New Fish to Replace the Dead

Today I have five new African cichlids waiting patiently (for now) in their bags floating in the tank. After recent fish loss that I put down to a low pH and kH, it will be good to replenish the population.

Maidenhead Aquatics in Appley Bridge tested the water and told me it was in good shape but I needed to gradually up the kH over a week as it was at 5. They keep their stock at 5 so the new fish should acclimatise well then join the others in enjoying the increasing kH levels.

The new additions:
1 x electric blue hap
1 x red fin kadango
1 x fusco hap
1 x albino peacock
1 x mystery fish – they are getting back to me on the proper name!

I hope all you fish keepers out there are enjoying your weekend.

20140215-125012.jpg

20140215-124959.jpg

20140215-124926.jpg

20140215-124948.jpg

20140215-124913.jpg

20140215-124828.jpg

Taiwan Reef Cichlid with nibbled tail

The video shows the poor female Taiwan Reef cichlid with nibbled tail and the new (smaller and less colourful) female swimming nearby. She has been followed by a male and a bit harassed by the dolphin but I hope she will make a difference…

The new three have only been added this afternoon so I hope they all get along. Even though they are cichlids and a bit moody. Or a lot moody.

Please excuse the footy commentary, etc in the background. Not very professional I know…

20131026-191829.jpg

Cichlid Tank News..at last!

Hi there, I have been very neglectful of my fish keeping blog but you’ll be pleased to know that I haven’t neglected the fish!

The cichlid tank contains the following:
1 x yellow lab
1 x cuckoo catfish
1 x pleco
1 x yellow peacock
1 x OB peacock
1 x dolphin cichlid
3 x zebras
3 x Taiwan reef
3 x white tailed acei (+6 babies)

This morning I noticed one of the Taiwan Reef fish has had a serious tail attack and the poor thing was quite paled out in colouring and hiding, while the other two were flaunting themselves in full bright colours. Maidenhead Aquatics (at Appley Bridge near Wigan) advised that this may be a lone female being hassled by two males or is perhaps carrying eggs in her mouth so is behaving in a more passive manner and is weaker at the moment. The solution (hopefully) is a new female to join the gang and a long piece of pipe work for the tailless wonder to hide in.

We also bought two others as I couldn’t resist but that’s another tale for another time.

Cross your fish fingers…

20131026-174558.jpg

20131026-174630.jpg

20131026-174715.jpg

20131026-174735.jpg

20131026-174813.jpg

Cichlid Bite, Eggy Mouth & Peaceful Fish

I’ve been doing a partial water change and ‘hoovering’ the fine gravel in my African cichlid tank once or twice a week. They are doing well, always hungry and active and I’ve got two breeding nets hanging on the tank; one has my first baby fish, the other more recent triplets, found when doing a tank clean. I only have a big mopani root and lava rocks in there so I move everything to one side, clean, then do the other side. This is how I discovered and netted the slow moving fish babies.

I have only seen evidence of the blue Acei breeding, the male chasing the females and the larger female with a mouthbrood of eggs. Last night I noticed she has another mouthful! A least she seems to get 3 or 4 weeks between eggs to eat and recover. She is the blue one in the pics with a slightly baggy chin.

The flamboyant male Strawberry Peacock rammed into my arm the last time I was rock moving and nibbled at me. Unfortunately I didn’t have any mark on my arm to show off but really it is a good thing he has such small teeth! I have read online about cichlids attacking human arms in their tanks if they are protecting young or territory. It made me shriek and laugh a lot! A brave fishie.

The original peaceful community tank is doing well. The male Lace gouramis have lovely skirts and seem to be defending territories, the clown loaches pile up together, hide in the tubes and generally mill around. The shrimp are still with us, popping into view occasionally and the rainbows, cory, bristlenose catfish and scissor tailed Rasboras are all living well.

A while back the male bristlenose Stephen was wedged into a smaller ridged tube I had in the tank. I had to cut the tube with scissors to free him which was a bit scary and he suffered nibbled/shredded fins, the poor thing. He took a while to calm down afterwards and has miraculously GROWN BACK his missing fin parts! I can only imagine they are like re grown skin over the structure of his fin bones. Good boy, Stephen.

20130630-212449.jpg

20130630-212509.jpg

20130630-212528.jpg

20130630-212540.jpg

20130630-212550.jpg

20130630-212606.jpg

20130630-212617.jpg

20130630-212626.jpg

20130630-212634.jpg

AND another thing…

I forgot to say in my last post – I saw two tiny baby White Tail Acei hiding under the Mopani root! I noticed the mouthbrooder female was empty mouthed this morning and was really eager for food, so I was on the look out for wrigglers. There are plenty of hiding places in the tank so I hope they survive. No, I didn’t manage to get a picture but the big fish are very photogenic….

20130428-183654.jpg

20130428-183715.jpg

Four New Fish for the African Tank!

We had a trip to Maidenhead Aquatics today primarily to return the light tube unit from the canopy of the new tank (Fluval Roma 200). One of the tubes has been flickering and now doesn’t come on at all. The shop fella tested it and will be ordering a new one tomorrow. In the meantime, the old one is back on top of my tank.

I did a partial water change this morning and tested the water. I was pleased to see the Nitrate level was 10-20 ppm, kH was 6 (so I added a generous scoop of the powdered buffer) and there was no evidence of Ammonia or Nitrite…hooray!

I half filled an old clean mayo jar with tank water to double check my chemistry at the fish shop and was told it was all good and Nitrate was low, kH 7. How could I resist a few more fish while I was there? How I ask you?!!

