As already mentioned, the whiskers of the cuirass are very fragile and can be damaged easily. Remember to regularly remove sand or gravel.
Plants in the aquarium with cuirass
Kiryski is very fond of the interior of reservoirs in which there are many planted plants. However, you must remember to leave them free space to explore the bottom. Sow the tank with plants at the back and side of the tank. Avoid floating plants that can restrict light to the tank.
Panda cuirass – proper nutrition
The panda tusk is an omnivorous fish. In nature, it eats mainly animal foods.
Kiryski belong to the so-called cleaning team in the aquarium. This means that they clean the bottom of the tank from food remains. As with algae eaters, however, this does not mean that pandas do not need additional feeding. They eat the dry food of other fish that sinks to the bottom. They are also very fond of live food such as:
- the pipe-worker.
The same Kiryski organisms will also eat in a frozen form.
Kiryski – reproduction in breeding conditions
Kiryski are oviparous fish. You can breed them in the main tank. However, if you want to keep more fry, a separate tank is a better solution.
Spawning tank for panda cuiras
The nest box for cuiras should be about 45 cm long. You can put sand at the bottom. The water should be around 23-24 degrees Celsius. A suitable pH is 6.5. You can put moss in the tank. You will also need a filter. A regular sponge will work well.
Prepare harems for spawning. Preferably 2–3 males per female. Give your fish more live food before breeding. Large water changes will also be helpful – even up to 50%. It is also recommended to increase the aeration. After several such practices, spawning should occur.
In the case of this species of cuiras, it is worth noting that they sometimes reproduce seasonally. So it will be necessary to apply the trial and error method. If your cuirass does not want to reproduce in summer, the best solution is to try it again in winter or late fall. Probably then the breeding of cuiras will be successful.
What does panda spawn look like?
The spawning of the cuiras is fascinating. They are initiated by males following females. After some time, the winning candidate starts stimulating the female with his mustache. Pressure on the male’s body releases the dandelion.
The male passes the milk through his gills and then releases the eggs for fertilization. They are located in a special pocket made of pectoral fins. Then the female carries them to the place of her choice. It can be an aquarium glass or a smooth stone. Spawning can take up to several hours, and at the end of the spawning period there are about 20-30 eggs in the nest.
Hatching and rearing fry
After the parents have finished spawning, they are transferred back to the main tank. Watch the roe being bred and make sure they are not molding. A little methyl blue added to the water will minimize the risk of egg spoilage.
The larvae hatch after about 4 days. The next 4 days they consume food from their yolk sacs. After this time, they are fed with as little food as possible, such as micronites. Remember that fry perform best in water that is very well oxygenated. It is a good idea to put a thin layer of sand at the bottom of the tank.
Panda cuirass – summary
Kiryski panda are very popular aquarium fish that attract with interesting colors. They like cooler water, they feel good in both biotope and general aquariums.
You must remember that these fish are devoid of scales, have a very delicate body and prone to damage to the whiskers. They do not tolerate water and substrate pollution, so the aquarium in which they will live should be properly prepared.
Photo illustrative: Chronotopian via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0