The new tank mates are 2 x female and 1 x male Zebra Obliquidens Astatotilapia latifasciata and 1 x Cuckoo Catfish Synodontis multipunctatus
. The Zebras are milling around happily with the others and the Catfish has found a cave to hide in.

I am very happy with my fish and I hope you have a happy Sunday everyone! ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ ๐ŸŸ

20130428-180954.jpg

20130428-181006.jpg

20130428-181034.jpg

New fish! New fish! New fish! Yes, I’m excited…

Em, yes I got FOUR new fish today! We went to Maidenhead Aquatics at Appley Bridge, Wigan with the intention of buying the next Lake Malawi fish for the new tank but I was advised to wait for another couple of weeks. I cycled the water, added the first six fish and watched the Ammonia and Nitrite levels fluctuate. I’ve added beneficial bacteria, done a couple of smallish water changes (not wanting to get rid of the good bacteria) and watched the fish. Not a bad pastime but I’ve been really pleased that the last few tests have shown a ZERO result for Ammonia and Nitrite at last! I tested this morning before fish shopping and the Nitrate was 40-80ppm which was the reason for the delay in adding more fish buddies. I was advised to do a couple of smaller water changes per week to get the Nitrate to about 20ppm. The cichlids seem to be really hardy but the shock of low Nitrate to 40-80ppm would be a shock for them. Good advice.

I have been mulling over the idea of Lace (AKA Pearl) Gouramis for the community tank for some time and they had some fine examples in the shop today so I’ve bought two males and two females. Reading about them, I was interested as they are lovely looking fish of course plus they get to a nice size and are peaceful. They have such a pretty speckled pattern with a dark stripe along the body and over the eyes, the bellies are a stunning orange colour and the barbels are so long. I’ve missed those things after losing Big Boi and Betty so it is great to see them reaching out for me! They also have VERY impressive skirts. Very important I’m sure!

I’ve had another bout of hair algae in this tank so have cleaned and pruned plants and added the last dose of treatment I had. I had added a Phosphate remover to the filter a long while ago but this must be saturated with the stuff now so it was time for a replacement. I did a small water change and added the remover to the filter today before adding the new fish. There is a second bag of the Phosphate remover which I will add to the African Cichlid tank but I just have to steal a ‘pop sock’ from my mum’s underwear drawer when I next visit – well, the one bag in the box looks just like the foot of a pair of tights!! (Sorry Mum in anticipation of your frantic search for that missing garment).

Lastly, as well as the hair algae, I have been a little frustrated with the harder dots of green algae on the glass which doesn’t want to budge when I use my sponge. Eureka! I bought a JBL Blanki – a wire wool pad on a hinged stick to scrub it away….it really works! You can still see some algae in the photos but my excuse is that I wanted to get a move on to add the new fishies!

Mmmmmm fish! Oh and the Acei Cichlid is STILL mouthbrooding….

Happy Sunday everyone๐Ÿ˜€

20130421-185649.jpg

20130421-185757.jpg

20130421-185816.jpg

20130421-185831.jpg

20130421-185845.jpg

20130421-185855.jpg

20130421-185907.jpg

20130421-185944.jpg

20130421-190013.jpg

20130421-190046.jpg

20130421-190103.jpg

20130421-190114.jpg

Mouthbrooding Mbuna?!

I think one of my Mbunas is mouthbrooding! I noticed an unusually baggy chin on one of the Acei and when I fed them this morning, she (I am now assuming it is a female!) didn’t eat anything. Before now they have all been keen on food.

As a reminder, this tank contains: Pseudotropheus sp. “Acei” or Ngara White Tail and 3 x Labidochromis caeruleus or Yellow Lab.

From reading numerous sites I understand that the females are mouthbrooders, holding the eggs in the ‘buchal pouch’ until all the yolk sacs have been consumed. This is usually about 3 weeks, then the fry are released to fend for themselves. If the mother feels her fry are threatened, she may take them back into her mouth for temporary shelter.

Do let me know if you have better information than this from your experience. I have taken a couple of pictures showing the chinny lady, along with a photo of the other two Acei together so you can see an obvious difference in their profiles. The water hasn’t stabilised yet so I not sure if that would kill any fry anyway or whether the other fish would be likely to eat them.

“It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry!”
Says my Dad!

20130407-184551.jpg

20130407-184614.jpg

20130407-184635.jpg

20130407-184710.jpg

20130407-184748.jpg

20130407-184821.jpg

Happy World Rat Day!

Happy World Rat Day 2013 everyone! I know, this is my fish blog but I am a rat fan and used to keep them. Sadly, I am more allergic to rats than pretty much anything else so decided to stop keeping them. My husband really missed them so started being a rat keeper himself. This way I don’t have to wheeze and sneeze cleaning the giant cage and doing other rattie related things. I tend to get involved if they need some TLC, cleaning, wound washing, medicining. Then I reach for my inhaler! ๐Ÿ˜ท Great fun but fish don’t make me wheeze. Go fish!

The photos below are of our ratties past and present. We’ve only ever had two male rats, Beagrie and Boris, the rest have all been good girls. One of the photos shows Boris flaunting himself so those of a sensitive disposition beware!!

20130404-220130.jpg20130404-220207.jpg20130404-220300.jpg20130404-220324.jpg20130404-220418.jpg20130404-220506.jpg20130404-220704.jpg20130404-220758.jpg20130404-220832.jpg20130404-221052.jpg20130404-221217.jpg20130404-221255.jpg20130404-221737.jpg20130404-221756.jpg

20130404-222540.jpg